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At the beginning of each new anime season, the ever-popular question that pops up in the minds of many otakus is, which is better for watching this anime, Crunchyroll or Funimation? But before we delve into this question, you could be asking yourself, what is Funimation or Crunchyroll in the first place? Stay tuned to get much, much more interesting information about these two.
Funimation is a Sony-owned entertainment company involved in distributing a variety of anime series and is based in the US. The company is popular as a masterclass in anime dubbing having lots of its exclusive content quickly dubbed to English. It's fondly recognized by anime fans as the company that led to the renewed interest in Dragonball Z by bringing the dubbed version of the art on the Cartoon Network back in the 90s.
Crunchyroll is a one-stop-shop for all things anime, including extras such as e-manga as well as popular East Asian live-action-drama series. The company started in 2006 and it's currently owned by Sony which took over from Otter Media in 2021. As of last summer, Crunchyroll boasts of having reached 120 million registered users and 5 million active subscribers. Having known about Funimation and Crunchyroll, it's the best moment to dive deeper into our original question, is Funimation or Crunchyroll the better choice for anime streaming? Now, you may take a deep breath as you sit tight for the real deal in the next part.
Both Funimation and Crunchyroll offer free and premium services. Funimation has three packages grouped such that: the Premium plan is worth $5.99 monthly but for an additional fee of only $2 per month, users get a whopping five simultaneous streams, store deals including early access to new episodes and some games, and mobile downloads for offline viewing. For $99.99 per year, you get an addition of two rentals plus an anniversary gift.
For Crunchyroll on the other hand, there was a recent upgrade of the Standard subscription to $7.99 per month reflecting a service enhancement and a wider variety offered. By adding $2 per month, viewers get up to four concurrent streams, offline viewing, and some additional Cartoon Channels. For $14.99 per month, one is granted access to up to six concurrent streams per account in addition to discounts at the MunchPak, and a special swag bag is sent to you every year.
In this case, in as much as Funimation has a cheaper option, Crunchyroll has a library that is more diverse for only a small extra amount. This makes it a bit hard to set the two apart. However, since it is a price war, Funimation takes the trophy.
Even though anime can't teach you the exact way of speaking Japanese, it provides an easier way to pick up some Japanese phrases if you have an interest in learning the language. However, if you love the dubbed version, Funimation stands out as King. They are well known for specializing in dubs having a library with hundreds of anime having an English voiceover which in most cases is made available as soon as a new episode is released.
Crunchyroll has only a limited variety of works with dubs and voiceovers including Fullmetal Alchemist and Blue Exorcist among the popular ones. Even though they did highlight in their FAQs in 2020 that they will be working on more dubs soon, most of their work is still in Japanese with English subtitles.
Crunchyroll's larger catalog presents itself as one of the major differences between the two streaming services. Although both of them have quite a good variety of anime, with some exclusive content, it might be argued that the focus Funimation has devoted to dubs might be their enemy of progress. As of now, Crunchyroll offers the World's largest and ever-growing library of over 1000 anime series and movies while Funimation has less averaging about 600 plus shows. The main factor that contributes to this difference is the fact that Crunchyroll has several live-action shows such as J-dramas, unlike Funimation which has a somewhat limited focus on anime with some classic anime such as Cowboy Bebop for its live-action fans. Crunchyroll is listed (in spaces where anime fans discuss and exchange opinions) as the most preferred streaming service due to the abundance and diversity of its content.
As it stands in the technological world, a successfully designed UI is one of the greatest contributions to a positive user experience translating to a competitive advantage. As far as anime or any other streaming service is concerned, a user-friendly UI is such a turn-on. To say the least, Crunchyroll's interface isn't the most user-friendly. Despite having an enormous library by category, including well-known Simulcasts, Alphabetical, Genres, and seasons, its alphabetical filtering tool may prove quite daunting making it a bit hectic in finding the best title for your moment from the sea of titles.
On the contrary, Funimation is simpler to navigate through your specific areas of interest. Its shows are well sorted by Genres, All Shows, SimulDub, and Popular. The genres are Drama, Horror, Comedy, Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Live-Action, Romance, Shounen, Fan Service, Shoujo, and Slice of Life. On the plus side, however, when it comes to personalization, both Crunchyroll and Funimation make fandom a very interactive experience. Once you have created an account for each site, you can easily post comments and share your videos with friends. For both services, you can customize your profile by either creating an avatar, changing subtitle and captioning settings, restricting adult content, or keeping a good track of what you've already watched.
Simulcasts are works that air on Crunchyroll and Funimation at the same time as the Original in Japan at slightly different hours depending on the day of the week. Crunchyroll offers quite a decent amount of those works, not to say it's flawless but in most cases, their simulcasts get aired within an hour of being the first broadcast in Japan with an exception of having to allow up to sevens hours in some of the cases.
Likewise, Funimation has a reasonable quantity of simulcasts available within hours from the original release. SimulDub, being a unique feature of Funimation gives them a competitive advantage in this category. Having established that Funimation is your place to go if you're a big fan of dubs, the SimulDub feature takes this a notch higher by making sure the dubbed content is provided to premium users within weeks of the original release. It's quite reasonable to argue that "a few weeks later" is not "simultaneous" but making a voiceover available in such a short time is impressive, thanks to SimulDub for giving Funimation an edge in this section.
A valid question that might have popped up in your mind from the start is, what about viewers who prefer hearing the original as much as possible? Where do they go? Relax! Crunchyroll has you covered. A takeaway point to note is that Crunchyroll and Funimation each have a unique way of displaying the translated text. Crunchyroll uses normal customizable subtitles with no distracting background while Funimation uses closed captions.
If you use the Funimation app, you might find this irritating to an extent since you can't get rid of the captions' dark, distracting background within the application. Visuals are an important aspect of anime. Therefore, whenever one is not able to fully see a section of the screen due to a dark background, it can be annoying.
The apps for both Crunchyroll and Funimation are available across most of the major devices in the market. The major difference is that Crunchyroll is available on Nintendo Wii U while Funimation isn't. The devices compatible with each of the two are:
The choice between Funimation and Crunchyroll is a tough one to make especially because the two streaming services are at the top of their game when it comes to anime airing and other Japanese media. Both have their merits and downsides but this article should hopefully assist you to reach a well-informed choice depending on the experience you are looking for.
Basing our judgment on discussions and opinions from online fan communities, the choice narrows down to what you prioritize: If you prefer a large anime content library with subtitles, then Crunchyroll is yours for the taking. However, if you would rather have a relatively decent, but limited variety mostly dubbed, go for Funimation. The good news is that both offer a free plan and a 14-day free trial allowing you to make the best of both or choose one that "clicks" perfectly with you.
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