Anime is no exception to the rise in streaming viewership as people now appreciate its mainstream appeal. Joining the trend, newcomers to the scene like Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, and even HBO Max have enlarged their trove of anime titles on offer. With the rise in rivals, it’s easy to forget the two big names for anime, Funimation and Crunchyroll. Focused on anime series and movies, both continue and compete to be the leader in the niche. But in the battle of Funimation vs Crunchyroll, which is really the better choice for anime streaming?
Also read: Best Free TV Streaming Apps
In This Article
- What Is Funimation?
- What Is Crunchyroll?
- Availability and Access
- Funimation vs Crunchyroll: Subscriptions
- Funimation vs Crunchyroll: Content
- Free, Ad-Supported Access
Funimation started in the mid-90s as an anime distribution company, bringing the Dragon Ball franchise to the U.S. audience. It started streaming dubbed anime in 2005 but struggled to compete with Crunchyroll even though it came first. However, there’s still something to be said about being the second-largest anime streaming service. From licensing the original Dragon Ball and its sequel, Funimation has expanded its repertoire with new and classic titles.
As of writing, it has quite a few exclusives under its hood like Death Parade, Afro Samurai, and even One Piece for North America. As Funimation entered a deal with Sony Pictures, we can expect that exclusive titles on the platform will grow more. Aside from anime, Funimation also distributes and licenses non-animated East Asian movies and series.
Crunchyroll has a similar anime-centric catalog to Funimation but focuses more on subs and distribution. Its collection offers a larger selection of titles like Re: Zero, Naruto, Inuyasha, and Death Note. There’s also Crunchyroll-funded work with its Crunchyroll Originals programs on offer.
There’s a pending deal between Sony Pictures and Crunchyroll to acquire the entirety of the platform and its operations. The deal is currently under regulatory review (as of March 2021) but if it passes, it would see Sony own both Funimation and Crunchyroll. The move may change the landscape for anime in the west with a potential merger of the two services.
Before anything else, it’s best to first know if their platform is compatible with your device. For those on the go, it’s also good to know if you can use their service in your destination.
Funimation servers are only accessible to those logging in from the US, Canada, UK, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Brazil. The Funimation Now app is compatible with PC, iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PS3, PS4, PSVita, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
On the other hand, Crunchyroll serves over 170 countries worldwide. However, it may impose restrictions on its media library depending on the location due to local licensing. Its app and servers could also be accessed through PC, iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PS3, PS4, PSVita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Windows Phone, and Nintendo Switch.
If you don’t live in any of the countries either platform operates in, you may unlock them using the best VPN for Android and iOS.
The battle of Funimation vs Crunchyroll is a little harder to weigh than just looking at a price chart. Funimation and Crunchyroll have a three-tier system of subscription with slightly similar rates and offer HD quality streaming at 720p and 1080p.
How Much Is Funimation?
Funimation’s three-tier subscription plan without tax comes out at $5.99 monthly for Premium users, $7.99 monthly for Premium Plus users, and $99.99 a year (around $8.4 monthly) for Premium Plus Ultra users. All plans come with ad-free access to Funimation’s media library of both subbed and dubbed anime, as well as SimulDubs of select anime. SimulDubs is Funimation’s unique service, which lets users watch English-dubbed anime on the same day as the Japanese broadcast.
Premium users get the base perks plus the ability to have two simultaneous streams. For the second tier, Plus plans come with the ability to have five simultaneous streams. It also has offline viewing for supported devices, access to members-only events, early access to special shop sales, free shipping for orders over $120, and members-only offers. Third-tier Plus Ultra plans get the same perks as Plus users with an annual anniversary gift.
How Much Is Crunchyroll?
Crunchyroll’s subscription is separated into monthly $7.99 Fan and $9.99 Mega Fan plans with a special tier costing $79.99 for those taking a year (around $6.7 a month for a 16% discount) of Mega Fan subscription without tax. Both plans promise ad-free streaming, unlimited access to Crunchyroll’s media library, access to the Crunchyroll Manga service, and a simulcast for selected anime. Simulcast lets users enjoy anime broadcasts on the same day as their Japanese airtime. Fans can only stream on one device while Mega Fan users get the additional perks of streaming on four devices at a time and offline viewing.
Those still wavering between the Funimation vs Crunchyroll debate may want to first take a hands-on look at their services before properly deciding. Both services currently offer a 14-day trial, which lets you access their full services for the duration.
A reminder to those wanting to watch their shows in better quality. You should make sure your internet connection can handle the load of at least 2.5 Mbps for those streaming in 720p and a minimum of 4 Mbps for those wanting 1080p.
Winner: Funimation is a fraction cheaper than Crunchyroll, so it’s winning this time.
Pricing is sometimes secondary for anime fans as most of their attention goes to what anime titles are on offer. In this regard, Crunchyroll takes the top with over 1,200 titles available in the US and Canada. On the other hand, Funimation has around 600.
However, these numbers aren’t a clear-cut way to choose which one has the best anime streaming. The main difference between their services comes from the type of anime series or movies they have to offer. While some shows are available on both platforms, Crunchyroll tends to focus on newer and modern animes. On the other hand, Funimation has a higher hand in terms of classic anime titles like Future Diary, or even those that age back to the times of Dragon Ball Z.
Both platforms also offer a limited selection of live-action movies. Funimation has the lion’s share of these offerings, which are usually adaptations of manga or anime media like Rurouni Kenshin and Prison School. But Crunchyroll has another trick up its sleeve with its Crunchyroll Originals brand. It has shows funded or licensed to stream exclusively on its platform.
If you find you still can’t choose between the two, you’d be happy to know that both Funimation and Crunchyroll are also free anime streaming apps. This option only needs you to register with the respective platform and download their app. It does, however, have severe limitations on the titles available to viewers and more than a few ads per episode. The actual number of ads per video may vary from three to as many as six ads of differing lengths. Crunchyroll ads usually concentrate at or before the start of the video while Funimation ads are spread through the videos at segments.
Of course, anime may not be all that you want from your streaming service and that’s where the myriad of alternatives kick in. Below are a few good options that have a good mix of anime, live-action shows, movies, and some western animation.
A precursor of online streaming, Netflix continues to be one of the biggest names in the market. It covers more than 190 countries with a catalog of over 15,000 movies and TV series. It has three-tiered subscription plans: Basic at $8.99, Standard at $13.99, and Premium for $17.99. All plans come with unlimited access to their library with an option of offline playback.
The Basic plan enables users to stream and download on one screen at a time on 480p. Standard users can stream and download on two screens at a time at 1080p. Premium users, meanwhile, are able to stream and download four screens at 4K and HDR quality.
Most of Netflix’s offerings are a mix of Western and Eastern live-action movies and shows including Friends, Girl From Nowhere, and Breaking Bad. Netflix has unique shows on its platform as well. It also offers a sizable anime collection including Aggretsuko, My Hero Academia, and Hunter X Hunter.
2. Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a unique case compared with other options on this list since subscription to the service is usually tied to Amazon Prime membership. Prime Video subscriptions come at $8.99 a month for a purely Prime Video membership and $12.99 for the Prime Video and Amazon Prime bundle. Prime Video users can expect 4K Ultra HD and HDR streaming in more than 200 countries worldwide.
Similar to Netflix, Prime Video also offers a varied mix of western and eastern live-action movies and shows like Edge of Tomorrow, The Shield, and Blade Runner. It also offers a large trove of anime like My Hero Academia, Grimoire of Zero, and Great Teacher Onizuka that you can watch using the Prime Video app, on the go.
Hulu is perfect for those wanting to get away from their cable TVs and move to streaming. Its subscription plans offer the first month free and come in three tiers, a basic $5.99 plan with ads, a “no ads” plan for $11.99, and a Hulu + Live TV plan for $64.99 with only the first week free.
Hulu has an odd selection available depending on which on-demand TV channels have been bought with the plan. It currently offers a Hulu (with ads), Disney+, and ESPN+ bundle for $13.99. You can also find Hulu Originals with series and movies like Animaniacs (2020), Castle Rock, and The Great. After its acquisition by Sony, Funimation has made an agreement for a shared collection with Hulu with select Funimation titles airing on the platform along with Hulu’s Studio Ghibli collection.
4. Disney Plus
Disney+ may be a more appropriate choice for those wanting Western animation instead of anime. The platform offers a single-tier subscription for $7.99 and a great $79.98 for those taking a yearly subscription instead. The service is only available in a few select countries including the US, Canada, UK, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan.
Disney+ has a media catalog coming from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and other in-house, owned, or licensed material. You may watch all this on the Disney+ app.
What more could an anime lover want with a media library of over 1,200 anime titles, available worldwide? Crunchyroll is our pick in the Funimation vs Crunchyroll battle. Funimation wouldn’t be a bad pick if you are a huge fan of classic animes. However, Crunchyroll checks all the lists. If you’re moving around the world or sitting back at home, there’s bound to be something that catches your eye in its expansive collection. If you are not ready to commit to a monthly subscription, it has a trial period and even life-long free access if you’re okay with ads.