We pour over all the deets
Funimation and Crunchyroll are the two largest and most popular dedicated anime streaming services today. Both offer fans of Japanese animation a lot of value for the money. But if you could only subscribe to one service, which should it be? Let’s look at which service is best for anime streaming.
While you can enjoy both Funimation and Crunchyroll for free as long as you’re willing to put up with advertising, there are limitations.
- In Crunchyroll, you can’t watch the latest episode of simulcast anime.
- Funimation has large sections of its catalog locked off. Older shows, such as Chobits, can be watched in their entirety with advertising. Newer shows will only let you watch the first few episodes or only a trailer.
When we look at the paid options, things get more interesting since both services now offer multiple paid tiers.
- Crunchyroll’s Basic Fan Plan costs $7.99 plus tax per month and gives you unlimited library access with no advertising. You’ll also get new episodes of simulcast shows an hour after they air in Japan. A digital manga app is included with a moderate manga library and you can stream on one device at a time.
- Crunchyroll’s Mega Fan Plan costs $9.99 plus tax per month and allows you to stream on four devices and download shows to the app for offline viewing. It also includes access to special events and a once-off discount on physical items bought from their online store.
- Finally, the Ultimate Fan Plan costs $14.99 plus tax per month and increases the total number of streams to 6 and adds physical bonuses such as an annual “swag bag” and a slightly larger once-off discount in their online store.
- Funimation’s base plan, named Premium, costs $5.99 per month and includes ad-free streaming of their whole library and two simultaneous streams.
- Premium Plus costs $7.99 a month, supports five streams, and allows for offline downloads. There are also member-only events, early access to shop sales, free shipping on orders over $20, and member-only offers.
- The Premium Plus Ultra plan is only available as a $99.99 annual subscription. The only difference here is that free shipping has no minimum value and you’ll get an exclusive annual gift.
Winner: We think Funimation offers the better entry-level and mid-tier deal.
Interface and Streaming Experience
Both Funimation and Crunchyroll offer mobile apps on Android and iOS and browser-based web interfaces, which are very similar. If you’ve used Netflix, Plex, Amazon Prime video or any other streaming service, you’ll be comfortable with either Crunchyroll or Funimation.
On the actual streaming side of things:
- Crunchyroll has consistently worse streaming performance than Funimation in our testing.
- Crunchyroll disappoints, with constant buffering on the same 40Mbps connection and frequent drops to lower quality streaming. This can be mitigated by paying for the tier which allows episode downloads.
- Crunchyroll’s issues persisted even when tested on both Android and iOS platforms and on several different connections, including mobile internet.
Winner: Funimation has this one sewn up.
Sub vs Dubs
Whether subtitled or dubbed anime is superior is still the subject of heated debate within the fandom. This also makes it easier to differentiate between Funimation and Crunchyroll. Traditionally, Funimation has focused on offering dubbed anime, whereas Cruncyroll has focused on offering anime as quickly as possible with only subtitles.
Before the Funimation and Crunchyroll partnership ended in 2018, they shared content. Since then, Crunchyroll offers dubs on some titles in languages such as German, Portuguese and a few others.
Funimation offers dubs on many more shows but only in English as far as we can tell.
Winner: No clear winner here.
- If you prefer as many shows dubbed in English as possible, Funimation is for you.
- If you like subtitles or want your anime dubbed in a language other than English, Crunchyroll is the better choice.
This is a tough comparison to make. Both services have similar library sizes, with Funimation offering older shows and Crunchyroll bringing more new material. However, each service has its own exclusive set of titles. So the choice here will be very personal, based on which shows you want to watch.
Winner: Both have lots to watch overall.
- Crunchyroll is the one to go for if you want to keep up with all the hot new simulcast shows.
- Crunchyroll also has a healthy number of original shows that it helped fund and owns the rights to.
- Funimation seems better if you want to watch classic titles.
Just as with any streaming service, there are always regional licensing issues to contend with.
Crunchyroll seems to be available in almost every country. However, specific shows won’t appear in the library if they aren’t licensed for your region.
Funimation is only available in the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
Winner: Crunchyroll by a country mile. Pun intended.
Do either of these platforms offer content beyond anime?
- Funimation doesn’t.
- Crunchyroll’s plans include a manga application with a fair selection of titles to read. Crunchyroll also has a game publishing division, although that’s not related to the main streaming subscription.
Winner: Crunchyroll’s manga offer is a sweet addition, although the app tends to be unstable.
The Great Sony Merger
Not too long before this article was written, Sony concluded a monumental $1.2Bn deal to purchase Crunchyroll. This means both Funimation and Crunchyroll are now owned by the same company. It’s still unclear what this means going forward for subscribers, but stay tuned as we will update this article if things change in the future.