Crunchyroll: What It Is and How to Watch Anime on It

Watch anime with Crunchyroll on your console, smartphone, or smart TV

Crunchyroll is one of the most-popular services for legally streaming anime series and movies online. Users can watch TV shows and movies via the Crunchyroll website or its apps for free or choose to upgrade to a paid Premium subscription for higher image quality and an ad-free viewing experience.

The Crunchyroll company was first founded in 2006 in the United States but it has since grown significantly and is now available in most major regions such as Australia, Europe, Mexico, and Canada. The Crunchyroll brand also expanded in 2017 with the debut of Crunchyroll Expo, an annual anime convention, and in 2018 with experimentation into original anime production.

What Is Crunchyroll?

Much like Netflix and Disney+, Crunchyroll is a streaming service that allows anyone to watch movies and TV shows on their computer, smartphone, video game console, smart TV, or streaming stick. What sets Crunchyroll apart from its competitors, however, is its focus on Asian media with the majority of the content on the service being anime series and films. Crunchyroll also hosts a fairly respectable collection of live-action drama series from Japan, Singapore, South Korea, China, and Taiwan and offers digital versions of manga for users to read on smartphones and tablets.

Crunchyroll is a completely legal anime streaming service and has exclusivity deals with several major Japanese companies that allow them to stream episodes of major anime series within a day after their original Japanese TV broadcast.

How to Sign Up for Crunchyroll

A Crunchyroll account can be created for free via any of the official apps or via the website. For this example, we’ll be showing you how to create an account on the Crunchyroll website but the process is almost identical if you’re using the smartphone or tablet apps, the apps on your video game console, or from opening the app on your streaming box or stick.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open your preferred web browser and go to the official Crunchyroll website.

  2. Select Login from the top menu.

    Front page of the Crunchyroll website.
    Crunchyroll

    Don’t worry if you don’t have an account yet. The account creation process is actually hidden within the Login page for existing users.

  3. Under Sign Up for a Free Account, enter your email address, preferred Crunchyroll username, a password for your Crunchyroll account, your birthday, and gender.

    Crunchyroll website login page.
    Crunchyroll

    Your username can be anything and won’t really be used if you’re just planning on watching series and movies. If you decide to participate in the Crunchyroll discussion forums, though, your username will be used to represent yourself to other users and will be shown publicly next to posts.

  4. Select Create Account.

    Crunchyroll website login page.
    Crunchyroll

    If you get an error after trying to create an account, refresh the web page before trying again.

  5. Your free Crunchyroll account should now be created and you can use it to log into any of the Crunchyroll apps on your devices and watch anime or dramas and read manga.

What Does Crunchyroll Premium Give You?

A lot of content on Crunchyroll can be consumed with just a free account but the image resolution won’t be high definition and some recent episodes of newer series are often reserved for paid users for a limited time.

Episodes made available on Crunchyroll within a day of their broadcast debut in Japan are referred to as simulcast episodes. Manga chapters added soon after being published in Japan are called simulpub chapters.

To support the anime streaming service, Crunchyroll offers two paid subscription plans called Crunchyroll Premium and Crunchyroll Premium+.

Both plans offer the following benefits:

  • Access to all anime and drama episodes and movies.
  • Access to new anime and drama episodes/simulcasts.
  • Access to new manga chapters/simulpubs.
  • Ad-free viewing on all Crunchyroll apps.
  • 720p and 1080p resolution options.
  • Faster customer support.
  • Crunchyroll merchandise store discounts.

Crunchyroll Premium+ also offers subscribers free shipping on merchandise bought from the Crunchyroll online storefront, Crunchyroll Expo perks, access to beta features, and entry into Premium+ contests.

Which Crunchyroll Plan Is Right for You?

Most casual anime, manga, and Asian drama fans, especially those that want to catch up on old episodes of series, should be content with the free Crunchyroll membership option. Those who would consider themselves anime enthusiasts, who need to watch the latest episodes as soon as they’re available, will need to upgrade to either the Crunchyroll Premium or Crunchyroll Premium+ tier, however.

There really is very little difference between the Premium and Premium+ Crunchyroll subscription options when it comes to streaming content. Crunchyroll Premium+ is only worth getting for those hardcore anime fans who attend conventions or expos, particularly Crunchyroll Expo. If you just want to watch the latest episodes of shows on Crunchyroll in HD quality with zero ads, Crunchyroll Premium is all you need.

Is There a Crunchyroll Price Increase?

Crunchyroll did increase the price of its Premium subscription from $6.95 to $7.99 in early-2019. However, this was the first significant price increase since the company’s founding back in 2006 and Crunchyroll isn’t expected to increase the price of their plans again at least for another couple of years or so.

Does Crunchyroll Have Dubbed Anime?

Crunchyroll offers dubbed and subbed versions of anime series and movies as well as episodes of Asian dramas.

Dubbed means a show has been given an English language audio track while subbed means that the show has its original language audio and has been given English subtitles.

Not every series and movie has dubbed and subbed options. For example, Demon Slayer, Vinland Saga, The Rising of the Shield Hero, Fruits Basket, Black Fox, One Piece, Attack on Titan, Kenja no Mago, Nande Koko ni Sensei Ga, Dr Stone, Dororo, Kimitsu no Yaiba, Sword Art Online, Naruto, Boruto, and Bleach are all available to watch on Crunchyroll but only some of these series have both an English dub and sub option while others may only be available with subtitles and their original Japanese audio.

Crunchyroll video player language and resolution settings.
Crunchyroll

Typically, newer shows are added to Crunchyroll with English subtitles and are updated at a later date with an English audio option once the dub production has been completed.

Does Crunchyroll Have Asian Dramas?

Crunchyroll has popular and niche Asian drama TV series from China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore.

Crunchyroll's Asian drama series web page.
Crunchyroll

Can I Read Manga Online With Crunchyroll?

In addition to TV series, Crunchyroll does also offer a variety of manga that can be read digitally either on the website or via one of its apps.

Manga is the Japanese word for comic book and is often used in English-speaking regions to refer to comic books from Japan. Sailor Moon, Naruto Shippuden, Fairy Tail, and Bleach are all examples of popular manga series.

Like the anime and drama series, some manga chapters require a Premium or Premium+ subscription to access but there are still a good number of completely free volumes to read.

The Crunchyroll digital manga reader with Attack on Titan volume.
Crunchyroll

Reading manga on Crunchyroll does not require an additional membership or subscription.

What Internet Speed Is Required for Crunchyroll?

A variety of video resolutions are available for all content on Crunchyroll. By default, the Crunchyroll website and apps automatically select the optimal resolution for your connection speed but these can be manually adjusted from within the video player.

If an episode is new, or particularly popular, and has a lot of users watching it at the same time, its image quality may diminish dramatically. If this happens, the best thing to do is to wait at least an hour and then try to watch it again.

For viewing videos in SD and 480p, Crunchyroll recommends a speed of at least 600 kbps (0.6 mbps) and 1500 kbps (1.5 mbps) respectively. To watch videos in 720p or 1080p, an internet speed of at least 2500 kbps (2.5 mbps) and 4000 kbps (4 mbps) is suggested.

Remember that the 720p and 1080p options are only available to Crunchyroll Premium and Premium+ subscribers.

Where Can I Watch Crunchyroll?

Crunchyroll can be watched on the official Crunchyroll website and on its numerous apps that support almost every mainstream smart device.

The Crunchyroll app can be downloaded for free on iOS devices, Android devices, Windows 10 computers and tablets. There's also a Crunchyroll app for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast.

There is no Crunchyroll app on the Nintendo 3DS nor on the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite, however, an official Crunchyroll app for the Switch has been heavily rumored.

Does Crunchyroll Offer DVR?

Crunchyroll doesn’t offer a DVR feature as it’s a purely on-demand streaming service and doesn’t support live television broadcasts. Unlike Disney+ and Netflix, Crunchyroll does not support the downloading of its drama and anime episodes to devices for viewing when offline.

Can You Rent Anime Movies on Crunchyroll?

Crunchyroll does not support one-off rentals of any of its content as most of it is viewable for free or as part of a Premium or Premium+ subscription, which isn’t much more than what a rental would cost anyway.

Some anime may be available to rent on other services such as iTunes or Microsoft Movies & TV.

Is Crunchyroll Making Original Anime Series?

In 2018, Crunchyroll announced that it would begin producing its own original anime series, the first of which would be High Guardian Spice. In 2019, Crunchyroll revealed plans to expand its original content even further by announcing a partnership with Line’s WebToon digital comic service which would see the company producing animated projects based on various WebToon series.

What Are Some Good Crunchyroll Alternatives?

There are a variety of free and paid ways to watch anime online. Some of the best anime-focused services to use are HiDive, FUNimation, and AnimeLab but major streaming services such as Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, and the Microsoft Store also have a variety of anime content available for viewing.

The anime series and movies on each service often vary and some may allow you to buy or rent titles while others will need you to sign up for a monthly subscription. It’s worth comparing services to find out which one has the anime you like and offers it in a way that suits you the best.