Crunchyroll vs. Funimation

Crunchyroll vs. Funimation

Introduction

Welcome to the first installment of my newest series here on DoubleSama.com in which I compare and contrast various anime streaming platforms to help you make more informed decisions regarding where to go for anime.

This first “episode” will be pitting Crunchyroll and Funimation against each other, but later “episodes” will include services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and KissAnime. If there are other streaming platforms you think should be added to the series, let me know in the comments.

The reason I decided to start this series, and why Crunchyroll and Funimation specifically are the first two platforms I’ll be looking at, is due to the split between these two titans of the Western anime world. There are an ever-growing number of streaming services for anime, and I want to help make choosing between them all easier.

Finally, before we begin, I know some people dislike certain streaming platforms due to their stances on various topics, but that isn’t going to play a role in how I rank these services against one another. Instead, I’ll be using the following five categories: Website, Mobile App, Free Tier, Subtitles, and Title Selection.

Website

It should come as no surprise that one of the most important things for a streaming platform to have is a website to be hosted on. Sure, they could go the app-only route, but by doing so they’d be severely cutting down on their number of users.

With that in mind, having a website that both looks nice and functions properly is important for any of these companies. Based on these two criteria, Crunchyroll takes the point for better website over Funimation.

First comes appearance. A user should instantly be able to find what they’re looking for as soon as the site loads. The first thing Funimation does is assault my eyes with giant, colorful blocks which look like they were designed with Windows 8 in mind and never updated since then.

It’s great that the second block on the site is a link to my queue, but it takes up about a quarter of the entire screen. Meanwhile, Crunchyroll includes the link to my queue up in the header, where it doesn’t waste as much space. All this free space is then used to showcase new series and content to be easily browsed.

Funimation, on the other hand, forces me to scroll down to find this same content, and even then doesn’t show me the newest episodes of anything unless I click through to more pages. Basically, Crunchyroll wins out on the appearance and usability side of the website grading scale.

There are a lot of other issues with how Funimation’s website is laid out, but I think my point has already been made.

And, before you try to say that Funimation’s website is designed for mobile and tablet users, which is why it looks like that, yes, I know it is, and that’s the problem. Mobile and tablet users shouldn’t be using the website, they should be using the mobile app, which I’ll get to shortly.

So, next up comes functionality. Again, Crunchyroll wins out over Funimation, mostly due to site speed. Every new page load on Funimation’s website takes twice the amount of time as its Crunchyroll counterpart, and that’s not good.

To go from the home page to my queue, Crunchyroll took 2 seconds while Funimation took a whopping 5 seconds to completely load. This may not seem like too big of a deal to the uninitiated, but when a website is consistently slower than its competition, it adds up.

And, the fact that Funimation is slower doesn’t stop at page load times. Just about every clickable element on the site has a considerable amount of lag. When changing the video settings, I was unable to make multiple changes in quick succession because the site simply couldn’t keep up.

Mobile App

Alright, so Crunchyroll has the better website, but I mentioned that Funimation’s website looks like it was built with mobile and tablet users in mind, so they must at least have a good mobile app, right? Well, no, not really.

Let’s use these screenshots I took of the home pages of both service’s apps (pictured below) as examples for most of what I’m going to explain. The very first thing you may notice is that Crunchyroll is dark while Funimation is light. That’s right, the Crunchyroll app has the coveted dark theme option while Funimation does not.

Crunchyroll and Funimation mobile app comparison
Crunchyroll and Funimation mobile app comparison

But, aside from the color palette, again, Crunchyroll seems to understand their target audience more than Funimation does. Funimation’s website looked like it was built for mobile users, and yet their mobile app shows that they don’t understand mobile users at all.

The home screen for Crunchyroll is the user’s queue, and this is perfect for mobile because generally it’s not being used to find new content, but to watch content which has already been found. The queue for the Funimation app, however, is only barely visible until the user scrolls down to it. This should be the first thing seen by the user.

Next, everything you would need is readily available on every page of the Crunchyroll app due to the bottom menu. No matter where you are in the app, it only takes one click to get to where you want to be. The same can’t be said about the Funimation app due to how its menu is hidden.

Next up is the scrolling aspect. Crunchyroll has a simple vertical scroll to navigate the entire app. To find anything on a particular page, all you need to do is either scroll up or down. But, Funimation adds a horizontal scroll to the mix. Not only do you have to scroll vertically, but you likely will need to scroll horizontally (left/right) as well, which makes things even harder to find.

And, to finish off this section, let’s take a look at the first thing users see when they launch either of these apps. Crunchyroll has a simple loading screen with their logo, but Funimation has an entire animation, and then longer loading time. The times it takes to actually get into each app are about 2 and 10 seconds respectively, which is a big difference.

Free Tier

Okay, so Funimation isn’t doing so hot, but there are still three out of five categories left, so the battle is by no means over. And, good news, Funimation fans, because I actually have some nice things to say about that service this time around, though it may not be what Funimation wants to hear.

Both Crunchyroll and Funimation have both free and premium tiers, but I’ve decided to only compare their free tiers because, for the most part, their premium tiers are the same. Also, I’m making this series as a guide for everyone, not only those who choose to pay for anime.

Let’s first look at the main staples of Crunchyroll’s free tier. This tier grants the user access to everything (I believe) in their library with the exception of new episodes the same week they air. For brand new episodes, free users must wait one week before they become available.

This may sound like a bad thing, but honestly, only having to wait one week for new episodes isn’t all that bad for the casual viewer. What is bad for the casual viewer, however, is that free tier users are limited to watching videos in 480p or lower.

Funimation has a very similar model for its free tier, but with some slight differences which I think make it a better option for some users. The good thing about it is that unlike Crunchyroll, Funimation allows its free tier users to watch anime in up to 1080p.

However, Funimation free users also have to wait even longer to watch new episodes of currently airing series. Let’s use Goblin Slayer as an example since this post is replacing the Goblin Slayer episode review this week due to it being a recap episode.

Crunchyroll free users can now watch up to episode 10 of Goblin Slayer, while Funimation free users can only watch up to episode 2. See how much of a difference that is? Also, just for argument’s sake, Crunchyroll premium users can watch up to episode 10 and the special, while Funimation premium users can only watch up to episode 7.

This means that even if you pay for the premium version of Funimation, you’re still weeks behind on currently airing anime. In fact, Funimation premium members are 3 weeks behind Crunchyroll free members.

I get it, that sounds like a big blow to Funimation, and to be honest, it is. But, it’s not all bad for Funimation. While I would say that Crunchyroll is much better if you’re interested in new episodes and series due to its airing schedule, Funimation is better for archived episodes and series due to its HD videos.

So, as far as I’m concerned, these two streaming services tie in this category because they each perform better in the different sub-categories of new and archived series.

Also, before we move on, the free tiers of both these services include ads, but if you’re using their website versions, then adblockers work wonders. This means you can watch archived series on Funimation in 1080p without any ads. And speaking of adblockers, if you have one installed, please whitelist DoubleSama.com. 😊

Subtitles

I think it’s fair to say that if dubs were a category here that Funimation would win it; they are one of the major dubbing companies in the West after all. However, I’m not generally on #TeamDub. There are some good dubs out there, but generally I’m going to watch anime in its original language, Japanese.

Also, not every anime gets dubbed, and so there’s a lot more content which is only subbed instead. Because of this, subtitles are an extremely important part of anime streaming platforms.

Like I said, Funimation is known for dubbing, but that doesn’t mean they can simply ignore subbed anime viewers. However, it really seems like they’re trying their best to do just that. In fact, I just tried to use the first episode of Goblin Slayer as an example of how different the subtitles look between these two platforms and came to a shocking conclusion:

Funimation doesn’t have subbed versions of currently airing series.

That’s right, if you’re trying to watch a currently airing series on Funimation then you’d better be prepared to watch it in English because Japanese isn’t an option. But, as I mentioned in the previous section, if you’re looking for current anime, Crunchyroll is the better option.

So what about archived anime? From my experience, Funimation does have archived anime available in Japanese with English subtitles, but the subtitles look terrible by default. The text is white and has no form of outline, shadow, or background. This means that when overlayed onto white or light-colored frames, the subtitles are unreadable.

This can be remedied to an extent in your account settings, but only by changing the color of the text or placing ugly, black bars behind the subtitles. While the latter certainly works, it doesn’t make for the best viewing experience.

On the other hand, Crunchyroll uses white text with a black dropped shadow. This means that no matter the background (unless I guess it was some strange zebra print), the text is going to be clearly legible. So again, another point to Crunchyroll.

Title Selection

The final category, title selection, simply means the variety of anime titles featured on the platform. And, again, I have to give it to Crunchyroll simply due to having a larger selection, regardless of quality. Crunchyroll currently has 1,026 titles while Funimation only has 478 (unless more are available for premium users).

That said, even though Crunchyroll wins this category as well, what you should really keep in mind for this category is which service has the anime you want to watch. If Funimation owns the broadcasting rights to a series you want to watch, go there; if Crunchyroll does, then go there.

This category is simply a way to show which platform has more options, and doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the better platform to find what you’re looking for. Funimation, for example, seems to be the better choice for movies and older series.

Conclusion

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the final scores. Keep in mind that each category is rated on a scale from 1-5 when applicable.

Service Website Mobile App Free Tier Subtitles Title Selection
Crunchyroll 4 4 3 5 4
Funimation 3 2 3 3 3

Crunchyroll is the overall winner in this first battle of the streaming platforms, coming in with 20/25 points. Meanwhile, Funimation only managed to scrounge together 14/25 points.

The next matchup will be between two polar opposites: Netflix and KissAnime, although a date for this post isn’t set just yet. But, to make sure you don’t miss out on it when it does go live, give me a follow over on Twitter @DoubleSama and I’ll keep you up to date.

Did you enjoy this post or find it helpful in any way? If so, consider clicking the like button ❤ down below to show your support for this new series. And, while you’re down there, let me know in the comments how you would rate both Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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Update – March 9, 2019

Crunchyroll has been having some server issues for the past few weeks, and so I’m going to lower its rating by two points. Not being able to connect to their servers, or being unable to watch the latest episodes, is kind of a major issue. The new score is 18/25. Think of this as me taking a point out of the Website and Mobile categories.

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