Thoughts On Crunchyroll

Given that I’m wearing a shirt I got from Crunchyroll today, I thought it’d be the perfect chance for me to share my thoughts on the site and service. But before I do that, I believe it’s fitting that I give a bit of background on how I started using the site as I have been on it for less than a year.

Last year, perhaps even two years ago, I starting hearing mentions of Crunchyroll on ANN (Anime News Network) and in the tweets of some people I follow. As I started to hear more and more of it mentioned, my curiosity started increasing. Last year at New York Anime Festival is when I really found out exactly what Crunchyroll was. Originally, I had intended on attending their pannel discussion but had to cancel my plans at the last minute due to a scheduling conflict. Luckily, they did have a booth set up in the exhibit hall, granted it was way in the back (or at least it sure felt like it was). At the booth, they were offering a full month free trial promotion. You could sign up and get $5 or get a shirt. Yes, I picked the shirt over the five bucks. So I now had a 30-day all-access trial to the service. Great. Now what was I supposed to do? I had never visited the site before nor even knew what was on there. Had it not been for yet another shirt – yes, for real – I honestly don’t know if I would’ve ever bothered to actually check the site out.

In addition to Crunchyroll, Bandi Entertainment was also at NYAF with movie screenings, panels, and a pretty big booth (that was actually in the front). At the Bandi panel, I received a pretty plain shirt. It was white, had some kind of image on the back (although I didn’t know until I actually washed it), and had a logo on the front with the words “Project Eureka”. Curious as to what the heck that was all about, I did a Google search when I got home. That search led to me discovering Eureka Seven, which I consider to be an absolute masterpiece of an anime. Now that I knew what the shirt referenced I decided to see if I could find a place to watch it on. I did. Crunchyroll.

Instantly, I fell in love with both the anime and Crunchyroll. Every last day of my free trial was spent watching Eureka Seven. I finished watching it just after my trial ended. Since I now had some idea as to what Crunchyroll was and had to offer, I decided to hang around and take a look at what else they had to offer. I wasn’t entirely sold quite yet on the idea of paying for the service but pretty soon I would be offered another trial, this one a two-week Anime membership. It was durring this one that I really found out what I could use Crunchyroll for – watching Anime the same day it aired in Japan.

At around the same time I started this trial membership, I started reading on ANN and tweets from Peter Payne over on Jlist (warning: if you’re at work, wait to Google that) about a new anime called Squid Girl. Well, guess who was airing it in the US? Crunchyroll. I was hooked in a matter of episodes and began almost religiously logging into Crunchyroll at the time it was set to air. Shortly after finishing Squid Girl, I started up another anime, but had my trial run out. Actually, I forgot to cancel it before getting charged ^_^; Anyway, I then started watching Durara!, another anime being simulcast. Since I was now actually using Crunchyroll a fair bit, I decided it was time to suck it up and dish out $60 for a full year. Previously, I was on the monthly plan, which would’ve cost more than a year to continue with. Shortly after buying a full year, Crunchyroll announced a new set of simulcasts, some of which I began to watch. Save for a few, this past season, I watched all of the ones being offered.

Now that I’m a good number of months in to my subscription, I’d say yeah, it’s worth it. Is the service perfect? No. There are some pretty bad bugs that really do piss me off given how much I pay for the service. The biggest one was the now infamous “?” subtitle appearing in some animes where a line of dialogue was clearly present. I hardly know any Japanese, let alone enough to even have a simple conversation. That said, the first time it happened I though it was just a funny fluke. Then it happened again. And again. And again on increasing frequency. Around the same time, the streaming started to become really crappy as well. I started to get stuck with new episodes that wouldn’t load until a day or entire week had past, ones that got stuck in random places and would never finish, and ones with really bad buffer problems. And before anyone decides to blame it on my network, at Drexel, my connection is 1gb/s both upload and download. Yes, for real. It’s the least Drexel can do when I pay $53k a year to attend. That said, the problem was clearly Crunchyroll’s network service. Thankfully, both issues have been fixed. They do, however, still have one annoying bug, but not nearly as critical: streams always get cut off at the end on iOS. I’ve mentioned it several times (as have others) but it doesn’t look like it’ll get fixed any time soon sadly. Oh well.

Now that this post is done, I’ve still got one more I want to get up tonight and then it’s on to Crunchyroll to watch some new simulcasts.

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