For the longest time my anime viewing has been limited to DVDs and what little I can catch on TV. Like many young fans of Japanese animation, I simply don’t have a lot of money to spend on it. At the same time my honesty prevents me from stooping to pirate my favorite shows from unscrupulous websites. Because of this I have never been very keen on watching anime online. I believed the only avenues to do so were ether illegal or outside my budget. Safe to say, that point of view has changed since I discovered Crunchyroll.
Crunchyroll is an online anime streaming website that allows free access to a vast collection of anime. The site licenses anime legally and uses advertisements to subsidize free users. If you’re not a fan of watching commercials (and who on God’s green earth is) you can sign up for a premium membership. With it you can enjoy ad-free content, HD picture quality, and early access to new episodes. Crunchyroll’s shows range from mainstream hits like Naruto and Bleach, to numerous niche titles. Hunter x Hunter, Eureka Seven, Gosick, and Fate Zero are only a few other amazing shows to view on the site. The only potential downside is that all the audio for these shows is Japanese with English subtitles.
While Crunchyroll’s past isn’t exactly squeaky-clean, it has come a long way towards cleaning up its act. The web site has gone from being a distributer of copyrighted material to a legitimate company that secures legal distribution rights. Today Crunchyroll is doing the anime industry a world of good by providing a legal (and easy) way to stream anime online. Though I for one still prefer owning my favorite shows physically, streaming on Crunchyroll is a great way to get an early look at the best cartoons Japan has to offer.