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Crunchyroll Australia review: Is Premium worth it?
Crunchyroll offers a great free tier but tiresome ads will push you to premium.
What is Crunchyroll?
Crunchyroll is a streaming service that's dedicated entirely to anime TV shows. Essentially, Crunchyroll is to anime fans what Shudder is to horror nuts, a niche service where you know exactly what you're in for. The key difference is that Crunchyroll has a popular free, ad-supported option that allows you to stream anime at no cost. There are paid premium options too at $7.99 and $9.99 per month if you want to ditch the ads, otherwise, you're getting the same access to Crunchyroll's 700+ library of popular anime TV shows like One Piece, Demon Slayer, Attack on Titan and Dragon Ball Super.
For what it's worth, Crunchyroll's free tier is incredibly robust. You get most of what Crunchyroll offers in crisp 1080p HD (High Definition) and access to simulcast episodes a week after release. Still, Crunchyroll's persistent and aggressive pre and mid-roll ads will really test your mettle. Plus, paying for premium gets you fast-tracked episodes one day after release and allows you to stream on more than one device. I love a freebie but ultimately I'd be happy to pay the $7.99 per month to save me from ever watching another Crunchyroll ad again.
Crunchyroll Premium price and plans
Crunchyroll is one of the few premium streaming services that offers a free ad-supported version, as well as a paid ad-free experience. All up, there are three Crunchyroll plan options: Free, Fan, and Mega-Fan. Here’s what each tier will get you:
Pre and mid-roll
7 days after release
1 day after release
1 day after release
For what it’s worth, Crunchyroll’s free version is really robust. It offers a huge selection of TV shows and doesn’t limit the quality you can stream in (every tier caps out at 1080p HD streaming). Still, there are a few reasons why we’d recommend opting for a paid premium Crunchyroll plan.
If you decide the Mega Fan tier is for you, there’s also the option to save 16% off the cost by signing up for a full 12 months.
Wondering how that stacks up against other Australian streaming services? Take a look at the table below for a quick comparison of your options.
Max. Video Resolution
# of streams
|30-day free trial|| ||$6.99||4K||3||View Plans|
|No deals available|| ||$10.99 - $19.99||4K||4||View Plans|
|7-day free trial|| ||$7.99||4K||6||View Plans|
|Save over 15% with annual subscription|| ||$11.99||4K||4||View Plans|
|7-day free trial|| ||$6.99||HD||1||View Plans|
|7-day free trial|| ||$6.99||HD||1||View Plans|
|7-day free trial|| ||$8.99||HD||3||View Plans|
|7-day free trial|| ||$8.99||HD||5||View Plans|
|2-week free trial|| ||$10 - $18||HD||4||View Plans|
|10-day free trial|| ||$25 - $104||HD||2||View Plans|
|30-day free trial|| ||$10 - $19||4K||4||View Plans|
|2-week free trial|| ||$25 - $35||HD||3||View Plans|
Blocking ads on Crunchyroll
The most tempting reason to go paid is that you can stream Crunchyroll ad-free. Normally we don’t mind an advertisement or two to break up an episode on services like ABCiview and SBS On Demand, but Crunchyroll’s ads will test your patience.
In a single episode of Yu-Gi-Oh ZEXAL, we sat through four separate ad-breaks in a single 22-minute episode. That might not sound like much, but breaks sometimes include three ads at a time, ads that are repeated (ad nauseum) to the point that it’s utterly unbearable.
You also can’t pause ads, which proves a bigger inconvenience than you might think. If you’re jumping off the train or find yourself caught in a conversation, the ads just keep coming. Your only option (on mobile, at least) is to close the app completely, effectively pausing the ad.
Fast-tracked episodes delay
Another reason to go premium is fast-tracked, simulcast episodes from Japan. One of Crunchyroll’s best features is the Simulcast tab. This section of the app shows TV shows that are currently airing in Japan (you can also find a release calendar on Crunchyroll’s website). Premium users get the latest episodes 1 hour after it airs in Japan, whereas Free members get it a week later. For example, at the time of writing Episode 32 from Season 2 of That Time I Got I Reincarnated as a Slime (yes, that’s a real show) is available to all subscribers, but the latest episode (episode 32) is now available for paid subscribers.
Crunchyroll device limits and video quality
The last reason to upgrade to a paid plan is if you want more than one simultaneous stream at a time, though it will only really matter if you share your account with someone else. The Free and Fan tiers limit you to one simultaneous stream per device, whereas the Mega Fan ($9.99) plan allows you to stream on four simultaneous devices at once.
Both the Fan and Mega Fan tiers also allow you to download titles for offline viewing, which is a bonus, but even more of a bonus is the fact that Crunchyroll allows you to stream in 1080p HD whether you’re a free or paid customer.
Crunchyroll anime selection
Whether you like the app or not, there are plenty of anime shows that are exclusively available to stream on Crunchyroll Australia. As discussed above, being a paid member also has the benefit of getting the latest episodes fast-tracked from Japan the day after release. A glance at the library shows that Crunchyroll is home to some of the most popular anime series of all time: Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure are all available in some capacity. So are popular shows airing now, like Black Clover and Jujutsu Kaisen.
If you’re a seasoned anime veteran who has seen it all, there’s plenty of fresh anime to check out too. I, for one, was completely taken by series titles such as With a Dog and a Cat, Every Day is Fun and So I’m a Spider So What?.
Honestly, discoverability is one of Crunchyroll’s biggest strengths. Especially for someone like me who has only ever had a surface-level appreciation of timeless classics like Dragon Ball and Fullmetal Alchemist (which isn’t available on Crunchyroll). Since using the Crunchyroll app, I’ve taken a punt on more anime than I ever would have, left to my own devices.
At the time of writing, there are 757 TV shows available on Crunchyroll in Australia. That’s a lot when you consider how many seasons and episodes popular anime shows manage to cram in.
I do wish there was more of a backlog of shows for shows like Dragon Ball Z, especially considering I can find that on Madman's streaming service, AnimeLab.
There also aren’t any movies on Crunchyroll. Obviously, most of the interest is in week-to-week TV show releases, but the recent success of the Demon Slayer: Mugen Train movie is proof there’s a huge appetite for it.
Anime alternatives in Australia
The other key strength of Crunchyroll is that it’s largely unchallenged here in Australia. Madman’s AnimeLab is a formidable alternative only in that it streams full seasons of popular shows like Dragon Ball Z and also has some decent movies but overall its library is much smaller and its free tier is capped at 480p Standard Definition.
Netflix has made a major push into the anime space too with original content produced exclusively for the service. It’s had some hits, for sure; Aggretsuko, Devilman Crybaby and Blood of Zeus all found an audience, and it even has a few classics like Fullmetal Alchemist (not the superior Brotherhood, though) but Crunchyroll’s variety and dedication to recent hits is unmatched.
Crunchyroll device compatibility
Another feather in Crunchyroll’s cap is its broad device compatibility. It’s an important consideration. After all, what’s the point in a streaming service if you don’t have a device to stream it on?
Crunchyroll is compatible with all the default devices, like iOS and Android smart devices, computer via most major web browsers, but it’s also compatible with a few outliers too. There are Apple TV and Chromecast apps, apps for Android TV devices, PlayStation and Xbox consoles, as well as Sony and Samsung smart televisions.
Here’s every device you can stream Crunchyroll on:
- iOS and Android smartphones and tablets
- Computer via web browser (check for latest supported versions)
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast
- Xbox One
- PlayStation 4
- Sony Smart TV
- LG Smart TV
That covers most bases, except a few Australian devices like Fetch TV, Telstra TV and Foxtel iQ. Still, there’s a high chance there’s a device in your house that will let you stream Crunchyroll on the big screen.
The only device compatibility issue I found while reviewing Crunchyroll was some odd behaviour with AirPlay. When connected to the Apple HomePod Mini, the Crunchyroll app is utterly convinced that I’m trying to AirPlay to my smart speaker and refuses to co-operate unless I disconnect from the HomePod Mini entirely. The HomePod Mini itself is a fairly new device, so hopefully, this is a bug that’ll get squished in due time but it begs the question, what would the expected behaviour be if I did have an Apple TV on the same WiFi network? I'd still the choice to AirPlay in the Crunchyroll app.
This currently makes streaming Crunchyroll on the iPhone 12 a bit of a pain.
The Crunchyroll app makes a good first impression. Its bold orange-on-black layout is easy on the eyes, and I appreciate that it highlights recent episodes and popular titles from the home page. The handy watch list feature and simulcasts sections are also just a tab away, which is nice, but dig a little deeper and the cracks in Crunchyroll’s UI begin to show.
For example, there are filters for subs and dubs, but so far I’ve found the filtered results entirely unreliable. This is because Crunchyroll treats a “dubbed” program as a completely separate entry in the library, and it can be unnecessarily difficult to find the version you’re after. Especially because there are more languages available than just English. Having a wider variety of languages in your dubs is fantastic, but there’s no consistency or way to filter by language. The same goes for filtering by language for subtitles.
Another missed opportunity is in the way Crunchyroll displays simulcast episodes in the app. There’s an incredibly handy calendar for episode release dates over on the Crunchyroll website that’s laid out like an electronic programming guide but it’s not available in the app. The app only allows you to filter the shows by season (e.g. Winter 2021) otherwise it’s up to you to keep track of what’s releasing and when.
Is Crunchyroll worth checking out?
If you're an anime fan (or even anime-curious), there's absolutely no reason why I wouldn't recommend checking out Crunchyroll's free tier. You'll be able to stream the latest episodes from Japan one week after release in 1080p HD on a huge selection of streaming devices.
Whether or not it's worth paying for premium entirely depends on your patience. Not only your patience for the latest releases, which drop one day after Japan on the Fan and Mega Fan tiers, but also your patience for pre-roll and mid-roll ads. Personally, I found the ads on Crunchyroll's free tier way too aggressive. Of course, if you use an ad-blocker you might not have this problem but if you can stomach the $7.99 per month fee, I'd recommend it.