Anime on HBO Max: the Good and the Bad

A review of HBO Max’s Crunchyroll anime partnership and other streaming anime services.

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Craig Hanks
YouTube Channel Manager & Streaming Expert
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January 14, 2021
3 min read

When HBO Max first came out, there was a lot of talk about its anime library. So is HBO Max an anime paradise? Is it gonna make Crunchyroll and Funimation obsolete? I mean, just scrolling through the HBO Max front page, you see Crunchyroll right there in the hubs section. So what gives?

Yes, there was a lot of hand wringing in the beginning about whether Crunchyroll would be absorbed by the mega streaming service and basically just disappear. But that's not the case, at least not at this point.

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HBO Max–Crunchyroll anime relationship

Today, I'm going to explain how the HBO Max Crunchyroll relationship works, and why it's both amazing and disappointing for the serious anime enthusiast. So let's dive in.

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Alright, now here's what you need to know. HBO Max, of course, is the mega streaming service that you can get for $15 per month.

Once you get into the service, you can scroll down on their main page. And you'll eventually come across the hubs section. And there is a Crunchyroll collection right there in the mix with all the rest of those hubs.

Now what you see in that hub is not the Crunchyroll library, what you're seeing there is a curated list of a few titles that Crunchyroll is sending over to HBO Max. So, a curated selection on HBO Max means that what you're getting is some of the best titles available on Crunchyroll without wading through the rest.

Cause I mean anime is like anything else, right? TV, movies, music, books, whatever. Most of what's out there is mediocre at best with some real garbage thrown in there, too. And yes, some amazing gems as well. And that's basically what the Crunchyroll collection on HBO Max is. It's the gems pulled together in a single list.

Best anime titles on HBO Max / Crunchyroll

Now, I make no claims of being a connoisseur of anime. So what I did was I took a poll of the more informed, cultured co-workers that I've got, and asked them which titles currently available on HBO Max, are the absolute must watch titles. And the overwhelming consensus was pretty much what I expected.

If it boils down to one. If you're new to anime, and you've gotta pick the one show you have to watch, the title that kept coming back was Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Yeah, it's a pretty standard pick, maybe even cliche', but that doesn't make it any less of a good choice right?

Now, I did get some pretty interesting responses when I asked about any lesser known gems among the Crunchyroll collection.

And in fact, I would like to hear your responses to that question as well. So hit those comments.

But the most common responses I got were Kill la Kill. Maybe not exactly a hidden gem, but still, Mob Psycho 100, and interestingly, Food Wars made that list too. But even then, although these are more niche titles than Fullmetal Alchemist, we're not exactly getting into truly obscure territory, right? And I'm gonna come back to that concept in just a moment.

Studio Ghibli and other titles on HBO Max

But first, let's wrap up talking about what you can get on HBO Max. Because we can't talk about anime on HBO Max without at least mentioning Studio Ghibli. The entire Studio Ghibli collection is available on HBO Max.

This is the first time that it has been available for streaming in the US. So that's a big deal all by itself. And that is not a rotating collection that's there to stay for the foreseeable future. And HBO Max also has tons of other stuff outside of strictly anime.

So if you also enjoy other animated fare, you've got Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, DC Universe, all of which have some standout titles. So alongside Fullmetal Alchemist and House Moving Castle, you can get Batman Beyond and Adventure Time and Rick and Morty and old Space Ghost reruns, yeah.

But anyway, back to anime. Here's where things stand with anime and HBO Max. HBO Max is not going to kill Crunchyroll, at least not for the foreseeable future. But it is going to be a nice relationship for us to enjoy for a while.

HBO Max isn't necessarily the place to be if you are a hardcore anime fan and you love that obscure stuff, but they can at least scratch that hardcore fans itch. And it's going to be a great place to introduce new fans to some quality titles.

Anime on HBO Max: final analysis

So if anime is all you watch, stick with Crunchyroll and Funimation, whatever other service you use to get those hundreds of obscure super niche titles. But if you just like to sprinkle some anime in with your other shows and movies, then HBO Max really again becomes a must have service.

I've said it before. And I'll say it here with anime as well. HBO Max is fantastic. At least that's my take. Do you know what to do now? Let me know what you think. Hit the comments below. Make sure you give this a like, subscribe. Be nice to puppies. Wash your hands before you eat, be excellent to each other. Anyway, I'll see you guys next time.

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Craig Hanks
Written by
Craig Hanks
Craig is a long-time writer, presenter, and podcaster, and he now runs the YouTube channel, where he strives to be far more charming and presentable than he is in real life. Within the umbrella, he has accidentally become a streaming expert after covering the streaming wars for almost three years. Craig is also the founder and host of The Legendarium Podcast, his outlet for his love of fantasy and sci-fi literature.

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