Crunchyroll is a streaming video website that streams anime as well as live action Japanese drama shows. More significantly, it simulcasts new anime the same day they air on TV in Japan. No more waiting months or even years for a DVD / Blu Ray release, now you can watch brand new anime right when it airs.
At least, you can watch anime the same day it airs in Japan as long as you have a paid premium membership (and, of course, an Xbox Live Gold membership is required). If you don't want to pay, you have to wait a week for each new episode to unlock. Paying the $7 a month for an anime membership (you can also get an anime + live action drama membership for $12) not only lets you watch new shows the same day they originally aired in Japan, but it also gets rid of advertisements and commercials so you can watch your shows in peace.
That is kind of a big deal because while there are several other places to watch many of these shows, such as Hulu, they all force you to suffer through a ton of ads and commercials. I don't know about you, but having to sit through multiple ads on Hulu sort of kills my desire to watch very much. Crunchyroll definitely wins out here.
The Crunchyroll app on Xbox 360 doesn't require a premium membership to use, but it limits you to only being able to watch the first episode of each new simulcast for free. You can also get a free 14-day premium trial to test the service out and see if you like it. Considering that Crunchyroll also offers a huge back catalogue of hundreds of older series, it is definitely worth checking out if you are an anime fan.
The Xbox 360 Crunchyroll app is very quick, and once you sign in with your Crunchyroll login info your queue and favorites and everything else from the site is automatically synced. A great feature is that it keeps track of which episodes you've watched, as well as how far into each episode you watched, so you can jump back and forth between watching on your Xbox 360 and PC and pick right up where you left off.
It has to be noted that pretty much everything on Crunchyroll is subtitled - which most Anime fans prefer but I know just as many folks that like to watch with the English dub - so if you're a more casual fan who doesn't like subtitles, Crunchyroll might not be for you. Also, while the app does stream in high definition, not all shows were actually created in HD, so some older series won't look as good as the shows released in the last few years. All in all, though, the video quality is very good and the streaming is very smooth.
I have been a Crunchyroll subscriber for several years now, and it is a great service. The quality and quantity of new shows, as well as older shows added to the back catalogue, is really impressive and you'll definitely get your money's worth for a measly $7 per month. The Xbox 360 app works well though, admittedly, it suffers from the same problem every Xbox 360 video app does where actually finding shows you want is sort of a pain, so it is better to set up a queue on your PC before watching on your Xbox. Overall, though, the Crunchyroll app is great for anime fans to keep up with the latest from Japan without too much hassle.
Here are a few to get you started.
- "Nichijou: My Ordinary Life"
- "School Days"*
- "Space Brothers"
- "Puella Magi Madoka Magica"
*Under no circumstances should you actually watch "School Days"