Streaming services to check out for your anime fix
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
There’s no denying it; anime (stylized Japanese cartoons) is slowly becoming more a part of the mainstream. But that hasn’t made it any easier for fans to find their favourite shows, or for newbies to catch up on all those quintessential series that have so far eluded them. As a devoted lover of all things from magical girl to mech, I’ve compiled a list of the three most popular anime streaming services to highlight the pros and cons of each.
Crunchyroll is probably the most well-known streaming service for anime. I do love their user interface—it’s sleek and easy to understand—but my favourite feature of Crunchyroll is also its most problematic.
A Crunchyroll app can be downloaded onto your gaming console. This means easy access to your favourite anime from your television as opposed to just your computer. This was great at first, but about three months in the service stopped working. A quick search on the internet showed me that I wasn’t alone, as lots of people were having the same issue, even people who had premium paid accounts (more on this later). Now, I’ve pretty much given up on the app working; it’s been over a year and it works maybe once every two or three months.
Besides the issues with the console app, Crunchyroll has another glaring problem. Crunchyroll users are on a tier system—you have the people who use it for free and the people who pay a monthly subscription fee. People who pay a fee don’t have to watch commercials, and their anime is broadcast in HD as opposed to the standard 480p. They also have access to a larger anime library. As Crunchyroll gets more aggressive in pressuring users to upgrade their accounts, more and more series are being restricted, which is getting pretty annoying.
One of Crunchyroll’s pros, however, is that they translate and subtitle their own anime, which allows them to simulcast. This means that when an episode is released in Japan you can watch the subtitled version that same week on Crunchyroll. These simulcasts are generally not tier restricted—though paid members do get access to the new episodes earlier—so Crunchyroll is great if you’re following a current series.
Believe it or not, Netflix does have an anime section, it’s just fairly small and “eclectic.” To say that the Netflix anime library is varied would be a massive understatement—it’s downright crazy.
Their available anime basically falls into three categories: adorable, original, and “ecchi.” Adorable anime—such as Little Witch Academia and Fairy Tail—is cute and fun and usually meant for a younger audience. Their original anime series—such as Knights of Sidonia and Castlevania—are actually quite good, and I highly recommend them.
Then you get to the “ecchi,” which is a slang word that roughly translates into “pervert.” Though not pornographic, this type of anime does feature a lot of T and A, and is mostly focused on panty-shots.
If you’re looking for a streaming service where you can watch popular series, anime classics, or even just a site where you can browse until you find something that interests you, then I would definitely avoid Netflix.
I won’t sugarcoat it, KissAnime has the most awful user interface on the planet. It’s confusing, the search bar doesn’t work correctly, titles are case sensitive, and there are ads everywhere. However, out of the three streaming services I have mentioned, I use KissAnime the most. Why? To put it very simply, it comes down to selection. Everything on KissAnime is free to watch, including the dubbed series. There are no commercials, though you might have to put up with the occasional buffering, especially if you don’t hit “hide” on every ad once you’re on the episode page. You also don’t need an account to use it, which is nice. This does mean you’ll have to pass an I-am-human-and-not-a-bot test before watching an episode.
My favourite thing about KissAnime is their library, as it is extensive and covers pretty much every genre you can think of. Though the search bar does require a delicate hand, their anime list can be sorted by title or genre, and this is generally an easier option for if you know what you want or if you just watch to browse, since clicking on a title will bring up a short synopsis. Admittedly, this service does take some getting used to, but it’s worth the effort for people who have exhausted Netflix and Crunchyroll.