Crunchyroll is one of the leading anime, manga, and Korean drama streaming sites. The website has racked up a massive amount of close to two million subscribers. Crunchyroll has evolved from a fan-subbed stream site to the massively popular community it is now.
Crunchyroll was founded in 2006 by a group of Berkely Graduate students. They have continued to acquire outside support and expand their business throughout the years. Crunchyroll now hosts a large number of favorite anime titles online and supports Crunchyroll Games, Crunchyroll News, and Crunchyroll Expo.
Crunchyroll and Funimation have struck up an exciting partnership and will begin allowing members to stream individual titles from the other libraries.
For such a large company, Crunchyroll’s home page is unimpressive. The visuals are unappealing. The color scheme is an attractive orange, but that’s really the only good thing going on with the design.
The top menu has the Crunchyroll logo – an orange text with the name of the website. An abstract orange design is in front of the website name. Following the logo, the menu reads from left to right, shows, manga, news, games, store. The next tab entices viewers to try the premium version for free up to 14 days. Next, it prompts members to open their queue, followed by a randomizer button. Finally, the search bar is at the far right of this menu.
Below the first menu is a massive advertisement for a featured show. The placement is not bothersome. Although the ad is not disturbing, it sticks out against the background. The wallpaper of the website is reminiscent of Xanga blogs from the early 2000s.
The background I viewed was a split one. On the left side, an unfinished manga drawing in black and white, and on the right side, three scenes from various anime were chopped up. The placement is horrific.
There is a secondary menu as you scroll down. The options of Anime and Drama float above yet another menu. Below them, the menu reads popular, simulcasts, updated, alphabetical, genres, and seasons. While usually menus and categories give a streamlined appearance, this execution is sloppy.
The unfortunate background problem raises more issues. The scroll feature is not great, but the wallpaper design paired with the scroll is enough to cause a headache. For a top tier streaming site, this frustrating problem is not user-friendly in the least.
Crunchyroll offers a lot of content. They provide a generous amount of anime while also contributing manga and Korean drama. They are primarily known for their anime content but have even dabbled in some games and news.
When it comes to anime, Crunchyroll has one of the more unique libraries. There is a great deal of anime you can exclusively find on their site. They currently have over 1000 unique titles.
Crunchyroll has released a few games to the biggest app stores on the web. Some games you can find from them are Attack on Titan Tactics, RWBY: Crystal Match, Grand Summoners, and a few more. One game has been vaulted. The Crunchyroll Games website is much more aesthetically appealing than the base site.
Crunchyroll’s manga access is mostly for its premium users. For fans that prefer reading online, this site is a useful one! There are some big-name titles to be read, like Seven Deadly Sins. Unfortunately, the background is the same as the homepage and still causes a headache.
The news website also bores the same atrocious background. Top stories, featured stories, and press releases are the categories of news articles. The site has staff writers but also accepts submissions through a google docs form. Guest posts are prevalent on the site. The news articles are updated as frequently as every day.
Desktop & Mobile Accessibility
The desktop website is not up to par with the name of the company. The navigation isn’t the worst, but it isn’t great either. There are so many menus to sort through; it becomes a daunting task. On the other hand, playing videos is not hard to achieve. Video and audio qualities are fair. If you upgrade to the premium membership, quality is improved.
The mobile app is an absolute breath of fresh air compared to desktop. The top and bottom menus aren’t as overwhelming as the desktop version. When you click on a show, you get a description, genre, and other exciting information. It allows you to scroll down and select an episode if you do not want to start on number one. After pressing play, an ad will pay for members with free membership. The playthrough on mobile is good. The website needs a major overhaul to match up with its mobile counterpart.
Where the desktop version lacks, the mobile version makes amends. The interface of the application is very user-friendly and visually appealing. The color scheme is Crunchyroll’s signature orange and white but is executed in a clean and modern fashion.
Crunchyroll’s library features some interesting titles you can’t find anywhere else. Welcome to Demon High! Iruma-Kun is an example of one of the unique titles they host. Funimation and Hulu do not currently have that title, along with a few other interesting ones.
Crunchyroll News is an uncommon feature of the website. A lot of anime streaming sites offer forums for community chatter, but the idea of the news is a neat addition. The option to use guest posters keeps the website fresh and relatable.
Another interesting detail that is often overlooked from Crunchyroll is their games. They offer a few anime-related games. They are available on the Apple store and Google Play. The option to interact with your favorite characters in a virtual setting is pretty cool.
For such a big name brand, Crunchyroll falls short. In terms of website design, it is not user-friendly. The background designs are horrid. They wouldn’t be such an issue if the placement of the images were correct. However, even if the photos were adequately placed, chopping up to six images and collaging them together isn’t the best idea for the framework of a website. The images may rotate every so often, and if that is such images should be monitored more closely.
Another significant issue is the number of menus available. The option of too many menus makes the viewer shift focus. It is difficult to concentrate on primary and secondary menus without getting lost. The only upside is that the search bar is easily recognizable.
The biggest improvement that needs to be made is the desktop website design. Typically, a company of this size has a reliable website and struggles with apps. However, in Crunchyroll’s case, it is the exact opposite.
The first issue that needs to be addressed is the background images. Choosing one centralized background would benefit the overall look. A pattern would be suited, or more extended panels of anime would also be acceptable.
The menus are a huge problem, mainly because the text is a similar size. The best solution for this issue would be to re-think the placement. If the secondary menu were placed directly underneath the primary menu, it would not be so confusing. Instead, the secondary menu is in the center of the page above the anime titles. The best solution would be consolidating the menus into a singular sleeker version.
Overall, Crunchyroll is an okay streaming site to use. It is not particularly user-friendly on the computer. The design is unattractive, but the overall video and sound quality remain unaffected.
When it comes to mobile applications, it is phenomenal. Everything the website fails to do, the mobile application makes up for. The modern and clean look makes user interaction very pleasant.
There are two memberships – free and premium. The premium is definitely worth the cost of $7.99 for the extra episodes it allows you to access. It will enable you to watch in HD and access new episodes, otherwise unavailable with the free plan. The site has its pros and cons and lands somewhere in the middle in terms of streaming sites.