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Funimation

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funimation.com

When you think of large scale anime streaming sites, Funimation is at the top of the list. The website hosts thousands of shows. It has grown into a large business. They sell everything from anime stream memberships, anime DVDs, BluRay, and other merchandise.

Funimation prides itself on keeping anime lovers at the heart of their business. Employing people who relate directly to the viewers is a wonderful way to connect with their audience. In terms of anime entertainment, Funimation has delivered exemplary content for years.

The history of Funimation is a long one, being founded in 1994. The company has strong ties to Japan and brings impressive amounts of dubbed anime to the USA. They have worked to ensure viewer satisfaction for a long time.

Website Design

Funimation’s website design is clean and modern. The primary color is a white background with a splash of purple and other bright colors. The appearance is sleek and likable.

The company logo is straight-forward yet memorable. It is the name Funimation in an engaging laid-back text style. The o in the title looks as though it is smiling. The smaller version they sometimes use for the app is a purple square with a circle inside that looks like it is smiling is on the front page of the site.

At the top of the home page, the site prompts you to start a free trial of their premium membership. Attention is drawn to the center of the page as a slideshow plays through popular and recently added anime. As you scroll, recommendations by genre pop up.

Content

Anime streaming is the primary focus of Funimation. They offer free and premium memberships for viewers. The premium membership is $7.99 and allows you features like downloading for offline access, 5 simultaneous screens playing, and free shipping on merchandise above $20. The free account is slightly more restrictive on what shows from the library you can watch. Ads are also an issue with the free membership.

Other than anime streaming, the website offers an entire shop full of anime-related merchandise. Some of the items are exclusive to Funimation and cannot be found elsewhere, like rare Funko Pops. They offer t-shirts, collectible figures, and many more things.

Another exciting part of Funimation is their blog. They have many articles answering fun questions about your favorite characters. They update it almost daily and include a variety of fun topics.

Desktop & Mobile Accessibility

Funimation does a wonderful job of making both the website and the app’s navigation as smooth as butter. There aren’t any glaring flaws with either version. The optimization is quite impressive, but we shouldn’t expect any less from one of the most well-known streaming companies on the web.

When it comes to the desktop browser version, the menu is streamlined. From left to right, the prioritized categories are What’s New, Discover, Shop, and the search bar. What’s New has a schedule of upcoming popular anime release days and scheduled events. Discover is where you can find blog posts and genre-based recommendations.

The mobile application for the site is called Funimation Now. It works similarly to the website. The startup has a cute animation and lands you on the same slideshow from the desktop browser. The app prioritizes your watch history and prompts you to continue watching where you left off. Tapping the top left home button reveals the same horizontal menu from desktop, but instead is vertical on the app to save space.

Positives

There are many positives about choosing Funimation as your streaming service. A great reason to go with them is because of the support for the website. It’s a large scale site with a lot of employees to perfect it.

The genre organization is great for sorting through shows. The current breakdown of genres includes shonen, shoujo, psychological, comedy, sci-fi, fan-service, romance, drama, fantasy, action/adventure, a slice of life, and horror. A small library of live-action can be found as well.

The recommendation system Funimation uses is straight-forward but still useful. It isn’t like the complex Netflix system, but it makes base suggestions from your watch history. Sometimes it hits the mark, and sometimes the shows are big misses. In my case, it has convinced me to watch shows I hadn’t heard of that turned out to be pretty good.

The Premium Plus membership is the basic membership. It’s a pretty sweet deal for only $7.99. Sometimes Funimation offers deals on merchandise that are only available to members, as well as special events. Other significant highlights are ad-free streaming, offline access, and the option to stream up to 5 screens at one time.

Negatives

It’s challenging to come up with many problems with this website. There are a few things that could be considered negative if you are not subscribed to the paid membership. Another problem is that sometimes, you have to click a few times for something to fully load. Navigation on the main page is phenomenal, but once you are streaming a video, it can get a bit trickier.

One issue that is common for users is the slow load time. It’s like the browser has a sluggish response time to specific actions. After you’ve clicked for the third time, it can definitely become frustrating.

Getting to your favorite show is a breeze for the most part, but after you get their navigation sucks. Users should not need to exit out of the stream to the main menu and into videos again to skip an episode. The only option after the stream ends is to go to the next episode.

Possibly the worst part about Funimation is the difference in their Premium Plus Membership and their Premium Plus Ultra membership. For Premium Plus, the cost is $7.99 monthly, while Plus Ultra is $99.99 annually. The Plus Ultra package features all of the previously listed benefits of Premium Plus but also includes two free rentals per year, free shipping on all orders with no minimum purchase, and an annual anniversary gift. The very few extra perks make the leap to Plus Ultra kind of worthless.

Improvements Needed

There isn’t a massive amount of development needed for this site because it is so awesome. However, there are a few things that Funimation could do to enhance user experiences.

Several users have noticed a common dilemma. The response time from clicking on an option compared to when the site takes you to your virtual destination is not great. Working on better web browser response times would be a great way to make the website even better.

Getting to your desired episode is an easy task to complete. However, once you are on the episode page, your options are limited. Ideally, a dropdown menu could give viewers the option to skip around in episodes. Not everyone wants to go in chronological order of the show. It would be beneficial not to have to go to the main menu, back to shows, then episodes when it would be much easier to select from one page.

Probably the worst part of the Funimation is the Premium Plus Ultra Membership. In theory, it sounds fantastic. Factually, the extra amount of money is not justified for the benefits. Funimation should brainstorm and try to come up with a few more perks to being a Plus Ultra member if they want to reel in more customers.

Summary

Generally speaking, Funimation is one of the best anime streaming websites out there. It offers many positive features. The company is one of the first to put out a massive amount of dubbed content and continuously hosts a generous quantity of subbed, as well. The site is a great choice and enjoyable to use.

There are a few minor hiccups that keep the site from being an all-star. The free content is pretty good, but the constant ads are frustrating. Even more annoying, you can upgrade to Premium Plus for a small fee, but Funimation will still pester you to try the underwhelming Premium Plus Ultra.

When it comes to anime streaming sites, Funimation comes out on top. Hopefully, they continue to improve and offer even better features in the future. The company is an excellent example of what can happen if people who are passionate about what they do are at the center of it.

Likes & Hates:
Overall website design
Option to purchase merch
App
Organization
Recommended titles feature
Slow website response
Ads
Restrictive free membership
Episode navigation