Crunchyroll: The Netflix for Anime

I love Netflix, but I probably love (and use) anime streaming site Crunchyroll just a little bit more.

I’ve always loved anime, you see, ever since I was a wee lass watching Pokemon on Saturday mornings feeling snug and comfortable in my anime onesie. As I grew old though, the anime onesie might just have turned into a waifu fantasy! How can it not? Anime waifus is amazing, and on top of all that, they are kawaii! Writing this might just urge me to order some Waifu Anime Body Pillows for myself.

But, I’ll be honest about my Anime experience. I never watched much of it (when I was a kid) for several reasons, as a lot of Anime was still Japan-exclusive and DVD imports were expensive for a middle-schooler like me.

If you couldn’t afford the imports then you could stream episodes online on unofficial fansites (if you didn’t mind watching Code Geass episode 2 – part 1 of 5 – at 144p definition) or torrent fansubbed episodes using the best vpn for torrenting (which was much too complex and required too much effort for me, honestly).

So for years, I mostly just stuck to manga, which was much easier to find and purchase (or to obtain via online torrents, hypothetically).

Crunchyroll has been a thing since 2006, when it was a free-for-all video host. Fans often would upload anime they had downloaded and subtitled on their own. But the site went legit in 2009: It purged its servers of copyright-infringing content and started licensing anime titles.

Today, there are more than 200 anime (and J- and K-drama) titles to watch on Crunchyroll. New titles get put up as soon as an hour after they air in Japan – with English subtitles! Crunchyroll also regularly expands its catalog of older series.

I bit the bullet for premium membership in 2012 and haven’t regretted it. Spending $6.95 a month for no ads, HD streaming and access to the newest stuff is worth it. (There’s also a premium-plus option for $11.95 that gets you additional discounts on anime goods and convention event perks, but it’s not worth it in Hawaii, since most of the conventions won’t come here anyway.)

Crunchyroll also has an excellent app that works on iOS, Android, PlayStation and Xbox devices. I prefer to watch my anime on my big TV via my PS4. So great.

There are other streaming anime services – FUNimation would be Crunchyroll’s closest competitor – but Crunchyroll remains two steps ahead of everyone else with its sheer number of titles and accessibility. (OK, yes, I have FUNimation too; I’m an adult with a reasonable disposable income. But trust me, Crunchyroll is better.)

Anyway, here are four titles I’m watching right now to persuade you to sign up for that 14-day free trial (at least) at

(7 episodes, ongoing)

A portal to a medieval fantasy world opens in Ginza, and the Japanese Self-Defense Force investigates. It’s the weirdest kind of Japanese military propaganda mixed with every anime clich ever. I love it for no rational reason.

2. Hozuki no Reitetsu
(13 episodes)

This tribute to Japanese mythology and folklore follows the bureaucratic operation of Hell and its second-in-command, the demon Hozuki. The series moves at an unhurried pace with no overarching plot, but it’s hilarious (and sadistic).

3. Wooser’s Hand-to-Mouth Life
(31 episodes, ongoing)

A short-form anime about a nihilistic perverted yellow bunny (who is also the cutest thing ever) and the two girls he lives with. Each episode is only a few minutes!

4. Gintama
(285 episodes, ongoing)

My favorite anime of all time is a crazy sci-fi-historical-action-comedy-drama-parody about samurai who deal with cursed swords or the Shogun’s ill-advised naked snowboarding retreat with equal levity and insanity.

Editor’s Note: Staff writer Paige Takeya is temporarily filling in for Christa Wittmier. Follow Paige on Twitter at @lordmayocloud. Christa’s SuperTech column will return shortly.