I had my Crunchyroll account’s Premium Service active for two months at the end of 2013 before ultimately cancelling it. The reason: not much English dubs. Now don’t get the wrong idea, I didn’t see any Anime other than Naruto/Naruto Shippuden (which everyone except Netflix offers) I’d ever seen before. It did its job of introducing me to Anime that will likely never get dubbed into English. As I said in the blog I wrote earlier this month, my preference is English Dubs. Then I turned it back on this weekend to see some episodes of Naruto Shippuden that were never nubbed.
Anyway, like Netflix both Crunchyroll and Neon Alley are subscription-based streaming services. Also like Netflix you can download the App to your iPod Touch (4th or 5th Gen), iPhone, iPad/iPad 2/iPad Air, Android Device, Xbox 360/Xbox One or Playstation 3/4. Or you can just stream it using your browser. In terms of monthly costs, here are the numbers:
- Netflix: $8
- Hulu Plus: $10
- Crunchyroll Premium: $8
- Neon Alley: $7
At present, I have an active Netflix subscription and just started paying for my Neon Alley today. Combined, the two (Netflix and Neon Alley) are the same as one monthly subscription to World of Warcraft ($15). By the way, both Hulu and Crunchyroll do have programming available for free but the free content is riddled with ads to offset having the free content available in the first place. Neon Alley has ads too but they’re so infrequent you barely notice. It is also important to note you will need to maintain the premium service to stream Crunchyroll on anything other than a computer.
Crunchyroll doesn’t just provide Anime but also (South) Korean Dramas and Movies, too. Ironically, the most critically acclaimed Korean Movies are on Netflix (The Housemaid, The Eye 2, Shotgun Love, Jun-On, etc.). As I mentioned above it does its job of introducing the west to content they would have to either import or fly to Japan (and South Korea) to enjoy.
Neon Alley is actually a part of Viz Media, which localizes Anime and Manga in North America. It launched two years ago and at present has a very small library of Anime in comparison to Netflix, Crunchyroll and Hulu. The interesting thing about Neon Alley is unlike Crunchyroll, it presents content in a TV Schedule format. It’s also done in a way you will never see the same episode twice in the same day. They recently introduced a Catch-Up feature, allowing those who watch via browser of PS3 to go back and watch the last few episodes that aired. The Xbox 360 App takes things further and allows you to watch any Episode of any anime they offer that aired in any order you like.
You probably remember the two posts I made on Netflix’s dwindling Anime lineup. They’ve added a few new Anime since I made that second post–most notably Attack on Titan (!). As I said in the second post I’m keeping my Netflix account active for movies–the only things I really watch TV for these days is Sports and the news. My game systems and computers take care of everything else.