(Image is featured from Crunchyroll’s website. All rights belong to their respective owners.)
Anime streaming is a thing of interesting nature. In the early days, unless you were watching Toonami, you probably didn’t have any other way to watch anime. With the advent of stream(able) media, this has become a much more narrow window. Netflix in its early days had little to no anime, the same being spoken for Hulu, though Hulu at least had a few random titles. That being said, Crunchyroll has had a rather influential hand in providing us with easy access to anime and even Japanese/Korean Dramas. Now, this is purely an observation from my standpoint and does not hold much way in value, however it is hard not to see how much of a presence Crunchyroll has had in the digital scene of anime streaming. In it’s short time online, Crunchyroll has added great partnerships, as well as a sponsoring presence within local anime conventions. It is hard to find someone who, legally streams anime, doesn’t have a Crunchyroll account; be that a free or paid membership.
I feel it is safe to say, from a purely observational standpoint that both Hulu and Netflix have had to revamp their approach to streaming anime. We are seeing a lot more titles popping up on the two, in recent months, Kill La Kill has even found a place on Netflix’s list of anime to stream. Anime that first cropped up with Crunchyroll. That being said, they all still lack one fundamental that I believe Crunchyroll adds to the anime streaming community. Simulcasts, are something that I feel make Crunchyroll. Due to their partnerships, Crunchyroll can stream new episodes of anime, for the premium members, within hours of it’s Japanese release. This being said however, other companies like Hulu and Funimation, also par-take in the amazing art of simulcasting anime. Whoever started the craze, it is hard to find out, however some still point to Crunchyroll being the first by streaming The Tower of Druaga ~Aegis of Uruk~ in 2008. However this isn’t a matter of who has done what first or who has the best list of anime, it is rather just an observation of the ever evolving anime streaming market and seeing companies like Crunchyroll at the forefront of the drive.
That being said, Crunchyroll is far from perfect, as is the case with any other streaming site. Each website adds a unique flavor to the market and handles content however they see fit. But from a consumers standpoint and several anime clubs, Crunchyroll is usually an in house standard. They have quickly gained support on gaming consoles, handhelds and of course computers. It will be interesting to see how far reaching Crunchyroll can go, in terms of helping the anime streaming industry further. Though, there are some who also argue that Crunchyroll is damaging the industry and are not doing anything to really advance it, other than just adding a new form of payed streaming; simply another product on a flooded marketplace.
So, in finishing up Crunchyroll has given the industry something to think about. It has provided a platform from which users can easily access a variety of anime from their keyboards or fingertips. whether or not it has been immensely influential or not, remains to be held for further debate however, from my side of the fence I feel that it has in one way or another been helpful in pushing the anime streaming industry further than it has ever been.