Version Reviewed: 1.0.3
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
If you're an anime fan, you know that there are very few legal streaming sites on the internet. The more common, non-licensed sites often limit your viewing time, badger you with ads, or simply don't have high-quality streams. That's why I love Crunchyroll.com: though its selection isn't enormous, what it does have is delivered in a clean, high-quality manner, and you can always count on it to work. And it's got more than anime, too; you can also find Korean dramas alongside its other offerings. Sometimes you can even watch anime the same day the shows air in Japan, especially if you're a paying member.
Alas, there's one drawback to using Crunchyroll: you can't get it to work on your iPhone! Not without this iPhone app, that is. The Crunchy roll app offers you free access to all of Crunchyroll's animes and Korean dramas from the comfort of your iPhone or iPod Touch. The experience is a mostly pleasant one, though a few bizarre bugs and the WiFi requirement will likely vex some users.
The interface that greets you upon opening the app is clean and easy to use. Searching for an anime is easy, at least if you know what you're looking for. You can also log into your account, but there's no real point to that unless you have a premium membership with Crunchyroll. (This lets you skip ads and view the newest simulcasts before everyone else, among other things.) Tilting the main screen shows the featured shows.
Of course, the real meat here is the actual video-watching experience. The quality is extremely high, and I experience no problems with playback. You can toggle subtitles easily, and doing so doesn't interrupt your video. Having an entire library of streaming anime in the palm of your hand is wonderful. The otaku out there should know what I mean. Oh, and the ads that normally come before videos have been shortened to about ten seconds...a very nice change, if you ask me!
However, Crunchyroll's app isn't free of problems. For one, you need to be on a WiFi network in order to watch the videos. This is rather annoying, especially because if you've got WiFi, you're a lot more likely to have your laptop on you. Still, I can let that slide; this a free app, after all, and sometimes I don't want to cart my laptop around the house. More aggravating are the glitches. After every video, the app almost always crashes: it gives you a "black screen of death" and you'll need to hit the home button and restart the app. Other weird glitches make minor appearances, too. The app also doesn't remember where in a video you left off if you accidentally close it. The lack of auto-resume is a major annoyance.
Still, despite those complaints, Crunchyroll is a good app from a great site. The selection of anime is broad enough to satisfy many viewers: Skip Beat!, Naruto, Time of Eve, Gintama, and more are all legally available from Crunchyroll, and not having to lug a computer around is nice despite the WiFi restriction. If you're willing to put up with crashes and the occasional irritating quirk (auto-resume, please?), Crunchyroll will provide you with hours of free entertainment. As an anime nerd, I can easily forgive Crunchyroll's flaws. Give it a try!