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Crunchy Apple TV

Nice surprise this morning that the latest Apple TV update adds an app for Crunchyroll, my go-to source for anime streaming.

Crunchyroll running on Apple TV

But there’s a catch (isn’t there always?). This version of Crunchyroll is members-only. If you don’t have a membership, you can watch the first episode of each of 20 or so anime series, and a comparable number of Japanese and Korean dramas. That’s in sharp contrast to Crunchy on the web and on other platforms, where most of the library is free-with-ads, and the benefits of subscribing are no ads, HD, and immediate access to simulcasts instead of a two week wait (there are a handful of episodes here and there that are also subscribers-only, like the last half of anohana).

For the freeloaders, you’re probably still better off getting the Crunchyroll app for iOS and AirPlay’ing it to the Apple TV, or just switch platforms and get Crunchyroll for Roku.

As a subscriber, I perpetually have Crunchyroll all-access passes to give out, and which keep expiring unused, so hit me up on Twitter if you want one, though (as The Loop’s Peter Cohen reminds me), you might be better off just grabbing the one-week trial through the Apple TV, or two weeks from Crunchyroll’s website.

So what’s good? Understand that tastes differ, and that I watch anime primarily for things that are lacking in US movies and TV, so I don’t think there’s much point watching a lot of sci-fi or super-heroics from Japan when brand-new American stuff like that is taking up half the screens at the local multiplex. So instead, I watch a lot of drama, romance, and comedy. Like these:

  • Toradora! — Mean-looking but nice guy teams up with the meanest girl in school to help them land their respective crushes. Romantic entanglements ensue. The wise-but-lovelorn teens here vaguely remind me of those John Hughes romances like Pretty in Pink and (especially) Some Kind of Wonderful.
  • Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day — Story about a group of five badly-estranged friends; they used to be six, but one died in an accidental drowning. Years later, she reappears as a ghost to the former leader of the gang (now a recluse), asking him to get the group back together, something that’s going to require opening some very old and very sore wounds. Cue ALL THE FEELS.
  • Angel Beats! — Speaking of feels, this is from Key / Visual Arts’ master of emotional demolition, Jun Maeda (known for the “holy trinity” of visual novels Air, Kanon, and Clannad), so you know going in your heart is getting stomped on. But here, instead of killing off the tragic schoolgirl at the end, the premise is that everyone’s already dead, at an after-life high school where teens come to terms with the unfairness of their lives and deaths. Oh, and engage in an armed rebellion against God. And play rock concerts. A little something for everyone in this show. It also has a very accessible dub on Netflix.
  • Flowers of Evil — This season’s most challenging and polarizing show, largely because of its heavy use of rotoscoping and the inherent uncanny valley, which serves to alienate viewers from the characters. And that’s probably by design because this is a deeply unpleasant look at the weakness and almost unwitting perversion of its characters.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica — I’ve talked about this before, so I’ll just leave it as “Watchmen in frilly dresses”, “best anime I’ve seen in a decade”, and “I paid over $200 to collect it on Blu-Ray, it’s only 12 episodes long, and it’s totally worth it.” If you have 20 minutes, JesuOtaku’s Blip.tv review says everything I could ever want to.

So, yay, now we have Crunchyroll on Apple TV. Which means it’s time to switch the pro-Roku argument from “but it doesn’t have Crunchyroll” to “it doesn’t have Funimation“. Your move, Cupertino.

Edit: So about the subscriber-only thing. IIRC, this is the only platform where Crunchyroll doesn’t have an ad-supported option. Was that Apple’s doing? Looking at it another way: are there any other apps on Apple TV that are ad-supported? After all, even YouTube is ad-free on Apple TV. On Twitter, Colin Cornaby mentioned that iTunes Radio might be the only exception to the ad-free rule on Apple TV.

Comments (2)

  1. Hulu Plus on the Apple TV still shows ads. It’s not 100% ad supported, since you have to pay for Hulu Plus as well. But there are most definitely ads on there.

  2. […] Apple TV getting stuff long after Roku is not a new thing. Back in June, we got HBO Go and Crunchyroll, which had already been on Roku for some […]

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