Crunchyroll is in the news today, and I’m gonna get to all of that. But first, a moment of silence. When I saw Crunchyroll in a headline flying across my RSS feed, I thought for sure it was the streaming service announcing it has fixed its app for smart TV. Instead, it launched a new FAST channel and settled a class action lawsuit.
Crunchyroll, which is owned by Sony, who purchased it from AT&T and WarnerMedia, is one of the primary ways to get anime legally and inexpensively in the United States. It frequently airs shows at the exact same time they air in Japan, it carries both dubbed and subtitled versions of those shows, and it has an enormous library featuring what feels like every major anime of the last 20 years.
But Crunchyroll is a service best used on your phone or web browser and only watched on a TV via AirPlay or Chromecast. The app you will find on Apple TV, Roku, PS4, and PS5 is a painful alternative prone to crashes and bugs that make it borderline unusable. (The app is available on nearly every other smart TV and set top box available, and while I haven’t tried those versions, I’ve also never heard anyone say something complimentary about them.) I get logged out of the Apple TV app on a daily basis. When I do manage to log in, it rarely lets me pick up a show where I left off. Instead, I usually have to search for the show and then scroll down to find the most recent episode.
The exception is Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story. I watched a single episode of the show, and for some reason, the app refuses to let me forget that I did. I swear I will return to it one day, but the fact that the app can remember I that watched it but can’t show me the next episode of Spy X Family without me searching for it on my own has kind of put me off.
Things have gotten so bad that I’ve effectively stopped using the app on any of the devices attached to my TV. Instead, I open the app on my phone and AirPlay it to my TV. This usually works great — except when I compulsively open TikTok on my phone and it breaks the AirPlay connection.
This experience, which is excruciating at 10AM on a Saturday when you just want to watch a little show while having a late breakfast, is why I was so excited to see Crunchyroll appearing in my RSS feed today. But sadly, there’s no word on a new, improved, functional app for Crunchyroll.
Instead, the company (which, again, is owned by Sony) announced that it’s joining with GSN to launch anime streaming channels for FAST TV services. Those services include Amazon Freevee, the Roku Channel, LG Channels and Vizio’s WatchFree Plus. Shows streaming at launch include PSYCHO-PASS and CLAMP’s Code Geass. The shows will air dubbed initially because the goal of the channel is to bring new viewers into the world of anime, according Crunchyroll President Rahul Purini in a quote to Deadline.
Crunchyroll’s other big piece of news this week is that parent company Sony has settled a class action lawsuit. The complaint, as seen by Engadget, claims Sony may have shared Crunchyroll users’ individual viewing information with third-party sites without permission. If you were a subscriber between September 8th, 2020 and September 20th, 2023, you could be eligible for up to $30. You’ll need to submit your claim online here by December 12 to receive payment.
If you happen to have access to my viewing history, no, I will not be explaining the presence of RWBY on it.