For anime fans, it’s always exciting when a new season brings new anime courtesy of Crunchyroll. The anime streaming service, which became acquired by Funimation this past August, has widely touted itself as the prime place to watch anime for years. But in addition to the exciting new anime debuting with the spring season, the service is going through a change to its subscription model.
On Friday, Crunchyroll announced their plans to eliminate the free (with ads) tier of their pricing plan. Previously, you could watch anime with limited commercials, with the main tradeoff being that you would get simulcasts a week after they premiered on the service. Those willing to fork over a monthly fee going from $8 (fan tier), $10 (mega fan), all the way up to $15 (ultimate fan) could watch ad-free simulcasts day and date of premiere with Japan, along with additional bonuses. For example, being an ultimate fan means you can watch offline, get discounts at their online store, and get access to Crunchyroll’s digital library of manga.
To ease the transition, the first three episodes of a select group of shows will allow for ad-supported viewing a week after their respective premieres, though this will end for all the shows on May 31. The following spring anime eligible for this are as follows, along with their premiere dates:
- Spy x Family (April 9)
- Skeleton Knight in Another World (April 7)
- A Couple of Cuckoos (April 24)
- Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs (April 3)
- Tomodachi Game (April 6)
- Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie (April 10)
- The Dawn of the Witch (April 8)
- The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody (April 6)
In a blog post to the community, Crunchyroll advocated for fans using the free tier to try a two-week trial of the premium membership, saying they wanted to “encourage as many fans as possible to explore new shows and see the full benefits of Crunchyroll premium access.” Free content will continue to be offered in the future, said the blog post, though what that content would entail is left unclear.
[Update 3/28/22, 4:34 p.m. ET: Crunchyroll reached out to Anime News Network to clarify that episodes of anime released prior to the upcoming spring season would still be available to watch with ads. They only plan on stopping the “automatic free availability of all simulcast content,” along with continuing to make new content that will be free with ads.]
[via Anime News Network]
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