There’s something very magnetic about animated visuals. Perhaps it’s the bright colors, fantastical plots, or intriguing characters. However, most animated movies or cartoons cater to kids with the exception of a few double entendres that can only be understood by adults. Anime on the other hand, combines components of animation and adult-centric themes, appealing to both, younger and older audience.
Originating in Japan, way back in the 1900s, the anime industry evolved rapidly and eventually gained traction in the West. Speaking of evolution, the development of video media was also continual. From VHS to VCD to DVD to Blue-Ray, it has surely come a long way. While the television and movie industry have already taken to the digital world, anime distributors have also adopted the latest technologies to grant easy access to anime buffs across the globe. Given the fact that only selective TV networks showcase anime at mostly odd hours, being able to take Goku and Naruto Uzumaki wherever you go, is nothing short of a windfall.
The Birth of FunimationNow:
Does the name “Dragon Ball Z” ring a bell? Well, Funimation is where it all began! Founded in 1994 in Texas, the studio established itself as one of the stellar anime distributors in the United States. It was re-branded several times, thanks to the various ownerships. However, it was renamed to the original label “Funimation” in 2013. As recently as last year, the company launched its streaming service branded as “FunimationNow”, along with a brand-new logo. Within a short span of time, FunimationNow has made its way to an anime lover’s list of favorite anime streaming sites.
What Plans Are Available and How Much Do They Cost?
FunimationNow currently offers a free as well as a paid version. Let me take you through the pricing and features:
- Free Version: As the name suggests, users are allowed to stream limited titles (some are available in HD) at no cost. This plan offers a single stream with ads showing up quite frequently. However, it is still a great option to have.
- Paid Version: There are two payment schemes under this version. Subscribers could either opt for a monthly plan priced at $5.99 or go for the annual plan priced at $59.99, saving a few bucks. The paid version offers unlimited content streaming without any ads along with two simultaneous streams. You also get a prompt access to Home Video Dubs and Seasonal Broadcast Dubs.
Irrespective of which scheme you choose; you can avail a two-week trial period that will help you to decide whether you want to continue with the service or not.
If you are movies lover, then you should check out free movie streaming sites without registration.
What’s on FunimationNow?
In terms of content, FunimationNow can be compared to Netflix in that both the services mostly offer popular titles, classics, and in-house productions as opposed to the latest theatrical releases or niche content. FunimationNow has a fairly broad range of anime selection, covering a slew of genres such as Action/Adventure, Horror, Fantasy, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Romance, and Psychological. As of today, FunimationNow’s library brandishes over 300 titles, second only to Crunchyroll. This is incredible given that it has only been a year since the launch.
What’s more? Thanks to FunimationNow’s partnership with Crunchyroll, you can now get access to the latest Japanese simulcasts dubbed in English just a few weeks after being aired officially. You can find these titles under the “SimulDubs” category. You’ll also find that majority of the other shows are dubbed in English, saving you the focus and attention required to read subtitles. Having said that, there are a few series that are available in both, a dubbed and a subbed version. FunimationNow’s deal with Crunchyroll has also facilitated the distribution of selected titles from the latter’s library.
FunimationNow is most popular for featuring well-curated after-school programs and classic hits such as Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist, One Piece, and Yu Yu Hakusho. Some of the must-watch SimulDubs include Attack on Titan, Monster Hunter Stories Ride On, Clockwork Planet, and The Silver Guardian.
Aside from streaming anime series, FunimationNow also has a blog section, a games section, and an online store where anime fans can purchase trendy merchandize, figurines, and physical box sets/Blu-ray discs of popular shows.
Where Can You Watch FunimationNow?
Currently, FunimationNow is only accessible to users in select countries including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, UK, and the US. You can download the app across a vast range of devices such as iOS and Android phones/tablets, Roku, Apple TV, Kindle Fire, Amazon Fire TV, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Chromecast, and Windows phones. Alternatively, you could also stream on their website using your laptop or computer.
How is the User Interface?
Personally, we loved the interface owing to an extremely smooth page-navigation, easy browsing, lack of buffering issues, HD video quality, and a fairly useful comment section. Also, switching subtitles and changing the audio channel between English and Japanese is a breeze. The FunimationNow app in particular is a lot less complicated and glitch-filled compared to the website. However, when stacked against Crunchyroll, we found that the Funimation app is slightly slower.
On the Home Page, you’ll find tabs including “What’s New”, “Discover”, “Shows”, and “Shop” with a search bar located to the right-hand side. Subscribers can filter shows as per genres, popularity, and categories like “SimulDubs”, “Recommended”, and “New Releases”. As you scroll down, you’ll find that the shows are neatly arranged in a slider format with clear thumbnails. If you move your mouse over the thumbnail, it’ll display information like the rating, plot preview, and whether it’s available in English or Japanese, or both. You either click on the thumbnail, press play and begin watching, or hit the “add to queue” button for watching it later.
Overall, using FunimationNow was a pleasant experience, barring a few bugs.
It all boils down to your personal preferences. In our opinion, Funimation Now is an ideal streaming service for those looking to relive the good old days or catch up on the older anime shows. Also, if you’re the type who finds it hard to focus on the show along with subtitles, this service is perfect because as we mentioned earlier, most of the series are dubbed in English. Lastly, if you’re a newbie in the anime microcosm, this is the best place to start before you move onto the latest stuff. On the flip side, if you give more precedence to authenticity and are seeking new or niche shows that are uploaded soon after they’re telecasted, you might want to check out Crunchyroll instead.