Will Crunchyroll Remain Free, or is Crunchyroll Not Free Anymore?

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Will Crunchyroll Remain Free, or is Crunchyroll Not Free Anymore?
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Since the platform was first launched, Crunchyroll has had a huge audience of users on their free membership plan. However, the rules for free accounts have frequently changed since the Funimation merger, so will Crunchyroll remain free, or is Crunchyroll not free anymore?

The Latest on Crunchyroll Free: What's Changed?

Will Crunchyroll Remain Free Spring 2022 Updates

Initially, Crunchyroll used to allow anyone with a free membership to watch the latest anime with ads one week after they were released. This meant free members were often an episode behind, but all shows were eventually available.

However, from the Spring 2022 anime season, new seasonal releases on Crunchyroll were no longer available to free subscribers.

At the time, it was unclear if the seasonal simulcasts would ever become available to free members. However, as of March 2023, many of the biggest series from last year are still unavailable without a premium subscription.

Discover: The Best Isekai Anime on Crunchyroll

Is Crunchyroll Not Free Anymore?

Is Crunchyroll Not Free Anymore?

Technically, Crunchyroll is still free, with the vast majority of anime on Crunchyroll still available for free with ads. However, this is likely to change in the future.


Crunchyroll has clarified that ad-supported free memberships will remain for older anime titles and that more titles will be added for free viewing in future.

For example, Spy x Family, one of the first big anime to be unavailable for free while on air, is now available for free members with ads.

Back in 2022, Crunchyroll said it was planning on “stopping the automatic free availability of all simulcast content”. This means that if you want to watch the latest anime on Crunchyroll, you’ll need a paid membership.

So, Crunchyroll is still available for free, just don't expect to watch the latest releases for a long while.

When Do New Crunchyroll Premium Episodes Become Free?

when do premium episodes become free on Crunchyroll Lycoris Recoil

Crunchyroll has never clarified when exactly it plans to make premium, seasonal series available for free members. However, based on what we've seen so far, it appears to be at least a year, or potentially even later.

The seasonal premium lock was first introduced in Spring 2022. Here are some anime that have aired on Crunchyroll since and their current availability:

Anime Season of Release Current Availability
Spy x FamilySpring & Fall 22 (Split-Cour)Free with Ads
Dance Dance DanseurSpring 22Premium Only
Lycoris RecoilSummer 22Premium Only
Engage KissSummer 22Premium Only
Chainsaw ManFall 22Premium Only

Based on looking through the platform, it appears that the majority of anime that have aired since Spring 2022 are still only available to premium users.

Spy x Family is an exception that was perhaps made free to encourage non-anime fans onto the platform. Perhaps we will see this more from Crunchyroll in future, as it makes the biggest series free to air to attract new customers.

It has not been a year since the premium lock was introduced, so there could be a chance that more series will be made available once 12 months have passed.

However, it's just as likely that the majority of series will never be made available, especially the smaller, one-cour releases that are unlikely to return.


Will Crunchyroll Remain Free?

Will Crunchyroll Remain Free?

There is nothing to suggest that Crunchyroll is removing free memberships entirely. However, what’s available for free will likely be steadily reduced going forward.

Eventually, we may see a situation where the value of free memberships is so small that removing it doesn't appear too much of a leap.

Given Crunchyroll’s dominance over the anime streaming market, it shouldn't be too surprising if they look at a new subscription model that is more in line with other streaming services.

Despite recent changes in the market, the majority of streaming services, including anime competitor HIDIVE, all only offer paid options, so such a move would make sense from a business point of view.

However, it might not be as simple for Crunchyroll to become paid only given its history.


Crunchyroll has a huge number of free members, the majority of which later become subscribers, so they may wish to keep this revenue stream open.

There is also a huge issue with piracy in anime, and Crunchyroll continuing to offer some free series might be seen by the industry as an important part of efforts to combat the issue.

For now, you can rest assured that lots of anime on Crunchyroll remain free. If you are interested in exploring your other options, see where you can watch anime legally for free.

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