Crunchyroll a shit
Recently, I’ve been noticing quite a positive attitude towards Crunchyroll across both the internet and real-life. The general mindset I’ve noticed from the anime community (which, in general, is just a bunch of insufferable cunts) is that by paying for Crunchyroll you’re getting both a good service and are supporting the industry. Wrong.
It’s surprising to believe that anyone goes on this website at all. You either go there as a free user, and get releases a week late in terribly bit-starved 360p video, pay £5 a month for lower quality video and subtitles than fansubs, or use their overpriced store. I really don’t see the appeal. I’m not sure if there are a lot of retarded people in the community, or if they’re just simply unaware that there are better alternatives. I’m going to go over many aspects of CR, including subtitle quality, video quality, pricing and how much you’re actually supporting the industry by paying for the ‘service’. I’ll then be comparing all of this to the alternative options that are available to you.
Okay, so as far as I’m aware CR do all of their own translations and scripts. I’ve heard some studios send them a script along with the show, but whether or not this is true I’m unsure. I’m just going to assume CR do all their own work. It doesn’t really matter how they get this done, what matters is the final product that you end up reading.
Okay, first let’s look at the consistency and editing of subtitles. By editing, I mean how fluid and well written the translations are (I’m looking for non-awkward, and if appropriate, well localised subtitles). I feel that localisation is a very subjective area. Some people like honorifics (san, chan, sama, etc.) whereas others would like a more Western translation (Mr., Nep-chan > Neppy, Lord, etc.). Personally I prefer honorifics and the original Japanese word if there are no close translations (so if a character says tsundere, I want to see tsundere in my subs NOT hot’n’cold; I hate that shit). But as I said, this area is very subjective so I’m going to try and avoid judging subtitles on this as much as I can.
Actually, I will mention honorifics. I believe CR usually uses honorifics, and some people dislike them. Guess what? Some fansub groups give you the choice. This isn’t even fucking difficult to do.
Let me just point out now that I don’t speak Japanese so I can’t compare how well the subtitles compare to the original dialogue. From what I’ve heard from people who do speak Japanese is that CR subs are accurate for the most part, although sometimes the original message isn’t properly conveyed (but it’s a context-based language to a value-based language, so we can let them off there). What I do know, however, is the English language. I’ll admit now that fansubs aren’t always perfect, there can be mistakes now and then. But those are fansubs. They are free. CR wants you to pay for their service (or otherwise be spammed with advertisements). I don’t expect errors for a paid service like in episode 7 of Walkure Romanz, for example. Can you imagine buying an officially translated novel or manga, only to find crude mistakes? I’d be annoyed. The fact that many fansub groups don’t even translate shows any more, and instead just take the CR subtitles and FIX THEM is a testament in its own right.
So, there’s the first problem. They have the consistency in quality of fansubs. Often worse. These mistakes should not happen in a paid service. But let’s move on and look at how fluid and non-awkward their English is. Oh, never mind. They’re constantly using the same word multiple times in the same line. I’m no poet laureate, but I did decently enough at school in English and one of the first things I was taught was no try and avoid repeating the same word, especially in the same sentence. Obviously CR devs never had this sort of education. I vividly remember in the first episode of Kill la Kill this was repeatedly a problem. Not only that, but most of the lines sounded awkward as fuck. Let’s look at one awkward line
compared to Underwater’s
Hmm. Yeah, I think I’ll stick to the fansubs. That’s without even mentioning this horrible line that ends up making less sense than intended (or the video quality, or the typesetting, or the…)
It just makes it sound more retarded that it’s meant to be. Surely something like “That is the reality of this world!” would work better, no? It’s also worth mentioning that you have no fucking idea which of their staff are subbing what series. So when I’ve seen various work from various fansub groups and really enjoyed some releases from a particular group, I can return to them for another series knowing I’ll get more of that standard. Whereas with CR you might watch one series, see little issues with it, come back again and suddenly some incompetent inturn has fucked every single line up. This works the other way with fansubs too. I know which groups to avoid, if possible. It’s sad that Commie, a group I’d somewhat try to avoid, still produce better releases than CR. Unless they’re going all-out on the trollsubs, at least. And just to show it’s a problem across multiple shows this season…
Seriously who okayed this? What a fucking mess. Is this something people would say? I can’t imagine myself ever saying that. Oh and surprise, surprise! They managed to use the same word twice in a line again. This is an occasion where literal translations are bad.
Is that so fucking hard? This might be less literal, but I honestly don’t care. It actually sounds like something a human would say and gets the same general message across.
Typesetting. I don’t believe most of the retarded little weeb community we subside in even knows what this means. Basically, it’s how the subtitle text is set on the screen. This may not seem important at first, but when you’ve got multiple people speaking at once, signs and other on-screen text, song lyrics/karaoke and other shit all going on it gets pretty damn important. Crunchyroll takes this to the absolute minimum. There’s literally no typesetting to be seen the majority of the time. Kill la Kill often features on-screen text that looks awesome. CR decided to shit on that. Go look back at the 2 screenshots of the same scene I used for sub comparisons.
Do you know which one you’re paying for? Can you see which one is actually worth paying for? Good. Typesetting doesn’t just apply to stationary text on the screen, good typesetting will follow on screen text/signs throughout pans and zooms. Again, CR completely ignore any of this and Underwater do a beautiful job. It’s well worth waiting an extra few hours (I know I keep blabbing on about Underwater, but it’s a very recent and very good example that a lot of people will be able to relate with since it’s probably the most popular show this season).
It’s also worth giving a proper mention to song lyrics/karaoke. Whilst they’re just generally nice to have and let you easily weeb-off and sing along if you so wish, they’re actually important in some cases. Take Madoka Magica for example. By not having the translation for the lyrics on-screen you miss out on all of the lyrical dissonance in the opening song. To CR users, it’s just going to sound like a cute and upbeat song. Not only this, but it DESTROYS all meaning of having the opening play at the end of episode 10. So much is lost here.
You might think I’m being a bit OTT about all this and that it doesn’t really matter. You’re right, they’re just chinese girl cartoons. All of this doesn’t actually matter that much. However, if you’re actually paying for an objectively worse service than a free alternative, don’t you think that’s a bit silly?
tl;dr fansubs offer better editing and typesetting. Why pay for something inferior?
If you’re a free user, watching CR releases will probably give you some sort of cancer. You’re stuck with their disgusting 360p releases. If you’re actually watching these (or any illegal streams, for that matter), for the love of god, STOP. Just stop right now. “Ahurrrdurr but I don’t care!” Shut the fuck up.
Okay, so assuming you pay for the ‘high quality’ video, let’s talk about that. Now if you’re going to think or say something about 720p, 1080p or anything even remotely similar stop right now. You don’t know SHIT about anything. I’m no expert myself, but whatever you were thinking is both stupid and wrong. Just because 2 different videos are both the same resolution (let’s take 720p for our examples, since the CR 1080p releases are just shitty upscales for the most part) does not mean they are of the same quality. I repeat, RESOLUTION ≠ QUALITY. You don’t measure the quality of a wine by looking how much there is, just like you don’t measure the quality of a video by the amount of pixels there are. Actually, if CR just scrapped their shitty 1080p upscales and used that bandwidth for their 720p releases, they might actually be able to have some good 720p videos. But since they’re catering to a lot of retards who see 1080p and get all excited over a big number, I doubt we’ll ever see that.
I could probably write a whole post about actual video quality, all you need to know is that CR does not offer the best. Although, logically, you’d think that CR would have better quality than some recordings of Japanese television. After all, they’re getting the shows directly from the studios. The problem is that CR bit-starve all their releases (they literally compress and kill the quality of the video) to achieve lower bandwidth costs. That’s right, you pay them for a service, and instead of using that money to pay for servers to provide high quality video they do god-knows what with it. Again, fansubs offer higher quality for free. At most, they ask for some small donations to maintain their server costs. Even on one of the less obvious examples this season, you can clearly see the text is a lot sharper and there is a lot less banding in this comparison.
Now, the difference between TV rips and CR isn’t huge. You could quite easily get by on CR releases, if you wanted to. In actual fact, the quality difference leaves me, and others, to believe that studios aren’t providing the best quality to begin with. However, the issue with CR here is that they do nothing to fix this. Most, if not all, fansub groups apply filters to try and correct some of the issues with the video (sharpness, colours, banding, etc.). If some single guy with his consumer-level computer can encode multiple shows per week with good filtering, why can’t CR? This and the fact they’re wasting their bandwidth (that they seem so determined to save) on ‘1080p’ video are the main reasons you should stick to fansub releases.
tl;dr CR are being CHEAP and are just cutting down on their bandwidth costs and don’t bother with filtering at all.
Supporting the industry?
Hahaha. The go-to argument for any CR fanboy. Now, assuming they haven’t changed up how they do things this is how it works. They split all membership revenue 50/50 with the studios, and keep all ad revenue for themselves. Since the amount of paid members on the site is around 10%, that’s a lot of fucking ad revenue (I doubt people who are retarded enough to watch their 360p streams know how to install adblock). I believe the current membership price is £5 a month. £2.50 is now left to the studios. CR is simulcasting 35 shows currently, that’s about 7p per show per month. That’s about 4p per 2 episodes. Four pence. Now let’s take a gander at how much a Japanese blu-ray volume is. A volume normally contains 2 episodes, and the average pricing is roughly 7000-8000 yen (£50). £50 vs 4p. Obviously, the studio won’t be getting the entirety of that £50 (you have middlemen and such). I’m not an industry expert, but let’s say in a worse-case situation the studio gets a measly 10% of the BD sale. That’s still £5. Over 100 times as much as they get from CR. Want to support the industry? Import Japanese DVD/BDs and figures.
You’re better off just sending £1 every month to a studio and using fansubs than you are using CR if you even care about ‘supporting the industry’ nearly as much as you say you do. Even if I’m completely wrong about these finances, and 100% of your money went to Japan (it doesn’t) you’d still be making a piss-poor effort of ‘supporting the industry’. If you actually believe you are making any difference what-so-ever, then why is the majority of anime still pandering to the obsessive fan market, and not Western audiences? And yes, I have to pull numbers out of my arse because CR wont actually provide any real numbers, yet Wakanim manage to just fine. What’s wrong, CR? Afraid to let your customers know how much of their money you keep?
Now if you’re going to go to your backup argument of ‘supporting the localisation of anime’ then again, you’re fucking wrong. I’ve not seen CR do anything to support this. If you want to do that, buy DVD/BDs from your local licensors. In the UK, Manga Entertainment is one of the biggest licensors. They’re actively trying to grow the interest in anime here by getting cinema screenings and going to conventions. And you know what, the bit of money that the Japanese studios will get from the local releases of anime will still be more than your CR subscription.
tl;dr you’re not making a fucking difference. Import Japanese shit instead.
Christ. I thought this would be worth mentioning, since it is another CR service. If you didn’t already know, CR has an online store where they sell figures, DVD/BDs and such. For an inflated price. For a popular Figma they want £40 (£37, if you’re a member). The price for this exact same Figma elsewhere is £22. Cheers, guys!
What about a blu-ray? Since they only sell Region 1 (American) BDs, I’ll have to look at the imports available on Amazon. Both seasons of Spice and Wolf on BD from CR are £46 + £13 shipping. Compare this to Amazon, for the exact same thing, £32 + less than £2 postage (from within the UK, so there’s no chance of import tax). Right, OK.
Basically, everything on their store can be found considerably cheaper elsewhere.
If you didn’t know, CR used to be a fansubbing website. They illegally hosted streams, and you could become a ‘donator’ (aka member) by paying a subscription. They then had a very sudden change of heart after getting a $2m investment, removing all their previous stuff and began doing what they do now. They essentially just built up popularity, to shit on the fansub community (I believe most of their content was subbed from by other groups, they just hosted it).
A bit of a dick move. But surely they’re decent folk now? Well, no. They’ve used popular trends on /a/ to generate interest on their site multiple occasions (the most recent being this), and regularly go into communities (such as /a/ and LEREDDIT XD) and spam their promo codes, you can check out today’s Crunchyshit spam here.
Okay. I’m done. If you are using CR and continue to use it after reading this please consider castrating yourself to save future generations. No one’s going to come knocking on your door with a warrant for downloading fansubs of chinese girl cartoons.