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Cool Find: Crackle is yet another way to watch anime for free

Crackle logoToday’s anime fans are pretty damn lucky. Gone are the days when you had to wait time immemorial for (insert name of random anime distributor) to dole out the next DVD of whatever anime series you’re following, which of course you’d have to pay like $30 or more for. And if you suddenly got the urge in the middle of the night to watch Series X, well, first of all you actually had to own the disks in that series, then you’d have to get up, walk to your DVD shelf, find it, dust it off, and stick it in your DVD player. (Of course that also meant that if you wanted the best selection, you’d have to maintain a pretty big DVD shelf, and consequently spend a lot of money) Yeah, you young whippersnappers today, you’ve got it EASY. Thanks to the Internets and the wondrous technologies you have at your disposal today (computers, smartphones/tablets, set-top boxes, yada yada) you can watch pretty much anything, anytime, anywhere. Whereas back in MY day… (insert standard Cranky Old Guy rant about having to walk to school and back uphill, in the snow, in subzero temperatures, while fending off attacks by packs of wild wolves, etc. Remove yourself from my grassy land area at once!)

Anyway, by now I’m sure you’ve heard about that darling of the streaming anime world, Crunchyroll. (And if you haven’t yet joined, well why the hell not?) CR is, in our not so humble opinion, the best thing to happen to anime since anime. Streaming anime from a large catalog, anytime, anywhere, and with same-day simulcast of many of the shows that are currently running in Japan. And by signing up you will help support the anime industry. Karmic win!

But CR is by no means the only game in town when it comes to anime consumption in digital form. Of course you can buy and/or rent quite a lot of anime in digital form thanks to iTunes and Amazon. But there are quite a few other sites out there that have streaming anime for the taking. If you’ve got a Netflix membership, well, there you go. They have a fairly respectable collection of anime available in their Instant Streaming service online; and if they don’t have it in digital form, they may have it for rent on DVD or Blu-ray. There’s also Hulu, probably the next well known/popular series besides Netflix, which actually has a pretty decent catalog of anime titles as well. Many anime licensors (FUNimation, etc.) do their own in-house streaming. There’s also 24-hour anime networks such as, well, The Anime Network. And then there’s the new kid on the block, the dark horse (no, not that Dark Horse) in the race, Neon Alley.

Well, there is one other service out there, one that perhaps isn’t as well known as any of the others mentioned so far: Crackle. Backed by Sony, Crackle has your standard assortment of movies and TV shows available for streaming (oddly enough, mostly Sony-owned properties). But it turns out they have a fairly decent selection of anime as well, both movies and TV series, the likes of which include Fate/zero, Ah My Goddess, Durarara!, Blue Exorcist, and quite a few more.

First, the bad news: You’ll have to put up with ads. Crackle bills itself as “uncut,” but what they mean is that their shows aren’t edited for content. they still contain ads though. (But hey, you know what they say, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch…)

Now the good news: The service is completely free. You don’t even need to sign up for an account, though if you do so, you get some extra benefits, including the ability to set up Watchlists of shows that you are following, to make it easier to keep track of them). And the apps are free as well. Yes, I said apps. For not only can you watch Crackle content on your computer, but you can also watch Crackle using your PlayStation3 or Xbox 360, many set top boxes and smart TVs, and on your iOS or Android smartphones or tablets.

Go check it out today and download the free apps for iOS, Android, or whatever other game console or set-top box you own.


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