About a month ago, I decided to pull the trigger on an annual premium RetroCrush subscription. The platform focuses on providing high-quality streams of older Anime from (what seems like) 2010 and prior. Although the platform provides free access, the premium version had a special promo in December – so, I figured, “Why not?”
The usual disclaimer: I am not being paid for this – I just think this is cool and wanted to spread the word.
What is RetroCrush?
As I said in the intro, RetroCrush is a streaming platform dedicated to acquiring the rights to certain classic and hard-to-find Anime from the “golden age” of Anime (you will find different answers to what time frame that era is – but basically, think pre-2010). And it’s new! The service has only been around since the end of March 2020.
This might sound silly to you, but as someone who doesn’t feel like hunting down illegal copies of everything online and doing the ripping myself – it’s a bit of a pain to find certain classic series that I may have enjoyed or never gotten to see. This service makes that SUPER easy to get around for you, and their library (while admittedly not the largest just yet) is constantly growing with new titles added every week!
And you won’t find well-known vintage things here like Dragon Ball or Pokemon or anything like that (although it may end up here one day – who knows?). This service specializes in things that are a little harder to find these days, but that doesn’t reduce the quality of what you’re seeing there at all. There are some genuine gems here!
For those wondering – RetroCrush IS legal because of its efforts to obtain the rights to show these somewhat lost treasures, but it is currently only available in the United States and Canada.
How Has My Experience Been?
Well, I’m glad that you asked. I use the RetroCrush app on Roku, but I purchased my subscription through their site, RetroCrush.tv (worth checking out if you’ve never heard of them).
So far I’ve watched (NOTE: These are show clips, not trailers)…
That’s a lot of ground in a little time (and somehow I STILL manage to have a life and time for my interests and talking to friends) — but I still currently have 24 different shows and movies to go already lined up in my queue to watch (some are dubbed only – so be aware)!
If I’m honest, coming across a number of my old favorites again (like Medabots) and seeing so many titles that I had never even heard of before (like Zetman and Jubei-chan) made me EXTREMELY excited for the service and to have the premium access that I do.
Yes, you can view some of these as they’re randomly shown in the free service, but you’d have to deal with ads and – to my understanding – you can’t watch whatever you want whenever you want.
With a premium subscription, you get to watch things ad-free, check out exclusive age-gated content (uncut, as God intended), and watch whatever you want – whenever.
At a regular low cost of $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year – RetroCrush just feels like a worthwhile part of any Anime fan’s collection of access points (if you’re into older titles). And I got my first year for $24.99 because of the promo that I signed on with, so I’d say it’s definitely worth seeing if you can find any promo codes out there before you buy.
Ok… So, What’s Bad with RetroCrush?
I qualify this by saying that my user experience is specifically related to the app available on Roku. I know that user experiences can differ by device (for instance, RetroCrush does have its own app for your phone), so I wanted to go ahead and throw that out there. You can see what platforms it’s currently available on in the image below (as of this posting).
Anywho, the commentary about my experience…
The app is pretty solid except for a few minor gripes (and they are MINOR):
I genuinely don’t like the way that the “favorites” function on their seems to work. Rather than let you favorite a show that you would click into each time and then continue on automatically from where you left off, it favorites an episode. A single… episode. What I’ve learned to do is just use the “Recent(ly Viewed)” section, and that’ll at least take you to the show in question so that you don’t have to constantly favorite/unfavorite episodes to keep track of that (but there’s a drawback there that I’ll mention soon).
And there’s a little indicator on each video of how much of a thing you’ve watched – so you can use that progress tracker on each item to figure out where you left off. Again – it’s not a huge gripe, but compared to other top tier streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) this is a bit of a PITA and something that I hope they fix in the future.
Some things are only available in English. Not a huge one for me because that’s my native tongue, but I do admittedly enjoy watching my Anime in Japanese with English subs when I can vs. watching the English dubs (in most cases — Dragon Ball Z — I prefer in English — Ronin Warriors/Samurai Troopers? Same thing). Not a make or break thing for me, but I KNOW it will bother some “purists” out there. FWIW, it’s primarily in Japanese and there are dubbed options.
The UI for scrolling through show episodes and continuing where you left off is cumbersome. I hinted at this earlier, but say that you click into that “Recent(ly Viewed” area. You get brought to the show, but then you have to scroll through EVERY episode until you get to the one you’re on. On a short show, this isn’t problematic – but on a longer-running show that doesn’t split things into seasons, this is the worst.
The last thing is that I don’t know how to turn off the free streaming picture-in-picture thing that’s playing each time I visit the app. I don’t even know if that’s possible. As a premium sub holder — I sometimes don’t want to see that. I understand that it’s good for discovery, but it’s also a little annoying and, I think, makes the user experience for the app a little glitchy.
Beyond these 4 very minor things, which I can totally tolerate, this thing is AMAZING!
I mentioned Crunchyroll earlier — for the money and notoriety they have, their Roku app experience is VERY sub-par. Like… logs you out every few weeks “sub-par”. Like… sometimes you can’t even access the damn thing “sub-par”. I can go on about the things I don’t like about them – but this is a post about RetroCrush, not them.
All-in-all — RetroCrush gets my seal of approval. I think this is one of those essential streaming services for any Anime fan, and I look forward to years of growth in their library.
Remember – you can totally use this FOR FREE! I just jumped in and bought the premium to go without ads and because I wanted to support the service.