Here’s a Best Of piece that didn’t quite make the cut.
Best Hometown Fandom Site- 2012
Over the last decade, we’ve stood witness to the mammoth rise in popularity of Japanese cultural content—chalk it up to the internet and the ease with which to connect to fans across the globe. Who would have thought, though, that an epicenter for all this noise sits right here in our backyard?
Founded in 2006 by a group of UC Berkeley undergrads, San Francisco-based Crunchyroll is an online fan community and video streaming service. The site offers free full-length episodes and movies of Japanese anime and other English-subtitled East Asian content. For a nominal fee, users can access high resolution, ad-free simulcasts of popular shows an hour after Japanese broadcast. The site has already delivered content to over six million online community members worldwide.
At its inception, Crunchyroll functioned like Youtube—a service driven by users uploading their own videos. High demand and a rise in popularity, however, made the site difficult to monitor, and Crunchyroll soon struggled with the legal hazards of copyright infringement.
Now restructured, with a healthy dose of venture capitalist funds, the law-abiding Crunchyroll has grown into multimedia force. The site continues to offer the best in Japanese content, and has branched into the fields of manga, music, gaming, and sports. It also produces a live weekly broadcast of news and interviews with industry insiders.
With budding partnerships and plans to distribute content across multiple digital spaces, the sky’s the limit for this rising sun.