A while back we had the opportunity to speak with FUNimation’s COO Mike DuBoise about the upcoming FUNimationNow revamp, including a remodeled app that just launched yesterday. I’ve spent a couple of hours tinkering around on it now and I have to say: I’m impressed!
To start off, the app opens with a burst of color and energy before revealing the FUNimationNow logo. This then transitions into your home screen.
Featured predominantly at the top are recent/updated titles, followed quickly by a “Continue Watching” section, that lets you pick up right where you left off. Alternatively, you could dive right into “My Queue” to start up on a different series. From there it has some offerings from the various categories such as Action, Broadcast and Simulcast Dubs, Fan Service, etc. The layout is intuitive and easy to look at, with two options available from the home screen – a search option in the upper right, or your menu in the upper left.
From this menu the options are fairly straightforward – you can browse the entire show library, view shows that are being simulcasted, check out the library of dubbed material or dive into the various genres that FUNimationNow offers. Furthermore, you can adjust your settings from this menu, which offers controls such as whether or not you can stream when you don’t have access to Wi-Fi (an effort to save you from destroying your monthly data cap), as well as your language preference for shows.
Of all the ways to discover new series, I’m finding that the Genre browser is a lot of fun, and a great way to find similar series. Go down the rabbit hole far enough and you might emerge with a gem!
Now, one of the most intriguing things about FUNimationNow is the pricing structure for their streaming content. For $5/month you get what’s called the SubPass – access to subtitled content as soon as it’s available. For an extra $3/month you get bumped up to the “All-Access Pass”, which includes FUNimation’s broad library of dubbed content.
Overall, I’m a big fan of this new layout and interface. A few improvements I hope to see in the near future:
- Sort by Season. I love being able to jump right into the shows that are current and browse them at a glance.
- When you go to view a series, the episodes are chronological from the beginning, with no chance to change the sorting. It makes sense that you would see the episodes beginning with episode 1 if you’re new to the series, but when you’re caught up (or close), it would be nice to sort it in reverse order so the most recent episodes are at the top.
- Some general issues with crashing, definitely sending bug reports when I can.
That’s about it! I know that there will be more iterations of this app and medium on consoles going forward, at least that was the plan when we last spoke with Mr. DuBoise about it a couple months ago. We’ll keep our eyes open! Check out the gallery below for full-res images of the various screens.