Currently, with the anime industry rising along with advancing technology we have today, watching anime in the United States is fairly easy. I’ve been watching the majority of the anime I ever watched online, legally, for more than a year now. Although many people prefer to watch anime for free, many services (free or paid) for watching anime are worth it. As I do live in the United States, I can only write this towards the U.S audience, so readers who live in other countries, services may differ.
The Best From The Rest
With all of the ways you can watch anime and based of my experiences, I believe that the best places to watch anime is on Crunchyroll and on Hulu because they contain a big selection of anime and using them to watch anime has little or no effort. Using the two services together and you will have a big selection of watching legal and offical anime.
- Price- $6.95 A Month ($11.95 with Drama) | Also Free With Ads
- Pros- Big library, Many Simulcasts Available within 1 hour to 1 Week, Many Soft-Sub anime, Many Shows Available in HD, Offered in Many Devices, No Ads with Premium Service
- Cons- Small Dubbed Anime, Majority of Funimation and VIZ Shows aren’t on Crunchyroll
Crunchyroll.com is my personal favorite place to watch anime. Crunchyroll is filled with a big library of anime, many simulcasts, and a low price ($6.95 USD). Many popular shows you can find on Crunchyroll are Naruto, Bleach, Attack on Titan, Shugo Chara, Sword Art Online, and many more. Crunchyroll is a best place to watch anime because when you pay for their services, you get ad-free anime watching, High Definition with many shows, they have the best video player. If your like me, once you try watching anime ad-free in HD, you can’t go back. Their video player is one of the fastest in the anime market, but it isn’t perfect as it can lag at times, especially when fast-forwarding. They aim to get many shows for their simulcasts and the earliest time (1 hour to a week after Japan) to show it on their site. Crunchyroll is also accessible in many devices, like the PS3, XBOX 360, iOS, Android, and the Roku (my favorite app). Although when you are watching there for free you get Low Definition and advertisements, it feels nice to know that your supporting the anime industry. If you are a dub fan, you may be disappointed because Crunchyroll is dominated with subbed anime.
- Price- $7.99 A Month | Also Free With Ads
- Pros- Big library, Simulcasts Available, Watch on Devices, Watch American Shows (Not Just Anime), Contains Dubbed Anime
- Cons- “Limited” Advertisement with Hulu Plus, Limited Dubbed Episodes
Hulu is the next best place to look for anime as many companies like Funimation, VIZ Media, Aniplex, and The Anime Network, who license anime use Hulu to stream their shows. Many of these companys like Funimation and VIZ use Hulu to simulcast their shows. Hulu has many anime that Crunchyroll doesn’t have because of these companies. Hulu also contain dubbed anime shows but Hulu is mostly filled with sub-titled anime. Hulu offers shows in dub, but many of the shows in dub only have the first 2 episodes. When using Hulu for free, you will get advertisements and low quality. With Hulu Plus, you will get advertisements, HD anime on certain shows (Depending on the publisher, some anime may have HD. Check if the anime has HD by looking underneath the details on the show’s Hulu page.), and the ability to play shows on other devices (If the show is compatible with Hulu Plus. You can check if you can play a show on other device by checking underneath the details on the show’s Hulu page.). Also Hulu streams American shows as it is an American streaming service.
Other Places To Watch Anime
You can watch anime from these other streaming services if you Crunchyroll and Hulu doesn’t satisfy you.
- Price- $7.95 A Month | Also Free With Ads
- Pros- Big library, Simulcasts Available, Contains Dubbed Anime
- Cons- Sluggish Video Player
- *Please note that their site is on a revamp for a new layout. I will rewrite this section once I tried it out. Their EVS is currently down for new members but current EVS members can still watch.
Funimation.com is the all mighty resource to watch all of your favorite Funimation licensed shows. When you watch on Funimation, you can watch many of their licensed shows for free with ads or you can watch anime commercial-free, in HD for $7.95. With the Funimation Elite Video Subscription you can watch many dubbed shows (even with shows before the Blu-ray/DVD relase) and watch many extras like interviews and footages. In my experiences, using Funimation.com to watch anime was slow and their site is on the slow side. I would suggest trying out their 14 day trial before making a commitment.
The Anime Network
- Price- $6.95 A Month | Also Free With Ads
- Pros- Big library, Contains Dubbed Anime
- Cons- Sluggish Video Player, Crappy Site
The Anime Network is the biggest resource to watch all of your favorite Sentai-Filmworks licensed shows. When you watch on TAN you can watch shows from a Hulu player (with advertisements) or through their own video player (no advertisements!) for free or with a subscription. With a subscription, you can watch shows in HD and if available, with their dubs. In my experiences, I hate The Anime Network, as their video player is sluggish and their site is crappy in general. The site is crappy to me as I frequently get a “Something went wrong…give it a few seconds and hit refresh.”. I also in note, I’m didn’t try a subscription because when I’m using their site as a free member, I wasn’t as satisfied with their site.
- Price- Free With Ads
- Pros- Watch VIZ shows in one place
- Cons- It’s Just a Hulu Player
VIZ Anime is the place to watch all of your favorite VIZ Media licensed anime. It’s just like watching stuff on Hulu because it’s powered by Hulu, but with all of the VIZ anime in one site, and a little community to comment on episodes.
- Price- Free With Ads
- Pros- Watch Aniplex shows in one place
- Cons- It’s Just a Hulu Player
Aniplex Channel is the place to watch all of your favorite Aniplex licensed anime. It’s just like watching stuff on Hulu because it’s powered by Hulu, but with all of the Aniplex anime in one site, and a little community to comment on episodes. So it’s like Viz Anime but for Aniplex shows.
- Price- Free | Paid Rental/Own Service
- Pros- Owned by Anime Studios
- Cons- Small but growing
Daisuki is a new and uprising anime streaming site owned by Sunrise, Aniplex, Toei Animation, TMS, and NAS. It has free shows, as well as premium shows to rent or buy. You can watch shows for free in HD and with out any advertisements (for now) and you can buy or rent shows directly from the studio that made the anime. The site is small at the moment but the service is good. Until it grows, Daisuki is just a place to check once a month (or if they add new catalog titles) unless if your watching a simulicast there.
- Price- $6.99
- Pros- English Dub
, Linear Channel
- Cons- Hulu Ads
Neon Alley merged with Hulu, so you can enjoy Neon Alley by going on to Hulu. Neon Alley will be on demand, just like Hulu.
Neon Alley is a linear channel anime streaming service available on your Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and your computer. The channel is 24/7 and features all dubbed anime. They are limited commercials when you are watching. The service is owned by VIZ and many VIZ anime shows are streaming in dub but the service did branch out to Aniplex and Sentai to broadcast their shows. Also Neon Alley broadcasts martial art movies.
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Some other places that you can watch anime are Netflix and Crackle. Netflix is a streaming service with DVD subscription and streaming. The streaming contains a small amount of dubbed anime and subbed anime from Aniplex and Funimation. It cost $9 per month. With Crackle, it is a free streaming site owned by Sony Pictures. It contains shows from Aniplex and Funimation. It is free with commericals and it contains a small selection of subbed and dubbed anime.
With so many options to watch anime legally, it is so much more easier to support the industry. So try some of these streaming services to watch anime. You can also buy the Blu-Rays and DVDs to watch in better quality and for a much longer time.