Anime fans are just as quick to champion their favorite shows and movies as they are to defend their opinions of dubbed anime over subtitles, or over the value of reading the manga the animated show is based on. There is considerably less argument, however, on the best places to stream anime. We’ve put together a list of our top 5 streaming platforms for anyone who watches anime, so let us know which is your favorite!
Best for Anime
The Streamable’s Choice
The first legitimate resource for watching anime content without pirating, Crunchyroll remains on the forefront of streaming services for anime fans. Still the largest hub of anime movies and tv series to date, Crunchyroll is inexpensive (free if you don’t mind ads) and has various premium subscription levels that allow for its users to tailor the service to their preference.
Crunchyroll is the home to “My Hero Academia,” “Naruto,” “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” “Fate,” and more. Crunchyroll has kept its crown as our top choice for streaming anime, and for most fans, it’s all you’ll ever need.
- Tremendous amount of content
- Simulcast shows
- HD streaming
- Fewer English dubs than some other services
- No offline downloads
- Cluttered UI
What could give Crunchyroll a run for its money? Crunchyroll plus extra features for just a few dollars more. That’s what VRV is - a conglomerate site that includes all the perks of Crunchyroll, but also tags on a half-dozen channels of extra content.
It’s a great service for fans who want to keep up with the latest anime. Besides supporting more overall choices for viewing, it also features simulcast; new episodes are uploaded the same day they air in Japan. Still, Crunchyroll is going to offer 85-90% of what you can find on VRV, and the extra few dollars likely aren’t worth it.
- Wide selection of anime titles
- Lots of free content
- More channels than Crunchyroll
- Dub versions are harder to find
- Channels change often
- Cannot always multi-stream
Crunchyroll’s biggest competition has always been Funimation, and for good reason. The service offers hundreds of dubbed shows, while Crunchyroll tends to rely more on subtitled content. Funimation’s search options and interface are sleek and easily navigated. And, unlike Crunchyroll, Funimation does allow for offline downloads.
Much like Crunchyroll, Funimation also offers multiple pricing tiers, so if you’re looking to make the switch, you can do so on a budget. Though it’s lacking in Crunchyroll’s diverse catalog and doesn’t have quite the sense of community, Funimation does have more classic anime like “One Piece” and “Sword Art Online.”
- Lots of dubbed anime
- Straightforward UI
- Offline download option
- Quality content
- More niche catalog
- Smaller fanbase
- Fewer forums
- Less programming with subtitles
Best for Beginners
A good all-around service, we couldn’t leave Netflix off our list, even if it may fall short when in competition with streaming services that specialize in anime. As such, Netflix has fewer choices than an option like Crunchyroll, but you are likely to get the full number of seasons from start to finish.
The streaming service is also investing heavily in the genre with 40 new anime series this year, and they’ve already struck gold with “Yasuke.” Subscribers will soon be able to see new series like “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness.”
For fledgling anime fans looking to dip their toes in the genre, Netflix is our top choice.
- Ad free
- Lots of other content
- Offline downloads
- More limited selection of anime
Anime streaming is included with a membership to Amazon Prime, so this is a feature you may not know you already have. The service has some notable anime titles such as “Nichijou: My Ordinary Life,” “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress” (also available on HBO Max), and “Cowboy Bebop.” Amazon Prime still doesn’t have the same reputation for its anime catalog as the earlier marks on our list, but they’ve developed a solid mix of classic anime along with some lesser-known gems.
- 4K and HDR streaming
- Supports offline downloads
- Far less material than the competition
- Less overall content than Netflix
- Often loses content to other services
If you’re new to the genre or you’d like to save some money, Tubi has a solid collection of anime titles you can watch for free. Classics like “Ghost in the Shell” and “Akira” are here, along with titles like “One Piece: Heart of Gold,” “Penguin Highway,” and “Robot Carnival.”
Free TV series include “Attack on Titan,” “One Piece,” “Naruto,” “One-Punch Man,” and “Death Note.”
The only question is whether you’re willing to put up with periodic commercial breaks. If they don’t bother you, Tubi is a great choice.
- Lack of top titles
- Ad breaks can be frustrating
While these are our top 5 picks, there’s definitely merit to other animation streaming services as well. If there’s a specific show or movie you’re looking for, for example, it’s better to search it up and go from there. “Dragon Ball,” for example, is on Hulu, while all films from Studio Ghibli have since moved to HBO Max.
There are also some worthy smaller players to consider, like RetroCrush ($4.99/month) and HIDIVE ($4.99/month or included in a VRV bundle).
With the ability to change services easily, it’s worth taking on several different trials to find your favorite anime!