So, you’re on the hunt for the greatest anime streaming service, and it’s understandable. Anime is no longer a niche product, thanks to the rise of online streaming, which has increased the number of people around the world who watch Japanese animation.
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When it comes to anime streaming services, whether you’re a newcomer to the genre, a fan of Studio Ghibli films, or just looking for something to watch between new episodes of Attack on Titan season 4, you’ll want to know which one is worth signing up for.
An increasing number of Netflix Original series from Japanese and American animation studios have made the streaming service a haven for new anime. A more mature (or simply violent) anime series, Blood of Zeus, from the Castlevania studio, was recently reviewed and it’s evident that it’s having a moment throughout the world.
The second season of Great Pretender (Netflix) Zeus’ own blood (Netflix) Episodes from the fourth season of “Attack on Titan” and “Dr. Stone” (Crunchyroll)
Below you’ll find a comparison of each streaming service’s content, availability of shows immediately after broadcast, and – if applicable – subscription cost.
In addition, we’ve included recommendations for some of the best anime shows.
We’ve done our best to ensure that this comparison is as accurate as possible globally, but keep in mind that content libraries may differ slightly between locations. The following are the greatest anime streaming services available today.
Best anime streaming service FAQ
What is anime?
In Japan, the term “anime” refers to a wide variety of Japanese-produced (or influenced) cartoon programs and films, aimed at a wide range of audiences. Then there’s the fact that you can watch a lot of pirated anime online! We’ve included a list of legal free sites for your convenience, however. (Animators need your help!)
What does it mean to be “subbed”?
You’ll hear the original Japanese voice acting in a subbed or’subtitled’ anime, with English (or other) translations rolling across the screen at all times. If you don’t like reading while you’re watching, dubbed anime is an option.
So, what is the best streaming service for anime?
The definitive anime library
Anime streaming wouldn’t be the same without Crunchyroll. There are approximately 1,000 popular anime shows and films available on the American website, as well as manga and international drama, but they are all subtitled rather than dubbed (when the original audio is replaced by US voice actors). The service is free, so there’s no reason for you to pirate any of these shows from other sources.
Paying $7.99 a month for the premium subscription allows you to watch new episodes as soon as they’re released, rather than having to wait a week for them to become accessible.
Because of its unintuitive one-way sorting mechanism and boring look, Crunchyroll isn’t the best option for newcomers who want to catch up on their favorite series’ back catalogs. Nevertheless, Crunchyroll’s selection of free content is far superior to that of its competitors.
There’s no reason not to check it out now that Attack on Titan’s last season is available for viewing.
Dragon Ball Super: The Complete Series, Bleach, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Sword Art Online: Awakening, My Hero Academia, and Dragon Ball Super: Broly
The home of anime dubs
Once a close ally of Crunchyroll, the two services have now gone their separate ways and no longer share libraries.
For the most part, Funimation focuses on dubbing anime rather than subtitling the original Japanese audio, and this is reflected in their portfolio. This is considered heresy by some purists. It makes anime more accessible to others. Funimation is the greatest anime streaming service if you fall into the latter category.
You get a lot of overlap with the Crunchyroll catalog as a dedicated anime platform. Funimation hosts Dragon Ball Z, Z Kai, Super, and GT along with the original series, which Crunchyroll does not have access to (albeit only in the US).
Like Crunchyroll, there is a free, ad-supported version as well as a paid subscription option that provides better quality video. It costs $5.99/£4.99/AU$5.99 a month after a two-week trial period to use the service.
Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail, My Hero Academia and Assassination Classroom are among the most popular shows available on Funimation. On ICE, Dragon Ball is available (US only: including Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Super, Dragon Ball Z Kai, and Dragon Ball GT)
Some anime gems amongst a massive catalogue
In spite of the fact that you may use Netflix primarily to view back episodes of your favorite US comedies, the streaming giant has made it a point to provide niche content, licensing a number of big-name Japanese animated series and even making its own.
Anime on Netflix may be enjoyed in a variety of ways thanks to the wide range of audio and subtitle languages available due to Netflix’s global appeal. For Netflix, the advent of Studio Ghibli films (outside of the United States) has been a major feather in its cap.
Netflix’s ability to secure the release of the cult 1990s anime Neon Genesis Evangelion on its service is also a notable achievement (we expect it was expensive).
However, you may not always get the most recent or complete series because of licensing charges and problems. Only one of the series’ three seasons is available on Netflix, and anime that isn’t produced by Netflix tends to take longer to arrive.
With Netflix, you receive a lot of different stuff for a reasonable price: starting at $8.99 / £5.9 or $9.99 per month, with more expensive subscriptions available for HD and 4K entertainment, or streaming to multiple devices at once. Netflix is probably your best bet if you want to watch anime in addition to your usual serving of action, comedy, or whatever else.
Neon Genesis Evangelion, Castlevania, Blood of Zeus, Devilman: Crybaby, Aggretsuko, Little Witch Academia, One-Punch Man, Death Note, Blue Exorcist, and (outside the US) Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro are some of the best anime available on Netflix.
4. Hulu (US only)
Hulu is a Netflix-like site that offers a wide variety of films and television series, including anime. You’re getting a lot for your money with the $7.99 Hulu plan, but you’ll need the $11.99 premium subscription to get rid of advertising.
In 2018, Hulu struck an agreement with Funimation to bring some of the most popular Funimation shows on the streaming service. But like Netflix, not all of these seasons are full, and it lacks the breadth of a dedicated anime service. In addition, Hulu’s shows are often only available in dub or sub, resulting in a jarring experience for those who prefer one or the other.
In the US, this may be the best option if you want to watch Hulu-specific programming in addition to your anime, even if you pay significantly more per month than the other options on this list for equal access.
Even if you’re not in the United States, you can still enjoy Hulu’s top content by using one of the best Hulu VPNs.