The Best Ways to Watch Anime (FREE and Paid)

Welcome to Anime Streaming 101. First, make sure you have a device capable of streaming. Good? Ok, then. Here are all the best places to stream anime online, including both free and paid streaming options.

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Craig Hanks
Mar 21, 2023
Icon Time To Read2 min read

Hey, wanna watch some anime?

Good, because there's a lot of it out there and lots of options to watch it with, many of those options are of, shall we say, dubious legal merit, so we're gonna skip those and stick with the services that definitely will not load malware onto every device you own.

Let's dive in.

Now, as we're getting started, big shout out to r/anime, the subreddit was a big help as I was getting started researching this one.

I want you to think of this as anime streaming 101. If you're new to this topic, you'll learn a thing or two. If you're already a master streamer of anime, then you'll probably know most of this stuff, but I want you to stick around and check out the advice that I'm giving, and then hit comments below when we're done to dispense any additional wisdom you might have.

Now, first up are the services you probably already have honestly, Hulu and Netflix.

Best streaming for anime price comparison
Streaming service
Entry-level price
Free trial available?
Details
Netflix

$6.99/mo. (w/ ads)

Icon No  DarkNo
Hulu

$7.99/mo. (w/ ads)

Icon Yes  Dark30-day free trial
Crunchyroll

Free (w/ ads)

Icon Yes  Dark14-day free trial
VRV

$9.99/mo.

Icon Yes  Dark30-day free trial
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Netflix: Best for Anime Beginners

Netflix
Netflix
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Pretty Name
Netflix
Prices
$6.99-$30.98
Starting from
$6.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Just like with the rest of its content library, Netflix's anime strategy seems to be to get the rights to a well-known property to get you in the door, and then keep you there with some quality originals as well. In this case, Netflix is the exclusive streaming home of  Neon Genesis Evangelion, and their originals now include things like Demon Slayer and Seven Deadly Sins and Knights of Sidonia, pretty good.

Hulu: Best for Classics

Hulu
Hulu
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Pretty Name
Hulu
Prices
$7.99-$17.99
Starting from
$7.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Hulu's library might not be as deep as some of the more specialized streaming services that we're gonna get to, but it's still got a surprising amount, especially after the deal they struck with Funimation. Now Hulu's got its own anime section featuring big names like Naruto, My Hero Academia, and Bleach. It's also the only place you'll find the immensely popular Cowboy Bebop.

Crunchyroll: Best for Anime Subs

Crunchyroll is definitely geared toward serious anime devotees. After merging with Funimation in 2022, it's certainly the motherhouse of anime. Crunchyroll has got some top-tier exclusives like A Place Further than the Universe and Laid-Back Camp, and some classics like Demon Slayer:Kimetsu no Yaiba and Yuri on Ice.

Now, there is a lot of free stuff that is ad-supported of course or you can pay $7.99 a month for the Crunchyroll Premium and strip out the ads. You only get one simultaneous stream for that though, but for $9.99 a month, you can get Crunchyroll Premium plus four simultaneous streams and offline viewing.

And that brings us to VRV.

VRV: Best for Anime Addicts

VRV, similarly to Crunchyroll, is owned by Otter Media, which in turn is owned by WarnerMedia, this will be important a little later on.

Now VRV has its own library of originals like HarmonQuest (VRV’s kind of hybrid animated show) but the real appeal for VRV comes in the collection of properties. They've got Crunchyroll,  Mondo, HIDIVE, Rooster Teeth, Boomerang, and lots more. So for $9.99 a month for VRV Premium, you're pulling in a whole bunch of stuff, including that Crunchyroll content.

Which anime streaming service is best?

Best streaming for anime price comparison
Streaming service
Entry-level price
Free trial available?
Details
Netflix

$6.99/mo. (w/ ads)

Icon No  DarkNo
Hulu

$7.99/mo. (w/ ads)

Icon Yes  Dark30-day free trial
Crunchyroll

Free (w/ ads)

Icon Yes  Dark14-day free trial
VRV

$9.99/mo.

Icon Yes  Dark30-day free trial
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

So, that leaves us with the question of what you should get. Well, if you dabble in anime, then Hulu and Netflix might be good enough. They are good . . . but if you're an anime addict, or if you suspect you might become one, then you can get VRV for $10 and Crunchyroll for free or $8. That's $18 a month for more anime than you could ever possibly consume if you're also a functioning and contributing member of society.

Craig Hanks
Written by
Craig is a long-time writer, presenter, and podcaster, and he now runs the Reviews.org YouTube channel, where he strives to be far more charming and presentable than he is in real life. Within the Reviews.org umbrella, he has accidentally become a streaming expert after covering the streaming wars for almost three years. Craig is also the founder and host of The Legendarium Podcast, his outlet for his love of fantasy and sci-fi literature.

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