Entertainment Internet

The 5 Best Websites Where You Can Watch Anime Online for Free

James Hirtz Updated 21-02-2020

Anime has exploded in popularity in recent years. More people are discovering this awesome fusion of storytelling, art, music, and animation. However, purchasing anime movies or shows can be expensive, as can streaming services dedicated to anime.

Are you looking to explore this artform but aren’t sure where to watch anime online for free? These free anime websites make anime more accessible than ever, and they’re all completely legal to use. So you’ll no longer have to question whether Crunchyroll is legal.

1. Crunchyroll

crunchyroll website

Crunchyroll is currently the ruler of legally streaming anime. You can watch videos without an account. You can also create a free account to keep track of your watch history and queue shows to watch later.

Crunchyroll also offers multiple paid membership plans other than the basic free option. It offers a wonderful selection of shows from genre staples such as shonen, shojo, and seinen. Regardless of your preferences, Crunchyroll works as an excellent first stop when looking for anime to watch online.

Crunchyroll also offers manga, the comics that many animes adapt their material from. For added selections, there’s a good amount of Asian dramas and anime mobile games. On top of all the entertainment options, there’s a news section, forums, and a store.

The whole website provides a wonderful community for anyone interested in any form of Asian media.

Do you want to stream legal anime on the go? The Crunchyroll app is available on iOS and Android, and both let you watch anime for free. The simple interface gets you back to watching as quickly as possible.

Crunchyroll also has other devices covered. Upgrading to the $7.99/month anime membership plan will get rid of the video ads and provide full HD streams. On top of the viewing benefits, you can see shows shortly after they’ve aired in Japan.

You’ll also get access to the entire manga library. Compare Crunchyroll’s membership plans for additional benefits and then enjoy endless hours of anime, Korean drama, and manga. And if you need even more manga then Crunchyroll has, try the best sites to read manga online 5 Sites to Read Manga Online for Free and Entirely Legal Looking to read manga online for free? These are the best sites for online manga, all of which are entirely legal. Read More .

2. Funimation

funimation streaming favorites

In terms of anime industry history, Funimation stands as a worthy competitor to Crunchyroll. With the name power of Dragon Ball Z and other exclusives, you’ve likely heard of Funimation before. If you’re looking for titles that Crunchyroll doesn’t carry, you can probably find the other leading seasonal titles on Funimation.

Like with Crunchyroll, the FunimationNow Android app and FunimationNow iOS app allow you to stream anime for free. The app’s layout functions similarly to Crunchyroll with a few tweaks. Still, it focuses heavily on allowing you to click on popular or seasonal titles to dive right in.

Unlike the Crunchyroll app, you have more options on your menu (designated by the three bars in the upper-left). You can access your queue or view any titles in your library. The rest allows you to further sort through Funimation’s anime offerings quickly.

When it comes to Funimation’s membership plans, however, Funimation offers more between their price tiers. You can save some data and pay $7.99/month to watch anime offline via your library. You can also just pay the cheaper $5.99/month for the simple benefit of keeping all of your anime ad-free.

Not sure if you should pick Crunchyroll or Funimation? Take a deeper dive with this heads-up comparison of Crunchyroll vs. Funimation for streaming anime.

3. YouTube

funimation youtube channel

Finding legal anime on YouTube can be tricky, but it’s definitely out there. All major anime streaming services have a channel, but they don’t all offer free episodes.

Funimation uploads entire anime series in SD (either subbed or dubbed) that you can find amongst the channel’s playlists. Crunchyroll’s secondary channel, Crunchyroll Collection, offers clips and a small sampling of full episodes. While both channels vary in their sampling approach, they both aim to show you how they operate.

As such, YouTube doesn’t have many of the advantages of the other services when it comes to legal anime. However, it’s a great way to test the different streaming services as they come and go.


hidive free episodes

HIDIVE stands out as a relative newcomer to the list of anime sites offering free anime. While Crunchyroll and Funimation offer an extensive amount of anime to choose from, HIDIVE takes a different approach. It gives its users a small sample group in a similar fashion to Crunchyroll Collection’s YouTube channel.

The first thing you’ll notice is HIDIVE’s site features a free episodes section. For each show under this section, you can only watch its first episode. To give you a better taste of the service’s range, these single episodes demonstrate HIDIVE’s tag system.

Each episode comes from the exclusive category, subbed anime, dubbed anime, or new releases. As a small trade-off for the limited selection, you won’t see any ads while watching these free episodes. After you’ve sampled all the available episodes, you can try HIDIVE’s 14-day trial or pay the $4.99/month fee.

If there’s a specific title you’re after, make sure to check out the exclusive category list. It’s a good way to quickly check whether you should consider a subscription.

5. Anime-Planet

The 5 Best Websites Where You Can Watch Anime Online for Free anime planet free shows 670x315

Anime-Planet provides over 45,000 episodes to watch on its site. Before streaming anything, it lets you know that it is fully legal due to its support by the industry. While sourced from Crunchyroll, the site offers a unique advantage over its provider.

Anime-Planet focuses heavily on its users giving fans other recommendations. When looking up any title, you’ll be recommended other shows with users giving reasons for the suggestion. It’s a very specific specialty, but it gives a reason to watch Crunchyroll’s titles on a site other than its own.

Unlike other titles on the list, its foremost use isn’t streaming. So if you’re looking for an informational site with the benefit of free anime to watch, give it a shot.

These Are the Best Free Anime Websites

As you can see from this list, when it comes to watching anime legally, there are several free anime streaming sites available. Each offers unique benefits, so be sure to try out a few. With a little research, you’ll be able to watch the best seasonal anime titles for free.

You know how a lot of anime series are based on manga works? Check out whether it’s better to read the manga first or watch the anime first!

If you’re still craving more anime, be sure to check out the best anime spots on the web The Best Anime Sites on the Web Need a fellow anime fan to talk to or just want to follow your passion? These anime sites and communities have you covered. Read More . You might also want to check out our list of all of the Studio Ghibli films, ranked in order All of the Studio Ghibli Films, Ranked In this article, we rank all of the Studio Ghibli films from worst to best. Allowing you to decide which ones to watch first. Read More . And if you’re looking for material suitable for your kids, check out these family friendly anime shows The 11 Best Kids Anime Everyone Should Watch These are the best anime for kids. And while they're all family-friendly, they're also good enough for adults to watch too. Read More .

Related topics: Anime, Comics, Freebies, Hulu, Media Streaming, Netflix, Online Video, YouTube.

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  1. Mike.Litoris
    September 28, 2019 at 1:07 am

    Imma resort to hentai if I don't find a free anime website XD

  2. Johnny Melkuazhar
    December 12, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    Watching anime legally? There is no illegal watching of anime on the internet. If you are referring to kiss anime or 9anime, that’s completely legal. You can browse the internet freely how ever you want (unless you live in North Korea) and do whatever you want as long as you aren’t breaking any laws, and in this case you aren’t. The reason that big anime companies haven’t been cracking down on these websites is because they aren’t doing anything wrong. Plus they bring in more viewers (technically) and potential sales. There’s nothing criminally illegal about uploading content that doesn’t belong to you. And as a viewer they can’t do anything about it. If it is already up on the internet you can view/download as you please. No one can punish you for downloading harmless cartoons.

  3. AMous
    September 25, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    - ChruncyRoll doesn't have english dubs.
    - Netflix in my region has like 30 anime and most of them old?
    - Hulu - doesn't allow me to pay - unsupported region
    - funimation - "content isn't available in your country"

    - Youtube .. where is the anime? I only see trailers.

  4. Anonymous
    May 4, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    What about Viewster? Even though it doesn't have a huge selection of anime like crunchyroll, it's legal, completely free, and you can watch the anime in hd without ads!
    Link: http://www.viewster.com/

  5. deborah
    April 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    As anime lover I download favorite videos for offline view with Elmedia Player. This app supports Hulu and YouTube .

  6. Kakkoiikun
    January 3, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Where is Gogoanime?

  7. Gin
    August 2, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Where is Kissanime? It's (in my opinion) the best website for watching anime. It has no annoying video ads and has the best quality. Plus, the setup for everything is simple and neat.

    • Illusionz
      August 29, 2016 at 12:23 am

      Read the title, Kissanime is illegal anime streaming website, they paid by ads and don't pay the publishers.

      • AnimeLifeZone 05
        July 16, 2018 at 7:39 am

        Yes, they also need you to pay while installing the app and will require you to pay more for no ads. It's not free.

    • Anonymous
      May 4, 2018 at 5:31 pm

      Kissanime pirates anime, making it an illegal site to use.

    • Anonymous
      May 4, 2018 at 5:31 pm

      Kissanime pirates anime, making it an illegal site to use.

      • Johnny Melkuazhar
        December 12, 2018 at 11:16 pm

        Actually, there is no law that says that you can’t view a copyrighted product online. You can do whatever you want with kissanime and you won’t be punished. Torrenting movies is also legal. LEGAL. You can do it, it’s just a hoax that the developers made decades ago so you don’t pirate stuff. You used to be able to get charged but they realized that there’s too many people that do it, and they abolished that. You can do as you please on the internet, as it should be.

  8. Jackie
    July 24, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    I use to watch Crunchyroll when it was free now they don't offer it anymore. I managed to watch some new and old shows a few months before it changed, and I wouldn't recommend it now. The paid version is ok for people living on there own and no one would be bothered with it, but not a good idea if it was brought up to a parent since they wouldn't watch it. However, Netflix is next and most families now use Netflix instead of cable because it's cheap.

    I would recommend Netflix since there is something for the whole family. My kids or my parents don't watch anime, so I ask my sister to set it on iPad for me, and my dads iPad. They add new stuff every month and quality is good. I wish they add more Magical girl or Romance anime.

    Hulu, I can't comment because it's not known in Canada unlike Shomi or Crave, but they aren't good like Netflix(from what my sister told me) YouTube is a good place to find Anime movies uploaded by users. There are some good fan made AMVs through searching. All you need to do is search.

  9. queteimporta
    June 15, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    that's a very bad recommendation cause that sites never have much animes except for crunchyroll, but isn't free, and really ? YouTube ? nextflix? anime in YouTube is not legal and nextflix only have a few anime in list, legal ? go to japan to see tv for that

  10. giraffe_k
    May 27, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Agree, we should watch legally. I truly love anime & grew up with it, definitely will support the creator work & don't want them to stop.

  11. Elly
    April 6, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    I love anime and want to watch it legally but I can't access any of these,
    What should I do?

  12. Akash Singh
    February 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Kissanime site is also there

    • Misaki
      March 12, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      However, it is an illegal site, hence why it gets taken down multiple times a year.

      • Max00
        June 25, 2016 at 3:39 am

        It is not an illegal site, the site is similar to crunchroll in the the fact that it is a service provider and that they get anime content form other site of people who uploaded anime. If you want to confirm it then here's the link to the web page's Legal Affairs "https://kissanime.to/Message/DMCA".

      • Max00
        June 25, 2016 at 3:46 am

        In addition it is not the site that is taken down but rather it is the server that is down, there is a difference.

  13. Anonymous
    November 20, 2015 at 5:13 pm


  14. Justin Dennis
    April 3, 2015 at 2:57 am

    thanks for the recommendation!

  15. arjhay
    April 2, 2015 at 11:29 am

    I always watch at soul-anime.me that was great for blackberry curve!XD

  16. vampnerd lord Productions
    February 11, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    I have found that Funimation and TheAnimeNetwork websites also show legally acquired anime as well as Viz's NeonAlley.

  17. vampnerd lord Productions
    February 10, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Myanimeportal.webs.com is a free hosted site but were still acquiring the licenses for our line up all the shows found here are on the legally acquired listings. Its sister site miyustory.com/anime is also starting to acquire licences for legal anime. So far only a handfull of anime has been acquired.

  18. nena duran
    February 8, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    So, which site is the absolute best? I prefer dub but subtitle in English or Spanish is fine. Money is no problem and I would prefer a yearly subscription.

    • Anonymous
      August 30, 2015 at 4:20 am

      CrunchyRoll would be the best of those for high quality anime. If you want High quality free options then Kissanime is the number one site. (though it is currently down as they are changing the video players for the anime. Which may take 15 days to a month starting today)

      • Mihir Patkar
        August 30, 2015 at 5:30 am

        CrunchyRoll looks great! Are you sure it's legit?

        • Anonymous
          September 3, 2017 at 7:01 pm

          Different person here, but yes, I can assure you that Crunchyroll is definitely legit. Think of it as the Spotify of anime. You have the basic, free version, where you can use the main features of the site with the price of watching ads in order to support both the site and the creators of the content on said site, while there is also a paid subscription service that gets rid of the ads, as well as adding a few additional features. Crunchyroll has all the proper liscensing for the content on it's site, and is the #1 anime site in the US. They sponser some big YouTubers as well, such as jacksfilms, something I doubt they would do if it was an illegal site. I know this was kind of a long reply, but what I'm trying to say is yes, Crunchyroll is legal.

  19. Sid
    September 4, 2014 at 4:39 am

    realitylapse could also serve as a legal anime website alternative.

  20. Luster
    August 4, 2014 at 9:33 am

    There are multiple other websites that are great, like - but this list is for "legal" alternatives. Although you're not really going to get into trouble watching an anime from one of the other sites, especially if it was never licensed outside Japan, it's still good to support the growing anime economy in the West.

  21. Jeb
    April 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    It is most likely not on the list because it is not a "legal" site.

  22. Klaurel
    April 27, 2014 at 8:44 am

    One of my favorite site to watch anime is Animehere xD

  23. josesl16
    April 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Wow, I didn't expect MUO would ever feature anime :o This is probably the first anime-related post on MUO I have seen... On the note, how is youtube considered legal? Or is it legal only when official youtube accounts of the studios/creators upload the episodes officially to youtube? Although asking this, it's not like I care that much, lol.

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:50 am

      I love anime! Hit me up if you ever have any ideas for other anime-related articles. :)

      I think it's exactly what you said: YouTube is legal when it's uploaded by official YouTube accounts from the creators themselves.

  24. Abdul Amer
    April 11, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Anilinkz.com is the best site in my opinion. It has lots of animeseries and movies that you can watch online. It also has western cartoons like phineas and ferb, adventure time, etc. The website is free, no registration, and all the latest animes are there and always updated.

    • Josh W
      April 11, 2014 at 3:23 am

      Yes, but that website is clearly not "legal." I'm not saying that you're wrong for watching things there (that's your decision), but the premise of the article is pointing out "official" sites, which this Anilinkz.com clearly is not.

  25. Alt L
    April 10, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Hey! That lady at the start is Opera-tan (personification of the Opera browser)!

  26. Mohammad Hamzani S
    April 9, 2014 at 5:01 am

    many that i used not listed... i dont know if it got blocked in ur country or it just out of discuss. i often use this 3 site for most my anime collection. animeultima, animehere, and animeseason. this 3 major site that i used is free online streaming site and if used downloader that capture link, u will be able to download as well just in my case since i used public pc and download the anime and watch at home. althought it free, some anime or to been precise uploader used paid hosting like novavideo, veoh, mp4upload ang many more that are aid and really tricky just to watch the video. but mostly the vid been upload to free hosting or free account posting like auengine, yourupload, vidbox and trollvideo. so feel free to search this site up and enjoy watching or downloading anime..

  27. Baldlars
    April 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    For the past 8 years, I've been a paid member of CrunchyRoll because ...
    1) CrunchyRoll maintains licenses to legally stream all the shows, which means the artists are getting paid. Most other sites can not claim this.
    2) As a paid member, I can get my favorite anime (with English subtitles) three hours after it was aired in Japan, which CrunchyRoll can legally do in the United States.

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:48 am

      Good to know! I'm liking CrunchyRoll more and more. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Anonymous
      September 3, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      Yeah I personally love Crunchyroll. I use the free tier, so I have to sit through ads and wait a little longer for new episodes, but I still think it's awesome to have such a wide selection of anime that I can watch legally, and for free.

  28. Mohammad A
    April 8, 2014 at 6:28 am

    nice. this is some oase for anime reader

  29. Robert O
    April 8, 2014 at 12:22 am

    I'm half-Japanese. I spent my youth growing up in Japan, and enjoyed several anime shows on Japanese TV in the 80's. Doraemon, Lupin III, Ashita no Jo, Blue Noah, and (of course) Uchu Senkam Yamato ("Space Battleship Yamato/ Star Blazers"). These shows are probably before most Western anime fans' time, but I'm sure some "otaku" die-hards will recognise these shows.

    But I am mystified by the fascination the West has with anime/manga, especially the super-cutesy stuff that seems to be available on Hulu! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the fact that some facet(s) of Japanese culture is appealing to Westerners, but "kawaii" anime seems to go totally against the grain of Western "gritty" tastes.

    I don't get it. What's the appeal to you modern "otaku?" Now fighting robots, monsters, blood, and space battles I understand, but.... most of the shows seem to feature innocent high-school girls now. OK, I'm just an old guy, I guess. :-)

    • Josh W
      April 8, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Just like anything else, anime goes through trends, and now that anime fans have immediate access to what is popular in Japan, they end up gravitating toward the same things. As a result, it becomes a generational thing. In the 80s, American anime fans liked big robots as much as Japan did (Transformers, Battletech, etc). I consider myself an "old-school Toonami fan", so I became a huge fan of the stuff made in the 90s. Now, the current generation of Western anime fans like the kawaii/moe/cute-girls-doing-x phenomenon simply because that is what dominates the anime market these days. 10 years from now, it will be something completely different.

      While it may make sense that "grittier" stuff would be more popular in America in general (Akira, Dragon Ball Z, and Cowboy Bebop did do well here), that's on a major mainstream level. For the fans that go to websites like CrunchyRoll, they just want the latest from Japan, and the cuter stuff is what it happens to be at the moment. I think it's just part of the peculiarities of niche entertainment, especially since it comes from and is catered to the interests of a different country.

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:47 am

      Hmm, this conversation was fascinating. You learn something new everyday. :) Thanks, Robert and Josh.

  30. Justin D
    April 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    You know, I had never heard of Daisuki before, but it looks great! Thanks!

  31. Josh W
    April 7, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    There's certainly plenty more than four. If you take a look the subreddit /r/anime's wiki page (http://www.reddit.com/r/anime/wiki/legal_streams_/_downloads), you can see that there are quite a few more. Some worth noting are The Anime Network, AnimeSols, Daisuki, Funimation's own website, the ambitious Viki, and VizAnime.com (which is not on that list for some reason). To be fair, there is a considerable amount of overlap, as you will most likely see much of their content on Hulu or Netflix.

    In any case, there certainly are many options for legally watching anime online.