Legal Anime Exists: 4 Websites Where You Can Watch Anime For Free (Or Cheap)

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Looking to watch more anime, but not sure where to find it online? Look no further. These four websites make anime more accessible to the general public than ever before — and they’re completely legal! Three out of the four are even free.

Anime, Japanese animated TV shows and movies, has exploded in popularity in recent years, and more and more people outside of Japan are discovering this awesome fusion of storytelling, art, music, and animation.


CrunchyRoll is currently the ruler of legally streaming anime. You can watch videos without an account, or create a free account to keep track of what you’ve seen and add new shows to your queue. CrunchyRoll offers paid membership plans other than the basic free option.


They have a wonderful selection of shows from One Piece to Sword Art Online, although it is missing some big names like Fullmetal Alchemist. Regardless, this should be your first stop when shopping around for anime.

CrunchyRoll also has manga, the comics that many of the animes are based on, and a good amount of Asian dramas and Asian pop music videos. Along with a news section, forums, and a store, the whole website is just a wonderful community for anyone interested in any form of Asian media.


They’ve an iOS app and an Android app that are available for free , and the apps, while quite minimal, certainly get the job done.

CrunchyRoll also has other devices well covered. Upgrading to the $6.95 per month anime membership plan will get rid of the video ads, allow streaming on all available devices including game consoles, Roku, and Apple TV. You’ll also get fast email support, discounts at the store, access to full HD streams, and be able to see shows the same day they’re aired in Japan. They also have a $11.95 per month plan that gives you access to all the manga and Asian dramas on their website as well. Compare their membership plans and sink into 12,000 hours of anime, Korean drama and live-action titles they promise.


Netflix is the only option on this list without a free version, but Netflix is worth the $7.99 a month for instant streaming. My favorite part about watching anime on Netflix is that you can switch seamlessly between watching with Japanese audio and English subtitles to watching the dubbed version with English audio. Dubbed or subbed? You decide.


Finding anime on the website is as simple as clicking on Watch Instantly and then clicking on Anime. While Netflix’s selection is pretty good, it also lacks some big names like One Piece. However, a Netflix subscription supplemented with some of the other services on this list make for a pretty complete anime collection.


It has a solid Web version and Windows 8 app (read our review of the two Netflix tools), as well as apps for iOS, Android, and even game consoles and smart TVs. The Android and Windows 8 apps have been smooth and quick in my experience, and Netflix does a great job of separating shows into relevant categories and then recommending similar ones to you.


One of the best options for watching TV online, Hulu also should get some credit for having a wide range of anime content. Similar to CrunchyRoll, you can either watch shows without an account or create a free account for tracking what you’ve seen.


You can find anime from the main page by clicking More and then clicking Anime. Since I usually prefer to watch dubbed shows instead of subbed shows (sorry), I find Hulu a little lacking because it separates dubbed shows from subbed shows and has a much larger subbed selection. Still, there overall collection is huge and varied in many genres, so you should definitely take a look.


The paid version, Hulu Plus, will set you back $7.99, and while it doesn’t remove ads, it does give you access to more content, allows you to stream in HD, and allows you to use Hulu Plus on your mobile devices, game console, or smart TV.

Hulu is officially only available in the US, but don’t worry, there are some easy ways to access region blocked media 2 Effective Ways to Access Region-Blocked Videos Without a VPN 2 Effective Ways to Access Region-Blocked Videos Without a VPN Internet users outside of the United States are blocked from accessing the wealth of streaming video and music content available to Americans. Even Americans are deprived of international services like BBC iPlayer. Faced with this,... Read More .


Finding anime on YouTube can be a bit trickier, but it’s definitely out there. YouTube has an Animated TV Shows section, with some anime, but this also mixes in a lot of American cartoons and kids shows.

However, there are legitimate uploads to be found. Daisuki has posted all 25 episodes of Sword Art Online on YouTube, and Funimation has uploaded both Fullmetal Alchemist and its remake that stays truer to the manga, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. You can check out Daisuki and Funimation’s channels for more anime from them, but your fastest way of finding anime on YouTube is with a simple search.


YouTube doesn’t have many of the advantages of the other services, like a community built around Asian media or consistency with subtitles, but it is free and widely known and used. If an anime you’d like to watch can’t be found on any of the services mentioned before, try YouTube.


If you love anime that much, you’ll definitely be interested in these top anime communities online The Best Anime Sites 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 as well as manga resources, such as the best sites to read manga online 5 Sites to Read Manga Online for Free and Entirely Legal 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 . Not to mention that Tumblr has a few good blogs you should follow for some anime- and manga-inspired cosplaying 8 Awesome Tumblr Blogs Every Cosplayer Should Follow 8 Awesome Tumblr Blogs Every Cosplayer Should Follow Instead of going to Comic Con, what if you could just sit back and look at some pictures of the incredibly creative cosplay costumes that people have made? That's where Tumblr comes in. Read More .

Explore more about: Comics, Hulu, 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!

  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 "".

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

    One of my favorite site to watch anime is Animehere xD

  21. 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.

  22. Abdul Amer
    April 11, 2014 at 2:27 am 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 clearly is not.

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

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

  24. 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..

  25. Saumyakanta S
    April 9, 2014 at 4:07 am

    there is another site -

    • Jeb
      April 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm

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

    • 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.

  26. 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.

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

    nice. this is some oase for anime reader

  28. 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.

  29. 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 (, 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 (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.

  30. Ah Rip X
    April 7, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    i never tried this, but it seems to be one of the good alternatives too

    • Justin D
      April 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm

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