The video streaming world has become something huge in a very short time.
There’s a service for everything you want and need; movies, TV series, sports, anime, etc.
But if you’re an Anime fan, which service should you sign up for? With so many to choose, you can’t get them all. Inside we’ll be rounding them up and discussing their features.
How many services are available now? Do they require payment? Do they have geo-restrictions and blocking? What do they offer in their catalogues?
Keep reading this article, and I’ll give you a tour through all the anime streaming services you can access according to your preference and budget.
Crunchyroll is the biggest American distributor, publisher, and licensing company focused on streaming anime, manga, and dorama.
Their international presence assures them over 35 million members worldwide, and they have over 900 anime shows, 200 Asian dramas, and 50 manga titles. Of course, not everything is available in all regions due to licencing restrictions.
They began their activity in 2006 in a very shady terrain, where they upload fansubbed versions of East Asian TV shows.
Little by little, they began to make legal agreements with Japanese companies and studios, and they committed to get rid of all the material that was copyright-infringing.
Today, they’re the most important reference when it comes to legal anime distribution online, with the biggest series catalogue and simulcast with Japan.
You can have a free account and access a large part of the catalogue with some restrictions. These include things like ads in every video, delay on the simulcast with Japan, and HD not available for everything.
With the premium account, you have full access to all the content including the manga catalogue.
The premium plan has three subscription options: monthly, three-month package, and the yearly package. Of course, if you subscribe to the annual package, you save money.
Hidive is the most direct competitor to Crunchyroll, focusing only on anime streaming.
Their catalogue is not so big, but they have some exclusive simulcast series and some classic old anime for the nostalgic fans.
After the closure of Anime Network Online and Anime Strike, Hidive acquired these two service’s catalogues. They also have an exclusive deal with Sentai Filmworks to stream their licensed series.
They only offer paid subscriptions to access to their content, with a monthly plan and a yearly package. Although they’re a little cheaper than Crunchyroll, they have a smaller catalogue and several series you can already find on other streaming services.
They have both subbed and dubbed series. The dubbed series are only in English.
It’s a good option to keep in mind, mainly if you’re more of a casual anime watcher and you don’t want to invest so much money per month.
We all know Netflix, and probably, we all have a Netflix account.
Yes, they don’t focus exclusively on anime, but lately, they have been investing a lot in Japanese animation, producing their own series and daring to give simulcast a try.
Of course, their anime catalogue is tiny in comparison to Crunchyroll. Still, they compensate this with classic series which aren’t available on any other website such as Evangelion, Death Note, Black Lagoon, etc. and their original productions.
If you aren’t so much into the lastest trend in anime, and you just want to pay for one service, then Netflix is a great option for you.
4. Amazon Prime
Just like Netflix, Amazon Prime’s main focus isn’t anime. Still, after Anime Strike, a subscription-based video-on-demand service for Amazon Channels closed, its catalogue was incorporated to Amazon Prime.
They have some exclusive titles, they also are co-producing anime with Japanese studios. The US version has simulcast, but in other regions like Latin America, they only upload the series once they’re finished.
Like Netflix, it’s a good option if you’re a casual anime viewer and you don’t want to pay for an extra service.
Funimation is only available in the US. So, if you want to access it from another country, you’ll need a very good VPN (learn more about using a VPN with Funimation here)
Funimation is currently owned by Sony Pictures, so most of the series of their catalogue belongs to Sony and Anip
Although they have subbed material, their strongest point is offering dubbed version of their licensed anime.
They were one of the first anime streaming services available when Crunchyroll was still in their shady period. Sadly, they didn’t expand so much, and due to their licenses being tied to the American territory, they couldn’t offer the service in other regions.
VRV is an over-the-top streaming service that joins together anime, animation, gaming, fantasy, and comedy.
Even though it can be streamed for free, there are some paid subscriptions and a premium bundle.
It’s comprised of several channels, including Crunchyroll and Hidive services. It can be accessed through their website, and it’s available in app form for several devices and OS.
The service is only available for the US, so if you want to subscribe to it, you’ll need a VPN.
Hulu is more in line with services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. They don’t focus on anime, but they have the biggest section devoted to it with around 400 titles.
Some series are available on other services like Crunchyroll and Netflix, but they have some exclusive deals with classic anime such as Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon.
Hulu is only available in the US and Japan, but if you don’t live in any of these two countries, a VPN will easily solve your problem.
8. CONtv (Viewster)
Viewster was created in 2007 as a global video-on-demand service. The service was available in more than 120 countries.
At the beginning of this year, in February 2019, Viewster was acquired by Cinedigm and it was replaced by CONtv.
CONtv is a free streaming service just like Viewster used to be with the option of a premium subscription which gives access to all the content ads free.
Focused on comic-con activity, they offer TV series, movies, anime, and everything related to the geek culture.
Regarding anime, their section isn’t so big, but the titles are mostly classic and old series you won’t find in any other place.
The apps are available for iOS and Android in their respective app stores, and the premium membership can be purchased only in the apps.
In general, it’s a good option to watch movies and anime for free and access series that have been lost into oblivion for a long time.
Anime is a universe itself, and when it comes to streaming services, it has its specific ones.
From exclusive anime streaming services like Crunchyroll to Netflix and Amazon Prime that offer anime sections in their big catalogues. The thing is Japanese animation is always present as a strong offering in the streaming world.
And remember: if you want to access Crunchyroll’s catalogue from other regions, or Funimation and Hulu from outside the US, you can get a VPN like ExpressVPN that will allow you to skip the geo-restrictions and access all the content without issues in any country.