The term anime has become more well known throughout the world as more people discover what anime is and as more content showcasing anime has become available on the internet and other forms of media. In this article I discuss the 4 best places to watch anime on the internet for free. Some of these you may already know about and some you might not have thought of when you were looking for a place to watch anime.
1: Crunchyroll (www.crunchyroll.com)
Crunchyroll is a website that has a very good selection of anime related content on it. The site keeps up to date with information about the seasons and even does have some simulcasts that its members can watch. Crunchyroll also boasts many drama and pop culture shows from Japan, Korea, and other places. They recently added manga to their site that people can read as well as having a news feed that always has interesting articles on it.
One of the major issues with the site is the ads. The site is covered with so many ads that it can seem sometimes like the site cares more about how many ads are up then the content they are providing. There are times when you have to go through an ad even before you get to the main page even as a premium member. Also while the site does have a large collection of anime they do remove anime from the site without giving a reason why it is being removed which does makes it hard to discover older anime that you might be interested in or watch a series that you have not seen in a while. Something else that the site has a real issue with is keeping series up to date. An example of this is that in the current season a show might be 5 episodes in to the season while Crunchyroll will only have episode 1 up to view. This is something that all sites seem to have an issue with and might be an industry wide problem but it is still something worth mentioning.
Something that Crunchyroll does very well is the community and their premium content. Crunchyroll promotes their community extensively and wants their users to post on the forums and update their profiles and read their news articles. Something else that Crunchyroll has done is make their content available on multiple devices and even on game consoles. This allows a person to watch anime on their phone or a tablet and even their Xbox or Playstation. The monthly subscriptions that Crunchyroll offer have prices that very starting at $6.95 US and ending at $11.95 US. The premium side of the site gets you access to all the shows and manga on the site as well as gets rid of most of the ads on the site. The premium membership is not required if you just want to pop in and watch a show though you may have to sign up for a free membership if you want to watch content with a mature rating. App for devices and Game consoles.
2: Hulu (www.hulu.com)
Hulu might not be a site that you think of when you are looking for a place to watch anime but it does have a large selection of anime on it and even has series from the most recent season. They also have shows from all the major studios so they are not limited in what kinds of shows you will find on the site. Hulu does a good job of limiting their ads to only on the videos that you are watching and does not have them all over the site distracting you from what you are there to see. Also when you want to take a break from watching anime, Hulu also has a very wide range of shows from the US and beyond for everyone to watch without having to have a premium membership.
Now Hulu does suffer from the same issues that the other anime sites have and that is the delay in showing episodes from the current season but it does have a large selection of anime with subtitles and dubbing so you can get the best of both subtitles and hearing English actors bringing your favorite characters to life. One thing that Hulu does not have is any kind of community. This site is only about watching shows and does not have any forums or community features for its members to use.
Hulu offers a paid premium membership that gets rid of some of the ads on the videos and allows you to watch more videos and watch them on a mobile device. The price of the premium membership is only $7.99 US and considering you also get to watch more US shows as well as all the anime on the site the price is a pretty good deal.
3: Anime Network (http://www.theanimenetwork.com)
Anime Network has a very large selection of anime for visitors to watch from multiple different studios. It has shows that go back a few years and even has both subbed and dubbed versions of many anime for those people that like to watch anime dubbed. The site does a good job of keeping the ads on the site to a minimum and keeps them from being of things that you may not have any interest in.
Something to note is that sometimes the Anime Network video you are watching will play the video from Hulu which is fine but then you might as well just go to Hulu to watch it in the first place. Something that Anime Network does well is promoting the industry as well as promoting a community on their site. They have both a community tab and a forums where people can post about anime and read more information about anime that others have watched. Anime Network can also be seen at some of the more larger conventions with a booth and doing panels. Anime Network is one of the few anime providers that has a channel that shows anime on most major TV providers which gives you another place to watch anime if your TV provider has the channel.
Anime Network does offer a premium side to their site and with a price of $6.95 US it is right in line with other places to watch anime like Crunchyroll and Hulu. The premium membership will get rid of the ads on the videos and adds more anime to watch but even without the premium membership there is plenty to see without having to pay a monthly fee. Just like the last two places Anime Network has the same issue with having all the up to date episodes from the current season on the site right after they air on TV.
Funimation is one of the largest anime studios that is bringing anime content to the US and around the world. Their website has a large selection of all the anime that they have licensed that people can watch and buy. This means that if you watch an anime that you like you will be able to buy the DVD or BlueRay right from their site and directly from the studio. While their selection is quite large it is only series that they have licensed so you will not be able to find series from any other studio on the site.
The good thing about them putting up their own anime is that as an episode airs on TV they are able to put it on to site for people to view in a short period of time sometimes they even get it up as it is airing on TV. Funimation does a great job of promoting the industry they are in and the anime community by allowing people to post on the forums as well as going to conventions all across the US and the world. They can be found at conventions selling DVDs and BlueRays as well as doing showings of upcoming series that they are releasing.
Funimation does have a very good premium side to their site which gives you both subbed and dubbed anime as well as discounts in their store and no ads on the videos. The price is right around the others with plans ranging in price from $4.95 US to $6.95 US. Even though you only get access to Funimation licensed anime the other benefits of this premium membership make it well worth it for any anime fan. Even without the premium membership the Funimation still has loads of content on their site for free and with only a few ads on the videos.
While all four of these great sites may not have all the anime that come out every season they are still the best places to watch anime and support the community also watching anime on these sites will help to promote and expand the industry which will increase the amount of anime that the Japanese studios will let be licensed around the world. There are plenty of fan subs out there and sites that host these subs but the issue is that they are not promoting the studios that are bringing the anime to us and should only be used for anime that you can’t find on sites that are legally licensing anime to show in the US. I hope you enjoyed this look at these sites and will check them out in your hunt for more anime.
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