Best Practices: Supporting Anime You Watch Online

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We here at OtakuSpirit love our anime.  Just as many reading this do as well.  However getting your hands on it is not always easy.  Costs, viruses, conscience, and even legalities are always a running factor.  The other aspect is always that we truly want to support our anime to help it grow and be successful.  That’s why we are constantly seeking great new ways to consume anime and get it into other people’s hands.

That’s where this article comes into play.  This article is for those that are looking for a method to watch their beloved anime without any doubts of its legit or legal use.  We have scoured the internets and found the best and decent places to get anime.  Best of all, they support those titles and keep you free from possible finger pointing.

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By far one of the main go-to places for our anime consumption is Crunchyroll.  With the highest turnout for up-to-date titles and a good selection of older titles.  All this with regularly added new content.  This is probably our pick 9 times out of 10.  They also have a Roku app, although it forces a maximum resolution of 480p.  However they also have Xbox and Playstation console apps that can stream up to 1080p.

Crunchyroll offers free legal streaming for those that do not wish to pay.  Though it is supported by ads, only offers 480p resolution, and has a one week delay on current simulcasts.  For those looking to pay a monthly fee, they offer streaming of up to 1080p with no ads and up to date simulcasts of new series.

As a side note, for those interested in it.  Crunchyroll also offers J-Dramas as well as an added manga reader.  Then there’s the J-Pop news and an online store that sells many products at cost.  Including Nendoroids and figs!

Free Streaming: Yes w/ ads
Subscription: $6.95 a month.
Resolutions: 480/720/1080

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Funimation is a great second choice for us.  We have had a few snags here and there but they have one of the better backlogs of titles.  If Crunchyroll doesn’t get the title you want, it’s usually at Funimation.  However on the downside, they don’t get many of the currently airing shows.  With that in mind, you may not be able to get by on just older titles forever.  Though you can browse their selection to see if it’ll benefit you.

That being said, Funimation is one of the biggest American Publisher of Anime, so they have a huge selection of titles in their store for sale.  A lot of them are both dubbed and subbed.  They also offer free legal streaming for those looking for a cheaper route.  Similar to Crunchyroll you’ll have ads, be limited to 480p resolution, as well as wait a week after a simulcast’s initial release.

Free Streaming: Yes w/ ads
Subscription: $7.95 a month.
Resolutions: SD/HD Toggle

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While I tend to use Viz as a last resort due to ads, they do offer free anime.  They don’t have a subscription based service, but rather only offer easy access to anime.  They also occasionally get up-to-date anime.

As a note for this company. These guys are the biggest importer of manga in America, so they have a huge manga selection.

Free Streaming: Yes w/ ads
Subscription: None
Resolutions: 480p

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These guys have been around for a while and went legit shortly after Crunchyroll.  They offer a very limited selection but they do offer some of the selections that are hard to come by.

From my experience they are a little hit and miss when it comes to connectivity so it’s hard to truly suggest them as a provider.  However they do have good quality streaming and they do not force ads if you get a subscription.

Free Streaming: Yes w/ ads
Subscription: $6.95 a month.
Resolutions: 480p

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This is a conglomeration of smaller anime companies that pulled together to offer anime to the American market.  They have a hit and miss selection but they promise to be your go-to spot.

Free Streaming: Yes w/ ads
Subscription: None
Resolutions: 480p

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Would you believe if I told you they have anime on the anime news network?  Well, actually they don’t.  As far as I can tell it’s just a pointer to the places you can get particular titles. Nice place to look though if you have a title you are just having a hard time finding.

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I do not particularly care for Netflix for one main reason.  They have a cycle system. By cycle I mean they may have one selection up for a month then they cycle another selection for the next.  This is to keep their licenses valid.  The cycle is generally only forced on older titles.  Other then that, they have a decent backlog of anime.

As a side note, if you’re streaming on a Roku device, they run at 1080p.

Free Streaming: No
Subscription: $7.99 a month.
Resolutions: 480/720/1080

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This is the bane of my existence when it comes to streaming anime.  They are the closest thing to a catchall.  They have a fairly decent selection as they catch most anything that Crunchyroll does not and even some that it does.  They also have the back log of all of Funimations, Daisuki, Viz and Aniplex.  Their backlog rivals that of Netflix and includes most of the upper mentioned smaller companies.

It’s important to note that they have an app for Roku, Xbox, Playstation, and most smartphones.  The big issue with hulu is that even with a subscription, you’re still subjected to ads.  9 out of 10 times, it’s not even ads that are targeting you as an anime viewer.  On top of that, you’re subjected to 3 ads per ad break and there’s about 3 ads per 25 minute show.

Free Streaming: Yes w/ limited access
Subscription: $7.99 a month w/ ads
Resolutions: 480/720

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Yes, YouTube is more than just a location for people to sneak on horizontally flipped shows that get flagged and pulled down.  Some of the other smaller companies will offer their content on YouTube. Just look for their official channel and you will usually find them. Only issue is this is very scares and difficult to find any guarantee in.

Free Streaming: Yes w/ ads
Subscription: Per Publisher (rare)
Resolutions: 480/720/1080

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That concludes our list of anime streaming sites that give you legit, safe, and anime supporting content. If you have any others you know of, let us know in the comments.  Also, what are your experiences with these sites?

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. Chris has been a fan of anime for over 20 years. Once amassing a huge collection of DVDs during the DVD boom, he's consumed hundreds of shows and isn't looking to stop any time soon.

  • wan

    As I expected most of these are region locked, but at least Crunchyroll and Daisuki seem to work. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Zeruel

      Yeah, that’s one of the major problems with putting together a definitive list. Unfortunately there’s so many restrictions. However I’m glad you got a few out of them. Including the best 😀 Thanks for the comment!

  • Thanks for the comment Wan. Its good to know about the region lock. It is helpful information to people in those regions.