Where to watch Anime

So where can you watch good clean anime? Sadly I don’t know of any sites that have only clean anime, but there are a number of places I use to gather it all together. For me, it takes some sifting to find ones that are clean and wholesome. For you, I hope you can use my list of clean anime along with the list of sites below to speed up that process and jump right to the good ones.

Crunchyroll

This site is one of the first, if not possibly the first, site to do simulcasting. They do not simply just let you watch the shows in Japanese, but they are subtitled into English. Often they are available within an hour of the original telecast. I assume they get copies of the work ahead of time so they can prepare the subtitles. I’m also fairly sure they do those themselves since they are occasionally misspelled (not often, just enough to lead me to believe it is them doing the translation and not the original studio).

Anyway CR is a great site with lots of variety (as of this writing, they have around 500 anime shows in their catalog). Like most, this is a freemium service. Meaning you can watch for free (with commercials) in your web browser. With a paid account you can watch on your phone, iPad, Roku, Boxee, Wii U, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Vizio and Samsung TVs and Apple TV. Actually, looking at their site just now it appears that the free service allows you to stream to iOS and Android as well (I assume also with commercials).

A bonus that Crunchyroll has is that they also do simulpub manga publishing. Meaning when a new chapter of a manga is published in Japan, CR posts the English translated version as well. In the past you had to pay extra for the manga service, but in the past couple months CR switched to include that in their standard anime membership. Manga is available for viewing on their website as well as in an iOS app. I assume Android has an app too. The app is well written and allows me to get in and start reading right away without much delay. It is also easy to navigate and pick up where I left off last time.

Cost: $6.95/mo for Anime + Manga, or $11.95 for Anime + Manga + Drama (live action). If you do a year-long membership it is a cheaper price. Watch for free with commercials.
Shows: 500+
Languages: Mostly Japanese with English subtitles, though they do offer a few English translated shows.

Funimation

While Crunchyroll is like a TV channel allowing you to watch what others have made, Funimation is more like Disney. They make the shows (more specifically, they license the translation or distribution of the shows in the US) but they also have their own channel where you can watch them. Funimation also, as far as I can tell, only streams the shows they have licensed. Whereas the same is true for Crunchyroll, but CR will license from as many companies as it can.

This in no way is to put Funimation down, they do great work. While not always true, generally speaking when I see that something is licensed by them I expect to be of higher calibre work than some of the translation/distribution companies.

On to the streaming info. Funimation allows you to watch for free in your web browser. They have a lot of shows that are fully translated into English, but usually you can only watch the first episode for free. You have to have a paid membership to watch the entire series in English. On the other hand, if you are fine watching the subtitled version you can watch those for free (with commercials). One nice thing about Funimation is that if you like the show you can buy it from them and get it on DVD/Blu-Ray.

You can watch Funimation on their website on from your phone/tablet (Android and iOS and Kindle). The only set-top device they support currently is Roku – which for me is a big reason I have never setup a subscription with them. Not the Roku thing, but because it isn’t available on Apple TV and that is what I have. I don’t want to pull out my laptop to watch a TV show or use my 7-inch tablet instead of my big TV. It looks like they just got an app on the Xbox 360 and PS3 as not all parts of their website mention it.

Something to keep an eye on with Funimation is their new Broadcast Dubs. This is something they only started in November of 2014. Basically this means the show will be dubbed into English before it finishes airing in Japan. It isn’t clear if these are “final dubs” or cheap dubs. Meaning are the people used for the dubs the same ones that will appear in the final English release, or just cheap stand-ins until the real dub is done later.

Cost: $4.95/mo for unlimited subtitled shows; $7.95/mo for unlimited dubbed shows. Watch for free with commercials.
Shows: 300+
Languages: English and Japanese

The Anime Network

I don’t know much about them, I have only watched a few shows there, primarily just to get a feel for the site. They offer a number of shows, probably about 80% of them are dubbed into English. The site feels rather half-hazard, but it gets the job done. It seems like the only way to watch is on their website, and sometimes what is being streamed is actually coming from Hulu (maybe because I’m on the free membership).

The Anime Network also carries shows from various distributors, so they aren’t limited to just one source. However, because of that you can probably find most of the shows available other places. I won’t say don’t use them, but frankly if I can’t sit back on my couch and watch on my big TV, whats the point?

Cost: $6.95/mo or watch for free with commercials.
Shows: 350+
Languages: English and Japanese

Netflix

Netflix has begun to acquire quite the library of anime shows. Sadly, because they have no desire to carry a show that isn’t popular, most of the shows they carry are not clean. That isn’t to say that none of them are clean, but lets face it. Naked skin is what sells. Just ask the guy who bought a new car he didn’t need because he saw a half naked girl laying over the hood in a commercial.

I wouldn’t sign up for Netflix just to watch anime, if you are going to do that go with somebody that specializes in anime. However if you already have an Netflix subscription, or were thinking of getting one anyway, you can find some good shows on there. I would venture to say that the Japanese/English ratio of the shows is about 40% subtitled and 60% dubbed.

The downsides to Netflix. They have a relatively limited library of anime. They randomly remove shows without warning while you are in the middle of watching them. They have been making it harder and harder to see whats new (they used to have an RSS feed to let you know what was new, they got rid of it because they wanted to send out e-mails instead. Okay fine. I have never gotten an e-mail from them telling me whats new). They have almost no support (ever tried to contact them with a problem?). Their website gets worse with every update (try the search box, it only searches DVDs not streaming). Some of their shows are only available on DVD, but some of the discs are no-more so you can never watch the entire show.

The upsides are that you can watch it on your phone, tablet, TV, streaming set-top box, etc. The other upside is you get access to lots of other stuff too, not just anime.

Cost: $7.99/mo.
Shows: 65+
Languages: Japanese and English (somewhat limited)

Hulu

Personally, I hate Hulu. I have no valid reasons. I just hate them. Probably because back in the day when they were first starting up they made every effort possible to make you watch through their website. Anytime somebody found a way to let you watch on your TV (via things like XBMC and the like) Hulu would do something to “fix the problem” so you couldn’t anymore. Now days they are better, and officially they do support pretty much the same list of things as Netflix and CR, but I will always have a bad taste in my mouth about them because of their origins.

Like Netflix, I wouldn’t sign up for Hulu just to watch Anime. But it is a nice bonus if you already have a Hulu account. Unfortunately because of the way they list Anime there is no way to get a reasonable guess as to the number of shows they have. You have to browse by sub-category and many shows are in multiple categories. For watching, that is fine. But when I am trying to just browse the entire library to make a list of shows I want to watch, kind of annoying. So the number below is based off the largest sub-category.

Unlike Netflix you can watch for free on Hulu if you don’t mind commercials.

Cost: $7.99/mo or watch for free with commercials.
Shows: 230+
Languages: Japanese with subtitles (maybe some English)

Amazon / eBay

Yes, even Amazon carries some streaming anime. Generally speaking I don’t buy anime new(-ish) on disc because it is wildly expensive. When a show is new it will sell for $50-$60 easy – for a freaking 12 episode show! Here is the kicker, find a show that is 24 episodes in the season, same price! Morons. The world is filled with morons who can’t do math, all they can do is supply and demand. Moving on. As I said, I don’t usually buy them unless I know they are clean (from watching the subtitle version on CR for example) and I can get a good deal on them.

If the show is a bit older you can find somebody re-selling it on eBay even for a decent price. The best way to go about it on eBay would be to find somebody that is selling their collection. You will find people selling 30+ DVDs for $50, and it isn’t hard to find some that include 1-2 series’ that you are interested in. So you buy two shows for the price of one and get an extra 20 or so DVDs of anime that you can either toss or give a watch to.

If you really want to feel like an über collector, filter your eBay search to laserdisc. Talk about some old school stuff.

Article image featuring Wikipe-tan by Wikipedia user Kasuga, derived from Malyszkz’s work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *