BY ANNA PAPACHRISTOS
It used to be a real challenge for anime fans to get of the shows they wanted in the U.S. Thankfully the internet has brought us a wealth of streaming options, and some of them won't cost you a dime.
Below you can explore some of the most popular (and expansive) streaming sites for anime enthusiasts.
By far one of the most popular anime sites, Crunchyroll offers fans an array of options. Users can access the latest episodes of their favorite series like Dragon Ball Super or Naruto Shippuden, as well as staples like One Piece and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Audiences can also to read a vast manga collection on site or via the Crunchyroll Manga app for iPhone and Android.
Crunchyroll provides news on the latest anime releases and developments, too, so fans can easily stay up-to-date on their favorite series and creators. Forums extend the experience by enabling likeminded viewers to connect and engage beyond the act of watching. Hardcore enthusiasts may find it worthwhile to upgrade their free, limited membership by subscribing to one of Crunchyroll’s premium packages. For just $6.95 per month, viewers gain access to all anime and manga on the site, ad-free HD playback, and simulcasts fresh from Japan.
Anime-Planet offers more than 40,000 streaming episodes thanks to its partnerships with similar providers, including Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Viki. Run by fans for fans, Anime-Planet also acts as an anime and manga recommendation database. Anime-Planet will recommend similar shows and manga based on series you’ve enjoyed in the past.
Users can also explore new anime options based on show and character preferences. Anime-Planet’s community further engages the audience by allowing fans to chat with one another and submit reviews that may help other users make decisions in the future. Season charts offer viewers guidance so they can focus on watching the latest episodes of their favorite series or binge watch titles they’ve yet to enjoy.
Like similar streaming sites, AnimeShow.tv offers fans access to an abundance of top anime series. While the homepage breaks everything into four categories—popular series, latest episodes, recently added, or ongoing—users can also search for their favorites alphabetically. By clicking the Genres tab, users can also sift through available titles. From comedy and drama to romance and horror, AnimeShow.tv makes it easy for users to discover new series.
Best of all, AnimeShow.tv features its "random anime" tab, which introduces users to something new every time it’s clicked. If users like what they see, they'll find a description of the given series and easy access to all available episodes, making this an ideal discovery tool for fans who are looking for something fresh to binge.
Though not as aesthetically pleasing, AnimeSeason provides many of the same perks and conveniences as AnimeShow.tv. Its homepage features the site’s newest additions alongside recent recommendations and recently rated anime. Using the left column, fans can explore ongoing series, while the navigation menu offers access to the site’s complete series listing, most recent series, highest rated series, and genre categories. While most of the pages are self-explanatory, the highest rated series section bases its ranking on the votes of other viewers on the site, disclosing each title’s total votes and percentage score in an effort to provide users with the most transparent experience possible.
Like AnimeShow.tv, AnimeSeason also presents users with a "random anime" button that exposes them to classic and current series. AnimeSeason also displays the given show’s latest rating, including both likes and dislikes, as well as corresponding recommendations and related titles.
Much like its counterparts, GoGoAnime offers an extensive library, ranging from classic series to the latest releases. Though the website’s layout leaves much to be desired—users can quickly become lost in its sea of titles—the content more than makes up for the lack of design. From ongoing series, to Japan’s newest shows, GoGoAnime promises it's the world’s largest free anime site. Like its counterparts, the site enables users to explore the latest manga offerings, however, clicking the link will automatically transfer readers to GoGoAnime’s sister site, MangaBB, which might seem inconvenient. But don’t worry—it’s worth the trip. MangaBB makes accessing all available installments and chapters incredibly easy, while the large images speed up the reading process overall.
GoGoAnime also offers access to an abundance of feature-length anime films, as well as dubbed versions of the most popular titles via AnimeToon. Viewers often prefer to watch anime with subtitles, but options are always welcome.