best anime services - spirited away on hbo max, image of a little girl sitting next to a ghost on a train

HBO

These are the best anime streaming services you need to know about

There's never been a better time to watch Japanese animation.

 

John-Michael Bond

Services

Posted on Jul 6, 2022

In the decades-long history of anime, there has never been a better time to watch or get into Japanese animation. What was once a game of Bittorrent, DVD collecting, and basic cable searching has become a wonderland of streaming options. But with so many options, what is the best anime streaming service? The answer depends on what you’re looking for. Let us guide you.

What is the best anime streaming service in 2022? 

best anime streaming - akira - kenada on the throne
Amazon

1) All around best anime streaming service: Hulu

You might be surprised to see Hulu at the top of this list. But Hulu has provided a world-class home for anime fans for years. Perfectly blending hot new releases with beloved classic catalog titles, Hulu keeps you up to date while feeding your nostalgia. In fact, Hulu might be the best starting place for new anime fans looking to explore. 

Learn why millions of people around the world have fallen in love with anime’s best. Titles like Attack on Titan, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, and legendary films like Akira. Or immerse yourself in some of today’s hottest new titles, such as Spy X Family or Demon Slayer.   

Looking to stay ahead of the curve? Hulu has simulcasts, delivering you the latest series direct from Japan the same day they air. Demon Slayer, Platinum End, How A Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, and more are currently simulcasting. Most importantly, Hulu lets you simulcast the final season of Attack on Titan

Most importantly, the classic series collection has to be seen to be believed. There’s a mini-history of modern anime awaiting. Just start with Mobile Suit Gundam Wing and trace through One Piece, Ranma ½, and Cowboy Bebop. Couple that with thousands of movies and TV that also come with Hulu and its an easy choice. 

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Hulu with ads$1.99/mo for a year
Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle$13.99


2) Best anime streaming service for older titles: Amazon Prime

Prime Video has slowly become of the best places for anime fans online. From beloved classic megahits like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Street Fighter II: The Movie to obscure treasures like Mobiy Dick: Great Whape in Space, Prime always delivers. 

The sheer variety of what’s offered is amazing. Amazon’s original series, such as its adaptation of Blade of the Immortal, are beautiful and thrilling. Viewers looking to catch up on anime’s greatest hits can explore Elfen Lied, Pokemon, Project A-ko, and Lupin the 3rd from the couch. Then dive into GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka, Lily C.A.T., or hundreds of other OVAs and films in the Prime library. 

However, its biggest title is Evangelion. While Netflix has the classic Evangelion series, the only place to stream Hideaki Anno’s modern reimaginings is Amazon Prime.

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Monthly (Prime
Video only)
$9.99
Annually (w/
Amazon Prime
subscription)
$139
Annual (w/
Prime Student
subscription)
$69

best anime streaming - my neighbor totoro
Amazon

3) Best anime streaming service if you want to watch Miyazaki: HBO Max

Of all the great options for anime fans in streaming HBO Max delivers the ultimate example of quality over quantity. On HBO Max you aren’t going to find hundreds of different OVA series and classic movies from the history of Anime. Instead HBO Max delivers a carefully selected collection of modern anime hits and some of the most important films in the genre’s history. 

In its new release section, you’ll find some of the biggest hit series the genre has released in years, from Hunter X Hunter and Ride Your Wave to Tokyo Revengers. There’s even Weathering With You, Makoto Shinkai’s Oscar-winning romantic fantasy masterpiece. But the crown jewel in HBO Max’s anime crown is the complete Hayao Miyazaki film collection. 

Since 1963 Hayao Miyazaki has brought his visionary eye for crafting magical fantasy adventures to the world of anime. However, until the launch of HBO Max, streaming his work was impossible. Now viewers can consume the entire 22-film Miyazaki movie library, along with two incredible documentaries covering the master. Fall in love with Ponyo, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and every other Studio Ghibli masterpiece over and over on HBO Max. 

hbo max
HBO
Monthly with Ads$9.99
Monthly$14.99
HBO


4) Best anime streaming service library: Crunchyroll

If all you care about is anime, it’s hard to beat the overwhelming library of Crunchyroll. You’ll currently find over 1,000 different anime series on the streaming platform, with more added every week. Thanks to a recent merger with Funimation, there’s a good chance that no matter what title you’re looking for Crunchyroll will have it. 

You’ll find mega-hits like SPY x FAMILY, Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Simulcasts of new release series from Japan like The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Estab Life: Great Escape, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon. Heck, you can finally watch all of Dragon Ball Z in one sitting. 

Crunchyroll also includes a free option, which makes it ideal for streaming fans on a budget who don’t mind standard-def video and ads. The only downside is Cruchy Roll’s app is incredibly dated, making it easy to lose track of what you’re watching sometimes. Still, Crunchyroll has the largest anime library around.  

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Hidive
FreeWith ads
Fan$7.99
Mega Fan$9.99
Ultimate Fan$14.99
Hidive

5) Best anime streaming service for niche titles: Hidive

Hidive is an incredible option for hardcore anime fans seeking out the latest simulcasts and deep cuts. Plenty of other services deliver Attack on Titan, Dragon Ball, or Assination Classroom. Hidive’s library of over 390 series and 175 full-length movies and original video anime mini-series digs deeper, while supplying a few surprise big names. 

However, shows like Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong to Try and Pick Up Girls In a Dungeon and Run With the Wind are still well worth your time. They just might leave you being the one introducing your friends to a new series. That being said if you dig there are plenty of anime classics to absorb. 

Every anime fan should see movies like Demon City Shinjuku, Venus Wars, Wicked City, Vampire Hunter D, and Cobra. Classic OVAs such as Blue Seed abound, ready to give modern shonen jump fans a thrill. However, the crown jewel in Hidive’s crown is Lupin the 3rd. Catch every OVA episode of the long-running series here on Hidive, from Part 1 to the modern Part 6. 

We wish Hidive’s streaming app was better, but the library is truly impressive. 

hidive service logo
hidive
Monthly$4.99
Yearly$47.99
hidive

6) Best anime streaming service for the classics: Netflix 

Over the years Netflix has heavily invested in anime, both funding its own original series and paying for the rights to major series. Given how much effort they’ve been put into building an anime audience, you might be surprised just how small the selection is. However, what you’ll find on Netflix is pretty hard to beat. Especially for new anime fans. 

Often Netflix’s anime section feels like a top 40 chart, offering crowd-pleasing mega-hits but not much else. If you haven’t seen One Piece, One Punch Man, Naruto, Attack on Titan, Sword Art Online, or Demon Slayer, get streaming right now on Netflix. The same goes for Death Note, Gantz: 0, and Demon Slayer.

You might expect more classic material given how lovingly Netflix treated Neon Genisis Evangelion. Netflix the home for streaming HD copies of the original Neon Genisis Evangelion series and each of its movies.  

Thankfully shows like A Whisker Away and Castlevania hold up on their own and show Netflix isn’t just making action shows. The question is if its worth $19.99 per month fro a great, but small anime section when so many others offer more for less. 

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Basic$8.99
Standard$13.99
Premium$17.99

What happened to Funimation? 

In March of 2022, Funimation announced it would be merging with Crunchyroll. While Funimation is still running until the end of Winter 2022, it is winding down operations and transferring clients over to Crunchyroll. We loved them too, and Funimation will be dearly missed. Thankfully, its titles will live on at Crunchyroll. 

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*First Published: Jul 6, 2022, 3:34 pm CDT