If you are fond of Japanese animation, you probably already know that it differs significantly from American animation. From great characters and nice music to unique storylines and beautiful graphics, Japanese anime has gained fame worldwide.
However, while you have plenty of options when it comes to watching anime online, a vast majority of them are location-locked. This means that they can only be accessed from certain countries, making it quite difficult to catch your favorite anime series.
Fret not, though! In this in-depth guide, we will show you exactly how to watch anime online so you can access the best anime episodes as soon as they are aired.
Best Streaming Services to Watch Anime Online 2021
Now that you know how to unlock streaming services using PureVPN, let’s take a closer look at some of the best streaming sites that you can use to watch your favorite Japanese anime:
Watch Anime Online: Crunchyroll
If you want access to a never-ending selection of anime (which anime fan wouldn’t?), then Crunchyroll is just the streaming service you need to get your hands on.
It’s an anime fan’s paradise as it offers thousands of episodes across a broad variety of genres, plenty of Japanese simulcasted shows, as well as some films. The service offers Romance, Action, Historical, Science Fiction, Adventure, Seinen/Mature, Ecchi, Mecha, Fantasy, Comedy, Sports, Shoujo, Slice of Life, Drama, and Shounen.
Regardless of what anime genre you are interested in, rest assured that Crunchyroll’s extensive catalog has got you covered.
Who is it for exactly? Hardcore anime fans who want hundreds of Japanese animation series at the tip of their fingers.
How to stream it? Crunchyroll works on PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Amazon Fire Devices, Roku, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Windows, Android, and iOS phones.
How to Watch Anime Online: Funimation
The streaming service aims to draws in anime fans with a massive catalog of classic shows as well as brand new dubbed content.
Though a fair amount of overlap exists between Funimation and Crunchyroll, each service is home to hundreds of options that you won’t be able to find on the other. Funimation may not have as many genres as Crunchyroll, but it still has a large scope of titles across every anime type.
The choices available include Slice of Life, Action/Adventure, Shounen, Comedy, Shoujo, Drama, Sci-Fi, Fan Service, Romance, Fantasy, Psychological, Horror, and Live-Action.
Who is it for exactly? Anime lovers who are looking for a massive catalog of dubbed movies and series instead of subtitled ones. Also, if you want to watch everything Dragon Ball Z!
How to stream it? You can watch Funimation on all major streaming options like Kindle Fire, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS, Windows, and Android phones.
Watch Anime Online: Netflix
One of the largest and most popular streaming services in the world, Netflix has more than one million subscribers and is investing heavily in the anime scene.
However, there’s one downside: a lack of options. There are 119 or so titles available for streaming, but most of them are almost exclusively action-oriented.
Who is it for exactly? Those people who like anime and just want a limited number of titles to watch.
How to stream it? Netflix can be streamed on just about any streaming option out there – from Kodi and game consoles to streaming stick/devices and what not.
How to Watch Anime Online: Amazon Prime
The first-ever on-demand anime channel for Amazon Prime, Anime Strike was a subscription-based service that offered a well-curated list of films and series. Now the catalog has been incorporated into Amazon Prime
Included titles such as Paprika, Vampire Hunted D, Tokyo Godfathers and Akira are a must-watch for any fan of anime. The library has a thousand episodes, but they are spread across around 100 or so titles.
That’s barely a fraction of what services like Crunchyroll and Funimation have to offer, that too, for a similar monthly price!
Who is it for exactly? People who love Amazon Prime’s user interface, and hate the idea of juggling between multiple apps.
How to stream it? Amazon Prime can be streamed on just about any streaming option out there – from Kodi and game consoles to streaming stick/devices and what not.
Watch Anime Online: Hulu
Popular streaming service, Hulu is silently becoming a force to reckon with in the anime streaming landscape.
It offers a collection of beloved series from the 90’s such as Slayers, Cowboy Bebop, Rurouni Kenshin, Fist of the North Star and Ranma ½. If you are looking for something new to watch, Hulu simulcasts episodes of eight different anime series as they broadcast in Japan.
The service also offers some of the best movies, including titles like Trigun: The Movie, Ghost in the Shell, and Ninja Scroll. However, while the movie selection is good quality-wise, the same can’t be said about its quantity. After all, there are only a few dozen films on offer.
Who is it for exactly? If you want a bigger selection of anime than what Netflix has to offer, but also want to be able to stream non-anime movies and TV shows.
How to stream it? Just like Netflix, you can stream Hulu on almost every game console, streaming stick/device, and smartphone known to mankind.
How to Watch Anime Online: YouTube
If you want to watch anime for free, nothing can beat YouTube. Home to most of the world’s video content, it offers plenty of anime to choose from.
You will be able to find countless modern hits and classics that haven’t yet made it to the US, but there’s a catch: the quality of videos varies greatly. Also, finding the audio or subtitles you want can prove to be a challenging task, but that’s probably going to be the least of your concern.
Besides, you don’t try to find free content on YouTube because you are particular about the video quality or dubs; you go to look for things you can’t find elsewhere.
Who is it for exactly? People who want to watch anime without paying for a subscription to a streaming service.
How to stream it? YouTube works on every smartphone, computer, smart TV, game console and streaming device/stick on the market.
Watch Anime Online: Animelab
AnimeLab is by far the most budget-friendly option if you’ve begun to grow an interest in anime and want a service that can act as a good “try before you buy” kind of a platform. That is exactly what AnimeLab is thanks to its catalog that contains popular mainstream anime like Naruto and Dragon Ball Z to niche shows like A Certain Scientific Accelerator.
Moreover, the website is owned by Sony’s Aniplex division, meaning you also have access to thousands of anime series developed outside of Japan. You can watch most shows for free but the $7 per month package would get you access to 4K video quality, both subbed and dubbed versions, no ads, and perhaps most importantly, no delays in simulcasts at all.
Who is it for exactly? Like Anime-Planet and Crunchyroll, AnimeLab is filled with some of the best anime Japan has to offer.
How to stream it: You can easily go to its website or download its app on all major devices and operating systems without any hitches.
Watch Anime Online: VRV
Anime streaming giants like Crunchyroll have been operating in the industry for over a decade. However, VRV is a new kid in town, launched in 2016. Available only in the US, VRV isn’t a standalone streaming service but an aggregation platform that brings all the great services under one roof.
In other words, once you subscribe to VRV, you can switch to different streaming channels with a single click and watch all your favorite anime, cartoons, shows, lifestyle programs, documentaries and more. After all, the service is home to many favorite channels like Crunchyroll, Boomerang, Shudder, Curiosity Stream, Mondo Media and more. In fact, Funimation was also a proud partner until November 2018 when it left VRV.
Who is it for exactly? Since the platform aggregates content from different channels, it is an ideal place for anime fans, fans of animated content, horror-movies lovers, and more.
How to stream it? Apart from web streaming, the service also offers a wide range of applications for iOS devices, Android devices, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and Ruko.
How to Watch Anime Online: Adult Swim
As the name suggests, the cable network channel, Adult Swim features anime, live actions, and mockumentaries that might feature sexual references and discussions. It is because of such content that the channel airs every night from 9 pm to 6 am when the children are fast asleep.
Adult Swim is a programming block on the popular American channel, Cartoon Network. It is because of the immense popularity of the channel that now it is currently being offered as a streaming service as well. In fact, the channel has a massive reach of over 90 million American households.
Anyway, you can find a good load of anime on it such as Hunter x Hunter, Dragon Ball Super, and more. Apart from anime and cartoons, you can also find popular music albums as well as games for your iOS and Android apps.
Who is it for exactly? The service is perfect for all those Americans who are looking for a service that offers popular dub anime.
How to stream it? You can stream Adult Swim shows via its web service, Android app, iOS app, Fire TV and Apple TV
Watch Anime Online: Anime-Planet
Well, any anime fan who knows about Crunchyroll must also be familiar with Anime-Planet. After all, the streaming service boasts over 50,000 episodes of all the best anime ever. However, only the US audience gets the lion’s share while the rest of the countries get different levels of access. The content access depends on the broadcasting license, which means if the publisher doesn’t have a broadcasting license in your country, you won’t be able to stream the show at all…unless; you access it via a VPN.
All in all, Anime-Planet has a great inventory of anime as well as manga. Moreover, it has a rich community of fans who are ready to discuss shows whenever you give them a shout.
Who is it for exactly? If you love Crunchyroll, you will definitely love Anime-Planet.
How to stream it? For now, you can watch anime-planet shows via its web service.
How to Watch Anime Online: Crackle
Crackle bears some similarities with Netflix and Hulu, in that the streaming service is plagued by regional limitations. It offers Sony’s long-length original shows, and also shows acquired from different publishers such as 20th Century Fox, Miramax, The Walt Disney Company, Aniplex, and Funimation, to name a few.
If we are to talk, specifically, about anime, you can find a lot of Funimation-owned shows on Sony’s Crackle including popular titles like D-Gray Man, The Future Diary, Steins Gate, Psycho-Pass and Assassination Classroom to name a few. The best aspects of the streaming service are that you don’t even need to sign up or sign in to watch some anime and you can continue the show from where you left.
Who is it for exactly? If you are into dubbed anime plus some original shows, you would probably like Crackle.
How to stream it? You can stream content on Crackle via its web streaming service, or you can also access it via its apps for iOS, Android, TVOS, gaming consoles, etc.
Top 10 Anime That Everyone Needs to Watch
Here’s a list of the 10 most interesting, entertaining and exhilarating anime you should see before you die:
- Death Note
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Dragon Ball Z
- Fairy Tail
- Boku No Hero Academia
- Hunter x Hunter
- Cowboy Bebop
- Hellsing Ultimate
Why Do You Need a VPN for Streaming?
To access the plethora of streaming services that offer Japanese anime, you will need to get yourself a reliable virtual private network – also commonly referred to as a VPN. Basically, a VPN for streaming changes your real IP and virtual location to that of any country in the world, allowing you to get around any digital roadblocks and enjoy the latest anime.
Not only this, a VPN will also secure all of your internet traffic with top-of-the-line 256-bit encryption to prevent any prying eyes from seeing what you are doing online or stealing your personal information.
PureVPN offers 6500+ servers in 200+ countries for unlimited and uninterrupted anime streaming on any device from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, you will get blazing fast connection speeds, irrespective of the device you are using, courtesy of hundreds of streaming-optimized servers.
There are many streaming services out there (both free and paid) which offer a wide selection of Japanese anime, but they can’t be accessed from everywhere. With PureVPN on your device, you can easily jump over any digital hurdles and watch Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Death Note, Digimon, or any other anime for that matter, from anywhere in the world!