We now live in an era where many things are easily accessible, and oftentimes free, with just the internet. While this notion may connote two things in terms of legality, not everything that people can get their hands on it requires a form of payment, such as a paid subscription. Other times, they simply are just that—free—which makes having a stable internet connection even more so a boon and an essential in this digital age. Yet, nowhere else is this topic a hot topic of discussion than with a media that everyone seems to love, regardless of the demographics.

What is anime?

Anime” is a short terminology for Japanese animation, which in the technical sense, is a distinct form of media than Western cartoons or its other Asian counterparts, like in South Korea or China. Most notably, for its unique style of presentation—cutesy or “kawaii” is only one of those elements. But as people have varying tastes in the kind of media they like to consume, so, too, is Japanese anime that has become diversified and nuanced as a form of entertainment. Nevertheless, when people hear of the word “anime,” it invokes an idea of a prominent and still ongoing influence coming from Japan. One that dated back to as far back as the late 1950s.

The anime industry has evolved a lot since then. Essentially, making today’s offerings a far fancier affair to the viewers than they were previously. But also, in the way that they cater to audiences that are constantly hungry for some Japanese amusement. They are no longer just exclusive to the airwaves that appear on our TV screen at only specific times of the day. They can now be also streamed on-demand—whenever, wherever. Fortunately to the fans, they will never have to starve for not wanting to spend for paid subscriptions for their viewing pleasures. There are actually plenty of platforms out there that are more than willing to deliver, without the repercussion of any overseeing laws. In other words, there are free channels by which anime can be freely and legally consumed by means only of the internet. Here are the places where you can watch anime online for free.

5 Best Free and Legal Anime Streaming Sites

As a caveat, while the platforms that will be mentioned in this list are indeed absolutely legal and cost-free, they come at some slight disadvantage relative to their paid counterparts, including paid versions of themselves. But that is largely only applicable to the nitpicky who expects premium service, without paying a penny.

1. Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll official page

The label Crunchyroll is kind of an icon among anime lovers all over the world, especially in the USA where the largest following takes place outside of Japan. As a dedicated platform for anime, it inevitably is a household name that serves to millions of users at any given time. While the platform itself offers paid subscriptions for a smooth, ad-free experience, non-paying members can still freely access its contents with one major caveat—they will have to bear through three commercial advertisements per every title they stream.


  • Accessible in most regions worldwide.
  • Strong dedicated servers that offer a seamless streaming experience to users the world over.
  • Offers subbed and dubbed anime.


  • Has commercial ads for non-paying members.
  • The release of episodes is a week behind Japan.

2. YouTube

Official Funimation channel on YouTube

Once, YouTube was mainly a platform for video bloggers or anyone who likes to share video content with the world. But with a growing prominence that caters to millions, if not billions, of users, it has become an appealing place for any entity that seeks broader exposure. Anime, looking into expanding its influence even further, is one such entity. To date, there are already dozens of legal channels that serve anime to their viewers, like Funimation (yes, that titular anime-streaming service) and Ani-One Asia.


  • Does not require a subscription or even a registered account.
  • Fast and smooth streaming given YouTube’s robust global server network.


  • The library of anime titles that are streamable per official channel is relatively scarce compared to a dedicated anime-streaming platform, like Crunchyroll.
  • The platform features advertisements if not using an AdBlocker plugin.

3. Anime-Planet

Anime-Planet official website

Anime-Planet is kind of a mirror to Crunchyroll, but with a few twists of its own. Although it is explicit in claiming that the anime it shows are provided by the latter, it nevertheless does so nicely to earn it a spot among legit anime lovers all over the world. International audiences will particularly love the platform for its 8 different languages support.


  • Expansive library of anime to stream.
  • It does not require a premium subscription.


  • May be dependent on Crunchyroll’s provision, mainly.
  • May suffer the same caveat as the original provider, like the timeliness of the rollout of each new episode per title.

4. Bilibili

Bilibili official website

Within the list, Bilibili may probably be the most obscure. But you will be forgiven to think that considering that this platform hails from China. It may not have the same resonance as other international platforms in this roster. But it nevertheless has strong popularity in the country where it hails from. One which now extends to the rest of the world via its mobile application. It is even somewhat sufficient to compare it with the likes of YouTube. In terms of magnitude in its sphere of influence, that is.


  • Accessible globally via the app.
  • Legally licensed by Muse Communications Co., Ltd.


  • Some contents are locked behind a paywall, that is, a paid subscription.
  • Non-paying members are limited to resolutions lower than 1080p.

5. Tubi TV

Tubi TV official website

Back in the day, many would find it unfathomable to come across a platform that offers licensed media for free without bordering piracy. Then, there comes Tubi TV. It is mostly popular for its dynamic library of movies, old and new alike. However, Tubi TV is slowly offering anime in its selection of shows.


  • Streaming is completely free.
  • Accessible by most regions worldwide.


  • The anime offering is very limited.
  • The selection varies per region.

So, there you have it. The 5 best-streaming sites to watch anime online for free.

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