Best anime streaming services for 2021


Whether you are a longtime fan of this distinct Japanese art form or a curious newbie, the best way to dive into the world of anime is to use a streaming service. You will find high school melodramas, science fiction anthologies, horror tales, romantic comedies and superhero quests in this narrative landscape. Longtime favorites such as A piece and Pokemon proving that audiences will stick to the classics while making way for rising stars like My Hero Academia and the global phenomenon Attack on Titan.

Anime is a growing space with major streaming game players dedicated to meeting demand. Whether you are a true otaku with specific tastes or a noob look no further than these streaming services to satisfy your anime cravings.

Attack on the Titan OAD episode, No Regrets.

Hajime Isayama, Kodansha / Crunchyroll

Due to its strong content stability, Crunchyroll has become the global destination for anime streaming. Launched in 2006, the brand has over 100 million registered users and over 5 million subscribers. Following its acquisition by Sony, Crunchyroll now shares its vast range with its titan colleague of the Funimation genre to offer thousands of titles 24/7. All of this anime is under one umbrella.

The biggest selling points? New episodes of My Hero Academia and other flagships land on the streamer an hour after their premieres in Japan. Viewers can also count on surprise releases like the eight special Attack on Titan episodes released on December 19, weeks before Part 2 of the final season airs.

Fans love the variety and appreciate that for some content they can watch the uncut Japanese versions of their favorite series on this service. Plus, there’s a carousel of original in-house creations that sit alongside the most recent releases from Japan. And thanks to Crunchyroll’s partnership with anime streaming service VRV, US customers can access even more programming.

Sony is considering creating a one-time subscription for Crunchyroll and Funimation, but that has yet to happen. However, you can get a free subscription and access current and older content with just one take – you’ll have to wait a week to watch new episodes.

For those who prefer immediate access to new episodes, Crunchyroll’s basic ad-free option is $ 8.

demon slayer entertainment arc art

Koyoharu Gotoge / Shueisha / Aniplex / Crunchyroll

Former rival, partner and rival of Crunchyroll, Funimation shares many major titles with the anime giant. Where the two differ is in their respective libraries. Funimation has over 13,000 hours of content and claims the entirety of the Dragon Ball Z collection. Crunchyroll has part, but not the entire popular franchise.

But you’ll find a variety of subgenres on the service and Funimation excels in the dub department. When it comes to new episodes, the streamer has a simulcast schedule that it releases each season, and its Winter 2022 roster includes Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc, Tribe Nine, and, like Crunchyroll, Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2.

As with Crunchyroll, you can create a free account to watch classics as well as new content. The free version allows you to create personal bookmarks and watchlists. Upgrade to Funimation’s ad-free subscription for $ 6 per month to stream all content and receive same-day access to simulcasting.

sailor-moon-eternal-the-film

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: The Movie

Netflix

If you’re on the fence about Crunchyroll or Funimation subscriptions, Hulu has over 300 anime titles and is a great stop to watch hits My Hero Academia, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Tokyo Ghoul, Attack on Titan, Soul Eater, Inuyasha, Bleach, and more. There are also simulcasts that air every season, giving viewers the latest releases from Japan. This is one area where Hulu surpasses Netflix. Fans will find Pokémon movies and oldies, but also goodies like Sailor Moon and Akira.

Hulu also has partnerships with Crunchyroll and Funimation to broadcast some titles, but not their entire catalog. The original Crunchyroll and Adult Swim movie, Blade Runner: Black Lotus is available with favorites like Assassination Classroom. However, new subtitled episodes may arrive on the streamer immediately while dubbed versions take longer. Start times vary by series.

An added bonus is the dedicated entertainment center where you’ll find content organized into categories such as classic, AZ, or simulcast.

As a pioneer in streaming TV, Netflix has grown its anime offering although it lacks the new installments and simulcast from Hulu. Currently, there are dozens of Japanese imports on the platform as well as the Netflix originals Castlevania, Yasuke, Cannon Busters, Devilman Crybaby, and Blood of Zeus.

While not the go-to streamer for more obscure titles, Netflix has a reliable selection of popular anime that includes Demon Slayer, Hunter x Hunter, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Nine Glorious Seasons of Naruto. Another big plus for the streamer is the lack of ads. Subscribers should be aware that they will need to take the extra step of removing the skip feature at the end of episodes to see if there are any post-credits scenes in their favorite show.

In the spring of 2021, Netflix opened its anime creator base in Tokyo, where writers, designers and other artists are teaming up to expand the streamer’s productions. Viewers can search for upcoming movies and animated shows like Bubble, Tomb Raider, Skull Island, and Terminator.

A service for ages 18 and over, Hidive delivers content to fans around the world, including simulcasts. Not only will you find cartoons of all subgenres, but there is an assortment of live-action adaptations as well.

Hidive prides itself on its customizable caption option, live episode chats and exclusive catalog. You can even choose between censored and uncensored anime. An independent service, the company encourages fans to ask for their favorite tracks if they can’t find them on the platform.

Hidive is supported on iOS, Android, and smart TVs, and it runs content directly through its site. There is no free subscription option and the monthly fee is $ 5 after the 14 day free trial.


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Anime streaming faqs

What is the difference between dub and sub?

In the anime community, the terms dubbed and captioned are used to describe the difference between a piece of content broadcast in Japanese with captions or a dubbed version in English (or another language). It’s a matter of personal preference, but some fans prefer one type over the other. Among die-hard fans, Funimation is known for its extensive dubbed collection.

Why can’t I find some anime content on some streaming services?

Due to license agreements, the animation programs of some streaming providers will change. It also depends on the country you live in, as various content may only be available in Japan, the United States, or other regions.

Timing plays a role and can determine whether a new season or new movie in a series hits a platform on the same day, month, or year it was originally released. However, viewers will notice that some shows are streaming across multiple platforms at the same time.

What is the meaning of OAD and OVA in the anime and does it matter?

From time to time, you may see streaming services refer to OAD or OVA as special promotions. Typically, OAD and OVA are add-on episodes that haven’t aired on TV but are part of the story and may or may not be canon. These could be prequel episodes or storylines that take place during or after what has been seen in a series and are great additions for anime lovers.

What devices support these apps?

Each of these anime streaming providers can be accessed through their standalone websites, smart TVs, Roku, iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon FireTV, Apple TV, and Xbox One. You can watch it on your phone, tablet, PC or TV.

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