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Where to Watch Anime for Free

How & Where to Watch Anime for Free in 2024: the 13 Best Free Anime Sites

Anime is a genre with legions of devoted fans. If you’re among them and are curious about how and where to watch anime for free, take a seat. This guide covers the best free anime sites and how to watch them if they’re geoblocked where you are.

Kit CopsonSandra PattisonJasna Mishevska

Written by Kit Copson (Writer, Briefing Editor)

Reviewed by Sandra Pattison (Writer, Editor)

Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska (Lead Fact-Checking Editor)

Last Updated: 2024-04-16T13:36:30+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Key Takeaways: Best Places to Watch Anime

  • The best free anime streaming sites include Crunchyroll, Funimation and RetroCrush, but there’s a multitude of options for streaming this genre for free. 
  • If you can’t access an anime site because of geoblocks, you can connect to a VPN. This is also recommended if you’re streaming on an unofficial free streaming site that hosts or links to pirated content. 
  • We recommend ExpressVPN for streaming on anime websites. If it’s not your VPN of choice, NordVPN is a cheaper alternative, and Proton VPN is great for free streaming

Since anime began to reach an international audience in the 1990s with shows like ‘Pokémon’ and ‘Dragon Ball Z‘, the genre has become a cultural phenomenon for its mind-blowing aesthetics, exploration of diverse themes and unique but relatable characters. Anime lovers, read on to find out how and where to watch anime for free. 

Because anime is so insanely popular, there are plenty of ways to watch free anime online. Some platforms are available in many countries, whereas others are only available in certain countries due to geoblocking. 

To immerse yourself in anime fully without regional restrictions getting in the way, you can connect to a reliable and secure VPN like our top recommendation, ExpressVPN. This guide will clue you in on the best anime streaming sites (both free and paid) and how to use a VPN to stream anime if a platform isn’t available in your location. 

Where to Watch Anime for Free: Can You Watch Anime for Free Legally?

Yes, there are plenty of legal sites for free anime streaming, including Crunchyroll, Funimation, RetroCrush, Tubi and Pluto TV. Sites like these have the right to host the content you find on them. 

However, some are geoblocked, which means you can only access them from certain locations due to copyright restrictions. In some cases, this means content on platforms  differs depending on where you are in the world (Crunchyroll is a good example). Below, we’ll share more on these popular sites and a tutorial on how to get around geoblocks with a VPN. 

On the other hand, some free sites are not legal, which means the content isn’t licensed. You can usually recognize these sites from the abundance of pop-ups (sometimes rather raunchy ones, too, so parents, take note) you get when you use them. Some sites, like 9anime, avoid hosting unlicensed content by linking to it instead. 

If you opt for streaming on free anime sites that host unlicensed content, we recommend connecting to a VPN to protect your data. It’s also prudent to use antivirus software and an ad blocker service to protect against potential malware. 

Is Anime on Netflix?

Yes, Netflix has a wide range of anime content, including TV series ‘Naruto’ and ‘Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc‘ as well as classic Hayao Miyazaki movies like ‘Spirited Away‘ and ‘Princess Mononoke‘. However, the anime available on Netflix depends on where you are. 

For example, Hayao Miyazaki movies aren’t available on Netflix in the United States, but they are available on Netflix in other countries, including France, Canada and the United Kingdom. A VPN changes your IP address to one in another country, so you can use one to sidestep geoblocks and check out the anime available on Netflix in different countries.  

How to Access Other Netflix Libraries

If the above information has piqued your curiosity, all you need to do is download a VPN, connect to a server in a country outside the one you’re in, launch Netflix and search for anime. The new Netflix library will be different (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot) from the one in the country you’re in. 

For example, if you’re in the U.S., you can connect to a British, Canadian or French server to access Hayao Miyazaki movies. Once you’ve got a VPN, you can experiment with a diverse range of servers to see which libraries you enjoy the most. 

Top Anime Streaming Options: Which Streaming Services Have Anime for Free?

Here are some of the best streaming services and websites for streaming anime for free. We’ve split the options into three sections: legal free sites, sites that require subscriptions but offer free trials and unofficial free sites that are massively popular but unlicensed. 

1. Crunchyroll

crunchyroll
Crunchyroll has a broad selection of both free and premium anime. 

Crunchyroll is one of the best and most popular websites to watch anime for free in English, Japanese and other languages, and all content is fully licensed. We had a look and found a good selection of free content (with ads), but if you’d like to gain access to the full content library, you can sign up for the 14-day free trial that comes with the premium plan.  

Crunchyroll is available in most countries, but there are exceptions (including Russia). Like Netflix, its content library isn’t the same in every country, so you can use a VPN to explore Crunchyroll in other regions or access it from unavailable locations.

The U.S. has the most extensive Crunchyroll library. 

2. Funimation

funimation
Funimation is a popular anime site, but it’s only available in a few countries.

Like Crunchyroll, Funimation lets you stream a selection of free, licensed anime, but it also has premium plans that unlock the whole library and allow you to stream ad-free. Funimation’s free trial lasts 14 days, so you can give it a spin risk-free if you’re undecided.

Funimation is available in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. If you want to use the platform from outside these countries, you’ll need to connect to a VPN server in one of the supported countries, like the U.S. The content selection may vary slightly from country to country depending on distribution deals. 

3. RetroCrush

retrocrush
RetroCrush is a free on-demand and live TV anime service in the U.S. and Canada.

RetroCrush is a free streaming service with a focus on classic anime, but it has a premium tier, too, which can be paid for monthly or annually. The free plan comes with ads, but the premium tier is ad-free and unlocks more content.

This old-school anime-based service is only available in the U.S. and Canada, though it plans to branch out to more countries in the future. In the meantime, you can connect to an American or Canadian server on a VPN to enjoy the content. 

4. The Roku Channel

the roku channel
You can enjoy anime on The Roku Channel whether you have a Roku device or not.

The Roku Channel has a humble selection of free (with ads) anime content, including classics like ‘Naruto’ and ‘Pokémon’. You don’t need to own a Roku device to use The Roku Channel — you can install it on other streaming devices or watch it on a web browser. 

That said, it’s only available in the U.S., Canada, Mexico (on Roku devices only) and the U.K., so connect to a VPN if you want access from outside these countries. To learn more about Roku devices, check out our article on the topic. If you’re interested in other streaming devices, we also have a Roku vs Amazon Firestick vs Google Chromecast guide

5. Tubi

tubi
Tubi is an American free live TV, movie and TV show streaming service. 

If you’re interested in exploring other genres in addition to anime, Tubi is a great (and completely legal) choice because it hosts movies and series in a wide variety of genres, all for free. Although Tubi isn’t solely an anime streaming service like some of our other picks, its anime content selection is generous.

Tubi does not have any paid subscription options, so all its content comes with ads. Ad breaks are approximately every 15 minutes. If you’re outside the U.S., Canada, Australia, Mexico, Puerto Rico or select Latin American countries, you’ll need to use a VPN to get into Tubi. 

6. Anime-Planet

anime planet
Anime-Planet is the place for all things anime and manga,
including recommendations and online comics. 

Anime-Planet is run by anime fan volunteers, and millions flock to the site every month to enjoy free episodes, read manga comics for free and get anime and manga recommendations. You can also read reviews and add content to lists. All streaming content is licensed and provided by Crunchyroll, so you’ll need a premium subscription for some content. 

Since Crunchyroll is available in most regions, Anime-Planet shouldn’t be hard to access unless it happens to be unavailable where you are. If this is the case, a secure VPN can help

7. Pluto TV

pluto tv
Pluto TV is another completely free streaming service with a selection of anime. 

In addition to a selection of on-demand anime (we even spotted anime classic ‘Naruto’ in its library), you can watch the Anime All Day channel on Pluto TV. Like Tubi, Pluto TV does not have paid plans, and its service is ad-supported. You don’t need to register to watch, but you can sign up for a free account if you want. 

Pluto TV is available in several countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Hispanic America, Brazil, European Union countries and Australia via 10Play. If Pluto TV isn’t available in your location, you know what to do — download a VPN. 

8. Bilibili

bilibili
Bilibili is a Chinese site with a global version for international viewers.

Bilibili is a Chinese anime-dedicated site that releases new content on a daily basis. Bilibili is based in Shanghai, but there is a global edition of the site, which has subtitles in various languages, including English. The global edition is bilibili.tv. 

Bilibili is widely available — we were able to use the site and stream content in France without a VPN and also while connected to a U.S. server. If you have any problems, though, you can always use a VPN

9. CONtv

contv
Contv offers a mix of premium and free anime titles. 

Contv is an American streaming service with an emphasis on cult classics and shows and movies outside the mainstream. Anime fans can choose from a range of both free and paid content, but the anime selection doesn’t appear to be as extensive as what some sites offer. Nevertheless, it’s worth checking out if your favorite anime titles are there.

Contv is only available in the U.S., so be sure to connect to a VPN server in the U.S. if you’d like to explore the site’s offerings. 

10. Amazon Prime Video

amazon prime
You can change your Amazon Prime Video library with a VPN. 

Amazon Prime Video lets you watch some of its anime content for free with ads. Alternatively, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial to access the whole “included with Prime” library and decide if you want to continue as a subscriber. Like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video content varies by location, so switch on your VPN to check out libraries in other countries. 

11. Hulu

hulu
Hulu is an American streaming platform with an immense content library. 

Hulu is not a free service, but it has a generous free trial period of 30 days. In its library, we found anime classics like ‘Naruto’, ‘Demon Slayer’ and ‘Bleach’, but the collection is quite small. 

After all, Hulu is not an anime-dedicated site but caters to all types of content. If you’re looking for something more, you might consider a subscription with Crunchyroll or Funimation instead. 

“Unofficial” Free Anime Websites 

All the sites we’ve mentioned so far are fully legal and licensed, but not every anime website is completely legit. The content on some websites is not licensed, which means the site owners don’t have distribution rights. It also means that the anime studios and creators don’t make money from their content being on the site. 

However, in the case of the websites mentioned below, they link to content rather than actually hosting it. Nevertheless, copyright laws differ by country. In Japan, for example, it’s illegal to directly link to pirated content. 

While we don’t condone unlicensed sites, if you plan to use them, it’s best to protect yourself with a VPN, antivirus software and an ad blocker. 

12. 9Anime

9anime
9anime is one of the most popular free anime websites among fans of the genre. 

9Anime does not host content on its site, but it does link to it, as explained in its FAQs. It’s an incredibly popular site, but it does have a lot of pop-ups, some of which are somewhat “suggestive” in nature — just something for parents to be aware of. Pop-ups are how unofficial free sites generate revenue, so expect to see plenty of them if you use these sites.   

The site itself recommends using a VPN, antivirus software and ad blocker just in case, even though it claims not to have had any reports of security issues. 

13. Gogoanime

gogoanime
Gogoanime links to an abundance of anime movies and episodes.

Gogoanime is another go-to (excuse the pun) for anime lovers. Like 9anime, the site provides links to content in a wide variety of genres with the option of English subtitles. Again, it’s best to fire up your VPNs, antivirus software and ad blockers if you’re planning a Gogoanime streaming session just to be on the safe side.

How to Watch Anime for Free With a VPN

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to access Funimation, which is only available in a few countries, with a VPN, but you can go through the same steps to access any geoblocked service you want. Don’t forget to connect to a server in a country where your target platform is available.

Premium tier shows and movies on Funimation are marked with a “subscribe” prompt. If the thumbnails don’t show this prompt, it means it’s free to watch. 

  1. Subscribe to a VPN Provider

    Select a reputable VPN provider (recommendations further down) and go through the subscription steps on its website. We’ve used ExpressVPN as our example, which comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

    get expressvpn
  2. Download and Install the VPN

    Download the app from the provider’s website and open the file to begin installation. If you’re using a mobile device, download the app from the Apple app store or Google Play store.

    download expressvpn
  3. Connect to a Server

    Connect to a server in a country where Funimation is supported, like the U.S.

    expressvpn app
  4. Start Streaming on Funimation

    Launch Funimation or your favorite free anime site and start streaming.

    funimation site

The Best VPNs for Watching Anime for Free

VPNs are designed to protect your personal data (which is especially useful when you’re using public WiFi networks), but not every VPN is secure and private. The following VPNs are our top three recommendations for streaming anime because they’re all highly reputable providers that won’t compromise your data. 

1. ExpressVPN

Expressvpn usa dallas
ExpressVPN’s easy to navigate apps make it an ideal choice for beginners.

Pros:

  • Ironclad security
  • Easy to use
  • Fast streaming

Cons:

  • Expensive

You can’t beat a VPN with a flawless security record and easy-to-navigate apps, both on desktop and mobile. ExpressVPN is an ideal VPN for anyone just starting out with the software and for people in restrictive locations who would benefit from obfuscation technology — a feature that hides VPN use — as ExpressVPN applies this automatically. 

However, one area in which competitors have an edge over ExpressVPN is pricing. It remains one of the most expensive providers, but its 30-day money-back guarantee might soften the blow a little. To learn more about features and pricing, head to our full ExpressVPN review.

2. NordVPN

hulu nordvpn us
NordVPN consistently gets around streaming service geoblocks.

Pros:

  • Best speeds on average
  • Very secure & private
  • Cheap long-term plans 

Cons:

  • Fiddly mobile interface

NordVPN is another VPN industry trailblazer with a strong security record, extensive collection of features and excellent speeds. As the fastest VPN on average, NordVPN is ideal for streaming because VPNs with poor speeds can make it an irksome experience. 

Pricing is another of NordVPN’s strong points — its long-term plans are well worth checking out, and you get a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

When it comes to general use, it’s easy to get to grips with NordVPN. However, its more advanced features can be challenging to set up, and it takes a bit of time to get used to its mobile interface. Learn more in our NordVPN review and NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison. 

3. Proton VPN

protonvpn us new york
ProtonVPN can be paired with your favorite free anime website
for a completely free experience.

Pros:

  • Secure & private
  • Unlimited free data
  • Unlocks streaming apps

Cons:

  • Limited free locations

Proton VPN is our best free VPN recommendation because its free plan is as secure as the paid plans. In addition, you can connect to free servers without any limits because Proton VPN doesn’t have data caps. The free servers are in Japan, the Netherlands and the United States, so it’s perfect for accessing streaming services in these countries.

Unfortunately, if you want to connect to servers in locations other than these, only a paid plan can make that happen. Our full Proton VPN review sizes up both its free and paid plans to help you decide if you want to commit to it. 

Free
  • Unlimited GB
  • 1
  • Yes
Plus
  • 1-year plan renews at $119.88; 2-year plan renews at $239.76
  • Unlimited GB
  • 10
  • Yes

Final Thoughts

There’s an endless supply of free anime websites to watch, and whichever is your favorite, you don’t have to miss out on account of geoblocks. Whether you’re traveling or just want to stream an anime series on a platform unavailable in your country, the right VPN can bust your streaming world wide open in the best possible way.

In your opinion, what’s the best app to watch anime for free? Do you have any recommendations our other readers might enjoy? If so, please share in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.

FAQ: Best Places to Watch Anime for Free Online

  • You can watch anime for free on a multitude of platforms, including Crunchyroll, Funimation, RetroCrush, The Roku Channel, Amazon Prime Video, Tubi and Pluto TV, to name a few.

  • There isn’t any official information out there on this topic. We didn’t find anything to suggest that AnimeSuge is unsafe, but it isn’t an official platform like Crunchyroll or Funimation, so it’s best to take precautions and use a VPN, antivirus software and ad blocker.

  • Wherever you are, you can unblock anime by connecting to a VPN in a country where the website is available. For example, Crunchyroll is available in the U.S. and many other countries, so you could connect to a U.S. server for this platform. Using a VPN will also allow you to bypass any blocks implemented on your school’s network.

  • No. KissAnime was shut down recently due to copyright laws in Japan, which prohibit direct linking to pirated anime and manga. Since its shutdown, numerous fake websites pretending to be KissAnime have cropped up, but these don’t host or link to any real content and should not be trusted.

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