Media & Entertainment

Anime streaming services to try in 2023


two anime characters sitting in a subway car
Image Credits: MAPPA

Anime as a genre is always expanding, and with the streaming market growing just as quickly, it can be a hassle to find an anime streaming service that works for you. Whether you want to watch newer anime titles like “Chainsaw Man,” “Blood of Zeus” and “Bleach” or classics like “One Piece,” “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” and “Cowboy Bebop,” here is a roundup of streaming services that you can check out as we begin the new year.

Top anime streaming service: Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll is a no-brainer for all anime lovers, whether you’re a die-hard fan or newbie.

Free to all users, popular shows on the platform include “One-Punch Man,” “Attack on Titan,” “My Hero Academia,” “Death Note,” “Dr. Stone” and newer titles like “Spy X Family.” Plus, Crunchyroll recently added Funimation content, so subscribers have access to a vast anime library of over 40,000 episodes and more than 16,000 hours of content.

However, the Crunchyroll free ad-supported version has its downsides, such as limited access to titles that are only available in 480p resolution.

Fortunately, there are also three premium ad-free tiers, which give subscribers unlimited access to Crunchyroll’s content library (in HD), access to new episodes of series one hour after they air in Japan, as well as digital versions of manga. Each premium plan comes with a 14-day trial.

The cheapest premium tier is called “Fan” and costs $7.99 per month. The plan allows subscribers to stream on one device at a time. “Fan” subscribers don’t get offline viewing, nor do they get the same perks as “Mega Fan” and “Ultimate Fan.”

“Mega Fan” is $9.99 per month and allows subscribers to stream on four devices at once. It also offers offline viewing as well as perks like first access to Crunchyroll Expo events/lotteries and Crunchyroll Store discounts. Every three months, “Mega Fan” customers get $15 off $100 purchases in the Crunchyroll Store.

The most expensive plan is “Ultimate Fan” for $14.99 per month. Subscribers of this tier get the most perks, which include the ability to stream on six devices at one time, offline viewing, first access to Crunchyroll Expo events/lotteries, $25 off $100 purchases in the Crunchyroll Store every three months, and goodies like an annual “swag bag.”

Image Credits: Bones Studio

Next best thing: Netflix

If you’re looking for the next best anime streaming option, it’s Netflix.

Most of you probably already have a Netflix subscription, since it has a whopping 223.09 million subscriber base, so you’re likely aware of all the anime content it has to offer. In 2021 alone, nearly 90% of its viewers watched Netflix anime titles, the company reported in March 2022.

The streaming giant has a ton of popular series to binge, including “Hunter x Hunter,” “Naruto,” “Castlevania,” “The Seven Deadly Sins,” “Neo Genesis Evangelion” and “The Promised Neverland.” From originals to fan favorites, there’s a lot for subscribers to explore.

While Netflix in general tends to be more expensive than Crunchyroll, the streamer recently launched a cheaper ad-supported version for only $6.99 per month. Meanwhile, its basic ad-free version is $9.99 per month, whereas the “Standard” plan is $15.49/month and the “Premium” plan is $19.99/month.

Another great alternative: Hulu

With over 300 anime titles, Hulu is probably the third-best option for fans. The streaming service has the majority of the same hits that Crunchyroll and Netflix offer, including “Attack on Titan,” “One-Punch Man,” “Naruto” and “Cowboy Bebop,” among others. It also offers “Sailor Moon,” “Tokyo Ghoul,” “Demon Slayer Kimetsu No Yaiba,” “The Rising of the Shield Hero” and more.

Plus, Hulu has a dedicated anime hub, which organizes content into categories such as the most popular titles, new releases, classics, recent simulcasts, and an alphabetical directory.

It’s important to note that Hulu raised its prices in October 2022. The ad-free plan is now $14.99 per month, and the ad-supported tier is $7.99 per month. On the plus side, Hulu offers a 1-month free trial. The streamer has a wide variety of content for everyone to watch, including comedy, drama, and reality TV, so it’s still a pretty good deal regardless of whether you’re an anime fan.

Most affordable anime streaming service: Hidive

At only $4.99/month, Hidive is a great inexpensive option for viewers. It also offers a seven-day free trial.

If you’re a hardcore anime buff, we recommend using Hidive to expose yourself to various anime that you may not find on other streaming services. While the content library is definitely more niche, it still has 500 titles for fans to discover.

Shows and movies on the service include “I’m Quitting Heroing,” “Gate,” “Call of the Night,” “Pantheon,” “Joshiraku,” “Vinland Saga,” “Alice in Borderland,” “Made in Abyss” and more.

Best free options: Tubi and RetroCrush

If you don’t mind commercial breaks, then Tubi and RetroCrush are for you.

Completely free to viewers, Tubi has a solid number of well-known Japanese animation titles in its collection, such as “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” “Fairy Tail,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Lupin the 3rd” and “Dante’s Inferno.”

On the other hand, if you want to watch older titles then we suggest RetroCrush. The free streaming service is centered around vintage anime and has a smaller content library than other services. For instance, RetroCrush has titles like “Blue Seed,” “The Princess and the Pilot,” “City Hunter,” “The Twelve Kingdoms,” “Requiem from the Darkness” and “Demon City Shinjuku.”

RetroCrush also has an ad-free premium subscription for $4.99/month after the 14-day free trial. The premium plan includes exclusives such as “Wicked City,” “Goku Midnight Eye,” “Puppet Princess,” “Angel Cop,” “House of Five Leaves” and “Persia, The Magic Fairy.”

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