The COVID-19 pandemic has been unlike anything that we have encountered during recent times. It’s a new virus and as such, literally no one has immunity to it, and governments around the world are implementing lockdown/quarantine rules in order to prevent populations from further contagion.
As such, people find themselves with a lot of free time on their hands, and boredom / cabin fever is a challenge to some. One of the best ways to while away the time is catching up on shows that may have been missed due to previously busy schedules.
For otakus and anime fanatics like me, its the perfect time to catch up on anime series. And what better way to do that than by watching them for free. Yes, you read it right, WATCH ANIME FOR FREE AND LEGALLY! You’d be surprised at how many websites offer anime at no charge at all.
Also called Over-The-Top (OTT) media service, because they bypass the usual cable, broadcast and satellite TV platforms, these websites offer streaming services directly to users via the Internet.
Take note that I will be including only those streaming services that have media that are readily available for viewers to watch free and legally, with a signup process as the maximum requirement. Other sites that are geoblocked or have other requirements beyond what I mentioned above will not be included for now, as I feel that these take away from the general experience of “WATCH ANIME FOR FREE AND LEGALLY” experience.
With that said, let’s get right down to business!
Ah yes, the eponymous TV of the world wide web is home to a lot of free anime! (And movies too…) You just know how to be resourceful in scouring its myriad of videos and channels. A best place to start is with with major anime studios. If they have a YouTube channel, then chances are, they will be putting up some, if not all of their anime production in their channel.
A very good example is the GundamInfo channel, which puts in episodes of the various Gundam series up for viewing for free by the general public on a more or less rotation or promotional basis. For example, in preparation for the premier of Gundam Build Divers RE:Rise Season 2, all episodes of Gundam Build Fighters and Gundam Build Divers and their offshoots are available for viewing. (Sometime last month, they had Thunderbolt and Narrative up in the channel.)
Another good example is the FUNimation channel, which also hosts anime series, and makes them available in a similar rotational basis as GundamInfo. Some of the anime series currently available are Strike Witches, Vandread, Disgaea, Project Blue Earth SOS, Trinity Blood, Gun X Sword, and a whole lot of other older anime shows.
As written on the website’s About section:
Crunchyroll, a WarnerMedia company (as part of Otter Media) and the world’s most popular anime brand, connects anime and manga fans in more than 200 countries and territories with 360-degree experiences.
Crunchyroll is a website that offers anime series legally, and you can watch them free albeit in 480p with ads, OR upgrade to a premium subscription and you get rid of the ads and stream videos in HD at the same time.
The service also has partnerships with Anime Digital Network (in partnership with Citel, a subsidiary of Média-Participations), and Anime on Demand streaming services. Viewers also get to watch top anime series at almost the same schedule as the Japanese broadcast. Not only that, but Crunchyroll’s platform also extends to games, manga and K-drama.
This is another free viewing platform, which actually hosts not just anime shows but a huge variety of TV series, movies, comics, and live tv.
This platform is a joint venture between Cinedigm and Wizard Entertainment – the same company that runs and manages Comic-Cons across North America. In fact, according to their About section:
CONtv is THE digital destination for Comic Con fans! Devoted to all the weird, hilarious and terrifying content celebrated at the Cons, CONtv is a place to celebrate community, discover new movies and TV series, and revel in being a fan.
The interface takes some getting used to, but users can search by genre or using the provided search function. Streaming is a bit sluggish at first, and each video streamed will be preceded by an ad, but afterwards, viewing goes on uninterrupted.
A relatively long-timer in the anime streaming business, and with partnerships in the industry. Going by the classic “run by fans, for fans” tagline, they do have a link for those who want to give support to their staff in maintaining the website.
HIDIVE is another anime streaming service with a similar business model as the previous ones in this list.
What sets them apart though is the high amount of in-stream customization that you can apply to your viewing experience. From the About section:
– You want to switch between censored and uncensored anime? Done.
– Want to change the color of your anime subtitles? We hear you!
– What about chatting with your fellow fans while legally streaming anime in HD? We got you covered.
Founded in 2001 as the first anime & manga recommendation database. Create lists for what you’ve seen & read, watch over 40,000 legal streaming episodes online, and meet other anime fans just like you.
Right inside the Pokémon web portal is Pokémon TV! Watch your favorite episodes of your favorite pocket monsters in action for free and legally!
This is a relatively newcomer to the pack, with a focus on retro anime from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Their platform runs on top of Digital Media Rights, which in turn is a global distributor of various film and tv media, with direct deals with companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Comcast, Google Play, Vudu, and many others.
Retro Crush doesn’t run on desktop web browsers, but instead is accessible thru their app via iTunes, Google Play, Roku or Fire TV.
This one has clean streamlined look to its website, and while the collection is not as big as the others above, it has some classic and hard-to-find titles as well. This looks to be another partner of CONtv.
Another member of the Digital Media Rights network. Clean sleek interface with decent amount of series mostly in the shonen or bishoujo genre, and accessible filters right at the left pane.
And there you have it folks, hope this list helps you a lot in your search for that elusive anime series you missed before. Send us some comments and share the article if you find it useful or want to help your fellow anime fans. Stay safe and healthy y’all!