Best Anime Streaming Apps to Watch Anime for Free

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Once a niche interest, anime has seen a steady rise in popularity in recent years. This animation style, known for its unique visuals, compelling characters, and diverse storytelling, has captivated audiences around the globe. Thanks to the increasing presence of streaming services, accessing anime has become easier than ever. While a premium subscription is required in most cases, there are still ways to enjoy this genre without breaking the bank. This article explores some of the best free anime streaming apps that you should try.

Good to know: if you prefer to go online to stream anime, check out these websites to watch your favorite anime online.

1. Crunchyroll

Platforms: Android, iOS, Web

Crunchyroll is perhaps one of the best anime apps. if you want to watch some of the popular anime like Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia, or Jujutsu Kaisen, Crunchyroll is the place to go. While it’s not free, per se, the app comes with a generous 14-day trial, letting you test out the app’s features and library before committing to a subscription. While this is a great way to explore the app, it does require you to input your card details. If you’re not comfortable with that, there are other completely free anime apps on our list to consider.  

Crunchyroll app interface overview on Android.

It’s easy to start watching. Just browse through Crunchyroll’s library of shows. Most are available both in sub and dub formats. One of the things I appreciate about this app is its inclusion of a music section on each show’s page. If, like me, you find yourself captivated by soundtracks, this is a convenient and helpful feature. Crunchyroll also includes a robust library of simulcasts for an opportunity to watch anime episodes shortly after they’ve aired in Japan. The app also lets you browse anime by genre.

The best part is that Crunchyroll also doubles as an anime community app. You can leave your comments on episodes and interact with other fans of the shows. On the downside, the app is riddled with ads in the free trial. You may have to go through as many as eight ads before you can start watching an episode, unless you pay for a subscription. On some plans, you can also unlock a vault of games and stream content on up to four devices.

FYI: for manga fans, check out the best websites to read manga online.

2. Anime Go

Platforms: Android

Android users looking for apps that will allow them to watch anime for free should also try Anime Go. The app generally lets you stream many anime series ad-free, although a few ads will pop up now and again. Plus, there are a few ads embedded into the interface.

Anime Go app interface overview on Android.

That aside, the app is home to a large collection of anime, in both sub or dub formats. For each show, you’ll find a detailed description of the plot, information about its premiere date and voice cast, and other interesting details. In addition, the watch page provides user reviews and comments to help you decide if you’ve made a good choice.

A cool Anime Go feature is that you can create rooms to watch anime with other participants. If you’d like to binge your favorite show with someone, this is the app for you. But if you’re not sure what to watch next, the app has a Random button that will generate a suggestion for you every time you press it. If you’re worried about the legality of watching anime on Anime Go, keep in mind that apps that allow you to watch anime for free are usually safe to use, as they don’t host content, but do index links to third-party sources.

3. 9Anime

Platforms: Web

9Anime is a web platform that you can access both from your laptop and mobile device. It’s dedicated to anime, and you can easily search for a show to watch by browsing through the various genre categories. The best part is that you don’t even need to sign up with an account to start watching anime.

9Anime interface overview on the web.

The site includes a calendar feature that lets you easily track the release dates of new episodes of your favorite shows. You need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to get to it. 9Anime allows you to use filters to find the shows you want as quickly as possible.

Shows are available in either sub or dub versions (or both). In my experience using the platform, shows load extremely fast, and the stream isn’t interrupted by ads, which is fantastic! 9Anime also has mobile apps, but they aren’t actually apps to watch anime. Instead, they offer a rundown of characters and other show information.

Tip: learn how to add this manga-inspired bot to your Discord server.

4. Funimation

Platform: Android, iOS

Another free-to-use anime streaming application is Funimation. It has a huge catalog of anime shows. The best part of this app is that you can access all the anime shows without paying a dime. Yes! None of the anime shows are locked behind a paywall. However, that means the app contains a fair share of ads, but that is understandable considering everything within the app is free. You can buy a subscription that starts at $5.99/month or pay as much as $99.99/year.

Funimation Anime App

Funimation is the official broadcaster for some anime series and a major distributor. This makes some specific shows unavailable on other platforms. But looking at the latest comments on the Play Store, the latest update has a buggy UI, frequent lags, etc. You may face problems with the latest version of the app, but you can expect a new update soon (hopefully) that fixes all the issues.

5. AnimeFreak

Platforms: Web

AnimeFreak is another Web platform that we can add to the list of best apps to watch anime for free. It’s quite similar to 9Anime in the way it’s organized, minus the calendar feature. There’s also a Latest added section that helps you keep track of your new episodes that were added to the platform. You also don’t need to create an account to enjoy your shows.

AnimeFreak interface overview on the web.

You can browse by genre or various other categories, such as Top Airing or Most Popular. In my experience using the site, episodes tend to load relatively easily, but the site sometimes has trouble loading in full. So for instance, in some cases, it wouldn’t load the video thumbnails under a category.

Whenever you find yourself uninspired, you can use AnimeFreak’s Random button for suggestions on what to add next to your watch list. It’s one of the anime apps you should take into consideration.

6. Anilab

Platforms: Android, iOS

Anilab is a mobile app that offers quite an extensive library of shows. It doesn’t require that you create an account to get started. Simply find a show and press play.

Anilab interface overview on Android.

You can browse by category to find your next binge-worthy TV show. If the recommendations on the app’s front page don’t satisfy you, switch to the Categories tab, where you can find anime by genre.

There’s a mini twist here, as you’re required to download an additional player to watch shows, but once you agree to that, everything proceeds smoothly. You can choose between dubbed and subbed variants (where available). The app has ads like most apps to watch anime for free, but they are tolerable.

7. Tubi

Platforms: Android, iOS, Web

Tubi is a Netflix of sorts, except it does not cost a dime to stream content on it. To keep the service legal, the app relies on ads that monetize the content that Tubi’s partners (MGM, Paramount, etc.) provide.

Best Streaming Apps Watch Anime Free Tubi

While there are not as many choices as the other options listed here, Tubi does offer some anime choices. You can find them by switching to the TV shows tab at the top, then swiping until you find the Anime section. Searching for the term “anime” will not yield appropriate results.

Other than that, the app is home to a diverse range of classic and lesser-known movies and TV shows, so if you’re into more than blockbusters, this app may prove to be a worthy addition to your smartphone. The ads, I found, don’t pop up as frequently as I anticipated, so you can have a relatively smooth viewing experience. A similar app you may want to try is CONtv (Android, iOS, Web).

8. RetroCrush

Platforms: Android, iOS, Web

RetroCrush is a special app that caters to those who are nostalgic about the golden age of anime. While the apps to watch anime in this list include mostly recent TV shows and anime movies, RetroCrush offers a robust selection of retro titles you probably won’t be able to find somewhere else.

Beset Streaming Apps Websites Watch Anime Free Retrocrush

Each entry features a quick overview of the plot and additional information, such as the release year, director and cast names.

While you can play most of the TV shows and movies for free, some are hidden behind a paywall. RetroCrush offers a range of subscription tiers that also eliminate the ads you would otherwise experience in the free version. If you want to use RetroCrush on the Web, it’s easy to do so, as you aren’t required to create an account. Just find your show, and click play.

Along with the best apps to watch anime for free, perhaps you’d like to interact with other anime fans. For this, check the best Discord servers to join if you love anime. If you ever feel like watching something else, try one of the best free movie apps for Android.

Image credit: Freepik. All screenshots by Alexandra Arici.

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Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

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