What are the best streaming services for anime and hentai?

A picture of StreamLocator hub

StreamLocator Hub

Removes streaming geo-blocks for any device on your home network.

Learn more

What are the best streaming services for anime and hentai?

Today we’re going to talk about anime, and where you can watch it. If you’re already an expert in all things anime and manga, then you probably won’t need us to tell you where to find the best content or what it is. However, for those of you just beginning to dip your toes into this exciting and unique animation genre, then we’re here to guide you towards the best places to whet your appetite.

Our top options include:

  • Crunchyroll
  • VRV
  • Hulu
  • Funimation

With a couple of pretty honorable mentions for:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime

What is anime?

Anime is the Japanese term to describe animation. Much like cartoons define typical English and Western animation, anime represents what that means in Japan. However, throughout the rest of the world, the term is synonymous with a unique Japanese animation style, delivered using particular artistic characteristics.

Compared to Western animation, you’ll find anime focuses less on movement and fluidity and far more on details and camera effects. Its character features are exaggerated, typically with large, expressive eyes, and you’ll get masses of panning, zooming, and dynamic angled shots—delivering a very different style to what you’re probably used to. It’s a far cry from Tom & Jerry!

What’s the difference between anime and manga?

Manga, created using the same sorts of illustration styles, is the comic book and graphic novel equivalent to anime. The two areas are often misinterpreted as being the same thing, but now you know better, you won’t be making that mistake again, will you?

Manga comics are often produced in black and white and by a sole writer/illustrator—the mangaka.

There’s a high demand for unique and original manga content, which, mixed with the low cost of black and white print supply, lends itself beautifully to self-publishing—a means where new talent can find its way into a vast marketplace.

Given that comics and graphic novels can deliver far less restricted content, style and stories can be incredibly unique and artistically diverse. Which brings us to hentai…

Are anime and hentai the same thing?

It could well look the same at first glance, but be very careful—the difference between anime and hentai is all in their content.

Hentai is illustrated, Japanese pornography—both in anime and manga. Its style is characterized by overtly sexualized characters, explicit images, and story plots, covering all kinds of sexual activities and perversions. You’re probably more likely to find it on dedicated porn sites than you are anywhere else.

Japanese law gets quite complicated when it comes to what’s considered obscene material. While they try to protect freedom of expression, there are obvious protection measures in place for children in pornography. Given the youthful appearance of most anime characters and early legislation depicting human intercourse and pubic hair a no-go in Japanese art forms, but nudity acceptable, hentai producers found workarounds by depicting characters engaging in sex with all manner of monsters, robots, demons, and aliens.

There are plenty of specialist hentai sites online. Anime can be quite stylized and sexual at the best of times, so drawing a line between the two can be comparable to watching explicit 18-rated movies compared to porn. However, most hentai specific sites follow formats and regulations bound by porn legislation, so for now, we’ll leave those for another day and crack on with our favorite anime sites.

Crunchyroll – the biggest anime service in the US

Crunchyroll offers the largest selection of anime you’ll find with over 1,200 series. Bolstered by its own unique Crunchyroll originals—many are based on web comics as opposed to manga titles. That translates to a more international offering based around anime styles and less on specifically Japanese culture. That said, there’s heaps of pure Japanese anime to dive into, and their catalogue is big enough to keep everyone happy.

There’s plenty of mainstream anime available for the expert or newbie on Crunchyroll. Both Crunchyroll and Funimation offer a lot of free content, yet if you want to watch in a resolution that does the shows justice (higher than their standard 480p) and all the new episodes as they’re released, it’s still at a low sub-£/$/€10/month cost.

What can I watch on Crunchyroll?

Some of the biggest anime shows in the world are on Crunchyroll, all subbed and not dubbed. Attack on Titan, Bleach, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Black Clover, Dragon Ball Super—just a few of the big pullers to kick off your anime education.

What’s better, you can watch Crunchyroll with StreamLocator—wherever you are.

Funimation – the dubbed anime option

The big conflict with how non-native speaking countries choose to watch anime is summed up neatly in the question, ‘dubs or subs?

Funimation concentrates on an almost entirely dubbed catalogue, meaning the Japanese dialogue is replaced with English voiced audio. So, for those who like to focus on the action while English-speaking voice actors replace the dialogue, Funimation is your best bet.

There are crossovers of content with Crunchyroll, the other major streaming anime service, but there they’ll be subtitled with the audio remaining in their native Japanese dialogue.

What can I watch on Funimation?

You’ll find plenty of the most popular titles on Funimation: Dragon Ball Z, Z Kai, Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail, My Hero Academia, Assassination Classroom, Yuri!!!

And guess what? Funimation is coming to StreamLocator soon!

Watching anime on VRV

VRV bundles a selection of streaming services in one place—including some great anime options—under various subscription options.

What that means for its viewers is that they get plenty of choices regarding what they want to watch. Despite channels tending to come and go pretty quickly with ever-evolving licensing deals, there’s always something good on offer.

Current (or maybe even previous, by the time this page gets to you) packages include HiDive, Mondo, Crunchyroll, Boomerang, Cartoon Hangover, and a whole bunch more.

As well as plenty of anime from one of the biggest providers, you get a host of additional Western animation too—so, what’s not to like? And, still, with a sub $10 subscription for its premium pack, it’s very affordable.

What can I watch on VRV?

As well as all the favorites from Crunchyroll and HiDive (Attack on Titan, Death Note, etc.), you’ll be able to watch classic Boomerang shows like Flintstones and Looney Tunes. Cartoon Network and Nicksplat provide even more 90s classics, with Cartoon Hangover and Mondo offering edgier, indie options.

Check out our full range of suggestions over on our VRV streaming service page.

Watching anime on Hulu

Hulu delivers a mix of primary services. You probably won’t find the kind of exclusives you will with Crunchyroll or Funimation, but what you do get is a mixture of different services’ catalogues. If you fancy a selection of dubbed and subtitled classics, Hulu could be just what you’re looking for.

It includes a decent selection of new shows, mainstream, experimental, and adult-orientated options. It’s a broad playing field for the anime newbie to pick from, making it an ideal beginner’s platform.

There’s plenty of other TV available on Hulu as well as their anime options. With its premium subscription, you’ll slide just over the typical $10 US/month price tag, but for what you’re getting in the bigger picture, it’s still a pretty good deal.

Other honorable anime mentions go to Netflix and Amazon Prime

Given the enormity of Netflix catalogues worldwide and the popularity of anime, it won’t surprise anyone that the streaming giant delivers plenty of this specialist content. As well as your everyday favorites, three’s some real prestige to many Netflix titles; you can access most of the Studio Ghibli movies if you’re outside the US, and they produce a selection of their own Netflix anime originals.

Prime, however, isn’t quite what Netflix is to anime but does fill some of the gaps with content rights that Netflix doesn’t hold.

And given that most TV fans already hold a Netflix and/or Prime account, it’s another good starting point for new to the genre fans.