Published on September 15th, 2023
If you’re a prospective anime fan or someone who’s been enjoying anime for a while, chances are you’re familiar with the big players in the streaming world like Crunchyroll and Netflix.
They’ve practically become the go-to global platforms for beloved anime titles such as Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, and a plethora of others.
These streaming giants have, without a doubt, held a strong grip on the anime market for quite some time. However, as time marches on, newer and more specialized anime streaming services have emerged.
Have you ever found yourself wanting to watch something that’s not available on these major platforms, or at least not without shelling out a small fortune for the entire series or resorting to piracy?
Well, you’re in for a treat, because this article is here to tackle precisely that. We’re delving into the realm of alternative anime streaming services – where to find them and how to access them.
In the pages ahead, we’ll introduce you to a diverse array of platforms that cater to specific niches within the anime world.
Whether you’re a fan of niche genres, obscure titles, or simply looking for a change from the mainstream offerings, we’ve got you covered.
Say goodbye to the frustration of endlessly scrolling through libraries only to come up empty-handed, and say hello to a world of anime options you never knew existed.
Disclaimer: We strongly discourage engaging in pirate streaming activities, and we are not associated with any such services. The following information is provided solely for informational purposes. It is essential to understand that piracy is a cybercrime, and we strongly advocate purchasing and legally watching content.
So, if you’re ready to embark on a new anime-watching adventure, keep reading. We’re about to open the doors to a whole new realm of anime streaming possibilities!
Exploring A Variety Of Niche Anime Streaming Platforms
RetroCrush is a treasure trove of classic anime, featuring beloved titles like Revolutionary Girl Utena, City Hunter, the complete Urusei Yatsura movie collection, works by Osamu Tezuka, and Bubblegum Crisis.
While it does offer a premium tier at $4.99 per month or $50 per year for an ad-free and uncensored experience, the majority of its content is available for free, with ads appearing infrequently and not causing much disruption.
Accessible at retrocrush.tv, users can enjoy the platform for free by simply registering. One of its major strengths lies in the extensive collection of vintage content, which would otherwise cost upwards of $60 in physical formats.
Additionally, RetroCrush provides a round-the-clock “live feed” showcasing older anime, Tokusatsu programming, and other classic dramas. The free tier also boasts an impressive selection of content.
On the flip side, the library, even with premium offerings, is relatively modest, currently totaling around 100 titles at the time of writing, with 33 titles reserved for premium subscribers (including Utena and Kite).
HiDive, a streaming service that you might already be familiar with, offers a diverse selection of anime.
From exclusive newer releases like Tokyo Mew Mew New and Oshi No KO to beloved classics like Legend of the Galactic Heroes, HiDive caters to a wide range of tastes.
Subscribing to HiDive costs $4.99 per month or $47.99 per year. This platform is particularly renowned for its extensive library, which includes more mature titles such as Made in Abyss and Elfen Lied, as well as shojo anime like Gunbuster, My Little Monster, and Nana.
HiDive is accessible worldwide and was established after the discontinuation of Anime Network Online and Anime Strike. Additionally, it allows up to three profiles per account.
While HiDive doesn’t offer a free tier (aside from a seven-day free trial) and lacks offline download support, it provides an economical alternative to Crunchyroll, with the option of an annual subscription that’s billed once a year.
Another consideration is its library, which consists of 500 or more titles, although it surpasses RetroCrush in terms of content.
Although a majority of Funimation’s extensive catalog has now been integrated into Crunchyroll, as well as VRV, the website and its services continue to operate independently alongside the app.
This alone warrants its inclusion on our list. Funimation offers various plans, ranging from Premium ($7.99 per month or $79.99 per year) to Premium Plus ($9.99 a month or $99.99 per year).
Opting for Premium Plus grants you ad-free access to Funimation’s entire library, complete with subtitles. You can enjoy content on up to five devices simultaneously using a single account, and even download episodes for offline viewing on supported mobile devices.
The platform also offers a free tier, providing access to a plethora of English-dubbed anime from the Funimation catalog, including titles like Akira, Ranking of Kings, and My Hero Academia, along with subtitles for these dubbed shows.
However, it’s worth noting that much of its newer content can now be found on Crunchyroll. Additionally, users have reported occasional inconsistencies with the app, such as delays, lag, and occasional crashes on various streaming devices.
Furthermore, the free tier limits access to only 1 or 2 episodes before requiring a subscription.
Surprisingly, the website often dubbed as the anime counterpart of Metacritic has its own streaming platform. It’s one of the more budget-friendly options, priced at just $2.99 per month or $29.99 annually, which includes two complimentary months.
This site boasts features akin to those found on Crunchyroll. You’ll find a diverse range of anime available for streaming, from fan-favorites like Naruto and Demon Slayer to more obscure titles like Asagiri no Miko, and many others.
Additionally, they offer a manga library, though access requires the purchase of digital manga volumes. For content not hosted on their platform, they provide external links or direct you to where it can be viewed (e.g., Crunchyroll, HiDive, etc.).
The site also provides comprehensive information about each anime. However, it’s worth noting that while previews are available, you’ll need to buy manga volumes to access the full content.
The anime library, while diverse, may be limited by region. Primarily, the website serves as a catalog for organizing your favorite anime and manga, and its availability outside of app stores for mobile devices is somewhat restricted.
5. Amazon Prime Video
Surprisingly, many anime enthusiasts might not be aware that Amazon Prime Video, in addition to its extensive library of series and movies, also boasts a considerable selection of anime.
While the monthly subscription fee is relatively steep at $14.99, it comes bundled with a range of perks, including significant savings on shipping and other benefits.
The advantages are substantial. Amazon Prime hosts numerous series that can’t be found on Netflix or Crunchyroll, such as the complete Rebuild of Evangelion series, Digimon Adventure Tri, and various others.
However, it’s important to note that Amazon Prime’s anime collection predominantly comprises older or more obscure titles like Monster Rancher and Sonic X, among others.
On the downside, the anime content is categorized into three groups: ‘watch with Prime’ (meaning ad-free viewing), ‘watch as hosted on other sites with ads’ (via platforms like Freevee and Hidive), or ‘rent or buy’ (usually for movies or popular series not available for streaming).
This implies that while the selection is extensive, not all of it is directly hosted on Amazon’s servers.
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Another noteworthy streaming platform that offers a diverse content library beyond anime is Hulu. Often considered on par with Netflix, Hulu boasts an extensive anime catalog comprising movies, series, and more.
The pricing structure offers flexibility, with plans starting at $5.99 per month. There are additional tiers available, such as Hulu for $59.9 per year, Hulu (ad-free) for $11.99 per month, Hulu + Live TV for $64.99 per month, Hulu + Live TV (ad-free) for $70.99 per month, and more.
Hulu’s strengths are plentiful, making it a compelling alternative to both Netflix and Crunchyroll. The platform features exclusive titles like Tengoku-Daimakyo, Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War, anime classics such as Akira and the original Sailor Moon, as well as modern hits like My Hero Academia and Chainsaw Man.
Additionally, Hulu provides subtitles and dubs, including English-language dubs, addressing a crucial aspect often lacking on Crunchyroll. However, one significant drawback of Hulu is its limited availability.
It primarily serves customers in the United States, Puerto Rico, select military bases, and certain locations in Japan.
While there are methods to circumvent regional restrictions, the most reliable solutions often involve using Amazon Fire Sticks in combination with VPN access.
Although CONTV may not boast the extensive anime library found on some other streaming platforms in this list, it holds special appeal for those with a penchant for vintage and niche content.
While its anime collection may be modest, CONTV compensates with a range of unique offerings, starting with its VIP membership priced at $6.99 per month plus tax.
This service features the coveted MST3K library, a selection of comic issues from independent and well-known labels including Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica available for online reading.
Additionally, viewers can enjoy reality TV shows based on comic conventions, classic Godzilla films, the revered Highlander film and series, and a wealth of older anime gems like Bokurano, GTO, Gunslinger Girl, and Fushigi Yuugi.
With a reasonable pricing structure and a complimentary tier, CONTV aims to cater to a diverse audience. However, it’s important to note the regional restrictions. Presently, CONTV primarily caters to the United States, which can pose challenges for international viewership and recommendations.
Disclaimer: We firmly adhere to ethical practices and uphold the law. We do not endorse, support, or promote any form of piracy, including the distribution or streaming of pirated content. Our aim is to inform our readers responsibly, and we advocate for watching movies only through legal means, such as visiting theatres or utilizing official OTT platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, ZEE5, Disney+ Hotstar, SonyLIV, Aha, and other legitimate sources. We firmly discourage the use of illegal websites for streaming movies online and encourage our audience to respect copyright laws and support the entertainment industry through legitimate channels. Let us all enjoy movies responsibly while respecting the rights of content creators and distributors. In a digital age where convenience and instant gratification often take precedence, it’s essential to consider the broader implications of our choices.
Furthermore, the anime selection leans towards an older demographic, though it still features some well-known titles like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Fist of the North Star.
8. IQIYI International
If CONtv embodies geek chic or caters to a niche audience, then IQIYI occupies an even more specialized niche in the realm of Asian entertainment.
Headquartered in Singapore, this streaming platform is dedicated to showcasing a wide range of pan-Asian content, spanning from Chinese and Korean dramas to anime adaptations of light novels, all designed for a global audience.
Subscription plans include a standard monthly rate of $8.99, a premium tier at $11.99 per month, $89.99 annually, and the highest VIP tier priced at $119.99.
New members can take advantage of discounts, with premium and standard options available for $1.99, and the first year of premium and VIP memberships offered at $71.99.
IQIYI boasts an impressive array of exclusive content aimed at captivating potential viewers, including a diverse selection of shows available with both subtitles and dubbing, as well as a substantial anime library.
Much of the anime content leans towards original adaptations of light novels like “Be My Wife,” shonen titles like “Devour Eternity,” and even comedies such as “My Demon Tyrant” and “Sweet Baby.”
In essence, the offerings tend to be either entirely original or more on the obscure side. However, it’s worth noting that one of the drawbacks of this particular streaming service is its relatively high cost.
Additionally, the company has faced its fair share of controversies, having been banned in Taiwan and undergoing investigations due to allegations of fraud.
While the streaming service has addressed and resolved most of these issues, there was one complaint regarding pre-screening fees for dramas that did go through the legal process.
Among the array of on-demand video streaming platforms, Tubi stands out as a completely free and legal option that boasts a vast selection of anime content.
While it caters to a broad range of genres, it houses an extensive library of anime titles. What sets Tubi apart is its no-cost model, supported by occasional advertisements.
One of Tubi’s notable strengths lies in its impressive collection of mainstream shonen anime, including beloved series like Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and Naruto.
Additionally, it offers a diverse mix of classics such as the original Ghost in the Shell movie and Lupin the Third, as well as gems like Redline and Full Metal Panic.
This eclectic selection spans across the anime landscape of the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s, all available for viewing with subtitles.
An added bonus of Tubi is its wide accessibility, serving audiences in Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and the United States.
While occasional advertisements are part of the viewing experience, they are infrequent enough not to disrupt your enjoyment.
Furthermore, Tubi allows optional registration, providing users the choice to explore its offerings without the need for an account.
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That concludes our compilation of specialized anime streaming services, distinct from the offerings of Crunchyroll or Netflix.
While this list encompasses just nine platforms, each one has been carefully researched to provide a viable alternative for anime enthusiasts. After all, a diverse array of options only enhances the anime viewing experience.
It’s worth noting that certain options, such as 9anime or Kissanime and their affiliates, operate in a legal gray area and may inadvertently encourage piracy.
On the other hand, Anime-Planet stands out as a legal and free streaming site that sources its content through Crunchyroll servers. Additionally, while Viz offers excellent manga subscriptions, it currently lacks its own dedicated anime streaming service.
Warning: According to The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023, unauthorised recording or its attempt made punishable with imprisonment between 3 months and 3 years, and a fine between Rs.3 Lakh, which may extend to 5 percent of the audited gross production cost. FYI: The Film industry suffers an annual loss of Rs 20,000-22,000 crore every year due to illegal dissemination of films on the internet.
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