Anime is a type of animation that is hugely popular among fans of all age groups around the world. It refers to a particular style of animated cartoon that is produced in Japan. What was once a small niche entertainment category has grown to become a global phenomenon with many genres of anime programs produced for various and diverse audiences.
In Japanese, anime means any type of cartoon, but outside of Japan the term is used almost exclusively when talking about the distinctive Japanese style of animation. It is related to the Japanese print form of comics known as manga. As with anime, in Japan, manga is a term used for any comic book. In the rest of the world, it is used exclusively to denote the Japanese style of comic books.
When watching anime you can view episodes that are shown with the audio in the original Japanese with subtitles in your language if it is available. Many anime series and episodes are subtitled in English, and other languages are available. Another option is to watch anime where the audio track has been dubbed into another language.
For instance, if you are watching in the U.S., there will be an English language soundtrack that is playing while the animated characters are speaking in Japanese. This can lead to timing issues where the audio track does not appear to be in synch with the video due to the issues of translation. Unless you speak Japanese, you will need to choose from dubbed or subbed anime if you want to follow more than just the images as you watch an anime stream.
We will look a little more deeply into anime near the end of this article. For now, let’s get you started watching this incredible animation at no financial cost. The most popular way to watch anime is to watch cartoons online on anime websites and here are some sites to get you started.
Here are some of the best sites where you can watch anime for free.
Toonova is a great site for watching anime in Japanese or dubbed or subbed versions. The site is updated regularly, with many new titles uploaded each week. The site features many ads, but they are not as prevalent or hard-to-avoid as on some of the other sites discussed. Still, be prepared to get a pop-up telling you your flash player is out-of-date, and be very careful with how you respond to those warnings.
Toonova also offers you the chance to read manga comics online, and they have a very large library that appears to be updated daily with many new offerings. All-in-all, a nice site that gives you lots of new content every day in both anime and manga to keep you coming back for more.
Type the words Gogo anime into your search bar and you will end up at this site. It allows you to watch many anime episodes for free, though you must put up with the obligatory popup ads. Once past the first few ads, the site is easy to navigate and the advertisement is toned-down a bit to let you enjoy the site. Menus to search by title, genre, or new releases will enable you to find what you are looking for in a short period of time.
The site offers a membership through which you can be notified when new episodes of your favorite shows are made available and has some features that are helpful during playback. You can watch anime that is subbed or dubbed into English. The most popular series such as Naruto Shippuden and Dragon Ball Super can be viewed on this site, as well as nice selection of anime movies.
You can watch the latest episodes of Nanbaka plus many other new and older anime titles on the Funimation site. They have a large selection of legal anime for your viewing pleasure and you can watch subbed titles for free. You need to be a premium member to watch the English dubbed versions of the cartoons. Becoming a premium member also lets you view the programs without any ads, and you can get a 2-week free trial to see if its worth your while.
Advertisements are part of the viewing experience, and you can expect to see 3 or so commercial breaks in a 30-minute anime program. This is pretty standard and is about what you would be subjected to if you were watching the program on a broadcast television station.
The Viewster site is another free site fueled by advertising. While the content is free, expect to see a commercial break about every 12 minutes. This site does not have an extensive collection of anime as some of the other sites and a lot of the content is of the older variety. A plus with this site is that they also have a section of documentaries and other movies that are available for your viewing pleasure.
Anime is subbed into English, French, German, and Spanish which will appeal to a wider audience than some of the sites where Japanese and English are the only two language choices. Mobile apps are available for IOS and Android devices so you can watch on the go.
This site lets you watch a wide variety of cartoons for free. Anime is just a small part of this site, which has a large and diverse selection of cartoons in all different genres. Its user interface can be confusing, but eventually you can get to the point where you can watch cartoons such as Batman and Star vs the Forces of Evil with no cost to you.
There is controversy surrounding this site which seems to at times be a place to watch anime and at other times simply a malware dispersal unit. At the time of this writing, I visited the site and was bombarded with redirected pages that claimed to be from Microsoft warning me that my Windows machine was infected. Since I was using an Apple MacBook, I disregarded the messages and got away from the site. We would suggest that you are better off searching elsewhere for your free anime.
This site appears to be on the way out, as there is a banner on the site claiming it will be closing in August. That is too bad, as it is an easily navigated page that has a ton of anime content available for free. They categorize their anime selections according to highest ratings, most recent series, and a large variety of genres to explore. You can certainly find some anime to suit your taste on this site but get there soon before it closes down.
If you want to watch cartoons online there is no site that is more aptly named. The site has a huge selection of free anime shows and episodes. They feature dubbed and subbed anime including all of the Dragon Ball series as well as many other cartoons that do not fit into the anime category. You can also choose from their large and diverse selection of movies.
The owners of this site recommend that you use Safari, Opera or Firefox as browsers due to a compatibility problem with Chrome. If you have the patience to wade through the seemingly endless string of ads and redirects, you eventually get to a place where you can watch dubbed anime such as Dragon Ball Z, Wolverine, and Vampire Night.
Here is a free site that offers many English dubbed and subbed anime titles. It also has come under some scrutiny for delivering unwanted malware to your computer. Upon entering the site you are greeted with a very cluttered screen that is full of ads that can be inadvertently activated, so caution is advised when navigating around the site. You will find any new and old anime episodes available on the site, but it will take some work to avoid all of the advertisements as you search for your favorite programs.
The Anime Lab site offers anime video on demand and simulcasts from Japan that are exclusively for users in Australia and New Zealand. You cannot access the site from other geographic locations without spoofing your IP address with a VPN.
If you are located in Australia or New Zealand, this is a free and legal way to watch your favorite anime shows. In addition to having the ability to watch Anime Lab on your computer, they have an app available for iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox One & Apple TV.
Anime fans located outside of Anime Lab’s viewing zone can submit their email address and be notified if and when the service becomes available in other parts of the world.
Here is a site where you can watch English dubbed and subbed titles for free. The site does contain potentially bothersome pop-up ads, but also has an extensive library of anime shows and episodes for you to choose from.
You can browse the anime offerings in a number of ways such as by genre, alphabetically, by date released, and by popularity. Genre choices include mecha, fantasy, drama, mystery and many more. The current top of the charts in the popular anime section are the Naruto Shippuden episodes and Bleach.
The site includes a helpful FAQ section that addresses some issues you may encounter when attempting to watch the animation. They accept donations to help keep the site up and running and you can help them by loading video content for them as well.
If you are primarily interested in having the ability to watch Dragon Ball Super online, then this is the site for you. It deals exclusively with the Dragon Ball franchise and offers Dragon Ball Super episodes in both dubbed and subbed formats. You do have to navigate through pop-up ads but you get to watch all of your favorite Dragon Ball episodes for free.
It is a simply designed site with a menu that allows you to also view other Dragon Ball shows. There are 291 episodes of the Dragon Ball Z series available as well as 13 Dragon Ball Z movies. The original Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Kai can also be viewed by using this site. Fans of Dragon Ball should definitely check out this site.
Here is another site that you will find either by searching for crunchy roll or crunchyroll. It is primarily a paid site though there are a limited number of free anime offerings. In addition to their anime selections, this site offers a great way to read manga online. Though it has one of the most extensive libraries of anime available, you will need premium access to view most of them.
You can watch a lot of anime with Elmedia Player online. Still there can be moments when you may wonder if there is a way to download anime video on Mac and watch it offline without worries of being disconnected. Get Elmedia Player PRO that can download pretty much anything from the web including anime streaming videos.
While the sites we have looked at so far may allow free viewing of various anime shows and genres, they are designed for online viewing. If you wish to download versions of your favorite anime programs, you can use torrent sites to access libraries of downloadable content.
There are precautions that need to be taken when dealing with torrent sites. In the first place, there may be copyright laws in place depending on your location and jurisdiction. Using a torrent site to download content may be a violation of your local copyright laws and you can be subject to legal ramifications.
Another issue to be aware of when dealing with torrent sites is the possibility that your download may be accompanied by a not-so-friendly additional piece of software. Malware runs rampant on many torrent sites and you stand a reasonable chance of infecting your machine if you frequent these sites and engage in downloading anime episodes.
Some browsers have taken to blocking certain torrent sites for the reasons we have just discussed. If these factors do not concern you and you can get to the torrent sites, you will be able to download anime programs and episodes for viewing at a later time.
Here are some torrent sites you may want to check out.
Horriblesubs is a torrent site that is devoted strictly to anime. The site is updated frequently with many new episodes available for download soon after they are broadcast. The site lets you download your anime episodes in 480p, 720p or 1080p so you can watch your shows in the video quality that you prefer.
Some features of this site include the ability to download through IRC if torrents are too slow for you. Another way to speed up your download is to take advantage of the batches that they create. A batch is simply a collection of a number of episodes from a series that have been combined into a single download and have had more extensive translation and video fixes performed on the content.
Horriblesubs also has a calendar of the week’s releases so you can see what is coming up and what will be out there for you to download. You can follow the group that runs the site on twitter @horriblesubs.
Here is a torrent site that leads off with a warning that you should be using a VPN if you are going to be downloading torrents. It welcomed me to the site by displaying my IP address and country of origin and warned that this was easily detectable by others.
Once you are on the site there are a number of categories that you can search for, and anime is one of them. They have a wide variety of anime programs available to download, many of them of the adult entertainment nature.
This torrent site claims to be in total legal accordance with U.S. laws and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as they have no files that are copyright protected. The site has an extensive library of anime titles for you to choose from and include user comments to help you make your choices.
The site has a user-friendly interface and search capabilities to allow you to quickly find what you want. You do need to register before you can actually see what the site has to offer.
This torrent site no longer offers registration to new users, and their wiki claims that they are moving to an invite-only system of increasing its user base. Their wiki explains the philosophy behind the site and the rules related to the types of anime they will allow, with a stated ban on pornographic material.
To play anime from torrent sites you should first of all save an anime torrent file on your computer. Once you have it on the hard drive you can download its content from other peers by using a torrent downloader for Mac. Afterwards you can easily play torrent anime videos with a good quality torrent app- Elmedia Player.
The history of Japanese animation and therefore of anime can be traced back more than a century. The first commercially released animated film was Dekobo Shingacho - Meian no Shippai (Dekobo’s New Picture Book - Failure of a Great Plan) in February of 1917.
Manga artists Oten Shimokawa and Junichi Kouchi along with the painter Seitaro Kitayama are considered the father of anime and were responsible for almost 20 short films that were produced in 1917. These silent films were about 5 minutes long and used chalk on a board to enact the animations. Though the quality and technology of the anime films have dramatically progressed over time, the storylines that were used in the early movies are still present in modern productions.
Both Kouchi and Kitayama started their own anime studios in the early 1920’s, but neither company survived to the end of the decade. Kenzo Masaoka was the next anime pioneer, and in 1933 created the first anime film with pre-recorded voices. In 1934 he made the first anime film produced entirely with transparent cells for animation, and the path to modern anime was born.
During the years of World War II, many animators were drawn towards the creation of propaganda, with the first full-length anime commissioned by the Japanese Navy.
Anime continued to grow through the decades and was given a boost by the availability of television to spread the art form to a wider audience. In 1963 the first anime television series, Astro Boy, was produced. It was based on the popular manga of Osamu Tezuka. Original manga panels were used as storyboards to save time in production.
The 1980s are considered the “Golden Age” of anime as many new genres were developed. This is probably due to the coming of age of the artists that grew up with Astro Boy and wanted to try their hand at this art form. The rise of VHS tapes also was instrumental in anime gaining a wider audience. The pinnacle of 1980s anime is possibly the feature film Akira produced in 1988.
The ability to animate with computer graphics introduced in the 2000s opened the doors to an expanded slate of anime titles that took advantage of technology to produce incredibly detailed anime. Early Japanese animators were inspired by the work of Disney studios, and today the animation world has come full circle with anime-style artwork becoming more prevalent in the animation created in the United States.
Anime is an art form that is here to stay. Hopefully, some of the sites we have discussed will help you enjoy some of the incredible animations that have been created by these anime artists.