While we all love anime almost as much (for some fans it’s more than) life itself, it can be a VERY expensive hobby. With box sets being highly priced, and even single DVDs sometimes being priced highly themselves, a lot of fans may find themselves having to choose between paying the rent and eating, or watching their favorite show. That’s why today I’m going to discuss some of the many ways there are to get your anime fix for Free or Cheap!
1. Crunchyroll, Neon Alley, and other Official streaming sites
Crunchyroll is a widely used website devoted to tons of East Asia media. Crunchyroll started back in 2006 in order to stream this media, however some of the content was illegal. Now, Crunchyroll does not host any illegal media on their site. Crunchyroll is available for free from a web browser and devices with Windows Phone, iOS, and Android (as long as you’re connected to a Wi-Fi source). There is a paid option, which is $6.95/month, offers streaming to many other devices such as the Xbox 360, PS3, and Apple TV. The paid subscription also gets you more benefits than just watching for free such as getting the opportunity to watch certain episodes of series before free users. Right now Crunchyroll has a 14-day free trial for their paid service. After the 14 days, if you continue to use the paid portion of their service it costs $6.95/month.
Neon Alley is another service provided by VIZ Media. Unlike Crunchyroll however, Neon Alley is set up similar to a television station where shows are only shown at a certain time of day. They had added a “Catch Up” service that allows members to watch past episodes of series they may have missed. Neon Alley will cost viewers $6.99/month for the service, but they do have a 1 week trial for new users. It should be noted that Neon Alley only shows VIZ Media series, which should be obvious as it is a service created by VIZ Media.
2.Netflix and Hulu
Netflix is another great site to stream anime. In their catalog, they have a lot of new anime like Naruto: Shippuden and Sengoku Basara, and also plenty of classics like Cowboy Bebop and Trigun. While they are slow on getting some series, they have a wide variety from action to comedy to romance and slice of life. Netflix is $1 more than Crunchyroll’s paid service; however, it is just as good if you’re going to pay for a service. It gives you unlimited streaming across all devices that support Netflix. It also gives you access to their entire library of streaming movies so you have a wider selection of media in case you’re not in the mood for anime. Netflix is also starting to stream anime with a dual-audio option, meaning you get both the original dub, and the English dub. The service costs $7.99/month.
Hulu is another free/paid service. They are starting to have a wider selection of anime; however unless you pay for Hulu Plus, many of these episodes have commercial. This isn’t a big deal to me personally, but it may be for some. Like Netflix, Hulu has a selection of other media as well. Also like Netflix, Hulu Plus is $7.99/month, but it does have a 1 week trial for new users.
YouTube offers a wider selection than both CrunchyRoll and Netflix, but the majority of the selection is illegally uploaded. I don’t recommend going to YouTube unless you’re going to watch anime on an official YouTube Channel such as FUNimation’s Channel (you know, support the industry and all). Almost all official channels offer many series for free on YouTube.
Many also only upload a small selection of episodes of any series. Because of this it’s near impossible to watch an entire series on YouTube (most likely to convince viewers to buy a DVD set or purchase the episodes otherwise). You can watch full series uploaded unofficially, but as said before it is illegal, so it’s not recommended.
4. Yard Sales/Flea Markets/eBay/Used Sellers on Amazon
Places like Yard Sales and Flea Markets are great places to find used anime and maybe even manga. Many times at Yard Sales, parents will sell their children’s collection, or videos they left at home, not knowing what they are. The same can go for Flea Markets. Many sellers just see it as a cartoon and may not know what exactly they are selling. It should be noted, however, that most of the series will most likely be older series on VHS tapes. For those feeling nostalgic, this is a great option. Amazon and ebay are also great places to find used anime. Many times, people will sell their anime for a fraction of what a new item would cost. Some sellers do look to make money off their anime, but others just want to get rid of it. Also, Amazon and ebay make it much easier to find nearly exactly what you’re looking for. I definitely recommend this option for buying your anime.
5. Your Public Library
More and more libraries are hopping on the otaku train. Due increasing demand for anime and manga, many libraries are building their collections for patrons to check out. If your library doesn’t have any anime, or a particular series, there’s still hope! In Ohio, many libraries participate in an inter-library loan program. This means that they’ll lend out items to library card holders from other libraries as long as their library participates in the program. I would assume that other states have similar programs. If you’re not sure if your library participates, go ask. Even if they don’t participate, try suggesting to the library to buy anime, or maybe donate some anime to them. If your library see there’s a demand, they’ll surely buy more for patrons.
Pirating is another (and NOT recommended). We here at Japan Powered do not pirate anime, nor do we condone the piracy of anime or anything else for that matter. I am only acknowledging as an option. Not only is piracy illegal, it hurts the industry! The anime industry is on rocky waters anyway. Piracy only hurts the medium we enjoy. Not only that, but many illegal anime downloads can be filled with malware that can permanently damage your computer.
Television is one of the least popular ways to watch anime in the United States due to the lack of selection, but it can be one of your best options if you do not have a lot of money. Channels such as Cartoon Network show anime, albeit only on Saturday night going into Sunday morning on their Adult Swim/Toonami block. Time Warner customers who have the On-Demand channels as part of their service will find that they have the Anime Network On-Demand. I’m not too sure which On-Demand channel it is, as the channel numbers may change from area to area. I suggest calling your Time Warner representative and asking. They should be able to look up the information for you. There are also other options such as the FUNimation channel. For Comcast customers, FUNimation has a Video On-Demand service in both a free On-Demand, and a Pay-Per-View On-Demand.