Streaming anime is often expensive, but for those who know where to look, there are excellent free anime to stream. The following anime series can be watched completely legally on free platforms, albeit with some commercials. However, for those on a tight budget who need their anime fix, nothing can be better.
Some of the following series are only available in dubbed, while others are only available with subtitles. The rights to stream subs and dubs can be different, so often only one or the other is available on these free streaming services. As a result, many of the following series are only available in subtitle format. Nevertheless, no matter what dubbing preference one has, there are free anime out there that can satisfy.
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Lupin the Third
Lupin the Third is a classic anime series that has been running since 1971 to the present day. Lupin the Third follows master thief Lupin and his companions Jigen and Goemon as they attempt to steal valuable items from all over the world, make a spectacle of their grand heists while dodging the headstrong detective Zenigata. Lupin the third is divided into several parts, with the first part dating back to 1971, and part 5 was shown in 2018, but it is not necessary to see all the parts to keep up with what is happening. Lupine is a cultural phenomenon in Japan thanks to its longevity, so every self-respecting anime fan should be a little familiar with it.
The original Naruto anime follows Naruto Uzumaki, a young man who dreams of becoming the best ninja in the world. Blessed and cursed with the power of a nine-tailed beast, Naruto has been an outcast for most of his life, but soon he has a chance to prove himself by joining Sakura and Sasuke at ninja training. Note that this is the original anime, not Naruto Shippuden, but there are still over 200 episodes with content available completely free of charge. As one of the big hit series of the 2000s, it’s never too late to check out Naruto or just the old days.
Yu Yu Hakusho
Yu Yu Hakusho is an excellent Shonen anime of the 90s created by Yoshihiro Togashi, aka Hunter X Hunter. It follows Yusuke Yurameshi, a young man who dies in a car accident and is recruited as a “spiritual detective” in exchange for another chance at life. Although it starts out pretty small, things pick up quite a bit over the course of the series. Yu Yu Hakusho is known for his amazing tournament arcs that feature some really cool fighting anime action. Hunter X Hunter fans who have never tried Yu Yu Hakusho will be looking forward to a real treat, because many of the features that make Hunter so interesting are clearly present in Yu Yu Hakusho.
Death Note had success in the mid-2000s with its edgy premise and immediately became a classic. Light Yagami, a bright but ordinary boy, finds a mysterious notebook, which says that writing a name in this book will kill this person in any described way. After Light puts him to the test, he decides to create a better world with the Death Note – only to immediately come into conflict with the police and his special detective L. What follows is a game of cat and mouse, while Light tries to cover his tracks, while L is constantly looking for this magical vigilante who believes he is above the law.
Inuyasha is another classic anime from the turn of the millennium. It tells the story of Kagome Higurashi, a schoolgirl in Japan, who one day is kidnapped to the feudal era, where she meets the half-demon Inuyasha, whom she held on a tree in stasis. Circumstances force the two to work together to rebuild the Shikon jewel, which they accidentally destroyed while trying to prevent the theft. But Inuyasha’s old enemies are also back and they also have plans for the Shikon jewel.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a legendary series whose manga has been running almost continuously since 1987. The series is unique in that it follows the Joestar family, and not a single character, showing their exploits over the centuries, dealing with everything from vampires to ghosts, and, of course, what the series is most famous for, the position, a spiritual manifestation of the soul imbued with special powers. Parts 1-5 can be watched for free on PlutoTV and Tubi, but unfortunately Part 6 (the last part to be animated) is currently exclusive to Netflix. However, due to the constantly changing protagonists, it is not necessary to watch every part of the story.
Hunter X Hunter
Hunter X Hunter, another Yoshihiro Togashi series by Yu Yu Hakusho, is an incredibly popular series that received this animated adaptation in 2011. It follows Gon, a boy in search of his father and a hunter, just like him. However, becoming a hunter is not an easy task, and I am making friends with other aspiring hunters, Kurapika, Killua and Leorio, and they have to work together to get their hunting licenses and make their dreams come true. The series is quite long with more than 150 episodes and the manga on which it is based is not finished yet, but Hunter X Hunter is widely considered one of the best anime of the 2010s.
Sailor Moon is one of the most famous anime of all time and a classic of the 90s. it follows Usagi Tsukino, a young woman who discovers that she has a magical destiny ahead of her as the famous Sailor Moon. Usagi later meets with Sailor Scouts representing other planets throughout the solar system, each with their own special powers and abilities, who come to her aid to fight against the villainous Queen Beryl and other villains. The original Japanese version is a little different from DIC’s 90s dub, and fans who haven’t watched with subtitles will be amused by the various changes. For those who are looking for a more modern Moderna series, PlutoTV also has the current Sailor Moon Crystal.
Another successful series of the early 2000s, Yu-Gi-Oh! it tells the story of Yugi, a boy who finds and solves an Egyptian riddle, which leads him to accept the alter ego Yami Yugi or Dark Yugi. The series revolves around a card game called Duel Monsters, which Yugi is very talented at playing. When the creator of the card game uses another Egyptian artifact to steal the soul of Yugi’s grandfather, Yugi has to fight his way through the duelist kingdom to free his grandfather. The version available for streaming is the original 4Kids version, which makes it an excellent blast from the past for anyone who watched the series as a child.
Galaxy Express 999
Galaxy Express 999 is an anime series from 1978-1981 that is older than most on this list, but its status as an influential classic cannot be ignored. The series follows a little boy, Tetsuro Hoshino, who lives in poverty on Earth until he gets the chance to board the Galaxy Express and see the stars. He is accompanied by a woman named Maetel, who looks very much like his late mother and is from a very distant planet at the end of the Galaxy Express line. Despite its appearance, the narrative of the series is very mature and deals with heavy topics that go through the head of its childish protagonist. This is a series that hardcore anime fans should not miss.
Dozens of high-quality anime series are available for free streaming on these and other platforms, as well as numerous anime films, some of which even belong to these franchises, such as several Lupin the Third films. Take a look at the content libraries of these services yourself and see if there is anything else that appeals to you. However, for those who want to watch a cheap anime, it is difficult to do better than these 10 free anime series to stream.
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