Yes, Crunchyroll is fine if you’re paying for a subscription, but if you’re using the free tier you’re limited to 480p quality, and can’t watch the most up to date episode of currently airing anime. But, if you’re someone who doesn’t care about quality and only watches complete anime, this isn’t a bad option.
However, there’s one other reason I would personally opt for the other choices on this list, and that’s the fact that Anime Planet doesn’t have a dark theme on their website. This isn’t a complete deal breaker, but if you’re someone like me, then you have everything set to dark mode.
Now, you might think that everything I’ve said puts Anime Planet below KissAnime, but that isn’t the case. There are no hoops to jump through to watch an episode, and adblock (uBlock Origin) works with the site so there are no annoying ads.
OtakuStream has the best of both worlds when it comes to visuals because it comes with a toggle to swap between light and dark modes. But, not only is it nice to have this option, but it’s also just the most visually appealing site on this list, and so is probably my personal favorite.
However, while a dark mode option is nice, what really puts OtakuStream above Anime Planet is the fact that you can watch brand new episodes in 1080p. And, if streaming anime isn’t your thing, you can even download episodes to watch at a later date.
There are even two separate options for random anime series or random anime moves for those of you who are feeling a bit adventurous. I’ve never actually used this feature because I have such an immense backlog of anime to watch already, but it’s still a nice touch.
And, to top it all off,
Anime Twist is a bit different from the other options on this list in that it feels much more like a community than just a streaming service. This is because there’s a live chat in the sidebar, which you can hop into by creating an account.
But, fear not. If you’re just looking for your anime fix and don’t want to be distracted by the chat, you can close the sidebar with the click of a button. I just liked the idea of being able to chat with a community of other anime watchers andwatch anime all in one place. Who needs Discord when your streaming service has a built-in chat?
Something else I noticed, which I didn’t realize I needed until I saw it, was the inclusion of a small video player in the bottom right of the screen if you begin searching for a new anime while already watching one. This means you no longer need to stop watching an anime just because you want to look for something else.
Those few seconds or minutes of sitting in silence while you search for a new series to watch are a thing of the past. Also, if you decide that you actually want to watch the series you had previously started, you can hop right back in without needing to reload anything just by clicking the mini player.
But, maybe the website improvements of OtakuStream and Anime Twist aren’t for you. Maybe you just want a site that looks and functions like KissAnime, but without the hentai game ads plastered all over it. If that’s the case, then Gogoanime is the site for you.
Gogoanime doesn’t really introduce anything new or special to the world of free anime streaming, but that’s also part of its charm. It’s purely about finding the anime you want to watch, and then being able to watch it without distractions.
While this site is definitely preferable over the likes of Anime Planet due to the fact that it has a larger library and 1080p quality options, I’d place it below the other three sites on this list. It’s still better than KissAnime, but that’s not really saying all that much.
And, finally, we have 9Anime, which is almost like a crossover between Gogoanime, OtakuStream, and Anime Twist. It’s set up almost in the same way as Gogoanime, but includes some of the aesthetic and user-friendly improvements of the other two services.
Unfortunately, the biggest thing working against 9Anime are the fake versions of the site which aim to steal your personal information. In fact, if you search “9Anime” on google, the very first search result is fake. It takes you to a fake Twitter account with a link to a fake version of the site.
But, don’t worry, the link I’ve provided to their site above goes to one of the two official versions.
Like all of these options other than Anime Planet, 9Anime uses a dark theme by default. It also allows you to swap between dark and light modes just like OtakuStream, but for some reason this button is small and down in the footer of the site rather than being up in the header.
Just to cover our bases let’s say you’d prefer to pay for your anime rather than using the free sites I’ve listed here. Lucky for you, there are a whole bunch of services which allow you to do this such as Crunchyroll, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Funimation just to name a few.
Of those, Netflix and Crunchyroll are my go-to services, though I’ve dabbled in Amazon Prime Video and Funimation as well. While these services can be nice because they actually have good subtitles up immediately rather than sometimes weeks later, the issue is none of them will have all the titles you’re looking for.
If you subscribe to Crunchyroll, expect for some anime you want to be locked behind other services like Netflix. That’s just how the paid streaming world works.