If you're an anime fan, chances are you've spent some time on Crunchyroll—or at least checked it out after seeing it mentioned somewhere.
The streaming service originally started out by hosting illegal anime streams with fan subs, but removed all illicit content in 2009 and committed itself to legal distribution of anime. It has since become the largest anime distribution service in the West.
With Crunchyroll's recent merger with Funimation, the platform has grown into the largest it's ever been and now houses some of the most iconic and popular anime series of all time.
With thousands of anime series to choose from—and many more released every year—it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Whether you're an anime newbie or veteran, here are some of the best anime series available on Crunchyroll worth checking out.
Note: Anime distribution rights can be tricky. Not every show is available in every region. We've focused on what's available to stream on Crunchyroll US, but check with your local app to see if they're available for you!
If you've seen the film Minority Report, you'll be familiar the premise of Psycho-Pass. This anime series takes place in a future where science has gotten so good that it can assess a person's mental state and tell whether they're psychologically prone to committing crimes.
And if it's determined that someone will commit a crime, the state can arrest them before they actually cause any harm.
What sets Psycho-Pass apart is how it dives head-first into the impact that this mechanism has on society and the people who are charged with upholding the law. It's a brilliant exploration of what utopias really look like, complete with fantastic characters and animation.
9. KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World!
There are countless isekai anime series out there, but KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! is probably the best of the lot. It refuses to take itself seriously, and it feels true to how an adventuring party really ends up after a handful of sessions.
What does that mean? Well, the thief has terrible luck and can only steal panties; the paladin gets off on being beaten up; the mage can only cast one spell a day and it's always Fireball; and the cleric is a literal goddess who also happens to be an idiot.
On paper, none of this should work, but the comedy is so fast-paced and non-stop that you never get a chance to dwell on what's happening. KonoSuba is one of the best palate cleansers on Crunchyroll, offering fans the chance for something silly between more serious shows.
8. My Dress-Up Darling
Gojo spends every day at school hiding a big part of himself from everyone else. His grandfather runs a hina doll shop and Gojo dreams of making dolls just like him, but he worries that no one will accept him if they knew he had such a "girly" hobby.
That all changes when Marin, the popular girl in his class, asks him to help her make a cosplay of her favorite character.
This series was one of the big hits of the Winter 2022 anime season for a couple reasons, but mainly for Gojo and Marin having an adorable high school romance relationship where both are nervous about telling the other how they feel.
The art and animation are top-notch while the writing delivers great comedy along with some heartfelt moments. Plus, it depicts cosplayers more accurately than any other anime out there!
7. Spy X Family
What happens when you have a spy, a telepath, and an assassin all playing house together? Hijinks, of course!
Spy X Family is an anime series about a nation that's on the brink of war, with Twilight being the nation's greatest spy. He's tasked with recruiting a wife and daughter to pose as his fake family so he can gather intelligence and influence affairs.
What he doesn't know is that his fake wife (Yor) is the world's greatest assassin, nor does she know he's a spy. Neither of them realize that their adoptive daughter (Anya) is a telepath who knows their real identities but keeps it a secret because she doesn't want to lose them.
Spy X Family is all about how these three avoid revealing their identities to each other, all while growing closer as a family unit. There are sweet moments mixed with comedy and action that make it one of the most well-balanced ongoing anime series out there.
6. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
Miyuki and Kaguya are the envy of their class. They serve as student council president and vice-president, respectively, and both of them consistently rank at the top of their class in grades.
Everyone thinks they would be the perfect couple, including themselves... except they both refuse to be the first one to confess their feelings.
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War follows these two love-sick teenagers as they attempt to trick, force, and coerce the other into admitting their feelings. It has plenty of angst and romance, but also leans into its farcical elements with rap battles, cosplay cafes, and cooking contests mixed in.
5. Cowboy Bebop
Not much needs to be said about this classic anime. Cowboy Bebop follows the crew of the Bebop as they cruise through space, looking for bounties in a far-future, nearly-western world. It's slick and stylish and features one of the best English dubs you'll find in any anime.
If you enjoyed Firefly and want more of that kind of sci-fi, Cowboy Bebop will scratch that itch and then some. There are very few anime series out there that are more hip and stylish, even 20 years after its debut.
Most anime series are about heroes who have to gain strength to overcome a great adversary. Trigun is different in that the hero of this story—Vash the Stampede—is already the most powerful character on the planet.
Instead of wanting more power, Vash the Stampede simply wants to use what he has to help people and live a life of love and peace. And while he's undeniably the star of the show, Trigun surrounds him with supporting characters who are equally as fun.
Vash's pacifist ideals are tested by the fact that everyone on the planet is gunning for him, up until he finally feels like he might break. The show shifts between comedy and tragedy at lightning pace, occasionally causing emotional whiplash.
3. One Piece
One Piece is the anime series that refuses to end and we love it for that. Luffy and his crew sail across the seas, finding new adventures and fighting injustice wherever they find it.
All told, this anime is a pure escapist fantasy that still has a deep political and philosophical message beneath its surface.
With more than 1,000 episodes and still more being released weekly, One Piece is the greatest time investment across anime. However, for anime fans, there aren't many better ways to spend a weekend than watching Monkey D. Luffy chase his dream of becoming King of the Pirates.
2. Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if someone threw Ren & Stimpy, Powerpuff Girls, and Invader Zim into a blender and animated the R-rated concoction that popped out? If so, then we have good news! Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt is here to answer your question.
Two angel sisters are kicked out of heaven for being terrible at being good. They're sent to Earth to earn their way back home, but discover that they enjoy all the vices of humanity far too much.
The music, animation, and performances are all fantastic, with the English dub being one of the few that's clearly better than the original. If you like gross-out humor and lots of swearing, you will love this show.
1. Dragon Ball
The most legendary shonen anime series of all time is still going strong, and all of its episodes are on Crunchyroll.
You can start with the original Dragon Ball and follow Goku's initial journey all the way through to Dragon Ball Super. This is the franchise that changed the face of anime forever and became one of the biggest intellectual properties on the planet.
Of all the anime series on Crunchyroll, none has had the kind of cultural impact that Dragon Ball has had. Goku is more important than Superman in some parts of the world, and the legacy of Akira Toriyama's work can't be overstated. This is a must-watch if you haven't yet.