Where to Watch Yuri in English Online, Free and Legally

March 12th, 2017

Last year I did a round-up of free legal anime streaming services where you could watch Yuri anime. Recently I was name-checked on Twitter when someone discovered an older legit channel for the first time. And, since this happens regularly and old services close down and new services pop up, it seemed apropos to go through some of the free, legitimate anime streaming services available to you on which to watch Yuri anime.

Caveats: I’m focusing on US-based services, because while I am dedicated to you, my readers, my dedication does not extend to working with proxies or VPNs in every major market to see if these services work in your hometown. Assume there are regional restrictions in place for some or all of these services. But feel free to use proxies or VPNs on your own. ^_^ And, if you use a regionally legal, free streaming site in a non-US country, by all means, please let folks know in comments!

I’m also not focusing on paid services like The Anime Network or Amazon’s Strike. Today we’re focusing on services that are free and legitimate. 

 ALL these services have shifting catalogs. That’s just the nature of the beast, the beast being video licensing. Just because a series is on one service now, does not mean it will always be.  Another good reason to update this list periodically.

 

Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll is doing a pretty good job of licensing anime as broadly as possible. They have been very Yuri-positive and often, when they lose a license, circle back around and get it again – for instance, they have Aoi Hana/Sweet Blue Flowers  once again after viewers complained when the IP holder pulled the show after a limited time. Crunchyroll is my go-to, because their catalog is one of the most comprehensive, from Bodacious Space Pirates to Riddle Story of a Devil to Yuru Yuri to Sakura Trick to Cardcaptor Sakura. 

Rating: A- They’ve really kept up the commitment to Yuri. It’s not an all-in-one-place-go-to-stop for everything, but it’s damned close. The biggest issue is the region-blocking, which is not Crunchyroll’s fault, but does have an impact.

 

Viewster is a trove of forgotten Yuri treasures. Their library includes Strawberry Panic!, Maria Watches Over Us, Aria and some other random things I’ve liked over the years, like Murder Princess. ^_^ Viewster claims to be available worldwide. 

Rating: B-  The catalog is hit or miss, but they often have stuff you can’t find anywhere else.

 

Hulu

This time last year, Hulu had a ton of anime but they purged most of it, including a large pile of interesting western animation. However, it’s the only place you can go for the original Sailor Moon. How fun, huh? Where Toei licensed Sailor Moon Crystal to everyone and their cousin (finally!), Viz obviously has an exclusive agreement with Hulu for streaming the original series. 

Rating: B- There’s nothing else here, the adverts are annoying and for the cost of subscribing (which doesn’t get rid the ads,) I might as well get the DVDs.

 

Tubi TV

Tubi a newish service that includes a random smattering of anime, but has a surprisingly strong showing in Yuri, on account of Nozomi’s titles. So they have Revolutionary Girl Utena, Season 3 and 4 (? No idea why only those two seasons)  of Maria Watches Us and Bodacious Space Pirates. They’ve also got a few other notable series, like Moribito, and Sound of the Sky. It’s worth a look, if only to boggle you with the vagaries of anime licensing.

Rating: B- It’s worth looking at, but I probably wouldn’t subscribe.

 

Nozomi Entertainment on Youtube

The Official Nozomi channel currently has all of Revolutionary Girl Utena and Rose of Versailles in full on Youtube, but this may be ephemeral.

Rating: C It’s cool as long as it lasts, but there’s no way to know how long it will last. And Youtube.

 


Daisuki

Speaking of services no one remembers, Daisuki was launched by the Japanese government with “Cool Japan” money a few years ago in order to create a better streaming service to overseas watchers. Unfortunately it fell into the exact same pit as all the other “Cool Japan” endeavors – it was random, inconsistent and had no long-term planning. So you can still watch, say, Jubei-chan on Daisuki, but only Season 2, not 1. I will give them credit for excellent genre break down, “sci-fi” “robots/mechanic” “heartful” “novels” “games” “sports/race”. You actually have an idea what a series is about/from with descriptions like those.

Rating: D 

 

Funimation

Auuuughhghghghghghgh. Funimation, you have the worst website. Always. Ever. There has never been a single day I have visited the Funimation website and not wanted to put my fist through the screen. Sure, they have Riddle Story of a Devil, and Yurikuma Arashi, but so does Crunchyroll without committing every single website design failure in the world.

Ratings: D Go anywhere else. It’s never worth the agita.

 

If Media Blasters and Nozomi licensed their catalogs to Crunchyroll, they’d be the all-in-one-place, but even so, they come closer to anywhere else. The biggest problem is the inconsistency and ephemerality of the licenses. And the region-blocking, which is a relic of another age that is slowly disintegrating, but still exists, for now.

If you are using a legitimate streaming site for your country and want to share, please add it to the comments!

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14 Responses

  1. Mariko says:

    My main complaint about Crunchyroll is that they don’t have a genre/category listing for yuri. So you basically have to already know what you’re looking for in order to watch it. Therefore, as a service to fellow yuri fans, culled from my queue, here’s the (definitive?) list of yuri and yuri-ish titles available to watch on Crunchyroll:

    Cardcaptor Sakura
    Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie
    Jubei-chan: The Ninja Girl
    Shamanic Princess
    Sakura Trick
    Shin Sekai Yori
    R.O.D.
    Saki
    Saki: Episode of Side A
    The Rose of Versailles
    Koihime Musou
    Shin Koihime Musou
    Shin Koihime Musou – Otome Tairan
    Battle Girls – Time Paradox
    Kill la Kill
    Girl Friend BETA
    Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san
    Puella Magi Madoka Magica
    Bodacious Space Pirates
    Sweet Blue Flowers
    Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon
    Samurai Flamenco
    Sailor Moon Crystal
    Riddle: Story of Devil
    Flip Flappers
    Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

    Bonus! No yuri but worth watching:
    Hozuki no Reitetsu
    Gankutsuou
    I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying
    She and Her Cat – Everything Flows

    And if I missed anything, *please* let me know!

  2. The problem with a list like this is that it contains very personal interpretations of “Yuri” which is why I did not include one. There are any number of series on your list I do not consider Yuri and undoubtedly, you would feel the same about any list I created, which is why I did not include one. ^_^

    I hope people do not feel limited by this list and feel free to watch what they want on their favorite streaming site!

    • Mariko says:

      Of course, I meant “definitive” in a very tongue-in-cheek way. And yes, the list ranges the gamut from “so, so gay” to “only if you squint hard and turn your head sideways.” :P

      I am not an authority and I certainly didn’t mean it to be some kind of canon that people shouldn’t look beyond or should feel is mandatory that they watch if they want to be “real” yuri fans. I just hoped it would be helpful as a reference since CR itself provides no way to search for yuri content.

      • I understood, just putting out the disclaimer for others. Pretty much no anime streaming sites acknowledge Yuri. (Nor does Amazon or Amazon JP.) In fact, CR basically adheres to the demographic genre, with a few broad actual genres. BL series are likewise not categorized. The only site I know for a fact that has Yuri as a category is Bookwalker and Global Bookwalker for manga and light novels and let me tell you how much I appreciate that!

        • Mariko says:

          Funimation used to have a yuri category, albeit with some questionable inclusions. However, I just checked and it seems that with their site reorganization they have eliminated it. :/

          • I understand why, too. For the same reason *I* don’t make lists. Who wants to get hate mail over whether Bodacious Space Pirates is Yuri or not? I mean, think about it. There’s one couple pretty far in. so it’s not a “Yuri series” but it has Yuri and is female-focused and empowering, but is it worth dealing with angry mail about choosing one side or the other? Nope, it just isn’t. It’s a sci/fi story. End of that. ^_^

          • Mariko says:

            True; I guess what I’m thinking of more is content tags, which is how Funi’s old system worked. That way a series doesn’t have to be bucketed as one thing or another – it can be labeled as many things as it needs to be to inform its potential audiences.

  3. Jamie says:

    Animelab in australia can be good, though they are clearly struggling in a world with cr. but cr never gets Funi titles, while AL often does here in Oz.

    • Mariko says:

      Wasn’t CR supposed to start carrying all of Funimation’s subtitled series, per their partnership-type-thing from last year? I haven’t seen any real movement on that front.

      • baritius says:

        The partnership’s why Funi-licensed shows like Riddle Story of Del/Yurikuma Arashi are no longer limited to Funi’s awful player.

        • Mariko says:

          Good to see YKA is there (wasn’t last time I checked), but they still don’t have everything. Still missing from yuri stuff:

          Rin: Daughters of Mnemnosyne
          Mikagura School Suite
          Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid
          Shattered Angels

          Mikagura was kinda decent in a fun way, but I don’t think the rest are a big loss. Also missing is “Venus vs. Virus,” which was tagged as yuri on Funi’s site but has no yuri at all. It does have pretty kickass opening and ending songs, though.

          This also seems as good a place as any to mention I’m still bummed that CR no longer has “Blue Drop”

      • Yes, they do. That’s why I said watch their stuf on CR. ^_^

    • CR is carrying Funimation titles now. Thanks for the Australian recommendation!

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