Anime: Stream, or Download? [Pros and Cons]

Do you love anime? There’s a good chance you do, since you’ve wandered onto ForeverGeek. It’s also quite possible that you’ve had your fill of Naruto, One Piece, Fairy Tail, and a goodly amount of shonen, and now are setting your sights on bigger fish in the anime sea. “Hey, Jonette”, I hear you cry; “I’m grown, I want to get some serious action on some anime, and I’m ready for it. What are the latest shows, and how do I get my hands on them?”

If you want the latest season’s offerings, you can always head to sites like Livechart and MyAnimeList for a comprehensive view of what shows are up and coming.

Now, getting your mitts on them — now that’s a different kettle of fish all together.

You may not know it, but there’s a hot debate going on in otakudom — which route is better: downloads, or streaming?

If you’re a beginner and have stumbled onto this battle ground (soaked with the blood of angry forum posts and zingers hurtling through cyberspace at the speed of byte), well… you may want to duck, cover, and huddle with us. We’re here to give you the lowdown on the pros, cons, and suitabilities of both downloading and streaming so you can choose which one works best for you. Just be mindful that both methods need a decent internet connection, so you may want to check yours with a speed test first.

Sounds good? Okay, let’s get started.


… Also known best as torrenting (which is kinda, er, illegal?), but hey, we won’t tell if you won’t. Downloading has become the go-to mode of anime acquisition for otaku who consider themselves hardcore viewers. If you’re the type of anime connoisseur who likes to prowl for the latest season’s releases, and want to watch the latest episode the exact same week it airs, downloading is for you. It’s also a great way to collect the series you enjoy if you’re the type who enjoys marathoning them with friends, or when you’re kicking back for the weekend with a pizza on a rainy day.

Are you the go-to anime person in your group of friends? Do you find yourself recommending shows you feel your friends would love? Arming yourself with stock of the anime itself is one of the best ways to encourage your friend to watch the show. Take it from me: there’s nothing cooler than being able to say “Oh, if you like [X], I think you’ll totally love [Y]. do you have a thumb drive or a portable disk on you right now? I can slip you the first few episodes so you can give it a try.” Smooth. As. Silk.

Just be mindful, though. Downloading shows will be easier on a generous internet speed. Depending on how voracious you can get with your anime viewing, you may have to be okay with downloading a handful of episodes at a time to save yourself the heartache of watching a dozen episodes download all at the same time at abyssal rates. Oh, and downloading shows will also mean it’ll be in your best interest to invest in a sizeable (preferrably portable) computer drive. Downloaded episodes, depending on the level of definition and quality,will vary anywhere from 250MB upwards to 7+Gigs, so make sure your storage is wide open and ready to receive these sizeable hauls. Trust me, your computer’s processor will thank you for it..

Best places to download episodes? I really can’t say for sure (cough*nyaantorrents*cough), and for fansub groups, beat it buddy. I ain’t telling you, you aren’t getting a single clue out of me. No, sirree.


If you consider yourself more of the casual anime viewer, aren’t particularly keen on stockpiling shows, and just want to check out a sow for yourself once, streaming is the method for you. It frees you from the commitment of having to devote precious hard disk space to shows you may have no desire to see again, and will save you the time and brain power of having to keep abreast of each new episode’s release. The streaming site’s admin will do all the hard work for you, and you are at leisure to catch up on your favorite show, anytime, anywhere.

Sharing anime with a friend can be as simple as sending a link to the show’s main page, letting your friend be at liberty to pick and choose which episodes they’d like to follow. Turns out the show isn’t to your friend’s taste? No love lost over a link, and certainly no awkwardness on your friend’s part on having delete data they know you spent precious bandwidth over. (Except maybe some hurt feelings over not being into what you’re into, but hey, let’s all be cool grownups here.)

There are a ton of websites out there that stream anime, most often stocking the most popular titles in an array of languages. Be mindful, though; if your tastes go beyond the regular shonen fare, searching for your title du jour (and yes, your preferred fansub group) may take some patience and deft googling. Want to watch some anime a bit more niche, esoteric, or vintage? More googling and patience is required. you may find yourself searching through a number of sites and not finding what you want, but finding it will be cause for great rejoicing.

Just like with downloading shows, a good, reliable internet connection is best for streaming anime. A decent speedy connection will save yourself the hair-tearing frustration of having to watch your video buffer at the episode’s most critical point, leaving you at a torturous cliffhanger — only for the video to skip or delay and you to miss out on some vital information.

Also, bear in mind that most of these sites are fan-run — meaning, fellow otaku like you are setting up and maintaining these sites out of their pockets and the burning love they have for fellow viewers like you, so clicking on some ads to help them generate revenue every now and then would not be amiss. It’s a sorry sight to see when a beloved streaming site runs out of steam and into the ground because of a lack of funds, so please have a heart and help out when you can.

whether you choose to download or to stream, just remember to have an open mind, a bucket of patience, and some snacks (and tissues) handy. and yes, don’t forget to have fun!

You may also enjoy:

5 Strange Anime Series that Will Blow Your Mind
10 Strange Anime You Would Never Have Thought of
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