Are you looking to watch cartoons online? Here’s where you can enjoy favorites like Steven Universe, Adventure Time, SpongeBob, and Naruto Shippuden… Legally.

Cartoons aren’t just for kids anymore. With the rise of cartoons with adult humor and themes, more adults are watching cartoons online. While your kids are hogging the television, it’s easy to sit in your recliner with a snack and drink and watch your favorites. Just pull out your laptop, put on your favorite headphones, turn on and ‘toon out.

Where Can I Watch Cartoons Online for Free (Legally)?

Back in the day, kids used to rush home from school to watch their favorite cartoons on TV. Most folks didn’t have Internet access back then and had to watch when our local stations said we could watch. Since then, a lot has changed. For starters, cable TV lets us tune into shows on demand, and we can also watch online. In addition, cartoons are not just for kids anymore.

But what if you don’t subscribe to cable or a streaming service like Netflix? You can watch cartoons online for free. Maybe not everything you want, but there are lots of shows out there to enjoy.

  • Crunchy Roll: They offer a basic service that lets you watch a wide range of anime videos. A $6.95 per month subscription removes the ads and gives you access to all their anime and manga. In addition, you can watch shows within an hour of being broadcast in Japan.
  • FunimationLike Crunchyroll, they’re a subscription service. But they also let you watch a lot of cartoons for free. They don’t have as large of a catalog, but it costs just $5.99 a month.
  • Toonami AftermathThis site lies in a legal grey area, and streams mostly videos with copyrights that have lapsed or been abandoned…Though others sometimes have been known to creep in. If you ‘re particular, you’ll need to check the schedule because these shows don’t play on demand. You’ll have to watch when Toonami Aftermath wants to play them.
  • Internet Archive MoviesHere, you’ll find mostly trailers, stock footage, and outtakes with occasional gems, including a series of Superman cartoon from the 1940s. Unfortunately, these often have a lot of stereotypes about women, countries, and ethnic groups that would now be seen as offensive.

Are these sites legal?

There are lots of other places to watch cartoons online for free… But are they on the up and up? Sites like Watch Cartoon Online, Kiss Cartoon, and Anime Haven have a huge selection and are wildly popular. But the sites’ owners often don’t have the legal right to stream these videos.

If your favorite cartoon and anime sites go down a lot and the URLs keep changing, they’re likely not legit. Same goes for sites with no About page or no info or form on their Contact page. Sometimes these sites are also said to be running invasive pop-up ads that install malware on your PC. Our advice? Stick with the legal sites.

Popular Cartoons for Watching Online

Steven Universe

The above show first appeared on Cartoon Network in 2013. It is based on a kid, Steven, who must take his mom’s place in a group of gem-based beings called the Crystal Gems. As the seasons progress, he has to learn how to use his powers bestowed upon him through the jewel in his bellybutton. During each episode, he goes through adventures with Pearl, Amethyst and Garnet. Even though he’s goofy and stumbles, he somehow finds ways to save the day in the end.

It’s funny, full of adventures and Steven is quirky and true to himself to the end. You get to meet tons of new Crystal Gems and see how Steven interacts with each. And best of all, adults enjoy watching as much as their kids do. And you? The Cartoon Network lets you stream episodes for free, but you need to have Flash installed.

If you’ve not seen it yet, here’s a preview of Steven Universe.

Adventure Time

New Adventure Time Game Announced

Image: CC by 2.0, by BagoGames, Adventure Time via Flickr

Need a reason to watch cartoons online? Adventure Time is it. This Cartoon Time favorite is about twelve-year-old Finn and his dog Jake. Finn must fight evil in the Land of Ooo. While battling the evils and wrongdoings, he crosses the evil Ice King — who happens to be looking for a wife. Unfortunately, he’s set his eyes on Princess Bubblegum. With the help of Lady Raincorn, Finn and Jake must help Princess Bubblegum stay away from the Ice King.

The animation is playful, with tons of characters to get behind. A lot of people cosplay as the characters from Adventure Time, almost as much as artists do fan-art.

You can view select episodes of Adventure Time on the Cartoon Network.

SpongeBob SquarePants

Most of us have heard of this show, and who hasn’t gotten the catchy, nautical-themed opening song stuck in their heads?

“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SPONGEBOB SQUARE-PANTS!”

If you’ve never tried to watch cartoons online, SpongeBob SquarePants is a great show to start with. From his adorable laugh and his dedication to making crabby patty’s for the Krusty Krab, this yellow sponge is still able to get into a pickle during the day. Off-hours, he and his starfish friend, Patrick always manage to annoy Spongebob’s grumpy neighbor, Squidward Tentacles.

Not only do we watch cartoons online (which is a free service, by the way), SpongeBob SquarePants has become a Broadway Musical! The actors and actresses bring Bikini Bottom to life.

The New York Times hails Ethan Slater’s performance as our uber-absorbent champion, “a once-in- a-lifetime match of actor and character.” Get ready to explore the depths of theatrical innovation in SpongeBob SquarePants, a “Broadway Extravaganza” (The New Yorker), where the power of optimism really can save the world.

Not a fan of Broadway shows? Nick.com lets you stream some episodes.

Naruto Shippūden

Naruto Uzumki

Image: Naruto Shippuden fanart via Flickr

This show, which happens to be an anime cartoon, happens years after the adventures in the Hidden Leaf Village.  Naruto Uzumaki has had time to develop his skills to be worthy of recognition and respect. He has trained extensively with Jiraiya-sama and returned to Konoha to reunite with his friends. Now, more than ever, he is more determined than ever to become the greatest ninja, and his skills are put to the test against stronger enemies.

CrunchyRoll lets you watch select episodes of Naruto for free, as does Naruto Shippuden’s producer, Viz. For those of you who’ve never seen Naruto Shippudenhere’s the trailer.

Over the Garden Wall

#OverTheGardenWall

Posted by Over the Garden Wall TV on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Image: Wirt and Greg, Over the Garden Wall via Facebook

A new cartoon that has come out is this quirky one called Over the Garden Wall. This cartoon is about Wirt and Greg, two brothers, get lost in the strangest forest called the Unknown.

In order to find their way home, the two must travel across the forest, adrift in time, with the help of the wise, elderly Woodsman. They also get help from Beatrice, an irritable bluebird who travels with the boys in order to undo a curse that has affected her whole family.

It is cute and dark all at once. This cartoon is eye-catching even from the beginning. You also may recognize the voices of guest stars like Chris Isaak, Bebe Neuwirth, Christopher Lloyd, John Cleese and Shannyn Sossamon.

Trying to describe “Over the Garden Wall,” Cartoon Network’s first animated miniseries, is at once easy and difficult.

If you’ve yet to see it check out the trailer below. You can also watch select episodes on the Cartoon Network.

 

Featured image: Promotional still via Viz.Com.