If you’ve ever been a fan of anime, you’ve probably spent more time than you’d like searching online for a site to stream from. On the top of the priority list is quality video and accurate subtitles, unless you’re lucky enough to be fluent in Japanese. It’s probably also nice if the site you go to is void of viruses, has a fast server, and just generally doesn’t come off as sketchy.
To avoid all this, we’ve put together a list of anime you can watch on YouTube. The collection is fairly expansive, from the earlier series of the century to a few ongoing now in 2016.
It’s worth noting that some of these shows, like Ghost Stories, are also officially available for streaming on the anime site Crunchyroll, and fans who want to make sure they’re doing what they can to support creators should start there. Otherwise, get to it.
‘Classic’ & Completed Anime
1) Great Teacher Onizuka (1999)
Literally at the turn of the century, this anime follows delinquent bike gang leader turned high school teacher, Onizuka. His ambitions include becoming the world’s greatest teacher and meeting sexy high school girls. It’s as outrageous as it sounds, with the right amount of inspiration and heartfelt moments.
Number of episodes: 43
Genre: Comedy, School
2) FLCL (2000)
FLCL, pronounced “Furi Kuri,” is stranger than most anime—but don’t let its wackiness fool you. It’s short, but within its six episodes are themes about maturing and adulthood. Toonami also announced in March that it would be bringing back two all new seasons of six episodes each. So if you haven’t seen the original, check it out. YouTube’s got your back.
Number of episodes: 6
Genre: Action, Comedy
3) Ghost Stories | Gakkou no Kaidan (2000)
While English dubs are generally scorned by anime fans, bear with us for this one. In Ghost Stories, a group of elementary students set out to put restless spirits haunting their school at peace. It’s a serious story, but the English dub gives it a refreshing and comedic twist—especially because the voice actors were basically given complete freedom to say whatever they want. Rewritten, improvised, and uncensored, it’s hilarious.
Number of episodes: 19
Genre: Supernatural, Comedy, School
4) Samurai Champloo (2004)
The dynamic character interactions in Samurai Champloo are reason enough to watch this anime. Fuu, Jin, and Mugen—a waitress, ronin, and rogue, respectively—set off across Japan in search of a mysterious “Sunflower Samurai.” Their journey is a constant battle of tolerating one another and yet still looking out for each other. Plus, set in an alternate Edo period, there is no shortage of beautiful scenery and backdrops.
Number of episodes: 26
Genre: Historical, Adventure, Action
5) Death Note (2006)
Death Note tells the story of Light Yagami, an incredibly smart—and incredibly bored—high school student. By chance, he obtains a deadly notebook, the Death Note, dropped by an equally bored shinigami, or death god. With the Death Note, Light pledges to purge the world of evil, playing God to a corrupt society. Although the arrival of world-renowned detective L throws a wrench in Light’s plans. Death Note has plenty of plot twists and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Number of episodes: 37
Genre: Psychological, Thriller, Supernatural
6) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya | Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (2006)
Like FLCL, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, has a strange storyline. It seems like a typical high school, slice-of-life plot on the surface, but leading lady Haruhi Suzumiya is so eccentric that it’s anything but. Haruhi drags her friends into her self-created club, the SOS Brigade, exploring all things supernatural, alien, and time-travel related. Interestingly, it can also be watched in two different orders and still somehow make sense—or, at least, as much sense as it can.
Number of episodes: 14
Genre: Comedy, School, Mystery
7) Black Butler | Kuroshitsuji (2008)
Ciel Phantomhive and Sebastian Michaelis make up the dynamic duo in Black Butler. Ciel is a young boy, bearing the title of “the Queen’s Watchdog,” tasked with solving the dark and unsettling crimes of Victorian England. Sebastian, his butler, is a demon in disguise, who aids Ciel in his duties while simultaneously helping him find justice for his murdered parents—in exchange for his soul, of course.
Number of episodes: 24
Genre: Supernatural, Dark Comedy
8) Spice and Wolf | Ookami to Koushinryou (2008)
Spice and Wolf tells a unique tale, focusing heavily around trade, shopkeeping, and economics. It takes place in an alternate historical Japan with European influence. The story follows the journey of a merchant, who dreams of opening his own shop one day and a wolf spirit who’s been reduced to folklore. Their business partnership shows off an angle not too often shown, while leaving room for a budding relationship and interesting story.
Number of episodes: 13
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Historical
9) Hetalia Axis Powers (2009)
Taking place during the two World Wars, Hetalia: Axis Powers personifies the nations involved, capturing them into adorable military figures. Each episode is bite-sized, running only five minutes each. The anime primarily focuses on Germany, Italy, France, the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, and China, and retells history in a satirical manner. Each character also has exaggerated stereotypical traits, such as Italy’s love for pasta.
Number of episodes: 52
Genre: Historical, Parody
10) Future Diary | Mirai Nikki (2011)
If you’re into gratuitous violence—battle royale style—this anime is for you. In Future Diary, 12 chosen people are granted diaries that accurately predict the future to aid them in their fight to basically become God. Each diary serves a different purpose, so for main character Yukiteru, his diary tells random accounts of the people and events surrounding him. The other 11 diary-wielders take form in a wide variety of characters, including the pink-haired and unhinged female lead, Yuno.
Number of episodes: 27
Genre: Action, Psychological, Thriller
Ongoing & Recently Completed Anime
On YouTube, new and highly popular anime are a rare find, but there are some out there.
11) Yona of the Dawn | Akatsuki no Yona (2014)
Yona of the Dawn is a story of redemption, following the sheltered and privileged princess Yona of Kouka. She is forcefully thrust out of the kingdom after her cousin and first love, Suwon, murders her father King Il. Narrowly escaping with her body guard Son Hak, Yona discovers the reality of poverty and strife in Kouka all while questing to regain the throne.
Number of episodes: 24
Genre: Adventure, Action
12) Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (2015)
The Gundam franchise began in 1979, and has since produced hundreds of episodes in different series. The struggle in Iron-Blooded Orphans takes place 300 years after the great Calamity War between Earth and its outer colonies. A young aristocrat of the terraformed Mars detests the conditions the Martians are forced to live in and recruits an army of guards—comprised of child and teenage soldiers—to protect her in her mission. An English dubbed version will also begin airing on Toonami starting June 4.
Number of episodes: 25
Genre: Mecha, Action
13) Shounen Maid (2016)
After his mother’s death, Chihiro’s only living relative is his uncle, who agrees to take care of the orphaned boy. Despite the depressing circumstances, the anime has a funny and light-hearted storyline when Chihiro decides to make himself his uncle’s maid to avoid being a burden.
Number of episodes: 7, but currently airing/ongoing
Genre: Slice of life, Comedy
14) Nijiiro Days (2016)
Cute and carefree, Nijiiro Days follows four high school friends, simply trying to get through their studies while having some fun and romance. It starts off with main protagonist Natsuki, who falls for a female Santa who bestowed him with a pack of tissues while he was crying over his ex-girlfriend on Christmas Eve. He later finds out that that Santa is a classmate named Anna, and pursues her head over heels. Meanwhile, his three friends are always meddling in his adorable, but sometimes cringeworthy attempts to woo her.
Number of episodes: 19, but currently airing/ongoing
Genre: School, Romance, Comedy
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevancy.