Anime and manga publisher Viz Media just made a handful of really big anime series freely available to watch on YouTube. If you’re looking for a good entry point into some really prolific shows, this is an excellent opportunity to dive into some stone-cold classics.
The company has uploaded six of the hit shows it owns rights for to YouTube and compiled them into helpful playlists. Death Note, Hunter x Hunter, Inuyasha, Mr. Osomatsu, Naruto, and Sailor Moon are all there, most in their entirety, for your viewing pleasure. Notably, these are the Japanese versions of the shows with English subtitles, so if you’re a person who likes to watch dubbed anime, this might not be what you’re looking for. But if you like to keep it original, there’s a lot to dig into here. I’ve personally always wanted to watch Death Note after hearing about it through cultural osmosis over the years, and even though I tend to prefer dubs, this is too good an opportunity to waste.
Let’s run down each show:
Death Note is the shortest anime on the list, with only 37 episodes across its one season. It centers around the titular Death Note, a notebook with the power to kill anyone whose name is written inside. A teenager named Light Yagami finds the book and uses it to kill people he deems immoral and unworthy of life; this string of seemingly unstoppable, random murders eventually draws the attention of L, an eccentric, brilliant detective, leading to an electrifying, supernatural game of cat-and-mouse.
Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter follows Gon Freecss, a boy attempting to follow in his absentee father’s footsteps as a Hunter, heroes who track down rare creatures, seek treasures, and hunt down other people as well. Hunter x Hunter is famous for being near universally lauded by all who watch it, turning them into proselytizing advocates who really, really think you should check it out. The show is one of the lengthier ones Viz has put up on YouTube, with 148 episodes available across its six arcs. But there are a few that are even longer. Such as…
Rumiko Takahashi’s Inuyasha follows the titular half-demon as he joins a high school girl named Kagome Higurashi to recover the shards of a shattered Shikon Jewel. A huge hit on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block back in the day, the show’s seven seasons come in at 197 episodes.
Mr. Osomatsu goes way back to the sixties, when Fujio Akatsuka’s comedic manga was a cultural phenomenon in Japan. This anime adaptation is much newer, dating from 2015. It’s worth noting that Mr. Osomatsu is the only show Viz has uploaded on YouTube that doesn’t include its entire run. The currently uploaded first two seasons of the animated family comedy show make up 50 out of the series’ 75-episode run.
At 220 episodes, Naruto is nearly the biggest time sink Viz has put up on YouTube. The five-season show makes up the first Part of Naruto, which follows the titular character as he attends a school to become a ninja. These 220 episodes are followed by Naruto: Shippuden, which is another 500 episodes, and another sequel show called Boruto that follows Naruto’s child. So you’re opening up Pandora’s Box if you decide to sit down and watch this one.
However, the show with the most episodes in this (initial?) wave of uploads is 1990s bishoujo phenom Sailor Moon, which comes in with a whopping 238 videos across its five seasons. It’s the classic Magical Girl anime, and follows a group of teenagers who turn into superheroes and do superhero shit. She’s the icon. She is the moment. And her show is all readily available to watch on YouTube, free of charge. (The handful of specials and later movies are not currently available, though.)
If you’re not an anime connoisseur, there’s some really great entry points here, but if you’re a real sicko and have already seen these shows, you now have a real easy way to revisit them. Speaking for myself, I’m about to cue up some Death Note. It’s time I finally checked it out.