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Best Free Anime On YouTube

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Anime has a solid global fanbase and an impressive library of titles and has varying copyright laws to cover different shows depending on the time and place. Viewers don’t have to be a member of or know about a niche anime streaming site, either. There’s plenty of anime on YouTube that fans can watch for free, which means the companies that own the copyright have put them online free of charge.



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A vibrant and active community of fans keeps a watchful eye on these kinds of details, so free anime on YouTube is always changing. Some of the following titles might also change with little or no notice and many of the following titles have changed hands many times regarding distribution rights. Those are good reasons to get that YouTube app running and take a look at some of the best anime to watch on YouTube for free while it’s still available.


Updated on March 2, 2024, by Kristy Ambrose: Even though it’s not considered a streaming service like Netflix or Paramount+, YouTube still has a lot to offer anime fans, and at no charge. Copyright law, promotional incentives, and popular trends continue to change, and that’s a minefield that anime fans have to navigate when looking for new or favorite shows. Sometimes the small details, like a dubbed video as opposed to a subtitled one, can fall under a different kind of license and make a series easier or more difficult to find. The following channels or distributors currently own the copyright to the following titles and are legally entitled to distribute them, or have posted them under the rules governing Fair Use.

For those that search on their own, they’ll find a lot more titles, but in most of these cases only a handful of episodes are on YouTube and some selections only include excerpts of shows. These search results serve primarily as a sample of the show, allowing users to decide whether they want to fully invest in a series.



Sailor Moon

MyAnimeList Score: 7.7

5 of the Star Guardians striking unique poses, facing directly forward with smiles.

Sailor Moon

Creator
Naoko Takeuchi

Release Date
March 7, 1992

Studio
Toei Animation

Streaming Service(s)
Hulu , YouTube

As one of the most popular and beloved shoujo anime in world history isn’t always available for free. However, the recent Blu-Ray release of the first two seasons care of current copyright holders VizMedia has prompted a promotional showing on YouTube Movies & TV.

The free version is only available in the original Japanese with subtitles, which might not be for everyone, but ideal for viewers who are looking for the authentic, uncut version as it was in the 1990s. On the other hand, the audio and video quality have been improved, so even though this is a classic reaching its 30th birthday, it still looks great.


Revolutionary Girl Utena

MyAnimeList Score: 8.2

Revolutionary Girl Utena The Adolescence of Utena anime

Revolutionary Girl Utena

Release Date
April 2, 1997

Studio
J.C.Staff

Revolutionary Girl Utena is a fan-favorite anime for a variety of reasons, and since its initial release in 1998, it’s retained a loyal following. Nozomi Entertainment currently holds North American rights, and the entire show is currently available on its official YouTube channel.

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This show comes from a time when the magical girl genre was surging in popularity, which is part of its allure, but the twist on a young woman who wants to be a prince instead of having one is what sets this series apart. Fans appreciate the surrealist design that uses allegory, symbolism, and open interpretation which is woven into the story, and it’s some of the best free anime available on YouTube.

InuYasha

MyAnimeList Score: 7.8

16th Century Anime- Inuyasha, promo art all the characters


Inuyasha

Release Date
October 16, 2000

Studio
Sunrise

A classic example from the isekei and romance genres that’s always had a popular following, InuYasha is a story that combines time travel, adventure, and fantasy with a medieval Japanese setting. The story begins when our hero Kagome Higurashi falls through a well that happens to be in the same location as an ancient shrine, and she is transported to an alternate version of the past.

The titular character is Inuyasha a half-dog demon and half-human who is tasked with helping the Kagome as she searches for the lost pieces of the Shikon Jewel. As it is with anime in the fantasy genre, the story follows the duo in their quest as others join their search.

Claymore

MyAnimeList Score: 7.7

Teresa Of The Faint Smile, Claymore

Claymore

Creator
Norihiro Yagi

Number of Episodes
26

Release Date
April 4, 2007

Studio
Madhouse


A cult classic that ended on a cliffhanger almost two decades ago, the rights to Claymore have changed hands several times, but for those living in the United States, the first and only season currently falls under the rules of Fair Use. This means that the show can be privately shown or shared without violating copyright laws.

Who knows how long this will last, given that the subject matter of Claymore as a fantasy horror makes for a profitable live-action venture, which seems to be the ultimate destiny for anime these days. Another distinct possibility could be a modern continuation of the story like what was done with the Berserk franchise. When it happens, this will become a much hotter commodity and likely won’t be available for free anymore.

Sherlock Hound

MyAnimeList Score: 7.3

Sherlock Hound Several anthropomorphic animals in a plane fight

Sherlock Hound

Number of Episodes
26

Release Date
November 6, 1984

Studio
Gallop, TMS Entertainment


This show looks a lot like Goof Troop in a Wild West setting with a steampunk aesthetic. It has an interesting history as the result of a collaborative effort between the Italian broadcasting corporation RAI and a Japanese animation company, Tokyo Movie Shinsha.

Sherlock Hound originally aired in 1984 and 1985, and unlike other entries on this list from the same era, it hasn’t seen any sequels or further development; however, it has been remastered. The DVD rights have changed hands several times in the past few years and are currently owned by TMS, which has the series available on its official channel of anime on YouTube.

Chibi Maruko-chan

MyAnimeList Score: 7.3

Chibi Maruko-Chan all characters promo art


A beloved show that’s been on Japanese television for decades, Chibi Maruko is based on the producer’s childhood memories of growing up in the 1960s. Virtually the entire show, which started in the 1990s and continues into the present day, is available on the official Nippon Animation YouTube channel.

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The main character, Maruko Sakura, is an elementary school girl who lives with her parents, grandparents, and older sister. They have a lot of wholesome fun and hijinks that are comparable to American sitcoms like The Brady Bunch or Happy Days. Isn’t it nice to watch a free anime on YouTube that’s safe for work and the whole family?

Beyblade

MyAnimeList Score: 6.7

Beyblade classic anime split image


It’s a game, it’s a manga, so of course, there’s an anime series. The Beyblade franchise dates from 1999 and is still ongoing, so there’s some nostalgia behind the renewed interest in the earliest Beyblade animated shows that are now two decades old.

Three original seasons were produced between 2001 and 2003, and the current shows like Beyblade Burst are spinoffs of the original series. The show has an active community and there are plenty of fan-posted materials, but the BEYBLADE Official YouTube channel has complete episodes from every era of the Beyblade series, in both English and Spanish.

Naruto

MyAnimeList Score: 7.9

Naruto Uzumaki from part 1 holding up 3 fingers

Naruto

Creator
Masashi Kishimoto

Release Date
October 2, 2002

Studio
Pierrot


It’s impressive that even a portion of one of the longest and most popular anime of all time is available for free on YouTube, so fans should enjoy the bounty while it lasts. Part 1 of the Naruto series ran for five years between 2002 to 2007, and the distribution rights were also owned by Viz Media back then.

This is the beginning of the story, describing the lore of the Ninja World and the Five Great Shinobi Countries. It explains how a child named Naruto Uzumaki came to be the human host of the demonic spirit of a nine-tailed fox, and how this affected his development as a ninja.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

MyAnimeList Score: 8.4

time i got reincarnated as a slime

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Creator
Fuse

Release Date
October 2, 2018

Studio
Eight Bit

Also known as TenSura or Slime Isekai, this quirky comedy is meant to borrow some ideas from popular themes in RPG games. ThatTime I Got Reincarnated as a Slime isn’t just a satire of the fantasy genre, it pokes fun at RPG players everywhere with a premise that includes a boring main character who goes through a strange and unexpected metamorphosis when they are reincarnated in a fantasy world in a less than ideal form.


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This series is more recent than many others on the list, with some of the show’s production times and air dates getting canceled and rescheduled due to COVID. Luckily, the show’s first episode is currently part of the Crunchyroll Collection of anime on YouTube to watch for free, so fans can watch it safely at home.

Emma, A Victorian Romance

MyAnimeList Score: 7.6

Emma, A Victorian Romance

From Nozomi Entertainment, the same studio that brought anime fans Magical Girl Utena, which is still a cult favorite decades later, Emma, A Victorian Romance has some features in common with its famous predecessor. You can also find it by searching under the original Japanese name “Eikoku Koi Monogatari Emma.”


Both Emma and Utena have a female protagonist and use a certain period to set the tone and mood of the story. Emma, the main character, is a maid in Victorian London and falls for a man above her station. Of course, his family doesn’t approve, and this is one of the many social and historical details that the animators and writers took the time and trouble to create.

Aria the Animation

MyAnimeList Score: 7.6

Aria The Animation gondola with two sailors and a passenger

Welcome to Neo Venezia, a futuristic city where everyone commutes via water, and that’s just as beautiful as it sounds. Aria the Animation is a utopian vision of humanity’s future on a terraformed Mars, now renamed Aqua in the 24th century, and hopeful gondoliers travel to the planet to train as novices and continue their careers as professionals.


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This anime follows the compelling drama of the main character Akari, who has left the now-renamed planet of Manhome to live and work as a gondolier on Aqua. The visual design of the planet and its favorite public transit system are a stunning mix of traditional and futuristic, and it’s one of the best things about the series.

Death Note

MyAnimeList Score: 8.6

Death Note Light, L and the Shinigami

Death Note

Creator
Tsugumi Ohba

MyAnimeList Score
8.62

Studio
Madhouse

One of the few anime series that has reached the entertainment mainstream, Death Note is a favorite horror-thriller classic and one of the most popular animated titles of the early 21st century. The 37 videos that are currently available free of charge make up the complete first season, which is the one that everyone likes the most anyway.


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It seems like a simple premise, like the notebook itself, but gradually becomes more and more complex, and the web of deceit and death the main character weaves eventually consumes him as well. For those who like anime, this is a masterpiece, and when there’s a friend who needs to convert to the genre, this is a common recommendation.

Mr. Omomatsu

MyAnimeList Score: 7.9

MrOsomatsu-1

This is the story of the Matsuno home, which consists of six identical brothers who constantly subvert each other’s plans and aspirations with their wacky adventures and clashing personalities. One thing that they all have in common is being incredibly lazy, and part of their escapades are motivated by a search for gainful employment, friendship, love, or social standing.


Also known as Osomatsu-san in Japan, Mr. Omomatsu is named after the most prominent sibling who is often cast as the leader, but he’s joined by the pragmatic Choromatsu and the energetic Juushimatsu, among others. The show is almost ten years old now, but it’s comedy style and lovable characters keep it in circulation.

Fairy Tail

MyAnimeList Score: 7.9

The main cast of Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail

Creator
Hiro Mashima, Masashi Sogo

Release Date
October 12, 2009

Studio
A-1 Pictures, Satelight, Bridge, CloverWorks

A popular free anime on YouTube that viewers can find in a dubbed form on Crunchyroll, Fairy Tail has been running off and on since 2009, with the original spawning both an OVA and a sequel, both of which also followed the original manga. The plot focuses on a wizard who also happens to be the main character. His name is Natsu Dragneel, and he’s on a typical quest with a twist. He’s looking for a dragon, but not to slay it or steal its riches.


The dragon Igneel is Natsu’s adoptive father, and as he searches for his lost guardian, he meets some memorable friends along the way. The quirky characters and badass fights are what sets Fairy Tale apart from the trend of a fantasy-horror-comedy medley that seems to be popular these days.

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