The latest anime studio to combine fan appreciation with an effective anti-piracy measure, Viz Media has recently moved to make a handful of their classic anime series free-to-watch for anyone looking to get their fix of the East’s best offerings.
As announced by the studio on February 16th, fans can now catch subtitled versions of “hundreds of VIZ anime episodes and movies” via their official YouTube channel.
Of course, the one catch is that those viewers who don’t have YouTube Red (or an effective ad blocker) will have to sit through various ads while watching, but it’s the smallest price to pay for quality entertainment.
And ‘quality’ is the name of Viz Media’s free-to-watch game, as their newly uploaded offerings include:
Death Note (2006)
Madhouse’s animated adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s classic psychological thriller manga, Death Note follows the genius Light Yagami, a young genius who takes it upon himself to change the world using the titular Death note.
Of course, the world doesn’t take kindly to a single individual picking off people according to their own whims, and soon Light – operating under the alias Kira – finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with the mysterious detective L.
Equal parts supernatural murder mystery and police procedural, Death Note’s twist and turns will keep you enthralled from start to finish.
Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Another Shonen classic, the entirety of the aforementioned Madehouse’s 2011 adaptation of Hunter x Hunter is also now available for fans to view free of charge.
Based on Yoshihiro Togashi’s original manga of the same name, Hunter x Hunter follows the exploits of Gon Freeces, a young man who seeks to become a Hunter – an individual licensed to seek out treasure, animals, or exotic locales – in order to reunite with his father, an accomplished Hunter by the name of Ging.
However, Gon’s path forward is far less than simple, as along the way he’ll find himself having to successfully pass his own Hunter exam, literally trapped within a video game, and facing down a massive army of all-consuming, humanoid insects.
Before the isekai boom of the late 2010s, Sunrise were taking audiences to an alternate-history Japan with their adaptation of Rumiko Tamaki’s popular Inuyasha.
In 1990s Tokyo, teenager Kagome Hirugashi leads an average life splitting her time between school and helping out around her family’s shrine.
But on the morning of her 15th birthday, the young woman is suddenly atttacked and abducted by a monstrous yokai who seeks to use the Shikon Jewel hidden within Kagome’s body to augment their own power.
Thankfully, she manages to escape with the help of a dog-eared fox yokai by the name of Inuyasha, who soon after informs her that not only is she no longer in Tokyo, but that she has somehow traveled back in time to the 1500s.
With Inuyasha in tow and a special necklace around his neck that allows Kagome to keep her companion’s more violent tendencies under wraps, Kagome (and all the allies she meets along the way) sets out to prevent the powerful yokai Naraku from obtaining the Jewel’s powers for themselves.
Mr. Osomatsu (2015)
A reboot of the 1966 anime adaptation of Fujio Akatsuka’s 1962 manga, Mr. Osomatsu will give even the most unambitious of NEETs a blueprint for doing life proper.
Taking place ten years after the events of the original anime, Mr. Osomatsu finds the original sextuplets all-grown up – but rather than having made something of themselves, the six brothers have instead devolved into a life of laziness and perpetual virginity.
Of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same, and the brothers are still as mischievous as ever (their hijinks may be a bit more ‘adult-oriented’ than before, but still).
Filled with non-stop jokes about everything from the pressures of society, the harsh realities of dating, and parental disappointment in their offspring (as well as including innumerable parodies of classic Japanese media), Mr. Osomatsu is hands-down one of the best comedy anime series in recent memories.
A regular consideration for Japan’s ‘Big Three’ and one of the biggest titles to ever make it stateside, the anime adaptation of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto is now available in all of its early-2000s glory.
Ever since he was born, Naruto has been ostracized by his hometown of the Hidden Leaf Village. The reason? When he ws born, his body was used as an emergency containment vessel for the violent Nine-Tailed Fox demon Kurama, which prior to its capture had made his name by terrorizing the village.
However, despite being the target of the village’s ire – or possibly in spite of – Naruto has set his sights on achieving a goal which will earn him the unquestioning respect of his community: becoming the leader of the entire Hidden Leaf Village.
Of course, in typical shonen fashion, Naruto’s simple goals are soon derailed when he and his friends – namely his fellow Team 7 members Sasuke Uchicha, Sakura Haruna, and their captain Kakashi Hatake – find themselves embroiled in an ongoing battle between multiple ninja factions.
From the all-out clash between Gaara and Rock Lee during the Chunin Ninja Exam (frankly the entirety of the former’s arc is probably our favorite part of the entire series) to Sasuke’s backstabbing decision to abandon the Hidden Leaf Village in favor of training with the rogue Orichimaru, the entirety of Naruto’s pre-Shippuden adventures can now be relived via YouTube.
Sailor Moon (1995)
Last but not least, rounding out Viz’s first round of free uploads is another anime which many would consider to be their gateway into the world of anime: Sailor Moon.
The first anime adaptation of Naoko Takeuchi’s seminal manga, Sailor Moon follows middle schooler Usagi Tsukino who, after discovering she is the reincarnation of an ancient and powerful goddess, fights evil by moonlight in her costumed identity as the titular heroine.
Far from alone, Usagi is joined in her ongoing battle against the villainous Queen Beryl and her Dark Kingdom by her friends and fellow Sailor Guardians (or Sailor Scouts for those who grew up with DiC’s English dub), each of whom possess their own set of respective talents and special abilities.
Thankfully for Sailor Moon fans, unlike Naruto, each and every part of the series’ multi-season run has been uploaded by Viz.
The series as a whole kicks off with the Sailor Guardians’ origin stories, as well as their first major clash with Queen Beryl, in the simply-named Sailor Moon.
From there, Chibiusa arrives and asks the Sailor Guardians for help in protecting the future against the mysterious Wiseman and the Black Moon Clan inSuper Sailor Moon R.
Next up is Sailor Moon S, wherein the Sailor Guardians team-up with the Outer Sailor Guardians Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and of course Saturn, to silence the Death Busters organization’s plans for world domination.
Then, in Sailor Moon SuperS, the circus comes to town – and we aren’t talking about Ringling Bros. or Cirque du Soleil.
With dreams of using the legendary Gold Crystal found within the winged-horse Pegasus to obtain eternal youth, Queen Nehelenia orders her Dead Moon Circus to hunt down the innocent creature. Unable to stand for Queen Nehelenia’s merciless ambitions, the Sailor Guardians put themselves between villainess and her goals.
Finally, Sailor Moon Stars closes out the series by showing the Sailor Guardians team up with the mysterious Sailor Starlights to face their greatest obstacle yet: the would-be conqueror of the Milky Way known as Sailor Galaxia, as well as her team of corrupted Sailor Guardians.