Every anime enthusiast holds a special place in their heart for the shows they first watched. Nostalgia runs deep in the otaku community, and these initial animations hold immense sentimental value, regardless of their objective quality.
The exciting news is that many of these beloved anime classics are available for streaming. Platforms like Crunchyroll recognize the significance of nostalgia to their audience and have curated a collection of these timeless titles in their catalog. You can relive those cherished moments and revisit these iconic series to your heart’s content.
These shows gained fame among the audience, captivating viewers through broadcast and cable television while the internet was still in its infancy. Back then, the ease and accessibility of services like Crunchyroll were unimaginable.
However, these anime gems left an indelible mark on generations and are now just a click away, waiting to transport you back to those treasured memories.
Classic Anime to Watch on Crunchyroll
6. Yu Yu Hakusho
Our list begins with an actual TV Manchete classic, but there’s a slight setback regarding Mrs. Crunchyroll. The incredible YuYu Hakusho is available on the platform, but unfortunately, only with English subtitles. This limitation may make it inaccessible for a significant portion of fans.
However, there is one exception—YuYu Hakusho is too sensational to overlook. The story of a young delinquent who meets an untimely demise while performing an unexpected act of kindness, only to be granted a second chance as a spiritual detective, is one of the finest offerings from the 1990s. With its captivating characters, exhilarating action sequences, and iconic dubbing, it deserves to be cherished and remembered at all times.
If you’re over 30, you might find it hard to believe that Naruto is considered a classic anime. After all, it feels like this boisterous ninja saga first appeared just yesterday—except that “yesterday” was almost 20 years ago.
An entire generation of individuals grew up watching Naruto, whether on SBT or Cartoon Network in the late 2000s, with the video quality resembling that of a low-resolution potato.
Regardless of where you come from, Naruto undeniably holds classic status. Furthermore, it is an incredibly influential anime that has left a lasting impact on many subsequent series, not to mention its extensive sequels that expanded the universe even further.
The anime’s greatest strength lies in its extensive character roster, a characteristic explored distinctively within Japanese animation. Rather than being numerous, these characters are intricately crafted, each with distinct personalities and engaging storylines.
4. Cowboy Bebop
Don’t be deceived by the live-action gimmick on Netflix. Cowboy Bebop has always been hailed as one of the greatest anime classics, primarily due to its exceptional character development within what may initially appear as a mundane plot. Unfortunately, the adaptation failed to capture this essence.
However, if you truly want to comprehend the hype surrounding this universe, the anime itself is the ultimate gateway. Through its episodes, we are introduced to Jet and Spike, two bounty hunters traversing the cosmos pursuing lucrative targets. Along their journey, new members join their crew, and we gradually unravel the rich histories of each character—an aspect that is executed masterfully.
3. The Knights of the Zodiac
There isn’t a single anime fan over 30 who isn’t passionate about Knights of the Zodiac. This series left an indelible mark on an entire generation when it aired on TV Manchete in the early 1990s and significantly introduced other Japanese animations to the World.
Nostalgia plays a crucial role in our fondness for this story, causing us to overlook any flaws in the plot. Despite the occasional repetitiveness, it’s impossible not to get excited about the mythological themes, the striking armor designs, and the iconic techniques. Additionally, the soundtrack transports even grown men back to their childhood days.
That’s the real secret of Knights of the Zodiac. Despite the anime showing its age compared to newer productions, an entire generation’s deep emotional connection with this universe is unparalleled. Recognizing this, Crunchyroll offers the series with the original audio and the English dubbing—which is truly sensational.
2. Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball Z is another timeless classic and easily one of the most beloved anime series. The enduring reverence for Akira Toriyama’s work is evident, as it continues to be immensely profitable even decades after its completion.
Dragon Ball Z stands out as the pinnacle among Goku’s various sagas. With a greater focus on action, the anime showcases iconic villains and memorable fight sequences that have left an indelible mark on countless childhoods—often replayed to the point of familiarity. Yet, it never sacrifices the charisma of its characters.
What truly sets Dragon Ball Z apart is its exceptional character development. Witnessing Goku’s growth not only as a hero but also as a family man and, eventually, a grandfather is a joy. Similarly, Gohan’s journey from a mere child to a responsible adult is a testament to the series’ ability to tell a compelling family saga.
The impact of Dragon Ball Z extends far beyond its popularity, making it a true cultural phenomenon that continues to captivate fans across generations.
1. Dragon Ball
It may appear unusual to include Dragon Ball once again on this list, but it is an exceptional case that justifies this repetition entirely. We are not discussing the same entity but distinct productions involving the same character. Thus, the nostalgic sentiment attached to them is quite distinct as well.
As mentioned, Goku’s saga is divided into different phases. While Dragon Ball Z embraces an action-packed frenzy with epic battles and ever-increasing displays of power, the initial phase of Dragon Ball is an entirely different experience. Referred to affectionately as the “Child Goku Phase,” this early stage of the story revolves around humor.
With a more cartoonish art style and stories that delve into the peculiarities of each character—such as Goku’s innocence and Master Roshi’s indecency—the first Dragon Ball presents a much lighter narrative. Although there is still a fair share of action, the emphasis is different, and that is precisely what makes it truly unique.