YouTube is an interesting and fickle beast. Channels come and go, without the stability or regularity of big cable networks. Anyone can upload content on YouTube, and there is no screening process. That means, unfortunately, that there is a lot of garbage content.
You have to sort through the piles of trash to find the good stuff. There's also just a lot of content. For some people, this can be overwhelming. But I have sifted through the major sources of anime-related content on YouTube, as a proud information junkie.
There are a few different types of anime-related YouTube channels. There are:
- People who talk about travel to, and/or living in, Japan.
- People who discuss Japanese culture and politics.
- People who talk about Japanese fashion or give Asian-inspired beauty tips.
I am an anime reviewer, so I am primarily concerned with other anime reviewers. I've had the pleasure of seeing a few great anime channels rise up in the last few years! Some have gained huge numbers of subscribers overnight. Others, I think are good, but definitely deserve more attention. So here is my top 10 list of anime reviewers on YouTube you should definitely go check out!
Note: Order of list does NOT matter. I consider all of these guys to be equally awesome!
Gigguk is a dude who seems to like making fun of the weirder aspects of anime fandom. His reviews tend to be light-hearted and comical, and I like that style because it's entertaining.
Check out his shirt, "Anime is Trash... And So Am I"
This shirt is a perfect example of Gigguk's style of self-loathing humor.
In his more serious moments, Gigguk shows an interesting variety of knowledge about many topics. He also really understands the emotional impact of anime; why people not only watch it, but sometimes obsess over it.
With her winning combination of biting sarcasm and knowledge of anime, I try to never miss a video by this awesome snarker. Most of her videos are "Top #" lists, like WatchMojo, except, unlike WatchMojo, she actually is a fan of anime and actually does some goddamned research into what she's talking about.
One of my favorite videos by her, the "Top 'Notice Me Senpai' Characters" list, below, shows her style and sense of humor. She also has a series called "What Am I Watching?" which is about the weirdest and/or dumbest anime out there, and it's really funny!
Since he is half-Japanese and has lived in Japan, he is something of an expert on the country's culture.
He has the jump-cut-heavy editing style common among YouTubers, which can get annoying.
But, it's not as annoying the way he does it. YouTubers often err when they confuse being loud with being funny, give huge, fake smiles, or clearly lack sincere interest in their topic. A lot of the bigger channels are click-bait farms where the presenter is just an actor, not a genuine fan of the material they are talking about.
Not so with the Anime Man though! What I like is that he challenges and questions common assumptions. Unlike click-bait content, he always explores past the surface of the topic. He can get into deeper discussions about what works and what doesn't in anime.
He discusses the role culture plays in influencing anime and audience responses to anime. Plus, he has some nice Japanese-insider experiences to share, and I love hearing those.
This guy focuses on games and Japanese culture. He shares interesting stories from his time living in Japan.
I don't follow him that closely, because he focuses more on games than on anime. But I can tell by his videos, like his response to the Logan Paul controversy, that he really cares about bridging the gap between Japan and America/The West. Check him out if you share his passion for cultural learning.
This person has a feminine name and female avatar, but they sound male. He mostly does "Top # Lists", like Anime America. Hey, it's a tried and true formula, I use it, so I have no problem with it.
He is interesting because he skillfully notices minor details when analyzing anime. He's French Canadian and has a slight accent, but I wasn't too bothered by it, as he's a pretty clear speaker.
She is less of an anime reviewer, and more of a person who shares personal experiences and hot takes on anime-related topics.
She has traveled to Japan. Her stories about her experiences in Japan are fun to listen to. She's a good storyteller.
I like this guy because of how often he creates new content. He's also super up to date on recent anime, which is something I struggle with at times. I like him because, like me, he's something of a snobby critic type, and I bonded with him spiritually due to our mutual hatred of Sword Art Online.
I like his tendency to say unexpected things, like when he did a video on the 'brilliance' of Death Note's infamously narmy dramatic chip-eating scene.
Mother's Basement has a great understanding of storytelling, and prospective manga authors could learn from him. Worth checking out if you're super bored with simplistic, black-and-white reviews with click-bait titles, and you want to hear deeper, more intelligent critiques.
I like Glass Reflection because he is constantly producing new content, he has a clear understanding of anime storytelling, and he keeps up to date with current anime. Which, at the rate they crank shows out, is almost a full-time job.
He has a similar style to my own, combining the familiar "Top # List" formula with detailed analysis, as seen with this list of his favorite anime from 2017.
His review of Made in Abyss made me want to go check it out. He can describe what's good or bad about a show in a concise way, and I value that.
Super Eyepatch Wolf
His "Why You Should Watch..." series is neat, because if you regularly follow anime news, you might end up unsure whether or not to watch a given show. You have limited time on Earth, and why waste it watching something like Sword Art Online? So I like his "Why You Should Watch..." videos for giving me well-thought-out recommendations.
His "Why You Should Watch Hunter x Hunter" video, in particular, changed my mind, since I'm not big on shounen, and not big on shows with little boy protagonists. I get that they exist, and there is a market for it, but I'm not their demographic. Since he convinced me, I did give Hunter x Hunter a chance, and I was pleasantly surprised.
I also enjoyed his video on the fall of The Simpsons. The Simpsons was an important cartoon for my generation in a number of ways. I was astonished at how it plummeted in quality, while inexplicably remaining on the air for longer than it should have.
It was like a zombie; hardly resembling what it once was, and yet staying alive much longer than it was welcome. His story on how the original show became the zombie it is now was eye-opening and well-researched. It was one of the best pieces of media analysis I've seen in a while.
So check this guy out if you want deep, detailed criticism of anime.
Otaku Gonzo Journalism aka Digibro (Updated) NOW aka Digi-née
Another YouTuber I like for their thorough and deep analytical criticism. Otaku Gonzo Journalism was first known as Digibro. Otaku Gonzo Journalism was his primary channel for media criticism. Now, it's called Diginée.
He has a great sense of humor, but I also like his talent for anime criticism. Pictured above is his funny "The Pleeb & The Weeb" show, which is just two guys sitting around discussing specific anime series. The joke being that one is supposedly the newbie to anime, or "pleeb" and the "weeb", Digibro, is the expert in anime.
I started following him back during the "brony era", when he was called "Digibrony" and did a bunch of videos on My Little Pony. Somehow that channel got taken down, or had some issues.
YouTube is basically Cthulu, and channels mysteriously die all the time. Anyway, now he's going by just "Digibro" and doing anime stuff. Which is fine, and we should just let My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic be over. Let's not let it become The Simpsons or Futurama, overstaying its welcome.
Digibro is passionate about quality in anime, and he regularly produces content. He's also a collaborator, often doing videos with others. That's cool because adding perspectives adds variety to his show.
Final Thoughts on Anime YouTubers
If you're interested in great anime analysis, the kind of content that kicks the asses of the WatchMojos and Buzzfeeds of this world, I certainly recommend the above YouTube channels. They offer depth, actual research, humor, and entertainment value.
I use these channels to keep up with anime trends and current anime shows. I appreciate the value of their content, even if I disagree with them sometimes. For example, Digibro hates Re:Zero and I loved it. So, check these guys out, and have a fun trip into the dank underground world of anime reviewers. Enjoy your trek into my personal abyss!
Let me know which of these guys is your favorite. And if I missed someone you like, please tell me about them!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Naomi Starlight
sumireg on March 10, 2019:
Hi! Thanks so much for this post! Ive been trying to get more versed about other anime youtubers out there. I just started youtube and anime hopefully will be my niche! Please check out my channel any time @ sumire gemz
Stefano Dissanayake from London, United Kingdom on December 04, 2018:
I would also recommend thatanimesnob, digibro and grarkada. The snob hates modern anime but he occasionally has a point. His old videos are better than his newer ones. Digibro contradicts himself here and there and I don't agree with him entirely but he does say what he really feels without holding back. Grarkada is calm and collected. He has a lot of anime review videos. It's a pity that most anime youtubers including GRarkada don't review completed anime anymore and instead focus on ongoing anime or write opinion pieces about specific aspects of an anime rather than about it as a whole but I still like grarkada.