A staple in the collections of many anime fans in the early 2000s was Chobits, a 26-episode anime adaptation of CLAMP’s popular manga series. First airing in Japan during 2002, it was soon licensed by Geneon who in the following years offered volume releases with a new English dub featuring big names including Crispin Freeman as Hideki Motosuwa and Michelle Ruff as Chi. Madman Entertainment has consistently served as the ANZ publisher of this show, and although they are not offering home video copies at this time, you can enjoy the show with either English or Japanese audio via AnimeLab.
Chobits makes for a light and entertaining watch. While there is an overall mystery narrative around the backstory of Chi and the impact that the humanoid computers “Persocoms” have had on society, this is contrasted by many light-hearted and comedic moments, as well as the odd bit of fairly safe-for-work fanservice.
Socially inept Hideki wants to get his hands on a persocom—a humanoid computer that’s virtually perfect. When he finds one named Chi, she’s cuter than any model he’s ever seen. But when he turns her on, she has no data and only a single learning program installed. While Hideki puts his heart into teaching Chi the ins and outs of humanity, a mystery unfolds as a dark secret within her awakens.
Serving as my introduction to the comedy-genre of anime, Azumanga Daioh even in 2020 still stands out as an entertaining series which highlights what can happen when characters representing different anime-tropes from the child genius to space cadet are put into a high school environment. Don’t let its MA15+ rating turn you away, given when it was originally released as part of four-episode volumes in the early 2000s, each volume was rated anywhere from G to MA15+ (With most being rated PG).
Azumanga Daioh is only streamable up to 480p in its original 4:3 screen resolution, which is understandable given its age. In this particular instance you only have the choice of the original Japanese audio.
About Azumanga Daioh
In Miss Yukari’s English class, every day is an adventure. First off, there’s the teacher herself. A bit of an air-head, she may have graduated from high school, but she sure hasn’t left. And with the arrival of not one, but two transfer students – one ten-year-old prodigy and one space cadet – it’s going to be an interesting year!
Don’t want to jump between shows, and want one you can just binge all weekend long? With 200 episodes available on AnimeLab with both the original Japanese audio and new uncut English dub from Viz Media, Sailor Moon is one of the ultimate binge-worthy anime you can pick up! The show many growing up in the 90s or early-2000s would have watched on morning cartoon shows such as Agro’s Cartoon Connection, or Cheez TV has over recent years received the love and attention its deserved.
While it was near impossible to acquire legitimate copies of this classic in western markets, now fans have the option to pick up one of many DVD or Blu-ray releases OR watch the entire series in 480p via AnimeLab. You have the option of viewing the episodes with either the original Japanese audio or the uncut English dub featuring Michelle Ruff, Stephanie Sheh, Kate Higgins, Cristina Vee and more. Unfortunately… getting access to the original DiC English localisation remains a challenge.
The original TV anime of Sailor Moon is quite episodic, meaning there is a lot of filler content among the original manga narrative written by Naoko Takeuchi. If you want to watch a show which refines the storyline into that closer to the source material, you can also view the 2014-2016 anime Sailor Moon Crystal on AnimeLab.
About Sailor Moon
Usagi Tsukino is a cheerful 14-year-old schoolgirl who often finds herself in unwanted trouble. One day, she saves a talking cat named Luna from some mean kids, and her life is changed forever. Luna gives Usagi a magic brooch that transforms her into Sailor Moon, defender of love and justice! Now Usagi must work with Luna to find the other Sailor Guardians and the Moon Princess, whose Legendary Silver Crystal is Earth’s only hope against the dark forces of the evil Queen Beryl!
More than a decade after Tsugumi Ohba finished work on the original Death Note manga; adaptations are still being produced and released to both Japanese and Western audiences. While nowadays fans can enjoy multiple live-adaptation films (most recently on Netflix) and even a stage musical (with some impressive music options), back in the 2000s there was only the option of the manga or the 37-episode TV anime.
This is a remarkable anime adaptation, which stays faithful to its source material and in my opinion is a perfectly good alternative or complement to the manga. Despite the show’s age, it has more recently been remastered for Blu-ray and is therefore available to stream on AnimeLab at up to 720p video quality. English and Japanese audio options are also available, with the English dub being spectacular, featuring contributions from Brad Swaile, Brian Drummond, Alessandro Juliani and Cathy Weseluck. The voice cast primarily consists of Canadian voice actors rather than those from the United States, meaning none are voices you would have heard in hundreds of series prior.
Death Note is one of the great anime classics of the 2000s, and I highly recommend checking it out if you get the chance.
About Death Note
Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects – and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer.
Nowadays, there is no shortage of anime taking place in an online game. In recent years, there have been many options such as Sword Art Online, Log Horizon, Infinite Dendrogram and BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense to name a few. But back in 2002 when it first aired on television screens in Japan, .hack//Sign stood out for both its creative virtual world setting and the themes focused which differs from the current-day approach of relationships and combat.
.hack//Sign was the first TV anime I ever purchased growing up, and I have fond memories of watching the 26-episode series then diving into the four-part collection of video games from CyberConnect2 which served as a sequel. It might not have the graphical fidelity or level of combat which more modern anime have. However, it still offers a fantastic narrative, memorable characters, celtic-inspired soundtrack and ultimately, a unique experience even compared against other instalments in the .hack media franchise. It also has opening and ending sequences which can be considered earworms.
All 26-episodes of .hack//Sign are available through AnimeLab in up to 1080p quality with both the original Japanese audio and English dub. The English dub is of a consistently high standard, featuring the likes of Brianne Siddall, Amanda Winn Lee, Paul Mercier, Lex Lang and Dave Wittenberg. Unfortunately, none of the other anime instalments in Project .hack or .hack Conglomerate are available on AnimeLab at this time.
Login to the most successful online game in history! “The World” is being played by millions of people around the world, making it the most popular game ever. Players can go online and trade items, form parties, and go on quests. But none of that concerns Tsukasa. Trapped within “The World”, a virtual prisoner – His journey from the digital world to the real world has just begun.