Pirates are a fascinating lot. They go where the winds take them, surviving in a world that doesn't entirely accept their existence. That's why there are so many animes about pirates out there.
From fantasy worlds to modern outlaws, from seafaring plunderers to thieving crews who set sail across the stars, there are all kinds of pirates—and they all make for incredible stories.
Looking for the best pirate animes out there? There are some obvious choices, but don't miss the hidden gems! Here are our picks for the best animes about pirates full of looting adventures.
10. Sol Bianca: The Legacy (1999–2000)
Running at only six episodes, Sol Bianca: The Legacy is the shortest series on this list. And yet, it packs tons of action into its short runtime.
The crew of the Sol Bianca, led by the cool and calculated Feb and the headstrong April, are on a mission to steal one of the most valuable artifacts from Old Earth.
This anime series features stunning space battles and intense moments between characters. You'll fall in love with these characters almost as soon as the show starts! That's how good it is.
9. Mars Daybreak (2004)
Mars Daybreak is a 26-episode series centering on Gram River, who's pushed into joining the most notorious pirates on Mars due to a terrible economy and a tyrannical government.
While the pirates in Mars Daybreak partake in the usual theft and pillaging of the profession, it's easy to root for them because they have just cause. The fun characters are the star of the show, making this one of the best pirate anime series of all time.
8. Outlaw Star (1998)
Outlaw Star is one of the greatest classic animes to ever grace our screens. Head into deep space with the crew of the Outlaw Star and their captain, Gene Starwind.
Fans of 90s anime will love the aesthetic on display here. This pirate anime focuses on the crew's quest to obtain the Galactic Leyline, a legendary treasure trove that's said to grant untold riches.
On top of the brilliant animation and huge space battles, Outlaw Star strikes a delicate balance between mature themes and outright silliness.
7. Space Pirate Captain Harlock (1978–1979)
Pirates are, by nature, individualistic heroes. They value personal freedom over the comforts and securities of world governments.
Space Pirate Captain Harlock takes that philosophy to its extreme, with Captain Harlock seeking to stir up a rebellion among the oppressed people of Earth.
Maybe you've heard of this anime, maybe you haven't. Either way, you should know that Space Pirate Captain Harlock was highly influential and spawned several films, series, and remakes since its 1978 debut.
6. Fena: Pirate Princess (2021)
Set in an alternate version of the 1700s, Fena: Pirate Princess follows the titular Fena as she seeks to escape her confinement on an island out in the middle of the ocean.
Together with a crew consisting of misfits, samurai, and a loyal pooch, Fena tries to escape her forced marriage to a brutish British officer and find freedom in a place only known as Eden.
The setting of Fena: Pirate Princess is dark and brutal, but Fena's overwhelming positivity makes this show shine among the countless other anime about pirates worth watching.
5. Bodacious Space Pirates (2012)
Don't let the title fool you! Bodacious Space Pirates (also known as Miniskirt Space Pirates) might seem like a pure fan service anime, but it's actually quite restrained despite a cast full of girl characters.
Bodacious Space Pirates is about a group of spacefaring pirates who fight in proxy wars for larger colonies. Marika discovers that her father was the captain of the Bentenmaru before his death, making her the new captain as his only heir.
The show follows Marika's adventures across the stars as she settles into her new role, but what really elevates this series are the supporting cast of well-written strong female characters.
4. Elemental Gelade (2005)
In Elemental Gelade, Coud Van Giruet is on a mission to escort Reverie Metherlence across the seas, but there's a twist: Reverie is a living weapon that can join with humans to unleash devastating power.
The relationship between Coud and Reverie is sweet and their adventures are incredibly fun to watch. Plus, Elemental Gelade is only 13 episodes long, making it an easy one to binge in a single session.
3. Queen Emeraldas (1998–1999)
Queen Emeraldas is a space pirate who fights against an invading armada set on conquering Earth. She first appeared in Space Pirate Captain Harlock before she got her own updated series in 1998.
While the main character might have originated in another anime, she got a modern update when this spin-off anime series came about. Its story is one about fighting for freedom against impossible odds, and it has become a hallmark of pirate fiction over the years.
2. Black Lagoon (2006)
Modern pirates aren't a glorious lot. They're gritty, dangerous, and lack the romanticized elements of other eras—and that's part of what makes Black Lagoon so fun.
This anime series follows a simple salary man who falls in with a band of pirates and ends up joining them to crunch their numbers for them.
Black Lagoon has plenty of tension and danger along with all the over-the-top action, showing what happens when the modern world pushes a normal guy just a little too far.
1. One Piece (1999–Present)
You knew it was coming, didn't you? Obviously One Piece was going to top our list of the best pirate animes of all time.
With over 1,000 episodes and counting, Monkey D. Luffy has grown into one of the most recognizable characters on the planet. There simply isn't a bigger or better anime about pirates out there.
One Piece has tons of action, plenty of shonen tropes, and one of the most celebrated casts in anime. The plot focuses on Luffy's adventures as he pursues the title of King of the Pirates. It might be daunting to dive in now, but there's a reason this series is so popular worldwide!