I’m going to assume you know what anime is. If you don’t know much besides that, I don’t know how you found this site, but I’ll do my best to help you out.
< _ > Hey as a suggestion you could do a “Best ___” post kinda for people who want more info about where to buy/watch/download anime and other noob stuff
< _ > like an advice post or whatnot
< _ > yeah because in all actuality most people who don’t know a lot about anime just read your blog hoping for info to pop up xD
Well, let’s hope I can answer all the questions about this shit. If you’re still confused about acquiring anime, ask below in the comments section. (Even if you find this article a year after I posted it.)
If you have some questions about other aspects of “noob stuff”, lemme know and I’ll give you the details either in the comments or in an entirely new post.
Legal Streaming Venues
Do note that I’m writing this assuming you’re in the US or can access region-locked US content. There is discussion of alternate methods for people not based in the US in the comments section.
These guys used to be an illegal streaming site. Then some venture capitalists looked at them and thought “I bet if we threw millions into this company we could make quite a profit.” And so they did. But I’m not sure the profit ever came.
Crunchyroll’s financial future relies entirely on Naruto, as they’ve admitted themselves.
If you’re interested in watching series simulcasted — that is, airing at or around the same time they do in Japan, Crunchyroll is your best bet for streaming services.
Free streaming of most videos as SD with ads. New releases are exclusively for premium members for one week. After that, basic members can view them.
Can access and stream content from many devices.
Cost: $70 for one year OR $50 if you buy a subscription on Black Friday.
HD streaming: 480p, 720p, or 1080p options available.
Access to new releases instantly.
Can access and stream content from many devices.
Worth it? Yeah. Crunchyroll has higher quality subs than any of the other companies involved in streaming and a wider selection. Guess that’s what you get by hiring former fansubbers to do your shit. Unfortunately, the streams themselves can get kind of spotty when it comes to the connections.
Daisuki has a lot smaller selection than the other streaming services, but there are quite a few exclusives on the site. Wanna watch Kill la Kill first? Better go on Daisuki.
And for now, it’s a free service. This will likely change as the site becomes more popular, but right now you don’t have to pay a dime. The subs are mediocre though, and it’s pretty impossible to watch anything with their player issues.
They also have a Youtube page with subs, if you’re inclined toward that.
Worth it? It’s free. There’s a reason for that.
One day someone at Viz’s American branch thought to themselves “How retarded can I act before I get fired?” and so he proposed a streaming service that was dub-only… and only available on PC/PS3/360… and that operates on a strict schedule like a TV station.
One year later, this shit is still limping along. They recently introduced a new “service” that lets you watch a few episodes prior to whatever’s airing at the moment, but if you want to marathon, you can’t. Please don’t encourage these fuckwits.
Worth it? Not unless you really like dubs and are willing to plan your life around them.
Hulu’s got quite a wide selection of anime, but the ads are too annoying to bother with. Sometimes Hulu has exclusive access to simulcast anime, but they don’t get enough of it to make these guys your first destination for streaming services.
Do note that this is what Funimation, Viz, and TheAnimeNetwork use for their streaming. Why not just use Hulu directly and cut out the middlemen?
Worth it? No reason to pay for a premium subscription since Hulu will still serve you ads. Hulu is absolutely the worst option to go with of all the streaming options. Wait until they’re your last resort.
Netflix / Amazon Streaming
If you want to stream older series, Netflix or Amazon have a good selection.
Worth it? Sort of… I can’t say it’s worth buying subscriptions just to watch anime. But if you’ve already bought into these services, you’ll find anime on each.
Buying Anime (you know, physical media)
The current king of the anime world in the US, their poor financial outlook reflects the realities of an inability to understand their market. They were actually spun-off by Navarre because of their shit performance and now are limping along on their own. Protip: The real money isn’t in the DVDs themselves, you fucking dipshits.
Anyway, the vast majority of anime licensed in the US comes from this company. You’ll usually get dubs & subs in their releases, but you can’t be certain until you look the release details up. Their limited editions are generally not worth the extra money, unless you get something like their Lain release.
If you’re willing to wait, Funimation tends to consistently drop prices through new versioning of old releases. The lowest budget they go is the SAVER series. MSRP starts at $25 or below for SAVER releases. During Black Friday sales, you can pick these up for $10-$15 easy.
Do not pay more than $40 for a Funimation blu-ray release unless it’s a highly regarded collectible like Lain (and even that shouldn’t run you more than $50). You will often find them for around $30. $20-$30 is not uncommon during Black Friday.
Subtitle quality is competent, but not great. Encode quality is competent, but not great. Their dubs are generally solid. Typesetting/styling/karaoke/timing are bottom of the barrel, though.
Sentai is a pathetic shadow of its former self — the god-emperor of the US anime market, ADV. After ADV died when the anime bubble in the States burst, Sentai became its replacement.
Sentai releases are the lowest in quality of all the animation companies and yet somehow still not the cheapest. If you want a quality release, you better hope Sentai doesn’t pick an anime you like up.
Ahaha, oh Aniplex~ Basically, Japan looked at the US and said “Fuck you. If you want our anime, you’re gonna pay the Japanese price.” Yup, if you want to get a popular series like Fate/Zero from these guys, be prepared to pay $700-$1,000 for it.
No, I’m not joking.
If you have a lot of money sitting around, these series are worth buying. (Where else are you gonna find Madoka Magica?) But from a purely objective standpoint, they’re clearly not worth the premium price tag Aniplex is charging, unless all you care about is their awesomesauce encoding.
Too bad if you don’t like it though, because they’re targeting a niche market and that niche market has responded favorably to their tactics, meaning they’re not gonna change a thing.
Subtitle quality is slightly better than Sentai, but worse than Funimation. Not that subs matter much for something you’re buying purely for status.
Think of NISA as a mix of Funimation and Aniplex, but in a good way. Their packaging is beautiful for the LEs (more info on those a bit later).
Unfortunately, you’re not likely to get dubs with these releases. Subtitle quality is… well, I’m not sure. I’ve never actually watched anything I’ve bought from these guys. But I can tell you their shit looks good on a shelf.
Places to Buy Anime From
Rightstuf is probably the number 1 place to grab anime on the ‘nets. Prices aren’t as good as they once were, but the selection is not bad at all. Most people get stuff from the Stuf, especially for preorders.
The holiday sales are decent, just make sure you’re getting a good deal before you buy. Think of them as the Newegg of anime.
You see those nice Limited Edition releases on NISA’s store? Yeah, if you want them, get them. NISA’s LEs are actually limited and once they sell out, they don’t reprint them. You will also not find the LEs going for sale very often, and NISA’s store releases come with bonuses you can’t get elsewhere. Their standard editions will drop in price, but not by much. And I can’t say the standards are worth the money unless you really like the show.
If you want the LEs and the bonuses, order from NISA. If you don’t care about the bonuses, then feel free to order from Rightstuf if Rightstuf is cheaper. Do note that after spending $100 on their site, NISA will send you a $5 gift card toward your next purchase, so that may factor into your decision.
It’s Amazon. They have generally decent prices and some good sales. You know what you’re getting into.
Ugh. I really don’t wanna mention this site, but if you’re a supreme buyfag/really cheap, these guys aren’t a bad choice during their sales. Essentially, you can get anime for cheaper than anywhere else (because these guys get deals on closeout anime), but there’s no customer service or guarantee that you’ll actually receive what you paid for (you’ll get a refund in that case, though). It may take them a year to send you the product after you order it. So if you’re willing to risk it, this site is a good choice. If not, don’t roll the dice.
But what about importing anime?
That’s advanced level buyfagging. I’m not including that discussion here. Short answer: amiami. Long answer: I’d need an entire post to go over it.
Downloading series is another popular option.
The best downloads for a series will nearly 100% of the time be better than the more legal alternatives. However, there are quite a few releases out there that are worse than the official releases… so be careful. Make sure you’re only getting the best releases. (And guess which site is the only one that will be honest with you as to which releases are the best? Hint: you’re fucking on it.)
The following sites are torrent sites. If you don’t know what torrents are, uhh… google it?
This should be your first stop for anything new.
This should be your second stop for anything new.
This should be your first stop for anything old.
There are more sites out there, but these will take care of most of what you need.
RSS – Grabbing Torrents Automatically
I can’t say I’m a fan of DDL sites. They’re all sketchy as fuck. If you want anime downloaded directly and avoid any of the bullshit associated with DDLs, you’re gonna need to get on IRC.
So how do I IRC?
Follow this guide if you don’t already know: https://forum.rizon.net/showthread.php?1018-Guide-on-how-to-download-on-IRC
If that link is dead when you read this, google “irc xdcc” and you’ll get some more in-depth tutorials that will help you deal with whatever apocalypse affected Rizon’s site.
Groups to download from
Lemme break down the entire naming scheme:
As an example: [Whine-Subs]_The_Unlimited_-_Hyobu_Kyosuke_-_08_[1280×720][8934DS4A].mkv
CRC32 is just a way for you to check if the file you downloaded got downloaded correctly. Essentially, each release has a somewhat unique number associated with its data, so by comparing the CRC values (using a CRC checker), you can determine if the release you’ve got ended up corrupted or something. This isn’t something you need to worry about unless a release doesn’t play correctly, and then you can determine if corruption is the issue.
Back to the groups bit… group name is a handy distinguisher for the kind of quality you can expect from a given release. However, group quality varies… quite a bit between releases. That’s one of the reasons why Crymore exists — to help you determine which release is the best. (I highly suggest this link if you don’t check the site daily; it summarizes everything: http://www.crymore.net/review_summary/)
Some groups out there primarily focus on taking content you can find on Crunchyroll or other sites and making it available for download. The most common of these is [HorribleSubs].
You’ll see these called “Crunchyrips” or “Fanrips” occasionally. These groups tend to encode in 8-bit, which means there won’t be much of a problem if you wanted to watch their releases on mobile devices.
How to watch anime on my computer?
CCCP if you’re on a PC.
MPlayer if you’re on a MAC.
What if I want to watch anime on my mobile devices?
The fansubbing powers that be have determined that you can fuck off, because fansubbers suck and are intent on fading into obscurity via irrelevancy.
Sorry, you’ll find anything labeled 10-bit or hi10p does not play nicely with mobile devices. There’s a long explanation behind why fansubbers made their releases this way, but ultimately the reasoning is that they traded compatibility for quality. Grab MP4 re-encodes or 8-bit releases if this is the primary way you consume your anime. If you don’t know whether a release is 8-bit or not, assume it’s 10-bit until labeled otherwise. You can also check this site’s reviews, where this value will be listed. Alternatively you could ask the groups themselves or download the releases and check the video properties.
Here are your options:
thecowgoesmoo indicates you can buy apps for your iPad to play 10-bit video if you have an iPad 4 or better. iPhone 5 or better is also acceptable. Use S/W mode instead of H/W mode.
MX Player is good for Android (newer devices are better for it). Turn on S/W mode, though. H/W mode will not allow 10-bit to play.
You can stream video to your mobile TV/player from your desktop if you have a streaming app. begna recommends Plex.
Re-encode the releases to something compatible. Use HandBrake or whatever your preferred encoding tool is. If you don’t know what you’re doing, just convert to MP4.
If all that sounds like a lot of effort or you don’t see an option listed that works for you, just grab the [Deadfish] releases. You won’t have a choice in terms of the subtitles used for those releases (Deadfish is a group that re-encodes fansub releases to MP4), but you’ll at least be able to watch them. If your device still can’t play that shit, it’s time to get a job.
And now you know how to get animes. Again, any questions, just throw ’em into the comments.