First shows you've watched (w/ no subs)

Hi everyone.
Gradually I’ve increased the amount of content I’ve been watching in japanese, only this time I’m aiming mainly reinforcing my listening, since I feel I’ve already set a proper path to improve my reading skills over the last 6 months, but now the difference between the reading / listening starts to show.
That into account I’ve decided on dropping japanese subs altogether… cause tbh I was practicing much more reading than anything when using those as well.

So, thus far I’ve tried multiple resources and combinations in order to get a somewhat graded immersion to video content.
For once I’ve rewatched some of the shows I’ve previously watched either in my mother language (Dragon Ball :yum:) or watched previously with japanese subs (Sakamichi no Apollon). Then I’ve watched movies that for the most part I know by heart (Matrix, LotR, Back to The Future, etc) but using japanese dubs. Those have been ok, since the plot is well known, so no mayor frustration for missing lines. Some have actually been within my level (Forest Gump proved to be simple and straight enough to be understood with not many lines missing :yum:).

Besides that I’ve found some material by NHK to be helpful as well. First it was NHK School… with shows aimed at mainly kids in the elementary years of school… which was … mehh…

Then I’ve found NHK Kokokoza, which contain shows filling the highschool curriculum, so this has been a nice way to see elementary (mainly shows named 〜ベーシック) material in a way that’s more palatable to an adult.

Anyway, I would like to ask the rest of people here that are consuming more shows (hopefully with no subs) how have you been aproaching this, specially those first shows.
For grading material with reading it has been very straight forward… japanese editorials have that well covered with lots of series aimed first at 小学 , then 中学 and then 高校; for watching shows thus far I haven’t find anything that systematically graded so it has been more hit and miss… there’re lots of series that I’ve started watching , but in the end felt like chores because of me not understading as much as It would allow me to actually enjoy the show… :man_shrugging:


Years ago - and my listening comprehension is terrible and was a lot worst - I found Kei-on pretty watchable without any subs.

Right now I’ve been watching most things with Japanese subs, though I’m about to start trying to move away from that. I would say chill slice of life though. Romance maybe. Mellow lines, not a lot of quick shouting. Stay away from fighting stuff, probably. But you’re right that it can be really hard to get any idea how to rank this stuff, though. Shows targeted at the same audience can be very different as far second-language learners, just based on how clever the writer is with his use of language. For example, I find Toradora relatively harder to follow than similar shows I’ve watched just because of how the characters express themselves.


Hmm, my first sub-less anime? I think I started with a few episodes of Honey and Clover. And maybe Skip Beat or Fruits Basket after that. They’re shoujo, I know the plots by heart, and I know the language isn’t going to get technical suddenly. I could also try watching FMA:B or XxxHolic this way. I wouldn’t expect the Morose Mononokean to be difficult, and if I hadn’t read the manga to a certain point already, I would probably try to use it this way.

Anything more complicated than that I prefer watching with Japanese subs these days. I’ve been watching Re:Zero kara hajimeru isekaiseikatsu, Tokyo Ghoul:re, Darling in the Franxx, parts of Steins;Gate 0 (actually I wish I had English subs for this one -_-), and some other shows this way, to varying degrees of success. I need to rewatch certain spots with the English subs because I missed some nuances and plot points. But generally I followed along and I enjoyed myself, so I consider those endeavors successful.


I watched the Fullmetal Alchemist live-action movie in a cinema in Japan when I was there last December, and managed to follow along pretty well (though that was possibly more down to my knowledge of the story than any great ability in Japanese :stuck_out_tongue:).


Not that this will help you OP, but the first thing I can remember watching entirely in Japanese was Star Wars (dubbed in Japanese) when I was on student exchange and had minimal listening comprehension. Pretty much the only thing I remember easily understanding was C3PO calling "ルーク様、ルーク様” :joy:


Ok, so it seems overall has been more a hit and miss approach from people here.
I guess I’ll continue with that too. Actually some shows (mainly action driven) are becoming much more similar to what I recall them when watched with subs… though I might be just spacing out :laughing: … I can’t really tell… I’m watching はじめの一歩 again… and well… it’s a boxing anime. :man_shrugging:

To be fair I’ve noticed some slice of life anime to be quite simple to get (Usagi Drop), so I guess I’ll try something in that genre again… do more hit and miss… while folllowing the ベーシック国語 series in NHK Kokokoza… seems at a right level for now.

Thanks. I would love to hear more experiences :slightly_smiling_face:

So, my approach to the subless world hasn’t been well thought out, and probably only worked because I had been practicing talking with native speakers (family members) a lot before hand. (Including some whose accent is so hardcore I needed someone else to translate it in standard Japanese こわぐなったべ? = 疲れた?Wat)

But anyway, at some point, I was watching a lot of YouTube, so I thought I’d just switch that to Japanese. I used to watch a lot of political videos, but those were definitely out of range for me. Other than that, I really liked let’s plays, and that did hit a sweat spot. Mostly, the youtuber is reacting to what is happening in the game, which gives a lot of context.

At some point after that, with kids in the family growing up, they started watching kids shows, and I just watched those with them. Some were pretty nice, actually (I still can’t believe Moomin is supposed to be a kid show). I also saw Kiki, Totoro and Ponyo a few billion times each, I think.

Then, recently, Flo Flo had a test vocab list for the first couple of episodes of Nora Gami. I pre-learned the frequency 2 words (those that appear at least twice), and thought I’d just watch with Japanese subs anyway.
Surprise, anime DVD do not seem to have subs in Japan. So I just rolled with the punches and watched the first two episodes anyway. To my surprise, I got 95%+ of what was being said. So I decided to just keep going. As expected, once I passed the point that was covered by Flo Flo, my comprehension level dropped as well (~80% I’d say; missing something every 5 sentences). Still, it was decent enough to follow the story, especially with the head start I had gotten.

After that pleasant surprise, I’m definitely thinking of trying to watch more things, but I haven’t had the time so far. My next target is 宝石の国; the animation looks crazy good.


I don’t even watch anything in my native language without subs (I don’t have any hearing problems). I find a conversation much, much easier to follow than anything filmed, acted, or recorded, and if I want to follow any of those without subs, I need to turn up the volume much louder than I like.


I do have hearing problems, but usually I’ve managed to understand. A few years ago, I decided to try watching an English show with the English subs, and it was amazing how much difference it made. No longer did I have to spend the whole show focusing on comprehension - now I could just sit back and enjoy the show.


sorry to derail but OMG I loved moomin as a kid and still adore it now okay I’ll go now bye


Thanks!! Very throughout reply!
I will look into some of the things you’ve mentioned. Specially the Let’s PLay thing… I wasn’t aware that was a thing :sweat_smile:

I’ve tried before the pre- studying vocab before immersion ( like you mention with Flo Flo). Does FloFlo have a possiblity to upload subs or something like that for shows?? that would be great!!

I’ve used before the “unnamed japanese text analyzer” tool. It provided lists of words as well as the frecuency in which they appeared in the text, so later I could enter those to the SRS anki deck… but in the end was too much hassle honestly
(though it was almost a year ago… and my vocab was quite limited :sweat_smile:…). I Might give it a go again… the text analyzer accepts subs files, which I can produce from Netflix now, so It should be more straighforward process.

Something I’m trying too are Audiobooks… specially books I’ve read already (Harry Potter :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:) and I’ve been told that self help books are very to the point and sort of a nice resource too, as they don’t try to embelish phrases, more to pass a point through. (I’m not into that, but I’ll try find something that seem moderately interesting)…

Anyway, there lot’s of resources I guess, but still it’s something it’s not that posted as the immersion with books…

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Yes and no. You can recommend a show, but it’s up to voting.
So far “shows” have been only anime.

That being said, you can also try to contact @Raionus directly about it.

No, I don’t allow uploads. I’ll accept transcripts (as in, copy-able text) of subs and put those up though.

I’d like to be able to rip directly from Netflix at some point but they store all their subs in image format for some reason so that requires OCR which is annoying.


Subtitles needing OCR… No more :sunglasses::sunglasses::sunglasses:

And works in Mac too :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

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Let’s Plays are like, the second best comprehensible input outside of actually having a conversation. And talking to people is for chumps!
But yeah, from the perspective of “understand the meaning first and the language second,” videos where people are just talking about what they’re doing are pretty high up there.

The trick is somehow finding people you actually enjoy watching.


Why not just try Yojimbo with no subs? Mad respect for the profile picture lol.

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The first shows I watched without subs were probably Chibi Maruko-chan and Sasaya-san. They’re probably the longest running shows in Japan, and use fairly simple language, which is why I chose them for listening practice. That being said, they’re also not the most interesting. They’re fun for daily slice-of-life, but when you also live that life, it can get kind of dull. Still like them, but sometimes I need a break.

My go-to now is Detective Conan. My vocabulary is limited, so I still keep the japanese subtitles on. With subtitles I can understand about half. What I like about this show is the explanation parts are so clear I can basically understand everything except the motives of some of the crimes. I think, beyond listening to something I can understand fully, it’s more important to watch things that interest me, because then I’m more likely to keep with it! I’ve also gone to see the Full Metal and Detective Conan movies in theaters, and those are 100x harder to understand than a 30 min anime episode! That was a trial, hahaha! Still gonna go see the next one in 2019. Can’t understand, won’t stop.

Watching things online definitely helps a lot because I can pause and use my dictionary to piece in key words. Watching the movies in theater, I’ll understand a large part of the conversation, and miss one key word, and have no idea how to continue lol. I’ll get there.


First show I watched without subs (with Japanese captions), even though I sometimes needed them - Dragon Ball Super as it aired.

First show I watched without subs, but with Japanese captions, but didn’t finish even though comprehension was fine - Yu Yu Hakusho

First show I watched in its entirety without subs, but still with Japanese captions, feeling like comprehension was fine - Haunting of Hill House this November, Japanese dub

First show I watched in its entirety with neither subs nor Japanese captions, feeling like comprehension was fine - Death Note (Had never seen or read it before and randomly binged it over a week or two last month). WK’s jukugo vocab came in swinging here.

My general approach now is to use captions for adult-oriented shows, to help with any gaps in vocabulary or difficult delivery speed, and to leave them off entirely for younger-skewing stuff. I’ll still pause to look up vocabulary sometimes.

There are a couple of niche Japanese YouTubers I’ve been watching without subs for a while too. And if I think about the percent I understand now versus … even six months ago, yeah, holy hell, it’s a big difference. Doesn’t even really feel like study, whereas scripted shows still do.

Edit – Comprehension being “fine” for me doesn’t necessarily mean I could translate each line myself, or perfectly transcribe it. It means I’m able to follow along with specifics well enough to get the story in more than a general gist. Getting most of the lines, most of the time. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself like that, because it’s still entertaining and you’ll be surprised just how much you pick up. I think Death Note was just about perfect for me, because it still offered up plenty of unknown vocab (and decent grammar review), while being couched in enough that I did know to stand out. (So it was the fabled n+1 experience.)


thanks, keep them comming!! :hugs:

Glad you mention this… I can see the appealing for lets play channels… though I might struggle to find one with a game that’s more familiar to me, since I haven’t been gamming in quite some time… Maybe I’ll look up for one going through Katamari Damacy or Little Big Planet :star_struck::star_struck:

I might try a cooking channel though, I feel it’s much more the same… and actually Im more into that nowdays.

I did… failed miserably… Going through Kurozawa and Ozu’s filmographies is the reason that brought me to japanese learning… somewhere along the way I found anime… :sweat_smile::sweat_smile: … and I’ve made it my safe place … waiting to see an apparently huge jump in listening skills before trying those good old movies again. I might say that sound quality in old movies is something it really decreases how much I get, even some basic lines sometimes. :disappointed_relieved: … (… it’s Christmas… so lets say the problem has been mostly about sound quality :neutral_face: )

Cool!! I remember that show as been one that I binge watched many years ago… I might resume it now . I understand that’s one of the longest series running still… so it looks like a great resource (compared to those 12-24 episodes shows that leave me looking for something new all too often)

Seems a fair compromise. Indeed slice of life seem something that I’m quite comfortable watching a lot of the time… but then some shows just turn up the speed dial and “comprehension ville” seems like a distant memory so quickly…

Oh, I totally get it. And probably people looking this post should know too that at least in my case watching shows nowdays is more about: 1)getting the gist… 2)then the plot… 3)the specific diologues (overall meaning) … 4)and then the actual word by word transcript comprehension.

Most of the time I’m in 2-3… some shows throw me back to 1… and some rare instances I’m doing 4 …

Some people mention this in terms of percentage… but as many key elements happen in those last 5-10% of unknown listening, I prefer not even mention that…

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Haha the sound quality is a huge issue with understanding films from that era, it definitely makes things much harder. On top of that, the Edo era dialogue doesn’t help the cause either. I think getting to the point of effortlessly understanding Yojimbo is the ultimate goals because by then you’d have to have a super fluent listening comprehension.