Is it worth watching anime even if it is way above my level of comprehension

So I want to listen to more japanese and I was wondering if I should listen to anime even if I can only catch certain words or a sentence or two every now and then? I was thinking about re-watching Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood because I already know the plot and story I won’t be completely lost even without understanding anything.

Also if it is worth watching it, is it also worth having Japanese subtitles on or off? Since I don’t know too many kanji yet (Only those up to an including the level 6 stuff on here) I wasn’t sure.

If it’s not going to be helpful at all what should I be listening to, to help improve my listening comprehension?

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Yes. Especially without subtitles.

If you can’t really read them, then it’s better to have them off. Once you can start reading them, you’ll be doing a different kind of comprehension when you have them on, so it’s always good to have input that’s unsubtitled.

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That’s what I thought. Thanks!

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If you already know the story, go ahead even if it’s way above your level! (You can go ahead anyway, just training your ear by listening is also important, even if none of the words made any sense).

Once you get a bit more comfortable with reading you can train too skills (though I’d advice not at the same time) by either listening to the anime without subtitles, or reading along with the subtitles. When you are reading with subtitles I’d advice at least someway to pause the video (unless you are able to read along at full speed), and if possible some way to look up unknown words directly from the subtitles. To this effect I personally watch with Language Learning with Netflix on the Japanese netflix site, but I’m sure there are other tools and sites available.

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I’d say if you want to watch anime you should watch anime for entertainment with translated subtitles. You’ll still pick out words and sentences and you’ll be able to double-check the meaning using subs.

However, that should be used primarily as entertainment. For actual studying it’s probably better watching youtubers who speak much more naturally than anime. Or maybe listen to podcasts. There’s a good one for beginners: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-learn-japanese-from-small-talk/id1449307021

And if anime is way above your level it’d be a waste of time to watch it without subs or even with Japanese ones. A lot of fantasy, sci-fi and such shows use complicated and rare vocab. And the characters could speak in unnatural way for artistic purposes.

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I think anime is a great but really really hard way to learn! For Japanese without subtitles for listening, I actually watch Peppa Pig on YouTube since there are a lot of episodes for free in Japanese haha. They speak clearly, but its meant for native speakers, so its natural Japanese (as in, they dont use “baby talk”), the episodes are really short (about 3 minutes?) and the topics are… Well, its Peppa Pig, they do simple things like go to a museum or call their friend on the phone. I think its a fun way to get new vocab!

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Ahahahah that’s amazing!

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Heh. I saw the Fullmetal Alchemist live-action movie when I was in Japan for basically the same reason. Think I managed to catch the odd line. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I think anime is good for listening practice since seiyuu tend to speak slowly and clearly compared to “real” Japanese. You get to have some kind of visual and narrative context for what you hear (unlike Japanese podcasts, for example), and since you have a running translation (even if it’s not entirely faithful) you can actually learn vocabulary while you get listening practice.

Sure, at first the only words you’ll learn are things like “nani!?”, “sempai!”, “KISAMA!!!” and “tasukete!”, but at least you can understand something, so that’s progress. If you’re proactive about trying to listen for words you know, or pick them out based on the subs (assuming you’re a strong English reader), you can get some practice that way. You can pick up some grammar and common set phrases, too, though that’s harder.

I’ve learned, I think, a few to several hundred words from watching anime. I couldn’t list them all, but there’s hardly a level in WK that’s gone by where I don’t see a kanji defined and think “ah, I bet that’s the kanji for X” and once I unlock the vocab I see I was right.

Nearly half of us studying Japanese by way of English here on WK are not native English speakers.
The English that the world speaks was learned by consuming American entertainment. I have an Algerian friend who learned English by watching John Wayne. And a Puerto Rican friend who learned by listening to NWA. And a Japanese friend who learned by listening to 1980’s heavy metal.
Watch it if you enjoy it.

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What a way to learn english! Red River is among my favourite films ever! (Big John Wayne fan here :joy:)

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Obviously entertainment media doesn’t get you all the way there. But there is a power to watching something over and over until you memorize it.

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100% excellent advice. I am now watching Japanese Peppa Pig, haha.

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Depends. I’ve only watched two, but to my knowledge a lot of the language used in 少年アニメ isn’t “real” Japanese. Meaning that because its target audience is young, Japanese, teenage boys the language used is very choppy, simplistic and overly-rude. However, it’s obviously going to help your brain via exposure, especially without subtitles.

So is it the best thing to watch if you just want to increase comprehension? Definitely not. Japanese youtubers, interviews, movies, television programming, etc. is your best bet. Will it help you? Definitely. Just remember that a lot of the fluff conversational idioms and phrasings are going to be highly improper in terms of genuine Japanese conversation.

I’m imagining your Algerian friend in conversation: “Well, all right, Pilgrim, but first we gotta saddle up and ride the range!”

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It is true.
He went to college in Denver, where he perfected his cowboy act. :slight_smile:
He knows that he can pass as a North Mexican cowboy, and he often does. Being Algerian, he grew up speaking French, but he has this thing that he claims he doesn’t know any French when he goes through French airports.

I still think that you can learn from the niche speech of cowboys or hiphoppers or gundam or anime as part of your journey to a new language.

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I still think that you can learn from the niche speech of cowboys or hiphoppers or gundam or anime as part of your journey to a new language.

Oh, absolutely! And John Wayne makes a lot of sense. He spoke slowly in simple sentences, but he could communicate a ton with facial expressions and body language. Not the worst role model for learning English.

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Ahahahaahh I love this

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No, it’s real Japanese.

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I absolutely agree with this sentiment. I’ve watched a ton of anime, picking out words and phrases - learning Japanese that way. Even if there are limitations due to genre or it being aimed at teenagers, you’ll still get the hang of sentence structure, grammar etc, the glue of the language, as you expose yourself to it.

@AaronGomez About subtitles, I’d recommend using them. There is still value in hearing new words even with subs to help you. That way you also won’t ruin the entertainment value from not understanding important details of the plot. Just see them as a way to doublecheck your own ongoing translation, when you need it.

That being said, I’ve also listened to a ton of Drama CDs, and obviously you have no visuals or subtitles to help you there.

This is still easier on the ears than listening to real dialogue by Japanese people, because the dialogue is scripted. It’s also acted out, so it’s easier to follow the emotional content/story points when your ability to understand certain words fails.

But, it’s a matter of patience. You will miss words and entire sentences. Just don’t panic or give up. One must persevere and keep at it with pure audio. After a while, you’ll be able to pick up more and more of the words and understand things better upon relistening.

It’s a very “nebulous” and “undefined” way of learning (you have no confirmation if you got something right or not), so listening practice like this takes some self-awareness to work (being able to evaluate and gauge how much you actually understood, and how much you’re just assuming you got right).

Even so, I feel it does help you learn the flow or Japanese, and eventually, listening comprehension becomes much easier.

So, go for it. Enjoy the stuff you like - it’s a good way to learn as any. You’re already doing WK, so it’s not like it’s the only thing you’re doing. Good luck with your studies! :slight_smile:

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