Learned to like anime with time?

Hi everyone !

I have been learned Japanese for more than a year (but found this website just under a month ago).
I have a textbook, a private teacher, lots of different resources/ways of drilling and some children books or easy manga (yotsubato and others more advanced). But in the end I realized I was mostly reading and my listening was pretty bad (I could see that when I had listening exercises).
I had to do something about it so I started listening to some podcasts (mostly passive listening) and trying to find things to watch.

I am not a anime fan at all, Japan interests me for completely different reasons but it’s way easier to go on Netflix/Crunchyroll to find something to watch than anything else.
I started trying to watch some “drama” but I really didn’t find much I liked (time taxi is fun even if cheesy) so I went to anime which I had seen maybe one or two when I was young (dbz, saint seiya…) and one or two after (death note, psycho pass).
So I decided to look at recommendations on the web and start with anime I knew about (DBS) or anime about topic I knew (sport, cooking, jojo’s bizarre adventure oops). I actually started to like a lot of things I saw. There is a lot of (I feel) very generic things but I do try to look at a lot of genre and I sometime find gems (recently it was Megalobox).

All of that to say that I didn’t use to watch anime because I thought reading was enough and I was watching a lot of TV shows. Now there are few TV show that I like and I watch a lot of anime (compared to before at least).
It helps me a lot.

Any of you had a similar experience ?

4 Likes

Funny enough, my experience would be the opposite. Big fan of anime from the start, I wanted to watch more film/drama to get more real life Japanese exposure (as anime are just terrible for teaching you spoken Japanese…).

But in my case I just couldn’t do it, the japanese acting in drama is so bad and cringy (imo) I just can’t watch more than 5 min…

5 Likes

I was curious about the genre for years before I figured out how to break into it.

When my school peers were into Pokemon, Yugioh, Dragonball Z, and Powerpuff Girls, I knew Pokemon was Japanese but nothing about the genre of anime. And I disdained anything that appeared to require money for trading cards or TV Cable (my family raised us without it). Oddly enough my first backpack could have been Sailor Moon. Of all the famous cartoons, that was the one that I felt drawn to. (Still am, but I’m not the right age to have nostalgia for it! If I was, I think I would have been all over Sailor Moon and Inuyasha.)

So my first real exposure to anime as a concept was when I was 10 or 12, I think. Howl’s Moving Castle. I started ordering the Ghibli movies from Netflix. It took several years to get through them. At the same time, a childhood friend was nominally into anime and manga (her dad had been on several business trips to Japan) and I peered over her shoulder and tried to figure it out. It was hard. Manga is backwards so I didn’t know what direction I was supposed to be reading in! She showed me Tokyo Mew Mew and I liked it but I couldn’t figure out how to start that series. “I want to like that, but HOW?”

It wasn’t until I was fourteen? fifteen? that I was at a church retreat and a friend let me read the manga she brought (she had a TON) and I think she probably taught me what side to start reading from, or her books had a diagram that made sense. After that it got easier. Also her manga were romance manga, there was one about a ballerina and a series called Mixed Vegetables (still a favorite) which captured me because there was (from my perspective) not a dull moment in it. So yeah, shojo captured my heart, and then I found other genres.

And after that it was off to the races. My local library started stocking a modest amount of graphic novels and manga, there was a manga/anime club, some of my high school friends watched anime, and I read some books filled with recommendations, and I hopped from thing to thing that looked promising. At that time Crunchyroll (I watched for free for a long time) and Hulu were well stocked. It was a good time to start.

Still watching, though not as frequently these days. Some years are better than others.

1 Like

Yep pretty much all the drama I watched felt like soap opera, otherwise they felt like anime but with really bad acting. I found a couple of nice movies though.

2 Likes

Yea, movies are nice. If you have some recommendations I’m all ears.

I don’t know if you will like it since I don’t know what you watch but the first Japanese movie my teacher recommended me to watch is : Sweet Bean / あん

1 Like

Are you into video games at all? One approach I took to getting used to listening to native Japanese was watching Japanese gamers play games. There are a massive amount of Youtube videos with people playing Monster Hunter while randomly chatting. If you can deal with their usually super high tension, the virtual Youtubers (Nekomiya Hinata especially, Kizuna Ai if you enjoy watching bad people play games :rofl:) very rapidly post videos, and they have subs you can turn on and off of course, to not cheat but check yourself afterward.

If you’re not a fan of watching games but still play them, joining Discord servers is always a great option. That’ll start getting your speaking up to par as well. I practically live on Discord servers when not at work nowadays.

EDIT: As for the OP topic, I was the literally opposite of you. I was engrossed in anime before I knew it was Japanese (all of those late nights pretending to fall asleep then secretly watching the late night anime on Adult Swim :laughing:), and my realization when Naruto came out slingshotting me full force into anime, where I easily strengthened my listening to a point that I don’t think my writing, reading, or speaking can catch up. Japanese dramas, indeed, are quite terrible (I’ve finished two; if I remember their titles, I’ll post them here, since I found them enjoyable in contrast to most).

3 Likes

I did the exact same thing :rofl:
Not with Monster Hunter though… My favorite channel is 兄者弟者 (they are doing voice acting on the side, and their voices are really nice…)
But yeah, there are a lot of other channels over there.

About the original question, I was never really into anime… But I just started watching ノラガミ because of random circumstances, and the fact that I can understand it without any sort of subtitles is blowing my mind enough to keep watching…

3 Likes

I always say “anime is a medium, not a genre.” Make of that what you will.

15 Likes

It could be something I do, I watch a lot of competitive fighting games (SFV, BBTAG, DBFZ, Tekken). But I don’t have any Japanese lets players. As for English lets players I watch a bit of TFS and all the TBFP. Anything similar in Japanese ?

It is for sure just as TV show, movies, books, music, cartoon or video games are just medium but they have some things they do best and some things they do worse.
A lot of show on TV feel the same and a lot of anime do too and that’s what I am trying to avoid.

I had the same experience as the OP. I didn’t use to watch any anime, even after several years of studying japanese. As I’m in my 30s, I used to think that anime are not for adults, and generally was not very curious about them. But last year, in order to improve my listening, I decided to get a Crunchyroll subscription, and I have been watching anime quite regularly since then.

I must say that I have, for the most part, changed my mind about anime. Many of them are actually very nicely written and animated, and I think that now I get why so many people love them. Since I’m a total beginner, I’m mostly watching older ones, but with time I hope to get into what’s popular nowadays. The only exception being “My Hero Academia”, I love that anime, and for the first time I feel the pain of having to wait for a new episode every week. :weary:

3 Likes

What exactly do you like? I know it can be disheartening to load up something like crunchyroll or to google “best anime” only to be greeted by a wall of generic-looking shows which seem to be intended for a completely different demographic than you, but despite that anime really is a diverse and rich medium. I’ve been watching anime for probably over 20 years now, and despite thinking most anime is completely unwatchable I’m usually able to find one or two shows I really enjoy every season.

I’m just going to throw out some suggestions for a variety of shows that I like which are on crunchyroll, if any of them jump out at you let me know so I have a better idea of what your tastes are.

Drama:
Mushishi
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Boku dake ga inai Machi

Action:
Golden Kamuy
Parasyte the Maxim

Comedy:
Tonari no Seiki-kun
Dansei Koukousei no Nichijou
Sakamoto desu ga?

Sci-fi:
Cowboy Bebop
Aldnoah Zero

Most of those shows are fairly recent, having come out in the past couple years or so. The oldest is Cowboy Bebop from 1998, and the second oldest is Mushishi which came out in the mid-2000s. Some of them like Golden Kamuy and Parasyte are based on much older manga, though. If you’re willing to watch older shows (sadly not everyone is) there are tons of great ones from the 60s, 70s, and 80s that I can recommend as well. A lot of them are hard to find but crunchyroll has been getting the rights to a lot of them recently.

3 Likes

Nice list, already almost seen them all and I have the rest on a short list.
Most of the time I like anime with a more profound message, psychological thriller, etc. I am watching some dumb shounen anime with a twist from time to time when I just want something fun and dumb to watch.
But my favorite anime are in the real of death note, psycho pass, parasite, ajin, mushishi, jojo (bit different), my hero academia, shokugeki no souma, erased and iniyashiki. Most of them are fairly recent but I have no problem watching old anime I watch some (like 2 or 3) but I don’t remember the names even though the stories were amazing and pretty dark.

Movies are great. One gem I found was あの夏、いちばん静かな海。, Ano natsu, ichiban shizukana umi.
It’s about a japanese couple - they are both deaf. The guy finds a surfboard on his normal work route as a garbage collector and decides to start surfing. It’s so awesome.

Also some TV-Shows I’ve seen with subtitles on Netflix:

  • Samurai Gourmet (a bit weird but I liked it, slice of life about a guy who eats food in japan after retiring)
  • midnight diner tokyo stories (a nice show, I like this one. It’s about a late-night diner and what happens there. Nice to watch before going to sleep.)

You can also check out youtube videos with subtitles.
For example I recently found some ramen report videos that have english subtitles (name of one video:【ラー博TV】世界ラーメン紀行第3弾 ドイツ・デュッセルドルフ編 Word Ramen Report Germany Dusseldorf)

As someone who doesn’t like to watch a lot of anime, I know the struggle…

2 Likes

I wasn’t particularly interested in anime before learning japanese but they turned to be super addictive :open_mouth:

Two of my favorite ones are in the slice of life genre:

  • Usagi Drop (terrific story about what is to become a family. 30 year old guy decides to raise a 6 year old girl and it’s faced with loads of new situations)

  • Sakamichi no Apollon (passion for the jazz and the stories of a group of teenegers in the 60’s)

As for dramas they are like… meh (they don’t fall in the GoT category yet)… even so, here’re a couple I’ve enjoyed:

  • Wakako Sake (A girl trying food all over Tokyo, with the plus that she also likes sake and makes actual recommendations for restaurants and food… and sake of course)

  • Yamikin Ushijima-kun (desperate people run into the loanshark Ujishima and face the consecuences of not paying their debts)

  • Hiru no Sento Zake (this kaisha underdog encounters a new world when faced with the hidden gems that sento baths are… you’ll lear lots of Sento facs here)

Besides all that my last binge on japanese netflix has been Terrace House Girls x Boys Next Door. Oh… how much I hated these kind of realities, and even so this one I can’t stop watching… they’re so nice people!!! it’s amazing how every other western reality seems to be fill with the scum of the earth after watching this guys get along. :joy:

A big plus, you’ll hear real japanese. Like the one you would hear with people on the streets. :wink:

5 Likes

I did not like anime or really have any interest in it until after I started learning Japanese. Well, apart from Pokémon of course :grinning: I remember someone in my first Japanese class (who was very odd and pretended to have a British accent??) asked me why I was even taking Japanese if I didn’t like anime or Japanese video games… haha.

1 Like

Melty Blood would be the first hardcore fighting game I can think of in Japan. Not sure how useful it’ll be, as fighting games don’t seem like the best genre for having conversation while playing. :rofl: Also, since fighting games have such a huge presence in arcades, not sure how many streamers/video makers you’ll find. I myself don’t do much with fighting games much anymore; I only play Melty Blood and Smash Bros casually.

A good anime for people that don’t really like anime is usually Cowboy Bebop.

Another very un-anime anime is Legend of the Galactic Heroes. I don’t know how the new series is, but the old OVA is great! Very slow, but pretty profound and delves into a lot of serious/grim political topics that tend to pop up more in sci-fi books than TV shows. The whole thing used to be on youtube but I’m not sure about any more.

I don’t know many Japanese movies, but one I watched and enjoyed not too long ago was フリーター、家を買う (Freeter buys a house).
It’s basically about this young guy who just left college who has no job or hope for the future, and he decides he’s going to buy a house for his family. I’m not very good at explaining :sweat_smile:

1 Like