Legal anime with japanese subtitles

While Disney is good about putting subtitles, every Japanese DVD I own (not too many) lacks Japanese subtitles.

The one exception in my collection is Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, but the Japanese subtitles on that are a translation of the English audio track, not subtitles of what’s said on the Japanese audio track.


Nice, thanks

Yeah, it’s usually like that, right? Subtitles based on the original language, no matter where they’re sold.


Yeah, from my general experience things like movies and live-action TV stuff tends to have a much higher chance of Japanese subtitles. I think since anime DVD/Blurays are for a pretty niche market audience even in Japan, they just leave them out to cut corners and prop up the profit margins more.

I think the inclusion of English subs/dubs happens basically because they can add that content potentially with the hardest part of the process already done by a licensor as maybe part of the licensing contract, or what happens in some cases, is that Japanese release have even used fansubs. :sweat_smile:


Don’t know if anyone else has mentioned this already, but technically if you only acquire the subtitle file (e.g. there are many fan-made subtitle files out there that are independent of the video files), then you could use those with a legal copy of the anime. You’d just have to view it on a computer (most likely; maybe there’s another way?), and use a player that allows you to include subtitles. I think VLC Media Player would work for this; pretty sure.


Language Learning with Netflix is a great Chrome add-on, you can adjust play speed, pause at the end of sentences etc and set up multilingual subs.

Not available for everything, but where it is it makes the whole thing so much easier!


I rip all my stuff to my Plex server and then can just drop in a subtitle file and watch it anywhere. Obviously this only works with stuff I own on DVD or Bluray, of course.

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Obviously. Of course. :wink:


Trust me, my wallet has the scars probably 15-17 years of Amazon Japan orders to prove this. :joy: Some of my friends laugh at me for not just pirating stuff. For example, i’ve bought 5 different versions of Patlabor movies and TV show.


My personal ‘workaround’ (which I think is in some ways better because it encourages you to really listen and only check things you can’t figure out) is to search for transcripts on reaction blogs. Seems to only work for anime that came out after 2013 though. You can get them on Anicobin by searching ‘[anime name] [episode number]話 感想 アニコビン’. (This is probably at least my 7th time typing this on these forums.) It may not be as convenient as subtitles in the sense that you won’t see the dialogue in Japanese in real time, but I think it’s much more practical for dictionary searching since you can easily copy and paste text. Also, you get to see reactions from Japanese viewers on Twitter, which means you get to learn from them as well. There’s no need to worry about getting lost in the transcripts: they come with screenshots so viewers know which scene is being referred to. I’m not certain about ‘legality’, but let’s just say that Anicobin seems pretty big and has tons of these line-by-line fan reaction pages, so there’s no way studios haven’t noticed yet. I think it counts as fair use anyway, since the content is being used to allow commentary, and I’m sure studios are happy to see fans getting together and discussing what they see since that helps generate hype and shows them what fans think.

You are in good company.

Wait, where’s my Disney DVD release of Castle in the Sky? It’s gotta be around here somewhere…


This is very interesting and will be useful for sure especially since I can copy/paste words.

But considering I’m still a beginner, I don’t think the following statement is valid for me.

There is so much I don’t understand just by listening that it’s really necessary to have subtitles while I watch. Otherwise, I’d be pausing every frame to check the text on anicobin. My goal for now is to increase my vocab, and immersing myself by watching anime with subtitles seems like a great way to do this.

But once I get more comfortable with listening, I’m sure this will be a very useful resource for listening practice.

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I’ve had this problem even with Amazon Japan. Only stuff originally in another language tends to have Japanese subtitles.

This has been my experience too. Someone gave me advice on how to find closed captioning on the tv, but I haven’t had much luck with that.


There was a particular anime for which I tried to understand everything, and I really did pause every few seconds. However, yes, I understand what you mean, and that’s where not-clearly-legal stuff like Animelon and subtitle analysers (there’s another one that works with downloaded subtitle files, which should certainly be more legal, but I’ve forgotten its name) feels more convenient because you can click/mouse over words to get immediate translations. Still, what I used to do (and frankly still do now) is to watch episodes with English subtitles, and to check the transcription if I’m curious about exactly what was said.

Whatever it is, I hope you find something that works well for you. :slight_smile:

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The Minato platform from the Japan Foundation offers a couple of basic courses using anime and manga. They’re titled:

  • Japanese in Anime & Manga A1 (Greetings) Self-Study Course
  • Japanese in Anime & Manga A2 (School Expressions by Scene) Self-Study Course

I know it may not be exactly what you’re looking for but hey, they’re free.

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Not sure if it has been specified about Netflix, but I found that almost all Anime that are Netflix Originals have japanese subtitles.


Delayed reply, but I would be very interested in this tool if you can get it public.

I’ve been using +Sub with Netflix exactly for this, but having an option to do the same for Crunchyroll would be awesome!

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That’s why I’m grateful the company I work for is an engineering company, not a software company. I didn’t have to sign anything.

Do you have a link to the extension?


For Firefox:

For Chrome:

Another plugin which does the same thing and is easier to use (and seems to be more popular) is “Substital”. I don’t particularly like the font Sustital uses for Japanese or the positioning of the subtitles on the screen (the add-on lets you change font size, color, and background color, but not font face or position), so I use +Sub instead most of the time since its defaults work for me.

Both plugins require subtitle files to be in SRT format, but there are a number of programs out there that can convert other types of subtitle files to SRT.