Watching anime with japanese subs?

For some time now I tried to up my immersion game by watching shows with Japanese subs.
I mostly use Netflix japan for this.

Still, some shows aren’t available on there. I could watch them with eng subs but I noticed that watching anime with Japanese subs really boosts my learning.

I already checked animelon but if you have any suggestions I’d be glad to hear them.


There’s at least one site where people upload subtitle files. I can’t remember the name, but it could help you. The only issue is that you’ll probably have to synchronise the video you’re watching with the subtitles yourself.

Here’s an alternative if you’re not too subtitle-syncing savvy (I certainly am not): try looking for transcriptions online on reaction blogs. My favourite is Anicobin, which has worked for almost all the anime I’ve watched so far, as long as they aired after 2013. Googling ‘[anime name in Japanese] [episode number in Arabic numerals]話 感想’ or ‘[anime name in Japanese] [episode number in Arabic numerals]話 anicobin’ is usually enough to bring up a transcription accompanied by screenshots and reactions from Japanese viewers on Twitter. Alternatively, if Anicobin brings up nothing, you can try to find transcriptions by googling the sentences you can catch within quotes. This is a little harder, and if you have to resort that this approach, you’ll usually have a hard time finding complete transcriptions. However, once in a while, you’ll get lucky, and often enough, you’ll be able to see at least a few sentences of the dialogue around the phrase you’re searching for.


Kitsuneko maybe?

OP, the most straightforward way would be to add a sub file to the movie file if you have a local copy. I’ve been ripping my DVD/Blu-ray collection, and it’s fairly straight forward (until you get into compression…). If you don’t care about the box art, you can often get used DVDs fairly cheap.

There’s also Japanese TV options like iSakura and the like (pretty sure there’s a thread or two somewhere on this forum), where you pay a subscription for access to Japanese TV stations. I’ve never used them personally, so I am not 100% sure, but I think it’s DVR like where a scheduled program is available for a set amount of time after airing. You can check and see if they come with a CC option.

This deviates from your original ask, but have you tried games? VNs or text heavy games (e.g. Ace Attorney, Persona 4, Zero Escape) often have most of the lines voiced with dialogue boxes. A bit more inconvenient since you can’t always save at any time but these days with Steam and the Switch Japanese text and audio are much easier to find without importing than they were even just a decade ago.


For easy subtitle syncing I can recommend the autosubsync-mpv script for mpv (works with Celluloid, too) with alass and/or ffsubsync. Just press n and the tool syncs the subtitles to the video.
alass and ffsubsync can also be used by itself to sync subtitles to videos. No need for a player.

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Sounds like it. I remembered ‘kitsune’ being in the name, but I was worried I had it mixed up with Kitsun, the flashcard system. Thanks.

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Do anime DVDs not come with closed captions?

Most region 1 (North america/Canada) dvds don’t include JP subs in my experience. Usually English, sometimes Spanish, and French.

Region 2 includes Europe and Japan, but I have no idea if dvds sold in, say, the UK would have JP subs or if you’d still need to import from Japan, which can get expensive.

If they don’t, it’s cheaper to get the one available to you, rip it, and add a srt file from the web to it. Results can vary on subtitle timing this way tho.

For bluray, NA and Japan are on the same region A but Europe is region B. But I just checked several of my disc’s and they only have eng subs.

Sorry, I meant Japanese DVDs. They’re expensive but it’s probably the simplest option.

@Torao92 , shirokuma cafe is a great starter for watching in japanese subs(I’m around n3 as a reference) However, I don’t recommend using animelon’s built in dictionary. Instead I use a browser extension called yomichan to look up words on mouse hover. You can also have it auto create an anki card with the sentence from the anime and audio from jisho with a single mouse click.

There is also if you want dramas with japanese subs, but I haven’t tried it.

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Oh yeah, I’d nearly forgot about this! @Torao92 I don’t think they have subs for everything, but when they do, they’re really great! I tried it for just one drama (Signal シグナル, a detective story involving time periods being mysteriously linked) about a year ago, and I think 40% of the episodes were fully subtitled in Japanese? It’s really convenient if you’re watching in their app, because you can just pause the video and take a look at the subtitles. I think the app will pronounce individual words for you if you tap on them. I haven’t tried the website though, but it should be just as good.

crunchyroll with a VPN (depending on where you reside) should get you covered, I subbed to both crunchyroll and animelab and VPN to australia

I thought Crunchyroll didn’t have Japanese subtitles. :thinking:

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I’ve had a decent amount of success with my local Netflix’s Japanese subs, especially with newer stuff and the Ghibli films. It’s often closed caption, but I enjoy that bit of extra info that you otherwise wouldn’t see anywhere else.

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Animelon’s dictionary is so f… terrible, I mean come on? How is there no quality control at all? :smiley:

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If you are okay with downloading stuff, here is my way of watching.

  1. download a show.
  2. find subs on Japanese subtitles -
  3. insert video and sub file here
  4. use a button to synchronize subs.
    you can disable enable subs on the fly as well by pressing hotkeys.
    I find this way of watching the best because since it is in a browser you can use yomichan or any other parser with unknown words.

I don’t think they do, but you can turn off the english subs for some shows. So you could use it to practise your listening comprehension… but this is still beyond my level :sweat_smile:

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Sure, but the topic is about watching with Japanese subs, which is why I was confused by the post. :slight_smile:

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