Where can I find Anime with Japanese subtitles?

I have been looking for Anime with Japanese subtitles (A few specific ones really) but I am having a very hard time finding them.

I can see there are some on Netflix HERE but I wanted some beginner anime such as Shirkuma Cafe, Non Non Biyori and also my favourite anime Sword Art Online.

I can only find Japanese audio on sites such as Crunchy Roll, Funimation, iTunes etc and not Japanese subtitles! I have even had a look at other ‘not so ethical’ ways of getting them but also can only find English subtitles. I can manually add in the Japanese subtitles to these but this involves finding them, adding them per episode and adjusting the timing per episode which is a big time sync.

I also tried to join other services using a Japanese VPN and couldn’t get it to work via sign up or was blocked due to it. I just wish there was a legal way to download these anime for offline learning rather than potentially using ‘not so ethical’ streaming sites filled with ads, online only and clunky to use.

Also, I have no way to play blu-rays as I am digital only due to having a laptop with no physical drive, Switch for console and no media player. I would like to watch them on my Laptop, TV and or iPhone.

Any ideas? :confounded:

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The harsh reality is, that sharing subtitles isn’t technically legal, as it’s also under copyright. Also, in an earlier thread it was mentioned, that not a whole lot of anime get actual proper subtitles, as a lot need to happen for that to be the case. The anime needs to be released either on a streaming service, or DVD, and even then the authors need to include the subtitles. If you look around though, you can find sites that have a ton of subtitles and sites that even stream anime with japanese subtitles, and personally, if I have a way of watching an anime already, I don’t feel bad for watching it somewhere else but with added subtitles.


As far as I know, the only options are:

  • Live in Japan to use Netflix
  • Find a VPN that works with Netflix Japan (rare these days)
  • Download the subtitles and either:
    • Also download the video and combine/sync them
    • Use a browser plugin to add the downloaded subtitle files to another service like Crunchyroll.

If you find Japanese subtitles that are the cc from Netflix, they are always off by one second (I imagine that’s the time it takes to display the Netflix logo or something). So while still annoying, they are at least easy to sync.

This is a the approach I take by the way, or at least it’s what I’ve been doing since Netflix started blocking my VPN last year. I’ve had on my to do list to make a simple program to combine video and subtitle files into a single file in bulk, but I’ve been lazy and haven’t done it yet.


Yeah, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is better for me to just go with the flow. If it has jp subs, I’ll take it and if it doesn’t then I’ll try to make due with that.


Does this include fan subs?

Yeah, I agree with this. If your already contributing to the author in some way and they don’t offer subtitles it definitely feels more ethical to achieve the same result elsewhere.

Yep, it’s one of those “generally speaking you won’t have an issue” cases, but there were courtcases where the one posting the subtitles lost

This makes sense, a few of them have been exactly 1 second.

That would be very good, I was going to check if iFlicks or Handbrake would allow for this on Mac, for now I have been using Subtitle Tools to adjust the timing and also create dual language subtitles which works well but results vary depending on the quality and timing of the subs.

Would be great to do it in bulk and tweak as needed and even embed.

Wow, I suppose it kind of makes sense as it’s the script of the show no matter who writes the subtitles.

ive been using tampermonkey script for crunchyroll that asks me if i want to load subs or not every time i open new episode (so selection is below 5sec) and if i select any, it asks me immediately if i wat offset +0, adjust it myself or use the offset ive used for this series before (previous episode).
Meaning once i adjust the subs for first episode, i can then just always use that offset (which doesnt change across episodes) with relative ease.

Sadly i dont think downloading those subs is legal? but this is really as legal as i can get to those shows, the only other service that offer jp subs without VPN is afaik just netflix.


Hello! I’ve always been a lurker but for once I think I have new information!
I use https://www.languagereactor.com for japanese subtitles.
It use it with Netflix and Youtube, only on my desktop, as a chrome add-on. It also works with other languages, but I’ve never tried it. It doesn’t work with all shows/movies, but there’s a substantial amount that it will work with, and it’s increasing pretty steadily.
It used to be free, but the devs have been improving it and now it’s $4.95, I’ve enjoyed watching it grow and haven’t minded the new charge to allow them to make it better. It definitely shows in it’s quality.
Hope that helps!


Handbrake can embed hard or soft subtitles in batches and has a command line option.


Used handbrake for years with no issues. There’s a bit of a learning curve but it’s a solid program.

I use it at work to batch convert terabytes of MotionJPG security footage into mp4.


How does it know which video file to associate with each subtitle file? How does it decide what names to give to the new files?

Also, I used Handbrake years ago for transcoding some videos to lower quality, but I couldn’t figure out how to create a new copy of the file without changing the video quality. Not only does it take a lot longer if it has to transcode, it needlessly makes the quality worse.

EDIT: the docs say SRT is always converted to SSA, which is a non-starter for me. I’ve had a bad experience when the subtitles changed formats before.

Of course, there’s a certain simplicity in just leaving the SRT files external and not combining them into the MKV. Certainly less time consuming that way.

The batch options in the GUI are pretty robust and can combine srt files with the same name as the video file and there are options for the output file naming convention.

For anything really complicate then scripting the CLI is the best option.

I’ve found that the best way to deal with this is to do a few trial transcodes with different settings and save the best one to a profile. Then use that profile for the batch.

But yeah, if you don’t need to transcode, it goes much faster.

Yeah, that’s a valid concern. It can also just throw the video and srt file into an mkv container like you mentioned so that’s probably the better option.

Honestly, most of the free video converters are just wrappers around ffmpeg so if you’re used to that you can go ham. :wink:

I just think Handbrake has one of the better GUIs and the CLI easier to to use.

Animelon (https://animelon.com/) claims to be a legal solution to watching streaming content with Japanese subs.

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My plan was to build a thin command line wrapper around mkvmerge. Basically:

  • Search given directory for all mkv files and all srt files, make sure there are an equal number of each type.
  • Take parameters for things like show name and season or the purposes of naming the output files.
  • Take parameter for additional mkvmerge options, basically allowing for all flexibility that mkvmerge has.
  • Apply the above to all mkv / srt file pairs.

It seems relatively straightforward. I’ve mostly just been indecisive on what programming language to use. Do I want to use something really close to the OS, like Powershell or Bash? Or do I want to use something a little more friendly like C# or Python? I can’t decide.

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Animelon is definitely not a legal solution haha. There are no legal solutions if you’re outside of Japan, other than maybe the VPN approach (breaking terms of service != illegal). All the other options are illegal to one degree or another (besides of course importing physical media, but even those often don’t have Japanese subtitles).

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Hey, they’re the ones that claim it, not me :rofl:

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I’m beginning to feel there is no answer on how to do this legally… :cry:

Animelon is great but I can’t get it to go full screen on iOS for some weird reason.

Outside of that I may have to source the videos somewhere else and just play about with subtitles or just use crunchyroll audio for listening only immersion.

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You could try reading for the first bit and ignore anime until you have a much better grasp of the language and having no subtitles becomes an annoyance rather than a dealbreaker. Reading can even make the language you consume more varied if you read non manga material. Those need to explain the context to you as well, and that can be great reading practice. (also, some manga are definitely way better than the anime adaptation, but that’s just me, you can think otherwise, there’s nothing wrong with being wrong :P)

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