Delve into anime…
Anime are animated films – either short or feature-length – of a certain style that originate from Japan. They are typically the animated versions of “Manga” – the Japanese version of comic books. Features are usually hand-drawn, although with the advance of technology over the past few years are becoming increasingly computer-animated. The word “anime” simply comes from the abbreviated form of the word “animēshon”, the Japanese was of writing the English word “animation”. Hundreds of thousands of anime features are produced in Japan each year, and they are incredibly popular.
Anime has a certain style, although occasionally some features eschew these conventions in an attempt to set themselves apart from such conventions. It usually has a futuristic or science-fiction or fantasy-based theme. Despite its production being in Japan, anime characters typically resemble exaggerated depictions of western people, typically with huge eyes set in wide faces, tiny noses and similarly small mouths. It is usually extreme in color and style, with vibrant action sequences and highly-paced action.
The first anime was produced as long ago as 1917, but it was really not until the 1960s, via the work of Osamu Tezuka that the distinctive anime style became set. It began to grow in popularity outside Japan in the 1980s, but interest in the artform began to gather pace in the 1990s with the release of films such as “Akira” and “Ghost in the Shell”. Most western TV viewers will probably be most familiar with the stylings of anime through children’s cartoons such as “Pokemon” and “Digimon”.
If you’re an anime addict, or it sounds like something that may pique your interest, then here is a list of the top ten sites you may wish to explore.
This is a completely free site that acts as an all-encompassing tool serving to enable a user to catalog both the anime they have watched and the manga they have read, and share opinions with other users. By reviewing the rating system you can pick up popular productions you may have missed, and keep an eye out for new series that are highly recommended. You cannot watch any anime or read any manga on this site, but you should be able to receive pointers on the best places to go to do so.
This is the number one site on our list where you can watch it for free, and indeed the site stakes its claim as “the world’s largest free anime site” on its landing page. You can watch ongoing series, full-length anime movies and read manga. You can also watch – if the fancy takes you – live-action TV series from Japan, Taiwan and Korea. In terms of Anime, most of the more popular series, such as Naruto Shippuuden, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! find homes here.
Here you can watch fully dubbed (in English) and sub-titled anime movies and series for free. You have options to browse genres, from action and romance to comedy and horror, or any mix of themes. It hosts close to one thousand different anime seasons, most of which run into dozens of episodes.
4. AnimeCrazy – www.animecrazy.net
Perhaps the best place to keep up with your current favorites, AnimeCrazy lists daily new releases of free series, so you can visit whenever you have the time and see what you’ve missed. The site relies upon its community of Japanese animation lovers, who aid the site by writing reviews and joining in discussions.
AnimeUltima allows you to watch streaming episodes online for free. You can choose between dubbed or subtitled versions. If you register with the site you can track the amount you have watched, set up your favourite series, view dedicated video channels and discuss your favourites with fellow anime-addicts.
An extremely comprehensive site, Anime Season hosts an extensive collection of episodes and features, all available through the site’s embedded video player. You can keep up with your favorites as newly-available episodes are listed daily. You can see which are the highest-rated series, or – if you’re a newcomer, select a random episode with which to commence your introduction to this unique genre of animation.
Another site with a dumbfounding amount of links to online episodes, you can satiate your additional anime needs with links to full-length movies, down-loadable content, soundtracks and wallpapers. You can also choose popular, recent and random episodes. There’s also a manga section if you fancy a little light reading.
“Shippudden” means “Hurricane Chronicles” and no doubt this site takes its name from the popular and renowned series “Naruto Shippudden”. This is a continuation of the immensely popular manga series “Naruto” – concerning the story of an adolescent ninja, which ran in anime form from 2002 to 2007. This basic-looking site has the typical selection of both anime and manga, but loses kudos slightly as it seems every time you click on a link, an annoying ad pops up.
The japanese word “Fushigi” has no direct translation into English, but can be interpreted as “mysterious”, “odd” or “magical”. Anime Fushigi promises it is the number one streaming source on the web, but is another site that generates annoying pop-up advertisements and obtrusive banner ads. The site contains links to over 1,000 popular series and a total of over 20,000 episodes.
A nicely-presented site, Anime-Planet has the usual expanse of both anime and manga, and contains reviews of the latest releases as contributed by its users. If you’re looking for new productions to get your teeth into, you can go by the site’s recommendations or sign up and engage in directions in the forum. You can even find out about specific characters by navigating the site’s extensive database of popular anime characters.