Obviously, to make Japanese media easily accessible, you have to know where to get it. Over time, I’ve accumulated a few sites that I scour around every now and then. Though I already have plenty lined up for me to watch. 😛 I’m sure there are some great places I missed, but here are some of my favorites!
For me, DramaCrazy is a mixed bag. What I like about it is that has quite a lot of streaming drama’s. So it’s easy for me to just browse through the Japanese drama section and take a look at things I’ve never heard of. Or even watch the first episode to see if I like it, and if I don’t, choose something else. A plus is that because they aren’t hosting the files themselves, there are often multiple sources incase one of them is slow for you.
Where things sometimes get a bit sour is that shows are often uploaded with subtitles with no way of turning them off. For most people, who aren’t studying Japanese, this is perfect. However, for me, this is a let down. Yet, sometimes they do have a RAW mirror, which is the video without subtitles.
DramaCrazy also has a good amount of anime, but the subtitle issue exists for those as well. So like I said, it can be a mix bag. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes it rocks.
MySoju is another site that just hosts links to the videos that are hosted elsewhere. So you have the same problem with subtitles that you’ll have with DramaCrazy, but that doesn’t stop it from being a great site. MySoju is a good source for dramas as well as movies. If nothing else, it can be used as way to find stuff you haven’t seen before, and then find the raw video elsewhere.
While MyAnimeList doesn’t actually contain any videos on the site itself, it is my personal favorite website to visit to look for more anime that I might be interested in. They probably have the largest database on anime that exists (or one of the top one’s at least). But for me, what really sets them apart is the ability to see the recommendations based on something you’ve already watched.
Let’s say you’ve seen Naruto. You can then browse to the Naruto page and if you scroll down, it will recommend similar anime such as Naruto Shippuden, Bleach, D’Gray Man, etc. I’ve used and abused this feature to the point that I actually have trouble finding anime I haven’t seen (that appeals to me), because I’ve watched about everything on the recommendations list to where now it’s recursive. All of them point back to each other. 😀
Crunchy Roll reminds me of Netflix for anime. Their user interface is very slick and well polished, but most importantly the media streams are very fast and very clear. By that, I mean that because they are 100% legal, the actual quality of the video is very good because it’s generally coming from a high quality source. Also, they probably have the bandwidth available to stream the videos at a higher quality because their service isn’t free. Though, for me, it’s so cheap it might as well be free. 😉
The one thing you should know, if you’re going to use Crunchy Roll, is that you can turn the subtitles off. It’s not very clearly stated, but you can right click on the actual video window itself and click “No Subtitles” so that it no longer uses the subtitles. Some of the videos have hard coded subtitles but those are usually the dramas or movies, for the most part.
In the way of torrents, NyaaTorrents is basically exactly what we’re looking for. Because it’s specifically Japanese torrents, you don’t even have to know what you’re looking for. You can go browsing and when you see something you might be interested in, just download it. Or, you can go to somewhere like MyAnimeList (if it’s anime) and see what the description, reviews, pictures, etc are like first. Everyone knows of places like ThePirateBay so there is no need to mention those, but I felt the need to mention NyaaTorrents since it seems less known.