Winter 2018 Anime – Good Anime for Studying Japanese

The new is upon us and with the new year comes a new season of anime! Winter 2018 to be exact. I’ve watched a lot of the first episodes for the new seasons to find some shows that are good for practicing Japanese.

I was surprised by some anime I thought would be easy were actually quite tricky and vice versa. Gakuen Babysitters in particular is a great manga but the anime may prove tricky for some.

I’ve ordered the anime from easy to difficult. Try and challenge yourself and I hope you have fun with the new season!

 

Some Anime Watching Tips

No Subtitles

As a general rule try and watch the anime without any subtitles. If you’re watching with Crunchyroll you can turn the subtitles off on the computer, but NOT a console (like PS4). All you have to do is right click on the screen and turn the subtitles off.

Netflix is easy to turn off the subtitles and change the audio to Japanese. (I don’t know about HiDive though.)

 

Don’t Stop the Show

Try and watch the whole thing in one go. Don’t stop and re-start to catch words. The goal is to gain as much Japanese from context as possible.

If you keep stopping and starting to look up words you interrupt the natural flowing Japanese, and can become too reliant on dictionaries to understand something.

If you felt you didn’t quite understand something at first you can re-watch the episode.

 

Re-Watch an Episode

Re-watching an episode over and over is great for picking up words/phrases you didn’t quite catch the first time.

 

You can find where to legally simulcast the episodes here: Simulcast locations

 

Mitsuboshi Colors  三ツ星カラーズ

Winter 2018 Anime - Good Anime for Studying Japanese Mitsuboshi ColorsJapanese Level

Other Media: Manga

Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy

Short Description:

The Colors are a gang of three cute girls who hang out together and say they’re protecting the peace of their city.

 

Challenges:

Male speak – Saito, an adult police office and Oya-ji, a shop over, both use more masculine Japanese that might be harder to understand. This means more casual Japanese with lots of “na” and “suka” at the end of their sentence.

 

Useful for Japanese Points:

Great for short, simple and slow conversational Japanese.

 

Does it Reflect Real Conversation?

The conversations are mostly between young children. They use a mixture of casual and roughly polite Japanese (depending on the situation). Realistic, but be careful about mimicking or you may end up sounding like a child.

 

Sanrio Danshi  サンリオ男子

Winter 2018 Anime - Good Anime for Studying Japanese Sanrio DanshiJapanese Level

Other Media: [none]

Genre: School

Short Description:

Kouta loves Pom Pom Purin but is too scared to show it through fear that those around him will think he’s too girly. Then he find other guys who like Saniro characters! The Saniro Danshi!

 

Challenges:

Some fast conversational parts. The play at the beginning could be difficult.

 

Useful for Japanese Points:

Good visuals to the Japanese.

Parts with slow conversations with short sentences.

 

Does it Reflect Real Conversation?

Yes! Has nice casual conversation between guys.

 

 

Idolish7  アイドリッシュセブン

Winter 2018 Anime - Good Anime for Studying Japanese Idolish7Japanese Level

Other Media: Game

Genre: Music

Short Description:

IDOLiSH7 are a newly formed idol group made up of 7 guys with unique personalities.

 

Challenges:

Each character has their own way of talking. Although they’re mostly clear some speak more heavily masculine than others. The foreign character also has very strange Japanese (so no try to mimic or shadow his Japanese pronunciation).

 

Useful for Japanese Points:

Formal Japanese including work introductions.

The main female character’s Japanese is very easy to understand, although fast at times.

Lots of conversational and informal Japanese. But still clear and fairly easy to understand (besides the foreigner character).

 

Does it Reflect Real Conversation?

Yes. Set in a business atmosphere there’s a good mix of keigo and polite Japanese between superiors and juniors, as well as casual conversation between the idol members.

 

 

Card Captor Sakura Clear Card-hen  カードキャプターさくら クリアカード編

Winter 2018 Anime - Good Anime for Studying Japanese Cardcaptor Sakura Clear CardJapanese Level

Other Media: Manga

Genre: Romance, Magical Girl, Shojo

Short Description:

Sakura starts Middle School and with a new year comes new challenges when, after a mysterious dream, her Sakura Cards suddenly lose their magic and turn transparent!

 

Challenges:

Kero’s Kansai-ben – Kero talks in very, very strong kansai-ben. He’s very hard to understand if you aren’t used to kansai-ben and similar accents.

 

Useful for Japanese Points:

The Japanese in the anime and manga are very similar (although scenes have been moved around). So it’s worth reading the manga if you want reading practice.

 

Does it Reflect Real Conversation?

Yes! Great examples of conversational Japanese between friends and family.

 

 

Yuru Camp △ ゆるキャン△

Winter 2018 Anime - Good Anime for Studying Japanese Yuru CampJapanese Level

Other Media: Manga

Genre: Slice of life, Comedy

Short Description:

Cute slice of life anime about girls camping around Mt. Fuji.

 

Challenges:

Accents – 3 out of 5 of the main characters have accents. Rin and Nadeshiko are the only ones with fairly standard Japanese. The local dialect may throw some people off if they’re not used to it.

 

Useful for Japanese Points:

Lots of visual explanation of what the characters are saying.

Rin likes to talk to herself and often uses short sentences.

Also Japanese text combined with the spoken Japanese i.e Text messages and the cute pinecones talking.

 

Does it Reflect Real Conversation?

Yes! The characters use regular conversational Japanese when talking to themselves and others.

When Rin talks to the camp owner they use standard polite Japanese you would expect from an interaction with a stranger. The narration about camping also uses standard polite Japanese.

 

 

Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san  ラーメン大好き小泉さん

Winter 2018 Anime - Good Anime for Studying Japanese Ramen Daisuki KoizumisanJapanese Level

Other Media: 4-koma manga

Genre: Comedy, Food

Short Description:

Yuu loves cute girls and instantly falls for Koizumi, wanting to become her friend. But Koizumi isn’t interested in other people and just wants to eat ramen.

 

Challenges:

Ramen explanations – A few times when they’re explaining regional ramen the Japanese can get a little trickier. There’s also lots of text on screen that’s hard to read unless you pause it.

 

Useful for Japanese Points:

Great for regular conversational Japanese between friends and family.

Koizumi also uses polite Japanese (ます・です) and keeps her sentences short. Which is really easy to understand!

 

Does it Reflect Real Conversation?

All the characters speak regular conversational Japanese and use phrases you would expect to hear in real life.

Koizumi’s polite Japanese is also very natural. Polite Japanese is often used to put distance between people so it fits her personality perfectly.

 

 

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho  宇宙よりも遠い場所

Sora Yori mo Tooi BashoJapanese Level

Other Media: None

Genre: Adventure, School

Short Description:

Mari Tamaki is a second year at high school and wants to do something more with her life before she graduates. But she’s too scared to leave her comfort zone. That is, until she meets Shirase, a girl who wants to travel to the Antarctic, and inspires her to go with her.

 

Challenges:

Fast conversational Japanese about some complicated ideas.

You will learn なんきょく = Antarctic (南極 – south pole) quickly as it comes up again and again! But the challenge comes from talking about topics related to the Antarctic.

 

Useful for Japanese Points:

 

Some great conversations between friends about how they feel. Easy to understand and has some great emotion and expressions common in everyday life.

 

Does it Reflect Real Conversation?

Yes and no. Conversational Japanese is very realistic and practical. But most people won’t have conversations about the Antarctic unless there’s something in the news about it.

 

 

Gakuen Babysitters  学園ベビーシッターズ

Winter 2018 Anime - Good Anime for Studying Japanese Gakuen BabysittersJapanese Level

Other Media: Manga

Genre: Slice of life, Comedy, School, Shojo

Short Description:

After Ryuichi and Kotaro’s parents pass away in a plane accident they’re taken in by a school principle who lost her son. But in exchange for food, lodging and a new school Ryuichi must join the Babysitting Club to help take care of the teacher’s kids.

 

Challenges:

Long explanations in keigo can be a little tricky to understand.

Fast moving text can be tricky to read if you’re not used to it.

Children’s Japanese – The toddler’s Japanese can be hard to understand as they use baby talk.

Chairwoman’s old lady Japanese.

 

Useful for Japanese Points:

Practically identical Japanese dialogue to the manga! (Worth picking up the manga for extra Japanese practice!)

Polite Japanese used between some of the characters which is great です・ます practice. Some keigo used in these instances which is great keigo practice.

 

Does it Reflect Real Conversation?

Yes and no. Conversational Japanese is very realistic and practical. But there are a mix of lots of different kinds of Japanese ranging from baby talk to keigo to old lady Japanese. Great at getting a range of Japanese but can be a challenge if you’re not used to switching.

 

 

Slow Start  スロウスタート

Winter 2018 Anime - Good Anime for Studying Japanese Slow StartJapanese Level

Other Media: 4-koma manga

Genre: School, Slice of Life, Comedy

Short Description:

Hana Ichinose enrolled in school late, making her a year older than all her peers. Nervous and socially awkward she tries her best to make some new friends.

 

Challenges:

Text messages and kanji. The written Japanese can be difficult if you’re not used to reading kanji.

Some points with long sentences and fast talking, as well as sections where characters talk over each other.

Cultural references to ema, protective wooden tags. Then other culturally specific items such as tamate – treasure boxes. Tricky to follow but interesting to learn something new! Helps to know the culture behind these to understand a few scenes. (I suggest watching these scenes a few times to understand what’s going on and see if you can pick up any new Japanese.)

 

Useful for Japanese Points:

Lots of phrases useful for self-introductions.

 

Does it Reflect Real Conversation?

Yes. Conversational Japanese between girls. Fast talking at points but great for following the flow of a conversation.

 

 

Grancrest Senki   グランクレスト戦記

Winter 2018 Anime - Good Anime for Studying Japanese Granscrest SenkiJapanese Level

Other Media: Light Novel

Genre: Fantasy, Action

Short Description:

On a continent ruled by chaos, the Lords have the power of a holy seal that can calm the chaos and protect the people. However, before anyone realizes it, the rulers cast aside their creed of purifying the chaos, and instead start to fight each other for each other’s holy seals to gain dominion over one another.

 

Challenges:

More difficult Japanese to fit a fantasy setting. More difficult terms and longer sentences.

Lots of keigo.

Made up magic, places and universe so lots of unfamiliar words.

 

Useful for Japanese Points:

Great advanced Japanese and keigo practice. Also great if you’re interested in fantasy Japanese.

Originates from a light novel if you wish to practice reading more advanced and fantasy based Japanese.

 

Does it Reflect Real Conversation?

No. You’re unlikely to be talking about chaos, magic and crests in a real life situation.

 

 

Overlord II  オーバーロードⅡ

Winter 2018 Anime - Good Anime for Studying Japanese Overlord IIJapanese Level

Other Media: Light Novel

Genre: Action, Game, Adventure, Supernatural, Magic, Fantasy

Short Description:

The sequal to Overlord, an anime about Momonga who becomes trapped inside his lich avatar just as his favorite MMORPG is about to be shut down. He’s also transported to another fantasy world and the NPCs have formed personalities of their own. He must use all his wits to fight off enemies while trying to work out how to get home.

 

Challenges:

Incredibly challenging vocabulary with high fantasy setting.

A mixture of keigo, older Japanese and casual.

Fast conversations.

Made up place, object, magic etc names.

 

Useful for Japanese Points:

Fantastic for keigo and advanced Japanese practice.

Great for understanding fast Japanese and complicated conversation.

Originates from a novel which can be a great supplement to book kanji and vocabulary.

 

Does it Reflect Real Conversation?

No.

 

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