You can understand a lot from a situation in anime simply from learning adjectives.

Adjectives are used all the time in anime. Their use ranges from a single statement describing the obvious (i.e “it’s hot”), to describing a person or situation in a complex sentence, but even then it’s incredibly useful to have a grasp of adjectives when you watch anime.


Two types of adjectives


It’s important to understand the two types of adjectives in Japanese. On their own there’s not much difference, but when changing the tense, or combining them with other words (i.e using grammar with adjectives) each type gets changed differently.


The first, and most recognizable are I-Adjectives (pronounced ee-Adjectives). Distinguishable from the い (i) at the end. Such as:

たか – takai = tall
はや – hayai = fast
おそ – osoi = slow
あつ – atsui = hot
さむ – samui = cold
ちいさ – chiisai = small
おおき – ookii = big


The second are Na-Adjectives. These are harder to spot as they are adjectives which don’t have a common ending like I-adjectives. That is unless they are before a noun when な (na) is added. For example:

ばか – baka = stupid
ばかひと – bakana hito = stupid person

てんさい – tensai = genius
てんさいひと – tensaina hito = genius person



There are some irregular adjectives you need to be careful of, luckily there aren’t that many.

いい – ii = good   ->   This is an I-Adjective which is irregular because of how it changes when grammar (such as past tense) is applied to it. (For more information on adjective grammar click here)

かわいい – kawaii = cute    ->    This is an I-adjective, however, Japanese people sometimes use it like a na-adjective in informal situations.


Useful Memrise courses for learning adjectives:

So how do you learn your adjectives? Obviously watching lots of anime is helpful for practice, but actually learning them on the side will make them stick out and cement themselves in your mind much faster.

I will always suggest you use memrise, but quite often you need to know hiragana and katakana to get the most out of the program (and most Japanese learning resources).

Once you know the kanas you need to learn some adjectives!
If you want to take you adjective learning even further you can start by learning basic grammar for your adjectives!
  • If you want to learn the grammar for the different verb types try the lessons 47-57 on the Beginners Japanese Grammar by JTalk Online.