A while ago I wrote some basic techniques for studying Japanese anime. This was followed by a number of articles focusing on common basic vocabulary and grammar found in anime, manga and games. This is a look at studying anime Japanese – intermediate techniques.

Popular media can be a great tool for learning and practicing Japanese!

Studying Anime Japanese – Basic Techniques

A quick summary of this article:

  • Watch lots of anime.
  • Listen to the anime – turn off subtitles.
  • Make notes of vocabulary and phrases.
  • Study basic vocabulary on the side.
  • Study intermediate grammar.


Studying Anime Japanese – Intermediate Techniques

This time I’d like to look at some more techniques for improving your Japanese and understanding of anime.

Read the Manga too!

Studying Anime Japanese - Intermediate TechniquesA fantastic way to study the vocabulary and grammar found in anime is to read the manga in Japanese.

Start by reading the first chapter and make any notes of words you don’t know. Don’t study them right away but watch the corresponding anime episode without subtitles. You’ll know the story already and should be able to pick out similar words.

Study the vocabulary, read more of the manga and watch more of the anime. All 3 things and exposing yourself to more and more of the Japanese will help improve your Japanese comprehension.

Sometimes there’s no manga for what you want to learn, but there are novels or games which you can use instead. If there’s neither of these then you can use the following technique… subtitles!


Watch with Japanese Subtitles

This can also be a great technique for beginners! Having the subtitles in Japanese can help in a number of ways:

  • Confirm the words you’re hearing.
  • Easier to make notes on new words.
  • Learn/practice kanji and their uses/reading.

Try and watch an episode of anime without subtitles, making notes of words you think you don’t know. Then watch it again with the Japanese. You might be surprised with how much you actually picked up on, and it can help with parts you didn’t understand.

Studying Anime Japanese - Intermediate TechniquesIf there are complicated words or phrases you didn’t understand you can use the subtitles to look them up easier.

How to get Japanese subtitles

You can either stream anime with Japanese subtitles through Streaming Anime With Japanese Subs.

Or you can download just the subtitles using Kitsune Neko Japanese Subs. If you download the subtitles you will have to rename the subtitles files to match the corresponding anime file. They should sync automatically when you play the anime. (Sometimes you need to turn subs on too!)


Studying Specialized Vocabulary

I’ve previously suggested sticking with slice of life and school anime, especially as a beginner to Japanese. This is because anime based on real life will more likely have vocabulary you’re used to and expose you to new vocabulary and ways of speaking that are used in real life.

But what about other anime? Sci-fi, fantasy, mecha, sports etc, anime with very specialized vocabulary can be more difficult because there are lots of words you won’t have studied in class.

Studying Anime Japanese - Intermediate TechniquesA great way to study theses specialized vocabulary is using the above techniques! Read the manga and watch anime with the subtitles, use those to learn the specialized vocabulary that appear regularly in anime.

There are also some people who have put together vocabulary lists of their own favorite anime and manga. Such as Death Note, Haikyuu, Shokugeki no Soma, etc.

You can find a lot of these on Memrise. Memrise (for those who don’t know) is a flashcard program with space repetition that encourages you to study and review regularly. It’s also great because you can make your own flashcard decks! Such as your own vocabulary lists for anime and manga!



Parrot the Anime

This technique is probably the hardest, especially if you’re not used to it. But try and parrot short phrases or words as you watch the show.

Parroting is simply repeating what someone else says. You don’t need to memorize what’s said or how it’s said. Parroting is simply a way to get your brain used to listening and using Japanese. You may also find yourself understanding certain phrases and situations better through parroting rather than listening on its own.

Parroting can improve your listening comprehension and your speaking!


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