Today, I decided to make an introductory guide for English online anime & manga community. Nowadays, ACG community (anime, cartoon, and games) is becoming mainstream among the internet. While the gaming community tends to be the most vocal and well-known, there is also a sizable anime & manga community. I will dissect and briefly mention the characteristics of different elements of the larger English “Otaku” community.
This is going to be easy to remember. The most well-known English news site, used mostly for anime, is Anime News Network (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/). Its primary purpose is to gather all the recent news about anime, post them in English on the site, and also support other user-friendly functions like forums, reviews, and ratings. There is not really a website that is dedicated to manga news. Nevertheless, bits and pieces of news about manga are found in all anime news and forums sites (since the two is intimately linked).
A lot of you might be wondering, what is an anime list? Well, it is acts as an online storage of all anime and manga that you have watched or read, and other information that go along with it (rating, tags, or comments). The largest, the most user-friendly, and most successful English site is My Anime List (http://www.myanimelist.net), or commonly known as MAL. I estimate that MAL has at least 1 millions users worldwide. As I will explain later, MAL also cross over to other type of functions.
Also, Baka-Updates Manga (http://www.mangaupdates.com/) also deserve a mention here. You can also input “your own list” here, though in all honesty it won’t be as convenient and useful as on MAL. What is really good about baka-updates is that it gives accurate information about the translating status and translation teams (for manga), which is always a life-saver if you are desperately trying to find out if the manga is still being translated or not.
Anime & Manga Online Streaming/Reading Sites
Please refer to my previous article, “Some Good Online Manga Reading Sites”.
Let’s start with sites with membership first…
Disadvantages: Not a comprehensive (although has quite lot) stock of anime. Must join membership ($7/month) if one wants to watch 1080p quality in most anime (the alternative is always SD quality).
Advantages: No ads with 1080p (with membership). Legal streaming ==> help anime industry. Also has other functions such as News and Forum (very unintelligent).
2. http://www.Funimation.com – North America licensing company
Disadvantages: Must join subscription (obviously, cost money) to watch some anime, or to watch anime in the highest quality, or watch anime without ads, or a combination of these.
Advantages: Given membership, the benefits is watching any high quality anime without ads from a sizable stock of anime on stream.
Sites without membership (free)…
The most amazing free online streaming anime site.
Disadvantages: Ads, though no forced commercials (in the video) before the anime start; the only ads are windows on the sides that you can easily close with a click, but it has a mechanism that counters adblock. Sometimes the quality can be misleading. For example, “1080p” may be blurred and is actually equivalent to “480p”.
Advantages: Free! A large database! Very high quality (1080p), especially true for anime that is new (true 1080p quality). A easy-to-use database with a popularity and genre categorizing system.
Disadvantages: Forced commercials. Highest possible quality is 480p. Not the biggest database for anime.
Advantages: If all else fail, these would not fail you!
To be honest, I just got into anime & manga forums, so I am only experienced with MAL’s forum. I would not be an authoritative voice in this matter. Don’t worry, though, because I found a more experienced blogger who knows his way around anime forums. Here is his article comparing the 8 popular anime discussion platforms.
To sum up the more useful ones: My Anime List, Reddit Anime Board, Anime Suki, and Anime Blogs.
The most high-quality and comprehensive (against the copyrights) free anime download is BakaBT (http://bakabt.me/). Just search the anime you want to download on this site.
** I am not encouraging you guys to watch anime this way by any means. In fact, the best way to watch anime is either to stream from licensing company’s websites or buy anime DVD releases, though I never do …
Top Anime/Manga Rating List
Without a doubt, My Anime List has the “most accurate” list for English speaking anime/manga fans. Here are the reasons.
1. MAL’s top list is rated by all the users and statistically collected in a bayesian average.
2. As I previously said, MAL has about 1 million users.
3. any MAL users are at least exposed to various kinds of anime/manga (because they need a list to keep what they already watched/read).
4. Almost all users would rate anime (with their pride) after they finished one and inputted it into their MAL list. These ratings go to making a comprehensive top list for anime and manga.
Again, MAL has a really good user-friendly and high-quality functions for both reviews and recommendations.
Anime News Network also has some reviews.
Bloggers who show an abnormal fandom toward anime or manga, and frequently publish posts about anime and manga.