Intro to Subbed Anime

What is subbed anime?

Subbed (subtitled) anime is anime with the original voice acting in Japanese with a different language translating what they’re saying with subtitles. Anime is subbed in many different languages. Being a native English speaker, I can’t say about other languages, but finding anime subtitled in English is very, very easy. (Note: Throughout this article I will be referring to my experiences with English subbing)

What are the types of subbed anime?

There are a couple types of subbed anime.

One: Fansubs

Fansubs are anime translated and subtitled by non-professionals, in most cases, fans. There’s a wide range in quality for fansubs. Some can be pretty good, while others can be horrendous. There’s also a worry about if the translation is correct. If you can’t speak Japanese then you probably don’t have a way in knowing if the subtitles are correct.

Fansubs were most popular in the 90’s to the early 2000’s when there wasn’t ready access to professional companies streaming anime online.

Two: Professional, Licensed Subs

These subs are what you’ll typically find nowadays. The quality is more often than not, outstanding, there’s no worries about translation issues, and there’s no worries of piracy. Now that it’s so common to stream videos online, licensed distributors have taken a step up and have begun readily streaming subbed anime to the masses.

What are some anime distributors?

The anime distributors in North America include:

Out of those, Aniplex, Crunchyroll, Hulu, FUNimation, Netflix, Right Stuf, and Viz Media, all have streaming videos online. You can find these on their websites or some of them, like Aniplex, FUNimation, Right Stuf (Nozomi Entertainment), and Viz, you can find on YouTube.

Where can I buy subbed anime DVDs/Blu-Rays?

Almost all anime DVDs/Blu-Ray disks sold in the US have a subbed option on the language settings. You should be able to switch the language between English-Japanese, Japanese-English, and have subtitles or no subtitles.

Anime Castle in Flushing, NY

In-store options for buying anime can be limited. Places like Walmart and other stores with films should have a few anime options, most likely things such as Naruto and Bleach, the really popular anime. There likely won’t be a big selection. F.Y.E. has an anime section in its stores, with a larger collection of around 50+ series, which is nice and is where I go to look for anime DVDs in-store. You can also search for independent anime stores in your area.

Online is definitely the best bet though. You can buy them directly from the distributors sites (FUNimation, Right Stuf, Viz Media) or you can buy them from large online stores like Amazon. Aniplex has a list of sites on their website that they sell their content on. There are also online anime stores like Anime Corner Store and Anime Castle (Anime Castle also has a store in New York), that sell videos and other anime merchandise.


2 thoughts on “Intro to Subbed Anime

  1. I much prefer subbed to dubbed, and I’ve started on my epic journey to learning Japanese so that when I’m 90 I can watch anime without subs or dubs! Ha. There seems to be a lot more anime available via legal streaming sites and region locked DVDs in the US than in the UK. That goes for manga too, especially digital manga for e-readers. I’m a Crunchyroll member, but sadly there’s a lot of anime unavailable on the UK site due to licensing issues (such as Tokyo Ghoul). I wonder if it’s different in the US? 😄


    • I’m the same as you! xD I prefer subbed and I’m trying to teach myself Japanese (I’m thinking of studying it as a minor as well). I’m a Crunchyroll member as well, but I never have a problem with the licensing, probably because Crunchyroll is stationed in the US. I wish there were more legal streaming sites for you in the UK! That’s really a bummer. :/


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