Anime Online (Mania.com)

By:Janet Houck
Date: Thursday, January 04, 2007

The otaku and the Internet: two great tastes that go together, and that really don’t work well apart. Today, I’m talking a little about websites that will help you to enjoy your anime and manga a little more and feel more of a member of a world-wide community of likeminded fans!  

First of, let’s talk about the primary websites of your average American otaku: the news and resource websites. Anime News Network (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/) provides daily news updates on the industry in Japan, the US and abroad, discussion forums, and an extensive encyclopedia on anime and manga, and the people and companies involved. They also own and run Protoculture Addicts, a long-running anime and manga magazine geared towards an adult audience. By adult, I mean over the age of eighteen; nothing sexual at all. Just that the magazine isn’t stuffed full of advertisements and bright colors, or geared towards a teenage audience as most print anime magazines are. AniDB (http://www.anidb.net/) is a user-created database on anime. What makes it different from ANN’s encyclopedia is that all of the content is contributed from users wiki-style, so you can find information on newer titles, as well as unofficial rumors and bittorrent links (or information on who is fansubbing that title). Anime Nfo (http://www.animenfo.com/) is another anime resource site, which covers manga as well. What makes Anime Nfo unique is that it acts more like the IMDB; they focus on listing production and cast information, as well as other general series information. Their goal is to enable people to find out who voiced that role and click and see what other roles that actor has had. Anime on DVD (http://www.animeondvd.com/) provides daily news updates on anime and manga, and a popular discussion forum, but their focus has always been on listing DVD release dates and DVD reviews of anime, taking the role of advising otaku on what to check out and what to avoid at all costs. 

However, most otaku know these sites very well. You probably have these bookmarked or their URLs memorized already. Here are some somewhat less popular and older, yet still valuable picks. The Anime Cafe (http://www.abcb.com/) hasn’t been updated in years, yet it is still an excellent guide for parents, teachers and librarians looking for “safe” anime to show minors. Their encyclopedia covers many basic terms associated with anime and manga, and the layout is simple and clean. Anime News Service (http://www.animenewsservice.com/) is one of the oldest anime websites still online. They don’t have the amount of coverage that ANN and Anime on DVD have, but they do have the habit of catching news bites that the other sites miss. Anime Tourist (http://anime-tourist.com/index.php) is a nice overall otaku website, with reviews, news, interviews and photos, as well as information on merchandise and just about anything that the modern otaku would label as “cool.”  

But you can’t be all work and no fun. Gaia Online (http://www.gaiaonline.com) is one of the largest forum-based websites on the Internet, in which users create a big-eyed avatar that is customizable through gold earned through forum participation. Of the many diverse forums, the anime/manga/comics forums in particular are quite busy. Like Neopets, Gaia Online is addictively fun, as users play games, post and do favors to acquire more gold to upgrade their avatar.    

For your wallpaper and anime picture needs, look no further than Anime Cubed (http://www.animecubed.com) and Anime Wallpapers (http://www.animewallpapers.com)! Some of these artists are extremely well-talented, and everyone loves to have new wallpaper on their desktops! I’m also a fan of Ningen’s Anime Wallpapers (http://www.ningen.nattoli.net/). 

The Otaku (http://www.theotaku.com) is a great site for quizzes and hanging out with like-minded fans, while Keiichi Anime Forever (http://www.keiichianimeforever.com) provides a community-based resource on all things anime and manga. Anime Tribe (http://www.animetribe.com) is a website specifically for otaku to meet other otaku, forming friend groups. For watching countless anime music videos (AMVs) made by some pretty amazing folks, look no further than Anime Music Videos Dot Org (http://www.animemusicvideos.org). The only thing that will stop you is the sheer amount of videos hosted on the site, as well as linked to other servers. For reviews and information on anime video games, try Anime Video Games (http://www.anime-games.co.uk). 

Finally, to do a personal plug, Animefringe (http://www.animefringe.com) is a great otaku-centric web magazine. We’ve been closed for over a year, but our content’s still great!  

Now to turn to places to acquire manga and anime—legally. Netflix (http://www.netflix.com) and Greencine (http://www.greencine.com) are great places for renting anime DVDs. Other, most centric anime rental sites are RentAnime (http://www.rentanime.com), Anime Takeout (http://www.animetakeout.com) and Anime Forest (http://www.animeforest.com). For shopping online, support your local Internet dealers at Animenation (http://www.animenation.com) and Robert’s Anime Corner Store (http://www.animecornerstore.com), however, I’m always for buying at the best prices. Another great resource for all things Japanese is J-List (http://www.jlist.com). I can tell you from personal experience that they are great folks to buy from!  

Next week, we’ll take a dip into the land of slightly grey anime and manga acquisition—your friend, the little program called Bittorent.