I don’t think anyone can disagree that podcasting has changed audio entertainment. We’re not stuck with commercials and bad music; we can now pick and choose what we want to listen to and when we want to hear it. Outside of free, pod-safe music, podcasting has allowed niche interests to be shared among people around the world in a radio show format, and Skype and Odeo allows the listeners to send in their comments and interact with the hosts.
There’s a bunch of solid anime-centric podcasts out there, ranging from reviews to roundtable discussion, and companies are embracing this communication method for promotion and feedback straight from otaku. Let’s take a look at a few of these podcasts!
Without a doubt, Anime Pulse is the star of anime podcasting. It won an award as Best Podcast in the Cultural/Arts category at the 2006 Podcast and Portable Media Expo, running up against shows centered around, well, let’s just say more recognizably artsy topics. Anime Pulse covers a wide variety of subjects, from reviews of the latest shows from Japan, to fanboy rants, to newsbites that are interesting to otaku. I mean, I don’t expect to see info on the latest super-expensive Gundam model on TV. In a somewhat scary sidenote, their home base isn’t that far away from my humble abode.
Weekly Anime Review Podcast is, well, exactly as the name says. They review anime, old and new. Yup. They also cast their net wider into Japanese culture, American conventions, online retailer promotions... You name it, it’ll show up eventually.
Anime World Order Podcast, despite the oppressive name, contains much unadulterated geeking, where the intricacies of English romanization of the Japanese language are discussed, along with con reports. They also cover news and do a few reviews as meat for their fun sandwich.
Anime Genesis focuses more on news than reviews, which is a nice break from the majority of anime podcasts. For people looking for something a little different, there’s the ElectricSistaHood podcast. They’re ladies who loves them some game and pretty anime, and they are proud. Represent!
For the more kinky-minded, Happy House of Hentai (I wish I had thought of that name first...) does reviews of DVDs and games (duh!), news stories with genitals involved, places to find free hentai, and a segment on Hello Kitty products, kinky or just label you as kinky for associating hentai with the infamous patron kitten of consumerism.
MangaCast, which grew out of the popular newsblog MangaBlog, is perhaps the only podcast focusing on manga, instead of anime. I guess it’s just like books versus movies and TV in general; it’s easier to talk about moving pictures than words and pictures on a page. In general, MangaCast is just like any other comics podcast: they do reviews, discuss writers and artists, what’s up and coming, and trends in the industry. An excellent podcast for people who want to know more about the manga industry without doing a lot of googling and Wikipedia searches.
Track-shun Anime Review is one of the few video anime podcasts out there, which rates which shows you should keep “track” off, and which ones you should “shun” without remorse.
In the spirit of podcasting without borders, I present OZ Anime Podcast (with Ben and Zach), originating from Australia. They review and talk about anime, games, and other cool stuff. They’re the only Australian independent anime podcast, so you rock guys!
Speaking of company-sponsored podcasting, most of the major US anime distributors have their own podcasts (ADV Films and Anime Network, The Right Stuf, FUNimation and Geneon) for showing trailers of upcoming and current releases and just plain ol’ interviewing producers and unwitting employees. (I jest because I love.) AnimeNation and The Right Stuf both feature interviews and reviews, as well as store specials at their respective websites. All of these shows can easily be found at their websites or on iTunes.
Finally, for otaku wanting to get an early start or supplement their elementary Japanese, there’s Japanese Pod 101, which contains a wealth of videos, word building games and a daily podcast at various knowledge levels.
So if you’re looking to improve your anime and manga awareness, load up your mp3 player and give these shows a few minutes of your time!