Learn Japanese with Anime: 9 Addictive Shows to Start With

Learn Japanese with Anime: 9 Addictive Shows to Start With

Ever wondered what the obsession is with Japanese anime? We tell you what makes anime so good and how to use it to learn Japanese effectively.
June 21 2021 anime Learn Japanese Japanese

Japanese anime is inspiring people to learn Japanese right now.

TV and film fans can access an endless supply of anime online – catered to adults as much as teenagers and children. The colourful graphics, cool soundtracks and brilliant storytelling in Japanese anime account for its global obsession.

But did you know Japanese anime can help you learn Japanese?


Can you learn Japanese from anime?

Let’s be clear. To share great conversations with locals in ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’ you’ll need more than just anime to learn Japanese.

However, it’s a useful exercise to learn basic Japanese words and phrases, sentence structures, and pronunciation.

Actively watching and listening to anime (without subtitles, or with Japanese subtitles) lets you mix up your learning with a short, fun and engaging session. You don’t need to have mastered how to learn Japanese to watch anime. But when you become more proficient in the Japanese language, you’re able to enjoy the storytelling even more. 


Japanese anime: here's why it works

Anime is made (and spoken) by native Japanese speakers... for native Japanese speakers. Meaning the language you hear is natural. However, you must remember that these are voice actors. Bear this in mind because if you just use anime to learn Japanese (we advise against this.: You may start sounding like an anime character! 

Watching and listening to Japanese anime helps you learn because it’s a form of language immersion. You’ll pick up vocabulary by listening to native Japanese speech. And your brain will work hard to understand the language using the words you know to figure out the meaning of words you don’t know. This is how you’re able to internalise language structures, which helps you learn Japanese. P.S. The context of the story will help you with this also.

But before you get addicted to anime… dive into one of our Japanese courses to access video and audio clips of native Japanese speakers to get a flavour of spoken Japanese language.


5 Tips: How to learn Japanese with anime

Take this essential advice on how to learn Japanese from anime:


1.  Watch with (or/and without) Japanese subtitles.

This helps immerse you in Japanese. DO NOT watch with subtitles in your native language as this will distract you from learning Japanese.


2.  Switch on: listen actively, not passively.

Actively listen to the language. Zoning out, having a glass of wine or playing on your phone… These won’t help you learn Japanese. Sorry.


3.  Start with ‘slice-of-life’ anime.

Watching crazy action scenes and supernatural narratives might be a little distracting… Start with ‘slice of life’ anime because these depict the ordinary lives of everyday people and use simple language that you’re likely to use in Japan.


4.  Re-watch the same episode again:

Keep concentrating and see what new words you can pick up this time. Feeling creative? Read our blog on Japanese Kanji and see how many you recognise from the Japanese subtitles.


5.  Love watching anime!

Doing something you enjoy in another language is a great way to immerse yourself in that language. So if you like watching TV and anime in particular (see some suggestions below if you’re new), that’s great!


Best Japanese anime to learn Japanese from?

Here are some of our favourites, including some you may not have heard of.




Omnibus of hilarious comedy clips of the average days of not-so-average high school girls. Super entertaining and an easy place to start.


Shirokuma Cafe


A polar bear runs a café where animals and humans talk to each other. This is a perfect anime to learn Japanese from because the characters talk at a slow and clear pace.

Much like our app, this will teach you how to say hello in Japanese and other useful phrases for everyday conversations. For example:




let’s have something to eat


Food Wars


A mouth-watering anime about a talented chef, ideal for learning Japanese food vocabulary. It also has some catchy Japanese anime songs!




Thank you for the food (said before the meal) 
itadakimasu (いただきます)




This series is about a 25-year-old woman in the Japanese workplace that uses clear pronunciation and light humour to keep you engaged.

Thinking of living and working in Japan? Our Japanese courses encourage you to learn useful phrases for the situations you’ll be in… in Japan!


Fancy a taster? See these 2 phrases from our app spoken by a Japanese native:




otsukare sama desu (お疲れ様です)
hello between colleagues (in the workplace)




ohayō (おはよう)
good morning! (casual)

My Love Story!! (Japanese: Ore Monogatari!!)


Need to know how to say I love you in Japanese? Look no further. There are also some famous Japanese anime songs to sing along to in this one!


Akudama Drive


One to watch as your Japanese improves. Criminal underworlds, gangs, and action scenes take place in a futuristic dystopian universe. Awesome.




A funny and charming story about a single father who hides his job as an erotic manga artists from his only daughter. Again, expect some top-rated anime songs to assist your learning here.


Learn phrases like:



what manga do you like?
suki na manga wa nan desu ka? (好きなマンガは何ですか) 



One Punch Man


A superhero can conquer anyone with a single punch but becomes bored and depressed due to the lack of challenge caused by his immense strength. One for meaningful conversation lovers.


Penguin Highway


Reminder: while these anime are incredible… you’ll need more than just these to learn Japanese. For the rest, we can help you.

This film is about a genius child called Aoyama. One morning, penguins mysteriously appear in his neighbourhood and their origin is unclear. Aoyama then teams up with a girl he fancies and researches the penguins. And we see the difficulties they face, as well as a few supernatural surprises.  


Why learn Japanese with Memrise?

With Memrise, you learn the Japanese words and phrases that you need to interact with real Japanese speakers when you go to Japan. 


How? Our video and audio clips of real native Japanese speakers - speaking the words and phrases they most often use in real life - equip you with Japanese language for lots of different situations. So forget learning endless sheets of vocabulary that you’ll never use. Every clip on our app is picked out by a native Japanese speaker, and designed to teach you authentic Japanese language (how it actually sounds in Japan) to use with real people, in likely real-life scenarios.


Learning Japanese with Memrise makes you feel as if you’re strolling through the streets of Tokyo. When in reality: you can pull off a learning short session as you walk to work… on your lunch break… or simply chilling at home on your sofa with a glass of wine.

Plus, with our speech recognition exercises - you’re able to practice speaking at home without the potential anxiety of speaking in front of others for the first time. The more you practice, the more confident you get, and the more coherent you’ll sound.


Learn at any time and from anyplace. Practice on your own terms. Keep motivated through having fun. And get more confident with every session. It’s that simple.


Feeling inspired? Join 50 million others in learning a language with us by clicking below! 


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