Anime, Japan’s premium import, is a style of animation (in films, comics, and television series) that has captivated the Western world in equal measure as their own country with a billion-dollar industry and millions of fans the world over.
This isn’t just a modern trend, with classics such as Astro Boy and Akira being popular to this day, despite their respective 60s and 80s origins. The fanbase for anime is one of the most involved and dedicated audiences of any form of art, with regular festivals, conventions, and massive online communities that unite fans all over the planet. As an example, on average a single comic book title can sell five million copies in a year, combatting digital platforms!
With a following that only grows and shows no sign of slowing down, avenues of watching anime are expanding. However, with direct download sites being cracked down on routinely, your two best options are streaming (with region-blocking and content limitations) and torrenting. If you don’t have experience with the latter, this list of Anime Torrents will introduce you to all you need, with sites even seasoned pros might not have considered.
Who is anime for?
In a word, everyone. While most people discover anime as teenagers and it shapes their experiences and interaction with Japanese culture and arts, it’s a bond that can stay a lifetime, with enduring longevity.
An anime, while not defined by these rules, can have intricate storytelling and complex characters, without the limitations of physically filming actors and locations, which opens up a world of possibilities. People can find that they relate to the characters even in fantasy-based, supernatural or horror-based anime.
This experience speaks to teenagers particularly as it allows them a connection and much-needed validation that they might not be getting from elsewhere – especially since the genres can range from anything like comedy to something like dramatic romance, letting someone experience a wide selection of emotions and situations.
In the West, a positive exposure to multiculturalism is attributable to the popularity of anime, along with influencing a very large number of people with an affection for the arts. In fact, fan art and fan fiction are as much of a staple of anime and big studio productions, with the creators and fans being in a mutually-respecting and appreciating partnership.
The fanbase that grows like wildfire
While Hollywood might influence filmmaking in the rest of the world, Hollywood itself owes a lot to anime, with live-action adaptations of classics such as Ghost in The Shell being produced on massive budgets.
This is owing to the populous fanbase of Japanese animation that is worth billions of dollars and holds up not just one, but multiple industries – from animation studies to publishers, dubbing artists, and even physical format distributors, with anime still being a reason for people to buy DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.
Even the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (the JLPT) used an anime-based question in 2009, perhaps knowing that many Westerners take such an interest in the language to better understand their favourite anime that they pursue a professional understanding of it!
And of course, the worldwide phenomenon of ‘cosplaying’ (roleplaying in costume) has gained mainstream acceptance in the past ten years, with literally hundreds of anime conventions in the United States alone, even on university campuses and as a part of other festivals. The anime fanbase can also take credit for popularizing panels where creators can interact directly with their audience, minimizing the traditional suffocations of industry bosses vs. artists.
Where should I go to get my anime?
Along with the aforementioned list of anime torrents, there are streaming platforms getting in on the action with a wide selection on subscription sites like Netflix and Hulu; dedicated sites exist as well.
Of the most popular ones, Crunchyroll and FUNimation are the go-to’s for many, but of course, streaming brings its own problems of buffering, lagging and video quality. Additionally, it might be increasingly harder to find the original versions of the anime you want, with licensing issues allowing only dubbed versions to air on a certain platform or website.
Alternatively, you can sign up for a (US-only) service known as VRV, which strives to combine multiple services into one place, making your searching easier and your options more in number.
Unfortunately, apart from torrents, no anime service is truly global – you might have to click around a bit to find what you like or use a VPN that can connect you to another digital address and grant you access to the titles you want. You can do this through VPNs that allow you to stream Netflix or Amazon Video (or any other provider) through the ‘country’ of your choice. Once connected, your viewing choices are virtually unlimited!