AnimeWhiz - Welcome to the Anime Madhouse

Do you like giant robots? Magical girls? HUGE eyes? Great, because that (and more) is what you’re going to find on my site. Yes, you’ve found a website dedicated to anime, manga, and other related media from the country of Japan. Whether you’re already a fan or just wondering what the fuss is all about, I’ve put together a whole heap of content that will help you find what you’re looking for.

In case you didn’t already know, “anime” refers to animation from Japan. Just check out my “What is Anime?” page for the juicy details. This site also looks at media related to anime. In other words, you’ll also find content that deals with manga (comics), video games, and Japanese “light” novels.

This is a site for people who have taken a liking to these media from Japan; if that’s you, then I hope you’re going to have a good time.

Latest Posts

Why Do I Love Anime?

This site mainly stems from my personal experiences with the medium of anime. I’ve liked anime for most of my life, but I didn’t know about “anime” as a distinct category of animation until my mid-teens. As of today I have been an avid anime fan for about 20 years. I have no idea how much I’ve actually watched, but it’s probably an unhealthy number of hours of it.

I have a soft spot for 80s and 90s anime. I’ve even put together a list of my top five shows here. The first show I watched conscious, of what “anime” is, was Macross II: Lovers Again. This also introduced me to the amazing character artwork of Haruhiko Mikimoto.

Why do I love the medium so much? There are a few reasons I’ve become such a fan of anime. The thing that hooked me from the start is that the Japanese don’t have the same preconceptions about animation when compared to the West. Don’t you think it’s weird that animation as a medium is seen as something meant for children only?

The adult themes and serious nature of some anime provided a real shock to my system when I first saw it. Obviously there’s plenty of child-friendly anime out there, but the point is that the Japanese think of animation as a medium you can make anything with – not just Saturday morning cartoons.

As a sci-fi and fantasy fan, I also love anime because it does things with live action that no Western studio will spend money on. It tells stories that are deeper and more esoteric. Anime studios are often willing to push the envelope on various fronts. These can be in terms of horror, violence, sexuality, taboo social themes, or simple approaches to storytelling that no one thinks will work on mainstream TV. In short, anime provides a wonderland of diverse choice. There’s something for everyone here and it’s a much broader medium than I’ve seen elsewhere.

When I first started out as an anime fan it had gotten very little mainstream recognition, but these days streaming and the internet as a whole have changed the whole game. That means finding quality shows becomes harder, as it ALL comes flooding to our shores. Nonetheless, I love anime and this site exists to help other people discover what’s great about it.

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The Best Anime

A large portion of my site is dedicated to helping you find shows worth watching in anime’s various main genres. What I’ve attempted to do is list quality shows for these genres so that you can use them as a jumping off point for further viewing. Since these are the shows that I think are the best in each genre, I’m not going to spin this as some sort of objective exercise. Yes, they are all super-subjective choices, but I can guarantee that most of them usually feature pretty high on the “top” lists.

I’ve also tried to provide recommendations that don’t just focus on recent releases, but represent a wide sampling of good anime over the decades. So whether you are new to anime or trying to dip a toe in a genre that’s not your usual fare, I think you’ll find some good picks here.

Learn About Anime

For me, I can’t just enjoy a thing without eventually wanting to learn more about it. I want to know what the different terms mean, as well as the history behind the genres and characters. I think that’s one of the key differences between someone who watches anime as part of their entertainment and someone who is an actual fan of the medium.

One of the things that most fascinates me is the production process of anime. Understanding how much time, effort, and talent goes into making a show gives you an entirely new appreciation for the final product. Even anime that we think of as comparatively bad still deserves respect. Getting a story from a concept all the way through to the final product is a massive undertaking. If you want to know a little more about what makes anime happen, check out my “How is Anime Made?” article.

I also look at various aspects of the anime universe in more detail. For example, if you want to know what sorts of merchandise related to anime is out there, I have an article that’s got you covered. If you’re interested in anime as a medium and not just in specific anime, I’m sure you’ll want to know more about the medium as a whole.

Where Do I find Anime?

Before my time, the only real way to get your hands on anime was to make copies of a friend’s VHS import. The early anime community was pretty hardcore, especially without any easy way to copy and distribute the material. Studios in Japan basically didn’t think anyone in the West would be interested, so they didn’t help much.

By the time I got onto the scene, the norm was for people to tape the shows from Japanese TV (or rip it from disc) and then subtitle it on their computers. These “fansubs” were then shared on Internet Relay Chat, private file servers, and, later on, BitTorrent. The few people with the type of internet connection that could download this stuff would then share it via disc or portable hard drive. We would actually meet in real life to trade and copy things from each other.

Over time, local comic books shops would start importing popular shows on DVD, albeit for an arm and a leg. These days things are much different. There’s plenty of anime showing on broadcast television and cable, although most of it is dubbed. What’s really great is internet streaming, which has finally come into its own. Broadband internet is so cheap and widespread that you can now get access to massive content libraries for only a few bucks a month. I have a whole section of this site dedicated to anime sources, even beyond streaming, in case you were wondering how to get your hands on the good stuff.

Getting a Little Culture

One of the things that makes anime so special is its position as a very particular cultural artifact. While the debate goes on over what the exact definition of anime is, most people agree that it has to be the product of Japanese artists meant for a Japanese audience. When you watch anime it can be very confusing if you don’t have at least some understanding of the culture itself. I’d never go as far as calling myself anything more than a casual Japanophile, but I’ve tried to include some of the most important cultural knowledge you need to make sense of the anime that you watch.

Of course, some anime have been dubbed or otherwise edited to Westernize some concepts and plot points, but I personally prefer a translation that tries to stick to the original story as much as possible. In order for that to work, you have to know a little about Japan and its people. I’ve put together a little cultural “crash course” which should get you up to speed on some of the most common cultural tropes.

Plenty of long-time anime fans (myself included) also desire to learn at least a little of the Japanese language. While that’s no small challenge, I’ve put together a piece that lists the various places you can start your journey towards understanding anime without translation.

It’s not all milk and honey either. Many anime fans develop a very skewed vision of Japan thanks to getting their information solely from pop culture, so I’ve written something about the things anime fans should know about Japan as well.

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For the Fans

Apart from the shows themselves, one of the things I’ve always loved about being an anime fan is the community that has sprung up around it. I guess that’s true for most hobbies, but anime fandom is a broad and deep ocean that can be pretty intimidating, actually.

While I could never cover all the niches, I’ve tried to write something informative on all the mainstream beats in the anime fan’s world. You might already have heard of things like cosplay, since a lot of that is now shared with geekdom in general, but there are also things like anime music videos and the weird and terrible concept of the “weeaboo” that is very specific to this world.

Behind the Scenes

In the West we often have a close relationship with the people who create the things we love. People like Joss Whedon, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas have their own fan bases. That’s not always the case when it comes to popular anime. How many fans of the show Dragon Ball Z know Akira Toriyama? That’s just one example in an industry that has dozens of big names, though not outside of Japan.

While I hardly have an encyclopedic knowledge of Japanese studios and industry greats, I have made some notes about the ones I think are really important. As time goes by I hope to expand my section on the anime industry a little, but this is a great place to start if you’ve never once considered who was actually responsible for your favorite artwork.

Video Games

Apart from anime, the other medium Japan is well-known for comes in the shape of a video game. From Pacman to Final Fantasy, Japan has a massive legacy when it comes to electronic entertainment. What does this have to do with anime? Well, it turns out that you can’t really separate the two. Even if you watch only anime, you’ll inevitably end up with a show that’s based on a video game. The other way around is even more common. Some video games give you a fleeting glimpse of what it would be like to actually live in that world and interact with it.

There are also plenty of Japanese video games that hit exactly the same notes when it comes to how they look and tell stories. So if you already like video games and want to marry it to your anime fandom, there’s plenty of opportunity to do that.

Manga and Light Novels

Oddly enough, there’s something in Japanese media which is way more popular than anime. Believe it or not, the Japanese comics known as “manga” are much more mainstream than anime. There are many reasons for this, but the end result is that everyone from small children to senior citizens can be seen reading manga on the train or bus.

There are manga in every conceivable genre and most never go beyond print. Manga is, however, a key source for adaptation to anime; most of the best shows come from here. That’s why I’ve dedicated a whole section of my site to manga. If you love what anime has to offer, the scope of manga is simply overwhelming in comparison.

Along with manga there’s also a form of literature in Japan known as a “light” novel. These novels are usually serialized and written on a continuous basis like manga – released chapter by chapter. Light novels have also become a prime source of material for anime and often lead to some of the better, deeper stories. Of course, light novel authors and publishers are not unaware of this, which is one of the reasons light novels already have anime character designs and concept art from the get-go.


Does my opinion on the latest anime really matter? Probably not. I can, however, say that I have watched a heck of a lot of anime over the years. I’d like to think that by now I can pick out the nicer titles from the sea of dreck. It really is a sea these days too, with just about everything making it out of Japan.

So in an effort to help out with contemporary anime shows I’ve also added a review section to this site. The idea is to add reviews on each season going ahead as the shows are released and I get around to watching them. If I think a show is worth your time, I’ll tell you.


Loud and Proud

Watching anime was a really underground activity not too long ago. In fact, my parents had a rather dim view of my obsession with “foreign cartoons”; not to mention their grumbling about how an adult shouldn’t be watching “kid’s” shows.

Now, like comic book nerds and video game geeks, anime fans don’t have to skulk around anymore. These days it’s perfectly fine to let your freak fly, and getting the good stuff no longer requires intricate cross-border smuggling. I hope my site is another step in the right direction for anime fandom and an invitation for you to embrace what you like, no matter what other people think.


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