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10 Great Anime for Learning Japanese

Love anime and want to learn Japanese? Here are 10 anime for a fun and engaging way to familiarize yourself with the language.

By 5 min read

Learning Japanese can be tough, but don’t worry. There are fun ways to improve! One useful method is by watching anime with subtitles. As you watch anime, you’ll hear real Japanese spoken and become familiar with common words, phrases and sentence structures. This interactive approach can make learning Japanese more enjoyable and offer insights into Japan’s culture, society and history.

In addition to that, if you’re seriously considering mastering the language, GaijinPot Study can be an invaluable resource. GaijinPot Study offers a comprehensive list of Japanese language schools in Japan, catering to various learning styles and needs. So, are you ready to discover great anime shows that help you learn the language? Let’s dive in!

Shirokuma Cafe

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Our kind of barista.

Shirokuma Cafe (Polar Bear Cafe) is a whimsical anime where a polar bear runs a cafe, offering an easy listening experience for beginners in Japanese. The dialogue is simple, clear, and gently paced, introducing basic conversational phrases and vocabulary. It’s a blend of fantasy and reality, subtly weaving Japanese culture into its narrative, making it entertaining and an effective educational tool for new learners to grasp the basics of the Japanese language in a relaxed, enjoyable setting.

Level: Beginner

Doraemon

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…is not a cat.

Doraemon stands out as a beginner-friendly anime with its clear and simple language. It’s packed with basic vocabulary and straightforward sentence structures for children, ideal if you’re just starting to learn Japanese. The series’ futuristic and imaginative scenarios engage the learning process and enhance your understanding of fundamental Japanese grammar and phrases. This combination of education and entertainment makes Doraemon a perfect entry point into the Japanese language.

Level: Beginner

Sazae-san

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Like The Simpsons, but not as dysfunctional.

Sazae-san is a popular series that provides a unique insight into a Japanese family’s daily life, making it a valuable resource for beginners in Japanese. While it effectively introduces colloquial language and cultural insights, its use of everyday conversational Japanese, replete with cultural nuances, poses a moderate listening challenge. It requires attentive listening to fully appreciate and understand, making it an excellent tool to immerse yourself in authentic Japanese conversational contexts.

Level: Beginner

Haikyuu!

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A phrase everyone should know.

Haikyuu! (volleyball) combines the excitement of high school volleyball with language learning, making it suitable for beginners to intermediate Japanese learners. The anime is filled with sports jargon mixed with typical high school language, presenting an energetic and motivational atmosphere. While the specific sports terminology can be a bit challenging, the context of a high school sports setting makes it more approachable, providing an engaging way to improve your listening skills in Japanese.

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Spy X Family

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It’s a favorite for casual and die-hard fans alike.

Spy x Family offers a mix of comedy and action, following a spy who creates a fake family for his mission. This anime is suitable for both beginners and intermediate learners, as it features a variety of conversational scenarios, from everyday dialogue to more complex structures, offering a balanced linguistic challenge. Its entertaining nature aids in easier comprehension, making it an effective tool for enhancing listening skills in various Japanese conversational contexts.

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

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You might cry.

Anohana, officially titled Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, is an ideal series for intermediate Japanese learners, delving into complex themes of friendship, loss and acceptance. It’ll challenge you with various emotional expressions and idiomatic language, requiring focused attention. The anime provides valuable cultural insights and a deep dive into intermediate conversational Japanese, enriching your understanding of the language and the nuanced aspects of Japanese interpersonal relationships.

Level: Intermediate

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

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Remember when this danced ruled the internet?

This anime uniquely challenges intermediate Japanese learners, blending ordinary high school life with extraordinary science-fiction (sci-fi) elements. The language varies from simple to complex, with dynamic character interactions and unique storytelling. You’ll encounter diverse vocabulary and advanced conversational phrases to enhance your understanding of contemporary Japanese youth culture and provide an engaging way to learn different aspects of the language.

Level: Intermediate

Detective Conan

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It’s been like 20 years. We think you can tell her.

Detective Conan is an excellent anime for those with a basic understanding of Japanese looking to expand their vocabulary in crime and mystery. The show skillfully combines everyday language with specialized terms and phrases, creating a stimulating and educational listening environment. It offers a range of vocabulary from basic to advanced levels, terms related to law and detective work and exposure to different regional dialects, making it a comprehensive resource for language learning.

Level: Intermediate

Welcome to NHK

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Who can relate?

Welcome to NHK is an anime that deals with mature themes like employment, societal pressures and mental health, featuring complex and nuanced dialogue suitable for intermediate to advanced learners. It offers a realistic portrayal of the challenges faced by young adults in contemporary Japan, teaching advanced conversational Japanese and engaging with complex language reflecting modern societal issues. This anime provides a deep dive into the nuances of adult life in Japan, making it a valuable resource if you looking to master the language.

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Barakamon

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What’s island life like in Japan?

Barakamon is an excellent choice for advanced Japanese learners who want to immerse themselves in regional dialects and idiomatic expressions rarely found in textbooks. The anime explores themes like personal growth, adding depth to the language learning experience while offering insights into Japanese culture and lifestyle. Its characters, including the spirited calligrapher protagonist and the quirky villagers, contribute to a rich linguistic and cultural tapestry, making Barakamon not just a tool for language learning but also a window into everyday life and interpersonal relationships in rural Japan.

Level: Advanced
Have you watched any of these anime to improve your Japanese? Share your experience in the comments!

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