So after struggling for years with my secret guilty pleasure of Manga and being too embarrassed to consider watching an Anime all the way through, I've finally come to terms with my identity as an Otaku (assuming that doesn't exclusively refer to Anime watchers), and I've decided to watch an Anime.
However... I don't really know how to go about this. I understand that Hulu and Netflix and such are used for live action TV shows and such, and I can only find Fan subs of stuff on the interwebs, and a quick glance at the Amazon rate for a single DVD or Blu-Ray is seems to me at best unreasonably expensive.
So I ask the Otaku Escapists (you're out there, I've seen your avatars), how does one watch anime? And since we're on the subject, what would you recommend to a long time manga reader making the jump from manga to anime?
Hulu and Netflix have some good selections of anime, though you have to subscribe to get to the good stuff.
Funimation has a great collection of free streaming shows, 100% legit. Though for some shows you have to make an account to prove you are 18 or older.
As for deciding whether to watch subs or dubs, it sort of depends on the show and the dub. For example, Baccano is an amazing show (available on Funimation, but you have to make an account), but I would recommend the dub because the English cast is very good, and it's mostly set in New York and involves some Italian gangs so the accents work very well. Chobits, however, is better in Japanese, just because some of the translations seem even more awkward in English, and there are some puns you miss out on in the dub. You might just Google around for reviews and people talking on forums like this to figure out which will be best for you. Or just pick an episode, watch both if you have access, and then decide.
As for recommendations, I can't really base this on any manga because I don't really read any, but here are my recommendations from several different genres to get you started (the bolded ones are available on Funimation):
- Fighting/Sci fi anime: Gurren Lagaan, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Soul Eater, Black Lagoon
- Slice of Life: Toradora (HIGHLY recommended, even if you don't like high school romance just give it a shot)
- Romance/action: Romeo x Juliet, Spice and Wolf (Spice and Wolf has a lot about economics too, and it's very interesting as long as you can handle lots of shots of a naked fox woman [though it is done very tastefully by anime standards]).
- Drama/mystery/awesome: Baccano, Durarara, Read or Die.
- Misc/Humor: Hetalia, Tower of Druaga, Welcome to the NHK, Pani Poni Dash
Also, look out for what are called "gag dubs." Basically, sometimes when a show is dubbed over in English, the translators either don't have or don't care for the original script. So they completely toss out the original script and come up with their own just by watching the show in Japanese with no subtitles. One such show is Ghost Stories. If you don't mind swearing and vulgarity, Ghost Stories has some hilarious moments in the dub, and the sub will be drastically different and a lot more serious.
Oh, and one more thing. Read or Die up there started out as what is called an OVA: Original Video Animation. Basically, an OVA is a mini-movie about 60~ minutes long that tells one, contained story. OVAs are sometimes made to expand the universe of a manga or anime, or as a test to see if it will work as a full-fledged anime series. After the OVA for Read or Die was made, it became a series. You don't necessarily have to watch the OVA to understand what's going on in the show, but a lot of stuff will make a lot more sense after seeing the OVA. Well, good luck~ If you have any other questions or need any other recommendations, feel free to ask.