Friday, July 29, 2011

Site of Approval: Anime News Network

Alright, this may seem like anime 101, but probably the single best resource for anime out there would be the fantastic site Anime News Network.  There isn't much I can say that hasn't been said, but I will try to give an overview of what the site has to offer.

Try to use a search engine for an anime title.  Any will do.  Now I can pretty much guarantee that an entry in the Anime News Network site will pop up in the first five pages.  A page for a series, movie, or manga offers a wealth of information including the companies involved, voice actors, dubbing actors if applicable, DVD releases, and sometimes even link to a stream where you can watch some episodes on the spot.  On top of that, most of the people have a link that will take you to a page showing all the titles that individual or group have been involved with.  I often find myself looking up various voice actors to see what other productions they are involved with.

Another great feature are the reviews that are on the site.  Most titles that come out will eventually be reviewed by one of the staff, someone who is probably more seasoned at anime then I am.  I find that they seem to be spot on for most of their reviews, though can sometimes be a bit harsh with ones I like, but I guess that same thing could be said by most people and their favorite series.  Also similar in fashion are the entries in the Shelf Life series which tells you whether to buy, rent, or skip a series.

There are several other great features on the site, including Hey Answerman, the excellent ANNCast, The Mike Toole Show, Astro Toy, House of 1,000 Manga, and many other regular columns that are regularly updated.  Each gives a unique look and flavor to the anime fandom.

The site also features an extensive forum where posts grow to absurdly large numbers.  Now, granted, I prefer smaller groups with a focus on a certain series or aspect of anime, but there is no denying that the community built there is massive.  Plus, on most reviews and columns there are individual threads for that page if you do want to talk about something more specific.

Streaming video has also recently become a major innovation to introduce people to series and Anime News Network has that covered in spades.  Including simulcasts, links, and hosting videos, it is hard not to spend hours during a visit to the site.

What else am I forgetting...hmm...oh yes.  The news.  The site, even on a slow news day, will post several times a day, if not hour.  I think the fewest stories I have seen in one day would be in the teens.  So to say that they have the news front covered would be a very accurate statement.   Not only news on the American and British front, but also news from Japan detailing items coming up and news of current events there.

This approval just scratches the surface of the tip of the iceberg that is Anime News Network.  Anyone who is even remotely into Japanese culture or anime needs to check out this essential source of information.  I cannot recommend this site enough.  So Anime News Network is the first inductee into the Site of Approval.

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