5 Resources for Watching German Dubbed and Subbed Anime

How does one balance the dedicated life of an anime aficionado with the demanding duties of learning the German language?

It’s not as improbable of a subject as you might think. Other anime lovers who have discovered the glorious German language and found it addicting.

With a solid German study plan in place and a collection of favorite online resources for practice, there’s soon not much time for anything else. But a lot of anime is available with subtitling and/or dubbing in German.

In this post we’re going to explore why you should take advantage of anime as a German learning tool, and how to do it.

Contents

Why Anime Is a Perfect German Learning Tool

Anime is widely available on the internet with a massive international following from every corner of the globe. Having such a prominent position in the entertainment world means that it’s easily accessible, oftentimes for free.

With anime, you also get the added benefit of sometimes having German subtitles and sometimes having German dubbing (and sometimes even both!), which means you can improve both reading and listening comprehension. When learning German, it’s important to exercise both listening and reading skills, so you’re able to train your brain to absorb the language in a variety of forms.

Although learning German through subtitles isn’t exactly a revolutionary idea, many German-made shows floating around the internet may not pique your interest. News stories and countless dramatic Krimis (crime stories) tend to make up a large portion of available video content, so if that’s not your thing, it’s better to learn with something that truly entertains you.

Besides, because shows like the above are primarily made for a German-speaking audience, subtitles may often not be present. Whereas anime available outside of Japan is inherently geared toward an international viewership, so subtitles are a more likely thing.

Finally, as mentioned, multiple anime shows have incorporated elements of German culture, so you don’t have to miss out entirely on the German cultural angle while learning the language with anime. Later in the post, we’ll show you exactly what some of those shows are and how you can access them.

Tips for Learning German Effectively Through Anime

Those hours spent enjoying German anime can be all for nothing if you’re not actively storing the new phrases and vocabulary you come across. Ensuring you’re not only enjoying what you watch but also benefiting from it in the long-run can transform your anime binge watching days into an incredibly educational language experience.

Whether you’re a German beginner or a seasoned conjugation pro, there’s something to be gained by everyone through watching German anime. Beginners can use it to start picking up on commonly used words and get used to hearing spoken German at full speed if watching a voice-over version. More advanced language learners can take the opportunity to test themselves on how much they can comprehend, adding unknown words and looking up new grammar along the way.

  • Keep track of new words. Maintaining an active library of new words with meanings either in the form of digital flashcards or a handwritten notebook will help make sure acquired vocabulary doesn’t get forgotten before an episode is over. Using a spreadsheet is also helpful for making search and sorting easy, so you can quickly look up a word the next time it comes up in action.
  • Repeat episodes to improve listening comprehension. If you’re focusing so strongly on writing down every word and conjugation, it may get tough to actually enjoy the storyline or know what’s going on at all. Try going through an episode passively first, while just watching and getting the gist of what’s going on, before spending another session dissecting the language.
  • Pay attention to expressions and colloquialisms that are hard to translate. Watching anime in German is an opportunity to get insight into the world of German colloquialisms and informal speech. Just like any language, German has many condensed words or alternative phrases that you won’t find in your usual school textbook. Following along with frequently said exclamations can shed light on some nifty words to use with your buds, especially if they’re learning German through anime, too.
  • Check out the authentic German content from native sources on FluentU, too. The only downside to learning German with anime is that it does eventually have its limits. You’re still going to have to (and want to!) engage with real-world native content. Luckily, you don’t have to do this with shows you don’t like, or slog through video content that’s over your head without the support of subtitles.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Click here to check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

FluentU Ad

To really maximize your learning, take your “new word” list and use it to create a FluentU custom flashcard set. You’ll then be able to study your new words with various content from across the web, and come back to your anime series with increased understanding. Sign up for a free FluentU trial today, and give it a try!

While learning German with anime is a lot of fun, you can get even more quality German exposure from authentic German TV shows and videos.

5 Cool Sites to Learn German with Anime

There are tons of German anime sites that easily pop up when you type in a quick online search. However, after browsing through dozens of series to find one that you’re just about ready to sit back and watch, the nasty error warning pops up that can hamper any thrilling German learning night at home.

The dreaded “dieses Video ist in deinem Land nicht verfügbar” (this video is not available in your country) warning flashes across your screen and all dreams of a cozy German movie night vanish. Some series have licensing restrictions in certain countries, which limits availability. So how do you find German anime resources available outside of Germany?

Here are five websites that will let you watch anime in German without having to make the trip.

Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll offers a wide selection of anime videos with an option to select the subtitle and website language, with German being one language you can select. To change the language settings, scroll to the bottom of the homepage and find the “Language” category accompanied by a flag icon. Simply click “Deutsch” to change the website’s language settings, and that’s it! You’ll know it worked once the website text changes to German.

Although you don’t need to sign in to watch most videos, an upgraded account will eliminate ads, get shows fresh out of Japan quicker and unlock all the anime available on the site. A free account will still get you access to a ton of clips, so you can feel free to explore a bit before committing. There are definitely enough episodes available for free users to get a wealth of German language practice in. For even more German practice, you can scroll down to other viewers’ comments and see what they thought of the episode.

Try watching: “Boruto: Naruto Next Generations” (option for German subtitles)

Netflix

If you already have a subscription, Netflix is a great resource for live-action movies, documentaries and, of course, anime.

Accessing Netflix videos in German isn’t as straightforward as changing the language settings, however. There are a couple different options you can use to access German language material, including filtering for videos with German subtitles or audio, or using a VPN to access German content. The latter is the trickiest option, but it unlocks a host of anime options all in German.

By installing a VPN on your device, you can mask your IP address’ country and trick Netflix into displaying video options geared toward a German-speaking audience. In many countries, changing a VPN is completely legal. Be sure to double check before getting into trouble, though! Not even the best German anime is worth the trouble if changing a VPN is illegal in your country.

Even if you can’t or don’t want to use a VPN, though, you can still find some anime on US Netflix (and likely on Netflix for other countries) that’s available in German.

To find German language content (including anime) using search filters:

  1. Log in to your account.
  1. In the browse section, click on “Audio and Subtitles” at the bottom of the screen.
  1. Select “Audio” or “Subtitles” and select “German.”

To install and set up a VPN for a German-speaking country, you can get started with a free trial of the Hide My Ass! VPN service. It’s fast, multi-platform and multi-device, and there’s a support team to help you if you have any issues. Once you’ve set up your VPN, Netflix will change to include authentic German content, but most importantly anime, with all German audio or subtitles.

Even if your Netflix account’s default language is set to English (this can be changed in account settings), you’re able to switch between German audio and subtitles once the film starts to play. Look for a speech bubble within your video player to select languages.

Try watching: “Magi: Adventure of Sinbad” (options for German audio and English subtitles)

YouTube

This one is probably a no-brainer for anyone who’s been on the internet in the past 10 years. YouTube is a wonderful resource for free German tutorials and cartoons. Japanese anime in German is abundant as well, with opportunities to catch up on the latest dubbed episodes, opinionated reviews and trailers for the hottest new releases.

In addition to actual anime content, German YouTube channels like AnixAce and Kamula review and critique some of the internet’s hottest anime–in German, of course. Reviewers have a much faster talking speed than your typical anime episode, so they may not be the best place to start out for German beginners—more advanced learners, however, can gain a lot by listening.

To search for German anime content, try using key phrases such as “anime review deutsch” or enter a specific anime name plus “trailer deutsch” or “review deutsch” for a list of search results. To watch a specific anime series, type words like Folge (episode) and Staffel (season) into your search query.

Try watching: “Ouran Highschool Host Club” (German audio)

Anime-Tube

This all-German website is clearly geared toward a German-speaking crowd. It includes frequent anime news straight out of Japan (subbed to German), all sorts of popular series and a community forum to dish out your emotions in case you’re in need of a bit of writing practice. There’s no account signup required, and viewing is free.

Browsing German anime in Anime-Tube as as simple as picking a new upload from the homepage, or clicking on the menu item “Animeliste” up top to search for a specific anime alphabetically. All listings include a short summary, so you can warm up your German skills before plunging into full immersion. Most series found here have Japanese audio with German subtitles, but there may be some German audio pieces mixed into the massive database.

Try watching: “One Piece” (German subtitles)

NeoNeko

NeoNeko tracks down legal sources of German-language anime, so you don’t have to worry about visiting seedy websites in the name of anime. Because there’s a mix of dubbed and subbed episodes available, the choice to exercise your listening or reading comprehension is all yours.

Select “Language” in the top menu ribbon to choose either “German Dub” or “German Sub” (or “German Anime,” which pulls options for both/either). From there, you can choose an anime and access a list of episodes. It’s worth mentioning that NeoNeko doesn’t play episodes directly on its website. It provides a list of various legal websites, where you can watch your chosen German anime—just be aware that sometimes this means you may need to subscribe to a site (sometimes a paid site) in order to watch a listed episode. However, this is a great resource for seeing what’s out there.

Try watching: “The Seven Deadly Sins” (links to German subtitled version on Akiba Pass)

Bonus: Animes That Incorporate German Elements 

If you’re an observant anime fan, you may have noticed that many series weave in German elements throughout the settings, character names and plots. Whether an anime takes place in a world suspiciously similar to World War II Germany, or blonde characters are named Heidi, there are definitely some parallels. What’s the motivation for so many manga and anime creators to use German or European elements? That’s not entirely clear, but it definitely gives series a more authentic feel when you’re watching them in German.

Below are a few beloved animes that definitely have a thing or two to do with Germany and where you can find them:

  • “Fullmetal Alchemist.” The fictitious world of “Fullmetal Alchemist” is reminiscent of Europe’s Industrial Revolution era. The highly militarized government, constant warfare and even uniforms hint not so subtly at the Weimar Republic in Germany and the surrounding regions as well. Names such as Hohenheim also carry a bit of deutscher Einfluss (German influence). Some fans argue that “Fullmetal Alchemist” emits more of an early 20th-century British influence, but it’s all up for interpretation by the viewer.

“Fullmetal Alchemist” in German isn’t super easy to find on the web because of licensing restrictions, but it’s available on German Netflix with an account.

  • “Attack on Titan.” This anime features a fantasy world showcasing classic German architecture. A particularly unique characteristic of “Attack on Titan” is the theme songs. If you listen well, you can make out the German in the first line of the theme song, as well as the entirely German lyrics of the second theme song. Of course, the names such as Ackerman, Leonhart, Karl Fritz, Reiss and so on also leave no question that Germany played a huge role in shaping this anime.

A ton of trailers, clips and the first episode of “Attack on Titan” are available with German audio on YouTube.

  • “Bleach.” In this series, a character race called “Quincy” uses combat techniques with German names, such as Vollständig (complete), Blut (blood) and Auswählen (select). Many more references are made to the German language, like the Wandenreich region, which directly translates to “walled city.” If you’re watching “Bleach” in Japanese with German subs, then you’re just one step closer to understanding the audio with your German knowledge alone!

You can find a list of the over 350 episodes of “Bleach” with German subtitles on Anime4You. (The links take you off-page to different streaming services, however, so click at your own discretion.)

  • “Elfen Lied.” “Elfenlied,” meaning “Elves’ Song,” is also an 18th-century German poem, and may be the inspiration of the title for this anime. Whether or not the German influence ends there is up to you to decide after watching!

Luckily, YouTube has the entire “Elfen Lied” series packed into one video almost five hours in length. If you’re in the mood for a German learning marathon, then this is the way to do it.

A note about the resource links above: Anime licensing and availability, especially in German, is constantly changing. Sometimes it can be difficult to find reliable sources to watch highly coveted series that are well known throughout the world because of strict licensing restrictions. Subscription websites like Netflix must acquire the license to stream these shows, which is why you may have better luck finding big-name series, such as “Bleach” and “Fullmetal Alchemist,” there.

 

Watching German anime comes with a host of educational benefits that make an otherwise passive past-time a treasure trove of information.

Apart from picking up on some Japanese culture and solidifying German language gains, viewers can also pick up on German culture and listen to native German with the power to pause and play.

As if learning German wasn’t exhilarating enough already!

Throwing anime into the mix makes it effortlessly enjoyable.

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