3 Apps for the Anime Lover

| Free on iTunes

Last week I wrote about three free first episodes of animated shows available on iTunes. I mentioned that My Little Pony seemed to be patterned after Japanese anime, and that the show wasn’t my cup of tea. Some of you suggested that I missed the mark on that show, that it contained wit that adult males would appreciate, and that the animation was top notch.

Well, I watched it again. My opinion hasn’t changed. My Little Pony is not for me.

The problem is that while My Little Pony is not anime, it’s close enough in style that it turns me off. In general, I’m not a fan of Asian anime. I can’t take the big shimmery eyes, the cutesy sidekicks, the exaggerated expressions, the randomly place poignant pauses, or the odd fascination with large breasted schoolgirls dressed in extremely short plaid skirts. I just can’t get into it, and I’ve tried.

Now, before you fanboys and girls (my daughter among you) attempt to storm my heavily fortified compound situated in the wind swept plains of Southern Montana, hellbent on pummeling some sense into me, or at least forcing me to watch every episode of Sailor Moon, let me point out that I said that, in general, I’m not an anime fan. While Afro-Samurai may not share all the trappings of typical anime (No plaid skirted schoolgirls. Dang!), I own and have watched every episode. Twice. I’ve also enjoyed Appleseed and Vexille. And while it gives me the creeps, I’ll watch Akira and Robot Carnival whenever I’m in the mood.

I consider these shows to be the best of what anime has to offer. The stories have depth (or alleges to have it), the animation isn’t cutesy, and while there is the occasional eye-shimmer, it’s not a random occurrence.

True, all the shows I mentioned are over-the-top violent, and very serious, and even sexy, in a Jessica Rabbit kind of way, but that’s the kind of stuff I like. It reminds me of the the Chop-Suey kung-fu movies I use to watch growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, and even some of the more recent live action Asian movies, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Slice ‘em, Dice ‘em, hack ‘em, and slash ‘em and let God sort them out. And let’s not beat around the bush doing it. That’s my motto.

I know that many don’t share my animated movie preferences, and that’s OK by me. “Live and let live,” is also my motto (unless you’re a bad guy, then eat cold steel). For those of you hankering for a heavy dose of Asian anime on the cheap, well, you’ve come to the right place because my other motto is, “Free is for me!”

Remember Aeon Flux? Not the silly movie starring Charlize Theron, but the very strange animated series about a dysfunctional Utopia. The show pushed the borders of what the censors would allow of TV. It also pushed the borders of what any sane person would watch without some sort of mind altering chemical enhancement.

It was Aeon Flux that made me notice Adult Swim, a cable network of sorts that replaces the more juvenile Cartoon Network late at night, supposedly when kids are in bed. Adult Swim hosts all sorts of odd, adult oriented animation, some of it is Asian anime, but all of it kept censors gainfully employed.

Aeon Flux is old hat these days. If you tune into Adult Swim now you’re likely to find shows like Robot Chicken, the critically acclaimed The Boondocks, and the very strange Aqua Teen Hunger Force. And you’ll find a heaping helping of anime.

If you’re a fan and you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, the planets have aligned in your favor because there is now an Adult Swim app. The app is free and many of the episodes are free to view. If you’ve gone to the Adult Swim website and was a little put off by the busyness of the site then you’ll love this app. Looking for an episode of Assy McGee? Easy. Need a fix of Space Ghost Coast to Coast? Start tapping that vein. Have a hankering for Fullmetal Alchemist? The Adult Swim (or for the cooler among you, [AS]) app can feed your need. And all of this over-18 goodness is yours for free!

Adult Swim

You got to grab it.

OK, so you did grab [AS], but you still could use some more anime. Fine. Check out Crunchyroll.

Think of Crunchyroll as an anime warehouse where you can find pretty much anything our talented and somewhat demented Asian friends have produced. There’s like a gazillion shows available in all their big shimmery-eyed glory. And if that wasn’t enough you can also find a respectable list of Asian live action drama. All watchable for free.


Well, I guess nothing is totally free in life, and Crunchyroll proves it. Whenever you fire up a show you are asked if you would mind paying for the full version which gets to access to the latest episodes. And there are the occasional ads. But, hey, you get to watch your favorite Asian shows for (almost) free. So deal with it or pay up.

And if that wasn’t enough anime for you, I’ve got one last trick up my sleeve.

Anime Network is all about anime. That’s it. Nothing else. If you can’t get your fill of anime with Anime Network then you only other option is to move to Japan.

I will admit that, after watching a few episodes of Hell Girl, I’ve come to appreciate anime a bit more. But only a bit. Who knows, maybe curiosity will goad me into watching other shows, and the next thing you know, I’m an anime fiend. It could happen with Anime Network.

Anime Network

There are new shows and staff pick to browse through, and each show is lested with the number of episodes and a synopsis of the series. In all it’s an anime lover’s dream.

Check out Anime Network and sate your craving for big shimmery eyes.

OK, that’s a wrap. More free anime related stuff below with direct links.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll check these out.

As a fairly serious Japanophile that watches Anime regularly may I suggest a couple of more grownup anime:

Mushi-Shi. Very thoughtful, philosophical stories about a travelling Mushi Master. You gotta check it out to find out what Mushi are.

Kino’s Journey. A traveller visits towns in a vast land. She only stays three days and then goes on. Very though provoking.

Cowboy Bebop. Bounty hunters plying the Earth Mars Jupiter route. Quite Stylized and fun.

Ghost in the Shell. The film is IMO as good as Akira. The series is fascinating.

But then to each his own. Maybe Anime isn’t your cup of tea. Personally I can’t stand James Bond films.


Vern, you might want to check out this anime recommendation site:


Find a show you like and you’ll get a list of recommended shows along with descriptions and reasons why they’re recommended.  It’s a great way to learn about shows you’ll enjoy without having to go through a lot you don’t.



I can relate to some of your sentiment above. My daughter is a huge anime fan (Sailor Moon chief among them), and even dresses her hair (not the skirts - a vigilant father is a spoiler here) a bit after the fashion. Perhaps some of this is her cup of tea. For all I know, she may already have these apps on her iPhone.

Spending as much time as I do (and currently am doing) in the remote field with slow/erratic internet access, I have never tried to visit any of these sites or cultivate an appetite for anime, although as a kid, I loved the Astroboy reruns, even though it was not then nor is now considered true anime, or so I’m told.

As for those exaggerated expressions, odd noises and flashy eye things, and two-dimensional characters (not the animation, but the character development) there is a real audience for this, particularly among kids who struggle with social nuance, a facet of the genre I have come to respect.


Spoken like a true American >_<  I’m a huge anime fan, so I’m biased, for sure.  However, you can’t broad-stroke anime as one thing or another.  It’s not all twinkly-eyed magic girls in school uniforms any more than all American films are big dumb action movies.  Anime has just as many genres and audiences as live-action movies from the US.  Afro Samurai is no more exceptional than the original Die Hard movie. 

Give Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, Full Metal Alchemist (the newer one) or Code Geass a try and see if they change your opinion of anime at all.

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