How to Block English Subtitles — 51 Comments

  1. I’ve noticed that being able to understand something by sound alone is very essential. One can understand jp text well but can’t understand via listening(audio) and vice versa. Lucky with anki, this is easy to overcome.

    • That’s kind of the same problem I’m having right now. I’m getting fairly good at reading (currently doing the RTK deck for kanji and Tae Kim’s Guide deck for grammar/vocab), but last weekend when I had to drive two of my Japanese friends somewhere, I didn’t understand a word of their covnersation. I’ve been focusing entirely on 読む and completely neglecting 聞く.

      Fortunately, there’s a whole mess of 日本語でマインクラフト LPs on Youtube I can listen to.

  2. Is it ok to watch it the first time round with subtitles and then every other viewing without subs, just RAW? This is because I find myselft enjoying it more when I find the story interesting so then it makes me more motivated to watch it in raw and learn but most people say to always watch it without subs

    • I’m still against this for 2 reasons. One it creates bad habits. But more importantly, it takes away some motivation. If you allow yourself to first enjoy it with English and then later use it to study, you take away that massive desire to understand it solely with your Japanese. Turn frustration into motivation and just remember how great it will feel when you can finally understand things better.

      • I can definitively relate to what Adshap is saying in his last reply. The last sentence pretty much sums up what I am experiencing right now. I am dying to understand the movies I am watching.

  3. I’m sorry for all the questions suddently but I figured maybe others are wondering the same.. anyway, my only question here is, should I start not using english subs from the very beginning or only from “world 6”? I know it’s listed in there, but it says to NEVER use them, not to get rid of them once you’ve grown levels a bit so I’m not too sure :P

    • From the beginning never use them. At first it’ll be hard because you’ll feel like you’re missing out on understanding your favorite anime, jdramas, movies, etc. But if you give in and use them, not only is it the equivalent of really watching it in English, but you are taking away a major source of motivation of improving your Japanese by allowing yourself not to need Japanese.

  4. Could you stop using subtitles at 1000 sentences because I feel that I should have the beginning ground work down before I give up subtitles. So far I haven’t been using them but today I watched an epsiode with them and found out how much of the storyline I was missing. I’m only at 100 sentences. I ALWAYS rip the audio and put it on my iPod though and listen to it.

    • Ultimately the important thing is that you stop using them. If that is now, great. If that is at 1000 J-E sentences…. well, if you make that goal, make sure you stick with it no matter how unprepared you feel when you hit that point. (You will always feel unprepared)

    • I understand the desire to understand the plot. After all, Japan’s story making skill is a lot of the reason why people want to learn the language!

      My suggestion is to pick one (or more!) series that you are dedicated to not watching any subs with. This way, you grow attached to the drama or anime just in Japanese, no English involved. You’ll be learning completely by immersion, and not from a prior knowledge given to you by English.

      I was going to add another suggestion to watch in Japanese, then English, then in Japanese again, but reading the previous comments, Adshap’s reasoning that it’ll take away the motivation to understand purely in Japanese makes sense.

      With my suggestion, I can’t imagine watching more than two dramas at a time. So if it were me and I were to redo how I started learning Japanese (I didn’t switch to “no subs” until level ~30), I would’ve followed one drama subbed and one not subbed, because I was one of those people who really wanted to follow the details of the stories, but could’ve benefited from the added immersion.

      At your level, it’s really hard to focus on listening to the Japanese at the same time as reading the subtitles. You’ll perhaps pick up a few new phrases and occasionally hear a phrase you recognize. But what you really need right now is to immerse yourself into the sound of the language, so that your brain can more quickly pick up the flow of the language, allowing learning from context. And watching without subs gives you that

      At my level (~40), I don’t need subtitles, and when there are subtitles because I’m watching with someone else, I try to avert my eyes. However, they can be distracting depending on the size of the screen. If I look at them, sometimes my Japanese zones out and I feel like I’m not picking up anything. While other times, I feel like I’m listening and reading two different language simultaneously and that they are being processed kind of in two different thought processes (it’s very interesting). But at a low level, you don’t have the foundation to manage these two different thought processes and the English takes over. So, it really is just like doing something completely in English with an occasional Japanese vocabulary word thrown at you from time to time.

      • Keep in mind, I’ve been learning Japanese for 5 years and am level 40. That seems like 10 levels a year, but I just gained 20 levels in about a year and a half, so I must’ve been slowly progressing for the first three years and a half (though I think I still progressed faster than I would have in a class, and benefited in ways I couldn’t have in a class). But, if I had sacrificed subtitles, perhaps I would’ve progressed a little faster. It might be worth the sacrifice for you, depending on how fast you want to learn. I just recently gave up reading manga in English summer 2011, and gave up subtitles summer 2012, and suddenly my Japanese has been speeding in improvement. Perhaps I did all of that all too late (not to say I didn’t make attempts at it, but wanting to understand the story held me back).

        • You gave really good advice.
          I guess I’m going to watch only two dramas with subs and the others without. (I’m watching 3 dramas, 1 sitcom and 2 daily shows). I’m going to make that sacrifice to get further faster in Japanese.
          Thanks for the advice.

  5. You say that watching something with subtitles is the equivalent of watching it in English. But you also say that passive listening is a powerful learning tool, when coupled with active study.

    Isn’t that an obvious contradiction? At worst, watching with subtitles amounts to passive listening (for example, I know someone who never studied a language in her life, but watched a lot of Spanish soap operas and understands plenty of the language just from that). But of course it’s much more than that, when coupled with active studying, because it’s much easier to memorize what you’ve heard before, or what you hear from time to time, even if only in the background.

    Saying that it’s useless sounds like and exaggeration meant to get people to give up subs. I wish you’d just be honest, and tell people that, while watching without subs is a lot better, watching with subs is not useless either. Not only does it provide motivation by exposing people to fun things in Japanese, it also provides SOME help with active learning. And, the exposure to even just sounds you don’t even try to make sense of, undoubtedly helps with pronunciation down the road.

    That’s three benefits:
    1. passive listening.
    2. help with memorizing words and expressions when studying.
    3. help with becoming comfortable with the sounds and rhythm of the language: meaning help with eventually speaking it properly.

    Frankly, I’d rather watch stuff with subs (which is not studying, I love what I watch – I’d watch it even if I wasn’t learning Japanese) and spend extra time on Anki, than frustrate myself by watching things I don’t fully understand.

    • Exactly Jake. You hit the nail on the head. That’s why some of this “full immersion elitism” pisses me off. I agree with much of advice on it and that it’s effective, but some stuff(like this for example) is just elitism with no substance, and Adshap knows it. That’s why he never replied to you.

      • Immersion elitism? C’mon, really?

        If you don’t like it, don’t use it. No reason to get angry over the methods I recommend on this site. Feel free to disagree. This site highly encourages the reader to take the methods you like, and drop the ones you don’t. For example, there are plenty of people on this site that don’t like or use Anki.

        And while I don’t respond directly to every comment on this site (especially those attacking me), I followed this with a full post covering the issue (and some of the pros that subtitles have):

        • 1. There’s no getting around it…Just watching English subtitled anime is next to worthless for developing listening skills. Watching Japanese subtitled anime is next to worthless too…I’ve watched 100+ anime episodes with Japanese subtitles and don’t think it has benefited my listening at all. The reason is pretty obvious…in both cases I was using the subtitles as crutches and, importantly, not using SRS at all. No active targeting of listening or repetition…no improvement of listening skills.

          2. “Immersion” doesn’t work. That is, your skills won’t develop by simply listening to Japanese all the time. The only thing that makes me hesitate in declaring this is that I have found it kinda cool to be able to make a huge playlist out of my Anki sound clips and be able to listen to 500 clips in a one hour sitting. Maybe(maybe!) I’d concede that listening to this on the elliptical is doing some good. But I believe it to be very very mild, and if I had to pick which was more productive between 6 hours of listening to old clips or 1 hour in subs2srs(Alt-A! Alt-A! Alt-A!)…to me there’s no contest. subs2srs wins. Which brings us to…

          3. This site DOES provide a slight review(by “Cayenne”) of the ultimate tool to work on listening…and that is subs2srs. I really wish it hadn’t taken me so long to start using this…This program makes it much easier to study listening via Anki. Toss in English and Japanese sub files in the appropriate fields, the video file the subs correspond to, an output directory, disable snapshots, put in the name of the anime and the episode number, pad the timing if necessary, and click on preview. Check through to make sure that the subtitle files seem to be synced up correctly. If not, you might need to play with Aegisub and/or go to “Advanced subtitle options..” on the main subs2srs window and disable “remove styled lines.” Once they’re synced up, drag the column dividers over so the subtitles are hidden in the list part of the screen, uncheck snapshot preview(makes things faster), deactivate all of the rows(Ctrl-A⇒Alt-D), then perk up your ears and click press Alt-A. If you don’t understand what you’re hearing, replay it a couple times(Alt-A…Alt-A…). If you -still- don’t understand it, sneak a peak at the English subtitle and see if that clue helps you to parse what you’re hearing. If you –still– don’t understand it, then sneak a peak at the Japanese subtitles. If you understand the readings of the Japanese but can’t match what you’re hearing with what you’re reading, then you’ve probably encountered an unfamiliar allophone or something. Either way, if after listening to a sentence, you think it warrants further attention, give it an Alt-C(to activate it, flagging it to later be turned into an anki card). Then press down…repeat ad nauseum.

          Once you have a nice group of lines flagged, click Go! and the “activated” lines will be converted to a CSV w/ accompanying clips in the output folder. The subs2srs site guide can guide you through the rest of the process of importing it into your anki deck. The only heads-up I’d give is to switch to “Import even if existing note has the same first field” in the Import window drop-down menu.

          Again, I kick myself for not having tried subs2srs half a year earlier.

          4. We’re still waiting on a decent phonology-based guide to understanding Japanese speech. There are a lot of little lessons that the above method has helped me learn that could’ve been more easily acquired if I had read such a guide beforehand. Things like ç and ɕ, tɕ, ʑ/dʑ, ɸ, ŋ as an allophone of /g/, ɦ in は行(and in わ?), devoiced i and u, the general de-emphasis of particles and conjugated portions of verbs, the total disregard of Japanese speech for morphological boundaries and the resultant importance of 促音 and devoiced vowels to the flow of speech, common sound changes in consecutive phonemes(i.e.もある⇒まある), and dozens of other points that would save learners a lot of time if they studied them -before- starting to work on their listening.

          I suppose that’s a big part of my gripe with various “passive”-ish approaches…that idea that you learn this kind of stuff just by listening over and over again…by osmosis. It’s comparable to teaching someone the kana, teaching them a couple thousand kanji, and then saying it’s not necessary to teach them grammar because they can just learn it from context. And ya know, I bet you could learn the entirety of Japanese grammar under such circumstances…it would just take much longer than it should.

          So there’s my 2 cents(give or take ^^ )

          tl;dr: Give subs2srs a try. It’s swell.

          • Vial, thank you for the comment.

            Just remember though that this site does not say all you need is immersion and you will learn Japanese by osmosis. On the contrary, it focuses very much as immersion only being a part of the process that must be combined with other elements to work.

            For your reference:





            This is all found in world 6 of this site’s walkthrough

            Anyway, I wish you the best of luck on your studying, whether this does or doesn’t include immersion.

          • While I agree that learning the correct IPA for things does help, as I use it occasionally when teaching ESL, I really don’t think it’s necessary. Maybe it has helped you a lot and that’s great! But a lot of people develop really good pronunciation regardless of learning the IPA through listening and mimicking. For some people, overanalyizing the IPA can make them so conscious about the way they’re speaking, that it distracts them from learning how to speak fluidly.

            Another thing about IPA is it’s only the standard. For me, who loves Tohoku, people in Tohoku talk differently than they do in Tokyo. Likewise, where I live in America the IPA rarely matches my own dialect, which is difficult when teaching English.

            My husband’s English is so good. A lot of people think he was born in America, but he wasn’t. The only thing he really can’t pronounce is the “ye” sound in “year”. But that’s not something the IPA will teach him. It’s something he would need training on to focus on how his mouth is supposed to move. He never learned the IPA to learn English and learned it from going to college here and being heavily immersed into English. I also was here to correct him every time he said something wrong. And then overtime, his English became really good.

            Also, listening does work. But you’re so immersed into Anki, you wouldn’t know it. You can only prove it by looking at how people do learn Japanese through listening a lot. Like me. Just because I don’t use anki doesn’t mean I go around saying that anki doesn’t work. I know it works for a lot of people. People just chose different paths of learning.

            • If you aren’t familiar with subs2srs it is the Anki solution to listening fluency. It uses Japanese subtitles to chop up dramas into card-sized video and audio bites. It’s not necessarily as fun and exciting as just watching lots of different dramas, but it does allow for intensive listening practice with all of the benefits of an SRS.

      • This post in particular really helped me, someone who doesn’t like being distracted by subtitles, learn how to block them for myself. How is that elitist? There are people who are really serious about not looking at subtitles. For me, subtitles are distracting and it’s harder to focus on the Japanese.

        There tends to be two ends of a spectrum in this community, anki and immersion. Some people balance them, some people tend to weigh more heavily on one side or the other.

        For me, I don’t use anki at all, and it really does feel like people who love anki are elitist and put down people like me who mix intensive studying and full immersion and doesn’t use anki at all.

        So I understand how you feel. That’s how I feel about people who put me down for not using anki. When a method really works for someone, they really like to get behind it and promote it. It doesn’t mean they are putting you down for not using it if it doesn’t seem to work for you. It just means they really love their method and encourage other people to try it as well. This post in particular I feel is geared towards those who are already trying to watch things without subs. It’s harder to find dramas and anime out there without subtitles, so learning how to block them is useful.

        I didn’t give up subtitles for years. Perhaps I just wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to give up understanding what I loved. When I got to be around an intermediate level, I finally gave it up, and it worked great for me. Now I prefer watching things without subtitles. It actually helps me concentrate on the Japanese more. I tend to pick up the Japanese better without the subtitles than with the subtitles. Along with this, Japanese can’t be perfectly translated over to English. There are words that have different nuances. So sometimes a subtitle might teach you a word incorrectly. And it’s not the translator’s fault. The two languages just work differently.

        • Thanks for the support!

          And for pointing out that not everything on this site is going to be for everyone. Of course this site is going to promote more the methods that the writers here have used to success.

          But as you know quite well, everyone’s journey is different, and that’s what makes it so exciting.

          Can you imagine if every single person who ever learned Japanese from this point on did everything exactly the same? Boring!

  6. Is the idea of this method to improve listening comprehension and gradually understand more and more by “passive listening”, or do you take note of particular words that you don’t understand when watching a film/anime/whatever and then add them all to Anki?

    • Mainly the first part. Though in the past I’d occasionally take note of a word here or there that I liked that I wanted to add to Anki. However, you can mix it up with the second part but that is more of your active studying.

  7. Alright, I think there’s been a slight failure to communicate. I see now you’ve made it very clear(in The Dynamic Tag Team: Passive And Active Studying) that you never suggested trying to “passively” study unfamiliar material. Except…well, you know. Look at the topic we’re commenting on. “Block those sinister subtitles.”There’s a certain amount of cognitive dissonance in maintaining that there’s value both in passively studying material that was previously actively studied and in putting tape on the screen and watching a Japanese movie.

    Or is there? You haven’t exactly defined active listening practice, so for all I know you consider the whole tape thing to be legitimate active practice. So either your definition of immersion isn’t truly restricted to actively studied materials or your definition of active practice is fairly broad(and extends to extremely inefficient methods). I suppose that’s the heart of the matter…this site frequently extols the virtues of learning by passive listening even as you apparently acknowledged that the passive knowledge should be familiar. To wit…


    This is the most important force you must control and the determining factor of whether you will succeed or not. You have to take every single free minute of the day (yes every minute) besides sleeping time, and be listening to Japanese media. No gaps in passive listening. None. If you are with other people, one headphone in one ear. No excuses. You must rack up the hours here.”

    “2. Passive must be familiar

    Your Passive must have once been Active. You should always actively see media before listening to it passively on your Ipod. I’ve done a lot of tweaking with this, and have discovered that putting brand new material that you’ve never seen can really suck away the benefits of Passive.”

    “Listen and let the magic do its work

    Don’t rationalize the reasons behind this technique. Try it for yourself. Do it properly. And give it time. Watch as you dash through the levels.”

    But active learning doesn’t get anywhere near the attention that passive does. When I first commented here, you had one post(Cayenne’s) that ever gave a particularly solid suggestion of how to approach this. Everything else was particularly vague, with a general impression that the person would figure out on their own how to actively study. “Here’s a movie, try to watch it. If you can’t understand something, learn it!” So now you have a person watching a movie and a sentence comes up they don’t understand. They cheat and look at the English subtitle but they -still- don’t understand it. But they dutiful listen again…and again…and again. And finally they figure out 20 minutes later that the word that sounded like かやく is really かがく. Would it have been nice if someone had mentioned when they started learning that Japanese speakers sometimes use ŋ instead of g, and so to our ears が sounds like や or just あ? Yes, that would be nice. Or that ŋ replaces ん sometimes and sounds like an elongated vowel, so 船員 ends up sounding somewhat like せいいん and 前衛 sounds a bit like ぜんえい.

    I’m reminded up your very helpful list( in preparing for the transition to the J-J cards. Do you have any idea how helpful that was? Indeed, concerning written Japanese, this site provides an outstanding roadmap. But the only two truly useful active listening articles here are Cayenne’s and Alexandre’s(which buries talk of subs2srs in yet another article that extols “immersion”). I would like to take a quick aside to say that I wasn’t aware of the latter article until you posted it and that it’s kinda cool that it briefly referenced one of my earlier comments.

    It will save new learners a LOT of time to give more solid advice about how to actively study. For example, I did try a more immersive approach about a year ago by tossing a series on my phone and listening to it while working out. The whole series…complete with opening theme and finale and all of the dialogue-free action and ambient scenes and all the 当たり前だよ, 失礼します, おはようございます, ご馳走様, お疲れ様, このやろう, おっしゃるとおり, いかにも, ふざけるな, and a bajillion other utterances that were simply too stock or too simple to improve my listening by. All told, at most a third of those episodes were helpful to listen to. With subs2srs, I have sound clips of only those challenging sentences…how I wish I could tell myself back then about this!

    I’m not saying that subs2srs is the only method of active listening(though I feel the above paragraph shows it to be absolutely indispensable for passive.) And there are so many other listening topics that warrant exploration(Again, an IPA guided approach to Japanese allophones and differences with our sounds would be huge and prevent the wasting of large amounts of time wondering why something isn’t sounding the way it “should”).

    To summarize my rambling, I think that your emphasis on immersion presupposes that a person is already moderately capable at listening, at least to the point of already having strong active studying habits themselves and/or a native-speaking husband/wife/friend on call to help them as they need it. Maybe immersion is the final step to fluency, but if someone can’t even get through the allophones or capably operate the learning tools available in the first place(or even know they exist), then they’re not going to achieve familiarity. And remember…”Passive must be familiar”

    • 1. Active listening means listening to something while paying direct attention to it and focusing on it. It does not mean looking up everything you don’t know. In the beginning, most of what you listen to you won’t know.

      2. Passive listening is listening while doing other things with only partial attention paid.

      3. Watch once actively so that you

      a) use visuals to aid in understanding

      b) have the visuals remaining in your head when you passively listen.

      c) give yourself the best chance of understanding what you actually do know

      Passive listening works because:

      1. You are actively studying with Anki and other methods in the same time frame.

      2. You improve your ability to separate sounds and words even if you don’t understand them.

      3. You pick up more natural pronunciation (for yourself) of what you do understand.

      4. You reinforce what you do understand in an infinite number of variations and situations.

      5. You start to understand material that you should be able to understand but were unable due to voice, accent, tone, background, and variation on what you know. This is a key element, because as soon as your simple textbook sentence is said in a real situation, with all of these factors, it often turns into something you “don’t understand.” These “don’t but should be able to understand” words and sentences are improved significantly.

      Though you sound like you already have your mind set on what you want to do. And that’s fine. You are way better off enjoying a method you like and believe in.

    • Maybe I can give some input, since I’ve used the immersion method from the beginning of my studies.

      For me, my listening environment is very much a natural SRS. I do learn from listening through context, but more than that I’m reviewing through listening. There are anime and drama audio CDs I’ve listened to for years that at first I hardly understood anything of and now I understand the majority of. Some of it was because I had a larger vocabulary than I had before, but I was even missing words that I did know because my brain wasn’t picking them up. After a lot of listening, I am now able to pick up things better. This includes new anime and dramas that I watch, not just the material I’m listening to repeatedly.

      I do think you can learn from watching things though, because there’s visual context. It’s one reason why it took so long for me to be able to read a novel (which now I can), while reading manga came much easier because there was visual context.

      I learn more from my reading than my listening, because it’s easier to look things up. Subs2SRS is the same thing, learning from reading, while at the same time practicing listening skills.

      I also learn from my listening through working on transcriptions. Here’s an example of a transcription of mine recently ( You can do this at a lower level too, as here’s an example of mine from a long time ago ( It was really hard at a lower level though, I had to slow down the video a lot to hear things. At a higher level, I only had to slow down the video once to hear the word 理科系. After I found that out, I could hear it from then on, but before I found it out, it sounded like 出かけ.

  8. “While I agree that learning the correct IPA for things does help, as I use it occasionally when teaching ESL, I really don’t think it’s necessary.”

    It may not be necessary, but it’s tremendously useful. And it’s not like I’m advocated treating it like hiragana/katakana and trying to be able to read IPA scripted sentences or something. I do think it would be very useful to be consistently referring to ç and ɕ whenever THAT conversation comes up. If nothing else, they’re like tiny hyperlinks that will lead someone, by way of google, to the right wikipedia page. “Oh! So THAT is why ひと sounds that way! Why couldn’t you just that?” as the result of a single google search.

    “the IPA rarely matches my own dialect, which is difficult when teaching English.”
    This line doesn’t make sense. Of course the IPA covers accent differences. It even characters to cover the accents(stressed syllables) in English, Japanese pitch accents, and Chinese tones. That you speak a non-standard accent is fantastic! Your students will most of the time hear the GA or RP accents, but you can point out the differences of your accent with the IPA.

    “He never learned the IPA to learn English and learned it from going to college here and being heavily immersed into English. ”

    If you have a computer, an internet connection, and 30 bucks a month to pick up used anime and drama DVDs, you have everything you need to learn Japanese with Anki and subs2srs(And yes, the IPA). But going abroad comes with a much steeper cost. Not everybody has the resources or life circumstances to live in Japan to become immersed.

    • I know IPA covers accent differences, that’s true. What I mean is one guide probably won’t cover every difference in different dialects, you know what I mean? However, a guide would be incredibly useful. Are you sure there isn’t already one?

      So here’s what I should’ve said probably, “The IPA found in an English dictionary doesn’t always match the way I pronounce things.” Do you know what I mean?
      Actually, I have to make a correction. I think he did learn IPA in high school. Though, his pronunciation wasn’t really good until he was immersed into native level English in college, that was probably more to do with his English teachers in Japan not having a perfect pronunciation to model the IPA in English.

      I agree! I don’t think it’s necessary to live in the foreign country to learn it’s language. You can be heavily immersed into the foreign language in your own country as well. After all, that’s what I do.

  9. Do you think that watch japanese movies with japanese subtitles would be more efficient? It sounds very logical to me, because you can improve two different skills at the same time (reading and listening).

    (Sorry with I write something odd, I’m a portuguese speaker)

    • More efficient than subtitles in English? Yes, of course.

      Japanese subtitles are fine, but you should make sure to mix it up a bit, as it actually focuses a lot more on your reading than listening. Part of improving your listening is taking what you hear and trying to use your knowledge to make sense of it. That task is removed when the Japanese subtitles do that for you.

  10. I do have an infuriating DVD set which is hardsubbed: Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood Complete Collection. Unlike my Death Note boxset, the subs can’t be turned off so I can’t go back and watch it without subs! (I watch boxsets of anime that I buy or get given with my Mum so I have to watch them with subs the 1st time through for her sake. She’s not interested enough to follow all the ones I stream on crunchyroll though.).

    • I actually use the first method occasionally on my PC for online streaming that’s hardsubbed as you said, though I’m not sure whether putting tape on my TV sounds like a good idea! I guess I’ll just watch it on my computer when I come to it (on a drama binge at the mo).

      • Technically, torrents are legal if you own a legal copy. Just torrent a raw version.

        • A warning about that suggestion for those in the USA: our ISPs couldn’t care less about their customers’ rights, and will happily shut off your service in response to torrent complaints without any notice, or attempt to verify whether the activity was legal or not.

          But if you live in a country where that’s not the case, then yeah that’d be a valid solution to that particular problem.

          On a positive note, I think H4 is really selling me on giving the no-sub drama thing a try :)

          • That is true; I actually live in the USA myself. The DMCA, for a long time, allowed piracy so long as the uploader was not financially compensated. Of course, the law has been amended, but that’s an example of legal loopholes.
            That being said, laws are different everywhere. Anyone who torrents really needs to know of its legality in their country.
            For an example of something totally, indisputably illegal, with no consequences:
            The “I love you” virus in the early 2000s, which utilized a vulnerability in the Microsoft Word’s macro function. Basically, an E-mail was forwarded to the victim, entitled “I love you.” The victim would then open the .doc attachment, which used a macro to inject a virus into the computer and forward the same E-mail to all of the victim’s contacts.
            After over 100,000 computers were fried, law enforcement launched an investigation. This lead them to a college student in Singapore. To their dismay, there was no law regarding malicious use and intentional spreading of computer security exploits: thus, the student was never charged.
            OK, that story was somewhat irrelevant.
            What I’m trying to say is: some places allow things that are illegal in others. I can only speak of ‘Murica, but here’s how it is:
            Uploading: Illegal. It just is.
            Downloading: Depends. If you legally own it, you can get it as a backup copy.
            That said, I’m not sure if the raw anime is legal to download, H4, as you have the subtitled version. I don’t know if it’s for a specific version or for the series as a whole.

          • Do it, Matt! Dramas are so fun even without subs! I’ve only ever watched 1 drama without subs and it’s probably one of my least favourite! (Though I have tried some j-subs on a few others, mostly so I could write down vocab). It’s a lot easier than anime without subs, probably because of the slightly more relatable situations.

            On that note, keep to simpler topics, for example, I was happily following plenty of shows on family troubles, mystery stories and romance without a great understanding of the dialogue but one day I tried to watch the highly rated banking drama, Hanazawa Naoki – I had NO idea what was going on, so I dropped it and scoured the JALUP drama guide for dramas rated 2 star difficulty or less. Probably the most complex drama I watched and followed was Soratobu Kouhoushitsu who’s themes included journalism, the military and the Japanese self defense office, but seemed to be more about friendship amongst the characters who worked at the office and the arrogant joournalist and romance between the two leads so wasn’t too daunting.

            Biggest tip: try to understand the story, not the dialogue. This leads to you gaining satisfaction from what you do understand of the dialogue rather than obsessing about trying to understand more of the dialogue.

            Also, I’m from the UK. I’m not sure how harsh stuff is here but probably better than the US. And I hate torrents… who came up with such a stupidly complex and slow way of downloading stuff?

  11. Netflix has a respectable amount of anime, and lets you turn off the subs for some of them. For the others, I found that mousing over and leaving the cursor parked on the transport bar will keep it there, right where the subs are.

      • Yeah. It’s awesome that Netflix have the ability to turn subs off. Wish Crunchyroll’s PS4/iOS app has that option.

            • Lots of ads, no way to disable subs on the iPad version, selection spotty (for my limited taste).

              I also like getting actual files and separate subs to use with the magical and brilliant subs2srs, but that’s a whole other thing.

  12. There’s gotta be a way to watch these raw or on a site where the subs aren’t built in. Do you know of any? Because this is super annoying for me.

    • I’ve had a lot of success with Crunchyroll. The video player on their site allows you to turn off subs (on most videos, excluding some older ones) by right-clicking on the video and selecting “No Subtitles”.

  13. One major problem I have with some of my blu-rays is that it has locked subtitles which means you can’t switch them off (Due to them trying to prevent reverse importation). Wish there is a way to cover them on my TV.

    • When nothing works, the last option you can take is the analog one. Tape a horizontal piece of something to the bottom of the screen. Sounds silly, but it does the job.

  14. Here’s an odd question, if you have an answer, it’s flipping the opinion here, and starting with the base product. Have a recent DVD I picked up as a Japanese Impost, as not available in US or Canada. Music video, but adds Japanese subtitles every time someone speaks, or an additional subtitle to accompany any English text. Drives me nuts, and now ready to throw the CD out, which is sad, as picture and sound quality are great! Any ideas?

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