Animefringe's 3rd Annual Top 25
The results have been tallied for another year -- how did your favorite site place? Read on and find out!
Aussie info site, Animeiris starts our top 25 with a number of tried and true features such as reviews and release dates, but what makes this site worth noticing are the sectionalized features. Spirited Away and .hack//sign are just two of these such features and what makes them interesting is the unique and visually appealing layout Animeiris employs.
24. Anime and Manga BitTorrent Links
BitTorrents are less hassle than other file sharing programs and can be more specific. BitTorrents allow for direct download of a certain file by a number of people at the same time provided there is someone still left to seed the file. Anime and Manga BitTorrent Links helps feed any fansub-loving fans addiction by offering up new torrents everyday and the ability to surf existing torrents.
23. The Anime Agency
The first thing that will hit you when visiting The Anime Agency is their unique color scheme (unless you're color-blind). The second thing you'll notice is just how much uniquely fun content these guys have. Just take a look at their activates center. You can wittle away minutes of your time just voting for characters in "Anime Hot or Not?" or any of the other cool flash games available. They have the regular reviews and stuff also, but it's their fun content that makes these guys unique.
22. Yuricon & ALC Publishing
"Your home for shoujoai and yuri in anime and manga." Girl on girl action, what more could anyone ask for? Okay, maybe some yaoi fun, but that has its own con also. Started as an online "virtual con," Yuricon actually blossomed into a real convention in 2002. The web site portion keeps tabs on known lesbians in anime and also makes a perfect place to buy yuri based manga and doujinshi.
Ayeka in a bathing suit...what's not the love there? Okay, maybe that doesn't do anything for you if you hate Ayeka, but there's a lot to like for review-loving fans because this site specializes in, get this, hentai reviews! Yep, want to know what hentai's worth checking out, Animetric can tell you. Oh, they do have some normal anime reviews also.
Baka-Updates keeps its pulse in the grand world of fansubbing. Their list of known fansubbing groups, their sites and IRC channels is one of the most comprehensive on the net. They also keep tabs on upcoming releases and offer series info.
For years longer than many of us have been anime fans, Nausicaa.net has existed as the complete and comprehensive fan site to everything related to Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Providing not only exhaustive information on each of Miyazaki's works, from his early days in Future Boy Conan to his latest project, Howl's Moving Castle, Nausicaa.net has always been dedicated to providing up-to-date, accurate information on the creative meanderings of Japan's most cherished animator.
18. Natsume Goushin Ryu dojo
The old K.I.S.S. web page principle comes to mind with this page and while Natsume may be plain, it does offer some interesting information. What people go here for is the news. Two years of it in fact. It sadly hasn't been updated since late November, but hopefully that will change.
While we all wait for the next print volume of this super popular illustrated series to arrive, there's still the website that started it all. It's still free, and it's still funny. In short, MegaTokyo is the perfect example of a webcomic done right. With Fred's wonderful artwork depicting the lives of two Americans stuck in Japan, this series is as fun to look at, as it is to read. Now...where's the next volume?
Proving once again that anime is totally huge in Australia, the country's largest anime club rounds out number sixteen on our list. SUAnime is stationed out of the University of Sydney and holds anime screenings and so forth. Nice website layout too.
15. Anime News Service
Years have gone by and one thing remained virtually unchanged for Anime News Service--their layout. It is the epitome of simplistic design and quite frankly it works. They might have added a sidebar back when they teamed with Akadot, but their news has never slipped. After all, where else can you find a complete and unedited press release?
Oh boy... where to begin? This is probably one of the first, if not the first website you will come across when you enter 'AMV' into Google. This site seems to be the focal point of the anime music video (AMV) community, serving as a place for people to share their creations, as well as for people to come and watch some good (and bad) video and audio editing. Guides for AMV creating are posted on the site, as well as reviews of computer hardware and software used mainly in animation. Animemusicvideos.org also maintains a list of AMV contests and contest deadlines, a real help for hardcore AMV practitioners. If you love anime music videos, this is your first stop online!
An excellent website focusing primarily on manga reviews, Mangabits is becoming more and more necessary with the ever-increasing flood of new Japanese comics for us to read in English. There are plenty of DVD-only review archives, and it's nice to have something dealing with manga for a change. Note: This site seems to be having some troubles and is down at this time.
12. Michael's Favorites
This Michael guy sure has a lot of images. He also has a lot of fans as evident by this number twelve spot. Michael's Favorites caters to the same crowd as Pojo.com (i.e. mainstream) and has enough screen captures and images to satisfy nearly any up-and-coming animation fan. Not the use of the word "animation," because Michael also has stuff like Masters of the Universe also. Best site feature: the Cardcaptor's page.
11. Ranma 1/2 Perfect Edition
Lookie here, the Top 25's only true honest to goodness fansite! Ranma 1/2 Perfect Edition prides itself on covering all things, well, Ranma. From the anime to the music, all the bases are covered and if there's a question you probably have about the series, the handy Questions and Answers section is there to help. In a world where Inu-Yasha reigns supreme, it is nice to see Ranma still holds a place in people's hearts.
10. Anime Jump!
Sure, the tagline proclaims that their goal is to put the "dumb" into anime fandom, but their detailed reviews suggest otherwise. The website, which functions mainly to review different anime releases, whether region one or abroad, takes a wide look on each product than most review sites. Providing commentary on such aspects as DVD packaging and menu systems, the crew of Anime Jump also takes the time to comment on the qualities of the screenwriting, voice acting, and directing, as well as taking time to note audio and video quality of each release. While not updated as consistently as most of us would like, Anime Jump provides a fresh, honest series of reviews that fans have come to count on loyally since 1998.
9. The Right Stuf
Bar none, this is the anime store with the best sales throughout the year. TRSI's studio sales are notorious for giving legions of diehard fans full justification for buying complete sets of various series. A very clean site interface, good industry news, and one of the few stores that can boast a discount card for frequent buyers makes this site the first place many shoppers go for their Japanese fix.
Number eight is owned by LELOLA.net and while they might seem a tad mainstream at first catering in Yu-Gi-Oh! and Digimon fair, they do have some fringe content such as shonen-ai favorites Weiss Kreuz and Gravitation. Take one look at this site's long list of sidebar content and it is easy to see the fan sites of LELOLA.net have a ton of content to go through. Enjoy!
Anime Suki serves as an online collection of newly released fansubs from many of the top fansubbing groups. Using the BitTorrent application, Anime Suki allows fans that are leery of IRC to download fresh-from-Japan series, while avoiding the risk and bandwidth problems of hosting complete episodes for downloading. We must applaud Anime Suki for keeping to the standard of only allowing the distribution of 'unlicensed' English fansubs, and encouraging this practice among its users. Many sites post this policy on their pages, but most don't enforce it. Anime Suki has a continually updated list of licenses, linked off of their front page.
6. The Anime Web Turnpike
The Anime Web Turnpike (or more popular known as simply the "Anipike") has existed almost as long as anime Internet fandom has, serving as an integral part of online fandom, simply by connecting the myriad websites on a wealth of series together into one comprehensive search engine. Going as far to catalog websites for even the most obscure anime and manga, Anipike is the card catalog for the inquisitive otaku, easily the largest anime links site available on this bizarre superhighway of ours. However, the website is not just links alone, but also hosts its own online magazine, forums, and chat rooms. It seems that just as anime fandom evolves, so does this pioneering website along with it.
Aside from serving as a storefront from which otaku might purchase hundreds of dollars of merchandise they can't afford (or is that just me?), AnimeNation has run a very reliable news feed for quite some time now. The site's "Ask John" column is always insightful and a great source for those of us who wish to learn more about Japanese culture without fanboy bias leaking in. This is one of the best places to find import anime and video game soundtracks, as well as being host of a suite of other services for visitors.
AnimeNfo has become one of those well used bookmark sites. Quite simply, AnimeNfo is a directory of anime and manga titles, complete with submitted reviews from people like you. Along with technical facts (genre, studio, seiyuu, fansub group, and episode guides), there are discussion forums and user ratings. Above all AnimeNfo is useful for quickly reviewing new and current fansubbed series, where almost all other online information is in Japanese or comes from the fansubbers themselves. AnimeNfo's most interesting feature is perhaps its new Anime Match option that acts as a search engine that matches your viewing tastes with some series that you might like.
3. Anime Academy
Taking the bronze this year is Anime Academy, quite possibly one of the best concept sites out there. They truly take the concept of role-playing to new heights. How you might ask? Just take a look at their layout. It's like a school's homepage. Kain and his crew of professors will school any willing student on what series to pick up and what to avoid. If that were not enough, they even offer lectures into anime review composition and Japanese culture. Get those thinking caps ready!
2. Anime On DVD
Last year's top winner is sitting pretty at number two this time around and two's not so bad. It's been a great year for Anime On DVD. Tons of new DVDs to review, a constantly growing forum, and more news than you can shake a stick out, Anime On DVD is still the best place to go to find out if that certain new release you have been eyeing is going to be a stud or a dud. What is Anime On DVD's best-kept secret? It's manga forum that's what!
1. Anime News Network
Here we are -- number one! And what an upset this year's results were. Anime News Network completely crushed Anime On DVD this year in a landslide victory. For most anime fans out there, this site is THE place to turn to for frequently updated news on all the things we hold dear. The site loads quick and part of its draw is the simple fact that you can find what you're looking for on there with ease. If you're not looking for news, then this fantastic site also has one of the most comprehensive and useful database collections on the Net. Whether you're looking for a review, trying to figure out what voice actor worked on what show, or you're just eager for more news about the next Miyazaki film, you can probably find it here.