Anime-Planet.com, a worthy replacement for MyAnimeList?

Apparently, I’ve had an Anime Planet account since December of 2009. At least that’s what my import history tells me. But it’s only with the recently unbearable MyAnimeList slowdowns that I decided to give AP a fair chance. I thought I’d take more time writing this post, but for whatever reason, it came together pretty quick.

I’m going to take a deeper dive into AP and outline things that stand out to me. The nitpicking will outnumber the compliments, but that’s more a function of my having been a pretty heavy MAL user for the past few years. Comparing AP to MAL’s featureset (vs. the vice versa) just comes more naturally to me. But I tried to back up my “want list” with reasons where possible, so this didn’t read like I was being a petulant brat. But these are all my opinions of course. Obviously, what’s important to me isn’t necessarily important to everyone else. (note: I used an adblocker to save space for screencapping purposes. Both MAL and AP have advertising, but the advertising is a lot less intrusive on AP. I don’t mind the ads on AP.)

ap-logo

The Intro Page

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Welcome to Anime Planet

I use MyAnimeList for two main reasons: to track what I watch and for information. Accordingly, there’s three things I think MAL does really well:

  • its list
  • the anime info pages
  • the user panel

On MAL, the user panel is particularly useful, because it’s the first page you see when you log in. On that page, three things stand out to me: the quick link to your list, the recent friend updates, and your last list updates.

  • The quick link to your list is useful for obvious reasons
  • The recent friend updates, for me, is useful because it’s one of the main ways I get reminded about new episodes of currently running shows. It’s also a great way to randomly come across an interesting show that someone I ‘m friends with is watching
  • And my list updates are useful, because seeing a recent history of what I’ve watched also helps me to remember other shows on my list that I’d been meaning to catch up on
mal-history
Good to see I've been on a dropping spree

When you first log into Anime Planet, you’ll see a link to your list on the top right. However the list lacks any sort of sequential display of the last episodes and shows you or anyone else has watched. At least, I can’t seem to find it anywhere on the site.

mal-friendsap-user-activity

AP also has a panel for user activity, but it’s for all users, not your friends.

There’s a few points I want to make here:

  • I’d rather see the friends panel there, because I’m ambivalent to what other users on the site are doing. On MAL, my eyes tend to gloss over the latest reviews and recommendations sections, because I feel like it’s too broad, and not relevant to me. Whereas I have pretty good confidence that the people I’m friends with have either better tastes or tastes closer to mine
  • From a design standpoint, MAL’s friend update list is a lot easier to scan than AP’s user activity panel. Better spacing and recognizable images outweighs text links and icons. There’s almost too much info on the AP activity panel, it’s hard to focus on any one thing
  • The other limitation with AP’s user panel is that you don’t see sequential episodic updates in the user activity panel. Ostensibly because the site may not keep track of this. So all you see are changes in show status (watching, dropped, hold, etc.), reviews, ratings and recos. This might be one reason why the user activity panel is on the home page vs. the friends activity panel, simply because updates tend to come fewer and further between
ap-recos
Good scannability here

Ideally, the activity panel would be laid out similar to how AP handles the recommendations panel, which makes use of a lot more white space and better layout.  Although…

  • I’d love for the read reason button to ajax open the text vs. relying on rollovers
  • The add vote is also a little confusing, because I thought I was voting up a recommendation, but instead it took me to the add a recommendation page

The browse by tags doesn’t seem to work from the intro page (it takes me to an empty page), but works well from the anime pages. It’s a pretty cool feature actually.

The List

Ah the most important part.

First things first, the Import List

ap-import
Import quality has improved over the past year

This is MAL’s bread and butter, and AP knows this, including a handy “import anime list” that allows you to take your export file from MAL and import it into AP. It worked well for the most part, the ones it missed were all the Kara no Kyoukai movies (it’s bundled series listing), any picture dramas, Shakugan no Shana 3 (probably because it hasn’t been announced yet), and Shina Dark (no excuse here).

It imports your watch status, progress, and your ratings.

What it doesn’t import are:

  • Rewatch stats
  • Start and end dates
  • Any sort of tags (not that MAL was doing anything with them any way)

I don’t mind the missing rewatch stats so much (and apparently it may or may not ever be added according to the Frequently denied requests thread), but missing the start and end dates is a crucial missing piece for me. It’s something I look back on, and will use often to sort my list. One nice feature, simply for data portability’s sake (and fairness to MAL and aniDB), would be an export feature of its own. Apparently it’s in the works, but very low priority, so I wouldn’t count on it anytime soon.

Sticky filters, or the lack thereof

ap-list
Lack of sticky filters means extra steps on each list visit

One point of annoyance is that unlike MAL, where you can set your default view, there doesn’t seem to be a similar setting in AP. So anytime you click your list, you have to then click the appropriate filter and then apply it. It’s not hard, but it adds an extra step or two. A sticky filter is a necessity, especially for those with larger lists.

AP’s filtering works much better than MAL’s advanced search, but one thing I’d probably change is the visible filter buttons. Currently, you see:

  • watching
  • want to watch
  • my fav genres

The problem with “my fav genres” is that the genre category is so broad, it’s not the most helpful of filters. And while my fav genres might be useful when you’re searching or browsing for animes in general, if you’re in your list view, you’re probably going to want more filters that are more contextual to your experience. Which, for example, would probably be:

  • watching
  • want to watch
  • dropped
  • stalled

Updating your list and episode specific forums

mal-forums
No episodic posts on AP

Updating your list is as simple as clicking a drop down and clicking an episode ahead. Unlike recent MAL, it works, it’s functional, it’s fast. But one big missing feature in AP is anime episode specific forums. I think this is a killer feature on MAL, that you can update your list and then be asked to read the Mushishi, episode 14 forums. It encourages discussion, and even though I don’t post much, I almost always read the forums to see what other people thought of the episode. AP has show specific forum posts, but that tends to scatter the episodic discussions and breaks the flow. It also makes it harder to post about random show topics like “why is Mashiro such a bitch?” or “is there ever going to be a third season of Natsume Yuujinchou?”

AP’s also missing the sequential cataloguing of episodes and shows you watched, but I’ve already mentioned that.

Anime and Character Information Pages

AP requires all ”original” content, and they have admins that do their job enforcing this (unlike MAL which is like the wild, wild west). On the plus side, it means you’re not going to click around reading character profiles and accidentally spoil yourself by reading something like Yagami Light is a mind-controlling alien, because some jackass copy pasta’d the whole wikipedia entry and a lazy admin let it through. On the down side, you’re going to find a lot of pages and profiles with little-to-no info.

Typical shows

ap-bakuman1
Basic information page

All the basic info is available, show name, synopsis, episode length, studio.

  • On the plus side, I like that they include the season (Fall 2010) with the anime
  • On the downside, I prefer how MAL includes exact dates of airing and ending. I also like that MAL will include the episode length for the series. It’s good info to know. AP tends to only list up to the number that’s aired
  • Also on the downside, I like how MAL displays the numerical rating. You can see the numerical rating on AP by scrolling over the stars, but at first glance 4.0 will like 4.45, even though there’s a big difference in the scores. I’m ok with the stars from an individual rating standpoint, but when aggregating, I would much rather see the numerical rating.

New and upcoming shows

One oddity of the editorial control on AP is that they only post synopses or screenshots after 3-4 episodes have aired. This is where I think the editorial control might need to be relaxed somewhat, because if you were just passing through you’d assume that the page is undone. It’s a bit discouraging to look at it at first glance, because it gives me the impression that people aren’t submitting much info, which may or may not be the case. It also makes AP useless if you’re trying to get info on a show that’s just aired, or is planned to air in a future season.

A synopsis is a synopsis. I can understand asking users to do better than some of the nonsense that’s on MAL, but the synopsis doesn’t change whether the anime is just getting started or has been running for 200 episodes. Similarly, I’d consider at least displaying a placeholder image for the show, and then replacing it with more original images once the show’s been ongoing for a few episodes.

ap-gosick
Looking lonely here

Characters and Staff Panel

There’s an unnecessary horizontal scroll bar that seems to show up in the subpanels when using Chrome 9.

But more importantly, I think the characters panel either needs to be broken out of there and placed in a separate location, or needs to link to a separate characters page that allows you to see all the characters without scrolling as much. It’s harder to navigate and find what you need when you can only see 3 characters at a time.

ap-bakuman2
Too much scrolling required

The information in the staff panel is light right now, but it’s a new feature, so I assume it’ll fill out eventually. What would be really nice would be if AP partnered with AniDB to bring that data over. These anime sites really should collaborate more, when possible.

Reviews, Lists and Blogs Panel

There’s nothing wrong with how AP presents reviews, but I think MAL highlights the reviews a little better by giving you snippets to read. Again, it’s the idea of having scannable info vs. a pile of links. I also think AP should include forum post links in this section, since it’s called “reviews & discussion”.

mal-reviewsimage

Lists are a fun little feature, I don’t know if I’d ever use it, as it seems more noise than anything useful, but it’s fun and quirky.

image

The blogs section is actually very cool, and integrates it into the site and community way better than how MAL uses “blogs”. Doesn’t look like anyone’s blogging Bakuman on an episodic basis, but maybe it’s because everyone was smart enough to cut bait while they could.

ap-blogs

What’s missing compared to MAL?

Basically everything below. Links to news, links to forum discussions, recently watched, related clubs. Most of these are understandable omissions. AP is not a news site, so I understand why there’s no news links. AP also doesn’t have clubs, so that’s an obvious omission as well. The recently watched feature in MAL is relatively useless. And forum discussions, as I’ve mentioned, probably should be linked to within the reviews & discussion section.

Would love to see OP/ED info included on AP.

But one crucial missing piece is the fansub groups info. I’ve found this info to be incredibly useful, especially if I’m going back to an older series and want to see who’s subbed it and subbed it well. No other site does this as well as MAL.

ap-shows
OP/ED info would be nice. Fansub info: crucial.

Character Pages

Notice how Haruhi’s description is spoiler-free. +1 for editorial control.

I really like the tags functionality. It enables this similar characters feature which is sort of hit or miss, but fun to play with. I also really like the love/hate option for characters and peoples. Top lists are great on MAL, but hate lists are plenty fun too. I have Suzaku, Misa, Miho, Light and Taiga on my hate list, because they all are terrible characters (except Light. I just hate him because he was a magnificent bastard).

ap-haruhi
Spoiler-free character pages

User Profiles

image
User profile page

AP’s user profile page is pretty solid. You have the standard avatar, about me, stats and favorites. The only thing I’d want is a URL field. But this is purely a blogger-specific request.

I like the Anime Ratings distribution chart. I had a pretty good idea that my rating system was a big bell curve, but it’s pretty cool to be able to see that on your page as well as other users’ pages.

The one knock on the love/hate lists is that I don’t know if there’s a way to see a friend’s list past the top 5. You can add as many as you want, which is nice, because I stopped using MAL’s favorite lists since it caps at 5 shows and 10 characters/peoples. But I couldn’t find any way to view a friend’s full list of top characters (except by taking my full URL and replacing my user name with anothers. Here’s chii’s favorite characters btw). It’d be nice to have a few links there to the user’s full list of love/hate.

image

There’s a couple cool things unique to AP. One is the badges. Badges reward you for doing various things on the site. It’s nothing absolutely essential, but it’s a fun feature. The second is your twitter feed. I don’t know that people will discover each other on Twitter much from it, because it’s so low on the page, but it’s the kind of thing you’ll never see on MAL.

image
Similar to the user panel, the friend panel isn't very scannable

To save some vertical space, I’d consider moving the lists and twitter to the right sidebar to bring up the friends panel. Then again, you could always replace the user activity panel on the home page with the friends panel, if you’re logged in and have friends. Anyway, here’s the friends panel, I can see that Caraniel’s watching Freezing. I know there’s only one episode out so far, but it’d be nice to know if she which episode she watched. Plus, I won’t see Freezing on her list again until she either rates it, finishes it, stalls it or drops it.

The comments section works well. I never really use this functionality much, but the one thing that annoys me is the CAPTCHA forms. I’m not sure if this is necessary since you have to be logged in to write a comment. I’ve never seen wall spam to be a problem on MAL, so I can’t imagine the bots would tamper AP any moreso. One thing to note is that the comments field didn’t work on my Android browser. It was the only thing on the site that I noticed didn’t play well with a mobile browser.

Forums

AP’s forum software seems to be separate from it’s main site compared to MAL which is tightly integrated with its forum software. So, I think you have to register a forum account separately from your AP account. I could be wrong. I just logged in using my AP username/password, but I might’ve created a forum account ages ago.

The forum uses vbulletin software, so it’s actually more powerful than MAL’s forum software, it’s just not as tightly integrated, so you don’t see too much crossover. My biggest qualms have to do with the lack of show-specific forums and episode-specific posts, more of a content issue than anything.

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Clubs

I always thought they were a waste of time, but I know Clubs are beloved on MAL. There are none on AP, however. So if you can’t live without Clubs, you’ll have to stay with MAL (unless they end up cutting it all anyway).

Anime Page

image
Clearly much better than MAL's version

The Anime page is well organized. Much better than MAL’s anime page. And unlike MAL’s completely useless tags, AP’s tags work well here and are quite useful. The one thing I’d love to see is a Top Anime button. You can access this by clicking on browse anime by title and then sorting by score… but again, it’s the idea of minimizing the number of clicks for important info.

ap-seto
Multiple show names is messy

Advanced search works well and you’ll be surprised at the number of tags you can filter/search by. I searched for mermaids, 4+ rating, and I got Seto no Hanayome. Damn straight. Unfortunately, you’ll see this often, but all the name variations show up in this list view. If you click on either show it takes you to the same page, but this should be cleaned up.

Characters and People Pages

They’re set up similarly, where you can search/browse by tags, and see favorite characters today, this week and all time, as well as their hated counterparts. It’s nicely done, and better than anything comparative on MAL. The only knock as I mentioned is that many of the characters pages don’t have much info filled out (one of the downsides of relying on original content). One thing I like about the individual characters page is that you can leave comments about a specific character on their info page. It’s something I wished always existed on MAL.

The ratings

The ratings are 5 stars with half star intervals. It’s basically the same as MAL. But between a 10 point scale, or a 5 point scale (with intervals in between), I’d prefer the 10. And if I had my way, I’d rather have a 10 point scale with 1/2 point fractions, so I can rate something an 8.5. But either works fine for me. The only thing as I’ve already mentioned, is I’d want to see the actual numbers pretty much anywhere where the ratings are averaged.

Final decision

I’ve always liked Anime Planet’s design, I just found myself never having a good reason to use it, because:

  • MAL’s listkeeping functionality was better
  • MAL and AniDB were better sources of information
  • MAL’s individual episode forums were more informative and engaging

To be perfectly honest, if MyAnimeList wasn’t dying a painful death, I would’ve been fine with its stagnant functionality and dated design (the site is unusable on a mobile browser because of all the layers and rollovers it uses)… as long as it did its bread and butter well. Unfortunately, now it’s screwing that up too.

Although I had quite a few criticisms of Anime Planet, there’s a lot to like about it. The more I used AP, the more I liked it. It’s fresh, it’s fast, it has a lot of cool features, the founder does a great job connecting with her users and trying to address questions and concerns (the bloggers have been keeping her busy lately, lol), and the site seems to be updated often with new features (whereas MAL seems to be updated sporadically, not with new features, but fixes to try to get the site working.).

If the listkeeper functions were at parity, it’d be a no-brainer for me to switch over to AP as my main listkeeping site and use MAL similar to how I use ANN and AniDB – mostly for informational searches. BUT the missing list features and the general lack of content compared to MAL means that I’ll probably be using both sides concurrently for the near future.

If you’re not a stickler for list details, or you’re just beginning your list, then I think you’d be more than thrilled with AP. It’s a great site. But if the details matter, or if you have a very large list that you’re particular about, you’ll probably end up in the same boat as me. Somewhere between here nor there.

Addendum

I’m a blind idiot about the sticky filter/my watching list link. Thanks to fangzhao for pointing it out. But there’s a big honking “my watching list” button right under your profile image, when you click to go to your list. I still think the filter option should be a persistent preference, but the button saves a click.

46 Replies to “Anime-Planet.com, a worthy replacement for MyAnimeList?”

  1. I signed up for an account when I saw that you were doing so and came to many of the same conclusions.

    I’m HocusDorkus on there and I just tried to edit my name back to my twitter name Denpapopcorn and couldn’t so you can add another functionality that I’d like to see.

    One thing: I don’t exactly enjoy the scrolling but what I did enjoy was the way the characters were broken up. MAL just has main and supporting and bases it off of ANN. Which to me is annoying if I’m say in the ongoing club and I want to nominate Ozu from Tatami Galaxy as a supporting character but MAL lists him as a main character.

    For now I will be like you. Using both. I’m not that good at updating MAL’s list anyway so AP will probably be much the same.

    1. Good point, username change is a feature that’s unique to MAL. I’d forgotten about that.

      MAL just has main and supporting and bases it off of ANN

      Oh, is this how it’s done? I think I remember editing characters in the past, but not seeing any options on changing main/supporting. I guess that makes sense.

      1. I think the Main and Supporting means the MAL users probably just get the information of ANN. I don’t think any MAL admin or whatever actually copies that off.

  2. I really like MAL as I use it often to update what I’ve watched or read or to find new series to indulge into. As for anime planet, I think it could be a suitable replacement to MAL, but the layout seems a bit poor and the design isn’t that great. As regarding MAL’s recent lag, it takes so long for uploading pictures/ submitting reviews/ posting comments/…etc. It seems to also get on the nerves of other MAL fans, but I don’t think MAL has done enough to take care of the problem. They are hypothesizing that by removing clubs, it’ll help speed up the website, but we all know that clubs are a major factor as to why many users stick to MAL, so therefore I believe that deleting clubs is out of the question. Perhaps they should start using a “www.” format and ask for donations to run the servers. Due to the large userbase, I’m sure the donations will meet the requirements very quickly for each month. As for me, I think I’m going to stick with MAL until the slow speed gets utterly unbearable. Anime-planet will have to wait as it’ll probably be my “last resort”. Anyways, thanks for another detailed article and it was a really great comparison between the two websites!!!

    1. Yeah, Xinil made that post back on 12/20. There was a quick and clear response that the community was fine without private messages, but iffy on losing the clubs. But I wonder why there haven’t been any updates since then.

      If MAL was a private site, I’d have no problem donating. But seeing that they were bought out by Crave, I now consider them a business. So I don’t think donating is an acceptable solution. Crave should either provide the necessary financial support, or they should decide to charge for their product, if they can’t do so. Basically, they need to operate like a business. But it just boggles my mind that they would let their product just fester and die for weeks. It’s a completely different scenario, but imagine if Twitter or Facebook was dysfunctional for weeks at a time? It’s just unfathomable.

      1. Oh? I didn’t know that MAL was officially a business! In that case, donations are unacceptable! Perhaps they should start promoting stuff/ include a bit ads or at least something that generates a bit of revenue to power the servers. I can’t believe that the company would miss out on using MAL, which has a great $$$ earning potential. Kinda stupid move I’d have to say. Lol I forgot about the private messages. I don’t think they are a big issue to MAL’s speed. Afterall, I’m sure most people don’t use the private messaging and opt to use commenting instead.

        1. They do have a lot of ads. You need to turn off your adblock and start clicking on them. 😛

          Actually, my guess is that sites like MAL aren’t really great for $ earning potential. You might be able to pay your bills and possibly make a little side money, but the target market for broke 14-25 year olds is not ripe for the fortune-making. 🙂

          Yeah, I don’t think anyone uses the private messaging. According to Xinil, killing one and/or both private messages and clubs would supposedly fix the problem.

          1. Yeah my adblock is just too 1337 😛

            Hmmm…I think all they have to do is hire some Econ or Business major and ask them to find a way to stimulate the market lol. Perhaps MAL should start selling merchandise? I wonder who’d buy that but judging by your prediction of the user’s age range, I doubt they’ll spend the dough. Perhaps they should start steaming licensed anime for low $$$ like crunchyroll? Maybe that seems like the only way to solve their financial problems, but I think when that happens, people will start to desert.

            WHY DOESN’T XINIL JUST DO IT? HAS HE NEVER SEEN A NIKE COMMERICAL???!!! lol….I don’t want to migrate from MAL, but uber lag is just too unbearable.

            Speaking of uber lag, I noticed that adding and changing stuff to your manga and anime lists aren’t actually delayed at all what so ever. The only issue I think with the lag is uploading pictures, reviews, and comments…I’m not sure if that has anything special to it or…?

  3. Wow, that was a long post. You touched on a lot of things I’ve found troubling with A-P, namely: too little information and… well, too little information. A-P is like a mini version of the Encyclopedia Britannica to MAL’s Wikipedia. The information on MAL is hit-or-miss, but there’s a huge amount of it. A-P has much less information, given that 3-4 episode barrier and (I assume) a more rigid method of getting information up.

    I never really cared that much about MAL’s actual list feature. It was useful, but it’s not really necessary to polish up and beautify the list page. A-P’s simple list fits what I want, without me having to find a decent background and modify my list width and stuff.

    However, I’ll point out that while you mentioned the relative uselessness of the “my fav genres” filter, there’s a more glaring omission: where’s the “watched” filter? Now I know you can click on “status” to sort a list so that “watched” comes up first, but it’s still very troubling to me. I like how A-P has a large “my watching list” button, though. It’s ridiculously handy.

    1. I feel the same, as I just use MAL for information. I’ll wait to see if competitors like A-P can get enough of an audience to adequately fill in information and then see whether the load breaks their site too.

    2. I remember MAL being sort of sporadic with info in the earlier days. It helps a lot once you start building up that userbase and they start submitting stuff, network effects and all.

      You can actually get to the watched filter by clicking on the show filters button. That actually opens up a lot of options.

      My watching list? Doh! I completely overlooked that. Right in front of my face. Whoops.

  4. Hey RP,
    This is donutsonfire from above ^^^^^^^, but I was wondering if it’s possible to become a writer rabbitpoets? I see there are multiple writers, but as much as I love reading your articles, I’d also like to contribute a bit. Any ideas?

  5. Another quirk I found with A-P is that they have reviews on the anime pages, official and user submitted, that I like except for the fact they are rated out of 10 and use decimal points like 6.5 or 8.7, which is of course completely different from the stars system the site usually uses. This theme of lack of cohesion is pervasive.

    I guess what’s really appealing about A-P is that sothis at least seems up to the task of site improvement, taking suggestions well, implementing the most important features and hopefully learning from MAL’s mistakes. Things are looking up for A-P while MAL is on the downturn, which is all we have to hang our hats on right now.

    1. That review thing really bothered me too. I see no reason why reviews should have a complete decimal system as opposed to MAL’s 0.5 intervals (somewhat equivalent to the star system) or simply the regular A-P 5-star rating system.

      Plus I don’t see any advantage to having official reviews in addition to user-submitted reviews. Of course, the former are almost always more coherent, but should they be given their own section and thus weighted more? I don’t think so. I’m not a big fan of MAL’s review-rating system (which is a good idea, but terribly flawed in practice), but at least MAL has a better balance of “all reviews are equal” vs. “some reviews are better.”

      1. @fangzhao Re: official reviews, I guess that depends on what AP wants to be. If they want to be a content provider, a media company type, sort of like gamespot, for example, then I think the official reviews make sense. But if that’s the case, you probably want to be able to review a large percentage of the anime on the site. Otherwise, you just see the “no official reviews” message everywhere which just takes up necessary screen space. But writing all those reviews… that’s a lot of work.

        I think MAL’s review rating system is broken because a lot of the users are retarded. I never understood why anyone would bother writing a review of a show after watching one episode. I know that gets them “airtime” or whatever by being the first review shown, but it ultimately gets voted into oblivion.

        1. I say you let sites like The Nihon Review take care of that stuff. It’s pretty hard to put the ideas of community reviews and official reviews together.

          “No official reviews” is nothing compared to the picture-less crowd of anime on the site. I don’t understand why so many anime don’t have pictures or even synopses – and I’m not talking about currently airing anime under 3-4 episodes. MAL at least has some information on relatively unknown titles, whereas A-P doesn’t even give a picture. Bah.

          Most of the reviews are MAL are hilariously bad. And then there’s that one group of reviewers that get their reviews boosted to the top because they’re long, essay-like, and don’t give any useful information… and because they’re written by a well-known reviewer.

    2. @Kaidian Good observation on the reviews. I noticed that and knew something was a little off there.

      Yeah, I think the best part is seeing sothis respond to people. You may never get exactly what you want, but it’s just great to know that someone’s listening and continuously working on stuff.

  6. Hehe, in my comment in your earlier post I refrained from specifically mentioning the fansub info feature that MAL has due to not knowing how strict you are about those things on your blog and now you blogged about it 🙂 AniDB also has it, and in most cases provides better info, though it’s somewhat harder to navigate.

    Very good post, you showed each website’s advantage accurately and summed it up nicely. Like I said, I ran out of patience for both — their annoyances were starting to really get on my nerves. There is still nothing stopping me from using them as encyclopedias lol, it will be fun to see how my stats have changed if I decide to come back after a while in case the situation changes substantially.

    1. AniDB’s fansub list is nice and complete. I like it too. It’s just so buried. And it doesn’t seem like they rank the groups by the votes they get, so a lot of the time, the best fansub group might be hidden on the fansub page which you have to click to get to.

  7. You can edit what your opening panel looks like in MAL. I did that to allow more room for friend updates. However judging from your review of the sites, I think I prefer the way Anime Planet does it, even telling you what the people rated it.

    The forums on MAL I read more out of habit than anything and honestly I’d prefer to be kept away from them. Reading them is depressing more often than not. So I wouldn’t miss that part.

    When it comes to info, MAL can be frequently missing information or be just plain wrong. Trust me, writing retro season previews has led me to realising how much info is wrong on MAL. For any information, ANN reigns king. It’s not quite as user-friendly, but it’s stupid to use any other site. The only difference is characters aren’t seen as important on ANN but it seems AP does that as well as MAL does.

    For fansubs, I more read those pages on MAL for lulz than anything else. Someone said earlier in the comments that anidb is better than that. I’d say just stick to whatever BakaBT tells you to download.

    My main reason for using MAL, apart from the obvious listing thing, is the friends feature. It allows me to see on any anime page what all my friends rated the anime (go to any anime page, clicks stats and scroll down to see all your friends entries). The problem is that if everyone leaves MAL, that part loses it’s usefullness.

    1. Ah, you’re just to cynical about the MAL forums. Sure there’s idiots, but I’ve found some useful info there. And sometimes, let’s say after watching the 6th episode of Mushishi back-to-back-to-back, you just want to read the comments to get some affirmation that the episode really was that awesome.

      MAL’s info is frequently wrong, because they don’t moderate it well. The quality could be better if they actually read the submissions instead of rubber stamping everything. But agreed, ANN is usually the best source of info, with AniDB a close second.

      I don’t usually read the fansub comments, because they’re mostly troll comments, but the voting patterns are useful. BakaBT is a great resource… if the anime isn’t licensed. If it is, you won’t find it on there. Case in point, Mushishi, which you wont find on Baka. So I went to MAL, saw that nizt was the best ranking fansub group and used that to ground my search.

      That’s a good point about the friends rating feature, would love to see that on AP. I’d also love to see the user similarity scores on AP. I’ve seen it there a couple times, but it seems to be buried, because I can’t find it consistently. Plus, I didn’t get the sense that the algorithm was as accurate as MAL’s. But the friends thing… it’s sort of the rub of any of these social sites. You gotta start somewhere. Somewhere out there there’s a aniblogger who was the first to jump on twitter. I wonder what happened to that guy.

      1. Fair point about BakaBT. Although if it’s licensed, you’re kinda supposed to buy it. And you don’t even have the same excuse I have that it’s not licensed where I live!

        lol paying for anime 😉

  8. Interesting stuff. We are considering creating an alternative site to MAL, animeplanet, etc, and reading the comments above was quite informative as to what people want to see. On a side note, I’ve tried to find a contact mail, but didn’t, so posting this here in a comment:
    we (a small Swiss startup called Regios – yes thats from Koukaku no Regios :)) just made an experimental fansub torrent tracking/monitoring site called myanime.me. As fellow anime fans, you guys might be interested in a tool like this, since we have some features that are quite convenient for people watching fansubs – a personalized display of the newest releases, many filtering options, automatic extensive data extraction for every new fansub, automatic screenshots for every ep, subtitles auto-translated into 15 languages, a configurable external Javascript widget for integration in blogs, etc. All 100% free and noncommercial, of course.

    It would be great if you could take a look at it, and tell us if anything’s useful to you, and whether you would like to see some other features. The site is currently in a closed beta, so no guarantees that everything works 🙂

    Thanks~

    1. Pretty interesting. So how would you say you’re different from a nyaatorrents?

      And how do you auto-translate subtitles? That seems like it would be… impossible. Unless you have the rosetta stone or something.

    2. Well, there’s always Google translate…

      Anyhow, that site looks a hell of a lot better than TokyoTosho and NyaaTorrents (always hated that stupid miku up top). I like the amount of information given for each torrent, both in the total torrents page and on the individual torrent page. The option to search by resolution and filetype is great, but I see a potential problem already: most of the torrents are listed as “Resolution: unknown,” and I’m not sure if this is because of problems on the fansubbing side or what. Also, a 1080p option would be good too.

      However, I’m wondering why there is no search bar. Also, the drop-down menus for series and subbers are too inconvenient. Especially the subber one, since there are so many sub groups that the menu only goes up to BSS for me and then cuts off.

      1. But Google Translate sense no make sentences keikaku just as.

        I bet resolution information is submitted (or supposed to be) by the fansub groups.

  9. I have used the site back in August of last year and it seemed promising. While lacking some features, it’s quality over quantity. I would use A-P more if There is an API so I can convert one of my existing programs to automatically update my list. Certainly the owner of a-p said that an API is on the horizon, so I’ll play it by ear.

    My main llisting service is still melative since I hate MyAnimeList. Once a-p opens it’s Apis, I will halt development of MAL programs and work from there.

      1. For the Mac at least… Since I developed a program for MAL, I have to say it’s very painful to even use the Unofficial MAL APIs just to get it working. Sometimes, the Unofficial API becomes buggy, so it gives me more headaches.

        Of course, the APIs won’t solve the slow updating… it’s the sites fault…

  10. As of now I’m using MAL, but I suppose we’ll see how it goes in the…probably upcoming year, and I’ll make a decision. I do keep my own records on my computer, so there is that, regardless.

  11. MAL is pretty awful. The stats and info are great, but the lag is atrocious. If MAL is gets so clogged up with bugs that it becomes completely unusable (which sometimes like today it feels taht way), I may eventually jump to AP for good.

  12. I’ve been using MAL for the last few months, but I recently jumped on the AP bandwagon when a bunch of friends on Twitter were talking about it. The slow update time on MAL also prompted me to check out AP.

    Like you, I use MAL for some very basic things: to track anime I watch and to get info on anime. Thus, the list is the most, and possibly only, important thing for me. AP’s list is pretty annoying to filter and stuff… so yea.

    Anyway, great comparison. I never knew both sites had so many other features besides their lists. Time to check them all out. ^ ^

    1. After using it for like a couple weeks now, I’m sort of getting used to AP. I’m still doubling my listkeeping on both sites and I still use MAL first to look up things, but I’m getting a little more comfortable with the idea of not using MAL as much. Plus, it seems like AP has some cool new features on the way.

  13. “If you click on either show it takes you to the same page, but this should be cleaned up.” I completely disagree on your synopsis in this regard as most of the other feature issues are either not a problem for me or I never use. My reasoning behind me saying “You are wrong on this point.”, is simply that there are series that I know by name in english and would search for those by that name first. And, then there are those series that I have only ever known by their proper and original name from their country of origin, usually japanese. In either case you could be left confused as to why something is not showing up with results as a new comer to the site or a new comer as an anime viewer. By leaving these with both the original name and the english translation it also adds a feel for the serious anime watcher who is interested in the details like originial name of show, character, voice actress and so forth. It seems to be less designed for the trendy socialite with a hobby and more for the individual with a commited hobby who would like to socialize on the topic. Not nitpicking

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