I have a long history with MyAnimeList. I first joined the site over a decade ago when I needed some place to track all the shows I watch. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a decent list of over 600 completed shows with about 100 shows in my Plan-to-Watch list. This amount of shows and the prospect of moving all that info somewhere else was what kept me on the site for so long, but it was 2018 when I slowly began looking at alternatives. That year, MyAnimeList had several days of maintenance period to implement features to comply with the European Union’s GDPR program. There were other speculations concerning privacy and security as some users reported getting an email from MyAnimeList staff to change their password .
In July of this year, the site experienced several serious outages lasting several minutes to several hours and making the whole site unavailable. Their previous effort to make site quicker backfired, and due the sheer amount of requests made on the server, it simply overloaded and shut out the users. And that was the final imaginable nail in the coffin, where I started truly looking for alternatives. There were few options but, for features I’ll get to later in the article, I chose AniList.
The first step was to create my account on AniList. What should’ve been a simple process of creating an account was stopped multiple times by my mail server spam filter that didn’t even let the verification email through and never showed it in my inbox nor the spam folder. Finally, I gave up on registering under my usual email address, proceeded with Gmail and behold, the account was created.
The next step was to port my anime and manga lists over to AniList. Luckily, there are build in options which simplify the process. If you are logged into your MyAnimeList, go to this link: https://myanimelist.net/panel.php?go=export. Here you can export your lists. Each will be one xml file packed as a tar.gz archive. Before importing the list to AniList, you need to unpack the files to get the raw xml files. Now if you go to your AniList account and choose the Import List setting, it allows you to drag and drop your anime and manga exports from MyAnimeList. With this, you are good to start using AniList.
One more note on the import list topic before we move on: some of your entries might not import (happened for 15 out of 800 entries for me), quoting Josh (one of admins on AniList) on this topic:
The missing imports are sent to mods to check but even if they do add any missing shows they won’t get added to your list. There’s a good chance most of the things missing from the import are due to differences in the way we handle anime/manga data compared to MyAnimeList so won’t get added regardless. (e.g. we don’t have summary anime at all tho MyAnimeList does so those won’t be imported)
I already touched upon one point, why I choose AniList. The exporting process from MyAnimeList and importing the lists to AniList is straightforward and easy, you are spared re-entering all your anime and manga entries. The other reasons lie in the site’s design and numerous features. I’m still new to the site (at the time of writing this article, I’ve been using it for two weeks), but the clean design of the site makes it really easy to navigate.
What really sets AniList apart from other anime tracking sites is its social aspects. Your homepage has a timeline where your recent activity is shared and where you can write your thoughts and statuses for other users to see. In a sense, it’s similar to a Facebook timeline or Twitter. If you have a problem with coming out as an otaku in your social circle, you can find like minded people via this feature and enjoy discussions online.
I won’t go much into details about the anime and manga lists. It’s the base function of the site, after all. What surprised me are stats that AniList provides in your profile. You have basic stats like episodes watched, days spent, mean score and score deviation, but you have more detailed stats as well.
If you are interested in stats about your genre, tags, voice actors, studio, or staff preference, you’re in luck Each category can be sorted by the time spent watching, score, or count of entries on your lists. It gives you pretty decent insight into your preferences, and I might tackle these stats on my lists as a separate article someday .
If this is not enough for you, I still have two simple features as aces up my sleeves. The first is the option to select a scoring system. You can select from several predefined scoring systems like a 5-star rating, 10-point scale (with or without decimal point), or even a 100-point scale. It’s a nice touch if you are not sure whether to give a show a seven or eight.
The last feature is essential for seasonal anime watchers. If you try to keep up with multiple shows each season like yours truly, it might be difficult to keep track of when all the shows air. The solution is integration between AniList and AniChart. If you are planning what you will be watching in the new season on AniChart, you can easily add it straight to your AniList, and then on your homepage you’ll see what shows you’re behind on and when the next episode of the shows you’re watching will air.
AniList, as with many other sites, uses an ad-based model and donations for financial support. No features are held behind the paywall, though. You might get stat refreshes quicker and more stat cards if you support the site on Patreon or donate via Paypal, but even as a free user you have still access to the full suite of features.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’ve become quite a fan of AniList. You can leave a comment with the service you are using for your anime and manga tracking. And if by any chance you are using AniList as well, find me there and we can discuss our thoughts on currently airing anime there and why Tonikaku Kawaii is this season’s best and cutest anime.
Until next time, see ya!