I have been frustrated with the terrible anime options on Netflix in Korean. Crunchyroll also has very limited options here, and their simul-cast is incredibly disappointed. During Comic Con I was introduced to the service Laftel, which seems to be the answer to my prayers! I aim to review the service on this post:
Laftel is a little bit like Netflix, in the sense that they want to provide their users with content suited for them specifically. On Netflix, if what you watch the most are romantic comedies, then that’s what you will see on the home page and that’s what will be mostly recommended to you. Similarly in Laftel, if the thing you watch the most is shojo anime then that is what you will encounter the most. What’s unique about Laftel is that they they also offer this for manga, webtoon, and light novels, and they have a quiz to determine your preferences.
Let’s do it!
I would say I mostly watch shonen, seinen, dark stuff when it comes to anime. If I’m not watching Hunter x Hunter then I’m watching something like Serial Experiments Lain. I enjoy the adventure titles like Fate from time to time, but I would say Shonen is my number 1.
To do the quiz you will go here:
Right away on the home screen you will see a button inviting you to take the quiz.
You have to register to do this, and you can do so with their account, Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.
The first page asks which type of media you like. The options are Animation for TV, Animation for Movies, Webtoons, Manga, and Web Comics.
Next they ask for you gender and birth year. You can choose man, woman, or other!
Next you get to rate anime titles. You have to do at least ten and you can choose up to 5 stars. I think this is a good method to really get to analyze how much you like a specific genre. Try to fill as much as you can so they can give you the most accurate recommendation.
Finally they ask you If there are things you don’t like. There are many many options ranging from harem, virgins, BL, etc. I was surprised by how detailed this list was…
The first title I was recommended was “Haven’t you heard, I’m Sakamoto” – which, no, I had never heard of. Then Beyond the Boundary, which I have always been meaning to watch, Diamond Ace, which I have also been meaning to watch, Psycho-Pass, Hellsing, and others. Overall…they are titles I have been meaning to watch so it seems like the quiz did a good job!
They also provide you with a full on official report of your results, which I thought was really really fun!
According to my results, I like Mecha anime the most (I do?) and then Magical girl (I do). They also said my favorite authors included Isayama Hajime, and Yoshihiro Togashi, and my favorite studio is Madhouse! Then they determined that the type of media I like the most is Anime, which is very accurate.
Then they showed the top 5 shows that describe my “life story”, or my tastes, and they are literally all of the Garden of Sinners episodes and then the first Evangelion movie…am I that angsty?
The engine will keep analyzing the things you watch and evolve your recommendations through it.
Ok, now that we are done with that…how does it actually work?
Laftel works through either monthly subscriptions or tokens. You can either buy a subscription to get unlimited access, or you can buy token to watch separate episodes. This is popular in some platforms in Korea. The first that comes to mind is the webtoon platform Lehzin where you pay for each chapter individually.
According to the wbesite, they have 3million users a month, which is huge! Honestly for legal streaming services available in Korea that I’ve seen, they definitely have the absolute best selection, and the fact that you can couple it with manga, webtoons, and light novels is amazing!
You can search by individual titles, genres, and shows that are being aired right now! They are currently airing things like Attack on Titan, Free!, Cells at Work, and more.
They also offer shows dubbed in Korean. If you are like me, this might be a super helpful tool to keep practicing your Korean.
There is no download option, but they do have a screenshot option while you are watching that is quite unique and interesting.
The plans are as follows:
3 months for 29,700 won – Access to 16,000 titles (with some exceptions)
1 month for 9,000 won – Access to 16,000 titles
You can also pay by points If you don’t want to buy a subscription, or you can pay for each individual episode. One episode is 600 won.
Also keep in mind that you will have to verify your phone number if you want to watch titles that are 19+.
Ok but…do they even have English?
A big miss of Netflix in Korea is that most of their titles don’t have English subtitles, so I understand why people look for alternatives in illegal streaming. Unfortunately currently, Laftel only offers its services in Korean. If you are good at reading Korean, their subtitles are excellent, and it’s been a useful way for me to keep practicing.
It seems that at some point Laftel did have plans to create an international platform, as they also offer the full episodes of a Boy’s Love Korean anime called Hyperventilation, and I also found a twitter account for Laftel international. However, these haven’t been updated in a long time, so it’s likely the project was dropped, so maybe in the future we will see this again? I will definitely keep up to date to see what’s going on. Also, the titles in the international page cannot be watched in Korea, and you are redirected to the Korean page.
I hope this review was a little useful to someone and will encourage you to check out the platform! I am super excited to see how it evolves and check out some of their original titles, which I talked about here.
Are you gonna check out Laftel? Are there any streaming services in Korea that you prefer?
Let me know!