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So I see an image that I believe is from either an anime or a manga. What are some ways that I can go about finding what series it's from?

Try these options:

  1. Google reverse image search (browser built-in support and plugins)
  2. Other reverse image search engines: TinEye, SauceNao, iqdb
  3. Search engine tailored to searching anime by screenshots
  4. Search for an anime or manga character
  5. Technique: Cropping the image
  6. Animated GIF: Picking the right frame

Note: Please note that as of May 9, 2016, ALL questions are now off-topic. Therefore, you can't ask an identification request question on this site.

However, such questions are still welcome in our main chat for users with at least 20 rep (globally on StackExchange).


Protip: If you are using Google Image Search in a non-English language, change your language to English or just use Google NCR for better, more accurate results.

migrated from meta.anime.stackexchange.com May 18 '15 at 14:32

This question came from our discussion, support, and feature requests site for anime and manga fans.

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    Also if the image has a border, it might not be recognized correctly right off the bat. You could try cropping the desired part using MS paint and googling that. – Hakase Jan 1 '14 at 16:02
  • There's a similar issue with GIFs - when you reverse search from a gif, Google seems to "freeze" the GIF to the frame it was on when you ran the search (at least in Chrome - not sure how it works elsewhere) so you may need to "time" the search properly. – Maroon Apr 2 '14 at 19:14
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Google reverse image search

Chrome for desktop

Let's say you saw an interesting image online and you want to identify the anime it's from. To do this, you'll have to:

  1. Right-click on the image.
  2. Click "Search Google for this image".

    and here it is:

    Like magic


Using another desktop browser

Note: If you are using Firefox, you can download the Search By Image (by Google) plugin and search for images like when using Chrome. If you use a Chromium based browser (like Opera), you can download the same extension from Chrome Web Store.

To search for images on browsers other than Chrome, you'll have to:

  1. Go to Google image search.
  2. Press the camera button.
  3. Paste the image URL, or upload a file from your computer.

google image search screenshot


Using Chrome for mobile

Just press and hold the image and click "Search Google for this image".


Using another mobile browser

Switch your browser to desktop mode, and then follow the steps in Using another desktop browser.

  • What about other reverse image search engines? Like tineye, iqdb and sauceNao. I have used Tineye quite often myself and it's not too bad. I only heard about iqdb and sauceNao today at this SE, so not sure what they are worth, but they helped solve on of the identification problems. – Peter Raeves Jun 16 '14 at 0:37
  • Also in the first title it says "Using Chrome for Desktop", shouldn't that be Desktop Browser instead? – Peter Raeves Jun 16 '14 at 0:38
  • @PeterRaeves Regarding the other reverse image search engines, they can be better or worse depending on the image. But the main purpose of this guide is to help people answering the simplest image-based ID requests for which any of these will suffice. If they try any one of them before asking us, most of the remaining ones will at least not be trivial to identify. For that purpose, Google is the best simply because it's the easiest to use. If you want to add a short section at the end on other options though, I think that wouldn't hurt anything. – Logan M Aug 19 '14 at 4:03
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Search parts of a larger picture

Sometimes you find a huge image, or an image consisting of several characters whom you want to identify. In that case, you will first need to crop the image for the search to work correctly.

Cropping the image

First you will need to crop the image. For example, let us use this picture from DeviantArt:

enter image description here

Suppose we want to find out who the top right character is, and from which anime he is. First, you need to single his picture out. You can do so by importing the picture into a picture editor such as Paint or Photoshop, or an external screenshot device such as Gyazo.

After cropping the image you should have a picture similar to this:

Having the cropped the image, you can follow almousawi's guide to reverse image search it.

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This can also be done with GIFs. Some GIFs on the internet do not have much movement, and it's usually safe to run those through the reverse image search without more extra work.

However, other GIFs involve a lot more motion, and so it can be trickier (particularly since some of the frames can be useless). This can sometimes be done by "timing" the search right (by clicking just before the right frame) and trying a different points in the GIF, but this isn't very efficient, particularly since it can be hard to get the timing right.

A better tactic is to first break down the GIF into all its frames and search some of the more promising ones. There are a number of websites where this can be done, such as gif-explode. We can then run a couple individual reverse image searches, and some frames might work better than others.

Demo

For example, this GIF does very poorly at certain frames, yet as I stated in my answer in this question, some of the frames do work.

Sample GIF

Running this through gif-explode, I get the GIF broken down into its frames. (Click on the image to get bigger picture.)

Frames of the GIF

I pick a couple of frames and run them through Google Reverse Image Search, and the frame boxed in red gives me the very useful result of illya archer, and some links to the Fate series.

Search result sample

Meanwhile, other frames in this GIF give me no result, so it can take a couple of tries.

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Other reverse image search engines

Aside from Google, there also exist TinEye, SauceNao and iqdb.

You can either go to these links and upload your image for search, or if you want to search an image that is already published on the internet, copy the following links into your browser's address bar and add the image link at the end of it.

http://tineye.com/search?url=    
http://saucenao.com/search.php?url=    
http://iqdb.org/?url=

TinEye shows better search results than other engines for images that look like screenshots from anime tv series and gifs from social networks and blogs.

SauceNao and iqdb are usually better for searching original artwork that does not come from anime movies, series or manga.

Caution: sometimes search results contain NSFW images, especially for very low quality images.

If unsure, use all reverse image search engines listed on this page until you find your source.

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    Note: I'm unfamiliar with TinEye and SauceNao, but IQDB can contain NSFW results without much warning (although it's probably possible to turn those off somewhere). – Maroon Aug 19 '15 at 16:18
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    SauceNao used to return NSFW images at seeming random as well; dunno if it still does. TinEye is more like Google Images in that it veers family-friendly. – senshin Aug 19 '15 at 23:00
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I have developed a reverse search engine tailored for searching anime by screenshots.

Try this yourselves at https://whatanime.ga.

You may also search by right clicking any image after installing the chrome extension.

Demo screenshot:

Demo Screenshot

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Searching Anime Character Database

Sometimes you don't get results from an image search(Fan Art, Cosplay etc.) or you just remember the character but don't have any images.

You can search in the Anime Character Database for the physical traits of the character.

For example let me use the image from Dimitri mx's answer (sorry, but I couldn't think of an example image), taken from DeviantArt:

Suppose we want to know the second character in the last row.

We note that she seems to be female, has white hair (length we can't say for sure), blue eyes, and looks to be a teen or child.

Now go to the Anime Character Database Search, enter the traits and press search.

There she is, as the first result

Clicking on the result will give further details about her like the anime in which she has appeared, etc.

You can also use tags like Armor, Hair Ribbons, etc.

Note: You can use filter to show safe images only, questionable only or everything.

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