Last updated: April 20, 2021.
Digital drama CD releases are slowly and steadily coming into the spotlight as well as doujin/independent creators releasing exclusively on certain sites, putting them alongside commercial titles as well.
The following websites/online stores or shops may contain explicit content that is only suitable for those 18+ and above.
All links are first linked to the otome/women-oriented releases and others, after.
- DLsite (Doujin/Independent releases) *Affiliate link
- PokeDora / PokeDora R (NSFW)
- sankaku VoiceShop (formerly EM2’s official store for their drama CD imprint, sankaku)
- BOOTH (Pixiv) Links directly to audio dramas that are available on digital, there is no filter for otome/women-oriented so the results will be mixed.
- mora (region-restricted), also has high-res releases.
- Audible (varied categories, read more below)
- Rejet Archive
- Spotify (spotty catalogue, read more below)
Let me get to the specifics!
DLsite is probably the most established website on this list. They have been one of the places where independent/doujin works are released and are accessible even outside Japan, plus they have an English version of their site.
Purchases are available either as
- Downloadable files
- Streamed while logged in on a browser (they call this DLsite Play). You can stream your purchases anywhere (PC, smartphone or tablet devices) which serves as a protection for creators and publishers from being copied and reproduced elsewhere.
A good variety of publishing imprints known for their otome/women-oriented releases have made their backlist (some of them exclusively) available at DLsite, such as Ninoya, Stellaworth, Hituzigumo, canaria record, Davril Moon and more.
The banner below takes you directly to Girls Maniax, the women’s oriented section of DLsite. (Affiliate link)
PokeDora has been around for more than a while now and with them taking on more exclusive releases as well as including either Animate or the publisher’s online store bonus track with the releases is making them a popular choice too.
They have two sections of the website, one has all-ages and BL content and the other, PokeDora R, their rated section. They also carry exclusives and independent releases of varying lengths.
Purchases are made with the use of coins that can be bought in selected amounts or a monthly payment where the points will be credited to your account.
You can buy single tracks before committing to a title or a series or even buy the full album (which is cheaper, overall).
Get 500 additional points on your first 1000yen purchase (excluding tax) by clicking on this link BEFORE checking out your cart. It will register your account for the campaign. Otherwise you won’t receive those additional points.
DraFan, otherwise Drama CD Fan is a website that I found recently. To browse their offerings, you have to sign up for an account.
The releases available now are all 18+ CDs such as series, Sora wa Sasayaka na Koi no Hajimari, Kare to Soine de shitai koto Zenbu and myButler. I believe that is not the full line-up is available and expect that to change as it goes.
The CDs are only available as an entire album than single tracks.
The only payment method available is via credit card, no coin/point system which can be a good thing. Not too sure if it’ll work overseas so keep that in mind.
(If anyone has tried them, let me know if it does or doesn’t!)
HappiDra is also another website that sells drama CDs and situation CDs in digital form. They also have a clear guide to help you understand what each genre is about and how the listener is factored into it. (I’ll make a post about their guide, I think it’s pretty cool xD)
The available titles for purchase are available for browsing without an account.
You can pay via credit card (Visa, Mastercard) or even WebMoney, Net Cash and BitCash.
HappiDra purchases are only available to stream via your smartphone browser, particularly Chrome, according to their support article dated back in 2017.
They announced in April 2020 that there won’t be any new additions to the website due to a change in management. However their content are still up for purchases and your library will be unscathed.
sankaku VoiceShop, EM2’s online store carries several series (most probably their own) such as Anata wo Misshitsu de Torishirabe, Chime Out, BBB Traplip and more.
There is a choice for you to purchase a physical or digital copy of the releases, the digital would be slightly cheaper. The site also requires you to register an account before checkout. You can also use your Twitter or Facebook account to log in.
The first series I mentioned has a stellar cast of Maeno Tomoaki, Tsuda Kenjirou, Inoue Kazuhiko and more. It sounds like a really interesting premise and especially for an all-ages series.
Audio samples only work on the smartphone version of the website. Not sure about payment methods as I didn’t make an account. If anyone is using this website, feel free to let me know what it’s like!
This store also doesn’t carry any mature content so it’s SFW.
BOOTH, pixiv’s online store system where creators can sell their work in any form, physical and digital easily so no fuss, no muss.
I didn’t realise it sooner but there are independent or lesser-known groups releasing their audio drama on BOOTH. Not as much otome or women-oriented releases compared to other retailers.
Since there isn’t a way to filter out content that is made for the otome audience, you can use the following keywords instead or tinker with the filers as creators tag their works differently.
If there are any physical copies that you would like to buy, you can always sign up for a Japanese forwarding address and use that to have them forward the item(s) because BOOTH accepts overseas credit cards as well as PayPal.
According to an April 26, 2021 announcement, they are able to process transactions with overseas credit cards again after a year and four months downtime (since Jan 2020).
The Love on Ride series is available in 320kbps AAC and hi-res audio (FLAC) files.
There are about four otome drama/situation CD series available on mora:
Nippon Columbia’s drama CD series, Otona Gentei
Himitsu no CD, 1 volume – featuring Nakai Kazuya, Matsuoka Yoshitsugu in secretive situations.
Otogame no CD, 3 volumes – featuring double voice actors in each volume where they would rebuke you or something that you’ve done (AKA scolding but not in that strong fashion)
Kanbyou CD, 3 volumes – also a double feature where the character(s) would be taking care of you while you’re unwell
It’s where you can spend your time with a fictional boyfriend while waiting for the train, bus or anything else, as well as some romance, spun into each volume.
Imagine those whispers and dummy head mic recordings with noise-cancelling headphones that could play hi-res audio? ;’)
They also have drama tracks from Hypnosis Mic, Tsukiuta, Kiraboshi Tune and ARGONAVIS from BanG Dream! which is a boon as drama tracks are usually not
Audible is another unexpected find.
If one looks beyond the light novel, BL, seiyuu category, there are plenty of other audio work (narrations, all-cast adaptations of popular stories) available that are voiced by well-known Japanese voice actors.
The list is not comprehensive but to give an idea of what content they have there. Would be otome/Japanese VA-centric of course.
Otome no Donna Nayami mo 100% Kaiketsu! – a series where the characters would advise or soothe your worries. Features Saitou Souma, Aoi Shouta and Maeno Tomoaki. Aoi Shouta’s character has two different volumes. Individual tracks are also available. Originally released as a magazine bonus for Shogakukan’s Cheese! in 2018.
Imasugu Shokan! Tsundere Kareshi series – each volume features a male character who has been summoned to you, the listener from various settings.
Hitori Shibai Lovers Only series – features a romance with each character by a different voice actor.
Other content of interest would be:
Drama CDs from
Saint Beast series (9 volumes)
Shounen Onmyouji (6 volumes, the remaining 3 isn’t available at the time of writing)
Meisaku Bungaku (Warai) (4 volumes)
Momogre, otherwise known as Momo and Grapes, known for their all-male voice cast even when it comes to women characters :’D
I cannot be sure of how many releases from their catalogue is available on Audible but I may or may not make a list of it in the not so distant future. (Nudge me if you like this, I’ll consider bumping it up on my imaginary list :3)
Bonus! Rejet has established a Youtube channel where they upload older releases of their drama CDs and there are already several series, Diabolik Lovers, Shinsengumi Mokuhiroku Wasurenagusa, Soubou Sangokushi and Seventh Heaven.
You can read their statement about Rejet Archive.
Audiobook.jp is an online audiobook retailer in Japan and they also carry some drama and situation CDs.
A quick search of both terms yielded some results like Chara-Ani’s Watashi no Shitsuji series, Otome on Nayami wa 100% Kaiketsu for all-ages while 18+ content include the Inma series, Kannou Jikan series, Libre Publishing’s Yomei Kareshi series. Other content like narrated audiobooks and drama CDs from Ys, The Legend of Heroes: Trails series, Bungou and Alchemist and etc.
They have a variety of categories which include BL, TL (Teens Love) and Romance (lumped into one, yes).
While not applicable for drama/situationa CDs, Audiobook.jp also have a ‘listen all you want’ unlimited plan which has a 30-day free trial and it’s 750yen a month after that. Cancel at anytime. They also have a monthly point subscription which gives you additional points for a price.
A review highlighted on their website says they’re good for new releases and books about business.
Kikubon didn’t have any otome drama CD content but I did see a Kikubon Gakidan Nanairo radio drama voiced by well-known male voice actors.
Some non-otome yet noteworthy mentions: Arslan Senki’s novels are available on audio by a single narrator, Legend of the Galatic Heroes are entirely narrated by the animated series cast and Komae Ryou’s Sanada Jyuu Yuushi (Sanada Ten Braves) performed by an original cast consisting of Hatano Wataru, Nishiyama Koutarou and more.
Spotify seems to be a mixed bag but if you listen on desktop or tablet for free, you can choose your tracks otherwise it’ll be shuffled, ahaha…
I’ve seen Yumoriseki (癒守石), Love on Ride (not the entire series), Miracle Train (1 volume by Okamoto Nobuhiko, Kakihara’s volume only on Spotify Japan, gijinka of train stations!) and the Mousou Kareshi (Pet) series (妄想彼氏（ペット）.
These should be available outside Japan but unsure of any particular region restrictions.
This post only covers drama CDs including situation CDs or audio drama (with an ensemble cast like the ones by Momo and Grapes though I haven’t seen that yet).
Game-related drama and music CDs are also on Spotify like they are on iTunes or Amazon Digital Music (e.g. Hakuouki, Last Escort, to name a few).
Unless it’s stated to be an exclusive release, audio releases are most likely available on multiple platforms.
Finally! Digital releases are now easier, giving new and seasoned listeners a go at it.
I really hope that other publishers would take a chance at digital releases whether new or their backlist. One can only own so many physical copies :’3.
Featured image is made with Canva.