Anime is one genre of geek I haven’t really gotten into. I’ve watched it here and there, but most of my knowledge comes from seeing the costumes out at cons. But as my son gets more into cartoons, anime is creeping into my life. If you have a cartoon-watching kid, then anime is going to sneak up on you too! With WasabiCon coming up in October, it’s time to brush up on my anime, so I’ve brought in guest blogger Laneic Lavelle from Makeit218.com to share her expertise and how to keep it family-friendly.
What exactly is anime anyway?
If you’ve happened to stumble upon this post on accident and don’t know what the heck anime is, anime is for the most part, Japanese (although other countries make anime style works as well) animated shows. If you’re thinking Pokemon, then you’re correct.
I won’t use the word cartoon because that gives the impression that anime would be kid-friendly across the board, and I can assure you despite the animated drawings, some of it is not. As a matter of fact, I think most of it is geared at adults.
While anime is often stereotyped into a certain category of nonsense and immaturity (which exists), there’s a huge spectrum of sub genres, artistic styles and “vibes.” Even people who swear up and down that they’ll never be a grown adult watching anime usually come to appreciate the artistic talent and story lines of shows like Mushi-shi and movies like The Wind Rises.
If you’ve never watched it, I encourage you to take a peek! I’d bet money you’ll be pleasantly surprised…well, I’m at least very sure.
Recommendations for kid-friendly anime
If you’re in the anime loving tribe like me and happen to be a mom too, this leaves quite the dilemma sometimes. We very well can’t have our toddler watching giant human-like creatures plaguing humanity (it’s a real show, Attack on Titans), but I also want to geek out with my kid.
So! I’ve come up with a list of family-friendly anime’s that you won’t have to stress about! If you’re new to anime these are great shows to watch with kids, but might still interest you too.
The best place to start is Studio Ghibli films. The company’s films have absolutely gorgeous animation, beautiful soundtracks (that I use often to sleep or work too) and kid-friendly story lines, even though some movies tackle some deeper moral questions and topics.
As a matter of fact, you might even be familiar with one or two of them already.
Kiki’s Delivery Service and Ponyo did quite well in mainstream media, even for non-anime fans. Studio Ghibli films are just so darn lovable. Here’s a short list of my favorites:
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Howl’s Moving Castle
- Spirited Away
- The Secret World of Arrietty
- When Marnie Was Here
- The Cat Returns
- Castle in the Sky
If you’re not new to anime, and you’re a mom, you’ve probably already run through these films a few times and are in search of some shows you and the little ones can enjoy.
After all, watching two teens sacrifice their arm and whole body to save their dead mother is probably a teensy bit inappropriate for kids (Full Metal Alchemist reference there people). So, I’m about to unleash the full can of nerd here.
7 Kid Friendly Anime:
- Hamtaro – This series follows a band of hamsters (called Ham-Ham’s) and their adventures. It’s quite interesting and cute to see their hamster troubles. It’s like 15 minutes of cuteness and hamster kiddy drama. As a matter of fact, it did so well it was English dubbed and used to play in the US on Cartoon Network.
- Shin-chan – This mischievous, booty shaking boy is sure to get a few chuckles out of you and the little one. It’s a comic strip turned anime about a boy and all his humorous antics. It’s the kind of anime filled with a bunch of innocent fart jokes and silly ploys against parents.
- Chi’s New Address – This anime is about a stray cat and its new home with its adopted family. Innocent, cute and fun for all ages.
- Animal Crossing – Sound familiar? It was a popular Nintendo game and they successfully turned it into a movie. It follows a little girl on a mission to find out what miracle happens when she plants pine trees in certain places. It became a popular kid franchise for a reason.
- Panda! Go Panda! – My son really likes this movie and it was short enough to keep his attention. Its oddity makes it that much cuter as it follows a little girl who seems to have been abandoned and then adopted by a panda and his son. Weird when you think about it but the cute panda overrides the whole “I forgot about my kid” part.
- Tayo: The Friendly Bus – Although I believe this is a Korean cartoon, it still has the general characteristics of anime and my son absolutely adores the series and movie. I believe it’s made by the same producer or company of a similarly animated cartoon Pororo. For sure made for small kids but I chuckle at it here and there too.
- Doraemon – A robotic cat is sent back in time by a family member of a young boy to help him out. I haven’t personally watched it (or my son) but it’s been received well after being translated and aired on Disney XD.
Big name cartoon networks have also taken on popular anime’s from the past and made more kid-friendly versions or versions that are more relatable to kids today. For example, the newest version of Pokemon…. Which is probably the 80th remake of that show.
I would still be sure to give those a once-over first, however, sometimes even Disney doesn’t get the “age appropriate” memo just right. As with anything, I would always suggest checking out a snippet of the shows I’ve listed before showing it to your kids but I’ve been comfortable showing my 3-year-old the ones in this blog post.
Aside from me personally enjoying watching anime, I really like that my son gets to see other artistic styles and get exposed to the language on a regular basis since most of it is subbed. If he completely abandons his interest in it as he gets older is still up in the air but anime watching runs strong in my family (yup, we all nerd out together) so time will tell!
Are there any kid-friendly animes you can think of that I’ve missed? Feel free to let me know!
Laneic Lavalle is an Arizona based freelance copywriter and content creator for high performance female business owners. When she’s not writing she’s enjoying spending time with her son, dancing and binge watching her favorite shows. You can learn more about her at makeit218.com. (As of 7/2021 link appears to no longer be working)
Categories: Movies & TV
My family and I saw Ponyo and fell in love with the movie almost instantly. As an artist at heart, I’ve always been fascinated by anime. I didn’t know most were geared towards adults thought, will have to definitely check out this list! I have Korean decent so this has caught my attention 😊 Great post!
Thanks! I’m not too familiar with a lot of them myself so I’ll be checking out her recommendations as well 🙂
Yes, she gave some great ones, I’ll be doing the same. 🙂
There is also Yo Kai Watch. My boys and I all enjoy it. It’s cute.
I actually tried watching that one when K was a baby, because they had this Really catchy commercial. But…I was like, What am I watching?? I just remember it was a little weird, lol.