While browsing Anime News Network for interesting specimens, my google-suggestions fed me this interesting Answerman Article. Without breaking privacy anywhere, a new father asked how he could introduce his girl to his favorite entertainment medium (surprise, it’s anime) and if there were any good little-kid shows.
Now keep in mind that I do not have children; in fact, I’m a professional aunt of four. But I’ve stumbled upon a similar situation myself as my nieces and nephews are dipping their toes into anime for the first time. It’s an Otaku conundrum where you want to share your favorite shows with them, but you don’t wanna frighten/disgust them at the same time. Or, in my case, you don’t want any Mama Bears angry at you for overestimating how much the kiddie could handle.
“What’s this about Tenchi Muyo?!”
So, after some thought, this is what I would (and likely will) do to introduce any future offspring to anime.
1.Start with some old classics.
Now, alas, you can’t control everything they get into. I saw Yu Yu Hakusho and Cowboy Bebop while I was way too young for them, so I know any future kids (and my nieces/nephews) will likely stumble their way into the rated R shows without my help. So I decided I wouldn’t be the ones to expose them to it and would start with the ones that made me excited in the first place.
You’re looking for that “ah-ha!” moment you had.
Things like Sailor Moon, Pokemon, Digimon, and Dragonball Z would be my starting point, just to gauge where their tastes fall. Children’s anime is just as diverse as adult anime so the key is finding what genre sticks best.
2. Stick with What You Know
After here, I think it can be tempting to veer off and find some obscure anime you haven’t seen for the both of you to watch. It seems like a great way to hang out, have some fun, and share something fun. However, there’s a difference between what Japan is willing to show to kids and what everyone else is willing to show, and some may find that a bit disturbing.
Ladies and gents, the minions from Sailor Moon Stars
Just to be on the safe side, stick with the anime you know. I show my nieces and nephews my favorite ones that I think they’re old enough to handle or that might be interesting to them. This means no prepping for nasty surprises, no hand hovering over the stop button, and no awkward explanations to my brothers later. But hey, if you’re brave enough to take kiddies into the uncharted territory of anime, be my guest.
3. DO NOT Make a Big Deal of Deflected Titles
The seasoned Otaku is more than aware that not every anime is for kids. The idea that “cartoon = childish” got shot in the foot a long time ago with stuff like Akira in Japan and The Simpsons in the states. But not everyone has crawled out of the Cartoon Ghetto and either thinks anything animated is aimed at kids or that anything adult means tasteless vulgar comedy and ultraviolence. Neither is really desirable when trying to coax a youngin’ into anime. The likely reaction, and one I am guilty of, is to slam the door shut and tell the kid that they cannot watch the show.
Congratulations; you just made the Forbidden Fruit.
I speak from some sad experience here. There were titles that I refused to show my niece, made a big deal about how she couldn’t watch them. She went and watched a few episodes of it and still, to this day, reminds me that she did in some hopes that I’ll break down and show her the rest. I learned my lesson that day; now, I just distract her with titles I know she’ll like better.
For those of us who sorta stumbled into the medium back into the day, we feel like we have a responsibility to walk others into it. In truth, the best path is a similar one that you took, just tempered with a little foresight. Pay attention to the ratings and stick with what you know and everything should be fine. The good news is that, once they’re in the medium hook, line and sinker, you’ll have a new buddy to discuss with.
Just remember, binge responsibly!
Have a happy mother’s day everyone! If your mom, I hope you have a fun day. If you got yourself children, do you watch anime with them? Feel free to comment below. And don’t forget to like and follow for more content!