Top 19 Kid-Friendly Anime Shows to Enjoy as a Family
If your child has expressed an interest in anime, one thing’s for certain — they’re not alone! Anime’s popularity stretches across time and space, meaning it’s been around for a long time and there are people all over the world who love to watch it.
As a parent, if you don’t know much about it, you might be a little intimidated. You might be asking, “What exactly is anime?” and “Does kid-friendly anime even exist?”
The good news is that you’ve come to the right place! After reading this post you’ll not only know what anime is, but you’ll walk away with a list of the best family-friendly animes to show your child. We hope parents find this a helpful introduction to the big wide world of anime!
Family-Friendly Anime: What Is Anime?
Let’s start from the basics.
Anime is a unique style of animation that originally came from Japan. The word “anime” is an abbreviation of the word “animation” in Japanese. While animations can be made around the world, anime is specific to animation produced in Japan.
Anime covers almost every category and subject you can think of — which is both a good and bad thing. On the one hand, a wide variety means that most people can find some anime movies, TV shows, etc. that they enjoy. On the other hand, it’s not hard to find inappropriate or harmful anime content along with kid-appropriate content.
Parents should know that some anime is explicitly sexual in nature (known as ecchi or hentai) and should be aware when finding appropriate anime titles for their children.
However, there are loads of kid-friendly anime titles to be found in every genre, including action, adventure, romance, and comedy. So we’re not kidding — there’s an anime for everyone! It’s no surprise that it’s become a favorite for viewers around the world.
What makes anime so distinct and intriguing for many viewers is the visual animation style. It’s often very colorful and includes a lot of details. The characters and their expressions are often very exaggerated, making for a very engaging watching experience.
Some anime comes from Manga (Japanese comic books) and closely follows the storyline. But just like many book adaptations, there are many anime that go in a different direction from the manga.
Kid-Friendly Anime: Benefits of Watching Anime for Kids
Anime is all-around entertaining, but there are way more benefits to watching anime that kids likely wouldn’t realize. Here are just a few:
- Explore a different culture: Anime’s roots are in Japan, so it’s common that many shows or movies will have their storylines set in Japan or other Asian countries. This can prompt your kids to want to learn more about Japanese culture and where their favorite show comes from. But anime isn’t always set in Japan; in fact, you’ll find storylines that include characters from around the world–sometimes even fictional ones.
- Learn a new language: Anime is commonly produced in Japanese first. It is often dubbed in English or offered with subtitles. This might prompt your child to want to learn the language the original video was in.
- Foster creativity: Anime often includes fantastical and magical themes, giving each story a unique set of twists and turns. Along with colorful and detailed imagery, it’s bound to help improve your child’s imagination and creative thinking skills.
How Kids Can Watch Anime
Despite getting its start in Japan, anime has been popular around the world for years. It’s very common for English versions of popular children’s anime to air in the US.
Some channels where you’ll find anime include:
- ABC Family
- Cartoon Network
- Anime Network
But many streaming platforms have also jumped on the anime train. Popular streaming platforms that have many animes available include:
- Amazon Prime Video
- Youtube TV
For anime lovers, Crunchyroll and Funimation are some streaming platforms that primarily stream different types of anime for kids and adults. Although important note for parents: these anime platforms can also include some of those inappropriate anime titles mentioned above. Specifically, take a look at Crunchyroll before letting your child have unsupervised access.
And now, what you’ve been waiting for! If you’re wanting to get into anime with your child, we’ve put together a list of the most popular kid-friendly animes to serve as a jumping-off point. Let’s get started!
Kid-Friendly Anime for Kids 10 and Under
Kids under the age of 10 are still developing their comprehension skills. It’s best to stick to animes with storylines that are easy to follow with relatively simple vocabulary.
Japanese culture includes a lot of martial arts and ninja themes. But in general, anime directed toward younger kids is light-hearted and fun.
Here are some anime that would be suitable for kids under the age of 10.
1. Pokémon: Indigo League
Even if you’ve never heard of anime, you’ve likely heard of Pokemon.
Pokemon is the story of Ash Ketchum, a young boy who hopes to become a Pokemon master. His goal is to battle other trainers and catch all the Pokemon. He’ll face trainers — some friendlier than others — as he explores the world with his own Pokemon, Pikachu. It’s a kid-friendly story of friendship and determination.
Indigo League is the first season of the anime; there are several more to follow. Some have slightly more mature themes than others, but they are generally extremely kid-friendly.
The Pokemon anime series is also a natural companion for kids who enjoy the Pokemon video games.
Doraemon is a large blue and white earless cat that you might recognize — except he’s not just a cat, he’s robotic! It’s a classic anime and manga series that was created in the 70s, but new episodes are still being made today.
Doraemon is the trusty sidekick to his human friend Nobita Nobi. Using his skills and knowledge, he helps Nobita grow up and tackle school and life. It’s a coming-of-age story with a bit of a sci-fi twist.
It’s an enjoyable anime for young kids and the entire family.
3. Little Witch Academia
As the title suggested, the series follows Akko as she attends a school for witches.
Except, unlike many of her classmates, Akko doesn’t come from a family of witches, which makes her transition to Luna Nova Academy a bit of a challenge. But her determination and belief in herself play a key role in her becoming a great witch.
Little Witch Academia is perfect for school-age children as they tackle academics and new friends.
4. Dragon Ball Super
Dragon Ball Super is the third continuation of the beloved Dragon Ball anime series. Following Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball.
The series still follows Goku and his friends as they battle gods and characters from different universes. It’s an expansion of the original universe, introducing new transformations and characters.
Dragon Ball Super is technically the third part of the Dragon Ball series. However, the original two series are better suited to kids over the age of 10 due to mild violence and mature themes. The Dragon Ball Super series is widely acknowledged to be purposely aged down to bring new, younger kids into the Dragon Ball Universe.
Naruto is one of the most popular anime and manga series among kids. With the first episode in 2002, the story follows young ninja Naruto Uzumaki whose ultimate dream is to become the Hokage–the fearless leader of the Leaf Village.
With his friends and Ninja Academy classmates, Naruto builds his ninja skills and starts to take on challenges and battles. As the story progresses, Naruto starts to understand the value of friendship and learns more about his own family history.
With mild violence related to ninja battles, the series is generally acceptable for kids. Naruto’s coming-of-age experience is relatable and a great way to help kids learn more about the power of friends and family.
Boruto is the third sequel to Naruto (and the sequel to Naruto Shippuden–which we’ll talk about later).
It takes place several years after the previous two series and follows Naruto’s son Boruto as he becomes a Ninja. While the storyline follows new characters, those who’ve watched the original Naruto will appreciate the nods and throwbacks to characters in the original series.
Similar to Dragon Ball Super, Boruto has been aged down from Naruto Shippuden (and even, to some extent, Naruto) to attract younger kids to the Naruto franchise.
7. One Piece
One Piece is arguably one of the most popular and most successful anime series of all time. With the first episodes coming out in 1999, new episodes are still being made today.
One Piece is the story of Monkey D. Luffy, a young boy who’s determined to become the Pirate King. Except he’s no ordinary kid because his body is made of rubber. (Thanks to a Devil Fruit.)
He gathers a group of friends and other pirates to search for a famous treasure known as the One Piece. Luffy and his newfound crew make new friends and meet new foes along the way. The characters in this story are complex, a bit wild, yet incredibly entertaining–perfect for children and adults alike.
There are some mature themes in One Piece, but in general, the whimsical storyline is perfect for kids to enjoy.
8. Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar is a bit of an oddball on this list in that it’s not technically an anime. It was created in the U.S. However, the storyline and animation style closely mimics anime, making it a popular watch among anime lovers.
In Avatar, there are four nations: earth, water, fire, and air. Each nation has Benders who have the ability to manipulate the elements. Aang is an Airbender but also the last Avatar–someone who can master all four and bring balance to the world.
Aang and his friends travel around the world trying to reach this balance, exploring new places and challenges along the way. A great story of friendship that ties in a lot of elements of Eastern philosophy, including mindfulness and spiritualness.
Best Family-Friendly Anime for Kids 10 and Up
As kids grow up, they’ll be able to enjoy even more anime. The stories become more complex, and characters will start to face more mature (and serious) challenges.
You’ll find many animes also have episodes or spin-offs that age with your children–helping them continue their anime journey as they grow up.
Anime, like most TV, can occasionally contain more mature themes. For example, anime for older kids may include themes like love, death, or mild violence.
While these themes are generally introduced in a kid-friendly manner, it’s important that you consider your kid’s maturity level and development before deciding if a show is the right fit for them.
9. Dragon Ball
The precursor to Dragon Ball Super is Dragon Ball. A very popular and well-known anime and manga series from the 80s. So popular that the lead character Son Goku has been referenced in music and pop culture in many ways.
Goku is a martial arts warrior who is on a mission to find the seven Dragon Balls. He encounters enemies and other warriors along the way. As he trains with mentors and deities, Goku gets stronger and protects the Dragon World from different threats.
Dragon Ball’s intricate universe and relatable characters have made this a favorite among kids for decades.
10. Dragon Ball Z
Following Dragon Ball is Dragon Ball Z. First airing in the 90s, Goku is now an adult.
He continues to embark on adventures with his friends and defends the world from aliens, monsters, and other mystical creatures.
Dragon Ball Z is a classic example of an anime that has aged up alongside its audience. So the young kids who originally enjoyed Dragon Ball can now follow their childhood hero Goku as he takes on life as an adult.
11. Sailor Moon
Usaigi Tsukino is an average teenage girl. But she’s also a superhero, Sailor Moon, who fights villains and other enemies to help keep Earth safe. As the series progresses, she learns more about herself and the world around her.
The Sailor Moon anime has been a favorite among kids and adults since it first aired in the early 1990s. While it’s primarily known as a kids’ anime, some mild language and violence make it more suitable for slightly older kids.
12. Naruto Shippuden
Naruto Shippuden is the sequel to the original Naruto. Only a couple of years later, Naruto comes back from an intense training session, and he and his friends continue right where they left off. They’re just a little older, making it a perfect show for big kids and teens.
Many of the original villains and enemies from the original series return as they continue to fight for peace between the ninja villages.
While several years have passed between the two series, Naruto Shippuden is commonly known to be a continuation of the original story rather than a sequel. But the world continues to unravel, and we learn more about Naruto’s past as he continues his journey to fulfill his dream of becoming Hokage.
Death Note is another well-known manga and anime series. The series follows Light Yagami, who’s a high school student. One day, he discovers a notebook that will kill anyone whose name he writes inside.
Light initially uses the notebook to help tackle criminals around the world. But as more top criminals start to die mysteriously, people start questioning it. This leads to Light capturing the attention of a detective named L.
We watch as Light tries to avoid being caught while balancing his want to make the world a better place.
While aimed at high-school kids, this show does deal with themes of violence and death. So it’s best suited for kids who have the maturity to handle the subject matter.
While many popular anime series are set in mystical and magical worlds, there’s more to anime than that. Haikyuu is proof.
Shoyo Hinata is a high school student who wants to be a volleyball player. But without the height, he faces challenges along the way. But with a little inspiration from his volleyball icon, Little Giant, Hinata starts to come into himself as a volleyball player.
As he and his team work together to win championships, Hinata learns skills on and off the volleyball court.
Set in a typical high-school setting, Hinata’s story is both relatable and also teaches valuable lessons about determination.
This story follows Ichigo Kurosaki, who gets the power of the Soul Reaper — sometimes known as the Grim Reaper. He can see ghosts and can connect with the afterlife. Ichigo uses these abilities to protect his town from evil spirits. He also uses his powers to help souls find peace, ultimately healing some of his own demons and trauma in the process.
While this anime deals with themes of death, the story of Ichigo, who lost his mother at a young age, is relatable for many kids who have gone through similar experiences. But the story offers creative ways to make difficult subjects entertaining and engaging.
The Best Family-Friendly Animes
Make anime a family affair! We’ve put together a list of classic and highly popular anime that could be a great watch for the entire family.
16. Spirited Away
Spirited Away might be one of the most well-known pieces of anime to date. It’s one of the highest-grossing films in history.
Spirited Away is the story of a young girl, Chihiro, who moves to a new neighborhood. Except she finds herself in an alternate universe of spirits, where her parents have turned into pigs, and there are many more magical creatures.
The film follows Chihiro as she explores this strange world and finds her way home. In the process, she learns how strong and resourceful she can be.
The animations have been highly praised. It’s a beautiful story of courage that is a must-watch for all kids and adults.
17. My Neighbor Totoro
You might know the name Totoro. No surprise, given he’s a pretty famous character in the anime world.
The film follows two sisters, Satsuke and Mei, who meet Torotoro in a forest near their home. They’ve recently moved to the countryside with their father and are slowly finding their footing in their new surroundings.
Totoro is cuddly, friendly, and extremely playful — like your child’s favorite teddy bear. He helps them navigate their new home.
The original animation was released in the 80s, but the 2005 English version features an all-star cast. Including the voices of Dakota and Elle Fanning, Lea Salonga, and Tim Daly.
18. Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan has taken the world by storm.
The story is unusual and has twists and turns like you’ve never seen before. Attack on Titan follows Eren Jeagar and his friends Mikasa and Armin, who live in a city surrounded by massive walls. These walls protect them from giant humans called Titans.
They all join the military forces designed to fight the Titans and keep normal humans safe. But as the series unravels, so does everything we know about the Titans.
This anime series should be enjoyed by families with older kids due to its more mature scenes of violence and death. However, the storytelling is like no other and will keep the entire family on their toes.
As of 2023, the series still hasn’t wrapped, but for those who aren’t scared of spoilers, the Manga gives some hints at a possible ending to the series.
19. Kiki’s Delivery Service
Last but not least on our list is the fantastical Kiki’s delivery service. It’s a classic coming-of-age story that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
Kiki is a young witch who is continuing to build her powers and become a better witch. She has an adorable talking cat named Jiji, who helps her along the way. Kiki’s entrepreneurial spirit takes over as she opens a delivery service by using her broomstick to fly and deliver packages.
Kiki hits some hurdles along the way but ultimately finds a new version of herself as she grows up. It’s a touching story about friendship and the power of growing up.
Enjoy Anime Safely with Bark
Anime is one of the best types of film and TV for kids to enjoy as they grow up. The unique stories and characters can spark imagination in anyone. Hopefully, this list of kid-friendly anime gives you a place to start.
Of course, there is a whole world of anime outside of this list and as parents, we want to make sure our kids aren’t exposed to the harmful or inappropriate side of anime. And that’s where Bark comes in!
Created in partnership with parents and schools, Bark helps parents monitor their kids’ digital activity. Whether it’s setting up parental controls around which animes your child can watch or reviewing what apps your child is using, Bark gives you total confidence in your child’s online experience. Start your free trial of Bark today!
The 25 Cutest Anime Children Of All Time, Ranked
Cute characters are a huge part of the appeal of anime, and they do not get much cuter than anime children. These kids can be as simple as characters who are in the story to provide some levity or a fresh perspective for the protagonist. But, they can also be strong and well-developed characters in their own right.
RELATED: 10 Best Kids Anime (Kodomomuke Anime) Of All Time
Anime children can be a much-needed breath of fresh air in a variety of genres. That might be thanks to their joyful personalities, innocent mannerisms, or hilarious interactions they have with the adults in their lives. It is impossible to not have a fun time watching anime when these adorable kids appear on-screen.
Updated by Alexandra Locke on June 16, 2023: While a lot of adorable anime characters exist, none are quite as cute as anime children. Their wide eyes and angelic demeanors remind fans of the innocence of youth. They often serve to humanize their stories as well. This article has been updated to include even more cute anime children.
25 Satoru Fujinuma (Erased)
Although Satoru Fujinuma has the mind of a twenty-nine-year-old man, he has rewound time so far that he is now his fifth-grade-self once again. Satoru is a spunky tween who also cannot help but put his nose into everyone else’s business. However, he has a compassionate heart, as demonstrated in his care of Kayo Hinazuki.
Satoru’s wide eyes and ruffled hair also make him look more fun-loving and approachable. His bright smile is in contrast to Kayo’s scowl – showing how Satoru is one of the few bright spots in Kayo’s life. Satoru is an adorable anime child, because of his round, innocent features and his never-ending drive to rescue his friends.
24 Anju Maaka (Karin)
Anju Maaka is one in a long line of vampires from Karin. As she is still young, Anju enjoys dressing in Victorian, lolita-inspired clothing that is all black. Although she rarely shows emotion, Anju cares very deeply for her daylight-dwelling sister, Karin. She even ensures that Karin will be looked after once Anju realizes her full vampiric power.
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Anju is not only prim and cute but is also fearless. She never shies away from people, including her philandering older brother, Ren. Anju might appear terrifying to some, but those who know her can testify that she is a sweet girl who would do anything for her family.
23 Ushio Okazaki (Clannad)
Much of what makes Ushio Okazaki such a compelling character is how she deals with situations she did not deserve to be in. The devastating loss of her mother, Nagisa Furukawa, caused her father, Tomoya Okazaki, to enter a lengthy state of depression.
As a result, Tomoya could not offer the paternal support that Ushio needed. Despite all of that, Ushio’s heart of gold was big enough to always see the best in her father, and her adorable appearance was the spitting image of her mother.
22 Naru Kotoishi (Barakamon)
Moving to the countryside should have resulted in a peaceful life for Seishuu Handa. But, he didn’t count on having the mischievous Naru Kotoishi as a constant presence in his new home.
Whether it is finding new ways to sneak into his house or her genuine curiosity about his calligraphy work, Naru exists as a wholesome reminder of how children can be fascinated by almost anything. When it happens to be a hobby that her new parental figure is passionate about, they can even enjoy it together.
21 Petra Leyte (Re: Zero)
Petra Leyte is introduced as a sweet young girl who just wants to have fun with her fellow villagers. She takes to Subaru Natsuki and his friendly goofiness almost immediately, but she also displays surprising bravery in the face of the various dangers that Subaru ends up saving her from.
RELATED: Re: Zero — All Of Subaru’s Deaths In Chronological Order
She eventually becomes a maid of Roswaal Mansion, demonstrating just how much she wants to be of assistance to her unusual isekai crush. However, she still acts childish enough to enjoy being praised sporadically.
20 Aquamarine & Ruby Hoshino (Oshi no Ko)
Aquamarine and Ruby Hoshino are an unusual set of twins from Oshi no Ko. As the children of Ai Hoshino, they both have one, bright, dazzling eye each and one plain eye that matches their names. They also have golden blonde hair that makes them stand out among the other characters in the show.
As babies and toddlers, the Hoshino twins quickly learn how to get what they want. Yet, one of the cutest things these anime children do is have secret meetings about their predicament. Seeing toddlers rationally talk about their mother’s future in entertainment is hilariously endearing. They are also her biggest fans and blow up the internet after they do a dance with their light sticks at Ai’s performance. Although they are grown by the second episode, fans wish the young Hoshinos could have stayed little longer.
19 March (To Your Eternity)
March wants nothing more than to play house and act out the role of a mother. It is a cute hobby that many young girls often take part in. But, unlike many children in real life, March ends up doing it for real.
By naming and feeding the immortal Fushi, she creates a wholesome and unusual bond with him that no one else had managed to do by that point. March became the mother she wanted to be, at least for a little while.
18 Mashiro Mitsumine (Engaged To The Unidentified)
Kids often want to grow up quickly and act more mature than they are. Mashiro Mitsumine wants to be the responsible sibling who ensures her older brother is safeguarded against the mysterious girl Hakuya is engaged to.
What makes Mashiro cute is her dedication to trying to act this way and the inevitable shift towards her more natural childlike innocence. In one moment, she will be giving her big brother advice on his relationship, and in the next, she will be happily dancing along to her favorite morning cartoon.
17 Shiro (No Game No Life)
Shiro is one half of the brother-sister gaming duo, Blank, in No Game No Life. Shiro is a small girl with long, beautiful white hair that she lets fall all around her. She also has wide, golden eyes that shine right along with the world of Immanity. Shiro rarely shows emotion but tends to act shy and jealous of anyone who tries to get close to her brother, Sora.
In juxtaposition to her diminutive appearance, Shiro is a merciless opponent in any game she plays. Without flinching, she decimates her enemies. This unexpected aspect of her character is also what makes her one of the most adorable anime girls. Shiro may be small, but she does not let her size or age detract from her winning streak.
16 Platelets (Cells At Work!)
Cells at Work! Is all about learning how the body functions. Each cell type is represented by unique characters that embody the behaviors and functions of its real-life counterpart, and the Platelets are the cutest of them all. These adorable young children do their very best to close up wounds and often struggle due to their minuscule statures.
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Even other cells cannot help but stop and marvel at their cuteness. Thanks to Cells at Work!, the iconic catchphrase of the Platelets, «ano ne,» signifying a child asking for attention, has become one of the most adorable phrases in anime.
15 Dororo (Dororo)
What makes Dororo special is that she can remain pure-hearted despite the terrible nature of feudal Japan all around her. Dororo lost her parents at a young age, suffered through poverty at almost every step, and even took on the role of a younger sibling to help the disabled Hyakkimaru.
Despite it all, Dororo maintains a boundless enthusiasm for having fun with those around her. That joyful nature is sure to create more smiles in a place that desperately needs them.
14 O-Tama (One Piece)
O-Tama lives an impoverished life with very little food, but she finds a way to have fun with what little she has. She gets over her fears and quickly gets attached to pirates like Portgas D. Ace and, later on, his younger brother, Monkey D. Luffy.
Watching bad guys fall under her command thanks to her unusual Devil Fruit ability is endlessly funny. When she finally gets her hands on a hearty helping of red bean soup thanks to the Straw Hats, her beaming smile could warm even the coldest hearts.
13 Hime Gotou (Kakushigoto)
Hime Gotou is pure, trusting, cute, and an unintentional dork. She is unaware that her father is a gag-manga artist, and the lengths to which he goes to preserve that secret end up creating some hilarious moments between the father and daughter pair when she almost finds out.
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Hime is gullible enough to not see through her father’s lies but inquisitive enough to keep him on edge. Hime can make friends with just about anyone, and her sweet nature makes her beloved by all who interact with her.
12 Tsumugi Inuzuka (Sweetness And Lightning)
The ever-cheerful Tsumugi Inuzuka is a sweet young girl from Sweetness and Lightning who is being raised by her single father. Unfortunately, her father is not the cook that he wishes he was, and it leads to the pair spending a lot of time at a restaurant owned by the family of one of his students.
As the trio cooks and enjoys meals together, Tsumugi’s love for her dad and for those she cares about shines through, It is hard not to melt from cuteness overload when her vivid imagination about sharks kicks into high gear.
11 Momo Kawamoto (March Comes In Like A Lion)
Kawamoto is the youngest of the three Kawamoto siblings in March Comes In Like A Lion. Her vibrant personality often brings joy to those around her. She also acts her age, like a little child that needs to be looked after.
However, she can show a remarkable emotional understanding of her older sisters and their relationship with the kind but troubled shogi player, Rei Kiriyama, as well. Her large eyes and cheeks enhance her adorable nature, making it hard for those around her not to dote on her.
10 Rin Kaga (Bunny Drop)
Anime children often fall into archetypes like being bratty or being too perfect. This is not the case for Rin Kaga. At first, she is a reserved girl which is natural given the sudden passing of her father.
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But, after she is adopted by Daikichi Kawachi and forms a bond with him, she opens up and is portrayed as one of the most realistic children in anime. She is ever curious about the world around her, throws tantrums when angry or upset over insignificant problems, and genuinely cares for her new father figure’s wellbeing.
9 Komekko (KonoSuba)
The Crimson Magic Village is home to many prideful and eccentric wizards, and Megumin’s baby sister, Komekko, is one of its inhabitants. She bugs her older sister as any sibling should, hilariously misunderstands Megumin’s relationships, wastes no time in making friends, and wants to be involved in whatever the grown-ups are up to in Konosuba.
When she eventually fires a railgun to kill Sylvia underneath Kazuma Satou’s nose, she proudly takes credit like a true Crimson Arch Wizard.
8 Suika (Dr. Stone)
Being quirky comes naturally to children. However, Suika wears a hollowed-out watermelon over her head not for fun but to help with her near-sightedness. At times, she can even curl up into the watermelon and sneak into enemy territory unnoticed like the cutest little spy.
Despite being ostracized for her unusual appearance, she is endlessly fascinated by the world of science that Senku Ishigami shows her. When Senku uses science to invent appropriate eyewear for her, it is a heartwarming moment for everyone involved.
7 Prince Bojji (Ranking Of Kings)
Prince Bojji has dealt with a lot at a young age. He is deaf, he witnessed the death of his mother, and he is ridiculed by other children. To make matters worse, his father passes away, and his younger brother is chosen to ascend to the throne instead of him.
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Despite everything, Bojji remains pure-hearted. He never wishes harm upon others, and his unconditional love for his family and friends will always hit the audience squarely in the heart. The fact that his fighting style reflects his personality is the icing on the cake.
6 Eri (My Hero Academia)
Most children are lucky enough to be able to grow up in a loving environment, but Eri was not so lucky. As a prisoner of the Shie Hassaikai Yakuza family, Eri was trapped in a lonesome hell for a long time, and her Quirk could even harm those who were trying to help her.
It took the courage of Izuku Midoriya and his fellow U.A. students to finally save her. What followed was an adorable progression from a frightened child into a little girl who learned to have fun with those around her.
How anime shows childhood trauma — Anime on DTF
Video version of blog
Referring to the terrible tragedies that happened in the childhood of the heroes is a very popular technique often used in anime. In front of Eren’s eyes, his mother is killed, Naruto becomes a victim of society’s hatred for an unknown reason. Such situations, as a rule, allow the authors to create motivations for the characters and get rid of some conventions.
But what if we look at situations where childhood trauma is shown in a slightly more mundane way. Where the hero will have to seriously try to deal with his skeletons in the closet, where this adversely affects his psychological health and where this is one of the key themes of the work. My name is Buntaro, it will be interesting.
Human psychological health and psychology in general is a very interesting science, but no less complex, so I won’t go into details. However, there are some topics for discussion that I would very much like to touch on, such as childhood trauma.
To begin with, I would consider such a phenomenon as bullying in society. I don’t dress like that, I don’t talk like that, I don’t behave like that. So many rules have to be followed in order not to look strange in the eyes of people. Even so, you can still become an outcast.
This is indeed a serious problem, which hardly bypassed at least one person. In childhood, it is much more obvious and significant. Needless to say, children often behave much more cruelly than adults because they do not realize the full consequences and weight of their actions. For the Japanese, this moment is even a little more scrupulous. It’s all about the peculiarities of the mentality and the influence of national and cultural norms.
That is why in the works very often, albeit in passing, slip such themes. The fear of becoming an outcast in society is a very popular problem for Japanese youth.
So, for example, in the work «Form of the Voice» we will be told how difficult it is for a child with birth defects to adapt in the society of other children. I have a lot of complaints about the anime adaptation, but mostly they relate to antics due to timing, as a result of which some of the motivations of the characters remain unclear, and the characters are introduced and successfully forgotten about, but this is not about that.
The work does its job, because we can observe in detail how the deaf girl Nishimiya Shoko at first attracts a lot of attention because of her features, but soon the children, having played enough caring friends, quickly realize that being a good companion for a child with disabilities not so easy, and all their friendliness comes to naught. They begin to ignore her, stop trying to destroy the barrier of communication between them and the heroine, and soon make her the object of harassment altogether. Nishimiya herself, apparently, is not the first time she has encountered this and tries her best to treat her peers with understanding, remaining friendly and polite, because at this age it is especially necessary to have people close to you.
That’s just the story does not end there, and when the fact of persecution of the girl is revealed to adults, the main character, Shoya Ishida, is made the scapegoat. And it’s not that he’s some kind of bad, of course his actions are disgusting and stupid, but Shoya is the same child who, as I already mentioned, is not aware of the consequences and does this not out of direct hatred for Nishimiya, but rather from unwillingness understand it and remain the focus of his company. But after his bullying is revealed, the true friends of the hero, who do not want to drag the strap of consequences with him, renounce him, convincing themselves to the last that against his background they did nothing wrong.
Of course, it is much easier to avoid punishment and censure in this way, and it immediately turns out that Shoyo is not such a good friend. But all this leads to irreversible consequences for himself: already realizing his own guilt, the hero, in addition, is subjected to public condemnation.
And even the smallest and not quick-witted child at such a moment will have an aversion to society, because of a banal sense of injustice. Well, how is it if everyone is equally to blame, and only he becomes an outcast? Of course, this entails isolation and self-hatred. Thoughts begin to visit him that maybe he really is so bad, and so guilty. Maybe he doesn’t deserve to be loved, to be part of society, just to be. It comes to the fact that the hero plans to commit suicide. And if in this story the hero comes to his senses and decides to accept his problems and start fighting them, then in real life it may not happen like that …
We can observe a darker development of such events in the work “The Priority of the Miracle Egg”
In this work, we will be told about girls who experienced in their childhood such difficulties of life that, at times, even adults cannot endure. Each of them has certain serious problems that weigh on them. At the same time, they all go to the so-called world of dreams over and over again, where they must protect their peers from their phobias and fears. The girls in the dreams said goodbye to life in the real world, all for different reasons. Some could not stand the injury, others faced harassment, others disappointed someone and considered themselves unnecessary in this world.
In one of the stories, we are even told about two girl fans of a popular artist. And when he passes away, they follow him. And it seems to sound absurd and stupid, but they are trying to show us, albeit very exaggeratedly, that this problem actually exists and it is very important. At this age, people can really become so immersed in some kind of hobby or become a victim of opinion leaders that it develops into a whole manic addiction. So much so that neither the family, nor other hobbies and joys of life, nor life itself will no longer be so important.
But the heroines themselves are not without their problems and fears. Here the main character Ai Oto became a victim of persecution due to heterochromia (a phenomenon in which a person is born with different eye colors). Rika Kawai gained popularity at an early age and later lost it, which she cannot easily accept, besides, her mother clearly cannot and does not want to fulfill her role and take care of her daughter properly. Neiru Aonuma, on the other hand, was the victim of her family’s high expectations, resulting in an unbearable burden of responsibility.
It is important to note that they are not fighting for «thank you» either, the girls got a hint that, in theory, by saving the girls from their dreams, they will be able to bring back to life their dead loved ones who also committed suicide. But more importantly, they themselves begin to understand the value of their own lives, begin to put up with and try to get along with their own problems and difficulties.
This anime is filled with so many teenage issues and ideas about how insignificant they all are compared to the value of life.
But bullying is not the only problem that is mentioned in the works. What about situations where a person becomes a victim of an abduction or their loved ones become abducted? One way or another, we are told about this in the works “The City Where I Am Not” and “Hunting for Ghosts”.
In the first theme, at the angle we need, slips casually, but nonetheless. The anime seems to be extremely famous and dedication to the plot is more likely to cause irritation, so let’s get right off the bat.
While trying to save a classmate in the past, the hero noticed many details that he simply could not understand at that age. Think for yourself, his classmate is kidnapped, yes, even though she was not his girlfriend, but still … The number of victims is growing, and his comrade becomes the main suspect and subsequently convicted. Children are asked to be extremely careful not to go anywhere alone. They are waiting for exhausting conversations with the police, the death of comrades who are killed in quite sophisticated ways, it is worth noting, the parents’ attempts to protect them, including mental health, trying their best to hush up the situation, hoping that the children will simply forget all this.
Oh, and besides that, the issue of child abuse is perfectly revealed there. We are shown how a girl “gets used”, so to speak, to her offender in the role of a mother, moreover, protects her, refusing to admit the fact of violence, suffers clearly unhealthy bullying, which is not limited to simple violence for “educational purposes”, this is a victim of violence from a mother with truly manic and psychopathic tendencies.
As a result of all this, little Kayo just doesn’t know what it’s like to be a part of society, and it’s hard for her to make any social connections. And how much later she is surprised by simple human things: homemade food, good friends, the protagonist’s loving mother. I don’t know about you, but for me specifically, this story arc became so heavy, so oppressive, offensive and alive that I became terribly uncomfortable and lonely, and shaking with anger, and I wanted to cry.
But we do not deviate far from the topic, otherwise I can do it. To become a victim of kidnapping, especially in childhood, I don’t know if it’s even possible to imagine what it’s like . .. And it’s even more difficult to try to figure out how hard it is for you after that: it’s hard to go out, it’s hard not to see a potential offender in people, it’s hard to drown somewhere deep down all these memories and fears.
And they are trying to show something similar to us in the work “Ghost Hunt”.
Let me briefly introduce you to the plot. There is a main character, in early childhood he and his sister are kidnapped by an unknown person. He contacts the parents in the hope of making an exchange and letting the children go in exchange for a ransom. The deal was supposed to go like this. Parents give money, and the offender tells where the children are. All this time they were in an abandoned village nearby. But something happens that no one could have expected.
Parents contact the police, and on the day when they try to make a deal, the police make an attempt to detain the kidnapper, but due to unfortunate circumstances, escaping from the police, he gets hit by a car and instantly dies. It turns out that no one except the deceased knew about the whereabouts of the children, and their search took a lot of time. As a result, the hero’s older sister dies of hunger, and little Taro was forced to watch this. This undoubtedly gave rise to a huge amount of psychological trauma for the hero, being kidnapped, witnessing the painful death of his own sister and for some time being next to her corpse and already expecting the same death, this is really scary.
On the basis of all this, the hero develops narcolepsy (a disease associated with a sleep disorder, as a result of which the hero constantly experiences weakness and drowsiness), as well as paranoia and unhealthy anxiety. Moreover, endless nightmares are superimposed on this narcolepsy, which over and over again repeat the events of those terrible days in a distorted form. Taro is constantly working with a psychologist, while even at home he cannot feel calm until the end because the tragic events also affected the mother of the protagonist, as a result of which inadvertently reminding her of what happened, you risk aggravating her condition.
In the course of dialogues with a psychologist, we ourselves get acquainted with some ways of dealing with such problems, and also, step by step, reveal the subtleties of Taro’s illnesses and his past.
I completely forgot, but there are three heroes, and the remaining two also do not shine with a healthy psyche, it just so happened that Makoto lives in a family that founded its own religion, his grandmother Himeko trades in various types of curses and damage, earning by harming others and suffering. His father committed suicide for no reason, however, many suspect that this is somehow related to the kidnapping, and his mother leaves him, in fact, there are many more difficult moments in Makoto’s life, but these will be serious plot spoilers, and If you think I’ve told you so much already, oh no, I’ve only revealed the tip of the iceberg.
The third hero, Masayuki, seems to be the most normal, slightly clingy and of psychological problems — he is afraid of heights. Is that all you say? But this phobia arose not just like that, but was the result of how, in front of Masayuki, a teenager jumped off the roof, as he claims, through his fault.
In general, there are enough skeletons in the closet for everyone. Oh, yes, all these themes are complemented by a huge number of excellent surreal inserts, and chic sound design, radio interference, muffled sounds, as if we are under water and tons of just perfectly written effects. By the way, the same noises are inserted appropriately and from an ideological point of view, it turns out that such sounds can provoke an increase in narcolepsy, I am terribly fond of such an approach to details. Once again I repeat that I have described only a very small part, and I highly recommend that you see for yourself what is happening there in this anime.
Well, since this example was the last one for this video. I will draw some conclusions. Yes, I did not mention a huge number of works and characters, but there are comments for this, where I am sure you will help me remember the anime where such topics were raised.
So, from the point of view of an ordinary viewer, there are a lot of worthy works in anime, where childhood traumas and their consequences are quite realistic and not simulated, morality also often slips in the works I mentioned, what such situations are fraught with, and how, if possible, some of them can to avoid. I deliberately ignored works where antisocial and deviant behavior is romanticized, because I think that this is an extremely low act, especially for the target audience of most series. Psychological trauma is scary, dangerous and never cool. I hope that it was clear to everyone even without this video and these anime, but for those who didn’t, think about it.
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