How to Choose Anime for Children

Lots of kids want to watch anime, but if you aren't an expert yourself, it can be hard to find one appropriate for your children! Learning how to find anime, screen for inappropriate content, and pick the perfect anime for your kids will help keep your children happy and safe.

Researching Anime

1. Ask about Japanese rating systems and content laws. Different cultures have different standards for appropriate children’s programming, so Japanese ratings and content laws may not be similar to Western ones. It’s hard to research Japanese ratings and content laws if you don’t know Japanese, but try asking online or talking to a trusted friend about what the ratings system means and what topics are acceptable or not allowed on Japanese programs.[1]
Anime forums, blogs run by Westerners living in Japan, and your local library are great sources if you don’t know anyone knowledgeable about anime!

2. Learn about anime genres. Most anime is not specifically meant for children, so you’ll need to know a little bit about different genres before choosing one for your kids. Some genres, like hentai and seinen, will never be appropriate for children. Others, like shonen and school animes, might have something for your kids to enjoy. Search online or ask a friend for a description of major anime genres.[2]

3. Find out where to buy or download anime. It will be a lot easier to find a good anime for your kids to watch if you know where to find it! If you’re familiar with anime, you can buy online from specialty stores or even from Amazon. If you aren’t, try visiting your local entertainment media store or looking for an anime store in your area. The staff there will be happy to help you find something.[3]
Streaming services usually offer some anime.
You can also download anime, but be sure to check the file before letting your kids watch it!


Screening for Inappropriate Animes

1. Check the ratings. Anime sold on DVD will have an age rating on the box, and if you watch anime on a streaming service, it will have a rating in the description. If you are interested in an anime that doesn’t have a rating displayed on it, search online stores for a rating. Pay careful attention to the ratings and be sure you know what they mean![4]

2. Read online reviews. Different parents have different opinions on what’s appropriate, and the ratings may not align with your values. Be sure to search online for reviews of any anime you think you might let your children watch.[5]

3. Ask friends for their opinions. If you have friends who know a lot about anime, ask them for recommendations or opinions. This is especially helpful if they know your child too--if your son is afraid of spiders, an anime with a spider attack scene won’t be appropriate for him even if he’s older than the rating. If you don’t know anyone who’s into anime, ask the staff of your local anime store or an anime forum for recommendations.[6]

4. Watch the anime yourself. Always watch something yourself if you aren’t sure if it’s okay for your kids, especially if your kids are young or if you don’t know anything about anime. Be on the lookout for violence, sexual content, unhealthy relationship portrayals, and anything else you don’t want your children to see.[7]

5. Buy from a reputable seller. Buying from an unknown website or trusting an illegal download can result in you getting something completely inappropriate for children. Use only stores you’ve been to or have a strong online ratings record. If you have to download an anime, be sure to watch it first.[8]

Choosing an Anime Your Child Will Like
1. Consider your child’s age. Consider your child’s physical and emotional age when picking an anime. Some twelve-year-olds aren’t ready for school romance animes, but some ten-year-olds might love the same show.[9]

2. Look for anime that reflects their interests. Think about the things your kids already like, and find animes that are about similar topics. For example, if your daughter wants to be a doctor when she grows up, she might love an anime about a healer who can travel through time. On the other hand, if your son loves stories about princesses and romance, he might not enjoy an anime about a robot warrior from outer space.[10]

3. Ask your kids if there’s an anime they’re interested in seeing. Parents often search for anime because their kids started the conversation! Ask your kids if there’s something in particular they want to watch. If it’s age-appropriate, get it for them! If it’s not, try finding something lighter in a similar genre. For example, if your nine-year-old wants to watch a gory vampire anime made for adults, he might be happy with a vampire comedy for kids instead.[11]

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