Just Because It’s Animated Doesn’t Mean It’s for Kids!

fallHey all!  I’m having a lovely few days out at my boyfriend’s again.  I was having computer issues the other day…in that this laptop decided to not work at all for me.  He couldn’t even repair himself.  So it was decided that I would go out to Madison and the boyfriend would look at my laptop to see what was bugging him.

He poked it and it got better. No lie.

So my brat of a laptop is fine and life goes on.  Hooray.  And because of that scare, I now have EVERYTHING writing related backed up on Google Drive.  I had a bit of a panic when I realized that the novel I’m currently working on ISN’T on Google Drive.  Whooops!  It only would have been 25,000 words that I’d need to redo.  Only.

Animated = For Kids

This is something that I’ve written about before.  Not on here, but during my internship on the now defunct CollegeJolt.  I think it was one of the first blogs I did for them.  I’m away from home, so I don’t have my hard copy of the blog, but I think I can remember most of what I talked about.

Just because something is animated, does not mean it is for children.I’ve had people ask before why I don’t want my anime series with my niece or my mom’s godson.  And the answer is pretty simple.  What I watch is not always appropriate for children.  I wouldn’t want a kid watching Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan).  And there are anime that I’d rather skip over because they ARE for kids.  One of the ways that I’e distinguished age appropriateness was through the age of the main protagonist in a series.  I will say that this is not always the best way to determine it as there are big exceptions, but this is a pretty standard.

Though one of the reasons I really like anime is that if you look hard enough, there’s something out there for everyone.

Anime for Kids

So.  Anime for kids.  Start with some of the basics.  Sailor Moon, Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Pokemon, Digimon, Princess Tutu.  Let’s use sailormoon_groupSailor Moon as our example.  The main characters in Sailor Moon are all about fourteen at the beginning of the series.  Pretty young, though there are younger in other series.

But where the big point lies is what the conflict is.  In Sailor Moon, you have the good guys versus the bad guys.  That makes it easier for children to understand, its clear cut.  Not so much in terms of that moral greyness that I’m really fond of.  They use powers of goodness and friendship to save the day.

Usually with anime for children, friendship and teamwork are emphasized, the problem lies in good versus evil or man versus nature, and the characters are younger.

Anime for High School Aged Kids

Neon_genesis_evangelionThis is where there’s a little more…dicey.  Again, the basic rule of ‘what is the protagonist’s age’ applies here.  If the character is a teenager usually the anime is suitable for a teenager.  Some good examples here are Neon Genesis Evangelion, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, Gundam Wing, Ouran Highschool Host Club, Fruits Basket, and Free! Iwatobi Swim Club.

This is where conflict gets a bit more murky.  Things aren’t always clear cut in these anime.  Politics start getting added in sometimes, psychological aspects start getting added in, overall there is harsher language and more violence.

Let’s go with Neon Genesis Evangelion for our example.  We have a post apocalyptic crapsack world that’s constantly being attacked by weird things called angels.  We see Shinji get used as a pawn over and over and watch him get psychologically destroyed.  It’s not something I’d want younger kids watching.

Anime for College Aged Peoples

Deadman.Wonderland.full.540989

Otherwise known as adults. The protagonist age tactic still works here.  Some examples are Btooom!, Gundam 00, Elfen Lied, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Nana, and Death Note.  Usually when you hit level, its mainly the content of the series that has pushes it into this category (in my mind).  When the series is targeted more toward adults there is crude language, there might be implied sexual content, there’s more violence, and some of the series are a lot more cerebral.

The example I’m going to use is Deadman Wonderland, though.  Deadman Wonderland doesn’t follow the usual protagonist being the proper age thing.  The main character, Ganta Igarashi, is fourteen years old.  However, the content of this anime throws it into ‘college aged/adult’.  Ganta winds up taking the fall for the death of his entire class and ends up in a place called ‘deadman wonderland’.  It’s essentially a work camp prison where he will have a fatal accident to atone for his crimes.  Of course, the main story line is more complicated than that – but that the gist.  Just what you want a fourteen year old watching, right? (no).

Deceiving Series

230px-MadokaBD

And then there are series that are a little trickier.  They appear to be bright shiny kids series but then WHAM.  It’s all dark and gritty and what the hell just happened?!  I’d put series like Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Angel Beats!, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, and Shingeki no Kyojin in this category.  Sometimes its just because the characters are young and the content is maybe meant for older age groups.  Sometimes its because of serious WHAM moments.  Or the suddenly serious type.  Or because the animation is cutesy…but the series is really violent.

We’ll use Madoka Magica as the example this time.  The story starts as a regular old magic girl series.  Our main character, Madoka, is fourteen years old.  The series is brightly colored and it has very cute animation.  And then the series very suddenly becomes a brutal deconstruction of the magical girl genre.  It’s fantastic.  It’s REALLY not for kids.

So…

I think that covers it.  This is usually how I gauge age appropriateness.  It’s not a perfect system and there are always exceptions.  There’s a lot of violent anime out there…but there’s also a lot of anime that focuses on friendship and teamwork.

~LL Lemke

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