Parent Guide To Anime 101

parent guide to anime

Not sure if anime is good for your kids? Well, it all depends on which anime. Here’s a parent guide to anime to help you figure out which is the right type of anime for your kids to watch!

Anime is the entertainment content most people are obsessed with currently. Thanks to the Japanese anime industry there are tons of anime out there with intriguing concepts, lovable characters, and engrossing story plots. 

There are countless types of anime with distinct genres that make anime quite enthralling to watch which is why there’s a massive fan base for it.

However, just like any entertainment content, anime has its ups and downs. By downs, we mean that not every anime is suitable for the viewer depending on their age. If your kid loves anime and you’re worried he/she may stumble upon inappropriate content then worry not. 

We’ve discussed the crucial aspects that parents should look into before introducing anime to their children. Hop in and read along to find out what they are.

Parent Guide to Anime

What is anime?

Anime is a word derived from the English word “animation” and it’s the term used by the Japanese to describe any animated content. However, Westerners refer to anime as the animated content that’s particularly created in Japan. 

Hence, we’ll also be talking only about the anime produced in Japan. For example, some of the famous Japanese anime loved by most people globally are Attack On Titan, Naruto, Pokemon, etc.

Anime is completely different from the cartoons that most of us are familiar with such as Tom and Jerry, Mickey Mouse, etc despite both the contents being animation. Japanese anime is mostly hand-drawn by the creators and later animated through the computer. 

The major difference between Western animation and Japanese animation is that Japanese animation or anime, as we like to call it, focuses more on camera effects such as zooming and panning. The anime characters also have distinctive styles and emotive features when compared to Western animated characters.

There are also several types of anime that are targeted towards different demographics and age groups. Hence they make it convenient for us to categorize which anime is ideal for a particular demography.

Types Of Anime

Anime is a broad entertainment subject just like its fan base, hence there are several types of anime that are targeted towards a couple of demographics. 

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It’s crucial to know the types of anime available since they play a vital role in identifying which anime is ideal for kids, teens, adults, etc. Some of the most famous types of anime are:

Shonen anime

Shonen or shounen is a type of anime that’s specifically targeted towards teenage boys typically between the age range of 12 and 16. The word “shonen” means boy in Japanese hence the name given to the anime type. Since shonen anime are targeted towards young boys, the storyline of these anime hold a main male protagonist. 

The renowned aspect of shonen anime is that it features heavy action scenes that young boys are gravitated towards. They’re also combined with comedy, betrayal, and also a bit of tragedy. 

Most if not all shonen anime fall into several genres such as martial arts, sci-fi, mecha, horror, and sports. These genres enhance the masculinity aspect that most teens are fond of.

Some examples of Shonen anime are Naruto, Hunter X Hunter, Bleach, My Hero Academia, etc.

Shojo Anime 

Similar to shonen, Shojo or shoujo anime is particularly meant for teenage girls, and the word “shojo” means young woman in Japanese. Evidently, shojo anime features everything feminine and anything that can relate to girls of a young age group from 12 to 16.

Shojo anime storylines have female lead characters which help the young female audience to relate with.

One of the renowned aspects of shojo anime is that the female characters are displayed with more emotive features like wide, cute eyes, fit physique, and an overall attractive appearance. 

Although shojo anime are targeted towards a young female audience, they draw a lot of attention from boys as well. 

The genres most shojo anime will fall into are romance, comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, and historical drama. Recently, many shojo anime have adapted the concept of female empowerment that has inspired several young women to be fearless and independent.

Examples of some famous shojo anime are Sailor Moon, Your Lie In April, Fruits Basket, Maid Sama, Ao Haru Ride, etc.

Seinen Anime

Seinen anime is targeted towards young adult men from the age of 17 and above. These anime cater to the interests of young men hence most seinen anime are classified into genres like action, violence, romance, politics, sci-fi, comedy, and sports. 

Examples of seinen anime are Tokyo Ghoul, Berserk, Code Geass, and Fate/Zero.

Josei Anime 

Josei anime is promoted specifically towards young women from the age of 17 and above. These anime portray issues surrounding young women like relationships and infatuations. 

Some of the popular josei anime are Paradise Kiss, Usagi Drop, Aggretsuko, and Princess Jellyfish.


This is Japanese anime that’s strictly for people above the age of 18 because it’s animated pornography. 

How to find out if anime is appropriate?

There are quite a few convenient ways to figure out if or not the anime is appropriate for children or teens. We’ve listed the best ways parents can carry out before choosing the ideal anime content for their kids.

  • Check the type of anime
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As we’ve mentioned above there are nearly 4 to 5 types of anime available out there. First of all, it’s best to start by checking out anime that’s suitable for your kid according to their age and interests. 

If they’re above 13 years then the most suitable anime for them is Shonen anime which is mainly based on action and heroic themes. Moreover, teenage girls above 13 years of age can opt to shojo anime since it’s targeted towards them. 

For those above the age of 17, both boys and girls can opt to watch Seinen and Josei anime. However, these types of anime might contain graphic and explicit content to some extent. 

Hence, if parents are concerned they can learn more about the anime and accompany their children while watching.

It’s worth noting that any anime labeled as hentai are strictly not for those below 17 years, hence it should be kept away from younger audiences.

  • Look for the ratings 

This is one of the first steps most parents carry out when introducing their children to new entertainment content. Ratings are a simple way to know if the particular material is suitable for your kid. 

There are different types of ratings for TV and movies. You can just look at the Blu-ray case for the ratings or just Google the anime’s rating and you’ll know them right away.

Some types of ratings available are : 

  • G – Suitable for all ages
  • PG – Abbreviation for “Parental Guidance”. It’s suitable for children but may contain some elements like eerie music, mediocre action scenes, etc that some parents don’t want to expose their children to.
  • PG-13 – This is a common rating and it means the anime is only for teens and adults because they contain graphic violence, strong language, and sexual content.
  • R – Also known as R- rated which is strictly for mature audiences above the age of 18 since such anime can contain extremely gore scenes, strong sexual content, and intense action.
  • Learn about the anime plot

Another best way to know if the anime is appropriate for kids is by parents watching the anime itself, either with kids or before introducing them to it. 

By doing this parents can ensure that the anime doesn’t contain any upsetting scenes that their children might be sensitive towards such as troubling music and sudden light flashes. 

This method can come in handy for parents who have children suffering from conditions like photosensitive epilepsy, migraine, and seizures.

In addition, anime plots give an insight to parents about the overall storyline and how the scenes are going to be displayed. As a result, they can prepare their children for the impending scenario.

  • Read reviews about the anime 
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This is also another beneficial step and it can provide the parents with discernments of viewers that can help them to decide if the anime is appropriate for their children or not. 

In fact, reading anime reviews can also help the parents choose the best anime for their children based on viewers’ comments about storylines, concepts, characters, and production and have an enjoyable anime time with their children.

In conclusion, just like most entertainment material out there, anime has its own industry, set of audience, distinct genres, and ratings. 

It’s not wise to assume that anime is only for children since they’re animated. The world of anime is extraordinary and can be watched by anyone depending on their age and level of comfort.

Parent Guide To Anime: FAQs

Is anime inappropriate for 12 year olds?

Anime is another word for animation and it’s the widely used term by most people to refer to Japanese animation. There are several variations of anime that are targeted towards specific demographics such as male, female, teens, and adults. The types of anime suitable for 12 year olds are Shonen and Shojo anime that are particularly targeted for boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 16. 

What parents should know about anime?

Since anime is animated content, most parents assume that they’re suitable for kids of all ages. Parents should know that just like other entertainment materials, anime also has an age range which some types of anime are targeted towards. It’s likely that some anime can contain obscene material, violence, and drug use. Hence, it’d be wise if parents give heed to the anime ratings and storylines before exposing their kids to certain anime content.

Is anime child friendly?

Anime has become the new sort of entertainment most people are fond of starting from kids to adults. Although anime is animated and looks like a basic cartoon show, it’s not always child friendly. Anime has a large audience and it caters to different groups of audiences, hence there are some anime only meant for teens and mature audiences. However, there are several anime that are targeted towards children such as Pokemon, Doraemon, Shin-Chan, etc.

Should I let my child watch anime?

There’s no harm in letting your children watch anime as long as the anime is targeted towards children. Most anime Blu-Ray and DVD discs are rated hence it’s convenient to check the rating of the anime before exposing your children to it. Make sure to know which type of anime your children are watching and set a schedule for them so they can focus on homework and school.

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Written by Ava Sato

Hiya! I'm the main author of Japan Truly. I love everything Japan and love testing out Japanese products, be it skincare and makeup or gadgets! You'll find reviews of some of the best selling Japanese products (tried and tested) right here!

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