From kids who are just starting to make their own media choices, to adults who want to share their passions with their loved ones, many anime fans dream of getting their parents into anime. However, figuring out how to do it is easier said than done, as it's difficult to know which anime your parents will like.
If you're trying to choose the right anime for parents, it's best to find series that don't contain the genre's usual tropes. These cliches can be confusing or off-putting for non-anime fans, and they contain elements that may not be appealing to older generations.
You're going to want to tailor your choices around your parents' interests. If your folks' collection of jazz LPs takes up an entire room in your house, Kids on the Slope or Cowboy Bebop could be the perfect way to get them hooked on anime. If your parents don't like watching violent stuff, you might not want to let them know that you love Psycho Pass.
You know your parents best, so use that knowledge to help them pick out their next favorite show.
Wolf Children is a particularly good choice for getting parents into anime. The story follows Hana, a college student whose life is derailed after she falls in love with a werewolf. The two decide to start a family, but Hana's lover dies soon after, leaving her to raise their werewolf babies alone. While the premise might sound a little silly, it's an emotionally resonant movie that's won several awards in Japan, Norway, and New York. Your parents will appreciate the tale's main subject; it's primarily about the struggles of raising children, which nearly all parents can relate to.
A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice lit the world on fire when it was released, and for good reason. This beautifully animated film tells the story of Shouya Ishida, who is trying to make amends for his regretful past; he once bullied his deaf classmate, Shouko Nishimiya, when the two were both in elementary school
The story is a great way to show your parents that anime can have a positive message. Shouya recognizes that he did something grievously wrong, and seeks to atone for his misdeeds. If you have something you need to apologize to your parents for, you may want to wait until you've actually said you're sorry to share this movie with them. Showing them how anime shaped your good values is a fantastic idea, unless you're not actively displaying said values.
Want to prove to your parents that anime can carry emotional weight? Show them Grave of the Fireflies, AKA one of the most depressing anime ever. Created by Studio Ghibli, the film follows two Japanese children — Seita and Setsuko — who struggle to survive in a bombed out, post-war Tokyo. You and your parents will both probably be in tears by the time the film ends, but it'll be a good, cathartic cry, and it may cause your folks to catch the anime bug.
#62 on The Best Movies of 1988
Cowboy Bebop is one of the most accessible anime ever made. Even if the audience isn't familiar with Japanese culture, they'll still get a kick out of the show's unfaltering style. The series is a space western that expertly blends laugh-out-loud comedy with bad*ss fight scenes, and comes complete with some genuine character development that will stick with you long after the series wraps. While it isn't exactly representative of anime as a whole, it's a great way to show your parents that a good series can be tonally surprising.
That said, if you have the type of parents who are going to get hung up on Faye's revealing outfit, or who will be bothered by the episodes that deal with drug use, you may want to let them discover this one on their own.