Are you a parent with children who can't stop talking about anime, but you're scratching your head trying to figure out exactly what it is? You may be slightly familiar with anime but need recommendations for shows you can feel comfortable showing to your young kids without having to constantly monitor the screen. No matter what situation you're in, we've got you. This is Ranker's comprehensive guide to the best anime for children, including explanations of each series and why you can feel great about your kids watching them.
For parents who are completely new to anime, here are some terms we highly recommend you familiarize yourself with before diving into the recommendations. These terms will be used in the descriptions for each series and will also help you if you're doing more extensive research outside of this page.
Shonen - Anime with a demographic that skews towards young boys, typically ages 8 to 18. This includes extremely popular anime like Naruto, My Hero Academia, and One Piece.
Shojo - Anime with a demographic that skews towards young girls, with the same age range of 8 to 18. Popular shojo series include Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura.
Kodomo - Anime that is specifically made with young children in mind, meaning children of any age can watch this material. If an anime has the kodomo label, you can rest assured that the show will be 100% kid friendly, even if your child is as young as 3 years old. Examples of Kodomo anime are shows like Doraemon and Hamtaro.
Fan Service - Material in an anime series that is designed to please the audience, usually sexual in nature. This might include scenes where female characters are wearing revealing clothing, or where male characters are shirtless but never full-on nudity of any kind. Fan service is something that is unique to anime and is rarely found in western animation. If you want a visual representation of what this looks like, here's a short YouTube video that will better help you understand what this looks like.
Although both shonen and shojo anime have a wide age range that includes young children, there are a few things you should look out for in each category. Shonen series often center around epic fights and good vs evil, so be aware that these anime usually contain soft violence of some kind. Shojo anime usually contain themes surrounding gender and sometimes sexuality, which you might consider a bit much for children who are younger than eight years old. The shonen and shojo labels are good in identifying what your boys or girls might gravitate towards, but they are just basic guidelines in recommending anime for children! Many young girls love shonen series, for example, but it's probably more rare that a younger boy will gravitate toward a shojo anime.
Now that that's out of the way let's talk about what specifically makes these anime suitable for kids! Our recommendations for kids' anime almost all have an overall lighthearted tone that will resonate with children, along with fun casts of characters that will make your children (and even you) laugh out loud. While none of these series can be considered educational per se, they teach very valuable life lessons about friendship, determination, self-confidence, loyalty, sportsmanship, and so much more. Unless we say otherwise in each explanation of the anime, you can comfortably put these shows on for your children and feel peace of mind knowing they're not consuming anything bad for their brains. That being said, we'd like to offer a disclaimer that anime recommendations for children are still subjective. For that reason, we've provided additional materials, such as YouTube links, for parents to decide for themselves whether or not they want their kids watching these shows.
Since Ranker is a crowdranked website that orders items by popularity, this page has over 120,000 votes from anime fans and parents alike that helped shaped the order of these recommendations. If you know of any of these series, please do the same and upvote the series you'd recommend to other parents.
This list has been updated for 2023, so expect to see some newer kids anime in addition to the many classics represented here.
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