Anime Underground 15 Good Reasons Every Parent Should Have Their Kids Watch Anime  

Anna Lindwasser
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List Rules Vote up the reasons you're raising your kids to be otaku.

While you may think of anime as just fancy, adult cartoons, there are actually plenty of reasons anime is great for kids. Aside from being just plain fun, anime imparts many lessons other kids' shows remain incapable of addressing. So what are the reasons parents should let kids watch anime, other than just giving themselves some peace and quiet? Firstly, a a cultural export from Japan, anime introduces kids to many parts of Asian society, and historical anime provide a history lesson without cracking open a textbook. Thanks to its complexity and depth, anime can also teach critical thinking, along with imparting advice on heavier subject matters like relationships and mortality.

All of these lessons can be amplified when combined with discussion, a reason why parents should watch anime with their children instead of just parking them in front of the computer by themselves. Many lessons parents can teach children from anime apply even to their own lives, making this a family activity that benefits, and entertains, everybody involved.

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Anime Offers A Gateway To Creativity

Anime Offers A Gateway To Crea... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 15 Good Reasons Every Parent Should Have Their Kids Watch Anime
Photo:  Kyoto Animation

If you think nothing creative comes from watching anime, you may need to anime-inspo of your own. While possible to passively absorb it, anime, like most media, sticks with kids long after the screen turns off. If a kid enjoys a show, they find some way to express that love, whether it's drawing pictures and comics, writing fanfiction, or dressing up like their favorite characters. Not only can kids do this on their own, but there's also a thriving community of other fans who they can share their work with. Writing a story about yourself adventuring in the world of Pokémon is cool, but when you put those stories online for other people to read and experience, you inadvertently workshop your own writing. Anime not only encourages creative expression, it also encourages creative improvement

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Anime Introduces Them To Japanese Culture

Anime Introduces Them To Japan... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 15 Good Reasons Every Parent Should Have Their Kids Watch Anime
Photo:  Madhouse

Anime acts as an excellent gateway to learn about Japanese culture. Whether depicting Japanese culinary delights or cultural traditions like karuta in Chihayafuru, anime can provide a window into Japanese culture easily consumable for children. Some anime titles even offer views into Japan's history, ranging from the samurai (Rurouni Kenshin) to WWII (Grave of the Fireflies).

Keep in mind anime is not the be-all end-all of Japanese culture, and plenty of tropes actually cause misconception. For example, anime often depicts teenagers living alone, an unlikely situation for most Japanese adolescents. Still, these discrepancies are a great way to teach kids another lesson - you can't judge a culture solely by the media it produces.

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Anime Shows Kids How To Be A Good Friend

Anime Shows Kids How To Be A ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 15 Good Reasons Every Parent Should Have Their Kids Watch Anime
Photo:  A-1 Pictures

Forming and maintaining friendships is a vital part of growing up, and anime friendships can help foster such growth. Watching anime easily acts as a social activity - there's nothing like binge-watching your favorite show with a group of friends. That said, kids can learn much about friendship by watching anime on their own. In Fairy Tail, the protagonist's friendship keeps them fighting their enemies even when all seems lost. In Anohanaa tight-knit group of friends is torn apart by tragedy when Menma, a member of the group, dies in an accident. The show deals with each member's struggle to grieve their loss, and the ultimate reconciliation of their friendships. These shows, among many others, depict characters being there for each other during hard times, enjoying each other's company during good times, and working through conflict as necessary - which is exactly what you have to do in the real world.

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It Teaches You About Failure

It Teaches You About Failure is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 15 Good Reasons Every Parent Should Have Their Kids Watch Anime
Photo:  Studio Deen

Learning to fail gracefully remains a universal struggle of growing up, and anime characters make great teachers on this subject. As often as anime characters succeed at their goals, they also fail. But most importantly, they never give up - they pull back, come up with a new strategy, and try again. In Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu Kikuhiko goes from novice to expert at rakugo (a form of Japanese storytelling) through a combination of practice and soul-searching. In Shirobako, protagonist Shizuka takes forever to land a voice acting gig - but her constant failure keeps the series engaging.

Anime also shows the consequences of too much success. In One Punch Man, the main character, Saitama, defeats enemies with a single punch, and as such constantly finds himself bored. In Yuri!!! on ICEJJ Leroy becomes so accustomed to success at professional figure skating that when he stumbles, he panics. Mistakes never come easily to anybody, especially kids, but anime teaches you accept them with poise and resolution.