By Yali Perez
The world of parenthood is a magical, beautiful and often challenging place. It has its highs and its lows, similar to the world of anime. Of course, that’s without the magical outfit changes. Wouldn’t that make getting ready in the morning so much easier?
As a single parent to a 10-year-old son, I sometimes use anime as a way to connect with him. Anime is something we mutually enjoy and is a great medium to discuss subjects without the pressure of feeling too serious. The aim of A Mom’s Guide to Anime is to use anime to help you navigate the world of parenthood.
This month’s focus: Shows to watch with YOUR parents. As a millennial, I grew up when anime had just started to take American broadcast television by storm. Despite having young parents, I was not allowed to watch anime in the beginning. But my godfather, he knew what was up! And he’s also one of the reasons why I find anime so special to share with my son.
This got me thinking, though. How do you share anime with YOUR own parents? How do you get them to see it as not being just for kids or millennials? The task is easier said than done, but after some research, talking to every older parent I know, I have found that the key is to familiarity! Shows that have themes/stories they are already familiar with but in different mediums.
Let’s take a look at some of your options.
Dragon Ball Z
After talking with many older parents including my own, this was the one anime they could all name! Most could even name a few characters but couldn’t really dig into the details. So, why not start your parents off with the anime that is most familiar?
What’s great about Dragon Ball Z is that the story is simple to grasp. Goku is a space alien who landed on Earth as a baby and was raised by humans. As he gets older, he learns he has super strength and tries to use his powers for good. Kind of reminds you of another famous alien your parents may know of, right? Big “S” on his chest.
The series has a lot of familiar tropes, like the quest to make a wish, trying to get stronger to take on an even stronger adversary, and assembling a team to save the world. Aside from this right-at-home feeling, there are also a ton of characters to rally behind, so there’s bound to be at least one your parents will relate to.
There’s plenty of action, but it balances out with well-timed humor, heartfelt moments and an expression of the simple joys of real life. Yes, they may blow up planets, but sometimes they just want to chill out and chow down. I think we can all get behind that last part.
Ace Attorney is a good anime to start your parents off with because it doesn’t stray too far from reality. During my conversations, many parents expressed that the fantastical nature of anime can be a turnoff. Well, a procedural anime about a lawyer trying cases might be just what they need. Yes, some of the cases are ridiculous, but they come with a lot of mystery!
Your parents will be hooked on the thrill of trying to solve the case and gathering evidence. And the courtroom scenes get very intense and might mirror some other non-anime shows your parents may already enjoy.
Plus, Phoenix Wright is a great protagonist because he’s not always perfect. Throughout the series, he grows more confident as a lawyer and as a mentor to young Maya. And who doesn’t love punny names?! If your parents enjoy the anime, then you can recommend they play the games next!
Africa Salaryman is an anime about three animals from the jungles of Africa who work corporate office jobs.
Now, I can already hear your skepticism, but hear me out: It might be safe to assume that your parents have worked an office job or any job, honestly. As working adults, they will be able to relate to the struggles of the characters of this anime! See, connections. Also, the idea of talking animals is not a new concept.
So, this anime might appear to be a strange recommendation, but it’s really not. Things like an annoying boss, noisy coworkers, working overtime, office friendships, and bills are all in Africa Salaryman. Your parents will spend so much time laughing at the wacky hijinks and connecting to the characters that they’ll not mind the Toucan, Lion and Lizard in business suits. Try watching Africa Salaryman with your parents and allow it to be a talking point about work and the struggles of adult life! You know, just don’t forget about the comedy…
Case File n°221: Kabukicho
Case File n°221: Kabukicho is another example of an age-old story, this time told with a fresh perspective. Which one? Well none other than the literary classic Sherlock Holmes.
Holmes will have to solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper, but it’s all now set in modern-day Tokyo. Of course, your parents will probably wonder where Sherlock’s friends are. Well, Watson, Irene Adler and even James Moriarty are here, just with fresh new looks.
Similarly to Ace Attorney, Case File n°221: Kabukicho is primarily grounded in reality. Throughout its 24-episode run, the series is thrilling, suspenseful and packed with mystery. Your parents will find themselves looking for all of the hidden clues in each episode as they try to uncover the identity of The Ripper right alongside the troupe of detectives. Thankfully, there’s also a fair amount of buddy cop humor between Holmes and Watson. If your parent is a fan of mystery or true crime shows, then definitely give this one a shot!
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