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: Anime for when they’re older. As parents, it’s natural that we would want to share the classics of our youth with our kids. In essence, it’s a way for them to meet you as a kid.
Though, the anime we watched as kids may not have been totally appropriate for our young eyes. It’s highly likely that those same anime you loved as a kid, you might not want your young ones watching now. That’s OK, and that doesn’t mean you can’t share it with them when they’re older.
In this month’s guide, we’ll jam with space cowboys, get very weird with FLCL and discover true love. Let’s dive in.
Cowboy Bebop is likely in your top 10 favorite anime. And even if it isn’t, the series’ cult and mainstream status is evident and warranted. This Space Western features a motley crew of bounty hunters, each struggling to face their demons.
Throughout the series, Spike, Faye, Jet, Ed and, yes, even Ein will come face-to-face with these trials, though not without a healthy helping of hijinks. Cowboy Bebop is not only a visual and storytelling masterpiece, it features some of the best music in any medium, period.
Though many have tried to capture its essence, nothing has come quite as close. It’s a master class in great anime, and the perfect mature series to share with your kids once they hit the right age.
Ah, FLCL. Another stellar series from the proclaimed “Millennial Golden Age” of anime. This weird, wacky and wonderful show follows 12-year-old Naota Nandaba and his coming-of-age story–oh, and then he gets run over by a girl on a Vespa.
Of course, that’s Haruko Haruhara, sporting an electric bass that brings Naota back to life after some unsuccessful CPR. What happens next is pure cinematic chaos that helps to define FLCL as the legend that it is.
While this series can often get very dark and raw, with intense action to boot, it might feel a bit tamer compared to today’s more mature anime. It sports a trippy animation style that also might not be totally palatable to younger kids. And yet, it’s absolutely worth the watch when they’re older, because there isn’t anything else like it!
Tenchi Muyo! series
Personally, I’m a big fan of anime and manga about one specific character having to decide who their true love is (from a group of many). Is it wish fulfillment as a single woman? Maybe.
The Tenchi Muyo! series has a whole lot of that. Tenchi is just your regular high school guy living in a temple, when a bunch of women from space decide his home is where they also need to be. One’s a space pirate, two are princesses and his cousins, one’s a mad scientist, and then there are some space police. Oh, and they’re all incredibly beautiful.
What is poor Tenchi to do? Now, you’re probably thinking: “Yali, there are so many of those! Why Tenchi?” To that I say, your question is valid! All joking aside, Tenchi Muyo! is one of my recommendations here because you get to see the main character grow over these series, from an unsure kid to a confident adult! You also get to see his relationships develop over time, and, of course, the consequences of his choices. If you’ve got a kid going through puberty, this is a show to watch.
Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040
There’s a slang term where I’m from: “Y’all wasn’t outside!”
That translates to: “This is before your time and you do not know about this.”
Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 falls neatly into that category. In this pseudo-reboot, we get a glimpse of Tokyo in the year 2040.
Most manual labor jobs are now performed by Boomers (androids) and they’re often treated horribly by humans. This causes the Boomers to malfunction and mutate. That’s when the Knight Sabers come in, a group of battle-armor-clad women to take them down!
What’s cool about the Knight Sabers is that each member is vastly different from one another. Priss was the “rock & roll” hard-ass leader; Nene’s the young techy; and Linna is the new girl on the team. Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 stands out as a series that shows women not just being badass, but also dealing with raw emotions.
Older kids will love the hard-core action and the interesting story about artificial intelligence. As far as classics go, this is one to add to the list.
Alright, millennial parents/anime fans, you should know this one. It also happens to be one of my brother’s personal favorite series!
Rurouni Kenshin tells the story of a former Battosai, an assassin trying to make up for the sins of his past. What makes this series special is that it literally has everything you could want in an anime series. You want action? Got it! Romance? Yep. Comedy? In spades. Characters with complex stories and motivations? Check and check!
Though I’m sure kids today have their fair share of violence in anime they might already watch, this show can go there with its display of gore. There are also some very adult moments that are not suitable for younger audiences. Of course, you’re the parent, so you know what’s best.
And if you watched this one when you were younger, now you can experience the true ending (since it didn’t air originally) with your kids!
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