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 12-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: Expectations. Do you remember when you were little, and you would imagine what your life would be like when you got older? I remember dreaming of going to Japan and writing my manga series. I was going to have cool pink hair, a stylish apartment in Tokyo and a boyfriend who looked like Tamahome from Fushigi Yugi.
My life isn’t exactly how I expected it to be. I do have cool pink hair, write about manga, anime and things happening in Tokyo, but I live in a house in a quiet suburb with my 12-year-old son and my mother. And, you likely know from my Anime & Dating column, I have no boyfriend.
As grownups and as parents, we know that expectations are not always realized. Expectations are like goals that we attach emotions to. The outcome determines how we feel.
But we want our kids to dream big. So for this guide, we’re focusing on series where the expectations of the characters weren’t the exact reality they were met with. This is a serious lesson, but I promise we’ll kick off 2022 with some fun. As always, you’re the parent and you know best.
Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy
This is the second season of the hilariously fun anime series, Ah! My Goddess. In it, Keiichi Morisato and the Goddess Belldandy are about to share one last date due to the events of Season 1. Keiichi wishes that he could be with Belldandy forever and, lucky for him, his wish is granted. I need the number of the Goddess Helpline, ASAP!
You would think that this is a case where expectations became the reality. Well, not really. His wish is granted, but it came with unexpected conditions. Yes, he can be with his beloved Belldandy, but her sisters have to come too. Oof!
Keiichi expected to live a peaceful life head-over-heels in love with Belldandy, and he got the girl, just not the peace. There will be times when your child’s expectations will be met, but sometimes they come with terms and conditions. Teach your children to be specific about what it is they expect, and remind them that it might not always work out.
Watch Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy on Funimation!
Ichigo Kurosaki was always looking out for the weak and powerless. Ever since his mother was tragically killed, he vowed to be strong and protect others. Ichigo was given the opportunity of a lifetime to be a substitute Soul Reaper, thanks to Rukia.
Elated with his newfound role, he expected to be able to keep his vow to defend the defenseless. Which…he sorta did, until he quickly learned that being a Soul Reaper isn’t the same thing as being a hero. There were times when he was put up against his morals, where he couldn’t save everyone, and when he had to disappoint his friends and family—at times being treated like the villain.
Picture this example as if your child gets their dream job, only it ends up being more of a nightmare. This can not only make them feel disappointed, but can also make them feel like they failed. Children need to know it’s OK to have more than one dream, or to dream differently. Yes, I’m not a manga writer, but I do get to write about the medium and share my love for it with people. It may not be the dream job I expected but it is still my dream, it just looks a little different.
Watch Bleach on Funimation!
The World Ends with You The Animation
You might expect, on first glance, an anime about kids entering a game world to play with their friends to be all fun and cute. But The World Ends with You The Animation is about a death game.
And yes, I’m aware that Neku and his friends didn’t choose to be in the game, but they also weren’t totally sure what was happening once they arrived. If you woke up in a game, wouldn’t you expect fun before…fear?
I digress, but the lesson here is that even things that seem like they meet our initial expectations could very well turn out to be the opposite, especially when it comes to the internet. A friend online may appear one way, but is totally different in the real world. Be sure to teach your little ones to look out for red flags when what they’re expecting seems too good to be true.
Watch The World Ends with You The Animation on Funimation!
The Duke of Death and His Maid
One of the toughest lessons to teach our children is that no matter how simple or realistic your expectations are, sometimes they will never be met. Nothing we can do can change them to fit what we would hope.
Case in point: The Duke of Death and His Maid. The adorable Duke was cursed as a child so that anything he touches dies. Think King Midas, but less shiny. Any expectations the Duke had of a normal life are now null and void. So, when his maid starts being flirty and showing affection, the Duke knows he can’t reciprocate, even though he wants to.
This is anime, so there could be a way to break this curse. We live in the real world and oftentimes there is no magic to assist us. Teaching kids to accept unfortunate situations can make it easier to handle disappointment when their expectations can’t be met.
Watch The Duke of Death and His Maid on Funimation!
Look, I know this has been a pretty serious guide, so let’s end it on a high note. In Bamboo Blade, Kirino Chiba is a great example of setting expectations and getting exactly what you want!
Bamboo Blade is about a group of friends in their school kendo club. Kirino is a cheerful, thoughtful and happy-go-lucky friend who never struggles. So, what’s Kirino Chiba’s secret to getting what she expects? She works for it! Kirino’s positive and goal-driven attitude allows her to always get what she wants. She also does so without ever sacrificing her morals or harming others.
Again, we want our kids to dream big and have it all, but sometimes you have to work for it. Then, there will be times when everything is as they expect just because. It’s rare but it does happen. Instill in your children a good work ethic and a positive outlook on life early on. That way as they grow they’ll be prepared to make their dreams come true with a smile!
Watch Bamboo Blade on Funimation!
That completes this month’s entry in A Mom’s Guide to Anime. Was it everything you expected? Share this post and let us know! Remember, you can watch all these anime series and more on Funimation.
I hope you all have a happy holiday season and I will see you in the New Year!