Anime (and Manga) for Parents (and Other Grownups)



Anime (and Manga) for Parents (and Other Grownups)

Pirated anime & manga related goods.

Anime and Manga Terminology

Titles Available in More Than One Format in the United States

Problematic Content in Anime and Manga

Recommended anime and manga


This web page is an outgrowth of several Anime for Parents panels I have done at anime conventions over the past several years. More parents, and aunts, uncles, family friends and adults in general are being exposed to anime and manga because of the interests of teens and younger children. I hope this page will assist them into a better understanding of what youngsters are watching and reading as well as assist adults to discover anime and manga as worthwhile forms of entertainment for themselves.

Anime (and Manga) for Parents (and Other Grownups):

For non-Japanese anime and manga often are a surprise. Both forms of storytelling have evolved over decades into something very different from what many associate with animation and comic books. The Japanese industry almost seems designed to to encourage creativity. In Japan for both anime and manga there are a large number of companies who manage to get their works out to the general public. This is very different from the US where a few companies continue to dominate the animation and comics industries. A significant difference between the two industries is that in Japan anime and manga titles are almost always finite series. That is each title runs for a set period of time, a few dozen volumes at the most in manga or three to six months for an anime TV series, then it is over. Such works are almost always a single story told over the entire run of the series. After it is over a new story takes it's place often by different creators, this process produces a great deal of variety. This also means there is a very large range of titles for US companies to license. Over the several decades that the US anime and manga industries have been growing a rather large number of titles have been released.

While the majority of manga currently available in the US is aimed at teens there is also a significant number of titles aimed at adults. Many of these such as Vagabond by Inoue Takehiko, or GTO and Rose Hip Zero by Fujisawa Toru are quite enjoyable works written for adults or older teens. These titles are not appropriate for younger readers as they happen to contain some scenes with violent or erotic elements. It is worth noting that for grade school children there few manga titles in English, however titles for younger teens are usually appropriate in content. For anime the majority of titles available are aimed at older teens and adults, the historical reason for this is that organized anime fandom started out among adults in the 1970s, then increased with a large number of college aged young adults in the 1980s and teens in the mid to late 1990s. Younger viewers of anime are a relatively recent market and adults often do not know enough about anime to buy for children. An adult should look over a title to see if they think it is appropriate for a child. Material with an older rating may be acceptable depending on the parent.

A crucial thing to remember, as mentioned earlier, is that anime and manga are almost always one story spread out over a series of volumes. For this reason you cannot start with any volume. Also with anime box sets are often significantly cheaper than buying individual discs. Chain stores rarely have anime box sets however smaller independent stores usually do and are willing to do special orders for titles they lack, a service chains rarely do.

Parents also often find that their children start developing an interest in Japanese society, sometimes even wanting to learn the language. Now anime and manga are imperfect ways to look at Japanese society, just as reading English language historical novels is a poor way to study history. However in both cases the enjoyment of fictional entertainment can be a beginning point for serious reading and study. Since most children rarely show interests in history and other cultures parents may want to be encouraging of this as something that can have a future benefit in school work. Today more high schools and colleges are including Japanese in their curriculem, often because of the interest students have from enjoying anime and manga.

Pirated anime and manga goods

As anime and manga are enjoying a growing popularity outside of Japan a certain amount of shoddy pirated goods are available on the market. Most commonly what one will see are cheaply made posters, music CDs on the Taiwanese Son May (SM) label and regionless DVDs. These materials should be avoided in obtaining materials for your collection. Any goods made in Japan or released by companies in the US are likely to be legitimate. However some pirates make their discs with Japanese text on the boxes. A major clue with DVD discs is that many pirated goods include chinese subtitles and are region free.

A good source of further information on such goods is the Pirate Anime FAQ.

See also my page on Reporting Pirated Anime and Asian Cinema

Anime and Manga Terminology

Problematic Content in Anime and Manga

Recommended Anime and Manga

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Created April 1, 2007 | Content last updated November 15, 2022