Introducing kids to anime is easier said than done. Whether it’s your own child, your younger sibling, or your niece or nephew, you have to take a few things into consideration. You can’t shove Death Note down a 6-year-old’s throat no matter how “mature” they are for their age. That’s why we compiled a list of awesome anime for children ages 5-11.
Kids have their own interests too. Just because you have a girl doesn’t mean she’ll want to get into Card Captor Sakura in the same way that not all boys are fans of Dragonball. Think about their current interests. If they’re fond of action movies and fight scenes, then recommending Bleach is much better than Fruits Basket. Know the intended audience!
Finding out if an anime is age-appropriate only needs a dash of common sense and familiarity with the anime. For those who struggle with this, you can check out Common Sense Media for general guidelines.
Now we get to the good stuff. Here are our recommendations to help introduce anime to kids!
My Neighbor Totoro – Age 5
Any ‘Best Of’ anime list would be lacking if they didn’t have a Studio Ghibli film. My Neighbor Totoro is a magical film about friendship that follows two sisters and a mystical creature named Totoro. This is the best example of an anime that’s great for kids as young as 5 and for adults as old as 99 (and above!).
Pokemon – Age 6
Even if you’re not an anime fan, you must have heard of Pokemon before. The Pokemon invasion happened in the late 90’s but its staying power is strong. The original series follows Ash Ketchum on his journey to be the very best Pokemon trainer. Violence only happens between the Pokemon though.
Case Closed (Detective Conan) – Age 7
Jimmy Kudo is a high school detective who was forced to take an experimental poison designed to kill him without any evidence. The unknown side-effect is that he turned into a kid instead. This series has case-of-the-week syndrome but it’s great for those who love mysteries!
Avatar: The Last Airbender – Age 8
We’re cheating with this one. Avatar isn’t technically an anime because it wasn’t produced in Japan. It’s an American animation that’s inspired by Japanese anime, but this great fantasy story about the Avatar, the one being who can control the four elements, and his quest to discover his place in the world is worth watching by kids young and old.
Dragon Ball – Age 9
Dragon Ball may be known for its violence, but it’s much tamer than its successors, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT. There’s a lot of slapstick humor and animated violence, so refrain from showing this to younger kids. There have been a few children who were terrified of the scenes where Goku transforms into an ape, so be advised.
Sailor Moon – Age 10
There’s an uncut version of Sailor Moon that’s more suitable for mature audiences, but if you can grab a copy of the edited one, then it’s perfect for tweens. This classic magical girl anime is fun and full of action, but some might find the villains a bit scary.
Naruto – Age 11
Naruto is still unbelievably popular, but the violence in this action-packed series about powerful ninjas might not be suitable for younger children. Though there are a lot of fights, the story focuses on strong characters and their values. The lead character, Naruto Uzumaki, is the very definition of perseverance and hard work!
The anime in this list is a great starting point, but it’s by no means comprehensive. It was made to be as mainstream as possible so it’s easier to jump in. Hopefully this is just the beginning of your child’s interest in anime!
If you want to introduce anime to your friends or if you want to get more familiar with it, check out this post on Introducing Someone To Anime!