Parent's Guide to Anime P3

Countering Your Parent's Complaints about Anime :: Parent's Guide to Anime P3

This is something that again is written towards parents. So whether this is something you want to forward on, or just pull your arguments out to use when your parents say "Isn't it violent?" "Isn't it cartoon porn?", I hope you find it useful. Now, I know some of you may not like my section on setting limits, but at the same time, just like video games and everything else, anime gets a bad name because parents don’t know what it’s about.

And I do believe strongly that parents should know what their kids are reading, not to censor it, but to be there to answer questions and give a new level of connection between parents and their kids. My parents usually knew what I was reading. Sure, I hid some lemon fan fics from them when I was thirteen, but that was more out of embarrassment than them actually being mad if they knew I was reading it. Anything that is unknown is going to cause more uneasiness, especially for parents. Teaching your parents about manga ratings can also ensure they don’t give your little brother an 17+ manga for Christmas while trying to be a supportive parent.

Plus, I think at the very least, my words should remind some of your teenagers how your parents are viewing what you do. Nothing helps to counter their arguments like legitimately understanding where they are coming from. That’s the tactic I always used on my parents and a tactic they encouraged me to use. And now it helps a lot as I’m a nanny and trying to bridge the gap between preteens and their parents who don’t get why I’m giving their kids manga.

Is Anime too Violent for my Kid?
What About the Nudity?

That depends on the age of your kid and in what form they are getting their anime (TV, internet, manga). In reality, most anime is censored on American TV. Three episodes of Pokémon were cut from the American series, one being the famous seizure episode, another involving cross-dressing that couldn’t be ignored (the guy has inflatable boobs and is showing them off), and the last because a gun is waved at one of the characters. In other words, the anime which is aired on CW and similar channels is not going to be any more violent than any other cartoon on the air.

On the other hand, you might think that these are just cartoons, and therefore they aren’t graphic or too adult for children of any age. Most anime in America comes with age recommendations. Granted, back when I was fifteen and getting into anime, I routinely watched things rated “17+,” but that was because the only reason for the rating was nudity. Personally, I was brought up believing that nudity isn’t an issue. Most of the time the nudity in anime (at least in children’s shows) is not of a sexual nature. They simply do not make as big of a deal about it as we do. The fact that there is a bit of naked Sailor Moon while she is transforming into her magical girl outfit simply isn’t a big deal.

Really, anime comes in about as many varieties as movies and television shows. Pay attention to the ratings, and don’t forget that there can be nudity and violence. Shows on CW and Cartoon Network are going to be edited for TV and fit within those stations’ standards. Cartoon Network does show an evening programming run called Adult Swim, and this starts around midnight, depending on your time zone. Children aren’t usually up that late, but the network does make it clear that these are more adult shows and may contain content that may not be appropriate for those under 17. Personally, I think most of the shows are more likely inappropriate for those under about fifteen, since these shows are not even as bad as an R-rated movie. Mostly there is some crude language, and the violence is more likely to have blood and death than in daytime cartoons. There might also be a more sexual nature to the shows, but the actual act of sex is not shown.

Art by Bee

Setting Limits
I don’t want to tell you to censor what your kids read or watch, because my parents let my brother and me read and watch a lot of things, and I turned out just fine. I was given adult novels when I was thirteen and taken to some R-rated movies. But my parents always knew why a movie was rated R before we went, so that they could make an informed decision about whether or not the movie was all right for us to see.

That’s a parent’s job. Not to limit their child as much as to give them guidelines to pick out the right books and television shows. If you make something forbidden, children will go out of their way to watch it anyway. Kids are curious about what their parents say they shouldn’t do. And teens want to rebel against any limits they don’t understand.

So the first step is to sit down with your child and watch or read with them. Why not spend family time reading out loud in different voices or snuggling under a blanket to watch My Neighbor Totoro? It’s great bonding time, and they are going to love it.

With older teens, it’s not as necessary to read their books (though an occasional glance can’t hurt), but it is important to talk to them about issues. Whether we are talking about anime, manga, or teen dramas, teenagers get a lot of different views on the world. Talking to your teen about sex and drugs in a realistic manner can help them form their own views that will be strong enough to stand up to what they see in the media. And I mean real talks, not just “smoking is bad.” Everyone knows that smoking is bad, drugs are bad, yet why do people do them? That’s where the talks need to go, past the generalities.

Manga can be a good tool for introducing new subjects to your kids. A series called Confidential Confessions is kind of the after school special in manga form. It discusses sex, rape, drugs, abuse, molestation, and other topics that teens worry about. While we all hope those things don’t happen to someone we know, or especially to our children, it’s good to have an idea of how to deal with them if they do happen. And even better yet, having knowledge can help prevent those things from happening.

Most manga and anime companies these days put ratings on their anime and manga, which can help you to know what to buy for your kid. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that the ratings may not always reflect how you feel. Typically there is a division by age, such as: All Ages, 10+, 13+, 16+, and 18+. Some companies divide these up more, but Teen (13+) and Mature (18+) are almost always a classification. Tokyopop has recently released a new comprehensive ratings system with forty indicators of the content of their books.

Anime and manga are also an excellent cultural learning tool. There are many books hitting the market about Japanese culture and heritage, along with possible language and culture classes in your area. Even just encouraging your children to watch their favorite anime’s subtitled version is a great way to help their reading comprehension. They can also begin to make a connection between the Japanese that they see in the subtitles and the words that they hear.

Another skill they’ll learn (and you’ll probably pick up also) is how to read the “wrong” way. Japanese manga is printed in right to left format, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly it becomes normal to switch to reading like that.

In addition, Japanese and other Asian languages are very difficult to learn after the teen years because of brain synapses required to speak non-Indo-European languages need to be developed at an early age. While most Japanese students learn English, simply knowing Japanese cultural customs can be useful for future business interactions as Japan grows as a political and economic power.

At the moment I'm working on an essay about trying to convince your parents to let you go to anime conventions. Can't guarantee it'll work, but I'll at least give you a good argument on why a convention is more than just a bunch of teenagers acting stupid.