In honor of World Anime Day, I’m sharing my five favorite family-friendly anime my three sisters and I grew up watching. The best part about having kids is watching their little faces light up as you enjoy your favorite geeky things. Anime can be a hard category to share with the younger generation since there is so much content geared towards mature audiences.
Here is a list of five anime movies and series you can safely watch with your family, so you can geek out with the next generation on World Anime Day! *Note: These are in no particular order*
1. Kiki’s Delivery Service
Miyazaki’s brilliance is pretty obvious in movies like Howl’s Moving Castle, or the highly-acclaimed Spirited Away. However, Kiki’s Delivery Service is more than just another anime movie. Kiki is a 13-year-old witch, who leaves home with her cat, her mother’s broom, minimal belongings, and a radio. In the days before smartphones, Kiki finds her way in a new city, negotiates with strangers for a place to stay, and builds a business with nothing but the ability to fly. She’s stubborn and determined and learns to lean on her friends in times of need.
No childhood anime list for World Anime Day is complete without Pokemon. Go ahead… Fight me. Pokemon is a solid all-around good show for kids. Competition is often followed by friendship, and every episode has a lesson in kindness. Everybody, from ally to foe, is treated with the utmost respect from Ash and his team. You can also use the show, to peak interest in the Pokemon Go mobile game and motivate your children to look for their own Pokemon outside.
3. Sailor Moon
“Fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight, never running from a real fight! She is the one named Sailor Moon!”
Sailor Moon, along with her friends, the Sailor planets, save the world from, well, evil. The best part about this series is every character is complete with their own unique backstory and personal issues that go along with that. Everybody can find someone to relate to, whether it’s the studious Sailor Mercury or in my case, Sailor Mars’ entire life. Friendship and love are big themes in this series, and my favorite part is none of the women are perfect. The fun doesn’t stop with anime, if you like Sailor Moon, you may want to check out a new Super Live Show.
4. Little Nemo
Pajama! Pajama! Pajama! PAJAMAAAA! The Little Nemo VHS tape hardly ever left our VCR. Released in 1989, Nemo finds himself swept off to Slumberland where he meets King Morpheus and gains the key to every door in the kingdom, including one door that he must not open. It is a fun creative story on trust and learning boundaries. There is also a tricky person named Flip who is an excellent character to teach children about being careful who they trust, even if that person is an adult. Flip seems to be Nemo’s friend, but we learn he is only out for himself and convinces Nemo to open that door, which then leads to chaos.
5. My Neighbor Totoro
I didn’t want to clutter up this post with just Miyazaki films, but My Neighbor Totoro is too good to keep off this list. Set in pre-modern Japan, Totoro shows us life back in the day, before every house had a phone or a refrigerator. It gives children an awesome example of how to be good siblings to each other, even through conflict.
Sasuke and Mae are two young girls who move to the country with their dad so their mom can have better air quality when she finally moves home from the hospital. The girls explore their new surroundings and discover a forest spirit, named Totoro, who lives in a camphor tree near their new house. Totoro helps when Mae, the younger one, goes missing after a spat with her sister.
My mom grew up in the country in South Korea, and this movie would prompt her to tell us of her life growing up. Now she shares her stories with the kids about how she used a basket to wash vegetables in a river when she was a little girl.
There you have it, my favorite family-friendly anime to share with your spawn.
Everyone should be able to celebrate World Anime Day, even if you have younger children at home and do not have the energy to stay up after the kids go to sleep. Who decided on a Monday?