Kids deserve quality entertainment too

She deserves a good anime too!

Image Cred­it: しゅーいち from Pixiv

Does being aimed at an old­er audi­ence auto­mat­i­cal­ly mean an ani­me has a high­er like­li­hood of being high­er qual­i­ty? What about shows for chil­dren? Does being aimed at a younger audi­ence mean that the show is going to be filled with unin­ter­est­ing drivel?

Just as there is a stig­ma of ani­ma­tion being an enter­tain­ment medi­um that’s sole­ly made for chil­dren in the west, there’s a com­mon notion that, if it’s made for chil­dren, it’s allowed to suck.

You look down on your childhood that much, don't ya?

Image Cred­it: みゃた from Pixiv

I’m per­son­al­ly tired of any incli­na­tion that a chil­dren’s show, by default, is a piece of filth that caters to the low­est com­mon denom­i­na­tor, and that any­thing above that is an excep­tion to the rule.

To any­one that has that mind­set, I ask you: Have you ever watched Don Bluth’s chil­dren’s movies? Or Bruce Tim­m’s DC car­toons, aimed at the same audi­ence as these shows that lack qual­i­ty? Have you watched Card­cap­tor Saku­ra, Astro Boy, or the Japan­ese ver­sion of the ear­ly Pock­et Mon­sters ani­me install­ments, even? Just because they’re chil­dren does­n’t mean they have to be exposed to every­thing shal­low in the world. That’s insult­ing to the children.

Mi and Ai hate the current Pokemon fanbase

Image Cred­it: のりさ from Pixiv.

An old­er audi­ence does­n’t affect the qual­i­ty of a show. If such chil­dren’s shows have proven they could be more than mind­less mar­ket­ing dri­v­el, why can’t that be con­sid­ered the stan­dard in terms of criticism?

Exam­ple: the Eng­lish Pock­et Mon­sters fan­base, con­stant­ly hand-waves the mod­ern ani­me’s mind­less mar­ket­ing dri­v­el with the excuse that “it’s a kid’s show,” ignor­ing the fact that the orig­i­nal Japan­ese ani­me writ­ten by Takeshi Shu­do actu­al­ly tried to be more than just a mar­ket­ing tool for the video games and pre­sent­ed some­thing that every­one could enjoy. The first and third movies tack­led iffy themes, such as the mean­ing and val­ue of life and the death of a pre­cious fam­i­ly mem­ber, and han­dled them a lot more mature­ly than a show with “bloods, guns, and breasts” could ever do. The era where the Mewt­wo no Tan­jou CD Drama/first movie was released and the mod­ern era of the ani­me feel extreme­ly seg­re­gat­ed in terms of tone and writ­ing, so why should fans feel that it’s unnec­es­sary for the ani­me series to be more than a mind­less mar­ket­ing tool sit­ting on a float­ing time­line when it used to be the oppo­site back in the day? In fact, many of these fans appear to think that chil­dren are stu­pid and unin­tel­li­gent crea­tures, and any­thing stu­pid that the writ­ers do with the show is justified.

Using that log­ic, I could say this in reverse: ““It’s a show for adults. They don’t have to do any­thing but make gra­tu­itous sex scenes.” My point is, using the tar­get audi­ence is nev­er a good way to jus­ti­fy any­thing neg­a­tive about an ani­me. An ani­me and any­thing in general.

Kids should be taken into a magical wonderland full of interesting characters and stories

Image Cred­it: 堀越 from Pixiv

A chil­dren’s show, ani­me or not, is capa­ble of being real. A show that care­ful­ly plots itself and acknowl­edges a pas­sage of time. A show with real emo­tion and sto­ry­telling val­ue. Peo­ple tend to for­get that chil­dren are smarter than we think they are. They’re just as cre­ative as we can be and are able to be engaged in a sto­ry as much as us. So why auto­mat­i­cal­ly group them with the low­est com­mon denominator?

I’d like to believe that I’ll have chil­dren of my own some­day. When that time comes, I want an ani­mat­ed series that we could watch togeth­er and talk about after­wards. I don’t want a show that talks down on the view­er and lacks any sort of char­ac­ter devel­op­ment or goal, but at the same time, I don’t want it to be pre­ten­tious and over­ly vio­lent. Is that so much to ask?

Yume­ka of Ani­me Yume makes an inter­est­ing point about many pos­si­ble gen­er­a­tional gaps between dif­fer­ent ani­me series and their fans, but I per­son­al­ly believe a time­less sto­ry is some­thing any­one can put aside age for, and is always a good way to bridge those gaps and find a shared inter­est between fans of old and fans of new. These “lit­tle kids” are the next gen­er­a­tion of the medi­um’s con­nois­seurs, after all. Why should they be exposed to crap first and foremost?

4 thoughts on “Kids deserve quality entertainment too

  1. You for­got to men­tion the Miyaza­ki movies, those are the pin­na­cle of high qual­i­ty ani­ma­tion that meant for chil­dren (young girls most of the time) that also attracts adults as well. The same could be said of Star Wars since its orig­i­nal audi­ence was young boys or Son­ic AM that took a plot­less video game and made into some­thing very enter­tain­ing while includ­ing a sub­tle envi­ron­men­tal mes­sage. In the video game realm we have Nin­ten­do who are great at deliv­er­ing qual­i­ty enter­tain­ment to chil­dren. Also adults seem to for­get that JRPG’s like The Tales Of series, Final Fan­ta­sy, and Dis­gaea are all aimed towards kids to preteens.

    So your right just because some­thing is child­ish does­n’t mean that its garbage and Adult enter­tain­ment is vast­ly supe­ri­or or vice versa.

    1. @TsukuyomiMagi99: ‑I includ­ed Miyazaki/Studio Ghi­b­li fanart, but yeah, I should have made a notable men­tion to those films.

      -Yeah, good point with Dis­gaea, Tales of, and Final Fan­ta­sy. They are rat­ed ESRB T over in the west, but in Japan they’re, iirc, rat­ed CERO A. The con­tent was­n’t meant to be exclu­sive­ly for old­er audiences.

      Well, Japan’s CERO rat­ing stan­dards have changed since the release of Tales of the Abyss, hence why new­er Tales games are often rat­ed B or C (same with Final Fan­ta­sy, I think).

      The “dark­er” and soci­etal themes that are promi­nent­ly fea­tured in the Tales series aren’t a for­eign con­cept to west­ern ani­ma­tion, any­way. It’s just a real­ly com­mon thing for west­ern cul­ture to shel­ter our chil­dren from these con­cepts in media, or at least por­tray them as some­thing total­ly not meant for the eyes of the youth, which in my hon­est opin­ion is total BS since it’s more enrich­ing than dam­ag­ing. Hor­ror games and their rather… erm, sub­lime imagery are a dif­fer­ent mat­ter though. Night­mare fuel and quan­ti­ty of blood in Zel­da-esque dos­es aren’t too bad, really.

      Obvi­ous­ly dif­fer­ent cul­tures have dif­fer­ent stan­dards on what is age-accept­able. But west­ern views often come off as a bit prud­ish to me.

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