WHY WATCH ANIME?
If you have young children they will be addicted to cartoons and chances are that's all they will be willing to watch, and they'll want you to watch with them. Problem is, how many cartoons on American television are enjoyable to both adults and children and are worth watching over and over and over ad nauseam? If you've ever had to sit through the same episodes of Sponge Bob Squarepants or Rugrats or Mucha Lucha, or other dreadful Saturday morning cartoons, then you know what it feels like to be constantly on the verge of a migraine or the edge of sanity. The solution we've found is Japanese anime!
Anime vs. Cartoons and Live Action Movies
American cartoons tend to be full of low brow bathroom humor and smart alecky characters you would not want your kids to emulate. In Japan, animation is an honored and respected media of storytelling tradition and is not just meant for children. American cartoons tend to be episodic with no continuing storyline, no character development, no fertile plot to appreciate. On the other hand, many anime series play like a miniseries or epic movie. Frequently, anime series are 26 episodes, equivalent to a 9 hour movie with the same quality and depth as the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Ever see a movie with a decent plot and script, but the acting was subpar? Well, all anime characters are great actors! They have eyes that can swim with tears, pupils that dilate and contract to indicate anger, excitement, insanity, love. They can show emotion like no real actor or actress. Don't forget the special effects, magical worlds, and super-action sequences that can be fully realized with animation.
How to get your child to read/draw
Is your child having problems reading? Do they have to fill out a reading log everyday for school? Try subtitles! Reading subtitles will improve your child's reading ability, not only vocabulary, but also speed as the subtitles flash by. If your child protests reading a book, let him watch cartoons and read at the same time. If you really want your kids to read a book, many anime series are based on "manga" also called graphic novels, or comic books. Get your kids interested in reading any way you can! Does your child have an artistic slant? They can practice drawing anime/manga characters. When they're older, pickup some "How to Draw Manga" books.
Learn life lessons and different cultures
Many series have real life lessons you can discuss as a family such as loyalty and friendship, or even rougher topis of drugs and sex. Some anime are rather Americanized or futuristic, but some clearly take place in Japan. What better way to breed tolerance and acceptance of another culture than to introduce it to a child in a palatable form. They can learn about different foods (see our recipe section), holidays like White Day (similar to Valentine's Day), customs like the tea ceremony and shrine festivals, and even pick up some Japanese.
One word of caution, some anime we consider appropriate for children may still have blood and cursing or other more adult issues (panty flashes and perverted men are common). We have no problems with this since it's in a controlled situation, not like picking it up in the schoolyard. We can explain to our kids that the character says these bad words, but we don't say that. Showing blood shows the consequences of fighting and can actually act as a deterrent.
Also visit our Kids' Corner and read How to Enjoy Anime with Your Kids
Site owner/web mistress/Kakashi obsessor/writer/director/producer/endless other titles: Eris_Sama aka Kopykat Kakashi aka Y part of DYMM
Staff Artist: Hattori Hanzo - you'll see his neat little gifs here and there
Also, thanks to the following who have helped with this site in one way or another:
Anime Family Banner in the About page by firstname.lastname@example.org
Kakashi Shrine banner assisted by zudo.tk
Sensei chart by Hanzo Hattori and assisted by BabbittBlob.
Yamisui and Kaitlyne McLeod for being sounding boards and contributing articles/stories.
Pokemon/Naruto crossover pic in "How to Enjoy Anime with Your Kids" by Morumoto-nin
Note: The really awesome Kakashi pics used to illustrate various stories in the fanfic section I got from others and don't know who the original artists are. I really really wish I did so I can see more of their work! And I know it's not right to use fan art without the artists' approval even if they're in Japan and can't communicate it English, etc, etc, but I really love these so please forgive me. I try to provide the artists' names whenever I can.