Anime for Kids vs. Anime for Adults

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 14, 2010 in Animation |

Anime for Kids, Anime for Adults: Note the Difference

Tengen Toppa Gurren-LagannThere’s an old saying that behind every good joke there’s just a bit of truth: And the poster above seems to capture a certain contradiction about anime and anime fans which is interesting to say the least. I think part of the reason for this is that on a meta level most entertainment aimed ay kids is made to be so saccharine sweet that it seems that all of the life has been beaten out of it. For example if you look at the Disney channel so many of the shows look and sound like gentle sitcoms from a long past era — however my guess is that a certain number of kids want something more. In fact the best way to get a kid to read a book is to tell them that “you’re too young to read this book” and I think anime has that attraction to it.

Hannah Montana

Above: Has Hannah Montana driven the more edgy youth of today to seek out anime?

As for the proliferation of anime high school shows my mind drifts to the old saying that “the problem with youth is that it’s wasted on the young”. Frankly most older folks (myself included) have a bad tendency to dwell in nostalgia, and making matters worse from a cultural perspective we inflict our childhood on today’s youth. It doesn’t matter if it’s baby boomers thinking about Woodstock or Gen Xers filling their iPod up with new wave and old school hip hop songs, the effect is that we’re yearning for a more “simple time” when we has less responsibilities and didn’t have to worry about taxes, health insurance and the paying the rent.

Space Battleship Yamato: Kodai holding a dead Yuki while Dessler corpse floats by.

Above: In the original Japanese film Arrivederci Yamato our hero Kodai holds his dead girlfriend Yuki, while the corpse of his frenemy Dessler floats into outer space. And for his next trick Kodai would kill himself by flying his space battleship into the Comet Empire (well the big ass spaceship that came out of the Comet Empire).

And looking at my own life I see a bit of myself in this meme: As a kid the first anime show I loved was Star Blazers, and part of the appeal of that show was not only did it have a sophisticated plot but also there was a great deal of violence that you didn’t see even in a film like Star Wars. Of course in Star Blazers they edited some of the more graphic scenes, but when they’d say something like “hey we killed all of those robot soldiers” even I knew better. It was about the same time that the first Mad Max film was becoming a hit on cable television, and I think many of the fans of that film were in fact younger kids who had a hunger for something more graphic.

Lucky Star

Above: The Lucky Star girls are having a stressful time trying to figure out if they should have another round of hot chocolate or excahnge their Christmas gifts!

Flash forward to the future: As an adult I was in Manhattan during 9/11 so watching animation about giant spaceships blowing up seems unrealistic next to what I’ve seen. I still watch violent films from directors like Quentin Tarantino, yet the violence in his films always seems so much more personal. So when I come across a show like Lucky Star there’s a certain escapism to watching a world where not much of anything seems to be going on.

GaoGaiGar: King of Braves

Above: GaoGaiGar is the king of the motherfucking braves, bitches.

So as this meme intrigued me I decided to do a bit of research to see if I could find the artist behind this noted anime observation. Sadly I couldn’t find the author, although the graphic does date to 2007: My guess is that it must come from 4chan or some similar board. The kids shows are Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann, Fist of the Northern Star (that’s a manga cover by the way), GaoGaiGar: King of Braves and Fullmetal Alchemist. The adult anime shows are Azumanga Daioh, Lucky Star and Potemayo:

Anime for Kids, Anime for Adults: Note the Difference

My thanks to PatzPrime who tweeted this graphic!

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