The debate over whether anime is or may be a harmful influence on children is a massive topic. A determined analyst could explore this subject in great depth, citing theory, published psychological and developmental research, anecdotal evidence, and scientific experimentation.

Instinctively we would compare Japanese animation to the variety and diversity of the American film industry. But that analogy has an untenable flaw in relation to this particular discussion. In this context, animation isn’t directly comparable to live action film because animation is presumed to have greater appeal to children than average live action film.

So we’ll compare anime to American comic books. Both artistic mediums are widely considered genres primarily for children, but both genres consist of tremendous variety and a wide spectrum of target audiences. Not all comic books are intended for or suitable for impressionable children. Likewise, not all anime is designed for or suitable for impressionable children. So the argument that “anime” has a harmful influence on children is blatantly and ignorantly over simplified.

The fact that an artistic medium is widely and ignorantly presumed to be primarily for children doesn’t mean that it is so. There are many adult oriented comics that contain sexuality, drug use, adult language, and casual violence. Rational adult readers realize that the content of such comics depicts a fictional world that has legal, social, and moral standards different from the real world. However, young children may not yet have the intellectual capacity to distinguish between fictional depictions of behavior that seems acceptable, and behavior that’s acceptable in real life.

Likewise anime may depict actions and circumstances that seem natural, acceptable, and believable in context, but which don’t actually reflect real life. Forcing anime to be genuinely realistic and socially responsible is a compromise of artistic principle, and an unfair imposition upon rational, mature viewers.

The solution is not altering anime. The solution is applying care to supervise what influences impressionable children are exposed to. It’s illegal to expose children to pornography. A similar moral precept should also apply. Responsible adults, parents, and supervisors should take care to distance impressionable children from material deemed unsuitable.

If anime is a harmful influence on children, than that’s only because an irresponsible adult has allowed children to be exposed to anime not suitable for them. More at: AN

8 Comments

  • darkandshadow says:

    Great. Another “Pass the Buck” type dealy.

    Pointing the finger to something else besides

    themselves….>>

    First it was video games, then music and movies.

    Now they’re going after anime? Jesus…it can’t

    go much further than this now.

    Want the real solution to the retarded generation?

    Smack the parents around, to give some desperately

    needed discipline.

  • timlim says:

    I agree. Anime is definitely NOT harmful to kids. Yes, kids sometimes copy the things that anime characters do… that’s because the guardians doesn’t supervise and discipline them correctly. That’s that.

  • ware4me says:

    Well kids may emulate what they see on any TV show… I think it’s up to the parents to let them know what is reality and what is fiction… and if parents don’t spend time with the kids… well, it’s hard to tell if they are doing ok or not. >.<

  • stukasa says:

    ware4me;4215 wrote: The fact that an artistic medium is widely and ignorantly presumed to be primarily for children doesn’t mean that it is so. There are many adult oriented comics that contain sexuality, drug use, adult language, and casual violence.

    This is the problem right here. In the West, animation is considered mainly “just for kids.” A lot of people don’t realize that anime is very diverse and covers every genre and age group. Allowing young children to watch adult-oriented titles CAN be a harmful influence, but as other posters have said, it’s up to the parents to keep an eye on what their kids watch.

  • Otaku Ichise says:

    Dont understimate the power of japanese culture wich reflects on anime, thats all i have to say.

    PS: Do you know where i learned my english? in japanese role playing games, do you know where i learned respect? in animes

  • zefiris says:

    anime is good to tell stories. Why? because it can do many things better than live action. :console:

    If they are worring about the anime contents, then they should worry about live contents as well. >_>

    It’s just entertainments ppl.

  • Zer0 says:

    i herd some girl killed her dad with an axe in japan so thay stopped airing higurashi from one channel.

  • ware4me says:

    Hmm… yeah, something strange happened and that’s why there were changes in the series air hour for some stations.

    The Kyoto KBS Television station has announced that it will preempt its Saturday 2:30 a.m. showing of this series, specifically citing “the murder of the father in the Kyoto Prefecture city of Kyōtanabe.” Kyoto KBS serves the city of Kyōtanabe. While the announcement notes that it is unknown whether there is a connection between the murder and this program, it also notes that there are scenes of a girl holding an axe (apparently referring to the original Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series). The decision was made in light of the “possible discomfort to the audience.” The station is considering its plans for future showings.

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