By Yali Perez
Welcome to A Mom’s Guide to Anime! The world of parenthood is a magical, beautiful and often challenging place. It has its highs and its lows, similar to the world of anime. Of course, that’s without the magical outfit changes. Wouldn’t that make getting ready in the morning so much easier?
As a single parent to a 10-year-old son, I sometimes use anime as a way to connect with him. Anime is something we mutually enjoy and is a great medium to discuss subjects without the pressure of feeling too serious. The aim of A Mom’s Guide to Anime is to use anime to help you navigate the world of parenthood.
This month’s focus: Imaginative worlds. My son has recently taken an interest in art and drawing. He has sketch books, pencils, and has been checking out drawing how-tos from the library. His art is inspired by the cartoons and anime we watch together. It got me thinking about anime and the imaginative worlds they create, from the fantastic and colorful to the creative and unique.
Let’s take a look at five series that feature some of these vibrant worlds, and how they can inspire creativity.
The World of Pirates in One Piece
The world of One Piece has many elements that capture the imagination of a child. One Piece has pirates, treasure, fruit that gives you special abilities, a skeletal musician, sword-fighting and an adorable reindeer.
But the show’s art style truly brings it all together. One Piece doesn’t just have colorful humor — the world itself is colorful. Whether it’s the gorgeous blue of the seas and sky, the textured wood of the ships, or the shiny gold, the show’s color palette enhances the visual appeal of the world.
Kids love colorful, vibrant animation, but there’s plenty here for parents as well. It’s no wonder the show has such longevity.
The World of Monsters in Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On
Based on the hit Monster Hunter franchise from Capcom, this anime pulls elements from the games and filters them through a kid-friendly makeover. If you’re a diehard fan, this is more Monster Hunter Stories than Monster Hunter World.
Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On follows protagonist Lute and his friends as they train to be Riders. Riders are able to form bonds with monsters, which they travel and battle with. But it’s not just the monsters that make this world easy to understand, but that the protagonists themselves are children. For kids looking for a world to explore, being able to see themselves in their heroes is important.
And, of course, the world itself is very expansive. There are mountains, valleys, villages, rivers, towns and more across a lush landscape. The art style is eye-catching, particularly in Episode 56 with a stunning depiction of snow.
The World of Magic in Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card might be the imaginative world listed here that most resembles reality. Of course, I say that lightly. Sakura lives in the real city of Tokyo, Japan. She goes to school, cheers and does her chores and homework. She’s just a normal girl who happens to have a talking chibi lion and magical cards that give her abilities.
What kid wouldn’t want to use cards to fly, bounce high, run fast, grow big or create illusions? OK, I’m sure many adults would want this too. In addition to the show’s magic, its use of color is quite captivating. The show creates a contrast between primary coloring on real-world objects, and the use of pastels for anything around magic. And though you’d think the contrast would be stark, these colors actually help to blend the two worlds together.
The series is a great way to showcase the trials of being a kid, while also managing fantastic elements.
The World of Mechs in Gundam Build Divers
The world of Gundam Build Divers is a two-for-one. Not only are there robots and mechs, but there’s also the virtual reality game! Gundam Build Divers is about Riku Mikami and his friends as they “dive” into the game Gunpla Battle Nexus Online.
They battle in this virtual space and in the yearly Gunpla Force Battle Tournament to see who the best Gunpla Diver is. If you have an Apex Legends or Fortnite-obsessed kid like I do, then this world might be the most appealing to them on this list.
The characters each have their own Gundam they can upgrade and customize — No V-bucks required. In Gundam Build Divers, players can also create their own Gunpla dive groups. This helps to educate about the power of strong bonds between players and their Gundam.
The imaginative world of Gundam Build Divers will allow your kids to dream of being in a video game, or maybe even inspire them create a game just like it. If your children enjoy Gundam, consider purchasing a model kit. It’s a fun activity to do together, and a great way to get them interested in STEM!
The World of Giants in Attack on Titan: Junior High
Let’s all agree right now that the world of Attack on Titan might not be the most kid-friendly series out there, what with all of the towering Titans and gruesome deaths. However, the series’ parody spin-off, Attack on Titan: Junior High, could be the perfect introduction and an educational moment for an imaginative world that isn’t so friendly. And hey, junior high can be scary too.
Though necessary, school can often be boring, uneventful and tedious for some kids. The school in Attack on Titan: Junior High is basically the complete opposite. For example, the Colossal Titan is the principal of the school, there are secret underground school clubs and the students play Titan dodgeball games.
This world is like a daydream, and daydreams can be a creative way to cope and manage stress as a kid. It also helps that the chibi animation style and comedy help build this unique take on the world of Attack on Titan. It’s also really cute.
Attack on Titan: Junior High could also be a way to talk about school-related events with your child. Are they having issues with a teacher or classmate? Do they have a crush? What are they studying? While a bit removed, this series can definitely spark a conversation.
What imaginative world would you recommend that’s worth diving into? Are any of these worlds your favorite? Be sure to share this installment of A Mom’s Guide to Anime and let us know!
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