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 an 11-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: Choices and consequences. My son recently started middle school, and yes, I am emotional about it. So he showed me his class roster, including a new addition: College and Career. He said, “Why do I have to take this now? I’m only 11.” And through my tears I replied, “This is the time when you can start to think about your future. What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? It’s time to start making choices.”
And he scoffed, but I was reminded of myself at that age. Then it hit me,—he doesn’t know the consequences of not understanding why to make those choices, and the consequences can be worse if we’re not prepared.
As always, we’re turning to anime for help, and showcasing characters who’ve had to make tough decisions and handle the response or consequences to them. And yes, there are some extreme cases here, but their shock can sometimes help teach. Though, it might be a good idea for you to watch these from a parent perspective vs. with your kids.
Of course, you’re the parents and you know your kids best, there are mature themes ahead!
Lelouch in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Code Geass is one of those anime series that you either rock with or it makes you uncomfortable. No judgment here. This series is about an alternate reality of our world that’s filled with mechs, nations at odds and an aggressive military force.
Protagonist Lelouch is tired of living in a world that seems to care more about power than people. He’s an exiled British prince who decides to take back control by becoming a villain. That’s right. To save the world, he must become a villain. This difficult choice is made with good intentions, but the consequences are far from good.
Lelouch finds himself becoming the very thing he wanted to stop and ends up hurting innocent people, including the ones he loves. There are moments in your kids’ lives when they will make decisions thinking the only person who will suffer the consequences are themselves. But, as adults, we know that is not true.
Choices cause a rippling effect where the results are different for all those in its radius. Lelouch’s well-intended choice affected far more than just the evil he was hoping to destroy.
Watch Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion on Funimation!
Misa Amane in Death Note
There are many instances in Death Note where one person’s choice results in some, let’s say, polarizing consequences. But, since I don’t want to keep you here all day, let’s focus on a choice based on love.
Misa Amane found herself head-over-heels in love with the mysterious vigilante, Kira, finding connection in his mission to eradicate the world of criminals. Of course, it all gets more sinister than that, and Misa uses her Death Note and Shinigami Eyes to aid Kira (a.k.a. Light) in his quest.
However, her love for Light is used against her, and she soon loses her Death Note, and with it, her memories of it. Light’s plan has her regain these at a later date, but manipulates her into taking the deal that will shorten her lifespan again. All in the name of love, so it seems.
Sometimes these choices may not be choices at all, and it’s good to walk through consequences with your child so they can understand outcomes and remain vigilant of situations.
Watch Death Note on Funimation!
Momo Adachi in Peach Girl
OK, here is a situation that is a little less dire and a little more realistic. Momo Adachi, our titular peach girl, suffers from typical high school BS. She has to deal with awful rumors just because she’s different. Also, her alleged best friend started them. So you feel for the girl.
Despite it all, Momo remains herself. So, you’re wondering what her tough choice is? This peach girl has to choose between two loves. That’s right. Our girl has options! Good for you, sis. Momo must decide between her crush/ex Toji or her supportive friend/boyfriend Okuyasu. They are both great guys, and she loves them both. What is a girl to do?
Ultimately, she decides that her heart is with Okuyasu. This decision means she must give up her love for her crush Toji and break his heart. While the consequences aren’t as severe as, say, becoming a villain, it still hurts. Your kids will have to decide where the outcome benefits them but may hurt others—the opposite of the previous scenario.
In life, we can’t always make everyone happy, and though it doesn’t feel good, it is normal. Teach your young ones to prioritize their happiness first. They can’t help anyone if they don’t help themselves first.
Watch Peach Girl on Funimation!
Isabella in The Promised Neverland
Okay, by now you might be saying “Yali! Why are you trying to traumatize us and our children!” Look, I said there’d be a bit of fear factor here, and there’s a point. The Promised Neverland is all about choices and consequences. And one of the worst cases of all is a lose-lose situation.
When every option has a poor consequence, sometimes you have to make a tough choice. Case in point? Isabella, the Mother of Grace Field House. Once a child herself, she learned the truth of the world, and one of the Demons came to her with a choice: become the head of Grace Field House…or get eaten. We know where it goes from there.
But as your kids transition to adulthood, they’ll have to realize there are unavoidable choices, though again, not exactly like this one. Thankfully, this story focuses on the hopefulness and determination of the children in the face of these horrible choices. There may be another way!
Watch The Promised Neverland on Funimation!
Princess Syalis in Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle
This one isn’t scary, but is equally important! In Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, Princess Syalis finds herself kidnapped by a Demon King and thrown into his dungeon. Our sleepy princess has a few choices.
She can wait for a prince to rescue her, raise hell and demand her release…or take a nap! And who doesn’t love a good nap when there are tough choices to be made. Syalis opts for the nap and sees her circumstance in a positive way, as a vacation from royal life.
And, well, she doesn’t really see a consequence from this choice. The Demon King isn’t thrilled, so she occasionally has to deal with minions who might disturb her sleep, but she figures it out. Just like a lose-lose, there’s a win-win! Sometimes keeping a positive mindset can help your children make the choices life throws at them.
Watch Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle on Funimation!
Well, parents, I hope you found this month’s guide helpful. I know some of this anime is a bit serious, but choices and consequences can be serious, too! As parents, trust that you can help your children prepare for this part of life.
And remember, sometimes it’s okay to take a nap! We’ll see you next month.