Anime for a 4-year old
May 29, 2006 8:09 AM   Subscribe

My 4 year old daughter has seen a few anime shows and really likes them. She especially likes them subtitled, so she can hear the original Japanese voices. What are some anime series, appropriate to her age that I can pick up to encourage this? I know it's a long shot, but I'd like to find something that keeps her entertained, but doesn't drive me crazy. Some Japanese equivalent of Spongebob - a show I'd watch even if I didn't have children.
posted by fcain to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Kid-friendly anime AskMe from last year.
posted by mediareport at 8:17 AM on May 29, 2006

I can't think of any fantastic series to recommend (Inuyasha, Pokemon, and the like are brain-rotting), but the Ghibli films are delightful for people of all ages. Kiki's Delivery Service, Howl's Moving Castle, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away, The Cat Returns, Whisper of the Heart, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind are the ones I can think of right now. Of course, there's always Panda! Go Panda.

Laputa, Howl's, Spirited Away, and Nausicaa all have depictions of fighting and war--nothing gory but you may want to screen them before showing them to her.
posted by schroedinger at 8:18 AM on May 29, 2006

And specifically, A Parent's Guide to Anime.
posted by mediareport at 8:21 AM on May 29, 2006

Some of the magical girl shows would be good for that age group: Fancy Lala, maybe Sailor Moon (I'd wait a year or two on that, actually), Card Captor Sakura, Saint Tail, Wedding Peach. This is what girls her age would be watching in Japan--I can't guarantee that it won't drive you crazy, though.

Definitely Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro. The other Miyazaki movies might be a little mature.
posted by Jeanne at 8:22 AM on May 29, 2006

Anpanman is about a superhero whose head is made of sweet bean filled bread. His creator has to occasionally change his head.

Doraemon is a robotic cat from the future who has access to all types of gadgets.
posted by ArsncHeart at 8:24 AM on May 29, 2006

Anpanman is fantastic for people of all ages. I think it's awesome, and I'm pretty sure I'd think it was even more awesome if I was 4. There are loads of DVDs available, but without extensive googling I don't know how many have any subtitles at all - most are likely to just be in Japanese language.
posted by nylon at 8:24 AM on May 29, 2006

My Neighbor Totoro. My kids LOVE it and "see" dust bunnies all over the place (you will understand when you see it.) Not violent, no good vs. evil - just the things that can happen in life and the magic that can help us get through.

wife of 445supermag
posted by 445supermag at 8:51 AM on May 29, 2006

Yes, definitely Totoro!
posted by spasm at 9:20 AM on May 29, 2006

Card Captor Sakura (the series, not the movies, and subtitled, not dubbed IMHO) is wonderful for young children, and entertaining for adults.
posted by blahtsk at 9:36 AM on May 29, 2006

I like Hamtaro, though I don't know how easy it is to get a hold of the original Japanese ones. Obviously very kid-friendly.
posted by hoborg at 9:56 AM on May 29, 2006

More info on Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli. I would especially recommend Totoro, Kiki, and The Cat Returns, and recommend avoiding Princess Mononoke (PG-13 due to violence), Grave of the Fireflies (excellent, but unbearably sad) until she's older. Also, note that Castle of Cagliostro has a bit of harsh language.

As far as series go, I'd suggest A Little Snow Fairy, Sugar (clips available on the site), and Risky Safety (a full episode availble on the site).
Magical Girl series are a definite possibility, but note that many of those are intended for late elementary/junior high school age girls rather than pre-school/kindergardners.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 10:25 AM on May 29, 2006

Kure Kure Takora.

I know, I know -- it's not exactly anime, but how could you *not* want your child to watch a live-action Japanese children's show about a kleptomaniac octopus and his sidekick: a walking butternut squash?
posted by kaseijin at 10:55 AM on May 29, 2006

I'll also chime in with my support for Anpanpan, Tonari No Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service, too.

And I'll raise it a Nontan.
posted by kaseijin at 10:58 AM on May 29, 2006

oops - fixed link for Nontan.
posted by kaseijin at 11:03 AM on May 29, 2006

I emphatically agree with the recommendation of "Sugar, a little snow fairy" ("Yukitsukai Shuga"). You can get the whole series as a boxed set now for $55, which is a real bargain.

If you want to get some idea of what it's about, I have an episode guide posted for the first 3 DVDs on my site: (1 2 3). Here's my review.

Another good choice is "Bottle Fairy". The ending struck me very strangely, but it wouldn't bother a kid at all.

In a couple of years, I'd turn her loose on Card Captor Sakura, but not quite yet. (Avoid "Cardcaptors" like the plague; it's not the same!)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:10 PM on May 29, 2006

I'm not sure if it's a little too depressing for children, but I've always enjoyed Kogepan, a cute story about a sweet bread that gets burnt and isn't as popular as the other breads.
posted by Glitter Ninja at 12:33 PM on May 29, 2006

A friend of mine who has a 4 year old daughter has been thinking about this, too. (I'm the one who turned him on to Sugar, to Haibane Renmei, and to Someday's Dreamers.)

Someday's Dreamers is an interesting choice; it's not something I'd normally consider to be kid's fare. Not that there's anything in it that's objectionable, but just that it's a bit more adult than I'd think would be of interest to a 4 year old. But Aziz's daughter loved it, which shows you what I know about kids' tastes. I loved it, too, so maybe I'm a kid at heart. (My review)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:25 PM on May 29, 2006

Doraemon, and all other anime based on the manga by its author (Fujiko F Fujio).
posted by misozaki at 5:37 PM on May 29, 2006

Ojarumaru is good for little kids, each episode is 10 minutes long, and adults can watch it, too. I like it. Though I'm not sure if you can get a hold of subtitled copies where you are.

Personally, Hamutaro drove me up a wall, but my son loved it when he was your daughter's age. : )
posted by misozaki at 6:10 PM on May 29, 2006

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