It’s a common belief among anime fans that our entertainment would be shameful to our parents. “Oh, man, if my parents walked in while I was watching Nisemonogatari, I’d be disowned.” “My mom actually did walk in while I was watching Kill la Kill. Talk about awkward…”
It may seem like a lot of anime have alienating fan service, preventing you from ever proudly sharing your hobby with your parents. However, if you dig deep enough, you can find solid titles that not only lack awkward scenes, but contain themes and elements familiar to a mainstream Western audience. It’s possible your parents might actually enjoy them!
This critically acclaimed psychological thriller, optioned at one point for an HBO series, is an easy watch if your parents are fans of mysteries or thrillers of any kind. The lack of usual anime tropes or fanservice makes it an easy introduction into the medium, and due to the compelling storyline and stellar writing, your parents are likely to get hooked.
2. Tiger & Bunny
Superheroes and superhero movies are a staple of popular Western culture. As such, this unique superhero buddy story has an immediate hook. The series features only the mildest of fanservice involving superhero costumes, and is for the most part easily accessible to all audiences.
3. Princess Tutu
If your mother/father enjoys watching fairy tales or has a thing for ballet, they’re sure to enjoy Princess Tutu. The beautiful animation, captivating ballet sequences, frequent cliffhangers and plot twists are a perfect formula to get someone hooked.
4. Cowboy Bebop
There’s a reason this show got so popular on Adult Swim, even with non-anime fans. The show stands out from the crowd for its outstanding soundtrack and heavy Western influence, which is why it’s managed to remain relevant internationally for so many years. Not only that, but the fact that some of its episodes are episodic stories will help you introduce the show differently depending on what your parents like; for example, if your dad’s a big fan of the Alien movies, he’d probably love episode 11, “Toys in the Attic”.
If you’ve ever imagined your mom crying during movies like The Notebook or The Fault in Our Stars in your head, she’s bound to easily be drawn into Clannad. This high school romantic drama presents an appealing cast of characters and a healthy dose of romantic tragedy for anyone who enjoys these tropes.
While this is a slice-of-life series, the fact that it revolves around a diverse cast rather than just cute girls makes it easier for a wider audience to appreciate. It’s also very funny, and moms are bound to fall in love with the curious little girl Naru.
7. Death Note
With the upcoming movie coming from Netflix in July, it’s possible your parents have already heard of this psychological thriller. If they have, introducing them to the source material should be easy, and its intense plot and fascinating game of cat-and-mouse will ensure they stay interested.
8. Detective Conan (Case Closed)
This long-running detective story is bound to appeal to people who enjoy crime shows on television, and as a family show in Japan it never gets too gory or sexual. The only problems with this show might be its insanely high number of episodes and the currently-stalled English dub (episodes 1-123 have been dubbed).
9. Ghost Stories
If your parents have a slightly more liberal sense of humor, they’ll appreciate the bizarre story behind the dub of Ghost Stories, which consists of licensors holding complete creative control, as well as the distinct American humor.
10. Attack on Titan
This action-packed hit will appeal to any parent with a strong stomach for gore. If your mom or dad’s the type to get queasy in a PG-13 Hollywood thriller, they’re not likely to make it through the brutal story. For anyone else, this is an easy way to show that anime isn’t just kids’ stuff.
In conclusion, you shouldn’t be afraid of sharing what you’re interested in with your parents. With the right series, you can show that maybe your interest in these strange cartoons isn’t as weird as it may seem on the surface. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find something new to bond over.