Top 19 Kid-Friendly Anime Shows to Enjoy as a Family

The Bark Team | June 06, 2023 | Family Friendly Media

tv remote surrounded by colorful illustrations

If your child has expressed an interest in anime, one thing’s for certain — they’re not alone! Anime’s popularity stretches across time and space, meaning it’s been around for a long time and there are people all over the world who love to watch it. 

As a parent, if you don’t know much about it, you might be a little intimidated. You might be asking, “What exactly is anime?” and “Does kid-friendly anime even exist?”

The good news is that you’ve come to the right place! After reading this post you’ll not only know what anime is, but you’ll walk away with a list of the best family-friendly animes to show your child. We hope parents find this a helpful introduction to the big wide world of anime!

Family-Friendly Anime: What Is Anime?

Let’s start from the basics.

Anime is a unique style of animation that originally came from Japan. The word “anime” is an abbreviation of the word “animation” in Japanese. While animations can be made around the world, anime is specific to animation produced in Japan.

Anime covers almost every category and subject you can think of — which is both a good and bad thing. On the one hand, a wide variety means that most people can find some anime movies, TV shows, etc. that they enjoy. On the other hand, it’s not hard to find inappropriate or harmful anime content along with kid-appropriate content. 

Parents should know that some anime is explicitly sexual in nature (known as ecchi or hentai) and should be aware when finding appropriate anime titles for their children.

However, there are loads of kid-friendly anime titles to be found in every genre, including action, adventure, romance, and comedy. So we’re not kidding — there’s an anime for everyone! It’s no surprise that it’s become a favorite for viewers around the world.

What makes anime so distinct and intriguing for many viewers is the visual animation style. It’s often very colorful and includes a lot of details. The characters and their expressions are often very exaggerated, making for a very engaging watching experience.

Some anime comes from Manga (Japanese comic books) and closely follows the storyline. But just like many book adaptations, there are many anime that go in a different direction from the manga.

Kid-Friendly Anime: Benefits of Watching Anime for Kids

Anime is all-around entertaining, but there are way more benefits to watching anime that kids likely wouldn’t realize. Here are just a few: 

  • Explore a different culture: Anime’s roots are in Japan, so it’s common that many shows or movies will have their storylines set in Japan or other Asian countries. This can prompt your kids to want to learn more about Japanese culture and where their favorite show comes from. But anime isn’t always set in Japan; in fact, you’ll find storylines that include characters from around the world–sometimes even fictional ones.
  • Learn a new language: Anime is commonly produced in Japanese first. It is often dubbed in English or offered with subtitles. This might prompt your child to want to learn the language the original video was in.
  • Foster creativity: Anime often includes fantastical and magical themes, giving each story a unique set of twists and turns. Along with colorful and detailed imagery, it’s bound to help improve your child’s imagination and creative thinking skills.

How Kids Can Watch Anime

Despite getting its start in Japan, anime has been popular around the world for years. It’s very common for English versions of popular children’s anime to air in the US.

Some channels where you’ll find anime include:

  • CW
  • ABC Family
  • Cartoon Network
  • Anime Network

But many streaming platforms have also jumped on the anime train. Popular streaming platforms that have many animes available include:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Youtube TV
  • Hulu

For anime lovers, Crunchyroll and Funimation are some streaming platforms that primarily stream different types of anime for kids and adults. Although important note for parents: these anime platforms can also include some of those inappropriate anime titles mentioned above. Specifically, take a look at Crunchyroll before letting your child have unsupervised access.

And now, what you’ve been waiting for! If you’re wanting to get into anime with your child, we’ve put together a list of the most popular kid-friendly animes to serve as a jumping-off point. Let’s get started! 

Kid-Friendly Anime for Kids 10 and Under

Kids under the age of 10 are still developing their comprehension skills. It’s best to stick to animes with storylines that are easy to follow with relatively simple vocabulary.

Japanese culture includes a lot of martial arts and ninja themes. But in general, anime directed toward younger kids is light-hearted and fun.

Here are some anime that would be suitable for kids under the age of 10.

1. Pokémon: Indigo League

Even if you’ve never heard of anime, you’ve likely heard of Pokemon.

Pokemon is the story of Ash Ketchum, a young boy who hopes to become a Pokemon master. His goal is to battle other trainers and catch all the Pokemon. He’ll face trainers — some friendlier than others — as he explores the world with his own Pokemon, Pikachu. It’s a kid-friendly story of friendship and determination.

Indigo League is the first season of the anime; there are several more to follow. Some have slightly more mature themes than others, but they are generally extremely kid-friendly.

The Pokemon anime series is also a natural companion for kids who enjoy the Pokemon video games.

2. Doraemon

Doraemon is a large blue and white earless cat that you might recognize — except he’s not just a cat, he’s robotic! It’s a classic anime and manga series that was created in the 70s, but new episodes are still being made today.

Doraemon is the trusty sidekick to his human friend Nobita Nobi. Using his skills and knowledge, he helps Nobita grow up and tackle school and life. It’s a coming-of-age story with a bit of a sci-fi twist.

It’s an enjoyable anime for young kids and the entire family.

3. Little Witch Academia

As the title suggested, the series follows Akko as she attends a school for witches.

Except, unlike many of her classmates, Akko doesn’t come from a family of witches, which makes her transition to Luna Nova Academy a bit of a challenge. But her determination and belief in herself play a key role in her becoming a great witch.

Little Witch Academia is perfect for school-age children as they tackle academics and new friends.

4. Dragon Ball Super

Dragon Ball Super is the third continuation of the beloved Dragon Ball anime series. Following Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball.

The series still follows Goku and his friends as they battle gods and characters from different universes. It’s an expansion of the original universe, introducing new transformations and characters.

Dragon Ball Super is technically the third part of the Dragon Ball series. However, the original two series are better suited to kids over the age of 10 due to mild violence and mature themes. The Dragon Ball Super series is widely acknowledged to be purposely aged down to bring new, younger kids into the Dragon Ball Universe.

5. Naruto

Naruto is one of the most popular anime and manga series among kids. With the first episode in 2002, the story follows young ninja Naruto Uzumaki whose ultimate dream is to become the Hokage–the fearless leader of the Leaf Village.

With his friends and Ninja Academy classmates, Naruto builds his ninja skills and starts to take on challenges and battles. As the story progresses, Naruto starts to understand the value of friendship and learns more about his own family history.

With mild violence related to ninja battles, the series is generally acceptable for kids. Naruto’s coming-of-age experience is relatable and a great way to help kids learn more about the power of friends and family.

6. Boruto

Boruto is the third sequel to Naruto (and the sequel to Naruto Shippuden–which we’ll talk about later).

It takes place several years after the previous two series and follows Naruto’s son Boruto as he becomes a Ninja. While the storyline follows new characters, those who’ve watched the original Naruto will appreciate the nods and throwbacks to characters in the original series.

Similar to Dragon Ball Super, Boruto has been aged down from Naruto Shippuden (and even, to some extent, Naruto) to attract younger kids to the Naruto franchise.

7. One Piece

One Piece is arguably one of the most popular and most successful anime series of all time. With the first episodes coming out in 1999, new episodes are still being made today.

One Piece is the story of Monkey D. Luffy, a young boy who’s determined to become the Pirate King. Except he’s no ordinary kid because his body is made of rubber. (Thanks to a Devil Fruit.)

He gathers a group of friends and other pirates to search for a famous treasure known as the One Piece. Luffy and his newfound crew make new friends and meet new foes along the way. The characters in this story are complex, a bit wild, yet incredibly entertaining–perfect for children and adults alike.

There are some mature themes in One Piece, but in general, the whimsical storyline is perfect for kids to enjoy.

8. Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar is a bit of an oddball on this list in that it’s not technically an anime. It was created in the U.S. However, the storyline and animation style closely mimics anime, making it a popular watch among anime lovers.

In Avatar, there are four nations: earth, water, fire, and air. Each nation has Benders who have the ability to manipulate the elements. Aang is an Airbender but also the last Avatar–someone who can master all four and bring balance to the world.

Aang and his friends travel around the world trying to reach this balance, exploring new places and challenges along the way. A great story of friendship that ties in a lot of elements of Eastern philosophy, including mindfulness and spiritualness.

Best Family-Friendly Anime for Kids 10 and Up

As kids grow up, they’ll be able to enjoy even more anime. The stories become more complex, and characters will start to face more mature (and serious) challenges.

You’ll find many animes also have episodes or spin-offs that age with your children–helping them continue their anime journey as they grow up.

Anime, like most TV, can occasionally contain more mature themes. For example, anime for older kids may include themes like love, death, or mild violence.

While these themes are generally introduced in a kid-friendly manner, it’s important that you consider your kid’s maturity level and development before deciding if a show is the right fit for them.

9. Dragon Ball

The precursor to Dragon Ball Super is Dragon Ball. A very popular and well-known anime and manga series from the 80s. So popular that the lead character Son Goku has been referenced in music and pop culture in many ways.

Goku is a martial arts warrior who is on a mission to find the seven Dragon Balls. He encounters enemies and other warriors along the way. As he trains with mentors and deities, Goku gets stronger and protects the Dragon World from different threats.

Dragon Ball’s intricate universe and relatable characters have made this a favorite among kids for decades.

10. Dragon Ball Z

Following Dragon Ball is Dragon Ball Z. First airing in the 90s, Goku is now an adult.

He continues to embark on adventures with his friends and defends the world from aliens, monsters, and other mystical creatures.

Dragon Ball Z is a classic example of an anime that has aged up alongside its audience. So the young kids who originally enjoyed Dragon Ball can now follow their childhood hero Goku as he takes on life as an adult.

 11. Sailor Moon

Usaigi Tsukino is an average teenage girl. But she’s also a superhero, Sailor Moon, who fights villains and other enemies to help keep Earth safe. As the series progresses, she learns more about herself and the world around her.

The Sailor Moon anime has been a favorite among kids and adults since it first aired in the early 1990s. While it’s primarily known as a kids’ anime, some mild language and violence make it more suitable for slightly older kids.

12. Naruto Shippuden

Naruto Shippuden is the sequel to the original Naruto. Only a couple of years later, Naruto comes back from an intense training session, and he and his friends continue right where they left off. They’re just a little older, making it a perfect show for big kids and teens.

Many of the original villains and enemies from the original series return as they continue to fight for peace between the ninja villages.

While several years have passed between the two series, Naruto Shippuden is commonly known to be a continuation of the original story rather than a sequel. But the world continues to unravel, and we learn more about Naruto’s past as he continues his journey to fulfill his dream of becoming Hokage.

13. Death Note

Death Note is another well-known manga and anime series. The series follows Light Yagami, who’s a high school student. One day, he discovers a notebook that will kill anyone whose name he writes inside.

Light initially uses the notebook to help tackle criminals around the world. But as more top criminals start to die mysteriously, people start questioning it. This leads to Light capturing the attention of a detective named L.

We watch as Light tries to avoid being caught while balancing his want to make the world a better place.

While aimed at high-school kids, this show does deal with themes of violence and death. So it’s best suited for kids who have the maturity to handle the subject matter.

14. Haikyuu!!

While many popular anime series are set in mystical and magical worlds, there’s more to anime than that. Haikyuu is proof.

Shoyo Hinata is a high school student who wants to be a volleyball player. But without the height, he faces challenges along the way. But with a little inspiration from his volleyball icon, Little Giant, Hinata starts to come into himself as a volleyball player.

As he and his team work together to win championships, Hinata learns skills on and off the volleyball court.

Set in a typical high-school setting, Hinata’s story is both relatable and also teaches valuable lessons about determination.

 15. Bleach

This story follows Ichigo Kurosaki, who gets the power of the Soul Reaper — sometimes known as the Grim Reaper. He can see ghosts and can connect with the afterlife. Ichigo uses these abilities to protect his town from evil spirits. He also uses his powers to help souls find peace, ultimately healing some of his own demons and trauma in the process.

While this anime deals with themes of death, the story of Ichigo, who lost his mother at a young age, is relatable for many kids who have gone through similar experiences. But the story offers creative ways to make difficult subjects entertaining and engaging.

The Best Family-Friendly Animes

Make anime a family affair! We’ve put together a list of classic and highly popular anime that could be a great watch for the entire family.

16. Spirited Away

Spirited Away might be one of the most well-known pieces of anime to date. It’s one of the highest-grossing films in history.

Spirited Away is the story of a young girl, Chihiro, who moves to a new neighborhood. Except she finds herself in an alternate universe of spirits, where her parents have turned into pigs, and there are many more magical creatures.

The film follows Chihiro as she explores this strange world and finds her way home. In the process, she learns how strong and resourceful she can be.

The animations have been highly praised. It’s a beautiful story of courage that is a must-watch for all kids and adults.

17. My Neighbor Totoro

You might know the name Totoro. No surprise, given he’s a pretty famous character in the anime world.

The film follows two sisters, Satsuke and Mei, who meet Torotoro in a forest near their home. They’ve recently moved to the countryside with their father and are slowly finding their footing in their new surroundings.

Totoro is cuddly, friendly, and extremely playful — like your child’s favorite teddy bear. He helps them navigate their new home.

The original animation was released in the 80s, but the 2005 English version features an all-star cast. Including the voices of Dakota and Elle Fanning, Lea Salonga, and Tim Daly.

18. Attack on Titan 

Attack on Titan has taken the world by storm.

The story is unusual and has twists and turns like you’ve never seen before. Attack on Titan follows Eren Jeagar and his friends Mikasa and Armin, who live in a city surrounded by massive walls. These walls protect them from giant humans called Titans.

They all join the military forces designed to fight the Titans and keep normal humans safe. But as the series unravels, so does everything we know about the Titans.

This anime series should be enjoyed by families with older kids due to its more mature scenes of violence and death. However, the storytelling is like no other and will keep the entire family on their toes.

As of 2023, the series still hasn’t wrapped, but for those who aren’t scared of spoilers, the Manga gives some hints at a possible ending to the series.

 19. Kiki's Delivery Service

Last but not least on our list is the fantastical Kiki’s delivery service. It’s a classic coming-of-age story that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Kiki is a young witch who is continuing to build her powers and become a better witch. She has an adorable talking cat named Jiji, who helps her along the way. Kiki’s entrepreneurial spirit takes over as she opens a delivery service by using her broomstick to fly and deliver packages.

Kiki hits some hurdles along the way but ultimately finds a new version of herself as she grows up. It’s a touching story about friendship and the power of growing up.

Enjoy Anime Safely with Bark

Anime is one of the best types of film and TV for kids to enjoy as they grow up. The unique stories and characters can spark imagination in anyone. Hopefully, this list of kid-friendly anime gives you a place to start.

Of course, there is a whole world of anime outside of this list and as parents, we want to make sure our kids aren’t exposed to the harmful or inappropriate side of anime. And that’s where Bark comes in! 

Created in partnership with parents and schools, Bark helps parents monitor their kids’ digital activity. Whether it’s setting up parental controls around which animes your child can watch or reviewing what apps your child is using, Bark gives you total confidence in your child’s online experience. Start your free trial of Bark today

About Bark

Bark is a comprehensive online safety solution that empowers families to monitor content, manage screen time, and filter websites to help protect their kids online. Our mission is to give parents and guardians the tools they need to raise kids in the digital age.