Anime is a wonderfully multifaceted medium that provides entertainment for all ages. Despite the common consensus in the West being that animation predominantly targets kids, it was never the case in Japan. The world of anime is full of mature narratives created to engage adults, and many of the more violent and explicit shows are not even suitable for children.
Nevertheless, the majestic niche of kids' anime can captivate the attention of the younger audience members with vibrant colors, stunning visuals, and creative characters, and even teach children some meaningful lessons about the world. However, kids' anime is not exclusive to the younger demographic. Many shows originally targeted to kids have impactful, investing, critically acclaimed stories that adults can enjoy just as much as children, if not more.
10 Detective Conan Is A World-Famous Mystery Adventure
The charismatic high school detective Shinichiro Kudo from Detective Conan, also known as Case Closed in the West, often gets involved in helping the local police solve various cases. After being ambushed and poisoned by a syndicate known as the Black Organization, Shinichiro got turned into a little kid, yet, the transformation didn't stop him from pursuing criminals using his outstanding intellect.
The show has captured the hearts and minds of every generation of fans with its clever scenarios and lighthearted humor. For decades, Detective Conan influenced its viewers and rightfully earned its status as a cult classic.
9 Pretty Cure Is An Earnest Magical Girl Show Appealing To All Ages
While there's plenty of dark and mature magical girl anime out there, like Madoka Magica and My-HiME, Precure understands that there is no need to be violent or depressing to appeal to an older audience. The famous magical girl franchise manages to captivate all ages with its timeless themes of friendship, a nuanced approach to storytelling, and stunning, high-quality animation.
It's impossible not to fall in love with the sincerity of the Precure characters and the bonds they form with each other. And the biggest perk of being a Pretty Cure fan is the impressive amount of content the franchise has, as its astounding popularity only continues to increase.
8 My Neighbor Totoro Is The Definition Of Coziness
If there is a film that is guaranteed to bring smiles to the faces of kids and adults alike, it would be the Ghibli classic, My Neighbor Totoro. Miyazaki's films are universally praised for their enchanting visuals and unparalleled comforting atmosphere. And Totoro exemplifies the director's mastery of capturing the joyful magic and childlike wonder like no other Ghibli work.
Mei and Satsuki's explorations of the mysterious, magical world around them awe the kids and bring the adults back to the comforting state of being innocent children, enchanted by the world's simplest curiosities.
7 Sailor Moon's Popularity Is More Than Just Nostalgia
Sailor Moon is fondly remembered by its grownup fans and is still enjoyed by younger generations for a reason. While the concept of this magical girl show isn't unique for the genre, the adventures of Usagi Tsukino and her Sailor Guardians are outstandingly heartfelt and inspiring.
The series' protagonist is a flawed, relatable teenage girl; she is lazy, unmotivated, and prone to overeating. Nevertheless, the slow and steady development of Usagi alongside her friends makes the viewers fall for Sailor Moon's lovable cast. The series proves that even goofy "monster of the week" anime can have masterful character writing and outstanding narrative development.
6 Captain Tsubasa Is A Sports Anime Legend
Older anime watchers have many fond memories about Captain Tsubasa, a cult classic football anime popular among sports anime fans to this day. The memorable and dynamic story of Tsubasa Oozora has inspired many professional players to pursue a career in the sport, motivated by the hero's determination and courage.
The show has popularized many of the tropes commonly seen in the genre today, such as over-the-top moves, vigorous rivalries between opponents, and dramatic special attacks. Despite the lack of realism, Captain Tsubasa's powerful and engaging story appeals even to those who don't have any interest in the sport.
5 Night On The Galactic Railroad Is A Peculiar, Thoughtful Adventure
The animated fantasy film Night on the Galactic Railroad is not a typical kids anime. Adapted from a 1920's novel by Kenji Miyazawa, the somber storyline features many melancholic themes of self-discovery and self-sacrifice. The magical adventure of Giovanni, a young cat whose father goes away on a fishing trip while his mother is bedridden by illness, unfolds during a dreamlike train ride through the Milky Way that he takes alongside his classmate Campanella.
The breathtaking, surreal visuals accompany the character's conversations about the meaning of life and the nature of death. Nevertheless, the themes get presented in a compelling, imaginative manner that can be comprehended and appreciated by kids and adults alike.
4 Moomin Is An Uplifting Classic With Multinational Origins
While the world-famous phenomenon of Moomins, fuzzy and kindhearted creatures originally created in Finland by a novelist and illustrator, Tove Jansson, isn't very well-known in the West, its popularity is astounding in Scandinavia, Russia, and Japan. In the 1990s, Jansson's book was even adapted to a kids anime series that gained a massive following.
The story revolves around Moomin, a kind and naive boy living in the peaceful hills of Moominvalley with his friends and family. The charming yet insightful adventures of Moomin have a lot of unique character and charm, which is explained by the story's worldly origins.
3 Pokémon Is A Franchise Loved By Critics And Fans Alike
The Pokémon franchise was a staple of children's entertainment around the world for decades, producing myriads of memorable and beloved games, films, TV shows, and written publications. The intriguing world of pocket monsters has an unparalleled power to captivate kids' imagination while still appealing to adults with more mature installments.
Not every segment of the Pokémon universe is universally beloved. Nevertheless, the critics praise many Pokémon movies, especially the 2005 Lucario and the Mystery of Mew film, for their unorthodox reading of the admired franchise.
2 Cardcaptor Sakura Had Tremendous Influence On The Shojo Genre
Cardcaptor Sakura was a shojo series that opened up the genre for many devoted fans. Created by an all-female team CLAMP, Cardcaptor Sakura was a cultural phenomenon, capturing the mesmerizing aesthetic of the late '90s perfectly. This magical girl show's endearing characters stuck with the fans for decades. The inventive and stunning outfits created by the show's fashionista Tomoyo still amaze the viewers with their attentive designs.
The show was created with magic and love put into every element of its production, which didn't go unnoticed by critics and fans alike.
1 Spirited Away Was The Only Anime To Win An Oscar
Spirited Away is, without a doubt, the most critically acclaimed and universally beloved anime film of all time. The studio Ghibli's masterpiece even won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, which marked a huge breakthrough for the industry.
It showcased the wonderfully complex world of Japanese animation to the whole world through its complex coming-of-age themes and groundbreaking exploration of Japanese mythos. The film's magical storytelling and authentic portrayal of its adolescent protagonist Chihiro earned Spirited Away the adoration of kids, adults, and even well-regarded movie critics.
NEXT: Spirited Away: 10 Valuable Life Lessons Chihiro Learned