Way back when we were younger bees, we loved the classic series like Pokémon, Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Beyblade. Besides making our parents spend hundreds of dollars on collectible merchandise, these shows empowered us as kids/teens. We saw heroes arise who weren’t in their thirties or late twenties but instead were kids nine years old and up. These young warriors gave us hope that someday we too could be saviors of the planet and/or win an ultimate competition and have our names etched in the halls of time. It may sound silly and overdramatic but being a kid and watching older anime geared for our age was an experience we loved and still reminisce about even now as we’re older. That’s why a thought—shared by many—came across our minds recently and we felt we needed to write an article about it. Should Anime of the Past Age With Us? Let us find out why kid shows should be aged up and why they shouldn’t in equal measure.
Pro: Heroes who Aged With Us
Many of us now are in our early 20s and beyond—yes we’re old—but our childhood anime heroes have never aged and still continue to be kids/teens. A perfect example is Ash Ketchum who even now is a young teen despite having visited several different regions and competing against a multitude of opponents. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see an older Ash now with an adult mindset still trying to scour the world or possibly training a new Pokémon master in his stead? Almost any older series can be taken with a bit more realism if the character we knew as a kid when we were the same age is now older as well, matching our world and its various problems. Digimon Adventures Tri recently did this by making the young Digi-Destined into older teens reaching college years and it made their struggles easy to relate to versus the child-like mindset they had when they first were teleported into the digital world.
Con: Loss of a Role Model
The biggest caveat to aging a hero we grew up with is removing said hero from the kids of the next generation. Sure, new heroes will arise but that doesn’t mean they all will have that same drive/relatability as the previous ones. Yu-Gi-Oh! has had many protagonists over the years but Yugi Moto himself was—and always will be—the duelist we feel embodied the never-give-up attitude all while having just a bit of cockiness for good measure. Jaden Yuki and Yuma Tsukumo—from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexai respectively—had their role model abilities but in our minds, they just don’t feel as impressive in that seat as Yugi did. Thus, if a hero from the past follows us to the future their legacy continues with us but doesn’t have that shining beacon a younger fan can follow.
Pro: From PG 13 for 13+ to R for Mature
As cool as it was to watch spinning tops slam into each other at insane—and overly unrealistic—speeds, as you get older you realize how series like Beyblade lose a bit of steam. We still love the nostalgia of watching Beyblade from time to time but in our minds, we’d rather watch a more gritty series with more intense action. While Berserk and Shingeki no Kyojin might be too adult for kids, for us in our older teen to younger adult years, these shows are easier to enjoy. Classic kid anime ages well in nostalgia form but in reality, it can feel a bit silly. That’s why we would love a more adult-like Beyblade with darker content—we know it sounds outrageous but that’s the point—having young college students or young adults vying for wins to prove themselves and make a living in a world of spinning tops. Heck, we wish we could make a living “letting it rip” like they did in Beyblade!
Con: Keep It All-Ages
Imagine for a moment—as hard as this might be—to see Pikachu or Agumon hitting enemies and unleashing a torrent of blood with visceral strikes and attacks? Seems a bit much right? Now imagine a younger kid seeing the original Digimon or Pokémon series and then walking in on an adult version of said show. That whole concept is why we know there can never be adult versions of shows we grew up with. As much as we would love to see more mature settings/concepts for kid-focused anime, we know that younger audiences would also want to see them and end up corrupting their minds with said content. You can’t imagine the damage seeing an older Ash order a fellow Pokémon to hurt another with little regard to the term “animal cruelty”. Why older anime worked when geared for kids that had subjective matter was because those themes were always kept unrealistic and super simplified. Age up these subject matters and you’ll find monsters battling one another to be almost cruel and unneeded.
“Should Anime of the Past Age With Us?” was easily one of the tougher articles we’ve made. As much as we long for kid-based anime to age with us, we know in our hearts that they need to be passed down to the next generation of anime viewers. Watching heroes fail, make mistakes, succeed, learn, and grow is what helped us as humans grow too and taking that away from kids will change the whole anime world for those coming behind us. Anime—in our minds—should stay aged with the audience it was intended for. Ash needs to forever be a kid so he can journey alongside not only his Pokémon pals but kids watching him hoping they too can change themselves and become masters of something. Do you agree with us, folks? Comment below with your thoughts as we think you readers will have some truly interesting thoughts. For even more articles like this keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime!