12 Kids Animes that will make you Master Japanese [A Guide]

Anime, a captivating and diverse form of Japanese animation, has taken the world by storm with its imaginative storytelling, often interesting characters, and unique visual style.

From magical girl adventures to epic sagas, anime caters to a wide range of audiences, making it an ideal tool for language learners, especially kids.

The appeal lies in its ability to blend entertainment with education seamlessly. As children (and adults who are just starting to learn Japanese) immerse themselves in the enchanting worlds of anime, they not only discover exciting narratives but also absorb the nuances of the Japanese language.

This guide explores 10 kid-friendly anime series that not only entertain but also serve as powerful language-learning tools, showcasing the magic of anime in fostering linguistic skills in a fun and engaging way.

1. "My Neighbor Totoro" - Tonari no Totoro (となりのトトロ) - Beginner

Let's start with the most popular anime right now. "My Neighbor Totoro," is a heartwarming anime perfect for beginners diving into the enchanting world of Japanese animation.

This classic film, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, follows the adventures of two young sisters who move to the countryside and discover a magical creature called Totoro.

The language used in the anime is clear and straightforward, making it accessible for beginners. Viewers will encounter everyday phrases, expressions of friendship, and descriptions of nature.

The simplicity of the storyline and the relatable dialogues make "My Neighbor Totoro" an excellent choice for language learners, providing a gentle introduction to the Japanese language. This is a perfect anime for any family movie night.

2. "Dragon Ball Z" - Doragon Bōru (ドラゴンボール) - Intermediate

Now something all millennials may remember. Back in the 2000s, all younger children across the globe used to watch this kids' anime. "Dragon Ball," is an iconic anime series that catapults intermediate language learners into a world of martial arts, adventure, and legendary quests.

Following the journey of Goku (a young boy), a martial artist with extraordinary abilities, the show features dynamic dialogues packed with action-oriented vocabulary and expressions.

As characters engage in intense battles and pursue the magical Dragon Balls, viewers will encounter a mix of formal and informal language, enhancing their grasp of conversational Japanese.

The series' intricate plot and diverse character interactions make "Dragon Ball" an engaging choice for intermediate learners seeking to elevate their language skills while enjoying this classic anime series.

3. "Cardcaptor Sakura" - Kādokyaputā Sakura (カードキャプターさくら) - Intermediate

"Cardcaptor Sakura," presents an enchanting narrative centered around Sakura, a young girl who discovers her magical powers and must retrieve mystical cards.

This intermediate-level anime offers a rich vocabulary mix, featuring expressions related to magic, friendship, and everyday life.

The character interactions provide a nuanced understanding of Japanese communication, making it an ideal choice for intermediate language learners.

The storyline and diverse language usage ensure an immersive experience that enhances both language skills and cultural understanding.

4. "Sailor Moon" - Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn (美少女戦士セーラームーン) - Intermediate

"Sailor Moon," is a quintessential anime following the adventures of Usagi Tsukino, who transforms into the powerful Sailor Moon to protect the world.

This intermediate-level anime showcases a blend of magical battles and relatable teenage experiences, offering a diverse vocabulary that resonates with young anime fans.

The series' popularity as one of the best anime ensures engaging content, while the dialogues, infused with themes of friendship and heroism, provide intermediate language learners with an entertaining and educational language immersion experience.

5. "Little Witch Academia" - Ritoru Witchi Akademia (リトルウィッチアカデミア) - Intermediate

"Little Witch Academia," is a magical girl anime and the story unfolds the magical journey of Akko Kagari as she navigates the challenges of a prestigious witch academy.

This intermediate-level anime is filled with whimsical language related to spellcasting, fantastical creatures, and the everyday experiences of a young witch.

The engaging storyline, coupled with the diverse linguistic elements, makes it an ideal choice for intermediate language learners.

Viewers will encounter expressions surrounding magic, friendship, and the adventures of youth, fostering language development in a captivating magical realm.

6. "Digimon Adventure" - Dejimon Adobenchā (デジモンアドベンチャー) - Intermediate

Digimon embarks on a thrilling journey with a group of kids who partner with digital creatures to save both the digital and real worlds.

Positioned as a family anime, this intermediate-level series features a mix of adventurous language and expressions centered around teamwork, friendship, and the challenges faced by the characters.

The storyline and familial themes make "Digimon Adventure" a compelling choice for intermediate language learners seeking an enriching and entertaining language-learning experience.

7. "Kiki's Delivery Service" - Majo no Takkyūbin (魔女の宅急便) - Beginner

"Kiki's Delivery Service," tells the charming tale of Kiki, a young witch, and her black cat, Jiji, as they embark on a journey of self-discovery.

Tailored for younger viewers and beginners, the anime employs simple and clear language, offering a delightful introduction to everyday conversations.

Viewers will encounter phrases related to friendship, courage, and Kiki's magical adventures, creating an accessible and enjoyable language-learning experience for those just starting their Japanese learning journey.

8. "Chi's Sweet Home" - Chīzu Sūīto Hōmu (チーズスイートホーム) - Beginner

"Chi's Sweet Home," tenderly explores the world through the eyes of Chi, an adorable kitten. Tailored for young girls and beginners, the anime features simple language and expressions, making it an accessible introduction to Japanese for new learners.

Viewers will encounter everyday phrases related to the charming feline's experiences, fostering a delightful and relatable language-learning experience.

The gentle narrative, coupled with the straightforward language, ensures that "Chi's Sweet Home" is a perfect choice for young girls and beginners embarking on their Japanese language journey.

9. "My Hero Academia" - Boku no Hīrō Akademia (僕のヒーローアカデミア) - Advanced

"My Hero Academia," or "Boku no Hīrō Akademia (僕のヒーローアカデミア)," catapults advanced language learners into a world where superheroes train to combat villains.

The anime employs complex and nuanced language, featuring expressions related to heroism, morality, and intricate character relationships.

As an action-packed series with a rich plot, it challenges advanced learners with sophisticated vocabulary and intricate dialogue.

The compelling narrative and dynamic character interactions make "My Hero Academia" an ideal choice for advanced language learners aiming to elevate their Japanese proficiency through engaging and challenging content.

10. "Spirited Away" - Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (千と千尋の神隠し) - Intermediate

"Spirited Away" is hailed as one of the best animated features globally (in 2003 won the oscar for won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature), captivating the hearts of many anime fans.

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, the film follows Chihiro, a young girl navigating a mystical world to rescue her parents. You can find it on all popular platforms like Netflix.

The language in this intermediate-level anime is rich with magical vocabulary, cultural nuances, and emotional expressions.

Its status as a beloved masterpiece ensures an immersive experience for anime enthusiasts and makes it an essential watch for those seeking to explore the depths of Japanese animated storytelling.

See also:

How to Learn Japanese with Anime: A Complete Guide | Lingopie Blog
Whatever your reason, know that learning Japanese from anime can be a fun and rewarding experience, whether you pick Dragon Ball Z or Sailor Moon.

11. Kotaro Lives Alone - Kotarō wa Hitori Gurashi (コタローは1人暮らし)

"Kotaro Lives Alone" is a poignant and heartwarming Japanese animated series that follows the life of a four-year-old boy, Kotaro Sato, who lives alone in a Tokyo apartment. Despite his tender age and the mysterious absence of his parents, Kotaro navigates daily life with a maturity, resilience, and optimism that's both charming and deeply touching. The show is a delightful blend of humor and emotion, offering viewers a unique insight into the complexities of life through the eyes of a child.

The series is also a fantastic tool for learning Japanese. With its simple, everyday dialogue, viewers get to hear and learn practical, conversational Japanese. The show's slow-paced narrative allows learners to follow the story easily, making it an excellent resource for beginners. Additionally, watching "Kotaro Lives Alone" with Japanese subtitles can help improve reading skills and vocabulary. The cultural nuances and societal norms portrayed in the series provide a deeper understanding of Japanese culture, making language learning a more immersive and enriching experience.

12. Actually, I am... - Jitsu wa Watashi wa (実は私は)

"Actually, I Am" is a vibrant and comedic Japanese anime series that revolves around the life of Asahi Kuromine, a high school student who can't keep a secret. His life takes a turn when he discovers that his crush, Yōko Shiragami, is actually a vampire. The series is packed with humor, supernatural elements, and heartwarming moments, making it an entertaining watch.

For Japanese learners, "Actually, I Am" serves as an excellent language resource. The show uses everyday conversational Japanese, which can help learners familiarize themselves with common phrases and expressions. The characters' different speaking styles also provide insight into various language nuances. Watching the series with Japanese subtitles can enhance reading skills and expand vocabulary. Furthermore, the cultural references scattered throughout the episodes offer a glimpse into Japanese society and customs, making the language learning process more immersive.

Lingopie as Your Partner


If you haven't heard of Lingopie, where have you been?

This platform stands out by integrating Japanese anime into its curriculum, offering an immersive and entertaining experience for learners.

When it comes to Japanese, specializing in anime movies and the best kids' anime, Lingopie utilizes these engaging resources to teach Japanese in a dynamic and culturally relevant context.

Through curated content, learners can learn language nuances, expressions, and cultural insights unique to anime, making Lingopie an innovative and enjoyable platform for language learners seeking a fun and effective way to master Japanese.


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FAQs: Using Kids Animes to Learn Japanese

In this section, we address and provide answers to common queries about using anime as a language-learning tool. Discover why these handpicked anime are effective, learn about recommended viewing times, and find insights into mastering Japanese through the captivating world of anime.

What are the best anime movies?

The term "best anime" is subjective, but classics like "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away" by Studio Ghibli often top lists. However, preferences vary, so explore diverse genres to find what resonates with you.

Where can I find magical girl anime?

Netflix, Lingopie, and YouTube are just some of the platforms you can use to watch anime like Sailor Moon.

What is anime for adults called?

Anime for adults is often referred to as "seinen" anime. These series are tailored for a mature audience, featuring complex narratives and themes beyond the scope of children's anime.

How can I learn Japanese by myself?

Self-learning Japanese is achievable with online resources, language apps, textbooks, and immersive experiences like watching anime. Consistent practice, vocabulary building, and cultural exploration contribute to effective independent learning.

Is it difficult to learn Japanese?

Learning any language presents challenges, but Japanese, with its unique writing systems and politeness levels, may seem complex. Consistent practice, exposure to media like anime, and dedication can overcome these hurdles.

Is Spirited Away about a young boy or a young girl?

Spirited Away is a tale of a young girl who finds herself in a world of magical creatures. It's a nice blend of blend of fantasy and reality.

Can you become fluent in Japanese with Duolingo?

While Duolingo is a helpful language learning tool, achieving fluency in Japanese requires a multifaceted approach. Supplement it with immersive activities like watching anime, engaging with native speakers, and practicing regularly for a well-rounded language acquisition experience.

Summing Up: Kids Animes that will make you Master Japanese

You have a chance to explore the world of the Japanese language through our guide, featuring 10 diverse anime series suitable for various language proficiency levels.

Watching anime movies and shows will be great for your language-learning journey. From beginner-friendly titles like "My Neighbor Totoro" to advanced choices like "My Hero Academia," immerse yourself in the rich language and cultural tapestry of anime.

To enhance learning, dedicate a manageable daily timeframe—perhaps 30 minutes—striking a balance between entertainment and language acquisition.

Let the anime genre be your gateway to mastering Japanese, making learning both enjoyable and effective.

Sign up to Lingopie today and take advantage of a free trial. Doing so will provide access to a plethora of Japanese anime, taking your Japanese from its current level, to the next level.

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