The best anime and manga of Kodomomuke

Designed for younger children and with simpler storytelling, the kodomomuke demographic is home to some of the biggest anime franchises.

Anime and manga have a plethora of genres and almost as many target demographics. The most notable are shonen and shojo, which are often consumed by young adult teenagers. Older demographics include josei and seinen, and his works are aimed at these audiences and are more mature in themes and content. With all this anime and manga for 13+, what’s in store for youngsters?

Kodomomuke is the somewhat overlooked child demographic of anime and manga. Although the meaning is not as common among Western anime fans, it does describe a demographic that has some of the most popular anime franchises ever adapted. Here’s a closer look at kodomomuke and some of its biggest titles.

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What is the manga and anime ‘Kodomomuke’?

Astro Boy Flying (1963)

Literally meaning “intended for children”, shows and books in the kodomomuke demographic are aimed at children 10 years old and younger. Initially this included basically all manga and anime as the media was designed to entertain children and promote literacy for them. To this end, much of the storytelling in these productions is quite simplistic compared to even shonen and shojo manga. Usually more episodic in nature, there’s usually a moral lesson to be learned at the end, even if it’s something as simple as eating vegetables.

The same goes for its anime equivalents and adaptations; These shows will be full of light and fluffy material that isn’t too provocative for young minds, and typically have few story lines or ongoing developments. This is a big reason why many of these shows have a smorgasbord of episodes, as viewers can watch them completely out of order many times. They also do not require much change or censorship when brought to the West. Another great indicator that an anime is targeting the kodomomuke demographic is if it quickly spawns kid-friendly rides and attractions at theme parks and elsewhere.

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What are the most important Kodomomuke titles?

Doraemon with Nobita, Takeshi, Suneo and Shizuka.

The first big kodomomuke anime series was the middle parent. AstroBoy, which features fairly kid-friendly battles between robots from Disney sequels. Other notable examples include shows like Doraemon, Digimon and Pokemonalthough the presence of “-mon” at the end of their names is purely coincidental and has nothing to do with demographics per se.

There are four different categories of anime aimed at the kodomomuke demographic, all of which are quite different from one another. The first are anime adaptations of Western and European stories, including fairy tales and literary stories such as Anne of Green Gables. However, these feel more like throwbacks to old Western animation than anything Japanese.

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The second category includes those mentioned Doraemon and usually involves humorous adaptations of preexisting material, including manga. These works are also riddled with Japanese cultural references, which can make them difficult to locate in the West. The third category is young and girl-oriented. joji muke, while the fourth is essentially shonen-light and is aimed at young children. The latter has had the most success with the kodomomuke demographic, primarily due to the amount of merchandising it receives.

Many of these shows can now be broadcast quite easily in the West. The classic AstroBoy The cartoon is available through the soon-to-defunct streaming service Funimation, while the 2003 reboot and 2009 non-anime CGI movie are on Tubi TV. Most of the entries in the Digimon series are on Hulu, with different Pokemon shows found on Hulu and Netflix. Sadly, despite being the most kodomomuke in all of anime, Doraemon is currently not available on any international streaming services.

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