Untangled: Where Can I Find Parental Ratings for Anime?

A while back, a reader named Emily sent us the following message (edited) through our Ask the Staff feature:

Hi, I love your sight! I was wondering…is it possible for a parental rating guide or something XD

I watch anime on Crunchyroll and I watch it with my [young] niece and I really want an in-depth adult content advisory. I watch alot and occasionally there are things I wouldn’t call appropriate so I stop watching that anime, but I really would like to know before i start watching it O_o

In short, no – not at this time.  We only do a smattering of reviews on this site (though more are coming in the next month or two).  There are, however, a number of other sites that do provide parental ratings, from a Christian context and otherwise, that might be helpful.

Anime Review Storehouses

There are several websites out there that contain dozens or hundreds of reviews.  Some of them do feature parental ratings of some kind.

Christian Anime Alliance:  The CAA has rated 327 titles at the time of this post.  Many or most of the series and movies are from the last decade, including a host of the most popular ones.  However, don’t expect to find reviews of recently aired shows.

The Anime Cafe:  Though no longer in business, The Anime Cafe provides reviews for a lot of older series, and features a parents’ guide explaining their rating system.

Single Reviewer Sites

Smaller animanga review sites may also give reviews that include parental ratings.  Here’s a helpful one:

Lobster Quadrille:  Rocklobster’s site has specific areas for each review providing information about fanservice, religion, and other concerns.  He frequently updates and includes a lot of newer series.

Paper Chimes:  A prolific reviewer through several sites, Sweetpea provides a “Recommendation” section for each review on Paper Chimes, through which she mentions content that might concern some viewers.

Your best bet might be to simply do a Google search for reviews on series you’re contemplating, as you might find reviews that mention fanservice or other concerns.  Particularly, sites run by Christians, like Living. Loving. Learning., or others concerned with such issues might be more apt to mention them.

Additionally, there is some self-regulation within the anime industry, as you’ll sometimes notice ratings on DVDs or through retailer sites.  We all know that this type of system isn’t always consistent and that it certainly doesn’t fulfill all individual tastes, so take that with a grain of salt.

To the readers out there, do you have any suggestions for anime and manga review sites that include content warnings?

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

19 thoughts on “Untangled: Where Can I Find Parental Ratings for Anime?

  1. If those series happen to have DVD releases, it’s also worth looking at sites like Amazon or Rightstuf to see what those sites have it rated as. Sometimes their rating isn’t *quite* accurate (I’ve found that sometimes the rating might be different for the same item on the two sites) or might be higher than what I’d rate something or even what’s on the DVD cases themselves (Bunny Drop is only rated G, as is Glass Mask (2005), but it will get you close to what the actual rating is.

    1. Oh and THEM Anime Reviews also has a bajillion reviews and a brief age level/content rating on the titles they’ve seen at the bottom of the page. Solid resource, and if you go into the forums (you have to sign up, but they’re a great bunch and I’ve been a member of it for years) they are always willing to provide more detail if they have seen it more recently and remember it.

      1. Thanks for the rec – I find myself on their site from time to time (they’re such a great resource), but having never really looked for content in a series, I hadn’t noticed they included such information.

        1. Their breif synopsis at the bottom of the page isn’t particularly detailed, but they tend to talk about actual content rather in-depth in the reviews themselves. So it works out in the end.

  2. THEM anime has some parental warnings in its reviews, but they don’t always dwell deeply on that aspect of the anime they rate. Their site is at http://www.themanime.org/

    If you are watching on Crunchyroll though, you are ahead of the curve. It’s hard to review those because many air same-day i think in Japan, and by the time people have finished the series to review it, you’ve watched it along with the would-be reviewers.

    1. This is perhaps where searching out blog entries on specific episodes might come in handy. Many bloggers, after all, focus on the more salacious parts of episodes, so those things might stick right out when reading episodic articles.

  3. The Anime Review (http://www.theanimereview.com/), run by Jason Huff (who is also a Christian and I believe is ordained) is a pretty great site for reviews of older stuff, although he doesn’t go into the same amount of depth that you’d see on, say, pluggedinonline (although I have some issues with site).

    However, I’m going to advance a controversial opinion: Don’t let a kid watch anime or read manga that you haven’t thoroughly vetted, up to and including watching the entire thing. This is because the vast majority of anime that is made (and certainly the stuff that internet fandom gets into) is aimed at the otaku market. This otaku market is largely driven by sexuality. Even when there isn’t pervasive fanservice, the depiction of women is almost always problematic. Even kids shows aren’t necessarily safe, since Japan has such a different standard for what is acceptable in children’s entertainment.

    None of this is to say that you shouldn’t let kids watch anime at all – but you may find that it’s best to rewatch stuff that you’ve already completed, and have a lot of discussions about it.

    1. Yep, Jason is definitely ordained (and his site is fantastic).

      Pluggedinonline is…. Well. They don’t have a whole lot of reviews for anime, but I’ve read through many of their reviews on anime and regular movies and tv series, and they tend to approach anime as from the unChristian country so EVERYTHING is suspect. Even things that they might not have issues with in other films. And they rarely pull any of the good themes and ideas.

      I’m totally with you on watching a show all the way through. You never know what might pop up.

      1. I guess I just haven’t read enough Plugged-in Online reviews, but I rather like the site. I feel like they walk a tight rope rather well, mentioning the possible concerns parents might have over a series, but judging movies on their own merit as much as possible through a Christian lens. Of course, I may just be high on them because I’d previously been reading reviews from movieguide.org, which if you know it, is super duper conservative.

        1. Let me put it this way: I read the review for one of my favorite movies, Mona Lisa Smile, on PluggedinOnline. I then showed the movie to one of my friends that’s a super-conservative. She then read the review. Our consensus? That the reviewer had completely missed the point of the movie and had gotten a – perhaps THE – main point/lesson completely wrong because of how liberal the main character is for the 50’s/60’s (when the movies take place)- they only saw that liberalism and ran with it.

          1. Maybe the reviewer just doesn’t like Julia Roberts? Or more likely, Kirsten Dunst? 😛

            That movie’s pretty old, though. I only started consulting their site the last few years and though I admittedly don’t read many of their reviews, and so don’t have a large body to judge by, I wonder if Plugged-in has shifted it’s approach recently. If so, it would match Focus on the Family’s larger shift away (if a bit) from the political/religious conservative culture it espoused under Dobson.

            1. I would like to also pipe up and say that while I agree with some of PluggedIn’s reviews, they had a review that basically said Avatar: The Last Airbender was terrible because it referenced eastern religions and said that even though it had really good bits, the kids only watched it because they were interested in the spiritualism, and that anime as a whole was junk, which I thought was just stupid. So I guess that’s given me a bit of a grudge against them, even if it is only a few reviewers.

    2. Ah yes, Pastor Jason! I enjoy his reviews, but I hadn’t noticed any particular mention about possibly offensive content in series (at least not on a consistent basis). If you’re interested, you might want to check out the interview I did with him a year or two ago: .

      And you know what, Ian? I agree with you. The only way to ensure your kids are watching series of which you wholly approve, especially when it comes to anime, is to vet it yourself. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a concerned parent to at least watch a few episodes of a series to get a feel for it, if not in it’s entirety.

  4. Thanks for listing All those sites! I like Anime a lot and have to usually go off of what my friends tell me to see. But those sites Especially the “Christian Anime Alliance” site are Amazing! and Super Helpful! Thanks!!! Now I don’t have to get caught up in an anime see some disturbing stuff and have to stop in the middle! Sigh of Relief! -_-

  5. Thanks for listing All those sites! I like Anime a lot and have to usually go off of what my friends tell me to see. But those sites Especially the “Christian Anime Alliance” site are Amazing! and Super Helpful! Thanks!!! Now I don’t have to get caught up in an anime see some disturbing stuff and have to stop in the middle! Sigh of Relief! -_-

  6. One thing that might give you an idea of the content for manga is learning about what magazine it was serialized in in Japan(Manga Updates usually lists that, and it’s not hard to find out with Google).
    For example:
    *CoroCoro Comic is a kodomo(children’s) magazine
    *Nakayoshi(a lot of big names in shoujo were serialized in that mag, including Sailor Moon, CardCaptor Sakura, Magic Knight Rayearth, PreCure, and more), Ciao, and Ribon are shoujo magazines targeted to young girls so the titles in them tend to be pretty clean.
    *Bessatsu Friend Cookie(Nana runs in there), Dessert, Margaret, Monthly Asuka, Princess, Shoujo Comic, Betsucomi, Wings, Cheese!, and Hana to Yume are somewhat more mature shoujo magazines, aimed at teen girls, so the content in titles in that mag may be iffy for children or if you wish to avoid any sexual content.
    *Magazine Special is a shounen mag aimed at fairly young boys.
    *A lot of popular shounen titles are/were serialized in Weekly Shounen Jump, including Bleach, One Piece, and MANY more
    *Jump Square ,Monthly Shounen Cirius, Monthly Shounen Ace, and Weekly Shounen Magazine are fairly mature shounen magazine aimed at teen boys and young men.
    *Flowers, Kiss, Petit Comic, Cocohana, Be-Love, and Feel Young are josei(women’s) magazines. Some titles in these mags may have a lot of sexual content and thus will not be good picks for children or discerning readers that wish to avoid such content.
    *Big Comic, Business Jump, Evening, Monthly Afternoon, Weekly Morning, Weekly Young Jump, and Weekly Young Magazine are seinen(men’s) magazines. Some, though not by no means all, titles in these mags may have plenty of sex and violence in them.
    *Chara, Be x Boy, June, and Craft are yaoi magazines
    *Comic Yuri Hime, Tsubomi, and Yuri Shimai are yuri magazines
    *Comic MegaStore is a hentai magazine

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