In Japan, the taboo of animation being for kids, while still there, is less strict and what is considered inappropriate differs compared to most Anglosphere values. Censorship is minimal for what can go on a bookshelf. In Japan, the censorship of genitalia means a little black bar over the clitoris and foreskin of the penis. But not everybody in the western world knows this and so... well... you get the idea. Their most kid-friendly animations were those deliberately written to be also exported to the west. As a result, something is always Lost in Translation.
And manga? Hoo boy, there is literally no taboo about manga being "just for kids". Manga is a completely valid, expressive art form... which means content runs the entire gamut from sweet pre-K fluff to things mentally unprepared adults will struggle with.
Let's just say any and all hentai is not for kids and just leave it at that.
AKIRA was first released in an English dub in the late 1980s. The film managed to break Japan out of the Animation Age Ghetto in American eyes, containing a lot of violence (including a few exploding heads, people being smashed, and blown into gibs), a near rape scene, and a few utterly disturbing sequences. It even had strong suggestions of homosexuality in some characters - which back then was far less hilarious than it is today. The original manga, of course, amps this all Up to Eleven.
Angel Beats!, despite the cute and fluffy title, features chest stabbings, multi-story falls, and gunshot wounds in the stomach. And that's just the first episode.
Averted with Sentai Filmworks (North America), Siren Visual (Australia & New Zealand), Manga Entertainment (UK), and Universum Films (Germany) releases, which respectively have TV-14, M, 12, and 12 on their ratings.
Bokurano's opening and credits imply the show is a lot more light-hearted then it really is. The first episode doesn't help either; it looks like any shounen series about robots.
Chaosic Rune takes place in a world where people fight using monsters, machines, and magical spells that all come from cards! The most powerful cards are said to be the dragon cards and the main character has what is said to be the most powerful of all the dragons! Sounds like a great plot for a Yu-Gi-Oh! ripoff, right? Wrong. This is one of the biggest boobs and gutsseinen manga out there. The most powerful dragon the main character commands? Its name is Death Rex and it comes in four parts, each qualifying as one SERIOUS Eldritch Abomination. There's also plenty of horror to go around.
CLANNAD, especially during the last third of After Story. It's got a cute art style, cute little mascots called "The Big Dango Family", and sakura petals abound... the perfect anime for your six-year-old girl, right? Wrong. The story, among other things, deals with drugs, parental neglect, teenage pregnancy, and the death of said mother AND her child, with Episode 16 and beyond of After Story being massive Tear Jerkers. To be fair, the series retcons the deaths this in its Reset Button Ending, but the implication is that it still happened, and that this is an altered version of events.
It's even more blatant because the Sentai Filmworks release has a TV-PG rating.
Averted with the Siren Visual (Australia & New Zealand) and Manga Entertainment (UK) releases, which respectively have M and 12 on their ratings.
Doujin Work's box art and summary for its anime+manga combo pack and DVD case make it seem like a series about teenagers finding friends and a community through drawing their own comic books. In fact, the series is about the antics of friends drawing hard-core porn'.
Fantastic Children, despite its simple art style and title, isn't really for children, not so much because of explicit content (there is little) but because of an abundance of unsettling and often tragic plot twists.
Ginga Densetsu Weed is about talking dogs. Including a dog who castrates his enemies. Kid-friendly, right? Don't get started on the manga.
Those picking up Grave of the Fireflies thinking it to be cheery Ghibli fare are treated to maggot-infested corpses and children dying of starvation. Light-hearted! It is occasionally placed in the kids' section, and yes, it was originally made as a double feature with My Neighbor Totoro, but the entire movie can be summarized with "From Bad to Worse". Not to mention that some DVD prints of it say "Suitable for ages 3+" on the back cover. You'd think the word "grave" would be enough of a hint, though.
It's even more so in the recent releases because it has a TV-PG rating.
The German release has a 6 rating.
Gregory Horror Show, quite honestly, seems innocent enough; sure, it has "horror" in the title, but the fact that it has an anthropomorphic mouse as the main character means it could easily be mistaken for something along the lines of Goosebumps. However, once you get to Catherine in episode 6, a snake nurse who makes orgasmic moans as she draws your blood through a syringe, things start to get a little rocky. Later on when the "splitting headaches" of Mummy Dog and Mummy Papa show up, there's plenty of Nightmare Fuel to show this is far from a show for children. Thankfully, Netflix re-categorized the series from "Kids and Family" to "Anime Horror" after complaints.
Hellsing: For some unknown reason, the Dark Horse publication rated it as T for mild language and violence. Because the numerous times the word fuck is used is considered mild.
Nevermind the use of words like "fuck" and "shit", theres scenes of extreme Gorn everywhere and two rape scenes
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is listed as a series belonging in "Kids and Family" by Blockbuster video's computer system. This is a series where the very first scene, before even the opening credits, involves two (now dead) girls being brutally beaten by their deranged classmate.
The French release of the Visual Novel is for kids age 7+ Don't believe it?note It's actually rated as a book and not as a game, so the ratings are much more loose.
Key the Metal Idol's premise is about an android girl who wants to become human by making 30,000 friends. That sounds like something the kids can watch, right? WRONG. The series gets off to a family friendly start, then rapidly shifts into dark territory. Try not to not to get attached to any of the characters, since Anyone Can Die. In fact, it borders on Kill 'em All. And you don't even want to know about Ajo.
Monster has an in-universe example using a Fractured Fairy Tale or two. Those stories are such that most people would be seriously disturbed before a certain age if they were actually in print.
Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water seems family friendly enough at first glance, and, for the most part, it is. Yet there are many scenes, as well as several episodes, that are decidedly dark. Several characters are executed on screen, a family and their dog are gunned down, the heroine tries to commit suicide at one point, and later, guns down her own father, Nemo whilst under Gargoyle's control. There's even a brief instance of racism.
Narutaru. Amusingly enough, one review actually described Narutaru as being acceptable for preteens. A scanlation group that re-released the Dark Horse translations of the manga and finished up what Dark Horse didn't get around to before discontinuing it made fun of this in their summary and updates. Just goes to show how bloody deceptive that first volume is...
Glenat's French release of Narutaru was cancelled after two volumes under similar circumstances. Once they finally tried again, the series was given their Seinen label in order to avoid another fiasco.
The anime's deceptively cutesy opening depicts many horrors in a family friendly way, but first-time viewers wouldn't know that. The show was originally broadcast on Kids Station.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind also qualifies, particularly its original manga. In addition to the melting God Warrior, Ohmu stampede, and a goodly dose of violence, the manga shows people blown or chopped to bits left and right. Oh, and some freaky psychic stuff.
Surrounding Ninja Scroll is a particular story from Acts of Gord about a man who rented the infamously gory anime movie with explicit rape for his ten- and eleven-year-old kids, all whilst Gord himself tries to tell him that it's really not appropriate for his kids. Of course, not more than one hour later does the same man barge in demanding to know why he gave them porn.
Osamu Tezuka developed his characteristic cartoony style drawing manga for younger kids, but maintained it well into his later career when he started drawing more mature manga like Adolf (a story about WWII, told mainly from the perspective of characters from the doomed Axis nations) and MW (a tale of a Catholic Priest who is tormented with guilt because he has a gay lover who is also a murdering sociopath planning to commit genocide with a stolen American chemical weapon).
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. "Look, dear! There's two girls in pretty dresses fighting ghosts and other nasty bad things! Why haven't you shown this to your younger cousin?" Though the title alone should alert people, despite the Powerpuff Girls-esque character design. Funimation's complete set release has a TV-MA rating on its cover, leaving no question to what kind of subject matter this series has.
Princess Mononoke certainly qualifies for this trope. It's an animated movie featuring pigs and wolves and nice-looking forest spirits, with "Princess" in the title, but it's also a movie that shows people's heads and limbs being shot off, open wounds bleeding profusely, and Eldritch Abominations covered in icky purplish wormlike things. Disney released their dub under their Miramax label, perhaps so people wouldn't confuse it with its own kid-friendly productions. Many parents brought young children to see the film anyway, especially as Pokémon: The First Movie arrived in theaters around the same time.
Because of it's Genre, people often mistaken it for a progressive Shoujo anime when it's actually a Seinen title.
One Swedish seller classified the series as "For all ages".
What's worse: The Japan movie rating system classifies both Madoka movies as "Suitable for all ages"... NOT!
Speaking of the movies, a review on Common Sense Media of the series claimed that the friend of the user who wrote the review went to see the first Madoka Magica movie in a Canadian movie theater and saw a lot of toddlers at the showing. When Mami blew up the witch barrier during the part of the film based on the first episode, many toddlers got frightened and had to leave.
Even more so in it that Crackle.com rates it as TV-PG.
Queen's Blade initially appeared through Netflix streaming in the Fall of 2010 with a Y7 FV rating. Yes, that implies the series is suitable for children age 7 or higher, but has a cautionary rating for "fantasy violence". By the end of the first volume, the viewer will have seen nipples that swell and spew a corrosive fluid, a disrobed woman wetting herself, and one scene of virtual lesbian rape.
The front cover for the first volume of the series has four relatively attractive characters in standard "Sword and Sorcery" poses, but nothing to clue the viewer into what the series involves. Needless to say, the online reviews for the series quickly swelled with the reactions of angry parents.
Read or Die's OVA (ignoring the title) seems like a delightful children's story. It's about a happy and sweet woman who loves to read and has amazing adventures! It's actually a pastiche of spy films in the 'James Bond'' vein with more High-Pressure Blood.
Shin-chan. Despite the cute looks, the manga was originally published in Weekly Manga Action, one Seinen magazine.
In Indonesia, the original manga is dutifully labeled 'mature'. The animated adaptation however, is aired on weekends on a local TV channel, and it has been that way for more than 10 years. Nowadays most people ignore the warning label at the corner of the cover and it's considered a children's classic almost on par with Doraemon (which airs alongside ''Shin-chan on that same TV channel).
In America Wandering Son has won at least one adolescent-geared award and is commonly spoken of when referring to teens. The series is considered relatable to transgender youth and it's not particularly graphic but it's not a shojo or even josei, but a seinen.
The Canadian province of Quebec's movie and video ratings board had some problems with this in the early years of anime videos, with titles such as Genocyber, Ninja Scroll and AKIRA getting the equivalent of G and PG ratings. Fortunately, actual hentai never fell through the cracks, and the board wised up relatively fast.
During The Nineties, the major TV networks in Mexico thought it would be good to syndicate something new instead of these American cartoons. So, they looked at Japan as a new, unexplored source of kids' cartoons, and they decided to broadcast anime, thus starting the long-remembered Nineties' Anime Craze. Only problem is, they mostly took shows for teenagers and adults and marketed them for kids. The new Animax channel tried to return to a kid-friendly schedule, but Network Decay kicked in and the few animated features remaining are often... not for kids.
Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu is a light-hearted comedy with a TV-PG rating on both the ADV Films and FUNimation DVDs, and the adorable Fumoffu...completely kid-friendly, right? Let's see: gratitious swearing (the word "shit" in the very first episode), an episode revolving around a sex offender, another episode revolving around a hot springs where full-frontal female and male nudity is seen (including one character running face-first into Sousuke's junk), and two characters almost have sex in the final episode.
The reason most Schoolgirl Series/IyashikeiSlice of Life anime and manga are meant for adult males is mainly because in addition to the blatant use of Moe, as well as the fact that they're designed as escapism from tediousness and lack of prospects and letting them experience the children they never had note Japan has one of the most minuscule birth rates in the world, and is gradually decreasing, and an occasional Token Mini-Moe character, many of them have a lot Girls Love subtext and many of the girl to girl relationships are portrayed realistically with Character Development (the lesbian subtext definitely makes a ringing bell that these kind of series are not meant for little girls). Thus being said, most of the Girls Love relationships are often portrayed as platonic (read, non-sexual).
Summer Wars got a PG rating from the MPAA and a TV-PG rating from Funimation. Obviously the MPAA must have been drunk or stoned when rating it, because it has instances of blood, tragic death of a family member (but then again, there are several childrens' movies that have dealed with that concept), swearing, child nudity, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of a child being breastfed (which is a natural thing, but usually not allowed in G or PG movies), a doomsday scenario, and so much more, plus that it's actually Seinen, meaning that it's targeted for adult males as opposed to the age demographic the PG rating is assigned to.
Averted in the [adult swim] airing, where it was rated TV-14-LV
Also in a notable case of Values Dissonance, it meanwhile seems utterly bizarre to most europeans who watch the film that it is rated 12 by the British Board of Film Classification and FSK in the UK and Germany, respectively, as nothing about it strikes your typical European viewer as being especially unsuitable for young children.
D-Frag! is a comedy series that pretty much parodies every highschool anime cliche you can think of. You think this is something a shonen audience who are into highschool comedies that would enjoy, right? Apparently, this series runs in a seinen magazine.
A very, very good example is the anime (and visual novel) School Days. Looks like a cutesy, cheesy romcom. Is reality usually much closer to a mature-ish romance (sex scenes and all) at best, or a demented slasher film at worst.