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What Do You Mean Its For Kids / Anime & Manga

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Values Dissonance plays a huge part in this category, as Japan has a much higher threshold than Western cultures on what's not acceptable for kids. Any Shōnen or Shōjo anime and manga falls under this category, especially some Magical Girl anime. This tends to happen because of the Japanese language's lack of true swearing, which results in some of the harsher words or interjections being translated into English as profanities; therefore, it's not uncommon to find an anime series that routinely uses the equivalent of "damn" or "shit" and was intended for children.


If not that, it's usually due to violent content; graphic violence doesn't have anywhere near the social stigma in Japan as it does in the rest of the world (where it has been theorized that blood and gore in the media may desensitize children to committing violent acts in real life)... so long as it is portrayed in a negative light and is shown as being villainous. You'll still rarely ever see the heroes engage in senseless violence (and the more shonen you watch, the more you may notice the heroes decrying such things), but because it's okay for such things to be shown as evil, there's a lot more latitude for the villains to really punt puppies with steel toes.

While traditional Western Animation have little violence, blood, sex, or swearing (with a few exceptions), the term anime means nothing more than "cartoon" or "animation" in Japan and is seen more as a medium than as a genre in and of itself, meaning that anime and manga allows for multiple, decidely not kid-friendly genres such as Horror and Romance. Furthermore, the censors and ratings are arranged a tad bit differently then in most western countries, leading to the Values Dissonance mentioned above.


Similarly, shonen deconstructions, those with Darker and Edgier contents, and those with a pessimistic viewpoint often falls into this trope and is often mistaken as seinen. It should be noted that many manga that are technically seinen in both content and target group run in shounen magazines, as many more devoted readers frequently keep reading these magazines well into adulthood.

  • Let's get this out of the way first: A lot of the anime that airs or has aired on [adult swim] or the revived Toonami block is shonen, despite varying levels of gore, sex, and dub profanity. Again, an all-ages rating in Japan is often a TV-14-DLSV in America due to Values Dissonance.
  • The manga adaptation of Angels of Death is filled with gore, on-screen murder and has a suicidal protagonist. It runs in a Shojo magazine.
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  • Attack on Titan may be one of the most relentlessly serious, dark, violent, and horrifying manga in recent memory, easily on par with some of the grimmer Seinen out there, and yet it runs on Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine.
  • Azumanga Daioh is widely believed to be a seinen series — being aimed at teenage boys, it, along with Dengeki Daioh (where the manga appeared), are actually Shōnen. In some countries it's lumped in with 18+ manga because of the perverted Mr. Kimura, but perverted teachers hitting on teenage girls in Japanese children's shows is just one of those things anime fans have to accept. The anime received an MA15+ rating in Australia purely because of the aforementioned teacher (according to licensee Madman Entertainment).
  • Barefoot Gen, a semi-autobiographical manga series best known for its graphic depiction of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima, was originally published in Shonen Jump and aimed at kids, complete with intermittent history lessons throughout.
  • The manga Bastard!!. First off, the title stopped it from hitting mainstream in the US. It ran in Weekly Shonen Jump up until volume 8 or so, but even before volume 8 it is a crazy-R-rated manga, with sex (comically-sized penises included, and one sex scene so explicit Viz wouldn't publish it uncensored - and they released Tenjho Tenge without edits!), gory violence and a metric crapton of creative swearing/expressions ("This fuckwad is getting cocky just 'cause he's the world's biggest ball of shit!" "I don't need help from a shit stained ass-monkey!").
  • Black Butler. It has Seinen written all over it, but is published in a Shōnen magazine. It contains violence and gore, murder, child abuse, sex and rape (in the manga and anime), pedophilia, and questionable dialogue. To top it all off, its protagonists are Villain Protagonists who kill anyone who gets in the way of their goals. On the other hand, cooking competitions, dance lessons, boys put in fluffy dresses, a Cast Full of Pretty Boys, and a huge female fanbase might cause it to be mistaken for Shoujo.
  • The anime film Catnapped! is a fantasy adventure about two children getting whisked off to a colorful world of anthropomorphic cats in Another Dimension. It might look cute on the surface, but the movie contains numerous scenes of Deranged Animation likely to scare small children, a giant dog (actually the children's pet dog turned into a monster) who chomps down on buildings to abduct villagers and a downright creepy antagonist in a princess with a curse that literally enables her to turn living things into balloons by touch and isn't above popping anyone if angered sufficiently (she's only shown doing this with a potted flower and an insect) and even tries to kill the main character and his sister with this ability (which fortunately doesn't work because the two are human). And that's without getting into said princess' Evil Plan of using abducted prisoners turned into balloons to fill out a giant mouse balloon and awaken the Sleeping Cat on which the feline world rests, explicitly stated to cause destruction, if the good guys' resistance movement doesn't surrender. And yet Pioneer rated this suitable "for 3 and up".
  • Chainsaw Man is a brutal series with violent deaths, horrific creature designs, and a lot of sex (including a lesbian orgy adorning a color spread). However, it runs in Weekly Shonen Jump, which is still intended for younger audiences.
  • CLANNAD: Fans would be surprised to learn that the anime was based off a visual novel for people of all ages in Japan, despite the show having darker themes as the series progresses.
  • Dash & Spin Super Fast Sonic is an official Sonic the Hedgehog Gag Series manga and supposed to be for children, having been published in Bessatsu CoroCoro Comic Special. It has more mild profanity than Shadow the Hedgehog, Eggman shedding blood (comically), and occasional Vulgar Humor (including naked Eggman, Sonic peeing off a cliff, and Eggman acting as a dog and peeing near Amy).
  • Death Note. It has all the makings of a Seinen series... but ran in Shonen Jump. Acknowledged by the authors who mention in their manga about manga the idea of writing otherwise seinen stories in a Shōnen magazine. It even seems like they support Shōnen magazines having seinen-like manga. The author does mention in Death Note: How to Read, however, that the story would've taken a different path if it ran in a seinen magazine, exploring the morality involved in using a Death Note and how society responds to it rather than putting the cat-and-mouse chase between Light and L at the front.
  • The gory, sexually-charged, profanity-laden anime series Deadman Wonderland was used as the flagship title for the revival of Toonami as part of [adult swim]. All signs point to this being a Seinen series. But in reality, it's a Shōnen series whose original manga version was serialized in the same anthology magazine that housed significantly tamer series such as Angelic Layer (which is actually aimed at children in the United States), Nichijou and Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is easily one of Shonen Jump's most violent and gory titles at certain points (the plot is kicked off by Tanjiro arriving home to discover that most of his family has been brutally slaughtered by a demon), and one arc focuses on infiltrating a red light district, but it's still aimed at the same 12-18-year-old male demographic. In Japan, a surprisingly large amount of children who are even younger than the intended demographic are fans of the series as well, though there was still some concern from parents over whether or not the Infinity Train movie was appropriate for young children. The series also got a Happy Meal promotion at McDonald's, paired with Pretty Cure.
  • The manga series Destiny Lovers (Desu Raba) is drawn by hentai artist Kai Tomohiro, and involves a high school boy who hates girls being kidnapped and waking up to a girl trying to rape him, in a prison where women keep men in cages. It was published in the Shonen magazine Magapoke.
  • D.Gray-Man's main theme is tragedy, according to Word of God. It is aimed for kids but the main antagonist revives people in the form of Akuma/demons who often engage in cannibalism to hide within society as humans that can eat other humans so that they can become stronger. The main character, Allen Walker, is often described as a gentleman, but later in the series it is revealed he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder following his guardian's death and revival as an Akuma. Other major characters also go through tragic backstories but it seems Allen takes the cake.
  • It can be argued that this trope, combined with Values Dissonance, is why Detective Conan (a.k.a. Case Closed) failed when it was broadcast on Cartoon Network in the United States: it was too childish for [adult swim], yet too violent for Toonami. The aged animation style was the final nail in the coffin. In fact, this anime was aired during family hours in Japan. Complete with brutal murders (albeit with Black Blood); complex plots involving suicide, drugs and business dealings; and of course copious amounts of sexual tension. And apparently that's why it worked in the German language broadcast. Not only has the German dubbed run more than twice the episodes compared to the English, but those extra episodes run uncut in a children's block.
  • Devilman. Yes, that Devilman. It ran in Weekly Shonen Magazine in 1972, and a few pages looks light-hearted with goofy-looking Japanese Delinquents, right? No, violence, gore, and nudity abound, and has one of the most depressing Downer Ending in a Shonen series. Violence Jack also qualify since it ran in 1973, with the same thing, but more sex and gore (until later parts were in a Seinen magazine). The former has a rather Lighter and Softer anime adaptation by Toei Animation (until the OVAs happen). Violence Jack, not so much. Sequels to Devilman and Violence Jack are straight Seinen.
  • Digimon Tamers. Especially notable since its predecessors had their share of darkness, but nowhere near its level.
    • Case in point: The first episode had two separate Digimon killing and eating another one, and to make matters worse, Digimon who die that way are never reborn. Other highlights include some of the most horrifying and brutal battles in the series' history, one of the hero's Digimon being eaten and thus permanently killed (by a former friend, no less), someone trying to commit suicide, at least two Heroic Sacrifices, a good chunk of the Digital World and its residents being deleted, one of the Digimon getting stabbed nearly to death and thrown into a sea of deletion while his/her Tamer/s can do nothing but watch, a heart-breakingly Bittersweet Ending, and naked children with no genitals. The absolute worse offender, however, is a sweet little 10-year-old girl getting mind fucked by an Eldritch Abomination for at least a week. If the title didn't have "Digimon" attached to it, you'd think it was intended for high school students, but no, it's (theoretically) aimed at kids around that girl's age.
    • Also Digimon Savers. Less mindfuck than Tamers, but less shy about detailed violence or blatant Fanservice.
    • Willis' Story: you used to have two little friends. One is corrupted. Kill it and live with the other happily forever. It is basically Full Metal Daemon Muramasa for kids. Also, the evil one has Black Face on.
  • Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z is very clearly a kids' series, but it can get pretty violent, including one scene of bloody impalement, and Muten Roshi's hijinks sometimes run a little blue.
  • The heavy amount of violence present in later episodes of Eureka Seven forced Cartoon Network to air the English dub on its Adult Swim block with a TV-MA rating. However, Eureka Seven is a show targeted for kids, as evidenced by its 7 A.M. Sunday morning time slot in Japan. Even the voice actors express their confusion over the timeslot during several of the more violent scenes in the Japanese DVD commentaries.
  • Hell Girl seems like a mature seinen or josei series. Nope, it's shoujo. So it's probably aimed at the older end of the shoujo spectrum, right? Nope. It was serialized in a magazine for 8-14 year old girls.
  • Fate/Zero was shown on Japan's Kids Station channel. It features, among other things, a psyhopathic Serial Killer whose Servant is an even more psychopathic serial killer who subverts Wouldn't Hurt a Child in his Establishing Character Moment. (we don't actually see it directly, but there is a cut to the wall splattered with huge amounts of blood afterwards, and it's made all the more horrifying by the fact that he deliberately gave the kid a Hope Spot before killing him.) As well as Assassin getting rather messily impaled through the head with a thrown lance. This is just the second episode. The first episode just contained a child being tortured by monstrous worms. It is of note, however, that the series was aired after midnight, which is generally reserved for more adult titles.
  • Fist of the North Star is textbook Gorn with blood and guts flying around and torture and sick villains... and it's also the Trope Maker for Shōnen Fighting Series. It's also from the late Showa era; you probably couldn't get away with a lot of that in a modern Shōnen series. Its modern iterations only do get away because of the Grandfather Clause. Japan had a few scares with an otaku serial killer and teen murders in the intervening 22 years, prompting more scrutiny from Moral Guardians.
  • Franken Fran is serialized in a Shonen magazine, but it is full of Gorn, graphic Body Horror, nudity and other suggestive scenes.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist started off as a light-hearted shonen (ignoring the Elrics' backstory) with an Antagonist of the Week popping up often until several episodes in. After Nina's death the dark moments got more on the closer side together and more frequent. By the mid-point it hit full Cerebus Syndrome and by the end it resembled more of a seinen then a shonen. The manga and Brotherhood, however, stay generally shonen even with their dark moments.
  • Future Diary is often thought to be a Seinen series due to its violence and dark themes, but the manga was published in the same Shōnen magazine as Deadman Wonderland.
  • Despite having some VERY raunchy humor that would make some western animated shows intended for adults blush, Gintama aired on Sunday mornings in Japan, a children's timeslot, and the manga was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump. Like Hunter × Hunter though, it did eventually move to Otaku O'Clock for its conclusion, but the manga is still shonen.
  • Girls Bravo was mildly controversial when it came over to the United States; Geneon had to put a warning on the back (something usually only done for hentai) advising stores not to sell it to people under 17. It averts the usual non-nude ecchi that was popular at the time with detailed, graphic nudity and sexual situations. So how on Earth did its manga run in the same shonen magazine as squeaky-clean manga like Angelic Layer?!
  • The anime anthology Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics was clearly aimed towards small children. However, it contains many scenes of intense cruelty (such as a princess being falsely accused of killing her baby in the episode "The Six Swans", characters being beaten by abusive guardians in "Brother and Sister" and "Rapunzel", and the main character being framed by his brother's cruel trick in "The Water of Life"), as well as semi-frequent use of violence and Nightmare Fuel. One episode is based on the Grimms' story "Allerleirauh", which features a princess fleeing from her father who wants to marry her. The darkest episode was perhaps "Bluebeard", which features the title character killing his wives and nearly kills the most recent one until her brothers save her. Much of the dark imagery was toned down for the English dub, but the show was still quite dark considering its target audience. The catch? This show was aired on Nick Jr., which is known today for very sugary shows such as Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer, & Lalaloopsy.
  • Related to the above, Gundam AGE is targeted to a younger audience than SEED and 00. Yet, despite its children's cartoon art-style, AGE has a really dark story and it doesn't hold any punches when it comes to killing off characters and showing their death scenes. And that's before you get into having a main protagonist become a genocidal, if well-intentioned, maniac, the whole back-story for Vagan (also known as the Unknown Enemy), or even Desil Galette.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry is best known for its extremely graphic gore and murder scenes. Despite this its manga, which is Bloodier and Gorier than even the anime, was serialized in shonen magazines. The original visual novels that both the anime and manga are based on weren't really marketed towards a particular demographic, being doujin games.
  • Interspecies Reviewers is about a group of adventurers who have sex with Cute Monster Girl prostitutes and write reviews of their experiences with them. Despite this premise, it initially ran in a shonen magazine! In all fairness, however, the manga is actually tamer than its anime adaptation; it doesn't actually show the sexual activities on-screen, unlike the much Hotter and Sexier anime, which got so increasingly explicit that networks that didn't drop it for being Too Hot for TV had to show certain scenes with just the audio playing under a black screen.
  • In Kengan Asura, despite this mixed martial arts fighting series running in a magazine meant for young teens it features many graphical scenes one would see in series aimed at older audiences, such as many brutal portrayals of highly detailed violence and in the middle of that some quick shots of sexual intercourse.
  • The manga of Rose Guns Days' first three seasons also ran in Shōnen Gangan, G-Fantasy and Gangan Online. While they're far less violent than the When They Cry series, they still have some decidedly un-childish themes such as war, the loss of your homeland, colonization and Chinese-Japanese relationships; and Season 3 features some pretty brutal murders. However, Season 4, as well as the spin-off Aishū no Cross-Knife, appropriately ran in Big Gangan.
  • Hot Gimmick, a manga with lots of sexual blackmail raunchier than most MTV shows and getting a 16+ rating for the American publication (with a few additional disclaimers about underage drinking and other such material), points towards being a josei, but somehow ran in Betsucomi, a shoujo magazine originally targeted to elementary and middle school girls (though there has been a bit of an aging up of the magazine in recent years).
  • Hunter × Hunter, a series where almost Anyone Can Die and contains among other things a heart being torn out, beheadings, fights to the death and a floor being covered in fresh blood, and the series in general being rather graphic at times, the series is serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump. Goes double for the Chimera Ant arc, which features Black-and-Gray Morality, bordering on Evil vs. Evil, along with much of the graphic violence described above, plus significant dismemberments, plots of genocide (though neither side succeeds in this aim), disturbing imagery and themes left, right, and center, and even nuclear apocalypse is depicted, though the last one isn't part of the arc's main focus. The 2011 series officially switched to a late-night timeslot in the middle of the Chimera Ant arc; however, some affilates in Japan had already moved it to that slot beforehand based on the violent content.
  • Iinari! Aibure-shon is a manga about a girl who is prone to having accidents that may look like a seinen or even an ecchi manga, but it was serialized in Monthly Dragon Age, a shounen magazine.
  • Itsudatte My Santa!'s original printing was recalled for having the wrong rating on the package, TV-PG instead of TV-MA. Despite that, nobody complained even before its recall, plus that it was serialized on a Shonen magazine.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure ranks up there with Fist of the North Star and Apocalypse Zero as the top candidate for this trope. The sheer frank homoeroticism and casual brutality of this franchise, tolerable to teenage boys in Japan, would have Jack Chick doing gymnastics in his grave! It moved to the seinen magazine Ultra Jump with Steel Ball Run onwards, though. Vento Aureo is probably the worst in this regard, occurring before the shift to a more mature seinen magazine—each and every arc in the series (which is to each of the dozen conflicts with stand users) centers around some aspect of bloody, gory, painful body horror. The next part, Stone Ocean, is also pretty bad with the gore. And has prostitutes, vibrators as currency and people exploding into snails.
  • The American publication of Kare First Love (via Viz) is rated T (13+) despite Aoi's consistent pressure on his girlfriend to have sex with him. Curiously, the series' rating never increases, even after it displays a rather explicit sex scene and a pregnancy scare resulting from an affair between an adult man and high school teen. Other manga published by Viz has been marketed to older teens/adults simply for containing frontal nudity — such as Ranma ½.
  • Kinnikuman originally started out as a parody of Ultraman complete with action and comedy being somewhat expected of a Shonen manga. Then, the series shifted from being just a parody of superheroes to a series about Professional Wrestling. Despite the comedy remaining in the series, there was notably a lot more violence in the show. For one, the wrestling matches couldn't really be called matches anymore, as whenever someone won, it usually meant that they won via killing the other person, complete with Family-Unfriendly Death for the defeated (One person actually got eaten alive by their opponent). Keep in mind that it was still considered a Shonen manga after the shift. The anime tried to tone down the violence, but a lot of it was still kept in.
  • The same can be said for the anime of its sequel Kinnikuman Nisei (known in the US as Ultimate Muscle). Despite being aimed at kids, it still follows in the footsteps of its predecessor with violence and loads of innuendo in both the original and the dub. The manga averts this trope, as it's marketed for adults.
  • Life may be a Shoujo manga however it's considerably more mature in nature than most shoujo. From the graphic nudity, sexual scenes, and gore... it's no wonder Tokyopop changed it from being for "Older Teens" to "Mature". One scene in volume 6 even involved showing two characters somewhat graphically having sex. It can easily be mistaken for a Josei manga.
  • The jokes done for Fanservice in Magic User's Club might make one believe it was strictly aimed at otaku. The franchise was actually aimed at young girls in Japan.
  • The Magical Girl Genre Deconstruction manga Magical Girl Site is extremely dark and violent, has a suicidal protagonist who has to sacrifice a certain amount of lifespan every time she casts magic when she becomes a magical girl, and fights nothing but between magical girls to death, and has lots of Yuri innuendos and implications. And it's considered as a Shonen manga.
  • Like Kare First Love, Mars deals with very dark subject matters like suicide, sexual abuse and also has an explicit sex scene yet Tokyopop keeps the rating at Teen 13+.
  • Anime News Network's reviewers have condemned Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch for sexually suggestive dialogue and scenes as well as its aversion of Bloodless Carnage, even though it was originally published in Nakayoshi. The anime sanitized a lot of these scenes anyway, but it's confusing that people who ought to know better would judge this way. (The same review also exemplified this trope's opposite, in that it stated that no-one that the reviewer deemed old enough to read the series would dare touch a cute Magical Girl manga.)
  • Miss Machiko is an anime about a quirky teacher who helps her students through everyday problems such as bullies and school work. Sometimes, she takes them on wacky adventures as well. Oh, and every episode featured the main character naked due to her students' pranks. And yes, Barbie Doll Anatomy was completely averted. And yet, it was a show aimed at middle school children. Even in early 80s Japan, it attracted controversy.
  • Nana. With its fairly adult storyline and content, it runs in a Shoujo magazine. Josei would have been more like it.
  • Despite being run in a shonen magazine that also runs Fairy Tail and its remake anime Negima!?note  being run during afternoons for children on TV Tokyo, Negima! Magister Negi Magi has a lot of sexual innuendo, nudity, and fetish material, such as Asuna being stripped naked and tickled on one page where we can see everything - barely managing to not become hentai with Barbie Doll Anatomy.
  • In regards to the new four part movie remake being made based on it, Hideaki Anno mentioned, briefly, that Neon Genesis Evangelion was intended for youths and even kids and how the message of the series was important for their ears more so than anyone else. You know, that show where a naked teenage girl grows to the size of a planet and then falls apart, another character has her mind horrifically invaded and essentially violated, and ended up squarely defining pessimism in the Super Robot genre. In the States, it was once the victim of the opposite trope, nowadays Evangelion is pretty much put on par with AKIRA, Legend of the Overfiend and violent anime/hentai in general. In spite of this, all of the movies in the series (both based on the original series and the Rebuild of Evangelion quadrilogy) are rated G for General Audiences under Japan's equivalent of the MPAA.
  • PandoraHearts is a shonen manga series similar to Black Butler. Like Black Butler and Death Note, it probably would be more suited for a Seinen magazine, due to its violence, characters with violent and complex pasts (quite a few involving Eye Scream) and generally being quite a mature manga series. This is something that has only gotten darker and darker as it goes on, especially what with the rampant character death the author likes to pull on people.
  • Pokémon
  • Popee the Performer is particularly infamous for this. The show regularly features extreme violence, and the main characters die painfully in pretty much every episode. The best example of this is probably episode 11, Swallower. The episode contains the main character, Popee, attempting sword swallowing. This goes horribly wrong as usual, and resulting in Popee being impaled, with the tip of the sword stuck in the sand. Kedamono attempts to help him out, and tries attaching the hilt of the sword to a car and driving fast in an attempt to pull it out. This results in Popee being dragged around the circus and bashed into the ground and walls, his face covered in blood. Eventually the sword is pulled out, but Popee is furious at Kedamono for dragging him around. He chases Kedamono down and swallows him whole, then repeats his sword trick from the beginning of the episode, impaling and killing them both. The episode ends with Popee's lifeless, impaled body falling to the ground, then a fade to black.
  • Pretty Cure
    • Toei held two all-night events at a movie theater for grown ups only due to a Japanese law that doesn't allow children to see movies after 8:00PM. They showed some Pretty Cure movies during this marathon.
    • The show itself is primarily known for its abundance of martial arts fighting, not normally seen in magical girl anime aimed at a young audience.
    • HeartCatch Pretty Cure! is regarded as one of the darkest Pretty Cure installations due to date, as many of its character episodes bring up serious topics. And that's not even getting into the whole predicament and suffering Yuri experienced throughout the series, as she has two people closest to her dying. And no, they didn't come back to life after that.
    • Hugtto! Pretty Cure gets this for many different reasons:
      • In episode 10, Hugtan, a character who is a baby, goes comatose after overexerting herself to purify the Monster of the Week in Hana's place just before said monster was about to murder her. And if you thought a baby going comatose was bad enough, Episode 11 follows suit by having one of the employees of Dark Tomorrow Corporation being forcefully turned into a monster. If it weren't for Cure Yell realizing this, she would have mercilessly killed him with the Melody Sword. In a franchise where previous villains were usually finished off by purifying them with energy, this is a notable difference.
      • Episode 16 ups the ante when Ruru gets put on the brink of death by Papuru via a giant energy beam and is promptly reprogrammed in the following episode to kill the Cures with no hesitation. The most horrifying thing about the scene is the way Ruru drops to the ground, completely robotic and limp, and the way Yell shudders when she sees this. It's honestly quite painful to watch.
      • Episode 22 goes even further by implying that George cheats on Papple with Geros after the former failed too many times. She's so heartbroken, she goes to the top of a tall skyscraper and stabs herself with a toge power crystal, turning her into an oshimaeda, with visuals similar to that of harakiri/seppuku. Basically, she committed suicide in her human body and ascended into an oshimaeda body as a result.
  • The magical-girl anime series Princess Tutu is aimed at children in Japan (just look at the title), but it's rated PG-13 for scenes with blood and violence, as well as surprisingly common Barbie Doll Nudity.
  • PriPara, an idol show aimed at children, has a satanic girl who uses magic to control others into acting bad and says "hell" Once per Episode, mascots who drink alcohol occasionally (and one of them run what appears to be a bar), a few sequences with the girls in revealing swimsuits, an adult woman going nuts over Michaelangelo's David statue while at a museum, two crossdressing characters, a baby giving three girls a golden shower, a girl who wants to commit suicide in order to get a dress, an elementary schooler who likes seeing boys wet the bed and a train that yells "Go to hell!" in the first movie.
  • Read or Die Rehabilitation is more risque than its Seinen counterparts Read or Die and Read or Dream, yet is serialized on a Shōnen magazine.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena is full of mature themes and taboo sexual relationships/metaphors, and as such has never received a rating lower than 13+ on a North American release. However, the show is indeed a shoujo, and was scheduled at a timeslot on TV Tokyo in which lots of young children would be watching (for a few months, it aired right before Beast Wars).
  • Sailor Moon. No, it was not only for teens in Japan; watch the commercials. The first season finale deserves special mention where four of the Sailors are brutally killed (they get better). Reportedly so many children were upset about the deaths that they made themselves sick. For The '90s DiC US dub, the deaths were censored by implying that they were merely being held prisoner and the two part finale was edited into one episode.
    • The turning point for the anime was when Nephrite died. Before that it was a mostly straightforward and lighthearted super-heroine show, but that episode made it painfully clear that death was a reality and what the true stakes were (and this scene was not removed from the 90's dub, so even English-speaking audiences felt the full force of this Wham Episode). The first season's finale much further empathized it, and things were never really the same again for the entire series.
    • The second Viz Media DVD/Blu-Ray set, which includes said finale completely uncut, is still rated PG like the first and gives no warning. Anyone who hasn't seen it before (including those who only saw the "Day of Destiny" DiC version) is in for quite a surprise.
    • The manga is much worse, featuring much more deaths that tend to be rather gory and barely avoiding to show Usagi and Mamoru having sex. Then there's Codename: Sailor V, closer to the funnier tone of the anime but still showing the terrifying toll that fighting alone for a year and killing her true love took on Minako, casting quite the shadow on her Fun Personified character in the main manga.
  • Saint Seiya was aimed to children in Japan, as well in Europe and South America, having a lot of controversy due the huge amounts of violence, frightening scenes and religious/mythological references.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman has a gender-bending villain, plenty of violence and death, and (in the first series) TWO attempts to destroy the planet. Its target audience was 6-year-olds.
  • Shugo Chara!, like many Magical Girl series, is aimed at young girls. However, it has a more risque sense of humor compared to other series of its demographic, and one of Amu's love interests is much older than her (Ikuto is in high school, but Amu is in elementary school). There's also the fact that Utau is obsessively in love with Ikuto despite the reveal that she's his younger sister. This is likely why the anime never really caught on in western countries, as it was considered too mature for kids and too immature for teenagers.
  • Soul Eater may seem like a Seinen to some people due to its' premise and title, but one might be surprised to learn that it originally aired on Monday evenings in Japan, in the same slot where children's shows such as Dora the Explorer, Shima Shima Tora no Shimajirō and Bakugan aired.
  • The Splatoon manga is about as "kid-friendly" as the game it's based on — in other words, less so than it might appear to benote . Being a wacky shonen Gag Series, and given Values Dissonance, there's a lot of jokes and scenarios that just wouldn't fly in international markets: Naked People Are Funny, jokes about one's *ahem* eleventh tentacle, lewd references, and a scene where the main character pantses a rival, shoves the barrel of his Splattershot up his ass, and pulls the trigger. Yeesh! Somehow, it defied No Export for You and made it to international shores — where it is, against all odds, marketed to the same demographic as in Japan.
  • Super Mario Bros. Manga Mania is a children's Gag Series manga based on a children's video game series with content that would not be appropriate for a children's comic in the West, such as Vulgar Humor and depictions of nudity.
    • Behold, Kodansha's Super Mario manga, which aired in CoroCoro Comic's rivals, Comic BomBom and Deluxe BomBom, and has an illustration of Mario's... warp pipe. That's coupled with the plenty of adult humor the manga already has, some due to Values Dissonance.
  • One might think that a plot involving three guys who's goal is to hunt down every female elf maiden they can find in a fantasy world in order to strip them all naked - the plot of Those Who Hunt Elves, in a nutshell - would be some porno with gratuitous sex and nudity. Actually, it's a comedy satire with barely enough mature content to rate a PG in the United States. (And it did get that rating, actually. Maybe not made for kids, but still can make them laugh their butts off.)
  • Tomie was published in Monthly Halloween, a Shoujo Magazine - yes, Tomie, one of Junji Ito 's most famous manga series famous for its Body Horror and gratuitous violence and gore. In fact, more than half of Junji Ito's works are shoujo.
  • Umineko: When They Cry had the same treatment as its sister-series Higurashi, with the manga adaptations running in Shōnen Gangan, G-Fantasy and Gangan Online. In a weird inversion, the much Lighter and Softer extra stories of Umineko Tsubasa ran in Big Gangan, a Seinen magazine…
  • Yo-Kai Watch has some really disturbing backstories for the characters, has a lot of demographically inappropriate humour (even in the English dub), and has occasional swearing, despite it being aimed at kids ages 3-10.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! itself has always been this, but its fifth series takes it Up to Eleven. Lets see, we have: an interdimensional war, a genocide, Child Soldiers, who, willingly or not, fight in the war, complete with a broad range of brutality each soldier shows in battle; from the reluctant wobble who doesn't want to hurt anyone to the psychopathic sadist who takes pleasure in tormenting others. The main protagonists philosophies are repeatedly proven false, and his character gets thoroughly deconstructed. Then there's the Akaba family, which consists of: a child with possible autism, who sees the world as a grey place and strives to become a copy of his adopted brother and grew up in a war zone, an Abusive Mama who uses said child as a test-subject for some unknown project, her other son, who is a complete Magnificent Bastard and can at best be called A Lighter Shade of Grey, and the father himself who began the interdimensional war. We also have a lot of crazy faces from everybody, starting with the protagonist (Just Look) and ending with minors, traitors, Heroic BSODs, etc. The second season introduces huge economical and social inequality, the causes of said inequality being supported by many of its victims, a prison mini-arc, slavery being publicly accepted, and more psychological turmoil. In case it wasn't clear, this show also includes some Humans Are Bastards and Black-and-Gray Morality. Yes, a children’s anime indeed.
  • Zekkyou Gakkyuu is a shoujo horror anthology aimed at elementary and middle-school girls. Stories in said anthology feature murder, stalking, mentions of rape, torture, grade-school girls planning to kill classmates over petty trifles... Oh, and Anyone Can Die and most of the stories contain Downer Endings, and aren't shy about showing the victim's blood pooling on the floor. That's not even getting into the narrator's backstory: being bullied so badly she committed murder-suicide by blowing up both herself and the bullies, and now wanders the town as a disembodied, ghostly torso.
    • However, due to complaints sent in by parents, the stories have altered a little bit. They still contain the same horrible moments of intense bullying, suicide and implied torture of and to elementary and middle-school girls, but several of the stories tend to end on happier notes than before.
  • Blockbuster Video once had a point where they rated every anime "Youth Restricted Viewing", even relatively kid-friendly titles like Tenchi Universe, Project A-ko, K.O. Beast, basically, every anime that wasn't Pokémon; however, Blockbuster's system for the "Youth Restricted Viewing" rating was all messed up; on your account, you either had to allow it all or none of it. So, you either can have none of the anime section, or you can have all of it, including the hentai, with the same rating, showing no difference between the two; you could end up with a "Youth Restricted Viewing" title that has a "damn" or two and maybe a drop of blood, or you could end up with an also "Youth Restricted Viewing" hentai that has everything but the kitchen sink in it, with no warning. A rather difficult system to deal with if you've got a young kid into anime, so it's no wonder they went out of business.
    • Blockbuster had this problem in general. It was especially galling that Drama and Horror were filled with soft-core porn that a child could rent with no restrictions, but Project A-ko was restricted. Complaints fell on deaf ears and employees could do nothing because corporate was insane.
  • CLAMP is good at this. Case in point being Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- which starts off as a fluffy Gotta Catch 'Em All romantic comedy drama. Later you can just substitute "fluffy" and "comedy" with "violent" and "depressing" and you're all set.
  • Many works of Go Nagai could be considered way too frightening and violent to be for children, but are aimed to children in Japan (Like for example: Dororon Enma-kun and Mazinger Z.)
  • Some of Osamu Tezuka's anime and manga aimed at children/young teens tend to fall under this. The first episode of Kimba the White Lion for example can pretty much be summed up as one massive Break the Cutie for the eponymous character, and the ending for the manga and movie is one of the most infamous endings in the industry.
  • Yoshiyuki Tomino's early career is littered with examples of shows that were marketed to kids but were not so kid-friendly in their content:
    • Zambot 3, which earned him the nickname "Kill 'Em All Tomino", looks like a typical Saturday Morning cartoon, with a bunch a school age kids saving the day with a colourful Combining Mecha, but quickly turns into something much darker; the property damage and civilian casualties are depicted much more realistically than in the typical Super Robot show, the public turns against the kids and tries to murder them several times when it becomes apparent that they're the whole reason Earth is getting attacked in the first place, and most of the main characters die a bloody death in the finale.
    • The original Mobile Suit Gundam had a similar effect at the time it first appeared, as the term Real Robot hadn't been invented yet and Humongous Mecha were still widely considered the stuff of children's programming, Mr. Tomino's earlier work not withstanding.
    • And let's not even mention Triton Of The Sea or Space Runaway Ideon...
    • Played with hilariously in Gundam Sousei with regards to Ideon's conception and cancellation.
  • Ghost Stories (a.k.a. Gakkou no Kaidan) is an anime about a group of prepubescent children who chase ghosts, which is targeted at kids. Notable ghosts they encounter are an incredibly scary and unstoppable Grim Reaper lookalike, a grotesque Humanoid Abomination with a giant eye for mouth and a Sadako relative (who even comes out of a TV) who almost strangles the female lead to death. All of the ghosts are played seriously, albeit the English Gag Dub makes the series quite silly. However, said English gag dub is definitely NOT this trope.
  • Damekko Doubutsu is a Slice of Life style anime/manga about animals (Humans wearing animal costumes Peter Pan style) who are very different from what they are usually well-known for. Despite the art style, upbeat opening, and laid back feeling. Usahara one of the main characters, is a chain-smoker who is very agressive. There's also a Tobacco store, and Yunihiko is first seen drinking tons of alcohol which Usahara would later join in. Resulting in them getting drunk, and passing out in the process. Doesn't help that this aired on Kids Station which airs the majority of Japanese children's shows.
  • A lot of Kodomomuke series have an issue where fans realize they're for children, but they think they're for older children then intended. Despite popular belief, works such as Pokémon, Pokémon Adventures, Beyblade, Powerpuff Girls Z, and Digimon are not Shonen or Shoujo, but are in fact Kodomo. Values Dissonance also hits these series as some are treated as shounen and shoujo in certain regions.
  • The earlier chapters of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service are serialized in Shonen Ace despite the fact that it features graphic deaths and nudity. The later chapters are run in a Seinen magazine, but still.

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