Is your child obsessed with anime? They’re not alone; this Japanese import is wildly popular with kids and adults in the West. Pokemon, Naruto, the movies of Hayao Miayazaki — these are only some of the anime hits that have crossed over in a big way.

Anime can refer to any kind of Japanese animation, which means there’s anime for kids of every age and interest — everything from action to adventure to sci-fi to romance. And it can be more than just fun entertainment: It can also be a gateway to learning valuable skills in drawing, storytelling, animation, and more. Here’s why you should explore anime classes for your anime-obsessed child.

Is anime appropriate for kids?

First, you should make sure your child is watching age-appropriate anime. Because there’s such a wide range of anime (across TV and movies), some is only suitable for adults or kids older than yours. Such shows and movies can deal with more complex, adult themes and feature graphic violence and sexual content.

How can you figure out whether an anime show or movie is appropriate for your child? The surest way is to watch it yourself. The promotional images and clips for anime sometimes fail to capture the actual nature of the content, and you know best what you want your child to be watching.

You can also check if an anime show or movie has any official age ratings. For younger children, you can stick to anime broadcast on children’s TV channels in the daytime (which is usually safe for children under the age of 13) or labeled as kodomo (children’s) anime in Japan.

What age should kids start watching anime?

Kids of any age can watch anime — just make sure it’s age-appropriate. Here are some recommendations of popular anime shows and movies for kids and teens if you’re looking for an idea of where to begin:

Younger kids: Pokemon, Hello Kitty, Studio Ghibli films (like My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Kiki’s Delivery Service)

Teens: Fullmetal Alchemist, My Hero Academia, Your Name

Is manga better than anime for kids?

Manga, or Japanese comics and graphic novels, is closely related to anime. Many anime shows are actually based on manga series. Is one better than the other for kids?

Most parents want their kids to read more, and age-appropriate manga can help foster a love of reading (and creative writing and visual art!). But both anime and manga can teach kids lessons about life and critical thinking skills, and while anime doesn’t necessarily involve reading (beyond subtitles), it can spark a passion for animation. As long as your kids have a balanced diet of different activities, let them pursue whatever they’re passionate about.

What will my kids learn in anime classes?

If your child is deep into anime fandom, they might already be creating their own fan art and animation for their favorite shows, which is an extremely popular activity in anime culture. To encourage their passion for storytelling, illustration, and animation and get them connected with other kids who love anime, you could see if they’re interested in trying an anime class, like the virtual anime, animation, and drawing classes you can find on Sawyer.

In anime classes, your child can learn the basics of everything from drawing, illustration, and character design to storytelling and digital animation under the guidance of real artists and writers. They’ll make new friends and create new work. We’re excited to see what they dream up on their artistic journey — tag us on Instagram @hellosawyer!