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I have a 9 year old daughter that has expressed some interest in manga, but I'm having trouble locating series that are appropriate for her age. No one at our local bookstore could offer any advice. Is there a kid-friendly imprint or other resource I could use to help her find something appropriate?

Clarification: I recognize that there's a lot of personal opinion wrapped up in what is considered appropriate. What I'm really hoping for is a way to narrow down my options so that I can make a judgement for myself.

My preference is for physical books but I'm willing to explore digital options. I see from the potential duplicate question notification that the Crunchyroll app may be an option.

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    possible duplicate of Looking for manga apps which filter out mature content – Alagaros May 28 '15 at 19:52
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    Could you define kid-friendly? As some cultures wouldn't mind their child to come across death in their cartoons, or blood or panties. I am assuming you don't want any of those? – Peter Raeves May 28 '15 at 19:53
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    @EroSɘnnin I was definitely thinking physical books, but I'm not opposed to exploring digital options if that solves the problem. – grovberg May 28 '15 at 20:01
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    @grovberg Welcome to the Manga and Anime SE btw. Could you edit any relevant answers you make to the comments to your answer? This way, latecomers to your question would not have to go through all comments to know what you are actually asking for :) – Peter Raeves May 28 '15 at 20:03
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    @Alagaros, I do not think this is a duplicate because this question is not limited to apps, but rather inquires about the general practice of evaluating manga, which can include researching online; reading published guides, books, & scholarly articles; obtaining librarian recommendation lists; visiting bookshops and conventions; getting advice through local fan groups; etc. – seijitsu May 29 '15 at 2:24
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+100

The content deemed acceptable for Japanese children generally differs from the concept in other countries; manga contains all genres of stories, so one cannot responsibly presume that just because a title was marketed at Japanese kids, that you would likewise consider it appropriate for your kid of the same age.

As one example:
The popular girl's series Sailor Moon was published in the manga magazine Nakayoshi, which was marketed toward elementary school-age girls (1st through 6th grade). This series includes strong language, bullying, violence, death, war, genocide, refugees, lovers' suicide (more than once), non-consensual kisses (forced while awake, while asleep, while drunk), a father fondling his adult daughter while brainwashed, human/animal romance, demonic-style alien possession of human bodies, nudity, cross-dressing, a non-monogamous lesbian couple, and non-graphic sex resulting in teen pregnancy (the 90s anime version, also marketed toward children, also added wrist/ankle restraints for a rape-like, pain-inducing entering of victims).

There are many manga reviews on the web, including those that specifically for parents and teen/preteen/kid readers on what sort of possibly objectionable content is included in the title (such as strong language, violence, nudity, gender-bending, innuendo, sexual content, etc.) and what sort of general content you can expect (for example: horror, potty humor, serious themes like depression/body image/sexual orientation/prostitution/parental abandonment/bullying/suicide) and let you as the parent or the reader use your own judgment about whether a title fits what you deem appropriate at what age. Browsing reviews also allows you to seek out titles that reinforce and contribute to your family's values (such as traits of selflessness, generosity, celebration of uniqueness, etc.).

Some good starting places are:

Since you have a daughter, she may be especially interested in shoujo manga, which was written with the target audience of Japanese girls. Within shoujo, nearly all genres of stories are included; some titles are very cheerful and innocuous and teach a moral-of-the-day, others are dark and heavy. Good starting places to get informed are:

Some shoujo manga review sites are:

More general review websites include MangaBlog and Kuriousity, and a Google search will find you many more.

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    your description of Sailor Moon has reminded me about death and violence in western kids film: Why Finding Nemo could be more traumatic for kids than Pulp Fiction. – jfs May 30 '15 at 10:23
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    I know StackExchange discourages "Thanks!" comments but I just had to express my gratitude for such a lengthy, high-quality answer that provided exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much! – grovberg Jun 1 '15 at 13:14
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    This is flat-out one of the best answers I've ever read on this site. Full of explanations and resources, with information geared specifically towards OP but useful for anyone who ever comes across this question. Bravo. – Steven Stadnicki Nov 15 '16 at 23:11
  • I should've tried seeing reviews of anime/manga before I even started watching/reading them :( ... I got introduced to hentai really fast and it really changed stuff for me. I think I was twelve when I first saw it, and dude, it was terrifying! – Akira Mahisaseru Nov 16 '16 at 2:24
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On the back of a lot of US manga there's an age guide.

Y – Youth, Age 10+ Similar to a "PG" movie rating, the "Y – Youth, Age 10+" rating means that the title may contain mild violence and/or cursing.

T – Teens, Age 13+ The manga rating equivalent of a "PG-13," "T - Teen" indicates that the comic's content may include some sexual innuendo and/or violent action scenes.

OT - Older Teens, Age 16+ "OT - Older Teen"-rated manga may contain more explicit sexual situations and some violent scenes, including blood and gore.

M – Mature, Age 18+ Manga rated "M - Mature" is strictly for adults. You can expect to find explicit sexual situations, strong language and / or bloody battles and mayhem.

You can usually find these ratings on the back cover, but occasionally they'll be on the front:

enter image description here

The design changes with publisher so be aware they mightn't all look the same.

Personally, I think the best way to determine if a manga is appropriate is to flick through it yourself - if something undesirable occurs it's likely to happen a few times and you'll probably catch it skimming through. As she's 9 though, I'd say the Y tag is fine :)

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    (and if you want any specific recommendations, I'm sure we'd love to help on chat chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/6697/maid-cafe- ) :) – Toshinou Kyouko May 28 '15 at 23:20
  • This is interesting to read. Does that mean that most shonen manga does not even fall under the Y and T category due to the bloody fighting scenes? – Peter Raeves May 29 '15 at 8:42
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    From what I've seen, the age-level ratings often skew high; Tokyopop rated Aria at T, for ages 13+, even though it's about as bloody and sexual as Sesame Street, so the Y rating ought to be totally clean. And 100% agree that the best way for parents to gauge appropriateness is to look through it themselves. – Torisuda May 29 '15 at 23:55
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    @Torisuda If it's like movies, I think Y/G are meant to indicate that it's hard to imagine ANYONE finding ANYTHING objectionable. Even most Disney animated movies are PG these days. – grovberg Jun 1 '15 at 13:16
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    @grovberg Well, I have a hard time imagining anyone finding anything objectionable in Aria--I've seen far worse stuff in adverts displayed publicly to all of humanity, or even G-rated Disney movies like The Lion King or Bambi. The series is pure sweetness and optimism; there's nothing like Mufasa's death in it. But my comment was just meant to reinforce Toshinou Kyouko's statement anything in the Y rating will likely be 100% clean, since such seemingly innocuous stuff as Aria is rated as 13+. – Torisuda Jun 1 '15 at 19:42
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My personal answer to this question is for the parent to become involved in what the child reads as well.

This helps in two categories:

  1. You can find things you feel comfortable with your child reading.

  2. You can share in the stories with your child, maybe not at the same level of emotional interest in the stories and characters, but you can have conversations about themes being discussed in the stories, etc.

This is the same view I have on parenting and gaming. But that is another SE.

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