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About kids in anime being depicted way too mature for their age

#1
Dec 6, 12:41 PM

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Kids and early teens are supposed to be emotional, passionate, irritable, and given their lack of life experience, not supposed to always know what the "right decisions" in life are, and what is the right way to act and respond in every type of daily life situation. Mentally speaking, their judgment formation is still in progress, so one just can't expect them to behave exactly like grown ups do, as it happens irl. But sometimes in anime we found some characters under the age of 15 who are not written this way at all, which feels kinda odd.

For example, I've recently seen Blue Exorcist and Yuki was only 14, and while I could deal with the fact he's the youngest exorcist in history, a genius boy and everything, to me it still looked just too unbelievable the way he talked, the way he behaved, the attitudes he had in life, to a degree he could even work as an experienced teacher who could guide and take into the right path everyone else.... and all of these was just not believable for someone aged just 14 (!), virtually still a young kid (not to mention the fact he was also drawn like he was 17 at the least). If the show hadn't mentioned his age at all I would have said he was at least 17, not 14 by any means.

I had this feeling in FMA too with regards to Al; he was just waaay too emotionally stable, too experienced in terms of mental criteria, too thoughtful of his decisions and behavior for someone aged only 14 too. You can argue that the traumatic experience he suffered made him mature way too early, but one would still expect him to show some realism for someone still only 14.

Another example was Anohana, in which Menma's little brother, who was like 12, I don't know, I felt like he showed an attitude, a certain way of speaking, a rethoric, proper of someone waaay beyond his age too. I couldn't buy it.

Among other examples.

Do you think sometimes anime portrays kids in ways too mature, too advanced for their ages? I'm not referring in terms of skills, in terms of being very talented at any activity or discipline, after all genius boys do exist, I mean in behavioral, psychological terms.
 
#2
Dec 6, 12:54 PM

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People will complain either way. You literally described Eren in the first two sentences, and just look how much hate he gets for behaving like that.
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#3
Dec 6, 12:59 PM

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It's not like anime is real. There will be alot of unrealistic things. I mean females In anime have unrealistically big ass boobs
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#4
Dec 6, 1:00 PM
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I know what you mean OP. The horror right?

I also find it preposterous that in FMA:B there are people who could incinerate someone with flick of their finger, and don't even get me started on those immortal bastards who just won't die.

I can't take Anohana seriously as well because the plot revolves around on a ghost of flippin child. Seriously, none of these anime are believable at all.

Oh wait, you're actually complaining about the behavior of the casts? WTFJKASJKFASKHASGFJKASHFJKA
 
#5
Dec 6, 1:02 PM

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I mean yeah but I believe it's more towards the fact that people don't want to write kids as bratty or rash – I see teenagers act more like children then children. The again I see people complain when kids actually act like children, basically someone is gonna bitch about it.
 
#6
Dec 6, 1:14 PM

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Dont worry OP, there are some "specific" genres that doesn't have this problem.




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#7
Dec 6, 1:24 PM

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Anime isn't realistic?! WHAT?! no way...
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#8
Dec 6, 1:28 PM

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I usually just assume that teens in a lot of stories are actually college-age or in their twenties.

It makes a lot more sense that way. People in their college years or in their twenties:
* are actually given free reign to go around and do stuff, as opposed to kids whose parents inevitably watch over them, yet they still have parents who will sometimes comment on their lives
* are more likely to be aspiring young professionals or to be working/training toward a specialized field
* are at an age where people pursue romantic/sexual relationships without disturbing implications

I mean, do you seriously expect me to believe that Nanoha is in her teens when she becomes one of the TSAB's most well-regarded tactical instructors? I certainly don't. So I just ignore anything that says she's a teenager.

Besides, I get to ignore the stupid "Christmas cake" phenomenon (i.e. the notion that women over 25 are undesirable). So maybe Azusa's character in iM@S makes a bit less sense but I can just presume she's 30 instead.
 
#9
Dec 6, 1:30 PM

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Maturity and age have nothing to do with each other in life either. I know people in their 50's who need severe reality checks and people who are 12 (I babysit from time to time to make the extra cash) who have a better grip on life than most people ever get.

I am tired of seeing 10 year olds with double D's and more sex appeal than the adult characters tho. One could argue that lolis are ok to lewd because they aren't real people but honestly it's just too much at that point.
 
Dec 6, 1:36 PM

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Well, some kids are more mature for their age, and in a lot animes these kids went through some tough things or they grew up with with a family or under hard circumstances that trained their mentality.
 
Dec 6, 1:39 PM
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Hunter x Hunter does the whole "Talented and genius kid, but he's still a kid" thing really great with Killua and Gon.
Killua was brought up by a family of assassins and gone through all kinds of shiet to get stronger, which has really inflated his ego. He acts all smug and thinks he's hot shit (to be fair he kinda is), but there's always gonna be bigger fish. So every time something doesn't go his way or he doesn't get what he wants, he flips shit like a brat.
Gon on the other hand has been brought up in a peaceful island and been hunting in the woods since birth essentially. Being someone who's been living in nature for so long, it makes sense that he has a knack for survival and has those crazy animal instincts. But Gon isn't perfect either. He makes bad decisions like any other kid, for example when he let himself get overly emotional when fighting pitou.

I just really like Togashi man.
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Dec 6, 2:26 PM

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I prefer to see kids in anime act mature, not annoying and bratty. Plus, nobody likes bratty and spoiled kids.
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Dec 6, 2:35 PM

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Jesus Christ, I literally thought that this thread would be about lolis... I'm happily surprised though.
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Dec 6, 3:01 PM

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Yeah, authors often draw/write adult characters with adult mindsets and appearances and then just say, "oh yeah, he's actually only 15." I guess they do this in order to make the character more appealing to a younger audience, or so they can shoehorn him/her into a school setting.
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Dec 6, 3:08 PM

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I prefer kids way too mature for their age than the other way around. Who even likes bratty kids?
 
Dec 6, 3:22 PM

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Its always bugged me too, kids in anime are way too smart for their own good and a lot of times don't even act like children. Of course that isn't really a bad thing since real kids are annoying.

This also applies to teens. Look at shows like Nichibros, boys being boys and doing hilarious stupid shit, this is what I expect from teenagers.
 
Dec 6, 3:28 PM

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But not being mature enough =/= being bratty and annoying

Hunter x Hunter is a great example; Gon and Killua, skilled and everything, able to survive by their own with no need of parents or adult figures, still act like 12y olders, still take wrong decisions, still are very emotional and irritable, and still like being naughty at times, they are beliavable as 12yo people, and they're not exactly bratty by any means....

TTGL another one; Simon is insecure, needs guidance, doesn't know what to do, needs Kamina as a fatherly figure, becomes irksome after "that" happens, he actually behaves 12yo.....and it's not exactly a bratty kid
 
Dec 6, 3:38 PM

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this is why i like the 20 mensou ni onegai manga so much

it's about kindergarden kid who is international thief and discusses philosophy of love with his even younger girlfriend.. almost feels like satire towards this trope

anyway maybe it's so that can mature viewers can identify with the characters :^)
 
Dec 6, 4:02 PM

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there is no 'supposed to be'. Circumstances can force kids to mentally grow up way before they normally would, that's well documented in real life. If you think everyone grows up the same way, at the same pace, you're naive. As long as the anime has the kid be in circumstances where it makes sense that they would be forced to grow up quickly and take responsability for themselves, there's nothing wrong with it. Not everyone has the luxury to grow up leisurely and take their time. Sometimes circumstances demand people to change one way or the other. And some people are just way, way, way more mature at 14 than others are at 32. Not everyone is the same as a kid, not everyone is the same as an adult and not everyone transitions from one to the other at the same time or pace.

Those are just obvious facts about humanity that I feel just get ignored by broad arguments like that who basically say 'noone at that age can be like that, period.'. I'm really not a fan of complaints like this which suggest that you can only depict certain things in one right way and the context just gets ignored.

If you want to criticize an anime for doing it wrong do it in a case by case basis and explain why you don't think the circumstances are harsh enough for them to be forced to mature or grow up quicker than they normally would.

For example Al, being basically orphaned at a young age, trying to revive his mother, losing his body and watching his brother sacrifice a limb to get him back - that'll get the childishness out of anyone, I'm sure. Especially since the guy can't even sleep and pretty much spends all nights just on his own thinking and reflecting and whatnot. It really makes no sense to criticize him for being ahead of his age in maturity in some regards in this context. Yuki has a similarly tough family history that would pop his childhood bubble early and force him to start living as an adult while still in his teens. It doesn't seem absurd to me. Of course it could have a different effect on people, but it could also have that effect on them. I have to at least give any story the benefit of the doubt when it comes to these things as long as they provide plausible circumstances of some sort.

If you're talking about making characters look older than they are or the other way round, that is indeed something anime likes to do to unreasonable degrees in some cases. That's purely a question of design tho.



 
Dec 6, 4:13 PM

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Eh I dunno.....precocious kids do exist and child prodigies exist as well.

I think it depends on the type of environment the child grows up in.

I hate it when it's the other way around....like a ten-year-old girl acting like she's five instead....anime LOVES to do this and it always annoys me lol



 
Dec 6, 6:45 PM

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I prefer kids that act mature for their age than spoiled/bratty ones. The only thing I disliked are those "psycho" or killing machine kids tbh (e. Gangsta) And Pride from FMAB, he's my least favorite, and even though he's not a kid, he's both bratty and a psycho that looked like a kid.
With the exception of Killua though, bec he's mature.
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Dec 6, 7:10 PM

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You are operating under the mistaken assumption that maturity has something to do with age though which is doesn't. I've seen adults throw tantrums like children and children calmy analyze situations and make responsible decisions.
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Dec 6, 7:19 PM

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mhhm all the kids in Erased I guess , idk , kids in Anime are always more mature than irl , I think the kids from Barakamon are very realistic .
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Dec 6, 7:21 PM

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because anime is made by adults and its mostly adults who are hardcore anime watchers



 
Dec 6, 7:21 PM

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It's not supposed to be realistic *Whispers under breath* "Moron"

Ash Ketchum (Satoshi) has been 10 since 1997 and nobody complains about that from what I can see.

 
Dec 6, 7:46 PM
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How fast one matures depends on their environment, roles and responsibilities as a individual. If you are making a story about a protagonist that is an amazing leader you need to give that character qualities that would suit that role. Maturity has nothing to do with age, unless we are talking about sexual maturity. My problem with child prodigies in anime is that these character's are given the experience that would take other's 5-10 years to gather in a extremely short time frame. Its hard to believe that a kindergartner could know calculus, linear algebra when most kids at that age are still learning simple operators like add and subtraction.
 
Dec 6, 7:52 PM

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EcchiKingMamster said:
because anime is made by adults and its mostly adults who are hardcore anime watchers


I don't really think that adults are more hardcore than teens whom dominate the community.


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Dec 6, 8:00 PM
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I think this has more to do with the overused of high-school-age characters than about the maturity of the character in question
FMA for example, it would change ABSOLUTE NOTHING if AL and Eric was, say, 20

Intead of highschool kid, why don't they make it undergrad student, it makes so much more sense, "Grand Blue" manga did this, and it's fantastic
 
Dec 6, 8:18 PM
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I like my 15 years old middle school students with a D-cup.
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Dec 6, 8:18 PM

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S-quare22 said:
EcchiKingMamster said:
because anime is made by adults and its mostly adults who are hardcore anime watchers


I don't really think that adults are more hardcore than teens whom dominate the community.


ever been to an anime convention lol? and do you think its teens buying most of the merchandise? im pretty sure the majority of people spending vast amounts of their time watching anime are in their 20s

and even if most anime watchers are teens doesn't mean they watch more anime than older people do



 
Dec 6, 8:22 PM

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neon-kun said:

I had this feeling in FMA too with regards to Al; he was just waaay too emotionally stable, too experienced in terms of mental criteria, too thoughtful of his decisions and behavior for someone aged only 14 too. You can argue that the traumatic experience he suffered made him mature way too early, but one would still expect him to show some realism for someone still only 14.

On this point, I disagree. One of the reason's as to why he's so mentally stable (in comparison to most characters who are in their teenage years) is that he doesn't sleep. Al's has the regular "awake" hours interacting with others, but he's still up for the regular "sleeping" hours. With others asleep, Al pretty much spends those hours in introspection. As such, Al is able to constantly reexamine/evaluate/develop his inner thoughts and processes; a luxury (or curse) afforded to those who are alchemically bounded to inanimate objects.

There are other factors of course, but that's one that I don't see often brought up.
Modified by Graumann, Dec 6, 8:26 PM
 
Dec 6, 10:05 PM
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It because most anime are for teenagers.
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It doesn't matter if you like LoGH,Monster etc.If you are a jobless or college/school dropout living in your mom basement, you are still an unintelligent loser. Taste in anime does not make you a better person.

Totally agree!
 
Dec 6, 10:12 PM

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Honestly I think they should be more mature. Unless there are 9 year olds with D cups there is something wrong.

Good work Hinako Note.
 
Dec 6, 10:13 PM
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It's too much
not just from a body shape that can be said to be adult (I still accept if it's an image style of the anime)) and and for an age-inappropriate personality I'm somewhat less fond of if that character has more personality and thought than a more mature person
 
Dec 6, 10:23 PM

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I've had the same thoughts for a while as well. I end up just thinking of characters as a few years older and some highschool situations as a college.

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Dec 6, 10:24 PM

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If the characters have been through circumstances that forced them to mature faster, no one should have an issue for those characters acting more mature than their age.
 
Dec 6, 10:43 PM

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It's indeed happen too often in anime where kids act unrealistically like adults. While me personally usually not that bothered by it(except in Your Lie in April), it's definitely something that could be improved. Many anime should take note from Ghibli's anime, which nail the portrayal of kids & how they act masterfully every time.
 
Dec 6, 10:51 PM

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Speak for yourself OP. I was never like what you describe they should be like. I also throughout my life known others too. You're forgetting plots always revolve around special cases and circumstances. Age doesn't have to do with anything. It's all about the unique experiences people have.
 
Dec 6, 11:13 PM

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Well I will just tell you one fact.

Some kids went to college and/or finished college at the age of 12/14 yrs.
 
Dec 6, 11:15 PM

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I tend to overlook this stuff but there was one thing that bothered me (I've seen it quite often), little children showing romantic interest or having sense of shame in front of the opposite sex. Seeing a 3 year old blushing because of this feels weird.
 
Dec 6, 11:45 PM

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It's almost like that in a fictional world characters don't have to be realistic, who would of thought.
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Dec 7, 12:23 AM

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Bourmegar said:
Well I will just tell you one fact.

Some kids went to college and/or finished college at the age of 12/14 yrs.

I had a 12 year old going to my high school.
 
Dec 7, 12:37 AM

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Many anime characters are not as realistic and it's fine. I actually prefer it this way. But the thing is, I'm sure there are a lot of young teens out there who already act mature despite their age because of the environment they grew up in. OP, you mentioned this already and it make sense, especially regarding the characters you mentioned (excluding Blue Exorcist as I haven't watch it). Al because he already experienced tragic circumstances and Menma's brother grew up in a sucky family environment, mostly due to the little care he got from his own mother.
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Dec 7, 12:38 AM

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Bourmegar said:
Well I will just tell you one fact.

Some kids went to college and/or finished college at the age of 12/14 yrs.


But I already said that I could deal with the fact kids could be prodigies and geniuses, I know super talented kids do exist irl, but one thing is to be super talented at early age and another very different is to be very mature at early age, in terms of attitudes, mindset and behavior, of taking "right" decisions, and also in terms of the way they communicate with others (paraverbal communication); sometimes they don't feel like kids at all....
 
Dec 7, 2:03 AM

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neon-kun said:
Kids and early teens are supposed to be emotional, passionate, irritable, and given their lack of life experience, not supposed to always know what the "right decisions" in life are, and what is the right way to act and respond in every type of daily life situation. Mentally speaking, their judgment formation is still in progress, so one just can't expect them to behave exactly like grown ups do, as it happens irl. But sometimes in anime we found some characters under the age of 15 who are not written this way at all, which feels kinda odd.

You know what? Most of these "too mature" kids are the age of their target audience.

And when I was a kid, I thought I was damn mature. I only had to take command and responsibility for thousands of people in strategy games, but I was pretty sure I could do it IRL. I never got badly lost (since the last time I did), so I was sure I could retain my composure no matter where I found myself, even if it was another world. I easily solved the hardest problems they threw at us in class. Every year I was more grown-up than I was before.

So the kids in anime of my age would have been a good representation of the way I saw myself. Even if others saw me differently.

On the other hand, would you really think kids with unrealistic goals and passions like "I want to be Hokage!" are that much more mature than the kids who say "I want to be an astronaut!"?
Would you really say a typical anime goody-two-shoes protagonist is not emotional? He/she screams during battle, makes grand proclamations at the drop of a hat, fights for the people he just met and pokes his/her nose into other people's problems.
And it is pretty common for both kids and adults in anime to make decisions that aren't always right. I'd say the stupidest actions in anime are usually done by adult villains, who should really know better.

GlennMagusHarvey said:
I mean, do you seriously expect me to believe that Nanoha is in her teens when she becomes one of the TSAB's most well-regarded tactical instructors? I certainly don't. So I just ignore anything that says she's a teenager.

TSAB is so badly understaffed they hire ex-criminal 10-year old girls (Fate) to fight for them. By the 3rd season, Nanoha was a veteran wholly deserving of her position as an instructor. I do not think they've ever said she is supposed to be actually good at the job, she is famous for kicking ass instead.

KanaAoi said:
I tend to overlook this stuff but there was one thing that bothered me (I've seen it quite often), little children showing romantic interest or having sense of shame in front of the opposite sex. Seeing a 3 year old blushing because of this feels weird.

I faintly remember suddenly discovering I am ashamed to go naked on the beach as a kindergarten-age kid. Being ashamed comes way before puberty.
Kids like Kokonoe Rin and Anzu trying to seduce their teacher is all about kids watching/reading too much age-inappropriate influence, though.
 
Dec 7, 1:46 PM

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neon-kun said:
Bourmegar said:
Well I will just tell you one fact.

Some kids went to college and/or finished college at the age of 12/14 yrs.


But I already said that I could deal with the fact kids could be prodigies and geniuses, I know super talented kids do exist irl, but one thing is to be super talented at early age and another very different is to be very mature at early age, in terms of attitudes, mindset and behavior, of taking "right" decisions, and also in terms of the way they communicate with others (paraverbal communication); sometimes they don't feel like kids at all....

But these college kids were pretty dam mature for their age already.

I once even met a 5 year old who could even hang out with me and my friends (we were like 18 around that time) and he was just like me and my friends when it came to maturity
 
Dec 7, 8:38 PM

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There is such a thing as being mature for one's age in real life. Why is it such a surprise for it to be in anime as well?
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Dec 8, 12:53 AM

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This tends to be an Acceptable Break from Reality.
 
Dec 8, 3:06 AM

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OP. You didn't even mention Lolis once...

How dare you?


(For real though... yes, anime is unrealistic in regards to many of its characters. Not to say some kids can't be mature for their age but still. Just look at Boku dake ga Inai Machi and you'll have a prime example of what you're talking about.)
 
Dec 8, 3:56 AM

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No when you get older it´s the other way around ;) I am soon 30 but live like I am 20....