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The 12 Horsemen Of “Anime Is For Kids” You Should Recommend

There’s a common joke on the internet and in anime spaces. And that’s the whole “the 4 horsemen of” (fill in the blank).

Anime is often criticized or seen as:

  • A pure kids show.
  • Something to not be taken seriously for its content.
  • Something childish.
  • Too immature compared to “real” films.

And things of that nature. But that’s ironically an immature, childish way of viewing anime since anime is an umbrella term for multiple shows that span dozens of genres and age ratings.

Let’s talk about “12 Horseman” of anime is for kids, and shows you can hilariously recommend that will change a critic’s mind forever.


1. Elfen Lied

Elfen Lied lucy blood |

Elfen Lied is a horror anime series that’s more popular than any other horror in the genre to this day. And it’s a hilarious anime to recommend to anyone claiming “anime is for kids”.

The first episode alone makes an impression. Lucy, the “diclonius” which is a man-made creature with vectors, is seen slaughtering her way through the laboratory she was made in.

She sets herself free and the anime’s madness starts to unfold from that point forward. Including animal violence down the line that will make many people cringe at the sight of it.

But it’s all within context.


2. Re:Zero – Starting Life In Another World

Re Zero Starting Life In Another World subaru and emilia couple |

This Isekai series, made by Studio Whitefox, starts out with Subaru Natsuki, a guy who wears tracksuits and was seen headed to a convenience shop until he blacked out (died) and reincarnated in another world.

He’s still wearing his usual clothing, though, and the first episode seems more comedic and laid back than anything… Until the end of the first 40+ minute episode where things take a turn for the worst.

This anime progressively becomes an obvious “anime horsemen for kids” type of series as you realize how brutal, unforgiving, desperate, and soul-crushing it is.

It’s a realistic depiction too, at least to a degree.


3. Redo Of Healer

Redo Of Healer freya |

Redo Of Healer is an anime series nobody saw coming until it happened for real. It was during the pandemic in January 2021.

Since then, the anime has gone on to:

  • Cause controversies.
  • Be featured on many websites, videos, and blogs.
  • Become quality meme material.

And of course – it’s become one of the anime horsemen when it comes to the whole “anime is for kids” label.

Keyaru, the MC, starts out innocent, and then has his innocence taken by a wicked woman who colonizers, murders, steals, and enslaves people of many different cultures while fooling the public into thinking she’s an absolute princess.

He gets revenge, and it’s the source of the anime’s controversy, not to mention the double standards exposed in the anime community.


4. Talentless Nana

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Nana Hiiragi is a cute, pink haired girl with a pleasant smile, an approachable personality, a heart of gold, and empathy beyond belief for her classmates and other people.

But once you reach the end of the first episode, you start to see this is all a fallacy and doesn’t reflect the truth of who she is, why she’s doing what she’s doing, and the darker side she cleverly hides from others.

This is one of those anime where you go in thinking it’s wholesome, fairly relaxed, and will have some action, but not too many extremes beyond that. Only to find out it goes well beyond what you imagined.


5. Higurashi: When They Cry

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Higurashi is another anime that betrays its audience with its props, cliches, stereotypes, cute scenes, and wholesome energy between its main and supporting characters.

Keiichi Maebara moves to the village of Hinamizawa, and all seems well. He meets MRena, Rika, Satoko, and Mion at his new school.

This anime decides to turn up the heat and every few episodes or so has its own arc with disturbed themes, a confusing but curious and intriguing story that makes you thirst for more, and violence like nothing else.

It’s psychologically twisted.


6. School Days

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School Days start out as a whole anime series based in school, with its typical teenage characters who fancy one another, hang out with each other, are friends, strangers, or are just getting to know each other.

It seems nothing can go wrong in the early stages of the anime.

Then the anime pulls the rug out from under your feet, causing you to trip, and then at some point delivers the finishing blow without you being able to expect or prepare for it.

School Days is known as one of the worst anime depending on who you ask, but also one of the most f*cked up.


7. Black Lagoon

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Black Lagoon on the surface is a series where the main characters are involved in gang activity of sorts and are especially affiliated. But their main job is smuggling under the “Lagoon” company run by Dutch, a black main character,

But as you go through the anime it has some seriously messed up scenes, stories, and plot that goes well beyond just gun fights or typical action scenes.

It’s heartbreaking in a nutshell and there will never be another anime like it.


8. Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Puella Magi Madoka Magica mami and madoka |

Madoka Magica is an anime that looks like a “cute girls doing cute things” while in high school together. You see this with Madoka Kaname, the girl with pink hair, and her friend Sayaka (blue hair) as they walk to school together.

Then a black haired girl called Homura shows up with a tough exterior and a somewhat blank expression, and things only go downhill from there.

It’s amazing how this anime can be so dark and twisted without the need for showing massive amounts of blood or typical elements that lean toward being horrific and shocking.


9. Akame Ga Kill

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First episodes can be a b*tch when it comes to anime. They start you off with wholesome vibes, ridiculous comedy, fun characters, lots of smiles, and a world full of hope and happiness.

Then they rip all that to pieces and introduce you to the underbelly, the reality of the situation, where things are truly dark and desperate.

That’s how Akame Ga Kill is.

Tatsumi is a poor swordsman from a village he hopes to enrich by going to the capital and becoming an imperial officer. Until he finds out the capital is the reason his village is poor and taxes are so high.

So he joins Nightraid, a group of assassins, intent on killing the minister, destroying the government, killing officials, and bringing about a revolution to ensure peace and future prosperity.


10. Made In Abyss

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Made In Abyss has always been an anime series I see as weird and strange. I won’t deny that I couldn’t go through the 2nd season with all its weird ideas relating to kids.

That said, the anime starts out in the first season with kids like Riko who are fascinated by the abyss and go to explore it. But the more they explore, the more danger they find themselves in.

The concepts and the outcomes become twisted and unsettling. And that leads to many deep moments.

Definitely NOT for kids!


11. Mirai Nikki

Mirai Nikki |

Everyone loves a Yandere until that Yandere is too crazy to handle and too overbearing to be dealing with. Amano Yuki, the MC, learns this against his own will.

He’s being stalked by Yuno Gasai, a seemingly cute pink-haired girl in his school, who had a messed up childhood that leads to her twisted sense of reality, justice, and right vs wrong.

To top it all off, there’s also the worry of Amano, Yuno, and other mysterious people being forced into a “death battle2 of sorts that was organized by God Himself.

The world of Mirai Nikki just gets crazier with every episode.


12. Gakkou Gurashi

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And the final “anime horsemen” of anime is for kids, is Gakkou Gurashi, Or School Live in English.

Yuki Takeya is a pink-haired girl who runs down the hallways of the school, talking to classmates, doing things spontaneously, and is as free as a bird.

She’s a little airheaded but extremely positive and optimistic.

Once you reach the end of the first episode the anime throws you for a loop, and at first, you don’t wanna believe it.

Recommend this anime to anyone who says “anime is for kids” and watch how shocked they’ll be. They won’t be able to pick up their jaw from the floor.


Other Mentions:

  • Oshi No Ko.
  • Ishuzoku Reviewers.
  • Shield Hero.
  • Goblin Slayer.
  • Tokyo Ghoul.


11+ Reasons That Prove Anime Is For KIDS And Little Children

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