Why in many classic Japanese animated series (anime) are there dramatic situations for the characters? The excursus starts from the «social novel» by Dickens, crosses the most important novels for children in Europe and America (Sans famille, Anne of the Green Gables etc.) and arrives at anime strategies, which deal with the contents of western original works but also with values born in Japanese social structure: the concepts of childhood and adolescence, independence and growth, the strategies of Japanese drama and the theatrality of shojo manga (‘comics for girls’). Many similitudes emerge between Japanese and western strategies in Bildungsroman, but also differences rarely noticed in the analysis of anime: a conﬂict between generations, a different concept of what childhood is and what children can do or should do, different ideas of family. Issues that deal with the transformations of Japanese society and culture since the end of the sixties.
Japanese and European cultures and novels
Childhood—little orphans and drama in classic literature
Bildungsroman (‘formative novel‘)
Jidobungaku (‘Japanese child literature’)
Japanese social structure and family
Inter-generational conﬂict and independence