A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dino Girl Gauko is a comedic anime series aimed at kids age seven and up, focused on a schoolgirl character who occasionally "Hulks out" and turns into a fire-breathing dinosaur when she gets angry. The show is filled with moments of slapstick violence, which comes across as amusing and not realistic, thanks in part to the super-flat 2D animation style and silly dialogue. Episodes are short, usually under ten minutes, and although the focus here is on laughs, there's also an underlying message of inclusivity.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
DINO GIRL GAUKO centers on Naoko Watanabe, a typical-seeming girl who has just started attending a new school. At first, she endures some teasing from gossipy classmates and feels like a fish out of water, but is thrilled when she's accepted by sweet new friends Kana and Erica. The only trouble is, Naoko has a secret she won't be able to keep under wraps for long: when she gets angry or upset, Naoko turns into a gigantic green fire-breathing dinosaur named Gauko. Whereas Naoko is happy to sit and read poetry on a park bench, Gauko has no hesitation about spit-roasting and stomping on any and everyone who antagonizes her.
Is it any good?
The oddball characters and cheeky humor are a perfect counterbalance for the underlying messages of self-acceptance, giving the show a vibe that's fun and silly rather than preachy and corny. The retro-minimalist 2D animation style of Dino Girl Gauko also works well in taking the bite out of the violence -- it's all kept very cartoonish, making it clear that nobody is ever in true danger. Despite the fact that Naoko's small town is comprised of an outrageous assortment of romantic space aliens, frogs as parents, and robot teachers who float, nobody behaves as though this is strange or worth commenting on in any way. Episodes are short, high-energy bursts of outrageous screwball humor and decent messages that should entertain kids and their parents alike.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how challenging it can be to control difficult emotions, and how this is illustrated in Naoko's story. What are the benefits of letting these feelings out, and the drawbacks of keeping them inside?
The world of Dino Girl Gauko is populated by all kinds of creatures: romantic space aliens, onesie-wearing classmates, kids who look like ducks. These differences aren't usually commented on or explained, it's all just part of Naoko's world. What might the show be trying to convey here?
The idea of a person transforming into a monster or animal has been used before in books, film, and TV. What are some of your favorite examples of this phenomenon?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love animation
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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