A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Disgaea is an anime series based on a video game franchise of the same name. Even though it's a cartoon, the chronic strong language and often suggestive content aren't appropriate for kids. A female character wears clothes that cling to her breasts and accentuate her hips, which gets some notice from the teenage Laharl and hints at physical attraction. Violence is another concern, and the frequent battles show weapons such as swords and machetes, as well as some deaths. But the most prominent concern is the language ("damn," "hell," "ass," "frickin'," and name-calling such as "moron" and "bastard"), which is more appropriate for older tweens and teens than it is for kids.
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What's the story?
DISGAEA opens as angel trainee and would-be assassin Flonne (voiced by Sandy Fox) awakens Laharl (Barbara Goodson), the son of the demon overlord who was her intended target. Laharl is surprised to discover that he was poisoned into a two-year sleeping spell and that his powerful father has been dead just as long, and Flonne wrestles with whether her mission now requires her to kill Laharl to protect Earth and Celestia from his nefarious plans. Despite that, the two strike up an unorthodox relationship that belies their warring natures, and the arrival of Etna (Michelle Ruff), a Laharl loyalist, further complicates matters. Together this trio -- along with an army of Prinnies -- battles monsters, dragons, sorcerers, and others who are out to stop Laharl.
Is it any good?
As with most of its kind, gamers will want to check out this series inspired by a popular collection of games. The content is too mature for kids, with sexual suggestions and a lot of language to contend with, and violence is a worry, too. But perhaps the most irritating quality is Laharl himself, who wakes up vexed at his situation and never really overcomes his grumpiness in his quest to become the new overlord. As a result, there's a lot of yelling and making demands of people, which becomes more apparent in contrast with Flonne's soft-spoken, wilting-daisy nature.
Disgaea may entertain fans of the game, or even anime enthusiasts in general, but it has little appeal outside that circle. It's loud and violent, and its protagonist is exceedingly grating on the senses. Ultimately, there are better options for kids and tweens than this.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the language on this show. Does it help the story in some way? Is it excessive for the show's intended audience? How does it compare to what you hear in other ones you watch?
Kids: Are you familiar with the Disgaea video games? If so, is this series a natural extension of their characters and plot? If not, are you inclined to check them out because of what you saw on this show?
Is Laharl a likable character? Are his intentions always evil, or does he have a softer side? Is it OK to root for a character who's not a great role model?
Themes & Topics
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