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 Kuu Kuu Harajuku is the brainchild of pop star Gwen Stefani and is inspired by her stage entourage, the Harajuku Girls. The quintet of girls at the center of the story put their friendship above everything else, but they're also prone to fretting over their "Kawaii," which is a Japanese term for cuteness. In other words, they often obsess over how they look, the clothes they wear, and which accessories coordinate with which outfits. A couple of the girls stand out as decent role models, with positive qualities such as intelligence, self-confidence, and loyalty. Despite casting the characters as a band, there's rarely any music in this show since the constant interruptions to their plans is the show's shtick. Some may consider the show, and the concept of Stefani's Harajuku Girls, racially insensitive, as the backup crew in real life is treated primarily as exotic eye candy.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Brainless and full of Cultural Appropiation, or alternately titled:Why Weeaboos Shouldn't Make Cartoons
What's the story?
KUU KUU HARAJUKU follows five best friends and bandmates -- Angel (voiced by Emma Taylor-Isherwood), Love (Daisy Masterman), Music (Sally Taylor-Isherwood), Baby (Charlotte Nicdao), and G (Maggie Chretien) -- as they try to stave off trouble long enough to play a concert or two. In Harajuku World, there's no telling what kind of thing will interrupt their plans. Plus, their inept but well-meaning manager, Rudie (Danny Smith), always manages to bungle his job on behalf of the band's schedule. But the good news is that when HJ5 is together, there's always a good time to be had.
Is it any good?
Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Girls of the stage transition to this animated series with modest success, clouding themes of individuality and friendship with iffier ones. On the upside, each of the five girls is a distinct entity, and as you watch, you begin to see their personalities come to light. Among them are an unfailing optimist, a brainy Ms. Fix-It, and a team leader. They are also culturally diverse and inclusive, despite their Japanese-inspired roots. On the downside, however, they often define themselves by their visibility and perceived "Kawaii" (or cuteness), which makes them vulnerable to vanity and image obsession.
Kuu Kuu Harajuku is visually enjoyable to watch, and there's always some sort of bizarre happening in Harajuku World that will keep kids' interest. There's also the comical villain General No Fun (Ian Bliss), who manages to steal the scenes in which he schemes against HJ5. The bottom line? This cartoon is pretty mindless, and there are better choices for role models for this age group, but it's entertaining nonetheless.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about self-image. Kids: Do you think much about how you look or the clothes you wear? Do your friends ever react to your appearance, either in a good or a bad way? Are you influenced by what you see people wear on TV shows like Kuu Kuu Harajuku?
Kids: Does Harajuku World seem like a place where you'd like to live? What differences do you see between it and the real world? Why is imaginative play fun?
Do you have a favorite character among HJ5? What qualities do you admire in her?
Themes & Topics
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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.