Yakari

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Yakari TV Poster Image
Native American-inspired cartoon focuses on positive themes.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

Kids are exposed to the basic markings of Native American (and Sioux in particular) culture through the characters' appearances and actions.

Positive Messages

The series is rooted in Native American culture that's presented simply enough for its young viewers to grasp the basics through the characters' manner of dress, respect for nature, and sense of community. Spirituality is a recurring theme, and Yakari defers to a wise spirit guide who mentors him. Mistakes always yield learning opportunities, and positive works of kindness and charity are rewarded. Occasionally there are glimpses of some dated stereotypes (men beat their chests and call out as they prepare to hunt, for instance), but they're not prominent in the plot.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Yakari embodies all the best aspects of childhood: joy, excitement, curiosity, and a thirst for knowledge. He's eager to grow up but minds the advice of his elders and his spirit guide, always learning from what they say to him. His unique relationship with animals highlights the Native American synergy with nature. On the whole, the adults and other guides around him are good influences as well.

Violence & Scariness

Some wild animals are menacing and frighten Yakari and his friends, leading to scary scenarios for the humans. Disasters such as forest fires also threaten the human and animal populations.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Yakari centers on the adventures of a young Sioux Native American with a unique gift of talking to animals. Its tasteful presentation focuses on the culture's sense of community, peace, respect for nature, and spirituality -- embodied in his spirit guide, an eagle, which is always a guiding force in Yakari's actions. Each story teaches a lesson through Yakari's experiences, and kids see how qualities such as patience, kindness, and determination pay dividends in the end. This simplistic series is a great choice for kids and parents to enjoy together, as it may encourage further curiosity about Native American history and culture.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byYouthMindfulnessEd October 21, 2014

The Human Dynamic

These stories are beautifully illustrated. Great cinematic appeal. Its a perfect depiction of the dynamics of being human, perfectly laid out for a child. Ch... Continue reading
Adult Written byKeegan D. May 10, 2018

Leads in well but...

The first half of Yakari is great and interesting. The show start doing a decent job of teaching the culture of the Native American tribes all the while followi... Continue reading

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What's the story?

YAKARI is an animated adaptation of a comic book series of the same name. It's the story of Yakari, a spunky young Sioux boy who's graced with the ability to talk to animals, thanks to his spirit guide, Great Eagle. His adventures take him all over his home in the Great Plains, where he befriends a menagerie of wild animals. Along the way, he's joined by his pony, Little Thunder (voiced by Benjamin Nathan-Serio), and his best human friend, Rainbow.

Is it any good?

Yakari is a great example of the beauty of simplicity in kids' entertainment. There's nothing fancy about this series, from the traditional animation style to the uncomplicated stories themselves, so it's easy for even young kids to follow along. Yakari's ability to talk to animals adds a fun element that kids will really like, and parents will like that those characters join the human adults in being positive influences on the spirited but well-meaning boy.

Because Yakari keeps the story simple, focusing only on the peaceful Sioux tribe and not incorporating white characters (and thus historical conflicts) of any sort, it's a straightforward introduction to the sights and sounds of Native American culture with emphasis on community and deference to nature. Depending on your kids' readiness, you can take the subject further with your own explorations of related topics that interest them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Yakari's adventures. How does he overcome the challenges each day brings? In what ways does he show his respect for all the living creatures he meets? What did he learn from today's adventures?

  • Kids: In what ways is Yakari's lifestyle very different from yours? Does he play? What does he use as toys? What do his chores consist of? What aspects of his community and family life are similar to yours?

  • Families can expand on what this series tries to say about the Native American culture. Read books or visit museums to learn more about the tribes that are indigenous to areas around your home. What were their daily lives like? How did they dress? What did they eat? What special skills facilitated their survival?

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