Kayarath’s Adventures in Tagging!

Posted on Jan 26 2012

Believe it or not, I’m old enough to be someone’s uncle. Part of being an uncle is buying presents for your niece. A few months earlier, she got a Tag pen so I decided to get a compatible book to go with it. As I looked through the selection of Tag books, I noticed something lacking. Although there were several different books to choose from, none of them were anime or manga (sorry Kia-lan, you don’t count as anime)! It was all from western franchises like Dora The Explorer, Spider-Man, and Disney (lots of Disney in fact). Too bad there aren’t any Tag books derived from anime/manga properties. It would be pretty cool!

At this point, you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. Tag is a reading aid system developed by LeapFrog, a company that specializes in computerized learning tools/toys for young children. The system consists of the Tag pen and Tag books. Think of the pen like a console and the books like the games that go with it. The pen is a larger pen like electronic device with a small built in speaker. The tag books are basically books with extra tag stuff like extra symbols for features. More importantly, it allows you to download the files that go along with the books! Once you get those files into the tag pen and put the pen to the book does the system really shine.

This is the thing I'm talking about.

It basically transforms a book into something more akin to a point and click adventure. If you run the pen across a word, the word will be spoken out loud. If you point the pen at a character or object, the character says something about the current situation. There’s also mini games built in like mad libs or going through a maze. From the bit I researched, it was generally warmly received as a helpful tool to help and encourage young children to read. Such a system could only be improved by utilizing anime properties.

My first choice for an anime to be Tagged would be Guitar Ninjas. Guitar Ninjas is an epic show and exposing it to more people is always a good thing! You may know Guitar Ninjas by its given name, “Princess Tutu.” The series may become too dark and epic for young children towards the end, it would still be great fodder for a children’s book. The main conflict engine is a girl using ballet dancing to help people deal with painful emotions! That has such huge opportunities for educational moments! They can learn about classical music or dealing with emotions.

So cute!

The second anime I would like to be tagged is Hamtaro! The adventures of a hamster and his young mistress screams “perfect for kids” to me. It’s a kids series in Japan and it’s a kids series in America! It still counts as anime though, which is how it got on Toonami. I feel no need to explain how or why this would work; it just seems so natural to me. The Wonder Pets has already proven kids will watch a show with a talking hamster in it! Kids loves cute animals!

Kids also love Pokemon! Frankly, I’m disappointed in myself for not thinking of this sooner. Pokemon is a huge franchise that turns out all sorts of merchandise. I can only assume there would be no objection to more. You can simply pick one of many, many, many episodic adventures to convert into a Tag book, add in the regulatory lessons of friendship, hard work, and/or living in harmony with Pokemon, and call it a day!

Another anime that would be a great fit for tagging would be Card Captor Sakura. Little girls love magical girl show and Sakura is piratically the (or at least a) princess of magical girls. Since the show tends to be light hearted, episodic, and generally gentle it should be a great fit for young children. Just be sure to minimize any questionable ships and it should go smoothly.

A winning combination!

To balance out all of those girly titles, let’s talk Dragon Ball! I don’t mean Dragon Ball Z, but Dragon Ball, the original Dragon Ball. When Goku was a just child in the physical sense, Piccolo was a villain, and Krillin was considered a capable combatant (really!). I think that would make a great Tag book! Nothing like some action adventure to get those pages turning! I would want the book to be about Goku training with the monkeys in order to handle having his tail grabbed. I just can’t see how a book full of monkeys could be a bad idea.

Although it’s not really an amine or manga, The Legend of Zelda could be a great fit for being Tagged. Kids will get into Zelda sooner or later so it might as well be when they’re young! There are many games to base a potential book off of. I think the Minish Cap would be the best fit to be tagged. Game Informer writer Adam Biessener describes the game as “a Saturday morning cartoon come to life in all the best ways.” In that game, Link has the power to shrink to a very tiny size, exploring the world via the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” method. I bet it’s a great metaphor for how things can be different depending on your perspective.

Talking about perspective, I hoped I changed yours! While there’s little chance that these franchises would get made into tag books for children, at the very least they may have gotten you to consider which animes would be a good to show to young children. I hear Ponyo is a good place to start…

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  • Kanashimi January 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    You know, both of my brother’s kids have these. I was able to get them to watch Spirited Away and they really liked it (same with the other Ghibli films). It’d be nice if Disney did some of these honestly for those films. I’d like to expose them to more anime. 🙂

  • moonhawk81 February 1, 2012 at 7:36 AM

    I’d never even heard of tag books/tag pens, but they sound like a great gift for the grandkids. Thanks for the info!

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