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Abstract Japanese animation, commonly referred to as anime, has had major success world-wide (Wahab, Anuar & Farhani, 2012). Its impact is especially apparent in the Middle East where generation after generation of Arab kids grew up watching anime as their main source of entertainment (Tashkandi, 2019). Despite anime’s prevalence, there has been little research conducted on its cultural impact on the Middle East. Using Jensen and Arnett’s (2012) theory on cultural identity formation as the theoretical framework for my paper, I analyzed the impact of Japanese anime characters on the cultural identity formation of youth growing up in the Middle East. I argue that, based on several cultural dimensions outlined by Dedoussis (2004), the similarities between the Japanese and Middle Eastern cultures contributed to the popularity of anime in the region, while the diverging attributes of the characters helped bring in a different perspective to youth growing up in the Middle East and subsequently introduced new cultural elements which broadened their world view. In accordance with Jensen and Arnett’s theory (2012), I argue that such an emerging new perspective likely contributed to positive outcomes, including increased gender equality and increased civic involvement. To assess the outcome of greater gender equality, I examined the Japanese magic girl genre and the anime Ojamajo Doremi (Todo, 2002). To assess the outcome of greater civic involvement, I examined the anime UFO Robot Grendizer (Nagai, 1975). I conclude that the magic girl genre empowered young girls while still allowing them to embrace their femininity, thereby contributing to the trend of greater gender equality. In addition, I conclude that the anime UFO Robot Grendizer contributed to greater civic involvement by creating a shared generational identity which allowed young people to come together and use that very identity as a way to protest. This work was supported by secondary data analysis.