Inspired by the resurgence of Avatar: the Last Airbender (and soon the Legend of Korra), there seems to be a pretty big subset of adults/teenagers watching more and more children’s TV (particularly animation) entirely of their own accord. What is the benefit of this, and why do we keep coming back to them? What do these shows have to offer us as adults vs as children? Who are they made for, really? And what, if anything, are the downsides?
As an adult who watches animation, let me say this is a great topic. For me, it's about nostalgia and relaxation, mostly. I do notice though, that as an adult, I think more deeply about certain characters and themes than I did as a kid. Hey Arnold is a great example; it's a kids' show on the surface, but wasn't afraid to go dark and deep several times. – Stephanie M.2 months ago
It’s often been said that a character’s design is supposed to tell the audience something about them and complement their personality and role in the story in some way. Non-human characters provide unique challenges and opportunities for animators because they possess features that no human could ever have. The popular kids’ movie Monsters, Inc. does a great job of designing characters to perfectly fit their roles in the story. For instance, the main character, Sully, is huge and strong but also fluffy and colorful; his timid but loyal sidekick Mike is small and has a very large and expressive eye and mouth; and the villain Randall is a slippery and surly-looking lizard voiced by Steve Buscemi. What are some other examples of non-human characters with particularly appropriate or memorable character designs? What is it about their designs that provides insight into their characters more broadly?
This is a great topic! I liked your example from Monsters Inc? Perhaps you can make the topic title, " How character designs of non-human characters in animation tell the audience about their character?" Or what are examples of non-human character animations designs that speak to their character? – birdienumnum175 months ago
Fun idea. First thing that comes to mind is Inside Out, where emotions are literally personified into characters - anger, sadness, disgust. You don't even need to hear them talk in order to understand what they represent. Maybe an interesting comparison would be between good visual depictions of personality (this was done often and super well in older cartoons) and less creative character designs. Consider all the possibilities of 2/3D animation and how those opportunities can be squandered! I'm thinking of the recent Lion King adaptation here; realism doesn't necessarily translate to an expressive character. – dbotros5 months ago
I think that the design of non-human - or even monstrous - characters often provides insight onto ourselves. That is, the grotesque or Other often reflects our own anxieties about the human condition. When the worst aspects of our psyche/appearance are exaggerated and externalized into non-human characters, they are easy to dislike because they represent the "worst" parts of ourselves. At the same time, mythologically heroic characters represent the best of ourselves, with their looks and demeanour exaggerated to show the potential for goodness and beauty that resides in the human condition.This topic puts me in mind of Peter Jackson/Andy Serkis's portrayal of Gollum in LOTR. The tragic beauty of the character resides in his "fall from grace narrative," for he straddles the line between ultimate corruption and ultimate redemption until his last moments.Smeagol's design incorporates elements of the innocent - his wide eyes and naiveté - while the distorted and expressions of Gollum connote his malice and cunning. Examining the ways in which Serkis/the animators at Weta Digital played with the tension between these two personae can reveal how the archetypes of good and evil originate within our own soul (or psyche, if you prefer). – Rhys5 months ago
This is an interesting topic, and one becoming more and more relevant as animation makes a resurgence in popular media. One interesting area the article could address would be how and why human elements are included in these character designs, as a means to evoke audience familiarity with the emotions of the character (you mentioned Mike Wazowski's eye as an example). Moreover, it might be worthwhile to discuss the uncanny valley and it's effect on the considerations of animated character design.The game Thomas was Alone is also a really pure example of this philosophy of character design, each character being literally a differently sized four-sided shape. – DanielByrne5 months ago
Season 5 of My Hero Academia has been delayed, not just because of COVID-19, but because one of the seiyuus (voice actors) is recovering from vocal cord surgery. Nobuhiko Okamoto plays Bakugo, a hot-tempered U.A. student who yells a lot, and it’s not surprising that the role had a negative affect on Okamoto’s voice.
This article would look at how voice acting has negatively affected the health of some voice actors, whether it be in anime, Western animation, or video games (I believe there was a story a couple years back about people getting sick due to their performances in gaming). It could be a critique of the industry or a reflection on how dedicated the actors are to the roles, or a mix of both. (Keep spoilers to a minimum, though, please!)
Cool topic. I used to be involved in choir and musical theater, and you learn quickly what a precious commodity a voice is. One facet you might look at is how different roles use the voice. For instance, you mention a voice actor who has to yell a lot. The neurologic pathways to speaking vs. yelling are different, so the vocal chords are used differently. Sometimes, voice acting or singing also requires you to pop your larynx, which can cause its own kind of harm. – Stephanie M.3 months ago
From the creation of Pluto, Mickey, and the Disney classic princesses, hand drawn animation was all the rage back then. However once Pixar came around, a new form of animation came about and took over by storm: C.G.I.
Even though C.G.I have created breakthroughs, hand drawn animation is special. It brings a certain life to the page. Explore how hand Drawn Animation differs from C.G.I and argue why it is better than C.G.i
It would be really interesting to all compare the different eras and style of hand drawn animation done by Disney throughout the decades! – Sean Gadus7 months ago
Please, please, PLEASE!!!! CGI is so overrated, and while 3D can be good, it doesn't hold up to the original 2D.
And I definitely agree with maybe comparing their eras. Yes, they're all hand-animated, but Snow White's animation is different from Bambi's and Beauty and the Beast. – OkaNaimo08197 months ago
Animation allows storytellers to directly depict topics and subjects beyond the physical and the real, unlike live-action which is restricted to implying non-physical ideas (such as emotions and mental state) through physical mediums. Actors, for example, must use their facial and body language to indicate the emotions of their character. Animators, however, can get more creative in how they visually depict emotions.
How do animators show emotions through animation-specific methods, and how do those visual representations benefit the story? What do these techniques add to the piece?
Analyse the way Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar and to a lesser extent smaller studios trade on accents and languages to portray characters that are not considered to be normative for animation (neutral American accent). For language the progression from the use in Pocahontas, Brother Bear, and Mohana, and that of Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Coco for accents
One phenomenon is obvious, in most pf Japanese anime, film and TV drama, villains, such as an able-bodied street gang member or a guy who use his strength to bully the weak, they talk in Kansai-ben very dramatically. – zorgkick3 weeks ago
What could the programs that we choose to watch, queue, and re-watch tell us about our emotional/mental state – and might they be able to reveal more than we are able to communicate/admit ourselves?
The al a carte, self-serving nature of today’s digital streaming services allows users to set up their own digital buffet. A little bit of this, a little bit more of that, less of this. What could our choices illuminate – if we had access to the data that streaming service algorithms collect about our taste, what could we learn? Would we see seasonal trends, how do our choices change around major life events (child birth, loss of a loved one, marriage, starting a new job, etc.)