Analyse the development of modern cartoons and animations. What impact might they have on young children’s perception of the world – whether that is related to how a certain animal/person/character looks like (their visual representation), or whether it impacts behaviours in a certain way. How might kids react to certain characters and relationships portrayed on the screen? Can some of these have a perceptible negative impact on their lives?
As a starting point, trace the development of cartoons (from Disney, to Cartoon Network, etc) and some iconic shows.
If we’re being honest with each other, the idea of throwing Michael Jordan together with the largely dying Looney Tunes franchise was a risky decision at best. And there wasn’t much of a precedent for a film like this either, as at the time blending animation with live-action wasn’t very common. So how did this film become a landmark of this blend of genres alongside films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? This essay will discuss the attributes of Space Jam that made it such a success and revived the Looney Tunes franchise.
Hmmm, interesting. Maybe bring in a film like Who Framed Roger Rabbit as a point of contrast. – Stephanie M.10 months ago
I would suggest comparing the original Space Jam to the recent sequel/reboot/whatever that was. Did that one work as well as the first? Why or why not? – noahspud10 months ago
I just want to note that Michael Jordan was probably the most important athlete in the world/one of the top of 3 athletes across the world at the time of the making of Space Jam. So having Michael Jordan in the film was a huge selling point. – Sean Gadus2 months ago
Space Jam worked because at that time, pretty much any off-the-wall idea with MJ in it would have worked. – Montayj792 months ago
Encanto as a film was one of the better received Disney animation in recent memory, from the music, to the character designs, to the narrative resolution and heartwarming interplay of all of the characters in the family Madrigal.
Though, for all of the popularity of the film there was a bit of controversy in the "proper" reading of the plot. While there is a clear examination of intergenerational trauma from Abuela to Mirabel and all of the family in-between, some have read the film with as allegorical to the experience some in LGBTQ community have experienced.
This disagreement led to a decent amount of intercommunal conflict on many social networks about the proper way of reading the text, but is their an actual proper meaning to a film? Does authorial intent matter? Is it "wrong" to read the text in a way more relative to oneself?
There is quite a lot of room to discuss the racial and cultural perspectives of the various angles of the argument of the actual meaning of the movie.
Death of the Author is essentially whats going on here. I like this topic as this is a reoccurring issue in the Anime community, as femboy/Trap characters are often read as trans by western audiences, while in Japan they are read as effeminate men. Even when authors directly comment on issues like this they are often ignored by fans and localizers. This often leads to heated debates online. I'm not a fan of the idea that text can be interpreted in any way possible, but that often becomes the case when authors note or thoughts are not available. It is why I believe whenever possible journals and notes should be preserved. But, in the event that evidence is not available, I was taught in my college classes interpretations of text need to be backed by evidence either from the author or evidence in the text, which is something that is often lacking in LGBTQ readings of text. An example that comes to mind is when Dreamworks Voltron was announced a lot of people assumed Pidge (Katie Holt) was trans. When the character was just pretending to be boy to find her brother. Same deal with Keith and Lance, as many people assumed the characters were gay, despite the show showing multiple times that Lance had feelings for princess Alura. – Blackcat1306 months ago
I don't disagree about it being death of the author I was moreso interested in the backlash the DOA side of the discourse received for subverting the "intent" of the movie. I also don't see an inherent flaw with queer readings of media, I myself am guilty of it with characters in some of my favorite shows. That said, I can't say I'm sympathetic to the idea of a culture being ignored for the sake of others reading themselves into a text. I do think it is a topic worth discussion. – SunnyAgo6 months ago
I just want to clarify that I am not saying that there is anything wrong with doing a queer reading of a text. My issue is as you put it "people reading themselves into the text" Another example of this is in My Hero Academia. Many fans believe Bakugo and Deku are gay for one another, despite the author clearly stating certain characters having romantic feelings for one another. Even without author input the text at certain points states how the characters feel about one another. This also becomes obnoxious to me, as often times these text actually have LGBTQ characters (Tiger and Magne are trans) in it that get ignored for fan canon. One theory that I've heard for why this happens comes from YouTuber Dimitri Monroe. They believe its not about whether or not a character is gay or Trans, but metaphorical point scoring. They believe the reason modern queer reading often alter characters is because some LGBTQ activist simply want a more prominent character as opposed to the side character (which Tiger and Magne both are.). Dimitri uses Astolfo from the fate series as an example, as not only in the lore Astolfo is canonically and stated multiple times to be an androgynous male who doesn't care about gender norms. Despite that many will say he's trans. Which once again fate does have actual trans/gay characters, Astolfo is just considered one of the more popular characters and that why he's often subject to this debate. You can see the same thing with P4's Naoto who states both their gender and sexual preferences, but fans created a mod to turn the character Trans. I think this more about politics as apposed to trying to understand the message of a story. (Also I might take this topic.) – Blackcat1306 months ago
I think what you're talking about here is "reader response criticism," where a reader (or viewer in this case) interacts with a "text" relative to his/her/their own experiences. For instance, as an autistic woman, I very much "read" Encanto as a commentary on disability, giftedness, and twice-exceptionality. So no, there is nothing wrong with looking for or finding deeper or truer meaning in the plot. The challenge here is going to be choosing which deeper readings to focus on, because as you mention, there are so many. – Stephanie M.4 months ago
The whole concept of interpreting creative works has been academically discussed for centuries by this point, so there's not exactly much new ground to tread, other than to perform case studies on specific modern works like you're trying to do with Encanto. I personally believe, especially in a medium like film, that the idea of any one interpretation being correct is absurd, even if it's one that has been publicly stated by a key creative such as the director or writer. Therefore I think that were you to continue this article in any direction where are you providing your own personal interpretation, the key point is providing evidence from the source itself, Encanto, to defend and support your case. If you are instead headed in the direction of using Encanto as a talking point to further the general discussion of artistic interpretation, then it would definitely be interesting to see you critically analyse some of the different 'theories' and 'arguments' circulating the Internet in regards to what the films 'true meaning' is. Irrespective of whatever path you take with this topic, I wish you the best and look forward to reading your work :) – LucasR4 months ago
Ever since "Arcane: League of Legends" came out, the praises haven’t stopped and are still keeping the show alive in people’s minds. Even months later, people are still loving its story, characters and storytelling because it has come out in an era where diversity and an agenda have now convinced screen writers and comic book writers that it was enough to make a good story.
So many things stood out in "Arcane", but one of the most important was the way female characters were written. Violet, Caitlyn, Jinx, Councilman Medarda… they were written and characterized in a way that made them both appear strong and weak at the same time. Circumstances of the story showed their vulnerability and their strength in a matter of ‘Show, don’t tell’ that has been lost these past few years in movies and TV shows where they have female leads.
This begs the question as to what else could have made these female characters so appealing to the public upon the release of the hit Netflix series. What has made them stand out so much in "Arcane: League of Legends" among the throng of other female characters? How has the writing of the show made them special and quite unique in their own way?
Arcane is an excellent show. There are a host of well developed female characters in the show (as well as male characters). I think that one of the things that make the characters so great are that the characters all have clear goals, desires, and fears that they are dealing with throughout the season. Rather than simply being a love interest or minor background characters, each of the characters has their own arc, with nuanced exploration of who they are and what they want. – Sean Gadus7 months ago
I find this really interesting. I watched Arcane through twice; once alone and once with my parents. Watch through one I found myself in adoration of Councilman Medara. Arcane fascinatingly has no inherently right or wrong people; they are borne of their ideas and upbringing which shape their decisions (like real people). I find other shows haven't really done this with women to the same extent, haven't given them the space to be debatable or mildly disagreeable but still very likeable. It also helps that it's rare in this type of media to see a person of colour with this depth of character. The second time was a bit different. It came with a few insensitive remarks from my father about character design, mainly how they're depicted in similar ways to his eras sex icons were portrayed. I don't necessarily agree, and I doubt these designs were made entirely for this purpose and yet his comment has me thinking about how much their likeability is tied to their character design, and would we like them less without Jinx's iconic braids or V's build. I'd say no, Caitlyn's outfits aren't too remarkable and I love her character's progression. – Zephyr7 months ago
This is a great topic, I have re-watched the series multiple times. The way the writers deal with gender in the story is very unique in how they neutralise gender stereotypes, with not only the women but also the men. I particularly applaud how they show Vi taking many hits, and showing the ugly side of violence that isn't often shown on female characters. – TheResearchPixie7 months ago
I think female characters are seen as more appealing because they finally get the representation in video games. – hafsakhan3104 months ago
I definitely agree that the female characters in Arcane stand out from other films and tv shows I've watched. They have actual depth and personality. We have strong, capable characters like Vi and Caitlyn who we actually want to root for. We have an interesting antagonist like Sevika who is respected by someone with the kind of power Silco has. None of the female characters (including even Mel and Jinx) are treated as if because they are women they have a less important role. They're just treated as people with their own trauma, expectations, motives, etc. Many of the women in the show exist, not to serve some arbitrary purpose or to prop up a male character, but because they are important to the story. – AnushkaJ4 months ago
Having female characters as the main characters for a show, which came from a game, which is not only male-dominated, but often sexist within the gaming community, is a very smart move from the producers/Riot. League of Legends players, along with many other consumers of this show, cannot deny how amazing the story was, and how amazing the main characters' lives were portrayed and I think this was really a powerful way to combat the negative perspective of women in games. Well done Riot, and lovely article! – Aleyna2 months ago
Centaurworld is a Netflix animation about a Horse that is magically transported to the titular Centaurworld, in her journey not just to get back to her home but to fight the Nowhere King and save both her world and Centaurworld.
In the story, the audience see Horse change in a physical sense going from a sharp anime-inspired design to a softer, rounder more western cartoon inspired design but also in a sense of self as she identifies so much as the horse of her rider, that when the two come in to conflict it serves as one of the many emotion highpoint of the series finale. Horse, breaks the identity she had imposed on herself but at the same time embraces it.
The Nowhere King serves as excellent contrast, as the character is introduced as a malevolent spectre, one of no approximate time or origin, and with what seems like a clear goal of escape. As the series reveals though, The NWK shares an origin with another character and their lack of acceptance of self leads to endless suffering for the NWK. The inability of one to accept themselves becomes the inciting incident for the near destruction of two worlds in the show.
Points of analysis can be the Horse’s difficulty in accepting changes, their concern for the perception others, name their Rider may have for them, the various Centaurs and their own discoveries of self, the idea of ego death and how Horse is literally surround by light as she lets go of her previous identity of self, how it parallels the tragedy of the NWK.
The point regarding the names was crawling around the back of my mind when I happened to watch a few episodes--mainly, Horse is named Horse, Rider is named Rider. As if they were stock characters in a generic action movie, but obviously the series inverts this. Not sure where I am going with this thought, just was wondering how you were planning on addressing that aspect in your analysis. – alliegardenia4 months ago
In Steven Universe, the diamonds are fascist dictators responsible for the death and genocide of millions of gems. They establish a caste system, engage in biological warfare and experiment on their subjects. And yet, by the end of the show, all this is undone and forgiven. Does SU undermine the impact of war and fascism? How can SU’s view of fascism be contextualised outside of the show? How should children’s shows depict war without sugarcoating its atrocities?
Many of the live-action remakes and reimaginings of classic Disney cartoons add elements that are not in the source material. Often these elements further develop characters, especially secondary ones, in meaningful ways. Jasmine is made to be more independent, Maleficent is sympathetic, as is Cruella, the Beast finally has his own ballad to express his love for Belle. But who are these remakes aimed toward? Adults who were children during the Disney renaissance? Do these reimaginings intend to capitalize the millennials’ nostalgia? Or are they opening the door for children to access older films that Disney fears the kids will be unable to appreciate otherwise?
Disney is likely just milking its IP as much as possible without needing to create a unique story while capitalizing on star power and shorter conception to final product turnover with a fleshed-out live-action remake. The remakes are for-profit and fill out the limited Disney+ content as it cannot compete directly with big brands like Netflix or Amazon for serialized content but the remakes can be something to advertise for months and keep subscribers on board between the fewer and further between original animations that they are famous for but take a decade to create. – AislynS1 year ago
I think the major issue is that they're trying to both honour the past and create something new. And they should probably lean more toward the latter. They're going to make money regardless. But at the same time, they shouldn't aim towards making something more relevant or political. They should go back to the core story and how it can be reinterpreted, not restated, both subtly and drastically. Don't try to sell the message, try to sell the spin. – JSJames1 year ago
In my opinion, Disney is running out of ideas and this is the only thing they can come up with. While I used to love Disney as a kid, my tolerance and likeness toward them is almost nonexistent. Their story lines are weak, they can't go 10 minutes without singing, and they overkill on mass consumer products. Why don't they tell a story without singing in it? Why don't they bring on new writers that have wild creative abilities? For once I'd like to see an actual story be told by Disney instead of singing and preaching. – Audry4 months ago
A recent social media meme reads, "I heard a woman say she won’t let her kids watch Peppa Pig because it encourages bad behavior like jumping in puddles. I saw Road Runner and haven’t blown up anyone yet."
Laughs aside, and whether the account is true or not, this does bring up how concerned adults have become about children’s behavior, where that concern is coming from, and when that concern is or isn’t justified. For instance, there are parents who sincerely believe Peppa Pig is a bad influence. Others have excoriated every series from Caillou (whiny, bratty behavior) to Fancy Nancy (melodrama) to Sofia the First, Elena of Avalor, and The Lion Guard (too much emphasis on royalty, princess mentality).
Is children’s animation actually encouraging bad behavior, or do adult audiences focus too much on instances of normal childlike actions? Do any of today’s animated shows have good messages, about behavior or anything else, and what are they? Which animations are the best and worst when it comes to presenting characters and behavior kids should emulate? Discuss.
This is an interesting topic for discussion. In my experience, it's not so much the television shows themselves that are the problem, as that parents aren't doing the nurturing and moralizing that they used to. If parents aren't there to provide their kids with a value system, the kids turn to media, including television, to make sense of the world. Ultimately this creates a feedback loop, where the TV programs pander to what they think the children will like in order to make money, and therefore cut them off from their parents' values even more. – Debs2 years ago
In absence of a role model, with absent parental figures, children look at the next best things and absorb "the babysitter." Jim Carrey's character in the titular Cable Guy seems less fiction and more reality with all the avenues the younger generations are inundated with messages and values. What is worse than clashing with the values of a family, is the lack of any role model at all and adopting whatever flips up on a screen. I grew up watching everything from Loony Toons, Saturday morning cartoons, Toonami, animé, etc., but my parents were there to decompile the content instead of letting it ferment in my spongy prepubescent brain. I have a feeling that there is a similar vein here as in the "videogames make people violent" where accountability is placed on environment and OTHER people, never the individual's personal agency in internalizing and later acting on values. – DancingKomodos2 years ago
I think some children's animations are bad to watch, simply because they add no value to the child's development in moral character. Shows like The Amazing World of Gumball are simply visual drugs with little or no beneficial moral message for children to learn from. I'm disheartened to see that most kids' shows these days are overstimulating visuals without a good story, character development, or moral lesson. I recently read a book called "Tending the Heart of Virtue" by Vigen Guroian. He argues that it doesn't necessarily matter how "badly" a character acts in these stories. What matters is the journey they go on and the lessons they learn along the way. Take the classic telling of Pinocchio for example. The wooden puppet is a terrible role model for children, but he is not rewarded for his bad behavior. Instead, he learns that lying and refusing to take responsibility for his actions turns him into a donkey and sends him into the belly of a whale. In the end, he learns from his mistakes and receives the gift of becoming a real boy. – skylarjay12 months ago