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Latest Topics

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Voltron's near brush with transgender visibility.

Some people are hailing the character Pidge from Voltron: Legendary Defender(2016) as a win for transgender visibility. While the character certainly challenges gender stereotypes, Pidge probably isn’t best described as transgender(at least in her current iteration). Not only does she "come out" as a girl half way through the series and start using female pronouns, the show treats her choice to embrace her assigned gender identity as a mature, positive decision: “Owning who you are is going to make you a better Paladin"- Shiro. Is having a cross-dressing character serve as a plot device a necessary baby-step on the road to trans visibility in media(especially children’s media)? Or, is adhering to the "Sweet Polly Oliver" trope in this day and age really doing a disservice to trans men and cis women alike?

  • This is very interesting! As a fan of Voltron, I'd like to read more about this. You seem very interested and knowledgeable about this subject, so I think you would be able to provide a lot of insight for those who want to know more about this - like me! Pidge is an incredible character; and diving deep into her story throughout the episodes is a great way of going about answering your question. Please continue! – gabby918 8 months ago
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  • This is totally weird...in a good way. I think you should find more examples from other sci-fi movies, TV shows, etc. – alecflor11 8 months ago
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  • I think remembering why Pidge became a Galaxy Garrison brings a new perception. – taviromakizuto 6 months ago
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  • Within the show itself, I don't think one could necessarily make the argument that Pidge is explicit trans* representation given her gender declaration as you mentioned. However, I do think an interesting point of analysis would be how the fandom has attached to Pidge as potential representation in the respect that she's often written as nonbinary within a significant proportion of fics. I think it could tie into the representation argument regarding fanfiction: when queer youth fail to see representation of their identity on popular television, they craft it themselves. – phaasch 5 months ago
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The evolution of beauty in mainstream American animated films

In many mainstream American animated films, the main characters are often portrayed with exaggerated beauty standards of the day. Discuss the evolution of beauty standards and how mainstream American animated films have either perpetuated or gone against these standards.

  • Nice topic. In addition to discussing the evolution, it would be nice to talk about why animators/producers feel it necessary to portray characters in this way. – IsidoreIsou 8 months ago
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  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the holder is the largest group in the office. For instance, if your animation and art teams consist of 80% white men from the southern part of the united States, the Hero/Heroine will probably be blonde and white. If the team consists of all Japanese men, the Hero/Heroine will be overly busty/muscled, light-skinned, with wild hair. I don't believe there has been any evolution in "beauty standards", especially in Hollywood. Just because some anime females are not busty with a skirt, doesn't mean they accepted new ideals of beauty. The movie industry, like all media outlets, are biased in their opinions, so the only way to evolve the industry, is to evolve the people working in it. – MikeySheff 8 months ago
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Published

Masculinity & Steven Universe

While Steven Universe depicts many types of femininity, it rarely gets held up for portrayals of its masculinity. Steven himself is a very well-rounded character, but strays from what is considered to be typically masculine. How do some of the other characters (like Greg or the other inhabitants of Beach City) portray masculinity?

  • Very interesting topic. Steven is a very well rounded character indeed. Yes, he may not be what most consider to be typically masculine, but I feel as though Steven has a good balance of both masculinity and femininity, This was a great topic to read and being a fan of this show, its nice to see topics like this. – Nickskey23 9 months ago
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  • It also might be intersting to discuss how the various female characters might portray more "masculine" aspects. For example Jasper basically portrays everything that is traditionally masculine. Garnet could be argued to be a fusion of masculine traits (the more tough Ruby) and feminine ones (the softer sapphire). – Mariel 8 months ago
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Fusion: The Flexible Metaphor in Steven Universe

Examining the dynamics of Fusion in the world of Steven Universe and how it’s flexible in multiple meanings by Sugar’s creative world-building application of variety of "kinds" of fusion and its undertones.

  • Like Mrs. Incredible? Hmmm... – Tigey 10 months ago
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Exploring the concept of the untraditional family in Dreamworks vs Disney films

Pixar films are usually comprised of the ‘traditional’ family and have only recently started to uncover what an untraditional family is (Finding Dory). Dreamworks, however, managed to address this topic much earlier, such as in the Shrek Series (Donkey Dragon) or Kung Fu Panda (Po has both an adoptive and biological father in his life). Has Dreamworks surpassed Disney on animating the concept of modern family in their films? Explore the expectations of how Disney is supposed to portray a family and did these also apply to Dreamworks?

  • I think just narrowing down this topic to the nontraditional in films will yield enough material to write an effective analysis. – Munjeera 11 months ago
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  • Disney might have been the first, but they have always been behind on the times (as the years have transpired). I agree with your assumption that they do feel they, too, need to address this relevant topic of the untraditional family in order to make impressionable children feel included as opposed to outcasted. Nice topic. – danielle577 10 months ago
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  • Steven Spielberg tries to incorporate non-traditional families, instead of focusing on what happens when the supernatural intersects with single parents or parents getting a divorce as in the case of Jurassic World last summer. ET took place in the context of a single parent family and Jurassic Park 2 had Jeff Goldblum with an African-American daughter and there were no references to if she was adopted or where her mom was, as far as I can remember. I heard in an interview that this is intentional. – Munjeera 10 months ago
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  • Behemoths move slowly. – Tigey 10 months ago
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Zootopia and child-friendly conversations of Social ills

How has nobody tackled this yet on the Artifice?

SPOILER ALERT: There is a lot going on in Zootopia regarding minority-majority relations, "us vs. them" mentalities and exploration of stereotypes and how they’re developed and reinforced. It’s practically begging to be written about.

There also ought to be discussion of how, in their attempt to make the subject matter friendly to kids, Disney drops the ball with the social metaphors. For example, after some of them go savage, the carnivores in Zootopia are at one point clearly paralleled to Muslims and their treatment in the U.S.: an entire group of people is suddenly regarded as dangerous because any one of them, for unknown reasons, could "go savage" and just start hurting people (hence the stereotype of suicide bombers).

In the real world, these conditions are brought about by deeply problematic religious relations, but in the name of relating to the targeted audience Disney turns to the catch-all solution of a poisonous flower whose fluids just cause animals to lose their minds.

  • I should say I am currently writing an article which argues how Judy is the best feminist icon and complete female character Disney has ever created, and I do tackle some of the social commentary in regards to her arch as a child-friendly character.However, I do not go near the religious implications of the commentary. These are extremely good points, and could profit from looking at American political propaganda focusing on immigration and religious freedom. – C N Williamson 1 year ago
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  • Excellent topic. Zootopia (Zootropolis) is easily one of the most poignant films ever made about contemporary America and to a lesser extent the West. – Luke Stephenson 1 year ago
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  • Zootopia is definitely sending the message about stereotypes and minorities. Even the hate-crime of forcing a young fox into a muzzle, and displaying it as not only bullying but as stereotyping. While also showing characters like Judy's fox bully at home can change. That the stereotypes given to minorities do not define how we must live their lives. Just as Nick Wilde eventually fought against stereotypes, it is hard to do unless there is someone like Judy Hopps there to support you and fight alongside you. – epindera 1 year ago
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  • I disagree that Disney drops the ball with the social metaphors. I would consider how the movie portrays the dominant ideology of a culture stereotyping others, and that the hero, representing "good people" are not exempt from making assumptions or having prejudices. – rhetoricofafangirl 1 year ago
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ME!ME!ME!'s Imagery as a Warning

ME!ME!ME! is not a new video but I recently stumbled across it and was taken away by it’s imagery and symbolism. Normally watching such blatantly sexual animation is deterring, but it’s underlying message shone through. Other critiques have been made on the video but I feel the Artifice’s community especially would appreciate another thorough analysis. Pick apart ME!ME!ME! as a warning for the destructive powers of the protagonist’s lifestyle (becoming overly obsessed with anime characters). You can find a light analysis on youtube by Gaijin Goombah, but he also makes it quite personal in the end. Write a more professional and organized article on the theory, hopefully starting with something close to his main thesis, followed by specific imagery in the video to solidify the stance. Perhaps address various case studies on the reality of being addicted to such fantasies; statistically how many lives are ruined by this fascination and is there such thing as rehab?

  • Hi Slaidey,I think there is a typo for "quiet personal">>>>>"quite personal."– Munjeera 11 months ago
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  • "The crux of the proposed article is not clear. Are you suggesting an article that argues against the use of violence in viodeo-games, utilizing Me!Me!Me! as a case study? What is the underlying message that you mention? Be clear, because even if I'm familiar with the game (which I'm not), individual interpretations of texts (like this game) are not universal. Overall, I would like to see some clarification regarding the argument that you're proposing."- AnaMRuiz. I wish there was a way to reply to revision suggestions. ME!ME!ME! is not a conventional AMV from any anime/show/game. It could be considered an animated short film since it is animated and sound-tracked with originality (to my knowledge) but is often referred to as an AMV because it intentionally follows that style-- but with a specific message and point in mind. Individual interpretations of it may vary in some degree but it was animated with an intended message that should be easy to notice, so it's not a case study imposed on any external media. I would suggest watching it first, to understand what it's going for. It's the story of a young man who became over obsessed with anime and ruined his real social relationships because of it. – Slaidey 11 months ago
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Dragons with Eyelashes: Gender Representation in Shrek

Discuss the role of the female dragon character from the film Shrek (2001) and its sequels. Do the character’s unexpected gender and romantic relationship with Donkey effectively subvert the fairy tale genre’s tropes of monstrous (presumably male) dragons, or does her animated femininity – long eyelashes, red lips, mating instinct, etc – perpetuate patriarchal gender ideologies? How might this be related to other ways in which the film attempts to recast female archetypes, most prominently through the character of Fiona? Do these non-normative portrayals of female characters send better messages to young viewers than the standard fairy tale (or "Disney princess") representations?

  • Perhaps comparing it to another other female dragon might help this analysis, I am thinking of Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty (1959.) Who also has the role of keeping the prince away from the princes. But unlike the Shrek dragon she looks complete masculine. – odettedesiena 1 year ago
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