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 years 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.)
Despite its innovations and endless creativity, animation has and continues to be dismissed by general audiences as only suitable for children in the U.S. While there are many historical and industry reasons for this, animation has proven itself to be a legitimate medium just as any other, whether in the U.S, France, Japan, and through other platforms such as Newgrounds and YouTube.
Companies such as Netflix and Sony Pictures have shown to be investing heavily in animation and trying to globalize productions and creative voices in the medium, with Spider-Verse being the most recent example. Even Japan has recently been recruiting more foreigner animators, and South Korea and China are starting to prop up their own animation industries.
On the other side, you have Disney live-action remakes/retellings which may be perpetuating the notion that animation is inferior to live action. General audiences, especially adults, can often be insecure about watching cartoons, and seeing them as live action seems to deliver the idea that realism makes these stories more mature.
How do you think animation will be perceived in the future in the U.S? Do you believe the perception will even change at all? If so or not, how?
It's an interesting topic, but I'm not sure I agree that cartoons aren't seen as legitimate forms of adult entertainment. For instance, it seems like many people nowadays recognize that anime can be for all ages, not just for children. And it seems like you also see more and more Western cartoons out there that contain jokes and plotlines intended as much for adults as for kids (Adventure Time and Regular Show come to mind here). Can you come up with specific examples of people looking down on cartoons because they think they're for kids, or is it just your conjecture that people do this? – Debs4 years ago
As stated by Debs ^, I would also argue that many American cartoons cater to (and are sometimes even written directly for) adult audiences. I would look specifically at cartoons such as Warner Bros Bugs Bunny cartoons, as well as modern shows like Spongebob Squarepants or The Simpsons. In some cases, these series' go beyond mere adult themes or jokes; they are written with direct adult messages. There is, I think, growing demand for animated entertainment among adult audiences. Perhaps the question to explore should be - what audiences or demographics tend to embrace animation the most in the United States? What can we point to as possible reasons for any discrepancies found? – jkillpack4 years ago
I suppose I should've been more specific and stated 2D animation instead. Animation as a whole has been embraced, but in the general zeitgeist, most of that admiration is directed at feature animation from Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and Illumination. Animation done outside these studios doesn't receive as much attention and can be actively dismissed due to not being tied to the Big Four. For example, while Into the Spider Verse made its budget back, it didn't do as well as it could've. While a lot of this can be attributed to competition from Aquaman (2018), there are many anecdotes that have described general audiences being put off by Spider-Verse's animation, which doesn't adhere to the standard, smooth animation people are used to from Disney and Pixar. These also add that people dismissed Spider Verse because they didn't want to watch a cartoon. Many people lament the absence of 2D animation in cinema, but general audiences seem to believe it as being reserved only for TV/streaming. I completely agree that U/S animation has catered to other demographics, but many of these shows also seem to be overt in their adult targeting through vulgarity, nudity, violence, etc. just to prove it. I also believe you'll be hard-pressed to find the average adult on the street who would openly admit to enjoying animation, particularly if it's 2D and not from Disney or Pixar. – ImperatorSage4 years ago
It’s 2019 and animated series and movies are finally tackling some more serious themes and ideas in their stories, but on the whole are still marketed towards children and younger age demographics. While I can appreciate exposing children to these kinds of stories, why are most adults still scoffing at the idea of watching anything that isn’t made with "real actors" when animation can sometimes achieve what the largest of special effects budgets can’t? It should focus on western media mostly, as I am already aware that anime has been doing this for ages already.
You bring up a great question, MissAila! I'm in my mid-40s, and I accept animation as a medium, but I know a few people in my parents' generation who will not watch animated movies. Those are solely for kids. And if they aren't for kids, then they are not only anomalies but abominations. I remember trying to watch the 1981 movie Heavy Metal when I was a kid, and my Dad was flabbergasted by it. He thought it was disgusting. I can only imagine his reaction to Netflix's Love, Death, and Robots, which is even more adult. So I don't really have an answer to your question, but I wonder if there is a generational difference and whether growing up with Saturday morning cartoons and Disney animated films makes a difference, too. – ChadW5 years ago
You bring up a very good point in the lack of animation as a medium for films/tv shows with a more mature setting. Perhaps people see it as a childish alternative to having actors portray something on screen (in terms of Western media), due to the fact that cartoons are mainly used to produce material with a target audience of children. It's hard to grasp that a medium with so much economic power in the East (namely, Japanese Anime) has little power to grasp audiences' attentions in the West. – davparth5 years ago
This is such a cool topic idea! I definitely think it's worth touching on "adult animation" that has been geared toward an older audience--think about the shows that have aired on Adult Swim, like Robot Chicken, the Boondocks, Rick and Morty, etc.--and also how streaming services like Netflix have tried to capture that niche as well with Bojack Horseman and Tuca and Bertie. Typically these shows use adult humor rather than darker subjects, but it would be interesting to see what you think might separate it from animation geared towards kids. – Eden5 years ago
I believe origin of animation as a medium played a huge role in it. Animation when it was initially made was a tiring process within itself it was almost impossible to include mature themes in animation in those days (given it was made in 1900's) and the imagery that was projected was cute, childish without much theme. This set the benchmark for most of the animation slowly people's ideology towards anime changed and people started felling animation was for kids(mainly because movies started tackling mature issues and animation remained as it was). In more recent times companies like Disney and Pixar had a lot of influence on animation they created family friendly animations(kids films) and channels like cartoon network, pogo, and other big names aired cartoon shows (kids films again) slowly creating the stigma that animation is a medium meant for kids Though, really I loved your topic and the questions it raised I must point out that this is not entirely true yes, main stream animation is not very famous for portraying adult themes and yes adults think animation is for kids , due to rise of web streaming another kind of animation is slowly becoming more famous(The Rise Of Anime),a medium which was doing it since its humble beginnings. If you can dig deep there are many really old anime that are adult themed (hell lot too many).Upon closer inspection there are a very rare few European and american animations that dealt with serious political,Social themes and served as critiques But saying that it is also true that tough they were always there, they never got the mainstream attention that they are getting now . I must give you a thumbs up for that Anyways great topic buddy
– PSSRV5 years ago
Animated films tackling darker or mature themes isn't really new in my opinion, I think the difference is that they're more prevalent and more people are aware of them. Japanese animation is obviously far ahead than U.S animation in terms of tackling more mature subject matter, but U.S animation has had it too with Samurai Jack, Avatar TLA, Spectacular Spider-Man, The Boondocks, many of the Disney/Pixar films and a few Dreamworks films, etc. I personally find it very frustrating how much animation is looked down as by general audiences, especially by older generations, though they have somewhat more of an excuse. With that said, I think it's also close-minded to generalize an entire medium just because all what one was exposed to from that medium were low-quality Saturday morning cartoons. There's also the fact that there were and are people who expect all media to cater to kids and thus try to censor or restrict anything that doesn't fit their preconceived idea of "child-friendly programs", and animation (and comic books) received the bulk of this, in my opinion. – ImperatorSage5 years ago
The Internet is rife with communities encompassing various topics and mediums, ranging from niche comic-book properties to history buffs. Animation has spawned different communities within the realms of anime, western animation, online independent animation, etc. The most known, or vocal at least, seem to be on Newgrounds and YouTube, in which the latter consists of YouTubers reviewing cartoons. What are the aspects of these communities who dedicate themselves to discussing cartoons? What types of people are involved, and how do they view and treat the subject matter they name themselves after?
The new original content that is available on DC’s streaming service are Titans and S3 of Young Justice. Both are matured interpretations of DC’s "younger" teams and both have Dick Grayson as the primary character. What is the appeal of making shows about younger heroes. How do they differ from prior interpretations (Teen Titans, Teen Titans Go!, S1&2 Young Justice, etc.)
I think this topic definitely has to delve into the history of superhero comics, particularly with teenaged sidekicks. As far as I understand, for so long, superhero sidekicks were often young teens who weren't developed much beyond aiding the main heroes. Heroes such as the Teen Titans and Young Justice allowed comic-book readers, who were mostly young children and teens, to see themselves represented and allow them to relate more to them. The sidekicks weren't just sidekicks anymore, they were their own heroes, but like youth, were still learning about the world and themselves. Many still faced regular teenage challenges while navigating dangerous lives. From a more cynical and business perspective? Money. Having younger heroes allows networks to target younger demographics, and thus catch more views and sell more toys for kids. This is especially present with action cartoons, many of which have of course been in the superhero genre. TTG, as hated as it is by many, is CN's most profitable ongoing IP due to this, though its views do seem to be waning as of late. (Though this may be a part of the general decline in cable TV ratings) – ImperatorSage5 years ago