Animation as a whole has come a long way, not just for its art styles but also for its content. Oftentimes, when a movie or show is animated, it’s immediately dismissed as ”something for kids.” Even adult animation is looked over for its tendency to be “too raunchy” or “mostly toilet humor.” It’s understandable if you have a hard time watching something animated. However, thinking that a show or movie has nothing to offer just because it is animated is absurd. Here are reasons adults can benefit from animated content.
One of the greatest things about animation is its ability to push beyond live-action film and television boundaries. With animation being able to make action sequences more fluid, create beautiful scenery, and attract younger audiences, it opens up opportunities to offer different perspectives than what the show/movie displays. Eastern culture’s animation (such as Japanese anime) is big on being a different outlook from western animation. Attack On Titan is a show about the last of humanity living behind walls to stay safe from carnivorous giants called Titans. The seemingly ridiculous concept gives you questions to think about, such as, “is one life worth the sacrifice of the many?” “Should one throw away their humanity to succeed if lives are on the line?” and “Do the ends justify the means when innocent lives are at stake?”. At first glance, anime can seem like it’s made for children, but the content this genre provides is for young adults and adults.
Most of the time, when someone says adult animation, the first thing that probably comes to mind is some toilet humor on Family Guy Or South Park. While it’s okay to enjoy low-brow humor, there is more than meets the eye in adult animated shows. Shows like The Simpsons and South Park have increasingly evolved to be commentaries on today’s society (viewer discretion advised), all while still being able to make simple jokes on the surface. Bojack Horseman is known to be one of the most depressing shows on Netflix, despite it being a cartoon of anthropomorphic animal people. The show can more accurately portray mental illness, addiction, and the human condition than most shows on tv right now. You might be missing out when refusing to watch something for being animated.
This is prevalent in animation for both younger and older audiences. Media as a whole is often mistaken as a full explanation of thoughts, beliefs, and ideas. However, what it does very well, especially in animation, is being a conversation starter for big concepts. Coco, for example, allows parents to teach their kids a lesson about death and other cultures. Short films like If Anything Happens, I Love You, show the ramifications of gun violence while also being a piece about learning to process through trauma and grief. Many of us are conditioned to just ignore the tough questions and expect them to go away. Animation can be a way of saying “No, let’s talk about this” and being able to explain it to young children and adults, thus being able to start difficult conversations. In the movie Inside Out, children learn how human emotions work on a complex level. Instead of happiness being the hero of the story, it’s more the problem when we face issues that are new and scary. This lesson is important to learn since, as a society, we are conditioned to not let our emotions out. Even adults who tell their children to “just put on a happy face” or “stop crying” learn that expressing all of our emotions is healthy for everyone to grow. We learn that happiness does not always help in difficult times, and that’s something everyone should know.
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