Why is it that Animation isn't taken seriously in the U.S.?

Discussion in 'The toonzone - General Animation Discussion' started by SkullRing, May 29, 2007.

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  1. SkullRing

    SkullRing Member

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    I mean, most people think of animation as kids stuff and what I want to know is why and what can we do to counter that perception.
     
  2. BCVM22

    BCVM22 Active Member

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    No one here is going to be able to give you a definitive "why." People can surmise, sure, but it's public perception, which is often something that differs for every individual, and so there isn't one single answer to give.

    There's nothing "we" can do, really. Public perception is an impossible beast to tame. You could put up billboards, run ads, hand out flyers and you wouldn't be able to change much.

    But you know what? It doesn't matter. Of all the terrible, stereotypical misconceptions the public and society at large accept as truth, this really isn't one of them. It's cartoons. Usually if cartoons and questions of society as a whole cross paths, it's someone overreacting or reading too much in to something. Watch what you watch, enjoy what you enjoy, and if someone questions it, explain it to them. End of story.
     
  3. Simpler Simon

    Simpler Simon Always in Style

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    animation is not kids stuff in the u.s. Look at simpsons, king of the hill, family guy, american dad, etc.

    i think the question ppl are really asking is why we can't get more stylized action shows with blood, violence, death, etc. that specifically appeal to teens and young adults. thats a fairly different question.
     
  4. Antiyonder

    Antiyonder Amalgam Universe Overlord
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    My short answer is that some adults are open to watching cartoons, especially some kid target ones, but avoid them to fit the sterotype of being the perfect mature adult. The irony is that forcefeeding maturity itself is immature.

    You can see my full take on that here:

    http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=190553

    If someone were to create a survey asking teens/adults if they like cartoons, and the higher percentage is pro towards cartoons, then I'd image public perception would to a degree change. After all if it was proven that the higher percentage of people (especially teens/adults) like cartoons, then the whole "it's not normal for adults" arguement wouldn't hold water.
     
  5. Gokou Ruri

    Gokou Ruri Wielder of the dark arts.

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    Since when? Simpsons, Family Guy, and all of Fox's other adult animation does extremely well in the 18+ ratings. I'd say it's accepted just fine.
     
  6. Antiyonder

    Antiyonder Amalgam Universe Overlord
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    I believe SkullRing is refering to animation in general, not just Simpsons, King Of The Hill and Adult Swim.
     
  7. Gokou Ruri

    Gokou Ruri Wielder of the dark arts.

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    I'd say the fact most of the adult animation made is accepted and popular is a pretty good track record, myself. Unless he meant why adults don't take kids animation seriously... but why should adults accept kids shows if they don't want to?
     
  8. SkullRing

    SkullRing Member

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    Well, I've also always wondered why there is very little serious animation for adults in the U.S.A.. It seems that all the animation for adults is comedies.
     
  9. Antiyonder

    Antiyonder Amalgam Universe Overlord
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    Because some shows aimed towards the younger audience has proven to be entertaining to adults:

    Batman The Animated Series-Justice League Unlimited
    Gargoyles
    Kim Possible

    Even the TMNT movie.

    Yes, there are animated shows for kids and for adults, but you forget to consider the rare but existing family animation. And while the recent Spider-Man cartoon will obviously be for the younger demograph, the crew behind it seem to be intent to also include us old folks along for the ride.

    I'm not saying they have to like, but don't just assume they dislike. I myself wasn't sure I'd enjoy Kim Possible, given the tween shows on the Disney Channel preceeding it. However, I viewed the first 3 to 4 episodes and ended up enjoying it.
     
  10. Gokou Ruri

    Gokou Ruri Wielder of the dark arts.

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    No market for it, really. That's why 90%+ of animation in the world is for kids. That's where the money is.
     
  11. Henk55

    Henk55 Member

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    I'm much more annoyed with networks people stereotyping cartoons. Which represents itself in all the generical wonkiness in "designed for kids" cartoons, like "what network shirt thinks kids like." I really hate that phrase "designed for kids." Real fun cartoons weren't really "designed for kids" they were designed by their creators as what they thought was fun.
     
  12. Kagetsu

    Kagetsu Hooligan

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    Saturday morning and censors.

    In the beginning, the only US animation was Disney "Fariey tale" movies and Saturday morning tv cartoons, that the censors cut any and violence from and came to the point that only stories that showed cooperation and the "group is right" were allowed.
     
  13. Jave

    Jave Beware of the SPLAT
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    There is a market. They just can't seem to find it.
     
  14. Jeff Harris

    Jeff Harris Creator/Webmaster, TXB

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    Why? Because the baby boomer generation was the first to see animation as a television medium exclusively, theatrical shorts were formatted with kid-friendly hosts, and these children grew up with the mentality that animation is purely for kids, thus continuing that belief when they became in power in the mid-70s, 80s, 90s, and today.

    I talked about that many moons ago in this article. Nobody really reads the site anymore, but I digress.

    How can that perception be reversed? When my generation, the children of the late 70s and the 80s, take over. When you look at an outfit like Williams Street, it's mostly comprised of members of this generation in producer and production roles. Look at a guy like Seth McFarlane, and it's evident that the shows of that era are deeply ingrained within him.

    The moment when the perception of animation being only kid-vid fodder will shift when the so-called Generation X members take higher positions of power within the industry.
     
  15. HG Revolution

    HG Revolution Truth (with crazy opinions!)

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    Then please explain why Princess Mononoke was so huge in Japan, or why many people I know thought the anime scene in Kill Bill was one of the best parts.
     
  16. tb4000

    tb4000 Active Member

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    When creators attempt to make more adult oriented fare, it doesn't always provide the neccessary response(read: profit) that kiddies do. Look at most of the animated trailers for animated movies. There may be one or two clever jokes or pieces of dialogue, but most of the is burp and fart jokes and slapstick.
     
  17. Gokou Ruri

    Gokou Ruri Wielder of the dark arts.

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    Mononoke is not for adults, it's a family movie like Disney's stuff. Some blood, violence, and death doesn't make something adult, since that stuff can be found in tons of Disney movies. Kill Bill, well, that's a focused example since it's based off first-hand knowledge from you and your friends. I doubt the majority of people who watched it did so for the animated sequence. Even so, it's a live-action movie most of the time so it will be considered as such.

    Even in Japan, animation is still mostly for kids and any series for adults doesn't do nearly as well as the kids stuff (that's why the top 10 animated shows are always kids stuff) The fact Family Guy and other adult shows make it to the top of the animated list in America means Americans are more open to adult animation than Japan is. Of course, I doubt a lot of anime fans would accept that and try to refute it.
     
  18. HG Revolution

    HG Revolution Truth (with crazy opinions!)

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    Really? Mononoke felt more like Tolkien than Disney to me, and I recall Miyazaki saying the film wasn't appropriate for elementary school children. Also, Porco Rosso is definitely an adult-oriented movie according to Miyazaki.

    In general, I guess serious adult animation is a lost cause. Then again, adults in general are lost causes as well. Kids soak up everything, then teenagers and young adults become more critical, but by the time you hit 30 or so the beast of nostalgia seems to kick in and you get scared of anything new and exciting. Family Guy is huge with older people mostly because they watched The Simpsons and similar shows when they were younger. Experimental movies marketed directly at adults tend to flop (even Citizen Kane did so). Stuff aimed directly at kids isn't taken seriously by teens and up for the most part, so that's bad business in general. So I'd say that the best way for animation (and film in general) to go is to market more work to the family crowd that will be appreciative of creativity, perhaps with looser, more Japan-like standards of what is appropriate for families.
     
  19. MonkeyFunk

    MonkeyFunk Kids and grown-ups love me so

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    I could be wrong, but the USA doesn't seem to have any notable organisations that are willing to fund and promote offbeat animation. I'd say that round about half of the UK's animation (roughly speaking - it's hard to quantify) is adult-oriented, and a good proportion of that seems to be non-comedy; a lot of the thanks for this has to go to Channel 4's funding schemes. Similarly, Canada has its National Film Board, which has produced a lot of great stuff over the years. Does the USA have an equivalent?
     
  20. launchpad25

    launchpad25 Member

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    I always use to think that Japan is more open to adult animation that America. Sure the mind set has changed a bit in America, but i never thought that adult animation would now be frowned upon in Japapn. Am i missing something.
     
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