Adult Animation Revolution: How Journalists Can Change The Public Perception Of Animation

by Tito W. James

As a fan of prestige animation for adult audiences, I believe we’re in a golden age. You can find more Western animated shows exploring new genres than ever before. The ease of access to animation from Japan and other countries has exposed a whole new generation to the limitless narrative possibilities of animation. In my view, works like Spider-Verse, Genndy Tartakovky’s Primal, and Arcane are among best we’ve ever seen from the medium. However, even with all this artistic innovation, recognition of animation’s narrative potential still lags behind in terms of wide public perception.

The problem is that there isn’t enough middle-ground between “industry websites” and “fandom-based” YouTube channels. Only industry pros or aspiring animators have heard of or utilize websites like Cartoonbrew, Catsuka, or read Animation Magazine. YouTubers like Rebel Taxi or SaberSpark have large viewerships but really cater to people who are already eyes-deep in cartoons.

Additionally, there’s also an air of negativity that permeates too much discussion of animation online. Not everyone wants to sift through the banality of corporate mergers, scandals, and industry politics. It’ll be hard to take cartoon coverage seriously if we keep making YouTube videos with titles like “This Reboot SUCKS!!!”

What is lacking is enough media coverage that introduces casual audiences to the fact that animation is a complex, narratively sophisticated, artistic medium. There are innovative animated programs being made every year– so why aren’t more entertainment news outlets highlighting them?

I commend The Hollywood Reporter for doing an Animation Roundtable discussion and Variety for  spotlighting 10 rising animation Stars. I implore entertainment news sites with more traffic to do more. There’s more than enough coverage on how cinema is dead, meanwhile there’s an ecosystem of creativity and artistic innovation that goes unrecognized. Animation is Cinema and should be given the attention and critical analysis is deserves.

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