Minju Kang - Alpaca, 2021
The right hand that knows what the left is doing. Giovanni Gasparro, 2011
Jenisu - Cityscape #5, 2021
“Animation is just for kids!”
...Ok...Ok...Let’s take a look at some of that animation that’s “Just for kids,” shall we?
Adventure Time is a series that touches a lot on philosophical questions and theories, with one episode having one character ask “If just being born is the greatest act of creation then what are you supposed to do after that?”
Avatar: The Last Airbender dives deep into having characters question what is right and wrong when dealing with a horrible evil. Like, is it better to harm anybody, even the most innocent old man, just because their society is run by fascists? Should we torture those who tortured us? And should we really kill someone just because they are irredeemable? All hard questions, each with uneasy answers.
The Owl House has a powerful antagonist whose goal is to commit genocide on an entire race of innocent people due to being raced to believe that said people are evil, thus stating that the most dangerous people are the ones who are prejudiced and ignorant.
Centaurworld has a scene where a man tries to drown an elk. No, I’m not kidding. That happened. It was on screen and everything.
Encanto teaches a lesson on generational trauma, the pressures of living up to expectations, and stating that the best gift is being alive and having those around you.
And do I even have to say ANYTHING about Pixar?! The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Inside Out, Soul, and even Toy Story all have themes and morals that can speak to adults while also being simple enough for kids to understand.
But that’s just animation for kids. Let’s talk about animation for ADULTS, shall we?
South Park takes a comedic view of our society, poking fun in the many ways it’s broken.
The Breadwinner is a tense movie of a young, Afghan girl disguising herself as a boy so she can go out and make money so her family can survive.
Invincible has some of the most brutal scenes I’ve seen from a superhero series, including this moment with a train (you’ll know it when you see it) that was so horrific that, when it cut to black for a second, I saw the look of pure shock and terror of my face reflected onto my laptop.
And Bojack Horseman is the best adult-animated series I’ve ever seen because it tackles issues made for adults. Things like opium addiction, depression, the struggles of being asexual in a sex-driven world, and telling one truth that most adults need to hear. The truth that, in this life, you can’t live happily ever after. You’re alive, always have another problem to deal with, and then you’re dead. There’s no point, in this plane of existence, when you’re happy forever and ever. Because life’s a show, and when everybody’s happy, then there can’t be a show anymore.
Animation. Is not. For kids.
Animation is a medium that is often geared towards kids. And the reason why people keep saying it’s for kids is because they focus on the kids stuff and refuse to look at how mature some animated movies and shows can be.