University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

Why is Animation so Disregarded, Disrespected and Devalued?

Jemimah Kayode

ByJemimah Kayode

Apr 25, 2024

I have always had a deep love and respect for animation. It has provided me with heart-touching moments, awesome fight scenes and conveyed  the power of the human voice. I’ve found myself heartbroken by the deaths and decisions of animated characters as if I was watching a real person, (flashback to Tadashi Hamada from Big Hero 6)). And I am constantly wowed by the details and choreographies in fight scenes, such as Kimetsu no Yaiba.

Animation conveys a range of emotions, heart-wrenching scenes and brutal fights better than many live-action shows or movies, so why is it so disregarded, disrespected and devalued? If everything was animated, imagine how little people would complain about bad CGI in superhero movies and shows (looking at you The Flash (2014-2023)). We wouldn’t have to suffer through bad CGI, and more events could have a much bigger and reliable scale, as the cost of production and other things wouldn’t be as high. Furthermore, animators put so much time and effort into creating these wonderful stories for us to view and enjoy so shouldn’t they be recognised?

One of the reasons animation isn’t taken seriously is due to the fact that many people see it as childish. However, this is just not the case. Whilst it’s true that there is a lot of animated media geared towards children there is also a lot of animated media geared towards adults. For instance, Rick and Morty, Bojack Horseman, and Invincible, all of which have proven time and again (with their inclusion of alcohol abuse and mature themes) that animation is not just for children. Although that is not to say that children’s animated shows are only for children, or that only children can find enjoyment in them. TV shows like Steven’s Universe, Adventure Time, and even Bluey are all shows that teens and adults can and have enjoyed. They’ve tackled themes like abandonment, awful parenting and death, in ways that are both educational and entertaining allowing both children and adults to enjoy it. My personal favourite is Steven’s Universe for its portrayal of deep topics such as abusive/parasitic relationships, self-acceptance and morality.

However, I will say that in recent years animation has been gaining more love, praise and popularity due to successes like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bojack Horseman, and Invincible. These forms of media have exposed more people to the idea that animation is not solely for children, allowing more people to respect it as a medium. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is widely lauded as a movie with both an amazing storyline and ground-breaking graphics. Furthermore, series like Bojack Horseman prove that animation can delve into controversial topics such as mental health, and topical issues in a way that does not mock it. Finally, Invincible 

Whilst it’s true that animation has its own category at award shows, it is still and has been ridiculed at these events. For instance, at the Oscars in 2022 several jokes were made about how animated movies are for children and that adults have to “endure” them. This was a huge insult to the art form  and the people who pour  so much of their time and hard work into producing these movies. These comments were made the same year that Encanto came out and became a viral sensation on TikTok where many people of all ages commented on how much they loved and enjoyed it. Furthermore, animated movies are rarely contenders for best picture. As of 2024, there have only been 3 animated films that have been nominated for best picture at the Oscars, Beauty and the Beast (1991), Up, and Toy Story 3. In addition, the Best Animated Feature award was only created in 2001, despite the first animated movie being created over 100 years ago.

I wholeheartedly recommend that you start watching animated entertainment more if you don’t already. If you have no idea where to start, I’m giving you a list of recommendations. If you’re looking for action I recommend Arcane, and Invincible, which have blood, gore and violence that is almost on par with The Boys. If you’re more into romance I recommend Your Name. And if fantasy-based entertainment is your thing, I recommend Hilda, Adventure Time, The Legend of Vox Machina and The Dragon Prince. Finally, if you want to watch something unsettling, but not too horrific, I recommend Over the Garden Wall.  

Leave a Reply