Selling Out?: Hasbro’s Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters

Selling Out?: Hasbro’s Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters

Blog, Cartoons, Reviews
From My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (2010 – present)  to Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015 – 2017)  Hasbro Studios has been behind the production of a wide variety of animated television and web series. As one of the largest toy-manufacturing companies in the world, it’s no surprise that the creation of its sudio’s series are directly tied to merchandising.   Hasbro is not the first production company that uses merchandising as a way to justify the hefty financial investment that corresponds with animation. In fact, Disney has used this business strategy for decades in order to increase its project’s revenues outside of the big and small screen. The difference between Disney’s production however, is that storytelling is of upmost priority, while toy sales only follow. On the other hand,…
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Existentialism in Cartoons: Bojack Horseman and Rick & Morty

Existentialism in Cartoons: Bojack Horseman and Rick & Morty

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions, Featured Posts
To the average person, cartoons are viewed as a form of stress-free entertainment targeted at children. This category of television is rarely expected to dive deep into philosophical concepts centering reality as we currently know it. And it is most definitely not synonymous to an immersive vehicle that evokes thought-including questions about life, death, and existence as a whole. However, the series Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman have truly altered the way in which many people view television animation, in that they have introduced an abundance of blunt self-awareness which centers many plot points and character qualities within the two programs.   More importantly, these elaborate series have showcased the fact that animation as a genre can have a relatable layer of existential complexity within its storytelling.   Existentialism is the philosophical thought that "existence…
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Mysticons: New Series, Great Potential?

Mysticons: New Series, Great Potential?

Blog, Cartoons, Reviews
As of August 2017, Nickelodeon has added a brand new animated series to to its roster of hosted content. Mysticons emerged quietly into the television scene without much of a heads up, but has been gaining plenty of online attention as of late. Produced by Nelvana and Corus Entertainment—two Canadian production companies specializing in children's programming, specifically animation—has created a series that could potentially become a hit in this day and age online cartoon fandoms. The show surrounds a group of four teenagers, Arkayna, Piper, Emerald, and Zarya, who are brought together through a acquisition quest of the "Dragon disk", an ancient artifact that is held in the royal ranks of Drake City. This artifact has caught the eye of evil perpetrators who would like to use it's power to revive…
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Cartoon Network’s Scheduling Woes

Cartoon Network’s Scheduling Woes

Blog, Cartoons, Uncategorized
Recently, the "Big Three" animation television networks—Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney XD—have been relentlessly targeted for their less-than-favorable program scheduling. Cartoon Network specifically has been receiving quite a bit of cyberspace hate from grieving animation fanatics for months on end. Cartoon Network is being accused of selling-out creatively, for profit—two elements that are, by nature, polarizing. But ever since the release of Teen Titans GO! the checkerbox network has been coming under relentless fire.   Let's take a look at this week's schedule. Out of all of the series that Cartoon Network currently airs, 46% (164 episodes) during the second week of August was occupied by Teen Titans GO! reruns. Now anyone who has seen a video of why Teen Titans GO! is an absolute disgrace is aware of the complaints plaguing the series and…
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OK K.O.! Let’s be Heroes: Surprisingly Endearing

OK K.O.! Let’s be Heroes: Surprisingly Endearing

Blog, Cartoons, Reviews
In 2013, the pilot for OK K.O.! Let's be Heroes was created and released through Cartoon Network's Summer Shorts program. Despite its positive reception, the now hugely popular series Steven Universe was, unregrettfully, chosen from the pack instead. However, 4 years later, OK K.O.! finally earned its long-awaited chance to shine. On August 1st, 2017, Cartoon Network released four 11-minute episodes followed by multiple more during the days following, granting the series its starting momentum to reach potential heights. Ever since this K.O.! bomb, the series has been receiving plenty of hype throughout various online platforms and is starting off with a 8.4/10 rating on IMDB.   OK K.O.! is an episodic series told from the perspective of Ko—a young boy who tags along with his mother to work at the Lakewood Plaza Strip Mall. While his…
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Creator Spotlight: Lauren Faust

Creator Spotlight: Lauren Faust

Blog, Creator Spotlight, Uncategorized
The Nickelodeon Animation Podcast is a phenomenal resource for anyone who would like to learn about the animation industry from established creatives. Each episode features known professionals, whether it be directors, producers, storyboard artists, animators, or voice actors, to share their personal insights related to their involvement of some capacity within the animation production pipeline. This podcast is a gem to anyone who is looking to pursue a career in animation, or even to those who are only slightly interested in animation as a form of storytelling. The inspiration for this article is owed to Episode 18 of the Nickelodeon Animation Podcast featuring the infamous producer, writer, and storyboard artist, Lauren Faust.   Lauren Faust is an incredible woman. She has worked on the Powerpuff Girls, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends,…
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Watching Animation Critically.

Watching Animation Critically.

Blog, Critical Discussions, Featured Posts
Progressive. Deep. Intriguing. Complex. These words are not often associated with Americanized animation.   In most cases, cartoons are presented as naïve works that double as a stand-in babysitter for young children. Animation is historically not meant to be taken seriously. But I believe that all media content that we are exposed to should be approached at least partially from a critical perspective. We should analyze the content that we consume, whether it be music, television, film, or video games, as each of these cannot escape socialized structures that we live within—and in many cases, are desensitized to. The reason why animation, along with other media, should be viewed critically is because they are created within structures that both emphasize and reflect our daily lives. As a result, many animated…
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Hidden Gems: Delta State

Hidden Gems: Delta State

Blog, Cartoons, Hidden Gems, Reviews
What if you were able to lucid dream on command? What if you tapped into a realm of the subconscious every time you did so? And what if skilled mind hitmen were attempting to control the human psyche by entering this realm?   Delta State is a Canadian animated series that premiered on Teletoon in 2004. It has one season of 26 episodes that completes an entire story arch, with plans for a second season being denied the chance to see the light of day due to low ratings. The series didn't attract a huge audience, possibly, because of it's unorthodox animation style, compelling storyline, and Canadian origin. But the main culprit for its unfortunate cancellation (based on keen detective skills) is over the fact that Delta State was simply too…
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Canadian Animation: Will it Ever Catch Up?

Canadian Animation: Will it Ever Catch Up?

Blog, Cartoons, Uncategorized
Oh, Canada. The land of maple syrup, beavers, and low-quality animated works, apparently.   As a Canadian, it truly pains me to insult my favourite form of entertainment that originates from my very own country. However, Canada isn’t exactly known for being at the frontier of acclaimed animated works. Some examples of these low-rated series include: Johnny Test  Angela Anaconda Jimmy Two-Shoes George of the Jungle Rocket Monkeys   Many American production companies are outsourcing the animation of various television series to Canada (mainly because of its depleting dollar value, which is a selling point to US-based producers). So despite having created less than favorable works, Canada has actually had its hand on the technical animation of some acclaimed titles that are currently on air: Rick and Morty  Bob's Burgers My Little…
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Is Japanese Anime Misogynistic?

Is Japanese Anime Misogynistic?

Anime, Blog, Critical Discussions, Featured Posts
Anime has changed the way that many people watch American animation. After being widely-introduced to US cable in 1997 through the beloved Toonami segment of Adult Swim, viewers began to expect more from animation in general. More specifically, they began to crave continuity, overarching plots, and character development. And as the 2010s approached, they began to truly see the impact that the complexity of anime has had on American works.   Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Voltron: Legendary Defender, Steven Universe, the list goes on.   The new decade raised young creators who grew up watching anime and who genuinely believed that American animation could follow suit in telling deep and intriguing stories.   Japanese animation is treated as an inspiration because it conquers American storytelling and visual quality on many fronts; however, as great…
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