Boys Matter Too — Portrayals in Cartoons

Boys Matter Too — Portrayals in Cartoons

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions, Featured Posts
Female portrayals are improving immensely within the arena of modern-day cartoons. Alongside the increase of women showrunners, writers, and storyboard artists within the animation industry, many female characters are being placed in the roles of leaders, fighters, and influential advocates. A few examples include: Star Butterfly of Star Vs. the Forces of Evil, Marinette Dupain-Cheng of Miraculous Ladybug, many of the Crystal Gems in Steven Universe, and essentially all of the central female characters in the Avatar franchise.   Previous articles including: Star Vs. the Force of Evil: Subtle Feminism Top 10 Female Characters in Animated Television DC Superhero Girls: Capitalizing on Female Empowerment Where are the Girl-Crazed Boys in Animation Is Japanese Anime Misogynistic? discuss both the issues of, and improvements being made in, female portrayals within animated works; however, many of these articles…
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Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters — Deep Dive Review

Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters — Deep Dive Review

Blog, Cartoons, Deep Dive
The Deep Dive segment of Animation Discourse is meant to explore popular cartoons, anime, and animated film to ultimately determine what makes for excellent animated works.   Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters is a Netflix Original series produced in part by Hasbro Studios. It was released in October of 2017, and has received mixed, but positive-skewed, reviews since.   As mentioned in a previous article: "Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters is reminiscent of a combination of both Spectacular Spiderman and Ben 10: Alien Force. The series is actually produced and directed by Victor Cook who worked on the former project, and it definitely shows in both its art style and dialogue points."   In the present-day animation market, which uses Marvel’s Spiderman as its keystone superhero series, Stretch Armstrong offers…
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Mysticons Revisited: Updated Review 2018

Mysticons Revisited: Updated Review 2018

Blog, Cartoons, Hidden Gems, Reviews
Back in August 2017, I published a first-impression review of the Canadian animated series Mysticons. At the time, I had some critiques that still stand to this day; however, I have come to realize that I vastly underestimated the quality and potential of the series.   Synopsis: 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…
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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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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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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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Teen Titans GO! Does it Really Deserve all of this Hate?

Teen Titans GO! Does it Really Deserve all of this Hate?

Blog, Cartoons, Reviews
When you hear the words Teen Titans you probably think of a kick-ass superhero team consisting of an alien, shapeshifter, humanoid robot, half-demon witch, and a regular boy in a mask who, for whatever reason, is unanimously selected to lead the team. In terms of the Teen Titans' place on television, you probably reminisce about the animated series that aired from 2003-2007—a series that is full of action, story, character development, and most importantly, heart.   Many animation enthusiasts who were born in the 90's and raised in the 2000's, remember Teen Titans as one of their favourite animated series growing up. Many have fond memories tied to it that has defined their childhood right alongside the popular titles of Danny Phantom, Kim Possible, Justice League Unlimited, and Avatar: The Last Airbender.  The early-to-mid 2000's didn't showcase anything notable in the world of animation aside…
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The Loud House: A Charming Series About Family

The Loud House: A Charming Series About Family

Blog, Cartoons, Reviews
Chris Savino and Nickelodeon bring cartoon fanatics alike the hit series The Loud House. With modern animated series about crystal gems protecting Earth, magical princess from alternate dimensions, and ladybug-themed superheroes wielding indestructible yo-yos, it’s oddly refreshing to watch a slice-of life animated series with its simple central premise being life in a large family. The Loud House stars Lincoln Loud, an 11-year-old kid and his daily life in being the only boy in a family of 13. Along with his two parents who are typically faceless characters, Lincoln has five older sisters and five younger, being the exact middle child.   The series has been receiving much praise for its heart and old-school charm. Some vocal animation enthusiasts even go as far as to call it Nickelodeon’s trump card and savior. Although these…
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Sym-bionic Titan: Why Merchandising and Quality Animation Don’t Mix

Sym-bionic Titan: Why Merchandising and Quality Animation Don’t Mix

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions
Sym-bionic Titan is an American animated series that was unfortunately cancelled before it even had a chance to establish itself. Created by the legendary Genndy Tartakovsky, who is also responsible for the creation and production of Dexter's Laboratory  and Samurai Jack, Sym-bionic Titan was extremely promising. But because it only lived through a short 20-episode run, it wasn't able to establish a strong enough fan base to successfully protest against its cancellation.   The series centers a princess (Ilana) and her two guardians (Lance and Octus) who witness the hostile takeover of their home planet, so flee to Earth for the sake of keeping Ilana's safe. Because they are being hunted by antagonists from their home planet, they decide to hide in plain sight by posing as a human family. What drives the series' premise is that the protagonists are…
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Star & Marco’s Guide to Mastering Every Dimension: Animation & Book Publishing

Star & Marco’s Guide to Mastering Every Dimension: Animation & Book Publishing

Blog, Critical Discussions, Reviews
Book publishing appears to be moving in an upwards trend in relation to animated television. In selling merchandise, but doing so in a "sophisticated" way, book publishing seems to carry more of a favorable connotation than toy production. Star Vs. the Forces of Evil has recently published the title Star and Marco's Guide to Mastering Every Dimension, and in being willing to turn away from children's merchandising in favor of published works implies that the creators are targeting a slightly older audience.   Lets discuss something important before moving on with this topic: Does producing merchandise for animated television series devalue its creative integrity? As mentioned in a past post about the commodification of female empowerment in animation, this isn't necessarily an issue: In order to create content there has to be financial payoff…
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