Animation deserves more respect


A collage of anime characters by poster Sofia Evangelidou on AsianMoviePulse.comon February 14, 2020.

We all watched animated cartoons or anime growing up, based our bedrooms on Disney movie characters, or played video games until the sun came up. But have we ever truly recognized how animation was behind all of this? 

Animation is an art in which still images are manipulated into life-like form. These animations are given human-like characteristics just like the characters in movies played by live actors or actresses. 

Animated work varies between TV shows, movies, cartoons, video games, advertisements, and so many more. Animation has no boundaries. Despite all of this, animation does not receive the appreciation, respect, and recognition it deserves. 

For example, there are only two awards given away at The Academy Awards for animated work, while there are 24 total categories. At this year’s Award show, Encanto won “Best Animated Feature.” For comparison, four awards were given for acting alone on that night. 

Not to mention, when presenting the award for Best Animated Feature this year, multiple hosts made “jokes” that implied animation is for children, and that adults basically have to put up with it. 

While animation is often seen as a children’s genre, that is not the case. Props to animated kids’ shows and movies such as Spongebob or Coraline for supplying animated work with some popularity and virtually raising us, but animation is so much more than that. 

Animation covers all genres and can be appreciated and enjoyed by everyone. Multiple channels on television such as Adult Swim or Cartoon Network have animated shows or movies that are aimed at adult audiences.

Or, as another example, take anime. Anime is a style of animation that originated in Japan and is not always appropriate for children. In 2020, when streaming was the only entertainment field that experienced growth, the global anime market made $814 million. However, animated work aimed towards adults often goes unnoticed, and is not given the recognition it deserves. 

And despite the fact that the field of animation doesn’t always get the respect it deserves, it was animation that held up the entertainment industry when COVID-19 pushed the movie industry to disorder and confusion.

During the midst of the pandemic, trying to bring a film crew and actors into a studio was hardly an option. This put a temporary restriction on the film industry because of the fear of actors and production crew potentially spreading the virus. 

However, animation could be done remotely and still churn out entertainment. In a 2020 piece from Cartoon Brew, an animation news website, former Disney producer and writer Aaron Simpson argued that animation studios were well placed to adapt to interruptions caused by the pandemic. 

The demand for animation significantly increased during the virus outbreak. Despite keeping the entertainment industry afloat, this artistic medium hardly gets the recognition or respect it unquestionably deserves. 

What most people may not even realize about animation, is that it’s in just about any movie or show we watch these days because of CGI. CGI, which is Computer-Generated Imagery, can be used for small things such as adding or removing objects into a background, or replacing actors and sets completely. 

In the recent hit movie “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” that grossed nearly two billion in the box office, unmeasurable amounts of CGI were used throughout the film. CGI is used in practically every movie or show at this point because it can be used for just about anything. However, most people don’t even realize they’re watching animation when CGI is used because many don’t realize that it is a form of animation.

One final example of the lack of respect for animation is the lack of respect for the animators themselves. We can all name a favorite actor, actress, or producer. But how many of us can name a favorite animator? 

What some don’t realize is that animators aren’t born overnight. Aspiring animators put just as much effort and practice into their work as actors or actresses do. 

It’s a form of art and a medium of entertainment, not just a children’s genre and definitely not something that is to be “endured.” Animation itself and animators should be respected and appreciated the same way live actors, actresses, and filming crews are. 

Animators vastly influenced our childhood and will continue to do so into adulthood. Now is the time to reconsider this medium as art and rightly appreciate it the same way we appreciate film crews.