Animation on the rise

As we all know, back in March, the world came to a sudden halt as a global pandemic gripped the lives of every citizen, changing our perception of "normal." Seven months later, while we have beaten many aspects of the virus, there are still many parts of our lives that remain deeply changed or absent altogether. One of such thing that many of us took for granted before the lockdown were live action movies, for which we often waited with excitement every month to see what new films were being released.

Although some films are being produced under Covid-19 restrictions and some previously recorded ones have been released on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Disney Plus, many feel as if the movie-going experience is not at all the same. Hollywood’s solution to this growing problem for the entertainment industry: animated films.

Although animation itself has been around for decades, it is only in recent years that it has progressively grown in popularity through the rise of children’s cartoons, mature animation and other niches such as Japanese anime that Western society is growing to enjoy more and more. It is a highly detail-oriented field and incredibly difficult to learn, populated by only the most skilled artists who spend countless hours ensuring every part of their work is perfect. Stylized scenery, rousing scores and extremely emotive characters are just a few things that make the animation field incredibly unique.

“What I have always loved about animation is their ability to subtly portray moral dilemmas while utilizing beautiful art styles to tell their story," said San Joaquin Memorial senior Ellie Luchini when describing her love of animation.

Despite how unique and gorgeous animation is, the artistic content has often held second place in comparison to the always massive live-action industry. Now with the pandemic looming over all of us, Hollywood has turned to the animation industry. The artwork, animation process and voice acting is not as difficult to carry out as an ordinary movie; a large majority of animation production can be done remotely.

This is apparent with the prominence of new films and TV shows bursting from American studios, such as Disney Clone Wars sequel The Bad Batch or Pixar’s Soul and Raya and the Last Dragon. Cartoons that were long dormant are returning as well, such as the 90s classic Animaniacs returning on HBO alongside Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry reboots.

Japanese anime artists are also hard at work, with the world-renowned Studio Ghibli now working on new films Earwig and the Witch and How Do You Live? Many more animated projects are being announced and produced at an astonishing rate, as companies are attempting to fill the void in the static live-action industry.

However, some individuals did carry with them some apprehension over these changes. One such individual was Memorial sophomore Charlotte Burks, who, despite loving the animation industry, states she fears that "in the future, the surplus we have now will be disliked when we finally get the chance to have more variety with movies. Animation is an art, and I fear that after this people will see it more as a replacement or placeholder for live action rather than its own art form.”

She did however state that it would not take away from how much she loves the animation industry’s incredible creations, describing the process as “ incredible art form” no matter how it occurs.

Even when theaters begin opening up and less restrictions are placed upon the film productions, do not be surprised if a large amount of animated films and television shows continue to be pumped out for years after the world settles down. Whether it be for younger or older audiences, animation will always be vastly different than the general live action movie. The coronavirus pandemic however may cause it to take center stage for years to come, even when the world begins its journey back to normal.


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