Thursday, January 29, 2009


Recently, I went back home for the holidays and I realize I was getting older when every cartoon, my youngest cousin watches, just seemed unintelligible for me, they were boring and uninteresting; exactly the reaction my mother used to have towards the cartoons I used to, and still love.

There was one about a school for animals where a kid was enrolled by mistake, because his name was Lion (that was what my cousin explained to me) actually what I could see was a crab pinching everything it could pinch; and I found my cousin laughing at that, I couldn’t find out why it was so funny.

He is 9 years old, I remember I used to see much more complex cartoons at the time, so I start chatting with my brother about the cartoons we used to watch and then we realized that most of them were anime, the anime created in the late 70’s early 80’s, some of it based on classical literature pieces like Remi and Heidi, or coming from the manga such as Astroboy, Mazinger Z, G force, Candy Candy, Saint Seya, Captain Tsubasa, Fly or from comics like He-Man, She-ra, Batman, X-Men, Spiderman or some from Rankin/Bass like Thundercats and Silverhawks.

At seven years old we were already dealing with different kinds of narratives and themes; big dramas, Remi sold by his stepfather, the blindness and death of Mr. Vitallis, the death of Antony, the renounced love for Terry, with stories that included obscure heroes and psycho-killer villains with complex personalities, the seven different universes of Spiderman or the messed temporality in X-Men.

I’ve recently watch Lady Oscar, and as a kid there are a lot of things to decode, first of all she is an androgynous hero, both women and men seems to be attracted to her, then there are complex plots developed like: the role of woman in the society, infidelity, rape, suicide, lose, violence, human rights; the very regard towards love is always unfortunate, unrequited, forbidden, long-suffering, and it never drives the characters to happiness but to sorrow; also de narrative, the images; static, dark or lighten, full of allegories, symbolism, metaphors.

For what I’ve seen the cartoons today are coming back to a simpler narrative, like the early Warner Brothers ones, Bugs Bunny making fun of Daffy Duck or Tom and Jerry, running around until the cat gets injured and make kids laugh. Even mythic comics like X-Men become simpler, making all of them a bunch of teenagers, with stereotypes of the urban sub-culture youth. It is like the new cartoons makers are following the philosophy under the Newspeak from 1984 George Orwell novel, making them simpler and avoiding any intellectual effort from the kids. Who is producing this content? Is it our generation that was tired of drama and complexity? They didn’t want to cause any unnecessary tears?

I know maybe some of the big trauma at least from my brother and I started with cartoons, but they also developed our decoding skills and made us get interest in media; not for nothing we ended up studying communication.


popkitchen said...

X-Men, ha? that's what you get with the proximity to the US.

We, close to the Eastern bloc got this:

Vlada remembers it, me not so much. But classic Disney, Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner, that's my thing. Smurfs.
My brother watched Transformers on the cable TV (late eighties) in either English or more likely German.

Caipiroska alla Fragola said...

Oohh! hehehe this is child stuff, not what I used to watch... thats why your not messed up hehehe