A totally off-topic contemporary history of animated film
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19-01-2012, 12:01 PM
A totally off-topic contemporary history of animated film
WARNING: NOTHING TO DO WITH ATHEISM!!! JUST ME RAMBLING ABOUT CARTOONS.

Although, I am pressed to admit it, but I am a fan of animation. You can call them cartoons or whatever, but there has been a transition away from the traditional 2D medium to the current CGI-heavy epic animated movies. I am also a lover of culture and history and to see this transition occur so fast and within my lifetime is truly fascinating. I grew up with Disney films especially like Aladdin, Lion King, Pocahontas, and I just gravitated towards that style of expressing art.

In the news following Steve Jobs' death, I became more interested in the work he has done in his life such as becoming one of the founders of Pixar. The company hasn't always been the new kid on the block and it's history is fascinating - a true Cinderella story. Anyways, I watched a documentary regarding the "Dark Age" of Disney during the 1980s where the company almost fell apart. The fun thing is that it didn't and today is one of the largest corporations in the world. They referred to the 1990s as the "Disney Renaissance" and in retrospect, I guess that was a pretty accurate title for the era, of course the 1990s was a fairly prosperous decade for many different industries such as the video game, internet, and big-boxes, but that's for another conversation entirely. In this time frame, roughly between 1988 to 2000, Disney revived not just their own classical animation style, but along the way paved the foundation for other animators especially anime imports as the audience began to grow out of childish plots. When Toy Story came out in 1995, it shook the world and changed everything. By 1998, the Disney Renaissance began to lose steam and Disney's quality in storytelling declined. After a Bug's Life became yet another big-box office hit in 1998, Disney started to re-evaluate their animation department entirely. Disney started to take a backseat approach and just see what Pixar would do next. During the 2000s, Disney released hardly any original films that made significant profit - all the major sources of animated income came from their Pixar partner (Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Monsters INC, Cars, Ratatoulle, WALLE, and UP). 2D animation was dying. They were also seeing some fierce competition from DreamWork's film series Shrek.

However, some traditional elements did still remain. Hoping to ride the wave that Disney started in the late-80s, Japanese companies wished to enter the US-market with their own animated features. Remember AKIRA? Anime started to become a popular genre of animation to be seen in the US around the mid-90s, but it wouldn't explode into popularity until the late-90s with shows like Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, and Pokemon reaching audiences. It's neat to know how all of these trends are closely related despite having such diverse backgrounds and culture differences. Anime would really take off big in the US after the Adult Swim line-up would entertain more mature audiences throughout the 2000s. The AniMatrix, a collection of shorts based on the American film franchise the Matrix even further propelled the genre's interest. It is interesting to know that one of the roots of modern anime is classic Disney features like Snow White and Bambi.

After Disney acquired Pixar, it was the end of traditional animation at Disney Studios. Their last 2D films were released in 2006 and in 2009. Now Disney solely focuses on CGI films to satisfy audiences. Anime is still popular and has an ever-growing fanbase. I like to think of anime as the last chapter in 2D animation, the epilogue of the journey. After this decade, I don't even think that anime will survive much longer and Japanese companies will give into the pressure to create more CGI-heavy material.

TIMELINE AS I SEE IT:

The Disney Golden Age (1930s to 1981; Snow White to Fox and Hound)
Anime's First Wave (late-1970s to the early 1980s; Speed Racer/Battle of the Planets to Transformers)
The Disney Dark Age (1981 to 1988; F&H to Oliver and Company)
Anime's Second Wave (1987 to 1995; Akira/TMNT to Ghost in the Shell)
The Disney Renaissance (1989 to 1999; The Little Mermaid to Tarzan)
The Pixar Age (1995 to 2006; Toy Story to Cars)
The Anime Explosion (1995 to ???; Ghost in the Shell to ...)
The Post-Pixar Age (2006 to ???; Cars to ...)

What sort of animation do you prefer? Where do you think the artform is heading? Is 2D animation truly dead? Are you shocked by how fast the graphics in CGI has progressed in such a short period of time?
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19-01-2012, 03:20 PM
RE: A totally off-topic contemporary history of animated film
Anime won't survive much longer!? HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAQHAHAHAHAHAHAHsdnlfvkjHAHAHAHAHAHAHew;vewfbv;kfbvnk;u​bdfk;fbf\HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!1 THAT IS GOOD! MAN YOU"RE FUNNY!...............................................wait..............you're serious?............................................HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA​HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Haven't you been living under a rock!
The anime fanbase is stronger than ever. It's freaking ridiculous how many people love anime and even scary how powerful the community is. Anime isn't going away anytime soon. Trust me I know.

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19-01-2012, 04:52 PM
RE: A totally off-topic contemporary history of animated film
I seriously think that 2D is dying. I don't think that there are any new, innovative ways to revive the animation style. It's reasonable to call it in decline. I never said that Anime was dead... yet. I think we are getting pretty close to a peak for anime's popularity. I'm sure that the style would survive as more "Western"-based anime projects develop or maybe a hybrid of the CGI as I've seen some stuff now. Nothing lasts forever and eventually all 2D animation will be in the history books. That would be a good chapter though =p

And by what I mean as "dead" is that it is no longer relevant to the culture. Such as grunge music is still around, but it isn't reflected in the culture anymore. If I had to predict a year... I'd say probably 2022 as a year when anime would succumb to that "that's old" title.
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19-01-2012, 06:43 PM
RE: A totally off-topic contemporary history of animated film
I'm going to have to say no. 2D is capable of things that CGI cannot. 2D can be far more visual stimulating. The visuals of 2D are far more detailed than CGI. 2D will never die just like anime. Both will be around as long as there is an entertainment industry.

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