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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

A New Generation in Animation

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A person animating on a computer. In recent years, animation has taken a new turn. (Courtesy of Unsplash)

In recent years, animated media has taken on an entirely new form. There has been a striking transition from animation being targeted toward younger audiences to now many series being labeled as adult animated series. While Walt Disney Studios and DreamWorks Animation have paved the way, other studios are challenging the stigmas surrounding animation.

Many people may hear the word animation and be reminded of childhood favorites such as “The Incredibles” or “Lilo and Stitch.” Certainly, these classics will always be treasured, but animation has developed past what people may perceive it as: just for children. “The Simpsons,” first released in 1989, may have been the first animated show that swayed slightly away from being only for young watchers. Since then, many other studios have rushed to attempt to follow the same concept, such as hit shows  “Bojack Horseman” and “Big Mouth.”

But in the past few years, there has been a rise in animation that is comparable to live-action media in their elaborate storylines and ambition. Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” as well as Netflix’s “Arcane” and “Blue Eye Samurai” are three great examples of this new form of media. Both “Arcane” and “Blue Eye Samurai” explore a wide range of complicated themes, ranging from social commentaries to trauma and mental health issues. 

“Arcane,” while originating from the popular video game, “League of Legends,” is an extremely plot-rich and engaging series. Watchers follow the story of two sisters and their heartbreaking diverging fates, while also exploring the fantastical world’s political challenges and countless other narratives. The animation is, without a doubt, revolutionary by having a distinct paint-like style, done through the use of 3D models, 2D visual effects and digitally hand-painted backgrounds. “Arcane’s” innovative capacity was proven by the show sweeping the 49th Annie Awards with nine category nominations and nine wins.

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“Blue Eye Samurai” is a new addition to Netflix, released on Nov. 3, 2023. Its plot can be best described as a violent quest for vengeance that explores the challenges surrounding revenge and honor. Taking place in Japan’s Edo period, many cultural and historical themes are also included. Beyond the very entertaining fight scenes, watchers will be made to question the moral implications of revenge and other difficult themes. However, viewers should be warned that this show includes many graphic scenes.

These shows’ messages are clear and powerful, nonetheless accompanied by striking visuals that could not be recreated in real life. It can even be argued that they can delve even deeper into challenging themes because of their freedom and control of visuals. With animation having no limits in character creation or setting, it can be easier to explore expansive topics.

The excitement for this new generation of animation is widespread; it can no longer be referred to as content targeted only toward children. If you want to explore this new revolution in animation, I would highly encourage you to check out both “Arcane” and “Blue Eye Samurai,” available on Netflix.

By Sophia Jones

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About the Contributor
Sophia Jones, Arts Editor
Hi, I’m Sophia and I am currently a senior and the Arts Editor for Dateline. I began writing for Dateline sophomore year, and I currently write about a wide range of topics revolving around the arts; including movies/series, music, etc. Outside of Dateline I enjoy playing sports and creative writing.

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    Natasha BhallaJan 29, 2024 at 8:49 am

    This was a really interesting read, Sophia! I’ve been reading about Miyazaki who I think also does a really beautiful job with animation!! Thanks for the article!

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