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Blog Post # 8: Violence in Animation

April 24, 2012

When I think of animated films or television shows, I tend to think about its appeal to a younger audience rather than an older one. In a previous blog written I did mention the production of adult-oriented animation, so clearly animations are made for everyone. However, we do notice a difference when it comes to displaying certain age-appropriate topics such as violence. The difference between a younger audience animation and an older audience animation regarding violence can be identified through the sound, setting, and lighting of the animation.Image

When looking at violence in animation, I focused on Looney Tunes (which is meant for a younger audience) and Batman (which is meant for an older audience). In Looney Tunes, violence is a source of comedy. Whether it be Wiley Coyote getting hurt from trying to catch Road Runner or Bugs Bunny’s attempt escape from Elmer Fudd. Every time a character gets hurt, it’s a source of comic relief and the audience is not scared or frightened. The lighting in each of the cartoons is very bright and often set during the day. They also use light and bright colors to portray the setting, whether it be in the forest or the desert. Finally, the happy and joyful sounds used to introduce the characters makes for a pleasurable show.

When we look at Batman, a different tone is used to express the violence. Batman is a hero who fights crime in Gotham city. He mainly uses his strength and gadgets to fight against his villains, but when he does you can tell the violence is not meant for comedic relief. For one, the lighting is very dark and mysterious. The sound is low and almost daunting because it builds up the suspense. Finally, the setting also promotes that violence in this show is meant for an older audience. The setting takes place in the city, in which everything is very dangerous and unstable. This prepares the audience for a different take on violence compared to Looney Tunes.

In the end, violence portrayed in animation is different between the older and younger audiences. For younger audiences, the violence is portrayed as a comedic relief and for older audiences it is portrayed as a source of suspense and of course, action.


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  1. What I always found interesting was that the comedy seen in these younger shows, such as Looney Toons, are often much more violent in a real world sense than the violence seen in the older cartoons, and yet we judge what it violent based on the repercussions of the violence. Sure, an anvil can drop on Wile E. Coyote’s head, but if he just accordions off, then it is no big deal. If someone is shot off camera and dies, we immediately jump to seeing that as the more violent act, not because shooting someone is any more or less violent than dropping an anvil on someone, but because the person who was shot is dead, while Wile E. Coyote recovers by the next scene.

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