Animations and Society

Recently I got into a conversation with Victor Franklin who was lamenting the lack of young adult and adult animation like anime. My view on this is quite nuanced so stay with me. Take this hypothesis for a second: American cultural works of art are subject to a particular halo effect that makes the rest of the world overrate(or rate highly, warranted or not) our cultural works of art. If true, then the parts of the American culture we find worthy of propagating is, in a sense, incompatible with animation. Some animations come around and are useful and vital in this regard. I am thinking of Toy Story 4, Pinocchio, Into The SpiderVerse, and the like, but in most cases, most animations targeted at young adults or adults fall flat and/or are made for children entirely. This is because America is such a fan of representation. Indeed, this laments the American lack of imagination that would stifle an animation for adults and young adults if it does indeed come out. My perspective is, as long as the art promotes universal values we all find important, it doesn’t matter who produces or stars in the art. Good is good.

Here’s another perspective, a free-market one. America does not need its own young adult animation because Japan and other countries have a comparative advantage in making animations for adults and young adults. America, excellent at making movies, should stick to that domain and operate at its efficient frontier. If it does indeed dabble into the art of animation for young adults, let the market decide if it is good or not. This assumes that the market is efficient. Given the halo effect hypothesis posited at the top of this post, there might be an inefficiency built into the market anyway. I would allot this post a 76% certainty rating.


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