The Magic of Animation: Introduction

Does animation do a better job of sharing emotions than live-action media?

Television and Film have an incredible way to sharing our stories with other humans.  Comedy or Drama, classic or novel, we are enraptured with this amazing art form.  Most agree that the magic comes from the way emotions can be expressed in such a raw way.  I had taken the “stiff upper lip” approach to expressing emotions from my teenage years to just a few years ago.  Like the Vulcans of Star Trek, I deeply felt what was going on around me, but made minimal expressions in public.  Sometimes I made this decision to show an image of strength during a difficult time.  Other times, I wanted to be viewed as cerebral, above the raging waters of the emotions (as Tuvok would describe). 

The last three years have been transformative for me in this area.  I have been able to more easily express the happy and sad moments.  One constant I have found is how animated stories have broken me through a difficult moment.  The first time I watched Moana in theaters, I couldn’t get over the detail of each part of the movie.  The emotional range from fear to fearless, shattered to restored, trapped to free, made me realize that I needed to get outside of my head and see the world around me.   More recently, in my job hunt, I was at a particularly low point.  Several applications and interviews had been declined.  I decided to watch Frozen II to get away from my current situation.  The faces of each of the sisters have an identical visual “twin” from live-action movies.  I could even see a direct comparison to specific shots of well-known actors.  What a tribute to real emotions being expressed!  My personal connection in that viewing was in the songs “Into the Unknown” and “The Next Right Thing” as I trudged through my morning routine for the next two weeks.  I was surprised by an unknown job posting that appeared out of nowhere one Tuesday morning.  I had been offered the job that I wanted and now they had room for me.  Not unlike Anna stumbling through that cave to the light of the morning, a sense of relief and a renewed sense of self overwhelmed me.

When I started writing this post, I was going to do a short review of how each of these specific shows were able to demonstrate strong emotional expressions and difficult life choices.  However, I after re-watching a couple, I really want to do a more comprehensive review of each series to explore the writing, artistic style, soundtrack, and real-life connections of each. 

Be on the lookout for my review and analysis of the following television shows:  Avatar: The Last Airbender, Legend of Korra, The Dragon Prince, She-ra and the Princess of Power, Kipo, and Carmen Sandiego.

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