Should there be more action cartoons? Part 1

Most comments I have received agree that there have been less action cartoons or “mature” cartoons that appeal to teens. This is because they hold a commonplace that there are differences between the different kinds of cartoons (specifically there are action cartoons and others like comedy.)

However, I do not receive comments from those who are indifferent to the distinctions of an action cartoon comedy cartoon, adventure cartoons, and action mixed cartoons. The many people who feel indifferent on the subject of cartoons may question: why should I care about American action cartoons or action cartoons in general? This is a fair opinion. How does it affect them if there happened to be more or less “action cartoons” or “comedy cartoons?” And, it may not. However, that would be a rare case. There is a wide spectrum of the different groups of people that would be concerned or affected if there were more action cartoons.

Parents, family, and community concerns over children watching cartoons.

 father and daughter watching tv

One commenter voiced:

I think the reason being that there is barely any action-cartoons is because a lot of parents complain that cartoons are too violent. For example, one of my friend’s parents didn’t let their her watch Spongebob as a child because it was violent, and crude. More to speak, the television is very accessible to young children. Would you, as a parent, be ok with your child watching violent cartoons? Over the years, I think cartoons have really buckled down with the amount of violence on their shows.

While Spongebob (which many recognize as a comedy cartoon) is not an action cartoon or listed under action genre, some parents like described above are still concerned about the violent and offensive content. Parents with similar views would mostly likely be against more action cartoons, as it would increase the broadcasting and availability of these “child-targeted” shows in cable television.

I personally disagree with restricting violence in cartoons because not all cartoons are directed at young kids. Additionally, it would unfairly limit the demands of the older or more mature audiences. Actually, in the argument against cartoon violence in Spongebob, it is a comedy animated show ironically rated at TV-Y, the lowest rating on the TV parental guide meant for children of all ages. Moreover, action cartoons are rarely rated at TV-Y, many being TV-Y7 or TV-PG. According to IMDb.com’s advanced search, I found a count of only 14 TV-Y American action cartoons in comparison to 104 TV-Y American comedy cartoons. Depending of your stance on cartoon censorship, having more action cartoons could very well be a good or bad thing.

The discussion of whether there should more action cartoons involves not only the kids and fans who watch them but also those wanting a say in the availability and censorship for the concern of children. Again, you obviously do not have be a parent yourself to care about the effects of cartoons on children. You might be concerned over a child family member’s exposure to inappropriate content of cartoon…or even an advocate in the censoring of cartoons for the better of the community. In either case, these concerning groups make up a large population in the United States.

In part two coming in my next post, will be addressing advertising, toys, and jobs.

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Action Cartoons: Where’s the action in American cartoons today?(Revisited)

If you are faithful watcher of cartoons on American television cable or even just channel surfing, one of the following opinions or thoughts may have crossed your mind:

To sum up the point, the “commonplace”, or common belief held by a community, by these individuals see that American action cartoons seem to be dying out in terms of TV listings or action-content. Many of the above mentioned views are referencing the comments of animation-related discussion boards throughout the web. In contrast, according to Technorati.com, which filters through blogs and posts, there are no results for “action cartoons”. Thus, there seems to be few, if any, blog posts that seriously try to analysis the changing of American action cartoons through the years. However, with in-depth searching with Google or through the countless discussion board/forums, there clearly seems to be numerous amount of comments from different age groups that relate to the lack of action genre cartoons.

In the process of analyzing this situation concerning American action cartoons, I will often include supportive and opposing opinions (whether if it’s the most/least popular view). My reasoning for addressing the wide spectrum of views to answer whether American action cartoons are dying out or not is: the “answer” is more complex than gathering “facts” on the Internet. If one where to just look up action cartoons to do a simple count of shows by year, there wouldn’t be any direct site or webpage to get you a consistent number. You can however easily get the long list of animated TV series by year. Thus, you are stuck with the problem of checking and sorting which are considered an American action cartoon. In addition, the site description for each show differs as some will not categorize action as a genre while some other sites will. Then, there is also the debate on what counts as an American cartoon. For example, there’s the debate if Pokémon should be considered a cartoon or an anime (reason being how much it is Americanized and adapted for the US). As a result, you will then have to decide what commonplaces will define an American action cartoon.

The opinions shared by people are important in this discussion, in reasoning that the people make the “standards” that define or categorize a subject. Like in sports, the arguments over what is considered a sport (e.g. cheerleading) can change official standings.

In conclusion, we first need to ask ourselves what an action cartoon is and what an American cartoon is. Some of the commonplaces about action cartoons that various individuals have to make possible arguments include:

  • Needs to include a hero/superhero
  • Be about fighting
  • Have drama and tension
  • Include character development
  • Described as an action genre by the show’s official website
  • Be rated at least to PG or PG-13

Try applying these commonplaces to the cartoons you recognize below.

Action Cartoons: Comedy, Adventure, Action

As mentioned in my last post, people will disagree on the whats and whys in labeling an American cartoon as an action cartoon. If we are to compare the supposed lack of action cartoons of today in American television, we need some consensus. Who uses the term action cartoon? Many tend to be made from the cartoon/anime fandom. Indeed, it seems that people who don’t have an interest in animation in general will not differentiate between the different types of cartoons and “action cartoons.” In fact, Toonami may have popularized the term (as Toonami has used the term, and similarly, many twitter comments that include “action cartoon” together are Toonami related).

Overall, one of the major aspects in discussing the possible lack of American action cartoons is genre. In counting the number of action cartoons, many might list what they don’t deem as an action cartoon as a comedy or adventure cartoon. Thus, it does limit the number of action cartoons by category and opinion. However, others see mixed or “in-between” categories (i.e. action comedy, action adventure).

Some of the disputed “in-between” cartoons that are listed as action or action comedy in genre by Wikipedia.com, IMDb.com, and other sources:

 

So, should we add these mixed genres of action comedy and action adventure into the tally of American action cartoons? Whatever the answer, it causes a significant inconsistency in the total tally. Thereby, it factors into the “answer” of whether American action cartoon TV series are dying or not.

Action, adventure, and action are genres. It’s reasonable that American cartoons can be attributed to multiple genres or to the “newer” categories of mixed genres if going by the understanding that:

Genres are formed by conventions that change over time as new genres are invented and the use of old ones are discontinued. Often, works fit into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions.

Again, the discussion of American action cartoons seems to get more complicated. However, we may be able to state some partial “answers” if we look at the generalized opinions, or different stances on what constitutes the “action cartoon” genre.

These are all arguable, and are based on generalized understandings of the term “action cartoon”:

Are American action cartoon TV series dying today?

  1. Action cartoons are comic hero/superhero related shows: yes/maybe, with recent discontinuations of shows like Young Justice and Green Lantern.
  2. Action cartoons included cartoons listed as a action genre by description: no, many cartoons are considered action.
  3. Action cartoons include those that are mixed action genres: arguable, maybe.

Action Cartoons: Where’s the action in American cartoons today?

If you are faithful watcher of cartoons on American television cable or even just channel surfing, one of the following opinions or thoughts may have crossed your mind:

  • There are too many silly/random comedy-focused cartoons.
  • There were better cartoons back in my day.
  • Wish there were more mature/teen/adult cartoons.
  • Cartoons today have little to no plot focus.
  • Where’s the more action-focused cartoons?
  • Seeing anime as the only source of action-based animated entertainment.
  • Are American action cartoons dying out?

To sum up the point, the “commonplace”, or common belief held by a community, by these individuals see that American action cartoons seem to be dying out in terms of TV listings or action-content. Many of the above mentioned views are referencing the comments of animation-related discussion boards throughout the web. In contrast, according to Technorati.com, which filters through blogs and posts, there are no results for “action cartoons”. However, with in-depth searching with Google or through the countless discussion board/forums, there are numerous comments of different age groups that relate to the lack of action genre cartoons.

In the process of analyzing this situation concerning American action cartoons, I will incorporate the ideology and devices used by ancient rhetoricians as referenced by Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students by Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee. My reasoning for using ancient rhetorician approaches to answer whether American action cartoons are dying out or not is: the “answer” is more complex than gathering “facts” on the Internet. If one where to just look up action cartoons to do a simple count of shows by year, there wouldn’t be any direct site or webpage to get you a consistent number. You can however easily get the long list of animated TV series by year. Thus, you are stuck with the problem of checking and sorting which are considered an American action cartoon. In addition, the site description for each show differs as some will not categorize action as a genre while some other sites will. Then, there is also the debate on what counts as an American cartoon. For example, there’s the debate if Pokémon should be considered a cartoon or an anime (reason being how much it is edited for the US). As a result, you will then have to decide what commonplaces will define an American action cartoon.

The opinions shared by people are important in this discussion, in reasoning that the people make the “standards” that define or categorize a subject. Like in sports, the arguments over what is considered a sport (e.g. cheerleading) can change official standings.

In conclusion, we first need to ask ourselves what an action cartoon is and what an American cartoon is. Some of the commonplaces about action cartoons that various individuals have to make possible arguments, or “inventions”, include:

  • Needs to include a hero/superhero
  • Be about fighting
  • Have drama and tension
  • Include character development
  • Described as an action genre by the show’s official website
  • Be rated at least to PG or PG-13

Try applying these commonplaces to the cartoons you recognize below.

Hello

Loved cartoons as a kid or still do? What’s changed over years? What was the best animated TV series you watched?

Well, as a continuing fan myself, I’ll raise up some questions for discussion to dive into the more “meta thinking” on the subject of cartoons in the United States.