Animation can be used to inform, educate, advertise and express emotions just as live action can by using the same techniques; such as the use of colour, film language and sound. The NSPCC advert by Russell Brooke on television is a good example of how animation can be more effective than live action. There is no limit to how much a situation or an action can be exaggerated but still remain to be convincing. In the advert if a real child was being thrown around it would be extremely controversial and although it is actually what is going on behind closed doors it would be too much for some people to watch. The animated character is created in a way that portrays the child in a way that will get the message across. This example shows how valuable a tool animation really is, that it is not just a media form to entertain young children. It is also a good vehicle to show that cartoon violence can be used to a positive end.
On the other hand cartoon violence can be quite aggressive and graphic like the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ video games series and some Manga features involve a lot of violence and gore but created in a quite realistic way, not suitable for a young audience where as cartoons adapted from Marvel comics such as ‘Spiderman’ and the ‘X-Men’ are primarily orientated around fighting but done in a less bloody way. The fight sequences involve a few kicks and punches and a superhuman power is used which doesn’t normally inflict much gory, physical damage on the opponent, instead the loser is left with a scratch or two on their face with a trickle of blood oozing from their mouth. The fights, realistic as they may be, are not overly graphic, otherwise they would have to be shown after the watershed, but they are descriptive enough to express what is going on within the story. Most important of all is the fact that good always triumphs over evil in these cartoons. This does not justify the fighting but neither does it encourage it. Fisticuffs in a live action feature is always more violent than fighting in cartoons as it involves real people who can get hurt whereas cartoon characters feel nothing, making the fighting seem less realistic than a live action fight sequence.
The belief that animation is a media form directed mainly at children is not necessarily true, but in some situations this can be used to the advantage of the producers. A good example of this is the recent ‘DairyLea’ commercials, created in a 3D Stop Motion technique it shows some talking cows encouraging children to eat their product, not just on its own, but with mashed potato. The advert shows that ‘DairyLea’ can be mixed with other foods and the format is more memorable to children (the talking cows), therefore they are more likely to ask their parents to buy them some. Another good example of animation aimed at children is the ‘Green Cross Code’ (stop, look and listen). This informative commercial shows hedgehogs crossing a road in an animated and musical way, encouraging children to do as they do and they will be safe. This format was chosen so children will remember how to safely cross the road as told by singing hedgehogs-which would not have been possible in real life through a live action format. The advert offers an interesting, memorable alternative to mundane, forgettable, live action instructions.
Since animation is made popular by children, (for example, the phenomenon of the ‘Pokemon’ series) there are a number of ways producers can capitalise on the launch and success of a series. The producers see many ways of making more money from a successful cartoon because they know that children will do anything to get their hands on elements of merchandise, for example the ‘Pokemon’ battle cards. Merchandise does not just stop at playing cards though; there is stationary, cutlery, bags, toys, clothing, books, posters and video games. It is this side of animation that results in adults distancing themselves from the genre because of the fact that the cartoon series is blatantly aimed at children and so this is enough to put them off watching. Formerly the animation format adopted a biased approach aimed solely at a younger audience. In the early days animation it was fascinating concept, a drawing that was moving. Since it was a new concept people of all ages took an interest.