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In modernity, its historical and cultural context created new kinds of human subjects, but with postmodernism, it speaks to different new kinds of human subjects. Postmodern media texts specifically speak to viewers as subjects that know about codes and conventions of representation. An example of postmodern media appealing to this human subject would be the stylistic, cultural, economic, and global aspects of animation. The style of animation shifted dramatically from modernity to postmodernity, which started in the mid 1990s. In the first image shown, it is a side-by-side view of a piece of art from modernity (left) shown in the Simpsons (right), which is an animated show that was released in 1989. This show is considered part of postmodern television as it underwent a shift. An article by Simone Knox describes that the show itself underwent the shift from modernity to postmodernity in terms of content and style, as the first few seasons of the Simpsons were similar to sitcoms that are promoting moral well-being such as The Cosby Show. The author states, “…this gave way to increasingly self-conscious, fragmented, and deliberately inconclusive narratives, with earlier attention on the character of Bart and his catchphrases shifting toward Homer and the peripheral characters” (Knox, 74). He then describes how the style of the animation of the show changed noticeably when they switched animation studios at the end of the third season. Once more entertainment technology became available, there were many more easy-to-miss details and more new camera techniques that were included. In the second image shown, it is a comparison of the Simpson family from when the show was first created (left) to the later episodes (right), where in postmodernism they are more cartoon looking.
Animation styles are change internationally during this shift to postmodernism, showing the global aspects of animation. An article discusses the Edo period and Japanese postmodernity stating, “There was an Edo boom in the Japan of the 1980s and 1990s. In television, in manga, literature, and critical theory, the Edo period caught hold of the popular imagination. Edo was the site of the lost-but-not-forgotten authentic Japan, the pre-Western ‘outside’ of modernity” (Steinberg, 449). He also says how it was a reflection of Japan’s postmodern present society. He supports this claim by discussing Otakuconsumption, which are young people who are basically obsessed with computer and video and how they are the backbone of Edo consumer culture.
There are also many theorists who have contributed to Japanese postmodernity, and many writers who have discussed Edo and postmodern Japan. The author of this same article says that one writer, Karatani, contrasts nineteenth century Europe with Edo by saying that Europeans are looking for an escape from their modernity that was found in Japan (Steinberg, 454-455). This article mostly gives background of Japanese postmodernity and how their animation transitions is a large portion of their culture. A well-known example of a Japanese anime television series is Pokémon, which is shown in the third image. This series is abbreviated from the Japanese title of Pocket Monsters, and it aired in the late 1990s. This also first started as a game with cards and then was created into a video game by Nintendo, and then finally made into a television series, and is still currently airing with new episodes still being produced.
Economic aspects of animation include all of the toys, games, figurines and other objects that were sold that had to do with different movies or shows. Children would identify with these collective figures in a futuristic and artificial world, and they would also feed into the cycle of consumption by purchasing these items from stores or online television ads. An online article states, “…just about all 90s kids are insane for buying games and toys that we needed after being seduced by the most impossibly enticing commercials that basically promised a lifetime of joy and fulfillment” (Donovan). These animated television shows and movies that were airing throughout the 90s were those that children wanted toys based off of, including shows such as Batman, The Powerpuff Girls,Rescue Heroes, and more.
One of the largest and well-known animation studios is the Walt Disney Studios, which was created in 1923 by Walt Disney and his brother Roy. They started out by producing a series of short live-action films known as the Alice comedies. Once they were able to move their company to an actual studio, they started to produce more animations, with Mickey Mouse being born in 1928, followed by the rest of the characters in this series such as Pluto, Donald Duck, and more. After these short animations, Disney finally produced their first full length animation in 1937, which was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which is still very well-known today (The Walt Disney Studios History).
In a video clip, it provides information about the animation process from 1938 to show how famous Disney short films are created. It includes all aspects of the animation process from writing a story, to the pictures, to the music and sound. Here is the link to the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2ORkIrHUbg).As time went on, the quality and process of animation improved, and continues to improve to this day. In the second video clip provided, it shows the evolution of Disney animation from roughly the years of 1937-2016, beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and ending with Zootopia.Here is the link to the second video clip (https://vimeo.com/186028672). The video also shows many of Disney’s other animations including Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, and so many others. Disney is one of the largest and longest animation studios, with its evolution of shows really showing how animation has changed and is still changing. The stylistic, global, economic, and cultural aspects are shown through international animation studios and how their creation of animations series style has changed, as well as the products they sell based on series and movies.