With Episode 3, we’ve got lots of important setup going on–and for the most part, I am all for it.
…Man, Episode 2 was nuts. Ya’ll know why.
Does anyone remember those hour-long movie specials for cartoons, back in the day?
Yeah, you know them. The over-hyped specials that would be advertised at every opportunity, the ones that Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, and of course, Nickelodeon were notorious for. But did we, as viewers, really expect anything amazing from the newest Spongebob hour-long special, or the newest Fairly Oddparents movie?
No, of course not. But that being said, there were several gems among them–special stories that really took advantage of the extra time, to create something that really stood out from the rest of the series.
I’ve been feeling a little bit nostalgic as of late, so here’s a quick top ten for you–my favorite movie specials of Western Animation! To qualify as what counted, the series had to be generally advertised as a special event. Even if there were technically separate episodes, or if it was just a singular movie, it doesn’t matter–so long as they were aired together at some point, telling a single narrative–season finales, TV movies, whatever!
And yes. Nine. I couldn’t think of a tenth, sue me.
Now we gotta wait for Season 16, huh?
Well, Season 15 of Red Vs Blue was certainly an interesting ride. Between Joe Nicolosi’s role as the director, the new Halo 5 game engine, and the one season story format, season 15 was…rather unique, to say the least. It did a lot, innovated in many ways, but was it good?
Western Animated shows, on the whole, are fundamentally different from anime in a number of ways.
The tropes they employee, their general reputation, the style they use–it all combines to create a more lighthearted, comedic atmosphere in comparison to the Japanese medium many know and love. This has led to a format where most Western cartoons tell their stories sporadically. With lots of independent, unrelated stories in between, compared to anime, which continue a single plot without interruption.
However, there are times when these shows choose to focus on a single story, over the course of multiple episodes. These are the episodes that get plot-heavy really quick–the ones that oftentimes are responsible, for creating the most high-stakes, memorable situations of a show. And today, I’ll be talking about my top ten favorite story arcs!
I tried to stick to two criteria for this list. First, only one story arc per series, and second, the arc has to last at least five episodes, or at least be addressed over the course of a series. This was to rule out those hour-long specials, which are so common in Western cartoons. That said, let’s get to it!
Everyone looks at stories differently. It’s why people have differing opinions when it comes to stories that we enjoy. Some of us like anime, manga, or other similar Japanese stories. Others enjoy the attachment of watching actors on the big screen, or experiencing stories first-hand through a video game.
Stories are universal, but as we all know, every story won’t work for everyone. Knowing that, I’d like to introduce you today to what I consider my Three Elements of Storytelling–the three factors, that I believe makes a story great, from an objective point of view.
Haven’t talked about animations in the Western world in awhile.
Movies in theaters tend to have many more advantages than other, less popular animations. These movies have the benefits of directly leading to revenue, of being advertised everywhere, and satiating a need for cinematic entertainment. Western animated movies are popular on a level that is far above anime, manga, or even basic western animations.
That being said, these movies are restricted, and often end up as part of a predictable genre, that can get stale. Oftentimes, with the same humor, the same general plot twists, and the same insistence on a happy ending, these movies are interesting and entertaining, but ultimately similar. It takes something exceptional to stand out in the world of Western animated movies: but there are certainly some out there that and, knowing this, I’d like to share some of those movies that stood out to me.
Stories impact people.
Stories are those things which are considered timeless, a series of events which some people consider important enough to keep on telling. They engage us, suck us into the lives of characters that aren’t even real, and teach us lessons that transcend the ordinary, and yet find real, true application. Stories are universal, experiences that bind us all together, and man, they’re freaking GREAT to experience.
Heyo, Aaron here, and as a bit of a celebration for the 100 post milestone, I’ll be sharing my Top Ten favorite Stories of all time. From anime, to manga, to western animations and video games, these narratives have been the most powerful, meaningful, and just straight up interesting stories that I’ve ever experienced. It’s a very personal list, not judged by the explicit “narrative quality” of the series, but rather, simply how meaningful they are to me.
That being said, let’s get it started.
Steven Universe is a show that starts out strange, odd, completely weird, and grows to become something with ridiculous amounts of depth. From the story of a young boy who has his powers triggered by Cookie Cat Ice Cream bars, to a complex tale of how the passing of one Rose Quartz has changed the lives of those close to her, Steven Universe has become one of the best series that Western Animation has to offer. Every character is just so, so good, so well designed, so relatable. However, it is through the titular character, Steven Universe, where we see the best thematic elements of what the show has to offer.
Steven starts off the series as a young kid, idealistic, always happy, and confident that everything will be alright. As the series progresses, he never stops hoping for the best, but he’s forced to confront situations that make him rethink his view of the world, and grow dramatically. The story of the Crystal Gems is ultimately Steven’s Coming-of-Age story, and there’s so much in the series that build it up as such. There is one supernatural element of the story in particular that I feel epitomizes this growth, and that is the way the series uses bubbles.
There will be sizable spoilers here, as one might expect. I’m just gonna talk about how bubbles in the series and what they mean in regards of Steven’s growth- analyze just how he grew, and how he might continue to grow. Hopefully, it’ll be pretty interesting!
Continue reading “A Coming-of-Age Story: Bubbles, and Innocence in Steven Universe!”