Friday, October 29, 2010

Animation blocks, the world and a Plea for new things: A 90's animation pseudolesson from a hopeless cartoon kid

I was thinking the other day about media based nostalgia; how it'll never be the same from this generation on.

Theres something about putting in an olde tape and audiovisually comparing it to a memory, overlaying time crusted stains and statics and worbles over the mind perfect emotional copy burned into your head. This generations' information is lasers, and will never, ever experience the beautiful time degradation of magnetized media, nor know the proper respect for the easily damaged history they allow into their consciousness.

They just suck info and shit, rarely taking the time to digest whats eaten.

It came to me while digging for this:

This was a bump from Toonami's early days.

Heres a couple more:


I was 15 when it formed from the stagnant waters of cartoon network; It'd been 3+ years since MTV's Liquid Television had stabbed me in the brain with obviously unsupervised creativity not seen anywhere at the time, and probably never again.

But the Liquid Television was a soon abandoned idea that later fed a Toonami[you heard me], which is no surprise since Viacom was the mothership for both MTV and Cartoon Networks, and each respective programming block was a phenomenon cut from basically the same cloth.

Each had their flagships, as well as evolutions, as time went on.

Liquid Television had its Aeon Flux, one of the greatest barrier-pushing american animated shows to date.

Cartoon Network had its Space Ghost Coast to Coast, using animation cells from the olde 60's Space Ghost Hanna-Barbera cartoon to jigsaw together a spoof late-night talk show, which at the time and to this day, was a pretty fucking insane idea.

They obviously had different objectives and audiences(or maybe not), action to comedy.

LT, in time, spawned Oddities.

Along with a new full length series of Aeon Flux, oddities brought about:

The Maxx


The Head

And later still, the amazing under-the-radar gem,

MTV Downtown

Toonami continued to grow like wildfire over the years, snatching up licenses and promoting some industry skewing shows of their own.


(this was the first ever completely computer animated show, it blew my fucking mind when i first saw it, its hilarious now but i honestly couldnt grasp how it was done at the time, i just didnt understand)


Gundam Wing

Toonami eventually mashed its way into the late-late-nightosphere with Midnight Run, which would ultimately trigger a split into two entities, a core Toonami block and a completely revamped, much more adult oriented block;

The mighty, mighty,

[adult swim]

To me, there was little better than hearing the words "All kids out of the pool" back in the day.

This was a true animated revolution in the states, the first time a network had actually given a studio (Williams Street/Ghost Planet Industries) both financial(albeit limited) backing and complete creative control for the purpose of creation itself. Sure, it was to set a foundation for a massive wave of american animation, contrary to Toonamis mostly Japanese licenses, but it was really the beginning of a brand new subculture in and of itself.

Many of the original shows kept with the cheaper Hanna-Barbera Space Ghost technique, focusing more on amazing banter and still visuals than actual animation.

Sealab 2021

Harvey Birdman

Home Movies



Until the animation eventually caught up to the banter.


Venture Bros


This posts turned out to be way longer than i thought it was going to be, but theres a little history lesson for you on the state of american cartoons right now and some of the horses and roads they rode in on.

I think the moral of the story is that creative people need to be creative and true to themselves regardless of outside forces like trends and business and commercial property gumming up the works; once integrity is neglected and the focus on making a buck is pressed, the work becomes an obvious selling point and resonance of the simple act of creation is phased out and traded in for more plastic, and nobody wants to live on the plastic beach the Gorillaz have been telling us about lately, now do they?

To be honest, im not sure whats on [as] right now because its mostly family guy and king of the hill and live action shorts surviving on the brand name instead of ingenuity. Sure, what goes up must come down, but sometimes, just sometimes, what goes down comes back up. Thats what all the animation blocks ive written about here: Liquid Television, Toonami, Adult Swim, all have in common. Theyre all water based, and have an ebb and flow all there own. They may evaporate and dry up over time, but there no telling when the next storms coming.

I'll leave you with a chunk of bumps, unsung heroes of latelate night and the supreme manifestations of magic hour design, mad tinkery,

and a gateway to eargasm.


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