I think there is huge untapped potential in animated projects in western media. Eastern media, specifically Japan has largely accepted animated stories.
Anime is a huge market. It’s so popular and western audiences have such a lack of it that I would say it’s one of the largest influences of eastern culture. There is nowhere near as much interest in non animated projects from Japan and Chinese film, one of the biggest film industries in the world, is essentially ignored by mainstream western audiences.
So if why doesn’t the west create its own animated content?
Well of course they do. In fact in recent years some animated tv shows have really begun to push the bar. But it’s still not taken seriously.
A friend and I were browsing through netflix the other day and she was asking me for recommendations. I asked her if she’d watched BoJack Horseman. What is it? She asked. It’s a great show, I responded, it’s funny but in the most recent couple of seasons it’s started to get really emotional and there’s a bunch of celebrity cameos. Oh? She was interested. She searched it on Netflix and there it was in all its glory. Oh, she said again, this time her face was scrunched up like there was a bad smell in the air. Not a fan of animated things? I asked, already knowing the answer. Naaa, came the response.
Season four of BoJack Horseman was one of the most emotionally charged pieces of television I’ve watched. The whole series touches on issues close to my heart (and for that matter deals with topics a lot of people struggle with, depression, loneliness, self doubt and self worth) but season four really upped the game. And yet because it’s animated it’s dismissed as if it’s something only children should watch.
If Game of Thrones had the exact same storyline, the exact same actors but it was animated, it would be nowhere near as successful. That’s sad. You’re missing out on a story purely because the medium has a negative stigma.
Now of course, there are those that just won’t like animation. It’s not for them, it has nothing to do with the medium feeling childish they just don’t like it. That’s fair enough, but I feel like a lot of people disregard it for feeling it's not a serious medium.
There’s no real answer to this. No quick fix. This has been more of a rant. As I mentioned there has been a lot of great animated content recently and hopefully the streaming services will keep taking risks on animated projects.
If you want to watch some animated shows here are some recommendations:
Avatar the Last Airbender
The Dragon Prince
Rick and Morty
BoJack Horseman (Slight fantasy in a sense that animals are like people)