Tag Archives: Cartoons

Mysticons: New Series, Great Potential!

As of August 2017, Nickelodeon has hosted a brand new series to add to its roster of animated content. Mysticons emerged quietly into the television scene without much of a heads up, but has been gaining plenty of online attention as of late.

Produced by Nelvana and Corus Entertainment—two Canadian production companies specializing in children’s programming, specifically animation—has created a series that could potentially become a hit in the world of online cartoon fandoms. The series surrounds a group of four teenagers, Arkayna, Piper, Emerald, and Zarya, who are brought together through a acquisition quest for the “Dragon disk”, an ancient artifact that is held in the royal ranks of Drake City. This artifact has caught the eye of evil perpetrators who would like to use it’s power to revive a previous overlord. The four girls are unexpectedly granted powers from the disk and are bestowed the unsolicited role of protecting their home from evil entities.

 

The first episode titled Sisters in Arms provides a solid foundation for the series. The first minute into the episode takes a dive into Drake City and many of its elements. The setting seems to be a combination of futuristic and fantasy, mixing hover vehicles with urban city life that is occupied by pixies, dwarves, and other inhumans alongside regular people. It makes for a very refreshing world with the early promise of extensive expansion.

A detail in showcasing Drake City that is very appealing is that the setting does not shy away from social divides. Piper and Zarya are part of a class called the Underdwellers—a population in the city that is plagued my misfortune and poverty, to the point where Piper and Zarya have to risk imprisonment just to steal food for some of the other inner city kids in their community. Of course in being a child-targeted series, this point was not strongly emphasized and the visualization of poverty wasn’t striking in the slightest, but including portrayals of social divides in any series targeted at young people displays a very realistic rendition of almost every region.

 

The four main protagonists share a very unique dynamic. Rather than none of the characters or all of them knowing each other prior to their unexpected earning of the “Mysticons” title, they can be separated into two different groups. Piper and Zarya being Underdwellers and Arcadia and Emerald being part of the royal family in some capacity. This is likely to become a point of conflict throughout the season as each pair comes from a completely different background. Seeing the social divide play out in the Mysticons’ team dynamic would be very entertaining, realistic, and something that would definitely add depth to their relationship with one another.

 

The character designs of the series also stands out. There is plenty of creativity in how the characters look in civilian attire versus their post-transformation suits. Their weapons of choice are also unique to each of the four protagonists. And the details of their hair and clothing does a solid job of encapsulating each of the girls’ personalities (e.g. Piper’s eccentric and lively personality paired with her three pigtails and golden hoops as weapons making up her hero look).

 

Mysticons’ animation is also quite different from the modern-day norm. The series uses 2D computer animation, with an attempt to make it appear somewhat hand drawn. I’ve brought up the budgeting issues that Canadian content is often plagued by (read this post for more information), so fir a Canadian-produced cartoon, I applaud its animation; however, in comparison to American-produced content that is currently airing, I believe that hand drawn animation would be much better suited. Although many avid animation fans would argue that hand drawn beats Flash, ToonBoom, and other computer-created 2D formats every single time, I strongly disagree with this statement. Series like Star Vs. the Forces of Evil and Gravity Falls utilize modern animation techniques really well (in combination with traditional animation at times). Mysticons, however, loses out on this type of animation given it’s heavy action scenes and plot-driven story—which are typically paired with traditional animation (e.g. The Legend of Korra, Voltron, Steven Universe etc.). The movements are similar, yet much more fluid, to the Canadian series Detentionaire. So although the series can benefit from higher-quality animation, at least it is a step up from other Canadian works.

 

Overall, Sister in Arms presents a solid start to the series, laying out the premise and introducing the main characters quite well. Plenty happened during this episode making it feel surprisingly long for a 20-minute episode. My main concern with the series moving forward is that it might be jumping into the plot a little bit too quickly. The pacing might become a little bit too quick to fully enjoy, or even grasp the story. As for the dialogue, the jokes can be a hit or miss, but overall it’s clear to see that the creative team behind the show has put a lot of heart into it.

Finally, the theme song is very upbeat and catchy. It gives off a similar tone as that of Totally Spies, except it is an original song created specifically for the series. Additionally, another track played near the end of the episode which was also quite good. Together the provide plenty of promise for the remainder of the series’ soundtrack.

 

Although it’s too early to tell whether or not this series will be a hit, it is definitely one of the higher-quality cartoons to come out of Canada. Additionally, if the series is successful, and seeing that Playmates Toys is a producer of the series, the characters and premise of the series have amazing potential for merchandise creation.

 


A/N: It’s passed midnight right now, but I just wanted to release this post into cyberspace as soon as I finished typing it out. I will definitely revisit it tomorrow to fix some of the poor language choices and descriptions. Let me know what you think of the series!

Cartoon Network’s Scheduling Woes

Recently, the “Big Three” animation television networks—Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney XD—have been relentlessly targeted for their less-than-favorable program scheduling. Cartoon Network specifically has been receiving quite a bit of cyberspace hate from grieving animation fanatics for months on end. Cartoon Network is being accused of selling out creatively for profit—two elements that are, by nature, polarizing. But ever since the release of Teen Titans GO! the checker box network has been coming under relentless fire.

 

Let’s take a look at this week’s schedule.

Out of all of the series that Cartoon Network currently airs, 46% (164 episodes) is taken up by Teen Titans GO! reruns. Now anyone who has seen a video of why Teen Titans GO! is an absolute disgrace is aware of the complaints plaguing the series and Cartoon Network’s schedule of it, so I won’t dive into that here; however allow me to redirect you to a previous blog post that discusses the issues surrounding the series.

 

What happened to variety? Is it really intelligently strategic to have almost half of network’s airtime directed at a 6-to-10-year-old age group? In my, and many others’ opinion, absolutely not. Each network may have a general target demographic that they skew their content towards, but they are rarely restrictive to this degree unless the network is focused on very niche programming. And given the vast range of animated content that is available (i.e. content ranging from PG-rated Phineas and Ferb to Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty), “animation” does not appeal to a specific niche. Rather than perceiving it as a genre, it should simply be considered just another medium and form of storytelling. In the long-run, poor scheduling will catch up to the network, and is already beginning to impact how Cartoon Network is being perceived in a negative light. It is alienating its wider audience and forms a redefined brand image that said network is only catering to insert very specific target audience here.

 

However, we also need to look at the other side of the spectrum. Business and creativity are naturally polarizing, so it’s difficult to analyze a corporation whose structure is built upon balancing these two opposing components; in other words, we need to assess both sides, not just the lack of variety in creative content. This is not to say that television executives know what their doing 100% of the time—many fail miserably, and other fail to learn from their miserable mistakes—but they are in the business of overseeing their television network, so have an abundance of insider information and years of industry experience to guide their decisions.

Rather than being all in for the Teen Titans GO! money grab, we need to stop assessing these people as greedy businessmen/women who are only in the entertainment industry for the sake of financial security. This is simply not the case. Scheduling is a meticulously-calculated decision involving research and data that we viewers probably would not be able to wrap our minds around; or possibly, it is the complete opposite. The importance here is that we don’t know what actually goes on during the planning meetings at Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney XD and every other television network out there.

 

Broadcast television is a dying platform. It’s quickly going downhill and these companies need to try to secure a solid income stream in order to stay afloat. If this means producing inexpensive flash cartoons based off of a hugely-popular series, then so be it. I personally believe that a large reason behind Cartoon Network’s constant airing of the series is a response to the increase of online streaming. Young children do not necessarily go out of their way to stream content on questionably-legal streaming services. They don’t have money to purchase content legally either. SO when it comes to entertainment, Netflix might be an option, but it’s likely that their parents will turn to a child-friendly television network and said child will be completely fine with whichever series is playing in that moment.

 

Other the other hand, older audience members, who crave plot, character development, high-quality animation, etc., will most likely stream content that they really want to watch, cutting out potential viewership numbers that networks are losing to the World Wide Web. This is my best guess as to why a hugely popular series with a highly prominent fandom, Steven Universe, receives a lower rating count when compared to a new episode premiere of Teen Titans GO! 

 

Series like Adventure TimeRegular ShowThe Amazing World of Gumball, etc. are much more expensive to create as they have deeper storylines, intertwining plots, and high-quality animation to appeal to the higher set of entertainment expectation of an older audience member. Teen Titans GO! on the other hand attracts a large viewership rating compared to these high-quality series, so carry a much greater return.

In response to this, Cartoon Network has been releasing more new content on its app and other digital platforms to recapture potential audience revenue that they are losing out on. This is no to excuse Cartoon Network for its lack of variety. It has its reasons for scheduling in the manner that it currently does. But it really is impacting the brand in a negative way. In this sense, it is trading in long-term gain for short-term gain—either this, or the network believes that it can easily redeem itself in the future. Either way, the expression don’t put all of your eggs in one basket comes to play here. Possibly, Cartoon Network knows that Teen Titans GO! will not be around for too long so might be attempting to capitalize on it now through a 50% scheduling “strategy”.

This, of course, does not stop a lot of people from their passionate anger that only stems from a love for excellent animation. Many people grew up with Cartoon Network and still spend hours of their week on the channel to this day.

 

Now, I’m not necessarily defending the network for it’s one-note and lackluster schedule; however it’s always important to keep in mind that there are two sides to a story and it is important to analyse the reasons and frame of mind from both sides, rather than simply dismissing one as idiotic and incompetent towards handling art and creativity. In addition, the network’s weekly schedule has been improving through releasing more episodes of OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes (see my review here) and reruns of the original Teen Titans series. Possibly Cartoon Network is listening to what it’s viewers have been vocalizing for months. Either way, things are looking forward!

OK K.O.! Let’s be Heroes: Surprisingly Endearing

In 2013, the pilot for OK K.O.! Let’s be Heroes was created and released through Cartoon Network’s Summer Shorts program. Despite its positive reception, the now hugely popular series Steven Universe was, unregrettfully, chosen from the pack instead.

However, 4 years later, OK K.O.! finally earned its long-awaited chance to shine. On August 1st, 2017, Cartoon Network released four 11-minute episodes followed by multiple more during the days following, granting the series its starting momentum to reach potential heights. Ever since this K.O.! bomb, the series has been receiving plenty of hype throughout various online platforms and is starting off with a 8.4/10 rating on IMDB.

 

OK K.O.! is an episodic series told from the perspective of Ko—a young boy who tags along with his mother to work at the Lakewood Plaza Strip Mall. While his mother is working at her dojo storefront, Ko breaks off and and engages with the wacky personalities within the vicinity—both shop owners and customers. Ko’s dream, and typically the center of most episodes, is to become a admirable hero; because in this universe, everyone has specific abilities in the art of butt-kicking that is showcased through a level-ranking system. Most of the people located within the plaza are at a certain level ranging from 1-11, and it’s implied that 100 in the highest. Ko is currently at level zero, but wants more than anything to level up to become the “greatest hero in the world”. Although the series is told from his perspective, we also get a sense of the other two personalities who work at Gar’s Bodega, a convenience store in the plaza where Ko spends the majority of his time, Enid and Radicles.

 

The series aesthetic is very promising. Its art style and character designs are incredibly unique in the world of post-Adventure Time television animation (in which many series take after its style). OK K.O.! uses hand-drawn animation which is different from the high and low quality Flash cartoons we have been receiving lately—not that Flash or ToomBoom is necessarily bad, in fact Star Vs. the Forces of Evil along with Gravity Falls are prime examples of Flash done right—but straying from the current norm is the sole definition of standing out from the crowd; and this is exactly what OK K.O.! brings to the table.

The character designs of the series also stands out immensely. There are no bounds to the type of characters that are shown on screen, and their mannerisms also follow a random and unrestricted pattern. It is clear that the crew enjoyed creating these characters and were able to use their unbounded imagination throughout the creation process. The series’ style may take some getting used to. It has somewhat of an intentional unpolished look to the line art and colouring, and characters are known to break their character model’s often; but after being accustomed to its aesthetic, it’s easy to see the series’ visual appeal.

 

The writing of the series follows a villain-of-the-day kind of format. Each 11-minute episode is self contained, which suits the premise of the series. It’s difficult to picture OK K.O.! following a continuous plot that stretches over more than a couple of episodes; but this form of storytelling is well-suited to the series and writers’ intentions. Although series like Steven Universe and Adventure Time are heavily story-based, this should not be used as a defining benchmark for an excellent animated series. Some shows are designed to be self-contained and bring other well-placed elements to the table—which is perfectly fine and adds variety to the series that are available.

The humor of this series is the complete opposite of stale. I found myself laughing at the dialogue, visual gags (especially those that take inspiration from, while poking fun at, Japanese anime), and some of the situational humour. The dialogue is snappy and the jokes are quite clever but not overly-glorified. A lot of the humour is subtle or referential; details that can be easily missed if not enough attention is paid. However, the understated jokes are very appealing.

 

There hasn’t been too much character development so far, but we do get a sense of the main and reoccurring characters’ personalities. Ko is a gem. He is clearly a kid who carries a very optimistic view of the world and people around surrounding him. He is naive in this sense, but this trait allows him to find enjoyment in the little things while truly seeing the beauty in all different kinds of people (or specimens) that he encounters. Writing a young boy character can be difficult to get right; however, this series has nailed it so far. Ko is somewhat hardheaded, but he often chooses to listen and learn from his mistakes—a quality that is lacking in many modern-day animated protagonists. He admirably pours his heart into his self-imposed mission of becoming a great hero, but doesn’t let this objective blind him from his other responsibilities. Ko is such an endearing boy and, although has some pitfalls, he is portrayed as a well-rounded individual who is eager to learn all that he can.

 

Ko’s single-mother, Carol, is very supportive of Ko’s journey to become a great hero, and allows him to train at Gar’s Bodega. She loves her son very much and gives him plenty of freedom to follow his passions and the appropriate amount of space to grow. When he gets into self-inflicted trouble, she does not reprimand him for it; instead she actively helps him to reverse said problem. Additionally, she works at the Lakewood Plaza as the owner of Fitness Emotions, a fight/exercise club. Her hero level is quite high at 11.

 

Enid is one of my personal favourite characters. Working at Gar’s Bodega, her character traits fall along the lines of an self-intitled young adult. She has shown some behaviours of laziness, but knows to act accordingly when necessary. She gives off an older-sister feel whenever she addressed Ko. She teases him but always has his back at the end of the day and finds his actions endearing. At times Enid seems to forget that Ko is just a kid, and speaks to him as if he is on equal footing. And in other cases both her and Radicles share moments of immaturity with Ko, which makes for an entertaining and fitting dynamic.

 

Overall, the series has experienced a promising start; and as the excitement over it increases, hope for a second season does as well. However, the series’ ratings seemed to have dipped below a million views on Cartoon Network, which isn’t very promising. Some of the episodes were released prematurely on Cartoon Network’s app, so this might be the reasoning behind the dip in viewership, but either way, its early success is not implied to even somewhat guarantee a second season.

Here’s hoping that OK K.O.! Let’s be Heroes receives a long-lasting place on Cartoon Network.

 


A/N: I was definitely not expecting this series to be as good as it turned out. In all honesty, I was expecting to dislike it, completely judging the book by its cover. I was definitely wrong to do so, and am very glad that I was able to look passed the series unorthodox exterior—and even better, realize the charm that its style carries.

By the power vested in me, I grant this series a place is the category of highly recommended animated series.

 

Hidden Gems: Delta State

What if you were able to lucid dream on command? What if you tapped into a realm of the subconscious every time you did so? And what if skilled mind hitmen were attempting to control the human psyche by entering this realm?

Delta State is a Canadian animated series that premiered on Teletoon in 2004. It has one season of 26 episodes that completes an entire story arch, with plans for a second season being denied the chance to see the light of day due to low ratings. The series didn’t attract a huge audience, possibly, because of it’s unorthodox animation style, compelling storyline, and Canadian origin. But the main culprit for its unfortunate cancellation (based on keen detective skills) is over the fact that Delta State was simply too smart, unique and intriguing for its time.

In other words, animation in the early 2000s had the mindset of being a form children’s entertainment. And despite many people still holding this viewpoint regarding the subject, the new decade is known to have challenged this perspective many times over.

Delta State features four main characters, who are also roommates and best friends (though mainly as a result of circumstance above anything else): Luna, Claire, Martin, and Philip. None of them remember any details of their lives prior to half a year ago, so in having being able to enter the Delta Sate at will, they were placed into an apartment together protected by a force field created by their mentor, Brodie, to keep them safe.

Aside from being able to enter an alternate realm, the protagonists each have unique abilities related to the human mind. Claire has the ability of remote viewing, so she is capable of retrieving visible information of a person, location, or object that is physically unattainable in a specific moment of time. Luna is capable of precognition,  thus can see both past and future events through sporadic visions that she has no control over. Martin has the ability of telepathy so is capable of reading people’s mind at will. And finally, Philip has the ability of psychometry, so is able to view the experience of past objects through physical contact.

Although these abilities sound very intriguing, they do not define these characters’ beings. Instead the four protagonists are portrayed as very realistic young adults who have to deal with the unwanted pressure of having to combat said “mind hitmen”, known as rifters. Unlike many series that consists of special abilities along with a literal “hero’s journey”, these roommates do not exactly settle into the powers that had been forced upon them. They do not have an inherent powerful sense of justice that transitions them into selfless beings who fight for the sake of mankind—instead remain as a group of 20-something-year-olds who, above anything, just want the memories of their past lives back. The bad-guy butt-kicking ranks second to their very self-focused goal. Even the people who they save from the rifters’ control usually have some kind of personal connection with the protagonists, which in turn motivates them to put their central objective aside momentarily to save whoever requires their assistance.

As a result, the characters are portrayed as very real people who face a combination of both common and otherworldly roadblocks. Delta State inexplicably answers the question of: What if regular everyday people where given special abilities and forced into a “hero” role? This realistic characterization is hardly seen in Western animation, as is a young adult roster. As a 22-year old, many of their worries and struggles are incredibly relatable, and for those of you who currently (or have) live(d) with roommates, the character dynamic is something I’m sure will give off a sense of familiarity.

Delta State was written primarily as a comic, however its rights were purchased before the comic’s release to create the series. As such, it definitely has a comic-book feel to it, in both premise and storytelling style. One very important fact to note is that  the entire series was rotoscoped into animation; so the entire thing was filmed beforehand, then each frame was traced over. This makes for very accurate proportions and perspectives. Because this animation technique is so unorthodox, Delta State was actually the first television series to accomplish this feat in its entirety. And because it’s so unique, it definitely takes some getting used to.

After a while it’s easy to see that the animation definitely suits the premise of the series and sets its overall tone. It is definitely intriguing, and personally, made me want to keep watching.

Delta State follows a continuous storyline with the occasional self-contained episode. Almost every episode carries some kind of revealing plot and/or character moment that adds to the complexity of the series. Keep in mind, that the show is not something that can just be played in the background. It requires a degree of focus on the audience’s part, as it contains a thought-provoking story.

Overall, the best words to describe Delta State are smart and intriguing. The series naturally pulls its audience into the story, and its very real characters inspires the question of “what if?”. As in, what if I was placed in their situation? What if a realm within the subconscious existed and only a small handful of people could tap into it? What if a portion of this story is inspired by true occurrences/possibilities?

In my (self-proclaimed) professional opinion, Delta State is one of the most well-hidden gems of animation.


A/N: The other week I wrote an article covering the Canadian animation industry. And upon researching some Canadian titles, stumbled upon Delta State. It’s a really tough series to come by. Even when searching “Delta State” on Google, Delta State University returns higher on the search query. It is definitely a hole-in-the-wall within the animation sphere, and as such, I highly recommend it to any animation fanatic who appreciates a different and intriguing plot along with a unique overall style. 

Canadian Animation: Will it Ever Catch Up?

Oh, Canada. The land of maple syrup, beavers, and low-quality animated works, apparently.

 

As a Canadian, it truly pains me to insult my favourite form of entertainment that originates from my very own country. However, Canada isn’t exactly known for being at the frontier of acclaimed animated works. Some examples of these low-rated series include:

  • Johnny Test 
  • Angela Anaconda
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes
  • George of the Jungle
  • Rocket Monkeys

 

Many American production companies are approaching Canada to animate various television series (mainly because of its depleting dollar value, which is a selling point to US-based producers). So despite having created less than favorable works, Canada has actually had its hand on the actual animation of some acclaimed titles that are currently on air:

  • Rick and Morty
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

 

But in terms of Canadian content creation, there aren’t many companies that dabble in the actual conception process—which is a real shame. However, in American entertainment companies taking advantage of the relatively low Canadian dollar, Canada is at least able to participate in a portion of the creation process. This is important as it showcases the country’s talent pool of animators, which can, and has, open(ed) many doors of opportunities in the production of animated works originating in Canada.

 

One company that had shown some potential at one point is Fresh TV, also known as the Toronto-based studio responsible for the creation of the long-lived Total Drama series. This was essentially a drama-filled parody of a Survivor-like reality series. This show ran for 5 seasons in total (6 if you count The Ridonculous Race) and reached immense popularity in the United States (on a Canadian-based scale at least). However, it seems like Fresh TV is moving away from animated works with the conclusion of Total Drama and lack of success from the cartoons that followed.

 

This leads us to an important question: Why exactly is Canada lagging behind? Its creative sector is overflowing with talent, and both Vancouver and Toronto are becoming new global hubs of entertainment; so why exactly is its content rarely, if ever, at the frontier of mainstream media?

Well, Canada doesn’t exactly place a large amount of funding into its entertainment industry. The reason being, it is approached as part of the cultural industries rather than seen as an economic force. The reason Hollywood is able to gain so much funding is because the state is aware that the film and television industries rake in billions of dollars per year. Canada, on the other hand, tends to play its cards very safe, so doesn’t fight for greater funding for its entertainment industry since it’s essentially a risky arena. Culture is surely a pretty thought, but it doesn’t make for much convincing on the governmental level to invest billions of dollars annually into the sector.

 

Additionally, importing American works is a lot less financially risky compared to creating original content. For the purpose of maintaining Canada’s cultural integrity, there is a quota in place in that a percentage of content displayed through Canadian broadcasters during primetime hours needs to be Canadian-produced; but because American works are typically high-budget, its difficult for Canadian series to compete in quality. As such, broadcasters have been fighting for a lower percentage quota skewed in favor of Canadian content, as they argue that it results in the loss of viewership. So far, this percentage has opened up a door of opportunities for Canadian content creators, but when not backed by appropriate funding, it’s difficult to deliver high-quality works. This is why many Canadian cartoons either have low-quality animation, low-quality writing, or a mix of both.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, Canada has its name on a small handful of popular works in the past:

  • Class of the Titans
  • 6teen
  • Arthur
  • Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy

It’s not the most impressive list, but hey, at least it’s something.

 

There are a handful of known cartoons that have been created through a joint effort involving Canada. Canadian studios are also known to collaborate with American and French companies (e.g. Totally Spies was created through a French/Canadian collaboration). So at least Canada is inserting itself into mainstream content by partnering with other companies, and vice versa.

 

All in all, it’s difficult to assess the future of Canadian cartoons on mainstream networks; however, it appears that the industry is growing ever so slowly. Canadian studios that have accepted outsourced animation jobs are starting to become aware of their internal talent pool, and seem to be dabbling in content creation themselves. The amount of Canadian-created content is also likely to increase when the dollar reaches its previous heights—studios will likely see a downturn of work and will have to find other ways to save their bottom line, including producing and distributing their own animated works.

Here’s hoping that Canada will eventually catch up.

 

 


A/N: Keep in mind that I am a Communication major, so my degree is all about media studies. The question of, “why is Canadian entertainment lagging?” applies to movies, television, film, books, etc. and is brought up quite often by many of my professors. This blog post touches on their collective response to the question. I’m no expert, but in assuming that my professors know what they’re talking about, this is my best guess as to why Canada is rarely seen in mainstream media outlets.

Teen Titans GO! Does it Really Deserve all of the Hate?

When you hear the words Teen Titans you probably think of a kick-ass superhero team consisting of an alien, shapeshifter, humanoid robot, mystical witch, and a regular boy in a mask who, for whatever reason, is unanimously selected to lead the team. In terms of the Teen Titans’ place on television, you probably reminisce about the animated series that aired from 2003-2007—a series that is full of action, story, character development, and most importantly, heart.

 

Many animation enthusiasts who were born in the 90’s and raised in the 2000’s, remember Teen Titans as one of their favourite animated series growing up. Many have fond memories tied to it that has defined their childhood right alongside the popular titles of Danny PhantomKim PossibleJustice League Unlimited, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. 

 
The early-to-mid 2000’s didn’t showcase anything notable in the world of animation aside from the few stand-alone titles mentioned. Fast forward to the years 2010-2015 and you’ll notice a spike in high-quality and plot-heavy animated series. Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Steven Universe,  Regular ShowThe Amazing World of GumballAvatar: The Legend of Korra, the list goes on. But as the overtly-pessimistic expression states, all good things must come to an end. Many of these iconic series have had their moment in the spotlight and were eventually either resolved or cancelled. This is not to say that there aren’t any excellent series that are currently gracing cable television. We still have Steven Universe and Star Vs. The Forces of Evil; not to mention the upcoming series Big Hero 6 which seems promising. Despite these exciting titles, there’s no denying that the animation production is entering the new era—one that prominently consists of recycled ideas.

 

Instead of receiving original worlds and characters, we are seeing a trend of movie spinoffs and animation reboots—Volton: Legendary Defender,  Rapunzel: Before Ever AfterSamurai Jack, Big Hero 6 (the animated series), The New Powerpuff GirlsInvader Zim Movie (announced), Young Justice (announced), Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie (announced), and so on. Nostalgia is the new black. So naturally, alongside this string of recent/recently-announced reboots, the much-beloved series that is Teen Titans has returned to the small screen—but under the title of Teen Titans GO!

 

Ever since its first air date back in 2013, Teen Titans GO! has been receiving constant criticism. I have personally never witnessed the outrage that has been expressed towards an animated series as compared to this title. Fans of the original work are being swept into a wave of mob mentality, and as a result, are channeling their pitchforks and passionate anger towards Teen Titans GO!—anger that has been epidemically spreading through various social media outlets.

 

Now, why exactly is this?

Well primarily everything that was loved about Teen Titans, most notably it’s stories, layered characters facing both internal and external struggles, well-executed plot, and it’s high-quality hand-drawn animation, was stripped during the creation of its successor. Yet, it’s voice actors and many character design elements remained as if implying the cast of Teen Titans GO! are still the same decade-old characters that we know and love, only placed in different scenarios and manifested in a different art style.

 

This cannot be further from the truth as, along with everything that was stripped, the characterizations of the five protagonists are completely different between series. This is where the anger originates. Fans of the original work are trapped in the mindset of: How dare they tell us that the underwhelming successor of a storytelling piece is even remotely similar to its phenomenal original?

 

A/N: Before I continue, I have seen a few episodes of Teen Titans GO! and it does not compare to the original at all; however, as a standalone series, it’s quite humourous, and I can see that it does have some charm. The main issue that fans have with the show is the fact that it was conceived and pitched as a reboot to the original, making the comparison between the two inevitable.

 
Allow me to say that, as a fan of the original series; as someone who has seen the series in its entirety three times; and as someone who currently has convention-purchased Teen Titan fan art pinned on her bulletin board as she is typing this very post; I strongly believe that Teen Titans GO! is receiving much more hate than it deserves.

Yes its predecessor is amazing, there’s no denying that the series was, and still is, fantastic. And no, Teen Titans GO! doesn’t do the original series justice in the slightest; however, constantly bashing on a series that has been airing for five years—a series that will hit a count of 90 half-hour episodes by the end of next month with no indication of slowing down—is very redundant.

 

I like to think of the Teen Titans GO! rampage as synonymous to the hate that the Kardashians are bombarded with. People find joy in vocalizing their distaste towards both entities. They love to hate Teen Titans GO! and it’s starting to feel as if people are maltreating it for the sole purpose of maltreatment itself. The negative hype surrounding Teen Titans GO! has led cartoon enthusiasts into a never-ending cycle of vocalized distaste that just feeds fire to long-scorching flames.

 

Keep in mind that this post is not written to completely defend the series. I too believe that it has committed a great injustice towards both classic animated television and iconic comic book franchises as a whole. Teen Titans GO! dishonors the original series; however, as mentioned earlier, as a standalone piece it is completely fine.

 

Additionally to reiterate, it has been five years since the series’ release and seven years since its conception. Teen Titans GO! isn’t going anywhere, especially considering its animation is relatively inexpensive to create, its merchandise is supposedly hitting solid sales figures, and it’s one of Cartoon Network’s most-viewed television programs. From a business perspective, it makes below-zero financial sense to give the series the boot. And from a marketing perspective, allowing fans to dive into a never-ending cycle of vocalized hate keeps the series at the forefront of many animation-centered conversations. Controversy sells because powerful reactions spread far and wide. Or as the tired, yet relevant, saying goes: “no press is bad press”.

 

Now, I obviously have no clue as to what goes on behind the scenes at Cartoon Network. I’m not a corporate professional. I am a Canadian arts student who avidly watches animated series targeted at people half my age. So I can most definitely be wrong about this statement; however, when done right marketing controversy can go far. And it might be my conspiracy-obsessed mind churning, in addition to the fact that it is passed 1:00AM right now, but perhaps the move of feeding into the Teen Titans GO! hate by allowing it to take up 50% of the network’s schedule for weeks on end was done intentionally to keep people talking. Either way, conspiracy or not, spreading negativity is not the way to go, and may just be encouraging this self-appointed scandal.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, like the Kardashians, Teen Titans GO! is here to stay, so we might as well place a halt on the negativity towards it. Let’s put down our pitchforks and get back to raving about all of the amazing series that are out there. And let’s remember that the only reason why people feel so betrayed by the series is the fact that its predecessor has left such a powerful impact on us all. It is a fantastic series, and one that we all clearly appreciate so very much.