One of the great things about animation is it lets story tellers present a visual work that would be much too expensive or even impossible to do with live actors….
This is the work that introduced the world to tentacle rape. Debate redeeming qualities, but it’s certain that the studio could not have told this story with live action, and they definitely didn’t intend it for kids.
Especially animation aimed at younger audiences, can be extremely enlightening for adults. A lot of the time cartoons capture the same problems kids face on a daily basis, and it’s important to see what stories are resonating with them. At the same time, animated stories provide great teaching moments, allowing adults to put difficult and sensitive issues in a context that kids can understand.
There’s a lot of animation that’s meant for adults only, or that adults enjoy watching along with their families.
Animation lets you take a story and advance it without having to use actors and sets; it’s a lot cheaper, but usually beautifully done. Have you ever watched Kill Bill, Vol. 1?
Remember the animation sequence in it about the little Chinese girl who saw both her parents get murdered and later murdered the child molester who killed her parents, then went on to become the best assassin in China? That was an example of animation for adults. No way would someone let kids watch that one! That was no ‘cartoon.’
Animation is also a great form of advertising and promotion. Nothing tells a tale more vividly and gorgeously than a work of animation — and yes that goes for the CGI in live-action too.
Some of the Animation mentions
In the recent decades there has been many animated movies and tv shows with adult content not suitable for children, not to mention some productions with deep storylines that would be enjoyable for both adult and children
Some example in the first category include: South Park, Futurama, Rick and Morty, Bojack Horseman for TV; Anomalisa, Justice League Gods and Monsters, Sausage Party for movies.
Some example in the second category include: Avatar the Last Airbender, Gravity Falls, Steven Universe for TV; Big Hero 6, Inside Out, How to Train Your Dragon series for movies
If you look closer at the wonderful variety of animated productions I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the depth of content and find an appreciation for the story in these productions. In fact most feature productions these days have a pretty wide range of audience.
Just look at any Pixar, Disney, Dreams, Laika movies that came out in the last ten years. Most if not all of them are enjoyed by children and adult alike. Most recently I went to watch Finding Dory and Secret Life of Pets and to my suprise the theatres were filled with mostly teenagers and adults.