One of the greatest strengths of using animation to tell a story is its ability to bring the creator’s imagination to life. Be it through pencil drawings or computer images, creatures and locations can look exactly as they should without the constraints of the real world limiting them. This is particularly evident in landscapes that appear alien or follow their own logic.
In children’s animation, traveling to other worlds offers escape opportunities for children searching for a reality more interesting than their own. However, they are often not all fun and games: sometimes behind the smile there is an enemy in disguise, and behind the next mountain a ripe lesson could be waiting to be taught. Neither they nor the audience will find out unless they are ready to take the next step.
adventure time is perhaps the most important cartoon of the last two decades. The story of Fin and Jake and their adventures through the land of Ooo helped lift Cartoon Network out of its dark days and usher in a new golden age of children’s animation. He was able to do this thanks to his memorable characters, willingness to tackle heavy subjects, and simple yet creative art style.
The Land of Ooo offers many landscapes for the characters to explore, from a kingdom inhabited by living candies to an endless dungeon. However, sometimes Fin and Jake find themselves in parallel universes, on other planets or even in the land of the dead. This is when the animators and story writers could get creative and wacky on a show that’s known for being just that.
“Star vs. The Forces of Evil”
Princess Star Butterfly of Mewnie gets a magic wand on her fourteenth birthday. However, her unruly nature convinces her parents to send her to Earth as an exchange student so she doesn’t destroy their castle. She teams up with a boy named Marco, learns about Earth culture, fights monsters, and develops as both a mage and a princess.
Star and Marco’s adventures are not limited to Earth and Mewnie. Thanks to an item called the Dimensional Scissors, they can travel to all sorts of universes, many of which are mutually aware due to this dimensional journey. It offers an interesting look at how different worlds would engage in diplomacy with one another, especially in today’s multiverse-obsessed society.
When Anne Boonchoy steals a music box for her friends, a magical portal opens and sucks her into the world of Amphibia. Anne gets separated from the others and ends up in the village of Wormwood. She is accepted by the Planter family and together they teach each other about their respective cultures while trying to get Anne and her friends home.
The idea of a world inhabited by frogs is allowed amphibians plenty of room to be creative, especially in its wildlife. While many creatures resemble oversized versions of snakes, praying mantises and dragonflies, they are equipped with new features that help them feel alien. It’s also fascinating to see how a frog society works, especially with other anthropomorphic amphibians like toads and newts creating a litter system.
“Over the Garden Wall”
Cartoon Network’s first miniseries tells the story of brothers Wirt and Greg. On Halloween, they find themselves far from home and lost in a mysterious forest called The Unknown. With a talking bluebird named Beatrice as their guide, the brothers try to get home while avoiding the mysterious beasts that roam the forest.
The unknown is a fascinating world because it plays with one’s own perception. It feels like stepping into a fairy tale, where characters are referred to by occupations rather than names, animals go to school, and magic is very real. Very few things are as they seem, and each day the young must precede the sense of despair lest they be lost forever.
Somewhere in the multiverse there is a train that runs forever. It finds people who are carrying unresolved trauma, brings them on board and assigns them a number on the hand. As the passengers navigate the many cars and grapple with their problems, the number on their hands will decrease until it reaches zero and they can go home.
Similar to adventure time,Infinity train allows its characters to explore microworlds connected to a central hub world. The different cars lead to unique and creative landscapes that help the passenger come to terms with their trauma. It offers an interesting insight into how deeply trauma can be buried in the human mind and how much work is required to move on.
While incarcerated, young Rudy Tabootie finds a piece of magic chalk that he can use to enter ChalkZone. In this land, every drawing ever erased from a blackboard is a living, breathing creature, including Rudy’s superhero creation, Snap. Together with Rudy’s friend Penny, they explore ChalkZone and try to protect it from people and drawings who want to exploit the chalk for their own purposes.
The magic chalk allows Rudy to create whatever he wants within ChalkZone and allows for creative problem solving. Things he adds to the world become permanent, such as B. a second eye on a cyclops to give him depth perception. It’s not perfect, however, as real-world things like water and vacuum cleaners can bring the apocalypse.
One night in the middle of nowhere, a kid named Kid finds a set of space rocks that grant their wielder superpowers. He attaches them to rings and distributes them one by one among his friends to form his own superhero team. Together they fight to protect the community from aliens who want to acquire the stones for galactic conquest.
While the first season is set on Earth, the show’s second season teleports the local truck stop into space. This allows characters to experience fun alien planets, each with creative designs and some new Power Stones. The show is a wonderful homage to pulp sci-fi stories, directed by the creator of The Powerpuff GirlsCraig McCracken.
‘Mia and I’
When Mia Marconi receives a book from her late father, she discovers it is a portal to a magical land called Centopia. Here, Mia transforms into an elf and befriends many of the land’s residents, including elves, pans, and unicorns. Together they try to understand the mystery of the book and save Centopia from the invading evil.
Though designed for a younger audience, me and me is a perfectly usable show. The world of Centopia has bright, vibrant colors and the designs of the various creatures, especially the unicorns, are creative and fun. It offers a very sharp contrast to the human world presented by live actors, reflecting the imaginations of the children watching the show.
Reggie Abbot loves being a kid and never wants to grow up to the point where she created another world called Endless populated by all her old toys and drawings. With their friends Todd and Esther, they have fun playing superheroes and escaping the responsibilities of the real world. Unfortunately, the more they run away from their problems, the more their problems endlessly follow them.
Endless Island works beautifully as a filming location for the series. Its inhabitants are bright and colorful, as befits children’s toys. However, many of them also have repulsive designs and are unable to make decisions without the help of the main characters. In a subtle way, the series depicts the transition from child to adult.
In a dystopian world, a horse and its rider are attacked by minotaurs while recovering a magical artifact. The horse awakens to find it can speak and has been transported to an alien world of centaur creatures. She teams up with a friendly herd of centaur and sets out on a quest to combine her artifact with similar ones scattered around Centaurworld in hopes of being brought back home.
centaur world asks how many things can be made into centaurs and the answer is “everything”. As well as using more animals than just horses, inanimate objects like buildings and tornadoes are made into centaurs, offering a unique design that contrasts with the harsher, more grounded world the horse hails from. But there’s a danger in the pastel world, because the longer Horse stays, the more her art design shifts to resemble the residents.
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