Here’s something you may not be privy to today marks International Animation Day (IAD). Every year, October 28 is observed to honor the artists, scientists and technicians responsible for the animation we see in art, television and film.
Yes, that includes Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Shrek, and a host of other animated classics that had a cultural impact. Thanks to the creatives behind the scenes, many of our childhood memories are associated with cartoons, which served as one of our major sources of entertainment. And so, we can’t even begin to imagine what Saturday mornings would have been like without the magic of avatars, dragons and princesses.
The growth of mainstream animated movies and series has changed the art and landscape of storytelling. Through the medium, storytellers have been able to communicate ideas, educate and tackle the mundane aspects of life in a unique, easy-to-perceive way that’s universal for broad audiences. Let’s be clear, animations are not just for ages 18 and under. As it stands, animated content is effective in resonating with children and adults alike. From comedy or otherwise light-hearted themes to current events and political issues, animation is a genre with range and influence.
While all taste is subjective, our SPY team couldn’t let the day go by without acknowledging some of the best work in the world of animation. With that being said, in celebration of International Animation Day, we have rounded out our personal favorites including popular hits from your favorite Disney Pixar landmarks to series classics with rewatchability.
A Bug’s Life
“My favorite animation is definitely the ENTIRE Pixar library, but if I had to pick one movie, it would be A Bug’s Life. They used tiny cameras to study the world of ants, beetles and spiders at the time and then created an immersive experience on the big screen I loved as a child and still watch as an adult. The story is top-notch, the characters are lovable and it’s got a nice hidden political narrative in there as well.”
— Taylor Galla, Senior E-Commerce Editor, SPY.com
“I kind of fell off the animation bandwagon in recent years, but no other animated world holds such a special place in my heart as Pokémon does. I fell in love with Pokémon early in my childhood, and I owned just about every Poké-related item you could imagine. Cards, movies, video games, figurines — you name it. From time to time, I’ll catch myself throwing on an episode or two from any Pokémon series on Netflix just for old-time’s sake. It’s the ultimate comfort show in my opinion.”
— Tyler Schoeber, E-Commerce & Special Projects Editor, SPY.com
The Powerpuff Girls
“The Powerpuff Girls have always been a favorite of mine. I loved how they were so adorable yet so tough on crime in their city of Townsville. They were only in elementary school, but the trio of Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup took no crap and were always on call to save the city from the threat of monsters and villains.”
“Finding Nemo is a certified classic. I remember watching for the first time and being on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. That might sound crazy, but Nemo and his dad went on a journey to find each other again after he was swept away to that dentist’s office aquarium. And it was Ellen Degeneres who took you on a ride of laughter throughout the film. Looking back, I realized I overlooked the film’s underlying message of “just keep swimming” and how it was showing the importance of family, acceptance, kindness and love. Also, I know I’m not alone when I say, after watching this movie I wanted to go out and buy my own clownfish — they just looked cool.”
— Joseph Cheatham, E-Commerce Editor, SPY.com
The Transformers: The Movie
“As a child of the 80s, there’s no defining moment in my childhood than watching Transformers: The Movie. The animated TV show-turned big screen was packed with everything I loved about the 80s, including a more polished look, new robots, and memorable jams from many of the rock and roll bands from the 80s. However, it’s most notable for one of animation’s most controversial decisions — killing off my beloved Optimus Prime. You didn’t expect this kind of thing in a cartoon show for kids, but I cannot tell you it affected me (and many others) in such a profound way. At the very least, it ended on a happy note with the Autobots once again coming out on top.”
— John Velasco, Tech Editor, SPY.com
My Hero Academia
“I’m actually mad at myself for sitting on My Hero Academia for long as I did. After catching the first two episodes of the new season on a plane ride, I was sold that I messed up. I needed to get caught up as soon as possible. Outside of the amazing animation and vibrant action scenes the show’s story and dialogue are next level. I’m invested in a ton of these characters’ arcs and their “quirks”. There’s definite heart and a message. I’ve audibly laughed out loud while watching at the gym.
And the best part is the episodes run so quickly you can burn through a ton and not feel overwhelmed. Sky High crawled so My Hero Academia could strut. If you love a coming-of-age story in a world of good and evil superheroes, this is for you. If you found The Boys to be a little too gruesome, this is for you. And if you love endearing characters, rousing banter, and a thrilling tale, this is for you.”
— Sheilah Villari, Managing Editor, SPY.com
A Town Called Panic
“A Town Called Panic is one of my favorite animated films. It’s an adaptation of a French-language TV show made by the studio behind Wallace and Gromit, so the stop-motion animation is predictably great. The story is not so much a “plot”, but a series of progressively more absurd events, and it’s absolutely hilarious. You can watch it on Kanopy (with a library card) or for free on YouTube.”
— Jonathan Zavaleta, E-Commerce Writer, SPY.com