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Editor's Notebook

Is it all that upsetting?

Heather Kenyon

Who knew that adult animation was so upsetting to so many people or that the very idea is a difficult one to grasp? Those of us that are more familiar with animation than just Saturday morning are so used to the concept that animated films can be directed toward adults. For instance most of the films screened at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival are not for kids. They are serious pieces of art, even though some may be humorous, that show an artist's unique take on the human experience. Of all the visual media I have seen in my life some of the most moving are from animated films. In the realm of animation, Saturday morning is a sliver of what is out there and yet the general public is unaware of this. There is an amazing world out there for them to discover! But how?

Way back in November, Piet Kroon offered us a real treat in Los Angeles. With the help of the Consulate-General of The Netherlands and Warner Bros. Feature Animation, Piet screened his new film, T.R.A.N.S.I.T., to a nearly filled auditorium. It was quite a collection of the animation industry and proved to be a great night of seeing old friends and acquaintances. It was like a mini-festival with a screening of other works, including TVC's When the Wind Blows, which was produced by T.R.A.N.S.I.T.' s Iain Harvey. People enjoyed the screening; everyone agreed that such events should happen more often and, while this was a private affair, thought such events would appeal to a wider audience. The demand to see these films is out there. It is just finding the proper channels to get these animated pieces screened where the general public will notice them. Art galleries and special screenings sometimes take place but one must be diligent and seek them out. I salute people like Cartoon Network's Linda Simensky who have brought short films by independents to major networks. Spike and Mike are taking a grand step up by presenting Spike and Mike's Classic Festival of Animation which is currently touring, and includes T.R.A.N.S.I.T. I hope that as the popularity of animation grows, as everyone says it is, a more diverse and interesting range of animation will reach the mainstream audience. The people reading this magazine are the people who have this power.

How can it be that Mr. Tibor Clerdouet, Mr. Yvan West Laurence and Mr. Cedric Littardi are on trial for presenting a magazine about adult animation, not porn mind you but animation made for an adult audience, to adults in France? This is not a country run by a strict religious or totalitarian government. This is France--known for it's laissez-faire attitude. We must actively seek to expand animation knowledge to the public to protect our own, not just from legal action, but also artistically. A wider range of demand will protect the health, depth and vitality of our industry. Is animation really going through a renaissance or is it just an expanding of the stuff regularly seen on mainstream television and at the local cineplex?It would be exciting if an appetite for the avant garde could be cultivated.

I can see and understand that animated pornography is not for everyone. When doing research for the anime porn article (no, really), we received boxes of tapes from the distributors and I took them home to see what all the fuss was about. Well, let's just say, I don't think I'll be signing up anytime soon to get on the company's mailing lists. But you know what? That's my opinion and if there are folks out there that want to buy every single release -- good for them. I hope they are happy. As long as adult material is distributed through the proper channels so it cannot get into the hands of minors, I have no problem with its distribution, and neither should anyone else. No one is forcing anyone to watch if they don't want to.

Adult animation really does run the gamut. From The Simpsons to South Park to Bob and Margaret, to animated pornography to adaptations of classic literary tales to the latest special effects and festival winners--animation is anything but kid stuff and while we may know that, a lot of folks don't.

Until next time... Heather