I am always looking for explanations of animation's unique appeal, and came across this [I]one. Thoughts?
Anthropologist Roy Willis studied three African tribal groups and concluded that their animal imagery, valued highly in their civilization, functioned as a "self-translation into an alien universe." Although the animal species revered differed among the groups, the function was the same: a medium for transcendence out of the individual self into communalism. In our culture, movies in general, cartoons in particular, and especially cartoons with lovable animal heroes, promote similar social and personal rituals.
- Donald Crafton, conclusion of Before Mickey