Friday, April 01, 2005

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Lately I´ve been watching Codename: Kids Next Door a lot. One of the things I really like about it is that it works like Bobby´s World and Rugrats, but instead of alternating between the "children´s world" and the "real world" the children in KND never leave their imaginative views of a never ending battle against the adults. Another thing I like is that, although episodes can be seen independently, there is a main plot rolling along the episodes. It´s not a complicated story, just mindless fun.

The production of KND is remarkable for a channel in which all productions seemed to be unaware of the world outside the Tom and Jerry / Bugs Bunny format. It´s strange to notice how Cartoon Network sticks to the slapstick humor so strongly. Even though they have the biggest archive of cartoons on network television, they continue to emphasize on the same old type of visual jokes. If you watch Bugs Bunny cartoons through the eras you´ll even see the exact same stories with only slight visual differences. Unfortunately, a similar critic can be said about Japanese animation. In 2003, over 100 animations were produced in Japan. I didn´t watch them all (I sort of have a life) but I can guarantee that about 99% of them don´t have anything new to offer. I recently read a very interesting article by Malcom Gladwell. "Old words in the service of a new idea aren't the problem. What inhibits creativity is new words in the service of an old idea." We shouldn´t expect a revolution from all animations but we should at least try to find from where the original ideas came from.

Finally, the first drawing is of one the main characters: Number 5. A great point about American cartoons is the liberty they choose to have with character design. At first I thought she would be just another of those "put at least one black sidekick-stereotype there so they don´t call us racists", but surprisingly KND is very democratic about giving each kid interesting personalities and individual episodes. I love the fact that (at least in my head) KND has some kind of very sad fatality because as seasons go by, they are closer to their inevitable destiny of becoming their worst enemies: adults. Since Number 5 is my favorite character in KND, I imagined how she would look like as the enemy.

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