Blog #10: Character Rivalries in Animation

Posted April 17, 2012 by mikeweber90
Categories: Uncategorized

Hey everybody, today I’m going to talk a little about the aspect of rivalry among certain animated characters, and I’m going to be as brief, or to the point, as possible.  Okay so a charater rivalry, as I would define it, is when you have at least two characters equal in some or many ways in such a way that sparks a debate as to who is better among fans. Famous rivalries include the following: Ash and Gary from Pokemon, Woody and Buzz from Toy Story, Vegeta and Goku from DragonBall Z, Bug Bunny and Daffy Duck from Looney Tunes, and finally Batman and Superman from the DC Comics Universe.  One of the questions that arises, for myself at least, with these character rivalries is: What is it that makes these two characters, whoever they may be, so primed or so special that they are constantly compared with each other?

I think alot of it has to do with the individual personalities of each of the two characters and how they interact with, or play off of each other.  The Batman and Superman rivalry is an excellent showcase for walk I’m talking about in the prior sentence as both heroes respectively almost have a night and day view of the world, human nature, and criminality.  This difference can be seen and explained best in how each character was brought up and how they each deal with criminals.  So, let’s start off with Superman’s character make-up and then we’ll move onto Batman’s and then we’ll wrap it up.

Okay so as I’m sure most of you know, Superman was born on the planet Krypton to parents Jor-El and Lara who, as the planet Krypton was about to explode, placed the infant Superman, or Kal-El, into  a spaceship that rocketed off the doomed planet and shipped him off to Earth and was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent who took him in and named him Clark.  The Kents raised Clark, or Superman, on their farm in Kansas where he aquired, through the strong guidance and love of Jonathan and Martha, a high moral standard and bright idealism which is how he would later interact with the world as he moved to Metropolis and became the hero known as Superman.  Superman has a most positive outlook on humanity and life in general; he strongly believes in the best of mankind, depite its flaws, and he is always looking to treat people with the respect and dignity no matter what.  Superman’s optimistic and idealistic nature is in most respects a contrast to that of Batman.

Batman, as most of you probably know, was born as Bruce Wayne into wealth as the son of billionaire parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne.  Unfortunately, when Bruce was eight years-old he witnessed the darkest and most life-changing moment in his life, as his parents were shot and murdered right in front of him by a thief.  That haunting moment gave young Bruce a driving desire to fight the criminal and corrupt elements that so thoroughly plagued Gotham City, and so he spent his pre-Batman years studying all he could from the best minds in the world and training with the best martial arts masters he could find.  He did all of this until he finally became a master detective, scientist, martial artist, etc. and thus he adopted the persona of Batman in order to strike fear and terror into the very people who preyed upon the innocent people of Gotham City for so long.  So, with all of this Batman has a darker and less idealistic view of humanity and life as he has, for the most part, been predominantly exposed to the darkness of both, unlike Superman.  Moreover, while Batman will treat people with respect and dignity that they deserve, he isn’t going blind himself to the darker nature of each person that he encounters.

So now we finally come to how the two characters will deal with the criminals they encounter and hopefully the reason why their rivalry is so classic will be revealed. So, stemming from each hero’s personality and upbringing, we can get a glimspe of how each deals with the criminal element and also how they’ll deal with the governmental systems that be.  Now as I said Superman is a highly moral and idealistic person, believing strongly is fair-play, truth, justice, and etc and so with villains like Lex Luthor, Superman will most often give them the benefit of the doubt and he’ll be most inclined to show mercy toward a criminal if it’s possible.  This is in somewhat contrast to Batman who is a bit more cynical about criminality than Superman is, which again stems from the fact that he has dealt with the darker side of humanity more often that with the light.  Batman is highly trained at interrogations and he knows plenty of techniques that will get the information he needs from the criminals and he isn’t afraid to use any of them.  Batman will even use techniques that might be considered borderline torture, but obviously not to the extreme as he never kills his villains, something he shares with Superman.

Finally Superman, who is all for fair-play and giving the benefit of the doubt, would most often be one who trusts and is willing to work with the governing bodies of a respective city as he has often acted as a mediator who tries to keep the peace between government and hostile voices.  Batman on the other hand, who has grown up amid the rampant corruption of the Gotham City, is one who will often think twice before doing things for a government offical(s) and it’s not likely that he is one to be very trusting toward a governmental body of any sort.

So with all of that said, I think that a strong factor which makes a character rivalry like the one between Batman and Superman, so great and so lasting is that each character is for the most part a stark contrast to the other and they each present a different, but effective view of viewing the world and reaching a common goal, which in this case is to protect the innocent people from the bad guys.

Advertisements

Blog Comments #5

Posted April 16, 2012 by mikeweber90
Categories: Uncategorized

Comments #1

Comments #2

Blog Comments #6

Posted April 13, 2012 by mikeweber90
Categories: Uncategorized

Comments #1

Comments #2

Blog Comments #7

Posted April 12, 2012 by mikeweber90
Categories: Uncategorized

Comments #1

Comments #2

Blog Comments #8

Posted April 12, 2012 by mikeweber90
Categories: Uncategorized

Comments #1

Comments #2

Blog Comments #9

Posted April 11, 2012 by mikeweber90
Categories: Uncategorized

Comments #1

Comments #2

Blog #9: Recommendtion: Disney’s Recess

Posted April 11, 2012 by mikeweber90
Categories: Uncategorized

Hey everybody, so today I have another recommendation for you all, and it is Disney’s Recess.  Disney’s Recess, which ran from 1997-2001 on Disney Channel’s “Toon Disney” cartoon bloc, was created by created by Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere, often credited in the show’s closing as “Paul and Joe,” and was produced by Walt Disney Animations (Recess).  The show revolves around the adventures of a main group of six best friends in the 4th grade who all attend Third Street Elementary School, along with a very unique cast of fellow classmates and teachers. The main group of six friends, composed of two girls and four boys, consists of Theodore “TJ” Detweiller, the group’s leader and the school’s “Prankster Prince,” who regularly wears a leather jacket and  a backwards red baseball cap; Vince LaSalle, TJ’s right-hand man in the group and the school’s best athlete, Ashley Spinelli, often referred to as Spinelli as she hates her first name, who is a huge tomboy and is a wrestling fan; Gretchen Grundler, who is the most intelligent person in the school; Mikey Blumberg, who is the overweight, mild-mannered, philosophical one of the group; and then there is Gus Griswald, who is the naive new kid at the school and is a military “brat.” (Recess)

Now as I said earlier, aside from the main six characters, Recess features a whole host of very unique and interesting characters, in the form of both faculty members and other students.  The main faculty members featured in the show are Principal Prickly, the school’s principal who is often shown as a cold authority figure who is routinely plagued by the antics of TJ and his friends, but on occasion is shown to truly care for his students (Characters).  Secondly, there is Miss Finster, the playground monitor who often is seen as a cold authoritrian by the kids on the playground, who fear her.  Miss Finster is constantly followed by Randall, a student who acts as her snitch and thus is very much disliked by the rest of the kids (Characters).

As for the other students who are featured in the show and who interact with the main cast, they are quite as unnique and intereesting as the faculty.  A few examples include the Diggers, Sam and Dave, two best friends who spend pretty every recess digging holes on the playground; Hustler Kid, who often tries to, discreetly, sell the other kids various goods from inside his brown trench coat; Guru Kid, who wheres a t-shirt on his head as a turban and gives Buddha-like wisdom to the other kids; and there is King Bob, who is a sixth grader, and the king of the playground whose throne sits atop the jungle gym  (Characters).

So now that you have some kind of idea as to the who the characters in this show are, I’ll explain a little bit about the show’s main setting and premise, and I’ll explain how and why the show is highly recommended.  As I’ve said, Recess features a group of six friends who live out their daily lives in a highly cliched, and very creatively set-up, school environment (Recess). They all attend Third Street Elementary School where the student population, or “kids of the playground” as often referred to in the show, has set-up a hilarious, creative, and unique microcosm of a traditional human society, which is most vividly shown on the school’s playground where the majority of the episodes take place (Recess).  The playground society is complete with its own government, a monarchy headed by the King Bob and the sixth graders, class system, and set of unwritten rules, many of which are explained throughout the series (Recess).   On the opposite end of the class system, as opposed to the ruling sixth grade class, there is the kindergarteners who are portrayed, very humoroulsy, as tribal savages who are usually kept up in there own walled-off pen.  Also in pretty much each episode, one, a few, or all of the six main characters are often seen rebelling against some sort of percieved threat by either the adult characters or by the other kids of the playground.   And finally, Recess often deals with the characters trying to find a reasonable balance between conformity and non-conformity (Recess).  For example, in one episode the kids find a single puzzle piece that belonged to a popular game that, according to the kids, swept across playgrounds and turned the kids into mind-controlled slaves, and the rest of the episode had the kids trying to avoid being caught up in the fad.

So now, without much further ado, I will explain to you all why I recommend the cartoon series to you.  Recess is such an excellently made cartoon and it shows in its creativity, especially in its array of characters and their characterizations.  Recess does a fantastic job of incorporating the multitude of characters into the story and the creators and animators don’t just do this with the msix main characters, but they very successfully do it with a good number of the minor characters.  Sometimes in the series, the creators will have an episode(s) that will focus on one of the main six, or they will have a few episodes where one of the minor characters is given the spotlight, so to speak, and this really helps the audience get to know each character reasonably well.  I guarantee that you will get to know each of these characters’ and their respective stories, as well as finding that each of them are so hilarious and creatively thought up in their own way.  Overall, I think that Recess is a very creative, funny, and classic animation, and one that will have you falling in love with the characters, especially those of the main six who show the audience the meaning of true friendship, as well as reminding us each of memories of our elementary school days when recess truly ruled.

(Poster)