->''"There's something that's called 'adult animation' and it usually means it appeals to adolescent, teenage boys and that's not really adult in my view."''
-->-- '''[[http://www.geogrif.com/ George Griffin]]''', independent animator

Good news! The mainstream Western audience finally accepts that animation can also be for adults!

Bad news! The mainstream Western audience thinks that all adult animation is full of graphic violence, sex jokes, swearing, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and, to a lesser extent,]] ToiletHumor!

In TheDarkAgeOfAnimation, when the AnimationAgeGhetto was the norm, people like Creator/RalphBakshi made vulgar cartoons out of a desire to make animation that wasn't "just for kids" by making something that [[DarkerAndEdgier couldn't possibly be shown to kids]]. They thus avoided the annoying statement "It can be enjoyed by the whole family" (with the implication that it's meant for children) and a CultClassic or two emerged from the era.

During TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation, thanks to the popularity of ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButthead'', ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'', and (to a milder degree) ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', the idea that animation could be expanded beyond the family market began to take off again. With the establishment of the TV ratings system, it also became easier to make it clear to audiences that a show wasn't for children. As the Renaissance Age began to shade into TheMillenniumAgeOfAnimation, ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' became a quiet success for Creator/{{FOX}}, and Creator/CartoonNetwork starting with the success of the spoof ''WesternAnimation/SpaceGhostCoastToCoast'' began to create its own adult-oriented shows, eventually launching the Creator/AdultSwim lineup. But the biggest shake-up to the ghetto came in 1997 when Creator/ComedyCentral debuted the MA-rated ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', a vulgar but often uproarious comedy that immediately became a smash hit.

Unfortunately, due to FollowTheLeader, most of the adult-oriented shows that followed in ''South Park'''s wake were similarly vulgar, envelope-pushing fare most successfully FOX's ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''. Thanks to creators following the example of that, people now believe that any western animation that isn't just kids' shows are sitcoms and/or VulgarHumor, which is far from the truth. So anyone wanting to create serious, intelligent animated fare for adults will find it very hard to convince its potential audience that it isn't all ToiletHumor and ComedicSociopathy.

This thinking has similar effects to the AnimationAgeGhetto. Animation may not be seen as exclusively for kids anymore, but it is seen as exclusively childish. Compare with AllAnimeIsNaughtyTentacles. Contrast with [[AllAnimationIsDisney All (Kid-Oriented) Animation is Disney]].

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime & Manga ]]

* If you want to see an example of legitimately mature adult animation, Anime/BlackJack is a good bet. Being a medical drama in a similar vein as {{Series/House}}, it doesn't shy away from showing blood and guts, but it's never played up for shock value or treated as a cheap thrill. The writing and storytelling are top-notch and truly gripping, and the whole production gives off an air of maturity and depth that you just don't see very often.
* Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt is basically Japan's attempt to emulate American cartoons. Specifically, American ''adult'' cartoons. The result is like WesternAnimation/SouthPark and WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether spliced together and dosed up on speed.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Magazines ]]

* In a review in Metro (free newspaper on public transport) of Goro Miyazaki's Tales from Earthsea, the reviewer made a remark along the lines of, "but its main problem is that it's not very funny; it's a cartoon, so what's the point if it's not funny?"

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Ask anyone as to what they think is the most mature game on the {{Nintendo 64}} and the answer will usually be ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'' despite the fact that the same console also had ''VideoGame/{{Shadowman}}'', ''VideoGame/PerfectDark'' and ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2''. It may just reveal what gamers think of when they see a game that has the M rating on it.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy is one of the primary culprits for encouraging this trope. Its particular style of pop-culture centric humor and cutaway gags proved a big hit with audiences (especially following its [[UnCancelled uncancellation]]), and made it arguably just as influential as its brethren, for better or worse.
* Being the TropeNamer, it's a given that WesternAnimation/SouthPark is going to be listed on this page. It's almost single-handedly responsible for creating the [[RefugeInAudacity audacious]], [[CrossesTheLineTwice line-crossing]] brand of humor that has become so prevalent in adult animation. Hard as it is to imagine these days, in 1997 the sight of cartoon characters telling each other to "suck balls" was totally wild and crazy (the closest ''The Simpsons'' had ever come to that was, of course, "Eat my shorts!"), and the show drew huge viewership numbers purely from the [[DancingBear novelty factor]]. Like all popular things, it was quickly aped and imitated, and soon it became standard practice for adult cartoons to take a page out of Parker and Stone's book.
** Once the series began to move away from pure VulgarHumor and into social satire, a new wave of imitators sprung up to capitalize on it. WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons, {{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}, and WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy all made their own ham-fisted attempts to adapt, with little success.
* Part of the reason for WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons SeasonalRot was pressure to become more "edgy" and "adult" in order to compete with you-know-what. This resulted in an increase in mean-spirited gross-out gags that weren't particularly funny and didn't fit the show's milder, more laid-back tone, culminating in the [[JumpTheShark infamous]] panda rape scene in "Homer vs. Dignity."
* This trope might as wall have originally been called "All Adult Animation Is RalphBakshi" for two reasons: one, when he was still making films, it was, as nobody was making animation for adults as noteworthy as him (relatively speaking). Two, the only others who were only aped the gratuitous sex and nudity, which Bakshi only included in his films as a form of rebellion. His gritty violence and themes of corruption and racism, however, all came from personal experience and were never played for laughs. To be fair, the only reason he got away with this is because he worked independently, a big part of the reason ''CoolWorld'', produced by Paramount, played this trope straight.
* A big reason "WesternAnimation/FatherOfThePride" lasted as briefly as it did was that it simultaneously played this trope straight and failed at it.
* "WesternAnimation/{{Brickleberry}}" can basically be described as "diet WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy."
* Probably the worst offender of this trope played straight would be "WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether", which is 90% CringeComedy. You can count the amount of jokes that are not [[RefugeInAudacity shock value]], [[NauseaFuel bodily function-related]] or at the expense of any kind of social/racial minority on one hand.
* We can now add ''WesternAnimation/MrPicklesGoodBoy'' to the list of shows that play this trope straight. As TheMysteriousMrEnter put it, the show's favoring of BodyHorror and cruelty towards it's characters over anything resembling a story serves as a prime example of how these types of animated shows for adults tend to have even less effort put into their humor and writing than the most saccharine shows for children, which at least try to put in positive messages.
* ''EightCrazyNights'' is one of the few feature film examples of this trope played straight.
* Part of the reason that "RenAndStimpy: Adult Party Cartoon" lasted as briefly as it did was Spike TV's insistence that the show's already vulgar humor be made ''even more vulgar'' to appeal to the post-SouthPark crowd.
* The works of indie animator BillPlympton are a nice aversion of this: while plenty of his films feature unhinged vulgarity and sexual content to the point of pornography, it's more because [[DoingItForTheArt he finds them funny and entertaining]] rather than executives breathing down his neck for shock value, and like RalphBakshi, he can get away with it because he works independently.