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All Adult Animationis South Park
"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."
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, and, to a lesser extent, Toilet Humor!

In The Dark Age of Animation, when the Animation Age Ghetto was the norm, people like Ralph Bakshi made vulgar cartoons out of a desire to make animation that wasn't "just for kids" by making something that 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 Cult Classic or two emerged from the era.

During The Renaissance Age of Animation, thanks to the popularity of Beavis And Butthead, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and (to a milder degree) The Simpsons, 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 The Millennium Age of Animation, King of the Hill became a quiet success for FOX, and Cartoon Network starting with the success of the spoof Space Ghost Coast to Coast began to create its own adult-oriented shows, eventually launching the [adult swim] lineup. But the biggest shake-up to the ghetto came in 1997 when Comedy Central debuted the MA-rated South Park, a vulgar but often uproarious comedy that immediately became a smash hit.

Unfortunately, due to Follow the Leader, most of the adult-oriented shows that followed in South Park's wake were similarly vulgar, envelope-pushing fare most successfully FOX's Family Guy. 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 Vulgar Humor, 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 Toilet Humor and Comedic Sociopathy.

This thinking has similar effects to the Animation Age Ghetto. Animation may not be seen as exclusively for kids anymore, but it is seen as exclusively childish. Compare with All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles.


Anime and Manga
  • 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?"

Video Games
  • Point & click adventures suffer from this trope as well, to the point where certain point & click adventure fans won't buy point & click adventures because they don't have funny characters. This is because many point & click adventure fans have an aversion towards games like Myst and Phantasmagoria which broke with the traditional ideas point & click adventures had. Many older fans hated that those games because introduced lots people towards the genre and were suprisingly easier than most of those games. After the genre became unpopular once again many traditional point & click adventure fans, within remembrance of the point & click adventures before the shift in demographic such as Maniac Mansion and Leisure Suit Larry, want to make everyone believe that a point & click adventure is only good if it is funny.
    • Perhaps this is the reason why Visual Novels became so popular in the West, as the few acclaimed point & click adventures that are now on the market (such as Deponia tend to be rather juvenile. People who want more mature stories to be told in their games in the same way point & click adventures do have often no other choice but to play Visual Novels.
  • Ask anyone as to what they think is the most mature game on the Nintendo 64 and the answer will usually be Conkers Bad Fur Day despite the fact that the same console also had Shadowman, Perfect Dark and Resident Evil 2. It may just reveal what gamers think of when they see a game that has the M rating on it.

    Public Medium IgnoranceAll Animation Is Disney

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