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Analysis / Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal

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Half Dressed Cartoon Animals, Gender, and Level of Anthropomorphism:

In some cases, which part (top or bottom) to leave out of an anthropomorphic animal character's iconic costume depends on the character's sex or level of anthropomorphism.

  • Pantsless male Funny Animals: Much of character recognition in animation is based on silhouette. In twentieth century western culture, it was customary for men and boys to wear trousers. The legs of a bipedal critter, except the legs of many bird characters, already have a silhouette not unlike trousers; compare Long Pants. Adding an untucked shirt to the silhouette results in pantsless appearance once the backlight is turned off. Examples include Donald Duck, Wakko Warner, Winnie-the-Pooh, and Porky Pig.
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  • Shirtless male Funny Animals: Sometimes, an male animal character will wear pants, shorts, or overalls, but no shirt to serve as a subtle Furry Reminder. Sometimes done for Fanservice, compare Walking Shirtless Scene. Examples include Mickey Mouse, Magilla Gorilla, Yakko Warner, and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
  • Shirtless female Funny Animals: In twentieth century western culture, a skirt, whether with underwear or not, was a tertiary sexual characteristic that was used as an easily silhouettable shorthand way to say that a character will fill some approximation of a feminine gender role. They can go shirtless because they lack a certain secondary sexual characteristic. Rarely do half-dressed female animals wear pants, shorts, or overalls without a shirt. Examples include Ortensia, Dot Warner, Cindy Bear, and sometimes Minnie Mouse, as well as the 1999 version of Winnie Woodpecker.
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  • Rarity of bare-bottomed female Funny Animals: Again, a skirt is used as a tertiary sexual characteristic. Otherwise, you may need to add a hair dec. Notice Daisy Duck's huge bow. The most common examples bare-bottomed or pantless female animals are birds, but a few are mammals. Dixie Kong and Gosalyn are two other such examples.
  • Rarity of pantless or bare-bottomed, shoe-wearing Funny Animals: Shoe-wearing pantsless or bare-bottomed cartoon animals as there are shoe-wearing shirtless cartoon animals because being shirtless with shoes on is more accepted than being pantsless with shoes on in the case of humans and most half dressed cartoon animals are barefoot anyway. Daisy Duck and Gosalyn are two female examples and Conker, Daniel Tiger, and Fowlmouth are three male examples. One exception in both real life and cartoons occurs when the shirt is at least calf-length, like that worn by pre-CGI Alvin Seville.
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  • Shirtless, shoe-wearing Funny Animals: Again, they are more common than pantsless characters wearing shoes because being shirtless and wearing shoes is accepted than the pantsless variant. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are two such examples.
  • Rarity among Beast Men: Few Beast Men appear half dressed, whether shirtless or pantless. Half-dressed Beast Men are less common than half-dressed Civilized Animals and Funny Animals because Beast Men are more human than they are animal and the censors will tend to intervene, especially if they're female. Shirtless male Beast Men are more common than the shirtless female and both genders of the pantsless variants because shirtless men aren't taboo like the other two variants. Furthermore, Beast Men dress like humans as a shorthand way to say that unlike Funny Animal which is a metaphor for humans and social commentary, Beast Men are humans, except they're not (they're usually found in settings where humans can't exist and thus can't be used, such as After the End or A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away...). While some authors will try to justify a nude Beast Man by giving the character puffier fur (Or feathers if they are a bird) around their pelvic area or by being slightly more anatomically correct (Reptiles and amphibians), they can still fall under the Uncanny Valley because the audience will notice that something is missing.
  • Rarity of shirtless normal and Talking Animals: Few Nearly Normal Animals, Talking Animals, and Partially Civilized Animals are shirtless with pants on, let alone fully dressed for that matter, because their body shape is basically as non-anthropomorphic as that of normal animals. Normal animals are almost never given pants to wear because they can't take off clothes easily and they'll likely soil themselves otherwise. Furthermore, animals in Real Life are nearly always naked. Therefore, their cousins on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism wear little or no clothing as a shorthand that they "think and act" like animals.
  • Pantless normal and Talking Animals: More common than shirtless or fully dressed normal animals, Nearly Normal Animals, Talking Animals, and Partially Civilized Animals as shirts, jackets, and sweaters without pants allow animals to "do their business" without soiling themselves. One example is Abu the monkey from Aladdin.

Alternative Title(s): Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal


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