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Cartoon Meat

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Your favorite types of meat, according to the Windows 10 emoji collection. Clockwise from top left: a ribeye steak, a chicken drumstick, some bacon strips, and a cylindrical mystery meat on a bone.
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Meat is animal flesh often eaten for protein (or convenience if there's nothing else hanging around), though most kinds of meat hold textures and traits that make it rather unnecessarily complicated and ambiguous.

This is where the "Cartoon" part comes to the spotlight.

Depictions of meat in comics and animation are often stylized and simplified, both for the convenience of the artist and ease of recognition for the audience. These simplified versions tend to follow specific trends:

  • Manga meat, or ano niku (Japanese for "that meat"): Generic meat from an unspecified source, portrayed as a roughly cylindrical slab still attached to the bone, with said bone sticking out both ends to serve as a convenient handle while eating. The meat itself is very chewy, sometimes even stretchy. In spite of the name, this version does pop up in western works, too—sometimes with just one bone, so it looks more like a giant drumstick.
  • Poultry is either drumsticks or a whole roasted bird. Drumsticks may be simplified to the point that they look like a meat popsicle. Breasts are rarely seen, despite being among the most common cuts in real life; wings haven't appeared until recently, and are often depicted as smaller drumsticks.
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    • Turkey is usually drawn as an oversized wholly roasted bird, but wearing identifying paper frills on the drumsticks. Much like other portrayed poultry, the part which is most commonly depicted is the drumsticks.
  • Beef can show up as steak or hamburger patties:
    • Steaks are either ribeye or T-bone, because apparently steak isn't steak without some sort of bone in the middle. The meat may be colored bright red, even if it's supposed to be fully cooked.
    • Hamburger patties are usually dark brown, regardless of whether they're cooked rare or well-done.
  • Pork has the most variety and can appear in several forms:
    • Ham will usually be drawn as a giant drumstick cut in half, with the insides a bright pink.
    • Bacon is almost always depicted as side bacon (aka streaky bacon), since it can be simplified to alternating stripes of red (meat) and white (fat).
    • Sausages are usually less than 6 inches in length, linked, and colored gray, brown, red, or any combo thereof.
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    • Hotdogs are slightly longer and are usually colored pink or red.
    • Or a whole roasted suckling pig with an apple in its mouth.
  • Ribs (pork or beef, or possibly something more exotic) are a slab of brown meat, either flat or an exaggerated curve, with bones sticking out every few inches.
  • Fish and seafood:
    • Fish can be depicted as a cooked whole fish, half-fish filets, or in slices. Whole fish may be drawn in much more realistic detail than the rest of a series. Tuna and salmon are the most common, and the meat is usually pink (salmon pink, naturally).
    • Fish skeletons—sometimes with the the head and tail fins attached to a spine that's been otherwise picked clean—are a popular meal for cats, raccoons, or anyone who has to dumpster-dive for food.
    • Lobsters and shrimp are often drawn bright red, even before they're cooked.

Bones that stick-out from Cartoon Meat are most likely to look like Stock Femur Bones, unless the meat is fish or ribs, where they're more likely to be rib bones. Compare with Cartoon Cheese, which is its counterpart for, well, cheese. In video games, this often goes hand-in-hand with Hyperactive Metabolism and Inexplicably Preserved Dungeon Meat. For extremely detailed depictions of meat, see Food Porn.


Examples

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     Anime and Manga  

  • One of Soma's original dishes in Food Wars! is an appetizer made of pâté and bacon wrapped around a bone, designed to look like manga meat.
  • One Piece: Luffy's favorite food is "meat" and is usually depicted as a cylinder of red meat with a bone sticking out both ends.
  • Most of the meat in Slayers is of the manga meat variety. Given the appetites of the main characters a lot of it is consumed at any inn or restaurant they stop in.

    Asian Animation 
  • In the Season 10 end credits sequence for Happy Heroes, one of the characters that passes by Careful S. is Big M., who is carrying a stick with manga meat tied to it with a string. Little M. chases after the meat, trying to eat it.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: A golden trophy shaped like manga meat appears in Happy Happy Bang! Bang! episode 28.

     Video Games  

  • Don't Starve: The ham bat is a weapon that looks like at drumstick chopped with pink in the middle. The weapon is held by the bone and swung around hitting things with the meat end of it. Aside from some crock pot dishes, most meat is cartoon meat.
  • A Hat in Time: Mafia Town has a gigantic meat cylinder with two bones, rolling up and down the street as a stage hazard.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • When you hunt in Little Dragons Cafe, the prey poofs away and pieces of brown Cartoon Meat appear. This is simply for the overworld, as the ingredients are properly identified and more realistic looking.
  • Minecraft has a drumstick-like icon for the hunger symbol.
  • Rocket Knight Adventures: In Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2, the full health restore power-up takes the shape of a hunk of meat with a bone sticking out of both ends.
  • In Shovel Knight, one of the health-restoring items is a rather cartoonish turkey.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon: In the Sunny Villa level, there are many Rhynoc Giant Mooks that wield giant chicken drumsticks; they all look the same. Near the end of the level, there's a cutscene of one of said mooks chasing a giant chicken, and when you get to where they run off to, said giant Rhynoc is already wielding a drumstick.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: During the game's "Fantastic Voyage" Plot, one of the areas the Mario brothers end up in is the Flab Zone, implied to be the rather heavyset Bowser's overlarge deposits of fat. The most common low-level enemies there are the tenderlings, which resemble cylindrical joints of meat with the head of a Stock Femur Bone sticking out at either end, in addition to eyes and feet.
    • Super Paper Mario has the Power Steak and Bone-In Cut items, which are cartoonish depictions of a steak and a piece of meat on a bone, respectively, with the latter being drawn in the came's characteristic Retraux blocky style.
    • WarioWare: Smooth Moves features the microgame "BYOM", in which the player rotates the Wii Remote in order to roast a joint of Manga Meat for cavemen.
  • Team Fortress 2: Don't Starve's ham bat was ported to TF2 under the name "The Ham Shank", with Genuine quality ones being awarded to those who preordered the source material. It's very much the same design, only 3D modeled.

     Visual Novels  

     Web Animation  

     Web Comics  

  • In the The Order of the Stick prequel On the Origin of PCs, Elan wears a "ceremonial meat costume" shaped like a big stereotypical T-bone steak.

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  

  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: The "Health Plate" item ordered by Pidge in Season 6 Episode 3 takes the form of a lumpy brown tube with cartoony bones poking out of each end.


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