5 Ways Cartoons Have Improved

With time, everything changes and cartoons are no exception. The creation of animated shows has transformed vastly over the decades – with artistic, acting and storytelling styles evolving enormously. Though it is debatable as to whether on the whole cartoons are now better, there are things that I don't really see in cartoons anymore that I feel (and I think most people also feel) make them a whole lot better. So here are 5 cartoon improvements:


I will start with an obvious observation – animated shows look a lot clearer and sharper these days, which makes for a much better viewing experience. Yes, some classic shows have a certain charm to their visual style and some old styles yearn to be used again but with modern techniques. However, it's nice to be able to clearly discern objects from one another, to add extra details (and even jokes) into backgrounds and ultimately make the worlds that these characters inhabit richer, deeper and more beautiful.


In some old cartoons, it wasn't uncommon to see the synchronicity between a character's voice and a character's mouth movements be a bit out of whack. Sometimes their actions wildly differed from their speech or sometimes they would start speaking a second or so before their mouth moved. Nowadays, this is almost non-existent. Naturally it is still difficult to accomplish this in shows that originate in a different language (e.g. Pokémon is a Japanese show where the Japanese voices are replaced with English ones) but even these shows have improved greatly, in large part thanks to digital recording.


For brief moments in old cartoons, you would occasionally see one character talking with the voice of another. A classic example is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where you would see Leonardo's mouth move but it would be the character of Donatello speaking or you may see Donatello talking but hear one of Raphael's sarcastic quips. The poor turtles were muddled up frequently. Thankfully in the new Nickelodeon series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles you will not experience this problem. In fact, I never see this error in any cartoons these days.


Sometimes the colour of a character's clothing may briefly change randomly or – similar to the voice switching – sometimes characters' colours would be switched or confused too. Marge Simpson's necklace would change from red to white; a floor may change from pink to blue; the blue, purple, red and orange masks of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would occasionally switch (you could tell it was just the colour because they would still have their proper weapon) or you see what it would be like if Mario were green and Luigi were red. The quantity of these errors and their importance and size has shrunk significantly. Nowadays errors of this kind, if any, are small. Such errors require a very sharp eye and a DVR to check your mind wasn't playing tricks.


Back in the day, if a voice actor was sick or busy, you might have seen them be temporarily replaced by someone else for an episode. Though sometimes actors will leave shows and some characters will have their voices permanently replaced, I'm relieved these temporary measures are pretty much a thing of the distant past. Like with a number of these other improvements, it means you don't get distracted or taken out of the moment. It's one thing to have a blip where something looks or sounds different for a second; and it's another for a character – without warning – to have a different voice for an entire episode.

Posted on December 15, 2015 and filed under Cartoons, Voice Acting.