Database for Animation Studies


Death in Animation

Since Winsor McCay depicted the sinking of a ship, showing the death of its passengers in a documentary manner, the presentation of death has been a kind of taboo in animation. Disney’s introduction of reality to animation brought about the depiction of death. The death of the witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was an evidence of the victory of the good over the evil. Bambi shows the process in which a little deer understands the death of his mother. There are a lot of Japanese animated series whose protagonist is such an orphan. In these, death is a serious issue. Apart from them, the Warner Bros. works dealt with death as a source of humour. Shot by Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny laughs at him, while looking as painful as if he were right now about to die. Such a sense of humour with death shows its recent version in South Park. Furthermore, in his short Cavallette (Grasshoppers) which outlines the history of human being, Bruno Bozzetto makes us aware that death is an end/goal. In Richard Condie’s The Big Snit, an angelic, ex-human, couple still continues to play Scrabble as if nothing had happed to them even after a nuclear explosion. In The Simpsons, hit by a car, Bart travels between heaven, hell, and the world; on the other hand, when told that he will soon be dead, Homer begins to prepare for his death, and in his dream, asked what is the meaning of life, God answers to him that it will be revealed with the coming of death.

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