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D1: Compare the different styles of

animation across global cultures


Unit 10 LO1 D1
Hannah Nightingale
Different types of animation used
Produced by Pixar Animation Studios, Toy Story is a computer generated 3D animation- this is the
style of animation Disney Pixar is most famous for, and is a very high tech modern method of
animation.

In complete contrast to this, Spirited away is a Hand drawn 2D animation- one of the first ever
methods of animation and rarely used at all these days. The reason being that it is so much more
time consuming and more effective, quicker methods are now readily available.

Spirited away is a Japanese animated fantasy film created by Studio Ghibli. Due to the fact it was
produced in Japan, this production echoes the very traditional methods of Japanese animation-
hand drawn anime characters. However, in Western countries 2D and 3D animation is much more
favorable due to the fact it is a lot more aesthetically pleasing, and even realistic. The different
type of animation each company uses is also tailored to their audiences, so it makes sense that
they would be different to adhere to different cultures.
Target Audience
The primary target audience for Toy Story is mixed gender children between the ages of two and
ten years. Because of this it also attracts parents of said children. Due to the nostalgia that the
characters of the film provide, the film could arguably appeal to teenagers also. Because of all
listed above I believe it is fair to assume that Toy Story is ultimately a family film, because of the
collective members of it’s target audience. This film would mainly be aimed at Western countries,
where the first language is English. In terms of social economic status, my first thoughts would be
that this film appeals to members of band E, because they are children they have no disposable
income of their own, thus relying on parents.

Unlike Toy Story, Spirited Away’s primary target audience would be mixed gender teens. The
reason I have been led to assume this is because of the nature of the storylines and the issues the
characters face. The topics discussed are some what controversial and intense, definitely not
suitable or even understandable for a younger audience. I would go so far as to say that younger
children may even be frightened of this film.

A major difference between the two films are different culture aspects. In Japan, Spirited Away is
deemed appropriate for children, however if bought to the western market this would be very
controversial, purely because of differing views as to what is appropriate and what isn’t for
certain age groups.
Film Durations
Toy Story is a blockbuster feature length animation, therefore has a running duration of 1 hour
and 21 minutes. Whereas Spirited Away is 2 hours and 20 minutes long. Therefore in comparison,
there is quite a significant difference between the two films. There are several contributing
factors to this, the first being that Toy Story is targeted at a much younger audience and is a
family film, therefore needs to be a time that suites shorter attention spans. Unlike Spirited Away,
where the audience is older and are more willing to sit through a longer production. The second
being that Toy Story is a blockbuster, targeting a mass amount of people and is a feature film,
therefore must be feature length.

They are both also of different genres. For example Spirited Away is a longer film because it is
more complex in terms of the depth and meaning of the story, therefore a longer running time
allows for a more in depth exploration and explanation of this. This films target audience are
teens meaning they are willing to spend a lot more of there leisure time engaging in such things,
unlike Toy Story’s target audience.
Characters
Surprisingly, there are some characters in both of these films that have similar and comparable
features. ‘Woody’ Toy Story’s leading character is comparable to the heroine of Spirited Away,
‘Chihiro’. Woody is a toy cowboy who bares friendly, kind, loyal, smart, and determined
characteristics. He tries always to keep his family and friends together and will do anything for
them, although he falters at some points, expressing the same angry sad etc. emotions that us as
humans also feel. Which ultimately makes him as a character more relatable.

Chihiro is similar in the sense of her noble qualities. Chihiro is a ten year old girl attempting to
free her parents from the spirit world. It is very important within herself to respect her elders and
is very kind and generous towards others, much like Woody.

Because of the major roles these characters play in each film, they both have the audiences
undivided attention and respect because the values of each character are so clear to the
audience.
Theme/ Cultural Message
The overall message of each film couldn’t be more different. Spirited Away portrays a very
distinct message of the troubles and difficulties that come with growing up and entering
adulthood throughout the entire film. This is visible in the film when Chihiro becomes Sen and
starts her job at the bathhouse. Lin, who also works in the bathhouse believes (rightly so) that
Sen has never worked a day in her life and that she has to learn a lot in order to become a good
worker. This is a very prominent cultural message, strongly suggesting that Japanese children are
out to work a lot earlier than those in Western countries, us for us, it is not normal to start work
at just ten years old.

In Toy story the theme is primarily about friendship, and how integral thy are to everyday life.
Personal I believe this theme to be very well suited to the target audience, as they are at a very
influential age, just starting pre-school/ school and building bridges for new relationships. It is
also a theme that is relatable to a mass audience, because friendship is such a major part of most
of our lives.
Studios
Studio Ghibli VS Pixar

Ghibli Studio Films such as Spirited away are hand drawn, and so facial expressions are some
what limited and very basic, often repeated. Although there s a certain raw beauty to be seen in
Studio Ghibli’s visuals, the lack of detail can be seen as a downfall when compared to Pixar’s 3D
computerized imagery. Because this form of animation allows for much more attention to detail
therefore bringing the characters to life more, ultimately giving them more individual personality.

Pixar are definitely dominant when it comes comedy. Pretty much all of their films have a lot of
comedic aspects accompanying the storylines, whereas Studio Ghibli films tend to be more
serious with more of a specific focus or hidden message that the audience really has to
concentrate on in order to grasp.