Animation is the perfect tool for artists to avoid the monotony of everyday life and express themselves in a way that is not bound by the possible, but instead reaches to the outer depths of their imagination. It is due to this fact that some of the most intriguing of the alternative arts is animation that is created for adults and in particular the male characters that are portrayed in them.
In this article, we take a look at some of the most interesting characters in artistic animation for adults:
Living in a dream
On a journey to understanding the difference between dreams and reality, the male lead in the film Waking Life takes on a journey with some incredible reference and cross over into real life scenarios. Adopting a technically innovative cross over between animation and real life resulting in an original human concept art, the film creates a story that is both psychedelic and believable at the same time. Each character that the main protagonist encounters along the way puts lets the read reframe and question both science and reality.
The reason that the lead character in this film intrigues us so much is down to the questions he makes us ask ourselves, such as whether we can control our dreams and what they tell us about our waking life.
Products of our environment
It is undeniable that Keanu Reeves is the lead role in some of the most trippy and thought-provoking films in modern times. Using the same film/animation overlay techniques that would later be used in Linklater’s film Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly follows Keanu’s character Bob Arctor as an undercover detective that starts to struggle with schizophrenic behaviour as a result of his latest assignment into the drugs world.
The true intrigue of this character is the question he provokes as to whether people are made up of what is inside their head, or whether they are truly just products of their environment and circumstances.
Life changing moments
In this animated film, our lead character Michael Stone is an author that specialises in customer experience and leads a very safe and mundane life. On a business trip, he meets an extraordinary stranger who slowly and surely threatens his perspective on his life.
Using the stop-animation technique and a moving storyboard to brilliant effect, Anomalisa explores adult themes and adult situations that gives an interesting perspective on life. With all other characters in the movie except Michael Stone and his female counterpart Lisa Hesselman having the same ‘face’ and ‘voice’, it lends itself to highlighting how Michael’s world is repetitive and his disconnection from others in it…until he meets Lisa.
We can see that using animation has allowed creative directors to develop engaging and question raising stories. The most interesting aspect within the examples we have given is the intriguing journey we follow our animated lead characters on and the unusual perspective they offer in questioning our very lives. Without the use of animation, it is unlikely that these directors would be able to provoke the questioning and emotion we feel when watching these films.
Frankie Caplan is an animator interested in applying animation to art and business projects. She loves independent film, old-school illustration and animation movies that don’t end happily ever after. You can find her writing at Pigeon Studio.