There are times when the sheer availability of modern media leaves me awestruck. Netflix means that, more than ever before, I can watch my favorites whenever I want. I’m having trouble emphasizing how big that difference is. I spent my youth encountering things I enjoyed and carefully watching for title sequences, “[show] will return after this,” and anything else that put a name on it I could use to recognize it in my friends or on toy-store shelves. I dreaded when shows would inevitably leave the airwaves, and watched reruns obsessively to fill in gaps from the previous viewing. Media was ephemeral, and there were never enough blank VHS tapes to capture it all.
I like cartoons.
I’ve spent more time than I care to admit watching shows like ReBoot, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, Justice League, Gundam Wing, and Yu Yu Hakusho. Epic battles, powerful attacks, cunning strategy—it all thrills me to no end. I derive great joy from absurdist yet political comedies like Rocko’s Modern Life and light, cheerful fare like Toradora!, but there’s a special place in my heart for shows about heroic struggle, deadly peril, and defeating enemies in violent and explosive ways.
But I have a problem with a lot of those very same shows (animated and otherwise), a problem that’s separate (but intertwined with) their often rampant sexism and erasure of just about every minority.
They’re not shows about heroes winning. They’re shows about villains losing.
Think about it.