• Manny Zaldivar

5 Animated Shows That Will Change Your Life!

Updated: May 30, 2020

I love and adore animation. Those who say that animation is childish and don't take it seriously are missing out on something incredible. Here are the top 5 animated shows that have impacted me and why. These are in no particular order.

1. Avatar: The Last Airbender

This is one of my all-time favorites simply due to the writing. The animation is average but this show touches on subjects that are universal. Things like responsibility, first love, ego, self doubt, revenge, and the list goes on. This show is geared towards a teenage audience and it excels at legitimately giving real world advice and wisdom on most situations that teenagers will always go through. Its quick wit and relatable characters make you feel comfortable in the world of the show.

Now that this show has hit Netflix, it can be enjoyed by not just long time fans of the show, but also the newer generations. It's just one of those shows that you can hold as an iconic piece of art even as the years go by.

2. Bojack Horseman

One of the most controversial shows out there right now is Bojack Horseman. On the surface you see this washed up actor be an asshole to everyone around him and he gets away with it. What I picked up about this show is that it is designed in a very interesting way. When you're out and about you get first impressions of people in public should you interact with them. Sometimes you see a person and you think "Oh, wow, what a dick" then you move on with this generic negative impression of them. Same thing happens with this show... if you watch one episode you won't get it. If you watch two, it still doesn't do much for you. But after episode five you start seeing that this show is so deep that it can, in a way, be therapeutic to some people. The parallel is that the more you get to know someone the more you understand their stance in life. The more you watch this show, the more you understand why Bojack Horseman seems to always hurt the people in his life.

I love this show because of two things. It takes place around the film industry and it taught me to understand that everyone around me is just as, or even more, complex than I am. Now with my experience being on film sets, I laughed at some of the cliche characters they feature because I've actually met that strict director, or that PA that seems to be as agile as a monkey, or even that publicity hungry talent manager. But as I follow the journey of Bojack, his best friend Mister Peanutbutter, or the several love interests in the show, some of the monologues and scenes shoot me right in the feels. I root for every character because I can tell the good that they have to offer. I recognize qualities from different characters within myself so when those characters get a scene that explores those qualities it's almost like I can sit back and objectively compare how they are handling it versus how I can handle it in my own life.

On top of everything, there are so many nuances in the animation that you miss your first time watching the show. The character design matches with their personalities. The voice acting is phenomenal. It's raw, real, and definitely something I want to see more in modern animation.

3. Attack on Titan

This Anime is packed with intense action, colossal fight scenes, and drama upon drama. It deals with a civilization that gets attacked by titans. But it really deals with how blinded we can be when dealing with obstacles. I won't spoil anything but I will say this... we are subject to behaving in ways that are guided by the amount of information we possess at any given time. there is a huge twist in this show that makes you question who really are the good guys and who are the bad guys. After watching this show I started to analyze that things aren't always black and white. If I see someone pick up a wallet and keep the cash it's safe to assume that this person is a thief and greedy. But what if that person is struggling to afford medicine for their grandmother and this wallet is their temporary saving grace. Would you tell them to return it and have the grandmother's condition get worse or would you be okay with them stealing in order to save a life.

I love moral quandaries like these because it gets me to analyze how our society is constructed and how hypocritical we can all be a lot of the times. Attack on Titan is one of those shows that you just have to pick a side, flaws and all. Which is exactly what we do in life when faced with a serious decision. We pick the one that is best based on the information we have at the time. Will that guarantee success? Not at all. But that is a theme of the show. Nothing we do can guarantee our success in life. It's all about learning to adapt and grow with the world as it grows around us.

4. Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

This is a DreamWorks show. It is fresh, it is groovy, it has this lively energy to it. At its core it is about a girl who wants to make her dad proud. Now it is still in its early life, it doesn't have that many seasons airing right now but it's another one of those shows that holds powerful wisdom for the younger audience. This show dives specifically into friendships. Teens who don't have much self esteem, find it hard to make friends, and feel like they owe something to someone will adore this show.

It takes a look at these issues and reminds us that no matter who we are, we are all faced with things that makes us think we can't be our true self. Kipo encourages viewers to embrace all the changes that arise unexpectedly. Much like those changes we go through in puberty. For adults, this show is a gentle reminder that we are enough just the way we are. That is something we all need to hear. Combined with stunning visual design and sound design any artist can genuinely appreciate this show. I have hope that this show can keep expanding into more seasons and arcs because the creators really have a powerful concept. If done right, this may even become an iconic show of the current generation.

5. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

This one is one of my all time favorites again. The world building in this is just phenomenal. I get a strong sense of being on a journey when watching this, which in reality... aren't we all on our own hero's journey? This hero's journey follows just how much one person can sacrifice for family. The whole plot is that brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric search for the Philosopher's Stone, hoping to restore their bodies, which were lost when they attempted to use their alchemy skills to resurrect their deceased mother. Edward, who lost only limbs, joins the State Military, which gives him the freedom to continue the search as he tries to restore his brother, whose soul is tethered to earth by a suit of armor. However, Edward and Alphonse are not the only ones seeking the powerful stone. And as they search, they learn of a plot to transmute the entire country for reasons they cannot comprehend.

What I love about this show is that it takes your heart and drags it through hell and back. You build such an incredible attachment to the characters that as they keep on learning how the world works the more you start thinking about how the hell it is all going to work out. This is a classic tale about love and brotherhood. The most impressive aspect of the show is the acting. You meet so many odd and quirky characters along the way and the actors let loose in their performance. Every episode is packed with comedy, high stakes, and moral decisions. At best, this show will let you look at your relationships with others in your life and pose the question: "How meaningful do you want it to be?"


Watch them. If you have the time. I know that art is subjective but these animated shows all have primal topics that relates to people from all walks of life. I enjoy cinema and animation when it can make me think and these picks will not disappoint. Send me a message if you do watch any of these and want to talk about it!

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