By Charles Kenny | http://animationanomaly.com June 16, 2014 at 7:15PM
Animation in general regrettably suffers from what TV Tropes calls the 'Animation Age Ghetto'. While things have gradually improved over the years, there exists a very real scarcity of animation that attracts, and is aimed at, viewers that are too old for kids' shows, and too young for fully-fledged mature content.
Unlike Japan, where there exists a broader range of programming and fans, here in the US, animation has long been derided as being for kids or, perhaps unfairly, requiring the kind of double entendres that litter films from DreamWorks and Pixar in order to be palatable for adults.
In order to break the cycle, there has to be content that attracts kids as they turn into tweens and so on through their teenage years. Such animation has been few and far between; MTVs' Beavis and Butthead, and Daria were early pioneers whose gains were allowed to peter out thanks to a lack of direct successors. Comedy Central's South Park has maintained a long, successful run, but it's suitability for teenage viewers st the younger end has long been up for debate.
That's all been on network television though. The internet is an entirely different place and has unleashed a plethora of animated series that otherwise wouldn't have found a home or a fanbase. One of those is Frederator's Bravest Warriors. Premiering in 2013 and completing its second season just last week, the show emanates from the mind of Pen Ward who created the original concept for the web series (its original pilot was produced for Nickelodeon's Random Cartoons in 2006) During the development process, this was refined to appeal to the same fans as Adventure Time but with slightly more relaxed restrictions in regards to content.
In a recent interview with Robert Lloyd of the LA Times, show runner Breehn Burns outlined how having the characters as teenagers allowed them greater freedom when it came to creating and resolving conflicts, including romance. By using the internet and aiming for an older audience, Bravest Warriors can bypass the usual standards and practices and delve into storylines and humour that wouldn't make it to air on a traditional network.
Another aspect to the show that isn't immediately obvious is that by using YouTube and shorter episode lengths, the show plays right into contemporary teen viewing habits. Being native YouTube viewers, producing studio Frederator is able of marketing the show through their extensive presence in the world of social media. Given that view counts easily run into the millions, it's safe to say that the show has found a niche when it comes to animation, teens and the internet.
Last but not least, the show along with a few of its stablemates on Cartoon Hangover, puts paid to the idea that traditional animation isn't a viable technique for the internet. Although the show obviously doesn't have the same budget as its Adventure Time cousin, what the creative team has been able to conjour up is light years ahead of many of the web cartoons we've seen so far in terms of quality.