back when cartoons were for kids ... and back when they started not to be

When I was a child, it was safe for our parents to assume that anything animated was worry-free, wholesome entertainment. They could leave us in front of the television set on a Saturday morning without suspecting Warner Brothers or Hannah-Barbera to corrupt our young minds.

Cartoons even usually had invaluable life-lessons to teach kids, such as:

Monsters aren't real.
They are mostly just disgruntled thieves who have nothing better to do

Icky vegetables are good for you.
Veggies make you strong enough to kick the big bully's butt.

Good always triumphs over evil.
Even if good guys aren't always well-tanned blondes with bulging muscles.

Be nice.
You can overcome your enemies with kindness and warm feelings.

No matter how much money you have, friends are more important.
But it would be utterly nice to be rich too.

It is good to be informed.
And knowing is half the battle.

And that was how cartoons were in the 1980s. "Worry-free kid TV".

At the end of the decade, cartoons took a different turn with the introduction of an animated family with warped values.

When I was twelve, we kids almost bled out of our ears the way teachers, parents and pastors repeatedly warned us against the Simpsons, with special mention to that troublemaker, Bart. We often just shrugged those warnings off with a chuckle because we weren't exactly stupid enough not to distinguish between reality and poking fun at reality.

Eventually all the slander about the Simpsons cooled when the team behind those four-fingered yellow people churned out stuff that just kept getting funnier and funnier. The show continued to get a lot of criticism, but it never got cancelled - it is in fact still going strong to this day. For that matter, it isn't half as irreverent as what a lot of kids watch now.

In the mid-'90s, MTV began to air animated shorts that made The Simpsons look absolutely tame and lame.

The shorts turned into regular series, and kids thought they really rocked. Even if there wasn't much of a plot - nor sense. It was the dawn of a time when cartoons were no longer silly, soppy ways to sell toys and teach moral lessons.

The Japs though have always been a little bit more visual. Them Japanese animators seem to have always made it a point to include upskirt scenes, even in made-for-children shows featuring a giant robot or a tortured little girl.

Of course, the Japs have understood for a long time that animation didn't necessarily have to be treats just for kids. It was also for frustrated perverts and milquetoasts who needed some sort of fodderfor their fantasies.

Though previously known only to small cult followings, anime started becoming vastly popular and accessible in the mid-90s. There wasn't much of it on television at that time save for the edited "safe" kinds, but kids and teens knew where to get their fix (mostly renting from friends or specialized video shops). Parents, teachers and "grownups" had nothing to say about the tiwsted values highlighted in anime, mostly because they didn't know about it.

Sexy and violent imagery were practically staples. Sexual tension and demon-dependence were common themes that would have sent our parishes preaching against it only if they knew about it.

There are still a lot of wholesome animated series around these days, but it's now a well-known fact that they aren't necessarily for kids anymore. Twenty years ago, it would have been disgusting to see a grown man watching mind-numbing "cartoons", but not so these days. A lot of animated films and series actually have dark themes, thought-provoking concepts, visuals and language that should be for adults.
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