Ever since news of the Thundercats reboot dropped, there’s been an idea going around that there’s an ongoing samey trend in current animation coined the “Calarts” art style. Many are starting to push the idea that this art style sucks and some even go as far as say it’s overabundance is ruining animation (despite the fact that some of the best shows in recent years have been made in this perceived style). This carries the implication that in times before our own cartoons were diverse in style and in intent. I’d like to dash that assertion.
The fact is, trends in animated entertainment come and go, just like music or comic books or any art form really. It’s so noticeable one can segregate them by decade like I’ve done so above. Of course there are exceptions to every decade and of course the era names I listed above aren’t official, but my point still stands. Trends get started because peoples tastes change, and usually taste changes because a game changer comes along giving the audience something they never knew they wanted (I’d argue the big game changer for the 2010s onward was Adventure Time). We’re entering the end of the 2010s real soon and based on the reaction to the new Thundercats it looks like people have had their fill and long for a new way of doing things, which is fine. My point is, the ‘CalArts’ art style being everywhere is nothing new nor is it inherently worse than generations before it.