The subject of anthropomorphism by definition is to assign human like characteristics such as behaviours, motivation, thought and feeling to an animal, inanimate object or a natural phenomenon.
The question this essay will be approaching towards this is ‘how to turn an object into an anthropomorphic character?’ what would you have to do to an object to turn it into a character that can be likened to that of a human being?
The world of animation of all varieties features characters that can be recognized to have feelings and emotions, even though they are objects which in the real world would merely be inanimate; The Brave Little Toaster, The Annoying Orange, Luxor Jr – these are all characters we watch and can relate to because they have been given feature that humans have.
Figure 1 (The Brave Little Toaster, 1987)
You can clearly see in figure 1 that this character, The Brave Little Toaster, has been humanized by being given a face, his handles being used as arms and lastly a cape to essentially give him an outfit.
So how could we achieve this effect with an object ourselves? Well first you need an object, with the power of animation literally anything without life can be given it; cars, phones, lights, anything really. Take a pen for example, a regular ball point or Berol now how would an artist or animator give this pen life? This firstly can be achieved by giving it a human like face, eyes, nose and a mouth, this gives the pen the ability to show expression, thought and emotion, but can we leave it there? Really with good story telling we do not even need to add a face to the pen – maybe just narrate its inner thoughts to the audience, Jhonen Vasquez showed his audience that even objects with a face, even if it is inanimate, like Mr. Eff and Psychodoughboy can still portray thought regardless of their immovability.
Figure 2 (Vasquez, 1995)
The two achieve this by drilling their thoughts into the head of lead character ‘Nny’ – appearing as mere objects to other characters but to Nny the pair are a power manifestation of his psychological problems.
Figure 3 (Cars, 2006)
Adding the ability to move can also make a character relatable towards a human, this can be any kind of motion like a walk cycle or even the way the object lifts it appendages, but what if the object simply can not have appendages – a car perhaps? Disney’s ‘Cars’ blew audiences away with captivating characters that were in there simplest form mere machines. Cars are around us everywhere we go, and have become a staple part of the 1st world way of life – people such as myself feel incredibly passionate about cars, and too see a relatable bad guy and good guy story come from them only makes the characters more appealing to the films audience.
Let us take a character that already exists in animation media, BMO (spelled Beemo Phonetically) is a character from Pendleton Ward’s Cartoon Network series ‘Adventure Time’ which in its short lifespan of 2 years has become...