I think people in Japan (and in many other countries including in Europe, other parts of Asia and even in Central/South America, etc) are far more open about animation and media.
Many of the problems seem to be aimed at America and in some ways, British culture. Where there seems to be these concepts that when you reach a certain age, you ‘throw away childish things’ and ‘become a man’. Which can be seen all over, including being perpetuated in many ‘cartoons’ aimed right at kids as well. The typical story of a boy who ‘wants to be a man’. So what does he do? He goes out and throws away all his toys, straps on some token of ‘manhood’ (from a sword to a three piece suit) and goes out and acts like what he thinks a man is.
We can all remember this stereotype in shows like Hey Arnold!, Rocco’s Modern Life, Fairly OddParents, Spongebob Squarepants, Chowder, Gumball and heck, even Disney movies. The problem is, while those shows and movies are obviously parodying the message and pointing out that these things AREN’T what being a man is all about….many kids actually get the opposite message. And watch all these cartoons thinking that being a man IS about throwing away all your toys, going to work, getting married and ignoring everything about your past.
Western media as a whole doesn’t help. Hollywood is pushing this concept all the time with commercials, prime time dramas/sit comes, sports, even political commentaries on CNN and MSNBC are constantly talking about ‘getting our kids off the cartoons and games and into the adult world’, as if these things are evil and we should have never even had contact with them in the first place. American media is pretty much assaulting adults with an image that if you want to be an adult, there’s only one option. Throw away everything ‘childish’ and watch all the CSI, Survivor and CNN like everyone else. The irony of these types of things being ‘for adults’ while something like Spongebob or Batman: TAS should be obvious, but many don’t see it.
Even things like comic books are still looked down upon. The fact that they aren’t even considered ‘acceptable’ until they have a live action remake speaks volumes about how American (and some other western) audiences view animation and comics vs live action works. A terrible live action version of Deadpool starring Keanu Reeves would still sell better in the box office than the absolute best animated Deadpool movie that could be made. Not based on any objective quality, but simply because it was live action. And that’s the sad state of America’s bias against animation….
The only exception is 3D animation. But that’s honestly because the studios put hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising behind each movie. And make the money back in DVD/BD sales. The instant those movies stop making that money (like 2D did with Pocahontas, Mulan and Titan AE), studios will stop supporting 3D animation as well.
I know this sounds like a rant, but I’m seriously feeling like the American media industry is stagnating and has been getting worse the last 15 years or so. Endless crime drama clones, reality shows, copying British concepts and remakes of old movie concepts. And they’ve even resorted to copying anime (The Matrix, Speed Racer, Astro Boy, Speed, Almost Human, etc) while claiming animation and anime is an inferior medium. I honestly feel like there needs to be a major barrier of ignorance taken down so the American audience can just know more than what Hollywood is allowing to be shown to them.