FANDOM


WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

Return to the main page here.

Examples of Uncanny Valley/Western Animation include:


  • This trope goes back as far as Disney's Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs film (and even earlier if you count the short "The Goddess of Spring").
    • In the original Disney Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs from 1937, Snow White is rotoscoped, while other characters are not. The character is the only one in the movie who looks unnatural. Ironically, she is the only detail of this ground-breaking film that looks old-fashioned even though rotoscoping was considered cutting edge technology at the time. The Seven Dwarfs are recognizable instantly, but Snow White fades into the background when she isn't singing or dancing.
      • Prince Charming, by the same technique, manages to be even more of a blank than Snow White, partly because he wouldn't have a personality if you gave him a rocket-powered step-ladder.
    • Princess Jasmine's facial expressions in Aladdin fall a bit into the Uncanny area at times. The slight squints or raised eyebrow movements on her character were subtle as hell.
    • The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio is another early Disney example. There is something about her that makes her look almost like an actual person when compaired with the more cartoony looking humans in the film.
      • She's probably rotoscoped. That may be intentional, given that she is a fairy, and supposed to look inhuman.
    • Graphic artist Jirka Väätäinen made realistic renderings to most of the Disney Princesses, as well as Ursula. Think they are realistic enough?
  • The Fleischer cartoons that pioneered Rotoscoping can be even worse. Just look at Bamboo Isle, in which Betty Boop's massive, misshapen cranium is put on an actual hula-dancer's body. There it was probably unintentional, but everything about Minnie the Moocher seems precisely calculated to terrify, from the use of rotoscoping to make a walrus-man ghost dance like Cab Calloway to the dark lyrics of the song he sings to, well, everything else in the cartoon. Take a look here.
  • The Polar Express, although more successful, skirted is notorious for this trope. Many reviewers commented on the zombie-like appearance of the adult cast. Especially the ones voiced by Tom Hanks. The Cartoon Brew blog nailed it: "This holiday season, give your family nightmares!"
    • Mars Needs Moms is all over this. After all, Robert Zemeckis is involved with this one. Quite a few websites have noted that the humans look a lot more creepy than the aliens.
  • The producers of Shrek intentionally dialed down the realism of Fiona's skin due to the animators reportedly feeling a bit like they were animating a corpse.
  • The failure of the movie Final Fantasy the Spirits Within was partially blamed on its characters being right in the Uncanny Valley. The rest of the blame could be chalked up to boredom. Somehow, the female lead was put in a Maxim Magazine "hottest women" list. Nice body aside, her skin looked like porcelain. Creepy. Especially given that "skin like porcelain" is supposed to be a compliment.
  • Say, you know that movie Shark Tale? You know, the one that people said They Copied It, So It Sucks because it came out around the time Finding Nemo did? Well, one of the reasons it was a critical flop was that the fish characters resembled the handmaidens of Cthulhu.
  • In a Transformers example, though it's not obvious to the viewer due to the animation style, this is implied to be why Transformers Animated's Sari is despised by other children.
  • Skyland, a motion-captured 3D-modeled cartoon, attempts to make things look more stylish by cel-shading it afterward. This backfires, though, making the characters look inhumanly polished and sending the entire thing plummeting into the Uncanny Valley.
    • Debatable. It's actually really beautiful despite this.
  • The use of puppets in Fantastic Mr. Fox be considered this trope.
  • Math Girl: A series of semi-animated CGI shorts with writing that seems aimed at children, subject matter (calculus) aimed at high school and college students, and extremely frenetic, jerky pacing that makes actually learning anything unlikely. The characters are right in Uncanny Valley, helped by the creepy Exorcist-style theme music. The temptation to shut it off or vocally make fun of it is nearly unbearable, but unfortunately, this is rather hard to do in a classroom setting.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog was a very frightening cartoon for many, often skipping the "comedy" part of its "horror-comedy". By far, the most frightening episode was the Grand Finale: "Perfect". Courage had a series of nightmares where he was declared "not perfect" by what appears to be a deformed CGI Fetus with a freaky adult's face.
    • In the "Kitty & Bunny" episode, Kitty before removing the mask qualifies, and the atmosphere and music certainly doesn't help. Doc Gerbil's World is equally mindrending.
  • Mr. Meaty was made of this. Especially the two main characters.
  • Intentionally invoked in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack with this image of the titular Flapjack.
  • Also parodied in an episode of Chowder with a pink, badly CGI'd dancing pig-baby (probably a parody of the infamous CGI Dancing Baby), whose mere existence instills great horror (and grief) on those who watch it.
    • It's the griefiest.
  • Also invoked for many of the villains in The Real Ghostbusters. One of the most traumatic characters for anybody growing up in the 1980s might have been their Boogey Man.
  • If you're still not clear on what the Uncanny Valley looks like, watch Sid the Science Kid.
    • That show is unique, in that Henson Studios uses a technique that combines CGI Motion-Capture with actual puppetry. The actors are "filmed" in real time as the CGI characters. As little post-production as possible is used.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer briefly imagines his children as "mutants" with pinkish skin, five-fingered hands and eyes with irises. The camera briefly cuts to a more realistic rendering of Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Homer, like the rest of us, screams and runs far, far away.
    • The original show has nothing on the depths into the Uncanny Valley the fans will boldly go. Michael Swaim gives us The 7 Creepiest Simpson Fan Tributes. The title is most certainly accurate.
    • In the episode were Gabbo was introduced, Krusty tries to compete with an own ventriloquy number, using a puppet that looks a rather creepy. And then the puppet loses its lower jaw. From this point on, things go downhill rather quickly.
  • In the 1960s there were action animated shows (often based on Marvel Comics) that actually were not animated at all. Yes, apparently they reached a new low in how to be cheap on Animation. But how did they handle the characters talking? Simple when a character spoke that character would be a still drawing with a human mouth on the face speaking. It gave off what is arguably the first and one of the creepier examples of Uncanny Valley in North American animation. Say what you will about the 1970s being a Dark Age for American TV animation, but by that time that practice was no longer the least bit common. (Nowadays it's only very rarely used for comedic effect.)
    • Clutch Cargo used the same technique, and started airing in 1959. The technique is called "Syncro-Vox" and was invented in 1952.
    • The Incredibles DVD had a bonus episode from the unreleased 1960s series with similarly cheap animation. Mr. Incredible and Frozone complain about every corner cut.
  • Pixar has this for the human characters in its early films, but they worked around it by avoiding direct shots of them. The humans in the early movie Toy Story look rather odd, and a major reason for some strange settings was to feature characters who would look less odd as CG characters. The human cast of The Incredibles and Ratatouille are probably the most realistic, but they avoided the Valley by having cartoonish proportions. In WALL-E, they try to avoid it, but there are some people who found the live-action scenes deeply disturbing (or too close to the truth.) The CG background and cheap props only make it worse, particularly in comparison to the detailed post-apocalyptic wasteland. They managed to avert it by the time Toy Story 3 came out
    • In Toy Story 2, there is a dream sequence where Andy says, "I don't want to play with you anymore," in a very Creepy Monotone. Brrr.
    • The early short Tin Toy. By the time Toy Story rolled around, they at least seemed like they were starting to understand that humans shouldn't be totally realistic. They hadn't figured that out yet in 1988, and not only was the baby in the short creepily almost-realistic, but it got even worse compared to the cartoonish toys which were the only other characters.
  • The characters in Corpse Bride aren't nearly as appealing for the most part as the more cartoony ones in The Nightmare Before Christmas because of this trope. The more subtle expressions (as opposed to the more convincing stylized ones) end up looking especially creepy sometimes.
    • They were able to achieve these more subtle expressions by replacing the industry-standard replaceable heads with precision-crafted clockwork heads. However, not only did this make the animation process longer and harder, but it also caused one of the animators to have nightmares of resetting his own expressions through clockwork mechanisms. Yikes.
    • Speaking of Nightmare, usually the ones quoted for this trope is the Halloweentown citizens, but a lot of the fans think the elves are creepier. They're too cheerful, dammit!
    • The human children are creepier than most things hanging around Halloween Town.
      • Ever seen Jack and Sally Fan Art drawn realistically? Sally usually looks okay, but dear Lord, there's a reason why Jack is a cartoony skeleton!
      • He's the Pumpkin King. If you're terrified of him, that means it's working.
  • Coraline deliberately sweeps the valley to induce fear. The human characters avoid it quite swimmingly, considering that they aren't very realistic, but they are realistic enough to make the ragdoll versions of themselves fall squarely into this trope. In general, taking emotion and soul out of a face is a keen way to achieve the Uncanny Valley, so in this case taking out one of the most expressive parts of the face, the eyes, was a good strategy.
    • The stop-motion in the Otherworld is slightly off, doing things like having single frames where things suddenly jump around, just enough to be unnerving.
    • Perhaps most unnerving as the Other Mother's illusions start wearing off, and the Other Father begins looking increasingly melted.
    • Technically in fairness most of the animated version is pretty kid friendly (a 6 year old daughter of a friend of this troper saw this film and its one of her favorites and she scares easily.). However the main reason that Coraline was so frightening was because of the novel. To its readers they had imagined the story as a Live Action Adaptation. Basically imagine Teri Hatcher (are you imagining her?, Good). Now imagine her with her eyes ripped out and abnormally large black shirt buttons sewn into the still bloody sockets sleep tight kids!!.
  • Ferret from Static Shock, in a milder case.
  • Intentionally invoked in Batman: The Animated Series, part two of "Heart of Steel". The robotic replacements for Gotham's citizens look perfectly normal, but move in increasingly impossible ways - such as their heads spinning around to look at things, or crouching and leaping in a terrifyingly inhuman manner.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Static Shock, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, Toyman version for DCAU falls into this trope, with his very big toy head.
  • In the Powerpuff Girls episode "Knock It Off", the Big Bad creates an army of PPG imitations, but with shoddy worksmanship. The scariest ones are those who are only slightly different from the originals.
    • Arguably, the Powerpuffs themselves. As the characters are designed to look ridiculously cute, they have rather big eyes, and a lack of fingers, toes, noses, and ears. A number of jokes in the show revolve around their appearance because of this, and there's even an episode that showed what would happen if the Freak Lab Accident never occurred and girls turn out to be the Run of the Mill Girls instead, without their unique cuteness features. Now try retaining these features in a hypothetical Live Action Adaptation. Still think they'd be cute?
    • And then there's Him.
  • The infamous Pingu episode Pingu Dreams became a Missing Episode because of this. If you need evidence, just look at the series' page.
  • Video Brinquedo defies the Uncanny Valley chart quite a bit. Despite the fact that the human similarity to characters is as big as in any cartoon characters, their familiarity index is much lower than it should be.
  • Same goes for its American equivalent, Spark Plug Entertainment.
  • An episode of The Fairly Odd Parents had Timmy's dad using a rather creepy puppet of his mom, who is now too busy working as Dimmsdale's new weatherperson. It even creeps Timmy out.

  "No amount of therapy will ever make this moment okay."

  • Anyone who's ever taken a German class and had to sit through episodes of the series Hallo Aus Berlin will have been subjected to the Nightmare Fuel that is Rolli und Rita, the creepiest creations ever to come out of computer animation. See for yourself.
  • Dirtgirlworld. Oh God, dirtgirlworld!
  • Glenn Martin, DDS: All of the characters look like an unholy hybrid between Sloth and Quasimodo.
  • Parodied in an episode of The Tick where a department store security guard complains that the store's animatronic Santa Claus is re-appearing in his nightmares. This gets aggravated when Santa's head gets torn off and thrown into his lap.

 "I may never sleep again"

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender invokes this with the brainwashed Joo Dee(s) during the gang's visit to Ba Sing Se.
  • Invader Zim, in a way similar to the Mars Needs Moms, example had the Irkens looking better than the humans! Dib, Gaz,and some of the adults could pass, but a lot of the other adults were....creepy. That lady with the weird boil on her head who lived next door to Zim may have been more scary that the invading aliens.
  • Quest for Zhu, an upcoming direct to DVD movie features some of the ugliest hamsters in cartoon history which look nothing like their toy counterparts.
  • Word World
  • Bionicle: The Legend Reborn used the actual LEGO toys as its character models with an absolutely minimal amount of tweaking, to make them seem more realistic while still keeping the intended "toy look". One added feature was the rotten-looking teeth and weird lips formed by a second row of mechanical teeth that slid over the real ones, but their true jaw-line still remained apparent. When they smiled, it looked horrifying.
  • The Delightful Children From Down The Lane in Codename: Kids Next Door are pretty much in and out universe Uncanny Valley fuel, due to their Voice of the Legion, blank eyes, and sociopathic qualities, not to mention a slight Non Standard Character Design. They're arguably the scariest aspect of the series.
  • Phineas and Ferb manages to avert this because its so highly stylised...but then people went ahead to make giant 3D costumes of the characters. Just... look.
  • In South Park episode "Free Willzyx", the announcers from the marina hand out very photorealistic artist's impressions of the boys. Since by that time the viewer has gotten used to South Park's cutout style of drawing, the photorealism of the drawings is a little off-putting for them. Just check them out...
  • King of the Hill. Every single character.
  • Franklin in the new Franklin And Friends series. It's an All CGI Cartoon but the animation is actually pretty top quality. Everyone looks fine.. Except for the turtles. The series is going for a realistic look but the turtles are just too cartoony.
  • Rugrats: The original pilot. The animation is much more detailed and makes the characters look ugly or downright monstrous, especially the necks.
  • Alot of characters in Sonic Underground and HOW!
  • This poster for a live-action Marsupilami movie in France. Be warned, your childhood may be destroyed if you follow the link.
  • Allen Gregory: The characters just look off.
    • Allen himself suffers the most from this. He looks like a ventriloqiust dummy with huge Vocal Dissonance.
  • Baby Jake [1], The BBC's latest line of What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs? programming that is actually meant for toddlers. Words just cannot describe it. Made worse with the toys. Seriously, search Amazon UK for the toys. This troper just did out of curiosity and is immediately sure he's going to have nightmares tonight.
  • Bob's Burgers: The characters look a cross between Muppets and Worms.
  • Johnny Test while not as bad as other examples, definitely fits here after the show switched to Adobe Flash. Characters have blank, pupil-less eyes, almost all facial expressions are exaggerated, and the animation is extremely stiff and jerky. Made worse by the unappealing character designs.
  • My Life Me: The characters move like marionettes and the character designs just look weird.
  • Some video series for little kids involves insects called Hermie the Caterpillar, an Animated Adaption of a series of books by Max Lucado. Some of the bugs are just a little bit creepy, thanks to No Flow in CGI, but special mention goes to two ladybugs named Hailey and Bailey whose eyes are just too big for their vaguely human-looking faces.[2]
  • Season 2 of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is riddled with shots which slip into the valley, usually head-on shots of the characters' faces. One suggestion as to the cause of this is the animators for Season 2 making the mouths substantially wider than was done in Season 1.

Notes

  1. don't worry, it's just Katara staring into the distance after being kissed by Aang
  2. Dangit, I can't find a photo!
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.