Skip to main content

The Art of Character Portrayal and Theory Applied in Modern Cartoons

In today’s world, there are many cartoons to choose from which give viewers lots of options. But whether a cartoon grabs people’s attention depends on how well the creators understand who they’re making it for and what the audience likes. One of the most important things is how the characters are shown. This article will talk about why it’s important for creators to know their targeted audience and how they portray characters in cartoons and other media.

Peppa Pig

Firstly, Peppa Pig is a popular British preschool animated television series. The show revolves around Peppa, an energetic piglet who lives with her Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, and her little brother George. Peppa and her family embark on many adventures, and also go on adventures to more unusual places, such as museums, petting farms, and even space. Her optimism and boundless curiosity serves as the heart of the show, captivating its target audience of preschool-aged children through vibrant animation and simple storylines made for early cognitive development. The relatable themes and gentle humor of Peppa Pig causes young viewers to feel comfort and familiarity to the characters. This makes the watchers feel connected with Peppa and her friends. Additionally, Peppa’s character development and realization enriches the perspective on watchers’ experience, as children resonate with her journey of understanding and maturity. Through whimsical storytelling and positive messages, Peppa Pig not only entertains but also cultivates important values such as kindness and harmony in young audiences, cherished memories and creating a love for learning in kids.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The second one is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse / Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a 2018 American animated superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales or Spider-Man, produced and distributed by Sony Pictures in association with Marvel Entertainment. The movie captures its target audience through its fascinating story and unique character development. With its target audience of 13 and above, the series balances intensity with accessible themes making it appealing to a wide range of viewers. The main point of the movie is about the theme of ‘believing in yourself,’ which it empowers the audience. The character development occurs by the substitution of Peter Parker with diverse characters from multiverse. While the first movie embraced a democratic ideal of Spider-Man, the sequel focused on metamodernism with the themes of hierarchy and bureaucracy within the Spider-Verse. Despite its tangled storyline, the animation’s sophisticated visual style and commentary on racism in superheroes add depth and complexity to the viewing experience.

Attack on Titan

Lastly, Attack on Titan is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. It is set in a world where humanity is forced to live in cities surrounded by three enormous walls that protect them from giant humanoid creatures called Titans. The story follows Eren Yeager, a young boy who witnesses the destruction of his hometown and the death of his mother by a Titan. The series is known for its dark and violent themes, as well as its complex characters and plot twists. It has been praised for its action sequences, suspense, and exploration of morality. Attack on Titan attracts its target audience through its thriller storyline setting in a world threatened by Titans. The story centers on eradicating Titans fuels with unveiled dark secrets. The anime, composed of action, mystery, and political issues, appeals to young boys aged 12-18 with its themes of adventure and resilience, while its mature themes resonate with adults. The creator, Hajime Isayama, created dynamic development on character, particularly of protagonist Eren, reflecting the complexities of human nature and the moral ambiguities of war. Moreover, the series delivers a powerful message about the consequences of ignorance and conflict, emphasizing the importance of empathy and the pursuit of peace. Through its thought-provoking exploration of the human condition, Attack on Titan overcomes its status as an ordinary anime, reflecting with viewers of all ages. Moreover, Attack on Titan has been a commercial success, selling over 100 million copies worldwide and spawning a successful anime adaptation, light novels, video games, and live-action films.


Moving on to the character analysis and communication theories used, starting with Peppa Pig. Several theories are employed to make the audience understand its message and cause impacts to the watchers. Mass Culture and Pop Culture theories explore how it embodies cultural trends and dissemination with its audience. With the simple storytelling and animation, this cartoon became a pop culture among the children. The Communication Model theory is used to examine how the show effectively communicates its messages to viewers, especially children. The message of moral and social skills teaching is sent and encoded by the cartoon’s creator through the cartoon and the message decoded to the young viewers. Transmedia storytelling theory highlights how it expands its narrative across various platforms, engaging audiences beyond the television screen. Peppa pig also applied this theory to expand their franchise by having toys, books, and games.  Marketing communication theories used to promote and market the show to its target demographic. This makes the company understand more of audience insights and know audience demand. Additionally, the Cultivation theory is applied to understand how the story of Peppa Pig teaches young viewers of living life and righteousness. In the case of Spider-Man, theories such as Transmedia storytelling and The Cultivation Theory are also used along with theories of Mass Culture and Pop Culture. The movie expanded their franchise by applying transmedia theory in which there is game, comic book, fanmade parody, and etc. To make transmedia storytelling theory work well, the cultivation theory should apply first. The message of self-discovery, self-confidence, and harmony are expressed to the audience through an ordinary character to make the audience feel relatable from ordinaryness of human nature. In Addition to the above, even though this movie is not in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it helps extend the pop culture of Spider-Man franchise. Moreover, we also add other theories that are Postmodernism. Spiderman uses intertextual references from the past Spider-Man movies and comics. For Attack on Titan, the movie uses Transmedia Storytelling, Cultivation Theory, Mass Culture and Pop Culture, and Postmodernism. Attack on Titan also has transmedia storytelling in other platforms such as manga, figure, game, fanfiction, etc. By using Cultivation Theory to inject people’s ideas about human nature, morals, and about the war, people were taken by this anime and it made this manga series become part of anime pop culture. For the postmodernism, Attack on Titan having intertextual reference from Gyaos from the Gamera franchise, The War of the Gargantuas, Man-eating Mona Lisa from the Jigoku Sensei Nūbē series, and dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park series in creating carnivorous titans. There is another theory that is shared in common with these three movies/cartoons, which is Social Identity Theory. The messages that these media share cause a new perspective of the world and create a sense of belongingness to society as much as the audience understands the lessons from the media.

The comparison

These cartoon animations portray distinct storytelling approaches and themes, showcasing the diversity within the realm of entertainment. “Peppa Pig” centers around the importance of family and resilience, with its titular character embodying optimism and curiosity as she leads her friends through various adventures. This emphasizes the value of kindness, exploration in a lighthearted manner, problem solving, social skills, and righteousness. “Into the Spider-Verse” takes a different route by highlighting the significance of representation and inclusivity. By introducing a multitude of Spider-People from different dimensions, each with their own unique traits, the film fosters a sense of connection and belonging among viewers by allowing them to see themselves represented as one of a variety of characters on screen. Lastly, “Attack on Titan” delves into deeper themes of personal growth and moral ambiguity through the character of Eren. As the series progresses, Eren’s motivations become increasingly complex, prompting him to question the morality of his actions and confront the ethical implications of his quest for freedom. This exploration of moral gray areas adds layers to Eren’s character and serves as a central theme throughout the series, offering viewers a more introspective and thought-provoking narrative.


In conclusion, modern cartoons such as Peppa Pig, Spider-Man, and Attack on Titan demonstrate the importance of understanding the audience and applying theories to craft the characters and storytelling to be attractive and meaningful to watchers. Through lifely animation and relatable storytelling, Peppa Pig instills important values in young viewers, while Spider-Man’s diverse characters and empowering themes appeal to a broad audience, especially teenagers. Attack on Titan’s exciting storyline evokes viewers to reflect on existential themes; some details may be more complicated and are understandable  for teenagers and adults than the kids. The application of theories such as Mass Culture/Pop Culture, Transmedia Storytelling, Cultivation Theory, and many more provides valuable insights into how these cartoons engage audiences and shape their perceptions, understanding of how the art of character portrayal enhances our appreciation of these narratives and their societal impact, and the communication tactics to use with different ages audience to approach and interest them.


Chompunuch Phaekun 6507640073

Munchusa Sangobtanawong 6507640370

Nattanarin Chombordin 6507640099

Natthawee chuayram 6507640149

Penpitchaya Buakaew 6507640321

Rattanaphen Tepamat 6507640396

Leave a Reply