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Why Turning Red's Animation Style Has Fans So Divided

Pixar's "Turning Red" has won plenty of praise from critics — as its movies are apt to do — and audiences since recently debuting on Disney+. The film follows teenage Meilin "Mei" Lee (Rosalie Chiang), who finds herself turning into a giant red panda every time she gets excited. This is the result of a curse from her mother's side of the family. The title is quickly winning fans over, but it's earned some vocal detractors too, whether they are taking issue with the movie's content or style. 

Disney is likely not worried about any minor controversies or detractors surrounding their latest release, as it remains a popular title on their streaming service, but there is a slightly more divided reaction to the film among audiences as opposed to critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, critics have awarded the animated movie a 95% fresh rating. Voting users, on the other hand, have given it a lower, albeit still solid 72% rating. With those mixed reactions in mind, one of the aspects of "Turning Red" that is dividing some people is the actual animation.

Turning Red is too cartoonish for some

The type of digital wizardry Pixar introduced the world to with 1995's "Toy Story" has come a long way and afforded animators opportunities at times to experiment more with style. "Turning Red" provides plenty of opportunities to go big with its anime-influenced animation flavor, thanks in part to the film's heavily-advertised giant red panda and family curses and teenagers and such. Not everyone is on board with the look, though. 

Redditor u/peb-is-taken wrote that the background colors were "flat" and everything on-screen "looked like plastic." Others expressed displeasure with the cartoonish look of the characters, especially the "bean mouths," referring to an animated mouth drawn roundly like a bean. "Some of us just don't really like the bean mouth art style," u/cinnabun6 commented about "Turning Red."

There is a clear love-hate divide on the animation, as others push back against those nostalgic for the Pixar movies they grew up with. "I don't think Pixar's movies are getting uninspired, I think they're just changing the style," u/fictioncvre offered in explanation of Pixar's shifting looks. Others said those dissatisfied with the "Turning Red" look are seeking too much reality in their animation. "At this point, people seem to only like animation when it's super realistic and hate it when it's stylized," u/Aleppo_the_Mushroom wrote.