ENTRIES August 2023-2024

ENTRIES August 2022-2023

RECOMMENDATION: Zerocalcare's Shows on Netflix

Adult animation is getting more and more popular and there’s so much demand now for high quality shows that aren’t -to speak broadly- Family Guy type of comedies. There are so many themes and art-styles that are still left unexplored!

And while I think that most people who agree on this actually want more sci-fi/fantasy/action focused, anime-like adult cartoons I’m writing this to recommend to you 2 adult cartoon shows made in Italy that are comedies plus set in real life!

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Both shows I’m about to talk about are created by Zerocalcare, an Italian cartoonist known for his memoir comics (the only work of his I’ve read is Kobane Calling which I highly recommend). He is famous for divulging into emotional and sensitive real life issues by writing about real events from his life, but in a humorous and yet genuine way. Both shows are of this nature too and that’s mainly why I’m writing about them today.

Tear Along the Dotted Line (2021)

I don’t want to share too much information about this series, it’s hard saying what it is really about without spoiling it. At its core it has to do with the pressure we’re put under to live a planned life and the need to pretend like we’re knowing what we are doing. It has lots of funny jokes. The first 2 episodes are a bit confusing but things get clearer as the show progresses.

This world can’t Tear Me down (2023)

Significantly more slow paced and serious than the former one. It tackles heavy topics such as the the rise of neo-nazi groups, the anti-immigrant and refugee sentiment and the failure of even "progressive" politicians to deal with these issues.

Other things I want to point out about the shows:

  • + The animation is great and generally there’s much more thought and work put into it than in most recent adult animation, I think. The characters behave more expressively, they walk in backgrounds with depth, etc.

  • + Beautiful art, similar to the one in his comics. There is clever use of crosshatching and just enough shading so it looks pretty but not too busy.

  • + What I appreciate the most about these series is how sincere they feel. It’s hard to explain but you can tell when there’s care put into art or not.

  • + While there were many Italian-exclusive references that I didn’t get, Italian and Greek society have many similarities with each other and that definitely played a big role to why I enjoyed these series so much.

  • − This might be nitpicking but there’s too much music playing on the background sometimes. To me it feels like it wants to force an emotion out of you when it isn’t there, not every scene needs a soppy indie rock song (sorry to any soppy indie rock fans reading this).
  • In conclusion,

    You don’t need to know the slightest thing about Zerocalcare or his work to watch these shows so there’s no need to be held back by that. Also non-American or Japanese animation falls under the radar at Netflix so please give them a try! I suggest watching Tear Along the Dotted Line first and then This world can’t Tear Me down.