If you have recently started watching Batman: The Animated Series, or you have dipped in and out of the show over the years, you might have noticed something significant – during the course of the show, the animation style changes. The series begins with one particular style, but before the end of its run, it switches to a different style entirely.
So, what gives, why does the animation in Batman: The Animated Series change?
In this post, I provide the answer.
The change in animation styles in Batman: The Animated Series
To understand the reason behind the change in animation style, it is best to understand the different series that form Batman: The Animated Series. Whilst the show is available to purchase as one complete boxset on Blu-ray and DVD, with all 109 episodes collected together, in essence Batman: The Animated Series is effectively three separate shows:
- Batman: The Animated Series (1992 – 1993)
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin (1994 – 1995)
- The New Batman Adventures (1997 – 1999)
Batman: The Animated Series hit television screens in September 1992. The show ran for 65 episodes, ending in September 1993, with most stories focusing largely on Batman and his assorted villains.
The show was continued in May 1994, with a further 20 episodes. This collection of episodes ran under the title of The Adventures of Batman & Robin, put a focus on the Dynamic Duo, and concluded in September 1995.
After 85 episodes, Batman: The Animated Series/The Adventures of Batman & Robin was effectively done and dusted as a series. Warner Bros. Animation was keen to focus on another hero, and from September 1996 sister show, Superman: The Animated Series hit television screens.
Superman: The Animated Series proved popular with audiences, and was aired alongside re-runs of Batman: The Animated Series. And while this pairing was a hit with audiences, Warner Bros. wanted to increase ratings.
So, after a two-year hiatus, Batman: The Animated Series was revived. The show was given a 24-episode order, with the aim of airing new episodes alongside new episodes of Superman.
But rather than just continue Batman: The Animated Series from where the show left off, the production team opted to update the series. The character designs were streamlined, to help keep the animation consistent when being animated overseas, and the new episodes were given the title, The New Batman Adventures.
This new look not only added a certain freshness to the episodes, it also helped to ‘age up’ the characters. While the show had been off the air, the Bat-family had continued to fight the good fight, and this was now reflected on screen.
Watching the show through on DVD, Blu-ray, or via streaming, it can be a little jarring when the episodes change animation styles, but this is merely seen as a time jump within the show. The time jump enriches the world these characters inhabit, and demonstrates that both the heroes and villains age as the series progresses.
Thanks for stopping by I’ll Get Drive-Thru to read this post about Batman: The Animated Series. I hope this explanation provides you with the information you seek.
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6 Responses to Why does the animation change in Batman: The Animated Series?
If the time jumped then why did Robin get younger?? Lol
It’s a different Robin. The original Robin is Dick Grayson. When the animation changes, Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing, while Tim Drake becomes the second (younger) Robin. Hope this clears things up.
I don’t agree with this at all. I find the change in animation jarring and the characters all look younger including Robin who…is younger? Poison Ivy looks like a teenager. Some characters look better than others but I don’t think this was intended to illustrate some jump in time, it’s just different animation. It’s cheaper, less detailed animation.
Robin looks younger because it’s a different Robin.
The animation style changed in order to streamline the process and move it in line with Superman: TAS. Superman: TAS was less detailed, and Batman followed suit to ensure greater consistency when the show was being animated. The animation used in the original series is all over the place at times. This updated version is much more consistent because it is less detailed.
The updated designs show the progression of time.
Can you provide specific examples like episodes and time on said episodes? I noticed this too in a few episodes, I want to see if we are seeing the same things.
Hi, it’s a very noticeable change. It goes from one style to another. I’m not referring to minor changes here and there, which are the results of Warners utilising different animation studios to complete episodes, I’m talking about a complete overhaul of the design of the series. You’ll see it begin with the episode ‘Holiday Knights.’