“I wouldn’t say that writing is more important than art in animation…” says Ogiue Maniax.
Personally WOULD say that. In fact, I’ll say it right now. Writing IS more important than art in animation. If the writing is good enough you can get away with artwork that’s pretty bad. (It will probably be hailed as edgy, unconventional artwork that defies conventional notions of beauty.) On the other hand, if the writing is bad, the most beautiful artwork in the world won’t save it.
Consider: what’s the most successful American animated TV series ever? Obviously The Simpsons. Why do people watch it? For the witty, satirical writing. Let’s face it, the artwork is pretty crude. In fact, to call the character designs “crude” would be flattery.
What’s the second most popular American animated TV series currently on the air? Probably South Park. In this case the artwork isn’t too bad, considering that it’s obviously done by a bunch of sixth graders with a budget of $16.56 per episode. Nevertheless I’m pretty sure that most people tune in for the vulgar but hilarious writing.
Don’t mistake realistic animation for good animation.
If animation didn’t matter to the Simpsons, its visuals wouldn’t have improved over the years. Compare the crude Tracey Ullman shorts to the very early seasons to the mid-late seasons, and you’ll see an improvement in overall art style and consistency, surely brought on by the sheer amount of money Simpsons manages to make.
As for South Park, one of South Park’s primary strengths as a show over 10+ seasons is that maintains relevance to current events, creating episodes addressing topics far more quickly than any other cartoon. What aides this speed is the animation style used. Yes, it’s simplistic. Yes, it looks like cardboard cut-outs despite the fact that it’s rendered in Maya. But what you have here is a formula improved over many years that allows them to create new episodes very quickly in addition to being a very iconic visual style.
In both cases the art style is there to serve the writing, but this doesn’t mean the animation is less important. Writing is important for telling a story, but a story without animation is not an animation. Ideally, a good animation is one where writing and animation cooperate together to achieve a greater whole.
Simpsons is very well animated for what it is. If it was a talking slideshow with moving mouths, it wouldn’t be nearly as popular. To call it crude is like being Otaking Johnson.
I think there are a plethora of animated shorts out there that are sold on the artistic merit of its production rather than the strength of the writing (you can’t do a whole lot of development in a few minutes anyways).
That includes animated music videos. Writing? LOL.