Akira (live action)

CARTOONS of CHARACTER 'Toy Story 2' and 'Princess Mononoke' may herald a new Golden Age of animation where art and maturity are as impressive as the action.

Is a second Golden Age of animation upon us?

In a year when "The Iron Giant" was tragically overlooked by family audiences and "Pokemon: The First Movie" was giving Japanese animation a bad name, here come two movies that prove once again how ingenious, artful and flat-out entertaining animation can be. In radically different ways, "Toy Story 2" and "Princess Mononoke" bring the art form back to its roots as a medium meant for for general audiences, not just kids. (There was a time when every grown-up movie was preceded by a cartoon short.)

They also serve to remind us of animation's original premise, that the animated two-dimensional...