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What is “Indie Animation?” Why is it So Popular?

What is Indie Animation? Why is it So Popular?


You may have heard of people talking about shows like The Amazing Digital Circus or Murder Drones or Lackadaisy or maybe even Hazbin Hotel, and have wondered, “What the heck are they talking about?” The shows they’re talking about are shows known as “indie animations.” What exactly IS an “indie animation,” though? After reading this article, hopefully you’ll better know what “indie animation” is, and why it’s so popular, and what some of the most popular indie animations are.


So what is “indie animation?”

“Indie animation,” or independent animation, is a genre of TV shows, movies, and shorts that are created by studios and animators that are not part of a largely recognized animation studio, like Disney or other companies like it.

Why is “indie animation” so popular?

Nobody knows exactly why this type of show is so popular, but many people have different ideas for reasons. Some think that it’s because of the unique storytelling. Others think it’s because of the representations of diverse cultures, races, and sexualities. Either way, indie animation is a type of show/movie genre that many people from all over the world love.

What are some of the most popular shows from this genre?

Although indie animation, movies, and shows can be found on all sorts of streaming platforms, from Netflix to Amazon Prime, this section will mainly focus on webseries indie shows. Webseries indie shows are indies that only release episodes publicly on YouTube. This type of indie animation is the kind that’s been going viral all over the internet. Here, I will list four of the most popular indie webseries (one of which is a former webseries).

The crazy world that broke the internet: The Amazing Digital Circus

After putting on a mysterious VR headset, a 25 year-old woman is transported to an insane digital world, described as “a show for all ages.” Along with five other humans, she’s now trapped in a colorful yet terrifying world, where she finds herself subject to the whims of AI and personal traumas.

Indie animation became noticeably more popular after the release of the pilot episode for Digital Circus on October 13th, 2023. No one knows exactly why this show became so popular, maybe it’s because of the unique characters, or maybe it’s because of the gripping storyline. Whatever the reason is, this show has served as a turning point in the production of indie animation. The pilot episode has more views than any other indie pilot to be released on YouTube, and has even gotten nominated for an award because of its character animation. Whatever the reason is, Digital Circus is a show that has many fans all over the world.

Workers and serial designations teaming up: Murder Drones

After apocalypse struck Copper 9, the exoplanet, robots known as Worker Drones try to lead somewhat ordinary lives, while also trying to protect themselves from rogue robots known as Murder Drones. A Worker Drone named Uzi happens to come across a Murder Drone known as Serial Designation N (otherwise called N), and the two spend the series trying to find out more about why the Drones were created and why they inhabit an exoplanet with such a harsh environment.

Created by Liam Vickers, this show gained more popularity as indie animation started to gain fame. Although this show had some million viewers at the start, the long wait for a second episode caused the show to lose around half of its viewership. Part of the reason some people stopped watching it later on, however, is because after episode 3, the plot becomes so hard to follow that it’s kind of hard to watch. Despite this, the characters and animation are really great, and make the show really worth watching.

Comedy, crimes, and cats: Lackadaisy

In the Prohibition era, gangs fight for whatever alcohol that they can get their hands on. But there’s a twist – they’re cats! Lackadaisy is a rambunctious, colorful and beautiful show about a group of young kitties stealing alcohol for the speakeasy they work for, called Lackadaisy (hence the name). However, enemies are out for the unsuspecting trio – can they get the alcohol to the speakeasy safely?

Lackadaisy began as a webcomic by Tracy Butler, until it was developed into a pilot that aired on Youtube on March 29, 2023 to much praise from viewers and critics alike. The show production team continues to release updates and shorts on their YouTube channel. Lackadaisy has been greenlit for a first season, but only the pilot and shorts are currently available.

From indie to Prime, hell facing overpopulation: Hazbin Hotel

(This show is rated TV-MA and may contain disturbing content. If you do not want to read the description for this show, please skip ahead to the outro.)

In the depths of hell, Charlie Morningstar, the princess of hell, attempts to open the “Hazbin Hotel,” a place to rehabilitate sinners, due to hell’s overpopulation problems. This is meant to avoid heaven’s ways of fixing the overpopulation, where angels go to hell to kill multiple demons in a process known as “Extermination.” With the assistance of her manager and girlfriend Vaggie, reluctant adult film star Angel Dust, and the Radio Demon (known as Alastor), Charlie is managing to run her hotel, but will it have the impact on hell that she was hoping for?

Although this show technically isn’t an indie animation, it started out as an indie pilot back in 2019. The show got picked up by Amazon Prime four years later, and both began and ended in January 2024. This series quickly regained its popularity, and although it’s certainly not a kids’ show, lots of middle schoolers have been taking an interest in it. From its crazy characters to its chaotic songs, Hazbin Hotel is known as wonderful, pure madness and is noted as worthy of watching by many people.


At the end of the day, indie animation is a very diverse and interesting genre of shows and movies in today’s media. As someone who’s been very interested in indie animation for the past three months, I would definitely recommend these shows to other people. And so, if you haven’t yet, I recommend that you give some shows from this genre a try.

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About the Contributors
Naomi H, Writer and Artist
Naomi is an 8th grade aspiring voice actor/artist who spends too much time watching TV. She loves indie animations and anime, and is somewhat bilingual as she is currently learning Japanese. She also loves The Amazing Digital Circus more than the average person.
Clara Jeau Bakkane
Hey there it's Clara (She/her). I'm an eighth grader and I write a lot. I am also obsessed with dogs. Feel free to approach me in the halls or at lunch if you want to talk about dogs or need help with dog-related things. I'll try my best to help. Or you could just approach me if you want to talk. I love to talk! Have a good one!

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  • A

    Augie ¦ Feb 22, 2024 at 12:45 pm

    This article gives a good description of Indie Animation. Personally, I think that the reason that Indie Animations are so popular is because of the way they look, and they are more appropriate for kids and it has cool storylines.

  • T

    Trafford grothe ¦ Feb 22, 2024 at 11:37 am

    I think indie animation is cool because not every episode or movie they make is a cash grab. they put their heart into it which makes it look great and fleshed out

  • C

    Clara Bakkane ¦ Feb 20, 2024 at 11:35 am Bulldog Brief Pick

    I enjoy how the creators of these shows are allowed a lot more creative freedom. It makes the stories come more from the heart and less from the corporate desire for money and company growth.