What Your National Cartoon Says About You

June 29, 2010
Ever since 1928, Mickey Mouse has been a quintessential symbol of American optimism—and naïveté: That's why Full Metal Jacket ends with disillusioned soldiers singing The Mickey Mouse Club theme song as they trudge across a burning Vietnamese battlefield. Children's characters can say more about their country of origin than the World Book Encyclopedia ever could. Below, we've rounded up our 10 favorite animated ambassadors from around the globe.

The Character: Mighty Wing
The Synopsis: When a traitorous worker bee redirects labor resources to construct "country homes"—rather than a sorely needed aqueduct—it's up to Mighty Wing to design a new irrigation system that will save the colony's supply of honey.
The Takeaway: It's a thinly veiled allegory for North Korea's heroic survival of the disastrous mid-nineties drought and famine. Further propagandistic proof: Mighty Wing is also beset by the evil armies of the Spiders (a.k.a. the UN) and the Wasps (a.k.a. the Japanese and Americans).

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