It is the image. Animation is the display of a series of images such that those images are arrayed and displayed functioning in the 'phases of the image'.
But to diverge from Baudrillard, animation depicts all of these 'phases' interactively. It is not the case that a coherent cartoon ,or any animated text stays in any one special phase.
Nor is it the case that animated texts select one phase to privilege. Animation floats as a hybrid between reflection, distortion deterrence, of and simulation toward itself.
and our ideas of reality