The Persona series is forever known for having a huge cast of character with a diversity of all kinds of demographics (except that they’re all Japanese) and unique personalities. However the hardest part of creating so many characters is that not every one of them will click with every fan. It’s inevitable that there will be characters that are better than others, regardless if it’s by popular vote or objectively correct for some. I understand that it’s 100% subjective that every character is not meant for a certain fan, but when they’re poorly written and get on your nerves to the point where it hurts, you know they’re bad characters. It’s one thing to be characters not being as good as others, but it’s clearly another to got way beyond the disliking category. Boy, do some of them deserve to be out of the overall story so that way we can have a smooth riding adventure. Atlus can certainly push our buttons in making very challenging gameplay and they sure can do the exact same thing with many of their characters. These characters deserve to be on the list as our act of revenge for all the hardships we had to deal with seeing them constantly show up in the game.
By the late 1970s, concern about advertising to kids had grown so strong that a Federal Trade Commission taskforce took on the question about whether to ban or regulate this onslaught of marketing. When the 80s rolled along, President Reagan has vetoed a measure overwhelmingly approved by Congress that would have reimposed restrictions on television programming aimed at children. Because of it, cartoon shows of the 1980s have been one of the most commercialized children’s programming in any era. Never has there been this many cartoons that given up storytelling & quality animation in exchange as being advertisement for toys & other merchandise. And to be quite frank, it was sickening to see these programs to potentially give us programs that are worth remembering only to take off our nostalgia goggles to realize that it’s just a commercial for products they were trying to sell at the time. It’s no wonder why Disney were at their darkest times while animated movies in theaters hardly were shown (until Who Framed Roger Rabbit saved it), thus animators suddenly became commercial advertisers. This was the only way to make the most money in this nearly-dead industry, but that still doesn’t excuse how badly it has aged. Well not all of it. So these ten animated shows were the ones that we as children got up for Saturday morning (or Disney afternoon) and noticed that notion of these commercials disguised as 30-min cartoons were actually animation with a good story to tell to its audience.
Number 10. – Fosters Home
for Imaginary Friends
It’s kind of funny that a cartoon has never been made with such a simple theme as the Imaginary friend. In the world of Foster’s, when kids think up imaginary friends, they become real and can interact with anyone, even adults. But as the kid grows older, they grow tired of their “fake” friends. Or, in the case of Mac, a kind, friendly eight year old, parents and older siblings force him to give up his friend, Bloo. So he takes him to Foster’s, where he makes an agreement with the staff to allow Bloo to live there without being adopted out as long as he visits him. The show has some pretty interesting characters, while they are not very original, are voiced and animated so wonderfully, it really doesn’t matter. This show is very funny, no underlying “adult” humor here as far I can tell. My favorite episode is the one with Cheese, Bloo’s younger brother. It will have you rolling when he sneers *bunnies*. Beware, though, if you watch this show, I guarantee you will get hooked!
From 1970 through to 1989, Disney struggled to produce a major cinematic hit. While their movies continued to perform acceptably at the box office, it was widely suggested that they were a studio in decline. That all changed in the early ’90s however when the studio entered into one of the most commercially successful periods in its history now known as ‘The Disney Renaissance’. It lasted from 1989 to 1990 and these animated musicals are the best part of growing up as a child because it was Disney’s time to finally get out of their horrid era into a different direction. It all started with the Little Mermaid that began the Disney Renaissance that started in very late 1989 (so that counts as a 1990s film) that lasted an entire decade. This is considered as Disney’s best years because they all were so brilliantly integrated from the soundtracks, atmosphere, artistry, characters, charm and even appeal that I have seize to see any other era in animation to do the same. These are the films are as good, if not, better than the original Disney classics. The stories and characters (though they were borrowed by other tales) had been better than they’ve had been in years, and there was a substantial philosophy change in which these films were approached. Rather than just making films with just songs in them, Disney started making broadway musicals that had the most relatable characters. The quality of storytelling has been changed drastically where they like to give a valuable lesson in the end, but it combines the fantastic to the everyday relatable. We still deal with love, magic, and whimsical worlds, but there’s a down to Earth and moral story being told and they all have hit on something that we all can relate to; especially children. We’ve all been there and we can all feel what these characters are going through. We, just like the character, want to break free from the mundane and be part of something better. If you watch these movies an adult you understand what this is like for all of these protagonists, but if you seen these films as a child, you’re already there! The saddest part is that this has been Disney’s absolute best and that makes it hard to believe that can be pulled off once again. But for now, let’s countdown the ten best Disney animated movies from 1989-1990!
Well, it’s the month of February and one of the most significant part of the month is a time of love; Valentines Day! Well, for the most of us that doesn’t have a date, we tend to look at fiction to fulfill our romantic experiences. Cartoon is no stranger to romance as we’ve had plenty of male and female characters that we created for each other and gave us dazzling visuals to excite the audience. But the way I look at romances is the way that both character has establish characteristics and personalities and a possibility of a wonderful chemistry together. These characters need to develop into better people as they find out love because that’s the power of it all. This is the reason why I admire romance in general because they make people into better individuals and discover who they are that they never really knew that they had in them before. Falling in love is the best thing in the world and these are the couples in anime that showed us why it’s so significant!
Anime in the mid to late-1990s was actually the best time to get into anime. This was the time where the creative forces behind anime began pulling themselves away from the ultra violence that gave anime a bad reputation and began pushing themselves for great stories that has withstood the test of time. Some of the most beloved and most recognized anime came out of this era; it was truly a renaissance (one we haven’t seen before or since)! This was also the time where anime crawled itself out of the dark corners of just being available for blockbuster video to now being aired on television, creating such worldwide acclaim and how we all first watched anime for the first time. For the longest time, the marketing for East and West has always been something that both cultures couldn’t appeal to one another, then all of the sudden, shows like Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon started selling merchandise and we couldn’t get out of the door without even hearing of the franchise. It as well opened doors to anime that had much more mature content than your standard cartoon that we seen in Saturday Mornings children’s broadcasting and Adult Animation late at night. Also, I prefer this era of anime more so than modern anime because they had a sense of realism and humanity instead of being too shiny, sharp, and overboard with the design & storytelling that lost the appeal that I felt so many years ago. There are anime today that I enjoy, but somehow the anime that came out from this era has that everlasting appeal that even future generations of Otaku will appreciate and enjoy! This was the panicle of what anime achieved and I still await to see if anime would ever be this good again. At last, here are the ten best animes that I certainly enjoyed watching from this era!
Number 10. – Flame of Recca
Flame of Recca follows the exploits of Recca Hanabishi: high school student, ninja with the mysterious ability to shoot fire, and fireworks enthusiast. And where would our shounen hero be without the help of his cronies? First there’s Domon, the nose-ringed, mohawked, token brute, who is by far the coolest. Then there’s Fuuko, queen of the panty flash, she harnesses the power of wind … think about it … you’ve almost figured it out … there you go. And then there’s Mikagami, the angsty bishounen (pretty boy) asshole whom Domon should place between two comically large slices of bread and devour. There’s also Recca’s love interest, Yanagi, who has magical healing powers which (surprise surprise) lead to her being captured by a megalomaniacal madman with immortality on his mind and cookie monster eyes. Said abduction sets our intrepid young heroes out to save her, and thus our story begins. Ah, shounen plotlines … an old concept, but I feel it works well. Like I said, Flame of Recca’s not working to bust any brains here. So how did this anime make it on the list? Well, it’s just the simple fact that I just have the biggest nostalgia for it because it’s one of the animes that got me into anime and I still have a soft spot for everything this series had to offer.
Number 9. – Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is a celebration of young love and a coming-of-age story created before Anno and Gainax took a darker turn with titles like (that overrated piece of shit) Neon Genesis Evangelion. Contrary to these later series, Nadia – the Secret of Blue Water remains a light-hearted adventure story and is one of the most beloved and influential anime of all time. Nadia – the Secret of Blue Water’s strongest point is its characters. Having thirty-nine episodes allows for plenty of development and fleshing out of even the most minor characters. Jean and Nadia’s romantic ups and downs always brought a smile to my face, as did Marie’s precociousness. Each character is believable, likeable, and crucial in their own way to the progression of Jean and Nadia’s development as characters. The web of character relationships was meticulously built to allow for great interaction between the characters, and there are few better casts of characters in anime. Probably one of the best television series ever to come out of Japan, Nadia is thoughtful, breezy, and pleasantly un-cynical. Not director Anno’s most personal work (if that’s what you want, check out Evangelion), it remains most likely his best. It’s among the most consistently entertaining shows I’ve seen, from Gainax or anyone else.
Number 8. – Record of Lodoss War
Record of Lodoss War is as steeped in the traditional garments of fantasy as you could possibly get. You can easily see where European and American role-playing games have had an influence in the making of this one. The heroes, deities, villains, and monsters could easily be found in any D&D game. Animation and art are pretty good, except for some annoying stock footage that gets recycled in battle scenes. The action is smooth and convincing. All the players on the screen fit their roles well. The soundtrack gets the job done mostly, even though it’s a little rinky-dink and annoying in some areas. The plot is a pretty good one, one that tries to go beyond the “six heroes decide together to save the world” storyline that seems to plague too many RPG’s and fantasy stories nowadays. The story builds up to a very nice climax, allowing for a few surprises along to way to keep the watcher on his/her toes. The only complaint I have is that the ending seemed a bit rushed. The producers could have easily devoted at least one more volume than they did on the ending. Characters are all wonderfully done; everyone plays their part to the hilt, interacting with one another just as I would expect them to do. The heroes are a nice balance between fully-competent and human. Especially endearing are the romantic pursuits of Deedlit towards a clueless (not to mention BLIND) Parn. Fun stuff. I actually like the dubbing very much for this one, too. Most of the voices are matched really well, and the ones that change still fit their roles well. I actually LIKE hearing Woodchuck sound like he’s from Brooklyn; it just seems to fit him better. Overall, if you like fantasy in any way, you’ll like Lodoss. It’s not perfect, but who cares? It’s a lot of fun.
Number 7. – Golden Boy
You wouldn’t think that a perverted lech would make for a good lead in any series, much less a genuinely likable one. But Kintarou manages anyway in this hopelessly dirty-minded, yet basically good-hearted series that is postpubescent fantasy at its most improbable. In each episode, Kintarou must learn a new skill to survive, whether it be computer programming or swimming or cooking noodles. (Or, in the last episode, animation!) In each episode, he is surrounded by or in close proximity to beautiful women. And he does precisely what guys would do if they had no such thing as self-control. Or common sense! The funny thing about this series is that, considering the levity of the subject matter, the animation is flat-out gorgeous. The expressions on Kintarou’s face, the girls, and well, everything is drawn well, with plenty of detail, and a healthy dollop of gloss to go with the bounce, so to speak. The music’s appropriate, and the characterization, as it were, is sufficient – they’re not merely bra sizes, anyway. (Besides, usually, the women in this series obviously don’t wear bras.) But for all the fan service (and some outright nudity) in this series, when it comes down to it, the lechery is supposed to be a facade for Kintaro’s true feelings of respect and admiration for women. He never actually does anything with them, and some episodes turn out to be really cute by the end. Still utter fantasy, but harmless in the long term. Golden Boy cuts to the bone of what most men are really thinking when they’re pursuing a girl. It’s not sensitive. It’s not New Age. But it’s one-hundred-percent guy, and it’s hilariously dead-on.
Number 6. – Outlaw Star
This series has a little of everything. Among the crew of the Outlaw Star are a handsome but occasionally dorky hero; his teenage-genius sidekick; a cute but painfully shy android girl; a tradition-loving female ronin; the ship’s cantankerous computer, with the personality of a depressive who’s resigned to his fate; and a predictably spazzy catgirl. This should give you some idea of how well it sticks to all the cliches of 90s-era sci-fi anime. And yet it transcends those cliches at the same time. Be it romance or comedy, action or drama, fantasy or sci fi, Outlaw Star has it all. And it blends them all together very well. Far too many times in the modern anime world do we see anime with romance or comedy just thrown in the mix to try and fill up space or add a certain touch here and there. However, most of this falls flat on its face. But in the case of Outlaw Star, these genres blend seamlessly together to create quite the animated tapestry. The plot of Outlaw Star is essentially a mystery story more than anything else. It asks many questions throughout the show. However, it seems that some of these questions were a bit too easy to answer on our own. Although the story is interesting and fun, it is essentially a mystery story and with no mystery; one is left wondering, “What’s the point?” The show’s biggest strength is the appeal of its cast of characters. This likeability comes straight from Outlaw Star’s cast of original quirky characters. From the braniac Jim Hawking, to the silent but deadly samurai girl, Suzuka, everybody will find someone to love. Another reason this show has such great appeal to newer anime viewers is stellar music. The opening song, “Through the Night”, kicks things off with a bang. It gets your blood pumping and heat racing. By the time the show actually starts, you’re already excited about it! However,Outlaw Star isn’t just about getting people into anime. It has a lot to offer to the more seasoned veterans as well. Outlaw Star won’t disappoint.
Number 5. – Macross Plus
Macross Plus is a 4-episode OVA series, produced by Studio Nue. Triangle Staff and Bandai Visual. It was released in 1994, with an exceptional standard of production for its time, then oft considered the pinnacle of anime. If you watch it now in 2012, you would still see just how much the animation has stood over time. The hand drawn animation coupled by a slight touch of CG is a lost now. Macross Plus is among the absolute classics that truly defined anime. The other thing that makes Macross Plus amazing is the soundtrack. The music used for this anime is among the best and it truly stands out. The background music is perfect for every scene, and for the concert scenes the techno music is amazing. No one could be unmoved by “Voices”, Myung’s theme song, it sounds equally great when she sings it or when it’s instrumental. The music is also central to the plot and characters in more than one way, it ties everything together by evoking the right actions and reactions so much so that the sound in this series is like another character. Once again though, the story takes a hit for this anime. Granted that it’s from a time where anime isn’t really that diverse in the story. It’s the only aspect of the anime that truly feels a bit outdated. It’s predictable and clichéd but I can only imagine how big of an impact the anime made when it was released.
Number 4. – Trigun
The experience is genuinely human — while pretty much any consistent anime viewer knows there will be pacifists in any given series, Trigun balances this perfectly. With pure-hearted, idealistic, visionary heroes versus macabre, sinister, yet intelligent villains, many differing outlooks on life are explored. It is this fact that causes Trigun to exist on a tier of its own, and has earned its place in many circles as a work of pure genius. That said, Trigun works around Vash the Stampede, a wanted criminal with a 60 billion double-dollar bounty on his head. Right off the bat you get the feeling there’s something more to him than meets the eye, as he would much rather inhale a box of donuts than massacre a town. Like many leads in anime, Vash appears to be obnoxiously pacifistic, continually reciting his motto of, “Love and peace!” As you might have already guessed, unlike other series that choose to implement this cliché, Trigun presents a solid reasoning behind Vash’s philosophy. While the first half of the series focuses on developing his personality, the latter certainly presents a number of interesting challenges and decisions for the pure-hearted idealist to confront, many which do no merit joyous outcomes. Where most might immediately turn to Vash as the deepest character of the series, I actually turn to co-villain, Legato. A devious, cunning sycophant, one quickly characterizes him as nothing but a bloodthirsty sadist. However, while to an extent this might be true, Legato remains completely logical, concise, confident; certainly nothing close to the stereotype commonly given to such evil. The perfect enemy in all respects, the choice Vash is forced to make regarding him toward the end of the series will, most probably, stick with me until my deathbed: those who have seen Trigun know what I am referring to. This fathom-deep intimacy with the human mind, found through each of the main characters, makes Trigun, in my book, a must watch for every anime fan. Vash, Meryl, Milly, Wolfwood, Legato, Knives — all are designed with this spectacular precision. A superb mingling of comedy, action, drama, and intellect, it has a number of qualities that give it a broad range of appeal. Whether you’re new to the world of anime or a battle-worn veteran, Trigun should definitely be on the top of your list of series to see if you haven’t watched it already.
Number 3. – Samurai X / Rurouni Kenshin
Rurouni Kenshin recounts the adventures of Kenshin Himura, a wandering swordsman struggling to begin a new life in the Meiji era. Once a feared manslayer, Kenshin has taken up a reverse-blade sword and pledged to use it only to protect others. Humor, action, and romance are all incorporated into Rurouni Kenshin’s style, and the show manages to deliver on all counts, although it doesn’t particularly excel at any of them. The action was no doubt the high point, and the warrior philosophies espoused by several of the show’s characters were often thought-provoking. The comedy was consistently humorous, but I found little of it to be truly laugh-out-loud funny. Romance and drama elements were mercifully infrequent, and although they were sometimes moving and inspirational, they typically tended towards melodrama. The highlight of the show is definitely the romance between Kenshin and Kaoru because it’s just so satisfying to watch as their relationship continues to grow. Looking at it at a woman’s point of view I can see why Kenshin is nearly every girl’s dream man. He cooks, he cleans, he’s great with children, and in his spare time he occasionally fends off power-mad swordsmen bent on taking over the country. Her charming blend of strength and innocence gives him what he searched ten years to find—a reason to value his own life. Kenshin’s personal conflicts marked both the most effective and most frequently-used dramatic theme. Rurouni Kenshin has a variety of elements that appeal to a widespread audience, making it one of the best-loved anime series of all time, despite its flaws. Its colorful visuals, compelling theme, and lovable characters will leave an impression on any anime fan. It may not become your new favorite, but its quality and longevity cannot be denied.
Number 2. – Berserk
Berserk has the same problem that many other anime have – a lousy beginning that camouflages an exceptionally well-done middle sequence and it was doomed to end in a horrible ending because the anime is basically a commercial for the manga that its based on. But in order to enjoy this anime, just watch episodes 2 – 19 on its own; don’t dare watch the first and last 6 episodes because it’s so out of touch on what made the show so appealing! Once you get past the murky and muddled exposition, you get to actually meet the cast as more than just the standard fantasy archetypes. Before we even had Game of Thrones, we had Berserk as the best anime of its kind. Guts (Gatsu), for example, is more than just the stoic, battle-hardened fighter he seems to be at first. He is a truly interesting head case, a product of years of systematic abuse and ill fortune. He is constantly battling demons, both metaphorical and real, and often wonders aloud about his lot in life. Griffith, on the other hand, is a surprisingly gentle soul, with a mind and wit as sharp as his blade. His beauty seems eerily unfitting for a field of death, and yet when Guts and Griffith fight side by side, covered in the blood of their enemies, it is like they are gods of war, kindred spirits with little else to define their lives. The rest of the Band of the Hawk is made up of very real people, and it’s almost a shame to realize that these are men (and in the case of Caska, women) joined together in the cause of bringing death to their enemies. They are killers, takers of lives, even as they pretend to live “normal” lives as mercenaries. Even the antagonists, the men of Chuda, are portrayed as very human. Guards wonder aloud when they get to go home, or comment on the weather, in the moments before the Band takes their lives. Though the show has a lot of satanic references/imagery, level of sex & violence that’s too much for the faint at heart, and even epic moments that feels so thrilling, the core of the anime is willingness of finding your goal and fit in a place where people care for you. That’s why the friendship of Guts and Griffith is so much more powerful than the love-relationship between Caska and Guts. Because of it’s level of human drama being the core of the show is what makes it forgiving that the animation is on a small budget and even the voice-acting isn’t really as good as it might have been. Berserk incorporates highly tantalizing story elements that make for an emotionally charged watching. You become attached to the main character as you relive his life, his pain and his ultimate fate. What makes it so good is the fact that you seem to live within Guts along the story. Strong pacing, believable characters and a general sense of impending doom makes the suspense all the more precipitous, which enhances the audience’s enjoyment of the series. Overall, with only those episodes that I recommend, the show did it’s job on capturing humanity and the struggle of capturing dreams at its fullest that doesn’t feel it has an equal!
Number 1. – Cowboy Bebop
Otaku are all over the map when it comes to individual tastes and preferences. Some might be magical girl fans and some may be sanin fans who who believes there should be a proper ending to Berserk (and some might be both and some are not at all a fan of anime). But if there was one anime where everyone can agree that’s an anime that could bring everyone together into one identity, it has to be Cowboy Bebop! The reason why this anime got the reception and worldwide acclaim that it clearly deserved is because Cowboy Bebop is the most non-anime ever produced. Though it didn’t have as much success in Japan, it had a huge audience around the world because it felt like an American program that uses western cinema as inspiration. It’s a show that isn’t just one thing; it hops on reference to reference without skipping a beat to Blaxploitation films, to film noir detective stories, to westerns, and even Bruce Lee martial arts flicks! Cowboy Bebop homage has more American films that Quentin Tarantino’s entire filmography. A show that only has 26 episodes to its name has been some of the most beloved program to watch that even Adult Swim still keeps rerunning the show since it debuted in English dub 2001. Cowboy Bebop is so unique that it’s striking that it’s so un-Japanese like nearly every anime in existence. From the jazz soundtrack, the style of storytelling mechanics, the way characters interact, the complexity of its world, and even the humor, it’s all done tremendously well that no other show since could capture that very essence. An anime doesn’t necessarily need to western-nize itself to deem itself a classic, but when we’re talking about something that feels different among the rest, it’s anything but. But Bebop isn’t just a homage, thankfully it’s a lot more clever than that! It’s the way that the character interact and react these outside influences is what makes the show unique on to itself. It utilizes them for clear character and world-building. Still the anime would be as significant as it is without its soundtrack, it still is the best soundtrack ever produced for a TV program and it’s what makes the series! When it you think about it, the show is so watchable is because it’s accessible. The world is so fleshed out and nothing important is left unexplained. There are no alien cultures to money the narrative and technology is so advanced that are grounded on how modern technology would progress (just like how Spike and Jet are confused on how VCR’s work as it’s already happening with newer generations who treat it like cavemen stuff). Bebop is almost anything but mainly a science fiction, but we don’t see it much that way as we focus so much more on the humanity and the drama is front and center with the show that makes us so engaged than any other TV program, not just anime. The series is just so globally minded that it’s more than just anime, it’s nothing more than importance. Cowboy Bebop showed people what they never thought of anime before on what they were missing. Nothing else could be said more so for my number 1 choice of the best anime of the 1990s!
The 90s will be remembered for a few things: Grunge, Michael Jordan, Bill Clinton’s extramarital hullabaloo, and perhaps the greatest generation of TV cartoons ever. Just like the 2000s had the emergence of great television dramas on HBO, Showtime, and AMC, the 1990s had the persistent excellence of Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and the Disney Channel. If this seems like an exaggeration, then you probably didn’t watch the shows. Hand-drawn animation was still the norm, and characterization took precedence over background and scenery. But even though the animation was great, these cartoons had great stories. You can have a bad TV show with good animation, but you can’t have a good TV show with uninteresting characters and narrative. This list is devoted to cartoons made specifically for kids, so no Dr. Katz, Daria, or The Simpsons. Also, this list is about cartoons that started in the 1990s, if they continued on into the 21st Century, that’s okay, as you can’t fault a series for its longevity. Some honorable mentions that just missed the cut: Courage the Cowardly Dog, Ren and Stimpy, Catdog, Cow and Chicken, and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. Every show that is on this list deserves to be remembered for its iconic characters, humor, and real emotional impact. So without further ado, here we go…
Number 10. – Garfield and Friends
This has got to be the best comic strip to television show of all time since Peanuts! It’s perfectly harmless and comforting to watch one of my favorite strips with new exclusive characters from Orchard’s Farm. This is one of those cartoons that has three shorts into one episode but it’s so worth watching it whenever it’s on television. I can’t imagine anyone never of heard of Garfield, but I’ won’t go too long with this show other than having our beloved cast to be in some of the funniest sitcom-style adventures. Those who only know Garfield as “that comic everyone likes to make fun of” might be surprised to hear how popular this series was and still is. In large part this is because of Lorenzo Music’s dead-on performance as Garfield; anyone who saw this cartoon as a kid will still hear his voice in their head if they read one of the comic strips. Also influencing things is the fact that Jim Davis had little to do with the series, besides putting his name on it (much like Steven Spielberg’s involvement with the 1990s Warner Bros. Animation revival); veteran TV and comics writer Mark Evanier was the showrunner, wrote most of the episodes and was responsible for a lot of the edgier humor.
Number 9. – Animaniacs
Never had I ever seen an original cartoon that somehow captured the style and atmosphere of Looney Tunes without using any of the characters in this very show! Amazingly well-written, unbelievably funny for all ages, able to get away with possibly more than any other kid’s show, Animaniacs redefined Warner Bros. for nearly a decade. The voice talent is wonderful. Jess, Tress, Frank Welker, Bernadette Peters and so many others helped breathe life into some of the funniest characters on television. The animation wanes over the course of five years, but the humor never gets old. The songs are some of the cleverest music ever, period. From “Yakko’s World” to “Wakko’s America” to “The Presidents” to the iconic theme song, Richard Stone’s music team made learning fun for so many children, which is why they are so fondly remembered today. (Paulsen still has “Yakko’s World” memorized, and sings it at all of his public appearances.) For five years, and now thanks to DV Ds and the Net, far longer, Animaniacs will always be remembered as a show that truly broke ground….mostly from the Warners jumping on it and going “Boingy! Boingy!”
Number 8. – The Powerpuff Girls
Sugar, Spice, and everything Nice these are the ingredients used to create the perfect little girls, but Professor Utonium added a nice dose of Chemical X and he got the Powerpuff Girls. Craig McCracken developed a classic, both boys (me included) and girls would tune in to the show not just for their favorite girls, but also for their favorite villains. Whether it was the fast talking Mojo Jojo, the Rowdyruff Boys or even the creepy ass Him, the Powerpuff Girls was never short on entertaining characters. I learned recently that The Powerpuff Girls is the only Cartoon Network show (so far) to have had its own theatrical release film and that just goes to show how passionate and strong its fanbase is. Good news that the Powerpuff Girls remake is made and will be airing some time in the future.
Number 7. – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
This is the show that made me the person that I am today! Though this franchise has been in everyone’s childhoods, it’s not as good as most fans claim it to be. A season was made every year, between 1987-1996. The number of episodes in each season varied drastically. From 5 episodes in one year, to 39 episodes in another. So, there was real hard work for the makers to get episodes finished in time, plus there was many different writers who undertook the writing for 1 whole episode. So not every episode was written by the same writer, even if 1 of them wrote the best episodes and some were weaker. To thank though, for the cartoon ever to have been made in the first place. Thank Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the creative minds behind both the comics and cartoon. The animation was never really the strongest attribute of the cartoon, I admit. There was some really bad mistakes or bloopers in the cartoon like unexplained voice-changing, voice swapping (happenend too much), colours on clothes changing etc. It wasn’t exactly the best animation of that era. If this list was the best cartoons of the 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would have been higher on the list because the Turtles craze started to decline in the 1990s leaving room for other franchises like Pokemon to take its spot. Turtles in the 90’s had some of the goofiest episodes that made this show aged terribly (Easter Bunny is one of them) that made the 2003 more of preferable experience. The series picked itself back up from its useless and outdated comedy in favor for a more serious direction in the mid 90’s that’s called “The Red Sky” episodes from seasons 8-10. It’s pretty awkward to not have the show without Shredder, Craing, Bebop and Rocksteady in favor for Lord Dregg, but this was where shit got real! They even went as far as to wonder what life would be like without the mutation. Though the climax was a bit of a dud, at least towards the end of the show, it left us with a big bang! The Turtles has always been a crucial part of Generation Y’s childhood and we still can never forget how much they all meant to us!
Number 6. – Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic SatAM)
Whatever you do, don’t ever waste your precious time with The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon and use them on this Sonic The Hedgehog, or Sonic SatAM, cartoon instead. Adventures of Sonic had barely any plot, this one had a big story about subtle environmentalism and complex relationships with one character to another. I love this cartoon for giving us a video game character into a sci-fi setting with many of his friend, that never made it into the video games, to overthrow the evil Robotnick & his advisor Snively that already has taken over the world and “The Roboticized” innocent bystanders into his servant robots. There are so many of these characters that I grew so much love for like Sally Acorn, Rotor, Bunnie Rabot, Antoine, and many more that should have made it to the game series because they’re so much better than any cast in the video game series. Almost every battle against Robotnick always had consequences, suspense, and drama that you don’t get in children’s television. My blood always pumps up whenever I hear the show’s iconic opening that makes it a show like no other. The first season, which consisted of thirteen episodes, was a rather episodic affair, with not much continuity save for the constant battle to free Mobius. Even so, the series proved that it could be strong in drama, emotion, and moments that would make us care about the characters. For example, one episode had Sonic discover his Uncle Chuck, one of the roboticized Mobians, and used a power ring to restore his free will. Unfortunately, the effect did not last long, and following a mission in Robotropolis (Robotnik’s home city), the two of them had to part ways as Uncle Chuck reverted back to being under Robotnik’s control. Near the end of the episode, Sonic actually cried over losing his uncle again. It is moments like these that made the show more than just another series made to cash in on a licensed property. Rather, it contained powerful, heartfelt moments that would rival even those of animated films like Bambi or The Lion King. And the series continues to get better in the second season where they were able to go to another dimension called the “Void,” making Uncle Chuck a great supporting role, and even some of the best climatic endings that had Sonic and Sally confess their love for each other. Though the series left us in a huge cliffhanger, it’s a damn shame that so many others didn’t give this show a chance to give enough ratings for it to have a third season. The director of the show said that the third season would have Tails to be a prime character, a love triangle between Sonic and Sally, and so many missed opportunities that never made it on television but instead was continued in Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comic series. Fourteen years after its cancellation, Sonic SatAM continues to be loved by Sonic fans everywhere. The old episodes have been released on DVD and posted online so that they can be enjoyed for many years to come. Meanwhile, there have been petitions for a third season, and even some story ideas for that season have surfaced on the Internet. Fans still love the story lines, animation, and characters, all of which are unsurpassed by any Sonic cartoon series made before or since. It is a shame that Saturday Morning cartoons have taken a nosedive in quality since then, with the majority of them being educational or imported from Japan. More shows like Sonic SatAM should be made, and the series itself could use a comeback of some sort. As long as the original episodes are available for viewing, old fans can relive all the excitement and suspense, while new fans can view an example of what a great animated series should be.
Number 5. – Batman: The Animated Series
This very cartoon earns all the praise for it’s effort, complexity, and well-written stories that other children’s programming has never offered before. This show is representation of the Batman universe, that it changed everyone elses interpretation of it since then. For example. Mr. Freeze was up until this series a joke villain – it was the episode “Heart of Ice” that gave Mr. Freeze back story and made Victor Freeze one of the first villains in the series to have more motivation than just another psychopath out to cause mayhem for money. Since this animated series, Victor Freeze and his tragic story of a lost wife and accident that has relegated him a cold suit has become cannon. Lastly, the animation style of this show was phenomenal. It’s easy to see that they took inspiration from the Tim Burton movies (very art deco in style), but incredibly dark and noir. A big change that this series took in their art direction was instead of starting with white paper, the animators used black paper and then had to draw in all the light, vs drawing in some shadows. The world of Gotham City and Bruce Wayne really is one of darkness and shadows. Not only that, but we were so many opportunities that were nailed with all of our favorite characters in Gotham City like Joker, Mr. Freeze, Riddler, Pinguin, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and many more that displayed perfect voice acting and great episodes that forever changed the way we look at storytelling. This still is my favorite incarnation of Batman and since then, everything after this cartoon regarding to Batman could never be as good as this very phenomenal series! Every episode has a great variety of tone, humor, drama, and emotion that still sticks with us many years after the series was over. Sure, season 4 is a dud when the animation quality decreased to be similar to the Superman: Animated series that was running at the same time, however the first three seasons will always be an iconic part of animation history!
Number 4. – The Simpsons
No room for argument, so don’t even try. Twenty-three years down the line and the writing is sharp, the jokes are fresh, the themes are challenging and, well, everything having to do with artistic expression is riding higher than any other show on TV. This is the very cartoon that not only made adult animation a popular television programming, but it also changed our society! Everyone who seen the show remembers the episodes, take not of each trivia, and even the cameos and references that forever imbedded in our memories! Who knew that a cartoon about a dysfunctional family can had some of the wildest, most creative, and funniest adventures that any character can get. Everyone is always anticipated for the couch gag in the opening, the plots that somehow changes in the course of the episodes, the once-a-year special “Treehouse of Horrors,” the catchphrases, see favorite characters & the recurring gags, and so many more that makes us take the show very seriously and at the same time have the best laughs of our lives! For those who still believes that the Simpsons lost their magic, go ahead and rematch the entire series and see why The Simpsons has such a reputation! By almost any measurement, The Simpsons is the most influential television comedy ever created.
Number 3. – Reboot
This is actually the very first animated show that was entirely CGI beating Pixar by 3 years before Toy Story. Reboot is simply the most original cartoon that I’ve ever laid my eyes on and even though their graphics didn’t age as well, I’m still blown away with the idea of life and society within a computer program where data and viruses face each other in many battles. Thanks to the Canadian studio Mainframe Entertainment that given us later cartoons like Transformers: Beast Wars, Reboot delivered some of the most epic and fascinating adventures that cartoons has ever had. Bob is the guardian of Mainframe. (Guardian is Rebootian for “cop”, more or less.) Comes from the Super Computer (back in 1990 so it probably had as much power as your Mp3 player). Bob would have been deleted long ago if it wasn’t for Glitch, a tool that’s a cross between a swiss army knife and an iPhone. He is a clumsy, laid back teenager with the hots for Dot Matrix, who she along with her brother Enzo help maintain Mainframe from being destroyed from Megabyte. The show is filled with so many suspense, amazing 90’s computer animation, and many references whenever they play against “the user” in whatever video game they’re playing. The first two seasons is all expositions and many laughs in the world of Mainframe, showing how does the computer work and the many aspects of this world as a tiny data. There was even a part where going on the internet was some of most fascinating adventures that the show has ever had. Towards season 3, it makes a complete 180 where the storylines become series and characters developed into more serious characters than they ever were before! Never could I ever expect to see a kids program that has blew off the water and created something memorable, despite how forgotten the show has become over the years. Though the show has given us a cliff-hanger Season 4 (also known as the movies) fans everywhere are still craving for more Reboot! From Seasons 1 – 3 (just skip 4) it was some of the most epic and satisfying animated experiences that makes me wonder why aren’t there more cartoons could do any better than this show? A lot has changed since the finale of Season 4 and Mainframe Entertainment has now became Rainmaker Entertainment and we’re all hoping that we can have one more epic finale for this innovative show!
Number 2. – X-Men
This show, along with Batman: The Animated Series, the made comic books to animated series to be possible in the 1990s. In my personal opinion, this show was a much better show because it was consistent from beginning to the very end of the show and did a much more successful job in representing the comic book medium. The art style is like the 1980’s comic book series and many of the story arcs and episodes were borrowed heavily from the comic book series. Rather than just praising how great the show did in promoting the comics it was based on, the whole show has EVERYTHING! Mutants, dinosaurs, time traveling, demons, giant robots, superheroes and villains, political statements, romance, drama, humor, puns… EVERYTHING! This was some of the most exciting television programming to watch as a kid because of its level of intensity, well written storytelling, and incredibly deep characters from both the heroes and villains. The X-Men cartoon does a great job for letting the audience see what each of these characters struggles in becoming a mutant that society fears. It’s political statements is reminiscent to the Civil Rights movement in the 60’s the teaches audiences of all age about evil of discrimination. At the same time, we get a chance to see some of the most badass adventures with the greatest superhero team of all time! It certainly took a while for action cartoons throughout the 1980’s to have deep characters and tell wonderful stories, but X-Men succeeded on what other ’80s action cartoons failed to do. Also, how can you argue with the best cast of characters ever seen in television? Each and every one of them has a backstory and unique character traits that the show carefully shows us what they were all about with the many episodes that they were able to televise. In a matter of fact, this is the cartoon that even made the live-action X-Men movie possible, and if we didn’t have that either we wouldn’t have so many Superhero movies that we now have today. Without them, these comic book franchises would still remain in comic books. But for some reason, X-Men still holds up better than most Comic book movies and television series. The moment you’re listening to that epic theme song, you’re totally grasped into tuning into the show and never changing the channel until the episode is over. It’s a show that does everything imaginable and executes them so intelligently. Never again has the X-Men franchise (excluding the comic books) has ever been as memorable or as iconic as X-Men. It is the finest comic book cartoon show ever made and it’s one of the greatest of the 1990s cartoons.
Number 1. – King of the Hill
I always knew that King of the Hill is miles better than Mike Judge’s other show, Beevis and Butthead, and for many reasons! This underrated animated sitcom has told stories that incorporate hot button issues that takes mature themes and somehow make subtle humor out of this redneck town of Arlan. Such themes like going through puberty, alcoholism, family issues, religion, friendship issues, temptation, and many more that many adult cartoons has perhaps tackled, but not as intelligently and wildly as King of the Hill executed. Not everyone will “get” King of the Hill because it straddles the fence between good clean livin’ and hedonism in a very interesting way. Troubles are hashed out by the community in a comic manner, though it’s sometimes difficult to discern whether the moralistic views are real “American values” or a parody of them. This is where the conflict arises and the comedy comes through. Once you get the comedy of King of the Hill, all of their running gags and creative humor becomes a laugh riot and all the episodes that you though wasn’t funny at first, clicks with you. Keep in mind, however, that some mature topics might offend sensitive viewers (especially the period episode), others might not appreciate the way these topics are clumsily handled, since King of the Hill can hit pretty close to home. Many reasons why this cartoon is so great, and at times better than the Simpsons, is that they were able to make their characters realistic in proportions, backgrounds, and everything else that has been animated. People can argue all they want about this should have been live-action instead of animated, but there are a lot of episodes where there’s no way that they could make it live action (like Bill driving his tank). This show is so funny to me that any familiar scene or gag become iconic to me, like Hank, Bill, Dale, and Boomhaur drinking in the ally. I fell in love with all the characters, and they all give me a different sense of humor. It is definitely the most human cartoon ever created and there are more than enough stuff seen from this episode that made me relate to these southerners and still laugh at redneck humor time and time again! The most relatable aspects of the show for me is when Bobby Hill was growing up because I too faced the many issues of becoming a man at that age. All of these character traits that has been established in this series has always been comforting to watch. Few other shows would dare touch on topics like this and it always feels so well written to see how intuitive and creative they can take any matter into their own hands. And here I am still watching King of the Hill again and again, laughing forever with how honestly funny the show really is!