With a title like that, what could possibly go wrong?
So yeah making a list of good cartoons from the 90’s is really hard. Like stupidly hard, there was more than you could possibly shake a stick at.
Then, just to make it even harder, I decided to add cartoons from this decade as well.
It really is a cluster f*** honestly.
Yet to explain this list I have to go over a conversation that I had. Though as to not spoil anything on the list, I will refer to the cartoon as “Cartoon X” .
The conversation went as such*….
“Yo, Coolerbs, so that Cartoon X? Best Animated Thing EVAR!”
“Yeah, it is pretty great, it is mature, and covers a great range of emotions. Nice, pretty, fluid animation. I like it.”
“Yeah, Best. Nothing better”
Well, not really, it wins in one category, but there are some other cartoons just as good. In fact I would say there are five others.”
“Pssh, yeah. Go talk about it on that blog of yours. Cartoon X is the best. I will hear no other opinions.”
“Fine, talk to you later then…Huh, that’s not a bad idea.”
*Conversation is heavily fictionalized
So yeah here we are. I have looked over hundreds of cartoons made during that time area, and have decided which six are so good that it comes down to an almost tie.
Now before I begin I should mention that this list was going to be a top five, but the sheer volume of great cartoons made me bump it up. So just know that if you do not see your favorites on here, it is probably on the extensive list of stuff I had to cut.
I will include a few honorable mentions before I reveal number one, but be aware that even that list is probably not going to include everything I enjoyed. They don’t call me the “Cartoon King” for nothing.
So lets begin the Internet’s favorite why to compare score!
The Top 10-
-Err, I mean Top 5 List…Well actually it is a top 6 list…
You know what, lets just start….
NUMBER 6: CODE LYOKO!
Let me tell you about a show that took concepts from The Matrix, and Ender’s Game and blended them with teenage angst!
The show focused on a group of kids that discover a computer world. It is only resident being the pink haired girl from the picture. Thinking at first it is all a video game, they open up the world and talk to her. But soon find that she is not the only thing inside the mainframe. In addition to the girl, there is also a computer program called XANA
Able to reach out into the world and create physical monsters, the program tries to kill them.
There is only one way to stop it as it turns out. The computer system (called “The Super Computer”) can beam them into the digital plain, and they can shut down individual attacks from there. But the transporter works both ways, and XANA can spill all sorts of baddies into Earth.
It would be smart for the kids to simply turn of the computer, but they can’t, because the Pink Haired girl is tied to it, and if they turn it off. They turn her off.
Boom! Plot points that beat “Her” to the punch by several years!
Using this killer premise the show explored dark themes such as divorce, death, sickness and government conspiracy.
Though, it was a tad repetitive at times, (the fights always boiling down to the same few scenarios), it was still manged to feel fresh and clever. Utilizing world building, and intrigue to draw you in.
All in all, a fitting show for number six.
Just remember, always reboot your hard-drive when it turns evil, and we should all be fine.
Number 5: Batman the Animated Series
One of the Nostalgia Critic’s favorite for a reason, this show was brilliant. Possibly the most violent and dark show that kids were allowed to watch. Filled with a nice atmosphere and a cast of great villains.
I honestly don’t have much to say about this, if you like the Christopher Nolan movies, then this will service you just fine. Just be prepared, this show can hit you hard, and at times actually moves you to tears. But only when you let yourself sink into the world.
Full of tense, and grit. It makes it unto the Number Five spot with flying colors, and truly is worthy to say. “I’m Batman”.
NUMBER 4: CODENAME KIDS NEXT DOOR
Alright, so a bit of disclaimer on this. While the first season of the show was funny and introduced the world. It was the later seasons that made the show what it was. The quality just kept going up, further and further. Building a world that was so out there, that I could not help but want to be in it.
The basic idea was simple: What if children had a secret world and society, based on science fiction tropes?
On that idea alone, they created a world that managed to parody and pay homage to everything from Star Wars to Lord of The Rings. All filtered through childrens fears and ideals. It may have been created by adults, but it knew exactly what the world was for a kid. Full of imaginations and excitement, where the most mundane could become epic adventures.
Yet the difference in this show, was that none of it was pretend. Adult Supervillians, School Conspiracy’s, and War Games all inhabited this show, and were really occurring. Completely unlike the Rugrats method of delivering the same.
Also as the show progressed the world grew with them, till not only were they flying in space ships to massive Moon Bases, but they were exploring concepts of aliens and even morality at times. The best bit being that the characters always found these things to be the norm, like the world of children is always like this, and who knows, maybe it is? Maybe we just forgot.
So for making me feel like a kid again, I award this show the number four spot on this list. KIDS NEXT DOOR ASSEMBLE!
Number 3: Adventure Time
Now, since we were on the topic of feeling like a kid again, I present to you a show that captures it as well. A world of colorful monsters and princesses, full of well ADVENTURE!
It seemed simple at first. So very simple. I did not notice it for the longest time. It just looked like an acid trip gone wrong. I dismissed it, and for that I am sorry.
Because this show is not all fun and games, it is something more. Using this strange world as a lens to explore concepts so adult that I don’t think even I am old enough to confront.
Death, war, loss, grief and love.
Yes the silly little show is deeper than most. Burying it under the sword swinging and candy parties, lies a heart of humanity.
I was surprised too.
Every time I find more I am stunned, the world has rules, and a history. A dark history that makes you want to cry and scream.
So for making me feel things I really shouldn’t, I award them the crown of Number 3.
Number 2: Animaniacs
Let me tell you how you do comedy. You take what people expect to happen and you flip it around. It is called juxtaposition and this show is the king of it.
Only getting funnier with time, this show has jokes that went over my head as a child. Sex jokes, war jokes, parody, satire, slapstick etc. It truly is the master of the funny, getting around censors and allowing anyone young or old to watch it, and enjoy.
Nowadays you have stuff like American Dad and Family Guy to give you adult cartoons, but back then it was MTV or this.
Focusing on a group of cartoon characters that came alive, the group moves around W.B. studios, making mischief and making fun of anyone or anything. No, not in the mean-spirited way of South Park, but in a good kinder way. Relying on in-jokes and puns when they were making fun of real things.
It also had a cast of other memorable characters, a few of which actually got their own spin offs.
So for bringing a bit of timeless comedy, and making me laugh even today, I award it the number 2 spot.
Courage the Cowardly Dog
Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends
Scooby Do Mystery Incorporated
Legend of Korra
Number 1: Avatar, The Last Airbender
What else could it have been, really?
This show is the pinnacle of what you can do with animation. An exploration of a fully realized fantasy world, with stories that we are still thinking about. It talks about life and death and war in a way that even children can understand.
The action was great, the comedy was gut busting and the characters you could not help but fall in love with.
I don’t have to tell you just how huge the popularity of this is, it did not even go down when that movie we will never speak of again went up. Even in the wake of that **** the show is still a master piece, that will remain loved for many generations.
So, for proving anyone who said cartoons are just for kids wrong, I award this show what it always deserved. The Number One spot.
Well, were you surprised? Anything on the list you did not expect?
Well whatever, that’s my list.
Hope you enjoyed. See you next time, every Wednesday and Saturday!