10 Cartoons From Your Childhood You Forgot Existed
Kids these days have it easy. Before online streaming made it possible to watch whatever you wanted whenever you wanted we had to make do with whatever was on the telly. While there was a lot of good quality shows on at the time there were plenty of forgettable ones too.
With the news that Samurai Jack is returning to Adult Swim for a much awaited fifth and final season we thought now would be a perfect time to take a look at some of the less well remembered cartoons from that era. If you grew up in the late ’00s/early ’10s then you probably watched a fair few of these shows.
This is our selection of 10 cartoons from your childhood that you forgot existed:
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
This show was undoubtedly responsible for breeding a generation of goths. The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy was one of two shows to spin-off from another popular show on Cartoon Network called Grim & Evil (the other being Evil Con Carne). The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, as you might of guessed, follows the adventures of Billy & Mandy two children who trick the Grim Reaper into becoming their playmate forever. It also features a character who is an amalgamation of Kurt Russell’s Snake Plisskin from Escape From New York and Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams of Evil Dead fame, which is pretty sweet.
The Big O
The Big O has it all. A gritty film noir setting, a beautiful art deco inspired city, a shady government conspiracy, fancy suits and even fancier cars. What else could you want? What’s that? …Giant robots? Oh, okay, The Big O has giant robots. In an interesting mash-up of genres and homages The Big O is the story of top negotiator Roger who is trying to uncover the secret as to why everybody in Paradigm City suddenly lost their memories 40 years ago. The show is as thought-provoking as it is beautiful but it just wouldn’t be a Japanese anime without some giant robot combat, now would it?
Kung fu, magic and cultural stereotypes are everywhere to be seen in Xiaolin Showdown. Xiaolin Showdown‘s cast includes: a Japanese schoolgirl obsessed with technology; a street-smart but rebellious Brazilian; a humble yet strong American cowboy; and a naive Chinese boy. No we didn’t make any of those up. Together they must fight the evil Jack Spicer for control of mystical artifacts known as Shen Gong Wu which grant the wielder magic powers. Prepare yourself for lots of fast action, epic battles and well-meaning racism.
Do you like Firefly? Chances are you liked Outlaw Star first. The anime follows a group of ragtag space outlaws on the run from the government and pirates after finding a mysterious suitcase containing a naked woman. Sound familiar? Many people have commented on the similarities between the two shows but there is no arguing that Outlaw Star came first debuting in Japan in 1998. Outlaw Star is notorious for its fan service even having a full episode dedicated to it that was eventually pulled from syndication by Cartoon Network because of it’s overt sexual overtones.
More giant robots! Megas XLR is arguably less philosophical than The Big O but it is fun none-the-less. It follows Coop, a New Jersey mechanic, who finds a giant robot in his local junkyard. Doing what any sane person would do he takes it home and attaches a muscle car where it’s head should be. Coop, together with his best friend Jamie and the robot’s original pilot Kiva, must defend Earth from evil aliens. The series is a glorious homage/parody of mecha anime with a killer intro song too boot!
Easily the strangest entry on our list. We can’t help but wonder whether we forgot about this show on purpose in order to protect our fragile young minds. Ultimate Muscle is all about Kinnikuman a clumsy, foolish buffoon who discovers that he is heir to the throne of the planet Kinniku (clues in the name). In order to prove himself worthy of the throne Kinnikuman must enter a wrestling competition and face off against some of the weirdest and most nightmare-inducing fighters in the galaxy. When the opening theme has a fart joke, you know you’re in for a wild ride.
Jackie Chan Adventures
Jackie Chan may be a household name but not many people know he starred in an animated series about himself. Jackie Chan Adventures isn’t the most honest retelling of the actors life. It sees Jackie living in San Fransisco with his fictional Uncle and niece Jade while working as an amateur archeologist. When Jackie discovers a talisman that gives the wielder magic powers he must collect them all before the evil dragon Shendu can use them to destroy the world. Expect lots of kung fu action and prat falls.
Remember when The Exorcist made everybody afraid that they were going to get possessed? Well Shaman King took the idea of being possessed by ghosts and made it cool. Shaman King is set in a world where not only are ghosts real but they can possess you and give you super powers. Yoh Asakura is a young medium (or shaman) who wants to become the greatest shaman of all time. He is aided in his quest by Amidamaru, the spirit of a samurai who died over 600 years ago. Together they befriends a group of shaman and have lots of spooky sword fights with dead people.
The second cartoon about wrestling on our list. Mucha Lucha is about a fictional Mexican town where everybody is obsessed with lucha libre and we mean obsessed. Everybody walks around in a luchador masks all the time and has a signature move. There is even an entire school dedicated to teaching the art of wrestling. The show follows three students at the Foremost World-Renowned International School of Lucha (implying there is more than one) as they traverse the day-to-day struggles of growing up… and wrestling.
Pokemon was all the rage in the ’90s so it makes sense that it’d spawn a series of imitators. While the most popular of these was arguably Digimon which at times rivaled Pokemon in terms of popularity a lesser known attempt came in the form of Medabots. Medabots is a show about children battling robots. There isn’t much more to it than that. Except… did we mention that the robots are sentient? If you thought the idea of Pokemon battling each other was pretty cruel then you might want to stay away from this one.
Those are our picks. Which was your favourite cartoon growing up? How many of these shows have you watched? Let us know in the comments below.