From waking up early on weekends to coming home after school, the 90’s gave us some of the most memorable cartoons ever. With amazing intros and awesome hand drawn animations, here are some of our favourite 90’s cartoons.
Disclaimer: We understand that some of these started in the late 80’s, but this list is based on when it came to local TV. We’re also leaving out the Nickelodeon toons since most of those were in the 2k’s.
The recent surge in popularity in Pokémon Go among 90s kids here in Colombo got me thinking a lot about the stuff we loved when we were younger, and the downright awesome cartoons we had back then were definitely at the top of the list. These were the cartoons that aired on local TV channels mid 90’s to the early 2000’s. With everything from adult protagonists to dinosaurs, musicians to galaxy-wide destruction, the 90’s had incredible variety. This is a long one, but you’ll feel heavy hit of nostalgia if you loved cartoons when you were younger.
*We’ve thrown in the youtube links to the intros for all of these as the title so have fun reliving old memories!
Saber Rider & The Star Sheriffs
What do you get when you combine an American, British and Japanese dude and put them in space with armoured tech suits? Only one of the most engaging cartoons ever! I might be biased here since this one was my personal favourite but I can’t be the only one. It has a multi national cast, awesome space combat and Ramrod voiced by Peter freakin’ Cullen! (voice of Optimus Prime).
Best. Intro. Ever! The newer X-Men movies are great, but none of them hold a candle to the animated series. Throughout its run the X-Men TAS, they brought in pretty much all of the characters of the extended universe at the time, with compelling sagas that had us picking favourites and pretending to be them in public.
“Wings of silver, nerves of steel”, ring a bell? Space was such a popular theme back in the day and few showcased it as well as Silver Hawks. This intro soundtrack has one of the best guitar solos, hands down. Fighting an enemy that can go from organic to metal,riding a giant space squid wasn’t easy but the partly metal – partly real team of Silver Hawks weren't messing around.
Thundercats was probably the most widely popular cartoon of the time, with it airing again for the second time in mid 2000’s. With humanoid big cats wielding weapons and fighting an ever-living mummy, how could they go wrong? They did, however, try to reboot the series a few years back, but that was nowhere close to as brilliant as the original.
I can’t even remember how many G.I.Joe action figures I had, but I do remember getting blasted by my mom for leaving them around the house. With a tagline like “A Real American Hero” and fighting against the nefarious Cobra Command, this is easily the most American cartoon I’ve ever seen.
King Arthur & The Knights of Justice
I’d honestly forgotten all about the King Arthur cartoon of our time, but I recently came across the intro again and it reminded me how awesome this series was. The wizard Merlin basically abducts (ikr) and brings a team of American football players to take the place of Arthur and the knights of the round to save the past.
Batman / Superman Animated Series
Both the Batman and Superman animated series ran for the longest time on local TV with the former being the more popular. Batman’s intro was one of the most badass of its time, and to this day the best animated series by DC comics.
Biker Mice From Mars
The title here is pretty self explanatory; Humanoid mice from Mars riding awesome bikes. One of my favourite characters from Biker Mice was hands down the villain, Lawrence Limburger, an alien in the guise of a human trying to catch mice. Named so after the smelly cheese!
I was always salty about the fact that I was never really able to finish watching Street Sharks, but this one brings back some strong nostalgia nonetheless. This one had four brothers being a turned into half-man/half-shark hybrids by a crazy professor, each representing a different species of shark (great white, hammerhead, tiger shark and whale shark).
Jem was probably the most popular cartoons among girls. The story revolves around the truly, truly, truly outrageous adventures of a music company owner who uses a holographic computer to live a secret life as a rock star. Why don’t we have these kind of plots anymore? (Ed Note : We're also still holding out for those awesome earrings to come out on the market)
The soundtrack to Dinosaucers is mostly them saying “Dinosaucers! Dadadada dadada!”, but it’s still incredibly catchy. The series follows the Dinosaucers, a race of armored alien dinosaurs who ally with human kids, and their battles against the evil Tyrannos lead by the hilariously named Genghis Rex.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
TMNT needs no introduction. It was so popular here in Sri Lanka that we even got a Sinhala dubbed version which had a really good run as well. Now, in 2016, we’ve still got an animated TMNT showing online that’s also pretty good.
Back in the 90’s Captain Planet was probably the easiest way to get kids to learn about pollution. It follows the story of five planeteers from different continents, controlling the elements of fire, earth, wind, water and heart (never got that last one), who would combine their powers to create Captain Planet to take on stronger foes.
MASK, short for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, was really popular in the west but it took some time before they started showing it in Sri Lanka on Dynavision (the former Art TV). This was basically a hybrid of G.I.Joe and Transformers, with humans in transforming vehicles, which meant it appealed to audiences of both franchises.
Denver The Last Dinosaur
A group of kids unearth a dinosaur egg in the 20th century. The egg hatches and they name the Corythosaurus Denver and basically raise him like a kid. They teach him how to skateboard and whatnot, while protecting him from rock concert promoter Morton Fizzback who wanted to use the dinosaur to make money.
Both of these shows ran around the same time with somewhat similar stories. One of the them had stone gargoyles coming to life at night and the other had mummies coming alive. Of the two, Mummies Alive was probably my pick but Gargoyles had a strong following as well.
With so many to choose from I had to make some tough choices to keep out the likes of Voltron, Cenuturions and Swat Cats, but tell us your favourites in the comments section!