Well hi there! I see you clicked on my cartoon list. Someone's curious. Well then, what say you and I have an.. "animated" discussion? HO HO HO. Alright, forgive me for the pun. But lots of cartoons have puns! I like puns in my cartoons sometimes. You will see, as we go down the list. But my my.. cartoons are an interesting thing, aren't they? Though they have that weird stigma of being intended for children, there are animated programs for all ages. Some of them are actually quite good and some are just forgettable, but we love them just the same! Why, right as I'm typing this, I have a friend here watching some anime. You can expect to see some of those on this list too! This is enough stalling, it seems, but it probably won't BE very long when it goes up. I am sure that people have novellas to write about their cartoons, but I'll do my best to stay concise and to the point.
Watching the intro to this show, you'd think Cybersix was about the illegitimate daughter of Bruce Wayne and Carmen Sandiego running about by night as a freelance demon hunter. If this were actually the show's premise, it would be far higher on the list. As it stands though, let's talk about Cybersix because it's very interesting. Cybersix is a Canadian cartoon based on an Argentine comic book animated by a Japanese studio. Now there's a mouthful for ya! We follow our heroine, Cybersix (as in, Cyber Number Six, and don't you try and tell me you didn't smirk and think of a word that's LIKE Cybersix) as she runs around the city of Meridiana, beating up other genetically engineered freaks to get the Sustenance she needs to survive. (In the comics she gets that shit by SUCKING IT OUT OF THE THUG'S NECKS. Holy shit.)
Now, like most tales of a vigilante running about a dark city at night fighting bad dudes, Cybersix has a dual-life thing going on. What's very interesting about it is that her everyday self is a dude. Yep. Cybersix just slicks her hair back, throws on some Clark Kent glasses, and "Adrian Seidelman" is born! So right off the bat we technically have a cross-dressing super-heroine. It's unique, I give it that!
Speaking of unique, the art style really stands out.. in more ways than one. Since this is a South American comic, it naturally has its own style to it. It's a bit odd at times, and has a bit of an anime feel to it (this may be due to the aforementioned Japanese animation studio).. but at the same time it's unlike anything I have ever seen before. To be honest, it takes a little getting used to.. especially how arm hair is just drawn as a series of brown or blonde RECTANGLES on a character's arms.
So why isn't this show way higher? The simple answer is pacing. Cybersix only has 13 episodes. Now, it already has a very cool backstory involving a villain we catch glimpses of; the ex-Nazi scientist, Von Reichter. This guy is cool as hell, and I would have really loved for the show to delve a little more into plot threads involving him, Cybersix, his other creations... but what we get is much different. There's the first episode to set up the whole thing, the last episode which has her facing Von Reichter finally.. but buildup? What buildup? The in-between of this show is pretty much just stock "monster of the week" stuff. Most of it involves Von Reichter's clone son, Jose.. and he is in no way as cool as Von Reichter. In this episode, Cybersix fights goblins! Next time: Attack of a giant eyeball! It's ridiculous, and though some of these episodes aren't really BAD, it's all about the balance. It just seems that they could have kept a plot going while having interstital monster of the week episodes at the same time.
All in all, Cybersix is a great little show. Sure, a lot of it is just one-off nonsense, but I'll be damned if it isn't kind of cool. Cybersix is a great action heroine, and she even has a GOD DAMNED PANTHER as her fighting partner. Holy hot shit. Give it a watch, it's only 13 episodes. Short but sweet, Cybersix is a good way to start this here list.
I fully expect every one of these lists to have at least one Disney movie on them. I was somewhat reluctant at first to put one on here. "Sure, they're good movies," I thought, "..but they're nothing that makes me go HOLY SHIT WHAT A GOOD MOVIE I LOVE IT!".
Then I remembered Mulan. God DAMN. This girl, let me tell you about this girl. Mulan is one of the better Disney movies for me, for a few reasons. The most obvious is that it is very good. Good animation, good songs, and a good plot. Let's go more into that, though. Our heroine, miss Mulan, has a dad who's getting on in years. The Huns invade China, and papa Mulan's got to go to war. But if he goes off to war, well, the old bugger likely won't make it back. So what does Mulan do? Cut off her long locks, take papa's sword and armor, and ride a horse off into the rainy night, before pretending to be a man and joining the army so she can fi--
Wait a goddamn second, two cartoons where girls pretend to be boys in a row? Something's wonky about this placement. Anyway. Much like Cybersix, Mulan is a girl pretending to be a boy who will NOT TAKE YOUR SHIT. Don't believe me? Let an authentic Disney song convince you!
Y'see? At first our girl is finding ancient Chinese boot camp very grueling and hard. It doesn't help that the other guys in the squad are fucking putting beetles down her back and shit, either. Eventually Captain China is like "yeah go home you wuss" at which point Mulan is like FUCK YOUR SHIT and she proves all the men wrong by throwing the arrow down! HELL YEAH! What makes this even better is that Mulan is technically considered a "Disney Princess". You know, like Cinderella and Belle. Compared to them, Mulan is leagues above.
So there you are. The main character is pretty goddamned great and does some amazing badass things, the songs are good, the animation is very nice to look at.. it's just a good movie in general. I'm not the biggest Disney fan (barring one exception you'll see later) but this one has enough to put it on the list. Rock on, Mulan.
Okay, here's the deal with this one. I have never played a second of a .hack game in my life on this planet. From what I understand thanks to the backlog of this very website, however, it's 100 bucks and 80 hours that I could spend on better RPGs. But this here anime? It's got a cozy little spot in my heart. I will confess that I'm not too big on anime; I've only watched a handful of series to completion, and haven't properly watched any since an anime that will show up later on this list. This little one here, I discovered on TV. Yeah, I watched a dub of it. Was it a very GOOD dub? In 2005 I was satisfied by it. Either way, I was very intrigued by this here animu from episode 1. Why is that, pray tell?
There's nothing more I like in a show then a plot that keeps me guessing. This is why I watched the entirety of Lost, it kept me guessing and wondering just what in the blue FUCK was going on with this island. SIGN is much the same, as it kept me coming back to YTV's Bionix block on Friday nights (HOW'S THAT FOR CANADIAN NOSTALGIA?), eagerly awaiting the next piece of the puzzle. And what puzzle is that? The puzzle of The World.
It's kind of funny, really, that this show came out when it did. "The World" in SIGN is one of those MMO dealies.. except in this "world" you put on some sort of VR goggles and actually really PLAY the thing like you're a swordsmaster or sorceror or whatever. Considering that just two years after this anime came out, World of warcraft became almost synonymous with MMO, it really makes me wonder if this is some kind of symbolism.. because it only gets worse. Our protagonist of sorts, Tsukasa, finds himself wandering about The World, stuck with amnesia, unable to physically log out of the game and go back to reality. The World has BECOME his reality.. and if that isn't some sort of metaphor I don't know what is.
This show's pacing is, not gonna lie, pretty slow. Oh, it's fine now, because you can just get every episode and watch a bunch. But for an anime fan in 2005, watching this shit dubbed? You wait 7 days and you get the half-hour anime equivalent of Waiting For Godot. It doesn't help if you're in 2005 and, god help you, you MISS AN EPISODE. I swear this show was trying to make me not watch it. But, what it lacks in pacing it makes up for with its characters. I really liked them! Granted, some of them fit your standard anime tropes.. but I ended up actually caring about what happened to these drawn people.
All in all, SIGN is a pretty good anime in my book, and this is coming from someone who doesn't really watch much of the stuff. Perhaps there are better shows out there, or perhaps I'm just being nostalgic towards the days where I could watch decent dubbed anime on network TV on a Friday. Either way, give it a shake for a few episodes. If nothing else, you might be curious enough to keep going.. to unravel all the mystery that you can.
#7- A GARFIELD CHRISTMAS
Okay, follow me here. See this?
This VHS tape that will quickly become a foreign object to anyone under 17 is quite sentimental to me. Its contents consist entirely of Christmas cartoon specials, videotaped from TV for me by my parents in 1991. I know this because some of the commercials slipped through, for shit like the second Ninja Turtles movie and THE BRAND NEW SUPER NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM. My tape is 20 years old now. Good god... anyway. Out of everything on this tape, what could be the best special? How The Grinch Stole Christmas? Mickey's Christmas Carol? A WISH FOR WINGS THAT WORK? For me, it's got to be A Garfield Christmas.
Well, where do I start? The 80's were a good time for Garfield. Garfield And Friends was a pretty goddamned great show, probably the best Garfield-related thing there ever was. Lorenzo Music was and forever will be ingrained into my mind as Garfield. That voice is just so iconic, I can't even watch Real Ghostbusters without thinking WHY IS GARFIELD CATCHING GHOSTS? It was a good show, pretty funny, oh and US Acres was decent. BUT BY GOD WE'RE TALKING ABOUT CHRISTMAS!
I am not gonna lie, I am the biggest fan of Christmas. Not just the whole HEY MY FAMILY GAVE ME NEAT MATERIAL THINGS bit, but you get to spend time WITH your family, eat good food, get all sorts of chocolate and candy, and there is even SNOW if you're lucky! And let me tell you, I love me some snow. So, on a chilly afternoon where it's going to be pitch-black by 4 PM, there's no better time to pop in a 20 year-old piece of obsolete video technology and watch Garfield do Christmas.
So why this one? I'm going to quote an ad blurb for Mother 3 here; "Strange, funny, heartrending." That's A Garfield Christmas for you.. well, maybe it's not HEARTRENDING but... I'll get to that bit in a second. Strange and funny are definitely there. Observe.
The bitter cynicism. I love it. This one is just funny pretty much all the way through, both celebrating the family aspect of Christmas while mocking the shit out of it. Save for one bit, that is.. a bit of "serious" time involving the grandma looking out the window on a snowy Christmas Eve, talking to Garfield about how her dead husband loved the hell out of Christmas. It gets me every time. 20 years later, it gets me every time, by god it's getting me as I type this oh lord no please let's move on
This is just a fun half hour holiday special. Perhaps there are other ones better than it, but this one is my favorite. I watch it every year, so it must account for something, right? ON THE LIST IT GOES!
Okay you know what? I pulled the Mother 3 quote a little too early. THIS HERE is strange, funny and heartrending. It is every one of those at once. Where do I even begin here? Well, first a little message to all you giant robot show fanatics out there; I apologize. You can probably cite some Gundam series nestled inside UC or AC or whatever and say that it's 10 times better than Gurren Lagann, and that I am full of shit. And I probably am, but I'm not that into the giant robot thing. I have friends who are, but.. well, let me keep going here. We're going into aside country again, the land of the Skewed Tangent. In May 2008, I sat down and watched another show with large robots in it. Kind of an obscure one, nothing you might know, just a little show called NEON GENESIS EVANGELION.
And now all the Evangelion fans are in a froth because Gurren Lagann's on my list and Eva is not. Sorry guys. Gosh, this is turning out to be something.. anyway, I watch the Evangelion. I finish its last two episodes at 3:30 in the god damned morning. To this day I thank my lucky stars I did not watch End Of Evangelion immediately after.. that movie at 4 in the morning would have destroyed any chance I had of sanity. Evangelion is FUCKED. UP. So, here I am, having just experienced the biggest mindshag since House of Leaves.. and I decide I need to follow up with another giant robot show. See, Evangelion and Gurren Lagann were both made by Gainax. Evangelion created a trend of dark and morose giant robot shows, and Gurren Lagann apparantly brought shit back OUT of the dark. So, I went to it immediately after.
I think this is what colored my opinion of it, because Gurren Lagann is fucking amazing. It's been three years later, and I have never watched another anime to completion. Gurren Lagann RUINED me. Nothing can ever live up to that in my head again. God damn it Gainax, you fuck with my head way too much. Well, what makes this show so bloody good? It's really the whole package. Right from the gate, I was endeared by the characters. Our main protagonists, Simon and Kamina, are just great. Kamina is the standard badass, and Simon is a bit of a wuss.. but that's just how they start out. Simon has a very distinct character arc, and it's great to follow him through the series. I ended up liking pretty much everyone in the Dai-Gurren Brigade. You WANT to see these guys succeed.. but what happens when they do?
I'm deliberately avoiding spoilers here, but holy fuck does this show's plot take a couple of major twists and turns. One I was spoiled by before watching the show, unfortunately, but it doesn't particularly RUIN the show to know it's coming; the way the plot gets tilted upside-down about halfway in, however? I'm not going to elaborate, but I will tell you that by the end of it all one of the heroes shot up on my list of Fictional Characters I Wish I Could Punch In The Fucking Face. The list is rather small and pretty much consists of just that person and Delores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series. What a bitch.
ANYWAY. The last thing to mention about this show is that it puts the phrase "over the top" to shame. You might see something in one episode and think that it's the bee's knees; the coolest god damned thing you have ever seen in an anime. And it only gets better. And better. I won't lie, the last four or five episodes just had my jaw on the floor all the way through. You won't fucking believe what you're seeing, it is THAT amazing. It's why I've never watched another anime; nothing can compare to that shit. If you've seen Gurren Lagann, you know what I'm talking about.. and can probably tell me I'm full of shit and that I should watch X anime here because you moron it's so good. If you HAVEN'T.. please go watch this show. Trust me on this. One of the best animes I have ever seen, and the only thing keeping it from being higher on this list is personal preference and nostalgia for the other shows.
I'm gonna level with you here. I'm not the biggest Transformers fan. The original 1984 show is pretty good, and I can watch it perfectly fine.. but I don't flock to it. Like, a few months ago I was doing nothing but playing video games and watching Teletoon Retro.. and when there was nothing else on I'd stick on Transformers. Decent show, but not really one of my favorites. But this movie? Ho ho oh my god lemme tell you about this movie. This was actually the very first Transformers-related thing I ever saw, when I borrowed it from a friend some years ago. I had missed the boat on Transformers by a few years (along with another thing that I predict will show up on others' lists but not mine... you'll see), so needless to say I was incredibly confused by how this film played out. What makes this tale of "good robots shoot at the bad robots" worth a middle spot on this here list? I can give you three reasons.
1) THE MUSIC
Let me just admit it; this movie has one of my favorite soundtracks. Ever. Now, you might think I'm talking about that Stan Bush classic, "The Touch", and while it is true that it's a very neat song for the scene it's in.. that's not quite what I mean. What I am referring to is Vince DiCola's score for the movie. This music is chock-full of 80's goodness, with synth sounds and rockin' guitar licks and all the other musical madness that soothes my ears. At the same time, it has distinct.. whaddya call em.. "leitmotifs"? Repeated melodies throughout the score? Music experts, you know what I'm trying to talk about but horribly butchering. Allow me to demonstrate by way of example; not 10 minutes into the movie, the nasty no-good Decepticons launch an all-out surprise invasion on the good guy Autobot base. As our heroes attempt to raise their defenses and send a signal for help, the villains raid the base, blasting at all opposition. All while this plays.
That's just one example of how good this stuff is. Bottom line; this soundtrack is great, and one of the few I love to listen to outside of watching the movie. In fact I'm listening to THAT VERY SONG as I write this up! Ain't that quaint.
2) THE CAST
The people in charge of that movie did not skimp out on voice actors for this thing. GO look at that credit roll again, there are some pretty big names in here for a cartoon movie where good robots fight bad robots. In the same movie, we have John Bender, Mr. Spock, the guy from Unsolved Mysteries, and CHARLES FOSTER KANE doing voices! That last one deserves special attention. Orson Welles. The man who caused a god damned riot by reading a radio play about aliens. The guy who made Citizen Kane. THAT Orson Welles does the voice of a giant living Death Star robot called Unicron. It's insane that this even happened. Granted, Orson Welles was pretty sick and near death at the time; he died only five days after he finished his voice work for the film. And how did he describe what would be his final role?
"You know what I did this morning? I played the voice of a toy. Some terrible robot toys from Japan that changed from one thing to another. The Japanese have funded a full-length animated cartoon about the doings of these toys, which is all bad outer-space stuff. I play a planet. I menace somebody called Something-or-other. Then I'm destroyed. My plan to destroy Whoever-it-is is thwarted and I tear myself apart on the screen."
I don't think I could summarize the plot of the movie better if I tried. Point is, near-death Orson Welles gives that menacing planet a signature voice. All those other famous people do a damn good job as well, to be sure. It's a great voice cast, and it only adds to the movie.
3) HIGH STAKES (Or, AW SHIT WHAT'RE WE GONNA DO NOW?)
*WARNING- HERE THERE BE SPOILERS. SCROLL DOWN UNTIL YOU SEE A KITTY IF YOU WISH TO AVOID THEM. AVERT THINE EYES!*
I almost don't want to spoil this sort of thing.. but it's a big part of why this movie is on the list. Now, a bit of Transformers TV history that I didn't know at the time; this movie is a "bridge" of sorts between the first two seasons of the show, and the last two. The first two take place in the same time period that the show aired, 1984-1985.. and in the show, we see the Autobots and Decepticons get shot at quite a lot without taking much damage. Then we get to the movie, which flings us to THE FAR-OFF FUTURE OF THE YEAR 2005... and boy howdy, our robot friends are a lot less durable.
Within the first few minutes of this movie, Autobots that you probably really liked in the show (like Ironhide, Brawn, and Ratchet) get FUCKING SHOT TO DEATH BY THE DECEPTICONS SWEET JESUS ALL BETS ARE OFF! This movie isn't fucking around, because it's a show that thrives on selling toys of its characters. This movie introduces the new vanguard for the third season.. by systematically MURDERING your old favorites. But then we come to something amazing at the climax of the opening Decepticon invasion. Optimus Prime vs. Megatron, in a full-on battle set to The Touch. It's awesome.. but what happens after that is just.. wow.
OPTIMUS PRIME DIES.
You can imagine how bewildered a guy who only had minor knowledge of Transformers was when he saw this red and blue childhood hero slip away from this robot coil and turn grey. "But.. but I thought he was the leader!" Don't think it's just the Autobots who get it; several Decepticons don't get out of this movie in one piece, either. Everything about this movie is death. Unicron devours an entire planet of living sentient robots in the OPENING SCENE ALONE. It really is a grim movie.. which gives the phrase "light our darkest hour" new meaning.
D'aww, kitty. So there you have it. Transformers The Movie is a pretty solid movie, with great music, a wonderful cast, and.. that other stuff we talked about. If you like Transformers even a bit, or think Michael Bay is a soulless hack who is ruining this franchise with dumb stupid people, go watch it.
Or "When They Cry" or whatever the localized title for this baby is. I would bet good money (you know, if I had good money) on this one ending up SOMEWHERE on Polly's list. This is also going to be the last anime you see on here.. but what a way to finish up. I'm only talking about the first series here.. since I have yet to actually delve into that Kai stuff. So for the moment, let us pretend it's 2006 and the only thing we have is this series here. A very good friend of mine at the time told me about this show, and how it was pretty rad and why aren't you watching it?!? So, in I delved, on a warm August night, not unlike a night when cicadas would be chirping, and fired up the first episode. Put yourselves in my shoes here, good reader. You're in a room by yourself. At night. Loading up an anime that some nice girl told you was good. This is what your peepers witness when you hit that play button.
JESUS CHRIST! That's.. I mean... holy FUCK! What did I just... FUCK! Immediately after this is the nice anime intro you (hopefully) just heard, with lots of shots of anime girls and blood and shit. Then the episode begins proper, and you're greeted to the worst fate of them all.
It's completely normal. You've got your (presumably) average Japanese guy, Keiichi Maebara, moving to the quaint little village of Hinamizawa and making friends with a bunch of anime girls. This is cutesy stuff, very slice of life. This is NORMAL. But in the back of your mind, you can still remember the sound of cold steel hitting soft flesh.. and no matter how much you wish for things to stay rosy, they turn to shit. But not immediately.. oh god no. Slowly. Very slowly, over the course of 4 episodes, things get darker for our pal Keiichi. The mood whiplash here is amazing, incredible.. and so god damned EFFECTIVE. Things go south, you know they're going south, but you're helpless to stop it. You just keep watching, and (for me anyway) it's so bloody unsettling. I kind of like these new friends of Keiichi's, they seem nice.. so why do they say creepy things to him sometimes? Why do their eyes sometimes look like those of a cat, toying with its prey..?
My friend who doesn't like Higurashi because of all this freaky-deaky stuff always says that "it's too psychological". In a way, he's kind of right. This anime just straight up fucks with your head. It's a lot like .hack//SIGN, where you want to keep watching to unravel the mystery.. only the mysteries are far more grim than you can imagine. I watched the first "arc" of this show, the first four episodes, in one sitting. At night. It scared the pants off of me, and that's something not too many things that aren't Tim Curry in a clown suit do. And then... AND THEN!
The ending of episode 4 is essentially that bludgeony bit you just saw.. plus some other very unfortunate and bloody stuff I dare not spoil. You begin to wonder, "how can there even BE an episode 5 after what I have seen?". Then you come once again to the worst fate; an opening scene of violence and brutal murder without context or explanation, an anime opening, and then a Japanese kid named Keiichi moving to a new village. This show is locked in a deadly Groundhog Day-esque loop. The events are always different, of course, but it all plays out the same. 4 episodes that start off sunshine and roses, but quickly degenerate into mindfuckery, blood, and carnage.
Sometimes, however, you'll be in luck! When you loop back, you'll have looped into a "scenario" you're already familiar with! This time, however, you'll follow some other character, and gain valuable insight into just WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON. It IS a show based on a visual novel, after all; there's much intrigue and mystery to be had.
I think that's all that really needs to be said about this one. The second series, Higurashi Kai, does explain way more about what in the hell is going on.. but I confess I've not seen it yet. Like I said, haven't watched an anime since Gurren Lagann. Besides, I kind of like it this way. The original 26 episodes of the first season are fantastic, and they genuinely unsettled me. Nevertheless, I was hooked, and this may be my favorite anime of all the animes. Go watch it. Preferably at night with the lights off.. and the window open, if you live in a place where the cicadas cry.
AWWW SHIT YES IT'S THE GHOST WITH THE MOST ALL UP IN THIS PIECE. Once upon a time there was a man named Tim Burton. Through the 90's and the 21st century he would make lots of movies that had Johnny Depp in them. Before that, however, he made a movie in the late 80's called Beetlejuice. It was a very good film that had very good actors in it.. but I wouldn't quite call it a "for kids" affair. Then again, this is from the man who made Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, and that movie has some pretty damned freaky shit in it. Anyway, for whatever reason it was decided that an animated series would be made out of Beetlejuice. Honestly, this is just as baffling to me as Charles Foster Kane voicing a toy who gets blown up by Something-Or-Other. So how do you make a cartoon out of a lecherous malevolent spirit who turned into a snake and tried to marry a 16 year-old girl or whatever the hell was happening in that movie?
You ignore the movie, mostly. In the cartoon things are completely different; Beetlejuice and that 16 year-old, Lydia, are actually FRIENDS now. Lydia's also like 12 or 13 now, so the marriage thing would have been REALLY fucking weird. Aside from that, there's no Alec Baldwin or Geena Davis.. which is kind of a shame but hey, what can you do? So, onto the TV went the wacky adventures of Beetlejuce and Lydia, and my younger self tuned in every week. I loved this show way back then, and then I never saw or really thought of it for years. Then I went back and watched it, and holy shit. It's BETTER than I remembered!
What makes this one great for me is the humor... and there's more than one kind of it. Beetlejuice is a very literal character, not unlike a spectral Amelia Bedelia. This show is filled to the brim with "literal" humor; stuff like skeletons in Beetlejuice's closet being actual floating skeletons that get out and start revealing all his secrets. Or, how about the "Ghoul Tools"? We have a "monkey" wrench, a "hack" saw, and a "jack" hammer that looks and talks like Mr. Nicholson. You can't help but laugh at this stuff.. or at least I can't. It's silly and it's dumb, but at the same time it works with the show and is kind of amusing.
But that ain't the half of it. If this was just a silly show with a bunch of puns, it would be nowhere near #3. Oh no. What this show genuinely impressed me with were the other jokes; the ones that sailed completely over my head when I was 7 years old. Lots of cartoons do this sort of thing, and they're all pretty funny because of it. Granted, these types of gags only pop up rarely in Beetlejuice, but when they did they had me legitimately laughing, and not just sort of smirking like the puns and junk. From Beetlejuice calling his tools a bunch of "tools", to.. well, this..
..you've got some genuine humor here. Point is, this show was great 20-odd years ago, and it holds up surprisingly well today. Whoever put the Tim Burton movie on DVD was even gracious enough to stick three episodes of the show on there as extras.. and I got that shit for five bucks! Seek it out if you're not adverse to a bunch of puns and other assorted malarkey.
What can I say? What in the hell can I possibly say? This is kind of like putting Final Fantasy 7 on your best games ever list, I will admit.. but hear me out, here. I loved The Simpsons. Millions of people loved The Simpsons, and still do. I'm not one of them.. but I LOVED it. It's startling just how damn successful this show was. In 1989, nobody would have ever thought this show with a yellow-skinned suburban American family and a smartass punk kid would still be going after TWENTY TWO GOD DAMNED YEARS. But, by god, here we are! This show is twice the age of children who watch it. MORE than twice, even. Jesus, The Simpsons has been around forever.
So why this show in #2? Well, that's actually a two-part question. "Why is it so high?" and "Why is it not #1?". Let's focus on positives. I was a major Simpsons fanatic in the 90's. Me and my brothers. It's their fault that I'm into this show, and it's my sister's fault I have like 30 novels by Stephen King. (You may think that's irrelevant BUT HE HAD A CAMEO ON THE SIMPSONS SUCK IT TANGENTS) Now, this show does have its.. not-so-good episodes. But back in the olden days, they were few and far between. When this show was funny, by god was it funny. It's just... a funny show! I could elaborate on it, and explain jokes and stuff.. but man, it's The Simpsons! If you haven't seen The Simpsons, at all, in the 22 years it's been on TV.. what have you been doing? Seriously.
It's got a cast of endearing characters, from the Simpson family themselves to all the wacky weirdos that populate Springfield, We're-Never-Going-To-Tell-You-The-State-SO-GET-USED-TO-IT-FUCKFACE, USA. From Moe the bartender to Chief Wiggum to the murderous Sideshow Bob, just about every character in this show will make you smile in some way. Hell, even the characters who only appear in ONE episode remain popular to this day; the most famous of these being Hank Scorpio from "You Only Move Twice." If you ARE one of those "never seen The Simpsons" types, please look that one up. Give it 22 minutes of your time. Trust me.
So why is it not #1? Because the creative decay on this thing is heartbreaking. At about halfway into its life, you look at it and realize something is seriously going on. There's little cracks and shit in the general structure of the writing, the jokes aren't as good, the characters aren't making you laugh so much. That's how it was for me, anyway. A combination of this and growing up just sort of.. made me lose interest. The plots were too farfetched and ridiculous (THE SIMPSONS ARE GOING TO AFRICA!), the characters suffered a strange shift in attitude (Homer metamorphisizing from a loving father who means well to an idiotic buffoon with anger issues).. it all just didn't ring true with me. About the only thing worth staying for were the off-the-wall Halloween specials; each one said FUCK CONTINUITY and had little 8-minute segments parodying horror movies and TV shows while also liberally killing off both side and main characters. Some of my favorite episodes of the whole show are the Halloween ones.. and wouldn't you know it, last Halloween when I tried to watch all 21 of them? I ended up stopping halfway through because it was getting ridiculous and not so amusing.
In the end, all I can do is look back on this show with a fond smile.. then look through my stuff and see Homer Simpson's face on a wall clock, or on my DVD shelf. It's not as good as it was, hence the silver spot.. but to paraphrase the sexy as hell Jenny Lewis... when this show was on, it was really fuckin' on.
Well, here we are! The top spot! All these cartoons are great, but what's King Cartoon in my mind? Get ready... because this one is going to blow you. Away. I mean away. Yes, of course I do. Away!
Yeah. You heard me. YOU HEARD ME. You may be lamenting "WHY?". I can answer this question several ways. It's awesome, it's awesome, it's awesome, the animation is pretty great, oh and it's awesome. Everypony should give this one a chance. We follow Twilight Sparkle (who looks a whole lot like Stocking from Panty and Stocking.. only as a cute widdle pony :3) and her magical pony friends as they have magical friendship adventures in the magical land of Equestra ihihwewe oghoe joqqvyg8uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
--so here's #1! Did we have a broadcast problem or something? But.. but we're an Internet text review.. what? Never mind.
With apologies to bronies and bronettes (is that even terminology those fans USE?) everywhere, Darkwing Duck is quite simply my childhood. Oh, on Saturday mornings in 1992 I was HAPPY to be watching Beetlejuice and other shows.. but this is what made me EXCITED. I was stoked for the Disney block.. and out of all those good shows like Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, hell even Bonkers was on there at some point.. it was Darkwing that stuck out. Not Ducktales; like Transformers, I'm afraid I'm just a few years shy of being a Ducktales fan. But they both have Launchpad McQuack in them SO WE'RE NOT THAT GODDAMNED FAR OFF!
I'm not gonna lie, this one's mostly fueled by nostalgia; The Simpsons or Beetlejuice could easily be given the gold. But I owe quite a lot to Darkwing Duck. Every week, little me would tune in and watch this daring duck of mystery run around like a lighthearted Batman, fighting crime and his own rogue's gallery.. also being a bit of a buffoon at times. Maybe that's why I dig Batman so much, he's just a serious Darkwing Duck.
I'm having the same sort of problem here as I did with The Simpsons; it's difficult for me to write about why this show is good because I feel it just objectively IS. It's like, you can write a dissertation on how the original Super Mario Bros. revolutionized action platform games and all the unique innovative things it did RIGHT.. but at the end of a day it's just a really good game we played as kids. Darkwing Duck is the same thing for me; it's one of the better Disney Afternoon cartoons for me, certainly my favorite.. and it's just a GOOD cartoon in my eyes.
I owe it a little more than that, too; to go on a brief video game tangent AGAIN, Capcom made a game out of Darkwing Duck. A game I would rent every Saturday after watching the show. It was a game that played quite a lot like Mega Man, and I'm certain my nostalgia for Darkwing Duck plus playing the hell out of this game is what sparked my rampant Mega Man fanboyism a long time ago.
I dunno. Maybe this isn't the most OBJECTIVE choice for #1, but this is my list and by god I will be as biased as I please. In my eyes, Darkwing Duck is the king of cartoons. Hell, isn't nostalgia a big part of this stuff? A lot of these cartoons (and, again I'd wager, a lot of the ones on the other lists that I know nothing of as I write) are ones we saw as kids. The mediocre ones just went in one ear and out the other.. but some of them stuck. Something about them stayed with us, and now here we are, all grown up and talking about old animated programs that we loved and ARTICULATING that love.
So, Darkwing Duck, thank you for sticking with me. You were a great program and I loved you when I was 7 years old.. and I still love you today. And thank to all of you for reading this old fogey wax nostalgic about animated stuff. I'm sure my list is probably going to be only like, a third as long as the other people writing stuff for this. I never was a word count master, I just keep it straight and to the point. Except now, because I'm stalling the end of this thing.