In a recent bout of nostalgia, and more than a few mini marathons of catching up with a few of my favorite currently airing cartoons, I find myself realizing that I have yet to give an opinion on my own personal top ten favorite animated series. Though, to be fair, it will not be strictly a list of my least favorite to my all time favorite. Frankly speaking there are far too many cartoon series that I’ve seen that I enjoy for a vast variety of reasons to make a truly fair list of my top ten. As such, this upcoming list will have a few… provisos and a couple of quid pro quos.
For those of you who caught that reference, go get yourselves a cookie.
Anyway, the stipulations are as follows: The list will not contain any cartoon series based on a previously visualized medium meaning that cartoons based on films, be they prequels to the film or pseudo-continuations, are excluded. While I greatly enjoyed such shows as DreamWorks’ Dragons and Aladdin, one cannot help but think back to the original film when it comes to the quality of the cartoon. This also includes cartoons based on live action films like The Real Ghostbusters and Star Wars: The Clone Wars or comic books like Spider-Man or Batman: The Animated Series.
However, cartoons based on previous cartoons like Extreme Ghostbusters and/or a revamping of an already done cartoon series like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe will be allowed. Cartoons that are a continuation of the aforementioned comic book based cartoons, such as Justice League, or an entirely alternate retelling of everything that we know of the mainstream comics and other alternative retellings, like X-Men Evolution or even Spider-Man Unlimited, are also allowed.
Rule number two: The cartoon series in question must have something resembling a plot throughout the series and are not limited to an episodic development of some sort. Basically, previous events that transpired in an earlier episode have to have some form of effect in the present no matter how big or small. Cartoons like Tiny Toons and Animaniacs while unbelievably funny did not really have much in the way of character development or growth as the respected series went on. The same can also be said of cartoons like Rugrats where virtually every episode was of the same basic formula with little to no change in the characters overtime.
Last but certainly not least, the cartoon series in question has to have lasted beyond a single season. Now, arguably a season is debatable as to how many episodes consist of a season as some shows, most commonly many major anime series like Bleach and Naruto are divided into story arcs and not true blue seasons as we know them. As such, I will limit it to being more than thirteen episodes in length and that includes shows whose episodes consist of two stories in a single half-hour period. Sadly, this puts a true gem of a cartoon series Cybersix out of the running but them’s the brakes.
As to what I’ll be reviewing of the cartoon series… I shall focus first on the intro to the show as it is often the opening theme that draws young viewers in and, at times, clues us in as to who’s who and what’s what and all that jazz. Following the introductory theme will of course be the first episode(s) because while any opening theme might be amazingly well done, it does not begin the story. Teases at it yes but never quite telling it as any good prologue can. Lastly, I will speak of my own personal favorite episode of the series and whether that episode in question is one that I would use to introduce the cartoon to someone who has never watched it before. Following the trend of previous reviews, I will also review a favorite character from that series.