I don’t know what it is about shows you watch as a kid, but whenever you think of them, you only remember how awesome they were. If you were to watch them again now, you might notice gaping holes in the storyline or realise how strange/weird the story and characters actually were…but we still love ’em, right?
Get ready to be hit by a tidal wave of nostalgia, 90’s kids!
Sailor Moon is an undisputed classic. Being one of the most popular manga series of all time, it brought female superheroes into the limelight and there it stayed.
Sailor Moon is about a middle school girl called Usagi who becomes friends with a talking cat called Luna, who gives Usagi a magical brooch that enables her to become superhero Sailor Moon. Usagi teams up with other girls who become fellow Sailor Soldiers and they fight against the dark forces of the world.
Favourite characters: Sailor Venus and Chibi Moon. Plus, the talking cats Luna and Artemis (I always liked the animal companion characters in any show!)
Moonlight Densetsu – The Japanese Sailor Moon theme song. I still remember all of the words to this…and yes, I had a Chibi Moon wand stick that would light up and I would run around the house waving it around.
Doraemon is a Japanese cultural icon – every Japanese person knows him. The theme song is Japan’s national anthem (not actually, but it should be).
Doraemon is a robotic cat from the future who goes back in time to help a ten year old boy called Nobita. Using all sorts of futuristic gadgets out of the four-dimensional pocket on his stomach, he gets Nobita out of trouble daily.
The coolest recurring gadgets that Doraemon had (that I always wanted) was the Doko demo door (a door that you could go through to anywhere in the world), Takecopter (a propeller you put on your head to fly), Time terebi (a television which allowed you to watch events in the past or future) and the self explanatory Time Machine in Nobita’s desk.
Doraemon released some pretty awesome movies back in the day – I’m talking about the old Doraemon with the proper voices, not this recent New Generation one – and my favourites were Nihon tanjo (Birth of Japan), Kumo no okoku (Kingdom of Clouds), Buriki no meikyuu (Tin Labyrinth), Mugen san kenshi (Three Visionary Swordsmen) and Nankai Daibouken (Great Adventure in the South Seas).
Favourite characters: Doraemon and his sister, Dorami-chan
Detective Conan is probably the epitome of my childhood. I was watching from the very beginning, when it started in 1996. I have seen basically every single episode and film over the years, excluding the very recent ones. I don’t know a life without Conan.
Detective Conan is about a seventeen year old detective called Shinichi who witnesses a deal being made by a shady organisation called Kuro no soshiki (Black organisation). Shinichi gets caught by one of the members and is forced to ingest a drug that was supposed to kill him, but it actually made him turn back into a child – into his seven year old self. He chooses the name Conan Edogawa to hide his identity and continues solving cases and investigating the Black Organisation to hunt down their mysterious boss referred to as Ano kata.
Some seriously epic Conan movies have also been released over the years and as always, the old ones are the best. My all time favourite Conan movie is Hitomi no Naka no Ansatsusha (Captured in Her Eyes) – it just gets me everytime.
Other awesome ones include the first one, Tokei-jikake no Matenrō (The Time Bombed Skyscraper), Jūyon banme no Tagetto (The Fourteenth Target), Seikimatsu no Majutsushi (The Last Wizard of the Century) and the one set in Kyoto – of course I like that one – Meikyū no Kurosurōdo (Crossroad in The Ancient Capital).
Favourite characters: Conan/Shinichi, Ran, Haibara and Kaito Kid
I read the manga of Cardcaptor Sakura more than I watched it, but it was still really good. The artwork in the book is so beautiful and I always just really liked her side kick called Kero-chan, who talked in an Osaka dialect.
The series is about a ten year old called Sakura who releases a set of magical cards known as Clow Cards, which were made by a sorcerer named Clow Reed. Cerberus (Kero-chan) who is the guardian of the cards, assigns Sakura to retrieve the cards which all have a magical ability and cause havoc around the town.
Favourite characters: Sakura, Tomoyo and Kero-chan
Black Jack was written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka, who is most famous for creating Astro Boy and Jungle taitei (Kimba the White Lion) and he is one of Japan’s most beloved manga artists.
Black Jack is about a legendary doctor who takes on patients with peculiar conditions and often does good deeds and teaches arrogant and greedy people life lessons. Even now, it is a really good watch.
Favourite characters: Black Jack and Pinoko
Black Jack opening song – Gekkohana
Black Jack 21 opening song – Destiny by Hitomi Shimatani (I love this song!)
I actually watched Hamtaro in English because it was on after school on television when I was around eleven or twelve years old. I’d always wanted a pet hamster but since we didn’t have hamsters in New Zealand, this was as close as I was going to get!
Favourite characters: Bijou and Pashmina
Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z
Like every other kid in the world at that time, my brother and I were hooked on Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z. This was when there was still only 150 Pokemon that you could catch and we knew all of them off by heart. We had a huge stack of Pokemon cards between us and we would get the newest, coolest cards from Japan and be super smug about it when playing with our New Zealand friends. Oh, the good times.
Jigoku Sensei Nūbē
Jigoku sensei (hell teacher) Nūbē is about a teacher who protects his students against supernatural phenomena by using the demon that his sealed in his left hand. The ghosts or monsters that appear in the series are usually based on old Japanese folklore, which I loved the idea of.
Favourite characters: Nūbē, Izuna and Yukime
My favourite ending song – Spirit by Pamelah
Himitsu no Akko-chan
Himitsu no Akko-chan has been around for ages – there are so many remakes – but I distinctly remember watching the 1998 version. The series is about a girl called Akko-chan who has a magical mirror that allows her to transform into any person or animal. There was even a live action film of it released in 2012…here is the trailer:
Himitsu no Akko-chan 1998 opening song
Favourite characters: Akko-chan, the cat and the penguin
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger
This isn’t strictly a cartoon as such, but I still remember watching it with my brother a lot. There was a Power Ranger boom in Japan in the 90’s and although there were Power Rangers, Car Rangers and who knew what else, Kakuranger was our favourite because who can go wrong with Ninja Rangers, right?
Plus, the opening song was just awesome.
Favourite characters: Tsuruhime and Ninjaman
So, are you feeling as nostalgic as I am right now?
Did you watch any of these shows when you were a kid?