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Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

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Friday Five: Childhood cartoons

With its fluid animation, martial arts-based fight scenes, stirring soundtrack and in-depth characters, Avatar is popular for good reason. If I had to pick one TV show to watch for the rest of my life, this would definitely be it. (Urvi Singhvi)

A little girl sits on the sofa, eyes glued to the screen. The hero, clad in bright orange clothes, jumps up and defeats the scowling villain. The girl roars with laughter as the villain falls off his stone pillar.

With their simple and sweet storytelling, cartoons have a special place in my childhood memories. The nostalgia they inspire is more powerful than the long-awaited kiss in any rom-com. Here is a list of my top five favorite animated children’s TV shows.

5. Powerpuff Girls
I remember sneaking into my mom’s office at five years old, logging into her desktop and binging The Powerpuff Girls on YouTube. The Powerpuff Girls stars three super-powered sisters who fight crime while facing obstacles like school and sibling angst. Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles all have different color themes and personalities, and their sibling dynamic is realistically petty yet endearing. They fight hilariously and classically cartoonish villains, with favorites like the genius green chimpanzee Mojo Jojo always making over-the-top plans. The dynamic young girls made up a realistically messy family that always made me laugh.

4. Tom and Jerry
Ah, Tom and Jerry. A true classic. Most of us are familiar with the iconic cat-and-mouse duo. While writers have produced multiple new shows and spin-offs, the newer material never hits as hard as the original show did. Something about the innovative slapstick comedy and the subsequent rush of happiness in the audience as Jerry uses his cleverness to triumph over Tom cannot be replicated. The over-the-top animation fully sells the often-impossible stunts, and the petty characters make every scene hilarious. Childhood nostalgia also plays a factor, but Tom and Jerry’s only drawback is still just the repetitiveness after watching Tom and Jerry’s ridiculous antics over and over.

3. The Octonauts
The Octonauts is a preschool show that has no right being as dramatic or suspenseful as it is. It follows polar bear commander Barnacles and his crew of other animals in their submarine, the Octopod, as they save wounded or trapped marine animals. Each crew member boasts a designated job, their own mini-submarine and theme song. I especially love the medic Peso, a kind, timid penguin who always overcomes his fears, such as his fear of the dark, in order to help others. The futuristic technology, gripping music and intense rescue scenes bring gravity to the seemingly silly children’s show. Every character gets their moment eventually, and the group understands how to work for the sake of the team. Even after rewatching the show now, I am still moved by the compelling characters and sense of unity inside the Octopod.

2. Wild Kratts
Who doesn’t love animals? I definitely do, and in large part due to Wild Kratts. The show features the iconic Kratt brothers traveling around the world and saving a different animal in each episode, usually using the “creature power suits” that allow them to temporarily take on characteristics of an animal. Along the way, viewers learn about the animal’s environment and unique traits. The brothers battle villains who poach animals illegally, eat endangered species for false health benefits and destroy natural habitats for urbanization — pretty deep for a kids show. Their work has staggering real-world implications that make the show all the more compelling. While the brothers teach viewers about animal trivia, the characters’ genuine concern for animals and their action-packed journeys to save them are the most enjoyable to watch.

1. Avatar: The Last Airbender
As a child, the things I wanted most in a cartoon were exciting action scenes, entertaining characters and comedic moments. Avatar: The Last Airbender provides them all, with an addition of genius storytelling and powerful worldbuilding. The plot is simple — our hero Aang travels the world alongside his friends, attempting to defeat the Fire Nation regime. Episode by episode, viewers see the pervasive everyday effects of Fire Nation imperialism as the colonized live in fear and poverty. Everyone, even background characters, is a human with their own story to tell. Characters’ deeply emotional responses make darker topics of imperialism and genocide easier for audiences to understand. With its fluid animation, martial arts-based fight scenes, stirring soundtrack and in-depth characters, Avatar is popular for good reason. If I had to pick one TV show to watch for the rest of my life, this would definitely be it.

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About the Contributor
Mendy Mao
Mendy Mao, Reporter
Mendy Mao (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Mendy wishes to improve her interviewing skills. In her free time, she likes to read short stories and play the violin.

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  • M

    mendy's #1 supporterMay 11, 2024 at 8:36 pm

    spittin straight facts 🔥🔥

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  • N

    Noah MaoMay 11, 2024 at 7:38 pm

    Tom and jerry W

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