Back then, waking up early on a Saturday was a must, because that was the only time you get to enjoy breakfast and watch muscly heroes fighting muscly villains for the fate of the world. They don’t make cartoons like they used to. Shows like He-Man, Thundercats, Voltron, among others, fed the imagination of millions (I think- I don’t know the math) of kids growing up in the 80s and 90s.
It’s the fourth week of the Movement Control Order and each day feels longer than the one before. Gone are the days where you wake up with nothing in mind except to possess the power of Grayskull. However, you can relive those childhood memories without the nagging of an adult because you’re the adult now! Nevermind the unwashed dishes because now, you probably have a dishwasher for that..
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of classic cartoons to alleviate the burden of our current situation and send you to adventures beyond this realm. And yes, they’re all free to stream on YouTube. You’re welcome.
By the power of Grayskull, these are some of the best 80s and 90s cartoons that’ll make you feel like a hero.
He-Man and The Masters of the Universe
The OG muscle man. Started as a toy line, the original idea behind the show was to give the He-Man toyline a backstory and a visual aid to help Mattel sell them. Thus, we have He-Man and The Masters of the Universe. It’s basically a lengthy series of advertisements to get kids hooked on the toys and the idea of being a hero.
Personally, I think they succeeded. I mean, who doesn’t want to wear a loincloth and ride a giant green cat? I know I do.
Voltron Defender of the Universe
Apart from Transformers, Voltron made giant transforming robots cool. In Voltron Defender of the Universe, we follow five pilots and their lion robots in a quest to save Planet Arus and the galaxy from the evil King Zarkon. That synopsis alone shows you what the 80s cartoons were all about – space, action, monsters and giant freaking robots.
The Real Ghostbusters
As the series’ title suggests, this is The Real Ghostbusters. This 1986 series tells the tale of our favourite ghost hunters and their spooky adventures. It’s not a direct sequel to the 1984 film, but it does reference the film a LOT. In an episode called “Take Two”, the team flies off to Hollywood and visit a film set, which – jeng jeng jeng – is revealed to be the 1984 movie.
There’s just something about watching old shows as an adult and getting mind-blown with easter eggs that we wouldn’t otherwise have gotten as a kid…
One of the most iconic characters of all time, this 1981 series features the web-slinger in his heroic adventures, fighting off villains like Dr Doom, Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter and other villains that are just too expensive for the MCU to bring to the big screen today.
It’s a short-lived series that only ran for one season, but that didn’t stop Spider-Man from having whacky, fun and amazing tales.
Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs
Love cowboys and outer space? Then you must love Saber Riders and the Star Sheriffs. This animated space western follows the 80s love for space adventures, giant robots with a hint of yeehaw in between. What’s not to love? It’s a space cowboy riding a robot horse. That sh*t dope.
Robotech: The Macross Saga
Like Gundam, Robotech just oozes with everything you love about the giant robots; cool characters, action-packed and mechas. Robotech: The Macross Saga is the first among three series that follow humans in mechas fighting against alien invasions.
Mobile Armored Strike Kommand aka M.A.S.K. is a series that was based off a toyline by Kenner. To sum it up, it’s like if GI Joe had a baby with Transformers. This special task force led by Matt Trakker, who operates transforming vehicles to fight off a terrorist organisation called V.E.N.O.M.
Although the storyline isn’t the most original, they sure realised that using an acronym saved so much time and space on the packaging.
Battle of the Planets
By now, you’ve probably guessed how the show goes. Yes, robots, spaces and action. That’s what the 80s were all about, man! Battle of the Planets has one of the coolest character designs ever. I mean, wearing capes and motorbike helmets in space? Sold!
Shying away from American-Japanese animations, we now enter the 90s and as a Malaysian, we get to shout out this legendary show. Set in Tampoi, Johor, Borhan dons his costume and alongside Tiong Man, our heroes fight against villains such as Badut, Meow The Cat Girl, Majid Kilat and more to bring peace to his town.
The characters of Keluang Man and Tiong Man were obviously based off Batman and Robin, but that’s not what it’s all about. Watching it now, Keluang Man was ahead of its time, especially for an animated Malaysian production! It was a bold decision to show that our titular hero doesn’t just fight bad people, but is also fighting his mental illness.
10. Usop Sontorian
Another classic from the 90s, Usop Sontorian follows the adventures of Usop B Mat, his friends Abu, Dol, Ah Kim, Vellu and Singh as they do what kids do best, have fun and give their parents a headache! I love the voice acting in this, especially Abu’s.
If you ever wonder why it’s called Sontorian, the series is set in Kampung Parit Sonto, not too far from the town Ayer Hitam in Johor. Hence the name, Sontorian.
Although it lacks in action, the theme of the series was to promote the unity and harmonious relationship between races in Malaysia. Put this on and laugh at Usop and co’s gelagat (behaviour) and be reminded of how fun it was being a kid.
The 80s and 90s were a damn good era for cartoons. While we wait for Hollywood to mess-up our favourite shows with a dumb reboot/remake, let’s stay home and relive our childhood memories.
Stay home, stay safe and get more JUICE.