Pop Culture | Cartoons | 70s | 80s | 90s

10 Cartoons You Loved That Prove Everything Cool Comes From Japan

When you're a kid, you don't really question where a cartoon you love gets made; you're just happy to be watching something that you consider awesome! However, over time, a lot of kids started to notice that quite a few super awesome cartoons all seemed to be coming from the same place: Japan! While we'd eventually come to discover this strange thing called "anime," in the case of these 10 cartoons, we mostly just remember them being amazing.

Astro Boy

Inspired by characters like Superman, Japan's own early superhero was a little boy robot, made by a scientist to fight evil. Immensely popular worldwide, this was one of the U.S.'s first encounters with cartoons made from outside the country.

Speed Racer

A cartoon so beloved in the 70s that even That 70s Show makes references to it, who didn't love watching the adventures of Speed and his friends? It got extra points for featuring one of the coolest cars in TV history, the Mach 5.


A weird adaptation of three separate shows that had their plots completely changed to make one cohesive show, Robotech centered on the massive intergalactic war between humanity and the alien Zentraedi. It was a huge hit thanks to the sheer coolness of its Veritech machines: jet fighters that transformed into giant robots. These awesome vehicles not only sold millions of toys, but paved the way for series like Transformers.

Battle of the Planets

A bunch of galactic warriors dress up in falcon suits, fly through space and fight all kinds of weird and wonderful monsters. It was basically Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers before that show was ever a thing.

Feeling nostalgic yet? Just wait 'til you see the rest of the list!

Samurai Pizza Cats

A pretty standard cartoon that got a hilarious dub job when brought over to North America, the show had a catchy theme song (that promised "more fur than any turtle ever had"), and tons of inside jokes to other children's cartoons.

Sailor Moon

If you were a girl in the 90s (or in the case of this writer, a guy whose friends were mostly girls), then you definitely watched Sailor Moon every day after school. It's the story of a teenage girl who discovers she has the power to transform into a superhero in order to battle evil alongside her friends, and every girl wanted to be their favorite Sailor Scout.

Dragon Ball Z

Meanwhile, every guy in the 90s definitely ran home to watch this after school. The plot was bare-bones, the episodes dragged on, and most of the dialogue was a lot of yelling, but the fight scenes were so awesome that we didn't care.

Mobile Suit Gundam

If Robotech didn't get you interested in giant robots, then Mobile Suit Gundam almost definitely did. Originally released in 1979 and with dozens of series under its brand, tons of young kids found a Gundam series to love and buy as many toys as they could find of, especially once Gundam Wing was released here in the 00s.

My Neighbor Totoro

Studio Ghibli is one of the biggest and best-known animation studios in the world today, but before Disney decided to release this little gem on home video, very few people in the West had ever even heard of them. The lovable story of two young girls who befriend a giant cuddly forest spirit, it's a classic even to this day.


A phenomenon that took the world by storm, 90s kids were watching the cartoon, playing the Game Boy games, collecting the trading cards, and even eating snacks based on everyone's favorite tiny monsters.

Did you watch any of these cartoons?