Retro cartoons were at their prime best during the 80s/90s, I used to look forward to watching cartoons after school, it was a way we kids used to de-stress and chill. Mom used to stock up on my favorite snacks and fix me a yummy sandwich along with my fizzy drinks (yeah we weren’t health conscious during my times!) but we were happy and carefree!
These TV shows I watched mindlessly for hours on end to pass the time while my family was busy around the house. I was most likely engrossed in them because of the calming or lively colors and pictures they portrayed to my active child’s mind.
The best part of these cartoons was they taught us a lot about life and helped us understand & connect to our emotions and feelings.
I remember imagining and questioning how my favorite cartoon characters would’ve handled a life situation, and how would they approach and solve a challenge, this thought process along with a wild imagination helped me as a kid in developing my creativity and approach to life.
Back in the 80s/90s kids had wild imaginations, maybe because these cartoons influenced them to play outdoors more and experience adventures and mysteries along with being physically active.
Cartoons represented Art, gave us a sense of empowerment, and always had a moral or lesson to be learned.
Here’s a list of a few cartoons, that taught me about life:
I’m sure most of you have watched this as a kid, if not your truly missing out on a Disney Masterpiece, This was an emotional roller coaster for me, I think one of the most emotional cartoons ever created by Disney.
Bambi was a little fawn who was struggling to get on his feet, as time went by he lost his mother (this was the hardest thing I’ve ever seen, I was so emotionally affected I remember wanting to cling on to my mom and even sleep with her till I felt better) and seeing his complicated relationship with his father, which was very touching to see. As he grows up he finds the girl he used to play with as a kid, and falls in love, she gets in trouble, he gets into a fight and saves her and in the end, he becomes a father.
What Bambi taught me was to survive, How Bambi had to survive despite being young and his mother dying, he did not stop there he had to continue with his life and learn to grow up and learn to fight for survival which in turn made him very strong.
Favourite quote: “If you can’t say nuffin nice, don’t say nuffin at all”Thumper
(this was so adorably said by thumper! And I remember how this comes to my head every time I’m about to be mean to someone)
Snow White & the seven dwarfs
There were 2 lessons I learned from this cartoon, one was to not talk to strangers. When the woodsman failed to kill snow white, the queen disguised herself as an old woman, despite the advice from the dwarfs to not talk to strangers, snow white talks to the witch who she thinks is an old lady, and lets her inside, the evil queen takes this opportunity and feeds her a poisoned apple, which made snow white fall into a deep sleep. The dwarf’s advice stuck with me and I remember being very alert as a kid, it was better to be safe than being sorry.
The second piece of advice was Beauty is mainly from the inside. The jealous queen was in a rage and thought the only way to be the fairest of all was to kill snow white, which she failed, the magic mirror recognized snow white as the fairest, was because snow white was not only beautiful from the outside but from inside as well. This stuck with me, and I tried my best to be less judgemental as a kid and tried to see everyone’s inside beauty.
Favourite Quote: “Remember you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine!”Snow White
This after Bambi was a very emotional cartoon, I remember how I used to be in tears every time Dumbo was made fun of and when separated from his mother. This cartoon taught me that Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Everyone was making fun of dumbo’s large ears, he was the joke of the circus and was horrible mocked. But to his mother, he was just perfect, and his flaws were what made him adorable and unique.
The second lesson I learned was that your story never has to be sad and that you could always change it through creativity and hard work, Dumbo dealt with the cruelty and harshness of life, but with a healthy dose of his creativity and hard work and support, he was able to rise above his circumstances.
This taught me, that we have the power to write or change our destiny in the best way possible and that nothing was impossible!
Favourite Quote: “The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up!”Timothy Mouse
This was and is still one of my favorite cartoons, the Romanov monarchy had always inspired me after this cartoon, I was so into this story and loved the mystery behind Anastasia and how fate brought her to Dimitri and get back to her grandmother. This cartoon taught me strength, she very clearly showed she didn’t need any help and was able to handle herself well. Though strong she had a good balance of feminity by dreaming of the ballrooms and the princess outfits she was still a little princess at heart.
Though this cartoon also touched the story deep into the sadness and tragedy of losing a family.
The most emotional scene to me was to see her dream of ballroom dance with the king, who was her father, no matter what, your family and your roots are what give you courage and strength as you grow! they will always be a part of you that no one can ever take from you.
Favourite Quote: ” I guess every lonely girl would hope she’s a princess.”Anastasia
Yes, this surprisingly made it to my list, Captain planet and the planeteers were such a growing trend during the 90s, this cartoon inspired me to join our environmental club in school, and I remember being an environmental captain promoting awareness and feeling proud!
This showed me the importance of saving planet earth, it was just the right way to spread awareness to kids, it was awesome and told the stories of 5 teens from around the world, this showed me that no matter what our nationality or race we were, we all can join hands to make this world a better place!
Favourite Quote: “The power is yours!”Captain Planet
Kiki’s Delivery Service
This cartoon was unique from the usual cartoons, I did start getting my anime influence after this, they had a way of being emotional, beautiful, and making you think,
This was a story about a young witch striking out on her own, she sets out on a year-long apprenticeship with her little black cat. She settles down in a charming little town, she gets help from a baker’s wife and she decides to be an entrepreneur where she uses her broom and creates her delivery service!
This cartoon continues to be an inspiration as I embark on my adventures! this showed me the benefits and struggles of entrepreneurship, where your hard work and kindness to people can make you a successful entrepreneur, and taught me how important it is to do what you love!
Favourite Quote: “Smile, so we can make a good impression!”Kiki
The Secret of NIMH
Every scene in this animation was a masterpiece, This was a story about a widowed mouse, who must move her children before the local farmer starts plowing and she seeks help from a group of rats with heightened intelligence.
What this cartoon taught me, was the importance to seek help when needed and not shying away from asking. Despite being a widow she was still able to be courageous in finding her solution. And with intelligence, we should do good and cause no harm to anyone.
The ability to make moral judgments to choose among or even override those instincts where appropriate is uniquely human. When we ignore morality, we are no longer acting as humans; we are simply smart animals.
Favourite quote: “Courage of the heart is very rare, The stone has a power when it’s there.“The Secret of Nimh
You may find it hard to believe, but there’s always a lesson to learn from Retro cartoons, usually, these lessons are derived from history, Geography, or a moral lesson of Justice which can be learned by not just kids, but by adults as well.
Hope this post inspires you to watch a childhood favorite cartoon without any guilt but a better understanding of your development in life, keeping your mind young and creative.