My brain spins in strange circles. Well the other day I was writing about the Japanese vs. American Style breakfast and started to get a little homesick when I was thinking about my family, and how we used to watch Saturday morning cartoons. My brain shifted fromSaturday cartoons to the ones we used to watch together on weekdays. My mom would sometimes go to Sam’s (I like to think of Sam’s as a slightly broke-ass COSTCO) and buy this huge, wholesale box of Blow Pops. Blow-Pops, were these assorted fruit-flavored lollipops with gum inside (oh God, please tell me you remember those! SOOO Good!).
During our elementary school days, my brother and I would rush home, kick of our shoes, go to the Blow Pop box and get our favorite flavor. Clearly blue raspberry was the favorite so they would go really fast. Once those were gone, I’d go with the watermelon, and my little brother would get the sour apple. We’d sit in front of the TV and laugh with each other watching Tiny Toons, a spin-off of the original Looney Tunes franchise. For some reason one episode came to mind and I found it online. It was an episode where the Tiny Toons characters were singing or featured in different pop songs. The ones that I really liked were some slightly more obscure songs from the group “They May Be Giants.” Notably Particle Man and Istanbul.
I remember Plucky Duck being the featured as the character in the “Particle Man” video and I thought it was so simple but so brilliant. My brother and I used to like this one because we liked The Crusher, this Looney Tunes cartoon wrestler. We would sit and do what if matches. Like what if “Universe Man went against the Crusher?” Or “What if Triangle Man fought Universe Man?”Plus, the song was extremely catchy. If you haven’t seen it before, please click here to watch it really quick (I couldn’t find a good one on YouTube).
This is the Istanbul one:
These cartoons were AWESOME!
As I got older, though, I really started to get into Japanese anime. It really was one of the initial impetuses to learn more about Japanese culture. I thought the art was so well done that cartoons just drew you in. Japanese anime also had deeper and more unique stories. I had quite a few buddies that were into Japanese animation, too (if you’ve ever watched the original Thundercats, it was American in a sense, but the animation was Japanese).
Despite my love for Japanese anime, I have to really give credit where credit is due. The most famous, most recognizable cartoon characters (arguably in the world) have to come from the Disney franchise. I can show a picture of Mickey to anybody here in Japan, and they instantly know who he his. The same goes for many of the other characters like Minnie, Donald, and Daisy. However, just because they know the characters doesn’t mean that they actually like or watch the cartoons.
I really am curious to know how Japanse children respond to American cartoons. Knowing that this country is anime central, do they like the American cartoons as much as their own? Or do they just kind of ignore them? There has to be at least some kind of draw because movie theaters here do show the major Disney releases, even if they’re a bit late sometimes. Rental stores also have sections devoted to Disney (but not many of the other American cartoons, unfortunately).
Though American cartoons, on the whole, don’t seem to compare in terms of artwork (Pixar films don’t count) they can be just as entertaining, and in many cases (because I’m American) much much funnier. American cartoons are responsible for some cool classics like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Popeye, Tom and Jerry, Captain N (sorry had to throw that in for video game lovers), Casper the Friendly Ghost, The Flinstones, Captain Caveman, the Jetsons, and more.
I may have to do a little cartoon experiment with my kids at school, if they’ll let me.