Ah, the 90s. We look back towards the past with such fondness, when life was so much simpler. I loved experiencing all the new shows and growing alongside them. I’ve compiled a list of the shows I grew up which have still stuck with me more than a decade later. Say what you will, but being a grown-up nerd is nothing to be ashamed of.
Pokemon. Every child loves Pokemon, right? It’s funny to admit now, but I did not particularly like Pokemon at first. I honestly had no idea what I was watching. All I had were questions. “Why is the mouse conducting electricity? Why is Gary Oak such a jerk? Why are the birds chasing this child? Why is there a golden turkey flying towards the sun?” Little did I know that Pokemon was the start of a phenomenon that would become insanely famous. Even adults who didn’t know what Pokemon was at least knew who Pikachu was. I remember my first Pokemon game; Yellow Version. Boy, did it give me a hard time. I leveled Pikachu to about level twenty or so in order to spam quick attack to defeat Brock. Good times. And the card game? The card game was like a drug and everyone at school had to have some. We would gather around during recess in order to show off and trade cards. They were practically illegal and would be taken away if any teacher or adult saw them. Also, I had no clue how to play the game and only collected them because they looked cool and it was just the “in” thing. Who knew the idea of capturing creatures in circular capsules would catch on?
Digimon was like a darker, less talked about version of Pokemon. At least, that’s I thought at the time. Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, I had a routine schedule of watching Digimon in the morning right before school. Something about the show just captivated me so. I’m not sure if it was the surprisingly dark undertones it possessed for a cartoon, or the way digimon would digivolve into fighting creatures, always declaring what kind of attack they were about to use. I remember borrowing one of my friend’s digivice and walking around with it, feeding and fighting with the digimon inside it. Sort of like a neopet, except cooler. I still remember clearly of watching Wizardmon dying and crying my heart out, just to jump for joy when I saw a cat with gloves digivolve into an angel. Digimon Adventure still has a special place in my heart and I was excited when I heard about Tri.
Yugioh was something the states have ever seen. The first episode was enough to keep me watching. A young, frail boy has to avenge his grandfather because some antagonist literally puts him into a coma for a trading card, which he tears up right after. Our protagonist, enraged, goes into some sort of Sailor Moon-like transformation where he not only gains height and confidence, but gains a different, mature voice. He would do this every time before a duel. For some reason, nobody ever notices his change until much later .
The show involved children playing card games in order to save people and eventually, the entire world. In retrospect, all it was one big commercial. Being the impressionable kid that I was, I ate it up and got swept up with the fad. I had to have the cards along with everybody else. They weren’t that entirely hard to get, either. I would occasionally hound my family whenever I had the chance to get myself a booster pack. The haven for these Yugioh cards for me, however, was the flea market. Practically every other stall had Yugioh cards, even though some were obviously fake. Did I care? Of course not. They were attractive and were shiny and were irresistible to my childlike eyes. I always imagined myself having a duel where the cards came to life. I’m still waiting for that day.
Power Rangers was a sort of secret passion. I just loved watching teenagers using karate to beat up monsters while wearing brightly colored spandex. Power Rangers has always been seen as solely a kid’s show. To this day, some animated shows are seen to be more mature for older audiences, while Power Ranger has stayed with the same premise. This show has stuck with me the longest and has shown me the way towards Tokusatstu, primarily Kamen Rider. I don’t particularly remember the first Power Rangers episode I watched. I just remember having a VCR tape of the episode with some sort of pig monster eating everything and being jealous of a friend who had the tape with the Green Ranger’s first appearance. I wanted to be able to transform and defeat monsters like the Power Rangers when I grew up, but to my dismay I couldn’t.
It’s silly to think that our childhood shows have such an impact on our lives. They shape who we become and teaches us valuable lessons. We had no worries plaguing on our minds at the time, just imaginations filling our hearts.