13 Retro Cartoons That Hit Different As An Adult

You know you're getting older when you start agreeing with Disney parents.
13 Retro Cartoons That Hit Different As An Adult

Look, we don’t like to think of the animations we grew up with as “retro” either, but if the 3-D animation style is any indication, then that stuff really is old. Revisiting our old cartoon favorites as an adult is a whirlwind of emotions, but truthfully the majority of cartoons in retrospect were just kind of boring. The animated shows of today have come a long way in regards to storytelling and continuity. It is, however, always impressive to watch shows where studios are willing to put money and allow for time into the art of animation, instead of always reaching the fastest and cheapest option. We wish we had a Steven Universe or Adventure Time growing up, but we’re grateful for the Recess and Magic School Bus. While we look forward to the future of cartoons, we look back on 13 TV shows and movies that are completely different from an adult's perspective…

CRACKED.COM TARZAN Identifying with the parental experience of the gorillas and Tarzan's parents is an entirely different kind of sad than that of a child imagining becoming orphaned. It's an extremely beautiful movie I didn't fully appreciate in my childhood.
CRACKED.COM Recess L Recess is just as good as I remember, but it surprised me how many complex, well-developed characters it contains who all navigate various social networks. The episode where Ms. Finster babysits Spinelli, and Spinelli is forced to see an adult as a dimensional is very funny to see on the other side of childhood.

The Brave Little Toaster

CRACKED.GOM THe BRAVE LITTLe TOASTER What Toy Story did to a generation of kids with their toys, this movie did to kids and...any appliance really. The A/C scene was scary to watch when young, but as an adult, you realize... wait, is this about suicide? The whole movie a depressing if realistic look at life.

As Told By Ginger

CRACKED.GOM AS TOLD BY GINGER Growing up, I adored the Nick show because it showed preteens dating. But as an adult, the show is surprisingly deep, dealing with the true awkwardness of being a tween. Little Seal Girl hurts my heart.

X-Men The Animated Series

CRACKED.COM x-men: THe ANIMATED SeRIeS The level of detail and continuity in the story is easy to take for granted in today's animation, but it was unheard of in 90s cartoons. Also what other kids show has that sick of a riff? Da na na na na NA NA!

Rocko's Modern Life

CRACKED.COM ROCKO'S MODERN LIFE This show surprisingly feels like an Adult Swim show from the 2010s instead of '90s kids show. In the 2019 movie, the gang supports a character who comes out as trans in what feels like a natural progression of the original series tackling mature, even somewhat mundane adult issues in a very uplifting way.

Looney Tunes

CRACKED.COM Looney Tunes It's wild how violent these cartoons are in comparision to the popular kids shows of today. And I'm not mad about the change ...we don't need American school kids glamorizing guns and violence more. But, it really goes to show that maybe video games and cartoons aren't the problem...

The Little Mermaid

CRACKED.GOM THE LITTLe MeRMAID To watch this movie as an adult is to side with every adult figure. Her hunky dad was right to be mad at Ariel for endangering their kingdom to date across species. Ursula was a savvy business woman. And Ariel absolutely shouldn't have given up her voice for a man.


CRACKED.COM DUMBO I remember watching Baby Mine as a child and thinking it was both sad and kind of boring, but to watch it as an adult with friends dealing with custody, mental illness, and incarceration injustice as parents, you have to be pretty heartless not to tear up at least a little.

Betty Boop

CRACKED.GOM BETTY BOOP Growing up, I loved Betty Воор. On rewatch, I realized I just thought she was hot. (Should have been obvious, right?) The cartoons are almost unwatchable and certainly don't hold up to today's social standards.


CRACKED.COM ANIMANIACS Watching this as an adult, it really seems like an educational version of Spongebob. Extremely annoying and catchy, but dangit if I don't still know The President Song. They knew how to trick me into learning while throwing in so many innuendos that completely went over my head.

Beast Wars: Transformers

CRACKED.COM BEAST WARS: TRANSFORMERS I probably thought the 3-D was awesome in my youth, but it is actively painful to watch 90s 3-D animation in present day. It's amazing how far the field has come from these 22-minute long toy commercials.


CRACKED.GOM ANASTASIA This 1997 movie was not on my childnood's favorite lists because it didn't have Disney's animation style. But with age, I can admire how truly beautifully animated it really is.


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