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McDull: Me & My Mum
Photograph: Courtesy Sunwah MediaMcDull: Me & My Mum

The 12 classic cartoons every 90s kid grew up watching in Hong Kong

Gotta catch ‘em all

Jenny Leung
Written by
Jenny Leung
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Oh, how we miss the good old days when the only thing we had to worry about was how to carefully spend our allowance on snacks and street food, before getting off school and back home in time to catch our favourite cartoon. Rather than talking about the latest news headlines, topics of discussion among friends revolved around the latest episode of the hottest cartoon, and why Mewtwo will always be better than Arceus (any Pokemon fans?). If you’re desperately missing those days as well, read on as we look back at some of our favourite cartoons from the 90s. Enthusiastic singing to theme tunes is highly encouraged. 

RECOMMENDED: Too sophisticated for cartoons? How about some classic Hong Kong TV drama?

Best cartoons from the 90s

Sailor Moon 美少女戰士

As one of the most influential cartoons to have ever graced our screens, Sailor Moon is still very much part of our pop culture these days. Apart from themed merch and knick-knacks, and the occasionally 'real-life' Sailor Moon you see on Halloween, the cartoon has also done numerous crossovers with international brands like Anna Sui, Maquillage, Sketchers, and more. 

McDull

Hong Kong grew up watching so many Japanese imports, but this one is local through and through. The beloved anthropomorphic pig McDull was born out of the McMug stories created by Alice Mak and Brian Tse in the late 80s. McMug first appeared as a comic strip in the Ming Pao magazine and, after gaining popularity, spawned a series of films starring McDull, who is McMug’s cousin and originally a side character. These movies were much loved by Hongkongers both young and old for its cute animation style which hides some very deft social commentaries. It also helps that the characters are voiced by a stellar cast including Anthony Wong, Sandra Ng, and Jan Lamb. Ask any local and they’ll be able to quote you their favourite McMug joke verbatim.

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Catharina Cheung
Section Editor
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Chibi Maruko-chan 櫻桃小丸子

Ask any 90s kid about Chibi Maruko-chan and they'll be able to sing you the whole theme song from start to finish. Following the everyday life of Maruka, who always runs into some kind of trouble, this cartoon is one of those shows that we could all relate to as a kid – mainly because of her laziness, tardiness, and absolute hatred for chores and homework. This show is well-loved not only because of the funny and relatable moments but also because of the heartwarming family dynamic – a true classic.

Tonde Burin 飛天少女豬事丁

You'd think that any power-up transformation in a cartoon will put its main character(s) in awesome battle gear, or in Sailor Moon's case, short mini skirts – but not Tonde Burin. When trouble arises and there's someone crying out for help, Tonde Burin comes to the rescue, in the form of an adorable pink flying pig. Brave and daring, yet shy and ditsy, this is definitely one of our favourites.

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Pokemon 寵物小精靈

Do we really need to explain? Way before any app game that had us obsessively walking around the streets like weirdos, every breaktime, groups of kids would huddle around to show off and swap Pokemon cards in order to complete their collection. If you still have a few on your hands, take good care of them because some are now worth thousands of dollars, if not more!

Cardcaptor Sakura 百變小櫻

Cardcaptor Sakura and her adorable sidekick (who is actually the guardian of cards) have definitely made a strong impact on our childhood days. Even if you didn't watch it as a kid, we're sure you would still recognise the theme tune. At the height of its popularity, Sakura's magic wand was on every little girl's Christmas wish list. I mean, how else were we going to activate our superpowers and retrieve magical tarot cards in order to prevent an unknown catastrophe from befalling the world?

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Crayon Shin-chan 蠟筆小新

Cheeky, lazy, and just a tad pervy, Crayon Shin-chan is one of those cartoons that everyone knows and loves. There are no evil forces to fight against or magical transformations, but the hilarious family dynamic and tongue-in-cheek jokes are enough to make you love Shin-chan. It's packed with real, genuine laugh-out-loud moments – even if you think you're too old for cartoons. 

Doraemon 叮噹/哆啦A夢

If there was anything that we wanted in real life from any of these cartoons, it had to be Doraemon, also known as 'ding dong', and all his amazing gadgets. A wooden door that can transport you anywhere in the world? Yes, please. A piece of bread that helps you remember everything from a textbook? Yup, definitely need that. A magic tablecloth that can prepare an entire meal for you? Take our money now.

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Nintama Rantarō 忍者亂太郎

Ever wondered what goes on inside a ninja school? Well, if it’s anything like this cartoon, you can expect there to be plenty of laughter as Rantaro, an aspiring ninja, and his two best friends get up to shenanigans in and outside of the school. While there were never any intense fight scenes – as one would expect to see from a ninja-themed cartoon – we loved this show because it was always lighthearted and filled with hilarious moments that only seem even funnier when you watch it back as an adult. There are still occasional reruns of the show on TV if you’re lucky enough to catch it.

Wedding Peach 婚紗小天使

Written by Sukehiro Tomita, who also wrote for Sailor Moon during its early days, Wedding Peach is often referred to as the sister show of Sailor Moon. Both cartoons are based around high school girls who are destined to save the human race and ward off evil spirits, and feature magical gadgets that give them the power to transform into their battle gear – or in this cartoon’s case, wedding dresses (because brides kick ass?) Sadly, the show is not as popular in modern-day culture as some of the other shows on this list, but it is nonetheless a classic.

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Ultraman Tiga 超人迪加

Despite any of the tacky costumes, cheesy storylines, and predictable fight scenes, Ultraman Tiga was still way better than any superhero movie on the big screens. Affectionately known as the ‘salted egg superman’ to many Hongkongers – a reference to his round, egg-shaped eyes – Ultraman is an alien that fights off, er, other aliens, as well as any Godzilla rip-off monsters that threatened civilisation. But perhaps the thing we all loved most about the show was the theme song, sang by none other than Eason Chan... "Tiga, tiga, tiga!"

Dr Slump IQ博士

A genius inventor creating a little girl robot – this plot may seem a little dodgy in today's context, but we assure you it's nothing but innocent. Created by the same author behind Dragon Ball, this show won the keys to our hearts with amusing storylines based around the little girl robot's misunderstanding of humanity. But in all honesty, it was all the fart jokes and toilet humour that really got us laughing. It’s the perfect antidote to a bad day. 

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