Kids’ shows we’re nostalgic for
Pretty much everyone’s favourite anime show, almost all millennials grew up relating to Maruko-chan. Her laziness, tardiness and absolute hatred for chores is something we all feel and Maruko-chan express her distaste so well. And what a trendsetter! That yellow helmet-like hat and the red school bag – admit it ladies, you wanted to wear that kind of school outfit. While the series mostly follows the school girl’s family life and frequent fights with her older sister, there’s a lot of heart and tenderness in the show.
With pigtails down to her knees, adorable mini hair buns and legendary superhero transformation sequence, Sailor Moon is a teenage girl-turned-defender-of-galaxies. She and her fellow sailor warriors have long had little girls all over Hong Kong copying their unforgettable look and waving around imaginary heart-shaped topped wands. A true childhood icon. But who can forget Tuxedo Mask, the handsome masked vigilante who randomly shows up during fights to throw around roses and then leave? Phwoar, so sexy.
Despite its low budget, the fights and storyline in Ultraman are miles better than the entirety of last year’s Batman v Superman. Affectionately known as ‘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 threaten civilisation. The show was hugely popular in Hong Kong during the 90s. It even had Eason Chan doing the theme song, which won awards! It was that good.
Despite a head that looks like a squashed potato, this weird-looking five-year-old is adored by many. There are many reasons why: if not for his over-exaggerated emotions, then for his brutally honest comments and philosophy of living life with absolutely no shame at all. Did we mention that Shin-chan also loves flirting with older women? Scenarios like him mooning people and going full frontal are pretty common. The great thing about it is, the childish designs makes any explicit body part even more hilarious.
We can hardly mask our excitement for the upcoming Cardcaptor Sakura sequel (premiering in Japan in January). We’re still super nostalgic about the original series. The premise of the show is pretty whack – Sakura, our protagonist, is tasked with retrieving magical tarot cards in order to prevent an unknown catastrophe from befalling the world. It sounds ridiculous, but throw in an adorable tiny winged-lion guardian, a super supportive best friend who obsessively films your every move, a nemesis-turned-crush and awesome action scenes, and you’ve got the keys to our hearts.
Genius inventor Senbei Norimaki – the eponymous Dr Slump – has created what he hopes is the perfect little girl robot, Arale Norimaki. Today, this plot sounds a little dodgy, but the show is mostly about the girl’s misunderstanding of humanity and whatever crazy new inventions Senbei fixes up. Created by the same author behind Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama, Dr Slump isn’t afraid to win laughs by relying on fart jokes and toilet humour. It’s the perfect antidote to a bad day. Also, Arale totally makes wearing dungarees with a winged hat look cool.
You must have been living under a rock for the last few decades if you don’t know Doraemon. The famous blue-coloured robot cat – and we use the word ‘cat’ very loosely – travels back in time (with an infinite array of gadgets) to prevent his creator’s grandfather, Nobita Nobi (Dai Hung in the Cantonese dub), from marrying the wrong girl. Though the plot is typically far-fetched for a kid’s programme, the real story is the shenanigans that Doraemon and Dai Hung get up to and their beautiful friendship. It’s also fact that the show has the catchiest theme song: “Ding Dong ah….”
A particular favourite among Hong Kong kids when it comes to after-school cartoons. Nintama Rantaro follows the story of bespectacled Rantaro and his friends as they learn to become ninjas. It’s archaic, it’s silly and most of the gags involve the ninja students getting hurt in the most ridiculous of ways. (Hey, at that age, bodily harm seems like the funniest thing.) Still, the show never answers the biggest question of all: how can you be a successful ninja if you have to wear glasses?
Even though it’s a bit like a knock-off Sailor Moon – magic wands, an all-girl fighting team, ridiculous overdrawn transformation fanfare – Magical Doremi remains a solid show in its own right. Instead of sailor warriors, you have apprentice witches trying to pass a series of magical exams – there are nine, since you asked – to become fully fledged witches. For some reason, they fight baddies with the power of musical notes. It’s not clear why, but those snazzy magical bracelets and wands sure make for some pretty sweet merchandising.
There’s a whole new generation of Pokémon fans thanks to the Pokémon Go game that launched last year. But in ye olde days before people were out on the streets swiping their phone to catch yet another useless Zubat, we had to live vicariously and make do watching Ash and Pikachu venture around the wild catching Pokémon. We got invested in their battles with gym leaders and thwarting Team Rocket and their badly thought out schemes. The show made us all want a Pokémon, and no smartphone app is able to satisfy that need.
Looking for something more mature?
From Bruce Lee to Wong Kar-wai, these are the greatest Hong Kong films ever made.