I grew up in the Dominican Republic, where Cartoon Network was a whole different beast: it introduced me to anime and had Boomerang cartoons playing throughout. Without forgetting my other right arm: FOX Kids, which later became Jetix. There, most anime channels showed as much anime as Western-style animation. It was a big culture shock when I came to live in the United States, and only Toonami supported me. However, is one day a week already enough? Luckily, we now have streaming…
Cartoon Network was a few years behind when it came to filler cartoons there, and I grew up watching cartoons that my dad told me he watched as a kid too, like some of my favourites : Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes (the very old ones which were mostly happy melodies and seemed to have an eternal tint of blue), The Banana Split, Falling, Whacky Races, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo…but we also got the most recent desires they were kids in. I used to love them so much and I still sing for the A puppy named Scooby-Doo theme song as well as Banana Splits.
I have very fond memories of Cartoon Network growing up; and I will always feel like the Hanna-Barbera and Tex Avery shows are a very strong bond with my dad. Books and cartoons are things we tend to talk about a lot, even when he makes fun of me for still watching them… However, the joke is on him since he keeps comparing things and people to all these cartoons. I hate to break it to you, Dad, but you’re as big a nerd as I am. Cartoon Network will always be my favorite channel after introducing me to other favorites growing up, like the Cartoon Cartoon segments, Dexter’s Lab, The Powerpuff Girls, Two Stupid Dogs, Swatcats, Cow and Chicken, Johnny Bravo, I am Weasel, Beetlejuice, Freakazoid!, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
I still can’t get used to the fact that Cartoon Network over there would show cartoons all day and night, every day, not just during Toonami. It was one of the hardest things for me to get used to when I moved here: hardly any channels showed anime! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how rights work. Cartoon Network presented me with some gems: my favorite forever Sakura card sensor (or as I knew it at the time, “Sakura Card Captor”), Yui Concealer (another one that I loved), Pokémon, InuYasha, Hamtaro, Samurai X, Super Doll Licca Chan, Nadja of tomorrow. Later it also showed other shows I liked like Saint Seiya, Ranma 1/2, Naruto, and dragonball (including Z and GT).
Then we also had another channel that gave me immense pleasure with their selection of shows, FOX Kids/Jetix. This channel introduced me to others on my top list including Digimon, Shinzo, Shaman King, Shin Chan, Mon Colle Knights, Cyber Team in Akihabara, Tonde Buurin, Angela Anaconda, Monster Rancher, Dinozaurs, Patlabor the Mobile Police, Flint: the Time Detective, Medabots, Beyblade.
Most of these shows, especially Card sensors and Digimon, shaped me who I am as an adult. Not only did I acquire my love for art and animation and also for the magical aesthetic that I love, but I think it helped me learn more about life, friendship and management of anxiety and depression. Just like the Harry Potter books were also my escape from the real world and magical places where I could be myself without fear of judgment. These are also the grounds where I have met incredible people and made great friendships. Thanks to them growing up and even now, I never really felt alone, even when I was. During times of trial these have been my comfort.