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Top Ten Action Animated Series: With a Focus on Super Heroes

Top Ten Action Animated Series: With a Focus on Super Heroes

There are plenty of reasons to watch classic animated series (ie cartoons). Most animated series can be do things that a live action show like "Star Trek" or "24" cannot. They need no huge budgets so you get plenty of them.

This is a simple guide to some of the better animated series ever. It is not the most important or most entertaining, but the best-of-the-best action cartoons. It's a top ten in no order, so feel free to pick and choose. Consider this guide the next time you want to watch something entertaining, and not just for kids.


"Teknoman" isn't the most original anime series ever, but it sure is fun to watch. In short, this is classic "Gundman Wing" with a better touch, meaning a bunch of mecha action. The animation itself isn't the reason it's the best; the classic stories, definitely better than "Gundam Wing," are what draw fans again and again to "Teknoman." The story of Slade, a hero with a dark past, and a hero who has to battle his own family, is perfect drama.

Cowboy Bebop:

First, the animation of "Cowboy Bebop" is some of the best mentioned in this guide. Everything else works too: the engaging storytelling of a bounty hunter flying through space; a soundtrack that works on many levels; and a clear artistic vision of what can really be done with an animated series.


"Batman The Animated Series" helped initiate the revival of the super hero in the cartoon medium in the early 1990s. Instead of focusing on multiple characters-as seen in "X-Men"-Batman and Robin are the focus here. Most of us know the story of Batman: the parents killed before his eyes, the desire for justice, and putting on a cape to do just that. "Batman TAS" had widespread success, and for good reason. This is comic books on the screen that is hard to beat, unless one watches "Batman Begins."


Along with "Batman," "X-Men" proved that comic books could be more than trivial entertainment for children on Television. Where "Batman" focused on Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, "X-Men" was about multiple characters trying to save a world which didn't understand them. As mutants, characters like Wolverine, Cable, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and many others were very hard not to find entertaining. While man comic fans will like the classic "Phoenix Saga," there are other must-sees like "Days of the Future Past" and "Beyond Good and Evil."


Spider-Man is simply too popular not to have had several animated series based upon him, not to mention a trilogy of movies. Where "Batman" played upon the darkness of a character, "Spider-Man" was a bright series, even though Peter Parker lost a loved one to crime like a young Bruce Wayne. What worked best in this animated series were all the villains brought to bear, and the new touch the creators built upon them. Where villains like Doctor Octopus and Green Goblin may sound trivial, they came to life on the TV screen.

War Planets:

"War Planets" is likely the one series mentioned here the majority of readers won't have heard about. This CGI series was a major science fiction epic made by the creators of the series "Reboot." A huge beast machine entered a new galaxy to devour all the planets. The beast has a massive army, but is faced by many natives of the worlds in a battle to the finish. "War Planets" is the first series here done in complete CGI, computer graphics. For many it's a cult favorite, and costs a lot to purchase because of that.

Roughnecks Starship Troopers Chronicles:

Many readers will recall the "Starship Troopers" action movie made during the 1990s. "Roughnecks Starship Troopers Chronicles" is the second series on the top ten to employ CGI on a wide scale. The story of a battle between massive insects and humanity was captured well. It was based upon a science fiction novel "Starship Troopers" by Robert A. Heinlein. "Roughnecks" never finished, leaving many fans disappointed.


With several series to its name, a live action film, and even a line of comic books, the "Transformers" cartoons have entered a time where few don't know about them. The basic premise of a battle between good and evil, the Autobots led by Optimus Prime and the Decepticons led by Megatron, lasted for several decades after the original GI series stopped. There were several Japanese series, including "Headmasters," which tried to capitalize on the popularity. The best of all the animated stories was the first "Transformers" film made in the 1980s.

The Incredible Hulk:

Hulk has had many series, including a live action one, where the troubled Bruce Banner battled inner demons, and something even bigger. This animated show is the best of the "Hulk" series. After being caught in the middle of a bombing test, he was given the power to transform into a massive, strong beast called the Hulk. This particular animated series deserves far more fame than it got in the 1990s. It stayed true, for the most part, to the original vision of Stan Lee.


"Reboot" is another classic made by the creators of "War Planets" which endured popularity in the late 1990s. The series set a standard for what could be done with CGI animation, paving the way for feature length movies completely done in animation like "Final Fantasy." "Reboot" is actually one of the longer lasting series on this list, and mainly because it attracted more than just children to watch it.

- by Jacob Malewitz

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