Several things formed memories for people of different generations when they were growing up. And it’s sometimes impossible for people to relate  to popular experiences in the same way even if they were born in the same era. But one thing that has served as a leveler for people of different generations was the type of entertainment they consumed while they were growing up. For most late Millennials and Gen Z, nostalgic cartoons are one of the levelers for those with the least access to as basic as a TV growing up. 

While there have been several cartoons over the years, some cartoons are classics that Millennials and Gen Zs relished while growing up, these cartoons will always fondle your sentiments when you find them again. Most people watched these cartoons on TV and would love to relive memories of some of them. 

Due to this reason, we carried out a survey of cartoons late millennials and Gen Z enjoyed watching growing up and came up with the top 5 and where to watch/download them online legally and for free.

Dexter’s Laboratory

Dexter’s Laboratory is one of the cartoons that carved its place in the hearts of late millennials and gen zs. Genndy Tartakovsky created the American animated television series for Warner Bros. It centers on Dexter, an ingenious young boy who seemed to suffer from dwarfism as he never grew taller throughout the series. He was gracefully short with traits of an ambivert. 

Dexter had a secret science lab full of inventions in his room that he hid from his ignorant parents and the rest of the world. However, his tall, lean, and loud older sister, Dee Dee, was an extreme extrovert who knew about his lab. She frequently gained entry to the lab and, severally unintentionally thwarted Dexter’s research/experiments. 

Such setbacks often put Dexter at odds against his malicious and equally brilliant bully and rival character, Mandark. They weren’t just rivals as neighbors; they also attended the same school.  

The cartoon first aired in 1996 and had its last episode in 2003. Thanks to technology, although you’ll likely not find the animation on TV any longer, you can watch it for free on different online platforms. A legal website to watch this memorable cartoon is Top Cartoons. You’ll find several episodes there for your relish.

Johnny Bravo

Johnny Bravo is another classic animation series that won at the poll of nostalgic cartoons with late millennials and Gen Zs. The humorous  American animated romantic television series was  Warner Bros and created by Van Partible. 

The main character is portrayed as Johnny Bravo, a muscular young man with yellow afro hair and an obsession with sunglasses.  He’s a guy who lives with his mother and always tries to get ladies to date him. But he hardly gets to hook any lady because he consistently ruins the dates with his childish and awkward behaviors.

Viewers loved the cartoon for its mature comedy and its numerous allusions to engender pop culture. The memorable cartoon aired from July 14, 1997, until August 27, 2004. 

Thanks to the internet, you can find and watch different episodes of the cartoon for free on platforms like Top Cartoons.

Tom and Jerry

Tom and Jerry inevitably made the top 5 list of nostalgic cartoons our Millennial and Gen Z audience bonded with during childhood. While the series later evolved into spin-offs like “Tom and Jerry kids,” most people seemed to prefer the mature Tom and Jerry cartoons. 

The phenomenal American cartoon media, Tom and Jerry, was conceived in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera as a series of short comedies. The series, created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, features 161 short films that focus on the rivalry between a cat called Tom and a mouse named Jerry. Numerous shorts also include a cast of recurrent characters.

Recently, on February 26, 2021 Warner Bros. Pictures released Tom & Jerry in theaters in the United States. At the same time, the film was made available on HBO Max for a month. Compared to its $79 million budget, the movie was a global box office smash, earning $136 million. However, despite the film’s improved animation and nostalgic feel earning high remarks, it garnered poor reviews from critics. The old storylines seem indispensable even with technology and digitization. 

On YouTube, you’ll find some episodes of the old Tom and Jerry cartoons that feature characters like Spike, Toodles, Butch, Tuffy, and Mammy two shoes. But, you’ll prevalently get them on websites like Super Cartoons

Tarzan and The Legend of Tarzan

Tarzan made the list of one of the most memorable cartoons that trigger nostalgia in our audience. The cartoon was first released in 1999 as a one-off. Afterward, it was developed into a series titled “The Legend of Tarzan.” According to one of those who contributed to the poll leading to this top 5, one the fondest parts of the original cartoon is the epic howl moment after Tarzan killed the menacing leopard. 

The film chronicles the adventures of a character named Tarzan. When he was a baby, Tarzan’s only family was an ape named Kala. She saved him from the jaws of a leopard, took him in, and raised him among apes and other animals of the jungle. When he became an adult, he was on an adventure and happened on a group of humans. 

Tarzan later met a beautiful lady, Jane Porter, whom he saved from harm in the jungle. Next, he learned that he, too, is a human being. So Tarzan is torn between his civilized and jungle family. 

The legendary cartoon was adapted into a human movie in 2016, but its reviews on platforms like Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and IMDb showed it doesn’t beat the original cartoon and cartoon spin-offs in reception.

While you can watch the 1999 nostalgic cartoon on Jex Movies, you’ll find the series version on Kiss Cartoons.

The Pinky and The Brain

Another cartoon that clinched a spot in our top 5 nostalgic cartoons Pinky and The Brain. The cartoon, a spinoff of Animaniacs, topped its originator to secure a place in our top 5. 

Animaniacs cartoon introduced Pinky and the Brain characters in a comedy animation series in 1993. Due to the traction of the remarkable characters, a spinoff series of 65 episodes was created. After appearing in Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain, the characters went full circle by appearing in a skit for the Animaniacs revival in 2020.

The cartoon portrays Pinky and Brain as white lab mice who are part of Acme Labs’ experimental population. They have had significant genetic modification, giving them human-like traits such as increased intelligence and the ability to communicate with humans.  

Pinky and Brain have a global conquest strategy in the cartoon. However, they never really achieve success in their endeavors.

You can have a fill of the memorable cartoon on sflix and YouTube.

Other cartoons worth mentioning

There are many more cartoons people watched and loved growing up. But it’s almost impossible to mention all. Some other cartoons that made the mention list but didn’t get votes up to the above include the following:

  • Popeye
  • Peter Pan
  • Mowgli: The Jungle Book 
  • Tweet and Sour
  • Goodnight Elmer
  • Power puff girls
  • Ain’t that Ducky
  • Ed, Edd, and Eddy
  • Cow and Chicken
  • Scooby Doo
  • Weasel
  • Mulan
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • The Lion King (1994)

You can find most of these cartoons online for free streaming or download on websites like YouTube, Top Cartoons, Sflix, Super Cartoons, and Freemovies

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox