The 90s was a decade that brought us some of the most iconic and beloved cartoon characters of all time. Many of these characters still have a strong fan base and continue to be popular today. They were typically colorful, energetic, and appealed to both children and adults.
If you ask anyone who grew up in the 90s, 90s cartoons were the prime of any cartoons. Cartoons these days just don’t seem to have the depth that made 90s cartoons so great and their characters so relatable.
Some of the most notable 90s cartoon characters include SpongeBob SquarePants, Bart Simpson, Tommy Pickles, Bugs Bunny, Pikachu, Dexter, and The Powerpuff Girls. However, there are many more wonderful characters that don’t get as much recognition and are often forgotten.
So, while you browse this list of popular 90s cartoons we hope you are able to remember a few great characters. I wonder, how many of these characters had you forgotten about?
(P.s. you can find the sticker pack above right here.)
The Most Popular Cartoon Characters From the 90s
If you’re wondering who were some of the most popular 90s cartoon characters, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular and beloved cartoon characters from the 90s. Did your favorite character make the list?
1. Bart Simpson (The Simpsons): The mischievous and rebellious son of the Simpson family, known for his catchphrase “Ay caramba!”
2. SpongeBob SquarePants (SpongeBob SquarePants): A cheerful and optimistic sponge who lives in Bikini Bottom and works at the Krusty Krab restaurant.
3. Bugs Bunny (Looney Tunes): The iconic Looney Tunes character known for his wit, sarcasm, and catchphrase “What’s up, doc?”
4. Stimpy (Ren and Stimpy): The dim-witted and lovable cat from the animated series “Ren & Stimpy.”
5. & 6. Pinky and the Brain (Pinky and the Brain): Pinky is a dim-witted and naive mouse, while Brain is a highly intelligent and cunning mouse with a desire for power.
7. Doug Funnie (Doug): He is an imaginative and introspective 11-year-old boy who moves to Bluffington and struggles to fit in at his new school. Doug keeps a journal and creates characters in his imagination that he uses to work through the challenges of his everyday life.
8. Tommy Pickles (Rugrats): A brave and adventurous one-year-old baby who loves to explore the world around him. Tommy is known for his determination and leadership skills, often taking charge of his group of friends, which includes his best friend Chuckie, his cousin Angelica, and the twins Phil and Lil. He is also recognizable for his signature blue t-shirt and diaper.
9. Angelica Pickles (Rugrats): The bossy and manipulative cousin of Tommy and Dil in the animated series “Rugrats.”
10. Ren Höek (Ren and Stimpy): The short-tempered and cynical chihuahua from Ren and Stimpy.
14. & 15. Beavis and Butt-head (Beavis and Butt-head): Beavis is a dim-witted, impulsive, and destructive teenager who frequently laughs at his own jokes and is obsessed with fire and heavy metal music. Butthead, on the other hand, is slightly smarter than Beavis but is still immature and lacks common sense. He is also obsessed with sex and rock music.
16. Dexter (Dexter’s Laboratory): The boy genius and inventor from the animated series “Dexter’s Laboratory.”
17. Homer Simpson (The Simpsons): The bumbling and lovable patriarch of the Simpson family, known for his catchphrase “D’oh!”
18. Jerry Mouse (Tom & Jerry): The clever and mischievous mouse who constantly outwits his nemesis, Tom.
19. Tom Cat (Tom & Jerry): The lovable but clumsy cat who is always trying to catch Jerry.
20. Johnny Bravo (Johnny Bravo): The self-absorbed and charmingly dim-witted ladies’ man from the animated series “Johnny Bravo.”
21. Daria Morgendorffer (Daria): The cynical and sardonic protagonist of the animated series “Daria.”
22. Betty Boop (Betty Boop): Depicted as a curvaceous woman with a short black bob and a high-pitched voice. Betty Boop often wears a flapper-style dress and is known for her flirtatious and playful personality.
23. Arnold Shortman (Hey Arnold!): A fourth-grader with a football-shaped head who lives in a boarding house with his grandparents. Arnold is a kind and compassionate person who often helps his friends and other people in need.
24. Bobby Hill (King of the Hill): The son of the main characters, Hank and Peggy Hill. Bobby is portrayed as an awkward and sensitive preteen boy with a passion for comedy and a talent for impressionism.
25., 26., & 27 Ed, Edd, and Eddy (Ed, Edd n Eddy): Ed is the brawny and dim-witted member of the group, Edd is the intellectual and organized one, and Eddy is the self-proclaimed leader and mastermind behind most of their schemes. The trio constantly schemes and concocts plans to earn money or gain popularity, but their plans often backfire in hilarious ways.
28. Scooby-Doo (Scooby-Doo): A talking Great Dane with a fondness for snacks, especially Scooby Snacks.
29. Pikachu (Pokemon): The electric-type Pokémon and mascot of the “Pokémon” franchise.
30. Mickey Mouse: The beloved Disney character and mascot, known for his cheerful personality and signature ears.
32. Bamm-Bamm Rubble (The Flintstones): The super-strong infant son of Barney and Betty Rubble in “The Flintstones” franchise.
33. George Jetson (The Jetsons): A resident of the futuristic city of Orbit City and is married to Jane Jetson with whom he has two children: Judy and Elroy. George works at Spacely’s Space Sprockets and is often seen commuting to work in his flying car. He is known for his futuristic fashion sense, his love for technology, and his tendency to get into humorous mishaps.
34. Optimus Prime (Transformers): The leader of the Autobots in the “Transformers” franchise, known for his bravery and intelligence.
35. Alvin (Alvin and the Chipmunks): The lead singer and the mischievous one of the popular musical trio, The Chipmunks, in the animated TV series “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” He is known for his red sweater with a yellow ‘A’ on it and his signature catchphrase, “ALVINNN!!!”
36. Popeye (Popeye): The muscular and spinach-loving sailor who always saves the day.
37. Pocahontas (Disney’s Pocahontas): A young Native American woman from the Powhatan tribe in Virginia who falls in love with John Smith, a settler from England. Pocahontas is known for her courage, intelligence, and strong connection to nature and her community.
38. Mulan (Disney’s Mulan): A young woman who disguises herself as a man in order to take her father’s place in the army during a war. Mulan is brave, resourceful, and skilled in martial arts, and she ultimately becomes a hero in her own right.
39. Ariel (Disney’s The Little Mermaid): A mermaid who dreams of living on land and falls in love with a human prince, Eric. Ariel is known for her signature red hair, green mermaid tail, and seashell bra. She is adventurous and curious, often getting into trouble because of her fascination with human objects.
40. Jasmine (Disney’s Aladdin): The princess of the kingdom of Agrabah and the love interest of Aladdin. Jasmine is known for her beauty, intelligence, and strong-willed personality. She longs for freedom and independence, which she ultimately achieves with the help of Aladdin.
42. & 43. Timon and Pumbaa (The Lion King): Timon is fast-talking and quick-witted, while Pumbaa is a bit slow and simple-minded but has a heart of gold. They live a carefree lifestyle and sing the popular song “Hakuna Matata” which means “no worries” in Swahili.
44. Simba (The Lion King): The son of King Mufasa and is destined to take his place as king of the Pride Lands. After his father’s tragic death, Simba runs away and grows up with the help of his friends Timon and Pumbaa. He eventually returns to the Pride Lands and defeats his Uncle Scar to become the rightful king.
45, 46, 47, & 48. Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles): Leonardo is the courageous leader who wields two katanas, Michelangelo is the fun-loving party dude with nunchucks, Donatello is the tech-savvy inventor with a bo staff, and Raphael is the tough and sarcastic fighter who uses sais. Together, they fight crime and protect New York City from villains like Shredder and the Foot Clan.
49. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog): The fast and spunky blue hedgehog who goes on various adventures to save his world.
50. Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon): A teenage girl who transforms into a magical warrior named Sailor Moon to fight against evil forces and protect the world. Along with other Sailor Soldiers, she battles villains and searches for the legendary Silver Crystal while navigating her everyday life as a schoolgirl.
52. Robin (Batman: The Animated Series): A teenage crimefighter who patrols Gotham City along with his mentor, Batman. He is known for his acrobatic skills, detective abilities, and the distinctive red, yellow, and green costume he wears.
53. Superman (Superman): The iconic DC Comics superhero known for his superhuman strength and powers.
54. Tweety Bird (Looney Tunes): The cute and innocent Looney Tunes canary, often pursued by Sylvester the Cat.
55. Daffy Duck (Looney Tunes): The wisecracking and unpredictable Looney Tunes character.
56. Sylvester (Looney Tunes): A fictional tuxedo cat and one of the classic Looney Tunes characters. He is known for his lisp and insatiable appetite for Tweety Bird, whom he is always trying to catch.
57. Elmer Fudd (Looney Tunes): Known for his distinctive speech impediment and his catchphrase “Shhh. Be vewy, vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits.” Elmer is usually portrayed as a hapless hunter who is often outsmarted by his prey, most notably Bugs Bunny.
58. Taz (Looney Tunes): Known for his ferocious and wild personality. He is often depicted as a short and stout, brown-furred creature with a huge appetite and a tendency to spin around in circles creating a tornado-like effect. Despite his frenzied behavior, Taz has a kind heart and is fiercely loyal to his friends and family.
59. Winnie the Pooh (Winnie the Pooh): The lovable bear who lives in the Hundred Acre Wood and enjoys honey and simple pleasures.
60. The Powerpuff Girls (The Powerpuff Girls): Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, the crime-fighting superhero trio with unique powers.
62. Darkwing Duck (Darkwing Duck): A superhero duck who is the main character of the animated TV show of the same name. He wears a purple mask and cape and is accompanied by his sidekick, Launchpad McQuack. Together they fight against villains and protect the city from harm. Darkwing is known for his catchphrase, “Let’s get dangerous!” and his ability to outsmart his enemies with his intelligence and gadgets.
63. Garfield (Garfield and Friends): The lazy and cynical orange tabby cat who loves to eat lasagna.
64. Kuzco (Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove): A self-centered emperor who is transformed into a llama by his former adviser, Yzma. Along with the help of a kind-hearted peasant named Pacha, Kuzco goes on a journey to regain his human form and learns the importance of friendship and humility along the way.
65. Lilo (Disney’s Lilo and Stitch): A young Hawaiian girl who adopts an unusual and loveable pet alien named Stitch. Lilo is known for her quirky personality, love for Elvis Presley, and her determination to be herself and stick up for what she believes in.
66. Stitch (Disney’s Lilo and Stitch): A small, blue, alien creature that was created to cause chaos and destruction. However, he ends up being adopted by a young girl named Lilo and becomes a member of her family. Stitch has the ability to speak, and is known for his mischievous behavior, as well as his loyalty and love for his family.
67. Scrooge McDuck (DuckTales): The wealthy and greedy Disney character known for his love of money and adventure.
68. Pluto (Mickey Mouse Works): The loyal and lovable pet dog of Mickey Mouse.
69. Donald Duck (Quack Pack): The hot-headed and easily-angered Disney character known for his distinctive voice.
And many more! There are so many great and iconic cartoon characters from the nineties, while we’ve covered the most popular ones here, there are many more we haven’t mentioned yet.
How did 90s cartoon characters influence popular culture and media?
90s cartoon characters had a significant impact on popular culture and media. Many of these characters became iconic and are still recognizable today, even by those who were not alive during the 90s.
Some 90s cartoon characters have inspired spin-offs, reboots, and merchandise, and have even become a part of mainstream fashion trends and language. For example, characters like SpongeBob SquarePants, Pikachu, and The Simpsons family have become ubiquitous in contemporary pop culture.
The success of these characters and shows also paved the way for future animated series and helped to establish animation as a respected and important art form.
What were some of the key design and aesthetic elements that defined 90s cartoon characters?
Some of the key design and aesthetic elements that defined 90s cartoon characters include:
- Bold colors and lines: 90s cartoon characters often had bright, eye-catching colors and thick, bold lines that made them stand out.
- Simplified shapes: Characters were often designed with simplified, exaggerated shapes, making them instantly recognizable and easy to animate.
- Expressive facial features: Characters’ facial expressions were highly expressive, allowing them to convey a wide range of emotions and comedic reactions.
- Pop culture references: Many 90s cartoons were heavily influenced by pop culture, and their characters often incorporated references to music, fashion, and other media trends of the time.
- Quirky personalities: 90s cartoon characters often had distinct, quirky personalities that made them endearing to audiences and helped them stand out from other animated characters.
These elements helped create a unique aesthetic that defined 90s cartoon characters and continues to influence the design of animated characters today.
How did 90s cartoon characters reflect the cultural and political climate of the time?
90s cartoon characters often reflected the cultural and political climate of the time by addressing social and political issues through storytelling. For example, the show “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” featured a team of young environmentalists who fought against pollution and other environmental problems.
“Rugrats” touched on issues of gender and family dynamics, while “The Powerpuff Girls” tackled themes of girl power and empowerment.
In addition, some shows such as “Animaniacs” and “The Simpsons” used satire to comment on current events and pop culture trends.
The designs and aesthetics of 90s cartoon characters also reflected the trends of the time, such as bright colors, bold shapes, and exaggerated proportions.
What were some of the defining personality traits and characteristics of 90s cartoon characters?
There were many defining personality traits and characteristics of 90s cartoon characters, as the decade was marked by a wide variety of animated shows with diverse casts of characters. Some common traits that were often seen in 90s cartoon characters include:
- Bravery and heroism: Many 90s cartoons featured heroes who were brave, determined, and always willing to stand up for what was right.
- Humor and wit: 90s cartoons often incorporated humor and wit into their characters, providing entertainment and laughs for viewers.
- Quirkiness and eccentricity: Many 90s cartoon characters were quirky and eccentric, with unique personalities and distinct quirks that set them apart.
- Strong emotions: Characters in 90s cartoons often had strong emotions, whether it was anger, joy, sadness, or fear.
- Flaws and imperfections: 90s cartoon characters were often flawed and imperfect, which made them more relatable and realistic.
Overall, 90s cartoon characters were known for their colorful personalities and larger-than-life traits, which helped to make them memorable and beloved by audiences of all ages.
How have 90s cartoon characters aged over time, and are they still relevant and popular today?
Many 90s cartoon characters have remained popular and relevant to this day, with some even experiencing a resurgence in recent years. Some examples of popular 90s cartoon characters that have endured over time include the Rugrats, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Powerpuff Girls, and Pokémon. These characters have continued to resonate with audiences of all ages due to their relatable and endearing personalities, as well as their timeless themes and storylines.
Additionally, the nostalgia factor has played a significant role in the continued popularity of 90s cartoons, as many adults who grew up watching these shows now share them with their own children or revisit them for a sense of comfort and familiarity.
Who were some of the most influential creators and artists behind 90s cartoon characters, and how did their work shape the medium?
The 90s saw a number of influential creators and artists who shaped the medium of cartoon animation. Here are a few notable examples:
- Genndy Tartakovsky: Tartakovsky is known for creating the popular 90s cartoon shows “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “Samurai Jack,” which both featured his signature style of fluid, dynamic animation and distinctive character designs.
- Craig McCracken: McCracken is best known for creating “The Powerpuff Girls,” a show that combined action, comedy, and heart in a unique and engaging way. The show was known for its colorful animation style and strong female characters.
- Bruce Timm: Timm was the lead designer and producer of “Batman: The Animated Series,” which was praised for its dark and moody atmosphere, film noir-inspired visuals, and complex storytelling.
- John Kricfalusi: Kricfalusi is best known for creating “Ren & Stimpy,” a show that was known for its surreal humor, exaggerated character designs, and subversive tone. The show was controversial for its adult humor and gross-out gags, but it also helped pave the way for more irreverent and boundary-pushing animation.
- Paul Dini: Dini was a writer and producer for “Batman: The Animated Series,” and is credited with creating some of the show’s most memorable episodes and characters. He went on to work on other popular shows like “Animaniacs” and “Tiny Toon Adventures.”
These creators and artists, along with many others, helped shape the medium of cartoon animation in the 90s and beyond, and their work continues to influence and inspire animators today.
What were some of the controversies and criticisms surrounding 90s cartoon characters, such as issues of representation or appropriateness for children?
Some of the controversies and criticisms surrounding 90s cartoon characters include:
- Gender and Racial Stereotypes: Some critics have accused 90s cartoons of perpetuating negative stereotypes about gender and race, such as portraying female characters as overly sexualized or people of color as caricatures.
- Violence: Many 90s cartoons featured violence, and some parents and advocacy groups raised concerns about the potential impact on children.
- Consumerism: Some critics have argued that 90s cartoons were created primarily to sell merchandise and promote consumerism among children.
- Appropriateness: There were also debates about the appropriateness of certain cartoons for children, with some parents and advocates expressing concern about mature themes or adult content in shows targeted towards young audiences.
- Lack of Diversity: Critics also pointed out that many 90s cartoons lacked diversity in their characters and storylines, which could limit their appeal and representation for certain audiences.
It’s worth noting that while some of these criticisms may be valid, 90s cartoons were still highly influential and beloved by many viewers.
What can we learn from 90s cartoon characters about storytelling, character development, and animation techniques?
90s cartoon characters offer a lot of insights into storytelling, character development, and animation techniques. Here are some possible takeaways:
- Complex characters: 90s cartoons often featured complex characters with multiple layers, motivations, and flaws. This helped to create compelling narratives that engaged viewers and made them care about the characters’ journeys. It also allowed for more nuanced storytelling and exploration of themes and ideas.
- Unique visual styles: 90s cartoons were known for their distinct and creative visual styles, which set them apart from other forms of media. Creators experimented with different animation techniques, color palettes, and character designs, which gave each show a unique look and feel. This helped to create immersive worlds and characters that were memorable and iconic.
- Emphasis on humor: 90s cartoons often had a strong comedic element, with witty dialogue, slapstick humor, and satirical commentary. This helped to make the shows more accessible and entertaining for viewers of all ages and also provided a way to explore serious topics in a lighthearted way.
Final Thoughts on 90s Cartoon Characters
The 90s was a decade of cultural and artistic innovation, and the impact of its cartoon characters on popular culture cannot be overstated.
From the whimsical antics of the Rugrats to the sci-fi adventures of the Power Rangers, 90s cartoons introduced us to a vast array of characters that continue to hold a special place in the hearts of many today. Their enduring popularity is a testament to the creativity and imagination of the artists and animators who brought them to life, as well as the enduring relevance of the themes and stories they told.
Whether revisiting old favorites or discovering them for the first time, 90s cartoon characters remain a vibrant and vital part of our cultural landscape.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to try to convince some people to have a 90s-themed party so we can watch some of these classic cartoons together.
Did your favorite character from the 90s make the list? Let us know in the comments below!