5 Cartoons Every Adult Should be Watching

Cartoon for adults

I am not here to feed anyone’s Peter Pan Syndrome, nor do I endorse escapism. Oh, who am I kidding? I practically live on Tumblr. Due to the fact that I positively adore animation and am not shy in vocalizing said love,  I have not once but multiple times belligerently shaken my fist in the general direction of pompous individuals who consider me “too old” to be watching cartoons. Their mistake was saying this to my face.

The magnificent Steven Quartz Universe of Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe.  Courtesy of littlestevenuniversethings.tumblr.com and Cartoon Network

In defense of Peter Pan, he was right. Don’t grow up,  adulthood is a trap.

Below are a list of cartoons that I believe every adult should be watching, whether it be to feed the faint glimmer of childish glee within you,  or  as an ironic hipster. I would hope it was for the the former rather than the latter.

5. Princess Jellyfish/ Kuragehime

Tsukimi does not have the usual reaction after her unwilling makeover.

Tsukimi does not have the usual reaction of gratitude and awe after her unwilling makeover. Courtesy of jjenosu.tumblr.com/ Funimation

I love this anime.  There is fashion, romance and a be-speckled main heroine! A big plus to the series is that the beginning episodes are light and fluffy, and not too emotionally draining like Attack on Titan.

So, double win!

Tsukimi Kurashita could be confused for a garden gnome, as she is constantly turning to stone at the sight of any “Stylish”—i.e. any gorgeous, fashion-forward person—and in the eyes of Tsukimi, are  more brilliant than the sun.  Tsukimi’s constant petrifaction was a genius way for the creator Akikio Higashimura to illustrate her social anxiety, rather than having Tsukimi pass out from nosebleeds in a pool of her own blood anytime she came into contact with anyone remotely hot and bearing an XY chromosome (a la The Wallflower/ Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge).  It is a common enough trope in Japanese manga and animation, and is often used to depict a character coming into contact with the focus of their sexual frustrations and at that point–They. Can’t. Even.–so, pop goes the soda bottle. *Cue gushing nosebleeds and fainting.*

Also, let us not forget Tsukimi’s NEET (“Not in Education, Employment, or Training”) cohorts —five in all—illustrating unemployment in various age brackets.  Due to a heady combination of a lack of experience and/ or interest,  Tsukimi and her roommates  have banded together to form “The Sisterhood” and shun the male sex altogether.

Comrades! Where have you been all my life!

“The Sisterhood” Image Courtesy of living-myth.blogspot.com/ Funimation

Below are trailers to more animation series where secondhand embarrassment abounds. Thank you Japan.

Alternates: Kimi no Todoke, and The Wallflower.

4. Adventure Time

Sometimes this show is pure lunancy…

Courtesy of princessbubbletom.tumblr.com/ Cartoon Network

and sometimes it’s spot on with social commentary,

Jake the Dog is not here for your slobbering. Courtesy of Cartoon Network

but it is always 100 % brilliant.   ‘Nuf said.


3. Sailor Moon/  Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn

Courtesy of sailormoongifs.tumblr.com / Toei Animation


"Moon Prism Power Make Up!"

Transformation sequence from Pretty Solider  Sailor Moon (1992) version. Courtesy of sailormoongifs.tumblr.com / Toei Animation

A titan in the industry of Magical Girl shojo genre, Sailor Moon (1992) has spanned more than five seasons , 200 hundred episodes, multiple movies, and even a live-action musical adaption;  thus spurring a following that transcends not only continents, but also generations.  Naoko Takeuchi‘s work has recently received a face lift of sorts in the form of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal  ( 2015) courtesy of Toei Animation, just in time for the 20th anniversary of it’s 1995 release in the United States. This is a must watch for anyone familiar with  the English lyrics:Fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight/ Never running from a real fight, she is the one named Sailor Moon!  Watch the newly released Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal—that promises to be more faithful  to the original manga (with hopefully less up-skirt shots catered to the male gaze)—and try not to drown as wave  after wave of nostalgia passes over you.

Alternates: Legend of Korra, Puella Magi Madoka Magica  (PMMM), and Revolutionary Girl Utena

2. Bob’s Burgers

I worship at the temple of her Majesty Tina Belcher of FOX’s Bob’s Burgers. Tina is so unapologetic about being herself that one cannot help but marvel at the sheer force of effort she makes in all areas of her life: whether it be in the wooing of Jimmy Jr. Pesto, standing up to mean girls like Tammy, or of her unabashed enthusiastic love of butts, zombies, and erotic friend fiction. Not always in that order, but yes, sometimes all together.

Her younger siblings Gene and Louise follow in this same vein, though Louise is more maniacal in her thought processes. I cannot help but be glad that they take after their freewheeling mom (Linda), rather than the pessimistic Bob (their father).  After a long day, I rather watch Louise hatch another hare-brained scheme, than listen to Bob listing all the reasons in monotone why she should not be playing in an abandoned taffy factory.

1. Steven Universe

Steven Universe

This is Pearl. Courtesy of sniffing.tumblr.com / Cartoon Network

Pearl speaks the Truth. No matter how much it hurts. Courtesy of sniffing.tumblr.com/ Cartoon Network



A new precious jewel in the crown of Cartoon Network, watch Steven Universe when you feel yourself losing all hope in humanity.  After a particularly rough day, just plop down onto your couch, flip onto Cartoon Network and hope for reruns because in just 30 minutes this show will breathe you back to life.

Created by Rebecca Sugar, the story line follows the youth Steven in his many adventures with the Crystal Gems–Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst—who are anthropomorphic higher beings that travel the realms in order to contain corrupted gem monsters and protect Beach City.

Be careful though, watching Steven Universe is a little like playing Russian roulette. Maybe you will see an episode in which Steven is frolicking about with childish glee and stars in his eyes as he learns to use his crystal gem powers and the countless shenanigans that ensue; or maybe—(read: spoiler alert!)—you will see an episode hinting at the Gem Wars and the genocide of those who tried to stand against the Diamonds. You never know what you will get until you are already elbow deep in tissues.

Alternates: Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Over the Wall.

Feature image: Hina Ichigo

Jennifer Ortiz
Hi! I'm Jennifer. I graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's in English. I am currently summoning the gumption to travel the world and revamping my rhetorical film criticism/ appreciation blog . I love books, dogs, and super-chill instrumentals. Here's looking at you Penguin Cafe! Secret Obsessions: 90's angry girl punk music, Parks and Rec, and fashion.