Nostalgic Cartoons: What Do They Mean to You?

Most of you reading this right now will understand that warm, fuzzy feeling that is nostalgia. The one thing that makes you feel nostalgic instantly is a childhood cartoon. Recently, Avatar: The Last Airbender was released on Netflix. Kids who were growing up in the early 2000s was hit with a pang of memorable flashbacks. For some, that feeling of sentimental happiness holds different meanings that have inspired or even shaped their perceptions towards life today.


Photo by Cartoon Network


From the perspective of one of the 2000s’ kids that I have interviewed, Ethan, nostalgia for him means courage. “When I think of a cartoon, Courage the Cowardly Dog comes to mind. It brings back many childhood memories,he said. Courage the Cowardly Dog was a 1996 children’s horror-comedy cartoon on Cartoon Network, which centered on Courage the Dog, saving his owners from various dangers. Although the cartoon had frightening imagery, the message behind the horror-comedy cartoon taught that “fear is nothing but in our own minds.”

When looking back at the cartoons we grew up watching, the nostalgic feeling gives us a mood boost, or in this case, a courage boost. According to The American Journal of Psychology, nostalgia can be more of a coping strategy to implement, thus increasing support during a challenging time.

Nostalgia can also be inspiring. Digital artist Angel grew up watching cartoons just like any other kid, but the one that brings more nostalgia is the 1998 all-female superhero cartoon The Powerpuff Girls