Official Discussion Thread for 1999 in Animation

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Mr HooPoe

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#1
I decided that in order to understand what value animation held for each decade--in this case the ever so praised 1990's--it would be best to look at it year by year in all areas (shows, movies, and webtoons). And what better year than the dense and glorious year of 1999?

I will not go into details, but this is arguably one of the best years of the decade with plenty of hits and underrated gems, though unlike the years 1995 or 1997 nothing seemed...revolutionary. More on that later, though.

So what did you guys think of 1999? Name any shows and movies and webtoons you liked or disliked. Feel free to share your thoughts. (Also, you are welcome to tackle any other years if you wish in separate threads.)
 

Dr.Pepper

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#2
My favorite show from this year is Ed Edd n Eddy. I would honestly say it was my favorite cartoon period.

My favorite movie from this year is Toy Story 2. I don’t like it quite as much as the first, but it’s still very good. This is the first year where you can see Disney start to slip. Tarzan wasn’t a terrible movie by any means, but it seemed to lack the “magic” that most other movies from earlier in the decade had (I can’t really describe it), and served as a transition to less traditional Disney movies like Atlantis and Lilo & Stitch.
 

Daikun

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#3
This was the year where I officially jumped off the Nickelodeon ship fully onto CN. I was so disappointed by the direction the channel was going this and the previous year that I couldn't deal with it anymore.

Best show: Courage the Cowardly Dog
Best movie: The Iron Giant
 

Vaughn Max

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#4
This was the year where I officially jumped off the Nickelodeon ship fully onto CN. I was so disappointed by the direction the channel was going this and the previous year that I couldn't deal with it anymore.

Best show: Courage the Cowardly Dog
Best movie: The Iron Giant
Wasn't Nickelodeon still good then?

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Daikun

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#5
Wasn't Nickelodeon still good then?
Not from my perspective. 1998 was the year when Nicktoons production went into hyperdrive, and the quality was suffering for it. IMO, the Golden Age of Nicktoons died this year, when we got merely middling shows like CatDog and The Wild Thornberrys. (TWT had a great premise, but felt like wasted potential.) The next year compounded the death of Nicktoons when we got the outright awful Rocket Power and SpongeBob made his debut and began his unending reign on the network. They also picked up bad third-party cartoons like The Brothers Flub in 1999.
 

Vaughn Max

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#6
Not from my perspective. 1998 was the year when Nicktoons production went into hyperdrive, and the quality was suffering for it. IMO, the Golden Age of Nicktoons died this year, when we got merely middling shows like CatDog and The Wild Thornberrys. (TWT had a great premise, but felt like wasted potential.) The next year compounded the death of Nicktoons when we got the outright awful Rocket Power and SpongeBob made his debut and began his unending reign on the network. They also picked up bad third-party cartoons like The Brothers Flub in 1999.
So you don't like any Nicktoon from 1998-present?

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#8
Not from my perspective. 1998 was the year when Nicktoons production went into hyperdrive, and the quality was suffering for it. IMO, the Golden Age of Nicktoons died this year, when we got merely middling shows like CatDog and The Wild Thornberrys. (TWT had a great premise, but felt like wasted potential.) The next year compounded the death of Nicktoons when we got the outright awful Rocket Power and SpongeBob made his debut and began his unending reign on the network. They also picked up bad third-party cartoons like The Brothers Flub in 1999.
It's not as bad as what would happen to it in 2007, but it was still pretty bad. Rocket Power was modern Family Guy before modern Family Guy but for kids. Unsympathetic one dimensional characters, mean spirited stories and tried too hard to pander to what was hip at the time. It feels more like something Seth Macfarlane would make than Klasky Csupo.
 

wonderfly

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#9
1999 was one of my favorite years of the decade (it's off-topic, but 1997 was the worst / my least favorite...that, or possibly 1991).

1999 was the year Pokemon came to Kids WB (it had been a syndicated show in the Fall of 1998, but became a Kids WB exclusive in February of 1999). Fox Kids responded by adding "Digimon" in the Fall of 1999. This was the year anime truly took off in popularity.

It was also the year "Batman Beyond" premiered on Kids WB (in January 1999). That kind of kicked off the "2nd wave" of Kids WB programming, moving away from the Warner Bros. comedy shows that defined the earlier part of the 90's (and the "traditional" Batman/Superman material), in favor of new action shows like Static Shock, Max Steel, Jackie Chan Adventures, and X-Men: Evolution...and that all started here with "Batman Beyond".

1999 also fully kicked off the "arms race" between Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. The Powerhouse era on Cartoon Network came into full being with "Ed, Edd n Eddy" and "Courage the Cowardly Dog" (and "Powerpuff Girls" had premiered just prior to 1999, in November of 1998). Nickelodeon was ramping up as well, with "Wild Thornberrys" and "Cat/Dog" (and with Spongebob, of course). I tend to agree with Daikun though, that's when I sided with Cartoon Network. Though I didn't necessarily hate Nickelodeon, form that point onward...

This was also the year Cartoon Network introduced "TOM" as the host of Toonami, which truly kick started the Toonami block. In the Fall of 1999, that's when Dragon Ball Z truly started to explode in popularity (on Toonami)...

1999 is when I rediscovered my love for cartoons, and that all started in January of 1999 with "Batman Beyond".
 

Mr HooPoe

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#10
1999 was one of my favorite years of the decade (it's off-topic, but 1997 was the worst / my least favorite...that, or possibly 1991).
To be honest, I just chose 1995 and 1997 because they were the first years off the top of my head where there seemed to be major changes. Not necessarily good, just major. I have to return to each year to know for sure, but those are the years where I expect to get a lot of material. As for my least anticipated, I would probably say 1990 just because the trends had not really kicked in yet and not much excitement seemed to take place then. But we will see.

1998 was the year when Nicktoons production went into hyperdrive, and the quality was suffering for it. IMO, the Golden Age of Nicktoons died this year, when we got merely middling shows like CatDog and The Wild Thornberrys. (TWT had a great premise, but felt like wasted potential.) The next year compounded the death of Nicktoons when we got the outright awful Rocket Power and SpongeBob made his debut and began his unending reign on the network. They also picked up bad third-party cartoons like The Brothers Flub in 1999.
That kind of opinion, as far as I know, is actually a bit more common than I would expect with the whole "Nick Rewind" concept. Of course, it all usually depends on when you grew up and the kinds of tastes you developed.

I personally was never invested enough in Nickelodeon to care. I am unsure of why exactly--it could be because of this wave specifically which, save the massive success of SpongeBob SquarePants and possibly the upcoming Fairly Oddparents, never seemed outstanding in much regard or perhaps just built itself so much around being the place where kids come first or something like that. I am not too sure. Either way, I may as well agree with you--it was bound to get even worse, since fewer good shows would be around and their quality would steadily drop further--but this was not a good time for the network, and the only thing that may likely be memorable about this year for the network is SpongeBob SquarePants itself premiering.

If you were into Cartoon Network enough to be properly invested, you would have more to say about what the network itself was doing at the time alongside its shows (Cartoon Cartoon Fridays happens) as it was modernising itself and relying less and less on its classic library, favouring new original properties. And honestly, 2.5 shows (the half is for I Am Weasel officially becoming its own show) becoming successful whether within a few years or to this day is a good mark on the network's record even if the success of them does not necessarily match what SpongeBob would achieve. Of course, long-time viewers of CN at the time would probably be upset about such changes just for creating shows with vastly different tastes and "ugly artstyles" in the way you left Nickelodeon after some time.

This is the first year where you can see Disney start to slip. Tarzan wasn’t a terrible movie by any means, but it seemed to lack the “magic” that most other movies from earlier in the decade had (I can’t really describe it), and served as a transition to less traditional Disney movies like Atlantis and Lilo & Stitch.
I recall Disney releasing its films under the label "Walt Disney Classics" on VHS...which eventually branched out to the new films at the time. I am unsure when they stopped, but the last movie I can see getting that label is The Hunchback of Notre Dame. People have qualms about when Disney would lose its magic after the all-powerful Renaissance of theirs, and while people agree The Lion King was definitely in it, there is a split over whether it extends to Hunchback or not. But one thing is for sure: Hercules was definitely not.

Tarzan may have been deviations of what Disney did, but it would probably be best to argue that Hercules was where the slip began (though a lot of what you could argue against the movie seems to come from how the source material is handled, something that any Disney movie could face in argument). If you want special deviation, Mulan had its own special art style which could have been a sign of transition from the start. The magic can be hard to describe, so I would like to hear your thoughts on this movie. I am certainly fine with them, but there are issues that prevent them from being amongst Disney's best.

If anything, I will give Tarzan its stunning backgrounds. Disney can sure do backgrounds when in full artistic focus (not that other movies have bad backgrounds, just that this one seemed to have even more special care than usual).

Anyway, I noticed that nobody addressed any adult animated series of the year. I want to run down a list of what we got in the West (anime needs a separate post) by network, and I would like to hear your thoughts on these shows.

  • FOX is responsible for the two biggest adult cartoons of the year: Family Guy and Futurama. Even if you never liked Family Guy, you had to admit that its success was necessary in immediate arrival of edgier animation to the mainstream (South Park would eventually gain its popularity status with the help of its movie this year) moreso than Futurama, which was basically what I would call a "new Simpsons" just because it took the spirit that people believed to be lost by the show after the infamous ninth series and put it in a coat that integrated comedy with science fiction. And for these shows, it just gets better once [adult swim] later picked them up following their cancellations. I should also mention that FOX has The PJs this year, and Eddie Murphy stop-motion cartoon that, while looks nice, does not necessarily reflect his pinnacle of talent. Unlike the former two shows, it did not last long on the network and was never to gain a strong enough cult status for any sort of revival.
  • UPN gets Dilbert and Home Movies this year. Based on the popular comic strip, Dilbert takes a bit of deviance by focusing on the titular character's outside life and manages to tell a series of 22-minute stories. It does involve the comic strip creator, so it may as well be worth it to at least watch. Home Movies is more of the child of unsung adult animation hero Dr Katz with the use of Squigglevision (later changed to Flash) and improvisation for comedic effect--something that can still be felt to this day. Like the FOX juggernauts, it would be saved by [adult swim]. The creator would later make Bob's Burgers (no pun intended).
  • The WB gets Mission Hill, another show saved by [adult swim]. While the show failed to finish producing its episodes, it enjoyed a short run and gained cult status for its unique style of art and tales of everyone's favourite hipsters of the era.
  • MTV gets Downtown (which is likely why Mission Hill is not named The Downtowners), a show that writes itself in an unusual perspective of life as you would probably come to expect of MTV at this point. It may not have a prominent cult status due to its lack of exposure, but it is probably best to check it out at least once. They also get Billy the Kid (unless you were in the UK, where you watched it on BBC4), a real visual oddity with enough of a cult following for a recent revival. Also worth checking out at least once, especially with episodes so short.
  • Kevin Spencer premieres on The Comedy Network in Canada. It became a long-runner on the network known for its grotesque and shocking style (to the point where one episode was banned for going too far) and
  • Also thanks to Canada is Internet sensation Happy Tree Friends. And anyone who watches this should be advised to watch them within probably days of each other or something to retain any value the series has.
 

Fone Bone

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#11
Dilbert: The Animated Series was atrocious. Back when it aired, I thought UPN was crazy to cancel it (even though I had never seen it). It was literally the only other recognizable show on the network besides Star Trek: Voyager. Then I got the DVD release a couple of years ago and realize why it only lasted two seasons. It is sour as hell. It's so cynical, and the characters are so unlikable and horrible. Maybe I'm describing the strip too, but that's easier to take in three panel a day doses. 22 minutes of Dilbert is practically torture.
 

Classic Speedy

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#12
1999 was a great year for animation, actually.

-Iron Giant
-Toy Story 2
-Mission Hill
-Home Movies (though to be fair, it didn't start to get really good until the new episodes debuted on Adult Swim two years later)
-Dilbert (yes, I like it)
-Family Guy
-Futurama
-South Park: BL&U
-Tarzan (not my favorite Disney film but it's enjoyable nonetheless)
-SpongeBob (though I didn't discover it until a year or two after it debuted.)
-Ed, Edd n Eddy

The Simpsons was still relatively solid, even if the cracks were starting to show.

Over in Japan, we had Excel Saga, which, despite its shortcomings, is still one of my favorite anime series.

Also of note in 1999, Roger Ebert devoted an entire episode of S&E to the medium in general.
 
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mimitchi33

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#13
In 1999, Ojamajo Doremi premiered on TV Asahi and became a major success among little girls. There was also Dragon Tales on PBS, which became a long-runner.
 

Mr HooPoe

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#18
I am not in the mood to go into a long post right now, but I want to cover some more ground before I get to going backwards and forwards with the 1998 and 2000 threads. At the very least, I will provide some pointers.

So nobody wants to mention Disney's efforts with Mickey Mouse Works (later House of Mouse) and The Weekenders this year? These two shows basically combine Disney's television trends of using their older properties and being like Nickelodeon in the same year. (1997 did the Nick stunt, while 1998 did the old property stunt.)

Ojamajo Doremi and Excel Saga are far from the only noteworthy anime from this year. I mean, how did nobody mention One Piece or Digimon yet? There are plenty of other titles I am interested in covering like Hunter x Hunter, Reign the Conqueror, Blue Gender, Gregory Horror Show, Colourful, Pet Shop of Horrors, and Oruchuban Ebichu.

There was also Bohbot Kids Network with two shows this year: Roughnecks: Starship Troopers and Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths, and Legends. Does anybody know anything about this network?

For DiC Entertainment, this year is...not too bad. By that I mean they did not create anything that would make the bottom ten of the year, those being Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century and Archie's Weird Mysteries (despite both premises being quite bizarre).

Teletoon actually had two shows worth watching this year: Cybersix and Redwall. Despite everything else ranging from okay [Blaster's Universe (though Teletoon itself got it the following year), Fly Tales] to actually awful (Bad Dog, Mega Babies, Angela Anaconda), the fact that two shows worth watching came out from Teletoon is at least something compared to other years.

(Also, how is the Watership Down cartoon?)