April 30 is Children’s Day in Mexico, which makes us “oldtimers” think about age and dying and a lot of depressing, existential shit. Luckily, before April 30th comes April 20th (4/20). So instead of wallowing in your mortality and fleeting youth, light one up and revisit your inner kid with this list of the best dubbed cartoon theme songs those of us in Latin America grew up watching.
We also threw some largely instrumental tracks that we love in there (Mazinger Z, X-Men), and some that weren’t dubbed at all but just legendary (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Real Ghostbusters). Here are ten of our favorites, and trust that narrowing this list down to only ten was no easy task.
Did we miss your favorite? Post it at the comments section!
Following ThunderCats (both in production terms and scheduling), Silverhawks was like the educational, space-obsessed cousin to the show that spawned Lion-O and Mumm-Ra. It’s not like it wasn’t badass. Hell! They had a guitar-strumming cowboy to pilot their spaceship. It’s made clearer by the opening song, which describes them in heroic tones, and the performance of it is quite epic as well. The instrumental track kind of predates Discovery-era Daft Punk, if you think about it. -Marcos Hassan
Caballeros del Zodiaco
Saint Seiya was a weird case in Latin American cartoons. The show itself was dubbed Latino but the song was left as the Spanish (as in Spain) version – maybe because for years, they didn’t think they could top it. It’s probably the only children’s cartoon themes that you can picture yourself singing in a tavern with all your buddies, swinging enormous mugs of beer. – Marcos Hassan
My inner circle of #viejennials friends all agree that Candy is the original Chapiadora. She had countless boy toys with lots of cash to pass around and all of them died but one. Candy mijita save those crocodile tears for another story because you’re not going to fool me and get my money. – Joel Moya
Defensores De La Tierra
Us children of the 80s, didn’t have movie blockbusters with a ton of heroes like The Avengers – we got Superamigos (shout out to los Gemelos Fantásticos!) and Defenders Of The Earth. This one was very confusing to me, since it was obvious that Roldán El Temerario was Flash Gordon, so why did they change his name? Also, why did the Phantom call for the power of just 10 tigers? Why did everybody have offspring that also acted as their sidekicks? The song sounds kind of a mess (didn’t they have mixing boards back then?) but it’s also very awesome and got you pumped for their adventures. – Marcos Hassan
This song is just delightful, especially when you sing along to it. Also, I’d like to point out that there are more words in the theme song than there were in the entire series’ dialogue. – Marcos Hassan
La Ballena Josefina
This is the story of a kid who happens to be friends with a flying whale and yada yada. The interesting twist, is that Sandy (the kid) is the only person who can see the whale in his magical green world. Leads me to believe that he was on heavy medications or started to experiment with mushrooms at an early age. – Joel Moya
He-Man y los Amos del Universo
Who was first the chicken or the egg? Son Reebok o son Nike? Is it He-Man or She-Man? – Joel Moya
David El Gnomo
While most of the cartoons we got back then came from the States and Japan, Spain gave us some memorable ones. This one is about a good-hearted (and somehow morally superior) gnome that lectured trolls about the evils of dumping trash outside the bins or something. I remember the lyrics alright (“I’m seven times stronger than you, and faster [too]; and I’m always in a good mood?”) Who wouldn’t want to hang out with someone like that? But listening to the theme again, I never realized what a synthpop treat this one was. It’s like Alaska y Dinarama could have written it. – Marcos Hassan
This song is playful and full of inspiration; in short, a complete delight. It’s perfect for a show that set our very young imaginations free. Also, the intro featured visual cues from Star Wars and Ghostbusters, which might explain why many of us became so reference-crazy. – Marcos Hassan
Festival de Robots
Anyone interested in joining an 80s cartoon theme cover band? This is the song that will get the all the #viejennials in party mode. – Joel Moya