The 10 Worst Cartoon Kid Sidekicks

By Todd Ciolek in Anime, Cartoons, Daily Lists
Monday, November 8, 2010 at 8:10 am
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So you've created The Next Big Cartoon. There's just one problem: You gotta make it appealing to kids, and the easiest way to do that is by adding a character with whom every bratty little viewer can identify. You need a kid sidekick.

Not all kid sidekicks are terrible. If used properly, they can grow into intriguing characters and bring a grounded perspective to a story. Yet it's all too often that a kid sidekick is an irksome pustule of dead weight implanted by lazy writers and meddlesome production executives. In a stroke of irony, children usually hate the younger characters that are supposed to amuse and educate them. And these ten are the easiest ones to hate.

10) Harry Grimoire from Darkstalkers

There shall be no forgiveness for the American-made Darkstalkers cartoon, which turned Capcom's gorgeously animated fighting game into a cheap, unfunny comedy. Now, Darkstalkers isn't very serious to start with, and its four-part anime adaptation wasn't all that great. But at least it looked like the games. And at least it didn't force in a boring human kid straight out of The PageMaster.

Yes, in a show with a werewolf, a vampire, an abominable snowman, a zombie rocker, a ghost-girl, and a perfectly human monster-hunter, our main character is a whiny young nerd named Harry Grimoire. Harry is there to unsubtly voice educational tidbits and somehow ignore the fact that a half-naked catwoman is living in his bedroom. This is evidence that the people behind this show actively hated it.

And there's some more evidence.

9) Molly from My Little Pony

The creators of '80s cartoons often didn't trust children to identify with non-human characters, even when those characters were a commune of marketable neon horses. So My Little Pony had Megan, a human girl who helped the ponies defend their homeland from constant attacks by giant squids, lava demons, dragon-men, and who knows what else. Ponyland was to '80s cartoons what Belgium was to World War I, conquered and re-conquered every twenty-five minutes.

For the My Little Pony movie, the producers decided to add Megan's two siblings: Danny and Molly. Danny perhaps served as a bratty foil to the Pony order, but Molly was, by most fan accounts, just a younger version of Megan. What purpose did she serve?

Oh, right. The toys. Anyway, Hasbro soon abandoned the idea of selling My Little Pony toys based on human characters, as girls preferred ponies with color-changing hair, helicopter tails, jewel eyes, spring-powered cap guns, and detachable heads that turned into smaller robot ponies.

8) Willy Duwitt from Bucky O'Hare

If Bucky O'Hare was intended as fantasy fulfillment, it's a strange fantasy: a middle-school kid named Willy DuWitt is sucked through a dimensional breach and plunged into a galaxy where green rabbits and duck-men fight desperate space battles against an empire of sniveling toads and other cold-blooded creatures. And Willy is there because...uh, kids watch Saturday morning cartoons.

And like most kid characters shoved into stories where they don't belong, Willy is the least interesting member of Bucky's crew. Hell, one-eyed, catchphrase-spouting little robot named Blinky upstages him. Willy's out of place everywhere, even in the show's theme song, which is WAY too excited about slaughtering frog-people just for kicks.

7) Sailor Mini-Moon from Sailor Moon

You might expect Sailor Moon's audience to be children and pre-teens, but never underestimate anime geeks. A lot of the show's followers in Japan and America were college-age viewers and versions of That Creepy Fortysomething Guy Who Made You Swear Off Anime For Years. And while Sailor Moon was a success, its handlers wanted more kids to watch the show and read the comics. So the klutzy teenage Sailor Moon was joined by her daughter, Sailor Mini-Moon.

No, Sailor Mini-Moon (or Chibi-Moon, if you must) isn't introduced through a cautionary tale about teen pregnancy. She's actually Sailor Moon's daughter from a thousand years in the future, and she travels back in time to irritate her mother and a lot of viewers. Perhaps that was the whole plan: Mini-Moon makes the rest of the show's gaggle of squawking anime superheroines more tolerable by comparison.

6) Scott Trakker from M.A.S.K.

Here, watch the opening of M.A.S.K. Notice anything wrong?

Yes, there's a kid riding a fat robot-cycle around all of the jet-fighter Camaros and laser-spewing pickup tanks. That kid is Scott Trakker, the son of M.A.S.K. protagonist Matt Trakker, and he and the rotund T-bot are the focal point of far too many M.A.S.K. episodes. Any sensible father would send his son away from a line of work where a motorcycle can conceal a machine gun array, but Matt, bland Ken doll that he is, lets Scott hang around to ask expository questions and provide comedy relief. Not that the adult M.A.S.K. characters are particularly interesting, but at least their transforming vehicles don't look like R2-D2 laid an egg.

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