Ten Top 80s Cartoons and Toys

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Back to the Past

Do you remember growing up in the 80s? Do you remember all those fantastic cartoon shows and toys from that era? Here i've made a list of some of the most popular brands of that time to take you down the nostalgic memory lane.
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Original release: 1984 – 1987
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Original release: 1984 – 1987

1. TRANSFORMERS

With the tagline 'More than meets the eye' this immensely popular franchise started its fame in the 1980s with its famous Generation one (G1) line of cartoons and toys and various other memorabilia. Originally from Japan and named 'Fight! Super Robot Life-Form Transformers'.
Hot Rod (Rodimus Prime) with Targetmaster
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Hot Rod (Rodimus Prime) with Targetmaster

Toy Line

These were immensely popular toys made of plastic and some diecast metal with beautiful packaging and chrome paint. The way the figures transformed was revolutionary for the time period with some featuring three or more forms of transformation!
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Original Cartoon Ran from: 1987 to 1996
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Original Cartoon Ran from: 1987 to 1996

2. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

With the strong Raphael, intelligent Donatello, radical Michaelangelo and leader Leornardo, This foursome fought the evil Shredder and his evil foot soldiers with the help of such heroes as master Splinter, reporter April o'Neil and hockey-mask wearing Casey Jones.
The evil Shredder
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The evil Shredder

Toy Line

With the trademark packaging that had some variation depending on where you lived (USA used the name Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where as in the UK and other European countries it was named Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles as ninja was deemed too violent).
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Original Cartoon Ran from: 1983 to 1985
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Original Cartoon Ran from: 1983 to 1985

3. HE-MAN - MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

With his call to the gods for the 'power of grayskull!', He-Man and his trusty steed Battle-cat (who transformed from the cowardly cringer) fought alongside heroes such as man-at-arms and She-Ra to battle the evil forces of Skeletor.
He-Man and Skeletor
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He-Man and Skeletor

Toy Line

With the 'hard to stand up' figures, never the less having a huge impact on young teens of the time. Very iconic and currently undergoing an update with the new classics line of figures.
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Original Cartoon ran from 1985 -1989
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Original Cartoon ran from 1985 -1989

4. THUNDERCATS

Thunder-Thunder-ThunderCats Hooooo! Lion-O would hold his sword aloft and shout this as his sword would grow in power. Joined by Panthro, Cheetara, Snarl and company they would battle the evil Mum-Ra.
Lion-O, Panthro, Cheetara and company
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Lion-O, Panthro, Cheetara and company

Toy Line

Really great looking toy line and can be very expensive if boxed and pristine. Favourite looking is the Samurai/Ninja called Hachiman.
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Original release:1983 – 1986
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Original release:1983 – 1986

5. G.I. Joe

'Yo Joe!'  The show's opening theme song included the narration: "G.I. Joe is the code name for America's daring, highly trained special mission force. Its purpose: to defend human freedom against Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world
General Hawk
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General Hawk

Toy Line

Another very popular franchise based in America. There were European equivalents called Action Force that didn't seem to reach the same popularity as the original GI Joe did. Featuring the standard 3.75 inch figures of the time and beautiful card artwork.
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Original ran from: 1985–1988
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Original ran from: 1985–1988

6. MASK

'Masked Crusaders' or 'Illusion is the Ultimate Weapon'. Another great cartoon with catchy theme tune. These characters wore helmets and drove transforming vehicles ranging from bikes that turned into helicoptors, to road vehicles that unleashed boats.
Raven with Box
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Raven with Box

Toy Line

Some really cool looking toys made by Kenner (The company was closed by its corporate parent Hasbro in 2000) with alternate modes and cool names such as Firefly, JackHammer, Thunderhawk, Condor and Rhino to name a few.
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Released in 1987
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Released in 1987

7. VISIONARIES

Knights of the Magical Light had spectral beings that would jump from their chest and staff to aid them in battle. With names such as Witterquick, Lexor and Arzon.
WitterQuick rare
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WitterQuick rare

Toy Line

The toy line was great with holographic images of their relevant creature power display on their staff and chest. Can fetch a high price especially in good condition.
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Original release: 1978 – 1985
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Original release: 1978 – 1985

8. Gatchaman / G-Force

This unique cartoon originally came from Japan in 1986 and was renamed from 'Science Ninja Team Gatchaman' to 'Battle of the Planets (G-Force)' for the american audience. It featured 5 heroes dressed in bird like costumes.
Japanese toy line
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Japanese toy line

Toy Line

Most (if not all) of these toys were from Japan and seemed to offer soft good capes. There doesnt seem to be any american based toys (or are rare). The hero names were  Mark, Tiny, Keyop, Princess, and Jason.
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Original Release: 1987 – 1988
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Original Release: 1987 – 1988

9. BRAVESTARR

Featuring Marshal Bravestar with Eyes of the Hawk, Ears of the Wolf, Strength of the Bear and Speed of the Puma. Working alongside his trusty cyborg steed (Thirty/Thirty), on a mission to defeat the evil Tex Hex (who was apparently taken from the Ghostbusters franchise by the author).
Bravestarr and Tex Hex toys
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Bravestarr and Tex Hex toys

Toy Line

A pretty weak toy line with the star of the show being Bravestarr himself.
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Original Release: 1986
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Original Release: 1986

10. Centurions

An underrated 80s Cartoon. “Man and machine: power extreme!”, the series featured a team of air, land and sea operations experts.
Ace McCloud Boxed Figure
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Ace McCloud Boxed Figure

Toy Line

A limited but still awesome toy line. Each figure had attachable parts to help them journey through Land , Sea and Sky.

Honorable Mentions:

Ghostbusters
Jace and the Wheeled Warriors
Go Bots / Rock Lords
COPS
She-Ra
SilverHawks
Dungeons & Dragons
Captain Planet
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