Long before Netflix came to be, a lot of us considered a binge to be an afternoon spent watching good ole cartoons on TV. But those times have since flown away!
In celebration of all those fun days, we decided to put on our nostalgia goggles just for this feature. Instead of our C-drama recommendations, we’ve gathered the best Chinese-influenced animations from our childhood!
Here are eight shows that you should definitely look back on:
1. American Dragon: Jake Long
For those who don’t remember, this animated series tells the story of Jake Long, a Chinese-American teenager who must navigate through high school life while learning the powers and responsibilities of being a shape-shifting dragon. Mentored by his grandfather and a 600-year old dog, Jake protects the magical community against the villainous Huntsclan and, along the way, discovers what it means to be the first-ever American Dragon.
2. Xiaolin Showdown
Those who love action-packed cartoons are bound to recognize Xiaolin Showdown! Set in a world where martial arts battles and Eastern-influenced magic are the norms, this show follows the story of Omi, Kimiko, Raimundo, and Clay — four teenagers who have come together from different corners of the globe to be the next generation of Xiaolin Dragons.
Alongside their training, the four warriors are tasked with protecting magical artifacts called Shen Gong Wu, keeping them from falling into the wicked hands of the Heylin and defending the world from the forces of evil.
3. Shaolin Wuzang
Set in ancient China, this Franco-Chinese series is known for wuxia influences that you definitely won’t find out of place in popular costume dramas. Shaolin Wuzang first begins with the legend of Heihu, a great demon who was once sealed into a prison by three knights of the Shaolin Temple for his terrorizing acts of evil. However, after a thousand years, Heihu escapes from his weakening prison and again wreaks havoc across the land.
Recognizing the graveness of the situation, the grandmasters of Shaolin find the child-reincarnations of the three knights who once defeated the demon: Hua, Tang, and Cheng. Together, they train to be the Shaolin Wuzang who are foretold to save the world.
4. Yin Yang Yo!
Want something a little more on the comedic side? This show depicts the lives of Yin and Yang, twin rabbits who train under the grumpy panda Master Yo to master the mystical martial art style of Woo Foo. Though they share a rocky brother-sister relationship, both Yin and Yang work together to embark on thrilling adventures, fighting evil villains bent on destroying, corrupting, and taking over the world.
5. Avatar: The Last Airbender
Do we really need to introduce one of the greatest animated series of all time? Though the show actually features a mishmash of Asian influences in its worldbuilding, we felt that the Chinese-based martial art styles and characters (cough: Toph Beifong, anyone?) were too great to miss out on! In the words of everyone’s favorite waterbender:
“Water, Earth, Fire, Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them. But when the world needed him most, he vanished. A hundred years passed, and my brother and I discovered the new Avatar — an airbender named Aang. And although his airbending skills are great, he has a lot to learn before he’s ready to save anyone.
But I believe Aang can save the world.”
6. Ni Hao, Kai-Lan
Maybe you found yourself learning a couple of Mandarin words from this educational children’s series! Ni Hao, Kai-Lan follows the adventures of Kai-Lan, a six-year-old Chinese-American girl, as she and her talking animal companions solve riddles and overcome all sorts of obstacles together.
Featuring musical sing-alongs and a whole bunch of Chinese vocabulary, this show is a perfect way for kids to enjoy their immersion into both Chinese culture and language.
7. The Life and Times of Juniper Lee
The Life and Times of Juniper Lee is an animated urban fantasy series that depicts the life of Juniper Lee, an 11-year old girl who finds herself becoming the Te Xuan Ze! Now an unwilling guardian who must maintain the balance between the human and magical realms, Juniper juggles her busy school life with her newfound duty: fighting off the forces of chaos that invade Orchid Bay City.
8. Jackie Chan Adventures
Featuring the great kung fu actor himself, Jackie Chan Adventures is an exciting fictional take on Jackie Chan! In this comedy series, Jackie Chan is a professional archaeologist who ends up facing The Dark Hand, a criminal organization that serves the demon sorcerer Shendu, after finding a mysterious talisman on a shield. Because of this, Jackie Chan cooperates with the secret law organization Section 13 to counter the threat, facing dangers with his quick wits and explosive skill in the martial arts.