Apr 20, 2015

Cartoon Muscle: Not Just Superheroes in Spandex

When I was a kid, you could occasionally see shirtless boys or men in Saturday morning cartoons, but it was rare, primarily on jungle or prehistoric adventure series like The Herculoids.   Mostly you had to make do with an open shirt or a spandex superhero uniform, and of course Saturday morning live-action series.

Fred from Scooby-Doo seemed to have a nice physique, but not once in 10,000 episodes did he ever take his shirt off.

Times have changed. In Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated (2010-2013), he flexes at poolside.

The Anime Boys with Their Shirts Off blog displays the shirtless boys and men appearing in a huge number of animated tv series, everything from adventure to comedy, and even some toddler tv.  Did you ever want to see Dora the Explorer's brother Diego with his shirt off?  Or Bill from Curious George?

There's a lot of Japanese anime, like The Legend of Korra and The Daily Lives of High School Boys),  but also a lot of Western cartoons, everything from Phineas and Ferb to Johnny Test.

There are even a few oldies, like these golden-haired preppy types (from Beverly Hills Teens and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, respectively).

Apparently animators are no longer worried about kids being traumatized for life by the sight of a torso or two (like these from Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego).

See also: Saturday Morning Muscle