Cartoons for kids and nostalgic toys go hand-in-hand. Heck, some of the most popular animated shows of the '80s and '90s were based on toy lines, and vice-versa. Many shows, including enduring favorites like Transformers, existed just to sell toys.
Unfortunately, some of the coolest toys out there never got a chance to be immortalized in cartoon form. Yes, some action figures appeared to be tailor made for animated TV shows that would function as totally radical 30-minute commercials, yet they never made the leap to cartoon glory. Here are the top toy lines that never got the cartoons they so rightfully deserved.
A loose tie-in to Transformers, Battle Beasts were created by Takara Tomy in Japan (known there as BeastFormers) and distributed worldwide by Hasbro Toys in 1987. The anthropomorphic animal warriors each featured a holographic rub sign that featured one of three tribes: Water, Fire, and Wood, which worked similarly to rock, paper, scissors. The later addition of a fourth emblem, Sunburst, complicated things a bit.
Although the Battle Beasts did make a one-off appearance in the Japanese cartoon series Transformers: The Headmasters, the Beasts never received a show of their own... Unless you count the spiritual successor to Battle Beasts, Beast Saga, which ended up with its own line of toys and an anime series in 2012.
In 1989, Mattel released one of the most unique action figure lines of all time: Food Fighters. The short lived toy line was composed of militarized food items and featured such characters as Private Pizza and Mean Weener.
How these high-concept action figures never received their own cartoon show is beyond comprehension. But Food Fighters proved one thing for sure - it's okay to play with your food.
In 1987, there were few toys cooler than the battalions of weaponized insects known as Army Ants. Equipped with various artillery weapons and squishy rubber abdomens (both of which would inevitably get lost in your toy box), the Army Ants came in squadrons of three and eight.
Many '80s kids dreamed of seeing these orange and blue bugs invade their TV screens as cartoons, but no such luck.
The kids' meal toys of today pale in overall quality to the toys of the past. And that couldn't be more apparent than when you take a look at McDonald's classic Changeables figures (sometimes called McRobots). Featuring a toy Vanilla Cone that makes even the delicious 99¢ treat seem like a waste of money, Changeables copied the tried-and-true Transformers format, turning your favorite cheap eats into the ultimate drive-thru warriors.
Why the fast food chain never took advantage of this by launching a synergistic cartoon show remains a mystery.