The Problem With Lists and My Top 10 List of Animated Robots

I was kind of shocked when I checked the date it was first broadcast because I can’t believe it’s been nearly five whole years, but nonetheless it inspired today’s post. I’m talking about Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Cartoons list, which was broadcast over a pretty epic 3 hours in total.

As a list, its pretty comprehensive, although some will take issue with the fact that cartoons were defined as films, shorts and TV series so the likes of Betty Boop had to contend with the entire cast of Futurama who were up against Akira. Not entirely a fair fight in my opinion but I digress.

I mention all this because as a list, The 100 Greatest Cartoons is actually pretty good. It was voted on by members of the British public so naturally a few shows made it in that American folks would never recall. The main issue I have with lists is the propensity for the youngest items to rank really high. A noted example is (can’t believe I’m referencing this) the greatest albums of all time in Q magazine a few years back. The Red Hot Chili Peppers then-current album was way inside the top 10. I can’t even recall the name of it now.

Another aspect of lists (and it’s the main reason I tend to stay away from them on the blog) is that when some one person makes them up, they reflect the personality of that person. For example, if I were to make a list of the top 10 animated robots, it would look like this:

  1. XJ-9 (bonus points if you also know her name)
  2. Mr. Bender Bending Rodriguez
  3. The Iron Giant
  4. EVE
  5. EVA Units 01, 02 and 03
  6. Astroboy
  7. The Robot from Castle in the Sky
  8. Transformers
  9. Rosie the Robot
  10. The break-dancing robot that caught on fire

By the looks of things, it appears to be a fairly inconspicuous list. You may argue that Astroboy should be first or that I am adhering to the very thing I lament in the paragraph above (I don’t this just happens to be the way the list is). The point is that this is my list and what I consider to be the top 10 animated robots. You will probably have a completely different list, and that’s perfectly fine. I think the reason we are so obsessed with such lists is that we want to compare ours and argue about why that list is wrong and ours is right (it’s a human nature thing, right?).


3 thoughts on “The Problem With Lists and My Top 10 List of Animated Robots

  1. Having made countless lists myself, you bring up a good point. We want to compare ours to official lists and see what’s wrong. And while the British generally have great taste, the name of that list could have been changed to “100 greatest works of animation” or “moments” even, because cartoon encapsulates something else.

    Five years ago, I tried to make out a list of the 100 greatest animated features, and I couldn’t finish it, because there weren’t enough for a full list. But with it, I tried organizing a Top Ten to my liking, but could also satisfy anyone else. I think I know better now.

    Also, the Chili Peppers album a few years ago was called Stadium Arcadium, and I don’t know if it was one of their best, so I have to agree with you on it being in a top 10 of all time list. I think you’ll find that music lists are far worse than animation lists.

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