The Best Teams Come in Sixes

The Best Teams Come in Sixes
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Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, it’s your old pal Antoni here with another written entry. As you can tell from the title above, I want to talk about my favorite teams of six from some of my favorite animated shows of all time. Some of them are based on my headcanons, while others are based on the fact that there are legitimately six characters.

The number six. It is a rather infamous number next to four and thirteen. It is said that number six is the number of the devil, especially when it is mentioned three times. However, if one were to positively connotate this number, six is actually a really interesting number, as it is a lucky number when it is indicated as the highest number on the dice, the number of love according to the Tarot cards, and is the number of completeness, thus waning away any form of separation. With that said, let us get to the main list.

Keep in mind that these teams of six come from some of my favorite Western cartoon shows, so, anime is eventually going to get its own list. Moreover, these are the shows I grew up with during my life in the 90s to the early 2000s, and, as always, do expect some tied entries. I am also judging each six-person group in terms of their interpersonal chemistry and how exceptionally they work together, both in headcanon and/or in real canon. Now, let’s get cracking.

9. The Jungle Cubs (Shere Khan, Hathi, Baloo, Kaa, Louie, and Bagheera)
Back when I was a kid I only heard about this show in passing. It was not until I spent two weeks in Oxford, England with a host family that I caught this show in Playhouse Disney of all networks. Disney’s Jungle Cubs was a cute, enjoyable show and it was rather lovely seeing the animals one knows and loves from Disney’s The Jungle Book as this six-cub band.

I figured that if Shere Khan, Hathi, Baloo, Kaa, Louie, and Bagheera had maintained their six-way friendship all the way up to adulthood, these six would have been amazing animal guardians to Mowgli and not just the wolves, thus being akin to a huge family. Shere Khan would have tapped into Mowgli’s skills as a fighter, more specifically a wrestler and a hunter, and his roaring skills, thus making him gain the strength to defeat his opponents. Hathi would have instilled duty upon Mowgli that he has to protect the jungle from all forms of harm. Baloo would still teach Mowgli a thing or two about compassion and friendliness. Kaa would have tested Mowgli’s stealth and cunning. Louie would have taught him how to enjoy his life while he is still young and spry. Finally, Bagheera would have instilled wisdom upon Mowgli to decipher what is prudent and foolhardy, right and wrong, and decent and vulgar. At least, this happens in my headcanon, thus making Mowgli grow not only with his beloved wolf family but also his animal guardians, thus bringing in Shanti as his wife and Ranjan as his human brother along for the ride to protect the jungles of India along with their progeny.

Going back to Shere Khan, Hathi, Baloo, Kaa, Louie, and Bagheera as cubs, these six animals have superb chemistry because of the fact that they play off of each other so effectively. Shere Khan is the fierce deadpan snarker, Hathi is the lovable scatterbrain who tries to keep it together, Baloo is the adorable laid-back slacker, Kaa is the hilarious hypnotizer, Louie is the hyperactive bundle of joy, and Bagheera is the only sane cub who is the brains of the group. When they are a team, they are dynamic and rather indestructible but when separated, they would not function as superbly or dynamically.

At the end of the day, what one gets with these six cubs is a lot of fun dynamics, interesting characterizations, and some memorable stories that can occur on any given occasion. Special kudos also has to go to Jason Marsden as Shere Khan and Louie, Rob Paulsen as Hathi, Elizabeth Daily as Bagheera, Pamela Adlon as Baloo, and Jim Cummings as Kaa, as well as Cree Summer as the second voice of Louie, Stephen Furst as the second voice of Hathi, and Dee Bradley Baker as the second voice of Bagheera, for doing exceptional jobs bringing these characters to life, especially the first set of voice actors in the first season.

8. The Recess Gang (TJ Detwiler, Vince LaSalle, Ashley Spinelli, Mikey Blumberg, Gretchen Grundler, and Gus Griswald)
Ah, yes, my dear millennial comrades, we are going to talk about the Recess gang from Disney’s Recess, one of the greatest slice-of-life cartoons to rank alongside Hey Arnold, Arthur, The Weekenders, and As Told by Ginger. We have TJ the leader, Vince the athlete, Spinelli the brawler chick, Mikey the gentle giant, Gretchen the brain, and Gus the nerd who has a lot more than meets the eye.

Every episode featuring these six kids from Third Street School is exciting, fun, and never leaves me bored because of how strongly they stick together as really best friends who have each others’ backs and will not leave anyone behind. This is also due to how exceptionally they work together not only as one team but also a group of friends who have amazing adventures and misadventures in the school playground and in their daily lives as kids.

When one combines TJ’s idealism, strong personality, proactivity, and willingness to take charge, Vince’s athletic prowess and cool guy attitude, Spinelli’s fiery temperament and her willingness to let her fists fly at the slightest provocation but still has enough lovability to back her up, Mikey’s sweet, gentle giant lovability, Gretchen’s technological savviness, and Gus’s innocence and shyness, one gets a magnificent team of six friends who use their different skills to either escape any sticky situation, collaborate well when times get rough, and even enjoy themselves, as they get themselves in a lot of interesting situations.

7. The Hazelnut Middle School Squad (Pepper Ann Pearson, Milo Kamalani, Nicky Anais Little, Trinket St. Blair, Cissy Rooney, and Dieter Lederhosen)
I am fully aware that this is solely based on headcanon, considering that Pepper Ann’s only best friends are Nicky and Milo, though she does have an all right friendship with Dieter and she does have a frenemy-type of relationship with Trinket and Cissy, though it leans more towards the enemy than frenemy. However, I would love to think that after their 7th-grade exploits, Dieter would become marvelously wonderful friends with Pepper Ann, Nicky, and Milo, Cissy would soften up to be considered one of Pepper Ann’s really great friends, and Trinket would let go of her snooty girl ways to enjoy true friendship not only with Cissy and Dieter but also with Pepper Ann, Nicky, and Milo.

Where my headcanon is concerned, Pepper Ann, Milo, Nicky, Trinket, Cissy, and Dieter have remained really great friends from the final months of the seventh grade all the way up to their adult years, where although they are married to different people they will still stay in close contact with each other through thick and thin. Putting not only Pepper Ann’s, Nicky’s, and Milo’s friendship together with Dieter, Trinket, and Cissy is not only combining the best of both worlds and making this three-person group turn into six but it also brings in so much more group dynamics between these six lovable characters from a show I grew up with ever since I first tuned into it when I was nine years old.

My main headcanon for these six characters is that Pepper Ann would be the street-smart yet adorkable idealist who has brilliant yet crazy ideas. Nicky would be the book smart only sane woman who superbly uses tact and facts to get her and her friends out of any sticky situation. Milo would be the artistic, laid-back pacifist who ensures harmony within the group. Trinket would be the high-maintenance material girl who has a heart of gold, especially when it comes to having genuine friends and comrades like Pepper Ann, Nicky, Milo, Cissy, and Dieter. Cissy would be the comic relief who has loads of lovability. Finally, Dieter would be the kind-hearted, gentle, chubby buddy who also ensures harmony within the group and who loves to be the caterer for his great friends.

In high school, Pepper Ann, Nicky, Milo, Trinket, Cissy, and Dieter would encounter balancing responsibilities of setting an example to the younger levels with the expectations set upon them when it comes to their futures with trying to keep themselves alive in the shark tank known as High School.

In college, they would explore their interests and passions in life while trying to ensure that they get a great job from their fields and keeping that friendship tight even though it will be filled with stumbles and bumps along the way. Pepper Ann would be an English Literature major, Nicky would be a Chemistry, Physics, and Biology major, Milo would major in Fine Art and Sociology, Trinket would major in Business Administration, Cissy would major in Media and Design, and Dieter would specialize in German and Culinary Arts.

Even though six of them have families of their own in their adult years, they would still go out of their way to have either Skype sessions or luncheons to reminisce and to even talk about their families in general, thus maintaining a very strong dynamic.

6. The Archie Gang (Archie Andrews, Reggie Mantle, Jughead Jones, Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, and Dilton Doily)
I remember reading the Archie comics ever since I was a little boy. I even remembered going to my maternal grandma’s place to catch the Archie and Sabrina Hour on the now-defunct Kermit Channel when I was seven to eight years old. Even as I continued to read the Archie comics, there was one show that I thought was the best cartoon incarnation of these said comics. Ladies and gentlemen, I am talking about Archie’s Weird Mysteries, which I actually caught on the Disney Channel in the Philippines.

I mean it. Out of all the Archie incarnations and out of all the stuff DiC has produced, Archie’s Weird Mysteries is one of their best works, because I am a major fan of mystery shows and installments akin to Scooby-Doo and his friends, Sherlock Holmes, and Miss Marple. This also helps that there are episodes where Archi, Reggie, Jughead, Veronica, Betty, and Dilton can put their skills to great use when cracking a case. There are some episodes where all six of the characters are involved in one case while there are other cases where there are only four or five of the members who are involved in the case with other characters like Moose, Midge, and Ethel helping the main six out with intermittent results.

Archie’s Weird Mysteries’ group is formed like this. Archie is the de facto leader of the group who has journal entries of every paranormal, supernatural, and just plain odd mystery that occurs in Riverdale, Reggie is the occasionally antagonistic, bigheaded jock who is also quite the snarker, Jughead is the comic relief who loves to eat, Veronica is the snooty beauty with a heart of gold, Betty is the preppy, loving, kind Genki girl, and Dilton is the brain of the group. Together, they do form a nice ragtag team of teens who encounter a lot of strange, crazy occurrences in their hometown of Riverdale with Archie writing for a mystery column. Sure, there are episodes that may not feature all six of them as a team, but if I were to take those small nitpicks away, those episodes whether with all of the six members or some of them manage to entertain me on a consistent level.

5. Josie and The Pussy Cats (Josie McCoy, Alan M. Mayberry, Valerie Brown, Melody Valentine, Alexandra Cabot, and Alexander Cabot III)
I may have been a huger Scooby-Doo fan when I was a child, but Josie and The Pussy Cats plus Alan, Alexandra, Alexander, and Sebastian and Bleep managed to entertain me with everything they got.

Combining the main band of Josie and The Pussy Cats consisting of Josie the main heroine, Valerie the brain, and Melody the lovable dumb blonde with Alan’s gentlemanly, muscular athleticism, Alexander’s superb comic timing as Josie and the Pussy Cats’ manager, and Alexandra’s salty yet loyal attitude as well as Sebastian the cat’s lovability makes this a great team of six main heroes and their lovable mascot.

What makes me love them as a group is that they all have discernible personalities and it is so much fun watching these six teens bounce off of each other, especially when Sebastian is involved. Sure, Alan and Alexander are pretty much Fred and Shaggy clones, especially the latter considering he and Shaggy shared a voice actor in the form of the late, great Casey Kasem, and Alexandra can be very catty, no pun intended, but there is no shadow of a doubt that they along with Josie, Valerie, and Melody kept me and many other Josie and The Pussy Cats fan entertained with their super interpersonal chemistry, catchy tunes, and enjoyable scenarios.

4. Team Avatar (Zuko, Sokka, Suki, Katara, Aang, and Toph) and The Freedom Team (Haru, Jet, Kei Lo, Yue, Mai, and Ty Lee)
Ah, yes. One team of six that became absolutely canon in Season 3 and another team of six based on my own headcanon all from one of the best Nicktoons of all time, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Team Avatar is an example of a group that has grown stronger and stronger throughout the seasons. What started off as a three-man band with Sokka, Katara, and Aang in the first season grew into a four-man band with adding Toph in the mix and eventually five with Suki and finally in the third season a reformed Zuko joins Team Avatar as the sixth ranger. The fact that this group went through so many challenges and trials to become the well-established team that they are is nothing short of amazing. One has Aang who wants to ensure a peaceful balance for all of the elements, Sokka who may be the occasional relief but when he is battle he shows seriousness and determination, Suki who has enough bravery and toughness to carry this group and the Kiyoshi warriors through, Katara who is wise beyond her years and always ensures unity, perseverance, and teamwork to be present, Toph who is tough as nails and will not take crap from anyone, and Zuko who endured such a long, painful odyssey to finally find peace with Team Avatar after so many years of animosity, rejection from his father, spite from his sister, and severe loneliness. Team Avatar is the definition of a knife or sword being sharpened to its full potential or even a rock that goes through so much pressure to come out as a diamond or even an oyster that something having something go in its system to come out bearing a pearl. Team Avatar is truly a canon group to be reckoned with and I also have to give it to Appa and Momo for not only being the awesome team mascots that they are but for also unifying the group with everything that they have.

Now, I know it is going to sound really crazy of me to put Haru, Jet, Teo, Yue, Mai, and Ty Lee into another six-person group, but please hear me out. I figure that this group would just as formidable as Team Avatar’s, as the dynamics The Freedom Team will bear would put any other team to shame. Combining Haru’s wisdom with Jet’s unparalleled skills as a swordsman, Teo’s intelligence and charm, Yue’s pacifist and nurturing nature, Mai’s focus, and Ty Lee’s lovability make this a very strong group, and this is my headcanon where both Jet and Yue are still alive and kicking. I could imagine Haru and Jet getting themselves into conflicts because of their different ideas of what is the best plan of action in everything they do. Nonetheless, they would come to a nice agreement when they put their minds together and that is why they also have Teo, Yue, Mai, and Ty Lee to help them sort out their differences. Moreover, they can even join forces with Team Avatar to perpetuate the balance found in all of the nations.

Hence, Team Avatar and the Freedom Team make this list as two strong groups who know how to put unity and balance in everything they do.

3. Team Xtreme (Brick, Butch, Boomer, Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles)
Ah, yes, my beloved Team Xtreme, my headcanon name for the team the Rowdyruff Boys and the Powerpuff Girls made when they joined forces to protect Townsville from all forms of evil.

Granted, the whole fanon concept of the Rowdyruff Boys and the Powerpuff Girls teaming up as one big superhero team has been done before, just ask sbj and Carriedreamer and their superb pieces of fanfiction known as “More Than Human” and “As Time Goes By” respectively, since these two inspired me even further to solidify the Ruffs and the Puffs as one fine six-person superhero team. Moreover, there have been countless fanfiction writers and fan artists who have made the Ruffs and the Puffs unite as one team. So, I am eternally grateful to them for making me feel further invested with Brick, Butch, Boomer, Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles joining forces.

For those of you who are new to my Team Xtreme headcanon, the Rowdyruff Boys continue to live thanks to Miss Bellum adopting them as her own sons, thus stripping Mojo Jojo of his “creator” status, vaccinating Brick, Butch, and Boomer with real Chemical X, and disciplining them to be the upstanding gentlemen they are to this day. It also helps that Mr. Green comes into their lives as their father and ensures a nice, unified household. Because of this, Brick, Butch, and Boomer admit their wrongdoings to Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles because all they wanted to do was kick Mojo’s butt but he told them to kick the Powerpuff Girls’ butts. Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles understand and welcome the boys as their teammates, hence the genesis of Team Xtreme.

I would be extremely remiss if I ended up not giving Brick, Butch, and Boomer their own individual personalities and just being nothing more than the counterparts to Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles. However, thanks to reading a lot of fanfics and looking at a lot of Ruff x Puff drawings, I can easily give all six members their own personalities and even the ones that are established from the show.

Where my Team Xtreme headcanon is concerned, Brick is the large-and-in-charge, street smart, tough, and surprisingly book smart leader who leads both with an iron fist and a lot of precision. Butch is the tough, rough, brutish, wild muscle of the group who manages to help his teammates out in any sticky and inescapable situation. Boomer is the lovable, sympathetic dumb muscle who functions as the comedic relief of the group and is the overall hunky guy charmer. Blossom is the tactician who has superbly scientific and literary vernacular to make her stand out and is by no means a damsel in distress, even though she is the gorgeous chick on the surface, thus making this a wonderful three-way matrimony of brains, beauty, and brawn. Buttercup is the brawler beauty who is unafraid to speak her mind, though she is prone to moodiness. Finally, Bubbles is the youngest of the group and is the pacifist who ensures unity, superb teamwork, and synergy within the group.

There will be a lot of interesting group dynamics in terms of how they play off of each other, such as Brick and Blossom being very professional and balancing each other out in terms of what is the best plan of action even though they are not romantically involved, Butch and Buttercup giving any felon a well-deserved beating while being very good friends, and Boomer and Bubbles showing their hardcore sides whenever someone commits a crime against humanity, thus making the Blues the definition of beware the nice ones. Sure, Boomer and Bubbles do find themselves romantically involved, but Brick and Buttercup would also feel very cuddly towards each other when the day is done, and Butch and Blossom would learn to understand each other and help each other grow from their mistakes. Moreover, Bubbles could soothe Butch from all forms of anxiety, Butch could acknowledge how strong Bubbles is as a fighter, Blossom could help Boomer stand up for himself more often, Boomer could help Blossom feel at ease with herself, Brick could inspire Bubbles to be a stronger fighter, and Bubbles could support Brick in everything he does as a leader.

Aside from the main six, they would also have really strong allies not only found in their parents Mr. Green, Mrs. Bellum-Green, Professor Utonium, and Mrs. Keane-Utonium but also in Mitch, Mike, Robin, and Bunny, thus making them all very well-established in everything they do as superheroes. Even more so, Beemo, Breezy the flying squirrel from “Fuzzy Logic”, and Bullet could support the group as the team mascots and, of course, let us not forget the many children who would end up having the torch passed down to them as Townsville’s new, young, and fresh superheroes.

2. Sector V (Nigel “Numbuh 1” Uno, Hoagie P. “Numbuh 2” Gilligan, Kuki “Numbuh 3” Sanban, Wallabee “Numbuh 4” Beatles, Abigail “Numbuh 5” Lincoln, and Katie “Numbuh 6” Strong)
Canonically speaking, there have always been five members in Sector V from Codename: Kids Next Door, and even though I find this dynamic to be very well-established, there were times I felt like a sixth member would make things all the more exciting. As much as Lizzie Devine played such a substantial supporting role in the KND, being Nigel’s girlfriend and eventual ex-girlfriend, I found her shrill, annoying, and grating to not only listen to but also bear, considering how clingy she is towards Nigel, which, in turn, makes her all the more unbearable. This is where Katie from Operation: U.T.O.P.I.A. comes into play as the sixth ranger in my Codename: Kids Next Door headcanon and as a Kids Next Door operative hailing from Hawaii because of her island girl origins.

Where my headcanon for Katie is concerned, she actually exists, hails from Hawaii, and her last name is Strong, considering that she bears the same last name as her voice actress Tara Strong. Katie wants to prove herself to Nigel, Abby, Hoagie, Wallabee, and Kuki that she is Sector V material. Kuki welcomes her with open arms, Abby finds her absolutely cool, Wallabee admires her athleticism, Hoagie finds her gorgeous, and Nigel finds her ambition intriguing. Sure, Katie would have a tough time trying to get through all of the obstacles in terms of proving her worth, but when all is said and done, she would end up becoming an official member and the sixth ranger of KND.

Katie is not only another pretty face but she is also into gymnastics, track-and-field, swimming, diving, karate, judo, kickboxing, and volleyball, as she grew up with these sports during her childhood in Hawaii. She is also not very materialistic, as she prefers simple and practical clothes and accessories to her wardrobe. Katie is also the definition of being a beauty yet fighting like a beast, as she can give any adult tyrant a well-deserved knuckle sandwich and can dodge any attack.

I know I spent a great deal of time on this list on Katie but I just wanted to bring my point across when I say that her beauty and brawn would be a wonderful complement to Nigel’s brains and authority, Hoagie’s comedic timing, Wallabee’s muscle and toughness, Abby’s cool, calm, and collected yet lethal nature, and Kuki’s lovable pacifist personality. Every mission featuring these six would be exciting, fun, and at times crazy and they would be worth watching. It also helps that Nigel’s and Abby’s children, Hoagie’s and Katie’s children, and Wallabee’s and Kuki’s children would take their mantle as the new Kids Next Door, thus living up to their parents’ legacy.

1. Teen Titans West (Cyborg, Robin, Starfire, Raven, Beastboy, and Terra) and Teen Titans East (Sarasim, Aqualad, Speedy, Bumblebee, Más, and Menos)
Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot begin to tell you all how ecstatic I am to place the Teen Titans of Jump City and Teen Titans East as my number one favorite six-person teams of all time, especially considering that Teen Titans 2003 is one of my most favorite superhero cartoons of all time. I loved the show ever since I was eleven and I love it to this very day. That just shows you how much I love the characters, the situations they get themselves into, and everything about the show. Moreover, Teen Titans Go can have its moments but it straddles along being a guilty pleasure and nothing more, as I have not caught this show as religiously as Teen Titans 2003. However, I am not here to overpraise Teen Titans 2003, I am here to talk about both Teen Titans West and Teen Titans East.

In terms of Terra being the sixth ranger, I always asked myself this. What would happen if Terra were to be in the group all the way up to Season 5 or the planned Season 6? Some of the dynamics would obviously change, especially where The Beast Within is concerned. She would not only feel repulsed by Adonis lusting after her, thus making her want to bash his brains in with a boulder, she would also feel deeply troubled with Beastboy’s crummy attitude by courtesy of the chemicals at the animal laboratory and give him moral support when he is finally rid of the chemicals. In terms of the funnier moments, she would get herself into Mumbo’s shenanigans and turn into a ferret or a meerkat and even have Mother Mae-Eye turn her into a girly girl who loves pink and baby blue. Therefore, having Terra as the long-term sixth ranger of the Teen Titans would be a major blessing to the team and make the show a lot more enjoyable.

As you can tell from my headcanon, Terra is alive and well and contributes to the Teen Titans superbly, as well as being the overall youngest in the group considering that she was about 13 years old in her debut episode. Aside from Terra being the spirited, feisty, and rambunctious youngest member with a heart of gold, Cyborg is very much the strong, big muscle brother who is so lovable, Robin is the focused, determined, and stealthy leader, Starfire is the lovable, cuddly pacifist, Raven is the moody brain, and Beastboy is the enjoyable comic relief, thus making Teen Titans West all the more dynamic and enjoyable as a superhero team.

As much as I also love the dynamics found in the heroes of Titans East, I feel like they also need a leader in the form of Sarasim from Cyborg the Barbarian. Her presence in that episode convinced me to make her part of the Titans East as a sort of mother/big sister figure to Aqualad, Speedy, Bumblebee, Más, and Menos, in my Teen Titans headcanon. Putting Sarasim as the motherly big sister of a leader is a nice complement to Aqualad’s savviness, Speedy’s irreverence, Bumblebee’s sassiness, and Más y Menos’s lovability. They would prove themselves to be just as dynamic as their counterparts from the west to the point of teaming up so exceptionally.

Both groups of six would show so much stability, solidarity, and strength in everything they do as Jump City’s finest heroes and that is why Teen Titans West and Teen Titans East stand tall as my favorite teams of six in Western Animation.

That is all for now. I would love to hear what are your favorite groups of six in Western Animation and please comment below. Until then, this is Antoni and I wish you all a great Easter holiday. Take care, everybody!

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