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The Best Teams Come in Sixes

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…

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