Representation is a major key. Seeing an image or a character that directly correlates to your very special narrative can be so liberating and inspiring. There's something special, though, about animated characters of color who push the boundaries while in their two-dimensional and third-dimensional worlds. While they're living in this imaginative worlds, avoiding a break in the fourth wall, they've got us captivated. Since we were mere youths, cartoon characters have been impacting our lives on a level that we don't realize until we get older.

We've gathered 28 of the illest animated characters this side of the drawing board. From the serious to the sassy, the chill to the proactive, these characters had such a role in shaping the generations that have tuned in every week. 

Sit back, scroll through the list, and get your nostalgin' on.

Susie Carmichael (Rugrats)

Photo: WiffleGif

Animated and ahead of her years.

Jodie Landon and Mack Mackenzie (Daria)

Photo: Tumblr

Animated and educated.

Huey, Riley, and Robert Freeman (The Boondocks)

Photo: WiffleGifs

Animated and revolutionary.

Gerald Johanssen (Hey Arnold)

Photo: GIPHY

Animated and swagged out.

Penny Proud and Dijonay Jones (The Proud Family)

Photo: Tumblr

Animated and aspirational.

Franklin (Peanuts)

Photo: Reddit 

Animated and OG.

Lana Kane (Archer)

Photo: FX

Animated and trained-to-go.

Keesha Franklin (The Magic School Bus)

Photo: GIPHY

Animated and inquisitive. 

Afro Samurai (Afro Samurai)

Photo: GIPHY 

Animated and 'bout it.

Valerie Brown (Josie and the Pussycats)

Photo: GIPHY

Animated and groundbreaking.

Gaia (Captain Planet)

Photo: GIPHY

Animated and earthy.

Garnet (Steven Universe)

Photo: GIPHY

Animated and enigmatic.

Cyborg (Teen Titans)

Photo: GIPHY

Animated and technologic.

Fat Albert (Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids)

Photo: Tenor

Animated and ample.

Michiko Malandro (Michiko and Hatchin)

Photo: GIPHY

Animated and bad-ass.

Doc McStuffins (Doc McStuffins)

Photo: Tumblr

Animated and adorable.

Waynehead (Waynehead)

Photo: GIPHY

Animated and classic.

Monique (Kim Possible)

Photo: GIPHY

Animated and candid.

Fillmore (Fillmore!)

Photo: Tumblr

Animated and dexterous.

Yoruichi Shihōin (Bleach)

Photo: Tumblr

Animated and fierce.

LaShawn, Khalil, Pee Wee (Bebe's Kids)

Photo: Tumblr

Animated and rambunctious.

Numbah Five (Codename: Kids Next Door)

Photo: Tumblr

Animated and resourceful.

Static Shock (Static Shock)

Photo: GifSoup

Animated and righteous.

Cita (Cita's World)

Photo: GifSoup

Animated and legendary.

Who are some of your favorite animated characters in television or film? Share with us in the comments!