I specifically wanted to exclude:
A. Just clips from the show with a song put over them. No matter how good the song may be.
B. Intros outsourced to Japan. Which is hard because this excludes all the coolest ones. But nevertheless.
But with that in mind here's a short list:
The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest
Now I know what you're thinking: "you just
said no clips with songs you faggot". True, true. But this is a good example of how a modicum of effort and creativity can actually produce something unique from otherwise unremarkable. They could have easily just dropped those clips into an editor, slapped the song on top, and be done with it. But they decided to give a fuck and now it's an iconic intro.
Conan the Adventurer
Top tier intro for a top tier series. Not only does it hype you to watch the show with great visuals and a banger tune, it actually tells you the premise and the backstory, flawless interwoven into the song itself instead of just being awkwardly narrated over like in almost all other cases. By the time you start watching the first episode you feel like you've already watched one.
Ow the edge: the intro. But it does have a very unique look and sound to it that you can hardly find in many other cartoons.
Everyone involved with this production would have been put to trial for crimes against humanity if they somehow managed to make an intro to a show called "Skeleton Warriors" unhype. Thankfully that is not the case. It's a rather simple intro but it sure as fuck hypes you to check the show out, augmented by an incredible song.
Obligatory X-Men intro. Though barely anything is happening here except for basically animated character profile pages, this is a case where style compensates for the lack of any directorial creativity. No way you watch this intro and think it was boring.
Undeniably cool and bebop-y, fitting the style of the show perfectly. Anything else would have ruined the entire appeal.
Men in Black
Very simple but stylish and effective intro, sometimes all you need is a bit of cheekiness.