Reviews: The Powerpuff Girls

I See A Funny Cartoon in Your Future

I'm sorry, but this episode finally made me think the Powerpuff Girls needed to fly away. The colors were blindingly bright (especially in the end credits!), the voices were annoying (especially the Narrator's, they must have paid him by the hour or something, he just kept talking throughout the whole episode!) and the villain whose name I forgot had an accent that vaguely "homaged"/ripped off someone's from Rocky and Bullwinkle—plus, the duck sidekick seemed to be (to Chris Savino, at least) an "odd" choice for a villain in his mind. Adding a funny flashback to the "bug-eyed freaks" lampshade made in the movie, the artwork has been painstakingly rendered to make the Powerpuff Girls into—bug eyed freaks. That's it. Bug eyed freaks with a decade's worth of publicity and merchandise. Worse, if the bad art and the voices didn't make you strain for the TV remote, then the white/blue HD Townsville intro, coupled with the irritating colors of the end credits will.

In fact, the only thing I found marginally exciting about the episode was the END CREDITS since the narrator finally shuts up and the horrific episode ends.

Watch the first season on up until you start noticing colors getting vibrantly technocolor. Then turn off the TV. You would have reached the Savino Zone, where irritating colors and bad writing rule.

See Me, Feel Me Gnomey: They tried...

So, in this episode, the villains defeat the Powerpuff Girls. They start suffering from I Just Want to Be Normal and wish the world could have peace.

They get their wish, as a gnomey fall from the sky and promises them peace in return for their powers. Subsequently, all villains from Townsville are erased from existence and the townsfolk begin to worship the gnomey as he orders them to "live by the rose."

The girls notice he's doing evil by taking away people's freedom and turning them into a hive mind. They get their powers back and defeat the gnomey, thus restoring the villains. The episode concludes on the message that "Good cannot exist without evil."

Now, this would be a nice episode if executed properly, which isn't the case here. This is an all-musical episode, and as a great fan of musicals, I must say I'm completely disappointed.

First of, the songs are as generic as they can be, painful rhymes everywhere, it's like they wrote a script for an episode and forced the lines to rhyme in order to get a song written. Lines are repeated quite often and simply don't sound good.

Secondly, the voice actors ARE NOT fit for singing. I understand they're trying to give their best, and this is a kid's show, but sadly, the only character who can sing is the gnomey. Everyone else sounds forced, even the Powerpuff Girls. Actually, I feel like the villains, who only show up for a fraction of this episode, had slightly better singing voices than the protagonists.

And finally, the episode feels completely flat for an intended series finale, and this is a bad sign, because I have a very bad case of crying at musical numbers. Sadly, nothing in this entire piece was enough to pull my strings. No sadness, worry or anger, nothing. I watched this with a straight face the whole time, and by the time it ended, all I felt was "Meh."

All in all, an episode which had a good concept wasted in poor execution, would give it 5/10.

Now that I got my D Mo S for the Powerpuff Girls out of the way...

In the Dethroning Moment of Suck page, I said my least favorite episode: A Very Special Blossom. Now, I'm going to do my favorite.

(ahem) My favorite episode of all time is none other than Power-Noia. For 2 reasons. Spoilers!

1. I like the dark episodes of PPG, since often I've heard people talk about how PPG is "girly". Yeah, no. PPG is FAAAR from girly. Speed Demon, Abracadaver, Knock It Off, and this episode are probably the creepiest, darkest episodes. Especially the imagery in this episode, from the people transforming into HIM, the glaring red eyes and the stuffed animal demons. This is also a bit creepypasta-ish. HIM again seems to feel a bit like the devil here. I know he was a bit of a sissy by the end, but in the first half and the end fight, it worked.

2. Personal reasons. I have two younger sisters, and we often fight a lot. I'm also a coward, with my biggest fear being surprise, surprise, death. But I'm seriously afraid of it to the point where I would start screaming during the night, since there is no escape from it. So this episode really touched me. I could relate to Blossom in this, since I'm the oldest, I'm fairly intelligent, and my sisters are also rather similar to Buttercup and Bubbles. Blossom is my favorite Powerpuff Girl after all, so being able to relate to her in this made me love this episode more. I really have a lot of trouble facing my fears, and this is definitely one of the best "face your fears" episodes. The end fight where the girls work together and save each other made me want me and my sisters to be like that. Where we all count on each other. If Blossom was me, the "test" was death, and Buttercup and Bubbles were my sisters, I would consider that the best moments of my life.

Overall, I found this to be a fast-paced, creepy, touching and wonderful episode. It had lots of great moments even besides my personal reasons, by the way, but I'd run out of words. But this is MY review. :3

First two series are excellent by my standards. I want to see more.

The city of Townsville. I never "got" what the appeal of the place was when I was younger, I just saw the setting of a generic Hanna-Barbera cartoon...

Now, older and hopefully wiser, I have had the honour to watch through the first two series of a true animated masterpiece. The humour is at times subtle and clever, while at others dirty and filled absolutely to the brim with innuendo, at times managing to sneak some rather vulgar language past the censors. In fact, at times it seems as if more of the humour is aimed at adults than children, which isn't really a surprise when you consider that the original pilot short was entitled "Whoopass Stew" and the characters were only renamed from The Whoopass Girls to The Powerpuff Girls when some Moral Guardian at one of America's cable providers complained to Cartoon Network about having a show with such a title.

But as I say, the humour aimed at adults is very, very richly entrenched in the series. The show is almost entirely based around parodying numerous things that younger viewers would simply not realise it was parodying; most notably, of course, generic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, Superheroes, and Magical Girl anime, but also Humongous Mecha, bad English anime dubs, and 50s American Sitcoms.

Another highlight is, of course, the villains, as should be the case with any good work of fiction. Mojo Jojo easily stands out as the best villain, with only the pure evil that is Him providing competition. Lenny Baxter the comic book geek also stands out as a one shot "villain".

Of course, I have not yet gotten onto The Powerpuff Girls themselves, nor their Standard '50s Father Professor Utonium. Blossom is a typical superhero Mary Sue, and that's basically the point, although her character can at times prove to be deeper and more interesting than that, such as in A Very Special Blossom. Bubbles, meanwhile, basically behaves like one would expect a five year old girl to do, although she can Take a Level in Badass if she so desires. Buttercup deserves special mention on the grounds of basically just being a massive jerk who always gets forgiven in the end simply on the grounds of having saved the world despite only being five. I approve of this.

So once again, a fantastic show, easily in my top ten of all time. Watch it, now.

Dance Pantsed: Mediocre and unnecessary

If you're going to revive a series that hasn't aired regularly in ten years, there's only two good reasons to do it: either you've been suddenly inundated with new stories to tell, or you've got the opertunity to take things in a direction you couldn't when it ended. "Dance Pantsed" tries for both, but ends up with neither.

On the surface of it, the episode plays like a standard PPG episode stretched to a half-hour runtime. The problem is that there's nothing particularly funny about it: the jokes about Bubble's video-game addiction are incredibly dated, as is the game they chose her to get addicted to. The dances used are dated, which might be the joke but if it is the punchline never arrives. And some old standards are yanked out: the Mayor and his pickles return, and the show takes another stab at a Beatles running gag. While I kinda appreciate that the episode isn't the sweeping epic-to-end-all-epics the ads made it out to be, at least that would've been a fresh take on the franchise. As-is, this feels like a disused script from the series' later years, content to hit the usual beats and little else.

The thing everyone's talking about is the new-and-improved CGI animation style, which on a design level isn't terrible. It works well for the jagged designs of folks like the Professor and Mojo Jojo, but is clearly having more than a little trouble rendering the girls in a way that comes close to being aesthetically pleasing. In terms of motion, it fairs even worse—the characters stiff joints and jerky motions make them a terrible fit for any episode but especially one about dance. It's not eye-gougingly awful, but the seams show something awful and it's incredibly distracting.

In short, the episode fails to make a decent case for its own existence. Had it merely looked like crap, I might've been able to enjoy it, but the whole thing reeks of desperation from top to bottom, and the lack of effort is appalling.

The Powerpuff Girls' Big Damn Movie: Spoilers Ahoy!

When you're doing a movie adaptation of a superhero story, audiences expect you to go through the origin story and have the arch-nemesis be confronted for the first time in an epic battle that serves as the climax. And if you're doing a film version of a series that usually airs on television, the animation should be better and the stakes should be higher. The Powerpuff Girls Movie fails to disappoint on all these fronts, but also exceeds expectations in an oft-overlooked aspect in stakes-raising: character drama.

Sure you can have gigantic battles to establish that the series needed the big screen to tell its story, but having increased drama is also a good way to ratchet up the intrigue because you're more invested in the resolution of the conflict. This movie is Darker And Edgier in the best way, because Reality Ensues for the Powerpuff Girls in a logical yet soul-crushing manner in their game of tag and the town's reaction to it. Not to mention the tragic scene where Professor Utonium's desperately pleas to be released from prison while the girls waited for him outside of school, which didn't require any actual changes to the characters themselves, just the circumstances surrounding them, which is the key to this movie's effective execution of emotional conflict.

Having the Powerpuff Girls each take on the role of The Atoner was also a brilliant way of making their motivations to become superheroes more interesting, especially because they helped build up their enemy which made it more personal than just "Save The World from the Big Bad". The only flaw I can find in this movie is that the denouement is too short if we're looking at this as a stand alone piece. I would've preferred if there was a brief montage of the Powerpuff Girls putting Townsville back together, before attending a good-as-new Pokey Oaks where they aren't hated anymore. However, the Powerpuff Girls series itself does more than enough to even out the lack of a satisfactory portrayal of a positive reception of the team in the denouement to balance out the first half.

Regardless, the Powerpuff Girls Movie was an excellent example of how to do a film adaptation right.