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The straight-laced Prof. Utonium's attempt to create perfect little girls accidentally includes "Chemical X", resulting in take-charge red-head Blossom, blonde sweety-pie Bubbles and ready-to-fight brunette Buttercup. These flying, super-strong, karate-chopping girls with the occasional heat vision race into action to save the city of Townsville (and, we're told, the world) from all sorts of crimes and creatures. Written by
Ray Schaff -2-
The Powerpuff Girls (1998) debut, Wednesday, November 18th, 1998, was 70 years after first animation short, Steamboat Willie (1928) with volume (voices, music and sounds). Walt Disney was original voice of Steamboat Willie, (Disney quickly re-named Willie, Mickey Mouse) and 90 years after late comical actress and dancer, Imogene Coca's date of birth on Wednesday, November 18th, 1908. See more »
Even though it takes many elements from many genres, "The Powerpuff Girls" show is like nothing I've ever seen before. These little girls have more heart and more hustle than any other superheroes, and when trouble strikes, these three little superheroines don't waste time with the philosophical speeches of the "SuperFriends" or the inane transformation sequences of "Sailor Moon." The Powerpuff Girls are always ready for action, and when trouble strikes they stop only to ask permission to leave the classroom - and only if there is time.
Besides plenty of action, the show has superb, though often subtle, character development: a happy but lonely Professor Utonium creates three super-powered girls, to whom he gives love, support, and discipline. However, he occasionally reveals his concern about the dangers of their crime fighting, his feelings of loneliness and burden about being a single parent, and even buried anger from his childhood.
The girls have distinct personalities as well: Blossom, the self-appointed leader, is very smart for her age and has an ego to match; Buttercup is a tomboy who cannot wait until she is old enough to go out after dark; and Bubbles behaves like a normal five-year-old girl, coloring, singing, and trying to keep the peace. Our adorable heroines experience the friction that most siblings do, but their love and fight against evil keep them together.
Also, the supporting characters, including both the good citizens and the villains, have complex yet consistent personalities. The kind mayor's assistant and evil Mojo Jojo are as interesting and complex the Powerpuff Girls themselves. Even if a scene begins with a random monster attacking the city, you can be sure that there is more to the story, and another piece of the relationship puzzle will be put in its place before the show is over.
Of course, the episodes are extremely funny and uplifting, and the only thing this show does not have is the built-in toy advertising. The writers and artists borrow elements from shows and movies that we children of the sixties enjoyed. Besides their own original story lines, they have cleverly parodied "Star Wars," the classic step-mom fairy tales, and everything from James Bond to Japanese monster films. Whether the subject is exciting, sad, or scary, you will always find the humor and the warmth.
The show does have a few minor drawbacks: sometimes the "cartoon violence" is a bit excessive, and I recommend that young children do not watch this show - it is rated for children eight-years-old and older. There are sometimes inconsistencies between shows or even in the same episode, but these are minor, and I should not complain because it is a cartoon after all.
Overall, "The Powerpuff Girls" is an excellent television show that leaves its audience feeling good. All of the characters are well developed, and the girls themselves are as believable as kindergarten superheroines can be. With their love, willingness to fight for good, and ability to take action instead of whining, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup are truly the role models for the twenty-first century.
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