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The Powerpuff Girls

The Powerpuff Girls is an Emmy award-winning American animated television series about three little girls in kindergarten who have superpowers. Created by animator Craig McCracken, the program was produced by Hanna-Barbera until 2001 when Cartoon Network Studios took over production for Cartoon Network. The series is a spoof on American superheroes as well as Japanese Tokusatsu heroes like Super Sentai (adapted in America as the Power Rangers). As is typical in McCracken's work, the show also makes heavy use of references to older pop culture, particularly the famous English musical group The Beatles. In 2002, the series was made into a movie.

The show's animation director is Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack), who also directed many episodes himself. James L. Venable composed the opening theme of the series and Scottish band Bis performed the ending theme song, as played during the credits. Tom Kenny narrated the introduction, and also acted as narrator through the series era.

Overview

The Powerpuff Girls revolves around the adventures of Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, three little girls with superpowers. The plot of a typical episode is some humorous variation of standard superhero and/or tokusatsu fare, with the girls using their powers to defend their town from various villains, such as bank robbers, mad scientists, aliens, or giant monsters. In addition, the girls also have to deal with normal issues young children face, such as bed wetting or dependence on a security blanket.

The show mainly takes place in the fictional city of Townsville, USA. Townsville is depicted as a major American city, with a cityscape consisting of several major skyscrapers. The physical location of Townsville has never been determined. Cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, London, and Tokyo have been shown throughout the series.

The show has a highly stylized, minimalistic visual look, reminiscent of 1950s and '60s pop art. In his review of The Powerpuff Girls Movie, movie critic Bob Longino of the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said that "the intricate drawings emanate 1950s futuristic pizazz like a David Hockney scenescape", and that The Powerpuff Girls is "one of the few American creations that is both gleeful pop culture and exquisite high art".

The show has come under criticism for its rather excessive violence (including images of characters gushing blood from their mouths when hit), and for what have been perceived as morally questionable actions on part of the main characters, such as sometimes using more brutal force than necessary.

History

Craig McCracken, a student of California Institute of the Arts, created The Whoopass Girls in 1992 in his short film The Whoopass Stew! A Sticky Situation. Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation selected the short in 1994; McCracken submitted it to Hanna-Barbera's innovative What A Cartoon! shorts program (eventually to be produced for Cartoon Network as "The Powerpuff Girls in: Meat Fuzzy Lumkins" as part of World Premiere Toons) while working on Dexter's Laboratory. Announcer Ernie Anderson, the narrator of the pilot episode, passed away in 1997 before the show became a series. "Meat Fuzzy Lumkins" first aired in 1995, followed by a second short, "Crime 101," a year later.

The Powerpuff Girls TV debut in 1998 was the highest rated premiere in Cartoon Network's history. The series consistently scored the highest rating each week for the network across a wide range of demographics -- from young children to adults. In October 2000, Cartoon Network credited the Powerpuff Girls for its Friday night prime time ratings win among cable networks. By 2001, merchandising based on The Powerpuff Girls encompassed everything from T-shirts, toys and video games to lunchboxes and dishware. There was also a CD entitled Heroes and Villains, featuring original songs about the Powerpuff Girls characters by a number of artists, including the New Wave group Devo. Concerning the Powerpuff Girls success, Craig McCracken has stated, "I thought it would get on Cartoon Network and college kids would watch it and there would be a few random T-shirts out there in the rave scene or in record shops. But I had no idea that it would take off to this extent."

In April 2005, plans for an anime version, Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z were announced and the series premiered in Japan the following year. The series deviates highly from its American predecessor in terms of style, storyline, and characterization. Cartoon Network in the United States currently has no plans to air the adaptation.

Characters

The closing theme to the cartoon, performed by Bis, includes the lyrics Blossom, commander and the leader; Bubbles, she is the joy and the laughter; Buttercup, and she's the toughest fighter. This offers a nutshell description of the three Powerpuff girls' personalities.

Blossom

Blossom (voiced by Cathy Cavadini) has long red hair, pink eyes, and dresses in pink with a red bow on the top of her head and a heart-shaped hairclip when seen from behind. The self-proclaimed leader of the three Powerpuff Girls, she is often seen as the most mature, level-headed and composed member of the group, although she can also be fussy, overbearing, vain, and overly analytical at times. She tends to "mother" Bubbles and Buttercup, and often tries to play peacemaker between the two if they fight (though she is very quick to argue with Buttercup). In the episode "Ice Sore", her special superpower is revealed to be "Ice Breath", though in the same episode she also breathed fire. In the episode when the Broccoloids attack Earth she displays the ability of microscopic vision, but in other episodes she and her sisters are all able to have x-ray vision as well. Blossom also studies Chinese, and knows how to speak it to a certain degree.

Bubbles

Bubbles (voiced by Tara Strong in the series and Kath Soucie in the What-a-Cartoon! episodes) has short blonde hair in two pigtails, light blue eyes, and dresses in light blue. She acts as the baby (stock character) of the group (despite being the same age) and is defined by innocence, playfulness and gentle demeanor, having a tendency to be naïve, ditzy, submissive and sensitive, leading to her often being regarded, by friends and foes alike, as the group's weak link. However, she can become very independent and aggressive when pushed, and out of all the Powerpuff Girls she is the most feared by Mojo Jojo after having single-handedly taken him down in a fit of rage in one episode. Her special superpower is that she knows many languages, including Spanish (speaking) and Japanese (both reading and speaking), and communicates with animals, such as cats, and most notably squirrels (as revealed in the episode "Fuzzy Logic" and again in "Stray Bullet"). She also has the Sonic Scream (although later other girls seem to be able to use a weaker version too).

Buttercup

Buttercup (voiced by Elizabeth Daily) has short black hair in a flip, light green eyes, and dresses in light green. Referred to in the ending theme as "the toughest fighter", she is a tomboy and is easily enraged. Sometimes her aggression gets the better of her, making her reckless and stubborn. She possesses a mean and somewhat vindictive streak not shared by her sisters. She also showed a selfish side in the episode "Moral Decay," to which she knocked out everyone's teeth for money. She has shown a softer side in several episodes. For example, in the episode "Cover Up", she had a soft green blanket that she was obsessed with that she would hug that gave her the confidence to be a better fighter, and she is quite protective over her sisters. In the episode "Nuthin' Special", her special "ability" is to roll her tongue (Blossom and Bubbles cannot do this, and nor can anyone else in Townsville), she also can turn into a tornado/twister and suck up her opponents and pop them out of the end of her tornado/twister. In the episode "Speed Demon" it was also revealed that she can fly slightly faster than her sisters. In "The Rowdyruff Boys", she has a tremendous disdain for resorting to kissing the boys in order to eliminate them, though willingly kisses a boy ridden with which she feared to be "cooties" in a later episode. In the episode "Buttercrush" she also had a crush on the leader of the Gangrene Gang (Ace). During the birth of the girls in "The Powerpuff Girls Movie", she was initially shown to look extremely happy with wide eyes and an open mouthed smile up to the point where, last of the three girls to be named, Professor Utonium said he would name her Buttercup "because it also begins with a B!". Once she heard this, Buttercup immediately pouted. It is also revealed in the movie that Buttercup inspired the other girls to use their powers to fight crime and the forces of evil after she knocks down a giant evil gorilla who caused her to lose her temper with one punch; she initially apologized profusely for her actions, thinking she would get in trouble with everyone.

Episodes

A total of 78 half-hour broadcasts have been made, one of which has never been shown in the USA. Most broadcasts consist of two episodes, while others contain a single episode that spans the entire half hour. The show spanned six seasons. In addition, a self-titled feature film was released in 2002, and an hour-long Christmas special was released on DVD in 2003. One episode in production, "Deja View," was never finished.

Awards

The show has been nominated for an Emmy five times in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004 & 2005 for "Outstanding Achievement in Animation". In 1999 the show won the Emmy for episode 1.09 - "Bubblevicious" & "The Bare Facts". In 2000 & 2005 the show also won Emmys, both juried for non-nominated selections. The show has also been nominated for an Annie award nine times, winning it twice.

DVD releases

Season releases

The entire first season of the show was released in America on a 2-disc set on June 19, 2007. Bonus features include the original pilot pitch and never before seen animatics. It was released in Australia April 16, 2007.

Title Listed episodes DVD Release
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Powerpuff Girls:
Complete Season 1
13 June 19, 2007 April 16, 2007
The Powerpuff Girls:
Complete Season 2
13 April 9, 2008

Complete Series

The complete series of The Powerpuff Girls will be released on January 20, 2009 for the series' 10 year anniversary.

Title Listed episodes DVD Release
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Powerpuff Girls:
The Complete Series
78 January 20, 2009

Episode highlights

Title Listed episodes DVD Release
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Down 'n' Dirty "Dream Scheme," "Just Another Manic Mojo," "Down 'n' Dirty," "The Mo Job," "Major Competition Birthday Bash," "Beat Your Greens," "Los Dos Mojos," "Paste Makes Waste," "School House Rocked" November 7, 2000 TBA February 11, 2003
The Mane Event "The Mane Event," "Boogie Frights," "Slumbring With the Enemy," "Ice Sore," "Twisted Sister," "Something's A Ms.," Power Lunch," and "Helter Shelter" April 3, 2001 May 15, 2006 February 11, 2003
Meet the Beat-Alls "Meet the Beat-Alls," "Jewel of the Aisle," "Equal Fights," "Bubblevision," "Collect Her," "Bought & Scold," and "Buttercrush" October 23, 2001; December 4, 2001 (Reissue) August 21, 2006 TBA
Powerpuff Bluff "Cat Man Do," "Uh-Oh, Dynamo," "Mr. Mojo's Rising," "Powerpuff Bluff," "Bubblevicious," "Monkey See, Doggy Do," "Mommy Fearest," "Telephonies," "Mime for a Change," and "The Bare Facts." November 7, 2000 TBA September 7, 2001

Christmas special

Title Listed episodes DVD Release
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
'Twas the Fight Before Christmas "'Twas the Fight Before Christmas" October 7, 2003 TBA November 8, 2005

References

See also

External links

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