When you think of anime, it's often easy to disassociate it from American animation simply because of the avant guard nature of the entertainment medium, and while that is true for a lot of factors, one thing that will always remain the same is fan appeal. That thing that crosses all sorts of oceans to reach an audience that one may least expect.
This is what happened with Powerpuff Girls, an American animation that managed to not only strike a chord with American children, but took flight across the waters and landed securely in the waiting arms of Japan's eager viewers as well. To popularity so great it warranted its own iteration with a bit more regional flair, and Powerpuff Girls Z was born.
EPISODE 01: PART ONE
We begin this show with a couple of bumbling scientists(Professor Utonium and son)toiling away in their lab, and then within moments, blowing themselves nearly sky-high; and it isn't hard to determine very quickly that this show is going to have some stylized comedic elements in it.
The two get a video message from the Tokyo city Mayor announcing that a monster is terrorizing a local Kindergarten and capturing the children. The villain soon to be known as Mojo the evil monkey monster.
A talking Dog(Peach) summons what the scientist refers to as "Powerpuff Z", and we cut to a classroom I'm assuming still in Tokyo, where three different girls jump from their seats with simultaneous stomach-aches. I guess that defending justice and telling big fat lies have nothing to do with one another; and we are off to watch the first transformation of the trio of heroines.
A brief group-shot pose, and they are off to rescue the kindergarteners from the foul monkey.
Apparently the giant monkey monster is after the children's candy and goodies, and while he has them in the cage insists on taking the candy from the babies. What an ass-hole.
The Powerpuff Girls(Momoko Akatsutsumi "Hyper-Blossom", Miyako Gotokuji "Lexie Bubbles", and Kaoru Matsubara "Powered Buttercup" respectively) arrive to a fanfare of the children who want autographs instead of immediate rescue. Talk about having some whacked out priorities, but oh well, they are the stars of the show after all, and it's high time at least someone respected three girls in frilly skirts saving the city.
After some squaring off, a false start here and there, and the girls chase the flying monkey guru looking monster villain into the air, where they have a hokey up-in-the-air battle with the three of them ganging up on mister monkey.
The fight wrecks a good portion of the city, true to most Powerpuff Girls iterations, and before long the trio begins to exhaust themselves, do to a lack of stamina. So what do you do to combat fatigue in the middle of a city wide battle? Eat ice cream of course!
Not wanting to take anymore chances Mojo Monkey summons a robot/mech to his aid and jumps in to grab a hostage and of course...the fight continues. This time however they are filled with yummy ice cream and launch some major girly hurt on the evil monkey and gang stomp his monkey butt to the curb saving the children of course. Even though we don't see the girls going back to class.
EPISODE 01: PART TWO
This episode is finally where we get to learn the creation of the Powerpuff Girls as we are shown one month prior to the events of the first part.
Professor Utonium is once again working away in his lab trying to unlock the secrets of "Chemical X" to no avail. Taking a break with the vat of chemical goop open, the scientist and his son have a nice break, and the robotic dog Peach acting excited over a tasty bun drops one in the open vat of chemical X. Can we say send the dog to the robotic bathroom with the light out?
So now the samples of the goop show that it has become a more powerful agent than the previous chemical X... and I can only imagine what it is that they are gonna call it. Oh, I don't know... how about Z?
Without warning a freak snowstorm erupts throughout the city, and the mayor calls the scientist saying that an iceberg has appeared in the bay and threatens to turn the city into the North Pole.
The mayor's assistant tells the mayor that the strange weather phenomena isn't just localized to Tokyo and is all over the world and behaving differently as well.
Ken(the Professor's son) implores his dad to quickly use the chemical Z formula to solve the problem. Like just two minutes before it was brand new and they had just created it, and don't even know what it does, but heck yeah, lets throw it at the iceberg!
Springing into action without thought, Ken fires a canon loaded with Chemical Z at the iceberg, and blasts it. It seems to have worked but the beams refracted from the iceberg scatter across the city. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
Naturally there are going to be casualties of the fallout from the blast, and victim number one is a preppy guy-gushing chocolate-eating girl at a nearby school. Though to her credit she does jump in the path of the light beam to save a little kid, and instantly has a transformation sequence into Powerpuff Girl "Blossom".
Victim number two is a fashionista girl lost in her own world, and bouncing along playing with clothes and bubbles. Bast induced transformation sequence later, and we now have Powerpuff Girl "Bubbles".
Victim number three is a skateboarding uber-tomboy that like the others, is in the right place at the wrong time, and gets blasted with some more of the chemical Z fallout lightbeam. One magical girl transformation later(this is getting serious now folks), and we have our third and final Powerpuff Girl... "Buttercup".
The other two seem sort of strangely comfortable with their new found transformation, while Buttercup is less than thrilled about being in a skirt for the first time since Kindergarten. Oh my...
An unexpected victim of the blast was the robo dog Peach that once hit with the beam can now talk like normal.
On the flipside of the beams of light, there are also several beams of black light that travel into the city, and one lands in the city zoo hitting a monkey and changing him into that creepy villain monkey from the first part. No doubt you don't have to guess his first thoughts upon gaining cognizance... take over the world of course!
After releasing the wild animals from the zoo to run havoc, Mojo(evil crazy monkey bent on world domination) sniffs out Blossom's goodies, and gets a one track mind for the sweet stuff.
Not understanding that Mojo is a crazy monkey bent on world domination, Blossom instructs him on the proper way to eat cream crackers. Talk about ignorance is bliss. Though in a matter of seconds she realizes that Mojo is evil, call it woman's intuition. Not to mention the fact that he has a dark aura, and he's smelly.
In her first city devastating fight with Mojo, Blossom succeeds in kicking his monkey butt with her magical Yo-Yo, and naturally like all good villains, he flees to fight another day, and puts the zoo animals back in the zoo like a good heroine.
When the mayor shows up to explain things to Blossom, and to point out the damage of the city... and his car, Blossom freaks and runs off. While we phase out with the other girls under the influence of their transformed Z selves.
Realizing that the girls are under the influence of the Z chemical, Professor Utonium and Ken race off to find them and research them...
Overall this is a cool edgy look at the show, but it does have some real outlandish moments, that are obviously inspired by the American counterpart. It's a little early for me to give a major opinion of my take on it; though it is interesting, and it does have style that is different from the Cartoon Network version.
I think the biggest appeal is the fact that now the girls have hands and feet. I'm not trying to diss the American version at all, but I mean seriously, how can you fight crime with those little baseball bat looking nubbies?
This seems like a fun entertaining and very cute show, and I look forward to reviewing Episode 2 soon.