If you've somehow remained oblivious to the allure of the three gorgeously colourful flashes that are the Powerpuff Girls, let's bring you up to speed. Three little girls made from sugar, spice, everything nice AND a secret ingredient, chemical X, they are kindergartener superheroes that protect Townsville, the pride of the free world. Needless to say we're not talking cities in Queensland here…
They have most every superpower you could ever imagine, and each girl has her own special charms. Blossom, the redhead (and hence the coolest!) is the brains of the outfit, the blonde Bubbles is the cutesy-pie one, and Buttercup (the brunette) is the whomp-ass member of the bunch. They have all manner of nemeses, some of the ones we meet here include evil monkey super-brain Mojo Jojo (who has a wicked line in tautology), the haunting Sedusa, Fuzzy Lumpkins and also the mysterious, but undeniably trim, taut and terrific, HIM - not to mention a whole line-up of generic big, ugly, icky-poo monster thingies that tend to pop by alarmingly regularly. Just what would the doddery mayor do without the girls (and indeed his PA Ms Bellum)?
|"We're going to fight crime!"|
"That's what we do!"
It's a cartoon folks, from Hanna Barbera, and in some ways it resembles a sort of mutant hybrid between the kids get one level/adults get another hijinx of the likes of Rocky and Bullwinkle (especially in the style of manic narrator employed) and Ren & Stimpy (the latter being a source from which many visually stylistic cues are taken here). Throw in a healthy dose of the good variety of cute, lots of kick-bottom action, oodles of sneaky pop culture references, occasional cameos (Mark Hamill as a cat anybody?), some often inspired animation that would make Fred Flintstone blush and a sometimes completely wicked sense of humour to the mix, and a most successful cartoon concoction is the result. And 'cartoon' is the keyword. Anybody expecting, or indeed comparing this to, the Japanese Anime style, with all its preposterously ill-proportioned big-eyed babes with Pammy breasts, and waists that would make Barbie go on a crash diet, acting out their ever-so-sad-boy wet dream fantasies is quite frankly totally off their rocker, as it is nothing like it, and indeed was never intended to be.
Ahem. Anyway, this disc cobbles together ten episodes from the first series of Powerpuff Girls and it appears to have been assembled with the aid of a dartboard, as episode-wise the shows are in a complete state of disarray. I guess sadly this makes it appear doubtful that the entire episodic output of the show will ever pop up on DVD, at least in some semblance of logical order. Those episodes we get are...
Cat Man Do: Ooh, pretty kitty! Ah, but what strange powers does he possess, what's his obsession with jewels and just why is Professor Utonium so taken with him?
Uh-Oh... Dynamo: After a run-in with a giant, seven-eyed fish balloon, the professor worries about his charges, so builds them the Powerpuff Dy.Na.Mo. The girls aren’t particularly jazzed…
Mr. Mojo's Rising: Mojo Jojo has kidnapped The Professor, because he has a story to tell. Could this be the ultimate case of sibling rivalry?
Powerpuff Bluff: A bunch of three robbers who keep getting foiled by the Powerpuff Girls devise a way to get all the loot they can eat. Boy, what a drag!
Bubblevicious: Bubbles is just a little ticked off at being considered the wussy baby of the bunch, so she sets out to prove her hardcore credentials with the aid of a machine that goes up to 11…
Monkey See, Doggy Do: If it isn’t cats it's dogs - Mojo Jojo unleashes a curse on Townsville that turns everybody into dogs. What's he up to this time, and will our heroines become Powerpup Girls?
Mommy Fearest: Uh-oh, the Professor is well and truly smitten with Ms Ima Goodlady. When she starts seriously cramping the girls' style though, they set out to prove that not everything's in a name…
Telephonies: The Gangrene Gang are crank calling, and after getting a hold of the Powerpuff Hotline get more than they bargain for from some rather ticked off bad guys…
Mime for a Change: When Rainbow the Clown gets mown down, he becomes Mr Mime and renders Townsville colourless. Can the girls colour their world again? (And was that George Jetson in the crowd?)
Bare Facts: After the mayor is blindfolded and kidnapped by Mojo Jojo, the girls all have a go at telling him what happened. But why were they laughing?
Drat! Anybody hoping for a pristine presentation of Powerpuff Girls on DVD can keep on wishing, as this isn’t entirely fabulous. Taken from film, there are many examples of flecks, scratches and other detritus throughout which detract from things a bit. It should also be noted that quite a few gremmies appear to be on the cels themselves, so a full clean-up operation would have been pretty much out of the question.
Being a TV-based cartoon it's all full screen and non-anamorphic (there's pretty much a "duh!" that could be blurted out after that), however at least things are quite remarkably sharp, with the glorious pastel and more vibrant colours used in the show rendered to quite marvellous effect.
Once again there's a booboo on the cover of a Warner DVD, with it stating that this is a single-layer disc. So the layer change that happened midway through, and which is quite conveniently placed in a fade to black, must have been a figment of this reviewer's imagination.
Another TV series comes to DVD, and another boring old, standard Dolby Stereo soundtrack comes along for the ride. Whilst it would have been divine to have Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup whizzing all about the room, we can only wistfully imagine.
What's here works fine, there is some nice use of panning between the two channels at time and dialogue is pretty much always clear, although some may have difficulty understanding Bubbles at time, as her helium-filled voice makes Smurfette sound akin to Barry White by comparison. Synch quality is always awkward to define when it comes to cartoons, however all seems fine and dandy here.
What music there is fits the vibe of the show beautifully, mainly synthesized drum and bassy kind of stuff, and special mention must be given to the utterly fabulous closing credits theme, which was provided by Scottish squeaky indie pop experts Bis.
Whilst it's incredibly annoying that no attention was paid to keeping things in episodic order, it's hard to deny the charm of ten episodes of Powerpuff Girls all together on our beloved shiny little disc format. Perhaps the video quality could have been a tad better, however it's certainly not in any way hideous - and remember, this is considered simply a kids show by many so probably wasn't thought worthy of much attention.
Fans of Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup young and old are guaranteed to have an absolute ball with this compilation, and we even get two Emmy Award nominated episodes (Bubblevicious and Bare Facts) thrown into the mix. And if the marketing frenzy put you off (although what person with any sort of heart could resist a little fuzzy doll whose sole marketing flash on the packaging was "touch me, I'm soft"? Well, I couldn’t…), try to get past it - as anybody who appreciates the world of slightly offbeat cartoon humour will be sure to get a lot from these three little ultra-superpowered angels. And just think, there's a whole full-length movie coming to theatres next year - YAY!
So, can you release the other Powerpuff Girls discs locally now Mr Warner? Pwetty pweeeeeeeeease?!