December 10, 2009

Mystery Meat -- Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z!

I wasn't really much of a fan of the original Powerpuff Girls on Cartoon Network. For one thing, I resented the fact that the utterly brilliant Dexter's Laboratory was cancelled so that the animation team could work on PPG instead. I resented even more than it ran 6 seasons, when they only did 3 of Dexter's Lab.

Even though PPG was inferior to DL in nearly every way, it still has to be admitted that it had an element of charm and wit. Professor Utonium created a mixture of sugar and spice and everything nice, but he also inadvertantly added the mysterious element X and the result was three bitty girls with super powers. He decided to call them Buttercup, Blossum, and Bubbles, and they lived at his home. The bad guys in the series tended to be satires of classic super-hero series bad guys.

Every superhero has to have his prime enemy. For Superman it's Lex Luthor. For Batman it's the Joker. For the Powerpuff Girls, it was Mojo Jojo, a chimpanzee who was exposed to the same mysterious element X and developed human level intelligence. What was unique (and satirical) about Mojo Jojo was that he took monologuing to an extreme. The guy wouldn't shut up. (I think they may have let the voice actor ad lib a lot of that stuff.)

I was frankly incredulous when I read that someone in Japan had the bright idea of making an anime version of the series. I remember seeing the concept art and getting even more incredulous. But they did it, one full season. I always wondered what it was like.

That whole season eventually showed up on BakaBT, and a couple of days ago I downloaded it.

I got halfway through the first episode and gave up. There is nothing right about it.

The back story has changed. Professor Utonium and his son were doing an experiment with Element Z (not X) and had an accident that resulted in lots of strange beams of light hitting Tokyo (not Townsville) and converting all sorts of animals and lowlives and sundry other stuff into monsters. Fortunately for Tokyo three of the beams hit grade school girls, who had previously been perfectly normal, and gave them super powers. Somehow or other they connected up with Professor Utonium and became super powered crime fighters, using special weapons he created for them. (I assume that the back story came out in later episodes, but it wasn't there in the first half of the first episode, which is all I could force myself to watch.)

As to the super powered devices? You know those plastic things with the big hole at one end that come in bottles of bubble soap to allow you to blow bubbles? Well, Bubbles has a huge one of those, and she fights by making bubbles with it to drift slowly to her enemy and, seemingly, hit it with great force.

Blossom has a yo-yo which she can shoot out and recover really rapidly. It has a range of maybe 2 feet beyond her hand. Hitting someone with the yo-yo is how she fights.

Buttercup carries a big toy plastic hammer. It reminded me of one that shows up briefly in Angelic Layer. It's the only one of the weapons that makes any sense at all, and it doesn't make much sense.

At the beginning of the first episode, Mojo (no "Jojo" any longer) showed up in Tokyo. He attacks a kindergarten and captures all the kids so he can take and eat all their candy, and grow larger and stronger. The mayor of Tokyo calls Professor Utonium and asks for help, and Utonium's son hits the alert button. The girls are all in the same grade school class, and simultaneously tell the teacher they need to go to the school nurse. After which they run up to the roof of the building, go through a henshin sequence that was too long and really dull, and fly away to confront Mojo.

Who doesn't monologue any more. And who has the ability to fire energy blasts. And in general looked the same but was completely different.

The PPG Mojo Jojo was very much like Lex Luthor, extremely brilliant but having no super powers as such. But the DP Mojo seemed to have super powers, and wasn't really very smart, from my limited encounter with him.

By that point I'd had enough, and stopped watching. NOT RECOMMENDED!!!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Mystery Meat at 09:37 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 752 words, total size 4 kb.

1 Are you sure you aren't poisoned by manga... er... the original source? The description sounded none worse than that of ZKC, with the correction for the age of the intended audience.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at December 10, 2009 10:16 PM (/ppBw)

2 Are you sure you aren't poisoned by manga... er... the original source?

Speaking for myself, I'm positive I wasn't.  I liked PPGUSA, and I really wanted to like PPGJ.  I couldn't.  I made it through two entire episodes, and gave up. 

Oh dear god, the pain, the shame.  There is no way that PPGJ could be called "good."

Posted by: Wonderduck at December 10, 2009 10:30 PM (C32SO)


PPG had a kind of goofy humor to it. PGZ tries to have that same kind of thing, but it doesn't come across as funny; it just feels lame and affected.

I never watched Zettai Karen Children so I can't compare them, but I vaguely remember that ZKC wasn't supposed to be farce. It was action-adventure with a light touch, rather, wasn't it?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 10, 2009 10:35 PM (+rSRq)

4 You know, it's hard to believe they'd screw it so much. I'm watching Akazukin right now, which is great (except for the length of 30+ episodes). And it's a kids' show. How hard can it be?

I think I liked the most in the original PPG when they suddenly went serious, like that one time girls became druggies and dealt with the consequences of it. I don't expect anything like that from PPGZ, of course. It's Japan, they have other shows for this kind of thing.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at December 10, 2009 11:26 PM (/ppBw)

5 How hard can it be?

Cue Captain Slow and the Hamster heading for the hills...

Posted by: Wonderduck at December 11, 2009 11:25 PM (C32SO)

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