The first episode of Damashitaa! Powerpuff Girls Z (“Take off! Powerpuff Girls Z”) premiered in Japan a few weeks ago and it didn’t take long for the thing to hit the internet for the whole world to see. So far, the only version available is the Raw Japanese version (no fansubs, yet), but luckily, I’m rather good with the Japanese language, so I had no trouble understanding it. Additionally, the plots and dialogue aren’t particularly complicated, so in all honesty, it’s not hard to follow even if you can’t speak Japanese.
The episodes follow the same format as the American cartoon series; they’re about 8 minutes in length. Several gags from the American series make the transition; the Mayor being an incompetant boob, Ms. Bellum’s face never being seen, the overall lack of seriousness, etc. Some changes have been made on a more than visual level. Professor Utonium now has a son who helps him around the lab, the hotline (that clown-faced telephone) has been replaced by a robot dog named “Peach” who alerts the Powerpuff Girls of danger by activating their belt-buckles with a sonic howl. The episodes still end with the heart-motiff, though the Powerpuff Girls give us a good bye message instead of a narrator.
And here’s a look at the character-redesigns for the Rogues Gallery.
Front Row: Big Billy, Grubber, Mojo Jojo, Princess, Li’l Arturo, Ace and Him
Back Row: Sedusa, the Rowdy Ruff Boys, Fuzzy Lumpkins, Snake, Abra Cadavar.
I only take issue with a few of the redesigns. Abra Cadavar isn’t much of a zombie anymore and just what the Hell is Snake wearing!? Fuzzy Lumpkins has undergone practically no change what-so-ever, which is cool. The Rowdy Ruff Boys look great, and check out Sedusa’s rack. Princess’ afro is startling, while Him has a marrionette/puppet-thing going, which may or may not work. Mojo Jojo just looks hardcore (though he’s still just as goofy as ever in the actual show). The Gangreen Gang, for the most part, look just fine. Overall, I like most of their redesigns.
As far as the plot of episode 1 is concerned, it was really just a “Hey, meet the Powerpuff Girls…again!” sorta introduction. Mojo Jojo kidnaps a bunch of kindergartners and steals their candy. Peach alerts the Powerpuff Girls (high school students, now) and they head off to stop him. But, of course, nothing’s ever that cut and dry when the Powerpuff Girls are concerned. They arrive and sign autographs for the captured children. Mojo tries to give them his autograph but the kids just cry. Mojo and the PPG fight it out, but run low on energy. So everybody in the show has an ice cream break with their favorite flavor listed in katakana at the bottom of the screen. Refreshed, they kick Mojo’s butt and send him packing.
Like I said, not very complicated or clever in the plot-department, but again, this episode really just serves as an introduction piece. I’m sure it’ll pick up once we see some more villains. The jokes are quirky but in a very Japanese fashion. Japanese quirkiness and American quirkiness are two very different things. But hey, we had a talking dog in our version, they have a talking fish. Go figure.
Anyway, the show is kinda “eh” right now. I think I’ll like it a lot more when/if it hits American TV, providing they dub it with the voice actors from the American series.