Ah, nostalgia! Be it that old cartoon, a favorite toy or a comic book from days gone by, isn’t it great, when out of the blue, the memories come flooding back, and you’ve no choice but to exclaim ”Holy Crap! Remember…?”
I’m going to go ahead and stop right here and assume that you’ve never heard of Powerpuff Girls Z. It is absolutely insane and serves as a perfect example of why anime can so often make my head hurt from the outside looking in. in 2006, Cartoon Network Japan and Toei Animation produced an adaptation of the American Powerpuff Girls series and it is absolutely bonkers. So basically, it’s an acceptable adaption of the American show. The Powerpuff Girls was already a pretty crazy show to begin with. The Japanese adaptation merely took that crazy and added in a dash of anime crazy. While they’re certainly different brands of crazy, no one is really nuttier than the other.
That said, there are some pretty significant departures from the American version, most notably the girls’ origin story. In the American release, Professor Utonium is deliberately playing God by trying to create the perfect little girls (let’s just gloss over how creepy that it) when Chemical X is accidentally added to the mix, thus creating the super-powered Powerpuff Girls. In the anime, It’s Utonium’s son(!?) who accidentally creates the Powerpuff Girls by using the unstable Chemical Z to settle unusual weather patterns… Really. Only instead of the girls popping out of thin air, beams of white light from the Chemical Z explosion land on three ordinary girls, immediately giving them the amazing ability to spontaneously sprout new clothes after doing a fairly creepy underpants dance. Oh, and they also have super powers. Bubbles fights bad guys with a giant bubble wand. I’m dead serious. The bad guys are birthed from black light beams from the same explosion. They’re the same villains you recognize like Mojo Jojo, Fuzzy Lumpkins and an anime version of Him. Wacky adventures ensue, but with more serialized stories than the American version (another anime staple). Basically every character from the US version has an anime counterpart, including the faceless Ms Bellum.
Technically, the show looks really good (thanks in no small part to character designs from Sailor Moon veteran Miho Shimogasa, which might explain the underpants dance transformation sequence) and the English voice cast does a passable job doing their best impressions of the original voice cast. The result is a show that looks radically different from the original, yet sounds sort of like the original. So while it certainly is technically sound, it’s still bananas. Don’t believe me? Check out episode one and try not to fall into the rabbit hole. It looks like the whole series is on YouTube. You’ve been warned.