The Powerpuff Girls: Dance Pantsed
Summary: The Powerpuff Girls return in a one-off special where Mojo Jojo threatens Townsville once again and they’re nearly torn apart by a video game. The two eventually coincide.
It’s been a little more than fifteen years since The Powerpuff Girls debuted and Cartoon Network decided to celebrate by airing a new CGI special entitled ‘Dance Pantsed,’ which is a new story about the girls dedicating their lives to fighting crime and the forces of evil!
They could have done a lot better though. A lot. Because despite it being a milestone anniversary for one of their most iconic shows as well as being one of the few female-centric action cartoons to exist, Cartoon Network didn’t want to spring for a good party apparently. Not even enough to have the show’s creator Craig McCracken involved in anyway. Not in the art, animation, or writing. It certainly shows too because the special falls flat when it could have easily soared.
The first trip up for a lot of people going into this special was the animation special and updated character designs. I’ll admit, they didn’t really bother me that much at all. The CG could be awkward at times, especially when watching the characters move. However, the overall look was gorgeous and dynamic. It even kind of reminded me of the country puppet style in that old Cartoon Network Groovy featuring Josie and the Pussycats at some points.
No, it wasn’t the looks. Most of my problems with this special were with how it was written.
The best way to describe how the special played out was that it certainly sounded like The Powerpuff Girls (all the original voice actors returned), but it didn’t feel like The Powerpuff Girls. The pacing was way too manic, the characters felt like bad impressions of themselves, and the whole special felt like it was someone trying to write something Powerpuff Girls-esque, but not actually Powerpuff Girls. Blossom didn’t feel like a leader, Buttercup would never actually cry at whatever cheesy speech her sister give, and Bubbles DOESN’T HAVE ICE BREATH.
Which brings me to my next point: For a special that’s supposed to pay tribute to fifteen years of The Powerpuff Girls, it certainly disregards the show canon to the point it hurts. The season one episode “Ice Sore” drove home the point that only Blossom has ice breath out of the three girls. It was her special, unique power. To ignore that fact and give it to Bubbles just bothered me so much. Not to mention the blatant disregard to Professor Utonium’s backstory of meeting the girls when he was a kid just to set up a stupid dance battle at the end. Maybe it’s a minor thing, but the episode doesn’t have the excuse of Powerpuff Girls Z of being inspired by the show. It’s presenting itself to be a new adventure in main canon. Why ignore what came before so much for the sake of a paper thin plot?
I’ll admit that there were some good jokes in the special that gave me hope that maybe the team was paying attention to the original show. Everything with Fibonacci Sequins was inspired, and I’m not just saying that because I laughed way harder than I should have at the Ringo Starr-voiced character remarking over his “Octo Pis Garden.” Soul Hayride was actually pretty in line with the show, even if it was a main part of the Canon Disregard, the brief scene of Bubbles playing with Octi is so teeth rotting cute it hurts, and while it wasn’t really Powerpuff-esque, I’m really looking forward to saying, “Because science don’t play that” somewhere in my real life.
I really wanted to like this special. I did. The Powerpuff Girls means a lot to me since they were some of the first female superheroes I had along with the Sailor Senshi and started me down a path of loving and defending fictional women. It was a wonderfully unique show about girls being the heroes and growing up, and it pains me that this special didn’t live up to that legacy. Of course, since Cartoon Network apparently doesn’t want girls watching their shows, we’ll probably not get another show like The Powerpuff Girls for a very long time.
Well, maybe Steven Universe is that show to some extent.
Do yourself a favor and just watch Steven Universe and old episodes of The Powerpuff Girls on Netflix instead.