Blossom, Bubbles, Buttercup back to bust more bad guys

The special features a massive change in animation style.

The special features a massive change in animation style.

Life & Arts Editor

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Cartoon Network revamped their original recipe of sugar, spice and everything nice on Jan. 20 in “Powerpuff Girls: Dance Pantsed.”

The series, which began in 1998, aired for six seasons before its end in 2005. Since then, reruns and nostalgia have sustained PPG fans. However, in December, Cartoon Network announced a special comeback episode.

The biggest change in this iteration of the Powerpuffs is the animation: instead of the show’s iconic bold-line drawing style, the new aesthetic uses almost no outlines at all, and allows for much more visual detail. Bubbles’s perfect pigtails now exhibit an element of scruff, and Buttercup’s pixie cut is punkier than ever.

The other difference is slightly higher stakes, along with a pretty strong subplot. The girls’ sworn nemesis, Mojo Jojo, is on a mission, but one of a larger scale than most of the previous episodes.

In a related story line, the girls’ father, Professor Utonium, is faced with a situation in which he has to confront his surprising past as an aspiring dancer.

Still, the Powerpuff spirit was very much in tact in this 30-minute special. None of the original creators had a hand in the making of the episode, but the humor and writing style felt true to the original series.

It was just as goofy and spunky as the original–a major plot device is a dance video game called Dance Pants Revolution, for which the player puts on motion-sensor pants. The girls flip effortlessly between throwing tantrums and lifting things 20 times their own weight. There also seems to be more adult jokes sprinkled in–but maybe that is just a side effect of fans becoming older and wiser.

This episode features Bubbles saying cute things, Blossom being smart and looking smarter with her signature red bow, and Buttercup punching and kicking with even greater frequency. It has dance-offs, evil electronics, and beautiful panoramas of The City of Townsville. The animation style has elicited mixed reactions, but as far as creating visual depth, warmth and generally more artful scenes, the change is a success.

The special’s main flaw goes hand-in-hand with one of its greatest strengths. At just 30 minutes, and with less than a month of hype, the Powerpuff Girls special was gone just as quickly as it came, with no promise of any extended comeback season. It leaves fans wanting more, yet completely unsure when or if more will ever come. Either way, “Powerpuff Girls: Dance Pantsed” is a delightfully unexpected coda to the original mainstay in plenty of millennial childhoods.