While Cartoon Network has been home to many classic modern-day animation, it’s hard to argue that their most successful franchise to date has been The Powerpuff Girls. Since premiering in 1998, The Powerpuff Girls has been one of the defining cartoons of the late 90s. Not only was the series loved by children and adults, the series has had multiple reboots, spin-offs, and was even one of the rare Cartoon Network shows to get its own theatrical film: The Powerpuff Girls Movie!

Not only that, the series was popular worldwide, to the point where an anime spin-off was greenlit. You may be scratching your head as you read that: “wait, there’s a Powerpuff Girls ANIME?!” you may be thinking. And the answer is yes, there IS a Powerpuff Girls anime! What’s more, an English dub WAS produced and aired on Cartoon Network. Despite this, most fans are unaware that the show exists, and Cartoon Network has never re-aired it after the initial airing. What is this anime, and why aren’t American fans more aware of it?

The History of the Powerpuff Girls

The Powerpuff Girls - Blossom, bubbles and buttercup

The Powerpuff Girls is the creation of animation legend Craig McCracken. Originally known as The Whoopass Girls when he made the original short in college, he would slightly retool the characters to air on the What a Cartoon! show, where the two shorts created for the block were so popular Cartoon Network greenlit a full series. When the show premiered in 1998 it was an instant hit that lasted for six seasons! A theatrical film was released in 2002. As the series started to wind down production in the states, interest in the girls in Japan was at an all-time high, and a surprise announcement was made.

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The Powerpuff Girls Z Anime is Announced

Powerpuff Girls Z Introduction

In 2005 The Powerpuff Girls officially came to an end in America. However, the show was still very popular in Japan, and plans were made to continue producing content for Japanese viewers. A partnership was made between Cartoon Network Japan, Aniplex, and Toei Animation to work on the show. While Craig McCracken would not be involved in the making of the series, it did feature character designs by Miho Shimogasa of Cutie Honey Flash and Ultra Maniac fame! One of the animation directors of Sailor Moon - Megumu Ishiguro - was tasked with directing the series.

The anime was titled Demashita! Pawapafu Garuzu Zetto (They’re Here! Powerpuff Girls Z)! The Z was added to the title for the eventual English release, which Cartoon Network Japan hoped would inspire fans of Dragon Ball Z to tune in (this is how executives sometimes think). Originally intended to have a 26-episode run, the series ultimately ran for 52 episodes due to the popularity of the show. While the show was embraced in Japan, apathy towards the project would doom the series in America.

The Series Gets Buried by Cartoon Network

Powerpuff Girls Speed Demon Zombies HIM

Despite Cartoon Network Japan helping produce the show, the American offices of Cartoon Network didn’t have much interest in The Powerpuff Girls Z. This is one of the reasons why despite the fact that they could have easily gotten the original cast members together to reprise their roles for the show, they ultimately outsourced the dubbing to Ocean Studios, who used seasoned anime actors to replace the original actors. Ocean also re-scored the show and made minor edits for TV standards. When The Powerpuff Girls Z aired on Cartoon Network it did so with little advertising and in terrible timeslots.

There are conflicting reports on whether or not all of The Powerpuff Girls Z even aired in America because shortly after the series failed to find an audience, the series was shuffled to Cartoon Network’s sister channel Boomerang. For those who are unaware of what Boomerang is, it’s a second animation network to place the classic Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbara, and MGM cartoons that originally were given considerable screentime on Cartoon Network. Once Cartoon Network started creating original programming, those older shows got less and less airtime.

Rather than just letting them sit in a vault, Boomerang was created to give the classic cartoons a new home where fans could watch them. Sadly, the channel was also used by Cartoon Network to unofficially ‘bury’ shows that failed miserably. With The Powerpuff Girls Z being a huge flop on Cartoon Network (even though it was likely the fault of the network itself), the series was sent to Boomerang, where despite being one of the more modern shows on the channel, it STILL was aired during terrible times! After finishing the run, Boomerang pulled the series from the channel.

The series has basically been forgotten by both the public and the network since then. As of this writing there are no streaming service where you can stream the show or even buy it. It simply is not available. This is a shame because while it certainly looks and feels different from the original series, it is a unique take of the characters that was a lot of fun. Unless someone digs it up, there’s a chance The Powerpuff Girls Z will remain lost media that most fans will be unaware of.

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