The Powerpuff Girls
The Powerpuff Girls is an American animated television series created by animator
An animator is an artist who creates multiple images that give an illusion of movement called animation when displayed in rapid sequence; the images are called frames and key frames. Animators can work in a variety of fields including film, television, video games, and the internet. Usually, an...

 Craig McCracken
Craig McCracken
Craig McCracken is an American animator and creator of The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.-Biography:...

 and produced by Hanna-Barbera
Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. was an American animation studio that dominated North American television animation during the second half of the 20th century...

 (later Cartoon Network Studios
Cartoon Network Studios
Cartoon Network Studios is an American animation studio. A subsidiary of the Turner Broadcasting System , Cartoon Network Studios focuses on producing and developing animated programs only for and related to Cartoon Network...

) for Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network is a name of television channels worldwide created by Turner Broadcasting which used to primarily show animated programming. The channel began broadcasting on October 1, 1992 in the United States....

. The show centers on Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, three kindergarten
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

-aged girls with superpowers
Superpower (ability)
Superpower is a popular culture term for a fictional superhuman ability. When a character possesses multiple such abilities, the terms super powers or simply powers are used...

, as well as their "father", the brainy scientist Professor Utonium, who all live in the fictional city of Townsville, USA
Placeholder name
Placeholder names are words that can refer to objects or people whose names are either temporarily forgotten, irrelevant, or unknown in the context in which they are being discussed...

. The girls are frequently called upon by the town's childlike mayor to help fight nearby criminals using their powers.

McCracken originally developed the show in 1992 as a cartoon short entitled Whoopass Stew! while in his second year at CalArts. Following a name change, Cartoon Network featured the first Powerpuff Girls pilots in its animation showcase program World Premiere Toons
The Cartoon Cartoon Show
What a Cartoon! , is an American animation showcase project created by Fred Seibert for Hanna-Barbera Cartoons to be run on Cartoon Network...

in 1995 and 1996. The series made its official debut as a Cartoon Cartoon on November 18, 1998, with the final episode airing on March 25, 2005. A total of 78 episodes were aired in addition to two shorts, a Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 special, a feature film
The Powerpuff Girls Movie
The Powerpuff Girls Movie is a 2002 American animated film based on the Cartoon Network animated television series of the same name. Produced by Cartoon Network Studios for Warner Bros. Pictures and Cartoon Network, the film debuted in the United States on July 3, 2002...

, and a 10-year anniversary special. Additionally, the series has been nominated for 6 Emmy Awards, 9 Annie Awards, and a Kids' Choice Award during its run. Spin-off media include an anime, three CD soundtracks, a home video collection, and a series of video games, as well as various licensed merchandise.


The Powerpuff Girls revolves around the adventures of Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles. Each of the girls has a color; Bubbles is blue, Buttercup is green and Blossom is pink. The plot of a typical episode is some humorous variation of standard superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

 and tokusatsu
is a Japanese term that applies to any live-action film or television drama that usually features superheroes and makes considerable use of special effects ....

 fare, with the girls using their powers to defend their town from villain
A villain is an "evil" character in a story, whether a historical narrative or, especially, a work of fiction. The villain usually is the antagonist, the character who tends to have a negative effect on other characters...

s and giant monsters
Monster movie
Monster movie is a name commonly given to movies, which centre on the struggle between human beings and one or more monsters...

. In addition, the girls also have to deal with normal issues young children face, such as sibling rivalries, loose teeth, personal hygiene, going to school, bed wetting, or dependence on a security blanket. Episodes often contain more or less hidden references to older pop culture (especially noticeable in the episode "Meet the Beat Alls").

The setting of the show is mainly the City of Townsville, USA. Townsville is depicted as a major American city, with a cityscape consisting of several major skyscrapers. In his review of The Powerpuff Girls Movie, movie critic Bob Longino of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the only major daily newspaper in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, and its suburbs. The AJC, as it is called, is the flagship publication of Cox Enterprises. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the result of the merger between The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta...

said that "the intricate drawings emanate 1950s futuristic pizazz like a David Hockney
David Hockney
David Hockney, CH, RA, is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, who is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire and Kensington, London....

 scenescape", and that the show is "one of the few American creations that is both gleeful pop culture and exquisite high art".

James L. Venable
James L. Venable
James L. Venable is a composer, working primarily in American film and television. He is known for his scores to the animated television series The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends...

 composed the opening theme of the series, and Scottish band Bis
Bis (band)
Bis are a Scottish indie pop band composed of Steven Clark , John Clark , and Amanda MacKinnon . Formed in 1994, the band broke up in 2003, but reformed briefly in 2007 for a series of concerts.-History:...

 performed the ending theme song, as played during the credits. The opening theme is based on the Clyde Stubblefield
Clyde Stubblefield
Clyde Stubblefield is a drummer best known for his work with James Brown.Stubblefield's recordings with James Brown are considered to be some of the standard-bearers for funk drumming, including the singles "Cold Sweat", "There Was A Time", "I Got The Feelin'", "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm...

-performed Funky drummer
Funky drummer
"Funky Drummer" is a funk song recorded by James Brown and his band. The recording's drum break, performed by drummer Clyde Stubblefield, is one of the most frequently sampled rhythmic breaks in hip hop and popular music; indeed, it lays a strong claim to being the most sampled recording ever,...

 drum break sample.


In 1991 Craig McCracken, then a student in the character animation program of CalArts, created "The Whoopass Girls" as a drawing of three girls on a small sheet of orange construction paper. The following year he included them as the main characters of his short film Whoopass Stew! The Whoopass Girls in: A Sticky Situation. This short, along with a few of McCracken's No Neck Joe shorts, was selected to be shown at Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation
Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation
Spike & Mike's is a collection of short animated films which annually tours theaters, film festivals, and college campuses in North America...

 in 1994. While working on Dexter's Laboratory, McCracken submitted his work to Hanna-Barbera's innovative What a Cartoon! Show shorts program, which was eventually produced for Cartoon Network as "The Powerpuff Girls in: Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins" as part of World Premiere Toons. "Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins" first aired in 1995, and was followed by a second short, "Crime 101", a year later. Announcer Ernie Anderson
Ernie Anderson
Ernie Anderson was an American disc jockey, and television and radio announcer/voiceover artist...

, the narrator of the pilot episodes, died of cancer in 1997 before the show premiered, and he was replaced by Tom Kenny
Tom Kenny
Thomas James "Tom" Kenny is an American actor, voice actor and comedian. He is especially known for his long-running-role as SpongeBob SquarePants in the television series of the same name, as well as the live-action character Patchy the Pirate, Gary the Snail and the French narrator based on...

 for the remainder of the series. The show's animation director was McCracken's former classmate Genndy Tartakovsky
Genndy Tartakovsky
Genndy Borisovich Tartakovsky is a Russian-American television animator, director and producer. His best-known creations are Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Sym-Bionic Titan...

 (Dexter's Laboratory
Dexter's Laboratory
Dexter's Laboratory is an American animated television series created by Genndy Tartakovsky and produced by Cartoon Network Studios . The show is about a boy named Dexter who has an enormous secret laboratory filled with an endless collection of his inventions...

, Samurai Jack
Samurai Jack
Samurai Jack is an American animated television series created by animator Genndy Tartakovsky that aired on both Cartoon Network and Toonami from 2001 to 2004. It is noted for its highly detailed, outline-free, masking-based animation, as well as for its cinematic style and pacing...

), who also directed many episodes himself. All of the original episodes (except the WAC shorts with the first one being animated at Animal House in Japan and the Second being animated at Fil Cartoons in the Philippines) were hand-drawn and produced at Rough Draft Studios
Rough Draft Studios
Rough Draft Studios, Inc. is an animation studio based in Glendale, California, United States, with its sister studio Rough Draft Korea located in Seoul, South Korea. RDS was founded in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California by Gregg Vanzo...

 in South Korea.

The Powerpuff Girls series debut on November 18, 1998 was the highest rated premiere in Cartoon Network's history at the time. The series consistently scored the highest rating each week for the network across a wide range of demographics—from young children to adults. In October 2000, Cartoon Network credited the Powerpuff Girls for its Friday night prime time
Prime time
Prime time or primetime is the block of broadcast programming during the middle of the evening for television programing.The term prime time is often defined in terms of a fixed time period—for example, from 19:00 to 22:00 or 20:00 to 23:00 Prime time or primetime is the block of broadcast...

Ratings (broadcast)
Ratings is a term used to describe the methods used by radio, cable and terrestrial television programming measure their performance. Ratings are collated using audience measurement.-Mechanisms for Calculating Ratings :...

 win among cable networks. By the end of 2000, merchandising based on The Powerpuff Girls encompassed a whole variety of products, including T-shirts, toys, video games, lunchboxes, and dishware. Concerning the Powerpuff Girls success, Craig McCracken has stated, "I thought it would get on Cartoon Network and college kids would watch it and there would be a few random T-shirts out there in the rave scene or in record shops. But I had no idea that it would take off to this extent."

In August 2008, McCracken revealed on his DeviantArt
deviantART is an online community showcasing various forms of user-made artwork. It was first launched on August 7, 2000 by Scott Jarkoff, Matthew Stephens, Angelo Sotira and others. deviantArt, Inc...

 account, as had been announced in that year's Comic Con, that he was working with Cartoon Network on a new half-hour Powerpuff Girls special to celebrate the series' 10-year anniversary. The special, titled "The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!!", aired on the Pan-Euro Cartoon Network on November 29, 2008, on the Powerpuff Girls Birthday Marathon, and in the United States on January 19, 2009, as part of its 10th anniversary marathon. Unlike previous episodes in the series, the anniversary special was animated using Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages. Flash is frequently used for advertisements, games and flash animations for broadcast...

 at Cartoon Network Studios.


As depicted in the opening sequence of each episode, the Powerpuff Girls were created by Professor Utonium in an attempt "to create the perfect little girl" using a mixture of "sugar... spice... and everything nice"
What are Little Boys Made of?
"What Are Little Boys Made Of?" is a popular nursery rhyme dating from the early nineteenth century. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 821.-Lyrics:Here is a representative modern version of the lyrics:...

 (shown in respective fields of baby blue
Baby blue
Baby blue is a tint of blue, one of the pastel colors.The first recorded use of baby blue as a color name in English was in 1892.-Bubbles:Bubbles is a pale tint of baby blue....

, light green, and pink
Pink is a mixture of red and white. Commonly used for Valentine's Day and Easter, pink is sometimes referred to as "the color of love." The use of the word for the color known today as pink was first recorded in the late 17th century....

). However, he accidentally spilled a mysterious substance called "Chemical X" into the mixture, creating, instead of one "perfect little girl", three girls (each possessing one of the above elements dominating her personality), and granting all three superpowers including flight, super strength
Superhuman strength
Superhuman strength, also called superstrength, super-strength, or super strength, is an ability commonly employed in fiction. It is the ability for a character to be stronger than humanly possible...

, super speed
Speedster (fiction)
A speedster is a fictional character in superhero fiction, particularly comic books, whose primary power is the superhuman ability to perform physical and/or mental acts at impossibly high speeds. The most recognizable such superhero is the Flash...

, near invulnerability, x-ray vision, super senses, heat vision, and energy projection. In the original pilot, the accidental substance was a can of "Whoop Ass", which was replaced by "Chemical X" in the aired version.

The three girls all have oval-shaped heads, abnormally large eyes (inspired by Margaret Keane
Margaret Keane
Margaret Keane is an American artist. She is an illustrator and painter, and mainly draws women and children in oil or mixed media. Her works are instantly recognizable from the doe-eyed children that are depicted in the drawings.-Biography:Margaret D. H...

's art), stubby arms and legs, and lack noses, ears, fingers, necks, and flat feet with toes (McCracken preferred them to look more symbolic of actual girls rather than going for a realistic look, meaning fewer details were added.). They wear dress
A dress is a garment consisting of a skirt with an attached bodice or with a matching bodice giving the effect of a one-piece garment.Dress may also refer to:*Clothing in general*Costume, fancy dress...

es with black stripes that match the colors of their eyes, as well as white stockings and black Mary Janes
Mary Jane (shoe)
Mary Jane is an American term for a strap shoe or bar shoe that typically has low heels, broad and rounded closed toes, and a single-buckle strap across the instep and/or around the ankle...

. The closing theme to the cartoon offers a nutshell description of the three Powerpuff Girls' personalities: Blossom, commander and the leader. Bubbles, she is the joy and the laughter. Buttercup, she is the toughest fighter.
Blossom (voiced by Cathy Cavadini
Cathy Cavadini
Catherine Janet "Cathy" Cavadini is an American voice actress and singer. Most famous as the voice of Blossom on Cartoon Network's animated television series The Powerpuff Girls and Tanya Mousekewitz in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West and Fievel's American Tails. She is also the successor voice...

) is known for being the smartest one, as well as being the self-proclaimed leader of the Powerpuff Girls. Her personality ingredient is "everything nice", her signature color is pink, and she has long fiery red hair with a red bow. She was named for having spoken freely and honestly to the Professor shortly after her creation. She is often seen as the most mature, level-headed, and composed member of the group, although she can at times be fussy, overbearing, petty, and too analytical. She tends to "parent" Bubbles and Buttercup, and often tries to play peacemaker between the two if they fight (though she is very quick to argue with Buttercup). In the episode "Ice Sore", she discovered her ability to freeze objects with her breath. She also speaks Chinese.

Bubbles (voiced by Tara Strong
Tara Strong
Tara Lyn Strong is a Canadian actress, voice-over artist, singer, who is best known for her voice work in cartoons.-Early life and career:...

 in the series and by Kath Soucie
Kath Soucie
Katherine Elaine Soucie is an American voice actress. She is sometimes credited as Kath Soucie, Katherine Soucie, Kath Souci, Kath E...

 in the What a Cartoon! episodes) is the cute and sensitive one. Her personality ingredient is sugar, her signature color is baby blue, and she has short blonde hair in two pigtails. She tends to act like the baby of the group, despite being the same age as her sisters, but she sometimes can get extremely mad. Her best friend is a stuffed octopus doll she calls "Octi". She exhibits the ability to both understand foreign languages (Spanish, Japanese) and communicate with various animals (squirrels, cats, monsters). She will always stand up for (and cuddle with) animals, except cockroaches, which she and her sisters find "icky". She displays and is defined by innocence, playfulness, and a gentle demeanor, having a tendency to be naïve, ditzy, submissive, and shy.

Buttercup (voiced by E.G. Daily
Elizabeth Daily
Elizabeth Ann Guttman , better known by her stage names of Elizabeth Daily and E.G. Daily, is an American voice actress, actress, singer-songwriter, and musician...

) is the toughest of the three. Her personality ingredient is spice, her signature color is light green, and she has short black hair with raven-haired locks. She is the tomboy
A tomboy is a girl who exhibits characteristics or behaviors considered typical of the gender role of a boy, including the wearing of typically masculine-oriented clothes and engaging in games and activities that are often physical in nature, and which are considered in many cultures to be the...

 in the group, and she has a very short temper. Sometimes her aggression gets the better of her, making her reckless and stubborn. She has, however shown a softer side in several episodes. For example, in the episode "Cover Up", she had a soft green blanket that she was obsessed with that gave her the confidence to be a better fighter, and she is quite protective over her sisters, as shown in "Buttercrush". Buttercup hates baths and loves getting dirty. She is the only Powerpuff Girl without a unique super power (aside from curling her tongue) as well as the only monolingual Powerpuff Girl.


The Powerpuff Girls has generally been met with positive response from critics and fans. In a 2000 Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly is an American magazine, published by the Time division of Time Warner, that covers film, television, music, broadway theatre, books and popular culture...

review, Marc Bernadin complimented the show on its "spot-on pop-culture acumen" and "unparalleled sense of fun", giving it a warm welcome from earlier "lame" superhero cartoons that he grew up with. Peter Marks of The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

noted the show's use of adult humor and pop culture references, declaring it "the sort of playful satire that can appeal as much to a viewer of 37 as 7."

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1999 Annie Awards  Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Television Production Craig Kellman
for "Uh Oh Dynamo"
1999 Annie Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Television Production John McIntyre
for "Mommie Fearest"
1999 Annie Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production Tara Charendoff
1999 Primetime Emmys  Outstanding Achievement in Animation "Bubblevicious/The Bare Facts"
2000 Annie Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing In an Animated Television Production Chris Savino
for "Dream Scheme"
2000 Primetime Emmys Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation Don Shank
for "Twisted Sister/Cover Up"
2000 Primetime Emmys Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less) "Beat Your Greens/Down 'N Dirty"
2001 Annie Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement for Music Score an Animated Television Production James L. Venable, Thomas Chase, and Steve Rucker
for "Meet the Beat Alls"
2001 Annie Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Television Production Don Shank
2001 Primetime Emmys Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour) "Moral Decay/Meet the Beat Alls"
2001 Kids' Choice Awards  Favorite Cartoon The Powerpuff Girls
2002 Annie Awards Outstanding Character Design in an Animated Television Production Paul Rudish
for "Members Only"
2003 Annie Awards Outstanding Character Design in an Animated Television Production Andy Bialk
for "Save Mojo"
2004 Annie Awards Character Design in an Animated Television Production Chris Reccardi
for "West in Pieces"
2004 Primetime Emmys Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour Or More) "'Twas the Fight Before Christmas"
2005 Primetime Emmys Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation Frank Gardner
for "West in Pieces"


In April 2005, plans for a Japanese anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

 version, Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z, were announced. The series premiered in Japan the following year with 52 half-hour episodes, airing each Saturday from July 1 to December 23, 2006, and from January 6 to June 30, 2007. The series deviated from its American predecessor in terms of style, storyline, and characterization, but still retained the essential themes that made the original a success. An English version has also been produced by Ocean Studios in Vancouver, Canada and has been broadcast on Cartoon Network Philippines
Cartoon Network Philippines
Cartoon Network is a cable and satellite television channel created by Turner Broadcasting, a unit of Time Warner which primarily shows animated programming. The Philippine version is a branch of Cartoon Network Asia, broadcasting exclusively in the Philippines....

 and Boomerang Australia
Boomerang (Australian TV channel)
For the original Boomerang channel, see Boomerang .Boomerang is a cable and satellite television channel owned by Turner Broadcasting, a unit of Time Warner and its main flagship channel of Cartoon Network...



The Powerpuff Girls Movie was released in the United States on July 3, 2002 by Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network. The movie received mixed to positive reviews with a rating of 63% at Rotten Tomatoes and tells the story of how the Powerpuff Girls were created and how they came to be the defenders of Townsville.

Music CDs

Three CD
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

 soundtracks were officially released for the series. The first, entitled Heroes & Villains, features original songs about the Powerpuff Girls characters by a number of artists, including the New Wave group Devo
Devo is an American band formed in 1973 consisting of members from Kent and Akron, Ohio. The classic line-up of the band includes two sets of brothers, the Mothersbaughs and the Casales . The band had a #14 Billboard chart hit in 1980 with the single "Whip It", and has maintained a cult...

, Bis, The Apples in Stereo
The Apples in Stereo
The Apples in Stereo, styled The Apples in stereo, is an American indie rock band associated with The Elephant Six Collective, a group of bands also including Neutral Milk Hotel and The Olivia Tremor Control. The band is largely a product of lead vocalist/guitarist Robert Schneider, who writes the...

, and Frank Black
Frank Black
Black Francis is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is best known as the frontman of the influential alternative rock band Pixies, with whom he performs under the stage name Black Francis. Following the band's breakup in 1993, he embarked on a solo career under the name Frank Black...

. Another entitled The City of Soundsville features electronica-style character themes, and a third CD entitled Power Pop features a more teen-oriented variety of pop songs.

See also

External links

  • The Powerpuff Girls at Cartoon Network
    Cartoon Network
    Cartoon Network is a name of television channels worldwide created by Turner Broadcasting which used to primarily show animated programming. The channel began broadcasting on October 1, 1992 in the United States....

    : Department of Cartoons (archive)
  • The Powerpuff Girls at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
    Don Markstein's Toonopedia
    Don Markstein's Toonopedia was a web encyclopedia of print cartoons, comic strips and animation. Don D...

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