The Powerpuff Girls-The Mane Event (1998) (NTSC)
Main Menu Audio
Music Video-I'm A Supergirl
Featurette-Helter Shelter; Power Lunch
Featurette-The Whoop@! Girls +/- commentary
|Year Of Production||1998|
|Running Time||65:39 (Case: 133)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Warner Home Video
James L Venable
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I have friends (no, really!). Some of my friends have young children, and some of those young children are girls. Some of those girls are in the right age group to be fans of The Powerpuff Girls. And they are. My friends drive around in cars that have Powerpuff stickers on them. So I was a bit curious — what's the attraction? Would I be interested? I have watched several episodes now, and I have to say that although the cartoon is clearly geared to a young audience, it's actually quite watchable, and even modestly entertaining. I'm not suggesting that adults run out and buy these discs, but if you're buying them for your children, you may find these less irritating than some of the alternatives.
The Powerpuff Girls are three girls, all kindergarten age (I'm guessing that makes them about four years old), who live with their creator, Professor Utonium. Yes, creator — Professor Utonium was trying to make the perfect little girl by mixing sugar and spice and all things nice, but he accidentally knocked in Chemical X, and created the Powerpuff Girls instead. They have a variety of super-powers (actually, according to the opening sequence, they have ultra-super-powers), including the ability to fly, extreme strength, heat and x-ray vision, ice breath, and that most indispensable cartoon talent, the ability to recover instantaneously from being mashed flat (not sure that's a super-power, though). Interestingly, their super-powers seem to vary depending on the author of the particular episode.
The three Powerpuff Girls are:
The Powerpuff Girls live in the city of Townsville, and attend Pokey Oaks kindergarten where their teacher is Ms Keane — she is sometimes a bit more wise to what's going on than she admits. Sometimes the Powerpuff Girls are summoned into action by the Mayor of Townsville on a clown phone — they have one at home and one at the kindergarten. The mayor has a secretary called Ms Sara Bellum (say it aloud). For some reason we never see her face, but she's called the brains behind the Mayor. The only other characters you'll see regularly are the cast of villains. The most regular villain is the evil genius chimpanzee Mojo Jojo. There are others, such as the Gangrene Gang, Princess Morebucks, the Amoeba Boys, and Him (who seems to be a rather effeminate devil). There are other monsters and bad guys, such as the Boogie Man or Sedusa, who appear in individual episodes.
Every episode starts with a panoramic shot of Townsville, and ends with a voice-over of who saved the day.
This show has clearly been influenced by the 1960s Batman TV series (Craig McCracken admits as much in his commentary), even down to the tongue-in-cheek commentary. It can be watched superficially as an adventure show, but there's a lot of broad humour, some of which will go over the heads of the target audience, but which will keep their parents entertained. Some of the references are subtle, some are far from it, but very funny (gotta love the recreation of the famous Star Wars scene). Every episode's title is a distortion of a familiar phrase, like a song title.
The episodes are quite short — a little over 10 minutes, not counting the credits. The opening credits are only shown at the start, before all of the episodes in a row. The closing credits are only shown at the end. I guess that's less boring.
The cover claims that there are six episodes on this disc. That's not completely true: there are two more included as extras, making a total of eight. Still, I'll treat them as extras for now. The official episodes on this disc are:
|The Mane Event||Blossom has a really bad hair day|
|Boogie Frights||The Boogie Man plots to make it perpetual night so he can terrorise everyone|
|Slumbering with the Enemy||The Powerpuff Girls' slumber party is crashed by Mojo Jojo|
|Ice Sore||It's really hot, so it's handy that Blossom discovers she can have ice breath|
|Twisted Sister||The girls try to make another Powerpuff because they are over-worked|
|Something's a Ms||The Mayor's secretary, Sara Bellum, seems to be associated with a series of robberies|
Apart from the violence — the Powerpuff Girls beat up the bad guys quite a lot, and sometimes get beaten up themselves — there's nothing here to be afraid of showing to children. Some of these stories have fairly blatant morals, but they are not controversial ones. And, as I mentioned, you might be able to get something out of them, too.
If you don't have the ability to watch NTSC discs, then this disc is not for you. It is NTSC, even though it's Region 4.
This DVD's transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. For a TV cartoon series that's the original aspect ratio.
The image is about as sharp as it can be, with the very occasional soft moment. Shadow detail is not a consideration for this kind of animation. There is no significant film grain, and no low level noise..
Colour is fairly basic. There are lots of solid colour blocks, but they are well-rendered. There are no colour-related artefacts, except for an occasional moment of discolouration adjacent to a heavy black line.
There is some Gibbs Effect on the black borders of the characters, which are very heavy black outlines. They also show some aliasing, but it's not bad. There is no moire, no shimmer, and no MPEG artefacting, except for one at 4:32 in the original Powerpuff Girls short film that's included as an extra.
There are a few tiny film artefacts, but you really have to watch closely to see them.
There are subtitles in English, Spanish and Portuguese. I watched the English subtitles. They are easy enough to read, well-timed, and fairly accurate.
The disc is single-sided and single layered. That means no layer change. There's no over-compression, because there's not enough content to over-fill the layer.
The soundtrack is provided in English, Spanish and Portuguese. I only listened to the English. It is a simple Dolby Digital 2.0 mix, with the occasional stereo effect, but mostly front and centre — that's not too surprising for a TV series.
The English dialogue is mostly easy to understand (Bubbles can be a bit too shrill to understand occasionally, and some of the monsters aren't too clear). There are no obvious slips in audio sync, but animation is difficult to judge.
The music is well-matched to the animation. The score (and opening theme) are credited to Thomas Chase, Steve Rucker and James L Venable. The closing theme is credited to BIS.
There's no signal for the subwoofer or surrounds on this straight stereo soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are quite a few extras on this disc — far more than on most cartoon discs. I was very impressed until I discovered that the Region 1 version of this disc has far more to offer.
The menu is static, with music behind the main menu. It's simple enough to navigate.
We get to see the Powerpuff Girls in action, performing the song, and being introduced. There is quite a bit of captioning in this, in both English and Japanese.
There are two extra episodes included on this disc. I don't know why they are labelled "preview" — we get the whole episode in both cases. They are:
This is shown with an introduction by Craig McCracken (creator of the Powerpuff Girls), and you can watch it with or without his commentary, and in colour or pencil sketch format (using multi-angle). It's the short film he made while at film school, and the original version of the Powerpuff Girls — it's interesting to see the differences between this and the regular show. This one has much more detailed drawing of the Gangrene Gang.
Someone with a bleeper went through and bleeped every instance of @#, but not overly intelligently — even the start of "aspiration" gets bleeped.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This is a surprise. I thought this disc would be exactly the same as the Region 1 disc, because it is NTSC. However, it reads as though the Region 1 disc has more content, despite having exactly the same artwork. Amazon reports that there are 10 episodes on the disc — other reports make it clear that there are only the same number as on this disc.
According to what I can find, there are two audio commentaries (for Slumbering with the Enemy and Something's a Ms), video bios for the main characters, and some DVD-ROM content, plus interesting animated themed menus — none of this is on the Region 4 disc. Everything that appears on the Region 4 disc is listed as being present on the Region 1. I wonder if the R4 got cut down to fit it onto a single layer?
If you want all of the extras, I guess you'll have to get the Region 1. If you want it for the episodes alone, then the R4 will suffice. Because this disc is NTSC, you need to be able to play NTSC discs no matter which version you choose.
An interesting cartoon series — you will know if your children are addicted to it. Not badly presented, but NTSC.
The video quality is pretty good.
The audio quality is rather good.
The extras are more than you might expect, and rather interesting, but pale by comparison to the huge list on the Region 1 disc.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|