Hey, everybody! Antoni, here, with another fan fiction recommendation. Today, I’m taking a look at a Powerpuff Girls fanfic, Sugar Song to A Bitter, Yet Sweet Step! written by Aqua Bailarina 15, published back on November 27, 2015, and updated on March 26, 2016. It’s rated T. It’s in English. It has two chapters, one with the main story or more appropriately one-shot and the other with another author’s note, and the main character pairings are Brick/Blossom and Butch/Buttercup. Other characters involved in the story, though not as prominent, are Boomer, Mitch Mitchelson, Bubbles, and Robin Snyder. This entire story takes place in a middle school setting, so the characters are approximately 13 to 14 years old, as they are in the eighth grade. Let’s get this started shall we?
Ah, the Powerpuff Girls. For those of you who watched my look back on ‘Twas the Fight Before Christmas, you will know that ever since I was a lad of seven years old, I was so excited to catch this show on Cartoon Network, considering the fact that it had two pilot shorts on The What a Cartoon Show, which a caught a year ago before the main show premiered in the Philippines, sometime during summer. I am still so happy to call myself a PPG fan to this day, as it is perched alongside my all-time favorite Cartoon Network shows, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Samurai Jack, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Dexter’s Laboratory, Codename: Kids Next Door, Chowder, The Amazing World of Gumball, and Regular Show. I am really looking forward to reviewing the original Powerpuff Girls because Craig McCracken and his crew made something unique, fun, endearing, absolutely high-octane, and something worth remembering until the end of time.
Now in terms of the Powerpuff Girls’ rogues gallery, there is no other group of villains to get as much popularity as The Rowdyruff Boys consisting of Brick the hot-tempered leader, Butch the extremely violent one, and Boomer the dim one. They were initially created by Mojo Jojo with the help of snips of armpit hair, snails, and a dog’s tail from, of course, The Talking Dog. As an ersatz for Chemical X, he flushed the ingredients down a toxic toilet and thus, The Rowdyruff Boys were born. Yes, in their debut episode their personalities were almost similar to each other that they came off as angrier, nastier counterparts to the Powerpuff Girls. However, if you take that characterization aspect aside, they were completely on par with the girls in terms of power, that they almost defeated them. The Rowdyruff Boys do prove themselves to be formidable enemies to the girls and their episode was the second to the last one of the first season. Just when Mojo Jojo and the boys were gloating at their presumed triumph, Miss Bellum gave a pep talk to the girls saying that they can use their feminine charms to defeat the boys. From there, the viewers are then treated to the most famous scene, which has cemented the whole RRB/PPG pairing frenzy, the kissing scene. Blossom kisses Brick, Bubbles kisses Boomer, and Buttercup kisses Butch. With that, the boys exploded.
These little bastards were so popular that they were even revived in Season 5 to 6. In their returning episode, The Boys are Back in Town, HIM resurrected them with a cootie shot and the boys’ personalities are not only more defined with Brick’s impulsive, mean-spirited, and hot-tempered nature, but also Butch’s bouts of psychosis, bloodlust, overall insanity, and undying loyalty to Brick as the middle brother, and Boomer’s dim-witted yet infantile nature as the youngest, as there were times that he was used as Brick’s and Butch’s punching bag evidenced in Bubble Boy. Sure, the boys’ personalities during their revival came off as obnoxious, jerkish, and irredeemable, but they were still very entertaining as characters. Heck, in The City of Clipsville, there was one scene where the Powerpuff Girls and Rowdyruff Boys were teenagers and they seemed to have a thing for each other. While that scene was interesting and kind of funny, I felt like they were all robbed of their distinctive personalities, as the girls acted more like clueless valley girls and the boys acted more like laid-back slackers.
Speaking of RRB/PPG pairings, my goodness a lot of fan-related pieces are all over the web, mostly due to the whole bad boy/good girl pairings are very much all the rage and there is so much appeal. As for me, I really love this particular pairing. Sure, it’s not canon in the TV show given the fact that the Rowdyruff Boys and the Powerpuff Girls are between 5 to 6 years old. However, if this show continued with the girls and boys as tweens or teens, I’d say they would all go a different route. The boys would be very fed up with both Mojo Jojo and HIM telling them what to do and how to be evil, and they would eventually find their own paths, all the while realizing that maybe they were in the wrong, to begin with. They would develop from being villains to anti-villains to anti-heroes at most heroes at the least. I am really sure that among Brick, Butch, and Boomer, the latter would really turn to the good side and have an amazingly stable relationship with Bubbles. Heck, it would be amazing to see the Rowdyruff Boys team up with the Powerpuff Girls and be a great superhero team to rival that of the Teen Titans, the Justice League, the Suicide Squad, and the Avengers. I indubitably support Boomubbles with a passion, but I also enjoy Blossick and Butchercup, mostly because fanfic writers will tend to make their relationships a little bit more complex in comparison to the sentimental, lovey-dovey vibe of the youngest lovebirds Boomer and Bubbles.
The usual case with Brick and Blossom in fanfics would be these two will have a will they or will they not type of relationship, and because they are leaders and the eldest siblings, they try to keep a sense of professional composure, as both of them are smart in their own ways, Blossom being the articulately bookish intellectual with a strict moral code and Brick using his street smarts to at times compensate for his not so elevated book smarts all the while being impulsive and at times ambiguous as a character. Even more so, because The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter’s Lab seem to take place in the same universe, fans of both shows would often use Dexter as the third wheel, given his prodigious intelligence, which goes on par with Blossom’s but Brick’s intelligence pales in comparison to Dexter’s. Of course, within the PPG universe, Princess Morbucks would end up as the female third wheel due to her’s and Brick’s alignment as villains and due to being Blossom’s archrival, given their epic skirmish in Stuck Up, Up and Away. With Princess, the usual formula in many a Blossick fanfic would be, Princess acts clingy and jealous to Brick, Brick shows massive disinterest in Princess, Brick is secretly attracted to Blossom and can’t bring himself to admit it, Princess becomes very jealous of Brick’s and Blossom’s flourishing relationship and wants to destroy them, Brick and Blossom fight back, Princess gets permanently dumped, and Brick and Blossom can be in an official relationship, with the former slowly having a change of heart to do good.
With Butch and Buttercup as the middle children of their groups, it’s usually the classic case of them being the Takahashi couple with Butch being the perverted jerk with a heart of gold and Buttercup being, of course, the tsundere complete with abundant belligerent sexual tension. In a lot of fan works, Mitch Mitchelson would always be the popular choice for being the third wheel, given the fact that Buttercup and he are really good friends. Some fanfic authors villainize him because of what happened in Gettin’ Twiggy with It and Butch would come out as the ascended anti-hero. Others just make him neutrally sided and be friends to both Butch and Buttercup, while leaning on the frenemy side to Butch.
I know I am going to sound rather biased when I say this, but I absolutely fancy the pants off of not only Blossick and Butchercup, but also Brick, Butch, Blossom, and Buttercup as individual characters, as they are badasses through and through and they show it with flying colors. Brick and his bombastically tough guy attitude, Butch with his ferocity and brute strength, Blossom with her genius bruiser personality and diplomacy, and Buttercup with her purely fierce bruiser personality. Whether it’s Blossick and Butchercup on a romantic level or Blossutch and Brickercup on a platonic level or Brick/Butch and Blossom/Buttercup on a tough love between siblings level, I always get a kick out of their relationships. At times, I would imagine myself being best friends with them, so much so that we would form our own team, in which Brick and Butch can use their insurmountable strength, Blossom and Buttercup can use their flawless combat prowess, and I can be like their strategist armed with a katana to compensate my lack of superpowers.
Going into the story itself it’s really cute and enjoyable by and large. Given the fact that the title is based on the closing song of the anime Blood Blockade Battlefront known in Japanese as Kekkai Sensen, which was originally sung by the Japanese pop/rock band, Unison Square Garden, and covered in English by Texan singer/voice actress, Juliet Simmons aka JubyPhonic, alongside Anthong, this is pretty much a musical romcom fanfic. All of this is told in Blossom’s point of view and the basic story revolves around a bet devised by Robin and Bubbles for Blossom and Buttercup to not listen to JubyPhonic for a whole week and by Mitch and Boomer for Brick and Butch to not listen to anything anime-related in the same duration. Unfortunately, our four main protagonists lost the bet, and Robin has decided that Brick, Butch, Blossom, and Buttercup shall sing Sugar Song to Bitter Step complete with snazzy attires and a dance routine. Aside from Robin organizing the girls’ hairstyles, Bubbles ended up organizing the attire consisting of dresses, tights, and lip gloss for the girls and tuxedos, black leather shoes, black dress pants, and color-coded ties for the boys. Even more so, they are to perform this song at the eighth-grade dance with everyone present. Along the way, a note gets intercepted to Mitch from Robin to give to Brick and Butch, causing the two male protagonists to feel a bit nervous despite the first bout of pre-show confidence in terms of their dance routine by Brick. I am not going to spoil the rest, but the climax is really amazing with the song playing in my head and the ending was really sweet, you have to read it for yourselves. As I read the fanfic, I listened to both the original and the cover versions and each of them has their perks. JubyPhonic and Anthong have fine vocal chemistry as they were youthful and sweet. However, I have to give it to Unison Square Garden for making this song so fun to listen to. Sure, the song itself was a solid choice. However, I have other song choices for these four that are seemingly more appropriate to their combined personalities like Cha-La-Head-Cha-La from Dragonball Z, Hohoemi no Bokudan from YuYu Hakusho, Asterisk or Tonight Tonight from Bleach, Logos Naki from Hellsing, Pegasus Fantasy from Saint Seiya or Ready Steady Go from Fullmetal Alchemist. I digress, though, as I still found the song choice unique compared to the corny pop love songs one would usually think when reading stories like this.
Talking about the characters is talking about Brick, Butch, Blossom, and Buttercup, as they have the best moments to be found in this story. Brick and Butch manage to keep their cockiness intact, whilst being charming and likable male protagonists. They even have a really cute and sweet moment near the end with Blossom and Buttercup, which you have to read for yourself. Blossom still manages to keep her level-headed, delicate and spunky personality intact, since she also functions as the narrator. Since she is a thirteen or fourteen-year-old in this fanfic, she is still a girl who is self-conscious, while having enough spunk and personality to make her stand out among many other “teen female protagonists” so common in shows aired by Nickelodeon or Disney Channel. Buttercup still manages to be the polar opposite to Blossom’s girlishness when she complained about her dress before stepping up to perform, as she is still the feisty yet endearing tomboy I always loved to watch. The other characters contributed pretty well from Mitch to Robin to Bubbles, as they moved the plot along rather well. Boomer is only mentioned a couple of times and I am sure he would have also appeared in the flesh, but I digress. All of the characters especially, Brick, Butch, Blossom, and Buttercup were nonetheless lovable and enjoyable to witness. Of course, since the characters are young teenagers, there is some mild swearing to be found, so at least there is some plausibility to be found as well.
In spite some of my positives, I did have a few technical issues with the story and most of it has to do with wording. For example, “Anime related” should have been “anime-related”, “a little two close” should have been “a little too close”, and “as if he was on something” should have been “as if he were onto something”. There were also some moments that I could not distinguish who said who when it came to certain pieces of dialogue. I also spotted one run-on sentence in the third paragraph, which should’ve been slightly more compact. Still, the minor technical issues did not detract from my reading pleasure.
So, overall this was a simple, sweet, cute, and delightful story. It was nice to see the two main couples of Brick and Blossom and Butch and Buttercup have such good chemistry with each other, and it was a blast to see them having fun with this energetic ending song from an anime I have yet to see. It may not be a grand masterpiece, but it has heart, which is important. With that said, I give this story an A-. Yes, this story is a bit on the fluff side, but I enjoyed the song choice applied, and the characters were all charming in their own special way.
Well, that’s it for this fanfiction recommendation, tune in much later where I take a look at yet another Powerpuff Girls fanfic also starring Brick, Butch, Blossom, and Buttercup. However, this time, it’s slightly more melodramatic, and it’s Cheater Cheater Heartbreaker by kuku88. Until then, see you later.