Written by Caballero Oscuro
Pucca is a fast-paced, hilarious series of cartoon shorts marrying the cuteness of Powerpuff Girls with the madcap antics of Looney Tunes. It has a fresh, distinctive look that suits its premise well, featuring cute little characters with bold outlines in a funky Technicolor world brought to life through what appears to be buttery-smooth Flash animation. It’s also a prime example of the global village at work: it was created in South Korea, but the main character is the daughter of Chinese noodle house owners, the show is produced in Canada, and it airs in the U.S. as part of Toon Disney’s Jetix block of programming.
If you’ve been in any Asian-themed merchandising stores in the past five years or so, you’ve probably seen Pucca’s distinctive mug adorning all manner of goods, much like perennial favorite Hello Kitty or fellow Korean creation Mashimaro. Unless you watch Toon Disney, you (like me) probably weren’t aware of the existence of the show, but these two new DVDs will hopefully expose it to a wider audience as it’s definitely a hidden gem. Both Ninjas Love Noodles and Kung Fu Kisses contain around 90 minutes of animated shorts each and allow viewers to “play all” for non-interrupted movie-length blocks of Pucca fun. There are also a couple of non-essential extras, but the main shorts provide more than enough entertainment value on their own.
Pucca is an 11-year-old girl hopelessly in love with a standoffish ninja named Garu, and much of the show’s humor comes from her attempts to steal kisses from him. When she’s not chasing her man, she’s battling bad ninjas and other menaces, always finding a way to get what she wants in the end. Interestingly, she and Garu never speak, giving their adventures some universal appeal transcending any language barriers. The rest of the supporting cast do speak and add mostly witty banter to the already amusing animated shorts, including the noodle shop owners, Pucca and Garu’s friends, and even occasional guest Santa Claus!
Although the show is targeted at kids ages 7-13, its clever and lightning-fast humor makes it appropriate for older viewers as well. It has plenty of sass to make sure it doesn’t overdose on cuteness and the short episode lengths keep the energy level high, making the show consistently refreshing and fun.