Blisstina Utonium, better known by the nickname Bliss, is a fictional character created for the 2016 series The Powerpuff Girls in the TV movie Power of Four released in 2017. She was marketed as the fourth Powerpuff girl and was met with mixed reactions from fans and critics. The character has been widely interpreted as being black and to a lesser degree hispanic.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Bliss was created by Professor Utonium out of sugar spice and everything nice like the 2016 Powerpuff Girls and their 1998 counterparts but using Chemical W (as opposed to the other Powerpuff Girls (and their original 1998 counterparts) who were created with Chemical X), which gave her the psionic abilities of telekinesis, telepathy, empathy. In addition, she is capable of teleporting across short distances, and projecting white energy from her body that neither her sisters nor their 1998 counterparts possess, beyond the regular superhuman strength, durability, enhanced agility, and flight that all Powerpuff Girls (and their 1998 counterparts) have had. Her unique abilities are difficult for her to control and she sometimes releases exceptionally powerful and destructive bursts of pure white energy that she cannot control properly when her emotions get too extreme.
The characters initial announcement was met with negative reactions from some fans who expressed that the new characters marketing as "the fourth powerpuff girl" was inaccurate and ignored the previously introduced character of Bunny from the 1998 series, but when rumors began to spread that the character would be black, many fans began to express a more optimistic tone. The rumors began to emerge when it was announced that South African singer Toya Delazy would be providing the voice for the character. Louise Mccreesh of Digital Spy expressed that she believed that the character was a great step forward in terms of racial diversity. Gabriela Herstik of HelloGiggles stated that she saw that most fans were both equally exited and nervous at the announcement of the character, she also wrote that she personally felt that the character was a good addition.
Charles Pulliam-Moore of io9 stated that the character is different from the other temporary additions to the powerpuff trio such as Princess Morbucks, Bunny, and Bullet the Squirrel, all who existed to teach the original girls moral lessons before they left the group to pursue their own destinies. While Bliss does not appear to him in that way, he expressed that he felt that the story of The Power of Four made him question whether the new reboot was a good idea in the first place. Moore stated that he felt that while he watched the movie that Bliss was meant to be a person of color, he stated: "The more you see Bliss go through the process of losing control of herself and then becoming a physical threat, the more glaringly apparent it becomes that, unlike her sisters, Bliss is coded as a person of color. Everything about Bliss is designed to set her apart from the three original Powerpuff Girls. One imagines it’s to signal that she’s a new kind of Powerpuff meant to be more reflective of the show’s diverse audience. She’s taller, has skin a shade of brown that’s deeper than a tan, purple eyes, and electric blue hair. Bliss reads as distinctly non-white and decidedly multi-ethnic." In Moore's opinion so was the creation of Bliss a means for the creators of the show to wink at their non-white audience that has watched the show for years and express their recognition of them as watchers. Despite this he felt that he was disappointed in the fact that the first non-white powerpuff girls had been introduced as an emotionally unstable time-bomb who isn't capable of putting her feelings together propperly to act as a regular superhero like the others. He stated that the portrayal of black and latina women as hot-headed is a stereotype he is all too used to seeing in media. He finished his article with; "In a lot of ways, Bliss feels like a collection of well-intentioned afterthoughts that would have worked better earlier on in the series."
Kayla Sutton, a social media curator and major contributor for the digital publication Black Girl Nerds, cried when the character was unveiled. Via email to The Daily Dot she said: “We don’t get many black cartoon characters and when we do, we’re just the comic relief”. Danielle Ransom, herself of The Daily Dot stated that she originally experienced excitement at the introduction of a powerpuff girl with remarkably darker skin than the others, but when she viewed the film she thought that the creators should have taken time to make a character that was more than what she felt was a caricature of an angry black girl, something which she reported had non-plused many other fans. Paula Poindexter who teaches media representation of African Americans at the University of Texas, who saw it as a positive that there is a person of color in the series, did express some concern about Bliss’s characterization as an emotional teenager who can’t control herself to The Daily Dot as well. Poindexter stated that everything positive about the character got turned into a negative in the film and said that the character is little more than a token. Ransom concluded that Bliss seemed more like an attempt by the creators to hop on the diversity trend as opposed to a part of the black empowerment movement.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Pulliam-Moore, Charles (September 18, 2017). "Bliss, the New Powerpuff Girl, Deserved a Much Better Story Than The Power of Four". io9. https://io9.gizmodo.com/bliss-the-new-powerpuff-girl-deserved-a-much-better-s-1818506002.
- ↑ Milligan, Mercedes (September 19, 2017). "Cartoon Network Introduces New Powerpuff Girl Bliss". Animation Magazine. http://www.animationmagazine.net/tv/cartoon-network-introduces-new-powerpuff-girl-bliss/.
- ↑ Warner, Sam (7 September 2017). "Powerpuff Girls fans are not happy about a new member". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/ustv/news/a837459/powerpuff-girls-fans-not-happy-new-member/.
- ↑ McCreesh, Louise (September 20, 2017). "The fourth Powerpuff Girl has been revealed and it's an important step forward for diversity". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/ustv/news/a838592/powerpuff-girls-bliss-the-power-of-four/.
- ↑ Herstik, Gabriela (September 20, 2017). "Introducing the fourth Powerpuff Girl: Bliss!". HelloGiggles. https://hellogiggles.com/reviews-coverage/tv-shows/fourth-powerpuff-girl-bliss/.
- ↑ Anderson, Kritsty (September 29, 2017). "Bliss's Story Should Have Been Told Over A Full Season, Not Just One Special". Moviepilot.com. https://moviepilot.com/p/bliss-story-should-have-been-a-whole-season/4379298.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Ransom, Danielle (September 22, 2017). "The new dark-skinned Powerpuff Girl is little more than a token". The Daily Dot. https://www.dailydot.com/irl/new-black-powerpuff-girl/.
- The Powerpuff Girls aims to show the power of diversity, at CBC.ca
- Powerpuff girl Bliss presents a familiar mirror of scientific abuse of black women, Wear Your Voice Magazine
- We chat to Toya 'Bliss' Delazy, the fourth Powerpuff Girl