Something’s been bugging me about Frozen lately that I just can’t shake– why does Anna look so familiar? There’s something about her hair, determined personality, and optimistic cheer that I know I’ve seen somewhere on my screen before. But just like the voice of Ahtohallan Elsa hears at the beginning of Frozen 2, it kept slipping out of reach. Did Anna remind me of the red-haired, whipsmart Beth Harmon of Queen’s Gambit I recently binged? No, too pessimistic to be Anna. What about Black Widow, the fire-haired Marvel superhero? They certainly look similar (especially in this Disney to Marvel drawing), but no…Anna’s too pure of heart. Black Widow has her name for a reason. After the millionth or so viewing of Frozen 2 over my kid’s winter break, the truth hit me like a ton of snowflakes: Anna is really just Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls.
Let’s talk Powerpuff Girls
If I was staying home sick from school or managed to get the remote on a Sunday morning in the late nineties, I was watching the Powerpuff Girls. This gem of a TV show was one of the most popular shows on Cartoon Network back in the day, with consistently high ratings throughout its six seasons. In Powerpuff Girls (PPG), three kindergarten-aged sisters defend their hometown of Townsville from villains like Mojo Jojo through their mix of sugar-sweet and terrifyingly aggressive superpowers.
Blossom, the leader of the PPG, is characterized by her “everything nice” personality, bright red hair, fierce love of her sisters, and literal firepower. Besides that last point, this is Anna to a T. Like Blossom, Anna’s a red-haired, doe-eyed, super sweet heroine who would do anything for her family. And there’s even substantial evidence that suggests Anna does have fire powers to balance Elsa’s ice/snow powers, they’re simply suppressed. But it’s not just looks and traits that intertwine Blossom and Anna… there’s one more PPG character who might just be the bridge between Townsville and Arendelle.
The Red Rose Gnome
In the twelfth episode of season 5 (See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey), the PPG are hit by every bad guy imaginable from the series and are nearly defeated as the city goes up in flames. The girls say a wish as it starts to rain, and out of the last raindrop, there grows a red rose. In the middle of the rose, a red-hatted, green-haired gnome appears and offers to grant the city peace…but at the price of the girls’ powers. They take the deal, albeit warily, and are painfully zapped of powers. All seems good at first– the gnome keeps his word, Townsville is super happy, evil is vanquished…but eventually the gnome gets a little too power-hungry, and the Townsville people lose their free will. Because the gnome “broke his promise” to the PPG, they regain their strength and begin fighting back (Blossom sings “There’s no warmth without the cold” over and over again as she fights). The PPG succeeds in pushing the red gnome off his rose and down into a hole in the earth, and Townsville is saved.
As the gnome falls, he chants: “As I fall into the ground, I realize life revolves, evolves, and devolves into its opposites.” He does not seem to die but simply disappears in a flash of black. Now, lend me a little leeway– if he fell, not to his death, but to a different world, could he have evolved into someone slightly different? If his hat was knocked off, he’d look remarkably similar to the troll king of Arendelle (Grand Pabbie.) Both have green hair and beards, both have an affinity for light, and both have dabbled with good and bad. Though the trolls in Frozen are perceived by most as kind, there are theories that suggest they’re pretty manipulative, too– just like the Red Rose Gnome.
Here’s the theory…
When a young Anna is brought to Grand Pabbie (now the Red Rose Gnome) in Frozen Uno, he recognizes her as little Blossom and erases all traces of magic from her so that she won’t realize her powers, reunite the PPG, and have the strength to defeat him all over again. Anna (Blossom) grows up in Arendelle powerless, but with the faintest feeling of firepower within, which lends to her resistance against Elsa’s cold.
Orrr…maybe (definitely?) the link between Anna and Blossom is much, much simpler. There’s talk of a live Powerpuff Girls reboot from one of the writers of Veronica Mars (Heather Regnier), that starred Kristen Bell, who voiced Anna in Frozen. The new reboot features the PPG all grown up, as “disillusioned twenty-somethings who resent having lost their childhood to crime-fighting” and have to decide whether to reunite when the world needs them most. Maybe Regnier and Bell were fans of PPG back in the day, and Bell brought some of that feisty Blossom energy into her voice-work as Anna. Who knows?!
Whether or not the two worlds of Arendelle and Townsville can actually be connected, let’s keep our fingers crossed that the PPG reboot happens soon– and that Kristen Bell decides to come on board as Blossom.
The Powerpuff Girls is streaming on Hulu
The Frozen movies (and various specials) are streaming on Disney+, but you knew that, right?