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Gorillaz is an English virtual band created in 1998 by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett. The group is an animated band consisting of four cartoon characters; 2D (vocals, keyboards), Murdoc (bass), Noodle (lead guitar, vocals), and Russel (drums and percussion).  In reality, Albarn is the only permanent musical contributor, and the music is often a collaboration between various musicians. The band's complete studio album discography currently consists of Gorillaz, Demon Days, Plastic Beach, The Fall, Humanz, and The Now Now. Additional albums in their discography include the compilations G-Sides (2002) and D-Sides (2007), and the remix album Laika Come Home by Spacemonkeyz. The band has been the subject of numerous cameos and references within The Powerpuff Girls Movie, and the band themselves have also referenced the series many times in return, sparking a theory that the band exists in the same fictional universe as The Powerpuff Girls. In 2018, Ace, leader of The Gangreen Gang became a temporary bassist for Gorillaz, playing bass the band's sixth album The Now Now, replacing the band's original bassist Murdoc Niccals while he was in prison.    

References and Cameos

Gorillaz & The Powerpuff Girls have been theorized as existing in the same universe, supported by Gorillaz being referenced twice in The Powerpuff Girls Movie[1] in 2002, and Gorillaz in return making many references to the series as well. For example, in the scene that follows the girls accidentally damaging Townsville by playing tag, Mojo Jojo reads a newspaper with an ad for a Gorillaz concert at the Townsville Music Festival. There is also a look-alike of 2D in the scene of the news broadcast covering Townsville's destruction, and in the crowd during the movie's ending scene.
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Gorillaz in The PPG Movie

2D himself can be seen wearing a Mojo Jojo shirt in the back of the G-Sides album[2], while Noodle had The Powerpuff Girls games section of the official Cartoon Network website on her internet favorites section on her computer in the band's old website.[3] Also, in an official BBC Web chat with Gorillaz from 2002, Bubbles asked Noodle who her favorite Powerpuff Girls character is, and Noodle's answer was Mojo Jojo.[4]Noodle also listed The Powerpuff Girls in her list of things she likes.[5]These references are perhaps due to the fact that Gorillaz was asked to record a song for The Powerpuff Girls Movie by Craig McCracken in 2002 when they met backstage during an LA show in the band's first American tour, however, due to conflicting schedules, the song was never recorded.[6] 

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Ace Joining Gorillaz

In 2018, Ace became the new bassist for Gorillaz on their sixth studio album 'The Now Now', temporarily replacing the band's original bassist Murdoc Niccals while he is in prison. This marks the first time Gorillaz & The Powerpuff Girls have acknowledged each other in over 17 years. Damon Albarn has confirmed in a Radio X interview that Cartoon Network gave Gorillaz permission to use the character.

Damon Albarn explains Ace from The Powerpuff Girls joining Gorillaz

Damon Albarn explains Ace from The Powerpuff Girls joining Gorillaz

According to Albarn, the idea came about because Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett believed that Ace had a 'spiritual connection' with Murdoc. Albarn also says that since they've been 'massive fans' of The Powerpuff Girls since the series' original run in 1998, and since they both know Craig McCracken personally, that the process of including the character came about organically. Since the beginning of the campaign for The Now Now, Ace has been included in all of the band's visuals and images, including the music video for Humility, in which Ace takes a basketball from two players and deflates it with a switchblade. Ace also appears in all artwork included with copies of The Now Now's Deluxe Vinyl.[7] On June 4th, 2018, Craig McCracken made a tweet reposting a picture from Gorillaz' Free Murdoc campaign, showing his support for Gorillaz' decision to use Ace.[8]

In an interview with Hewlett, he states that since he is friends with Craig McCracken, he initially went to McCracken himself and asked him if he could use Ace for Gorillaz, and even though McCracken answered with enthusiastic approval, he informed Jamie that he no longer owned the characters and that he would need to ask Cartoon Network instead. He then went to Cartoon Network, who approved of Ace being used in Gorillaz, but informed Jamie that Ace could not use drugs, consume alcohol, or have any interactions with prostitutes [9]

Ace (Jeff Bennett) Reads Gorillaz Lyrics

Ace (Jeff Bennett) Reads Gorillaz Lyrics

Ace was forbidden from speaking as a member of Gorillaz since the approval process required by Cartoon Network to give him dialogue was so costly that it went over the band's budget. The music video for The Now Now's final single Tranz was originally going to have an introduction in which Ace would have had a conversation with 2-D, but the process of getting Cartoon Network's approval for the script cost so much money that in the end, they did not have the budget required to get his voice actor Jeff Bennett to play the character.[10] However, on an episode of the podcast Speech Bubble from September 21st, 2018, Bennett was informed of Gorillaz making Ace the bassist for The Now Now and was asked to read lyrics from Gorillaz songs as Ace.[11] Jamie Hewlett has stated he still has plans to use Ace in the future.[12]

References

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