379th G-View: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Season 1)

The following Western series I am about to review is the third entry in what I personally dubbed the “Power Sword Revival/Reboot Trinity”. This refers to three revivals/reboots of 80’s and 90’s cartoons about heroes who transformed into great warriors by using a magic sword. The first was He Man 2002. The second was Thundercats 2011 (Thundercats Roar is Teen Titans Go 3 so it does not count). Both good shows that got canned due to lack of merchandise sales, Thundercats suffering the most because of it. Most cartoons at the end of the day are toy commercials after all. Then came the revival of the third Power Sword show which we will be taking a look at today. This is season one of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, aka She-Ra 2018.

She-Ra Cover 2

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-fi.

Number of episodes: 13

G-Rating: 8/10

Plot Summary: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is the story of an orphaned princess named Adora, who leaves behind her former life in the evil Horde when she discovers a magic sword that transforms her into legendary warrior princess She-Ra. Along the way, she finds a new family in the Rebellion as she unites a group of magical princesses in the ultimate fight against evil.

Adora finds the legendary sword.jpg

The day Adora’s life changed forever.

She-Ra Season 1 can be best described as an enjoyable start to something potentially greater. Basically a fun origin story. We have a cool lead in Adora being found and raised by baddies (unbeknownst to her), she eventually finds out her old crew were the heels and her new crew the babyfaces all along and from there it is off to the races. The show is about Adora learning life is not all about “saving lives by destroying everything” but rather “protecting the weak and working together with friends and allies”. The latter is not so simple as not only does Adora go through a journey that features some elements popularized by Star Wars (These tropes existed long before SW after all) but she must also learn to overcome personal struggles like understanding what it  truly means to be She-Ra and realizing who exactly is weak or strong.

Let me simplify what I said above by using DokiDoki! PreCure as an example. The popular belief about DDP is that Mana is a Mary Sue and can save the world all by herself without her fellow Cures (Something I disagree with but there is little I can do about it). She-Ra is the opposite. While Adora transforms into a roughly “8 foot tall” Amazonian hottie (Thank you for giving her 25 inch pythons and mighty calves) she is still a newcomer and does not instantly become a “problem solver”. That is where her new friends and allies come in to lend a helping hand.

Adora, Bow and Glimmer.png

Adora, Bow and Princess Glimmer.

Bow and Glimmer join our heroine at the end of the first arc to form the Best Friends Squad. Bow being the chipper optimist (Smarter and more observant than most genki characters) and Glimmer the tsundere. The trio meet up with other potential allies. Whether they all join or not the viewer has to see for themselves. Do not fully trust the intro is what I am saying.

Another reason I brought up DDP earlier is because She-Ra 2018 reminded me of watching a season of Pretty Cure to an extent.

  • There is a strong emphasis on the “Power of Friendship” and families (on both the face and heel sides).
  • The character development is divided between relationships with others and personal struggles.
  • Some dark moments. Nothing too intense but it is not all sunshine and rainbows either.
  • It has cool fight scenes (Not Dragonball Z-esque but still cool).
  • It is super colorful. Even the Fright Zone looks “colorfully evil”.
She-Ra Main Cover

She-Ra and her potential allies.

Next let us briefly go over the so-called “elephant in the room” (heavy quotation marks): The new character designs. Put simply most of the cast were turned to teenagers of varying shapes, sized and ethnicities compared to its 80’s counterpart. And the issue with this is…”Muh childhood”. That is the best critics who judged the show based on designs or “de-aging”. Umm…believe it or not none of the princesses, Bow or Seahawk were older than 25 despite their 80’s cartoon hunk/babe appearances in the original either. Point being I had zero issue with the redesigns when they were first revealed and have no issue with them after the season finale. Favorite side-princess is the ” Mermista followed by Entrapta. Moving on to the animation quality. While I did say the show is colorful, the motion itself is solid. When it comes to Western cartoons I am not the best judge of what makes a show look good. Having grown up watching 90’s Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon originals I can only summarize my opinions of the animation in She-Ra as solid. After all, when the modern day Cartoon Network hits are shows like Adventure Time and OK-KO I cannot say much else. The characters move fine though sometimes I notice some lagging. The soundtrack does its job. Not noteworthy but solid…again, like a season of Pretty Cure. I will say this version of Etheria (Kingdoms, locale lore, traditions, culture, etc) is pretty cool.

Speaking of modern Cartoon Network shows the comedy in this one, which there is a lot of, reminded me of the humor in shows like Steven Universe, OK-KO and even Disney’s Star and the Forces of Evil. What I mean is it felt grounded. Thankfully it is not like Adventure Time with its heavy emphasis on “hip with the kids” slang and mumbo jumbo jargon. It was chill, well done and timed.

She-Ra vs Catra.jpg

She-Ra and Catra, aka CatrAdora.

Lastly we have what all readers came here for, to get my thoughts on Adora X Catra and the other pair. First up is CatrAdora. I have mentioned on a few occasions that I am not a fan of “Foe-Yay” ships. These refer to shipping rivals obsessed with beating each other. Some examples include Naruto X Sasuke, Goku X Vegeta or Sonic X Shadow (Yes. Really). Adora X Catra is one of the few times I am all on board with it. The show planted the seeds of the two potentially being more than “best friends torn apart by war”. Some episodes gave the Nation a lot to believe in. Now it is up to the writers on whether they will go through with it or not. Time will tell. As for the other pair. They pop up here and there but are not formally introduced till near the end of the season. They reminded me of a certain duo in Deadpool 2. I really like the two and hope they get much more screen time next season.

Overall She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Season 1) was fun and shows this revival has the potential to be a great series. The cast on both sides are fun, the character arcs were familiar but nice with some of them heartwarming. The presentation is solid with its cool and diverse redesigns. The yuri potential is there with a hopeful main pairing and a wonderful side-couple who hopefully get much more to do next time. I have full confidence that a second season is coming and eagerly anticipate it.

PS: I did not talk about the references to the original because I did not grow up watching it. I did recognize the plushie though. Kinda glad he was a plushie though I would not have minded were he similar to Snarf from Thundercats 2011.

PPS: Not one of my best reviews but I tried.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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16 Responses to 379th G-View: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Season 1)

  1. ArcaJ says:

    Hi there! I was a child of the 80’s and owned a few She-Ra dolls (along with Rainbow Brite and My Little Pony). She-Ra was, to me, pretty cool and to my brother’s “the show that came on after He-Man.”

    I love this new version of She-Ra! It’s so beautiful, seeing all the colors (and ALL THE COLORS) on screen. I love that the theme is all about choosing the people who influence you.

    How Angella, the immortal queen, can become a neurotic mess when worrying about Glimmer. How different kinds of friendships are explored. How they even explore how someone you love can be toxic for you.

    I love that when Adora goes 8-foot-tall amazon She-Ra (YAAASSSS QUEEN!) she is still recognizable as our rather dorky heroine. She doesn’t have all the answers, and is prone to mistakes. I love that “She-Ra” has a backstory as well. That it wasn’t all sunshine and daisies.

    I love that the villains have all sorts of motivations for doing what they do, instead of just, “cause we evil.” I love, love, LOVE that people touch each other. Everything has such an intimate feel. From Bow and Glimmer always ready to hug Adora (Best Friends Squad FTW!) Scorpina being a hugging machine! Even Catra gets in on it with her always playing with Entrapta’s hair.(it’s so cute!)

    Then of course, there is the very complicate cat and mouse game (see what I… Yeah not sorry) between Catra and Adora. I love how it’s not just them pining for each other. There is a lot of hurt, jealousy, resentment and just things they never said, wrapped up in their relationship.

    I love that it’s so messy and can’t be resolved by just kissing the girl. If they ever get together, it will come after a ton of pain and hard reflection.

    I can’t wait for the next episodes. Why couldn’t we have had this when we were growing up?

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      There isn’t much I can add because you nailed all the good points right in the head.

      All I’ll add is that most cartoons in the 80’s didn’t have much depth to them because, regardless of them having solid plots, they were the most “toy commercial heavy” during that decade. Slowly but surely cartoons began prioritizing good stories, characters and stuff over merch. But I’m sure you already knew this.

      8 foot tall Amazon hottie FTW!

      Villains who are evil “just because” are cool too when written right. Some of my all-time favorites don’t have sympathetic/empathetic backstories.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Umedyn says:

    Personally, to me, I like the redesign better than the original.
    Of course in the original She-Ra show all the women were based on the exact same character model, just with different hair and clothing. I this She-Ra all the characters are unique in just about every way, from body types and shapes, to clothing and personalities.
    The Adora – Catra dynamic is one of the best parts of the show. The conflict and clash of ideals, and all that sweet sweet gay undertone (and with at least one side couple, overtone) is great.
    I hope this is just the start of wonderful things to come!

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Yup. Great decision drawing the ladies differently.

      Fingers crossed CatrAdora ends with a well deserved hug and kiss after lots of turmoil and clashing ideals. Hopefully the side-couple get more to do next time.

      Same here.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. tbiscut74 says:

    Yeah I really liked the 2002 He-man and 2011 Thundercats. Especially the character designs. And since I absolutely loved the Dreamworks Voltron I decided to check this show out. And I have to say I quite like it.

    I actually really liked the character designs. With Catra’s being my favorite. She’s such a cutie!

    And like you I’m not a real fan of Foe-Yay ships. But I really like the CatrAdora ship! Looking forward to were it goes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      2002 Skeletor was awesome! 2011 Cheetara was incredible.

      Catra’s cute, a little sexy and very dangerous. OG likey.

      At least with CatraDora it’s believable the two deep down want to be together as more than besties. Let’s hope the writers keep up the pace next season.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review! I was hopeful when this was announced, as I’d enjoyed some other reboots over the years (MLP:FiM, Thundercats, and Transformers Prime for example). When the character designs landed, I wasn’t as impressed, but only because it was an art style that wasn’t my favorite. Changes don’t tend to bother me in terms of altering childhood favorites, but I do have preferences for particular styles. I wanted to wait until we at least got a trailer until I made a judgment though, because why judge something on a couple of stills, right? When we got one, it sold me on it; It looks excellent. I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, but it’s on my list. I certainly have high hopes 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. adren says:

    I can’t wait for the second season, but it is kinda weird seeing shego being kinda ditz.


  6. Cryssoberyl says:

    A review that is both fair and accurately complimentary to a great series. You’ve made me proud again today.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Red says:

    Just finished this show, and I really loved it! Catra is…complicated. But I think things can work out with her. And Entrapta…Oof. That was unfortunate. And I feel like there’s more to Shadow Weaver than meets the eye. I hope we get some of her history.

    Also, I want She-Ra to put her arm around my neck like she did with Bow. Don’t judge me!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: 419th G-View: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Final) | The Yuri Empire

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