I admittedly got lazy and instead of continuing to cover every season bit by bit I instead chose to wait for its eventual conclusion and write one definitive G-View of the series. Well on May 2020 the fifth and final season aired. The time has come to give my thoughts on She-Ra and the Princesses of Power in its entirety.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Themes: Coming of Age, LGBT+
Number of episodes: 52
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.
What began as a story that could potentially become a great tale, in my mind, succeeded in doing so. The show took the concept and cast of the 1985 animated series She-Ra: Princess of Power and told its own story. Unlike the 2021 He-Man animated series this She-Ra has little to no connection to the story of the 80’s cartoon. Some references here and there but that is all. To describe the show in a nutshell it is a blend of fantasy and science fiction starring badass ladies of all shapes and sizes along with some cool guys on the side. Thematically it is a tale about finding one’s purpose, a place to belong, people to bond with, coming to terms with one’s self (flaws and all), learning the truth about emotions, confronting inner demons and other interpersonal and intrapersonal struggles.
To best explain this let us go over the two most prominent characters on the show. Adora and Catra spent most of their childhoods training to become soldiers of The Horde, the main enemy group. They were very close most of their childhood. Like many kids they had their tussles and arguments but their bond did not wavered. They were taught the princesses were a threat against Etheria and the Horde were fighting to bring unity by defeating them. The cracks in their bond began to form the moment Adora found the legendary sword and learned the truth about the war, joining the Rebellion. Catra on the other hand, saw this as an act of betrayal.
From there the two followed very different paths. Adora formed a strong bond with her soon to be besties Glimmer and Bow, forming the Best Friends Squad, growing stronger with each new friend and ally. However, as much as she enjoyed being a superheroine and its perks she learned the hard way that it goes beyond stopping the bad guys. Sometimes it is not clear if all the baddies she faces are truly bad. Then there is the responsibility of being She-Ra. On many occasions it feels like she is being strung along, like she is not the one making choices, constantly struggling with being a heroine and her own wants and needs, questioning what is right for not just Etheria and the people around her but herself.
Catra on the other hand can be best described as “making questionable decisions and associating with the wrong people”. Behind all the grumpiness, swagger, intimidation and taking pleasure in wreaking havoc is someone yearning affirmation, admiration, adulation, respect, a sense of accomplishment and lastly, being needed. Unfortunately The Horde is not the best place to be raised. Add a questionable mother figure and Horde leader who only thinks about results and could not care less about his subordinates’ morale and it is not hard to figure out that your hard work will not amount to much there. Unfortunately for Catra this is something TV viewers can deduce. Being consumed/obsessed with achieving a goal can cloud someone’s better judgment. Something the few people trying to get along with her can attest to. As for her and Adora…that is a whole can of worms in and of itself…HOO BOY.
Come to think of it, Catra’s character arc is similar to a certain beloved antagonist from another beloved animated series. Emphasis on similar. Not a ripoff, at all.
Every character, whether they get several episodes devoted to them throughout the series or a few, each have similar struggles to face. Be it familial bonds, relationships with friends and other loved ones, questioning their life decisions, making multiple mistakes, contemplating their futures and the themes I already mentioned. Almost every character goes on a journey of some kind. Even ones viewers may not expect. It is possible some characters viewers did not think much of initially may potentially become a favorite. You never know.
Funny thing about this show me. Two of my favorite characters ended up being ladies who were adorable to me and talked a lot.
Entrapta, nicknamed Geek Princess by Mermista, is the princess of Dryl. She is a technological genius obsessed with science, technology and research. I mean, REALLY OBSESSED. So much so she often becomes consumed in her research to the point of not noticing anything or anyone around her. Despite that she is not beyond rational thought. Remember this. Her cuteness and fangirling over machines and discovering the unknown quickly touched my heart (though some may find her annoying at first or throughout. Such is life). Her character journey is not difficult to discern from this brief description.
Next is my #1 character of the show. Remember my mentioning ladies of all shapes and sizes? It blessed us with many types, yes. Out of all the muscle maidens (side-character or background character), Scorpia won my heart. Out of the few Horde Allies who put up with Catra Scorpia was the most loyal. She is so nice in fact her being part of The Horde was puzzling. Her association with them would of course be explained. She hits hard and is no slouch in combat but she much prefers giving hugs than dishing out paralyzing stingers, accidental or otherwise. Throughout the show I wanted to hug the big cutie (Knowing full well she could easily crush me with a tight embrace) and wished nothing but the best for her.
Something else I must praise is its comedic timing. See, the show is a mixture of emotions, both in the story and potentially for viewers watching. There are several “dem feels” worthy moments but there are also many well timed jokes and comedic reactions/situations. The writing knows when to throw in funny moments and when to dial it down. It is all masterfully done.
The presentation goes from good to great over time. It already looked quite nice with its “Modern 80’s look” but as it progressed the quality and detail continued to improve while maintaining its established charm. The soundtrack is a fits the fantasy adventure with sci-fi motif and the main theme song is glorious.
As mentioned in the themes there is LGBT+ representation on the show, be it background, side-characters and of course mains. Like I said when describing the above legendary couple this is a case of the patient being rewarded. Now whether viewers like the reward is on them. I loved the rewards personally.
Overall She-Ra and the Princesses of Power will go down as one of my all-time favorite Western animated series. Like every show in existence it is not perfect but the good far outweighs the “nitpicky” or rambly. The cast all fill their roles brilliantly and while I did not go into great detail on the presentation trust me when I say it is excellent. The variety is much appreciated and glorious yuri await the patient. Normally I know who to recommend the show to but this is a case of “You’ll either like it or won’t.”.
Thank you Noelle Stevenson and everyone who worked on this majestic show.
PS: I half jokingly said Adora transformed into She-Ra was a 10 feet tall sexy blonde Amazon. She is actually 8 feet tall. Eh. Close enough. Still very thankful for her existence.