Hello Hero Club, this is Darkon633 and I decided to review the She-Ra and the Princesses of Power animated series. Before we delve into this series, I think there may need some backstory behind the series. For those who are not aware, the series is a reboot to the She-Ra: Princess of Power animated series that aired from 1985 through to 1986. The original series was a spin-off of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and featured Adora aka She-Ra, who also happened to be Prince Adam/ He-Man’s sister. Adora, however first debuted in the He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword film. The film served as the five-part episode pilot for the spin-off series. The original series was created by Filmation while the new series is produced by Dreamworks. With that out of the way we will now start the review.
[Warning: The following review contains several spoilers]
The series starts in the Fright Zone where Adora is training with other cadets in a simulation fighting against the Princesses, as they continue the team wonders where Catra is. During the battle Adora accidentally triggers a mechanism summoning one of the training bots. Although they fight valiantly, Catra appears taking the win from them. After the training mission, Adora and Catra soon get greeted by Shadow Weaver, Hordak’s head sorceress. Shadow Weaver explains to Adora that Hordak believes she is ready to be the Evil Horde’s head force captain. She also tells her that she is recruited to become the head captain of the team who will soon invade the “rebel’s fortress.” Adora is happy to hear she is getting promoted, however she gets discouraged when she finds out that her friends are not invited since they are not ready for the task. Adora tries to convince Shadow Weaver to let her friends join, although she rejects the idea.
The setting changes as it moves to the Moon Kingdom. Glimmer is summoned to the castle where the Queen Angella tells her that she is disappointed that she disobeyed orders, and almost got some members of the rebellion hurt. Glimmer explains her side of the situation, but the queen who also happens to be her mother refuses to take her excuses. She decides to ground her and tells her that she is confined to her room. Back at the Fright Zone, Adora tells Catra that she is not invited to the “welcoming party,” which makes her frustrated. Catra explains that she wants to see the world outside the Fright Zone. Adora then shows Catra she managed to steal a skiff, and they use it to see the world outside of the Fright Zone. As they continue forward, they find themselves in a nearby forest called the Whispering Woods. When they enter the forest Adora falls off the skiff causing her to land on the ground. Eventually Adora wakes up from her fall, and she sees a sword stuck in the ground. Curious, she touches the hilt of the sword causing images to appear in her mind. Adora wakes up once more finding Catra, however the sword is nowhere to be found.
Back at the castle, a boy named Bow tries to get Glimmer’s attention by sending an arrow into her room, which works. Glimmer explains to Bow that she has been grounded, so she teleports him into her room. Bow explains that her mom did have some merit in her decision since Glimmer tends to be a bit reckless. However, Bow changes the subject by showing her that he has detected a piece of “First Ones” tech in the forest. Seeing as she is still grounded, Glimmer refuses his offer to help him find the tech. Their conversation gets cut short though, as Queen Angella knocks on her door. After a short conversation with her mother, she quickly decides to join Bow in his quest. Meanwhile, at the Fright Zone, Adora tries to sneak out to see if she can find the sword again, but she gets stopped by Catra. Adora tells her that she must find the sword and runs out of the room leaving her behind.
In the Whispering Woods, Adora as well as both, Bow and Glimmer, find the sword in a clearing. Bow and Glimmer are easily surprised that a “Horde general” is in front of them and take the opportunity to attack Adora. During the struggle, Adora manages to touch the sword again teleporting her into a mysterious room. There Adora meets a mystical entity called Light Hope who explains that it is her destiny to use the power of the sword. Yet, before Adore can get any answers, she awakens and discovers that she has been tied up by her captors. The duo asks her what she is doing in the Whispering Woods, while deciding to take Adora back to the castle. While proceeding back to the castle, the trio finds a destroyed building and Adora asks what happened to the place. Annoyed, Glimmer explains that the Evil Horde was to blame; causing Adora to question the explanation as she firmly believes that Hordak is trying to save Etheria.
During this discussion, Glimmer accidentally startles a Mantisaur causing to the trio to fight together to defend themselves. Glimmer and Bow try and attack the creature with no luck. Whereas, Adora picks up the sword and to try to distract the creature. The creature falls for the distraction, and attacks causing the sword to project another vision to Adora. The vision causes Adora to yell out the phrase, “For the Honor of Greyskull,” which transforms her into She-Ra to cap off the first episode.
The second episode immediately follows where the first episode ended, with Adora freaking out about her mysterious transformation. However, losing her cool causes Adore to revert from being She-Ra. Glimmer quickly teleports the sword out of Adora’s hands while both blaming each for what has transpired. Yet, due to Glimmer taking the sword from Adora causes the creature realizes this is its chance to retaliate. Adora, Glimmer, and Bow decide to quickly run away from the monster. While fleeing the trio accidentally fall off the side of a small cliff, and they soon find themselves in front of a large closed building. Adora comments that she can read the language found on the door, so she screams “ETERNIA” causing the door to open.
The trio journey inside the building and the find a dark room with minimal light. Bow asks Adora if she can turn into, She-Ra to help them, however she explains she did not even know how she did the first time. Glimmer uses her power to light up the room, although it drains of her energy. With the room lit the trio see a large mural that depicts She-Ra. As they look closer at the mural, Adora notices more of the “First One’s” writing and tells the others it says “She-Ra.” The area around them starts to glow and a hologram appears. Glimmer touches the hologram causing a defense mechanism to activate. The place starts to crumble so Glimmer uses her power to teleport them out of the building. After talking about the events that occurred earlier, the trio make their way to a camp in order to get back to Bright Moon.
In the Fright Zone, Shadow Weaver asks Catra where is Adora and she tells her that she does not know where she is. However, Shadow Weaver explains that she already knows where she is and forces Catra to go find Adora. Meanwhile at the camp, Glimmer and Bow help Adora fit in by giving her a new outfit to wear. In addition, they witness a party is being thrown, so Bow convinces Glimmer to allow Adore to join the festivities. Eventually Adora decides to adventure a bit out of the town and finds a horse who she tries to befriend. However, her time with the horse gets cut short as they discover that is being attacked by the Horde.
A Horde tank moves closer to Adora, only to find out that Catra is inside it. Catra jumps out of the tank towards Adora, and she tells her that they have been looking for her. Adora tries to explain to her what she and the Horde have been doing is wrong, and that is shocked that she did not know sooner. This forces Catra to attack Adora and explain that she must bring Adora back or Shadow Weaver will severely punish her. Catra attempts to incapacitate Adora, although Bow and Glimmer appear to save her. Glimmer tells Adora that she was wrong to judge her, and she gives her back the sword. Adora uses the sword to transform into She-Ra and helps Bow fend off the Horde, and thus wraps up the premiere.
I personally feel that Dreamworks has done a pretty decent job on this reboot so far. The original series launched with the same premise of the villains having control of Etheria. Yet, the original did not set build up how, and mostly marketed itself off He-Man’s coattails. Whereas, the reboot’s pilot presents the concept of the original premise without sacrificing the world building. In addition, I think that Dreamworks has done a decent job when it pertains to character development. They way they focus on the main characters introduced within episodes 1 and 2, setup events for what it is to come with the series’ plot.
Currently, I see Adora as being a lot more realistic than compared to her original counterpart because back then she is immediately established as a Force Captain; there is no context of what her character was prior in the original series except being kidnapped by the Horde. Whereas, the 2018 Adora questions her devotion to Hordak, and it may eventually lead to original’s kidnapped premise. With that being said, I do not think the original is bad seeing as back then the character was brand-new to TV and 80’s storytelling at times lacked depth. Even with a generational shift in tone I think several would find She-Ra as a bland character when beginning to view the original series.
Now, Glimmer in the reboot features a drastic change from her original counterpart’s design. Yet, I find her to still be a likable character with a lot of charm. Glimmer can be a pretentious, but she does still have a lot of heart making her someone the audience can relate to. However, I think Bow is a bit too eccentric at times, so I can understand how people can consider him to be annoying. Although, I think as the series progress Bow will become a much better character.
Our villains, the Horde are a bit of a mixed bag in my opinion. Catra is cool and I think she is probably the best character among the Horde at this point in the series. However, that is also why the Horde in general are iffy within the first two episodes. Shadow Weaver is alright too, although her character will not fully be addressed until later episodes. Outside of both, Shadow Weaver and Catra this is where the group falls flat. Now, while the Horde’s actions are cool in this series, the Horde as an entity is rather bit bland. The later episodes will introduce some more interesting members of the Horde, but they will be address when their times come. However, from the start the Horde is probably some of the blandest villains in the modern era of cartoons.
Another thing I think I must address is the mythology of She-Ra for this series; it is rather strange as it appears that technology is so entwined within the universe that it seems to over weigh the magic. Whereas, fans of the natural He-Man/ She-Ra mythos know it for featuring a balance between magic and technology. With that being said, I do like some of the technological related background. In addition, She-Ra’s backstory is quite interesting, and I like the direction the series is trying to go for.
In conclusion, I think that She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a decent modern reboot for the series. I think it has turned out better than I originally anticipated. While I cannot personally say that the animation blows my mind in any way, I think it is still presented well and that the characters are relatable. Hopefully this series will last and seeing as there are many hints to “Eternia” in the show maybe another He-Man reboot is on the horizon as well!