So I managed to watch all of season 1 of She-Ra.
Now long before this came out and all we had where trailers, I've seen hate for this show, even though it hasn't aired yet. But I will be honest, I am one of the people that never really got into the Masters of The Universe franchise, so I did not understand a lot of the hate this show was getting. Plus I never really saw or got exposed to the original She-Ra nor the He-Man cartoons. I vaguely remember seeing episodes of the 2002-2003 He-Man show, as well as getting a He-man McDonalds toy that promoted the show, but that was back when I was 5-6 years old, I was more focused on Transformers, Bionicle, Digimon, Pokémon, and Power Rangers. So over all I entered this show with a very open mind. Lets break this show down into several pieces.
Art style is what gets a lot of flack both before and after the show aired. Particularly with how She-Ra is "looking like a dude". Upon first impressions, yes, but then again the original design for her, while very feminine, looks a little, too sexualized. Granted that was a different time with very different values. But I have to stand by this new look for She-Ra because well, she actually looks like she is wearing armor for protection and ready for a fight. In the 80, logic had a tendency to be, thrown out the window. Basically even if it is a cartoon, if your going for a more action orientated show, having some realism is needed. So think logically, if you're going to fight an army with lasers and other weapons, would you go out and fight in an exposing corset, or a full torso covering chest plate? The main purpose of armor is to protect the person that wears the armor, not tell you if they are male or female. If they went with a design closer to how She-Ra originally looked, many people would point out that the exposed areas around the collar and neck would be prime shoot to kill targets or show areas that would be good places for a kill hit. To me this new look to me tells me this She-Ra is still young and developing into an adult. The design does however confuse people on why does she get bigger if she just look like Adora but taller. Which I have to agree with, the designers and writings team could have gone with that when Adora is She-Ra, she is an adult. Say that as She-Ra she must be viewed and regarded as a legend, which she is in the show, but lacks certain features to match the legend status. Basically what better way to show she is a legend by saying and showing images that she is a woman that is always in her prime and all who came before Adora where like that as well. Symbolically saying she is an ageless hero and guardian.
Now as for the art style overall, it is good, but would really need some improvements in certain areas. Mainly in the lack of shading department. Something that a lot of shows in recent years have been doing. I know animation is expensive and that most of them are on a budget, but it just a small detail to make the characters feel like they are truly apart of the world. Without it, certain scenes make the characters look detached and they are not apart of the world. My other issue is a lot more nitpicking, but I really hate that little blush line that is around the bridge of the nose and touching the eyes. Something about it looks wrong to me, like they got a very bad tan line or they are blushing 24/7. The character designs however do look like they are in a high fantasy/science fantasy world. Each of the characters do look different from one another enough to allow to identify who is who, and not be the exact same body time with some miner differences. The backgrounds are very well done and makes it actually look like a fantasy kind of world. Would however be nice to get to know the setting a lot more, see the characters explore the key locations more to get a greater scale of the world.
Animation itself is good. I don't have much else to say. Other than it would look much better if there was smaller details in the art style, like shading.
Characters are actually alright, but could use improvements for a number of them. Lets save Adora/She-Ra for last on this. Anyway, all of the characters do have their flaws, but they do have good moments where you would love them. Lets start off with Glimmer, who is the daughter of the leader of the rebellion. Glimmer has a habit of being rebellious in two ways. On one hand, she is fighting against The Horde, on the other hand, she acts rebellious towards her mother, mainly to prove herself to her mother. On a similar note, she wants to take action in battling The Horde because under the queen's leadership, they are just delaying the inedibility of being conquered and destroyed. At times she gets annoying about wanting to be taken seriously, but who hasn't been in her shoes, wanting to be treated like an adult by a parent? Her ability to teleport feels a little over powered, having the only flaw that when she isn't focusing, she teleports at random. It would have been better if she had much more inexperience with teleporting, such as she cannot teleport to a place she doesn't know about. Her relationship with Bow and Adora is very cute, Bow and Glimmer act like they have been best friends for a long time and it is nice to know that Glimmer didn't have any friends before him. With Adora, Glimmer does her best to be helpful to her in any way possible, and when Glimmer needs help on an emotional level, Adora backs her up. Queen Angelia I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, I like how she tried to talk to her daughter like an adult but reverts to her motherly mannerisms when Glimmer is getting on her nerves and acting very childish. On the other, I was not happy about how she was being very passive about rebelling against The Horde. This gets cleared up in the later episodes explaining that she accidently lead her husband into his cause of death. So her being over protective and avoiding violence become more reasonable, she lost her husband in a battle she sent him into in the first place. Not only was it a horrible lost for the Rebellion, it was also a personal lost, there for, she wishes to avoid loosing her daughter in a similar fate and ensure she still has a family. Bow has his problems, but I enjoyed seeing him on screen. He had his moments of being both funny and being awesome in a fight. He has a lot of moments of being just there to be the male friend and party lover, but he manages to still be likable and be someone you'd like to be around. His friendship with Glimmer feels genuine and some of the things between them feel like something really close friends would do with one another. Madame Razz was a character that I really enjoyed. While at times crazy, she does offer some form of wisdom and there is a pretty good chance she was faking being crazy. As such, I was not happy that she appeared in only one episode and is completely forgotten about. It would have been nice to see her just show up out of nowhere in a later episode and act as the wisdom figure She-Ra and others would go to for advice. Being a key element to the characters growing. The Princesses of Etheria where I'll be honest, really under utilized and should have gotten more focus both in and after their introduction episodes. While all of them are different in appearance and powers, it would have been nice to see how they are trying to get along and be an actual team that rebels against The Horde. I do like however that they are all rulers of their own kingdom, showing that Etheria is not a united world. Perfuma is a technical pacifist that originally was an actual pacifist. I liked that her interactions with Entrapta showed that she has her limits with patients. But It would have been nice to see that she is slowly getting use to fighting, starting out being very reluctant, but slowly starts to enjoy it a little too much. Mermista was a bit of a pain with how disconnected she was with everything, not really caring. But I do like that she is taking her responsibilities as the ruler of her kingdom seriously, fearing the worst with her people in hiding and the one thing about their kingdom failing. Entrapta is my favorite of the princesses and the most developed in terms of personality. I like that she was very disconnected from the world around her and focusing on the strange alien tech that she wishes to understand a lot more. As such, I find her switching sides kind of sad and a surprise. It was foreshadowed that she would switch sides, but I still feel bad for her. With the right words, Entrapta's obliviousness of the world makes her easy to be manipulated. if the show gets a second season, I hope she switches back. Frosta could have been executed a little better. Showing that while she is a stickler for rules, she has her properly paranoid moments about trust people. I do like that she was taking her role as leader of her kingdom seriously, but she could have done a better job at explaining to stay neutral. Say that both sides have done things that she is not very happy about, along with fearing that getting involved will paint a target on her kingdom if they get involved. Netossa and Spinnerella are to me, how Negasonic and Yukio where handled in Deadpool 2, which is a good thing depending on how you view it. I am disappointed they didn't play a role until the very end of the first season. While adapted as a gay couple, that was not the main focus of them, the main focus was that they where the only princesses that did not abandoned the Rebellion nor the Princess Alliance. As such, when they are given a chance to show what they can do, they are awesome in a fight seen. Netossa's abilities can extend beyond just throwing nets, she can net attacks aimed at her, as well as create a net barrier to protect herself and allies. Spinnerella's powers can be a glass cannon, having the power to generate powerful winds is a pretty cool power if you think things deep enough. Generating it through spinning could be played up as a weakness, showing that if she spins too much, she would get dizzy. Seahawk was very entertaining to me. I found his ego and dramatic mannerisms very fun, though I can understand why people would find him annoying. But in spite of that he is a good character and realizes that that he can be a burden at times on others and wishes to be as useful and taken as seriously as he can. Plus his relationship with Mermista is actually very funny, she may deny that Seahawk is her plus one, but we can tell she actually likes being around him at times. Not to surprising but at the same time surprising, Swift Wind is my favorite of the Rebellion. Having start out as just a regular horse was a nice touch as well as hint as his snarky mannerisms through his facial expressions. His reaction to being suddenly transformed into an alicorn was just priceless, but I wish that they showed he was able to speak when he was transformed, not near the end of the series. That would have made his freak out even more hilarious. I also dislike that he was absent until the end, cause it would have been nice to see how he was adjusting to being a talking alicorn. So over all, the Rebellion should have been given a little more focus while not loosing so much of She-Ra. Giving them a chance to shine while not over looking the main character.
Now onto The Evil Horde. I'll admit I was underwhelmed by the Horde, not feeling very powerful and dangerous. The only thing I can legitimately say was scary about them is that they managed to make technology that poisons the world itself, as well as using children and teens as soldiers. This would have been built up a lot more with Adora explaining and showing Horde propaganda convincing the more insecure and outcast members of society. Show that by saying the right words and doing the right things, they win the favor of a lot of people that have been rejected by the other kingdoms and the societies these outcasts live in. On a similar note, it would have been nice to see that some of their propaganda like princesses rejecting people for being different more true than thought. While it is implied with how Scorpia speaks, it is better to show and don't tell. Giving the horde some high ground in morals. However I do like the visual showing that the Horde is welcoming to anyone, regardless of who and what they are. Giving them greater power in numbers and favors in minorities. As for the characters we get to know in the Horde, like the protagonists, they can use some work. Catra is pretty much the best member of the Horde by being the most developed and characterized. Having very conflicted feelings about Adora, often going back and forth on wanting to have her sister back and wishing to see Adora suffer for leaving her. This feels like a plus for me, as it gives her a more morally grey alignment. While she is fully aware of the lies she was fed since she was a child, she was alright with it, not to mention being very driven by her emotions in a number in her decisions. As such, I love that she managed to rise up against her abusive adopted mother and become Hordak's lieutenant. Scorpia is favorite from the Horde. Having her be this big strong girl but being very sweet and innocent made her adorable to me. Her comedic moments gave me a smile on my face because she is to me, prof that the Horde is not filled with only bad people, but with misunderstood and misguided ones as well. She even explains that she is a princess and her kingdom surrendered to the Horde when she was young. She also states that she never really fit in with other princesses because of how uncomfortable they where around her. Overall, I have a lot of sympathy for her and would be nice to see her slowly realize that everything she is doing is wrong and defect to the Rebellion. Shadow Weaver was not a let down for me and really felt like a dangerous villain held back by several factors. It was heavily hinted at that she abused Adora and Catra, then out right shown in a later episode. So seeing her loose all authority and rule over Catra was very satisfying to me. I also liked how that while she is shown to be looming over the cadets, she shows fear and respect when faced with Cordak, showing that she is aware of her limitations and powers. Having her try to get Adora back while keeping it secret from Hordak in a way shows a level of possessiveness and a twisted sense of love she has for Adora. To me her ultimate loss wasn't loosing her position in the Horde, but failing to get Adora back by her own hands twice. Especially in her first attempt, not only did she failed in taking over her former homeland, she also failed to convince Adora to return to her. Her overall defeat makes me wonder if she will return more deranged and broken. Hordak was both a let down and winner for being the big bad. Him not being very active and present in the first season really felt like that Shadow Weaver was the real leader of the Horde, even with the reminders of how he will punish Weaver if she continued her personal pursuit for Adora. Which brings up the stuff I actually like about him. When introduced, he sees no blame in Catra for the failure, but for Shadow Weaver as she was the one that was suppose to train her. Basically saying it isn't the student that should be blamed (in this instance), but the teacher for not teaching the student properly. I also liked that at the end, we see that he actually kept an eye on Shadow Weaver and her squadron, seeing that Catra was a better commander than Shadow Weaver has been in recent events. Even when he tells Catra's team that they failed in their mission, Hordak sees Catra's side of the argument that the Horde managed to leave a lasting mark on the Rebellion and gained a new asset for them to use. Hopefully if there is a season 2 and with him promoting Catra as his lieutenant, he will play a much more active role.
Now it is time to talk about the main character herself, Adora/She-Ra. She is actually a good retelling/imagining of She-Ra, but still has her problems that I think can be fixed. At the start of the series, Adora was raised in the Horde by Shadow Weaver, believing that she was on the good side all of her life. As such she has been training her life to be truly apart of the Horde, and on the day she is promoted into Squad Captain, her whole world was turned upside down. Upon encountering a magic-tech sword, she discovers that she is actually suppose to be the savior of Etheria and the horde is destroying it. At first she does not believe that the Horde is evil and sticks to Princesses and the rebellion are evil, but she soon sees the horror and wrong that the Horde has been doing. Discovering right there that the Horde has told lies about what was to be her mission, and starts to question if everything else is a lie. I'll admit her siding ultimately with the Alliance is very rushed, but it does give use a chance to see her actually make a choice of her own free will. My one issue is that she doesn't act like a soldier nor a teenager, granted she was raised by Shadow Weaver who raised Adora like a daughter. Plus she has only known a few people in her life time, so it would make sense that she doesn't really know how to act around people nor do things like having birthdays or celebrations. So she is just doing things she feels she should do or cope with her situation. I also like that she is very inexperience with the powers she gains as She-Ra, as she was raised to be a part of the horde's army, not a savior nor a hero to everyone around her. I however do like that she is slowly getting use to her abilities but still not knowing what are the extent of her powers. She is questioning how she is suppose to be the savior of Etheria and how she can heal it. Over all, I think this is a good characterization, but it has its problems. Such as how quickly she decided to join the Alliance. Would have been much better for her to have very hesitant to help out and slowly get to know the Rebellion and the Princesses. Seeing both their faults and their values and accepting that no one, not even herself, is perfect, but it won't stop her from trying to be a better person. Top it off, she can also benefit from showing how the Rebellion can fight back and showing key weakness in the Horde's over all army. Making her more of a threat to Hordak's operation as she becomes less of a myth in his eyes.
The Plot suffers a lot from having only 13 episodes for the first season. The pacing moves a little too fast, preventing a longer narrative and proper development from the characters. I think having 25-30 episodes for the first season would actually help out the characters that where underdeveloped (the princesses for instance) by fleshing them out more and trying to be more like a team. As well as get some episodes that focused more on the Horde's side of the conflict, see that they are a force to be reckoned with and will use any means to gain favor in the public eyes. However I should defend the 13 episode season, as it actually has been around since the beginning of television cartoons. Certain shows get more or less episodes in the first and future seasons is based on a lot of things, such as the producing company's faith in the idea of the show, the budget to produce the show, how many episode that are actually demanded, and of course rating rising and dropping. Now the Masters of The Universe is defiantly a franchise from the 80's that can be timeless if written and done right. The 2002 version lasted for two seasons with season 1 having 26 episodes and season 2 only 13, and was canceled because of low rating and possibly a lack of interest in the series. She-Ra was originally made as a spin off from the main story with two long seasons, proving that there was and possibly is a market to bring them back. There is evidence that this new She-Ra had a story and plot that would have been a good one, but suffered from having a limited amount of episodes for the first season, so they had to condense the story heavily and rush certain character arches. So if a season 2 does get produce, hopefully there will be double/more episodes than season 1.
LGBT+ representation was actually done very well in the show itself. The marketing however made it look like that it was going to be all up in our faces, but that isn't what happened in the show itself. Some of the close bonds between the characters can be interpreted as moments, but they can also be more platonic moments. For instance I can understand how people would view the relationship between Adora and Catra, but to me all I see is two sisters that are really close and care about one another. Scorpia and Catra to me looks like two people slowly becoming close friends. As for She-Ra herself, if she is confirmed to be lesbian or bisexual in the future, it won't really matter as we got to know her personally before learning of her sexuality (much like what happened with Tod from BoJack Horseman). Before I said Netossa and Spinnerella where treated like Negasonic and Yukio from Deadpool 2. Which I still stand by because while the show did acknowledged they where a couple, that was not the main focus. The focus was that they where just there in the background and when it came time to give them attention, they showed that they are amazing fighters and a hint that they have a cute and stable relationship, along with Netossa being peeved at people that don't know what she and Spinnerella can do. So is this SJW/Tumbler trash, not to me. Did a lot of the marketing cause the show to suffer, in many ways yes. You see a person's sexuality, gender, and race should only be a trivial fact a person, and while they face problems because of these things, it is still just a small part of who they are. Which this show managed to do well enough but could have done a little better with the miss leading moments. There is nothing wrong with showing LGBT+ in a positive light, so long as that is not used as a selling point for the show or a character.
Final thoughts on She-Ra and The Princesses of Power. This was an okay show. Could have used some improvements all around and might have benefited with both having more episodes for the first season, and a much better marketing team. Certain moment in the story would have been better and could have given a little more focus on the characters around and aiding She-Ra. there could have also been more tension that lasted through out the season along with showing how much an imposing force Hordak and the Horde are. along with both sides acting like actual armies at war with one another. Would I recommend it, sort of. I'd say give it a single watch through and see if it something you'd comeback to. If you don't like it, fine. I hope the show is given a better chance later on and if it gets a season 2, so it can improve in the ways I pointed out.
Tell me what you think in the comments below.