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She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:58 am
by Jabroniville
So I figured I'd finally watch the first three seasons of this, thanks to our buddy Kreuz!

This series is like, mega-controversial for reasons, but I mainly found that it seemed to be copying a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender stuff, from the supporting materials I read. But given how that's like the best show EVAR, it's at least ripping off the right stuff.

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 7:07 am
by Jabroniville
Episode #1:

So right away we get the personalities of our mains: Adora is an eager, dutiful future Force Captain. Catra is a slacker with an "I don't want it but I really do" thing, which is neat. Glimmer is a quarrelsome young daughter and her mother is Katherine Hepburn and both overly protective and critical. Bow is... Sokka. I mean, he's less of a butt-monkey, but he's got a TON of Sokka in him and it's immediately apparent. Also a lot of "this is the ideal Woke Male" thing, because he's clearly quite sensitive and stuff. But he's actually more competent and sensible than Glimmer.

The character designs are fine. Shadow Weaver looks HELLA-EVIL. Glimmer looks more like an ordinary teen girl, in that she's bottom-heavy and not really a Barbie Doll. Adora comes off like Betty Cooper but younger... so New Archies Betty Cooper. Queen Angella has the most "standard attractive body" but is still quite plain facially, as that's the overall art style. Controversially so. Most of the designs are assymetrical, but subtly so- costumes can be "flipped", but there'll be only one shoulder pad (Glimmer), one gold line on the chest (Bow), etc. Even Adora's costume is symmetrical except for her belt.

I didn't really hear Elena of Avalor's voice until Adora got really upset- Aimee keeps her voice at a much lower register here.

I like how the Horde are like "We're the good guys!" and their cadets are all very "normal teen", but they live in the FRIGHT ZONE full of orange skies, yet paint the Rebellion of the Whispering Woods as baddies.

Overall, the first episode is more of a place-setting, though does well at it, establishing people. The She-Ra costume is pretty weak, though, with long hair oddly placed on a shorter-haired head from the looks of things, and the "boy shorts under the skirt" thing is a weird look.

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:27 am
by Jabroniville
Episode #2:

They enter a labyrinth of "Old Ones" stuff, with Magitek constructs and what-not, but desperately have to escape. Adora goes along with Bow & Glimmer out of a search for identity, which is a solid "why haven't you escaped yet?" reasoning. This all feels "familiar" and she has long yearned for a sense of who she was.

Bow gets a "Sokka" moment when he realizes that Adora has never heard of a party, and her nerding out over candy and hand-shadows is our big "this is a good person" moment- she goes starry-eyed at eating that pink thing and it's pretty adorbz. Adorabz.

And then we get our moment from the He-Man/She-Ra movie where Adora realizes just how evil the Horde truly is, as they gleefully mow down a village full of civilians. Things start to fall into place for Adora, especially when CATTRA arrives, and more or less goes "Well YEAH- of COURSE they lie to and manipulate us!". Now why two best friends hadn't talked about this before is curious, but needless to say, now we have our Big Moment. Adora unleashes the power of She-Ra, which is clearly now uncontrolled and a bit crazy- she wipes out the Horde with ease, but seems very "above" people and doesn't talk. And soon her power runs out and Adora nearly passes out from the strain, which indicates this is more of a "Rare Power-Up" at this point, this keeping Adora relevant to the story.

In any case, Cattra bails, and Bow & Glimmer now fully trust Adora, who both stays with them and risks her life for innocent people she just met.

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 10:13 am
by Jabroniville
Episode #3:

Finally, everyone kind of "finds their place", as a confused Adora is revealed before the Brightmoon people in HORDE GEAR, which goes about as well as you'd expect, especially as she can't control the transformations. And her sword accidentally turns a horse (which she nerds out over, never having seen one before) into Swift Wind, which causes it to freak out. Interestingly, the horse looks more like Bow's horse, Arrow, from the '80s cartoon. Then she plays with a stuffed toy of Kowl!

Finally, we add more '80s stuff, as she discovers Madame Razz in the woods- the old lady's a complete kook who mistakes her for a "Mara", but clearly knows more than she lets on. I love how she still talks like a Jewish grandmother. She sort of leads Adora to a Horde location where they're tearing stuff apart and capturing Swift Wind, which causes her to realize the secret of the power- she needs to believe it's the right thing to do. Aware that the Princesses hide away in the Woods and never actually FIGHT, only defend, Adora vows to fight- she transforms into She-Ra and speaks in that role for the first time, taking apart a few guys, plus Grizzlor in his debut.

However, in a moment that makes it clear she's still vulnerable, she's beaten- she chases Grizzlor off, but he returns in a tank and manages to blast her- unconscious, she's saved by Razz, who teleports her back to her hut in the woods. And now She-Ra returns to Brightmoon and convinces Queen Hepburn to take her on. Scolding her daughter for bringing a Horde soldier to Brightmoon, the Queen is aware of the Old Ones and their "She-Ra" who would appear in a moment of need.

And then, capping off the "finding yourself" arc, Cattra publicly acts aloof about Adora and taunts Shadow Weaver over the defection of her favorite, but privately cries and tears up memories of their past together. But then gets formally introduced to HORDAK, who talks shit to Shadow Weaver over how obviously if Cattra is unqualified, then it's her fault, then promotes the girl to Force Captain in Adora's stead. Shit just got more serious.

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:58 am
by Jabroniville
Episode #4:

So with the main introductory story-arc over, it's time to start the real "Arc" of the show, and establish the status quo. Here, we get Adora being uncomfortable in civilization, the revelation that King Micah is dead in this universe, the backstory of Princesses fighting the Horde and failing, and the notion that She-Ra is needed to make the alliance reborn.

We meet our first new Princess in Perfuma, who I first assumed was a trans girl because her face is even more masculine than Adora's and she's so tall and thin, but maybe not. One of the goofier '80s characters, she now leads a group of total hippies in the woods, and they refuse to fight the Horde. But after She-Ra fails them (more of Adora struggling with her new role and failing to inspire people) but still tries to fight, Perfuma is inspired and a quick speech (like, almost literally "Hey, they risked their lives for us; let's go!") is all that's needed to send the people into the Horde camp, where She-Ra unleashes the healing powers she didn't realize she had.

Some more backstory shows that Hordak empowered Shadow Weaver, whose powers are in flux, and she's obsessing over Adora's going AWOL, even though Hordak's ordered her to let it go. Once Weaver realizes that She-Ra and Adora are the same person, she commands Catra to focus entirely on hunting down her old friend.

Not bad, but not great- Perfuma gets VERY little focus and her personality doesn't really stand out one way or the other.

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:59 am
by Jabroniville
Episode #5:

Three more debuts, as we meet Mermista, Scorpia... and SEA HAWK!

Okay, so everyone's way different than before, as usual. Mermista is now a dark-skinned, ultra-dry, sarcastic character who acts bored with everything. She mopes about being "short-staffed" (a guard is also her butler) and her kingdom has like three people in it (boy, THAT must make it easier to draw!). She's like "whatever" about Adora's plans to fix her kingdom's Magical Gate, which is on its last legs, but is at least impressed when she successfully recharges it using her sword.

Sea Hawk has been reimagined as one of those boastful failures who acts like a giant ass, but hasn't really accomplished much. He very much tries his best to become a Memetic Comedy character, threatening to sing "shanties", and Bow is almost immediately infatuated with how cool he is ("Bow as Sokka" becomes particularly prominent here- singing along with shanties and nerding out over a cool sea captain is EXACTLY something Sokka would do). The others immediately get annoyed with him, and it soon turns out that he's kind of a fraud (he's set two of his past boats on fire). But he & Glimmer have a heart-to-heart about how they're both big disappointments, and he gives one of those backstories that indicates he used to have friends where he lived, but now people just find him annoying. Glimmer points out that her mother is immortal, which is kind of a big thing.

And then Catra is introduced to Force Captain Scorpia... who is just Zarya from Overwatch design-wise, instead of the weird bony chick from the '80s. And she immediately goes into "this is a fun character" mode by freaking out over the "Kitty!" and warning that "I'm a HUGGER". Now how in the hell did the Horde create someone like THIS? Granted, most of their people don't realize the Horde is evil in their training, but how'd such a goof manage to avoid their dreary life, much less get promoted to a high rank? She proves herself a tad in battle by chucking Bow around, but actually doesn't do much of anything before their boat is sunk... by Glimmer & Sea Hawk setting his ship on fire and ramming their Horde ship. Catra taunts She-Ra for a bit, but gets tossed aside by Mermista's water-gun powers.

Finally, Mermista joins the Princess Alliance as "The Snarky One".

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:26 pm
by Scots Dragon
I love Scorpia. She's the best.

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:27 pm
by Woodclaw
This series is so weird for me.
The art style seemed like a complete turn off, but it managed to make every character looks unique.
It carries its politics on the sleeve and it manages to be extremely entertaining and well-written nonetheless.
Some of the characters gets flanderized constantly and this actually becomes a plot point!!!

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:12 am
by Scots Dragon
I think we put a bit too much importance on 'subtle' politics, or being 'apolitical'.

There basically isn't any such thing. Everything is political. The difference is whether you agree with the politics or they're generally accepted enough that they're an assumed fact of the world, and business as usual in the society that produces it.

For an example; universal healthcare.

In United States media, it's generally just an accepted fact that characters will suffer medical costs or have to shell out for private insurance, or get insurance for their work. There are even works of far future science fiction by American authors where people talk about the personal costs of medical care and such, because it's an assumed standard.

In media from my country, that simply isn't the case because we've had universal healthcare for decades. I've literally never had to pay a medical bill, because the concept doesn't actually exist here for citizens. As such our media simply would not feature any person mentioning a medical bill, and when I watch American series it actually does weird me out sometimes seeing people talk about healthcare costs.

You can apply the same to gun ownership and the death penalty.

They don't stand out as political issues to Americans, but for someone from another country they're quite jarring statements about a society and what's considered normal within them.

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 5:36 pm
by catsi563
I think it really comes down to this being one of the few series that as wood says wears it politics on its sleeve but manages to do so without clubbing you over the head with them which often derails some shows

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:41 pm
by Scots Dragon
Ultimately it's about telling a story more than preaching to the audience, and She-Ra manages that.

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:35 am
by Jabroniville
Episode #6:

And it's the debut of Entrapta! Who I had to look up because I had completely forgotten who she was: ... e#p1139914.

So they kept her ethnicity (Ambiguously Brown), her color scheme (purple hair), her powers (prehensile hair) and even her GIMMICK- she's the Tech Genius of the bunch! The only thing that's different? She's a GOOD GUY now! Entrapta's now doing an "Absent-Minded Professor" thing, creating robots and accidentally making them evil by messing around with First Ones tech. This leads to even SHE-RA being de-powered, as Aimee Carrero gets to do her "Act Like She's Drugged Out On A Cartoon" acting with Adora being goofy ("HIIIIII, GLIMMER...").

This actually leads to a good bit from Bow, who establishes that powers alone aren't enough, and that "regular people" have to stand up and fight, too- he turns the kitchen staff into a fighting force that take out the robots, then uses "Chekov's Arrow" to Hawkeye his way to victory (See? Archers ALWAYS save everything!). Pretty nice way of wrapping things up, and a one-off story that introduced a character enough to make them distinct and likable (Entrapta is gleefully nuts, but can usually be brought back to reality), Bow proves his worth, and more.

But then we see Entrapta STILL WORKING ON THE TECH... never mind how quickly they gloss over the "You can make us WEAPONS!" thing- Entrapta's been turned into Tony Stark!

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:25 am
by Jabroniville
Episode #7:

Oh god DAMN- now THIS is where shit starts to get serious. It starts off with a kind of "you're seeing things" approach, as Adora deals with the mental infestation of Shadow Weaver while visiting Castaspella, who's now Glimmer's sorta-Asian aunt who is very overbearing and passive-aggressive, embarrassing Glimmer with talk of how few friends she had.

Castaspella shows Adora around yet another lightly-populated city (boy there's a lot of these in this show- BUDGETING IS HARD, OKAY?!), showing past rules like King Micah (Glimmer's father) and Light Spinner, who is SO CLEARLY telegraphed as Shadow Weaver. And sure enough, dark shadows follow Adora, set up false visions of her friends talking smack to her, and make her think she's going crazy. And we get into the REAL meat of the show, as Adora has to deal with the ramifications of being raised by a power-hungry witch who never showed her any love or affection at all... as far as she knows. When she confesses that Shadow Weaver taught her basic stuff, she also did "mom stuff", and you can see that's kind of haunting her.

Shadow Weaver proclaims that Adora's a cutthroat, ruthless "Force Captain" and boasts about raising her, while the Rebels "Only want to USE you for your STRENGTH", really turning the screws, but Adora counters that she never showed Adora any kindness. "I prepared you for GREATNESS!" the witch cries, but Adora responds with "But you never LOVED me!", and that it was SHADOW WEAVER only used her, while the Rebels showed her actual compassion and friendship. Shadow Weaver attempts a few other persuasive words ("ENOUGH... Come HOME"), but Adora fights, powering up her Sword, which finally transforms into the EIGHTIES-ERA SHIELD, reactivating the glamor that keeps the magical land of Mysticor away from the Horde and driving the witch's shadows away.

In a great bit, Catra walks in and sees an unconscious Shadow Weaver on the floor of her room, and instead of being surprise, just CHUCKLES. "You've been going about this the wrong way, old woman" she smirks, "You have to go for the HEART" as she uses the scrying pool to look at Bow.

See, now THIS is the real meat of the series, to me. They're gathering Princesses for a new Rebellion, sure, but Adora dealing with a life spent in the Fright Zone is extremely fascinating, and I kinda wish we'd see more of her as a child or something to really drive that point home. Shadow Weaver's manipulations came off really well, and she came off ultra-freaky and monstrous.

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 4:50 am
by Jabroniville
Episode #8: This is the famous "Princess Prom" episode! Just hazarding a guess, but this is probably the immediate font for 90% of the She-Ra fandom's FanFic and Shipping, isn't it?

So it turns out this Prom is an Ancient Tradition, but Frosta is now a tiny Inuit girl under the age of twelve instead of My She-Ra Waifu like before (YOU SONS OF BITCHES! YOU'VE RUINED IT FOREVER! WHO WILL I INAPPROPRIATELY LUST AFTER N-- oh right, Scorpia). Meanwhile, it turns out SCORPIA is a Princess and gets an automatic invite, despite being a Force Captain, as the Kingdom of Snows is neutral ground, so Cattra invites herself along as a plus-one.

So Glimmer is Totally Not Jealous that Bow was asked to the Prom by Perfuma, and she & Adora freak out over Prom Etiquette, while Scorpia goes from chipper to "the other Princesses didn't like me much- I made them uncomfortable" and Cattra commiserates that her old friend left her alone to find new friends, then laugh at their dress choices for prom... they're really making the villains more likable than the heroes, aren't they?

And it's party-time! The '80s Synth Pop soundtrack snippets are great, as are some of the backgrounders (who are immobile because budget). Backstory reveals that Sweet Bea is dating Peekablue, I guess? Netossa and Other Girl Whose Name I Forget are clearly holding hands so I guess are a couple, but we don't elaborate upon them yet. And it's CATTRA IN A SUIT and Scorpia rocks the Slinky Black Dress despite being a powerhouse with giant claw-hands (the makeover montage shows a ballgown close to her '80s design, which is pretty funny).

Naturally, Things Get Weird at the dance. Cattra arrives, Adora goes full "paranoid loon" and rubs Frosta the wrong way, Glimmer freaks out to Bow, who admonishes her attitude, and more. I dug Glimmer's bit of neediness, since she used to have just one front but now he's paying attention to everyone else and she's worried about being abandoned... while Cattra's currently going through the actual version of what Glimmer's paranoid about.

And we get our BIG MOMENT: the passive-aggressive dance between Smirking Cattra and Angry Adora. Adora attacks her in public, drawing Frosta's ire, but Bow is kidnapped by the Horde and some "heat bomb" traps are sprung, and then they FIGH! Adora's sword is gone so she can't transform, and Cattra can thus easily avoid all her attacks... but then Cattra MISSES ONE and heads off the ledge- time practically freezes so that we get both's expressions, and Adora saves Cattra at the last minute. They both eventually fall off a ledge, Adora saving both of them, but Cattra just slips out of Adora's hands and into a Horde ship, having captured Bow, Glimmer AND the Sword of She-Ra!

Well hell.

Re: She-Ra: The Princesses of Power (Series Overview)

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 7:42 am
by Jabroniville
Episode #9: PRISON BREAK TIME!!!

Shadow Weaver of course takes all the credit for Glimmer & Bow's capture, then makes her big mistake- she decides to be Just Too Evil (tm), enough to make Cattra want to betray her out of spite.

So Adora sets up a prison break with Mermista, Sea Hawk, Entrapta and Perfuma, and things go pretty awry but mostly according to plan anyhow thanks to their weird personalities (Entrapta being unreliable but impeccably skilled). But then disaster- Entrapta is totes 100% for sure dead because of a tiny bit of green fire when she's stuck behind Chekov's Prison Cell Door ("You HAVE to be fast!" Adora warns them ahead of time). Wimpy Horde Trainee is actually entranced when Bow actually talks to him like a normal person, getting a bit of characterization in the process, but Bow is sprung by the heroes.

Meanwhile, Adora gives herself up to get to Glimmer, and is about to be brainwashed by Shadow Weaver when Glimmer, after all SW's talk about how her powers won't work in her trap... Extra Efforts out of it, and in a great moment, one-hit KTFOs Shadow Weaver with a huge punch! She & Adora run... and then CATTRA shows up! And she GIVES THEM THE SWORD. Barely even looking at Adora, she's like "just TAKE it" and "this doesn't mean I like you". So Cattra gives up the sword out of spite (well, MOSTLY out of spite), and the heroes flee the Fright Zone!

But the find out "Entrapta is GONE" in the most G-rated "she's dead" talk ever. Man, even on Netflix they can't say that?

Good episode with some great bits from Cattra (series MVP) and Shadow Weaver, though.