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She-Ra is Now Even More She-Ra

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 | Posted by mariebilodeau

she-ra-poster

For the first time since 1985 (that’s 33 years, people), She-Ra: Princess of Power is getting a full cartoon reboot. Her twin brother and forefather, in a strange, slightly uncomfortable and incestuous link, has already received multiple reboots, some more popular than others (New Adventures, anyone?), but She-Ra hasn’t been seen since the 80s except in some toys and very dark DC storylines. Which mostly focused around her brother, of course.

This time, She-Ra is breaking free! And, from all accounts, she represents her She-Ra-ness more than ever before.

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She-Ra saving He-Man’s butt in The Secret of the Sword

She’s Her Own Woman

She-Ra was originally created on the back of He-Man’s success, with Mattel trying to capitalize on He-Man’s rampaging toy sales. Some even argue the girl-oriented toy line and show killed He-Man, because “boys don’t think it’s cool to play with He-Man when their sisters can suddenly play with She-Ra.” …Yes. We won’t unpack that one today, but check out The Toys That Made Us (Netflix), and they’ll give you a more rounded view. (It’s Buzz-Offs fault. We all knew it, deep down inside.)

Regardless of her creation and multiple crossover episodes, She-Ra was a strong female character, who led a rebellion as both her regular self, Adora, and her super self, She-Ra. She fought the Horde, didn’t back down, made some tough calls, and still shared a laugh with friends at the end of the day.

For me, She-Ra represented womanhood as I wanted to experience it (minus the permanent camping and evil Horde). She was her own woman, except for the whole origin story thing.

In the original version, He-Man finds his (unbeknownst to him) sister, and gives her the sword. She then breaks free of the Horde when they capture him, accepts her destiny, and saves her muscled brother.

She was always a go-getter.

In this version, she seems to getter even more so. He-Man doesn’t even figure. He’s not the one giving her the sword. The sword finds her, and she accepts her destiny.

I hope they make a new He-Man reboot on the back of this one, because that would be amazing and the reboot symmetry appeals to me.

She Ra on a hill

So. Many. Women.  And Bow.

The Princesses of Power

In the original, She-Ra was surrounded by a colourful and very toy-compatible array of female characters. One of their later dolls was Netossa, the one token POC, when Mattel realized that maybe they could sell POC toy, too! Ah, you crazy capitalized enlightenment, you.

The female characters were of various usefulness, from Perfuma sprouting flowers all over the Fright Zone to Frosta hitting on He-Man. Their body shapes were all the same, with different clothes. Easier for toys, one imagines.

Still, it was very much girl power, even if half the time the girls were mostly useless, like Glimmer dancing off a cliff because she wasn’t paying attention. (To be fair, most of the Great Rebellion wasn’t very efficient. They’d have been doomed without the magical protection of the Whispering Woods, let’s just say it.)

Now, in this one, it’s no longer Princess of Power, but Princesses of Power. That’s plural, people. (What a time to be alive!)

Not only do the princesses form some kind of allegiance roundtable thing, they also come in various skin tones and body sizes, while still being super sparkly and very doll friendly.

The “girl power” of the original series is pushed beyond just a presence on screen and a toy on the shelf, but also to what, by all accounts, seems to be complex storylines and character motivations that represent girls better than the original did. Because girls aren’t one perfect doll-like package, people.

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Don’t worry, the Rebellion’s got your backs, ladies. Art by Gina Biggs

The Great Rebellion is Real

There’s currently a slew of trolling on all the She-Ra sites I follow (which are many), about how SJWs “ruined it.”

So, SJWs ruined the story about the woman and her girlfriends (and like two guys) fighting the evil empire while protecting the weak and oppressed? So people could live their lives and do their own thing in peace, without fear of repercussion? They ruined the story of what, to me, sounds like a social justice warrior?

Okay, then.

Let the SJWs have it. It was their story to begin with – you were just too busy staring at boobs to notice.

Speaking of SJWs, the showrunner is a woman, the voice actors are from various backgrounds, and it’s like they formed their own little rebellion against the angry fans who can’t even.

It’s the new Rebellion, people! Be the Horde or the villager, if you want. I’m personally joining in the fun!

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Still courtesy of Dreamworks

Kindness and Friendship Still FTW

Wait. Do we still say FTW?

Back in 1983, little girls everywhere needed to see a strong female character in action, and She-Ra definitely fit the bill. She wasn’t just strong and powerful, she was also kind, and wanted to protect her friends and those who couldn’t protect themselves.

As all good heroes should.

In this version, she once again vows off the Horde because of their evil practices, but she doesn’t give up on her friend, Catra (at least not right away). She still cares, even though Catra does not share that feeling.

Her kindness and her desire to protect people, to do what’s right, seem to forge her main motivations.

That, right there, is She-Ra.

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Adora reveals herself and offers her sword to Queen Angella

She Doesn’t Hide

Adora wants to help the princesses, but she knows her place. She’s the outsider. She was the enemy. When She-Ra is hailed as some foretold hero, she shows them that she’s Adora, a Horde soldier, and lets them decide what to do with her.

This, by far, is the biggest departure from the original show (He-Man be damned). The original credits outright stated that only a few others knew her secret. Her brother even tells her that she can’t tell everyone, so the secret wasn’t even her idea.

In this one, without an Eternian family to protect or a legacy immediately guiding her actions, Adora decides that to be accepted as their hero, she needs to let them make the full decision.

Destiny chose her, yes, but she decides that the Great Rebellion must choose her, in turn.

This is something she never did while in her big brother’s shadow. She never trusted others to protect her secret, or fully accept it. She couldn’t, because Prince Adam couldn’t back on Eternia.

Without him, she gets to decide. And that is the ultimate empowerment for She-Ra, above all other powers: to not be afraid. Not just of battle, but of being seen for who she really is.

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For the Honor of Grayskull!

She-Ra is back, people, with a bunch of princesses of power fighting by her side. The showrunners kept her heart and passion intact, and increased them tenfold, gave us more powerful women to root for, and a show that will not diminish the greatness of the original, but instead enhance it and make it something that’s needed nowadays, in a time very much Horde-like.

And, Grayskull is still somewhere in this mythology. Which makes me giggle with anticipation at where the show might go.

I’m sold, and November 16 and 17 are reserved for good old-fashioned binge watching! I can’t wait to see the full show!

(And to see the retail toys. I’m such a child of the 80s…)

3 Comments »

  1. She-Ra breaking free is certainly cool, but what I really want to see is She-Ra breaking bad.

    Comment by Thomas Parker - October 17, 2018 12:36 pm

  2. There’s a neat artist – Shadman – he’s not exactly “Work safe” but lots of funny. One of my favorites is Ben Tennyson (“Ben 10”) trying to get new work and yep he’s HE-Ra… That is what the character design looks like – Ben10 in the She-Ra suit. Beyond “Lumberjanes” assaulting MOtU…

    Not going to watch it even on Netflix which I subscribe to. Had enough pain watching them degrade Voltron.

    I mean, Holeee Fruit of da GawdZ – as in a classic pictorial in the Men’s magazine published by that distinguished Southern Gentleman, Larry Flynt – why is this being promoted here? Some kind of paid ad?

    I argue that this is the sort of thing we as writers should be bitterly opposed to. Protest. Organize boycotts. Degrade. Mock.

    Simply put – in a “Re-boot” culture of classic properties bought up and regurgitated – well who needs to hire a writer with any talent? Where is the room for NEW stories to get the TV/Movie/Anime treatment? Even the lowest hack, or business MBA can go “Uh, I’ll just use the outline of the plot, have the CG team go wild, throw in some Diversity changes…” and save on having a good writer do a re-boot that both moves the thing forward and doesn’t alienate long term fans.

    IMO for our passion, and to some our profession as writers we should be doing anything and everything we can to get these horrible things stopped.

    Comment by GreenGestalt - October 17, 2018 2:43 pm

  3. I think you might be a bit over the top in your denunciation of this particular bit of recycling, Green, but you do have a point. It’s certainly an…er, interesting experience living in a culture in which NOTHING EVER GOES AWAY, even (or especially) those things which most deserve to go away. Our whole society seems to be like some poor schmuck on one of those “Nightmare Hoarders” shows, who can’t even use his own toilet because the bathroom is packed solid with beanie babies.

    Comment by Thomas Parker - October 17, 2018 6:26 pm


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