So She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a reboot of the original She-Ra series from the 80s, and I can openly say that much like He-Man, the original She-Ra did not age well. Now that I’ve finished watching Princess of Power, I have to say that I really enjoyed it. In all honesty I’d say it’s a solid 7/10 for a cartoon series. Relatable conflicts, fun art style and it honestly just brings my heart joy.
I really enjoyed the original setup. Having Adora and Glimmer clash as opposing sides in a war, with both fully believing they were the good guys, only for Adora to witness atrocities and learn the truth, really spoke to me. Truth is, there are a ton of people who grow up being fed propaganda without realizing it, so having that be the first major conflict in the series definitely drew me in. Especially when Catra revealed she’d known the truth for years and decided to embrace it. I liked meeting the new princesses and other characters that joined the Rebellion, seeing She-Ra solve whatever the conflict was in every episode. However, after a while, the series kind of fell into a blend of predictable situations, reused dialogue, and bright colors. Looking back I can’t distinguish between the seasons at all until the final one, but maybe that’s not such a big deal.
I definitely have a favorite character though: Bow. Seeing him try to be the glue keeping the Best Friend Squad together, the tech guy, and so much more, I just fell in love with him as a character. He reminds me a lot of Sokka, but Bow doesn’t have any of that sarcasm. Bow may not be a princess, but he goes toe to toe with them, and many times, saves their butts. I also would like to thank the show’s creators for shutting down any debate on his ethnicity with the reveal of his Dads.
I also really loved Hordak as a villain. A soldier, lost in a universe where he is alone, severed from his master and the hive mind, desperate to return and prove his worth, because he’s incapable of self-love. I actually started paying more attention to the series when he became the primary antagonist. Hordak Prime would have been more interesting if they’d dived into his origin a little bit more. He was a cool villain but he definitely could have been more.
My biggest complaint for the series is Catra. She was a decent antagonist at first, but the series constantly gave her redemption moments, but she kept resisting them. This happened a lot, and the series always made it seem like she was only going to become more evil, but instead she just kind of stayed where she was, or worked her way up the villain hierarchy ladder, but never in a way that mattered. It felt like the entire series knew the villains didn’t care about her, except her. Most of all, while I understand the “I’m a loner badass who doesn’t understand her feelings and is actually gay and in love” trope, Catra could have been quality lesbian representation from the beginning. Imagine if the original conflict was Catra wanting to confess her feelings to Adora the day she found the sword? If rather than just being the stubborn “best friend” she had been written as the “wronged lover?” Wasted Potential. We live in a post Steven Universe world, gay can be a major character trait, it doesn’t have to be a finale twist.
Like I said in the beginning, the series is fun. It’s very appropriate for kids, or for anyone who wants to enjoy fantasy adventures and bright colors. There are things I really enjoyed, and things that definitely could’ve been better, but I had a good time.