July 12th, 2019

turnip lantern


I never watched the original 1980s She-ra (though I was aware of its existence), but I'm loving Netflix's reboot. It's a real delight! The characters are mainly teens, and there's a friendship-oriented, work-together quality that reminds me of My Little Pony or Steven Universe. Instead of the female characters having identical Barbie-doll bodies and features, everyone's unique, and their personalities are a lot of fun.

The set-up is that Adora (OMG the names, but they're artifacts of the original show) and Catra are best friends who grew up in the Horde, but one day Adora discovers a magic sword and also that the Horde, rather than quelling rebels, has been destroying innocent villages, etc. etc., and so she switches sides. She invites Catra to come along with her, but Catra, who's been more aware of the true nature of the Horde all along, doesn't feel inclined to--maybe because she didn't get to find a magic sword, or maybe because Adora's realignment coincides with meeting two rebels, Glimmer and Bow, whom she pretty instantly becomes close friends with. It's a lot for Catra to swallow; she feels deeply betrayed. So now she has a personal reason to be against the rebels. But Adora being gone also lets Catra come into her own a little; she's kind of been in her friend's shadow.

In one episode, Catra (left) and Adora (right) see visions of their childhood selves

Glimmer and Bow

... As you can see, I'm pretty invested in the bad guys, and the thing is, the show lets you be. It kind of reminds me of Team Rocket in the Pokémon cartoon--there's just a lot to like about the bad guys. Another awesome bad-guy character is Scorpia, a super-cheerful Horde force captain who desperately wants to be besties with Catra.

Scorpia on the right

But the good guys are lots of fun too. It's hard to be the straight-arrow main character, but Adora does a great job. Her transformation into She-ra owes a lot to Sailor Moon's transformation sequences, and I watch it with delight each time.

There's also a social justice–oriented winged pegasus and all sorts of incidental humor. Adora tipsy as an after-effect of being infected by an evil-making virus makes for some great moments in a late episode in the second season, as does an episode in which attempting to make a battle plan devolves into a roleplay.

I've watched all that's available, but another season apparently will arrive in August. I can't wait! Those of you who've seen it, what things do you like best?

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