By: Kaitlin Farthing/Staff Artist
I know exactly what you’re thinking. A cartoon about princesses? It must be a waste of my time. While She-Ra definitely isn’t for everybody, it shouldn’t be passed off as your ordinary magical princess story. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a powerful, tear-jerking experience that handles the realities of trauma, abuse, and abandonment. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a 2018 reboot of the classic 1980s cartoon She-Ra Princess of Power. Created by Noelle Stevenson, the reboot takes a much more in-depth and modern interpretation from the original.
She-Ra takes place in Etheria, a planet full of magic and technology. The land was peacefully ruled by different kingdoms of princesses, who each harnessed a separate runestone that provided different magical powers. These powers range from controlling ice, manipulating plants, and summoning magical nets that bind enemies. This peace was abruptly ruined when the Evil Horde suddenly appeared with the goal to take over the planet. War ensued, and lives and kingdoms were lost. All that was left was a struggling population of Etherians and the ever-growing Horde. Among the rubble rose the Princess Rebellion, a group of princesses and their kingdoms who fought against the Horde. After a crippling defeat that cost the life of The Kingdom of Bright Moon’s king Micah, the Rebellion disbanded. This is where the Netflix show picks up.
The story revolves around Adora, a young woman who was raised in the Horde ever since she was a baby. She has a best friend, the sarcastic and ambitious Catra. The two are inseparable, promising each other that they’ll always be together through it all. This all quickly changes when Adora stumbles upon an ancient magical sword in the woods. After sneaking out to the woods to retrieve the sword, Adora crosses paths with Glimmer and Bow. Glimmer is the feisty young princess of Bright Moon, and Bow is a normal boy who has a talent in technology and making friends with anybody. They take Adora captive and begin to lead her to a village. An unexpected Horde attack strikes the village, pitting Catra and Adora against each other. Adora then realizes that the Horde is evil and she decides to fight for the Rebellion. She tries desperately to convince Catra to come with her and fight by her side, but she’s met with a harsh outburst in retaliation. Catra is stubborn and unable to see the reality of the Horde and she turns violently against Adora. This is the beginning of a rough downward spiral for Catra and Adora for the rest of the series, which is the main focus of the show.
To be completely honest, I didn’t think I’d be as interested in She-Ra getting into it as I am now. I thought it would be a cheesy children’s princess story that teaches little kids about the power of friendship. In the end, I was very wrong, and I’m so glad this show exists. Even with its young demographic, it portrays abuse and PTSD in a realistic and sensitive way and has very good LGBT representation. As a gay and traumatized teen, both I and many others around the world can sympathize with the themes of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. If you enjoy cartoons and aren’t afraid of the magical princess stereotype, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is definitely worth a watch!