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She-Ra: Princess of Power is the sister series to Filmation's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. It tells the story of Adora, the twin sister of Prince Adam of Eternia (He-Man, himself), who was kidnapped as an infant to the planet Etheria, and later is given the power to become She-Ra in order to save the planet from its tyrannical ruler Hordak, who is a member of the galaxy-spanning Horde.
Instead of having a nemesis like Skeletor, a disgruntled citizen who spends his days regularly attempting to kick the heroes' royal asses, She-Ra has Hordak, who ALREADY runs the planet, which inserts some problems when alien characters comes to visit (and he turns out to be Skeletor's mentor, allowing for even more excuses for crossovers).
She-Ra was made specifically to appeal to girls, which explains the large number of mentally and physically strong female characters, like Adora, Glimmer, and Madame Razz — and quite a number of female villains like Shadow Weaver, Scorpia and Catra. The male characters, like The Archer Bow, were usually the ones portrayed as getting captured or needing help. Furthermore, whenever He-Man paid a visit to his sister (both in crossovers and the Five Episode Pilot Movie), he generally required her help in some way. And in the pilot movie, she first captured him, then saved him.
- Action Girl: Adora/She-Ra, obviously, but since the show was specifically aimed at girls, most of the heroes are strong female characters, which was pretty new at the time.
- Action Mom: Queen Angella
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle
- Arm Cannon: Hordak's most obvious use of his ability to transform his body (or parts of) into machinery.
- The Archer: Bow
- Ambiguously Gay: Honestly, it wouldn't be a He-Man spin-off without all the Ho Yay and Les Yay. And perhaps it's even more Camp than He-Man was, thanks to the show being full of Action Girls and male characters like Bow needing to be rescued all the time. Nostalgia Chick commented on how close Prince Adam and Bow got in the intro-movie...
The Nostalgia Chick: Geez, why don't you hold his hips a little more tender there?
- An Asskicking Christmas: The Christmas special
- Badass Normal: Netossa, Sea Hawk
- Baleful Polymorph: In the second episode, Beast Island, Madam Razz accidentally turns some Horde Troopers into sheep.
Madam Razz: "Oh deary my, I meant sleep, not sheep!"
- Bash Siblings: She-Ra and He-Man.
- Big Bad: Hordak, though he takes orders from Horde Prime.
- Bigger Bad: Hordak actually takes orders from a galactic overlord named Horde Prime.
- Book-Burning: The theme and the title of one episode.
- Broken Heel: Interestingly, while Bow is the one who trips over a vine (as they're running from a monster), this plays out just like the classic female version, including how he just lies there waiting for rescue instead of trying to get up and keep running. (Although technically, the monster just offscreen teleported to in front of him anyway, so maybe he thought it was useless by that point to run anywhere.)
- By the Power of Greyskull: In this case, "For the Honor of Greyskull!"
- Catch Phrase: Madame Razz's "Oh dearie my!"
- Catfolk: In the episode "Magicats", She-Ra and Catra stumble upon a civilization of magical cats.
- Christmas Episode: The massive crossover which brought Adora and her friends to Eternia.
- Continuity Snarl: Many episodes not only aired out of order, but were produced out of order. This results in situations like Sorrowful appearing a few episodes before he's introduced.
- Cool Crown: She-Ra's headdress is a crown with wings on the side.
- Cool Horse: Adora's horse Spirit. And he becomes an even cooler horse (Swift Wind, actually a winged unicorn) when she transforms into She-Ra.
- Crossover: Characters from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe appear in several episodes.
- Cute but Cacophonic: Catra. Dear God, Catra!
- Dark Action Girl: Since the show was aimed at girls, not only are most of the heroines Action Girls (as mentioned above), but quite a number of the villains are Action Girls, whether through general butt-kicking or in Shadow Weaver's case, actually being a very competant Second to Hordak.
- Deadpan Snarker: Kowl, in spades.
- Descended Creator: Lou Scheimer (credited as Erik Gunden) as always, voicing - among others - Kowl, Spirit, Mantenna and reprising Orko.
- Disappeared Dad: Glimmer's father, the absent King of Bright Moon, is the subject of one episode.
- Distaff Counterpart: She-Ra to He-Man.
- Madame Razz to Orko.
- Distressed Dude: Bow, and even He-Man in the pilot.
- The Ditz: Perfuma, to some degree.
- Eldritch Abomination: It may just be this Troper's imagination, but because of his/it's appearance as nothing but a huge cloud of black mist with a giant mechanical arm (and being described as having two heads!) constantly surveying his/it's galactic empire in an enormous starship/warship, and given his/it's predilection for utilizing monsters/demons/sorcerers/cyborgs/cyborg sorcerers as minions, I was always under the distinct impression that Horde Prime was one of these... or at the very least, a Demon Lord.
- Elemental Powers: Mermista not only is a siren able to change her fish tail into normal legs, she also has hydrokinetic powers.
- Glimmer has light powers, Frosta has ice powers, Perfuma controls earth, and She-Ra is implied to have power over air (she can use her breath as a weapon, and she owns a Pegasus).
- Episode Title Card
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Adora is the Princess of Eternia (though in Etheria she is just an ex-member of the horde) and there's also Princess Glimmer of Bright Moon.
- Evolving Credits: In the first few episodes, a male announcer reads the Opening Narration. After Adora becomes She-Ra, she reads a new version of the narration.
- The male announcer in question is "Erik Gunden" (a.k.a. Lou Scheimer, the show's executive producer).
- Expy: The title character of the "Huntara" episode was patterned after a mix of Grace Jones and Storm, as she appeared during the time the episode was produced.
- Face Heel Turn: Shadow Weaver. She studied alongside Castaspella before making a deal with the Horde to increase her powers.
- The Faceless: Both Shadow Weaver and the Horde's ultimate leader, Horde Prime.
- Faux Action Girl: Unfortunately, there were several of these in the show as well. Bow himself bordered on Faux Action Guy.
- Glimmer's probably the worst offender. Initially, she was supposed to be the leader of the Great Rebellion, looked up to by everyone, but she quckly turns out to be totally useless in combat, getting her ass kicked by one freaking Mook without any sort of effort whatsoever.
- Five Episode Pilot: Released first in March 1985 as a movie, The Secret of the Sword. That following September, aired as five episodes to kick off the series.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the episode Sweet Bee's Home, Frosta has a serious case of the hots for He-Man. At one point he rescues her and winds up laying on top of her. She states directly that she wouldn't mind him staying there.
- Gold Makes Everything Shiny: She-Ra's outfit is white with gold decoration, and her boots, bracelets, and headdress are gold.
- Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Despite her screechy, creepy voice, green clawed hands and a totally cloaked face, the Wicked Witch Shadow Weaver has, on numerous occasions, been noted to have quite the body.
The Nostalgia Chick: My, that scary old witch sure has an amazing rack...
- Green Thumb: Perfuma
- Guttural Growler: Shadow Weaver.
- Hair of Gold
- Half-Identical Twins: Adam and Adora.
- Healing Hands: Another of She-Ra's less frequently-employed powers. When it did appear, it was usually used on Swift Wind or another animal, such as the episode with the colony of winged unicorns.
- Heel Face Turn: Adora herself, in the five-part pilot, goes from Force Captain for The Empire to leader of La Résistance.
- The High Queen: Angella.
- Hot Chick with a Sword: Adora, so much.
- Hot Mom: Queen Angella, again.
- Hurricane of Puns: Well she is He-Man's sister.
- Hypnotize the Princess: For as many times He-Man was captured in the pilot, Adora would be hypnotized.
- An Ice Person: Frosta
- The Imp: Imp, of course.
- Knockout Gas: Villain Hordak sprays one of the heroes with some sleep gas from his Swiss Army Hand. The hero gets off an exclamation and keels over. Hordak then comments that he's going to have to have a word with his scientists; the victim shouldn't have had time to say anything before succumbing.
- Ladylike Pervert: Queen Castaspella loves to oggle good-looking males (discreetly, that is). Adora shows a bit of a Big Sister Complex when she catches her friend trying that on her twin brother Adam.
- Lady of War: She-Ra.
- La Résistance: She-Ra leads "The Great Rebellion" against Hordak's forces.
- Large Ham: Hordak. His snarling, guttural growl is clearly meant to contrast with Skeletor's high, needling cackle. It ended up giving him quite a few scenery-chewing scenes.
- Loves My Alter Ego: Bow has a crush on She-Ra but ignores Adora. Sea Hawk has a crush on Adora but merely respects She-Ra as a fellow warrior.
- Magical Girl: Most of the women in said Great Rebellion had this in some form or other.
- Magical Girl Warrior: Like He-Man, this show is a prototypical example.
- Master of Disguise: False Face.
- A better example would be the character Imp, who not only fools characters on the show, but also the viewers with his disguises.
- Would Loo-Kee count? He doesn't actually impersonate anything but his skill with camouflage does allow him to hide from everybody.
- Master of Illusion: Bow
- Meaningful Name: Almost everyone's names come from their powers and abilities.
- Mecha-Mooks: The Horde Troopers, sometimes. The series varied between treating them as armoured soldiers (and major jerks), or as (poorly programmed) combat robots.
- Mini-Dress of Power
- More Than Mind Control: How Adora was shaped by Hordak and Shadow Weaver into their Tyke Bomb.
- Morph Weapon: She-Ra's sword, which she could change at will into a shield, lasso, or other implement.
- Most Common Superpower.
- Never Be a Hero
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Bow bears a strong resemblance to Errol Flynn from The Adventures of Robin Hood. The fact that he's an archer just adds to the allusion.
- Opening Narration: It's is almost identical to the one from He-Man, except that every place He-Man says "power," She-Ra says something different. E.g., "Fabulous secret powers were revealed to me" -> "Fabulous secrets were revealed to me"; ... "By the power of Grayskull!" -> "For the honor of Grayskull!"; ... "I have the poweeeeer!" -> "I am She-Raaaaa!"; ... "I became He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe" -> omitted entirely. Insert feminist rant here.
- In the Latino American version, she keeps the "By the Power of Greyskull" chant.
- The One Guy: Bow.
- Biologically, yes. Bow fits in as one of the girls most of the time though, and Sea Hawk takes up the role of The One Guy more often.
- Overly Long Tongue: Tung Lashor. Often he uses it to clean objects or grab things, and Hordak yells at him for such a disgusting display. It's also been used to tie him and his companions up.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: She-Ra never hides her face, uses Adora's sword, and is never seen together with Adora. Bow and the others don't even seem to wonder how she knows when they need her help.
- Parental Substitute: After Adora realizes the Horde are the bad guys, she calls out Hordak and Shadow Weaver. Shadow Weaver tries to calm her by pointing out she's been "like a mother" to her. By the same token, Hordak was essentially a substitute for Randor.
- Peacock Girl: Peek-A-Blue and her psychic tail.
- Pink Product Ploy: To the point where the first release of Swiftwind was colored pink, despite being white in the show. Collectors convinced the toymakers to allow the next release to be colored properly.
- Poke the Poodle: Hordak is bad enough normally, but this line of villainy might fit more with Monty Python:
Underling: Shall I have the rebel dogs taken to a cell, mighty one?
- Pretty in Mink: Some of the toys had fur-trimmed outfits.
- Raised by Orcs: Adora, who was raised by the Horde.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Crossed with Merchandise-Driven; originally, as with the comics, Catra was meant to be the Big Bad in the cartoon. Hordak and the Evil Horde were toys made for the boys-oriented Masters of the Universe toyline. But because Filmation was wrapping up their production of He-Man cartoons at the time they started She-Ra, the Horde was too late for that cartoon (only being hinted at in the episode "The Origin of the Sorceress"), but right on time for She-Ra. So instead of the cartoon taking the route of the mini-comics, which were often stereotypical romance-driven action plots with Catra and She-Ra vying over Bow, viewers were treated to a more traditional action show where the lead character was an action hero who just happened to be female, rebelling against a villain who had already conquered the world.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: The Great Rebellion, so very much.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Angella, the Queen of Bright Moon, and her daughter Princess Glimmer are the leaders of the Great Rebellion. Queen Castaspella is a magic-wielding royal on the side of good. And of course there's Adora, who has the advantage of acknowledging being a Princess of Eternia and not having to employ Obfuscating Stupidity like her brother Adam.
- Seers: Peek-A-Blue
- Separated at Birth: Adam and Adora, as shown in the pilot, making her his Long Lost Twin.
- Shadow Archetype: Castaspella and Shadow Weaver were friends before the latter was brought to the Dark Side.
- Showgirl Skirt: The "Ready In Red" outfit could be word like a cape or this.
- Sign of the Apocalypse: Grizzlor has had an idea!
- Speaks Fluent Animal: She-Ra was shown in the pilot to have the ability to communicate with animals, although this ability rarely appeared in the series proper.
- Spinoff Sendoff: Begins with He-Man journeying to Etheria to find Adora and give her the Sword of Protection allowing her to become She-Ra and do a Heal Face Turn going from a Force Captain of the Horde to leader of the Great Rebellion.
- Spirit Advisor: Light Hope, the guardian of the Crystal Castle, may qualify for this.
- Stab the Sky
- Superheroes Wear Capes: She-Ra's outfit includes a short, red cape.
- Swiss Army Tears: Hordak was disappearing to death by the doomberry pie Skeletor gave him, but he was saved by She-Ra's tears in the episode "My Friend, The Enemy."
- Swiss Army Weapon: Hordak's arm
- Tempting Fate: In "Into Etheria," after getting a meal at a tavern, Cringer comments that he's starting to like this strange new world he and Adam are in. That's when some Hordesmen show up.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Perfuma turns out to be this when captured by the Horde. Listen to her voice for 30 seconds, and you'll begin to understand why spending a day with her would be a bit much.
- Transformation Name Announcement: "I am She-Ra!"
- Transformation Sequence: Adora to She-Ra. Unsurprisingly on a show geared to appeal to girls, this one is flashier and sparklier than He-Man's. It's also considered one of the crowning visual effects on the series.
- Tyke Bomb: Adora
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Adora had this with Sea Hawk, who snogged her twice in one episode. She even deliberately locked herself behind bars (after performing several rescues as She-Ra) so that he could bust in and carry her out over his shoulder. But the relationship never went anywhere.
- Possibly complicated by the fact that She-Ra's relationship with Bow was equally undefined.
- Unusual Ears: Kowl, who seemed to be a hybrid of a koala and an owl, and used his ears as wings.
- Although his flight appears to be magic and quite apart from how he flaps his ears. Note how, in The Secret of the Sword, his response to getting startled is to freeze, like any of us might - and just stay there sitting frozen in mid-air.
- Warrior Poet: Bow the archer is an accomplished musician.
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Hordak never runs out of robot henchmen or war machines. Somewhat justified by being the resident dictator of the planet, but you have to wonder where the manpower comes from?
- It's actually addressed a few times; Hordak orders his robots from Horde World. He even complains a few times that he ordered well trained robots and got incompetent idiots.
- Winged Humanoid: Queen Angella; Flutterina.
- Winged Unicorn: Swiftwind when powered up.
- Woman Scorned: Catra often flirted with Sea Hawk back when he was on Hordak's side, which he ignored. When Sea Hawk fell for Adora, Catra was pissed.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Or green. Or pink. Or lavender. Or in Huntara's case, purple skin.
- X Meets Y: Disney Princesses meet Space Opera.
- Zero-Percent Approval Rating: The Horde, obviously.