In 1981 toy manufacturer Mattel released He-Man on an unsuspecting world and quickly convinced millions of young boys that a blonde haired muscle bound hero in furry pants was the business. Â The cartoon series was also popular but what annoyed the bosses was that they had only captured half the market. Â What about the girls?
In an attempt to repeat the success of He-Man with the female half of the toy market, Mattel came up with She-Ra, Princess of Power, and in order to launch their new range of toys got Filmation, the company behind the He-Man cartoon, to make a series of animated adventures for She-Ra.
In order to tie the two product lines together She-Ra was supposed to be the twin sister of He-Man, although she lived on an entirely different world called Etheria (He-Man was from Eternia). Â Her name was Princess Adora, and the story was she was kidnapped as a baby, but since we’d never heard anything of her before in the He-Man stories this seems a little weak. Â Unsurprisingly, She-Ra used the template set up by He-Man, modified to appeal to girls.
Like He-Man, She-Ra was armed with a magic sword, called the Sword of Protection, and also like her brother she could hold it aloft and say the magic phrase “By the honour of Greyskull” (note honour instead of power, He-Man’s version of the line) and be transformed from Princess Adora into She-Ra. Â When this happened, her faithful equine companion Spirit was transformed into a flying unicorn called Swift Wind. Â Of course, the horse could talk, just like Cringer/Battle Cat in He-Man.
She-Ra possessed superhuman strength, but she also had the power to talk to animals and heal people by touch, powers which were more likely to appeal to the average little girl than being able to smash things to smithereens.
Princess Adora shared her alter ego secret with just three others. Â Light Hope is a odd life form composed of light, and is the guardian of the Crystal Castle, the place She-Ra calls home when not fighting evil. Â Then there’s a weird owl like thing called Cowl and a purple skinned witch named Madame Razz, which must go down as being one of the most badly named characters in a kids TV show ever. Â Madame Razz sounds more like the name of the resident of a bordello…
She-Ra’s adventures would have been a bit dull without an enemy to fight against, and this role was filled by Hordak, leader of the Evil Horde. Â He had a bit of a robotic look about him (not sure what he was supposed to be) and he had a bit of a bone motif going on, just like Skeletor from He-Man. Â Indeed, Hordak was originally Skeletor’s teacher, and he was also the person who stole the baby Adora away from Eternia.
Hordak had various cronies under his command, just like Skeletor, although I think they were probably a bit more professional that Skeletor’s unruly mob. Â Most notably there was Catra, a woman who could turn into a panther, who was actually She-Ra’s main enemy in the toys, but became part of the Horde for the cartoon.
I’ll wrap up by leaving you with the opening credits to the cartoon, which isn’t an awful lot different to the He-Man intro. Is it just me though, or does She-Ra sound a little slurred in her speech, as if she’s had a glass of white wine too many?