Shows

This She-Ra Remake is Surprisingly Good

Show Review:

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 1

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 stars

Warning! Minor spoilers ahead for Season 1!

Review

Anyone who has been reading my content for awhile knows that I adore kids shows when they are made in a way that adult audiences can appreciate. Yet I was still skeptical about this one. It just looked childish to me from the pictures, and my sister’s claims that it was as good as or better than Avatar: The Last Airbender didn’t assuage my doubts.

I was wrong to judge it so quickly. It is one of the best cartoons I have watched in my life, even if I still like Avatar: The Last Airbender better.

The first season begins with Adora, the main character, working as a soldier for the evil Horde. She has been brought up to believe that the Horde’s missions are benevolent in nature, and that the Horde’s enemies–the princesses–are wicked. One day she ventures outside of the Fright Zone, which is the headquarters of the Horde, and finds a magic sword. The princess Glimmer and her friend Bow capture Adora. They try to get the sword for themselves, but Adora manages to use it. This sword transforms her into the legendary She-Ra.

Even though Adora has several opportunities to escape from Glimmer and Bow, she does not. This is because she comes upon a town burned by the Horde and realizes there is something wrong with what the Horde is doing. Adora comes to realize that the Horde has lied to her and that they are attacking innocent people.

She joins Glimmer and Bow and they take her to Bright Moon, where she joins the rebellion against the Horde. The first season focuses on building the rebellion’s forces.

Adora’s best friend from the Horde, Catra, is devastated by Adora’s abandonment of her and the Horde. Catra’s character development is one of the best parts of Season 1 and of seasons to come. Her mental and emotional breakdowns, her mourning, her pride, and her jealousy make her a well-rounded and sympathetic villain.

Catra vs. She-Ra

Despite being very good, the first season in a lot of ways is the set-up for what is to come. As the rebellion grows, several episodes each introduce a new princess who is not very well-developed in the first season. Background information is established and relationships begin to development and change.

There are many funny parts such as when Adora discovers things like parties and horses for the first time, because her experience has been limited in the horde.

Entrapta

My favorite character in the first season is Entrapta. From her love of tiny foods to her passion for anything science, she is a hilarious character. Her prehensile hair makes her even more interesting.

The intro seems more childish than the show itself, and I just couldn’t get behind the song. It’s fine–but it could be better.

The design is attractive, with bright colors and a beautiful palette that features various hues of pink and purple. Character design looks good, with representation of various skin colors and body types. Some people, mostly men, criticized the show because She-Ra doesn’t look sexy enough–but I can’t see why that is a problem, especially since the show promotes body positivity.

Animation is decent but not amazing. It’s kind of oversimplified, but it doesn’t look bad.

LGBTQ+ representation is present in the first season, but not as obvious as in later seasons. Spinnerella and Netossa are married princesses, but their relationship is not explored in the first season. There is more to come.

The names are not particularly creative, but they come directly from the 1980s series She-Ra: Princess of Power. Since the new show was loosely inspired by the 1980s one, I don’t consider this lack of creativity a con. Examples are Catra for a character with cat features, Bow for an archer, Perfuma for a girl with flower power, etc.

I would certainly recommend this season for most people ages 8 and up. I especially recommend it for fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. If you are expecting it to be anything like the 1980s show She-Ra: Princess of Power, you will be disappointed because it is vastly different from the moralistic and old-fashioned episodes of She-Ra: Princess of Power.

Final Breakdown

Pros

  • Great for children and adults
  • Attractive design choices
  • Representation of different body types and skin colors
  • LGBTQ+ representation

Cons

  • Overly childish intro

Observations

  • Decent animation
  • Names are not creative, but they are directly from the original She-Ra series from the 1980s
  • Not very similar to the original She-Ra

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links

Shows

LoK Season 3 is Darker than the Rest

Show Review:

The Legend of Korra Season 3

Rating: 9.2 out of 10 stars

Intro

I had the pleasure of watching The Legend of Korra (LoK) Season 3 for the second time with my best friend. It is not as good as Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA), but it is fun nonetheless.

Spoiler-Free Version

First, a spoiler-free sum up of my thoughts, and after that we will get into spoiler territory, so watch out:

This season is much better than the poor planning and execution of Season 2 for many reasons.

The villains, though they lack much backstory, prove that they are resourceful, intelligent, and dangerous. There are lasting consequences to poor decisions in this season because the villains are so competent. Zaheer in particular rivals Amon as a potential best villain of the whole show.

My favorite addition to characters this season was by far Kai. That kid is funny, mischievous, and very likeable.

The settings include a close-up look at modern Ba Sing Se, which is unfortunately as corrupt as it was in Aang’s time, and Zaofu, home of the metalbending clan.

Rather than getting a ton of obnoxious relationship drama, we get a dose of pent-up family drama. It’s kind of refreshing to not have to deal with the stupid love triangle that dominated Season 2. I have to say it – even though Mako was fun at first, his wishy-washy-ness with Asami and Korra was a pain to watch and made we like him less. Last season even made me love Bolin less, and he’s my favorite character.

This season they all find the better version of themselves and move forward with life. The world is starting to regain balance in ways it hadn’t during Aang’s time as Avatar – the spirit world and the physical world have intertwined, causing problems and yet seeming to bring more balance to a world that had been previously deprived of the presence of the spirits in most instances.

Warning: Below this point are spoilers for Seasons 1-3 of The Legend of Korra, as well as spoilers for Avatar: The Last Airbender Seasons 1-3!!

Background

The Legend of Korra was created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. It is a sequel to the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA).

Characters in this show are either benders, who can control one of the four elements, or non-benders, who cannot control any elements.

It is a unique blend of anime style with the style of American cartoons.

The Legend of Korra Season 3 was released in 2014 under the name of Book 3: Change. After episode 8, the show stopped airing on Nickelodeon and moved online. This was partly due to leaked content and partly do to unfavorable ratings.

Summary

The Legend of Korra Season 3 focuses on Korra’s efforts to rebuild the Air Nation, Lin Beifong’s reconciliation with her sister and her sister’s family, and Zaheer’s attempt to end the Avatar for good.

Pros

  • Entertaining, appealing old characters
  • New and fun characters
  • Formidable villains
  • Interesting settings
  • Humor
  • Focuses on family drama instead of relationship drama
  • Merging of the spirit world and the physical world brings new challenges
  • The Airbending nation is back!
  • Considers how preservation of old traditions must be balanced with changes that come about as part of the modern setting
  • Consequences for inadequate efforts

Cons

  • Villains without much backstory

Observations

  • Darker than previous seasons

Review

Characters

If you want to learn more about the main characters, look back at my reviews for seasons 1-2. The links are at the bottom of the page.

Kai develops the ability to use airbending and meets Team Avatar when they are trying to round up recruits to rebuild the air nation. He’s mischievous, thieving, and untrustworthy–but chooses good when it really matters. His crush on Jinora and their mutual affection is kind of cute, and puts him on Tenzin’s bad side. Bolin treats him like a little brother willingly, and Mako does more grudgingly. Overall, Kai is a wonderful addition to the team and adds a lot of humor and trouble to the mix.

Suyin is the half-sister of Lin Beifong. This is where the family drama comes in. Suyin was rebellious as a child, in stark contrast to Lin, who was obedient and law-abiding. Suyin is the reason Lin has a scar on her face. She wants to make amends with Lin, but Lin is uninterested in acting like a family again. They get into a serious fight that is amazing to watch. “Fighting is all part of the healing process,” Bolin assures the others, and he is not completely wrong. Suyin is the leader of Zaofu, the metalbending clan, and has a large family of talented individuals.

Opal is the daughter of Suyin. She develops airbending abilities and is trained by Korra. Even though she really wants to go and join the Air Nation, her mother insists she stays at home. Opal eventually stands her ground and is permitted to leave home. Bolin x Opal (Bopal) is so much better than Bolin x Eska (Boleska).

Zaheer is one of the new airbenders, and has long admired Laghima, a long-dead airbending master. At the beginning of the story, he is kept in a prison as a result of his efforts to kidnap Korra as a child. After developing airbending abilities, he is able to escape and fights to release all of his friends from the Red Lotus. Zaheer is an anarchist who believes governments are evil and that the avatar cycle must end along with these governments in order for a new world to be born. Zaheer rivals Amon as the best villain of the series, but I wish he had more backstory,

Settings

Ba Sing Se is a huge, sprawling Earth Kingdom city. Just like in Avatar: The Last Airbender, there is a lot of corruption going on here, and the outer parts of the city are decrepit while the inner circle is immaculate. The Earth Queen rules her city with an iron fist, and tries to make her own airbending army. I found this second look at Ba Sing Se to be a much-needed echo from the past, tying ATLA and LoK together even more.

Zaofu is a beautiful and secure city run by Suyin. It is a place where metalbenders can hone their craft as well as their talents, which for some includes artistic skill. The protective dome makes Zaofu especially safe. It is technologically innovative city, but even its strong defense could not stop Zaheer’s attack.

Humor

This show balances humor with darker aspects. For example, the very serious scene of Korra vs. Zaheer, the poisoning, and the mass destruction are lightened somewhat when Zaheer is defeated and Bolin “put a sock in it” by literally putting a sock in Zaheer’s mouth.

Balance

This season is all about the balance brought about by change. The spirit world becomes integrated with the physical world in a way it never was during Aang’s time. The rise of the airbending nation caused by this is somewhat of a relief considering there was only a single family of airbenders before that. It is heartening to see that the balance Aang envisioned is finally coming to life.

Dark Aspects

The Earth Queen’s murder through suffocation is one of the darkest parts of this season. It’s not bad that it’s gotten darker–just different. Zaheer rips the oxygen from the queen’s lungs and creates a mini tornado-like ball around her head until she dies.

P’Li is one of the few individuals who can combustionbend like Combustion Man from Atla. When her head is encased in metal, there is an explosion inside that kills her. This is a particularly brutal death, but since the metal covers her head, we do not see the gruesome results.

The capture and poisoning of Korra is very dark as well. Even though Zaheer fails to end the Avatar cycle, the poison has lasting consequences.

Consequences

At the end of the season, Korra is unwell and barely able to move, let alone walk. I think that this a good step because it makes the Avatar seem less invincible. It also shows that trauma cannot just be there one day, gone the next typically. Physical and emotional scars tend to stick around, at least for a time.

Conclusion

I would wholeheartedly recommend this season. It is rated PG, but I would not recommend it for younger children since this season is darker.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links

Related Articles

Acknowledgements

Thank you to Alyssa Wilson for her feedback on this article.

Anime, Shows

A Dark Anime Featuring An Unbreakable Sibling Bond

Spoiler-Free Anime Review:

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Season 1

Rating: 10 out of 10 stars

Intro

Demon Slayer is an anime I watched because I heard people say it is better than My Hero Academia. I actually like it less than My Hero Academia, but that’s only because I prefer more light-hearted anime in general. Demon Slayer is, in fact, really fascinating and enjoyable to watch.

I watched the first half of the season with my dad and siblings and ended up watching the rest alone at college.

Warning: Even though this review does not have a significant spoilers, it does describe some plot details from Episode 1.

Background

Demon Slayer Season 1 was released in 2019, and is based on a manga series of the same name. It was written by Koyoharu Goutuge. It can currently be watched on Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, or Funimation.

Summary

After Tanjiro’s family is slaughtered and his sister is turned into a demon, he studies to become a demon slayer to avenge his family and cure his sister.

Pros

  • Complex characters
  • Engaging combat
  • Demons are unique and have various skills
  • Great intro and outro
  • Catchy music
  • Taisho secrets
  • Attractive animation

Cons

  • No specific cons

Observations

  • It is a bit gory

Review

Characters

Tanjiro Kamado is the main character. He is a kind young man who sells charcoal to support his family until their untimely demise. His sense of smell is impeccable, significantly affecting the storyline believe it or not. He can pick up the smell of blood from far away or tell that a broken object was knocked over by a cat. He also can understand birds. He is extremely hardworking and loyal.

We barely get to know Nezuko Kamado before she is turned into a demon. She struggles with a violent side at times, but her connection to Tanjiro is heartwarming.

Zenitsu is generally cowardly and kind of pervy. Unlike in some anime, he is scolded for his behavior frequently and luckily doesn’t do anything as invasive as, for example, Mineta from My Hero Academia. There is more to him than meets the eye, however.

Inosuke is strong, socially inept, insensitive, and stubborn. Yet he is also quick to forget a grudge or even why he was angry in the first place. He is annoyed by Zenitsu’s weakness and Tanjiro’s kindness.

Combat

The combat in Demon Slayer is multi-layered and complex. Breathing technique is a huge component in an individual’s capacity to fight. Demon slayers master various forms to learn to attack, often related to the elements. Those who cannot kill demons by beheading them resort to other methods such as poisons. There is also something called the thread that Tanjiro can see, which shows him when there is an opening.

Demons

Each demon has a different specialty and many have different blood demon arts. The one depicted above, for example, is nicknamed the Arrow Demon and can redirect movements and launch opponents. Another interesting one is the Drum demon, which can perform different attacks by beating various drums embedded in its body.

The demons almost all have tragic backstories because they were once human before the traumatic event of being turned into demons.

Intro

The Demon Slayer Season 1 intro not only is a great introduction into future events in the first season, it also has great catchy music. It is well-made and intriguing.

Outro

The artistic design of the outro is beautiful, from the vibrant flowers at the beginning to the rendering of Nezuko shown above.

Taisho secrets

The Taisho secret at the end of each episode provides more insight into characters and is a fun way to tease about the next episode.

Animation

The animation of Demon Slayer is beautiful and terrifying. I especially liked the eyes of the characters and the design of the demons.

Conclusion

I would say if you don’t mind shows being a little bloody and violent, and you like anime, then you will probably like this show. Definitely recommend for ages 13 and up.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links

Shows

Gravity Falls Gets Even Weirder

Spoiler-Free Show Review:

Gravity Falls Season 2

Rating: 9.8 out of 10 stars

Intro

When my sister wanted me to watch Gravity Falls, I was skeptical about whether I would like it. It looked like an uninteresting kids show or like it would have a style of humor I wouldn’t be a fan of. However, it has become one of my favorite shows.

Background

Gravity Falls Season 2 was released in 2014-2016. It stars the voice talent of Jason Ritter, Alex Hirsch, Kristen Schaal, and Linda Cardellini.

It can currently be watched on Disney Plus.

Summary

Season 2 focuses on the search for the author of the journals, Gruncle Stan’s past, and the struggle against Bill Cipher.

Pros

  • Loveable characters
  • Unique villains
  • Interesting supernatural beings
  • Touching character dynamics between the twins
  • Entertaining setting
  • Clever and amusing dialogue
  • Fun animation
  • References to other shows and pop culture
  • Continuity between episodes unlike in some cartoons
  • Enjoyable for adults and children alike
  • Original catchy music

Cons

  • Gets darker in a way that is a bit much (though this is a minor con)

Observations

  • The whispers at the end of the intro song of each episode are hints to solve the cryptogram at the end of each episode
  • Alex Hirsch is the voice actor for Gruncle Stan, Soos, Old Man McGucket, and Bill Cipher.
  • Dipper’s hat was originally supposed to be red, but the creators feared that he would look too much like Ash Ketchum

Review

Characters

My Favorite Pic of the Whole Gang

Mabel Pines, the girl in the pink sweater and braces, is a quirky and boy-crazy girl. She wears a different sweater almost every episode and is very spontaneous.

Dipper Pines, the boy in the blue hat, is adventurous, practical, and cautious. He is eager to find out what supernatural forces are at work in Gravity Falls.

The twins do a lot of growing in their understanding of themselves and the world around them during Season 2. They have to realize what is most important and worth protecting.

Wendy Corduroy is the redheaded teenager. She is tomboyish, strong, assertive, clever, and funny. Wendy is my favorite character.

Gruncle Stan, the old man, is the main characters’ Great Uncle. Get it? Gruncle? He is miserly, bossy, and occasionally engages in criminal activities. Nonetheless, he is one of the most loveable characters.

Soos is the handyman in the green shirt. He is laidback, has a big heart, and is very close to the Pines family. He acts kind of like a big brother to Dipper and Mabel.

I can’t imagine the show without any one of these characters. They are all essential and add so much to the story.

There is only one character of note who debuted in the second season, but his existence is so integral to the plot that I cannot reveal who it is without major spoilers.

Bill Cipher is the iconic villain of Gravity Falls, and the main threat of Season 2. He’s just so weird….some of his scenes from Season 1 involve deer teeth and possession. It’s all quite odd, and that’s what makes him so unique. He is sadistic and thoughtless and enjoys making deals. Season 2 gets even weirder with his greater involvement.

Relationships

The relationship between the twins is so sweet and authentic. It is clear that they genuinely do care for each other and enjoy each other’s company. Gravity Falls avoids common tropes used in shows for twins–such as twins that are identical or very similar in personality, or the twin that is always right vs. the one that is always wrong, single-minded twins, etc.

Season 2 delves into this relationship more by revealing more of the twins’ pasts and creating conflict between them.

Setting

The show is set in Gravity Falls, Oregon. A lot of time is spent at the Mystery Shack in particular, which is a tourist trap filled with gimmicks and odd artifacts.

Dialogue

Pain is hilarious! And two eyes? This thing is deluxe!”

Bill Cipher, referring to humans

Romance is like gum. When it loses its flavor, you just shove another one in.”

Mabel Pines

A TV show that has big mystery elements and jokes that go over kid’s head’s”

Gruncle Stan, referring to Ducktective in a metajoke also referring to Gravity Falls itself

Animation

The goofy and sometimes postcard-worthy animation of Gravity Falls is attractive and fits the theme of the show.

Allusions

  • When Soos says “Shining, shimmering, splendid,” he is referencing the song “A Whole New World”
  • Smez is a spoof of the brand Pez
  • “We Built This Township on Rock and Roll” is a reference to “We Built This City” by Starship
  • “The Golf War” title of an episode alludes to the actual Gulf War
  • One episode has several allusions to the Muppets
  • At one time the Eye of Sauron can be seen in the Mystery Shack
  • There are so many more!

Continuity

The show is dependent on the episodes that come before for a lot of the development and for most of it to make sense. That makes it different from many TV shows where the episodes can be watched in any order.

Audience

The audience for this show is varied. When I was looking at who had left ratings on IMDb, there was a large age range from teens to people in their mid-20s or mid-30s–even people older than that such as in their 50s. In addition, it was made for children, so it fits all of these audiences well. There are a lot of jokes that adults will appreciate that kids may barely notice. The darker themes at times in the show makes it appealing to adults as well.

Music

The theme song is so catchy my sister and dad both made it their ringtone. I love it. It’s one of those iconic songs that will always bring back good memories for me.

Conclusion

I recommend this show for all ages except for very young children due to dark elements. Admittedly this season is darker, so parental guidance may be best. Things such as a person turning into cockroaches and a couch made of petrified humans might be uncomfortable for very young audiences, as well as the darker overall atmosphere.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.