Where do I begin with this one?
Admittedly, I’ve known about this show since 2018, when the first Adora x Catra images popped up online, even though they weren’t canon yet. At that time, I thought this would simply be a kids show with some room for shipping, like say Frozen or even something like Pretty Cure. As a result, I never actually picked it up.
This year, however, after having watched other “kids shows”, such as Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, I was out of options, but had heard that She-Ra actually turned out to be plenty gay, especially so in its final season. So long story short, I picked it up and I don’t regret it one bit.
The show starts out a little weak. I feared I would have to get through four seasons of mundane kids adventures to get to the good stuff, and while this is not completely wrong, it also couldn’t be further from the truth. The first two or so episodes were a little harder to get through, but I usually have a bit of a problem finding my way into shows, and it takes time for me to actually get to know the characters enough to really get invested.
It didn’t help that the naming of characters as well as places in this show immediately enhanced my fear of this really being a pure kids show. I mean, the name Bow for a guy that fights with a bow, or how about Catra, who is basically a cat, or worse even, Netoassa who literally fights by, you guessed it, tossing magical nets… I couldn’t make this up. Or how about places that are called “The Fright Zone” or “Bright Moon”, guess where the bad guys live? You catch my drift. However, we can’t forget that this is based on a show from the 80’s, so the names simply had to stay…
So in the beginning, we see our main heroine, Adora, who lives and trains to become a soldier in the Fright Zone for the Horde (the bad guys). It is actually pretty interesting, seeing how our main hero starts out as a cadet for the army of the bad guys. She, of course, more or less by accident, soon finds out that she has been fed lies and worked for the wrong side, thanks to the influence of our other two main heroes, namely Bow and Glimmer. Furthermore, she also comes across her closest childhood friend and former ally from the Horde, Catra, who she encounters on the battlefield and tries to get to leave with her. This unfortunately ends in disaster as Catra feels betrayed and abandoned, which leads to tension between the two that will later become one of the main themes of the show.
Admittedly, the whole “She-Ra aspect” of this show is not its strongest point. The story is pretty good. It’s interesting, easy to follow, and I generally enjoy this “magical-girl-who-is-destined-to-save-the-universe kind of set-up”. There is a good balance between the action of the show and its general story, with little bits and pieces of fun randomness sprinkled throughout all seasons.
The best aspect of this show, however, is the characters and their journey, how they grow, develop, and how their relationships form. As the show starts out, there are basically almost zero romantic relationships going on. The show doesn’t need that right away to stay interesting. The only actual couple we get is Spinnerella and Netoassa, glimpses of how Glimmer probably feels about Bow, and that’s it. The real glory of it all lies somewhere else, and that would be how our main villains (for the most part Catra, Shadow Weaver, partly Entrapta, Scorpia and also even Hordak) are presented. The show often, or dare I say mostly, makes us root for both sides and not just the good guys, because even if the bad guys do horrible acts, we get to see the reasons behind those actions. Some of which can hardly ever be justified, but this show is just so good at making us feel for those characters, that up until season five, I could argue that the whole story worked out perfectly without even having one true, unredeemable villain.
And as the one true most amazingly executed aspect of She-Ra, there stands the relationship between Catra and Adora. They start out as friends in the Horde, then are separated and choose different sides, then become enemies and fight each other, but yet they always ending up having meaningful moments. There is always a back and forth going on between them, and while they (for the most part) are the representatives for the good and the evil side, the viewer is constantly reminded of their past, how much they actually care(d) for each other, and how wrong it is for them to fight.
It’s a beautiful and bittersweet journey from start to end, to see these characters that so obviously care for each other lose each other over and over again, just to gravitate towards one another once again at the end.
And what an ending it was. The entire final season was just a blast. So many shows start out great and then just lose their way and end up as a disaster. She-Ra, however, stayed strong for the whole run and ended the series in the best and most satisfying way possible. Everything that was worked towards from season one, everything we wanted to see, it all happened and all of it in such a beautiful and clever way, even.
I could gush about this season, how everything was just so perfect, from the moment Catra redeemed herself, from her apologizing, sacrificing herself, and then becoming a member of the “best friend squad”. From then on, it was a Catradora dream come true, with Catra and Adora not just randomly ending up being a forced couple, but with the two of them yet again having some true, heartfelt and meaningful moments, and them actually working their way towards it.
We see Catra (for once) being vulnerable, how she looks at Adora lovingly, how Adora basically can activate her powers only thanks to her feelings for Catra, and best of all, how the two of them outright confess in the greatest way possible and then end up kissing and saving the universe.
God bless lesbians.
So, uh, sorry about the outburst, it was just a beautiful finale for a beautiful show. If you haven’t already, I can only really, REALLY recommend watching this. If it helps, listen to this awesome opening and hopefully it gets you excited enough to just give it all a try.
And once you’re done, I have another recommendation. Look for Catradora fanfiction, they are… incredible.
+ Amazing characters and character development
+ Charming and fun villains
+ 5 epic seasons, ensuring a lot of fun to have while watching
+ Amazing voice acting
+ SO MUCH gay content
– At its core, this is still a kids show (if that bothers you)
– Sometimes, the story is a little over-the-top
– Really stupid character names
Total Enjoyment: 9