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Case Number 10783

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She-Ra: Princess Of Power: Volume 1

BCI Eclipse // 1985 // 688 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 7th, 2007

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson wishes the long-lost episode where Teela and She-Ra get into a tapioca wrestling match made the cut for this set. Alas, it did not.

The Charge

"If you don't mind, please keep your tongue to yourself!"

Opening Statement

Following the success and eventual decommissioning of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Filmation embarked another animated sword and sorcery series. This time, instead of a muscle-bound Boy Scout in a loincloth punishing the forces of evil, we get this hot blonde in a miniskirt. What age was this cartoon marketed to again?

Facts of the Case

Long ago, twins Adora and Adam were separated, with Adam ending up in the royal court of Eternia and Adora falling in with the evil Hordak, the oppressive ruler of sister planet Etheria. Adora grew up as a loyal Horde-member, unaware of the viciousness her ilk wrought on Etheria. Back on Eternia, the Sorceress revealed the truth to Adam/He-Man and sent him to Etheria to spring Adora from her former life, give her a power sword and ease her into the transformation of She-Ra, Princess of Power.

That all went swimmingly, and now She-Ra and her mighty friends lead the forces of the "rebellion" against Hordak and his machine-powered Horde army.

Thirty-episodes from the first season, spread over five discs:

Disc One
• "Into Etheria"
• "Beast Island"
• "She-Ra Unchained"
• "Reunions"
• "Battle for Bright Moon"
• "Duel at Devlan"
• "The Sea Hawk"

Disc Two
• "The Red Knight"
• "The Missing Ax"
• "The Laughing Dragon"
• "The Peril of the Whispering Woods"
• "The Prisoners of Beast Island"
• "King Miro's Journey"
• "Friendship"

Disc Three
• "He Ain't Heavy"
• "Return of the Sea Hawk"
• "A Loss for Words"
• "Gateway to Trouble"
• "Enchanted Castle"
• "Three Courageous Hearts"

Disc Four
• "The Stone in the Sword"
• "The Crystal Castle"
• "The Crown of Knowledge"
• "Enemy with My Face"
• "Small Problems"
• "Book Burning"

Disc Five
• "The Eldrich Mist"
• "Bow's Farewell"
• "The Price of Freedom"
• "Play it Again, Bow"
• "The Reluctant Wizard"
• "Friends are Where You Find Them"

The Evidence

Girl power. That's what it's all about with She-Ra. While her wardrobe is more Bourbon Street than Castle Grayskull (it's a miracle she managed to emerge from her multitude of battles sans an awkward panties shot), She-Ra is as strong a female character as they come, the most powerful being in Etheria and the leader of the forces of good. In fact, She-Ra is crammed full of female characters, with only one guy part of her crack squad; even the Horde has an impressive lineup of comely, evil females. It's a good move by the producers because She-Ra is so obviously a cartoon geared towards the girls; the animation is brighter and more colorful than its male counterpart, there's a tighter focus on whimsy and the main male hero wears a damn heart on his breastplate!

Still, that doesn't mean there's not enough fun for the whole family here, and Filmation has preserved the general do-good, high-energy-ultra-creative vibe is infused into He-Man. Storylines are full of plot contrivances and exotic lands and new creatures and special effects and, of course, the omnipresent threat of the Horde. Yet the series is obviously different from its predecessor and can stand on its own without needing to lean on the He-Man (though he does make a fair number of guest appearances).

Here's a closer look at the characters:

• She-Ra
She's got the moral compass of her brother and looks a lot better in revealing attire. I don't know how she can comfortable fight the forces of destruction in high-heeled boots and a tiara, but girlfriends makes it work. Her secret identity, Adora, isn't as big a dork as Adam, thankfully. The peoples of Ehteria, though, must be much, much more oblvious than Eternia's folk as the only thing discernible between Adora and She-Ra is a hairstyle. At least He-Man got a tan between transformations.

• Swiftwind
She-Ra's emasculated flying unicorn.

• Bow
This guy is the only member of She-Ra's friends with testicles. His cape/spandex/heart-icon get-up calls that into question though.

• Kowl
This little guy is She-Ra's answer to Orko. He's got big ears and flies around, but doesn't bring the comic relief of his legless sorcerer counterpart. Then again, he doesn't consistently @#$% things up either.

• Hordak
She-Ra's main foe is less of a bastard than Skeletor, but sacrifices entertainment quality because of it. Hordak's arms can change into anything which is, ahem, handy, and he's got legions of dispensable Horde troopers, but he's pretty one-dimensional when you get down to it.

• Shadow Weaver
Hordak's right hand, this faceless sorceress has magical powers to spare and a kickin' body.

• The Horde
Like Skeletor, Hordak has plenty of villains at his disposal to carry out his evil whims. Also like Skeletor, Hordak is frequently pissed off by their consistent failure. The Horde troopers are a nice addition though, as they can be "slaughtered" wholesale during the confrontations.

All in, She-Ra still stands tall as a fun, energetic fantasy cartoon, boasting a strong female protagonist and an unending parade of bizarre places, characters and creatures. The series had a larger budget than He-Man so, in turn, it benefits from less recycled animation and better production values.

BCI Eclipse keeps its stellar track record intact with another terrific DVD treatment. The high-quality packaging is similar to the He-Man sets: full-color, layered in artwork and boasting an information-laden, well-designed episode guide. Episodes look great in their original, full-frame aspect ratio, colorful, detailed and near-flawless n their transfer. Two commentaries accompany episodes "The Sea Hawk" and "King Miro's Journey"

Disc Six is devoted to extras, including a slick 30-minute documentary "The Stories of She-Ra, Part 1," a full-length animated storyboard, 50 profiles of characters, creatures and artifacts, an interactive game and DVD-ROM content featuring scripts, the series bible, a coloring book and a comic book.

Closing Statement

Decent cartoon. Awesome presentation. Another home run for the BCI kids.

The Verdict

For the honor of Grayskull…not guilty!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 95
Audio: 90
Extras: 90
Acting: 80
Story: 85
Judgment: 89

Perp Profile

Studio: BCI Eclipse
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
• None
Running Time: 688 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• All Ages
• Animation
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• "The Stories of She-Ra, Part 1"
• Two Collectible Art Cards
• Storyboards
• 50 Profiles of Characters, Creatures and Artifacts
• Trivia
• DVD-ROM Scripts
• Series Bibles
• Comic Book
• Coloring Book
• Previews

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