Why Anime Fans Should Be Excited for the ‘She-Ra’ Reboot

Lucas DeRuyter
TV Anime
TV Anime

Back in July, Netflix announced they were rebooting and reimagining the beloved ’80s cartoon She-Ra — and we’ve been hyped ever since. Boasting a fresh, modern design, the new series, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power looks to expand on the beloved titular character and the universe’s canon. But the reboot won’t just appeal to those who loved the original series. Anime fans are sure to love it as well.

If the reboot is anything like the original 1985 cartoon series, She-Ra: Princess of Power, it will feature unique and gorgeous animation, a compelling female-driven narrative, and some terrific new characters — all things that anime fans love.  Here’s why anime fans should be excited about She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.

A Feast for the Eyes

She-Ra, Eternia, Netflix
A first look at the new Netflix 'She-Ra' settings. (Photo Credit: Netflix)

While the original 1983 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon stuck to a classic fantasy aesthetic, the animation for 1985’s spin-off series, She-Ra: Princess of Power, proved weirder and more unique. As a spin-off, She-Ra could take bigger, riskier design swings than He-Man — especially in terms of art direction. She-Ra featured psychedelic backgrounds and settings bathed in every shade of the color spectrum. The central locale, Whispering Woods, is downright Seussian with its vibrant colors, cotton candy trees, and lush plant life.

Both He-Man and She-Ra took place on otherworldly locations, but She-Ra really leaned into its gorgeous alien surroundings. The landscapes and settings blended genres fantastically, much like the anime staples Fairy Tail and Black Clover. Similarly, the artistic tone of both She-Ra shows aligns perfectly with the fantasy setting of the acclaimed 1997 Berserk anime — even though it’s much darker than either iteration of She-Ra. With so many vibrant settings and such an inspired world to explore, the upcoming reboot is sure to connect with fans of aesthetically adventurous anime.

The Fight Sequences Are Going to Rule

She-Ra, Netflix
The new 'She-Ra' cast huddles up. (Photo Credit: Netflix)

He-Man and She-Ra were controversial in their time for depicting protagonists committing direct acts of violence against their enemies. Before the two shows gained popularity, cartoon heroes mostly implied violence or relied heavily on comedy to brush off physical harm (for example, no one was ever actually shot or maimed in the GI Joe cartoon). He-Man and She-Ra, however, duked it out with their enemies all they wanted — He-Man regularly wrestled Skeletor into submission, and She-Ra beat up Hordak whenever he transformed into his less human appearance.

Yet despite the focus on violence, the original She-Ra‘s fights and overall animation were clunky at best due to its limited use of animation frames. Fortunately, the reboot’s stylish and softer character designs have the potential for some great battles. Plus, a lot of She-Ra characters possess pretty weird powers — like Hordak’s ability to turn his limbs into weapons and Peekablue’s sight-enhancing feathers — so each fight will likely be fun and unique. Hopefully, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power will handle each character’s powers like My Hero Academia’s Quirk system, and each ability and encounter will feel unlike any other in the series.

Strong, Brave, Compelling New Faves

She-Ra, Netflix
We're ready to meet our new faves. (Photo Credit: Netflix)

One of the best parts of any anime is the expansive universe each property creates. One Piece continues to introduce original characters after twenty years of production, and Durarara!! is extraordinary simply because of the character interactions.

The She-Ra reboot already has an expansive collection of characters to draw from, such as Adora-hater Catra, one of Hordak’s minions with the ability to transform into a cat in the original series, and Bow, a member of the Great Rebellion who constantly needed Adora to rescue him back in the ’80s. There’s even an ecomancer with the ability to control and create plants.

With such a unique, diverse cast of characters, She-Ra could give anime fans a Western series where each character receives a level of depth and motivation on par with series like My Hero Academia or Attack on Titan.

Similar to Anime, There’s Plenty of Source Material to Adapt

A fantastic catalog that's perfect for adaptation.

Like many media franchises born in the ’80s, She-Ra has an expansive canon of original and ancillary properties that the upcoming series can use as a guide for new material. The first She-Ra cartoon ran for a total of 93 episodes before its conclusion, and the titular character has made over 100 appearances in dozens of comic book series. Much like how the majority of Japanese anime comes from preexisting manga, the new She-Ra series can take the best parts of this older material and create an experience better than the sum of its parts.

Just about every anime is an adaptation of a manga or novel. The process of translating material from one medium to another allows the creative teams to address any issues with narrative or character issues. For instance, Devilman Crybaby and Yu Yu Hakusho both add story beats and more vivid art styles that elevate the anime above their original manga source material. Just like in anime, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has the chance to improve upon a beloved series, and that should definitely excite members of the anime fandom.

Above All, This Is a Story About Empowerment

She-Ra, Netflix
Our new She-Ra in all her glory. (Photo Credit: Netflix)

The story of She-Ra starts with the warrior Adora realizing that she’s being controlled and manipulated by an evil militaristic government organization. She finds the power within herself to rebel against the intergalactic fascist empire know as the Evil Horde, and joins the diverse Great Rebellion to combat this repressive regime.

At its core, She-Ra is an empowering and progressive story relaying the core message that girls and women are as strong and as capable as their male counterparts — and that they can and should fight against any system that keeps them down. Granted, the fact that Adora only has her powers because He-Man shows up and tells her that she’s his twin sister undercuts this empowering message, but hopefully, the reboot will revise this inciting incident.

A lot of terrific anime staples center on young women going on journeys of self-discovery. Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, Kill la Kill, and Sailor Moon are all terrific and widely celebrated anime that feature female leads going on fantastical and inspirational journeys of heroism. The fact that a She-Ra reboot is happening at all means that the show’s main message is still relevant and necessary today — and, hopefully, it’ll inspire a new generation of fans.

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Lucas DeRuyter
University of Wisconsin Madison graduate with a deep interest in media, writing, and storytelling.
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