Star vs. the Princess Blogger

Today I'm going to talk about a show I have barely ever mentioned before in my blog. Star vs. the Forces of Evil is an animated Magical Girl Princess series that premiered on Disney Channel in 2015. I watched the first few episodes, decided it wasn't my cup of tea, and ignored it for the next four years until they announced that series was about to end. I caught up with the last few episodes leading up to today's finale so I could determine if it got any better. This is not a traditional review because I don't consider myself a fan of the show. I skipped over most of the episodes leading up to the finale, including the entirety of the second and third seasons. If you are a long-time fan of the series, you are welcome to comment below and correct me on any inaccuracies that you will likely find in this post. I would love to hear about why the show appealed to people in ways that it did not appeal to me. This is Star vs. the Princess Blogger. Game on!


My first impression of Star vs. the Forces of Evil was that it looked like an Americanized attempt to copy the mahou shoujo anime genre. Star's wand was practically identical to Card Captor Sakura's, and her backstory as a princess from another world mirrored that of Sailor Moon. Yet, anyone who watches Star vs. the Forces of Evil will learn very quickly that it lacks the serious, dramatic, and somewhat slow pacing of a magical girl anime. In many ways, it blows the traditional formula out of the water from the get-go. Instead of being a middle school student who is imbued with magical transformation powers by an adorable talking plushie, Star Butterfly is a princess of Mewni who is well aware of her magical prowess and is sent to Earth by her parents to learn discipline. Her chaotic nature, which is visually portrayed by the bright pink devil-like horns on her head in lieu of a tiara, is perfectly balanced by her human friend, Marco Diaz, who is selected to be her mentor of sorts due to his obsessive compulsion for order, which he is in complete denial about. As someone who prefers order over chaos, Marco instantly became my favorite character. Star was way too all over the place for me to keep up with.

Watching the first few episodes of the show reminded me a great deal of Dave the Barbarian, a short-lived animated Disney cartoon from 2004. Both Disney series were zany, random, and chaotic, but I related to Dave, a barbarian who hated violence, far more than I did to Star, a chaotic princess who dragged an innocent earth boy into incredibly weird portal dimensions and yelled things a lot. The heart of the magical girl genre comes from an emotional connection with the main character, and I just couldn't find that with Star. I connected with Marco, but he seemed to be an innocent victim of Star's antics for most of the first season. As much as he tried to get her out of trouble, he would always wind up being pulled into more. That's why I decided the show wasn't worth my time. The severed talking unicorn head was also pretty creepy.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I learned that Star vs. the Forces of Evil was ending. I decided to see how it all went down and if I had been missing anything important by skipping over so many years' worth of episodes. After watching the final few episodes and doing a small amount of research, I realized that the series developed some genuine character growth and world building sometime around the third or fourth season. This surprised me because most of my favorite shows started out very strong and went south after the writers ran out of ideas. Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders is a prime example of this. To this day, the first season of Jewel Riders is one of my absolute favorite works of art, but the second season felt completely phoned in. Star, on the other hand, spent the latter half of her series dealing with her dysfunctional family consisting of a misunderstood aunt and a deceptive mother while trying to save her homeworld of Mewni from an invasion of enemy attackers wielding giant magical robots. It was like a completely different show, one that I could have seen myself being interested in from the very beginning.

The final episodes also revealed Star and Marco confessing their feelings for each other, something that I would have expected to see much earlier on due to their complementary opposite natures of chaos and order. Learning that it took so long for the two protagonists to form a relationship actually made me glad that I skipped over so much of the show. Waiting four years for them to smooch would have driven me crazy. The strength of their bond was the heart of the series finale. Thanks to that, I thought it ended on a much stronger note than it began on. In the final episode, Star decides to end the war on Mewni by destroying magic, therefore rendering her attackers powerless. The one caveat with this plan is that it means Marco will return to Earth, and she will never see him again. It definitely played strongly on the emotions of its audience, which is a vibe that I didn't get at all from the episodes I watched in the first season. The final outcome, though a little silly, was cathartic, and powerful, and felt more like a new beginning than an ending, just as all series finales should. It was the perfect ending to an imperfect show.

Now that I know how good the series turned out, do I feel obligated to go back and catch up with its entire 76-episode run? Honestly, no. The fact that it took four years for Star and Marco to fully realize their potential as a couple shows me just how many of the earlier episodes were random silly filler, which would have been fine if I had felt a connection with the main character, but I didn't, at least not back then. Watching the last few episodes showed me how humanized Star became on an emotional level after spending so much time with Marco, which I think is great. She became a princess that I could relate to in the end, but I would not have been interested in following her on her journey when she was an entity of pure chaos. If more of the show had focused on Marco, maybe my relationship with this series would have been different. Regardless of that, I admire fans who stood by Star all this time and were rewarded with such an emotional and powerful finale. I hope that the creators of Star vs. the Forces of Evil learned and grew from this experience and that the next show they create will begin just as strong as it ends.

Comments

HB said…
To be honest I didn't really like Star vs at first too. It felta bit too random for my taste but I gained a intrerest for it when season 3 started, where Eclipsa got introduced, we got a taste of monster racism and we learned more of Meweni history (heck I even brought the Magic book of Spells book from the show for possible inpiration)

I mostly stayed for Eclipsa and her story with Globgor and Meteora. (I'm a sucker for gothic queens and monster romances)

I think the finale would had worked better if had been 60 mins long but I'm still happy with what we got.
Unknown said…
The general consensus is that seasons 1-2 were fairly solid, but seasons 3-4 are significantly more divisive. This is due to 90% of the cast being annoying, unlikable, underdeveloped, or wasted potential, notably Star, where they think she committed magic genocide in the finale.I think Giancarlo Volpe should have stayed on the series. He worked on Avatar The Last Airbender, Star Wars The Clone Wars , and Green Lantern The Animated Series, and was thus a perfect choice. However, seasonal rot set in when he left at the beginning of season 3.

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