Princesses in Video Games

This week, I'm going to talk about different types of princesses, beginning with digital ones. I am no expert on video games, but princesses have been a big part of them ever since the NES era of the 1980s. They have become a staple of the ever evolving technology. The two most famous video game princesses are Zelda from The Legend of Zelda, a series that began in 1986, and Peach, who evolved from Princess Toadstool in the Super Mario Bros. series that started 1985. Though they both began as stereotypical blonde princesses in pink dresses who needed to be rescued by the hero of their corresponding game, Peach and Zelda each stand out as very different characters. I would say it's no contest which one of them is the better princess.

Even though Zelda began as a damsel in distress, the many incarnations of the series have evolved her into a wise, graceful, and confident leader. In many ways, she is no more of a damsel in distress than Princess Leia is from Star Wars. Both get ca…

Princess Offspring

What stories are left to tell after a princess finds her prince and lives happily ever after? That's the question Mattel decided to explore when they created Ever After High in 2013. The series detailed the lives of the teenage offspring of famous fairy tale characters through dolls, books, and animated shorts. It was initially created as a companion franchise to their already popular Monster High series from 2010 and was clearly inspired at least somewhat by the Disney Princesses. Though this was not the first time fairy tale characters were documented to have offspring, it was the first story about all of their children attending school together and exploring their own identities in relation to their famous parents. The franchise was so successful that many other companies tried to create knock-off versions of it, including Disney with their cringe-worthy Descendants movies.

Princesses having offspring dates back to the days when the fairy tales were first transcribed. In Charl…

Princess Cosplay

As a princess lover, I like to imagine what it would be like to live a day in the life of my favorite princesses. Thanks to the magic of cosplay, this is possible. The term "cosplay" is a mash-up of the words "costume" and "play." It originated in Japan in 1984, referring to fans who dress up at anime conventions. I learned about it through my high school's anime club, when its popularity grew heavily in America around the anime craze of the '90s. My first attempts at cosplay were feeble, to say the least. My skills took off when I studied a "Fashion Design" elective class at my school. I learned how to sew properly by both machine and hand using Simplicity patterns. After I bought a crinoline skirt at a Renaissance Faire, my gowns started to look perfectly princess. Since then, I have cosplayed as several of my favorite princesses.

Cosplay is a very expensive and time-consuming hobby, so I don't recommend doing it often unless you h…

Princess Fashion

I've been seeing several viral posts recently about historical fashion lately. One was a gallery of women's fashion every year from 1784 to 1970, and another was a video re-enactment of how women got dressed in the 18th century. These got me thinking about some of my favorite princess fashions. Though princesses are not known to be historically accurate, their fashions drew inspiration from many different places, and history is one of them. If you take a look at the way fashion has evolved over time, you can get an idea of which parts inspired the princess movies and which parts were altered.

Something that surprised me in the re-enactment was how many pieces were assembled on a woman to give the appearance of a single dress. Today, most dresses are a single piece, but historically, gowns consisted of a corset bodice and a large skirt with a crinoline underneath. This was something I also noticed about Disney's theme park princesses. Though they look like one dress when yo…

Princess Rap Battles

In 2014, Whitney Avalon produced and starred in a new web series called "Princess Rap Battle." The series pitted princesses against each other to rap about why they were the superior heroine. It quickly started a trend in 2016 that was used for shows such as Galavant and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. One thing that made Whitney's videos stand out from other princess-themed web shorts is that she had some very famous guest stars, including Sarah Michelle Gellar and Disney Channel star Laura Marano. Her first video, "Snow White vs. Elsa," was very appropriate since it put the oldest Disney Princess head to head with the newest Disney Princess of the time.

Rap is obviously not the genre of choice for a Disney Princess, but that's what made the concept so novel. It was especially hilarious to see the docile Snow White rapping out insults. In some ways, these videos could be interpreted as princess parodies, but the princesses do act mostly in character and make some val…

Princess Fanart

Every fandom will inevitably have an endless amount of fan-made creations all over the internet. The Disney Princesses, in particular, seem to be an obsession among artists. They have been "re-imagined" in countless different styles, timelines, and alternate realities. In fact, the trend got so out of hand that roughly two years ago, a website called LuckyPeach posted pictures of Disney Princesses reimagined as hot dogs as a joke. The post went viral. It was everywhere. People just can't get enough of Disney Princess reimaginings no matter what form they take on. One of the most famous princess fan artists is Amy Mebberson, who is known for her ongoing comic series, Pocket Princesses.

What I love about Amy's art is that she shows the princesses interacting with each other, like in the above Acme Archives lithograph where Merida, as the only non-singing Disney Princess, is annoyed by everyone else's singing. I met Amy at the D23 Expo in 2013. She had a fabulous ac…

New Princess (and Villain) Music Videos

Move aside, Princess Rap Battles! There are some new music videos in town. Princess fans have gotten more creative than ever and are releasing tons of cosplay videos inspired by our favorite princesses. It's the perfect season for dressing up in costume and singing songs. Since Halloween is coming up, the latest fan videos have more of a villainous spin. These production groups have done lots of great princess videos in the past, and they are sure to make more in the future. Up first, we have a special treat from Rachel Bloom. I have been eagerly anticipating Friday's premiere of her show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and was pleased to find that she released this sneak preview yesterday of the Disney-inspired song introducing the episode.

Unlike their last princess number, the new song "Where's Rebecca Bunch?" is an ensemble sequence with the everyone in the show except Rebecca dressed as puritans in a colonial village. The video draws heavy inspiration from the song &qu…

Disney Princess Enchanted Tales and Why It Failed

In 2007, Disney decided to create a direct-to-DVD animated series to supplement their Disney Princess brand called Disney Princess Enchanted Tales. The series was supposed to include two new half-hour princess stories per volume with original animation, songs, and stories. They initially planned three volumes with stories about Aurora, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, and Cinderella. The series immediately got the shaft after the first volume, "Follow Your Dreams" was released, causing other stories that had already released teasers of clips and songs to never reach completion. Why was it such a massive failure? There are a number of factors that play into this.

I don't consider Enchanted Tales to be a series of sequels because it was not marketed as part two of anything, but I also don't exactly consider it an animated series either because it wasn't on TV and does not follow a continuing storyline. Instead, it is a bunch of random one-off specials meant to teach kids hea…

The Best Princess Albums You've Never Heard

We all have songs from our favorite princess movies on our playlists, but did you know that there are many obscure princess albums don't come from a movie or show? Princesses are known for their beautiful voices, so songs performed by them are calming and lovely. They have a style of music that's somewhere between classical, Broadway, and romance. Many princess performers have also released solo albums where they hand-pick their own songs, giving it a personal touch. Here are a few of my favorite princess albums that you've probably never heard.

"The Little Mermaid: Songs from the Sea" was released in 1992 and is available in physical and digital form on Amazon. It contains original songs performed by the actors from the 1989 movie. Jodi Benson dominates the CD, as expected, with her iconic mermaid voice, but there also new songs from Sebastian, Scuttle, and Ariel's sisters that allow you to get to know those characters a little better. If you listen to the tr…

Princesses and Puppets

The Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade, one of the best princess events in existence, was inspired by the 1986 Jim Henson movie, Labyrinth. Though the protagonist Sarah is not a princess, the most iconic scene is when David Bowie's character brings her to a royal masquerade ball where her dress is transformed into a magnificent ballgown. Throughout the movie, Sarah interacts with puppet characters on her quest to recover her baby brother from the Goblin King's labyrinth. Jim Henson has always shown muppets interacting with humans, but it is not too common to see them in princess stories and even less common for princesses to be portrayed as puppets.

Jim Henson made a handful of fairy tale muppet specials with mixed results. The best by far is Tales from Muppetland: The Frog Prince from 1971 based on the classic fairy tale with a few fun twists. Melora is a beautiful human princess who is cursed to have her words twisted so her father can't understand her when speaks. The muppe…

Animated Russian Fairy Tales

Yesterday, a friend of mine shared an image she saw on Claire Keane's Twitter that sparked her interest. If you're out of the loop, Claire Keane is the daughter of the legendary Disney Princess animator Glen Keane who did concept art for the Tangled movie and series. She tweeted a drawing from a short Russian movie that was released in 1952 called The Scarlet Flower. The movie is a Russian adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast." After watching this lovely work of art on YouTube, I found a link to another animated Russian fairy tale from 1968 called Rusalochka, which is the story of "The Little Mermaid." The artwork in Rusalochka completely blew me away. Every frame looks like something that you would find hanging on the walls of a fine art museum. It was refreshing to see such a unique perspective on my favorite fairy tale.

Both of these movies have a classic and otherworldly feel to them. The Scarlet Flower tells Charles Perrault's version of "Beaut…

"The Grande Mermaid" Is Finally Here!

I have mentioned in other posts how impressed I am by the quality of PattyCake Productions Unexpected Musicals series in which they recreate classic movies and replace the soundtrack with that of a specific pop singer. In the past, I have particularly enjoyed their videos for "Cinderswift" and "Michaeleficent." However, I could not have possibly been more excited than I was when I learned that they were working on a video for my favorite movie and fairy tale of all time, "The Little Mermaid." The production was delayed for a few months due to Hurricane Irma, which hit the coast of Florida last September, but little by little, the filmmakers soldiered on. For the first time that I've ever seen from PattyCake Productions, they even released a trailer, building more excitement for this short than any of the ones in the past. Now, "The Grande Mermaid," set to the songs of Nickelodeon actress and pop singer Ariana Grande, is here at at last and h…

Story Saturday: "The Princess Vlog"

"The Princess Vlog" Once upon a time, there was a lovely princess named Lisa who created a blog to keep her court informed about all of the latest princess news in the world. She had a small but loyal following. Lisa was happy with her court but always wished that there could be a way for her kingdom to grow bigger. One day, she went to visit her prince's kingdom, where her father-in-law, the king, encouraged her to start a YouTube channel to spread her message of love and kindness to the rest of the world. So, the princess used a magic wand that had been presented to her at her royal wedding to transform herself into a cartoon character. With the help of a little pixie dust, she created a video of her very first blog post.

Though she received a much smaller reception on her video than she had hoped, Lisa did receive some helpful scrolls from her royal family members overseas. She knew she couldn't do everything herself, so she asked her husband, Prince Derrick, for…


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