Obscure Princesses




Jewel Riders Is the Best Princess Show You've Never Seen

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Long before Sofia the First received her magical amulet, there was Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders (also known as Starla and the Jewel Riders). Featuring three girls wielding enchanted jewels powered by friendship, this 1995 series produced by Robert Mandell was a staple of my childhood. To this day, it features everything I love in an animated series--a diverse cast of characters, magic, transformations, flying unicorns, beautiful music, a gorgeous pastel color palette, and a rich world with a well-paced story.


In many ways, Jewel Riders was ahead of its time. Instead of focusing on an ordinary girl from the real world who was granted mysterious powers, Princess Gwenevere resides in a completely re-imagined version of Avalon where magic is commonplace and is well aware of her magical destiny. She has been preparing for it her entire life. In this detailed world, young people are chosen by Merlin to wield magical jewels to solve problems with unstable magic outbreaks, commonl…

Why Be a Princess if You Can Be a Lady-in-Waiting?

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Let's say a princess asked you to be her best friend. Would you jump at the chance? That was precisely the role that a lady-in-waiting was hired to fill. You would have to be of noble birth, of course, but let's imagine that luck was in your favor. Considering how many stories, films, and shows are about princesses, it's surprising how few of them acknowledge their esteemed companions. If a princess is a superhero, her lady-in-waiting would be her sidekick. Is being a sidekick so bad? You would still get to be part of the all action at court. Only in recent years has the lady-in-waiting role made a comeback in the media.

There are many benefits of being a lady-in-waiting. Though it was an unpaid position, ladies got free room and board in the castle and beautiful gowns to match their status. Let's face it. Those are two of the best perks of being a princess. The position comes with esteem and honor for yourself and your family, and you get a royal best friend who confi…

The Princess and the Pea Is the Best Movie You've Never Seen

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When you think of non-Disney classic animated princess movies, what comes to mind? Anastasia, Thumbelina, and The Swan Princess, right? All three of those have one thing in common with the Disney classics, which is that they were all in theaters at some point. Not all movies get that lucky. For Mark Swan, who painstakingly directed The Princess and the Pea under Feature Films for Families and his own studio, Swan Productions, distribution was no small feat.


It's surprising to know that this movie was an independent production because the animation is top notch. It looks like a lot of it was probably rotoscoped because the movement is so fluid. The characters never go off-model, and there are some gorgeously detailed background paintings throughout the course of the film. Composer Alan Williams wrote some terrific new princess songs for it, including "Kingdom of Heart" and "Out in the Wide Open World." It's a shame these will never show up on a princess kara…

Barbie Is a Part-Time Princess

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Did you know that Barbie has starred in almost 40 movies? Yesterday, I talked a little about remakes. Barbie has told so many different stories in so many different personas that some of them overlap. Instead of retelling the same stories, though, the writers have tried be as original as possible each time, even with up to three movies coming out every year since 2001. These movies are made up of all the things girls love--princesses, mermaids, fairies, magic, horses, etc. Barbie has portrayed the role of a princess over a dozen times! She plays a very active part in each story, so even if the CGI isn't perfect, parents can rest assured that it's a great influence on their young girls.


I've mentioned a couple of Barbie's movies in my "Swan Lake" and "Rapunzel" posts. It really is impressive how much original princess content Rainmaker Studio has come out with over the past decade and a half. Of the 37 current Barbie movies, Barbie has been a princes…

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Is the Best Spin-Off You've Never Seen

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We all know about my many issues with ABC's 2010 Once Upon a Time series, namely that it has been going on for far too long. In 2013, a spin-off series was released, entitled Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. This one-off series was half the length of a single season of Once Upon a Time and was superior in every way possible. It followed the adventures of a grown-up Alice who fell in love with a handsome young genie from Agrabah. This series is the reason I was so upset that the latest season of Once Upon a Time recast a new mischievous and morally questionable Alice. The Alice I grew to love from the spin-off was everything I could possibly want from a modern-day warrior princess with a penchant for daydreaming. Wonderland is a powerful adventure that is full of passion, romance, and fantasy. I was pleased to find that the series is still available to watch in full on its official website.


Upon watching the pilot again, I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the story was reveal…

Dyesebel Is the Best Mermaid Princess Show You've Never Seen

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In 2008, the Philippines released a mermaid princess telenovela that was based on a popular graphic novel by Mars Ravelo in 1952. Dyesebel is loosely based on the story of "The Little Mermaid" with a few distinct differences. It was Dyesebel's mother, Queen Lucia, who first fell in love with a human and left the underwater world of Sirenea to be with him, sacrificing her memories of her life as a mermaid in the process. Dyesebel was born on land, but because of her tail, her mother returned her to the sea, entrusting her to her best friend, Banak, to raise her. Her human father, Tino, was murdered by humans who believed that mermaids were bad luck. Unaware of the circumstances of her birth, Dyesebel grew up curious about the human world until one day, she fell in love with a human and was doomed to follow in her mother's footsteps. The 2008 adaptation of Dyesebel is performed in the native Filipino language Tagalog, but I was about to watch it with English subtitles …

Princesses in Tír Na nÓg

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Tír Na nÓg is a land of eternal youth that originates from Celtic mythology. It is often associated with faeries because they are also common in Celtic myths. The most common story of Tír Na nÓg is about a beautiful woman named Niamh who fell in love with Oisín, the son of the leader of the Fianna clan on Earth. She took him back to her homeland of Tír Na nÓg where no one ever aged. They lived happily together there for three years. One day, he decided that he missed his family and wanted to visit them. Niamh sent him back to Earth on her enchanted white horse, but warned him never to touch the ground. Upon returning home, Oisín realized that 300 years had passed on Earth during the short time he spent in Tír Na nÓg, and everyone he loved was dead. When he inevitably touched the ground by accident, the 300 years caught up with his body, and he died of old age. This myth has rarely been touched upon by modern media, but the land of Tír Na nÓg occasionally does appear in fantasy stories…

Most People Won't Recognize These Princesses

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Previously, I've discussed why most people wouldn't recognize Daria from The Princess and the Pea because it was produced by a small independent studio in 2002. However, there are other animated princesses from movies produced by more well-known studios that simply did not make a big enough impact for people to remember or care about. They are the rejected princesses, the forgotten princesses, the princesses who would never graduate to become a Disney Princess. This is no small feat considering that not even all of the Disney Princesses are actually princesses. Our first example was released under Disney's obsolete Miramax studio name that they used for their B movies that they did not expect to succeed in the box office.


The Thief and the Cobbler has a complex history. It was the love child of animator Richard Williams who worked on Who Framed Roger Rabbit for Disney in 1988. He wanted to produce The Thief and the Cobbler on his own with no studio involvement in order to s…

One Hundred Princesses for My 100th Post

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Today is a major accomplishment for me. I started this blog 100 days ago, and I've managed to write a new post in it every day since then. Some of the topics were easier to come up with than others. I also had to go back and edit some after the fact due to poor proofreading. Speaking of which, I'm really sorry about the disastrous short story from my first Story Saturday post. The whole thing was written on my phone on the way to a Mermaid Art Show event in San Diego, so I was a little distracted. I promise to put more effort into future Story Saturdays, which should be easier now that I will no longer be writing new posts every day. Don't worry, though. I will still keep everyone informed of the latest princess news and review all the new princess movies and specials. Without further ado, in celebration of my 100th post, here is a list of 100 princesses with all of the posts I've made about them (in no particular order). Thank you so much for reading my blog. 1-11: T…

Animated Russian Fairy Tales

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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…

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