How Sofia's Controversy Created Elena of Avalor

With the Realm of the Jaquins special coming up this weekend, now is a good time to discuss the origins of Elena of Avalor. It started last year as a spin-off of Sofa the First, and thus far, it's proven to be little more than a mere shadow of its predecessor. Elena's premiere was celebrated with an elaborate coronation ceremony at the Disney theme parks, viewing parties, and shout-outs all over the media. Sofia got none of these things. Why? You may not like my answer. Nearly all of the attention focuses on Elena's heritage as a Latina princess, not the quality of the show or the character. I am in no way denying the importance of diversity and representation in the media, but let's take a quick look at how Elena of Avalor came to be.

In 2012, Sofia the First premiered with a special entitled Once Upon a Princess. It went on to become a regular television series airing on Disney Junior in 2013. Princess fans watched the series with great anticipation, and they were n…

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

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…

Review: Elena of Avalor - Realm of the Jaquins

As I mentioned in my last post about Elena of Avalor, today was the premiere of With the Realm of the Jaquins. In this hour long TV special, Elena travels to Vallestrella, home of the legendary jaquins, the mythical winged jaguars that are the national animals of Avalor. Anyone who has seen Elena of Avalor is already familiar with the jaquins. Elena was always good friends with Skylar, who often let her ride him just like Sofia the First flies round on Minimus. This special revolved around the training of the three youngest jaquins--Nico, Ciela, and Avion--to be guardians. When Nico was unfairly stripped of the chance to pass his test due to the meddling of the villainous Victor Delgado, Elena sought out the jaquin king, Verago, in Vallestrella to convince him to give Nico a second chance.

In some ways, this episode is more of the same, as Elena once again represented Avalor as an ambassador to an royal ally and practiced her lackluster diplomacy skills. However, there were also things that st…

Review: Mysticons - "Sisters in Arms"

Warrior princess fans, rejoice! There's a new team of action girls out today, and they're called the Mysticons. Never heard of them? That's not too surprising. They had a pretty small promotional campaign that I only found about by chance through a post on an animation blog I follow. Now that we're all on the same page, I have some exciting news. To kick off the series, this magical girl power team is going to have a new episode every night this week on Nickelodeon! Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.

As you can see from the promo art, Mysticons is an animated series about four female warriors with magical abilities. In the first episode, they learn that they were chosen as the fabled warriors when all four of them touch the ancient Dragon Disk at the same time. While they do get a brief transformation sequence that is more akin to Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders than a magical girl anime, the Mysticons' abilities are more action-based tha…

Magical Girl Princesses

It's the premiere week of Mysticons, so let's talk about magical girls and their impact on princess mythology. The magical girl craze began in Japan as a genre of anime called "mahou shoujo." No one knows exactly how it started, but it is believed that the first magical girl appeared in 1966 as Sally the Witch. Though individual stories vary, all the series in the mahou shoujo genre contain grade school-aged girls who receive sparkly trinkets that allow them to transform into pretty superheroes. They fight bad guys by screaming magical words and releasing different types of spells, usually in a pretty sequence of recycled animation. The concept seems rather silly from an outside perspective, but it definitely sells. Not all magical girls are princesses, but it is a common overlying theme, most likely because the genre was created for the same target audience.

The most princessy magical girl anime would probably have to be Go! Princess Pretty Cure (pictured above), wh…

Sorry, No New Tangled Episodes This Month

This year, we've been gifted with not one, but two new animated princess series. There's Mysticons, which began this week, and Tangled: The Series, which started in March, based off Disney's 2010 movie of the same name. This is far from the first time Disney has made an animated series from one of their movies. In 1992, they made a fantastic Little Mermaid series and followed it up with an Aladdin series, a Hercules series, a Tarzan series, and more. With most of these averaging at around two seasons each, there's no way of knowing if Tangled will outlast its predecessors at this point. As Disney Channel is prone to do, the series is currently on an unannounced hiatus that will last at least a month, making this a good time to look back at what's happened in it so far.

The Tangled series takes place after the events of the movie Tangled, but before the "Tangled Ever After" short, which showed us Eugene and Rapunzel's wedding. This timeline confused a …

The Voice of a Princess

One trait that is synonymous among nearly every animated princess is her beautiful voice. I have wanted to do a tribute to some of my favorite princess actresses every since I started this blog. Princesses have inspired me to sing loud and proud throughout the course my life and have also gotten me through some difficult times. Their sweet and powerful voices were full of emotion and helped me relate to them and feel more deeply than I would have ever thought possible. These are some of my favorite rock star voice artists who have each voiced multiple princesses and have had the biggest impact on what a modern princess should sound like.

Leading the pack is the legendary Tara Strong who has voiced an insanely large library of iconic characters, including not one, not two, not three, but four princesses. Currently, she is most famous for her work as Twilight Sparkle, who became a princess in the third season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. I'm looking forward to hearing her…

Sofia and the Return of Princess Ivy

A magical Sofia the First special called The Curse of Princess Ivy came out in 2014. It had everything--dragons, drama, fun a wicked princess, and a guest appearance by Rapunzel. Of course, that was back when Sofia's amulet was still purple and summoned Disney Princesses to help her when she was in trouble (with the exception of Pocahontas). Now that Sofia has reached the next level of being a wise and benevolent princess, her pink amulet sends her to help troubled princesses. The last episode of the show used this ability to reacquaint Sofia with the vengeful Princess Ivy and teach us that there is more to people than what they appear to be.

From a design standpoint, Princess Ivy is very unique. Her hair is reminiscent of Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians with its split black and white aesthetic, but her face looks like that of a pretty youthful princess. She has a long dress with frills and ribbons like most classic princesses. However, the lack of bright colors that are iconic…

Review: Winx Club Revisited

I wrote a little about Winx Club, the 2004 Italian cartoon, in my "Faery Princesses" and "Magical Girls" posts, but I had only seen the first two seasons at the time. Not only that, but I saw the second season over a decade after watching the first. As it turns out, the show has aired seven seasons over the past 13 years, so maybe I wasn't being fair to write about it after having seen so little. I decided to binge everything I had missed to find out. When I started to navigate how to go about watching the later seasons, I discovered that the show was a bit of a mess. There are three different English dubs, and it switched networks several times, with years between some of the seasons. It's no wonder I lost track of it. Was it worth making up for all that lost time? Here's what I discovered.

Shows that run for longer than five seasons tend to come up with some absurd ideas toward the end to keep things going. Just look at the ridiculous concepts Once Up…

Princess Sisters

The fall of the Disney Prince left a gaping hole in many princesses' hearts that could only be filled by a different type of love. Instead of focusing on ladies-in-waiting and stories about friendship like in the Barbie movies, Disney decided to start giving their princesses siblings. Until recently, most of them were only children, and very few of them had two parents. I've written a little about Ariel's sisters in the past, but they come off as a separate entity from Ariel with the exception of a few episodes of the series. Modern princess sisters spend just as much time together as they do apart and compliment each other's differences, teaching children how to get along with people who don't share the same perspectives as them. The first Disney characters to achieve this were not Anna and Elsa, but Sofia and Amber from Sofia the First.

Once Upon a Princess, Sofia's 2012 premiere movie, was all about her rocky relationship with her new stepsister, Amber. Befor…

The Queen and King of Avalor

Today is the season 2 premiere of Disney Junior's Elena of Avalor, even though the last new episode was only two weeks ago. As is typical of Disney, the seasons have no set schedule with hiatuses that often take place in the middle of seasons instead of separating them. The new episode, "Jewel of Maru," is a worthy season premiere. It takes place on Dia de los Muertos, the Spanish celebration of the dead. This day is particularly significant to Elena because she learned in the first season that she has the mysterious ability to see ghosts on this day every year. It is also significant to Disney because of their upcoming movie, Coco, which centers on Dia de los Muertos. In the first season of Elena, the king and queen of Avalor had yet to make an appearance due to their untimely demise. Today's episode offered us our first flashback sequence and ghost appearance of them.

In "Jewel of Maru," Elena sings a song about wanting to make her parents proud as a rule…

Princesses in Tír Na nÓg

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…

How the Digital Age Revived The Little Mermaid Series

In 1992, Disney released a brilliant animated series based on their beloved The Little Mermaid movie. The series took place about a year before the movie and expanded on the geography and lifestyles of the merfolk in the underwater kingdom of Atlantica. It had memorable songs, decent animation, and clever stories. Ariel was as open-minded and loving as ever, helping all sorts of outcasts in her kingdom who thought that they would never find friendship or love. The Little Mermaid animated series is one of the best mermaid princess shows I have ever seen, matched only by Dyesebel. It's not surprising that older fans of the show often wondered what happened to it until recently. Unlike the movie, the series never received a proper DVD release. Only specific episodes of it could be found on Disney Princess VHS or DVD sets, usually alongside an episode of the Aladdin series that featured Princess Jasmine. Though The Little Mermaid series had a brief syndicated run on ToonDisney, it dis…

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…

My Little Pony Season Finale Introduces New Mythology

The seventh season finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is everything that the movie should have been. Like in the movie, Twilight Sparkle must come to terms with a mistake she made, but this time, it was one that makes perfect sense for her character. After obsessively studying the journal of her idol, Starswirl the Bearded, Twilight finds a way to bring him back from Limbo along with five other legendary ponies who had mysteriously disappeared with him a thousand years ago. In her neurotically endearing eagerness to try a new spell, Twilight wastes no time in bringing back all six legendary ponies without considering the consequences. Instead of the of the happy interaction she was hoping for, Starswirl has a very low opinion of Twilight upon learning that she inadvertently brought back the dangerous Pony of Shadows who he had banished a thousand years earlier along with himself and his friends.

"Shadow Play," the two-part season finale, is a cautionary tale about…

Why Didn't Sofia Meet Pocahontas?

Sofia the First, everyone's favorite princess-in-training, has met every official Disney Princess that existed when her show began with the sole exception of Pocahontas. The power of her purple amulet granted her the ability to summon famous princesses whenever she was in trouble. Technically, she never met Anna either, but the episode "Olaf and the Tale of Miss Nettle" implied that she was supposed to meet her but got Olaf instead because her amulet was on the fritz. About a year ago, her amulet turned pink and granted her new powers. It now sends her to help princesses, meaning that the chances of her meeting Pocahontas at this point are virtually nonexistent. Why did they acknowledge every other princess movie except this one? Actually, they did acknowledge the 1995 animated classic in an episode of Sofia, but it was very subtle.

In the 2015 episode of Sofia the First, "The Secret Library," Sofia discovers a hidden passageway beneath her castle where a boat …

Sofia's New Quest

Tonight's episode of Sofia the First reveals that she is in her final semester at Royal Prep, the magical princess school run by the Three Good Fairies from Sleeping Beauty. This is surprising because even though the show has been around for five years, Sofia shows no sign of aging. At the same time, she's constantly evolving. Her new pink amulet transformed her from the one who needed advice from other princesses into the advice giver. Her new job as a protector of the Mystic Isles also lays a huge responsibility upon her shoulders. The two-part special that kicked off this storyline introduced a recurring villain named Prisma who tricked Sofia into thinking she was her friend. Once the truth was revealed, Sofia and Amber worked together to capture Prisma at which point she was locked in a dungeon by the other protectors of the Mystic Isles.

In last week's episode, "The Mystic Isles: The Falcon's Eye," Prisma escapes from the dungeon using a door-making devi…

Arkayna's Sacrifice

Last week's episode of Mysticons called "All Hail Necrafa" was a low blow for Princess Arkayna, the dragon mage leader of the Mysticons. The series has had an ongoing trend of episodes that end badly or unresolved, which is unusual for a princess show. This episode, in particular, ended on a huge cliffhanger with the most powerful villain in the show's universe freed from her dimensional prison. Queen Necrafa is a perfect example of how all queens seem to be evil in stories that center around princesses. There is a good queen in the show, but as is also common in princess tales, Arkayna loses her parents in the first episode and is forced to fend for herself. All is not lost, however, as they were not dead, but merely placed under a spell that turned them to stone. Arkayna wishes to use the Codex to free them from this rocky prison, but the astromancers, who are supposed to be magical allies to the Mysticons, do not want her to risk using it before destroying the mag…

Power Princess Leaders

Princesses can't be damsels in distress all the time. One day, they will need to rule an entire kingdom. Though many princesses start out sheltered and powerless dreaming of freedom, some of our favorite animated princesses start out early and learn how to lead their companions in the fight against evil. Though these stories do give princesses more freedom than they would probably realistically have, they also open up the range of female-targeted entertainment to different types of girls. Magical Girl groups usually have a princess leading them, but it's becoming more common among Disney Princesses as well. This is a tribute to all the princesses who can wear pretty dresses and still be strong and powerful leaders at the same time.

For me, Princess Gwenevere from Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders was the first one to show me that a princess can be a great leader. Even though she loves dressing up and flirting, she aggressively refuses to wait around for a man to come fin…

One Hundred Princesses for My 100th Post

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…

Review: Tangled - Queen for a Day

Right on the heels of Once Upon a Time's Rapunzel fail, Disney's Tangled: The Series released a new animated Rapunzel special called Queen for a Day. I will admit that I had higher hopes for this than Once Upon a Time due to the stronger quality of writing the show has in comparison. Unfortunately, the special turned out to be mostly exposition for an established character from the show to turn evil in future episodes. It wasn't terrible, but it lacked direction. Queen for a Day spends too much time focusing on Rapunzel when it was really meant to provide the backstory for the other character, which makes the pacing feel erratic throughout most of the 45 minutes. There are spoilers below the image, so if you plan to watch the special, please do so before reading on.

The title Queen for a Day really drives home the fact that the special is supposed to be Rapunzel's story, and it is. Unfortunately, her story feels more like the "B" plot that the writers are try…

The Inconsistent Aladdin Series

In 1994, Disney created an animated series of their 1992 masterpiece, Aladdin. The movie was an incredible work of art which recently joined the ever-expanding list of princess anniversaries in November to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Unfortunately, the television series fell rather flat in comparison to the film. Though it lasted a grueling 85 episodes, most of it has been forgotten by the general public with the exception of a small handful released alongside episodes of The Little Mermaid series on VHS featuring Princess Jasmine. I recently took the liberty of watching all 85 episodes to see if the show could withstand the test of time. My findings were not promising.

The Aladdin series was introduced with The Return of Jafar, Disney's first sequel, and one of the worst. It's no wonder, then, that the series sports the same cheap animation, flimsy storylines, and lack of character growth as its intro movie.Though it occasionally gave the characters new outfits (as pictur…

Holiday Princess Specials

December is here, which means there's no fighting the holiday spirit. Lights are twinkling, Christmas songs are invading all the radio stations, and princesses are spreading their holiday cheer. Holiday specials that feature our favorite princesses usually come in the form of cheaply produced sequels , but there are other forms of media as well. For instance, there was a Disney Princess  DVD called "A Christmas of Enchantment" released in 2005 that contained mash-ups of clips and shorts from various Disney productions, but it quickly fell in the same direction as the Disney Princess Enchanted Tales series . There was also a Disney Princess Christmas Album released in 2009 with new holiday songs performed in many of the original  voices of the Disney Princesses  in which they harmonize beautifully about their excitement for the holiday season along. The album contains a few covers of classic Christmas songs as well. The newest holiday princess special is the 21-minute

Your Favorite Princess Cartoons Are Making a Comeback

It seems like everywhere you turn, a series from our childhood is getting revived. From Fuller House to Raven's Home, all of our favorite characters have grown up and gotten smartphones. There was even a new Hey Arnold! movie recently. What does that mean for princesses? A ton of live-action remakes, for one thing. That doesn't mean that animation is completely dead, though. Lately, there have been several announcements about our favorite childhood princess cartoons getting revived with new artwork and new stories. This is good news for traditional artists because it means that CGI still hasn't completely taken over the world of animation. It also means we have an opportunity to relive the things that made us happy as children without the awkward feeling of being outdated.

The most recent announcement is about everyone's favorite animated warrior princess from the '80s, She-Ra: Princess of Power. This reboot of He-Man that started as a good idea, but was poorly exe…

Review: Tangled - Secret of the Sun Drop

Yesterday was the long-awaited season finale of Tangled with a two-part episode called Secret of the Sun Drop. After 22 episodes, the season has finally come to a close. The hour-long special was a terrific payoff for a fairly inconsistent season. It was everything the previous Queen for a Day special was building up to. At last, learn the truth behind those mysterious rocks from the first episode and the connection they have to Rapunzel's magical hair. Varian's story, which has been foreshadowed since the previous special, also comes to fruition here, though I hope that this isn't the last we see of him. The season finale boasts two fantastic new songs, one of which I would love to see become the new theme song, as the current one could use some improvement. It also builds the groundwork for the second season, showing us that Rapunzel's story is far from over. Secret of the Sun Drop takes place on Rapunzel's 19th birthday, marking a full year since her escape from … re

There's a New Princess in Mysticons

The action-packed girl-power Nickelodeon cartoon, Mysticons, just had a plot-shattering reveal in their latest episode. Before you begin reading, please be aware that this thread contains major spoilers for the episodes "Three Mysticons and a Baby" and "Star-Crossed Sisters." If you don't want the episodes spoiled, feel free to watch them on Nickelodeon's website and come back after you've finished. I was surprised to learn that the series did not have much of a break between seasons one and two. Instead, they decided to kick off the second season in a big way. Are you ready for it? It turns out that Princess Arkayna is not the only daughter of Queen Goodfey. Years before the show began, Nova Terron, the authoritarian leader of the astromancers, separated Arkayna from her (fraternal) twin sister at birth in order to prevent a dangerous prophecy from coming true.

Who is the new princess who spent her life in isolation without knowing her family? It's…

Mysticons Played Its Fans Like a Violin

When writing about shows that haven't ended yet, there is always a risk of analyzing something that may no longer be valid a few weeks later. This has happened to me twice with Once Upon a Time when I pointed out that Tiana did not appear to be a princess by birth in the series, which turned out to be false a couple of weeks later and later that their Rapunzel storyline wasn't actually about Rapunzel, whose storyline turned out to be covered the following week. Despite these minor incidents, though, I have never felt quite as duped by a TV show as I did with last week's episode of Mysticons entitled "Twin Stars Unite." You may recall my post about the new princess in Mysticons, in which Proxima, who had mainly been a background character up to that point, was revealed as Princess Arkayna's long-lost twin sister. The writers proceeded in having us believe this lie for an unprecedented five episodes, which translates to over a month in viewing time, before reve…

Elena's New Quest

Over the past five years, Sofia the First has shifted gears from meeting past Disney Princesses, granting happy endings to unfinished stories, becoming a protector of the whimsical Mystic Isles, and stopping the efforts of an evil sorceress from obtaining collecting magic trinkets of former Disney villains. The series has done a fantastic job of staying interesting by constantly changing the direction of the story before it gets too tedious. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for its spin-off, Elena of Avalor. The big twist in last week's episode, "Rise of the Sorceress," is that the series is regressing back to its roots by returning to the conflict that was introduced in Sofia and the Secret of Avalor, the special that revealed her backstory. Shuriki, a sorceress who trapped the teen princess inside an enchanted amulet for forty years, has predictably returned in a twist that has been a long time coming.

While Sofia's biggest fault is a lack of confidence in h…

Sofia the First Mimics Progressive Real-Life Princess Law

This is a big week for Disney Junior's princess in training, Sofia the First. After an indefinite hiatus, the show is back with a new episode every single day this week. There are going to be some pretty big ones including the introduction of a disabled princess and a return to Merroway Cove, where Sofia's mermaid princess friends live. Today's episode, "A Royal Wedding," was no exception. The episode was set during the wedding of Sofia's Aunt Tilly to Sir Bartleby, both of whom were introduced last season. Tilly is a fun Mary Poppins-like character who is the older sister to King Roland. She revealed in an earlier episode that she had inherited Sofia's magical Amulet of Avalor before it was passed down her. Sir Bartleby struggled to confess his feelings to Tilly because he was afraid she would be put off by his odd high-pitched voice, but she accepted him the way he was as soon as she learned the truth. However, none of that was addressed in their weddin…

Zarya in a Tiara Is Basically the Best Thing Ever

The latest Mysticons episode, "Game of Phones," began with Princess Arkayna calling up her newly-discovered twin sister Zarya and asking for her tiara size. "I don't do tiaras," Zarya scoffed in response. Of course, in perfect comedic timing, the next shot was of a very unhappy Zarya sitting on a griffon with a small yet hilariously out of place golden tiara fastened to her short purple hair. This scene was very funny because it portrayed a symbol of femininity on a character who openly dislikes all things girly. It also goes to show how far the princess trope itself has gone in modern times from being a symbol of feminity to being a symbol of strength. More and more princesses are now warrior archetypes, while damsels in distress have become all but obsolete.

Of course, Zarya, in particular, is a special case. Like Proxima, the red herring in the "twin sister" story arc, Zarya was raised without a family or an identity. However, she and Proxima handl…

Why Disenchantment Is Kind of a Big Deal

Over the weekend, there was a big announcement that the first season of Matt Groening's first new show in 20 years will be released on August 17th. Unless you've been living under a rock, you're familiar with Matt's other shows, Futurama, and The Simpsons, which has been running approximately since the dawn of mankind. The new series, which will release ten episodes for its first season on Netflix, is called Disenchantment (not to be confused with Disenchanted, the upcoming sequel to Disney's 2007 Enchanted). In a surprise move for Matt Groening, Disenchantment will be starring a princess! Bean, our new heroine, is described as a "hard-drinking princess who decided ruling a kingdom is boring and sets out on a series of misadventures with an elf named, err, Elfo and her very own demon, Luci." This is groundbreaking territory for princess culture in many ways.

Even though very little has been revealed about the show thus far aside from four promo images, Be…

Rapunzel's New Quest (and My 200th Post!)

Today is a big day for both Rapunzel and The Princess Blog! The second season of Tangled: The Series kicked off this morning in a big way with an exciting special called Beyond the Corona Walls. I am so stoked to be able to write about this amazing premiere for my 200th post. The Princess Blog has come a long way since my 100th post. Even though I stopped updating every day, I've still had at least one new topic to write about each week. I started a YouTube channel, weekly book reviews, and a relaunch of all the books I wrote. I'm very excited to bring you all the latest princess news and reviews for another hundred posts!

Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure follows the open ending of the previous special, The Secret of the Sun Drop in which Rapunzel learned that her magical hair shared a connection with the mysterious spiky rocks that had been popping up throughout the series and decided to follow the path they laid out for her to see where they would lead her. The new s…

Elena Is Back and Better Than Ever!

After another indefinite hiatus as Disney is prone to do, Elena of Avalor finally came back this weekend with a new episode called "The Race for the Realm." When we saw her last, Elena had recently learned that her nemesis Shuriki was still alive. She embarked on a quest to find the pieces of the Scepter of Night, the antithesis of her Scepter of Light, before it fell into the wrong hands. They recovered the first piece of the staff just before the hiatus began. This weekend's episode accelerated that storyline, improved Elena's character development, and explained some unanswered questions about her past. Suffice to say, I think that the series has really found its footing and shown great improvement since the first season.

"The Race for the Realm" has Elena donning her adventure clothes and teaming up with her friends to return to Vallestrella and solve the remaining two riddles to complete the Scepter of Night. Unfortunately for them, Shuriki, Victor, an…

New Release Date and Concept Art for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power!

Last December, we were all eagerly anticipating news about the upcoming reboot of She-Ra: Princess of Power under the slightly different title of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Today, that wish has finally been granted! The show's official Facebook page was just updated with a new interview from showrunner Noelle Stevenson as well as some concept art that gives us an idea of the look and feel that the new Netflix series will have. As if that wasn't enough excitement for one day, there's also a release date, which is something I knowI've been wondering about for a while. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is scheduled for broacast on Netflix on Friday, November 16th! Are you as excited as I am?

The new design for She-Ra appears to be more whimsical and loose than the original with more of a focus on movement lines than the stiff straight-edged style of the '80s. Her heroic stance and flowing hair, cape, and skirt imply that the series will be action-packed with…

Disenchantment Has a Trailer!

This has been a pretty good weekend for princess fans. Maleficent II officially began production, and I started a new playlist on my YouTube channel about princess TV shows. The biggest news, however, is that Matt Groening's upcoming Netflix series just dropped its first full-length trailer. I am so excited about Disenchantment, and the trailer did not disappoint. It looks like everything I was hoping it would be. Bean is incredibly easy to relate to. Even though she does turn many of the princess tropes on their head, she still inherently wants to be a good person, which is very important for princess parodies, which can easily lose their focus if they try to be too malicious. I'll let you check out the trailer below before delving into it further.

The first thing we see is Bean's wedding, but just like the opening wedding in ABC's 2015 comedy Galavant, things do not go as expected for our adventuresome heroine. When Bean is given the opportunity to say "I do&quot…

Review: Disenchantment - Season 1

Today is the day! The first season of Disenchantment is now on Netflix, and I'm here to tell you all about it. The trailer for the show contained lots of clips from the ten-episode season, which can be good or bad. It gave a pretty accurate portrayal of the tone, but it also revealed a lot of the jokes in advance. For that reason among others, the last two episodes of the season were the best because they were the only ones that had just barely been hinted at earlier on, including a most likely unintentional Mysticons reference. The rest of the episodes had their ups and downs. There were a few fractured fairy tale references, but most of the stories were original. The pacing was pretty good overall. Any violence was there purely for the sake of comedy, and it never got gratuitous. That said, I think I still prefer Futurama overall thanks to its colorful cast of characters and clever story ideas. Still, it was refreshing to see a Matt Groening show with a female lead, even if she …

Forever Royal: The Last Sofia the First

Back around 2012, a friend of mine sent me a press release about how Disney was making a new princess show about a little girl from a poor village who becomes a princess overnight when her mother marries the king. The endearing image of the little girl on the press release instantly caught my attention with her unique reddish-brown curls, playful expression, and gorgeous lavender dress that was dripping with pearl accents. Something about this description and image got me so excited for the series that I got to work right away on making a grown-up sized cosplay of Sofia's elegant gown. The series premiered on Disney Junior with a TV special called Once Upon a Princess in which Sofia received her legendary Amulet of Avalor and sang about her insecurities for her future life as a princess heroine in the song "Not Ready To Be a Princess." I loved her instantly. Over the next six years, she took me on a four season-long journey filled with Disney Princesses, fairies, mermaid…

Mysticons Concludes in the Age of Dragons

It's barely been over a year since I reviewed "Sisters in Arms," the series premiere of Mysticons, and we've already arrived at the show's short-lived finale. They've been dropping like flies lately, haven't they? Sofia the First just ended last week, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is on its final run next month along with several other popular shows. Many of my favorite television series in the past have only lasted for two seasons, but they usually take some time in between for the writers to figure out where the story will go next. That, unfortunately, was not the case for Mysticons. It jumped through two seasons containing a total of forty episodes with virtually no downtime in between, leading up to this weekend's series finale "The Age of Dragons." Before I start, I feel obliged to apologize that this review is coming out a bit later than I had hoped as Nickelodeon has always been very inconsistent when it comes to updating shows on their app

Review: Elena of Avalor - Song of the Sirenas

It's no secret I love mermaid princess stories. Mermaids have the ability to transport us to another world where everything is calm, serene, and the impossible becomes possible. When I heard that Elena of Avalor was doing a special called Song of the Sirenas, my mermaid heart lit up with joy. I was even more excited to learn that one of my favorite actresses, Gina Rodriguez of Jane the Virgin fame, was playing the new mermaid princess, Marisa! This was actually not the first time that Gina got her fins wet, as she donned a mermaid tail in the very first episode of Jane the Virgin. Elena's predecessor Sofia the First had a special about mermaids called The Floating Palace that featured mermaid princesses who made a few additional guest appearances in future episodes, but Song of the Sirenas was far from a rehash of The Floating Palace.

Elena of Avalor has really found its footing this season, and this latest special did not disappoint. From the beautiful pink architecture of El…

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Now Has a Full-Length Trailer!

The upcoming Netflix reboot, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, made a big appearance at New York Comic Con this week. Along with the previews offered to fans who attended the convention, the series also released several new stills, toys, and posters on their Facebook page as well as a brand new full-length trailer that reveals a lot more of the story and characters than the teaser we got a few weeks ago. We now have a comprehensive look at the animation, style, and design of the series. It has a very clean look to it with bold colors and round outlines with no sharp edges. We also got a brief look at She-Ra's flying unicorn, Swift Wind, who she rides gleefully over the forest. Netflix shows don't always get a lot of promotion, so I was very pleased to be able to get a glimpse at this many scenes from the series before its release on November 16th.

The trailer begins with clips of Adora hanging out with her best friend, Catra, before she learns that they are both on the wrong…

November Is Basically Princess Month Now

Last November, I posted about all of the festivities that took place for various princess movie anniversaries. Did you know that an overwhelming majority of Disney Princess movies were released in November of their corresponding year? That makes it a huge month for celebrating many of our favorite theatrical releases. Sometimes people ask why that is, and I think it's mainly about accessibility. Disney likes to release their biggest blockbusters right before holiday vacations so that parents and kids will be available to go out and see them, guaranteeing a successful run. You might be wondering why these movies don't open in December so they're closer to the bigger holidays, but most blockbusters stay in theaters for at least two months, which means that opening in November will bring in both the Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation crowds. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which came out last week, and even though it was somewhat disappointing, Disney's most anticipa…

Review: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power - Season 1

We are right in the middle of Princess Month with Netflix's release of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, an updated reimagining of the '80s classic, She-Ra: Princess of Power. The first season of the DreamWorks Animation series dropped yesterday with 13 magical action-packed episodes. The captivating story drew me in from the very beginning and never wavered once. Even though the cast was altered to be more diverse by giving the characters different shapes, colors, and sizes, the focus was never placed on their diversity and instead on their desires and stories, just as it should be. The daily character guides that the show's creators unveiled on social media before its release were a big help in keeping track of their names and attributes so that I could place all of my focus on the evolving the story.

Adora, the main character in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, is voiced by Aimee Carrero, who is already known for her role as Elena of Avalor. Even though I definitel…

Breathtakingly Tranquil Princess Environments

A common misconception among princess haters is that princesses and the people who admire them are selfish and greedy because they live in a castle and have enough money to get anything they want. True fans know that this isn't the case. Princesses from fantasy worlds are portrayed as kind and selfless and often want to escape the confines of their castle or tower. This desire for freedom often brings them to the most beautiful secluded environments of peace and serenity. Disney's 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty set the standards for this with its gorgeous anamorphic background paintings of rectangular trees and woodland creatures who feel right at home alongside the lovely Briar Rose, who embraces the tranquility of her little cottage in the woods. Since then, princesses have often been associated with flowers and nature as a reflection of their own natural beauty and innocence.

Recently, I discovered a Chinese drama on Netflix called Ashes of Love that brilliantly port…

Rapunzel Is Back!

At long last, today marked the return of Tangled: The Series or Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure or whatever they've decided to call it this month. This show has a history of taking long breaks with no rhyme or reason. It's a shame because it's such an engaging series that surpasses some of Disney's previous movie spin-off shows by miles. The last episode to air until now was "Happiness Is..." which was over six months ago! Today's episode, "Peril on the High Seas" finally saw the main cast escape from the weird island they were trapped with the silly talking German leaves. After leaving its audience stranded at sea for so many months, Disney has finally thrown Rapunzel a bone. Instead of just one episode a week, most Sundays in March will boast two new episodes of the show, allowing us to quickly catch up with the rest of the second season. I assume this is due to their production schedule being so far ahead of the episodes that have actually a…

Has Rapunzel Gone Goth?

It would be impossible for me to write this post without spoiling the latest episode, so go ahead and watch Rapunzel and the Great Tree if you haven't seen it yet before reading on. I was surprised that this hour-long episode was not promoted as a major special at all as far as I could tell. Rapunzel and the Great Tree was a crucial turning point in the plot and should have been treated as such. It brought back all of the things that we have been waiting since the season premiere to learn more about, such as the character of Adira, the significance of Varian's father, the meaning of the moon symbol next to the Sun Drop symbol on Adira's scroll, and the black rocks, which created the events that kicked off the series from the very beginning. Rapunzel and her friends are traveling to a place called the Dark Kingdom, which is where the mysterious rocks originate from. If that doesn't sound foreboding enough already, Disney also took some pretty big risks in the latest spe…

Season 2 of She-Ra Is Coming!

It feels like just yesterday that the new animated She-Ra reboot premiered on Netflix with its masterfully executed premiere season. Just a few months later, the show's Facebook page posted an announcement that the second season would drop on April 26th. That's less than a month away! The page had also been heavily promoting their presence at WonderCon this weekend. Last night, I finally found out why. As it turns out, the WonderCon panel for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power premiered the trailer for the second season! The trailer doesn't reveal a whole lot of the new season's story, but since it is reported to have a scant seven episodes, there might not be much that they could reveal in a minute and a half. Reports from the panel reveal that an additional five clips that were previewed there as well. Hopefully, these clips will also be released to the public as the second season grows closer.

The majority of the trailer's visuals consist of traditional cartoon …

Princess Twilight Takes Over for the Final Season of My Little Pony

The countdown to the final episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has begun. The premiere of the show's ninth season, entitled "The Beginning of the End," aired over the weekend with some pretty big revelations about what to expect for the finale. This is still far from the end of the My Little Pony franchise as the series has been rebooted many times since the '80s. It's just that this particular iteration of it that began in 2010 was by far the most popular and lasted the longest. It's hard to believe it's been going for almost a decade now. The series was incredibly intricate in building it's vast world of Equestria and wove tons of fun new mythology into the franchise. It also placed heavy focus on princesses and princess culture in general. The pony kingdom of Canterlot is run by Princess Celestia. Showrunner Lauren Faust wanted to her make a queen but got turned down by the studio when they claimed that girls see princesses as good and q…

Review: Tangled - Destinies Collide

The rest of the second season of the Tangled series flew by like a whirlwind over the past six weeks and concluded today with the season finale special, Destinies Collide. Due to the show's erratic air schedule, I was hoping the season wouldn't end on a cliffhanger, but it did. I would be really upset about this if it hadn't been for all the great stuff in the episode leading up to it. All of the big revelations and parallels to the Tangled feature made Destinies Collide a satisfying conclusion to the season. We know that everything will be fully wrapped up after the third and final season airs, whenever that may be, leading into the short "Tangled Ever After." There is a lot to unpack in this finale. It's hard for me to talk about it without spoilers, so I suggest that you go ahead and watch Destinies Collide before reading this if you haven't seen it yet. I'll wait.

To start, I really have to hand it to the writers of this show for incorporating so …

Review: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power - Season 2

Oh, She-Ra, She-Ra, She-Ra, why must you let me down? There were only seven episodes this season. For comparison's sake, that's actually shorter than the runtime of the new Avengers: Endgame movie. Noelle Stevenson could have taken advantage of that to turn the season into an extended movie with an ongoing story arc. Instead, it followed in the footsteps of its predecessor by releasing five irrelevant filler episodes and two character-driven backstory episodes before ending with a cliffhanger that was almost--but not quite--as frustrating as the ending of the Tangled finale. I should have predicted something like this from the mediocre trailer they released, but I was hoping they were just trying to keep the plot under wraps to avoid spoilers. It was particularly disappointing after the incredibly strong first season the show delivered only six months ago.

While the first season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power excelled at character growth, these episodes only showed the …

Gamora Is Officially NOT a Disney Princess

Well, the verdict is in. "Black Vortex, Part One" is out on Disney XD, and we finally have the full story of that clip where Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy gets trapped in a Disney Princess nightmare. The "Black Vortex" arc is likely inspired by the Netflix series Black Mirror. It portrays the famous Marvel guardians getting trapped in worlds that look familiar at first but have something that's a more malicious just below the surface. Unlike Black Mirror, these are worlds that remind us of different types of classic animated media instead of the world we live in. Each episode is split into two vignettes, so the princess storyline does not cover the entire 20 minutes. The second half of "Black Vortex, Part One" covers the Guardians of the Galaxy character Drax, who gets trapped in a motion comic that contains pokes fun at several other well-known superheroes including Spider-Man and Superman. The Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! cartoon…

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 impressio…

Saban Princesses

A few weeks ago, I received a comment on my YouTube channel to check out a '90s cartoon called Princess Sissi. I was never one to pass up the opportunity to discover a new princess show, so I did a quick YouTube search and commenced binging. The animation and acting were nothing to phone home about, though Sissi's American voice is notably dubbed by Terri Hawkes, who is known for playing the most famous Magical Girl princess of the '90s, Sailor Moon. I found that her voice was far more suited to a mature duchess than an immature middle school student. What stood out to me about Princess Sissi was the overarching theme of romance. While princess movies often focus on true love, princess cartoons rarely incorporate it into their episodic storylines. For that reason, I was reminded of Saban's Adventures of The Little Mermaid, another '90s cartoon about the trials and tribulations of a blonde princess struggling to be with the man she loves. I did a little research and…

She-Ra Returns Next Week!

It's only been three months since the disappointingly short second season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. The show is coming back to Netflix next Friday with what is touted as its third season. Hopefully, this won't just be the other half of season 2 because then it would only need six episodes in order to add up to a full 13-episode season. At this time, the number of episodes in the upcoming season remains unknown. However, there was a panel for it at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, where series creator Noelle Stevenson launched the new trailer. It's pretty similar to other She-Ra trailers we've already seen except for a few hints that we might learn more about Adora's backstory. You can watch the new trailer below.

The trailer begins with She-Ra asking the robotic hologram Light Hope about her past. It would be nice for this season to reveal her backstory as He-Man's twin that got kidnapped as a baby, but I wouldn't count on this show intro…

Review: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power - Season 3

I have some good news and some bad news about the third season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Remember how I said this would only be six episodes long if it got split from the first half of the second season? It turns out that it was. That's the bad news. The good news is that this season is everything that season 2 was not. There is no filler or cheap laughs. The season is an action-packed rush of story and character development, even if that means sacrificing screen time for many of the lesser princesses. Every episode is filled with raw emotion and suspense that had me on the edge of my seat until the very end. If you were disappointed with the last set of episodes, this one will restore your faith in the series tenfold.

The third season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power revolves around Hordak's latest scheme to open a portal that would let countless Horde soldiers into Etheria to commence their wicked takeover. However, things don't go quite as planned when…

These Two Princesses Are Coming Back With a Vengeance!

It's been a while since we've heard from Rapunzel or Bean, and their creators seemed to be perfectly happy leaving us hanging. The previous seasons of both Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure and Disenchantment ended on cliffhangers. Luckily, the story gods have finally heard our desperate pleas as both these shows are coming back from the dead with new episodes less than a month from now! The third and final season of Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure will premiere on October 7th, and Disenchantment will be back with what they are referring to as "Part 2" on September 20th. We've been theorizing and worrying for a long time about the fate of these two princesses, so it's a huge relief to know that it won't be much longer before we learn how they overcome their shocking betrayals.

When we last saw Rapunzel, she was feeling hurt and anguished by Cassandra's untimely betrayal. Just when Rapunzel was about to grab the Moonstone Opal and potentially liberate …

Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders 25th Anniversary Celebration

Three princess anniversary celebrations within roughly two weeks? Yes, please! Today marks the 25th anniversary of one of my favorite cartoons of all time, Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, and my friends over at the Jewel Riders Archive are celebrating in a big way. Instead of attending a panel or screening, I celebrated this princess anniversary with a Skype party in which I got together with the Jewel Riders Archive, the founding member of the original Avalon fansite, and a prominent fan artist from the early days of the fandom to record a podcast where we discussed our favorite memories of the show. It was a huge honor to be included in this elite group of fans. The world of Jewel Riders has been a major inspiration for many of the stories I have written in the past, leading up my most recent one, The Stolen Jewel. The Princess Blog recently celebrated its two year anniversary, and I owe some of its inspiration to the Jewel Riders Archive, which continues to inspire fans to…

Everything Princess So Far on Disney+

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you've probably heard about Disney's upcoming streaming service that plans to give Netflix a run for their money. I already signed up for a three-year subscription to Disney+ at the D23 Expo this year, but like most people, I will have to wait until November 12th before I can access it. That is not the case for the lucky residents of the Netherlands, who woke up this morning to a free trial of the service. They must have felt like they won the lottery as Dutch residents now have access to a vast library of Disney movies and shows spanning across generations. Word spread like wildfire about this, and many sources are already listing some of the content that is confirmed to be on the app now through the November 12th launch date. I made sure to gather as much information as I could about the princess-related content that was released in this trial. The biggest news is that the service has its very own "Princesses…

Elena Is Coming Back in a Big Way

Last week, I wrote about how Tangled: The Series would return to Disney Channel on October 7th with a new episode every weekday for two weeks. As it turns out, Rapunzel will not be alone in this endeavor. I'm not sure why it wasn't announced at the time, but we now have official confirmation that new episodes of the third and final season of Elena of Avalor will air alongside Tangled starting October 7th. This news accompanied other announcements about the final season of Elena, such as a list of upcoming guest stars that includes Auli'i Cravalho, the leading voice of Moana, who will also star as Ariel in the upcoming November 5th live special to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Little Mermaid. Is this girl living the princess dream or what?

Elena of Avalor began as a spin-off of Sofia the First and broke boundaries as the first Latina Disney Princess. She currently does regular meet'n'greets at Walt Disney World alongside Cinderella. The show had a rocky star…

Review: Disenchantment - Part 2

I had high hopes for the second season, or "part," of Disenchantment, even though I was mildly disappointed with the first set of episodes. Having a show about a princess who wants to be a good person but constantly makes bad decisions is pretty ground-breaking for a genre of characters who always do the right thing as second nature. Princess Bean follows in the footsteps of Fry and Homer Simpson from Matt Groening's other shows, but she stands out as his first female protagonist. After these new episodes of Disenchantment, I'm beginning to think he does a better job making his side characters interesting than his protagonists. All of his leads tend to be simple-minded drunkards whose sole purpose is to give the average viewer someone to relate to. I might be biased, but I think the most interesting character in The Simpsons is Lisa Simpson, not Homer, and the most interesting character in Futurama is Leela, not Fry. In the case of Disenchantment, I would give that a…

Review: Tangled - Rapunzel's Return

There are few season premieres as anticipated as the third season of Tangled. The season 2 finale, Destinies Collide, left fans with chills as Cassandra betrayed Rapunzel within the final seconds of the episode by snatching the Moonstone Opal right out of her hands. I avoided jumping too deep into the fan theory vortex since only one explanation for Cassandra's actions would ever truly be canon. That explanation came within the opening minutes of today's season premiere, Rapunzel's Return. It was a shocking twist of events, but not one that was completely unfounded. According to series creator Chris Sonnenburg, the final season of this series had been planned since the beginning, which is made clear by Cassandra's character design as well as some subtle foreshadowing in the second season. Let's just say Rapunzel and Cassandra have a lot more in common than they may have thought.

For me, the most disappointing thing about Rapunzel's Return was learning Cassandra…

Review: Elena of Avalor - The Magic Within

I watched today's Elena of Avalor special, The Magic Within, expecting a drawn-out about Elena getting new powers that cause her dress to change color with her emotions using them to win a temporary victory over her current foe, Ash Delgado. All of this happened within the first few minutes, and then I got something I did not expect--Elena coming to terms with her cousin Esteban's deception. Betrayal has been an ongoing theme in princess shows as of late. Last week's Tangled season premier, Rapunzel's Return saw Rapunzel dealing with the effects of Cassandra's betrayal. The new season of Disenchantment had Bean struggling with her conflicted feelings after learning that her mother was actually evil. Esteban's betrayal of Elena was a little different from these, however, because it happened long before the beginning of the series.

The third season of Elena of Avalor premiered last week and left me underwhelmed compared to the massive revelations in Tangled. Now …

Goodbye, Equestria

After nine seasons, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has finally ended. This show had a lengthy history and a tremendous impact on princess culture. It concluded with a flash forward of an adult Princess Twilight Sparkle taking on the role and physical attributes of her mentor, Princess Celestia. The finale taught us that it's still possible to keep in touch with our friends after we get older and go our separate ways, a message that resonates more with the adult fans of the series than it would for its target audience. That makes sense because someone who started watching the series as a child would be a teenager or an adult by the end of its nine-year run. However, Friendship Is Magic has always had a surprisingly large adult fanbase, which is different from earlier incarnations of The My Little Pony franchise that date back the '80s. What is about this version that attracted such a wide and diverse audience?

One reason that 2010 incarnation of My Little Pony stood out so…

Never Mess With a Princess

Betrayal has been a common theme among princess shows as of late, and I think that may be something worth exploring a little further. I incorporated an act of betrayal into my own story, The Stolen Jewel, even before it appeared in three of my favorite princess shows. The betrayal of a princess by someone she cares about is a big trend among Disney properties within the past five years or so. It began with the popularity of Frozen which had a novel twist for a Disney movie in which Anna's true love turned out to be using her for power and tried to kill both her and her sister. Once Frozen became the cultural phenomenon that it did, Disney decided to duplicate the formula with varying results. In my opinion, the most effective of these was Cassandra's betrayal of Rapunzel. The Tangled series gave us over two years to feel as close to Rapunzel's lady-in-waiting as she did, which made it sting that much more when she stabbed her in the back during the previous season's fi…

Review: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power - Season 4

Just when you think a show has nowhere left to go, it throws you a curveball. I was prepared to have lots of fun this week with The Little Mermaid Live! but not for the emotional roller coaster that the new season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power took me on. The DreamWorks reboot was right on trend with the latest theme of betrayal that has affected every cartoon starring a princess this year. I hate to pick favorites, but She-Ra outdid every other princess series so far on the betrayal scale. That's not to say that Adora's broken relationship with Glimmer was quite as heartbreaking as Rapunzel and Cassandra, but doubt and deceit prevailed everywhere throughout Etheria as new and old characters abounded with malicious intent. Unlike the disappointing second season, which was mostly filler, season 4 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was packed with so much plot and character-driven drama that I don't even know where to begin. The only way I can think of to describ…

Let's Welcome Disney's First Jewish Princess!

When I first learned that Elena of Avalor was going to do a Hanukkah episode, I was hoping for a two-part special like The Magic Within that would provide enough time for the first Jewish Disney Princess to assert her individual identity outside of being Jewish. However, just like the Maccabees, I will make the most of what I've been given. "Festival of Lights" came out today as a single episode that focused almost entirely on Jewish characters celebrating Hanukkah, and I do not want to downplay the historical significance of it in any way, shape, or form. I've seen many holiday princess specials, and this is the first one that Disney has released about characters who grew up with the same traditions as me. This is so important because it normalizes Judaism for today's audience of children by showing them that not all fairy tale princesses celebrate Christmas.

"Festival of Lights" had a similar story to most Christmas specials except that it was about H…

What's Coming in 2020

Last year was quite possibly the biggest year for princess media ever. I don't think anything from 2020 will compare to the sheer number of princess anniversary events, TV shows, books, and movies that 2019 bestowed upon us, but that doesn't mean we won't have anything to look forward to in the coming year. Two of our favoriteDisney Princess cartoons will be ending soon, leaving us with a tiara-shaped hole in our hearts. Fortunately, the advent of Disney+ allows for even more original content from the studio than feature films or Disney Channel specials, promising some low-key princess entertainment while the cinemas get overrun with live-action remakes. One such upcoming Disney+ original princess movie is Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.

Secret Society of Second-Born Royals stars the immensely talented Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who played the title role in Andi Mack, one of my favorite shows from the last decade. In this upcoming Disney+ original movie, she will take on t…

Review: Tangled - Cassandra's Revenge

Today marks the last multi-part special on Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure before the series finale on March 1st. I had high hopes that Cassandra's Revenge would resolve Cassandra's heartbreaking betrayal arc once and for all, but it looks like that is being saved for the finale. Though there were some revelations in this special about Rapunzel and Cassandra's powers, they weren't quite as big as I was hoping. The special brought back Varian for a gorgeous new Alan Menken duet with Cassandra. It also progressed the sinister plans of the mysterious blue girl, who is the true antagonist likely has some sort of connection to Zhan Tiri, the show's final boss. It was an enjoyable special in terms of art and music, but I felt let down by the fact that they are saving all the big resolutions for the finale. Cassandra is beginning to feel like a broken record, saying the same things over again until the plot allows her story to progress.

The special kicks off with a new R…

Rapunzel Reveals There Is More in You in the Tangled Finale

"I'm not one to walk away from a fight when my friends are in danger, no matter what the odds. Just something I picked up from Rapunzel."Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned is a theme that was heavily encoded into the storytelling DNA of Plus Est en Vous, the series finale of Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure. The show formerly known as Tangled: The Series reached its ultimate conclusion today, neatly tying up loose ends to make way for the "Tangled Ever After" short, where we see Rapunzel and Eugene tie the knot at last. All in all, Plus Est en Vous was a mediocre finale for such a strong series, but that was primarily due to how the third and final season was stretched out. In general, I find that shows tend to lose their traction after the second season, which is why many of my favorite shows, such as Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, ran for two seasons or less. Destinies Collide, the season two finale of Tangled, was the pinnacle of suspense and …

Princess Shows to Binge in Your Tower

If the recent pandemic has you begging Mother Gothel to tell you why you can't go outside, you're not alone. Sometimes watching your favorite 90-minute princess movie just isn't enough to pass away the hours and weeks you must spend locked in your tower. That's why I've compiled a list of some of the best princess shows that are available to watch right now on Netflix, Disney+, or online. Like my 100 princesses post, this list is in no particular order and is staggered between animation and live-action so you won't skip over a genre you're less interested in and take away your chance to discover something new. You've probably read about most of these shows on my blog already, so now is a great time to check them out in full if you didn't get have the time to earlier. I will also include links to my original reviews for shows that have them. Happy tower binging!
Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders
Where to watch: The Jewel Riders Archive channel …

The Spirit of She-Ra Lives On!

On September 9, 1985, She-Ra: Princess of Power premiered as a He-Man spin-off with a traditional good vs. evil plot about Adam's twin sister, Adora. At that time, female superheroes and strong women were not seen often on television. Over thirty years later, the tables turned. Now the warrior princess archetype is dominant, while damsels in distress are frowned upon and have become virtually nonexistent in modern media. That makes it the perfect time to reboot this once revolutionary series through an even more contemporary lens. Instead of being a straight action series like its predecessor, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power introduces complex studies of character relationships, fleshing out the two-dimensional heroes and villains from the 1985 series. Most characters in the reboot belong to gender and sexual minorities, making it a beautiful celebration of diversity for a today's audiences. This inspired DreamWorks cartoon concluded today with the fifth and final season s…

My Next Life as a Villainess Is the Ultimate Princess Visual Novel Escapist Anime!

That title is a mouthful, isn't it? The full name of this currently running anime series is My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Usually, I stick to Magical Girl anime for my Japanese princess fix, but this show caught my eye due to my guilty pleasure for visual novels. It follows the adventures of a spoiled noble girl named Catarina Claes who gets hit on the head one day, which causes her to remember her past life as a modern-day high school student. She realizes that she got hit by a bus in the real world and got reincarnated into her favorite visual novel as the villain. The concept seems a little silly at first, but what follows is loads of fairy tale fun as her true personality takes over the villainous princess archetype that the fates bestowed upon her. The girl living in Catarina's body refuses to suffer the dire fate of the villain, so the voices in her head come up with elaborate schemes to change her fate through visuals that are reminiscent of

Elena Begins Her Final Journey

After months of hiatus, Elena of Avalor finally came back today to set off on a steady trudge toward the series finale on August 23rd. The long periods of time between episodes made it appear as though Elena's arm has been in a cast for nearly six months due to a minor injury that took place in the February episode "Giant Steps." It was a relief to see that cast finally removed at the end of "The Lightning Warrior" today. Our Avaloran princess can now be at her peak physical strength for the final confrontation with the evil sorceress Ash. Despite some scheduling complications, "The Lightning Warrior" was a good pick to bring the show back from its hiatus. It was originally scheduled to air after the Mothers Day episode, "Dia de las Madres," which was delayed due to coronavirus complications. That episode will now air next week, with the rest to follow every consecutive Sunday until the finale.

Elena's arm wasn't the only that healed …

Elena Is Crowned Queen of Avalor

It's been four years since Disney introduced us to their first Latina princess, Elena of Avalor. Today, her reign on Disney Channel ends as she takes her place on the throne as queen. Elena's show had a rocky start for me, but it hit its peak somewhere around the second season. Today's finale movie, Coronation Day, serves as an excellent reminder of all the things it did right. Elena of Avalor has an enormous revolving cast of diverse characters, which can make the show hard to follow for a casual observer. Everyone in the series showed up to celebrate Elena's coronation, reminding us how much work went into building this enormous extended universe of kingdoms that began with Sofia the First. In addition to its evergrowing familia, the show introduced lots of Aztec mythology that I was not familiar with and some fun new mythological creatures like the jaquins, Avalor's answer to Enchancia's flying horses. This is truly the end of an era as it marks the last ani…

Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Jewel Riders!

On September 10th, 1995, our televisions were graced with the amazing adventures of Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders. This show has a lot of special meaning to me. It was one of my earliest obsessions, and I loved everything about it--the story, the music, the costumes, the setting, the artwork... Everything! Many of my other favorite princesses had live celebrations for their anniversaries over the years that I was fortunate enough to attend. Thanks to my friends at the Jewel Riders Archive, Princess Gwenevere will not be forgotten either. The archive kicked off their year-long anniversary celebration one year ago today with a podcast that I participated in with them and some of the other founding members of the fandom. Today, in honor of the 25th anniversary, we recorded a brand new podcast for all of you to enjoy filled with our favorite memories of the show.
I have to admit that I enjoyed recording this podcast even more than the last one. Ronnie and Chris of the Jewel Rider…

So Much Disney News!

Right on the heels of yesterday's Winx disaster , Disney swooped in to save the day with a barrage of new announcements about their upcoming content. Just when I had made a video  wondering what there was to look forward to in the coming years, Disney answered my question to the extreme. Not only are there two new princess cartoons coming out within the next couple of years, but we also now have concrete release information about a number of movies  that Disney has been teasing  us with. If you're not already subscribed to Disney+ , you'd better do it soon, or you're going to miss out on a lot. The biggest and possibly most surprising of the announcements is that after a complete dearth of original animated content on Disney+, Disney's premiere streaming service is working on not one, not two, but four exclusive animated series based on popular Disney film franchises, two of which are princesses. I'm particularly excited to see Tiana join the ranks of Ariel , Rapunzel

Disenchantment Part 3? Yes, Please!

It's been a rough year. Not only did three animated princess shows end , but it's been over a year since we got new episodes of Disenchantment . We need Matt Groening's dark humor now more than ever, so I am pleased to announce that it will only be a matter of weeks before Princess Tiabeanie makes her return to Netflix. A new trailer  was just released, and oh my goodness! There is an incredible amount of footage packed into this two-minute treat of a teaser! Mermaids, world-building, and familiar faces abound as Bean must decide if she wants to form an alliance between the kingdoms of Dreamland and Steamland. Part 3 of Disenchantment will hit Netflix on January 15th, 2021. You can check out the trailer below. The second season of Disenchantment  ended with a surprise re-appearance of Bean's mother, Queen Dagmar , a fascinating villain who was notably absent for most of the season. It looks like the next part will place more focus on her half-hearted attempts to recon

Review: Disenchantment - Part 3

I have a lot of mixed feelings about Disenchantment . I love the concept  of a fantasy princess show from  Matt Groening , creator of The Simpsons and Futurama , which both have deeply flawed protagonists that people would not associate with the heroes or heroines from fairy tales. Bean is a new kind of princess who is more likely to hang out at the local tavern instead of attending a royal ball. Her two sidekicks, Elfo, a lovesick runaway elf and Luci, a demon who was kicked out of Hell, give the show plenty of humor and charm. The biggest flaw derives from its format. The Simpsons and Futurama were long-running episodic series that pumped out a lot of episodes that could be watched in any order with the intention of being syndicated on network television. Netflix series are designed to be binged, which means they release small chunks of episodes that give enough of a cohesive story to satisfy viewers for another year while they wait for the next season. So far, Disenchantment has fa

Sky Dancers Revisited

Sky Dancer dolls were one of the most popular toys for girls in the '90s. They weren't princesses per se, but the dolls granted the fantasy of becoming a faery princess  and flying over a magical kingdom. Each one had a set of pastel dragonfly-like wings that spun around to launch the doll into the air at the pull of a string. The toys were so popular that they launched an animated series in 1996 under the same name. However, the dolls were more of a concept than a story, which made it difficult to streamline into one succinct set of characters with a direct conflict that they could resolve each week. In contrast, my favorite magical girl show  from that time period, Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders , had a fleshed cast that allowed it to tell a strong story with an intriguing beginning, middle, and end. Though I collected toys from both series, I have much clearer memories of the plot and characters from Jewel Riders than Sky Dancers. Thanks to my friends at the Jewel

Princess Syalis Is a Heroine We Can All Relate To!

Princess parodies  may have been all the rage throughout the 21st century, but you've never seen one quite like this. Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle  is an anime comedy that explores what happens to a kidnapped princess while the hero is off trying to rescue her. However, Princess Syalis couldn't care less about being rescued. All she wants to do is get the most comfortable sleep she can possibly muster in her new castle. After all, what else is there to do when you are whisked away from your royal responsibilities and left alone in a nice room with lots of friendly demons as neighbors? Though Princess Syalis may have been kidnapped, she is no damsel in distress . In fact, the innocuous demon inhabitants of her new home soon become more like servants to her than captors. My favorite thing about this anime is that it rips apart the conception that kidnapped princesses are helpless victims who can't do anything but sit around and wait to be rescued. Not only does Syalis

Sailor Moon Crystal Returns with a Double Feature!

As a '90s kid, it was difficult not to get swept up in the hype surrounding  Sailor Moon . Referred to at the time as a "gateway anime," Sailor Moon was the first Magical Girl show  that attained viral popularity among a western audience. Though I, personally, was more passionate about Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders , I had a mild curiosity about the pop culture princess phenomenon from Japan that everyone was talking about. A story about an ordinary girl who discovers she's the princess of a magical kingdom should have been right up my alley, but I had a lot of trouble relating to Usagi/Serena/Sailor Moon due to her immaturity and complete lack of motivation or responsibility. I wouldn't consider myself a huge fan of the series as a whole, but I did enjoy the English soundtrack and the sparkly aesthetic. My favorite sailor was Mercury, since she seemed like the only level-headed member of the girl-powered team. In 2014, Sailor Moon Crystal rolled aro

Tiana's Series and Other Announcements from Disney+ Day

Today marks the two-year anniversary of Disney+ , Disney's premiere streaming service. To celebrate this joyous occasion, today has been coined Disney+ Day . This celebration includes a number of new releases and announcements about newly released and upcoming content. I wasn't particularly interested in this event at first because there didn't seem to be a lot of upcoming princess content on Disney's radar, but I am glad to have been proven wrong. Alongside the addition of Enchanted , a movie that many are surprised was not already on Disney+, Disney revealed a new title card for its sequel, Disenchanted , which is set for release in the Fall of 2022. However, the biggest reveal for me is this stunning piece of concept art from their upcoming animated series, Tiana. The image features a slightly older version of the beloved heroine from The Princess and the Frog  running across the top deck of a riverboat in historically fashionable business attire carrying an impo

Maya and the Three Is a Typical Modern Princess Show, But Is That Really a Good Thing?

When I first saw the trailer for Netflix's Maya and the Three , it looked like the most generic modern princess show I'd ever seen. Now that I've actually watched it... I feel pretty much the same. Though not produced by Disney, this show takes all the modern-age princess tropes  that Disney developed over the past decade leading up to Raya and the Last Dragon  and drags them out over the course of ten episodes. If you want to see what the media is currently pandering to the next generation, you need look no further than Netflix, the wokest streaming network around. Maya and the Three is produced by the same people who worked on the 2014 animated film The Book of Life  and shares many of the aspects that made it both memorable and not so memorable. Like The Book of Life , Maya has a unique and creative art style inspired by Aztec, Mayan, Caribbean, and Incan influences , making it a visual feast for the eyes. Yet, its story leaves much to be desired, and its modern influenc

Princess Surprises on Netflix

Aside from Maya and the Three , I've recently discovered some unexpected princess stories and announcements from Netflix. One came in the form of a show I didn't expect to like, and another in the form of a cheeseball movie with a plot that I've seen a million times before. There was also an unexpected announcement about a new season of a show I had all but forgotten about due to its lack of compelling continuity. All in all, Netflix is doing a lot better in terms of content right now than Disney+ , which brought very little else to the table outside of WandaVision . Keep those recommendations coming, though! Maybe there's something else I've missed. From an outsider's perspective, Centaurworld does not look like the type of show that would have a strong plot. It's zany, nonsensical, and occasionally breaks the fourth wall. However, when it wants to be serious, it can so serious that you might even end up questioning the show's target audience. The hear

Review: Disenchantment - Part 4

The fourth season of Disenchantment  is one of several princess surprises  that were released on Netflix over the past couple of months. The new season even contained a reference to another recent princess release on Netflix called The Royal Treatment . I'm not sure if this reference was intentional, but it sure seemed that way since both projects are produced by the same popular streaming service. I had low expectations for Disenchantment after a disappointing third season last year , but I was pleasantly surprised this time. It seemed like the writers either learned from their mistakes or read a lot of reviews that were similar to mine. Either way, this season had much stronger continuity and character development, and felt less disjointed than the previous releases. It's probably the best season of Disenchantment so far. The season begins with Bean, who is now Queen of Dreamland, being forced by her wicked mother to marry the devil. The troubled royal teen takes the show bac

Love After World Domination Flips the Modern Princess Trope on Its Head!

What if princesses were not daughters of kings, but members of an army trained for the destruction of mankind? That would explain why they are always  such powerful fighters these days. The new anime series  Love After World Domination  does just that, but with a twist. It has a  Power Rangers -inspired setting with a plot reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet . In the same way that Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle  parodies the trope of princesses getting kidnapped, this anime takes the modern trope of princesses being skilled warriors  and takes it in an unexpected direction. That's just one of the reasons that Love After World Domination is my favorite new anime this season. The show starts like any other Power Rangers series with a team of five color-coded warriors (sentai) fighting against a female-led legion of monsters. It is then revealed that this rivalry is a ruse, at least on the part of the Red Ranger, Fudo, and the opposing Reaper Princess, Desumi. Though Desumi is a pow

This Archivist Found the Lost Sailor Moon Pilot!

A very merry World Princess Week to you all! The festivities of the week kicked off a little early with a YouTube video that took the internet by storm and surprisingly had nothing to do with Disney. As I've shared in the past , I've always had mixed feelings about Sailor Moon , but it's difficult to deny the impact that it had on for '90s kids. It was one of the first anime series that became popular in America and many people's first introduction to the Magical Girl genre . If things hadn't played out the way they did, our memories of this show could have been something completely different. Back in the early '90s, ToonMaker Studios  teamed up with Renaissance-Atlantic Entertainment  to create an animated/live-action hybrid of a brand new Americanized version of Sailor Moon. A music video of this cheeseball show  was recorded at a convention sometime later, and for a very long time, that was the only evidence we had that this version of Sailor Moon ever e

Princess Knight Is the Most Progressive Anime You've Never Seen!

Princess Knight  was referred to me as the anime that started the "shoujo" (girl-oriented) genre in Japan. That seems like a pretty big claim considering how immensely popular that genre has been over the years and the fact that I've never heard of this show. It came out in 1967, which was well before anime became popular in America. Upon watching it, I found it contained many similarities to one of my favorite anime series, Revolutionary Girl Utena . I thought Utena was pretty progressive for a '90s series, but I had no idea something similar had already been done all the way back in the '60s and had likely inspired it. By today's standards, Princess Knight would probably be considered transgender or queer  even though she has a male love interest. The show begins with an in-depth explanation of why she feels obligated to pretend she's a boy. As the daughter of a queen and king, she has a responsibility to inherit the kingdom of Silverland, whose law stat

We Need To Talk About Gabriella

I've shared my love of Disney's animated Little Mermaid  series on here many times in the past. My favorite episode of the show is called "Wish Upon a Starfish." In it, Ariel meets a deaf mermaid named Gabriella, and they go on a quest together to find a magic wishing starfish so Ariel can have legs to dance and Gabriella can have a voice to sing. The episode contained one of the best songs from the series, "Daring to Dance," and has a fascinating backstory behind it. Gabriella was not selected at random to give Ariel another mermaid to be friends with. She was actually based on a two-year-old girl, who was one of the show's biggest fans, named Gabriella Angelina Bommino . When the episode went into production, Gabriella was dying of leukemia. Through the Make a Wish Foundation , the Disney animators designed a mermaid based on Gabriella's image to show her family what she would have looked like if she hadn't passed away so tragically young.

Princess Updates from Disney Television Animation

The most notable gap in the D23 Expo announcements this month was from Disney Television Animation . Two years ago, they announced a massive slate of upcoming series , several of which were never mentioned again. Now we know why. Most of these shows have either been canceled or delayed, and the princesses are sadly no exception. Before I get into that, however, I'd like to lead with some good news. As many of you know, one of my favorite shows of all time is Sofia the First , a limitless adventure about a little girl who gets to experience all the magic of being a Disney Princess for the first time. This series has been stuck in Netflix limbo for the past three years, preventing Sofia from joining her fellow princesses on Disney+ . Next month, all of that is about to change. In tweet posted on September 15th, series creator Craig Gerber shared Disney Schedule Archive's post  that Sofia the First will be leaving Netflix on October 8th and joining the ranks of Elena of Avalor a

How The Rose of Versailles Paved the Way for Revolutionary Girl Utena

I used to think that Revolutionary Girl Utena  was the most innovative, unique, and original anime out there. After watching  Princess Knight  and now The Rose of Versailles , I realize that it drew inspiration from older anime sources. All three of these series feature women who don swords and take on the role of a man to protect the innocent. They each have their own queer-coded attributes  that combine all the best things about noble heroes  and damsels in distress . The Rose of Versailles, which came out in 1979, right in the middle of the 30-year gap between 1967's Princess Knight and 1997's Utena, stands apart from its surrogate cousins because it is set in a historical setting rather than a fairy tale world. The Rose of Versailles takes place prior to and during the French Revolution. It spans the decades of Marie Antoinette's life from her engagement to King Louis XVI to her beheading at the guillotine. If you haven't already guessed, the show does not have a ha

Two New Anime Series This Season Feature Princesses!

While American networks have been shying away from animation , Japan has been releasing multitudes of new anime series each year. This season, we have been gifted with no one, but two princess-inspired anime shows that contain throwbacks to classic storytelling tropes that Disney has graduated from  in the modern era. These shows feature beautiful animation with gorgeous fashions  and relaxing pastel colors. Eastern entertainment has come a long way since Princess Knight  and continues presenting us with the best girly stories to fuel our imaginations in the most pleasant ways that allow us to escape from the hardships of reality . Bibliophile Princess , which I've lovingly nicknamed "Library Princess," is a throwback to the classic version of Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast , particularly the scene where the Beast presented Belle with the library. In this aesthetically tranquil new anime, Lady Elianna is offered unlimited access to the royal library in exc

Disney Returns to the Realm of Enchancia!