I Love Star VS The Forces of Evil | Animated and Underrated
Almost out of the blue, one of Disney XD’s latest animated series, Star VS The Forces of Evil, popped onto my radar completely out of nowhere, without any prior warning that it was in development. So I was immediately intrigued and just had to figure out what it was all about.
At first, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a show for me. I mean, I enjoy watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic from time to time, and I love the heck out a Steven Universe. But sometimes the mentality of the screen-writers and the show creators doesn’t quite result in a show that fits the typical child-like and female oriented premise, that also attracts the typical male and general adult audience with really amusing and honest story-lines. Some shows just aren’t for everyone, and yet others can transcend our demographic boarders. But since this show emphasized the magical girl angle, and an overabundance of cute and adorable things, I wasn’t sure what to make of it, especially since it was going to be an American show, not a Japanese one. And typically when American cartoonists try to tackle a storyline that is by all accounts very Japanese in style, the results are not always good.
But I am very pleased to say that not only is Star VS the Forces of Evil not at all as childish and irritatingly cutesy as it could have been (it has some teeth and grit), but it succeeds in tackling this very Japanese-styled premise by making it its own thing. It’s very much like if you took the best parts of Urusei Yatsura, Sgt. Frog, and Space Pirate Mito with a little bit of Ninja Nonsense, but then removed all of the serious and dramatic stakes from the storyline so that it’s nothing but straight comedy with at least a heart-felt resolution at the end of each episode.
Now I think that is a really solid basis for a show.
Created by Daron Nefcy (Daron is a woman) Star VS the Forces of Evil is about Star Butterfly, a Princess from a planet called Mewni—which resides in another dimension—who has just turned 14 years old, and is granted the possession of the royal magic wand. This wand has the power to bring forth anything that the user desires, even ridiculous and illogical things, but it often backfires and doesn’t quite result in what you want. Though Star typically uses it to dispense with her enemies, and produces a series of ever stranger anime-styled attacks: like “Narwhal Blast!” “Syrup Tsunami Shock-WAVE!” or “Honey Bee Tornado Swarm!” It’s always a mixed bag of completely unpredictable powers and abilities.
Now upon receiving this wand, Star manages to cause havoc and destruction across the land of Mewni, and so her parents, the King and Queen, decide to ship her off to a different and so-called “safer dimension,” known to us as Earth. Upon arrival, Star quickly makes the acquaintance of our other leading character, Marco Diaz, the son of a very loving and quirky mixed family, who considers himself a misunderstood bad boy, but is actually more like myself, in that he is extremely cautious and tends to stay on the safe side of things. Although, he is quite the bad-ass when it comes to Karate.
As you might guess, Star has no home to speak of on Earth, so she immediately finds a home living with the Diaz family, unbeknownst to Marco at first. But after a bit of a rough start, Marco comes to enjoy Star’s company, especially after she inadvertently brings a little excitement and danger into his life by way of Star’s mortal adversary: Ludo, an evil bird-like creature who wears the skull of a dead cow on his head. On occasion, when he feels the time is right, he will enter the Earth dimension with a horde of monsters and henchmen, in order to steal Star’s wand away from her. But no matter how hard he tries, Star will always have the upper hand, because like I said, she can make ANYTHING come forth from her wand! End of story!
So I suppose if the writers want Star to get into any real trouble at some point during the series, she’s either going to have to make a grave mistake, act a little careless, or Ludo is going to have to get a hold of some very powerful weapons himself. Otherwise, he doesn’t have a chance.
One of the best things that I appreciate about Star VS the Forces of Evil, is that the writers never felt it necessary to keep Star’s identity or magical powers a secret from the normal human folk. The show basically preaches to the world from day one that Star is a magical princess from another planet, in another dimension, and every single person in the show knows it. So neither she, nor Marco ever have to deal with keeping Star’s identity or powers a secret, as that would obviously allow for a whole lot less fun on this show.
With the right premise, keeping identities a secret makes sense, like in Danny Phantom, or Totally Spies, or American Dragon: Jake Long. But with a show this off the wall, much like TUFF Puppy, it’s best if the characters are just free to do whatever, whenever, and yet still with a small bit of consequence, or at least guilt and embarrassment for anything that goes horribly wrong. Because then at least the characters aren’t totally infallible and are capable of messing up: which allows them to learn from their mistakes and improve as growing young teenagers. And I think we’ve been able to see just a bit of that so far when it comes to Star’s character arc.
You see, at first I thought Star might be what my sister Kati had speculated, that she’s just another iteration of the Dee-Dee character from Dexter’s Lab: a flighty, hyper, irresponsible, irrational, morally irreprehensible, devoid of empathy, and ultimately, a very evil character at heart, destroying the homes and lives of those around her without much remorse or concern for anyone’s feelings but her own.
But, thank the Lord, Star is not like that AT ALL!
Sure, she is still extremely hyper (which I love), she is still very reckless (which I love), and she causes a lot of chaos (which is awesome, because it’s mostly directed at villains).
So what makes her different than Dee-Dee? She has a conscience.
Star never does anything that she knows will make people’s lives worse, or does anything just to spite people. She’s a lot more like Wander from Wander Over Yonder, in that she will actively try to help anyone who is in need of it. She’ll cheer you up when you’re feeling depressed. She’ll throw you a party if she knows it’s your birthday. She’ll do everything in her power to rescue you if she knows you’re in danger. And she will destroy every monster in her wake if they even so much as blink while she’s trying to have a phone conversation with a potential boyfriend.
That last one was a bit more about her, but I still felt I should include that, since she would be considering the courtesy towards the person speaking on the other end of the line, besides just herself.
The other nice thing about Star’s character is that (like I said) she can genuinely feel guilt or embarrassment if she has done something that she knows is wrong, or if she has made a terrible mistake. Sometimes she still brushes things off like they’re no biggie, but it all depends on how serious the situation is. If she’s caused a lot of people to get injured, she definitely feels pretty bad about it. Does she ever get expelled or seriously punished though? Of course not. She’s already being punished by being sent to live amongst the Earth folk. But will she learn from the mistakes she has made? Yes. I daresay I think she will.
I also think Star’s particular brand of the “hyper teenage girl” is much different than Dee-Dee’s young pre-teen personality, because Star is much more genuine in her character. She loves the many worlds in other dimensions, but she also has a fondness for the simplicity of Earth. She loves hanging out with Marco, but their relationship is more plutonic, and so she actively tries to help him to impress and hook up with the girl that he likes. And I’m sure Marco would do the same for Star. She loves cute and adorable things, but she also loves heavy metal stuff. Why do you think she wears spike-toed mauve boots with a bright turquoise play-dress? It’s actually one of the coolest outfit designs I’ve ever seen for an young animated female character. Though, I actually like her second outfit even more.
Her particular interests, her love for partying, adventures, and showering the world with love and very sharp narwhals, are all just extremely adorable, and epically awesome to boot. Only in the 2010s could you find people like me who think that cute animals shooting lasers from their eyes while also blowing $#!t up is bad-ass: especially when those animals are being spewed forth from a pretty pink princess magic wand wielded by a 14 year-old alien princess.
Ok… Just TRY and tell me you didn’t find that last sentence the most awesome thing you’ve read all week. It’s so weird, and yet… just so much fun.
I must say that I love this unique voice they decided to go with for Star’s character. It’s obviously older sounding than a 14 year old girl would typically have, but it totally fits her energy, craziness, and who she is. Voice actress new-comer Eden Sher has such a broad range in her voice from a low sly and witty sound, to a high-pitched squee that just can’t be contained. So much expression, so much variety. She just exudes so much joy and emotion in every single line.
I also can’t go without mentioning the return of Alan Tudyk to the world of voice-acting, once again for a Disney production, now playing the Napoleonic Ludo, with his high squeaky voice. I’m sure he was asked to give the role a try since the creator obviously enjoyed watching Wreck-it Ralph just a few years back, as Alan’s voice here is not much different than his King Candy, except it’s been digitally pitched up for the sake of the character’s smaller voice box. Then again Ludo and King Candy are likely the same height, so… does it really matter? Hm?
I may be completely invested in Steven Universe, and I may be committed to watching shows like Twin Peaks, Michiko & Hatchin, and the continuing epic of Game of Thrones lately, but I can’t help but find myself growing very fond of this new and exciting show, and this extremely fun character of Star Butterfly. And I have no shame in saying that.
Star, you are my new favorite character. =D