Prince Adam of Eternia would hold the Power Sword high into the sky and, after proclaiming “By the Power of Greyskull!” would transform into He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe. Adora of Etheria, He-Man’s twin sister, would hold the Sword of Protection aloft and, after declaring “For the Honor of Greyskull!” would become She-Ra, and although doesn’t declare it as boldly as her brother, is also one of the strongest people in the universe. They both have extreme power and loyal sidekicks, but are there differences that make one superior to the other? Absolutely.
Although He-Man and She-Ra may be more or less equal when it comes to strength and endurance, She-Ra has advantages and abilities that her brother simply doesn’t have. Yes, He-Man has to deal with the nuisance that is Skeletor, but She-Ra is part of a rebellion fighting against the world-dominating power of the Horde. For her, the stakes are higher and she has more to fight against. Fortunately for her she has a flying horse, a transforming sword, and the ability to communicate with animals. Can He-Man do that? Read on to find out the 15 other things that She-Ra can do (that He-Man can’t)!
15. HER SOURCE OF TRANSPORTATION CAN FLY
When Prince Adam lifted up the Power Sword and evoked the power of Greyskull, he would transform into He-Man. The same mystical energies would transform the timid cat Cringer into Battle-Cat (even though he’s technically a tiger). A similar thing happens when Adora uses the Sword of Protection to turn herself into She-Ra. She also uses her sword to transform her horse, Spirit, into the unicorn named Swift Wind.
Although we’re not quite sure if it’s cool (or even comfortable) to ride a giant tiger, having a flying unicorn as a way to get from place to place is pretty cool. Sorry, Battle Cat, but we think that Swift Wind is the better ride. When they’re not transformed, Sprit is still able to fight Hordak’s armies, whereas Cringer would, well… cringe and run away.
14. COMMUNICATE TELEPATHICALLY WITH ANIMALS
When you put He-Man and She-Ra next to each other, they have arguably comparable strength and invulnerability (even though He-Man looks way more diesel). They also have cool swords (however, She-Ra’s Sword of Protection rocks some bling in the middle), but when it comes to abilities, She-Ra has what squirrels in Rick and Morty would call “a possible Dolittle situation.”
Besides having incredible physical powers, she also has amazing mental abilities, such as the ability to telepathically communicate with animals. She most frequently uses mental communication with Swift Wind. Can He-Man communicate with animals? We haven’t seen him use this power, or maybe he has it and isn’t asking nicely enough. One time She-Ra spoke to a bear; let’s see Mark Wahlberg try and do that!
13. CONFUSE RETAILERS
Are there differences between dolls and action figures? Some may say it’s a matter of semantics, others think there’s a big difference. One group that may think they are two different categories are toy stores, and the difference came to light when making a decision on what shelf to put She-Ra on. Was she going to go next to her brother He-Man, or next to Barbie?
Retailers weren’t really sure what to do with She-Ra. We don’t see her hanging out with Malibu Ken anytime soon, but sellers also thought she looked out of place next to such action figures as G.I. Joe. She was marketed as a “fashion action doll” and that only made stores and buyers more confused. What was the end result? There was no consensus and different stores put her on different shelves, sometimes next to dolls, sometimes next to action figures.
12. HER WEAPON ALSO TRANSFORMS
He-Man’s weapon is pretty sweet. Not only is it an awesome-looking sword, not only does it transform his sidekick tiger into a savage looking gigantic cat that he can ride, it also turns Prince Adam into the impossibly muscular He-Man. Just when you thought the Power Sword couldn’t get any more awesome, She-Ra throws down some HMB fierceness and whips out the Sword of Protection, that does everything the Power Sword can do and lots more.
The Sword of Protection can more or less turn into anything she wants, and we hope that the weapons didn’t get developed by an argument that happened in the writer’s room: “Oh yeah? Well, She-Ra’s sword can become a helmet or a ladder or a net or a telescope!” Yes, it did turn into all of those things and more. It does seem a little overpowered, but are you going to tell She-Ra that?
11. BE A BRILLIANT STRATEGIST
He-Man had a bizarre cast of supporting characters, such as Ram Man, Orko, and Moss Man, who should not be confused with American jazz trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman. As (un)cool as these characters may be, does one of the most strongest men in the universe need any help at all? Besides riding Battle Cat to give his lower half a rest on leg day, He-Man is a virtual one-man army.
Then there’s She-Ra, who is arguably as strong as He-Man but has much higher stakes. On her world of Etheria, she’s in a rebellion fighting the Horde, who is in control over the planet. Fortunately for her, she started out as a Force Captain in the Horde army and has considerable military skills based on her experience. We’re sure He-Man’s training with Man-At-Arms was quite thorough, but She-Ra is the one with more of a mind for military strategy.
10. START OUT AS AN ENEMY
She-Ra’s origins are on the somewhat tragic side. She was kidnapped as a baby and taken from the planet Eternia by the evil Hordak and brought to Etheria, the world that he ruled over. She was raised to serve under Hordak and achieved the rank of Force Captain. It wasn’t until she encountered the Sword of Protection that she learned about her true origins.
Eventually Adora would defect from the Horde army and served as a rebel leader (even though she oddly still wore her Horde uniform). However, if she never encountered Prince Adam, would she still be a member of the Horde army serving under Hordak’s oppressive rule? Would she rise up the ranks and help oppress all Etherians? That would make for a great alternate reality story!
9. ARCHENEMY IS A LEGIT THREAT
Skeletor was played by Oscar nominated actor Frank Langella in the live action Masters of the Universe movie in 1987 and was voiced by Alan Oppenheimer for the cartoon in the 1980s. In theory, having a villain with a yellow skeleton for a face, wearing booty shorts and rocking abs for days should be pretty intimidating, but in the end he never really seemed that menacing. Whereas He-Man’s enemy Skeletor was a nuisance, She-Ra’s nemesis was far worse.
Hordak also had somewhat of a skull-like face, but had enough common sense to wear body armor. He’s also the evil emperor of the planet Etheria, whereas Skeletor is making attempts just to take over Castle Greyskull. Skeletor was a former pupil of Hordak, but clearly bone-face learned nothing from the man.
When you watch He-Man and She-Ra, you notice that they’re both sporting pretty sweet swords. You may have also noticed that in both shows, as powerful as they are, they never use their swords offensively against other characters. In fact, despite being the most powerful siblings in the universe, they also never directly punched or kicked anyone. They punched robots and their adversaries would simply get thrown. This was due to the tough broadcast standards of the 1980s.
That’s not to say that people around them didn’t get injured. When that happened, She-Ra had a power that He-Man didn’t: she had the power to heal. On one occasion, her flying unicorn, Swift Wind, was injured in battle and she was able to heal his injuries. He-Man couldn’t heal, he could only have people laugh at his silly haircut.
7. HAVE AN ALTER EGO THAT’S INSPIRING
When creating the Prince Adam alter ego for He-Man, creators borrowed from the Superman/Clark Kent dynamic. Whereas Superman is heroic and inspirational, Clark Kent was bumbling and ineffectual. Same thing for Prince Adam, and even though he didn’t have the Clark Kent glasses to disguise himself, people still didn’t figure out that Adam and He-Man were one and the same. C’mon, guys, they have the exact same haircut and build! What about Adora?
Things were much different on Adora’s home planet of Etheria. Whereas She-Ra is inspiring, her alter ego was arguably just as iconic: she was a Force Captain who rejected the beliefs of the Horde Empire and became an active member of the planet’s rebellion. Adora may not have the strength of She-Ra but she’s a fighter and a role model. Adam is… kind of a lump.
6. NEEDS NO ADDITIONAL ENHANCEMENTS
He-Man is one mighty dude, but is he being enhanced? No, we’re not talking about performance enhancing substances, we’re talking about his breastplate. If you thought to yourself: “Why doesn’t the guy just go shirtless, he’s practically naked already?” we have an answer for you. The harness was made from a material called corodite, a metal found on his home planet of Eternia that was used to boost his already impressive strength.
Seems a little unfair, no? He-Man is already one of the mightiest mortals around (he held his own in a fight with Superman) so why the heck does he need any additional enhancements? What power boosts is She-Ra sporting? None. She’s mighty enough as it is and doesn’t need power boots or super jewelry. Once she transforms into She-Ra with the help of the Sword of Protection, she’s ready to battle any and all foes.
5. HER SHOW CAME FIRST
What came first, the chicken or the egg? Although we may never know, in He-Man’s case the toy came before the show. Mattel had the chance to make toys for Star Wars but declined when George Lucas demanded $750,000 upfront. Mattel certainly regretted it and wanted a show that would be a big promoter for its merchandise. So was the show just one giant commercial for Masters of the Universe? Yes and no.
She-Ra came following the success of He-Man, and although the toys were a big part of the show, it wasn’t putting the cart before the horse. Filmation, the production company, would design the characters, and Mattel would produce the action figures. With He-Man, Mattel was telling Filmation what to make. This allowed for more writing flexibility within the show.
4. SHARES MORE WITH STAR WARS THAN WITH HE-MAN
If you think He-Man looks like a barbarian or some sort of viking based on his outfit, you’re right on both accounts. Initial concepts of He-Man came from rejected designs for a line of viking action figures. He-Man does bare some resemblance to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan The Barbarian but a court ruling said the two properties were different. What were She-Ra’s inspirations? For this we have to go to a galaxy far, far away.
Think about it: a rebel fighting against an evil galactic empire who has a brotherwith a power sword whose abilities are derived from a magical source. She-Ra has some pretty striking similarities to Princess Leia! This makes sense considering the Star Wars trilogy was in full swing during the 1980s. Unfortunately, She-Ra never had a sidekick as loyal or as cute as Carrie Fisher’s dog, Gary.
3. WEAR A MASK
The idea of an alter ego in today’s times is a little silly. We live in a selfie-obsessed world… who wouldn’t want everyone to know that they’re a superhero? It made perfect sense that Tony Stark outs himself at the end of Iron Man. Tony’s got a big ego; of course he’s going to tell everyone he flies around and saves the world. It was also silly that people couldn’t look at Prince Adam or at Adora and not immediately recognize who their counterparts are. How could you not tell?
Mattel played around with giving She-Ra a mask. After some prototypes, the company wasn’t sure about the design and couldn’t decide if it was a good idea to cover her face. What did the merchandising folks decide to do with the original mask? When in doubt, turn it upside down! She-Ra’s head dress is actually her initial mask inverted. Let’s see He-Man make such bold fashion choices!
2. SUPPORTING CHARACTERS LESS OF A JOKE
He-Man had some pretty strange secondary characters. Let’s do a role call, shall we? Fisto (not to be confused with Star Wars‘ Kit Fisto) was a dude with a giant metal fist. Mekanek had the ability to extend his neck. Our favorite is Man-E-Faces who could change his face (but not his body) to a variety of characters. Stinkor, Trap Jaw… the list goes on and on of quite silly and strange villains.
She-Ra had better supporting characters (though, admittedly, not by much). For every strong character like Bow, you got a Peekablue or a Snout Spout. Clearly Hasbro did this on purpose, but when stacked up side by side the She-Ra secondary characters weren’t as silly as He-Man‘s Fakor or Strongarm or Pig Patootie. Ok, that last one we made up, but would you have known if we didn’t say anything?
1. OVERCAME TRAUMATIZING CHILDHOOD
It’s always a little weird when you pause and think about how morbid some of our childhood cartoons were. Dungeons and Dragons was a cartoon about kids that just wanted to go on an amusement park ride only to be trapped in a realm of evil creatures. Raise your hand if you remember Spiral Zone, a cartoon about people turned into zombie-like creatures by an evil scientist operating out of the Chrysler Building?
She-Ra is about a hero on the planet Etheria fighting the oppressive forces of Hordak, but her origins are quite dark. Prince Adam was raised in a castle, son to the generous King Randor. Adora for a short time was also raised by Randor until she was kidnapped by Hordak then recruited by the Horde Army where she served for years as a Force Captain. Kidnapping in cartoons? Brutal!
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