With the success of He-Man, and the associated cartoon and action figures, Mattel decided in 1985 to introduce a new line of action figures based on Filmation’s animated series Princess of Power. It was a strategic decision to try and lure more young females into the action figure market and thereby increase Mattel’s action figure customer base. It was a good idea and was, for the most part, successful. The series, and the action figure line, featured Princess Adora of Etheria who transforms into She-Ra, Most Powerful Woman in the Universe. The animated series’ tagline was:
“High in the clouds, in the land of Etheria in Crystal Castle! lives the beautiful Princess Adora. When danger threatens, she transforms into She-Ra the Princess of Power, the most exciting and powerful woman in the universe! She and her friends must use their magical powers against their jealous enemy, Catra.”
The first episode of Princess of Power aired on 09-09-1985 but it was preceded by He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword, a full length animated movie that was created by compiling together the first five episodes of the, then forthcoming, syndicated series. The series was cancelled in 1986, after 2 seasons and 93 episodes. In the film She-Ra is He-Man’s twin sister who was kidnapped at birth by Hordak and taken to Etheria, where she served as a Horde Force Captain before being rescued by He-Man and joining the Great Rebellion. With her Sword of Protection Adora can become She-Ra, similar to how Prince Adam becomes He-Man. After reuniting with her parents she returns to Etheria.
Mattel basically created a fusion between He-Man and Barbie. the Princess of Power line was dominated by female characters with long flowing hair and a wide assortment of fashionable clothes to wear. In the end the action figure line outlasted the animated series and resulted in three waves of figures released between 1985 and 1987.
It can be argued that the Princess of Power line influenced the later creation of popular female leads such as Xena the Warrior Princess and Sailor Moon in the early 1990’s. Princess of Power toy figures were 5 – 1/2 inches tall with brushable hair and a wide assortment of clothing and accessories. There were nine figures produced in 1984 including the one and only male character, Bow, and the owl figure, Kowl. Every doll in the first series came with a light pink comb and a mini-comic. The bodices were painted-on as were the boots and cuffs. A few had painted-on leggings as well.
The first wave of action figures in 1985 included:
- Double Trouble
The second wave, released in 1986, included:
- Starburst She-Ra
- Sweet Bee
- Scratchin’ Sound Catra
In 1987 Mattel released Wave 3 which included:
- Bubble Power She-Ra
- Shower Power Catra
For a full listing of Princess of Power figures, creatures, and accessories see our Princess of Power Checklist.
The Sea Harp accessory was released in 1986 and featured a blue sea horse with a pink shell attached. She-Ra and her cohorts could ride on the back of Sea Harp. A slider control at the back of the shell allowed the user to play a musical message.
The Crystal Castle was released by Mattel in 1985 with the first wave of figures.
The castle had many parts, including:
- 2 blue crystal doors
- 2 Pink floors
- 2 blue crystal guard rails
- 2 blue crystal windows
- Blue crystal chandelier
- Gold flag pole (with paper flag sticker)
- Purple fur rug
- Aqua fireplace (with removable gold grate, and flame sticker)
- Canopy Bed (blue crystal bed, mattress, mattress cover, curtains, 2 gold butterfly curtain clips, and pillow)
- Elevator Throne (Blue crystal throne, sticker for seat, blue crystal elevator floor, elevator shaft harness, a string, and golden key hook)
- Aqua weapons rack
- Aqua dresser (with mirror sticker)
- Aqua table (with 2 table legs, and map of Etheria sticker)
- 2 Aqua stools (each made of 2 parts; the shell body, and the legs piece)
- Aqua treasure chest (base, lid, and blue crystal treasure)
- 2 Gold clips (used to fasten playset together)
Overall, the Princess of Power series was a success and led to more toy lines oriented toward girls.