Show: Star vs. The Forces of Evil
Network/years aired: Disney X.D./ 2015-
(SPOILERS AHEAD. Read at your own risk.)
AniB’s thoughts: Okay. Stop. We had enough manufactured drama at the Oscars. Take a deep, deep breath and remember to breathe out too. Don’t worry, I’m here to do the mental processing for actual people in the fandom, and as for everyone else reading this column, just know that the people who watch this show are really into it. Well, welcome to the only Star vs. review on the inter-webs that won’t be tripping over itself in fandom shipping wars. (For everyone unfamiliar with me, I wrote a treatise on the subject on Valentine’s Day this year.) However, because of the story and character context of the show, I suppose such a discussion is unavoidable, but first, let me talk about the finale and the other non-romantically involved key points, which have my interest fully:
Toffee is back, Glossaryck’s gone missing, and Queen Moon herself is aware of the danger now that’s been brewing the entire season. This plot line has become very, very interesting, and with the “mic drop” that was the final minute of Starcrushed, the third season promises to go in a very different, complicated direction…and intertwined in that is Star’s relationship with Marco, where she finally came clean…and promptly left for what I’d presume was Mewni.
On the topic of “Starco” as the shippers call it, it’s been handled in a way so far that’s actually heightened the narrative tension as a part of the plot and not necessarily as an extraneous element. It appears Jackie and Oskar were both plot devices to set up this “destined bond” that was foreshadowed as far back as the Blood Moon Ball, and while it’s incomplete at the moment, it sets up one hell of a plot line for season 3, specifically for Marco, who’s been left on Earth…presumably with the dimensional scissors he won from Hekapoo. (Seriously, they’re too good of a episode prize to be a one-off gag.)
Season 2 on the whole represented a big step forward in the development of Star vs. The Forces of Evil. Building off of momentum gained in the lat half of season 1, the show’s growth was always going to hinge on the overarching plot of Star’s wand, her growing powers, and how the titular “forces of evil” would play into her destiny. Of course, this spilled over into the realm of young love…because of course it did. It’s maybe a little sappy how they went about it, but the emotion is there and there was actual buildup to what became a critical moment mirroring the finale of the 1st season (in this case, Toffee’s triumphant return and Star leaving Marco and Earth in general), and so, it was well done on the whole…especially that cold ending. (Something tells Daron Nefcy got some inspiration from the credits of Dipper and Mabel vs. The Future.)
What can we expect from a season 3? Probably more of the same in terms of humor, with the addendum that the show can continue to grow in new and unexpected directions courtesy of how its narrative is structured and the way that season 2 concluded. I’ve had a great deal of fun so far with SVTFOE, and I don’t want that to change. “Fun” and “high energy” are two of the hallmarks of the show so far, and it is so important that it does not lose sight of these aspects. It’s great that the writers decided to add even more gravity and seriousness to the end of the season in particular, but keeping a balance that works is key. Another Disney X.D. show- Gravity Falls– was able to find and maintain that balance very well; I’m keen to see what Star does, especially now with the titular character’s personal relationship entangled with her unfolding destiny as the heir apparent to the Mewni throne.
Animation Quality: Traditional 2-D animation, with some anime influence. It’s a unique art style that has roots in the magical girl-type show, with a bright and vibrant color palette. It’s rather clean for the many different monsters and locales on display, and comes off nicely. 4.25/5 points.
Characterization: The show revolves around two main characters: the titular Star Butterfly, the free-spirited princess of a dimension known as Mewni, who is sent to Earth in an attempt for her to mature and grow as a young woman, and Marco Diaz, her host family’s son and best friend.
Star is a rebel princess through and through; and while she’s hardly a “by the book” type of individual, she possesses a great deal of natural talent in magic and a sense of freewheeling adventure. Her relationships she’s made on the show have continually developed, and as a result, become more complex- you could technically even say “multiversal.”
Marco Diaz serves as Star’s best friend and host on Earth (as Star’s an “exchange student”). Cautious and straightforward, Marco’s a good kid who is hopelessly naive about veiled references and hidden feelings- he’s a straight shooter. He’s also a red belt in karate after the events of season 2, and is inexperienced (as you’d expect from someone his age) about romance.
They get into a variety of strange antics; the supporting cast is pretty zany, but it works in the frenetic style of the show. I’ll mention Star’s parents- who play an important background role, Ludo, the main “villain” of the show; Toffee, the actual main villain, and a variety of Star and Marco’s friends and acquaintances, which include Janna, a troublemaking girl who becomes close with Star; Ponyhead, the wild princess who was Star’s first friend before coming to Earth, and Jackie, a friend of Star’s and longtime crush of Marco (though he is very timid about this fact for most of the season…) 3.5/5 points.
Story quality: Episodic, with an underlying story that begins to come on much more strongly in the final 3rd of the first season. So far, the show has shown itself to be a fun, wacky, and humorous show, mixed with some modicums of seriousness and drama. It’s an effective mix that I hope to see keep developing. So far, it’s a good start- not the level of season 1 Gravity Falls, but certainly worth a watch. 3.75/5 points.
Themes: There’s this idea of mystery and magic mixed with the idea of growing up and friendship, which then becomes more complicated with time. It’s adequately done, and while I believed it would be intriguing to see where it went this past season, it exceeded my expectations, opening up the potential for a very compelling season 3. As a result more serious themes have been set in motion. 3.5/5 points.
Don’t insult the viewer: The show’s bursting with a good sense of fun and energy while staying rather clean. The theme song and outro are both very catchy, and there’s something infectiously enjoyable about watching this show, which is hard to describe. 5/5 points.
Total Score: 20/25 (80%). With an explosive final sequence of episodes, Star vs. The Forces of Evil finishes off its second season with both answers and questions as to where it goes next; a bittersweet cliffhanger that really could become something special. The show will receive an further updated review when Season 3 airs in its entirety… definitely worth the watch so far!
Like what you see? Dying to say something about “Starco?” Leave a comment!