Animated Fantasy Warriors
When I was growing up my first exposure to strong, capable women warriors came from cartoons or animation. These characters were always the lone female holding their own in a group of tough guys. The one caveat to that description is the female fantasy warrior I'm going to talk about first....
Taarna appeared in the pulp magazine Heavy Metal which later became an animated movie. She was probably derived from a male fantasy having big breasts and no voice. But, that didn't make her any less badass. Though Taarna is part of a group called the Taarakians, we never actually see them in the Heavy Metal movie. The story is about Taarana answering the call of her people to seek revenge for a slaying at the hands of the main villain. After a lengthy scene of her dressing (eyeroll) that is when she starts to kick some ass. Through facial expressions alone Taarna lets people know she means business. The beatings and beheadings also help! I liked watching a woman with a sword mow down the competition and she even winds up punching a guy right through his face! Taarna had a unique look and was just a total badass. She was part of the inspiration behind the main character in my novel Rayna the Dragonslayer.
Thundercats was a fun series to watch in the 80s (not the crap reboots they tried to do!) It was a unique concept that is the very epitome of science fantasy. I latched onto the character of Cheetara right away. The low register of her voice done by Lynne Lipton immediately gave her gravitas. Her look was cool, her abilities were cool, her weapon was cool! I remember running around my living room as a kid pretending to have super speed like Cheetara. Not only that, but she had some of the more interesting storylines. Grune, her sixth sense, All That Glitters, were some of better episodes that aired. I feel as though all the Thundercat characters were created with alot of thought. Which is why even though I would love to see a live action version, I honestly don't think it should be made. Hollywood has proven it doesn't know how to take care of our 80s animated shows. I wouldn't want Thundercats to become a pile of garbage like G.I. Joe or Jem. So, for now, I'll just enjoy reruns of this iconic show with Cheetara kicking some mutant ass!
The Princess of Power was created to give little girls something to watch besides He-Man. The show itself wasn't as good as its predecessor but She-Ra was a cool character. Like her cousin Adam, Adora carries a secret within her sword that can turn her into a legendary warrior called She-Ra. She battles The Horde led by Hordak in weekly feel good episodes. The Horde itself was pretty damn cool but this isn't about the villains. This is about She-Ra flying around on her Pegasus horse with a sword in hand. That's all I really remember about the show and the toy line. Once I got that horse I had hours of fun playing. But the image of the woman warrior with the big sword and flowing cape always stuck with me. For the honor of Grayskull!
I'd be remiss if I mentioned She-Ra and not Teela! Only later in life have I come to really enjoy Teela's armor. As "Original Cyn" I'm all about snakes and her armor is kick-ass. The staff too represents a snake theme. Teela was a tough chick always trying to prove to her father that she was more than capable. The live action version in the 1987 movie missed the mark completely. And the reboot of He-Man on Netflix from Kevin Smith was just really bad. I'm still waiting for a proper representation of Teela, and He-Man for that matter, on the big screen. But like I said about Thundercats, they don't know what they're doing in Hollywood so maybe just leave our nostalgia alone.
So, did I miss anyone from the list? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to come back for the next installment on exploring fantasy warriors.
"Original Cyn" Cynthia Vespia writes fantasy novels with edge. This blog is dedicated to all things fantasy, writer wellness, and my author journey.