Star vs. the Forces of Evil is one of my favorite series, despite being a Western cartoon. And great news–it’s kicking off its fourth season with a 2-hour special on Saturday, 15 July! Just how good is this news? Well, a certain somebody might even schedule a day off from work in order to watch in unfettered bliss. . . Don’t recognize the show’s name? Again, this is a Western cartoon–although one admittedly inspired by anime–airing on Disney XD. I had meant to review it before, but just never got around to it. And I apologize for my tardiness, because this show deserves loud praise.
Star Butterfly is an adolescent princess (14 years old) from an alternate dimension called Mewni. She is the product of two very different families, with her mother’s side representing cultured sophistication and her father leading hordes of howling barbarians. Showcasing her heritage, Star manages to set fire to her own castle, prompting her family to send her to earth as an exchange student. She is accompanied on this journey by Glossaryck, a magical being who lives inside Star’s spellbook and acts as her tutor and would-be mentor. Glossaryck has actually been instructing her mother’s family in the magical arts for many generations, offering Star a living testament of loyalty. (On earth, such famtrads would likely see Star called an hereditary witch.) But, being young, Star prefers to eschew instruction in favor of learning things the hard way.
Star’s best friend and partner-in-crime (so to speak) is her classmate Marco Diaz. In fact, she lives with Marco’s family. He helps Star navigate and acclimatize to the local culture, and also accompanies her on inter-dimensional adventures. He’s smart and quiet, and enjoys practicing karate (all three of which come in very handy when keeping Star’s company!). And although Marco and Star both have crushes on other people, they are extremely close and supportive of each other. Fact is, an excitable, wand-tossing magical exchange princess couldn’t have asked for a better host family–or a truer friend.
As with Adventure Time and Steven Universe, Star vs. the Forces of Evil is a show for all ages. Storylines operate on multiple levels and in doing so develop complex characters, situations, and [larger] story arcs. Recurring characters help expand the series’ emotional depth while also forcing personal growth onto our two leads. This show can go deep. Meanwhile, the artwork is inspired(!), offering a warm simplicity that envelops the viewer. So get ready for a hot mess of bright, noisy fun that beguiles with its carefree attitude (just check out the opening sequence)! And note that Star is not your garden-variety magical girl: she is more because she’s less; she’s better because she’s worse. This is one show that you need to try, anime or not.