She-Ra and He-Man are structurally very similar. Most He-Man characters have a She-Ra counterpart and vice-versa. Despite the similarities, She-Ra is demonstrably more badass.
- Rebellion is harder than keeping the peace. He-Man’s friends rules Eternia. Peace ruled, and as long as he kept Skeletor and his minions confined to Snake Mountain, it was cool. She-Ra had to fight an established ruling class, with more power and resources than she had. Her base of operations was a tent for crying out loud.
- He-Man had a secret identity worth a damn. In his off hours, He-Man kicked back as Prince Adam, who spent most of his time goofing off and wrestling with a tiger. She-Ra’s secret identity Princess Adora was the leader of the damn resistance! In her ‘down time,’ as Adora, she risked getting captured or killed by the Horde, planned attacks, and managed a revolution. He-Man had it easy.
- She-Ra had a rough childhood. Stolen from her home, Adora was raised by the evil Hordak, and subjected to indoctrination and magical influence. Despite all this, she still has a moral compass that allows her to do the right thing once she sees the truth of the Horde. He-Man’s childhood was spent tossing elephants into the air for fun and working on his tan. Or so I imagine.
- She-Ra has tougher enemies. Hordak was Skeletor’s boss, after all. Not only that, but Skeletor’s henchman aren’t really that powerful. Other than brute strength, what do Beast Man, Mer Man, etc. really have? The ability to influence animals? Face it, Mer Man is an evil Aquaman. In other words, lame. Adora’s opponents can literally suck your will to live, emit stun rays from their eyes, and turn into a cat. OK, that last one is stupid, but the scale still tilts heavily to She-Ra.
- She-Ra has more enemies. Beyond their skill level, sheer numbers work against She-Ra. The Horde has innumerable Hordesman, individually each as fearsome as, say, Trap Jaw, but there are hundreds of them. Skeletor never had a robot army, at most he could bring eight to ten enemies to bear. Advantage: She-Ra.
- She-Ra had a lamer animal. Once transformed from Cringer, Battle Cat was pretty fearsome: A powerful tiger able to tear someone’s throat out (though that never happened on the show, it sure did when my friends and I played). She-Ra’s horse, Swiftwind, was handy for escape, and might be able to deliver a solid kick, but that’s it. Certainly no tearing anyone’s throat out.
- One of He-Man’s strongest allies is a trained military man and inventor with access to unlimited firepower. One of She-Ra’s strongest allies owns a bow and arrow.
Think this was funny? Like stuff from the ’80s? Check out my book, And God Said…An Absurd Tale of Love, Power, and Paperwork. It’s funny too, in an ’80s way. But no Michael J. Fox.