(PGJR, also known outside of North America asStarla & the Jewel Riders, and sometimes misspelled as “Princess Guinevere”) is a 1995 American comic fantasy-themed animated children’s television series produced by Bohbot Productions in association with Hong Ying Animation. It was internationally syndicated by Bohbot Entertainment in the version where the title character renamed to Starla. The series was primarily aimed for girls and had two seasons of thirteen episodes each in 1995–1996
The plot follows the quest of a young princess of Avalon, Gwenevere (Starla), and her friends, Fallon and Tamara, to find and secure the scattered enchanted jewels to stop the evil Lady Kale from taking over the kingdom, restore harmony in magic, and bring the banished Merlin home. In the second season, the Jewel Riders receive more powers and new costumes to battle the returning Kale and the mighty Morgana for more magical jewels that also need to be kept out the grasp of dark forces.
Why was it forgotten?: IT’S MARKETING KIND OF RUINED IT.
I probably should have saved this one for the GOOD FORGOTTEN CARTOON segment since it seriously deserves it but I wanted to talk about this while it was still fresh in my memory. This cartoon has the unfortunate misfortune that many cartoons aimed at girls did and still do have in that the people making them can’t figure out how to market to girls. Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon in saying that but man, just looking at the opening theme– it feels kind of patronizing in how girly it is, and it feels like they’re almost trying to be Disney-like, in a bad way.
That sucks so much because this is a positively solid sword & sorcery fantasy-adventure series. Unless I’m mistaken, this comes from some of the same creative team and the same production company as King Arthur & The Knights of Justiceso it had quite a lot going for it. Despite the marketing and the overall look of the show, it had just about all of the good points that King Arthur had. It had a great cast of heroes and villains, had an ongoing plot with evolution of the setting and story as it went on, and character development!
Not only did we get all of that but it had some fairly intense action, some dangerous villains, and an interesting world with lots of different creatures. I say with full confidence that this show did the girl centered sword & sorcery story better than She-Ra by a mile, and the animation was leagues better to.
I can’t really say if this cartoon was completely forgotten or didn’t do well, it probably enjoyed some hint of success since it was broadcast internationally, had loads of toys, and lots of other goodies available. There’s also the fact that this cartoon has been sited as the inspiration for the Young Adult novel series, Avalon: Web of Magic.
a third season was reportedly planned in fall 1998 season, but it was then apparently cancelled.
The Hasbro/Kenner toy line had two series of action figures for girls ages 4 and up. The first series contains Princess Gwenevere (Starla), Sun Power Gwenevere, Tamara, Fallon, Drake, Lady Kale, Sunstar, and Moondance; and the second series contains Deluxe Princess Gwenevere (Starla), Deluxe Tamara, and Deluxe Fallon. According to Time to Play, the action figures’ sales “bombed”
Other merchandise included a series of collectible trading cards released by the Upper Deck Company in 1996, a “play-a-sound” children’s illustrated sound book by Nancy L. McGill based on the first two episodes and published by Publications International that same year, Panini Group collectible stickers, a makeup kit, Happy Meal and Long John Silver’spremium toys, lunchboxes, clothing items, and such.
All I can say is, if you haven’t seen this cartoon give it a chance; it’s so much greater than the sum of its parts, and it’s great fun! Definitely worth checking out, especially if you have a young girl to watch it with who would appreciate it most
What would have to be your favourite scene/gif out of all the Sonic cartoons?
I’ll be honest, that’s a tough one. As you said ‘scene/gif’ I’ll narrow it down to just gifs I’ve made rather than complete scenes from the shows, of which there are many moments to choose from.
Even then, there’s a lot of choice. However, while I have many favourites I think the crown has to be given to that gifset, the one where Sonic watches Knuckles fall off a cliff and then grows to twice his size. It’s my most popular post with over 100,000 notes and was even on a Vinesauce stream in a repainted Sonic Adventure 2 hack as well as being riffed on by Joel, which I wasn’t even aware of until a few weeks ago. I honestly feel rather satisfied to see a gif I worked on (and I do work on the gifs I make; I go through them and delete the repeated frames in order to keep the file size down and the quality up) being posted and enjoyed by others. Getting people to know more about these shows in both their good and bad was part of the reason why I started this blog.
Of course, that’s not the real reason why I like that scene/gifset, it’s because it’s such a unique and utterly baffling scene. Every single shot has something wrong about it, but what makes it so special in my opinion is that apart from the scaling issue with Sonic being bigger than Knuckles (which I’ll get onto in a moment), there aren’t any obvious animation errors. There are no miscolours (well, actually Knuckle’s shoes are miscoloured a couple of times but it’s not too noticeable), nor are there missing cels, continuity errors, or incorrectly layered cels, and the framerate isn’t terribly jerky. Yet despite that it’s undeniably bad, and there are so many layers to it’s badness. The timing or lack thereof and the awkward, gormless expressions in every shot being the key elements. Then there are things like the stretchy arm, the lack of gravity (though in context Angel Island is falling so that might explain it) and of course the off-model aspect of Sonic and Knuckles all mix together to make this tragedy.
Then there is giant Sonic and/or tiny Knuckles, which is the final crowning fireball in this train wreck. With most animation errors you can tell what the original intention of the shot was supposed to be, but here it’s an enigma. Was Sonic supposed to be a little farther back from Knuckles? Did the animator just think Knuckles was smaller than Sonic for some reason? Did two separate people draw Sonic and Knuckles here? Was the storyboard off? I have actually spoken to a man (Pierre De Celles) who oversaw animation for DiC with Hong Ying, the studio who did Underground, and he can’t seem to remember (animation is extremely hectic after all), but I’d love to see what the storyboard for this scene was. Anything that might provide a clue as to what that shot was supposed to look like.
I could go on, the whole piece is a case study in bad animation, I think the thing which really makes it such a masterpiece is that it’s an entire scene that is poorly animated. Sonic Underground’s animation as a whole was generally competent, but always on the verge of going off the rails. However it’s rare to see a whole scene where everything goes so spectacularly wrong. Oh, and there’s that dinosaur at the end.
Wang Yan || Fan Yilin Deng Yalan || Zhu Xiaofang Hong Ke || Liu Ying Chen Zhaohui
Xu Chujun, Yi Ruoyang, Zhang Yan, Zhu Jialin, Zhou Lu, Xiao Jiale, Mei Jie, Liu Zhilin, Qin Chang, Li Ziqi, Zhou Jie, Lin Yitong, Li Haiming, Lin Jinyu, Kui Simin, Yao Shunyu, Xi Beini, Mao Yi, Wang Chuqiao, Li Linxi, Li Yanye, Wang Qianmei, Yuan Xiaoyang.