"The Mystery of Man-E-Faces"
Synopsis and Review
Cartoon Series: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - 1983-85
Producer: Filmation
Season: 1
Writer: Paul Dini
Year: 1983
Director: Lou Zukor
Production No: MU043


Original Airdate: ?/?/1983

Getting ready for a celebration, Adam, Orko and Cringer run into Man-E-Faces. Man-At-Arms has never met him, so Adam tells him the story of how they came to know Man-E-Faces. Man-E-Faces terrorized the Widgets and invaded their fortress. The Sorceress warned Adam, who headed to the fortress as He-Man, along with Battle Cat, Teela and Orko. After an intense battle with He-Man, Man-E-Faces was summoned aboard Skeletor's Collector and taken control of by Beast Man. Skeletor attacked Castle Grayskull along with Beast Man and Man-E-Faces, but the Sorceress managed to give Man-E-Faces his free will once again. He-Man and Man-E-Faces boarded Skeletor's collector and wrecked it. Leaping free they watched as the Collector fell into the abyss that surrounds Castle Grayskull. Man-E-Faces agreed to stay with the heroes. In the present Man-At-Arms realizes that hearing the story has caused them all to miss Man-E-Faces performance.

Synopsis by Zadoc Angell

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User Reviews


We open with preparations being made for a royal party, where foolishly Cringer has been entrusted with carrying a cake on his head – I think even at age five I saw the inevitable coming there…

We’re then introduced to Man-E-Faces, affectionately curtailed just to “Man-E” by Prince Adam, making his first of only two appearances in the cartoon. It’s never exactly clear what the hell is up with Man-E. He seems to have been born with a condition where he can change his face at will and apparently, although this is much less clear, other traits as well such as his strength and resistance to electrocution. Anyhow, back in the day Man-E was treated badly for being different. He became an outcast, taking out his frustrations on others including the Widgets (well, who came blame him really?). When he’s captured by Skeletor and forced to attack Castle Grayskull against his will, however, he realises that being a bully isn’t nice and reforms his ways. And so the way is paved for him to become Eternia’s greatest actor. Or at least its greatest impressionist, which everyone on Eternia seems to think is the same thing.

There’s a really good moral message at the heart of this story. The old Man-E looked and acted like a monster but he had his own problems and, when people helped him to address them, he showed he was able to change for the better. The Sorceress’s line about those who seem the worst needing our help the most is, I think, terrific. That core message (and the Sorceress’s cool defence of Castle Grayskull) help make this a good episode, despite the confusion over Man-E’s abilities and some of the other drawbacks. Even the Widgets aren’t as annoying as they can be, and their support for Man-E at the end shows they have learned to forgive and forget.

Slightly surprisingly, the closing moral is nothing to do with the main message woven in throughout the rest of the story. Instead, we have a rather poor exchange between Man-E and Orko about how actors manage to remember their lines. Bizarre!

(If you’ve got any comments or thoughts about the review then please do e-mail me on misterclawful@umpire.com).

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