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Thread: Filmation: MOTU's Greatest Blessing and Curse?

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    Heroic Instruct-Or He-Mun's Avatar
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    Filmation: MOTU's Greatest Blessing and Curse?

    The Saban/Levy soundtrack, the incredible backgrounds of Eternia, the transformation sequence, and the booming yet subtle confidence of the voice of He-Man. These are just a few of the many great things I LOVE about the original show. There is no denying that it had some cool stuff. For a lot of people, the Filmation show IS Masters of the Universe. And to be more accurate, they probably just refer to it as He-Man.

    The show was a hit for a few years and led the way with toy programming. Other shows would follow in its footsteps: G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Thundercats, to name a few. These latter shows are remembered with awe and reverence but "He-Man" is remembered for the ambiguous Prince Adam and the bumbling Skeletor. If you don't believe me, think back to any conversations you've had with non-MOTU fans or the way the line is represented in media - Robot Chicken skits, the 4 Non Blondes Techno remix, etc. (both of which I enjoy, btw)

    I don't think there can be any doubt that Filmation played a HUGE part in the surge of MOTU's popularity but I also think that the show is why many left it behind as they got older or never got into it to begin with.

    Now, this is all coming from my perspective of things. I was born in 86. I watched reruns of the show as a kid but had scant memories of it until a good friend bought a VHS of a few episodes for my 8th birthday. I did however have a sizable collection of the figures and Castle Grayskull that my older cousins passed down. I LOVED my Masters of the Universe toys and anything MOTU I could find. I would garage sale hop on weekends with my Grandmother and borrow Golden Books from my local library, I couldn't get enough it.

    And to be clear, I like the Filmation show; I own the entire series of MOTU and Season One of POP. I just feel that while the Filmation show definitely spiked MOTU's popularity, it also led to its eventual plummet.

    Agree/disagree? Would the brand have had a different fate without the show? What do you guys/gals think? Most of you were able to experience this first hand while I am just speculating based on my experiences.
    Last edited by He-Mun; March 27, 2017 at 03:17pm. Reason: grammar/sp


    Travel down the Rabbit Hole into my take on the Eternian Mythos:

    Direct link to the Google Slides - https://goo.gl/0DJy5p

    Link to my Thread in the Fan Fiction Forums - http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...e-MOTU-Mythos)

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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Mun View Post
    The Saban/Levy soundtrack, the incredible backgrounds of Eternia, the transformation sequence, and the booming yet subtle confidence of the voice of He-Man. These are just a few of the many great things I LOVE about the original show. There is no denying that it had some cool stuff. For a lot of people, the Filmation show IS Masters of the Universe. And to be more accurate, they probably just refer to it as He-Man.

    The show was a hit for a few years and led the way with toy programming. Other shows would follow in its footsteps: G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Thundercats, to name a few. These latter shows are remembered with awe and reverence but "He-Man" is remembered for the ambiguous Prince Adam and the bumbling Skeletor. If you don't believe me, think back to any conversations you've had with non-MOTU fans or the way the line is represented in media - Robot Chicken skits, the 4 Non Blondes Techno remix, etc. (both of which I enjoy, btw)

    I don't think there can be any doubt that Filmation played a HUGE part in the surge of MOTU's popularity but I also think that the show is why many left it behind as they got older or never got into it to begin with.

    Now, this is all coming from my perspective of things. I was born in 86. I watched reruns of the show as a kid but had scant memories of it until a good friend bought a VHS of a few episodes for my 8th birthday. I did however have a sizable collection of the figures and Castle Grayskull that my older cousins passed down. I LOVED my Masters of the Universe toys and anything MOTU I could find. I would garage sale hop on weekends with my Grandmother and borrowe Golden Books from my local library, I couldn't get enough it.

    And to be clear, I like the Filmation show; I own the entire season of MOTU and Season One of POP. I just feel that while the Filmation show definitely spiked MOTU's popularity, it also led to its eventual plummet.

    Agree/disagree? Would the brand have had a different fate without the show? What do you guys/gals think? Most of you were able to experience this first hand while I am just speculating based on my experiences.
    It's really hard to say. The original He-Man concept seemed like it could have appealed to older kids - you can see the inherent drama of violent conflict in the design of the figures themselves. But, Mattel and Filmation seemed to want to market to pretty young kids, like 5 and 6 year olds. So maybe that caused kids to grow out of it faster than they might have otherwise? I don't know. I think we can only guess.

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    You can't really expect a show made for 8-12 year olds to hold up to critical scrutiny as you get older. Filmation was making just about the best cartoons for the era. He-Man and She-Ra were very good, as well as Ghostbusters and Bravestarr which I watched quite a bit growing up as well.

    There are better cartoons made these days, as the industry has figured out how to make cartoons and anime that can appeal to adults as well, but none of that was really around in the early 80s. Many of the things you mentions about the cartoon are its best points, I agree.

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    Considering you were born in 1986 and MOTU crashed pretty good in 1987, I think you missed getting the nostalgia factor that a lot of people born earlier got who were into the toyline at the beginning and caught the original Filmation He-Man run in syndication. The toyline really picked up popularity when the cartoon show hit. Once new episodes no longer aired, the toyline started to die out. Thundercats fizzled away like MOTU and was never close to being as popular as MOTU, Transformers, or G.I. Joe were at their height. Thundercats 2011 had a pretty quick death. Despite Transformers and G.I. Joe falling in popularity in the late 80s as well, Hasbro didn't give up on them and churned out several new toylines and shows over the years, some more popular than others. Mattel did try the He-Man in space concept, but when that didn't work out so well, gave up on it until 200X. I think G.I Joe with things such as Battle Force 2000 and Transformers with Pretenders and Headmasters were also grasping for straws a bit at the end of their G1 runs. No brand can last for ever without rebooting itself every so often. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which took over as one the of the late 80s popular toylines) is already going to reboot itself in 2018 as the 2012 show and toyline is coming to an end after a good run.

    The Filmation show news that it was coming out on DVD from BCI is actually why I finally joined these boards in 2005. I also think that nostalgia for both the cartoon and original toyline has fueled the Classics line to last about a decade. Even though MOTU does not have cons the size of what Transformers or G.I. Joe have, just the fact that it has a convention puts it ahead of many cartoons and toylines of the 80s.

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    Without filmation this toyline would have never took off.
    The true power of childhood is imagination.

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    Heroic Instruct-Or He-Mun's Avatar
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    Appreciate all of the feedback. Interesting thoughts.

    Quote Originally Posted by speldor View Post
    Without filmation this toyline would have never took off.
    I do not disagree. My thought was that Filmation was a blessing and a curse. I think Filmation is what caused the brand to skyrocket, without a doubt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
    Thundercats fizzled away like MOTU and was never close to being as popular as MOTU, Transformers, or G.I. Joe were at their height. Thundercats 2011 had a pretty quick death.
    True, but look how they are remembered. G.I. Joe, Transformers and Thundercats are still well liked by the casual child who grew up in the 80's and some who did after. MOTU is the one that is made fun of, more often than not. And I definitely agree about the importance of keeping a property fresh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    You can't really expect a show made for 8-12 year olds to hold up to critical scrutiny as you get older. Filmation was making just about the best cartoons for the era. He-Man and She-Ra were very good, as well as Ghostbusters and Bravestarr which I watched quite a bit growing up as well.
    G.I. Joe and Transformers hold up very well to scrutiny. The interplays and dynamics between many characters were phenomenal. Yet, for MOTU, Beastman is called 'fur face' and thrown into the mud. I'd even argue that the show was probably made for a much younger demographic than 8-12 year olds. Maybe 5-9 year olds?


    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    It's really hard to say. The original He-Man concept seemed like it could have appealed to older kids - you can see the inherent drama of violent conflict in the design of the figures themselves. But, Mattel and Filmation seemed to want to market to pretty young kids, like 5 and 6 year olds. So maybe that caused kids to grow out of it faster than they might have otherwise? I don't know. I think we can only guess.
    Agreed. We'll never truly know how things could have been otherwise.

    Again, thank you everyone for the feedback. And let me note again, I am NOT knocking Filmation or the series. I love both of them. If that is what is coming across, then I apologize.


    Travel down the Rabbit Hole into my take on the Eternian Mythos:

    Direct link to the Google Slides - https://goo.gl/0DJy5p

    Link to my Thread in the Fan Fiction Forums - http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...e-MOTU-Mythos)

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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Mun View Post
    True, but look how they are remembered. G.I. Joe, Transformers and Thundercats are still well liked by the casual child who grew up in the 80's and some who did after. MOTU is the one that is made fun of, more often than not. And I definitely agree about the importance of keeping a property fresh.
    You have to remember that because Masters of the Universe aired years earlier than G.I. Joe and Transformers, Filmation had to deal with FCC issues that these other shows, AFAIK, didn't. He-Man was rarely allowed to punch people directly - She-Ra never was. The moral at the end of the show was REQUIRED in order to convince censors that the show was not just a blatant advertisement for the toyline. These rules governing children's programming eventually relaxed, but He-Man was pushing the boundaries in 1982.

    You're not wrong about the bumbling villains, but take it for what it is. Without Skeletor's goofy, easily aggravated villainy and Alan Oppenheimer's signature delivery, there would have been no inspiration for The Monarch, which would make The Venture Bros. a far less entertaining show.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz4PdpfI7zY

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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    Without Skeletor's goofy, easily aggravated villainy and Alan Oppenheimer's signature delivery, there would have been no inspiration for The Monarch, which would make The Venture Bros. a far less entertaining show.
    Way too true Hooray for silver linings - Said in Dr. Mrs. the Monarch's voice


    Travel down the Rabbit Hole into my take on the Eternian Mythos:

    Direct link to the Google Slides - https://goo.gl/0DJy5p

    Link to my Thread in the Fan Fiction Forums - http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...e-MOTU-Mythos)

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    I think if the later years had held up to season 1's quality, things may have done better. Skeletor became a goof and was in more episodes. Season 1 had a lot of other villains around. She-Ra had strong writing but also a lot of mandates on it that kept Hordak a villain, even for all the times he could have learned better.

    Did the show perhaps suffer a bit from the moral guardians and the forced lessons? Maybe some. All these shows suffered greatly from the heroes having weapons they were never allowed to use for their intended purpose. Our main hero has a sword but he uses it like a shield much of the time. Rarely do we even see him use it to cut anything. It's never swung at Skeletor. Transformers was probably one of the few cartoons where anyone actually got shot on a regular basis.

    The budget probably did hurt, though in hindsight a lot of the 80s animation studios didn't output artistic masterpieces. Sunbow toons can be weird to watch for their animation errors. Former Filmation employees have aired some of the difficulties they had. John K. basically confirmed almost no one at Dic cared about the quality and barely reviewed animation they got back, only satisfied they met deadlines. I've reviewed RGB episodes for screencaps, the quality in character model consistency is all over the place in that show.

    Notable animation error episode "Carnage In C-Minor" of Transformers, that one I suspect was done on purpose by the animators just to see if anyone back in America would complain. The fact it aired as-is probably stunned the trolls responsible. I have to doubt that was just accident because while Transformers had poor animation, it was never that bad for an entire episode prior.

    Filmation's MOTU promo animation was high quality but also exceptionally expensive.

    But that's implying the cartoon was the sole reason the line ended. It's likely not. The cartoon actually ended before the toys, though She-Ra was more or less a continuation.

    When MOTU debuted there weren't too many other toy brands out to compete against. By the end, regardless of Mattel's push for new body molds and new gimmicks, they were competing against GI Joe, Transformers, the start of TMNT and piles of other brands. Many brands were crushed in the mix. MOTU couldn't keep up, I think kids were getting sick of it, more interested in the new brands. The rubber band legs may not have helped much since those were an easy point of breakage and back then there was no widespread repair method for them. And with every toy sharing the same build and pose, there was perhaps too little variety between characters once they'd made so many.

    She-Ra's toys being so different may not have helped. Nothing marketed for the boys, and the toys themselves were barely related to the cartoon. The toys barely even looked like the cartoon and the comics had a much different plot. The toys barely even tried to present themselves as being a related brand. They were marketed towards girls as warrior Barbie, but not to fans of MOTU.

    I can understand why NA didn't last. They toys weren't the same, and if you took out He-Man and Skeletor, the cartoon itself could have been its own unique story.

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    In my part of the global village , the MOTU toys came out 1 or 2 months before the show aired . I recall wanting those before any cartoon influence .

    I always held a torch for MOTU growing up even into my teens . It was the filmation cartoons that I was interested in collecting . I never watched them all and this annoyed me . This was before DVD . I was aware of VHS storage and how many Heman toons were out there . I pretty much believed i would never see them all .
    I was pretty much exposed to all the toy options even if i could not buy them all i was on a certain level satisfied

    I cannot tell you how happy I was when the invention of DVDs and later DVD boxsets combined with amazon .UK shipping came out . I had a chance to see and own them all . This was literally a life dream realized.

    I never thought once about using ebay to buy vintage toys and believe me i am that cliche creepy dude who spends his days roaming in Toys R US and examining the new Pinky Pie bakery cottage toy and making your kiddies uncomfy cause I am hogging their section .
    I love toys and if by some miracle they did make MOTU toys available here i might have collected but my Amazon fun was grabbing all the toons and boxsets and best of,s

    My very first Amazon buy was Buffy Season 1 for 80 bucks and A few MOTU semi bootleg? That covered half of season 1 for 10 bucks each. This was just before the BCI best of episodes which I grabbed too.

    Its definately the filmation cartoons that had a greater impact on my later life. Yes when I rewatched em I laughed a bit more at the sillyness and budget stock footage but I understood the target audience and my big boy brain vs kid brain.

    Blessing or curse ? Toys or Toons ? I say its not one or the other but both at once that made the magic happen .
    Last edited by Lokus; March 28, 2017 at 06:19am.

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    Browncoat Firefly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diosoth View Post
    Notable animation error episode "Carnage In C-Minor" of Transformers, that one I suspect was done on purpose by the animators just to see if anyone back in America would complain. The fact it aired as-is probably stunned the trolls responsible. I have to doubt that was just accident because while Transformers had poor animation, it was never that bad for an entire episode prior.
    The animation errors are pretty bad in Transformers throughout its run, even my kids can point them out. I also think they didn't do a good job of character development, especially in seasons 2 and 3. All the different transformers all the time just seemed pretty random and really felt you were getting beat over the head to buy toys. I'll give them some credit for trying a little continuity at times, but even that would contradict itself. I think the Constructicons had like 3 different origins. They also couldn't make up their minds on who died and who didn't around the events of Transformers: The Movie, even during the movie itself (where probably due the animation errors some show up later). That said, G1 was probably my favorite Transformers show. If you go on Transformer websites, one will see a lot of the hardcore Transformers fans picking shows like Beast Wars, Prime, or other shows above it that never quite equaled its success, though.

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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Mun View Post
    Appreciate all of the feedback. Interesting thoughts.


    I do not disagree. My thought was that Filmation was a blessing and a curse. I think Filmation is what caused the brand to skyrocket, without a doubt.


    True, but look how they are remembered. G.I. Joe, Transformers and Thundercats are still well liked by the casual child who grew up in the 80's and some who did after. MOTU is the one that is made fun of, more often than not. And I definitely agree about the importance of keeping a property fresh.


    G.I. Joe and Transformers hold up very well to scrutiny. The interplays and dynamics between many characters were phenomenal. Yet, for MOTU, Beastman is called 'fur face' and thrown into the mud. I'd even argue that the show was probably made for a much younger demographic than 8-12 year olds. Maybe 5-9 year olds?



    Agreed. We'll never truly know how things could have been otherwise.

    Again, thank you everyone for the feedback. And let me note again, I am NOT knocking Filmation or the series. I love both of them. If that is what is coming across, then I apologize.
    I will say that I was most into He-Man from ages 5-8. After that I started getting into GI Joe more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Mun View Post
    The show was a hit for a few years and led the way with toy programming. Other shows would follow in its footsteps: G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Thundercats, to name a few. These latter shows are remembered with awe and reverence but "He-Man" is remembered for the ambiguous Prince Adam and the bumbling Skeletor. If you don't believe me, think back to any conversations you've had with non-MOTU fans or the way the line is represented in media - Robot Chicken skits, the 4 Non Blondes Techno remix, etc. (both of which I enjoy, btw)
    To be fair, Robot Chicken and the like rely on sarcasm and jokes for their success - and there isn't anything that they don't poke fun at. Look at Star Wars. I love Star Wars. But Robot Chicken has done a lot of skits where they jab fun at Star Wars. I think He-Man and the Filmation version were done for a specific era of time - where the show was about teaching morals by the end of the show. This is the same thing GI Joe did, but He-Man really made a point of it back then. I don't think a lot of people, older now, feel the need of being told what is wrong or right. (To be fair, I bought all of the He-Man as they came on DVD a few years back - ripped them - and they're on my external drive I take on vacation, along with other movies - and I've watched them from time to time and still enjoyed them).

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    As a kid I was introduced to the toys and minicomics first, then later the Filmation cartoon. I loved being able to see the He-man cartoons but it didn't take long before I got tired of all the villians being ridiculously silly and weak. No real battles unless it was against robots. I got to a point where the only reason I watched was in hopes that they would show new characters, which was rare. Some episodes I still really enjoyed though.

    I can say this, for a toy line that sported nearly naked muscle men and occult type characters, the cartoon probably was a major difference maker for parents buying their kids the toys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dice View Post
    As a kid I was introduced to the toys and minicomics first, then later the Filmation cartoon. I loved being able to see the He-man cartoons but it didn't take long before I got tired of all the villians being ridiculously silly and weak. No real battles unless it was against robots. I got to a point where the only reason I watched was in hopes that they would show new characters, which was rare. Some episodes I still really enjoyed though. I can say this, for a toy line that sported nearly naked muscle men and occult type characters, the cartoon probably was a major difference maker for parents buying their kids the toys.
    Heh - my mother (who was pretty religious) actually didn't mind all the He-Man toys I got (or pleaded for, cried for, etc) for Christmas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam-X View Post
    Heh - my mother (who was pretty religious) actually didn't mind all the He-Man toys I got (or pleaded for, cried for, etc) for Christmas.
    That reminds me, the neighbor kids who lived next door weren't allowed to play with He-Man toys because Skeletor gave them nightmares! (also ????) (also )

    Apparently the Star Wars toys were far less scary...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    That reminds me, the neighbor kids who lived next door weren't allowed to play with He-Man toys because Skeletor gave them nightmares! (also ????) (also )

    Apparently the Star Wars toys were far less scary...
    Sucks man . I too was stuck with only the boring and good looking toys for a purgatory of 6 to 8 months before I got my hands on a good ol Skeletor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by diosoth View Post
    I think if the later years had held up to season 1's quality, things may have done better. Skeletor became a goof and was in more episodes.
    HELLO_CHUMPS.jpg
    Like this?? lol

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Dice View Post
    I can say this, for a toy line that sported nearly naked muscle men and occult type characters, the cartoon probably was a major difference maker for parents buying their kids the toys.
    VERY valid point


    Travel down the Rabbit Hole into my take on the Eternian Mythos:

    Direct link to the Google Slides - https://goo.gl/0DJy5p

    Link to my Thread in the Fan Fiction Forums - http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...e-MOTU-Mythos)

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    I can say this, for a toy line that sported nearly naked muscle men and occult type characters, the cartoon probably was a major difference maker for parents buying their kids the toys.
    Assuming they sat down and watched it . I cannot recall my parents doing that beyond walking into the room and catching a bit part .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam-X View Post
    Heh - my mother (who was pretty religious) actually didn't mind all the He-Man toys I got (or pleaded for, cried for, etc) for Christmas.
    My mother was as well. She didn't mind the toys but once waited to give us our (My brothers and I) Christmas gift we were supposed to get during a church party till we got home. It was the Horde Fright Zone and most of the Horde figures and I guess she was embarrassed of what the other moms might think.

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    Born in 1978 it was also the cartoons who eventually got me into the toy line somewhere in 1985 (in Belgium it all came a bit later and I was also a bit late to the party). Together with Playmobil and Lego, MOTU were my favorite toys. I still have vintage Lego sets as collector's items, Playmobil doesn't interest me no more. Nowadays I'm mostly focusing on building up MOTU and POP collection. As a kid I had little interest in She-Ra but watching all of the She-ra episodes as an adult I do believe it is the better show of the 2. The toyline was surely aimed at girls, but I think the show must have appealed to both genders. Yeah POP cartoon also had the dumb monsters and with Madame Razz a comical relief like Orko in MOTU. However I think overall the show had more gender equality giving the Evil Hordesmen from the MOTU toy line a purpose, having Catra and other villainesses join them. By having episodes Adam/He-Man visiting his sister MOTU stayed in the picture too. Nope the Filmation animations surely didn't kill my interest in the toys. Actually what killed it for me was the change of heart in the toy line. The last 2 waves started to focus on figures that hardly caught my attention. The Snakemen, prehistoric beasts nah. Live action movie which totally didn't capture the spirit of the animation nor the toyline or comics. It felt more like some Star Wars fanboys written piece (yeah I really hate SW). Last but not least getting older (and more interest in girls) the lack of female characters in MOTU was starting to bother me. Probably a reason why I collect now from both POP and MOTU and from MOTUC as well, and it's nice to have this collection where the ladies get a bigger representation, something that would have not been possible focusing solely on MOTU figures.
    Would I buy the MOTU and POP DVD boxes when an interesting offer is there? Yes, but I would be more inclined to watch the She-Ra cartoons than He-Man's. At least POP does also star He-Man on occasion.
    However the toys remain my most important thing reliving the memory. I think if I would have all the figures I wanted, I would possibly go for the mini comics next which do capture the darker aspect of the MOTU/POP universe much better than the cartoons. I remember those being more violent and cruel unlike the cartoons where there was more room for silliness. Being both fantasy and horror fan that isn't strange. That's also why I never got really that crazy about toy lines like GI Joe which were more focused on real people, and action no real place for fantasy, sword & sorcery & monsters which I prefer.

    Hope this made sense, that's how it has been for me even though I might have been going a bit of topic here...

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexspyforever View Post
    Hope this made sense, that's how it has been for me even though I might have been going a bit of topic here...
    Haha, it made sense



    Quote Originally Posted by alexspyforever View Post
    but watching all of the She-ra episodes as an adult I do believe it is the better show of the 2.
    Agreed. The first 5 episodes are definitely fantastic.


    Travel down the Rabbit Hole into my take on the Eternian Mythos:

    Direct link to the Google Slides - https://goo.gl/0DJy5p

    Link to my Thread in the Fan Fiction Forums - http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...e-MOTU-Mythos)

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    So in my humble opinion, yes i agree with the title's thread. No one can't deny the importance of the Filmation cartoons, to He-Man's early success, and of course to how the franchise is remembered as a public image. But (and this is a big but) the cartoons themelves didn't age well. Generally from what i read in various forums not MOTU related, the consensus is that while some of the classic cartoons like Thundercats and Silverhawks aged well, and remembered with a certain respect, the MOTU Filmation cartoons are not. They have the nostalgia value, but the various flaws are constantly emerging and criticized, in the various discussions. And of course the memes, that accompany them usually don't leave much space to talk about them further
    I believe that you nailed it perfectly.

    Filmation as much as good it did for the raising popularity of MOTU between '83 and '85, it was also one of the main reasons for its downfall, or if you like, the reason of why MOTU is remembered mainly as an 80's cheesy cartoon. Filmation apart from the cheesiness, it was much of departure from the original concept of MOTU. In the first mini comics, and the awesome box art, Eternia was depicted as savage post apocalyptic world with reminiscing of a previous advanced civilization. It was also a primal world with a volcanic and desolated landscape, a wasteland full of mystery. It was a world to discover through the eyes of a young wandering barbarian, who left his tribe to face the dangers of the unknown. It was an awesome, simple but incredibly mature concept that neither Filmation He-Man or She-Ra could never approach. The mini comics gave a sense to why Eternia was looking like that, why there was this mix of mystical and technological aspect. And foremost He-Man's appearance himself make sense, because this was how a tribal barbarian should look like, a not certainly the whole royal that loses his pants non sense. It was a story that has a beginning, but that at the same time leaving open a lot of questions about Eternia's past. The very first mission of He-Man was a quest. A quest for find the mythical Castle Grayskull and the two halves of the Power Sword, the key for the Castle itself, in a race against the forces of Darkness, since the Power Sword was not given for granted to He-Man, who fought with an AXE in his hand. This story has far superior than anything He-Man and She-Ra related came afterwards with the Filmation. And this because Filmation took away this Origin story. True that Prince Adam was introduced in the first DC mini series in 1982, but Filmation didn't bring this Prince Adam on screen either. The first Prince Adam still was the wandering barbarian, maybe not the one from the mini comics, but he had the same spirit. Filmation waterdowned both Adam and He-Man, while never offered an origin story for the main character and how he obtained the Power Sword. And of course the tone was completely shift from the mini comics, the box art, even the toys themeselves in a certain sense, and this was another weak point. Then with She-Ra, it was completely derailed to a Star Wars-like story, losing the original mystical, Sword and Sorcery aspect and atmosphere. The battle damaged barbarian characters from He-Man were looking out of place on the Etheria more fairytail part. He-Man himself came to look as a caricature, in a world that he didn't fit in. And this discrepancy will be complete a few years later with the New Adventures. All this, alongside with the rapid decline of the Sword & Sorcery or Sword and Planet genre, and the failure that came along, didn't allow He-Man, MOTU and Eternia to grow to something timeless. Something more than a cheesy cartoon or a toy line. Something that could unleash its awesome potential.

    Then the 2002 cartoon came. And for the 1st time the cartoons and the comics from that era, started to build MOTU seriously. And not just He-Man, Teela, or the Sorceress. But also Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, and most important the B-listers. For example Tri-Klops who was turned to a comical character in the Filmation cartoon, now became an awesome villain (as he was in his first mini comic appearance). Trap-Jaw from a clown, became Kronis the man that challenged Skeletor himself for the rule of Snake Mountain. And many other examples as well like Mekaneck, Man-E-Faces, Count Marzo etc. Adam's transformation for the 1st time made sense, not only because he looked different from He-Man, but mainly because they give a plausible explanation of why he looked like a barbarian, and not just some random taned body builder with a furry underpants appearance (that was one of the main reasons that Filmation He-Man is frequently mocked, alongside the pink/purple Adam's appearance). Anyway for all the reasons already discussed elsewhere the 2002 He-Man failed (even if presonally i consider it the best MOTU related animated series ever done, by far), and this was the great loss for the franchise. Because if the 2002 He-Man had succeeded, the pubblic image of He-Man and MOTU would be a lot better.

    So in my humble opinion, yes i agree with the title's thread. No one can't deny the importance of the Filmation cartoons, to He-Man's early success, and of course to how the franchise is remembered as a public image. But (and this is a big but) the cartoons themelves didn't age well. Generally from what i read in various forums not MOTU related, the consensus is that while some of the classic cartoons like Thundercats and Silverhawks aged well, and remembered with a certain respect, the MOTU Filmation cartoons are not. They have the nostalgia value, but the various flaws are constantly emerging and criticized, in the various discussions. And of course the memes, that accompany them usually don't leave much space to talk about them further.
    Last edited by granamyr80; March 31, 2017 at 11:52pm.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by granamyr80 View Post
    I believe that you nailed it perfectly.

    Filmation as much as good it did for the raising popularity of MOTU between '83 and '85, it was also one of the main reasons for its downfall, or if you like, the reason of why MOTU is remembered mainly as an 80's cheesy cartoon. Filmation apart from the cheesiness, it was much of departure from the original concept of MOTU. In the first mini comics, and the awesome box art, Eternia was depicted as savage post apocalyptic world with reminiscing of a previous advanced civilization. It was also a primal world with a volcanic and desolated landscape, a wasteland full of mystery. It was a world to discover through the eyes of a young wandering barbarian, who left his tribe to face the dangers of the unknown. It was an awesome, simple but incredibly mature concept that neither Filmation He-Man or She-Ra could never approach. The mini comics gave a sense to why Eternia was looking like that, why there was this mix of mystical and technological aspect. And foremost He-Man's appearance himself make sense, because this was how a tribal barbarian should look like, a not certainly the whole royal that loses his pants non sense. It was a story that has a beginning, but that at the same time leaving open a lot of questions about Eternia's past. The very first mission of He-Man was a quest. A quest for find the mythical Castle Grayskull and the two halves of the Power Sword, the key for the Castle itself, in a race against the forces of Darkness, since the Power Sword was not given for granted to He-Man, who fought with an AXE in his hand. This story has far superior than anything He-Man and She-Ra related came afterwards with the Filmation. And this because Filmation took away this Origin story. True that Prince Adam was introduced in the first DC mini series in 1982, but Filmation didn't bring this Prince Adam on screen either. The first Prince Adam still was the wandering barbarian, maybe not the one from the mini comics, but he had the same spirit. Filmation waterdowned both Adam and He-Man, while never offered an origin story for the main character and how he obtained the Power Sword. And of course the tone was completely shift from the mini comics, the box art, even the toys themeselves in a certain sense, and this was another weak point. Then with She-Ra, it was completely derailed to a Star Wars-like story, losing the original mystical, Sword and Sorcery aspect and atmosphere. The battle damaged barbarian characters from He-Man were looking out of place on the Etheria more fairytail part. He-Man himself came to look as a caricature, in a world that he didn't fit in. And this discrepancy will be complete a few years later with the New Adventures. All this, alongside with the rapid decline of the Sword & Sorcery or Sword and Planet genre, and the failure that came along, didn't allow He-Man, MOTU and Eternia to grow to something timeless. Something more than a cheesy cartoon or a toy line. Something that could unleash its awesome potential.

    Then the 2002 cartoon came. And for the 1st time the cartoons and the comics from that era, started to build MOTU seriously. And not just He-Man, Teela, or the Sorceress. But also Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, and most important the B-listers. For example Tri-Klops who was turned to a comical character in the Filmation cartoon, now became an awesome villain (as he was in his first mini comic appearance). Trap-Jaw from a clown, became Kronis the man that challenged Skeletor himself for the rule of Snake Mountain. And many other examples as well like Mekaneck, Man-E-Faces, Count Marzo etc. Adam's transformation for the 1st time made sense, not only because he looked different from He-Man, but mainly because they give a plausible explanation of why he looked like a barbarian, and not just some random taned body builder with a furry underpants appearance (that was one of the main reasons that Filmation He-Man is frequently mocked, alongside the pink/purple Adam's appearance). Anyway for all the reasons already discussed elsewhere the 2002 He-Man failed (even if presonally i consider it the best MOTU related animated series ever done, by far), and this was the great loss for the franchise. Because if the 2002 He-Man had succeeded, the pubblic image of He-Man and MOTU would be a lot better.

    So in my humble opinion, yes i agree with the title's thread. No one can't deny the importance of the Filmation cartoons, to He-Man's early success, and of course to how the franchise is remembered as a public image. But (and this is a big but) the cartoons themelves didn't age well. Generally from what i read in various forums not MOTU related, the consensus is that while some of the classic cartoons like Thundercats and Silverhawks aged well, and remembered with a certain respect, the MOTU Filmation cartoons are not. They have the nostalgia value, but the various flaws are constantly emerging and criticized, in the various discussions. And of course the memes, that accompany them usually don't leave much space to talk about them further.
    I basically agree with what you said. Especially the part that the Filmation cartoons toned down the style, the darkness, the origins and the stories of the characters all the things that were found in the comics. I always wondered why He-Man never wielded that awesome axe in the cartoons. I guess had the cartoons looked more like Ralph Bakshi's animated feature Fire and Ice, we would have had something that would have appealed more to the sword and sorcery fans. We have blonde hero Larn (looks bit like He-Man), the sexy voloptuous Teegra (hm sounds like Teela doesn't it?) and the mysterious Darkwolf a fierce warrior wielding an axe but fighting for the good cause against the evil prince of Ice, Nekron. Of course it would not have appealed to kids and if it did I think many parents would not allow their children to watch it. They would also never be happy if their kids would have an action figure of the busty Teegra whose outfit is really skimpy too. That said as an adult I would love to have action figures of this animation if anyone would ever do so.

    Still I love the She-Ra cartoons bringing variety in the male dominiated MOTU world. I do love the fantasy fairy tale aspect too, always did. Characters like Perfuma, Spinnerella, Frosta, Castaspella might look too girly to take on the evil forces but still display some awesome powers to bring a solution. I guess I always might have been a fan of magic over brute strength that's just me. I just find it cool to have this universe where dark and light can both exist, masculine and feminine stuff, a good mixture. That is something Etheria could offer much better than Eternia IMO. Still I love He-Man without him there would have been no She-Ra and I remain a fan of both toy lines (MOTU/POP).

    Yes true She-Ra cartoons did have elements of Star Wars like the Horde Troopers, lasers etc. He-Man however did no better in that aspect in both cartoons and toy line with the various war vehicles being released. Such vehicles don't really fit in a world of sword and sorcery in my opinion. Even in the first wave there was Wind Raider and Battle Ram. It's the live action movie who probably did it the most blatantly looking like a Star Wars rip of. Life is too short to say how much I hated that thing. From having the story play on Earth half the time to the annoying Gwildor and Teela's ugly outfit, there is just nothing they did right.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexspyforever View Post
    I basically agree with what you said. Especially the part that the Filmation cartoons toned down the style, the darkness, the origins and the stories of the characters all the things that were found in the comics. I always wondered why He-Man never wielded that awesome axe in the cartoons. I guess had the cartoons looked more like Ralph Bakshi's animated feature Fire and Ice, we would have had something that would have appealed more to the sword and sorcery fans. We have blonde hero Larn (looks bit like He-Man), the sexy voloptuous Teegra (hm sounds like Teela doesn't it?) and the mysterious Darkwolf a fierce warrior wielding an axe but fighting for the good cause against the evil prince of Ice, Nekron. Of course it would not have appealed to kids and if it did I think many parents would not allow their children to watch it. They would also never be happy if their kids would have an action figure of the busty Teegra whose outfit is really skimpy too. That said as an adult I would love to have action figures of this animation if anyone would ever do so.

    Still I love the She-Ra cartoons bringing variety in the male dominiated MOTU world. I do love the fantasy fairy tale aspect too, always did. Characters like Perfuma, Spinnerella, Frosta, Castaspella might look too girly to take on the evil forces but still display some awesome powers to bring a solution. I guess I always might have been a fan of magic over brute strength that's just me. I just find it cool to have this universe where dark and light can both exist, masculine and feminine stuff, a good mixture. That is something Etheria could offer much better than Eternia IMO. Still I love He-Man without him there would have been no She-Ra and I remain a fan of both toy lines (MOTU/POP).

    Yes true She-Ra cartoons did have elements of Star Wars like the Horde Troopers, lasers etc. He-Man however did no better in that aspect in both cartoons and toy line with the various war vehicles being released. Such vehicles don't really fit in a world of sword and sorcery in my opinion. Even in the first wave there was Wind Raider and Battle Ram. It's the live action movie who probably did it the most blatantly looking like a Star Wars rip of. Life is too short to say how much I hated that thing. From having the story play on Earth half the time to the annoying Gwildor and Teela's ugly outfit, there is just nothing they did right.
    The problem was that Filmation waterdowned MOTU a lot. The cartoon could easily be closer to the mini comics and box art, which were a bit more serious without being adult orientated, like the Fire and Ice was. It could be more similar in tone to the contemporaneous Thundarr, for example, avoiding to be so much cheesy.

    I don't think that Eternia was male dominated. It may had fewer female characters than POP, but these female characters were extremely strong characters, and in my opinion with much better build backround stories, in comparison to many POP females. Take for example the 4 main MOTU female characters:
    - The Sorceress: she is the highest authority on the planet, and one of the most spiritual fictional characters ever created. No one can deny her call, no matter how highly is. He-Man is basically a warrior, a soldier under her command, and he must do or go wherever the Sorceress commands without question. Also Teela'Na was one of the few MOTU characters, who had an awesome backstory, and her connection to another key MOTU female character Teela, is one of the main fundaments and plots of the whole MOTU mythos.
    - Teela: the female character that was called the Warrior Goddess of Eternia. The fierce and tough as nails Captain of the entire Guard in a very young age, and the person alongside He-Man trained with. His constant and equal warrior companion, his soulmate and kindred spirit. And a character that connects past, present and future of the MOTU world, with her destiny as future Sorceress and He-Man's wife.
    - Evil-Lyn: Second in command of Skeletor, but also in constant search of a way to overthrow him. While most of the Horde females, with the exception of some episodes are loyal and subservient to Hordak, Evil-Lyn nevers stops to plot against the Lord of Destruction. And i love their toxic relationship. Evil-Lyn also had a great episode with Teela in the Witch the Warrior story, with the two MOTU ladies and archenemies, show a great amount of respect one for the other.
    - Marlena. Last but not least in any way. Marlena has a fantastic background story. She is basically the John Carter of MOTU. A brave female Earth astronaut, ended in a Sword & Sorcery/Sci.fi Fantasy world, and she didn't only survived, but triumphed becoming Queen. It can't be more awesome than that.

    And then there are other secondary strong female characters on Eternia. Shokoti for example was one of the most scary villain of the whole mythos. Or Lady Valtira. Or the amazonian civilization of Arcadia.

    Also Eternia was full of magic, not only muscles. The main villains are mages, and also the Sorceress is forth and center in the MOTU mythos. The main difference with Etheria is that Eternia is a land devastated by wars, a world build around warrior societies, with a huge variety of races (many times not in good terms with each other), and a biodiversity of creatures of any kind (from mythological dragons to prehistoric dinosaurs). The scars of war are evident everywhere and especially to the characters themselves. Many characters like Mekaneck, Fisto, Jitsu, Men-E-Faces, Trap-Jaw, Tri-Klops etc have cybernetic implants, which are implying the hard and battle tormented life that the Eternians have. Heck, the main hero and the main villain they go in battle, riding giant, savage, heavily armored felines. Etheria seemsd a more peaceful world (at least before the Horde's arrival and conquest), and there was a sanctuary like the Whispering Woods to keep away the wars, and the Horde. Eternia on the other hand was a huge battlefield, between mages and warlords of any kind, in a cosmic game of power. If Eternia falls, the Universe falls. That was the premise, and the huge stakes behind it.

    As for the MOTU vehicles i wouldn't say that they were much Star Wars related. Mad Max more likely inspired i would say, according to the mini comics at least. They were relics of the previous Eternian civilization, that was ended from the mysterious Great Wars, that turned Eternia to a post apocalyptic wasteland. And this is one of the fascinating things from the mini comics, the box art, and the toys and characters themselves. This fascinating mystery, this mystical aspect and tormented past, that the first mini comics introduced, but the Filmation cartoon failed to explore, or barely touch. Too bad, that the Powers of Grayskull never make it to an animated series. It could be the chance for Filmation, to do that.
    Last edited by granamyr80; April 1, 2017 at 09:58am.

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