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Thread: Would NA have been more successful as a toyline if it was more similar to vintage?

  1. #1
    HAAAAAAAAAPPYYYYYYYY..... Prince Adam's Dad's Avatar
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    Would NA have been more successful as a toyline if it was more similar to vintage?

    So my MOTUC NA He-Man shipped, and should be here Wednesday. I'm really excited. I think he looks phenomenal. I had a NA Skeletor, and that was about it from the original NA line. Granted, I was a little past the target age range, but I do know that the popularity just wasn't there like it was with vintage. There was just such an aesthetic difference that it didn't feel like a continuation of the storyline.

    My question is this: do we think that NA would have been more popular the first time around if there was a stronger resemblance to vintage MOTU? Is there a chance it might have grabbed more vintage fans in that case?
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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Someone told me at the time that He-Man was back and I got super excited. Then I saw what the toys looked like. "That isn't He-Man," I said. I never looked at them again.
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  3. #3
    Heroic Warrior goluphi's Avatar
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    I think the biggest failure of the NA He-Man line was its disconnect from the original toy line. The branding on the packages was totally different, the figures were skinnier/taller, and the designs were a huge departure. I understand why they did what they did, but I think it was very misguided. I think a new He-Man line at the time could have been a huge success.

    Anecdotally, I know I would have loved a new He-Man line. I only ever saw NA figures ONCE at Toys R Us. I thought they were some sort of knock off figures or something. Even though they said "He-Man" on them, everything was totally different - it was like a totally unconnected toy line got put in He-Man's place.

    Updates to the old characters, while still keeping them recognizable, would have been a much better move than a totally new cast. And He-Man should have been more recognizable as well. As an adult, I can appreciate the NA line in a different light, and it's sad that the failure of the NA line kept us from having new He-Man figures for 10 years.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by goluphi View Post
    I think the biggest failure of the NA He-Man line was its disconnect from the original toy line. The branding on the packages was totally different, the figures were skinnier/taller, and the designs were a huge departure. I understand why they did what they did, but I think it was very misguided. I think a new He-Man line at the time could have been a huge success.

    Anecdotally, I know I would have loved a new He-Man line. I only ever saw NA figures ONCE at Toys R Us. I thought they were some sort of knock off figures or something. Even though they said "He-Man" on them, everything was totally different - it was like a totally unconnected toy line got put in He-Man's place.

    Updates to the old characters, while still keeping them recognizable, would have been a much better move than a totally new cast. And He-Man should have been more recognizable as well. As an adult, I can appreciate the NA line in a different light, and it's sad that the failure of the NA line kept us from having new He-Man figures for 10 years.
    Best post I have seen lately. I completely agree 100% with you.

  5. #5
    Awesome Warrior Alexx's Avatar
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    *sigh* Yeah, I think that's a resounding "Yes" from everyone. It probably would have. I think I'm one of the few who LOVED the ideas they put forth. It must have just been the exact right time and age for me. I already had fond memories of He-Man at the time, and honestly it wasn't that much of a past memory back then, either. I mean MotU was my first toyline ever - so I was into it when I wasn't able to read or even say the word "Skeletor" (I called him Hehe 'cause of his laugh).

    So I was the exact right age for a new He-Man, and the new look must have been directly up my alley. I loved translucent stuff, so He-Man drew my attention right away. I also associated with the thinner figures, 'cause I was always a skinny little kid. Made He-Man look more like an ideal I could have hit (you know what I mean, it's not like any amount of real work would have gotten me to that point. It's just what kids think, ya know?) Then, of course, I read the minicomics that came with them and OH MAN. Skeletor was so awesome. I was already a fan of his, but when he fixed himself up with cybernetics after getting fried - well, it blew my mind.

    So yeah...it would have gotten mass appeal if they had stuck closer to the vintage style (and maybe didn't ignore so much of the original story). But ya know what? I wouldn't have changed a thing. NA was my own personal little He-Man line for it's time, even though I know I'm not the only fan. Just feels like it was made for me at that moment, ya know?
    Last edited by Alexx; July 12, 2013 at 02:45pm.
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    Heroic Warrior wayne-klops's Avatar
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    I think that for one, the timing was too close to the end of the vintage line. The vintage line ended around 1987-ish, so at 1989-90, it was still pretty fresh in the public's mind. If they were going to make such a big departure from the original line, then they should have waited til further into the 90s in my opinion. I was still collecting toys at the time NA came out, and was very into TMNT at the time. I saw the HE-MAN line and, like many others, did not think that this was a "real" He-man line.

    The other problem was the complete disconnect with the vintage line, save for He-Man and Skeletor, as far as figure selection went. Also, they went from being muscle bound to very small, skinny, "cheaper" figures in a sense. Perhaps remaining truer to the original scale and buck would have been a better idea. But, perhaps since if it had came out a few years later than it did, this wouldn't have mattered, as original MOTU would not be remembered by the target consumer by the mid-90s.

    I definitely didn't embrace NA until the last few years, in large part due to the MOTUC line, and having these characters in the same style as the vintage characters. And althought I've had the NA DVDs for a long time, I previously wasn't able to get into the show. Now that I know the characters a bit better I can appreciate the show much more.

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    Evil Customizer smanomega's Avatar
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    I didn't even know they had a show for this line until I was well into my 20's or joined up here. Didn't matter though I like many others stated, took 1 look at this line in Canadian Tire (where many kids toys go to die) in my later youth and said what the hell left both he-man and skeletor there to rot. Although I remember Optik being pretty cool b ut not cool enough girls in a package would have sold better to me at the time ( sadly I do NOT mean She -ra that was a whole 'nother can of WTF!?
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    Heroic Warrior goluphi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-bro View Post
    Yes

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    Can't argue with that logic.
    Hey, if you want to wallow in the negative, go nuts. Sure, things aren’t absolutely perfect, and people passionate about a property can get all keyed up about things. But I don’t collect toys to be miserable. So I’d rather think about the things that do excite me
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  10. #10
    Heroic Warrior King Criss79's Avatar
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    It's hard to say as I moved on to collecting Hasbro WWF figures.I pretty much got turned away from Motu when they introduced dinosaurs and were calling themselves Powers of Grayskull.I think the creativity of the line had ran its course and there wasn't alot more they could do to save it.All the momentum I had collecting the line was gone.I bet if they had redone the same figures in a 3.75 inch scale ala g.I. Joe I would have collected.

  11. #11
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    I think 2 things killed the New Adventures:

    1) the lack of "retrocompatibility". You could not use the newer figures with older accessories or vehicles, even though the line was meant to be a continuation of the story. This means that if you wanted ANY vehicle or accessory AT ALL for your new action figures, your parents HAD to shell out money to buy new ones. That must've gotten many parents angry.

    2) the horrible, HORRIBLE cartoon. I admit that it was superior to the Filmation cartoon in certain areas (technical realization, being one long story instead of disconnected episodes) but there were a lot of questions it left unanswered. Why do He-Man and Skeletor already look different before leaving Eternia? Why are those scientists so stupid? Why was Christian symbolism shoehorned into the cartoon?
    Mattel already had a solid storyline for the minicomics, which was retold in various comics magazines, but the cartoon chose to ignore it and replace it with something full of plot holes. Why couldn't anyone at Mattel see that it was a bad idea? If the cartoon is supposed to be a 20-minute long commercial for the action figures, but it's so lame that even kids (the target audience) realize it's lame, nobody will buy the action figures because they will infer that they are lame too!

  12. #12
    CRITAcal for MOTUC 2015!! Barezz's Avatar
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    I actually liked the toys more in some cases, because they had unique sculpts, better articulation, and weren't those squat bodies. I do think that the cartoon hurt it in some aspects, not the writing but the animation and some of the voice acting. Anyone tuning in would have a hard time recognizing He-man or Skeletor.

    Now if the show had gone to a second season and moved forward with the plans to return to Eternia it probably would have pulled in more people. But still, the cartoon threw some people off (and continues to).

    For me the NA cartoon is like classic Dr Who. It's not always good, but it becomes something fun to watch none the less. If you can get past the flaws there are a lot of really enjoyable and fun bits.
    Last edited by Barezz; July 23, 2013 at 11:50pm.
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    Defender of the Underdog He-Dad's Avatar
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    Had the figures looked the same as the Vintage I'd of liked them....but as a kid I thought they ruined He-man. Then I saw the cartoon and was done with He-man till my son got interested a year ago. So.....yeah, I think had they been more like the originals and had Filmation done the cartoon I'd have dug em.

  14. #14
    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    I'm gonna say no. If memory serves correct, the NES and Sega Genesis were on fire. Nobody was buying action figures at that time.

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    In hindsight, Mattel should have put out a side-scrolling beat 'em up at arcades like Marvel did the X-MEN.
    And then released a version of that for the Genesis. That would at least have kept the brand from fading away like it did.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
    In hindsight, Mattel should have put out a side-scrolling beat 'em up at arcades like Marvel did the X-MEN.
    And then released a version of that for the Genesis. That would at least have kept the brand from fading away like it did.
    I completely agree. New Adventures (with Mattel backstory) + Genesis? It would've been a 1-2 punch of awesomeness.

  16. #16
    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil Master View Post
    I completely agree. New Adventures (with Mattel backstory) + Genesis? It would've been a 1-2 punch of awesomeness.
    Yeah, a lot of major franchises found a way to use the video game explosion to their advantage. WWF, TMNT, Terminator, Marvel...

    You're talking about a short period of time which established both Nintendo and Sega as very large companies. Safe to say a lot of consumer spending was focused in that area.
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  17. #17
    Heroic Warrior darkmoon766's Avatar
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    Yes.______

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    Disenchanted Toy Hunter 80's Enthusiast's Avatar
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    The premise and designs were cool enough. But the figures were too far a departure from the vintage line.

  19. #19
    just a weirdo dragonrider1227's Avatar
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    Probably not considering the Ninja turtles probably would've blown them out of the water regardless.
    Although it may have lasted a bit longer. Especially considering the vintage figures actually bear a slight resemblance to the vintage TMNT toys. they have a similar stance I think

  20. #20
    Heroic Warrior Captain Atkin's Avatar
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    Yes. I think if they had the same traditional build as the 80s figures, they would have done better as a toy line.

  21. #21
    Orko's overweight cousin Bulun's Avatar
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    While I didn't have the whole line I remember getting the beefier he-man back in the day and thinking it was a cool toy.

    That being said, I think some link to the vintage would have helped. This toy line could have evolved the form of the action figure further like they did with the vintage line. I don't recall seeing ripped action figures back in the 80s (other than moth). They did something different. Where as the NA line simply followed the status quo of the way toys where done in the early 90s...you know like crap. It just seemed lazy for mattel to make these toys. It was like they thought they could simply slap the moth name on something and it would sell gang busters.
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  22. #22
    Lightning League Leader kylun flac's Avatar
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    I would have loved the figures more & would have collected them if they were executed like the vintage motu figures.
    I was turned off because they were not in scale & looked repulsive.
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  23. #23
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    Wow, it's like the first two responders here are inside my head...
    Same here- I was all, "Cool! Where are theyohmygoshwhathavetheydone..."
    I also love the idea of continuing the saga, even with the 1930's pulp-style refit of the mini-comics (loves me some '30's pulp sci-fi), but as it was mentioned above, too many changes, too fast.
    NUMBER ONE KILLER: SCALE CHANGE. Look at how many people are going NUTS over the 4H renditions of the NA lineup, many admitting that they hadn't planned on looking twice at NA figures- Classics are all ONE SCALE. To people like me, that's huge, and allows for some latitude in preference about Comic/Filmation/NA/PoP. So much so, that I'm now collecting ALL of them that I can.
    Number two: Slight improvements in articulation cancelled out by flea-market figure sculpting. Honestly, my first look at them, and I scanned the package to see if the license had been picked up by Ja-Ru, or some other checkout-line toy company. It was a huge step backward for a line that I had fallen in love with, partly due to its sharp, imaginative sculpts. Again, Classics' sculpts are mending fences pretty well for me.
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  24. #24
    Heroic Warrior hauke's Avatar
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    Personally I loved the more realistic look of the skinny NA figures. At that time I thought the old Motu figures looked strange compared to other toys I played with like Star Wars, Super Powers or Secret Wars. Their stubby legs just made them look weird to me. But overall it would have probably been better to have them been more compatible with the old toys. But I agree with the poster who said that they would have been wiped away by TMNT anyway.
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  25. #25
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Arkangel's Avatar
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    Nothing could stop the fall of original motu. NA was a right move in direction but by that time every classic action figure was declining, look at transformers, GI Joe, saint seiya, all of these fell in the early 90s

    Times changed, people too. I guess video games and consoles like mega drive were taking over.
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