Animation Quick Look: He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe (2002)

Welcome to the latest Animation Quick Look! Ok, I never watched a whole lot of He-Man as a kid. I mean I’ve seen the show and I saw the underrated live action classic starring Dolph Lundgren.

Right up there with Howard The Duck

But it wasn’t one of those shows I was hugely into as a kid. Still, I got the jist. Prince Adam, who is secretly He-Man, battles the evil Skeletor. Lots of gay innuedos for adults and you have wacky characters like Beast Man, Man-At-Arms and so on. There’s also Orko, who’s a fucking annoying incompetenet wizard or Jester. He never decides.

So like most hit cartoons of the 80s, of course He-Man would get some sort of reboot. So, in 2002 along comes He-Man and The Masters of The Universe, which basically rewinds everything back a bit. You see the “origin” of Skeletor (he had an origin?) de-age Prince Adam a few years and include characters seen in the toy line but not in show, and bam! He-Man lives again!

So here’s the surprising thing: The setup isn’t terrible. I mean the original is goofy as fuck and has it’s charm, no doubt. But for what would probably be sacrosanct to fans of the original, this plays it pretty close to the chest Teela is still pretty kickass, Orko is still annoying. Adam is a bit of a coward, but tries to be a hero without always relying on He-Man on occasion. Evil-Lyn is basically Starscream, which is great. There are ongoing story arcs. It even has a heartfelt lesson at the end of every episode. The animation isn’t spectacular but better than you’d expect from a lazy update of an old show.

Where He-Man and the Masters of The Universe falls flat is like 90% of the dialogue and actual plot execution is goddamn painful. A perfect example is in one episode Man-At-Arms and He-Man are trapped in a giant fish thing. He-Man is desperately trying to carry Man-At-Arms up the stomach before Skeletor wins the day. Man-At-Arms tell He-Man to just drop him because he’s too heavy with his armor. TAKE OFF YOUR HEAVY AS FUCK ARMOR, MAN-AT-ARMS. He-Man says some bullshit about not leaving friends behind later, but he’s just as fucking dumb for not telling his buddy to lighten the goddamn load. There are numerous examples of this. I’m not expecting something on the level of Mad Men or anything. but even in a kids show some goddamn logic and basic common sense has to be at play (unless you are purposely going for no logic or common sense, and this isn’t doing that).

At the end of the day though, much like G.I. Joe: Renegades, I have to ask: Who is this for? I guess it was originally to help launch a whole new Masters of The Universe line along with a movie (that’s still in development hell to this day) but since that never really materialized it just stands on its own as a weird oddity that probably hung around for 3 seasons because they had nothing else to put on in it’s time slot.

Final Rating: 2/5-Guys who had their face melted off with acid and still survived