ROCKS 19B: He-Man

Discussion in 'Other Cartoons & Collectables' started by LiamABC, Feb 2, 2019.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE SECOND DISCUSSION IN THE NINETEENTH STRAND OF "R.O.C.K.S." - REWATCHING OLD CLASSIC KIDS SHOWS! A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    The next few weeks we're (finally!?) covering one of the biggest shows from the 80s, He-Man and his female counterpart She-Ra. A

    This week we're covering the following He-Man episodes:

    - The Ice Age Cometh
    - Battlecat
    - The Cat And The Spider
    - The Problem With Power

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these episodes, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full episode online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the show in whatever manner you want.
  2. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Another very good batch of episodes!

    The Ice Age Cometh
    This is one of the episodes I had on VHS when I was a child so I have a sentimental attachment to it. It's a pretty standard episode by MOTU standards. I liked the character of Icer. His slow voice, sleepy eyes and relaxed demeanor go well with his cold nature. I would have liked for him to be a bit more menacing. It was entertaining to watch He-Man and Teela making their way to the weather station and the various dangers they encounter en route. The Trolls reminded me a bit of the Sand People from "Star Wars". The moral of taking responsibility for your mistakes is well presented too. Anyone else notice how many times Skeletor is shown seeing and listening to all the things happening inside the Royal Palace via his magic? A habit copied by a certain red-caped ever-living mummy! ;)

    A very good episode! Oh, and @Mark M , remember that episode I told you about whose name I couldn't remember? Well it turns out it was this one! :biggrin We get to learn about Cringer/Battlecat's origins and how he came to be with Prince Adam. The cub Cringer was so cute!! It was also nice to see Adam as a teenager. If I remember correctly, Prince Adam was supposed to be a teenage boy who grew into an adult He-Man when he transformed (just like "Shazam"). But they decided to make Prince Adam the same as He-Man in order to save on animation costs. The story was set up very well and the suspense and action is very good too.

    The Cat and the Spider
    I was a little bit disappointed with this episode. It had a lot of potential but the writers tried to do too much with it and as result it ended up being a rather ordinary episode. The episode feels too rushed, jumping form one story segment to another. Again, this is all a result of putting in too many unnecessary characters. If the story was supposed to be about "Don't judge a book by its cover" (as stated in the end segment), then there really was no need for Skeletor. The story focus should have been about the distrust between the Cat People and the people of Eternia. That element was only touched on before the story quickly becomes a scramble to retrieve the stolen statue from Skeletor and the whole distrust thing is tossed aside. Shoehorning Skeletor into this story took up time that could have been better utilized to show more of the mistrust between the two groups as well as more about the Cat People (who were far more interesting than watching Skeletor making a fool of himself again).

    He-Man bypassing all those traps in the temple reminded me a lot of Lion-O doing the same in "The Tower of Traps". And speaking of ThunderCats, the episode "Good and Ugly" did it right by keeping the focus on Lion-O and the Terrator and not including Mumm-Ra in that episode as we was not needed. I liked the design on the Cat People in this episode, but don't know why they decided to give the king a very human face instead of a more feline one. And Kittrina's love for Battlecat was very funny!

    The Problem with Power
    Probably the most mature MOTU episode I've seen so far. For the first time it touches on the issue of death, and that too by the hands of He-Man! Even though we know that it was all Skeletor's plan, it's still quite distressing to see He-Man so guilt-ridden. I was actually thinking if the story could have benefited more by not letting us audience know that it was Skeletor's plan from the beginning. Just showing He-Man fighting Skeletor and a man accidentally dying in the process. That would have really made a huge impact and the audience would have been just as shocked as the people of Eternia. The reveal that it was Skeletor's plan could have come later.

    I loved the original animation that was done for the scene in which He-Man gives up his powers and throws his sword away. His flying hair and sad look really give impact to that scene which wouldn't have been there if they had just used stock animation. When Prince Adam goes to retrieve the sword after learning the truth and gets trapped in the giant spider's web, it immediately made me think of "Queen of 8 Legs", even to the point where the hero is stretching to reach the sword. I also like how in the end He-Man is a bit more concerned for Teela than he normally would be, showing that the experience has shaken him up a bit.
    Mark M and LiamABC like this.
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Watched them all myself yesterday. I see the animation for season 2 is as lazy as it was for season 1, but that's Filmation I guess.

    The Ice Age Cometh is an episode I think I remember seeing as a kid. There was definitely something familiar about it, some moments. The episode also reminded me of something from another show, not quite sure what, possibly GI Joe. Using the power sword to pierce the force-field was a bit Sword-of-Omens-y mind you.

    Battlecat is as close to an origins episode as we've got here I think. Even then it still misses out a lot. Like how Adam originally became He-Man and how Cringer/Battlecat started speaking. Still, it's interesting and informative, even if the premise of Orko spilling chemicals is a bit contrived. They should have don't a proper establishing episode back in season 1.

    The Cat And The Spider - again, Wilycub I agree with you, the mistrust between the good guys and the cat people is downplayed in the story given that it's the moral applied at the end of the episode. We've had plenty of episodes where the characters tell the audience not to judge a book by its cover. We don't need the same thing said in that many different ways. I thought the lesson was going to be "don't steal". Actually, speaking of the lessons at the end, that's something that was always a turnoff for me with this show. The way the characters broke the fourth wall to talk to the audience like that was just patronising. Other shows incorporated the moral lessons a lot more subtly. Thundercats, Transformers, GI Joe, Defenders Of The Earth, Visionaries all handled it a lot better than He-Man and BraveStarr (and presumably She-Ra too).

    The Problem With Power was listed in some places as the show's finale, and it certainly seems like an apt choice - it is the only time I've ever seen the transformation sequence going the other way. And when Adam throws the sword into the abyss, you're really wondering "is that wise?" and you sort of know he's overreacted. Agreed again Wilycub about how it would have been a bigger shock if the audience had believed that he'd really caused a man to die. We could still have known that Skeletor was plotting something, just not found out what until later. We could still have been wondering if it was all a trick, but there's a difference between guessing for ourselves and being formally told.

    This show does have some good episodes, but between the patronising lesson at the end and the lazy animation, it never found its way into my heart the way other shows did.
    Wilycub and Mark M like this.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    The Ice Age Cometh
    Definitely not my favourite episode of this bunch. Pretty generic He-man episode.
    The lesson was interesting about not being afraid to admit a mistake and take responsibility for your mistake.
    I wonder if the character Philip is the same Philip, Mekaneck's son seen in ''Search For A Son''.

    It was nice seeing a bit of an Origin story. I really wish they had done a proper Origin for Adam like Cringer.
    Good episode, although the scenes telling the story to Orko really were not needed.
    @Wilycub As I watched this episode I was thinking this was maybe the episode you described.
    As a child I had Skeletor's cat Panthor. Just the same as Battlecat except covered in purple flock. Panthor was only n a couple episodes, ne of them I seen on TV and recorded which ironically did not feature Battlecat.
    I didn't have the Battlecat toy as a child although my dog Rebel did LOL. I am not sure where he got it but he had it for a couple years and chewed on it. :D
    I really wish they had used the teenage Adam's design for the full series. The transformation would have been so much better if Adam's body proportions changed rather than just his skin colour. ;) Or at least they should have kept teenage Adam's colour pallet instead of the pink and lilac. It wasn't the most....masculine...look. Still it is more masculine than the original concept designs...which looked like a very flamboyant Musketeer. The transformation gimmick is a bit like Shazam.

    The Cat and the Spider
    I love this episode and it's one of my favourites from the series. I had the VHS of this that came with a colouring book of scenes from the episode and some pens. I still have the colouring book. Sadly I no longer have the original fact I no longer have any of my VHS tapes.
    This was one of if not the first He-Man episode I ever seen. I always really liked the scene with He-Man exploring the temple and the final confrontation with the Gremalkin at the end.
    I do wish the we had seen and learned more about the cat people. I like the lesson at the end although I do wish it had been incorporated more in the actual episode.

    The Problem With Power
    I do really like this episode and I can understand why people rank it among the best. Skeletor's plan is interesting but it would have been better if we the viewer hadn't known about it from the start and it be revealed later. It's also hard to work out the motivation for this plot. Are we to assume that Skeletor knew He-Man had a secret identity and this would make him feel guilty? I also think that the overall set up with the falling rocks could have been better done. Perhaps if they had He-Man actually have to hit/wound Tataran to make him think he killed him rather than from rocks accidently fall on him. Also surely Sorceress and Man-At-Arms should not have let Adam through the sword away. If he did not feel he was worthy anymore wouldn't it make sense to keep the sword for someone else who was worthy to have the power.
    It was quite interesting to see He-Man change back to Adam. I believe this is the only time in the series that it is shown.

    After re-watching these episodes they really convince me even more that they should never have had He-Man have a secret identity. It really wasn't needed and served no purpose...even more so in the New Adventures cartoon.
    In the original minicomics He-Man was just a Barbarian (but Mattel claimed Conan had no influence or involvement with the creation of MOTU ;) ) who saved the Goddess/Sorceress and in thanks is given the magic, sword, armour, shield etc. I far prefer this origin instead of the coward/whimp who has to run away to change to He-Man.
    I really don't know why Filmation thought the secret identity was needed.
    When I got my He-Man toy I don't recall pretending to often that he was Prince Adam lol.
    Wilycub likes this.
  5. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Funnily enough, I thought that too! :biggrin At the end of the episode, just before the Moral segment started, I tried to guess what the moral of this episode was. And the only thing that I could come up with was "don't take things that don't belong to you". I guess the reason both you and I thought the same thing was because that is what the story seemed to focus on. When they finally said "Don't judge a book by its cover", I was like "Huh? Didn't they already do that in "Eye of the Beholder"?".

    Good point! I actually never realized that until you mentioned it.

    I agree with both of you on this point and while it seemed very hasty of He-Man to give up give up his powers over one incident without even consulting Man-At-Arms or the Sorceress, I can understand why the writers made him do that. Without it, the episode wouldn't have had any impact and the short time of the episode didn't allow for more deliberation to be shown. But even if the accident had been real, Eternia would still have been much better off with He-Man than without him. Didn't he even think what would happen the next time Skeletor or one of his henchmen attacked? This dilemma was a bit like the one in "Captain America: Civil War". Even then I though it was stupid to blame the Avengers for what were accidental deaths. Without them, the death toll would have been MUCH bigger.

    Yeah, I too don't really see the need for a double identity. The fact that we never really learn about He-Man's exact origins makes it even more difficult to understand this decision by the makers. I guess they wanted to include a little bit of the comic book superhero element in the cartoon. And if they did want to do it, then it should have been done in a much better way, like their original idea of having Prince Adam be a young boy. The whole secret identity idea looks incredibly silly when both Adam and He-Man look exactly the same (with only different skin tones and outfits) AND that one of them is always absent when the other one arrives AND the fact that both of them have a huge green skinned-orange striped tiger as a pet!!! Seriously NO ONE in Eternia could make that connection??????? :confused:
    Mark M likes this.
  6. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Judging by the looks of everyone on Eternia they all seem to be more interested in going to the gym and lifting weights rather than studying anyone too closely.
    When Billy Batson changes to Shazam it's a full body Transformation. Same with Thor.
    When Superman changes to Clark Kent he at least wears glasses etc.
    But with He-man it's literally nothing. At least they changed his looks The New Adventures and 2003. Although I don't understand why he bothered being Adam in the New Adventures at all.
    I actually really liked what they did with the New Adventures comic book. Adam attacked Skeletor during a battle and they were both brought aboard the starship and he was forced to transform in front of Skeletor. In the comic he did not become Adam again.

    I also wasn't keen on Battlecat/Cringer being able to talk. I preferred how in the 2003 cartoon he had no voice and was just a pet. Like in the Battlecat episode.

    The Thundarr the Barbarian and Conan the Adventurer cartoons are quite good cartoons and more like what the He-Man cartoon should have been. More action and adventure with a small cast and better animation. They also had a better voice cast. I really wish Filmation had hired some more voice actors instead of so many people sounding the same.

    Speaking of Conan. There is the myth that the MOTU originally started out as toys for the 1982 Conan movie. But some say MOTU toys were in development in 1981...but of course wouldn't the toys for Conan have to also have been in development for 1982.? ;) The story is that once Mattel seen the movie etc they realised they couldn't make toys based on it so changes were made. I think there is still some truth to the ''myth''.


    Regardless of what anyone says, that concept art for He-Man is Conan. That prototype in the middle can definitely pass as a Conan toy. I suppose Mattel will say that the helmet for the figure on the right wasn't based on Bobba Fett and it was in development before they seen The Empire Strikes Back.

    Funko are releasing some MOTU styled Conan figures.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  7. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Prince Adam/He-Man is definitely very much like Clark Kent, as you said.

    "The Problem With Power" could have been great as a 2-part episode, somewhat like the Transformers 2-parter "Megatron's Master Plan", where we find out exactly what the trick was at the end of part 1.

    And definitely it's hard to believe the Sorceress nor Man-At-Arms both just let him throw the sword away like that. If he really doesn't want it any more, couldn't he have given it to the Sorceress to be the Lady of the Lake with it, guarding it until such time as a new champion proved worthy?
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  8. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Hahahahaha! :laugh:roflmao You really cracked me up with that! :biggrin I think they used just one bodybuilder guy to act as a model for pretty much all the male characters. I do recall seeing an old picture of the actual guy dressed up as He-Man.
    Mark M likes this.
  9. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    That would have been amazing! Some stories just work so much better when split over an episode or two.
  10. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    As @LiamABC said "lazy animation". I suppose it's rather fitting considering Matel produced the toys. ;) .The vast majority of the toys were all created by mixing and matching body parts with most of the differences only being the head and weapons.
    I think the cartoon and toys would all have benefitted from some unique looks and designs. A vast difference compared to Thundercats. All the character models were unique and the toys were made specifically to match the character models instead of them all being basically the same.
    @Wilycub Have you ever seen the movie "Fire & Ice"? It's based on Frank Frazetta's paintings and created using rotoscoping animation.
    I agree. I think it would have worked better spread over two or more episodes and actually have the people of Eterna turn against He-Man prompting Adam to give up the power rather than just the accident. Then have Skeletor take over and let it take longer before Adam gets the sword back. A bit like the Thor movie when he is unworthy and it takes over half the movie before he gets it back.
    Actually their a kind of similar story in New Adventures with Skeletor taking over and it ran for 4-5 episodes. Maybe we should cover four New Adventures episodes when we finish She-Ra.
  11. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    No I haven't seen it. I am familiar with Frazetta's glorious illustrations but I didn't know that such a movie was ever made. To be honest, I'm not a fan of rotoscoping. It just doesn't look right on screen. Looks very "floaty". The great animators of the past at Disney knew this and that's why they used it very sparingly and only in a few scenes in the older movies. And it's cheating in a way, not real art.
    Yeah, also a similar story like "Superman 2". Perhaps have He-Man really struggle to get his powers back, not just a matter of simply picking up the sword and viola!
  12. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    One other thing I forgot to mention before is the number of sound effects in this show that originally come from Star Trek!

    Also sure, after the She-Ra picks, if you can pick a handful of standalone episodes or one multi-part single story that would be fine too.
    Mark M likes this.
  13. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    It's an interesting movie but I believe I read that it didn't turn out like they thought it would.
    A bit like the animated Lord of the Rings movie.
    I am a big fan of Frazetta's art work. His illustrations were great because they were energetic, full of action and colour. The opposite of Fire & Ice. Dull colours, slow movement and action scenes and the plot of the movie isn't that interesting or exciting.

    I can understand the use of rotoscoping but it does seem unnecessary when you consider what can be done without it.
    Just imagine what the He-Man cartoon could have looked like if the animation had been done in Japan.

    Like some other cartoons it would have been really interesting to see an episode where Adam can't rely on becomming He-Man and use his own skills to solve the problem.

    He-Man's powers are another issue. They are very inconsistent throughout the series...even in the course of one episode. For example in The Cat and the Spider he can punch and break stone with his fists then struggle fighting Skeletor and Webstor then later lift and throw a large chunk of a mountain. And that continues with lifting Castle Greyskull...then even moving a moon. I think they really should have specified how much power he had. Even Superman had his limits, and there was still characters stronger, faster and arguably more powerful. than him.
    I get ''the most powerful man in the universe'' was a catchy slogan but I really think they should has focussed on the Masters of Universe as a group of powerful warriors, rather than focus on just He-Man. If it had been a smaller cast it wouldn't have been so bad but considering how many heroic warriors there was it should have been handled more like G.I. Joe, Tansformers, Visionaries, Ghostbusters, TMNT etc.
    LiamABC likes this.
  14. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Awesome, I will have a look through the episodes.
  15. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    That's Filmation in a nutshell. You could always tell one of their cartoons. He-Man/She-Ra, BraveStarr, the animated Star Trek, the Fantastic Four etc.

    That would have been good.

    Exactly. That was a big reason the show never became one of my favourites. The hero was just too invincible. For all our criticism of Thundercats and the Sword Of Omens, there are plenty of episodes where it doesn't save the day and they have to rely on other methods. Mainly before Peter Lawrence took over, he'd have fit naturally into the He-Man writing team, but that's another story.

    When it's a proper team of heroes, each of them gets their moment to shine. There are several episodes of Defenders Of The Earth where many if not all the characters get their moment to help out. To a lesser extent Visionaries has this too - the opening storyline does have every character getting their moment in some way or other, we get to learn about them all over the course of the series, nobody is badly neglected.
    Mark M likes this.
  16. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    @LiamABC there are other shows with a central hero that are still overall better as teams like Bravestarr, Blackstarr, Flash Gordon and Thundarr the Barbarian etc.
    Even in Transformers and G.I. Joe the leaders were not always the main focus or the one that saved the day.

    Could you imagine how much fun Peter Larence would have had as the head writer of He-Man lol. From what I recall of She-Ra her sword is similar to the Sword of Omens being able to solve the problem by being able to change shape to whatever She-Ra needs to save the day. And in the New Adventures He-Man's sword can shoot lasers etc.
  17. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I also forgot to say, quite a bit of the incidental music for He-Man was lifted from The Mysterious Cities Of Gold. I think some of it was reused in other shows, I'm certain there was one bit cropped up in Pole Position at some point.
  18. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Oh, yes! That is a storyline that has been used in many superhero cartoons and comics and quite effectively. Even Lion-O had to forego the Sword and Claw Shield in the "Anointment Trial" episodes. And I think "The Problem With Power" would have been an ideal episode to showcase this, but it would have had to be split into two episodes. After Prince Adam learns that he was not responsible for anyone's death, he could go as Prince Adam to stop Skeletor from carrying out whatever evil plan the bonehead had concocted. Then as a reward the Sorceress could have granted Prince Adam his He-Man powers back.

    That was both hilarious and ridiculous. I think I only ever saw one episode of She-Ra and in it she commands her sword to turn into a rope and it does! Even the Sword of Omens didn't take it THAT far! LOL! :biggrin

    Yeah that's one big thing missing from the He-Man cartoons. It is called "He-Man AND the Masters of the Universe" but we rarely see these "Masters of the Universe" doing anything. Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko and especially the Sorceress were pretty useless most of the time. It's always He-Man saving the day. And it's not like the show didn't have many cool and heroic characters. But they were only used as guest characters in a few episodes, and even then they often proved to be ineffective. Even from a toy sales point of view, one would expect Mattel to make all the characters appear interesting/cool/heroic so that kids would want to buy those action figures as well.

    If they had used other characters more regularly then even the recycled animation wouldn't have been that much of an eyesore. Instead we mainly got to see He-Man in every episode doing the same running, standing, throwing, changing, and jumping.
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  19. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I didn't know that but I did notice that 90% of the beasts/creatures/monsters on the show have the exact same roar! ;)
    Mark M likes this.
  20. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    That same roar has cropped up in a few other cartoons as well, I think it was used for BraveStarr's magic puma, and also Jedda's pet panther Kisa in Defenders Of The Earth.
    Mark M likes this.

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