Happy Friday! And what better way to bring on the weekend then by opening some new toys! Mattel’s MOTU Origins line continues to pump out the content at a record pace, leaving me behind on reviewing these magnificent figures, but I’m doing the best I can to get caught up! Today I’m checking out two more variations of He-Man and Skeletor, this time based on designs from the 200x toyline.
The figures come on the same gloriously retro designed cardbacks that we’ve been seeing all along. You get the 40th Anniversary logo in foil up at the top left corner fo the card, and a rather spiffy MOTU logo sticker on the front of the bubbles. What you don’t get is any actual reference to the Mike Young Production cartoon or 200x series. And that’s fine. For any kiddies out there who are into this line without any context, these are just cool new versions of the two main characters to play with! I should note that I never collected the 200x toys, although I did run into them a lot back in the day when I was making my weekly trips to KayBee Toy Outlet, and I was often very tempted to pick some up. Ultimately, I reasoned that the line was too far along for me to start collecting from the beginning, and so I resisted the temptation. I did, however, get into the MYP cartoon BIG TIME, and I still consider it to be one of the absolute best cartoon reboots ever made. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to get these figures in the Origins style. Let’s start with He-Man!
One of the things that characterized the 200x figures were the somewhat stylized proportions, and since these figures retain the usual Origins bodies, a little of that flavor is lost. What we have left is mostly a costume change, but I really like it. The arms and legs are left unchanged, with the boots all painted brown and the wrist bracers in silver. The pelvic piece is new, with a silver belt and red and gold circular buckle. The sculpted furry diaper is still present, but trimmed back quite a bit. The chest harness features a hexagonal plate with another red and gold motif. The silver border looks great and there’s a nice hammered texture to the background. This design is different enough from the classic look to stand out, but not so much to be jarring. Were I a kid playing with these figures, I could easily see this one becoming a regular stand in for the more classic He-Man on my adventures. It just looks fantastic!
As for the head sculpt, I like it a lot, but there have been so many He-Heads in this line so far, I’d be lying if I could keep them all straight. Is this new? Is it recycled? Without digging through a tote for my head bag, or scrolling through my past reviews, I’m not going to say for sure, but I’m guessing it’s a repack. I will say that it is emphatically not designed to look like the 200x figure, and instead retains that very vintage look. I think this head would work on pretty much any Origins He-Man we’ve seen so far. Either way, I think the head looks really good with this costume.
As for weapons, He-Man comes with the 200x redesign of the Power Sword. I’ve never been a big fan of this design, as it just way too clunky and impractical. I do, however, appreciate the attention to detail in the sculpt. It’s more machine now than sword, but that really gave the sculptors something to work with. There’s a loop in the back of He-Man’s harness so he can wear the sword on his back. I will point out that the figure’s grip is a little loose on the sword. I’m not sure if that’s a problem with my figure in particular, but it helps to squeeze it tight so he doesn’t drop it.
You also get his battle axe and shield, and I absolutely love these! The axe has some techno-gizmos sculpted into it to resemble the same tech that went into the sword, but here it doesn’t really make the weapon look unwieldly or cumbersome… just futuristic!!! The shield also has a little mesh circuit pattern on one of the arms of the cross, and some really nice texturing in the red field areas. These accessories look great together, and I’ll likely display He-Man with the wielding these and with the sword on his back. OK, let’s move on to Skeletor!
To me the 200x version of Skeletor looked extra stylized to me, and there was something about him that made his limbs look extra long and his head extra tiny. As a result, this Origins version looks a lot more like its doing its own thing, and boy do I love it! The armor pieces sport some excellent detail, like leather texturing in the hip and groin armor, organic designs in the grieves, and the shoulders and gorget look awesome! In addition to the purple plastic on the armor, you get red jewels painted on the knees and in the center of the crossed bones on his chest, as well as black for the shoulder guards. The wrist bracers are painted purple, and his feet are left pale blue. The fastener on the armor tends to slip out of the loop on my figure from time to time, but even when it does the harness and shoulders stays put. All in all, I love the way Mattel adapted this design to Origins, and this is a great version of Skeletor!
And then there’s the head sculpt! Hot damn, is this outstanding! The skull face is nestled in the center of a purple textured hood, and boy does he look pissed! The angry, downturned brow looks very expressive along with the red dots in the center of his eye holes. I also really love the paintwork on the face, with the way the yellow transitions to the green at the edges. This portrait is a little work of art, and one of my favorites that this line has produced so far!
Skeletor comes with the 200x version of his sword, which I believe was two swords joined together, which is why it has what looks like two grips. I suppose one could be a knuckle-guard, but either way the design of the hilt makes it kind of awkward for him to hold. Like the 200x Power Sword, I think this is well sculpted, but it just looks completely impractical. I wish they had given Skeletor a loop on his back to tuck the sword into like they did He-Man. I guess I could tuck it under the strap, but with the way it likes to come loose, that’s probably not going to work.
And you also get his trusty Havok Staff, which I think is just a repack of the one we’ve seen a bunch of times before.
I usually get tired of toy lines constantly churning out variants of main characters, but in the case of Origins I haven’t minded so much, because they’ve all been really good. And this pair may be the best yet. Normally, I would take the classic look for these guys over the 200x designs any day, but I’m shocked at how great these look adapted for the Origins bodies. Both figures get high marks from me, but I’m leaning toward the Skeletor as being my favorite of the pair. The armor just looks outstanding and the portrait is perfect! What’s even better is right now both of these figures have been turning up online at pretty good sale prices. Last time I looked Skeletor was going for $10 on Amazon, and boy is that an absolute steel for such a remarkable figure! Do I get another to keep carded? Nah… but it is tempting!