One of the greatest cartoons of all time was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (MOTU). I will always prefer robot and monster characters to human characters and one of the best things about MOTU was that all the bad guys were monsters and so were half of the good guys. The spin-off show about He-Man’s sister, She-Ra, was also a good show but inferior for a few reasons. One of those reasons would be the lack of monsters and robots on the good guy side.
She-Ra’s villains, the Horde, were arguably just as cool, if not cooler, than He-Man’s villains. Mantenna and Leech were some of my favorite vintage MOTU toys even though they were technically She-Ra characters. Hasbro chose to include the monstrous Horde figures in their 1985 MOTU assortment which was already a well-established boy’s brand by that time. They marketed She-Ra and the other members of the Great Rebellion as a separate toy line geared towards girls called Princess of Power (POP). Neither my brother Doug nor I ever owned any POP figures; but neither did my sister. She was much more into Barbie and Jem and the Holograms. So I wonder if perhaps Mattel would have been better off just including the girl figures in the MOTU line as well.
They say that girl figures in boy’s toy lines don’t sell. That may be true in some cases but that wasn’t the case with me; some of my favorite G.I. Joe toys were girls (Zarana, Jinx, Lady Jaye, etc.). Had Hasbro opted to include the She-Ra figures as part of the MOTU line as they did with the Horde maybe I would have collected a few of them. But because they were so clearly geared towards little girls I steered clear of them. The She-Ra figures all had rooted hair and they came with combs and frilly skirts so they were as much dolls as they were action figures.
I’m glad that the POP characters were included under the umbrella of the MOTU Classics toy line which began in 2008. Especially since the members of the Great Rebellion were completely shut out of the 90s and early 2000s MOTU toy revivals. The Classics line has given fans like myself our first opportunity in nearly 30 years to buy most of the She-Ra characters. The Classics versions have done away with the rooted hair and frilly skirts. The psuedo-doll features have been set aside and what we’re left with is some really nice looking action figures that blend in seamlessly with He-Man and his crew.
I was super stoked to add She-Ra to my collection in 2010 and I was also very happy to add Bow (the one male POP character) in 2011 and Glimmer (She-Ra’s best pal) in 2014. However, as the MOTU Classics line went on year after year, and after most of the cool monstrous characters had already been released, the line became a little too She-Ra-centric for my tastes. It seemed we were getting a new princess figure every other month last year. I added Castaspella the spell casting girl, Entrapa the girl with the magical hair, Mermista the mermaid, and Flutterina the butterfly girl to my collection in 2014. I was so fed up with buying girlie figures that I put my foot down and passed on a handful of them including Double Trouble the spy girl, Spinnerella the ribbon girl, and Sweet Bee the bumblebee girl.
Most of the girl toys I opted out of purchasing were nice looking figures but it’s been many years since I’ve watched the She-Ra cartoon so I don’t even remember most of them. At nearly $50 a pop (when you factor in the shipping to Canada) they simply weren’t worth it to me. It was a rare instance where frugal Mike won out over completest toy collector Mike.
This past November Mattycollector.com had their annual Cyber Monday sale where a bunch of previously released figures are made available again at discounted prices and with free shipping. I figured that was my chance to scoop up a few of the POP and lackluster MOTU figures that I’d passed on over the past year or two. I ended up getting 2 MOTU figure, Geldor and Dekker, and 2 POP figures, Octavia and Netossa. I was pretty happy to nab them at $20 a piece instead of the usual $27 plus shipping. However, when they finally arrived in the mail the other day, after a lengthy delay to to strikes at the ports in L.A., I got saddled with a $60 customs charge. The fine people at the Canada Boarder Services Agency decided to overvalue the contents of my shipment by 400%. So that sucked.
Overcharge aside, some of the figures ended up being better than I expected so I was pleased about that. Netossa was not a character I was looking forward to but she ended up my favourite of the four.
Netossa is pronounced “Ne-TOSS-a” by the way, not “NET-ossa” as I had been saying. I only realized my error when I looked up her animated appearance from the old POP cartoon on youtube. I did that because I have zero recollection of this character and I wanted to familiarize myself a little before writing this review. Apparently the character only appeared 4 times out of the 93 episodes so there wasn’t a whole lot to learn. She’s an expert marksman and she’s good with a net. Thats what I learned.
The figure itself is very nicely sculpted an painted. I’m sure she shares a few parts with other figures but a lot of her components are brand new. Her bodice, skirt, and headpiece are all great looking pieces. The headpiece looks like something a Valkyrie would wear. The coolest part of her costume is her signature net cape. The original 1987 toy had a real cloth cape where as this one has a soft plastic cape that looks and feels like a fly swatter. It doesn’t really work as a net that she can use to capture her enemies but it looks great as a cape. Her face sculpt is quite beautiful and the hair is simple yet really cool. It looks kind of like a lion’s mane.
For accessories all she came with is a shield which is kind of dumb. I get that her “net” is her weapon but they should have given her a sword or trident or something. Luckily I have accumulated a ton of extra MOTU accessories so I’m sure I’ll be able to find her something.
I love the combination of blues, whites, and silvers in her outfit. It looks particularly good against her dark skin tone. I have very few action figures of black women in my collection (Storm from X-Men and Michonne from Walking Dead are the only 2 that come to mind) so Netossa is a very welcome addition. 9 out of 10.
He-Man fans and regular readers of this blog know the deal when it comes to purchasing Masters of the Universe figures in this day an age. For whatever reason the brand hasn’t performed well in brick and mortar retail stores on the last couple of attempts Mattel made to revive this popular 80s toy line. So since 2008 Mattel has released figures geared towards collectors online only. I didn’t get on board with the line right away but for the past couple of years I’ve been religiously logging onto their site, mattycollector.com, on the 15th of every month in order to get the latest Classics figures. Yesterday was the 15th of November and I did not order any figures. Most of the key characters have already been released so non-essential figures are becoming more frequent. November’s Sea Hawk and Geldor didn’t do it for me. However last month was a very different story. October 2013 may well have been the single greatest month of MOTU Classics releases to date.
October’s releases consisted of 3 single carded figures, a 2-pack of figures, a vehicle with driver, and a weapons pack. One of the single carded releases was Mantenna. Second only to Mer-Man, Mantenna is one of my favorite characters from the Masters of the Universe line. I had the vintage figure as a kid (still do, you can check it out if you click the link) and I loved him. His appearance was just so bizarre and cool. A proper Mantenna figure hasn’t been released since the 1985 original so needless to say I’ve been eagerly anticipating a new version of him. Stay tuned for my upcoming review, he did not disappoint. Next up was a wicked cool (and first ever) version of Lord Dactys from the 2002 MOTU series. I passed on the third carded figure, the Pharaoh inspired Nepthu. But I did buy the 2 pack of Horde Troopers which are awesome. I passed on the Jet Sled vehicle that came packaged with a new character named Sky High because it was kind of pricey but I’m regretting that decision now.
Lastly there was the weapons pack. This is the fourth weapons pack Mattel has released for the Classics line. Each pack has had a different theme, this one is called the “End of Wars” weapons pak. I didn’t buy any of the previous 3 weapons packs and I really didn’t need the weapons from this pack either. I already have a bin full of loose MOTUC accessories. I have more alternate swords, shields and heads than I know what to do with. The weapons in this package are of little use to me. pretty much all of them are pieces I already own only they’ve been painted different colors, such as He-Man’s iconic sword, shield and axe in neon green. Why? I don’t know. The only accessory that I’ll actually put to use is the Snake themed breast plate intended for Rattlor. The figure was previously released sans armor and Mattel has rectified that by including it here. I actually think it enhances the figure nicely. But Rattlor’s armor wasn’t reason enough for me to shell out twenty bucks for this pack. What sold me was the inclusion of She-Ra’s sidekick Kowl.
Kowl is a cross between an owl and a koala and he uses his rainbow ears to flutter about. Super gay? Yes. But also kind of awesome? Yes. Where the He-Man cartoon had Orko to provide comic relief the She-Ra cartoon had Kowl. I would’ve preferred Mattel to package Kowl with another figure as opposed to placing him in this weapons pack but I wanted him regardless and paying $20 for him isn’t so bad; especially since he came with the nifty armor for Rattlor as well.
Kowl is quite small, as he should be. He comes up to about the knee of other Classics figures. While Kowl was more of an orange color in the cartoon the vintage toy was yellow and that’s the color scheme Mattel opted to use for this figure. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get an orange repaint at some point in the future. He’s articulated at the shoulders and neck but his big ears prevent his head from moving much. To save money they could have easily constructed him as a solid piece with no moving parts so I appreciate even these few points of articulation. The sculpt is good and the colors aren’t overly vibrant. He reminds me of an Easter egg with his pastel yellows and blues. A decent little figure. 6 out of 10.