Welcome to this week’s installment of Saturday Morning Cartoons. Before we get started, a little history. My early childhood can be defined by four cartoons: Voltron, Transformers, Thundercats, and He-Man. Several years ago, I found volume 1 of Voltron on DVD, and thought ‘awesome, finally I can watch it again.’ Well, I started watching it, and let’s just say, I never bought volumes 2-5. My adult self did enjoy it nearly as much as my kid self did. Also several years ago, my parents got me a Best of He-Man DVD. I have never watched anything off of it, because I wanted to keep the memories of what I think the show is like, rather than seeing how well it holds up today. Well, for you all, I’m finally going to watch an episode off of it.
As a wee little lad, I was a huge He-Man fan. I had all the toys. Hell, there was still a Battle Cat hanging around my grandmother’s home up until we cleaned it out a few years ago. But not only toys, my room was decked out in He-Man curtains and He-Man bed sheets. In fact, that early encouragement to surround myself with what I enjoy, is probably why I insist on decorating my personal spaces, whether at home or at work. But I digress. What I’m saying is, early childhood me loved He-Man. Recently, I watched the episode of the Netflix show The Toys That Made Us that was on He-Man. I felt that tinge of nostalgia, and that is how we got here.
So, let’s get going. Here’s the episode of He-Man titled “Quest for He-Man,” written by Paul Dini (seriously) and directed by Steve Clark. Alright, so, never knew Paul Dini wrote for this show, maybe it wont be so bad. And it is nice that 1:15 into watching and you’re caught up on the premise. That’s nice right.
The episode begins with Tri-Klops and Trap Jaw attacking Castle Grayskull, and Prince Adam immediately becomes He-Man and gets into his own flying ship to chase them off. Man, I had forgotten the odd mix of fantasy and sci-fi in this show. He-Man crashes Trap Jaw, and chases after him, but he gets caught in a trap by Skeletor. Skeletor erases He-Man’s memory and sends him to the crossroad of all universes, wandering on an alien world. Skeletor and Evil-Lyn escape. He-Man’s friends speak with the Sorceress, and she calls out to some cosmic being called Zodak. (Man, this looks weird.) Zodak, unfortunately, is one of those all seeing, no-doing cosmic entities. He does give Orco a rod and instructs him Cringer, and Ram Man to go search for He-Man.
He-Man wakes up on an alien planet, greeted by some freaky looking creatures. He’s greeted by an indigenous bird person, and she takes him back to her home to try to help him. Meanwhile, we see the villain of that world, a giant purple rabbit named Plundor, who wants to use He-Man, since he is pretty big.
Zodak sends Ram Man, Orco, and Cringer through a time portal, with instructions to have He-Man talk of home, and that may help He-Man regain his memories. You may ask yourself, how do any of them know that He-Man doesn’t have his memories? Well, Zodak knows, remember. He’s just deciding to not be very helpful. You may also be asking, why a time portal? He-Man didn’t travel through time. He traveled through space. And to that I say…yeah, that doesn’t make any sense. And I may have just face-palmed once. Orco makes the comment that he doesn’t think they’ll run into anything more dangerous than a rabbit. Get it? Because we just saw that the villain is a rabbit. Hahahaha…shut up Orco. Anyways, the wand thing starts glowing, and they happen to land on the planet right wear He-Man was and find his sword.
Meanwhile, Gleedil fills He-Man in on the history of her home world. Basically, Plundor used the evil power of pollution to drive out all of the animals. Plundor’s rabbit shaped robots hit He-Man and Gleedil with smoke gas and take them off. He-Man’s friends just happen to run into Gleedil’s big cat, and it fills them in on what happened. Now, here’s one of the things you don’t think about as a kid, but I notice as an adult. What are the odds that Gleedil’s big cat would run into Cringer, head first, going the opposite direction. Cringer is tracking He-Man, despite his nasal congestion, so it makes sense that they’d be traveling along the same path He-Man took to get to Gleedil’s home. Now, why is Gleedil’s cat following that same path? You’d assume that it either knows where Plundor’s base is, or would be tracking also. So, it would be on a different path than what they traveled first, you’d assume. And yes, I understand that the meeting happens because it has to happen, but it’s just one of those things I sometimes notice.
Plundor’s giant clocks (yes giant, yes plural) wake up He-Man and Gleedil. Diabolically, Plundar has turned the life force of the planet into a liquid, and is going to become the richest person in the universe. He-Man may not know who he is, but he hasn’t lost his moral compass, and refuses to join Plundor’s forces. He-Man’s friends bust in to rescue him. Orco tells He-Man to recite the “power of Grayskull” line, and poof, all of He-Man’s memories are restored. After busting up all of Plundor’s robots, Plundor attempts to send all of his magic liquid in rocket ship out to space. He-Man has other ideas. He jumps onto the rocket, axe-handle smashes it, which sends it back towards the planet. The rocket explodes, replenishing the planet of all of its life force. Why does the rocket explode mid-air? Well, because the dispersment of the life force liquid would be easier than if it had crashed. I guess. I don’t know. The rocket doesn’t blow up when He-Man hits it forces it to stay on the planet. So any random time mid-flight, after He-Man has jumped off is fine. Sure. He-Man and friends go back through the time corridor. Again with the “time corridor” stuff. Dangit, they didn’t travel through time.
And Zodak comes in at the end with the environmental conservation PSA.
Overall, I’m pleased with how this experiment turned out. Yes, it is very cheesy, but it’s supposed to be. It’s a giant toy commercial for kids. Seriously. The toy line came first, and they made a cartoon so people would have a reason to buy the toys. Maybe I’ll revisit this DVD for future installments.