28 September 2013


On the 5th of September 1983 the animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe received its WORLD premiere in the UK! To celebrate 30 YEARS since this historic day I am counting down (on a daily basis) what I believe to be the 30 GREATEST MOMENTS of the Filmation series.

He-Man and Skeletor fight under omnipotent gaze of Om.
"The Arena"

Man-At-Arms makes contact with an alien being, Om, whom he introduces to King Randor and Prince Adam. Om expresses his desire to visit Eternia, wishing to learn about their way of life. Some time later Om appears to the gathered people of Eternia, just as Skeletor, General Tataran, and the Goblin army approach the Royal Palace. For a brief moment there is a standoff, until General Tataran orders the attack and war breaks out. The battle rages for a time with neither side gaining the upper hand. Om cannot abide the senseless destruction that he witnesses and freezes the forces of both good and evil, deciding that too much life could be lost in the war. Om selects a champion from each side to duel; He-Man and Skeletor are the chosen warriors...

As the pair stand facing one another Skeletor observes, "So, He-Man. It's just you and me." He-Man, looking for a peaceful solution, replies, "It's not too late to call this off, Skeletor." Without warning Skeletor immediately fires a blast from his Havoc Staff, which He-Man deflects, knocking the staff out of Skeletor's hand. A less than impressed Skeletor fires a beam from his hand, which strikes a nearby tree. The tree comes to life and grabs He-Man in its hand-like branches. As the most powerful man in the universe struggles to break free, Skeletor laughs, waving his fists in the air. He-Man frees himself of the tree, and it hastily departs. Skeletor utilizes his magical abilities once more and creates a mystic cage which he claims that He-Man cannot break out of. He-Man retorts, "You haven't invented the trap yet that can hold me, Skeletor." Without giving He-Man a chance to catch his breath, Skeletor creates four red energy balls, that levitate either side of him. The villain warns He-Man, "If they touch you, it's going to be most unpleasant!" Gesturing his hands, Skeletor sends the balls after He-Man, who uses the Sword of Power to destroy them one after the other. Having destroyed the Power Balls He-Man asks, "What's next, Skeletor?" Skeletor then creates a large pink gelatinous mass above He-Man. Shortly after He-Man tosses the blob to one side, it morphs into a living creature. He-Man whirls the Sword of Power creating a powerful gust of wind that topples the humanoid blob and causes it to roll off into the distance. Clearly losing his patience Skeletor declares, "I'm through toying with you, He-Man!", and transforms a nearby log into a vicious python that wraps itself around He-Man. As Skeletor gloats He-Man remarks, "I've fought your snakes before, Skeletor!" He-Man frees himself much to Skeletor's chagrin. In a last desperate move Skeletor transforms a nearby bug into a large overgrown creature and commands it to attack He-Man. The most powerful man in the universe manages to dodge the creature's attacks, prompting Skeletor to make the creature ever bigger. Skeletor, losing his patience, enrages the creature and it chases him into a rock structure within which there is no escape. He-Man saves Skeletor from the creature. Mere seconds later the booming voice of Om states, "Enough!" Om transforms the oversized creature back into a bug, and He-Man sends the little insect on its way. Having observed the events Om questions, "You who are called He-Man, why did you not allow your enemy to be destroyed." He-Man replies, "Even though Skeletor is my enemy, I couldn't allow him to perish. I believe in the sanctity of all life." Om asks, "Even Skeletor's?" He-Man answers, "Even Skeletor's." Om declares He-Man the winner and banishes Skeletor and his Goblin army away from the Royal Palace.

Filmation's strict policy against violence meant that the creative talents that worked on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe had to be very careful when placing He-Man in situations that would requite acts of physical confrontation. The most powerful man in the universe was never allowed to strike out at his enemies, which would on many an occasion result in He-Man having to use something other than violence in order to defeat the villain. Not only that, but lengthy action sequences of physical confrontation were not encouraged by the studio. Thus, what writer Warren Greenwood (and the artists that worked on this episode) achieve with this memorable action sequence is nothing short of a miracle! He-Man and Skeletor engage in battle for just over four minutes! The battle is scripted and directed in such a way that even though He-Man does not engage physically with Skeletor we feel that this is exactly how the pair should battle. It wonderfully showcases the physical dynamic between the pair, with Skeletor demonstrating the vastness of his magical abilities, and He-Man using brute force to solve each and every problem. This truly is a battle of magic versus muscle. The dialogue between both He-Man and Skeletor is impressive. He-Man's comments about Skeletor having not yet invented the trap that can hold him, and that he has fought the villain's snakes before, really does emphasize the fact that these two have been fighting for years! It reminds us that these two characters know each other incredibly well. Throughout the battle and featured memorably at the end is He-Man's belief that all life is precious. It is a logical end to this particular confrontation. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe featured numerous battles between He-Man and Skeletor. However, none are as impressive, as exciting, and as memorable as this one.


Kevin Martinell said...

Very true, and I like how, after Skeletor used up his powers and was saved by He-Man, he has nothing left to say except, "But I," to OM who commands the villains to leave. This would have made for a perfect final episode for the He-Man series, being that Skeletor appeared to be helpless and defeated once and for all by the episode's end! I like how He-Man not only saved the villain's life but also explained why to OM in an "act of compassion," as Man-At-Arms states during the moral message to the episode. :) Thanks for reading and God Bless! ~"KevyGuy" :)

Theo said...

That's right James, it's magic against muscle! Pure sword and sorcery!!!
That's what I always liked about motu and that's the way motu should always be!!
He-man rules!!!

Mosquitor said...

This is definitely the best battle sequence in the whole series. The awesome music score that plays during the first half of this scene really heightens the atmosphere. One of my favourite episodes, nice to see it given its rightful place here!

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