When I say "He-Man toys" you guys know what I'm talking about, right? I'm referring to "Masters of the Universe toys."
Well, you may not have known this, but there's actually a line of toys out there called "He-Man." It's a toyline from Mattel that was introduced in 1989.
What kid ever said, "Hey, I just got some cool, new Masters of the Universe Figures."
I have a memory of seeing this new series in a store when I was a kid, and I recall thinking, "What the hell is up with these He-Man toys? They're so small and puny." (I think by the time these toys came around, I was done with the original series anyway.)
I wasn't aware of it at the time, but apparently this new toy series (unsurprisingly) had a new cartoon series as well. It was called "The New Adventures of He-Man." (this ain't yer father's He-Man). The animation in this clip isn't so bad. It's probably better than the rotoscoped, repetitive Filmation animation from the old days.
Looks like the folks at Mattel tried to spin He-Man in another direction. The new style of the series seems to have a focus on sci-fi with a hint of fantasy, instead of the fantasy with a hint of sci-fi we'd seen in the previous MOTU toyline.
The classic characters He-Man and Skeletor look pretty dumb (maybe it's just because they don't look like themselves), but the new bad guys are kinda quirky and unique. Unfortunately, the good guys are lame and generic as hell – just a bunch of humans in bad costumes.
Most of the characters have really bad names too. They are typoed pun versions of what their action is. Vizar? Lizorr? Karattii? Optikk? C'mon!
The key differences between these guys and the original MOTU figures is their visual style/design. The figures are smaller, slimmer and have different knees joints and other actions referred to on the packaging as "Masters Action" (an obvious hint to the original series).
Well, as you've probably guessed by the packaging photos above, the toy I'm featuring today is Hoove – Skeletor's designated puppy punter.
As you can easily infer by his name, his "masters action" is kicking. So, yeah... Hoove kicks... with his hooves... like a horse.
You just have to hold his left leg in place, tilt his body, and he kicks his right leg either forward or backward.
Hoove is a green, slimy, snaggle-toothed, triangle-pupil-having alien-robot guy. He looks pretty plain as a simple, bald alien...
... but with his helmet in place, he becomes a real menacing goofball.
Another funny thing worth mentioning is Hoove's gun. With the shape of his hand and the little hand harness wrapped around his fingers, he will always be shooting diagonally. Make sure you stand right in front of him if you don't want to get shot.
So, there's one final thing worth noting. It's the the inclusion of more illustration on the toy packaging. The front of the package has a full-body painting of each character in action, and the paintings are really well done.
The back of the package is actually printed on a low-grade uncoated paper, so everything turns out looking dingy. There are even more illustrations back there though. The one worth noting is the bust portrait illustration of the character.
It doesn't make the toys or character design any better, but it is really great seeing hand-drawn illustrations on toy packaging. Most packaging nowadays uses photos or bad Photoshop illustration or something.