The Good

A solidly put together set that offers something for people of all ages.

The Bad

Nothing.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is one of those shows that I started off watching and then I think it got preempted by shows like What's Happening!! during my afternoons after school. Still, I remember the look and ideas behind the show and it’s nice to see that they have been preserved so well here on DVD. These stories of a boy named Prince Adam, who by lifting his sword to the sky and yelling "By the Power of Grayskull", could suddenly transform him into He-Man are the stuff of childhood legend. With his main nemesis Skeletor always providing the necessary foil, He-Man is helped in his fight by such characters as Teela, Man-at-Arms and Battle Cat.

The idea of an ordinary character having the ability to become a superhero is nothing new (especially in this genre) but He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Season 1, Vol. 2 is a reminder of how good a show like this can be when it’s done right.

Features

Documentary Features

Titled

The Stories of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe ese documentary films are best watched (in my opinion) before one watches the episodes on the DVDs. They give such a rich overview of not only the show, but the material and the backstory that I think it adds a richness to these episodes that few animated shows have.

He-Man invades the San Diego Comic-Con

This documentary looks at the fans who have really had a hand in keeping this show alive throughout the years. Also, it’s a great way to see how something that is important can be moved forward as well as held as something special in the hearts of the fans. Comic-Con is the ultimate event for the fans and the people who provide them with content, and it would be insane not to have a character as integral to the fabric of animated shows as He-Man is, in attendance.

Full length animated storyboard

This animated story board was very enlightening for me. As someone who is almost done editing 1985-1986 (a featuring length animated movie that I essentially made all by myself), I really gleaned a lot from looking this thing over. I was very impressed with how rich the drawings were, even in their storyboard form and best of all, I was able to follow them without having to continually orient myself.

Trivia, Fun Facts, and Character Profiles plus 5 Complete Episode Scripts (DVD-ROM)

Lastly, we have trivia, fun facts and character profiles for this show. Nothing two special here but certainly something that should “up” your He-Man game. Also, if you have a DVD-ROM player you can even access some screenplays from the shows.

Video

Full Screen. One thing that has always struck me about these shows is their use of color. Also, the characters, while simple looking, are all very clearly defined on the screen. This show had a way of rising above being a cartoon, simply because of the dichotomy between characters like He-Man and Skeletor. These episodes, while being filled with good messages, always had an ominous tone that is very much captured on these discs.

Audio

2.0 Dolby Stereo - Languages: English and Spanish. When you consider that these shows are over 20 years old, it wouldn’t be surprising if things weren’t perfect with the audio. Thankfully this isn’t the case here. I didn’t notice any points where the audio was badly muffled and best of all there weren’t any drop outs in the sound. Good work, Brentwood Home Entertainment!

Package

Skeletor adorns this purple cover in which white rays shoot out from his staff in all directions. Behind him are various iconic landscapes from the show. The back features a description of what this show is about, a “Bonus Features” listing and some technical specs. All of the discs are nicely housed inside this well put together packaging and consumers even get two 4X6 art cards for their troubles. Overall, a solidly put together set to preserve and document another groundbreaking animated show.

Final Word

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Season 1, Vol. 2 is a solid installment of the episodes from this show. I remember watching it as a young boy and I specifically remember when the dolls came on the market, because up until that time I had never really seen characters that looked liked this. There is just something very alluring about these bigger than life beings fighting one another in a far off land. Yet, like a lot of “fantasy” material, nothing about this show left me out in the cold. Maybe it was because in some way I saw a direct lineage to The Beastmaster, which to me is still one of the best fantasy/adventure movies ever made.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Season 1, Vol. 2 is a well put together DVD set that should introduce this show to a brand new generation of children, while also placating it’s legion of rabid fans.