TV Review – Masters of the Universe 200X – Episode 02: “The Beginning Part 2”
Original Air Date: 16th August 2002.
Writer: Dean Stefan
Director: Gary Hartle
The second episode of Mike Young Productions’ critically acclaimed He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series is a terrific example of just why a lot of fans consider this to be the best MOTU cartoon of all time.
When we rejoin the proceedings, Keldor and his evil forces have attacked the palace, and Randor and the Masters are trying to drive them back. Adam is still very much in denial about his destiny, firmly believing that the Masters will be able to easily overcome some sucker-punching “lowlifes” and stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the severity of the situation.
From here, the episode is pretty much all-out action, showcasing the individual skills and abilities of each character, good and evil, and throwing them together in all sorts of creative configurations. Everyone looks insanely cool, and while the original series was often sneered at as being little more than a ‘toy commercial’, it frequently only featured a handful of the same familiar faces. Here however, pretty much everyone gets a chance to show off their stuff, and if I was a youngster watching this version of He-Man growing up, I think I’d be instantly begging my parents to buy me every single glorious figure after watching this episode.
On the animation side of things, Keldor and Randor’s showdown gets the full Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon treatment, which I’m not really a fan of, and the brief skirmish between Mekanek and Tri-Klops is about as perfect an example of the unnecessary weapon-twirling that plagued the series as you could hope for. If it sounds like I’m nitpicking then that’s probably fair, but I will say that the bulk of the animation here is pretty damn awesome, particularly for the time, and the way MYP manage to inject energy and motion into the proceedings is a real plus.
After my semi-serious comments about Adam being unlikeable in the first episode, we finally get the first glimpses of the true heroism that makes him worthy to wield the Power of Grayskull here. Indeed, and the moment when he finally accepts his destiny and holds aloft the (utterly ridiculous looking) magic sword and utters those immortal words is likely to bring a smile to even the most cynical of He-Man fans.
The final moments feature the air-punching introduction of the most powerful man in the universe to the rest of Masters of the Universe, and set the stage beautifully for the third and final part of ‘The Beginning’. Blending nostalgia with dynamic animation and frantic action, this is an episode that is guaranteed to hook any viewers who were perhaps still inexplicably on the fence after the first one.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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