TV Review – Masters of the Universe 200X – Episode 15: “The Mystery of Anwat Gar”
Original Air Date: 20th December 2002
Writer: Dean Stefan
Director: Gary Hartle
This is definitely one of the episodes I’ve been looking forward to rewatching since Mattel first made the announcement that they’d be streaming every 200X MOTU episode on their official YouTube channel. And I can confirm that it definitely did not disappoint watching it back after all these years.
When a troubling vision by the Sorceress sends He-Man and Man-at-Arms to the mysterious island of Anwat Gar to prevent the powerful Legacy Stones falling into Skeletor’s hands, they end up going toe-to-toe with the Sy-Klone, the island’s ancient guardian, only for the stones to end up falling into Skeletor’s hands anyway. Go figure.
I am a massive fan of this revised origin story for Sy-Klone, who has previously been everything from “The Greatest Acrobat in Eternia” to a cyborg warrior called Dash-Shel who battled against the Horde after they invaded his home world. Presenting him here as an ancient samurai warrior tasked with protecting a mystical island and its ancient artifacts gives him a real sense of gravitas – not to mention some formidable (and pretty cool looking) wind and projectile-based abilities. He’s perhaps a little under-developed at this point, but he certainly looks and acts the part, and the revamp to his visual style for this series is top quality.
I’m also a big fan of the whole ‘Indiana Jones’ vibe that Anwat Gar gives off, packed with menacing Japanese-style architecture and featuring a temple packed with lethal booby traps. Well, lethal to anyone other than the Most Powerful Man in the Universe ™, that is. I also thoroughly enjoyed the battle of skills and wills between Beast Man and Man-at-Arms on the island after He-Men and Skeletor depart to do battle elsewhere.
The latter part of the episode veers into the realm of full-blown toy commercial, which is pretty much exactly the intention. He-Man and Skeletor, empowered by the Legacy Stones, transform into their jacked-up Samurai Armour (complete with weird spring-loaded jumping boots?) and beat the hell out of each other before, as you might expect, He-Man gets the upper hand and sends his adversary packing. It’s a slightly disappointing end to what was becoming an genuinely interesting episode, and seeing Sy-Klone sidelined so spectacularly in favour of yet another He-Man versus Skeletor punch-up feels like a massively missed opportunity. He’d stick around as a supporting member of the Masters moving forward, but outside of Episode 24, “Separation”, when he tries to seek out his family, never really gets much to do moving forwards.
These minor niggles aside, this is a cracking episode that introduces a new version of an established character complete with a fresh new mythology and look. Another impressive showcase of the top-notch worldbuilding on display in this well-loved series.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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