MOTUC’s Filmation Characters – Who Are They?
One of Mattel’s biggest reveals at Toy Fair was that of the new Filmation sub – characters from He-Man who never got toys (but were in the cartoon). This is awesome, but a casual or new fan might look at these goofballs and wonder… who the heck are they? Well, with the reveals of three new figures, let’s look at them and their episodes!
Icer is kind of unique – most cartoon-only characters were ones who obviously wouldn’t fit in the toy line. Maybe their body types didn’t match Mattel’s one-size-fits-all torso. Maybe they didn’t have clearly-defined powers or gimmicks. Maybe they were peasant kids or skinny lizards or Orko’s nephew. Either way, it was obvious what they weren’t – toy-worthy characters. But then there was this guy. Icer’s shaped just like He-Man and everybody else, and even has the furry underwear – he LOOKS like a vintage figure! his gimmick would have been pretty obvious, too (clear plastic and the usual rubber-band waist). So, what’s the deal? Was he originally planned as a toy, but scrapped? Was this Filmation’s attempt at getting a toy made? Was it all a big coincidence?
Icer appeared in onle one episode, The Ice Age Cometh (Gee, THAT pun isn’t overused). The episode is pretty basic, with Skeletor trying to control Eternia’s weather through their super-duper high-tech weather control station. It also focuses around an idiot child who’s part of the Eternos Palace Guard, and always messes up but refuses to take the blame (so there’s your moral, folks). The kid stupids up enough for Icer to break into the station and take over, and it’s up to He-Man to stop him. He-Man defeats Icer, of course, sending him running away and sweating/melting. Since we never see Icer ever again, we are forced to assume that he melted and died in the desert, all alone and unmourned. Poor, poor Icer.
Why is Icer memorable? Well, there’s his voice – done by the same actor as He-Man – and his odd manner of speach. Icer spoke slowly and hesitantly, but had a dry wit and sense of humor that made him seem somewhat like Boris Karloff (if you ever heard Karloff speak. He was hilarious). Aside from that, he had pretty cool powers – Icer froze anything he touched, so He-man had to fight him without actually touching him. He could also control ice to an extent and make himself invisible, so he provided somewhat of a challenge.
And finally, is the toy accurate? The answer is yes! Since Icer looked like a vintage toy to begin with, it wasn’t a stretch to make this figure. Of his two accessories, one fits him (he threw an icicle at He-Man once), and the other one is from an unrelated episode – it’s the Staff of Avion, which is related to Stratos. So, that’s Icer!
Batros is pretty similar to Icer in a few ways. For one thing, he’s also got the basic Eternian steroid-riddled torso that would have made him a prime candidate for a toy. Also, he only appeared in one episode. And yes, that symbol on his chest looks like horde insignia, but no, batros was not one of Hordak’s men – he was his own bad guy with an independent plan! And what was that plan, you ask? Well, in his sole episode, The Great Books Mystery, Batros planned to TAKE OVER ETERNIA through the following scheme:
Like Icer, Batros had only one cartoon appearance. Unlike Icer, Batros wasn’t exactly one of Skeletor’s henchmen.
STEP 1: STEAL ALL OF ETERNIA’S BOOKS
STEP 2: ???
STEP 3: PROFIT!
(Yes, I went there. Go Underpants Gnomes!)
As crazy as it seems… he actually succeeds in stealing all of the books everywhere. It’s never said how he did it – maybe through magic, but he also dropped some books in transit, so maybe not. But that’s not what matters. What matters is that Orko wanted to give Prince Adam a unicorn book for his birthday, because… Adam wears pink tights. And likes unicorns. And wow, I am so not going there.
Anyway, Skeletor discovered Batros’s plan, and was impressed enough to find Batros and bully him into working together to steal the power of Grayskull. Of course, He-Man intervened and foiled all their evil schemes – when we last saw Batros, he was clinging to a rock for dear life as He-Man threw it over the horizon, so we are forced to assume that he was crushed in the landing, his broken body slowly bleeding out as he died all alone. Poor Batros.
Batros is actually a little more memorable than Icer – he’s intelligent, capable, powerful, and also has a memorable voice. Hilariously, his slightly thuggish, slightly sophisticated voice came from Lou Scheimer, the show’s executive producer! Yes, they were that cheap. They hired THE BOSS to voice some of their cast. Wow.
And finally, is the toy accurate? Same as with Icer, yes! Batros’s wings were connected to his arms in the cartoon, so this figure’s awkward, cheap look totally matches. I have no idea what accessories he will come with, as Batros never used a weapon (he relied on his magic). Maybe some books, or an unrelated cartoon artifact, perhaps? Either way, that’s Batros in a nutshell. He was doing great until he fell in with Skeletor.
And finally, Shokoti – yes, SHOkoti. I have no idea why the toy can’t spell it right. Though, come to think of it, one of the running gags of her episode was that Ram-Man couldn’t get her name right, so maybe Filmation is just following suit. Anyway, Shokoti had a two-part episode, though she really only showed up in part 2, with part 1 building up her eventual appearance.
Let’s face it, cartoons from the ’80s haven’t aged very well. And of the Big Three (He-Man, Transformers, GI Joe), He-Man has fared the worst with time. It’s honestly kind of painful to watch nowadays, with the terrible voice acting and writing, nonsensical plots, and oddly ’70s aesthetic. But the thing is, a lot of really good TV writers got their start on this show, like J. Michael Straczynski, or Lawrence DiTillo, or some others. And once in a long while, their quality shines through – good writing is why people loved Granamyr so much, after all. The House of Shokoti is one of those rare good episodes. It also pays homage to H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, which is something that He-Man did once in a while as kind of a call back to Conan the Barbarian’s close relationship with Lovecraft (Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft were friends, and occasionally shared each other’s story elements in cameos in their respective work).
In House of Shokoti part One, the villain is one Lord Masque, a cloaked, masked individual who also deserves a figure (I doubt he’ll remain unmade for long), who intended to unseal Shokoti, an ancient evil imprisoned inside a pyramid. He is one of the few villains He-Man actually kills – Masque seriously injures Orko, and He-Man retaliates by breaking his mask. This destroys Masque, who soon melts away into nothingness. With the day saved, He-Man entrusts the ruins of the old pyramid to an archeologist friend of his (a recurring character).
In House of Shokoti Part Two, the archeologist’s assistant, an idiot kid, accidentally frees Shokoti from the ruins, who immediately sets about trying to awaken her master, the Cthulhu-esque Sleeping Beast. Shokoti easily overpowers both He-Man and Ram-man with her dark magic and awakens her master, leaving only the child to face his fears and try to stop her (Shokoti’s power is based on fear). He manages to free He-Man, who destroys the Sleeping Beast by dropping a massive statue on it. When the Beast dies, Shokoti also dissipates into nothingness, thus freeing everybody.
Shokoti is memorable for a lot of reasons – she’s female, sexy in kind of a vampire way, genuinely creepy, and powerful enough to defeat He-Man. Wow.
Shokoti’s toy looks just like her. This is kind of funny, as plenty of people would have liked some sort of update – maybe a skirt, loincloth, or some pants. The figure also comes with one of her floating Darklings, creatures she summoned to attack the heroes. That is beyond awesome, and I approve!
So, there you go. Icer, batros, and Shokoti. Now that you know who they are, perhaps you’ll understand the fan demand for them a little better. I intend to do this as more and more Filmation characters are revealed in the MOTUC line.
So, are those all of the Filmation characters? Did I forget anybody?
Sorry, dude. Maybe next time.