This Animated Series changed the face of children's television when it debuted in 1983. Filmation produced the show for daily syndication in conjunction with a pre-existing line of Mattel toys and action figures. Its huge success led to dozens of others Merchandise Driven cartoons in the 1980s. It is now being rerun late at night on the Qubo Channel and on RTV on Saturday mornings.Existing in a world that has both futuristic elements alongside sword, legend and lore, the series focuses on Adam, the crown prince of Eternia, who as described in the opening monologue, has the ability to transform into his super-strong barbarian alter ego, He-Man. This Transformation Sequence also turned Adam's cowardly talking pet Cringer into the brave and fearsome Battle Cat.His primary foe was the evil Skeletor, a warlord who was equal parts wizard and warrior. With the help of a motley crew of heroes, including wise veteran Man-At-Arms, Lady of War Teela, and the bumbling comic relief sorcerer Orko, He-Man battles the forces of Skeletor and other evil enemies.The title, Masters of the Universe, referred to a mystical power hidden under Castle Greyskull. Chosen by the Sorceress of Greyskull to be its guardian, He-Man's strength came from there, channeled through his sword. Skeletor possessed a companion sword which, when combined with He-Man's, would open the secrets of Greyskull.An amusing bit of apocrypha states that the franchise was originally intended to be based on the film Conan the Barbarian, but a new plotline and characters were written when marketers realized the folly of basing children's merchandise on a very violent film that most children had not seen. Of note is that Paul Dini was a member of the writing staff (as was J Michael Straczynski), and Bruce Timm did layouts; both would later go on to be main figures in Tiny Toon Adventures and Batman: The Animated Series (also of note: Haim Saban and Shuki Levy were involved in the original production of the show as well, also going on to make a surprisingly long-lived children's franchise). The franchise became so well known that the stockbroker protagonist of Tom Wolfe's novel The Bonfire Of The Vanities identified himself as "a master of the universe" (the character's daughter owned some of the figures) because of the power he held.The show left syndication and was shown on the USA Network, which back then was known for being the "used car" network for rerun lots of rerun shows.A live action film was made in 1987, called Masters of the Universe, featuring Dolph Lundgren as He-Man.An ill-fated Revival/Retool, The New Adventures of He-Man, premiered in 1990 but lasted only a year. Depending on whom you ask, it failed either because it was Recycled IN SPACE! or They Changed It, Now It Sucks.A 2002 Continuity Reboot, first aired on Cartoon Network's Toonami, was much closer to the original series while being modernized and more consistently written. Unfortunately, the new series failed after one and a half seasons due to a lack of promotion and poor toy distribution.She-Ra: Princess of Power was a spinoff, although it wasn't quite as successful.The franchise still has loyal followers, who have created the comprehensive fan site He-Man.org.There's a character sheet in construction.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe provides examples of:
Action Girl: Teela — all incarnations. Both the '80s series and the 2002 revival shows Teela as being better in combat than Adam as well as being a reliable ally for the entire team. This is complicated by the fact that Adam makes a point of pretending to be a goof-off to protect his secret, but it doesn't change the fact she's one of the best warriors in the King's service.
Evil-Lyn, especially in the 2002 series.
Even the Queen of Eternia, Marlena, gets a moment to flex her abilities. In the '80s series, she's revealed to have been one of Earth's best fighter pilots when she leads a squadron against Skeletor to rescue her kidnapped family. In the 2002 series, she gets to reveal her swordsmanship.
Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The New Adventures of He-Man was launched with four pack-in minicomics explaining the setup changes, including the change in appearance of He-Man and Skeletor, and the change of He-Man's "By the Power of Grayskull!" to "By the Power of Eternia". In the TV series, they appear from the beginning in their hi-tech costumes, and He-Man with his new transformation phrase, with no explanation for the changes. Some things in the comics were ignored by the cartoon, however, such as Skeletor finding out Prince Adam was He-Man moments before the He-Man identity became permanent, as well as the redesign of the sword to match the recently released toy, as the new Sword of Power in the cartoon looked nothing like the new merchandise. He-Man's secret identity also remained secret in the cartoon, and no explanation is given in the show for Skeletor becoming an apparently cybernetic being, though this was addressed in the comics. Perhaps the writers were expecting people to assume a tie to the 1987 feature film to explain Skeletor's cybernetic augmentation if they hadn't gotten ahold of the minicomics. If so, it didn't work.
Aerith and Bob: The Classics toyline gives each of the characters a real name. Names like Nikolas Powers and Marlena Glenn coexist with names like Uqquz Zekul Mshqx and Tzzzzt zzz zzTTTzz, and even with names pronounced through eye blinks or claw clicks.
An Aesop: Every episode of every version had one at the end - the '02 series softened the blow by always making it the exact lesson the episode as a whole was meant to teach you, rather than clumsily segueing into "yo, kids — don't smoke." The earlier show had a bad habit of being hard on its aesops - see Broken Aesop below.
Ascended Fanboy: Odiphus is shown to desperately want to be fighting for the bad guys, which he ultimately does as Stinkor.
Autocannibalism: In the last episode of the 2002 reboot, Zodak mystically hypnotizes four of King Hiss' heads into eating the fifth, and main, one (had the show gone on for another season he would have regenerated it).
Bad Boss: In the 2002 series, at least, Skeletor is a terrible boss who constantly punishes and berates his minions while undermining any legitimate accomplishments they may make. The only reason they put up with this treatment is because they know he'd do much, much worse if they talked back.
Later with his Council of Evil, he makes this striking threat to the giants over asking a simple question:
"You are aware that I sacrificed my evil warriors without a second thought? And them I liked."
Hordak in the '02 series. He vaporizes one of his warriors - not for questioning him, but for delivering bad news beyond his control that he didn't want to hear.
Balance Between Good and Evil: While the original toy package labeled him a villain (because every toy had to be classified as one or the other, no exceptions), in the Filmation series, Zodak was portrayed as more of a cosmic agent of balance, favoring the good guys, as they seem more likely to cooperate with his goals. The 2002 reboot has him as an angrier, more selfish character.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Averted in the original show, but played straight in The New Adventures of He-Man. Nearly all of He-Man's Galactic Guardians are normal humans using technological equipment in lieu of actual powers. Meanwhile, Flogg and Skeletor's Mutants are all, well, mutants, each possessing a variety of deformities and superhuman abilities (only aversion among the Mutants is Toyless Toyline Character Crita).
Berserk Button: Cringer almost always lives up to his name, but can be the opposite if Adam is in great danger. For example, in the 2002 series, Cringer attacks a Snake Man for trying to eat Adam.
Big Bad: Skeletor for the most part. No matter how competent, powerful or arrogant they were shown to be prior, few villains ever successfully challenged Skeletor. Many even served him, despite their goals being incompatible.
Blessed with Suck: The Sorceress in the Filmation series. Think about it. Blessed with the ability to discern almost all the things happening on Eternia, having extremely powerful magic at her command... and yet, she was unable to leave the Castle without being reduced to flying around as a bird with very low-level telepathy. One imagines the limitations got quite frustrating. The very few times she was able to overcome these limitations were explicitly stated to be special circumstances.
This trend was continued in the 2002 reboot.
Also in the 2002 reboot, the The Faceless One is implied to be a powerful practitioner of magic, but can't leave the Temple of the Ram Stone.
Body Horror: In the 2002 reboot's "Second Skin," King Hiss uses an ancient artifact to turn people into Snakemen - including Man-At-Arms, Teela and Mekaneck.
Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: Season 1 of the 2002 reboot ends with Skeletor capturing all of the heroic Masters, leaving only Prince Adam (sans Power Sword) to defend Castle Grayskull against Skeletor, all his minions, and nearly every villain from the whole season.
Pretty much the whole episode "The Courage of Adam" from 2002 series. It implies that Adam is useless and really needs his alter ego form to be of any use. It also contradicts many subsequent lessons, about being yourself. Adam is never allowed to develop his own, more realistic character. What we see instead is an instant of little-effort, power-gain Transformation.
The original series was the real king of the Broken Aesop, sometimes making and breaking an Aesop over the span of one or two scenes, or having the And Knowing Is Half the Battle scene clash with the episode — or even the series premise.
For example, that episode that ends with an anti-violence message... after one more episode of an action show.
Three fights in that one. He-Man vs. Demon, He-Man vs. Wizard, Dragon vs. Dragon.
Canon Immigrant: Orko, The Sorceress, and Evil Seed were originally created just for the Filmation cartoon. They all have since been adopted into the He-Man canon — though in Evilseed's case, a toy has yet to be made.
The Sorceress was in the original comics and all. She was just known by a different name: "The Goddess". The particular look of the Sorceress, nevertheless, puts her closer to this trope. "The Goddess" in the mini-comics looked like Teela in her snake armor form. The bird-woman look was from the cartoon, and, like Orko, was incorporated into the toyline and comics later.
Depending on your point of view, the Snake Men and Stinkor may count as well. Absent from the original cartoon (because the show had ended when the Snake Men's toys came out and Stinkor was judged "waaaaay too stupid to use"), they became fairly large parts of the 2002 series. Fellow original toyline characters not featured in the original cartoon Rio-Blast, Clamp Champ, and Snout Spout were integrated into the 2002 canon in its comic and statue lines.
Can't Catch Up: The rest of the team when compared to He-Man's borderline God Mode at times, though the show still does a good job of keeping He-Man out of the picture enough to get to know the other characters. The newer series' "The Monster Within" episode tried to show He-Man as being just as vulnerable as the other Masters under the right circumstances; Man-E-Faces got in trouble and He-Man had to save him, but mere minutes later the roles were reversed.
Justified with It Was His Sled. It was probably assumed that this was commonly known information that would just bore the audience.
Clark Kenting: Nobody (other than the Sorceress, Man-At-Arms and Orko) spots that Prince Adam is He-Man, even though they have the same build and girly haircut and as Ram Man once pointed out, Prince Adam and He-Man are never seen together.
To be fair, He-Man also has tanned skin, which may help the disguise some. Even so...
Averted in the 2002 reboot by depicting Adam as looking more like He-Man's younger brother. He was half He-Man's size and probably gained at least a foot and a half in height and at least a hundred and fifty pounds of additional muscle after he transforms into He-Man.
Filmation actually wanted to do this from the start, but a limited budget and heavy use of stock footage forced them to give Adam and He-Man the same character design, so it would be easier to re-trace and re-use the animation. Then again, virtually every male character in the original cartoon has the same build (just like the toys), so Adam and He-Man's similar physiques wouldn't have proved much.
Cloning Blues: Skeletor once created an army of clones who were like him except they're smaller. Realizing each clone must be just as greedy as the original, He-Man turned the tables on Skeletor by asking the clones what they'd get from helping Skeletor becoming the ruler of Eternia. As each clone wanted to rule Eternia as much as the original Skeletor wants, they fought among themselves.
Convection Schmonvection: In the 2002 series, characters routinely stand near lava or dangle over it without suffering any ill effect.
Crossover: With Superman, twice in fact (though this was the comics version of He-Man). The first featured the origin of Superman's weakness to magic.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Orko is consistently the comedic relief, but there are times when he demonstrates skill and intelligence to help his friends.
One of the best examples may be in the 2002 series, where Orko interrogates a captured Snake Man. Orko gets the needed information by whipping out a mongoose (a predator of snakes), making it grow and letting it attack the Snake Man's cell.
In the Filmation series, Orko was from an alternate dimension where the rules of magic worked differently. On his home world of Trolla, he was his people's greatest wizard, but on Eternia, he had to re-learn even the most basic spells, or else have them blow up in his face. When Orko was able to make his way back to his own dimension, he utterly dominated Skeletor in a magical duel, leaving his friends in complete awe. It should also be mentioned that Orko saved He-Man's life when they first met, and showed great magical skill in the rescue (until he lost the medallion that allowed him to perform magic competently in Eternia).
Darkest Hour: "The Price of Power" sees Skeletor arrange one of these for He-Man when he thinks he killed an innocent. He crosses the Despair Event Horizon and gives up being He-Man completely, a misery that is further compounded when Prince Adam learns that Teela will have to go on a suicide mission to stop Skeletor because He-Man is no longer available.
Demoted to Extra: In the second season of the 2002 series, Skeletor and his minions appeared less frequently and had less impact on plots to make room for King Hiss and the Snake Men (Season 2 being half as long as Season 1 likely didn't help, either). Reportedly, this would've been rectified in a third season.
Despair Event Horizon: "The Price of Power" where He-Man makes the decision to give up being He-Man and throw his sword into the bottomless abyss of Greyskull because he thinks he's killed an innocent while fighting Skeletor, resulting in the forces of good being left to fight a battle they can't win except through a suicide mission by one soldier (Teela).
Taken to an extreme with the Snake-Men. Not only did the majority have freakish two-toed feet, but only their king wasn't barefoot... and he wore sandals.
Drop the Hammer: Tytus, a giant twice He-Man's size, wields a similarly gigantic hammer. Hammers were also the preferred weapons of three giants who appeared in the 2002 show.
Dumb Muscle: Both versions of Ram Man, the original Tri-Klops, 2002 Clawful, Baddrha, and to a lesser degree Grizzlor, Beast Man, Trap-Jaw, Whiplash, and Spikor. Clawful is probably the single most emblematic example — the show's writers mention in DVD commentary that they once drew up a hierarchy of intelligence among the evil Masters, and Clawful was dead last. It's eventually revealed that he's more or less illiterate in his own native language; Evil-Lyn had to translate a message sent by his cousin for him. However, when it comes to physical might, he knows few true equals, and he can outmuscle even He-Man.
The New Adventures of He-Man also gives us Butthead and Staghorn.
Early-Bird Cameo: For the 2002 series, in "Snake Pit" and "Separation" respectively, King Hiss and Hordak make brief, shadowy cameos. Their roles are expanded (particularly the former) in Season 2.
Enemy Mine: Stratos and Trap-Jaw have to work together to survive! It doesn't go well.
Teela and Evil-Lyn, in contrast, are able to successfully work together when stranded in the desert by a common enemy in "The Witch and the Warrior". To the point that both express genuine regret that they're on opposite sides (it doesn't last, but it does lead to an almost friendly goodbye by Evil-Lyn... by Eternian villain standards, anyway).
Even Bad Women Love Their Daddies: Evil-Lyn in the 2002 series returns her father's sacred magical artifact the Ramstone to him after Skeletor tries to destroy He-Man with it.
Even Evil Has Standards: Evil-Lyn is willing to help Skeletor in his attempt for world domination, but she will not betray her father and returns his magical Ramstone back to him when Skeletor loses it.
Everybody Do the Endless Loop: Constantly in the Filmation series, making the animation seem extremely robotic most of the time. Worst of all in the first season, where the budget was limited even by Filmation's standards.
Everybody Laughs Ending: Just about every episode ended with Orko screwing up a magic spell and making someone (usually Man-At-Arms) angry, while everybody else laughs.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In an episode where He-Man and Skeletor are forced into an Enemy Mine situation in order to save Eternia, Skeletor tries in vain to comprehend doing something good for a change. He asks He-Man, "Don't you ever feel like doing something evil?" He-Man answers, "Don't you ever feel like doing something good?"
Another example would be Skeletor trying to understand what Christmas is in the Christmas Special, and then coming down with the Christmas spirit.
"But I don't like to feel good! I like to feel evil!"s!
Evil Counterpart: This series practically personifies this trope. Here are a few examples.
Evil-Lyn to Teela.
Skeletor to King Randor.
Clawful to Ram-Man.
Trap-Jaw to Man-At-Arms.
Tri-Klops to Man-E-Faces.
Panthor to Battle Cat.
Evilseed to Moss Man.
Webstor to Buzz-Off.
Count Marzo to Orko.
Hordak to The Sorceress.
Evil Laugh: Skeletor. In one episode of The New Adventures of He-Man, Skeletor mocks Flogg's halfhearted chuckle and insists he leave these things to the professionals.
Evil Sounds Deep: Averted with Skeletor, whose voice is infamously shrill and grating. Played straight with Beast Man, Tri-Clops, and Trapjaw in the original series.
Played straight with Skeletor in the Italian adaptation of the 2002 version, where he receives a deep, raspy voice.
Evil Twin: Skeletor created one (conveniently named "Faker") to He-Man.
With help from a magic mirror, Skeletor created an evil twin from one of He-Man's allies. The mirror was eventually destroyed by Skeletor's good duplicate.
Evil Uncle: If the comics are to be believed, Skeletor himself.
Word Of God indicates that in the 2002 reboot Keldor/Skeletor is actually King Randor's half-brother. Um... on which side of the family are Randor and Adam related to King Greyskull again? Funnily enough, Skeletor doesn't even know Adam's name (he thinks it's "Alan"), probably due to being exiled before he was born.
Evil Versus Evil: Each group of villains will fight each other as well as the Masters. Sometimes, the villains within a group will turn on each other.
Had the 2002 series continued the plot would have eventually involved Hordak returning to Eternia and most of the fighting would be between the Horde and Skeletor's Evil Warriors.
Fail O'Suckyname: One of the Skeletor-allied mutants from The New Adventures of He-Man was a helmeted, headbutt-happy mauler called... "Butthead". Come on, really? The cartoon mercifully refers to him solely as "BH", but that's still probably the single worst name they could have possibly come up with.
Fan Vid: He-Man is the subject of many a Gag Dub on YouTube; The Skeletor Show is probably the funniest and most popular. In Chilean television, the humor show "Canal Copano" featured a pretty funny parody as well.
"Hi there! I'm Adam, Prince of Eternia, and this is my kitty Mr. Cringerpants — the most cutest kitty in the universe. Fabulous secret powers were revealed to me when I held a-loft my magic sword... and sang."
Fish People: Mer-Man and the other Aquaticans. Mer-Man has an unfortunate speech impediment when speaking on dry land that undercuts his menace quite a bit.
Flower From The Mountain Top: In "The Bitter Rose", Orko does this to prove his love for Dree'Elle. Initially it causes problems for everyone until it's revealed he did something unexpectedly beneficial, after all.
Fog Feet: The Faceless One is always portrayed, both in animation and comic books, as a ghostly figure with mystic smoke around his legs. When he finally received an action figure that had no representation of the smoke, many fans were displeased.
General Failure: Flogg in The New Adventures of He-Man isn't a particularly intelligent mutant and his strategies often leave something to desire, but he manages to subvert this occasionally — he's not smart, but he's a savvy and intimidating military commander who can draw up a battle plan that'll leave 'em reeling sometimes.
Genre Savvy: In the '02 series, Skeletor demonstrates this now and then, especially when berating the failures of his team:
Trap Jaw: We would've won if He-Man hadn't shown up.
Giant Eye of Doom: Optikk, one of the evil mutants from The New Adventures of He-Man, is essentially a giant eye sitting on a suit of armor. Optikk is an alias; his real name is pronounced through a series of blinks.
Giant Spider: Webstor is a human-sized being with spider features. In the 2002 series episode "Web of Evil," ambrosia makes him even bigger and more spider-like.
Go Mad from the Revelation: Upon seeing that his handsome face has been reduced to nothing but a skull floating above his shoulders, Keldor/Skeletor cackles madly.
Great Offscreen War: The original minicomics had the Great Wars that caused the devastation of Eternia, which became a Scavenger World (the original reason for the middle ages/Sci fi mix). The 2002 series has the Great Unrest, a war in which Duncan and Randor fought during their youth.
Heart Is An Awesome Power: Even during the '80s run when Stinkor was deemed too ridiculous to use, a supplemental book version of his rejected episode showed this. Stinkor's stench was so powerful that it sapped He-Man's strength and Stinkor almost beat him.
Heroic Sacrifice: King Grayskull choose to fight Hordak knowing that he would not survive the battle.
He's Back: "The Price of Power". When Orko reveals to Prince Adam that Skeletor tricked him into believing he had killed someone, Skeletor really isn't too thrilled to find He-Man comes back.
Hidden Depths: Regardless of continuity, Cringer can be a lot braver than even he thinks he's capable of.
"You got more Battle-Cat in you then you think."
High-Class Glass: After being hit by a "brain ray", Butthead (shut up, we know) starts wearing a monocle. Later he completes the ensemble with a bowler hat and a fancy suit — though he doesn't take off his helmet at any point.
Hot Dad: Though older than most, King Randor caught the eye of some fangirls. Originally he was supposed to be a Badass Grandpa wizard in the beginning, instead of the middle-aged warrior he was in canon.
Hot Mom: And Queen Marlena is just as hot as her husband.
Isn't the Sorceress Teela's mother in at least the '02 series?
In the first battle between He-Man and Skeletor of the '02 series, he does this twice.
Important Haircut: In The New Adventures of He-Man, but in reverse: He-Man's hair inexplicably (but quite explicitly) gets ponytail-length longer during a moment of awesome mystical display.
Incredible Shrinking Man: The result of the Reducto Ray in "No Job Too Small". Also a plot element in "Day of the Machines".
Inept Mage: On Eternia, most people think Orko is this. He's actually from a different dimension where the rules of magic work differently. As a result, his magic struggles on Eternia but what most don't know is that he's a very powerful and well-respected mage back home and that even on Eternia his magic can work properly but only when he's using a special medallion (original series) or a special wand (2002 reboot). In both cases, he lost the artifact saving Prince Adam's life just after arriving on Eternia.
Invincible Hero: Seems to happen with He-Man at times; the only truly desperate fights seem like the ones where he's either not involved or up against an enemy who can really beat him.
Ironic Echo: The 2002 Continuity Reboot starts with Adam doing the Opening Narration, but as soon as he gets to the line, "Fabulous Secrets", he's cut off in mid-sentence as the area he's standing in front of is under attack.
Its The Journey That Counts / Magic Feather: King Grayskull seeks the power to defeat Hordak, and is told by a seer to give up his sword and journey to find a new magic sword. When he does, he finds the seer, who returns Grayskull's sword and tells Grayskull he always had the power, he just needed the trip to focus his abilities.
The Key Is Behind the Lock: In one version of the backstory, Prince Adam was questing with Teela for what would later become his magic sword. Wielding this sword was the only way to enter Castle Grayskull. And yes, the sword was inside the castle.
Legion of Doom: After all of his normal minions are captured by the Masters, Skeletor teams up with every villain not affiliated with him up to that point in the series (Evilseed, Count Marzo, and the three giants. Webstor was there, too, but apparently he just happened to live in one of Snake Mountain's hidden corridors), thus forming the Council of Evil.
On the other hand, perhaps in keeping with the 1970s trend of matching garb for couples, the DC comics◊ had Teela occasionally sporting fur shorts identical to He-Man's with Frazetta style breastplates to maintain (some) modesty.
Loud Gulp: In the very first Masters Of The Universe episode, "Diamond Ray of Disappearance", Teela is confronted by the villain and does a very deep gulp that sounds rather mannish!
Luke, I Am Your Father: Teela, searching for the identity of her true parents, learns — and is promptly made to forget — that the Sorceress of Grayskull is actually her mother, and that at some point in time, she will have to take her place. In the 2002 series, it was planned to have Teela discover this and not be forced to forget, but it got cancelled before that could happen. And for it to be Teela's choice whether she would become the new Sorceress.
Two examples, actually: Although never covered in the series itself, the later minicomics (which notionally conformed to the animated canon) were set to reveal that Skeletor was in fact Keldor, Randor's long-lost brother and thus Adam (and He-Man)'s uncle. In the 2002 reboot, Skeletor was even shown in his Keldor days in the pilot and through flashbacks, but they didn't get around to pointing out the familial relationship (although they probably intended to: the writers discussed the fact that they were half-brothers on the DVD commentary).
It goes much deeper than that in the 2002 reboot: We learn that Fisto is actually Man-At-Arms' brother, and — had the show continued — would've revealed not only that Teela was the Sorceress' daughter (as in the original series, but she wouldn't have forgotten, afterwards), but also that Fisto is her father. (Though there were also vague allusions that Man-At-Arms might be her biological father rather than just adoptive.)
The strange part about that is, in the 2002 series the Sorceress claims her husband (Teela's father?) had died. In the 1983 series Man-At-Arms says he knew Teela's real dad and indicated that he was dead. The comics said that Teela's father was a brave warrior that had died in battle.
Magical Girl Warrior: Oddly enough, this show is fairly close to that particular sub-genre of Magical Girl in spite of its macho overtones. This is partially because Filmation's take on the toyline's mythos incorporated many elements from their earlier hit adaptation of the Captain Marvel Family Comics, Shazam, which are acknowledged as being an Ur Example of the genre.
Male Gaze: A common occurrence when the female cast is involved in the '80s series. How many times has the viewer been treated to Teela's backside, whether she was landing or being crept up upon by a villain?
Meaningful Name / Meaningful Rename: Consider names like Cringer/Battle Cat, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Man-E-Faces, Beast Man and so forth. With this franchise, character backstories tend to fall on the latter trope when it comes to names.
Missing Episode: A 40th episode of the '02 series was scripted, but never animated. A Comic Book Adaptation of it was included as a special feature on the DVD, though. King Hiss is fully healed and Man-At-Arms is turned into a Snakeman again to be theirGadgeteer Genius.
I am Adam, Prince of Eternia, and defender of the secrets of Castle Grayskull. This is Cringer, my "fearless" friend. Fabulous secret pow— (Castle Greyskull gets attacked)
The Classics toyline has released "Wun-Dar", an attempt to make canon the mysterious "Wonder Bread He-Man" with brown hair and different armor (who nobody can prove was actually offered by Wonder Bread). He even comes with an "Eternian baked good".
Skeletor's Bifurcated Weapon. The original He-Man and Skeletor toys each had a sword designed to join together to form a single powerful one.
Name's the Same: Fisto's toy even had to be called "Battle Fist" to avoid confusion with Star Wars' Kit Fisto, despite being created like 20 years earlier.
The Classics line turned Mark Taylor's original concept for Skeletor into a new character named Demo-Man. To avoid confusion, it should be stressed that the "demo" is short for "demon", not "demolitions".
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Skeletor, of course. Oddly, this could apply to both sides. Who would really want to hand around people named Ram-Man, Fisto, or Buzz-Off? The Classics line tries to make this all less silly by giving most of the characters real names and establishing their more familiar monikers as simple aliases.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: In one episode, He-Man and Skeletor use ancient artifacts to become, respectively, a samurai barbarian prince and a samurai skeleton wizard. The same episode introduced Sy-Clone, a samurai wind elemental. The original toyline featured Rio Blast, a cyborg cowboy (who admittedly was later introduced sort of into the 2002 continuity).
Obviously Evil: Skeletor and his army in spades. So much so in fact that he even provides the trope picture.
Old Hero, New Pals: The New Adventures of He-Man. He-Man and Skeletor travel to planet Primus, where they join the Galactic Guardians and the Evil Mutants respectively. The Sorceress appears from time to time and there's one episode with Teela.
One-Man Army: King Miro regards He-Man as this the first time he ever sees him in action.
Allegedly they intended to have him become blue in his next appearance... which never ended up happening. Funnily enough, virtually identical events transpired in the '02 show as well.
To be fair to Man-E-Faces, at least in the 2002 series, his faces aren't really a disguise, per se.
In the original, Adam/He-Man himself qualified too. His "secret identity" was "concealed" entirely by his wearing different clothes and having a different hairdo. How did nobody manage to notice that Adam looks exactly like He-Man? The 2002 series corrects this by making Adam get much larger and more muscular when he transforms into He-Man.
Pet the Dog: In the 2002 series Skeletor somehow manages to do this at the same time as he has a Kick the Dog moment. He admits that he actually does like his Evil Warriors (possibly as friends) but says this in the same breath as he admits to betraying them without a second thought. And he only says it as a threat to someone else.
Race Lift: In the 2002 series, Zodak is black and Sy-Clone is more or less Asian. In response to the former, the Classics toyline split the difference and released "Zodac" (based on the original) and "Zodak" (based on the '02 interpretation) as separate figures/characters.
The Rashomon: The Battle of the Quagmi Swamp in The New Adventures of He-Man. Flipshot, Hydron, Slushhead and Flogg each tell their own version of the story - their versions, of course, exaggerating their own role and aggrandizing themselves. Interestingly, we never get the real story and are forced to simply piece it together from the common elements in each tale.
Recycled in SPACE: The New Adventures of He-Man. To be perfectly fair, little more than He-Man and Skeletor themselves remained from the original series, and in both cases their appearances were altered quite a bit.
Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Played completely straight: See the cannibalistic, scheming, and downright evil snake-men; and Whiplash, a crude bully considered an embarrassment and a traitor by the rest of his people.
Actually subvertred with the rest of Whiplash's species. They're more or less portrayed as neutral in the 2002 cartoon; the entire reason they hate Whiplash and consider him a traitor is probably because he's giving the rest of the a bad name.
Averted with Lizard Man, a one-off member of the Heroic Warriors who only ever appeared in the 80s cartoon.
Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Adam uses this "fake identity" along with Obfuscating Stupidity to keep his secret. Done a bit more believably in the newer series, where Adam and He-Man's appearances are drastically different instead of He-Man just being more tanned and having a different attitude.
Man-E-Faces has a human face, a robot face and a beast face, each with an accompanying personality. One episode of the 2002 series has him learning to accept the advantages of his beast personality and overcome the weakness he had with Beast Man's power over animals. In the original, the number of faces he had and their exact unique qualities was never specified.
In a comic story, he covers three guard shifts on a tower by changing face when tired. How the robot face got tired is a mystery, and when he switch to the beast face, Beast Man dominates him over a long distance.
The Starscream: Evil-Lyn is pretty blatant about it. So was Awful Clawful in the original.
Also Kobra Khan in the 2002 series when pretending to align with Skeletor. He was completely loyal to King Hiss, however.
Tri-Klops in one episode of the 2002 series, "Roboto's Gambit". He builds an army of skeleton soldiers that multiply when destroyed, and sets out on his own to prove to Skeletor that they work. He then decides to just take the castle for himself. Of course, once He-Man smashes the remote that controlled them and Skeletor finds out about his plan, he's quick to get back in line.
Strong as They Need to Be: He-Man himself pretty much exemplifies the trope. He's exactly as strong as the plot needs him to be at any given moment. At one point his power is even specifically defined as this: his strength is exactly enough to accomplish whatever task he's attempting at the moment.
Suicide Mission: In "The Price of Power" Teela takes one of these to stop Skeletor from completing a dimensional gate that will bring through an army capable of conquering Eternia. Due to He-Man's unavailability, her chances of coming back alive are zero. Fortunately for her, He-Man turns upjust in time to save her.
Taken for Granite: Snake Face's power. It gets turned against him just one episode after his debut; the writers claim he had to be taken out quickly and permanently because his ability was too powerful.
Take Over the World: The goal of Skeletor and pretty much every villain is to take over Eternia.
And the toyline later included Dragstor, a villain who was also a car.
The toyline also included a Monstroid, but it was nothing like the ones from the special.
Talking Animal: Cringer/Battle Cat in the original series. Averted in the 2002 series.
Talking to Himself: In the 2002 series, Scott McNeil voiced Clawful, Mer-Man, Stratos, Ram Man, and Beast Man; an astonishing five regular characters. While in this series most of the cast voiced at least two people, that's still impressive.
And that's just at the start of the series. Mc Neil later voiced Kobra Khan.
In the original series this was all over the place. Despite the Loads and Loads of Characters there were at most eight actors in a given episode (and in a lot of episodes there were only five). Lou Scheimer (under the name Erik Gunden) voiced the most characters. See the character page for more info.
Team Pet: Cringer/Battle Cat, especially in the '02 series where he can't talk and acts like any normal (though large) feline.
That Man Is Dead: Keldor died when he got a face full of acid. Skeletor was born shortly afterwards. Figuratively speaking, of course. Among Skeletor's minions, Trap-Jaw (whose original identity of Kronis was abandoned after he became a cyborg) and Stinkor (who changed his name after becoming a formidable force for evil) arguably count, as well.
That's No Moon: Snake Mountain is really alive but frozen in place — until King Hiss sets it free.
Took a Level in Badass: There was once a He-Man villain known as Stinkor, a skunk-man who had the power of smelling so horribly he had to use a respirator to keep himself from being knocked out. You would think this is a useless or stupid ability, but the 2002 reboot shows just how deadly this can be.
Transformation Trinket: The Sword of Power. Curiously, Skeletor wields a nearly identical sword in the toyline, which could merge with He-Man's sword and the two were known collectively as the Power Sword when merged, but it lacks this little ability. Skeletor's sword appears only in the children's books and occasionally the mini-comics, and is outright ignored in the cartoon. He did seem to have a duplicate version of the blade in Masters of the Universe, however, but it's so dark it's almost impossible to see if it really is supposed to be the 'dark half' of the Power Sword (referred to as The Sword of Grayskull in the film) or not.
Translator Microbes: Orko's "Translator Spell" is one of the only spells he can cast that actually works as intended.
Trapped In Villainy: In the 2002 version, Skeletor traps He-Man with a gem that forces him to be evil or else die. The heroes eventually reverse-engineers this to get Skeletor to only be good, but in the end, both devices break, as nothing would really change from this.
Use Your Head: Ram-Man: "Duuuuuh, good door! Soooo-lid!" Ram Man, as you might expect, loves to rush at things headfirst. Mekaneck also likes to land a good headbutt when he gets the opportunity. The New Adventures of He-Man's unfortunately named Butthead was essentially an evil Ram Man.
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Meckanek's extendable neck, with Lampshade Hanging on it in the 2002 series. Mekanek's power is even more pathetic if you know the original toyline, because included therein was Extendar, who could extend his entire body outward, making Mekanek redundant. Rattlor has powers similar to Meckanek's, but they're much better suited to a Snake Man. Additionally, the toyline only character Blast-Atak is a robot who can explode — why go through the trouble of building a sophisticated robot if it's just to have it blow itself up? Snout Spout, meanwhile, could... fire water out of his snout. Stinkor also gets ribbed for the power of "smelling like, really, like, really really bad" — but it's a lot more effective than you might think.
When All You Have Is a Hammer: He-Man is sometimes pretty clever in how he defeats his enemies in the 2002 series but most of his solutions usually involve crushing something since he's not quite as versatile as most of the bad guys. Supposedly, that version would always have enough strength necessary to complete any given task he just needed to apply it correctly.
Whip It Good: Whiplash, as his name implies, is very fond of using his long tail as a whip, but he also has an actual handheld whip that mimics its appearance somewhat (though he uses it less often). Beast Man uses a whip — but rarely as a weapon. Rather, he uses it to tame animals. Two-Badd also uses a whip in one episode.
Who's Laughing Now?: In one episode of the 2002 series, Skeletor spends the episode being mocked by his minions, because he is wearing a belt that shocks him whenever he thinks an evil thought, and seemingly can't be removed. When he finally gets the belt off, he gets his revenge by suspending his minions over a tub of lava.
This pretty much sums up everyone's feelings in the 2002 series Snake-Man season.
Orko is also afraid of dragons in another episode. But to quote the recurring line of the episode, "Who isn't?"
World Half Full: Eternia wouldn't be that bad to live in, but it's still full of crazy things like a malevolent force of nature that hates people for eating plants, even though people need to do so to live.