YMMV: Masters of the Universe

The Franchise

  • Adaptation Displacement: Almost all the canon nowadays comes from the Filmation animated series, instead of the original pack-in mini-comics. Even the mini-comics themselves began adapting their own canon to fit with the cartoon.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Webstor a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants what's best for his race but still doesn't approve of them torturing prey, and seeks to rule Eternia to find a compromise, or just a power-mad villain who sees the world as a buffet? Is Whiplash a Nice Guy who was forced to team up with Kraal for his own purposes and genuinely regrets all those human sacrifices, or a black-hearted monster consumed by hatred for his damn brother? Is Beastman a Woobie whose intelligence was destroyed by Skeletor's torture, or an animal abusing Jerkass? Is Trap-Jaw a typical Snake Mountain dumbass, or the Only Sane Man who Skeletor horribly disfigured when he attempted a rebellion?
  • Base Breaker: Orko in the 80's series. To some he's The Scrappy but to others he's an Ensemble Dark Horse. This is less bad in the 2002 series.
    • Horde Prime. Some find him a cool and compelling villain, while others feel that it diminishes Hordak's importance if he's not the leader of the Horde.
  • Broken Base: The DC comics, hoo boy. Fans are divided between those who enjoy and those who absolutely HATE it, with most being on the latter side. It might've helped if the writers hadn't done everything in their power to piss off the female members of the fandom... Also to some, The New Adventures of He-man, the 1987 movie, and the Filmation cartoon, are this.
  • Creator's Pet: Mighty Spector, the character created by Scott Neitlich for MOTU Classics. Also Whiplash, in the original series. He gets the most screen time of any second season villain in the Filmation cartoon, and arguably has the most developed character as well, next to Evil-Lyn and Skeletor of course.
  • Ear Worm: The 80's opening. Man, it's so hammy that it's delightful.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Evil-Lyn and Keldor, before becoming Skeletor.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Prince Adam no More", Skeletor made Beast Man fall through a trap door. Think about it while remembering Spin-Off series She-Ra: Princess of Power would later establish Hordak as someone who usually does this to his subordinates and was the one who used Snake Mountain as headquarters before Skeletor.
    • He-Man was redesigned with less of an accidental Hard Gay look to him for the 2002 reboot. Who did they get to voice him? Openly gay voice actor [1].
  • Ho Yay: Prince Adam is quiet and unassuming, wears pink, has a secret he can't tell anyone, has only one female friend and is strictly platonic with her, likes cats, and transforms into a tanned body-builder in leather and loin-cloth by waving around a phallic object. He spends his time hanging around other body builders in similarly revealing clothing, and fighting even more bodybuilders in skimpy outfits.
    • "By the power of G(r)ayskull!"
    • Characters named Ram-Man and Fisto. Fisto.
    • The fan-video "Fabulous Secret Powers".
    • It doesn't help that Prince Adam in the 2002 series was voiced by the openly gay Cam Clarke.
    • All that manly facial hair...
    • I Love the 80s lampooned this subtext in its review of MOTU, with clips of Prince Adam talking about protecting his "secret" interspersed with suggestively looping footage of Beast-Man grappling He-Man from behind.
    • The New Adventures of He-Man almost seemed to embrace this, by changing He-Man's outfit to be tights and a leather strap across his chest, giving him a ponytail, and having Adam speak with a pronounced lisp. Adam also has what can only be pigtails.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Given his constant humiliating defeats, it gets hard not to feel bad for Skeletor at times. The writers even did several episodes where He-Man and Skeletor team up because that was the only way they got to let Skeletor win.
    • A case could be made for some other villains, especially Mer-man, who once tried to sacrifice Teela, but is generally hated by every other member of Skeletor's team (and there was also an embarassing incident with a perverted octopus once, in "Prince Adam No More..). Trap-jaw is basically a straight-up Jerkass, while Tri-klops and Beast-man are just plain Woobies. The former was never a jerk to begin with, and the latter is only a jerk if you believe the backstory given in the series bible. The German episodes, in fact, make poor Beast-man downright pitiable.
  • LGBT Fanbase: The main character is a buff, handsome man running around in little more than a loincloth.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Narm:
    • When Skeletor and Beast-Man are flying around turning things to stone, Man-at-arms stands up to them and shouts, 'YOU DON'T SCARE ME!' while firing his blaster at their ship. This is supposed to be dramatic?
    • Skeletor will make you uncomfortable.
  • Older Than They Think: It's commonly alleged that the idea of giving He-Man a secret identity as Prince Adam was made up for the original animated series. While it is true that He-Man was just He-Man all the time in the earliest mini-comics, it's also true that Adam originated in DC Comics's short-lived Masters series that predated the cartoon.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: Serpenators are this to dragons. King Hss accuses He-Man of being one to King Grayskull, and he's kind of right despite the tropes used to describe him.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Sir Laser-Lot gets an extra strike against him for succeeding Man-At-Arms in the official continuity. Unsurprisingly, not everyone was happy with one of the original eight characters of the franchise being Killed Off for Real and replaced by a never-before-seen nobody. To make matters worse, there were pre-existing characters (like Fisto or Clamp Champ) who had already been established as being the people directly under Duncan in the hierarchy of the Eternian military.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Quite a few people root for Skeletor and the Evil Warriors. Hell, even the writers of the Filmation series felt bad for them and did some Enemy Mine episodes just so Skeletor could actually win for once.
  • The Scrappy:
    • The four scientists of Primus are the collective Scrappy of the New Adventures. Alcon and Gepple are somewhat tolerable when not along the rest, but the other two are never anything else than their bickering, bumbling selves.
    • In the Classics line, the Mighty Spector, and to a lesser degree Sir Laser-Lot, have received quite a bit of vitriol from fans who feel that they have bland, uninspired character designs (the idea that they look more like comic-book superheroes than science-fantasy characters is brought up a lot) and that they don't fit in with pre-existing characters. Not to mention, both have been given quite important roles in multiple eras of the canon, thanks to Spector's time travel (which is itself a source of great controversy).
  • So Bad, It's Good: The original cartoon. The 2002 series is much better, though it still has its moments.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Season 2 of the 2002 series saw the formal introduction of the Snake Men, who were also bent on conquering Eternia. They battled He-Man and the Masters often, but despite being a rival faction, they had no real interaction with Skeletor's Evil Warriors. Their only clash was in "Rise of the Snake Men, Part 1" - a battle some saw as disappointing due to the Snake Men curb stomping the Evil Warriors (who had already been wearied from battle with the Masters). (Reportedly, the unproduced 40th episode would've seen Skeletor leading an offensive against what was left of their ranks.)
  • Ugly cute: Webstor, Modulok, Spikor, and Mantenna from Filmation's He-man and She-ra, respectively, count. Why are there so many goddam cute villains in the Filmation versions of these shows anyway?!!
  • Uncanny Valley: Due to a lot of animation involving rotoscoping motions, such as Beast Man charging the camera or He-Man lifting a rock, look very strange as though the motion is both too fast and too slow.

The Film