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Mattel: Masters of the Universe Origins Mer-Man Review

SO WE ARE CLEAR: Mer-Man is the best Masters of the Universe character. Period. It’s a fact. A known fact. Mer-Man is the best.

The original Masters of the Universe Mer-Man is my favorite action figure of all time. Sure, TMNT Donatello is a close second, but Mer-Man is the one I vividly remember being my absolute favorite, and he predates everything else for me. Needless to say, I have a pretty fun Mer-Man collection; it isn’t huge or complete or anything, but I love all things Mer-Man, so when I see something, or a new Mer-Man comes along, I pick it up with the quickness.

Which is why I grabbed this new Masters of the Universe Origins figure, despite not collecting the line. I could go on for quite awhile as to the reason for the latter, but the basic fact is that it doesn’t really jump out at me, and there are too many weird quirks that keep me away from being full-bore into it, despite loving MOTU a lot. Like, a lot a lot. However, as usual, when the MOTUO Mer-Man was announced and shown, he was instantly the best figure from the line yet, so I happily pre-ordered him (check those other buying options to get the standard $14.99 price on Amazon), and overall, I am glad to add him to my collection.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally get why people are into this line, for the most part it invokes those warm nostalgia feels, and I am certainly not immune from those with this Mer-Man. I think a big part about what initially attracted me to this character as a very young child was his color scheme, and this figure pays tribute to that quite well. I love the vibrant team color used here, and while the yellow might be a little too bright for my liking, all of the colors work well together here. This Mer-Man does make me feel like a kid again, and with nostalgia being a hell of drug, he has probably talked me into also getting the Origins 8-Back characters. Damn it.

Now, while this scale is not really my thing, or at least not my focus for what I collect right now, it is the articulation that tends to get me to raise my eyebrows here and there. Don’t mistake me – I love articulated figures, and being able to hit fun and exciting poses is one of the key elements of my collecting sensibilities, but some of these joints just aren’t engineered as well as they could be. I find the elbows and wrists to be pretty unsightly and abrupt. The elbows in particular do not get the range of movement that would even come close to justifying such aesthetic-killing cuts. The wrists move well, but man, it just looks like a hand has been plugged into the the end of the arm with no thought of a smooth transition from one piece to the next. I know these might seem small, but they are what I struggle with for this line after the weird sculpts and decos He-Man and Skeletor have been getting with their various heads. Yeesh. 

By contrast though, the lower body/legs are handled quite well in terms of articulation and movement, despite the absence of any ab crunch or torso movement. The knees are single hinge, but they move pretty well for that, and the ankles have the glorious forward-facing rocker pins, so Mer-Man can achieve great stances for battle poses, even if his sword-wielding is limited by his elbows.

Speaking of the sword, aside from the removable armor, his beloved “corn” sword is lone accessory, and like always, I love it. The bones and scales of its actual make-up are more recognizable here than in the vintage counterpart, so while some of that 80s charm might be gone, the extra bit of detail makes up for it, at least for me. Like the armor, the yellow used here is a bit brighter than you would remember from the vintage days, but the appeal of the color choice will just depend on your person preferences.

This is a fun figure, and while Origins doesn’t appeal to me on the same level as my beloved Classics, I am pretty happy overall with Mer-Man. I mean, there was no was I was not going to get him, but the fact that he turned out well is the real win here. It appears there will be a future “Lords of Power” Mer-Man coming this summer, so I look forward to that, and hopefully it will be a (maybe blue) repaint of the Power-Con figure. I wanted that figure, but not for the asking price, I am afraid. At any rate, Mer-Man looks to have gotten me in on the rest of the classic 8-Back characters, so you win this round, Mattel. AGAIN! I just cannot completely ignore MOTU, I love it too much.