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He-Man, She-Ra shine in latest DVD releases

Erin McGinn | Friday, March 2, 2007

Everyone has their favorite 80s cartoon hero – whether it was the Ninja Turtles, the Thundercats, or even Voltron. It was also hard not to love the famed brother-sister team of He-Man and She-Ra.

Airing from 1983-86 (and for several years afterward in syndication), “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” and “She-Ra: Princess of Power” were popular with kids due to their likeable characters and action sequences, and parents liked the morals at each episode’s end. There were also toy lines developed for each show.

“He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” follows the adventures of Prince Adam on the planet of Eternia. Adam is able to turn into the superhero He-Man because of the magical powers of his sword, a legendary gift from the Sorceress. His foe is the notorious Skeletor, who repeatedly attempts to defeat He-Man and take control of the kingdom. He-Man is aided by his tiger, Battlecat, as well as a select group of others, like Man-At-Arms, who are aware of his dual identity.

“She-Ra: Princess of Power” is essentially a female version of “He-Man.” Princess Adora is Adam’s twin sister who was stolen at birth by the evil Hordak and taken to the planet Etheria. Adam/He-Man found her at the request of the Sorceress and she was given her magical sword, which allows her to turn into She-Ra, the Princess of Power. She fights on the side of the Rebellion that is trying to overthrow Hordak and his Horde forces that retain control of Etheria.

Currently, all but one season of the shows are out on DVD. All the DVD sets are in gorgeous packaging, and it is obvious that a great deal of time and care went into putting the sets together. When all of the sets are positioned next to each other on a shelf, the bindings depict He-Man scenes. Each box set includes over 30 episodes, and each is loaded with special features.

Each individual “He-Man” box set comes with two documentaries (created especially for each set), collectible “art cards,” several episode commentary tracks and episode-length storyboards, as well as various smaller features like character profiles or trivia facts that differ with each set. They also include full scripts accessible by computer. The documentaries bring back many of the writers, actors and creators, and it is interesting, both for fans of the series as well as for fans of cartoons in general, to see how everything is brought together.

The “She-Ra” sets each include much of the same as the “He-Man” sets, just with less in terms of numbers (for example, one documentary on each instead of two). Where the “She-Ra” sets have the most content is the DVD-ROM section, which includes items like editions of the original comic books, scripts and coloring books.

Both “She-Ra” and “He-Man” also each have a “Best of” title that gathers their top five to 10 episodes. This is great for casual fans, or even for those just introduced to the series. The “Best of She-Ra” title even contains the full-length movie, “The Secret of the Sword,” which details the origin of She-Ra.

Fans of the series will love the quality of the DVD sets, as they certainly do justice to any and all nostalgic memories. The cartoons have that sort of corny quality that most 80s shows had, but they are still enjoyable and often times quite funny. If anything, the transformation sequences alone are worth the purchase. What little kid growing up in the late 80s didn’t run around holding up a plastic sword, yelling, “I have the power!”