Tuesday, October 22, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Spooky Toy Review Masters of the Universe Classics: Filmation Shokoti from Mattel

Before I get into the review I want to mention the passing of Lou Scheimer .
I’m not an encyclopedic-type guy, but I can tell you that Scheimer was a co-founder of Filmation, the company that produced a huge number of the cartoons I grew up with. Fat Albert, Ghost Busters, Bravestarr, and of course He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra. But Scheimer wasn’t just a behind-the-scenes producer guy. He also provided voices for many of the characters from those shows.
I saw that name almost every day of my young life without really knowing what it meant. I just knew that whoever he was, he must be pretty awesome because he had something to do with a ton of cartoons.
Scheimer was involved with animation in some form or another right up until his passing. He is a true legend of American entertainment and if you’re around my age he had an impact on your very consciousness through his work. From what I can see it looks like he had a full life and was constantly pursuing his interests.
I just wanted to take a moment to honor his memory and thank him for everything he did.
Okay, now we can move on and take a look at a character that he may very well have had a direct hand in creating.
Man, these Filmation figures are just sliding right into the Halloween theme around here, huh?
I say that because Shokoti is a witch.
How do you know she is a witch?
Well, because it’s right there in her bio.
No, no – I spent way too much money on this sapphire-skinned sorceress to let her go up in flames. Instead, I’ll just review Shokoti as part of 31 Days of Halloween.
Shokoti is like most of the Filmation figures in that I recognize her and know that I’ve seen her episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, but I don’t really remember anything about her. I mean, I’ve seen every episode of He-Man. It’s just been about thirty years since some of those viewings. While I love the franchise, the original cartoon isn’t so amazing that I can just sit down and watch a bunch at a time now. Actually, I’m not even sure that it’s still on Netflix.
Shokoti herself has a striking look. She’s a Gar like Keldor and her design is a nice blend of Kirby and Toth. I’m glad we got her because I like having more straight-up magic users in my collection.
First Glance: Shokoti’s face is fantastic. She has a great color scheme and presents a solid profile. Her little companion is horrifying.
Articulation: Shokoti has the standard MOTUC female articulation.
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joints
Biceps - swivels
Elbows –pivots
Wrists – swivels
Waist – swivel
Hips – ball joints
Thighs – swivels
Knees –pivots
Boot Tops - swivels
Ankles – rockers
The Horsemen have basically mastered the art of creating a head with long hair that still has a decent amount of posability. Even with the cape attached, Shokoti’s head can move around fairly well.
I don’t mind the lack of abdominal joint (or that it is covered – I don’t know). I would much rather have a nice-looking torso than have that particular point of articulation.
By design the females’ ankles in this line work much better than the males’. The mechanism is slightly more noticeable, but it obviously works really well because of that.
All of the joints on my figure are tight and move well. There’s no stuck paint and nothing is too loose.
Sculpt: Shokoti has a new head and I’m pretty sure new boot tops.
This is my favorite female head of the MOTUC line so far. The face is distinctive and has a lovely arrogant look to it. Her eyebrows, eyes, and mouth have severe, exotic shapes that set her apart from the other females. Even Evil-Lyn doesn’t look quite so sinister. Definitely angrier, though. The hair is high and slightly wild in the back so that it looks like the headpiece is actually serving the purpose of holding that wild mane in place. And the headpiece itself is just awesome. The horns on the sides look great and the central prong looks somewhat insectile. The head is sculpted out of a softer plastic, but the protruding portions aren’t floppy or misshapen.
Most of Shokoti’s body is the same as all of the other females, which is simply one of the features of the MOTU aesthetic. I will say that I am absolutely sick of these hip joints. I prefer the non-ugly joints used on Battleground Teela. They may not be as poseable, but at least they don’t look terrible and cause the figures to be attired incorrectly. But I’ll get to that in a bit.
Shokoti has long gloves that look good. The new(?) boot tops are neat as well.
Coloring: This figure sports the blue skin of a Gar with a wash to bring out some of the tone. The paint on the face is well done. The red of the lips is glossy and contrasts the skin and hair nicely. The hair is black with blue highlights that add to the sort of wild look. Shokoti’s eyes are a glossy black that looks absolutely demonic. I suppose it’s tough to get paint all up inside an area like the one between the headpiece and the face, but the blue of Shokoti’s skin extends a bit onto the headpiece. It isn’t terrible, but it is noticeable.
Shokoti’s gloves are a sort of golden mustard color that I would find repulsive on its own but that works well in the context of this figure and her color scheme. Her boots are glossy black and look great.
Flair: Shokoti has a new cloak, top, and skirt.
I’m going to start with the skirt since that is the most intentionally wrong part. Shokoti wears a sort of bodysuit thing, like Teela and Evil-Lyn:
Only she doesn’t have a bunch of corn in the front so that it can be faked out. This is one of my major gripes with the MOTUC line – these skirts that they keep putting the females in when they are supposed to be in bodysuits. It’s irritating. With Battleground Teela they had new thighs to use so that this sort of thing should not have been necessary any more. But we’re still getting it and I don’t like it. Having said that, the skirt does look good. The upper portion blends well with the top piece and the belt looks great. The paint is applied well and the colors and shades match the rest of the figure.
The top looks great. It has a good shape and the flat black with the glossy black trim is a nice touch, as is the dark, glossy blue trim on the shoulders, though I wish that had carried to the bottom of the skirt. I particularly like the little gold rivets near the shoulders. Unfortunately, the top on my figure is skewed to the right and I can’t straighten it. I haven’t brought all of my resources to bear on it yet, but it’s going to take more than adjusting by hand. This is a production error and not a design issue, so I’m not going to hold it against the figure itself.
The cloak is awesome. It has a collar with attached shoulder plates and hangs to just below the calves – a good length. Why do I think that’s a good length? I dunno. Anything shorter seems a little silly and anything longer is just going to get tangled up in your feet. The collar has a nice clasp sort of thing in the center and the shoulder plates have some sculpted detail with a good paint job. This piece can be removed if you take Shokoti’s head off, and I suppose I should have done that for a couple of pictures. But I didn’t.
Accessories: Shokoti comes with a grotesque little blob that is one part beholder and three parts Cthulu. I assume it is something from her episode that I blocked out of my mind because it is so appalling. It is constructed from two pieces of firm but pliable plastic – the top with the eye stalk and the bottom with the mouths. Those hideous mouths.
The sculpt is great and has a ton of detail for an accessory. All of the warts and wrinkles and stuff really bring this monster to life. The paint is also spot-on, with accurate placement and a color palette that is monstrous but not off-putting.
I’m happy to have this thing. I’ll take a well done mini creature over superfluous swords or shields any day.
Packaging: The standard MOTUC blister card. I love the blister and this is probably my favorite modern toy packaging. I think the best thing about it is that Mattel has kept the design consistent through the life of the series. That does not often happen. Granted, I open all of my figures, but for the folks who leave them in the package it must be nice to have one line that actually all matches.
There’s a bio on the back as well. It seems to be a little more coherent and straightforward than many of the others:
You know, pretty much everybody on Eternia shoots energy blasts out of their hands. You’d think Mattel would have made some snap-on energy blasts by now. Castaspella has one, but it’s not your standard, run-of-the-mill energy blast.
Value: The Filmation releases have a sort of built-in specialness that makes them seem slightly more worth the price. In addition to that, Shokoti’s creature pal seems like a step above despite the lack of other accessories (like, say, an energy blast). She isn’t worth the $35 that she cost, but she seems as close as anybody.
Overall: Aside from the inaccurate skirt and askew top (which I think I can probably fix with some effort) Shokoti is about as good as I could have expected. She looks great and is another distinctive female that I’m happy to have on the shelf.
4 out of 5
It looks like Shokoti can be had for thrity to forty bucks on eBay. She’s a good figure, but hardly essential.

Phantom Troublemaker vs. 31 Days of Halloween

I’m changing the format a bit this year in order to more accurately portray SyFy’s schedule and also to preserve my sanity. I had the genius idea to cut and paste the schedule directly from SyFy’s page rather than typing it out in my own format. This has saved me an awful lot of time and also means that individual episodes are listed rather than blocks of programming like previous years. So what I’m going to do is provide commentary where I feel it is needed rather than posting next to every single entry. Don’t worry – you’re getting the same amount of hilarious, then kind of funny, then labored, then thoroughly disenchanted Phantom content. Just in a different way.
Like last year, I am covering the programming from the time this posts until the time of the next post. That means that on Fridays you are going to be treated to a shit-ton of this stuff.
Let’s do it!
Oct 22 12:30 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines

Oct 22 02:30 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days

Oct 22 04:30 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Fright Night (2011)

How am I supposed to keep coming up with new and funny things to write about the same movies over and over again? Come on, SyFy, seriously – there are so many genre movies. But I guess it’s especially bad when you keep showing them so close to one another.
Anyway, the bottom line here is Wrong Turn 5 is bad, I haven’t seen this 30 Days of Night, and Fright Night.
Oct 22 07:00 PM Face Off Mortal Sins

Oct 22 08:00 PM Face Off The Laughing Dead

Except for Eddie, everybody had great makeups on this one. Roy was far and away the winner, as his was the most obviously funny. Tate’s was outright amazing as usual and Laura’s looked awesome. It just wasn’t quite funny on its own. Something about Miranda’s was off. I liked her concept and it was a clean, well done makeup. It just didn’t pop for some reason. I think maybe the time period was the problem. 
I got what Laney was going for with the exaggerated look of her creation’s head. And the concept of Electro Cute was great. I think she should’ve gone with blue-black skin and iridescent lightning bolts. But what she produced just didn’t quite work.

I have to say that while I didn’t care for Eddie’s, I did get what he was going for more than the judges did. I think he was trying to make an ethereal, ghost-looking head like you might have seen on The Real Ghostbusters. As a matter of fact, if his execution had been better it would have fit right in to that world. But as it was the head just looked odd and sloppy and the bat placement just didn’t tell the story.

Oct 22 09:00 PM Face Off Dark Magic

Oct 22 10:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 9 Prescription For Fear

The episode’s going to come on and they’re just going to tell you to go watch Hellraiser or something.

Oct 22 11:00 PM Fangasm A Larp In The Park

Oct 23 12:00 AM Fangasm Final Fandom

Oct 23 01:00 AM Face Off Dark Magic

Oct 23 02:00 AM Fangasm A Larp In The Park

Oct 23 03:00 AM Fangasm Final Fandom

Oct 23 04:00 AM The Twilight Zone The Thirty Fathom Grave

This would be a great name for a metal album.

Oct 23 05:00 AM Paid Programming

Oct 23 06:00 AM Paid Programming 

Oct 23 08:00 AM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 Frighternity

Oct 23 09:00 AM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 A Ghost Of A Marine

Oct 23 10:00 AM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 A Family Of Spirits

I am predicting that tomorrow’s commentary is going to be absolute crap.

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