Recycling is good, which is why He-Man is the greatest thing ever! It is built on a cornerstone of recycling – re-using toy parts, recycling stock footage, redrawing character designs, and repeating the same half-hour story five times a week! As far as the toys are concerned, parts re-use keeps costs down, and gives us more toys before the line becomes unprofitable. The same holds true with Masters of the Universe Classics, which has proven extremely creative with what they recycle and when. But every so often, we get a treat. Mantenna, originally meant for September 2013 but released in October, is one of the last of the Horde members made in this line. You can see why he would be difficult to make – the poor guy is really weird, with no apparent way of making him that wouldn’t cost a bundle. For years fans have tried to figure out this puzzle, suggesting everything from Whiplash’s shoulders to fusing his four legs together into two double-legs. And apparently Mantenna decided to just cut the Gordian Knot and release this as a 100% newly-tooled figure with absolutely nothing re-used from another toy. That kind of awesome thing just doesn’t happen with this line. But it did!
Mantenna: Evil Spy with the Pop-Out Eyes
Real Name: Glieeb-Tolio Jak-Us
A Rebrunk Nurus from Phelibio IX, Mantenna has the frightening ability to see and hear over great distances with his highly sensitive ears and periscope scanners. He can do more than just see with those wide eyes, he can fire a variety of horrible beams from them as well including paralysis beams, stun beams and laser waves. Mantenna is also an agile scout and often goes out well ahead of his Horde companions to make sure their way is clear for marauding, pillaging and the like. Since he is no slouch in the combat area either Mantenna rarely needs assistance on his scouting missions. He uses his antenna eyes to spy on the enemy!
I really, really want to add some commas to that bio. Maybe Mattel just ran out. I’ll donate a few. I’ve got too many, anyway. But aside from that, this may be the most dramatic bad-ass upgrade that a MOTU character has gotten. In the original cartoon (She-Ra, for those of you keeping score), Mantenna was Hordak’s resident goofball henchman. More than the others, at least. He spoke in a disturbingly squeaky voice and pratfalled around constantly. In the 2002 cartoon, he only had a brief cameo in a flashback, but it included at least one goofy moment. This toy has rebranded him as an expert spy, agile infiltrator, and fighting dynamo. Sure he is.
Mantenna has the exact same packaging as every other MOTUC figure. White mailer, yellow and green blister pack, cool info. I can only say so much about the same box every time.
As previously said, Mantenna has 100% new parts. And the thing is, none of them look like they could be used by any other figure after him! So these parts need to be really good. Mantenna wears a strange segmented armor that might be his body, or might be clothes – he’s a weird insectoid creature already, and his outfit makes it difficult to tell where the armor stops and the bug begins. He’s got his huge Horde emblem over his chest, which overlaps with and hides the torso joint without impeding it in any way. His arms and legs have fins and other texturing, giving them an extra carapace effect. The rest of Mantenna’s armor matches his torso, though you can tell the boots from his skin.
Body aside, Mantenna’s head is the toy’s real drawing point. He has always looked goofy, but Mattel seems to have wanted to make him a little more intimidating. Mantenna still has all of the same details as before, only now his teeth are sharp, his skin is wrinkly, and he seems to have gotten roughly a 70% Monsterness upgrade. Yeah, he’s kind of silly, but it’s more in the way that a lot of dangerous animals are silly. Mantenna can’t help how his species looks, but you can see vicious malevolence written all over his face!
You can even get some viscera with his popped eyes, if you’d like. And if you remove his eyes entirely, Mantenna becomes a horrible blind monster, staring at you with those soulless empty sockets.
Mantenna’s paint mirrors his classic color scheme, with plenty of red, blue, yellow, and black. His face is red and fleshy, but most of his skin is blue. His boots are metallic, too. Overall the paint is quite good, but I need to point out two issues.
Mantenna’s eyes are painted just as with the classic figure – glossy yellow with tiny black dots. They are very plain when compared to the rest of the sculpt, even if adding something more would have seemed too much. They are also so glossy that they reflect every light source around, up to and including natural daylight. This whole thing is a matter of opinion, but it’s still worth pointing out.
The other issue comes from his torso. Mantenna’s torso is made from black plastic and painted with red and orange at appropriate places. But unfortunately, the paint they used scrapes easily. Mine already has one big chip on his right pec, and his upper shoulders by the collar have been scraped black from the movement of his head. Mantenna’s paint scrapes very easily, and you need to watch it carefully.
The original Mantenna toy had an eye-popping action feature that deserves to be listed under Accessories. It also dealt with his four legs by fusing them together into two. Most people assumed that this was what Mattel was going to do, but instead they gave him a new hip piece with the ability to hold all four legs! Mantenna has a ball-jointed head, hinged torso and elbows, swivel wrists and waist, hinged “rocker” ankles, and ball-and-socket shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. He also has removable eyes and a mouth.
Thanks to the extra legs, this guy’s got articulation all over the place! Occasionally his rubber loincloth can get in the way, but if you keep it tucked under his top leg joint, they should retain their full range of motion with no problem. His ankles are sturdier than on other figures, and even look more natural. Unlike most MOTUC figures, there really is nothing here to limit his articulation. Do you want Mantenna to donkey-kick? Sure. Do the splits? Fine. Become a one-man Vitruvian show? You betcha. Mantenna is by default one of the best-articulated figures in this whole line!
Mantenna comes with his Horde crossbow, which continues the trend of giving each member his own, personalized weapon. Mantenna’s is a silver dragon, which looks way fiercer than even he is.
He also has eyes! Mantenna’s got two regular eyes, two extended eye stalks, and a removable mouth piece. You don’t have to pop off his mouth to swap the eyes, but it makes it easier for the regular ones. This was a great way to implement his old feature – you can have his eyes in, or out, or out but rotated, or half-and-half. Ever wanted to see what Mantenna would look like after a serious injury knocked his eye out? Sure! And of course, you can always take them out entirely and leave him as a horrific blind monstrosity.
The handles on Mantenna’s eyes fit nicely into his hands in case you want to make him extra creepy, and they even work well hanging in the gaps of his crossbow. And for the full effect, you can even lodge one of them right in his mouth! I refuse to believe that Mantenna’s mouth – a circular, rubber hole – was not fitted for just this purpose. As a three-eyed monster, he turns especially gruesome.
The grand total ordered from Mattel is nearly $40, depending on tax and shipping. Considering that many other companies – such as NECA – put out work of roughly the same or better quality at about half of the price point, this stings. Mantenna has a lot more going for him than other MOTUC figures – the 100% new tooling, four legs, and swappable eyes – but $40 still hurts.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Mantenna’s paint scuffs a lot, especially on his torso. So far, the eyes on mine have been fine, but I would watch them too, if I were you. Other than that, he is surprisingly sturdy, even with all the added articulation.
WHERE TO BUY:
Mantenna was on sale at Mattel’s site for like five minutes before he sold out. Your best bets nowadays are places like eBay, Amazon, and Big Bad Toy Store.
There’s no doubt about it: Mantenna is one of the best Masters of the Universe Classics figures ever. We’ve seen some greats, like Ram-Man, Draego-Man, or Mer-Man, but this figure absolutely exemplifies the whole idea behind the line. It’s filled with nostalgia, but updates every detail into something new and awesome. Mantenna got turned from a weird goofball into a surreal and creepy alien, and I love it! I can’t decide whether to pose him with his eyes in, out, or halfway, but no matter what I do, this strange little arthropod is awesome!