She-Ra: The Princess of Power was an action/sci-fi-/fantasy cartoon starring a primarily female cast who fought against an evil alien horde with super powers. Rather than just being a slightly weaker knockoff of He-Man, She-Ra actually had equal strength to her big brother, plus a few extra powers from her sword! Most of the cast was female, and they generally proved more effective in a fight than He-Man’s buddies (not to rain on Mekanek’s parade, but Mekanek kind of sucked). So, every time people complain that there aren’t any strong positive cartoon role models for girls, you can find this series on Netflix and Hulu.
Okay, Soapbox done. The old She-Ra toys were clearly designed for “girls” – i.e., they were dolls that barely resembled their cartoon counterparts, but they had fashion accessories and brushable hair (and combs!). The Masters of the Universe Classics line, however, is a uniform design. So whenever it incorporates a Princess of Power character, it follows the cartoon appearance with a few cues from the old dolls, and produces that character as an action figure. Every so often, this “boy” toy line will produce a pink and sparkly princess armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction. In fact, later this year Mattel is offering a mini-sub with only She-Ra characters to help fill the roster. I am on the fence about that one purely out of cost concerns, but I think it’s a fantastic idea.
Okay. Okay. Soapbox done for real this time. I swear. Glimmer was a hugely important character in the She-Ra cartoon, and the only reason why she didn’t get a toy until just now was probably because Mattel needed to save its heavy hitters and spread them out through the years. But since 2014 and 2015 are meant to wrap up the vintage toys, she got put on the docket for February, 2014!
GLIMMER: THE GUIDE WHO LIGHTS THE WAY!
REAL NAME: GLIMMER OF THE ROYAL HOUSE OF BRIGHT MOON
With the power to light the way, Glimmer uses her abilities against the darkness with her staff and headdress which glow in the dark. This brash, impulsive ever-cheery, young lady is one of the deposed princesses of Etheria, a fact she never lets anyone forget. Her recklessness often causes problems, but she is a fun, young woman who can laugh through the direst of circumstances and pass on her good cheer to her comrades. She followed She-Ra along with several other members of the Great Rebellion to Eternia to join up with the renegade Masters of the Universe and continue the noble fight against the Evil Horde! After She-Ra left Eternia for the stars, Glimmer returned to Etheria taking her rightful place helping to rule over the Kingdom of Bright Moon.
Fun fact: Glimmer actually ran the Great Rebellion before Adora waltzed in and took it over. Shewasn’t exactly a sidekick – more of a co-hero who lacked She-Ra’s Saiyanesque power, but still held her own. She also had bright pink hair, color-coordinated, and made things sparkle. You know, for girls! (Soapbox Alert) It’s kind of nice to see a strong, independent female character who can still be feminine as opposed to a tough Vasquez-like stereotype, or, “I wrote a male character but then swapped the pronouns.”
Sorry, I did it again! Let’s just go on to the review.
Same MOTUC package as always. It works. No complaints. We’ve heard this all before. So instead, I will give you a random piece of trivia: Marlon Brando was once spotted trying to sneak a 5-gallon tub of ice cream onto a boat and rowing into the middle of a lake so nobody would know.
I applaud Mattel for creating an attractive woman in her mid-forties. You don’t often see middle-aged heroines in fiction, much less animation – people prefer to keep girls somewhere under the age of twenty in order to… wait, what? She’s supposed to be really young? Dangit.
It’s just an artifact of the Filmation animated style, but Glimmer looks like a really pretty middle-aged lady. Remember – they all had mature features, high cheekbones, and pursed lips in order to look like dignified royalty. Glimmer will contrast with all the animesque wide-eyed teenage lolis on your shelf, but this is not a bad thing. I think it gives her class.
Anyway. Glimmer is one of the tallest of the females so far. She’s just as slender as the other MOTUC ladies, with a surprisingly sensible bust line (compare her to, say, Shokoti) and a waist that, while narrow, isn’t overdone. A real person could look like her. Her costume is essentially the same as it was in the cartoon, only with one difference – instead of a leotard, she has a short skirt. Early attempts to produce the leotard costume for females in this line were met with disaster, with the rubber ballooning until they looked like “granny panties.” So to avoid the logistical issue, Mattel has kept the same basic crotch piece, but simple has not glued the halves together. The result is a skirt with a vaguely soft triangular appearance, so perhaps with a tiny bit of loincloth added in. Some people are really upset by this change, but I personally do not mind it at all. If the skirt bothers you, then take it into account. Otherwise? The skirt made Shokoti a lot sexier. And now instead of wearing a gymnast’s uniform, Glimmer has a skirt and tights. She’s fine.
Glimmer has a massive head of hair, but for once it has been sculpted so as not to get in the way of her articulation (take that, Octavia). And of course, she has her tiara/face guard, which pretty much defines her look.
Say, I know that anime was featuring multicolored hairdos before The Princess of Power, but those shows were not yet popular in the United States. Man, first feminism, and now Japanese anime. This cartoon was oddly prescient.
Glimmer is a pretty pretty princess. Her costume is purple and blue, and her hair is pale pink. Her nails are even painted pink. She is not a tomboy. No one asked her to be a tomboy. The paint on Glimmer is crisp and clean, with no visible slop that I can see – although apparently her head was put on the body before her hair paint was fully dried, so it stuck a little bit on the back. The resulting flaw is nearly impossible to see, though, for obvious reasons (it’s covered by that massive mane of hair). It is interesting to note that Glimmer also sports a decent tan, which lets her bright and pale costume stand out a little more.
Glimmer has a ball-jointed head, ball-and-socket shoulders and hips, hinged elbows, knees, and rocker ankles, and swivel biceps, wrists, thighs, and waist. All-in-all, it’s pretty typical MOTUC articulation, but it’s quite good for the figure. Unlike most females, her articulation is not limited by either her skirt or hair. Her joints all feel pretty steady, and I can even put her in a high kick without the figure toppling over. Quality!
Glimmer comes with two accessories, and neither one is a comb! Sorry, the old dolls came with combs. Firstly, she has her magic staff – a bright purple implement shaped like a vine-covered branch and topped with a pretty, pretty flower. It has a bright gold gem, which looks great except that I can see somebody’s fingerprint reflected on the inside of the stone, probably pressed into the glue holding it in. The staff fits snugly into her right hand, and works pretty well however you want to pose her.
Secondly, she has the Moonstone, a magical artifact which powers the Castle of Bright Moon and featured in a few episodes. It is a translucent plastic marble. Very simple, very basic, and very cool. It is designed to fit into her left hand, which is open. One caveat – the gem rests in her hand, but does not fit snugly. You have to balance it just right or she will drop it, so she can’t hold it with her hand at even a remote angle. Even despite that, its a great little addition to the figure.
The price is technically $25, but Glimmer really costs about $40 when shipping and sales tax are complete. That hurts more than Modulok’s higher price, even though I know there’s no way around it.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Nothing is wrong with Glimmer except for the slight paint-sticking issue with her hair that I already mentioned. She’s a solidly-built figure with no other recurring QC issues.
WHERE TO BUY:
Glimmer sold out on Matty Collector, though she will likely return. For now, try places like BBTS or even eBay to find one. She will probably be popular, but thanks to Modulok coming out in the same month, her price should remain steady for a while.
I will probably not keep Glimmer, but that’s more due to space, thematic collections, and the need to recoup some cash. Still, I can appreciate this toy. She looks great, plays really well, and is honestly the first time that the extremely important character has gotten a decent action figure. The Horsemen really know how to sculpt women in this style, too, and it’s awesome having another character form the surprisingly-progressive She-Ra cartoon.