Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: The Unnamed One (Masters of the Universe Classics)

UnnamedOne-TrollanMagic

SPOILER ALERT

Here’s one of the most controversial He-Man toys ever!

In He-Man lore, King Hsss mentioned “The Unnamed One Who we serve”
once in one of the old comics without any explanation. More recently, he had been built up as an ancient and powerful evil who not only created the Snake Men, but is responsible for a whole mess of other evil throughout the universe. And then the Unnamed One was announced as the 2014 subscriber’s bonus figure for Masters of the Universe Classics – every year there is one specific toy meant for subscribers only. Past bonus figures have ranged from major, necessary characters (Shadow Weaver) to obscure variants (King He-Man). This guy appeared to be more of a lore-based villain, albeit one who would really come into pay if the line ever covered the Son of He-Man era. But ANYWAY… fans went nuts with speculation over this super-secret figure! A lot of them assumed that the Unnamed One would be a huge Lovecraftian monstrosity, while others expected something like that big goofy face on Snake Mountain. Still, a significant portion of people noticed something else. In the last several years, the He-Man franchise has been trying to make Orko “more serious” for the audience by claiming that his race, the Trollans, are the most ancient and powerful guardians of the universe (only their magic does not work right in this dimension). And there have been a few hints here and there that perhaps one of the Trollans turned evil and caused a lot of trouble. I think you can see where this is going.

UnnamedOne-Library

***

THE UNNAMED ONE: EVIL LORD OF CHAOS
REAL NAME: GORPO

Formerly an Overlord of the Timeless Dimension, this great wizard betrayed his brethren when he attempted to steal the Power of the Universe for himself. The Aura of the Gods was infused into the Sword of He for protection and Gorpo was stripped of his form and banished to the Nameless Dimension. Here he became known as the Unnamed One, spoken of only in whispers and myth. During his exile he discovered a method of combining the DNA of several reptilian species. He used this knowledge to create an army of cold-blooded warriors which he commanded to raid magical planets in an attempt to consolidate power for his revenge. His evil schemes were at last undone after Dare, the new He-Ro, confronted him in single combat, slaying the ancient mage with the very power he once attempted to steal.

***

Wait a second…

THE UNNAMED ONE
Real Name: Gorpo

Okay, that’s funny.

UnnamedOne-Beckons

Two things to address: Firstly, one of the Four Horsemen had stated “It’s not Gorpo” a while ago. Apparently, something changed in production. “Gorpo” is actually a mythology gag, as it was Orko’s original name – changed because an “O” on his shirt could be flipped around when his animation was re-used, as opposed to a “G,” which could not. So it’s a clever name, but… this is still a Trollan. A lot of fans felt seriously underwhelmed. It has become seriously divisive – some people love it, some hate it, and everybody fought like animals. One fan tried to accuse Mattel of some sort of crime. I will address the controversy at the end of this review. In the meantime, let’s judge the figure on its own merits!

UnnamedOne-Packaged

PACKAGING: ****

The Unnamed One’s packaging is exactly the same as every other MOTUC figure ever. It looks good, protects and displays the toy well, and is not something I have any complaints about.

UnnamedOne

SCULPT: ****

Trollans who have appeared in the MOTU franchise include Orko, his uncle Montork, girlfriend Dree Elle, nephew Yuckers, misguided Snoob, pilot Squunge, annoying Wokrapanwooki, Evil Doctor Zoog, and an ancient wise oracle Trollan from the newer cartoon. Orko has had three figures – classic, 2000s-era, and Classics. Gorpo kind of reminds me a little of the 2000s-era Orko at least in shape, mostly because he has a full robe as opposed to a short smock. Of course, what he really reminds me of is a Black Mage from Final Fantasy. Seriously. You can’t unsee it. That said, this is our first non-Orko Trollan figure, and the first evil Trollan we’ve ever seen.

UnnamedOne-Coffee

Considering that he’s only about three inches tall, Gorpo has a pretty complex sculpt. His wizard’s robe is tattered at the hem and sleeves, and extends down much further than Orko’s little smock. He’s also got some bandages wrapped over his wrists, leading up to his hands.

UnnamedOne-Imprisoned

Over the robe is a shirt of chain mail with the Skull of Power worked into it, and a utility belt with a couple of pouches and a sheathed knife at his side. Yes, the Unnamed One is going to shank you. The armor is pretty complex for its size, with a decent amount of dents and scratches that help sell his age just like the tattered robe. The Skull of Power is an artifact from some recent lore, but it is nice to see it represented on his breastplate.

UnnamedOne-Rise

His head sculpt is a little less Black Magey than Orko’s, in that the Unnamed One does not wear a wizard’s hat. He wears a wizard’s hood. There is a difference. His tattered mask hangs down like a veil, and his hood tapers to a point behind his head. The cloth is well-sculpted, and gives him sort of an ’80s cartoon or corny Halloween vibe. I like it – it keeps his essential Trollan goofiness while also making him sinister. His ears are big and floppy, with tiny earrings, and his eyes are narrow slits, communicating his evil nature. Those eyes are important – even though they’re simple shapes, they dictate the tone of the whole figure. His hands are gnarled, and sculpted appropriately – one is meant to hold his staff, while the other is open in a spell-casting (or also staff-holding) gesture. You can reposition that left hand a bunch of ways for some different poses, and it works pretty well. The Unnamed One has another head, too, but that one will be addressed in the Accessories section.

UnnamedOne-Face

PAINT: ****

Gorpo’s color scheme is mostly a variety of blues, purples, and silver for his armor. Of course, this discounts his yellow eyes, gold earrings, and red Skull of Power. But the general color scheme is cool – as in the “cool versus warm” sense, and manages to make him both flashy and fancy as well as dark and shadowy. The purple on his ask might be a little bright, and it looks less like pink in person than in these photos, but it has inspired a lot of bystanders to ask, “Are you sure this isn’t a girl?” But overall, it works. The paint is crisp and clean, particularly where it really needs to be – the eyes and that skull – and I appreciate it. It keeps some of the silliness of any Trollan while helping sell him as sinister and evil. Remember, this guy ain’t just the anti-Orko, he’s responsible for most of the villainy in the series! A fun little subtle detail on his paint job that is hard to notice is the slight dark wash on his cloak – he has a ring of dirt around his skirt, and the subtle shading works really well on him.

UnnamedOne-Casting

ARTICULATION: ***1/2

Gorpo has a ball-jointed head, ball-and-socket shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, and he technically swivels on his flight stand. For the most part, its great – and pretty much what Orko got. His head has an awesome range of movement, and is also pretty easy to pop off and swap with others. Likewise, his arms are completely unencumbered, and thus are better-articulated than almost everybody else in the toy line. You can get a lot of expression out of what little you have, and that’s great. My only complaint is that the torso is unarticulated. It could have done well with a swivel, ball joint, or even an ab crunch. You know, give him a little ore expression while he’s flying or casting so his body doesn’t stay stock-still. BUT… there would have been a sacrifice in the sculpt for that. Maybe, not if the joint was underneath his Skull of Power. It’s a minor detail, but it would have really enhanced his spellcasting poses.

UnnamedOne-Spell

ACCESSORIES: ***

The Unnamed One comes with a mini-comic, flight stand, magic staff, spell effect, and alternate head. The comic is something that I will discuss in a later followup article, possibly next week. His flight stand is standard for the series – it plugs securely into his base, and holds him up fairly well. It should have had a wider base, though, because as it is it can be a little unstable when you load Gorpo up with all of his accessories. Still, it’s great for what it needs to be, and if you really don’t like it the peg hole is generic enough that you can toss n somebody else’s stand (like one of those Revoltech flight stands).

UnnamedOne-BattleHelmet

Gorpo’s main draw is his alternate head. It was advertised as having some sort of mysterious purpose, but that purpose turned out to be “It’s just a battle helmet that we thought was cool.” But it is cool! The Unnamed One’s helmet is very ornate, decorated with spikes, studs, teeth, and a dragon emblem on the forehead. It is painted extremely well, and the sculpt even matches up with the armor he wears on his torso – neither head looks out of place on the guy. The most awesome thing is how much utility this extra head has on other figures, like Standor or Skeletor. In fact, because Lord Dactus essentially has the same ears, you can swap is to his body to make a terrifying bat warrior! On the Unnamed One himself, it makes him look a little bit like one of those goblin guards from Labyrinth. Hah.  Of course, there is one obvious issue – why not give him an unmasked head?  Sure, the mystery about Trollan faces is cool (though Woprakanwooki showed his), but giving him a face like that Snake Mountain head would have really, really been awesome.

UnnamedOne-Staff

Arguably his most important accessory is his magic staff. Clearly patterned somewhat after the 200X Orko’s staff, it is gold and moderately ornate, with a coiling serpent design around the big disc on top. The staff also employs translucent plastic for the green gem, which looks pretty cool in person. I love how its snake theme ties in with his most infamous creation, while also giving a slightly evil edge to an otherwise standard magic implement. If I still had my 200X Orko, I would compare their accessories more directly.

UnnamedOne-MagicBlast

And finally, we have Unnamed One’s big, flashy magic blast. It’s translucent, fits snugly over his casting hand, and tends to overbalance him if you don’t rotate his flight stand just right. Most of the detail is typical energy blast fare, with a very nice gimmick – it’s made up of snakes! Aside from the obvious snake man connection, this adds two awesome details to the magic blast. One is that you can clamp it around another figure’s face. The other is that it also fits securely over King Hsss’s snake staff, thus giving him the same type of magic he used back in the cartoon! This is awesome, and the bonus utility is great.

UnnamedOne-Guard

But with all of that, this figure feels light. It’s understandable – that alternate head alone must have cost a ton to produce – but it would have been nice if Gorpo came with more. A second spell effect (even recolored from Castaspella), a wizard hat, a loose Skull of Power, or even that knife of his would have really increased his value. But what he has is good.

UnnamedOne-Dactus

VALUE: *

Technically, this figure cost $25. Sort of. The sign-up fee for the subscription was $25, and Gorpo actually cost nothing. He costs the same as any MOTUC figure, but is small and comes with slightly less. Now, Orko came with an entire Prince Adam figure tucked in there, so what gives with this guy? The official explanation is: He is bigger than Orko, his sculpt is almost all new parts, his alternate head cost a lot in tooling and paint, the translucent plastic for his spell and staff were expensive, and Orko with Prince Adam would cost $35 today because plastic prices have changed. That’s fine. I understand the reasoning, even if it’s something that I do not want to hear. I still would have liked SOMETHING more. Maybe another hat, or a second spell effect, or that knife, or something to help offset the small size. Now, for people who did not subscribe, Gorpo will run you $50-$100. There is a chance that he might go down in price eventually, but for now? You are paying significantly more than you would for any except the most-demanded figures. It’s insane! If you really want an Unnamed One, I would suggest waiting about a year or so for the price to drop.

UnnamedOne-Lady

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

This little guy is pretty durable, but his flight stand seems a little fragile at times. Also, the paint on his ears can chip and scuff (I think my cat tried to attack mine), so be a little wary. But other than that, he’s made of pretty solid materials.

UnnamedOne-Faceblast

WHERE TO BUY:

This is where it gets rough. Big Bad Toy Store has him up for a hilariously high amount of money, but so does eBay. Your best bet is going to be watching eBay for a while, and waiting for a deal.

UnnamedOne-Skull

OVERALL: ** OR ***1/2
Either you love him or you hate him, it’s as simple as that. Most of the issue people have taken with this figure is in his concept, which has nothing to do with the intricacies of sculpt and paint that have been discussed here. So let’s discuss both sides.

UnnamedOne-HoldStaff

IF YOU DO NOT LIKE THE CONCEPT, then this is like turning Jar-Jar Binks into the Emperor. It is silly and ludicrous, and The Unnamed One feels out of place with a proper MOTU collection. The hype behind this figure was overblown and misled fans into expecting something larger than what they got.

UnnamedOne-VsCastleGrayskullMan

IF YOU LIKE THE CONCEPT, then it’s a really awesome idea, and very cool that the ultimate evil doesn’t look very big or imposing at first, despite all the damage that he can do. You can imagine the Son of He-Man villains summoning him, and at first being unimpressed (and Gorpo’s appearance is payed off as a joke), but then he demonstrates just how dangerous he really is.

UnnamedOne-Ready

But regardless of either opinion, this is a small figure who feels like he should have more. And his hype did imply something a little bigger than what we got. My favorite “fix” suggestion was to pack this guy with an empty cloak that would wrap around the figure, thus preserving the mystery in the case of leaked packaged images and giving some of the more contentious people a “big” Unnamed One. Of course, that would probably have cost too much to produce.   And really, as awesome as that helmet is, a Snake Mountain face would have been much smarter.  But either way, I think that the character will gain some more traction over time, he was just woefully oversold. However, everybody around me who has seen him but is not a hardcore He-Man fan has really liked the little guy and his concept, so there is that. Overall, I think he’s cool, but your mileage may vary.

UnnamedOne-BlackMage

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12 responses to “Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: The Unnamed One (Masters of the Universe Classics)

  1. This is a really good, balanced review.

    I definitely think the response would have been better if A. This guy had come out earlier in the line, not during the A-list wrap up or B. This guy would have been promoted as a new “villain of the week” type of character. The marketing really tried to promote this as something special and while the figure isn’t bad, it doesn’t answer questions, have a second head that has some grand purpose, or really feel like a love letter to the fans.

    The 200x Orko is one of my favorite figures from that line, so I’m definitely down with the Trollan/ Black Mage look. I’m just not sure that there was any real reason to keep him secret. Simply marketing this figure as Gorpo probably would have turned out better.

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