Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:39 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Nepthu
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
The classic cartoon series from Filmation brought us many one shot villains who were created specifically for one particular episode and never appeared in figure form. Now that Mattel can make figures of these characters we've been getting them thanks to the Club Filmation add on sub to the main line and that continues with the latest release, Nepthu.
Now let's get the elephant in the room out of the way right off the bat; Nepthu is a character that was NOT very high on anybody's Filmation want list. Nepthu appeared in the Season 1 episode "Temple of the Sun" and though the temple itself would make reappearances, Nepthu did not. Having recently re-watched this episode I must say he was not really a very effective villain. The most successful thing he did was capture the Sorceress and he didn't even realize he had done so. Nepthu simply knocked Zoar out of the sky and chained her up never knowing this was more than a regular falcon. Sure he made a giant scorpion and a large sand tornado that caused some problems for He-Man, but it should be noted that Nepthu did not actually launch them at the heroes. He made them to test his power then just let them outside the temple. Even then they mainly just slowed down He-Man and weren't much of a challenge. Nepthu didn't even know He-Man was coming until he walked in the room and demanded Nepthu set Zoar free. Nepthu tried sicking his sand creatures on He-Man and... wow it took He-Man two punches to beat them instead of one, how impressive. It takes the whole episode for He-Man to reach Nepthu but as far as the actual face off between them... yeah like two minutes tops consisting mainly of Nepthu being humiliated by how he is in no way a match for He-Man. I know it's a standard theme that the bad guys can't overcome "the most powerful man in the universe" but most villains at least make him work for his victory. Nepthu just seemed pathetically easy to beat.
Okay, let's talk about the actual figure. Nepthu comes in the standard MOTUC blister card package with his pack in accessory fully visible. More on that later. The back of the package shows off other figures in the line, with no real connection made between the characters, and presents a bio fitting Nepthu into the Classics continuity.
They obviously tried to up Nepthu's villain factor to make him more interesting. He had no connection to Count Marzo in the Filmation series (Marzo himself wasn't nearly such a major character in Filmation- or 200X really it's the Classics bios that tried to make him more intricate) In the episode we are introduced to Nepthu looking raged and weak, though not necessarily old and he is made cleaned up and strong by the Scarab of Power. He changed back once the Scarab was destroyed but he never returned as the episode states the evil desires in him were destroyed with it and shows him acting as a happy peaceful gardener in the end. (strangely it also states that the Scarab itself was not evil just used for evil purposes... so that seems to be a contradiction) I'm not sure where they got the block telepathy bit as Sorceress was fully able to use her telepathy even after being turned to crystal. (plus Nepthu didn't even know she was using it)
Nepthu is a very basic figure design wise. His biceps are new with the bands as part of the sculpt but otherwise he uses the standard buck over most of his body parts, with the small bracer forearms. He has the Bow boots and feet and has the Count Marzo open left hand meant so he can hold his accessory, the Scarab of Power. The Scarab itself captures the look right out of the cartoon, but is made of a thin rubbery plastic and I actually find it can be held in his right normal hand, since it's so thin, and stays put better as the hand was designed to be gripping a roundish item all around instead of just on the sides of a straight object.
Nepthu's face sculpt is where his design falters a bit. While the headpiece is perfectly captured and his extra collar piece is given more details than the cartoon had, which is welcome and improves the design, the face does not look properly evil. In fact if you didn't know this was a villain he could pass as a hero. He looks almost friendly. I think the first problem is his mouth. Sure we see him smiling in the cartoon, but it's a malicious grin. More to the point though are the eyes, or more specifically the eyebrows. In the cartoon he has thick eyebrows -or perhaps it's eye shadow makeup- either way that look is not here on the figure. I feel putting this extra blackness around the eyes would have helped the design and better captured the villain look.
As a second accessory Nepthu includes a version of Zoar turned to diamond/crystal. This happens at one point in the cartoon as Zoar manages to free herself from the chain on her leg and tries to fly away. Nepthu, having decided to make the falcon the symbol of his kingdom (again he does not know it's the Sorceress) refuses to let her escape and uses his magic to turn her to diamond. It's this moment that makes Nepthu seem like a credible threat. As I mentioned earlier though Sorceress is still able to use her telepathy in this form. The crystal Zoar is a new sculpt, different than the previous birds, and is not articulated at all. This makes sense though since she's unable to move when turned to diamond. The bird is made of a translucent clear plastic and actually features some diamond like ridges molded into the design. Sadly it does not come with a perch for the bird and due to the tail cannot stand on the shelf. It can be fit onto the existing perch mold if you have an extra one otherwise it is possible to balance her on Nepthu's arm. Still a perch really should have been included for this.
To say Nepthu has been getting a lot of flak from the fan community would be a massive understatement. Frankly I have to agree on the whole. While the figure does capture the look very well, aside from the eye issue, he's just plain... well plain. He's not that interesting a design, nor is he a particularly stand out character personality wise in the cartoon. Mattel has claimed he was on request lists, but the only ones I ever saw him on were ones that listed practically every Filmation character. He was a very odd choice to get before far more popular and fan demanded characters. I can understand not doing someone who requires an almost, if not completely, unique sculpt like Lizard Man or the obvious biggie: Madame Razz. But if you have to pick a Filmation character who's a normal human with minimal new sculpting why not go with someone like General Sundar or Negator? Both are far more interesting and popular. In spite of this Nepthu did wind up selling out so make of that what you will. if you want him there are plenty of fans who don't and are unloading him on the secondary market. Until next time, Good Journey.
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