First thing’s first, the term “anime” is certainly beginning to distance itself from being associated with Japan and instead is the name being adopted to any action-animated series regardless of country of origin. For example, the rebooted He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is being produced by Powerhouse Animation (Seis Manos) which is based in Texas and is inspired by an animated series which was produced in California by Filmation back in the mid-80s. Regardless, Netflix is going with the term “anime” to describe it’s upcoming new series that sees Kevin Smith continue to feed his addiction to animated series by taking the role of showrunner to go along with his producing duties on another animated series called Howard the Duck as well as a rumored reboot of Clerks: The Animated Series.
This new series is being codenamed “Masters of the Universe: Revelation” and it will continue the adventures set-forth by the original series and will reportedly tie up loose-ends introduced from like 40 years ago. Which poses the question…which way is the series going to sway in terms of the direction of the show? Mattel is producing the series because they want to sell some toys. Problem is, the owners of the original toy line are probably in their forties now. So, if this is in effect a sequel series and less of a reboot which is really more of what Netflix did with She-Ra, I would imagine that this show would have to appeal to older-skewing audiences. With Kevin Smith at the helm, and Powerhouse Animation doing stellar stuff in adult animation, you have a perfect recipe of not only resuscitating a dead franchise but doing something more akin to the age group. Going the rebooted She-Ra route would torch any chance of the older fans wanting to continue their purchases and even if a younger-skewing fan would want to get into the show, the toy industry geared towards children is less about action figures these days and more gadgets and learning making any attempt to make additional Marvel-like bank on that audience null and void.
If Netflix can pull this off properly, they will have a strong new series that they can lean on for years. Toonami screwed up the 2002 take on the show not due to poor show quality, but to pretty much not telling anybody about the show when it was on and for serving up a kids series surrounded by more older-skewing anime. The He-Man franchise needs to grow up with it’s audience. Otherwise, it’s gonna be another short-run.