He-Man.org has posted their latest Q&A with Mattel. There are a few interesting tidbits regarding Battle Cat and production issues, but it also features the longest answer I’ve ever seen from Mattel.
10. What is the purpose of “real” names for the characters, and what is the process for coming up with each new “real” name?
The “purpose” is to give a bit more character and background to the characters of the MOTU world. Although as we have stated in the past, MOTU is always intended to be an avatar for fantasy play. If in your imagination He-Man was named “Bobo the fighting guy” that is okay too. It really is up to each fan to imagine MOTU characters the way they want.
For this particular toy line, MOTU Classics, we wanted to find ways to infuse more background into the characters for some fans who enjoy that approach. Not all will, which is why these bios are for entertainment only. You won’t like every movie you see either, but we hope in time most fans will embrace some of the new concepts we are introducing in this line as much as they embraced Trap Jaw’s new origin for the 2002 show which contradict his earlier minicomic origin.
The process involves going through all the current material available that we have legal rights to including the 2002 cartoon, the mini comics, licensing guides, some of the early books and the original toy line notes and story concepts. We also have notes about what would have been the 3rd season of the 2002 series and have already incorporate that into the line (i.e. Faker’s bio).
Since it is well established in MOTU mythos that characters do indeed have real names (Keldor, Duncan, Adora etc..) we wanted to spread this to other characters as well. In the case of some, like Stratos, he is referred to as Lord Stratos by other Avians, so it is clear that is his name. Other characters like Mer-Man or Hordak clearly have nicknames or military names. So in there case we wanted to provide a real name to add to their backstory.
I can’t fathom why some fans seem to care so much about the “real names”…there aren’t even any new cartoons or comics for the real names to have any relevance to. As far as anyone’s concerned, you can completely ignore those real names.
Mattel also posted an update on Facebook after yesterday’s Merpocalypse.
Hey MOTU fans,
Well looks like Mer-Man swam away way faster than we expected!
I wanted to let fans know we are WELL aware of some major technical problems yesterday with Mer-Man’s sale. A lot of this was caused by the sheet amount of overwhelming fan support for the line with so many fans logging on to buy one at once.
We have immediately taken corrective measure so that this never happens again and I personally apologize to any fan who had trouble ordering the Ocean Warlord. It was unfair for you not to be able to get a figure due to a huge spike in hits on the site. We have a new Castle Grayskull-sized super server dedicated to the site and are now better prepared for larger traffic on sale days.
We have also corrected the problem with international orders and they should not have trouble ordering when Mer-Man goes back on sale in a week or two.
Honestly, we had the same number of units yesterday for sale as we did for Beastman, and it took 41 days for Beastman to sell out. It is always a careful game we play to produce just enough for fan demand without overproducing which would kill the line. (to paraphrase fans from a few years ago…)
As announced we do have more Mer-Man figures coming before the end of April. By the time we increased production, we had to send Mer-Man in two separate shipments. It is the same run, they all just didn’t make the same boat.
Going forward, we have increased production on Zodac and Hordak as well, but the full production of both of these figures should be available on the same day. If the second shipment of Mer-Man also sells out as quickly we will look at increasing overall production yet again until we get the number just right so the figure is online for at least a week or so! We do WANT to get these to fans after all.
As for concerns about quantities, we have looked at the numbers and honestly there are so very few fans ordering anything more than 3 units. By far, 1, 2 and 3 per person are the OVERWHELMING most common orders. We will keep up to ten available for international fans who want to save on shipping.
I will update everyone ASAP once we confirm the second on sale date for Mer-Man. We will continue to work with all of our fans to improve shipping, customer service options and buying options to make this as smooth a process as possible. You have my Mattel word!
Thanks for hanging in there!
I know I’ve been pretty critical of Mattel lately, but I think this is an honest and straightforward post. It sounds like they’re aware of all the problems that occurred yesterday and have moved to correct them. (Though judging from the Facebook feedback, international buyers are still having a lot of trouble–and some are attributing it to a conspiracy, natch.)
But what really interested me was the information that the amount of Mer-Man figures on sale yesterday was equal to the total number of figures they had for Beast Man, which took more than a month to sell out. For all the controversy this line inspired, it certainly appears to be popular (even if you believe it’s scalpers driving these sell-outs, scalpers aren’t going to be scalping unpopular lines).