Thursday, March 25, 2021

March Magic! Orko (Exclusive) from Masters of the Universe by Sideshow Collectibles


It's time for the fifth installment of March Magic, a monthlong celebration of all things Orko!

 While there has been no shortage of product since Mattel started heavily licensing out Masters of the Universe around 2013 most of it has relied on the designs of either the vintage toyline or the Filmation animated series. Sideshow's series of high end 1/5th scale Masters of the Universe statues presented collectors with some amazing new interpretations of some of Eternia's and Etheria's most beloved denizens, however, and that's why it's one of the most exciting MOTU endeavors of the past 5-10 years. Under Sidwshow, the line began in 2016 with He-Man and ended with Orko in very late 2018/ early 2019. That's not terribly long but fortunately Tweeterhead has picked the line back up and their first release in the same scale and style, Hordak, is shipping now. Of course we're here today to talk about Orko. Created for the Filmation cartoon series Orko had a very simple, animated appearance that clearly designated him as a Saturday morning comic relief sidekick. In the 2002 Masters of the Universe line Orko was redesigned and sculpted by the Four Horsemen to emphasize the character's role as a powerful mage. In most media Orko is depicted as being powerful but somewhat inept due to the magical laws of Eternia being different from his native Trolla. Sideshow's vision of Orko presents a character who still seems lovable but who also just exudes an aura of powerful magical ability. This is a spellcaster you'd surely want on your side, right? Sideshow released two versions of this statue: A standard release and an exclusive with an extra arm holding a magical text in his hand. We're looking at the exclusive version of Orko today after the break...

The Facts:

Height: 14 1/2 inches tall

Accessories: 2 interchangeable right arms.

Original Retail Price: $265

Edition Size: 800

Year of Release: 2018/2019

Credits: Mike Allen, sculpted by Matt Black, painted by Mireya Romo-Bowen, designed by Nathan Baertsch.

The Positives:

* While Orko's a smaller character, the design manages to keep him still in line with the rest of the releases thanks to a slightly elevated base and the use of a burst of magic to have him floating. Orko might not be my favorite of the Sideshow statues (that's She-Ra) but the composition of the overall statue is amazing. Seriously, he looks great and there's just a lot going on in this design. It really does give off the feel that Orko is floating while in the middle of using his spellcasting abilities. 

* There's nothing static about Orko! His robe gives off the illusion of movement while his arms and hands are positioned to show him in the middle of some grand display! 

* Orko's still a diminutive figure but he's very elaborately dressed with gorgeous red robes. Orko's outfit resembles those of other great mages like Dr. Strange Strange, Albus Dumbledore, and Dr. Fate far more than one of the Chipmunks. It's complex and beautifully rendered with lots of unique magical artifacts and other powerful objects adorning his robes. 

* There's something that's just a bit creepy about this version of Orko, but I kind of like it. You could almost see some people being afraid of this Orko with his glowing eyes, long ears, and hidden appearance. I'm sure that once you heard his voice you'd love, him, though, but I really enjoy the different take on the character. He feels like a character from Final Fantasy with a liberal dose of inspiration from the 200x Orko design. 

* Rather than just having an "O" printed on his robes or wearing a medallion with an "O" on it, teh Sideshow Orko is wearing armor with an inlaid "O" on the chest. It's beautiful, really, and seems like something that is probably extremely powerful and extremely meaningful to the character.

* His hands are nicely sculpted. They're slightly inhuman, with longer fingers, and they're adorned with jewelry. 
* Orko wand is amazing! Seriously, the detail and paintwork on this piece is incredible. The wand is a separate piece but it's not removable from Orko's right hand unless you broke his hand, which I definitely do not advise! This really reminds me of an enhanced and more ornate version of the 200x wand. This is technically the default arm for Orko and it can be swapped out at the shoulder via a very strong magnet.
* And here's a closer look at the magical burst that keeps Orko "floating" above the ground. The tendrils of magic are almost serpent-like, twisting and writhing around. They're molded in a mix of white and blue clear plastic, giving them a smoky effect.
* Orko's base looks very fitting for a swords and sorcery setting. The original Sideshow sales page said it's inspired by the interior of Castle Grayskull. While it's not green (not that everything inside of Grayskull is) this definitely looks like something you'd see inside of the ancient castle.
* On the back you can see more of Orko's beautifully designed armor. The sculpting is so crisp and intricate!
* Here's one more shot that shows off the details on the armor. Take note of the weathering on the sleeves, too. Orko's definitely not a newbie by any means.
* What makes this version of Orko the exclusive version? It's the addition of this book holding arm! Orko's spell book arm attaches via a magnet and gives you another way to display your statue. There were 800 exclusive figures and 1500 of the standard "Collector Edition" Orkos.
* Here's Orko's book up close. Wow, the printing on the pages is so incredible! There's lots of neat images including images of He-Man's Power Sword, Skeletor's sword, and a square shaped image that looks like the rug over the Castle Grayskull trap door.
The Negatives:
* I do have two negatives for Orko and they both relate to his right arm. There's something about the right arm and how it's positioned that just seems off. For the wand arm, the wand ends up being held at a really strange position where it's basically facing upwards. It's not terrible but with how incredible the wand looks it's a shame it's not made more easily seen.

* Take a look at Sideshow's official pictures of the Orko statue. Doesn't the book look like it's held much closer to Orko's head on my statue than it does on Sideshow's promotional images? I think something happened in production here as it makes Orko look like he's holding a boombox up against his head rather than holding a book up so he can consult it.

   I don't have a complete collection of the Sideshow Masters of the Universe statues (I'm missing Skeletor and the standard Evil-Lyn figure) but I'm very excited this line is continuing under Tweeterhead. Sideshow's vision of MOTU had some very creative individuals at the wheel and Orko here is a great example of how they borrowed from the past but re-imagined things in a more traditional swords and sorcery/ high fantasy style. Orko is a beautiful piece and my only criticism is the weird way the right arm sets with both accessories, particularly the book. Still, this is a Great statue and one of the most striking depictions of Orko ever realized.  

 If you're an Orko fan I've also reviewed the MOTU Origins Orko, Super7's vintage styled Orko and Shadow Orko, the green Orko M.U.S.C.L.E. minifigure from the #1 Masters of the Universe set by Super7, The Loyal Subjects Orko, the Orko pin from the GameStop Funko Masters of the Universe box, the Orko POP! + Pez dispenser, the Dorbz Orko, the Pint Size Heroes Orko, the Monogram International Orko figural bag clip, the standard Orko ReAction figure, and the boxed ReAction Orko (Cartoon Colors).

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