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Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics
by yo go re

A freckled redhead in thigh-highs? Dungeons & Dragons, if I didn't know better, I'd say you were trying to be foundational in the proclivities of an entire generation!

Sheila the Thief uses her Cloak of Invisibility to gain the advantage over the evil forces of Venger.

In the cartoon, Dungeon Master rarely refered to the kids by their names; you could argue (depending on how you feel about him yourself) that this was either because he didn't care about them as people, or because he wanted them to feel more comfortable and confident in their assigned roles. So, like, he wouldn't call Eric "Eric," he'd only call him "Cavalier." The one exception to this was Sheila: her he called "Child," presumably because the parents' groups would be unhappy to have the word "thief" not only being said constantly, but also have it associated with a heroic character instead of a villain who gets punished.

With Diana busy being sporty and self-assured, it fell to Sheila to be the Team Mom. It started innocently enough, with her (logically) watching out for her little brother, Bobby, and then it just kept going from there. The toy's facial sculpt matches the cartoon well enough, which wasn't always a guarantee in this line.

She's also more traditionally "girly" than Diana, because she wears a pink dress. The sculpt here is simple, matching the '80s animation style: her sleeves are rolled up to her elbows, there's a simple seam down the front of the top, and she has a light teal sash wrapped around her waist as a belt. She's got those zettai ryouiki boots, with the folded-down tops. Between those and the panty shot in the pilot episode, it's impressive that, even in a show with a girl wearing a fur bikini every week, Sheila manages to be the "fanservice" character.

Sheila's magical gift was her Cloak of Invisibility: a purple cape that turned her invisible when she put the hood up. And possibly intangible, given how many times turning invisible was treated as an instant escape even from foes who were inches away from grabbing her. Most of the figures in the line include extra accessories to show their weapons in use, and Sheila does as well: her normal cape is molded in purple plastic, and is sculpted with the hood down; she also includes a separate cape molded from translucent plastic and fading to solid purple as you move up. That one doesn't have a hood sculpted on at all, with a separate one included so she can still turn her head. So staying accurate to the show, the toy's cape is only solid when the hood is down, and it's only going invisible when the hood is up. Good stuff!

Once again we get to be shocked by how much better the articulation is on the second half of this line. The toys in the first wave were stiff and prone to breakage, but these later three move just fine. Sheila has swivel/​hinge ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, balljointed waist, swivel/hinge wrists, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinged neck, and a balljointed head. Even with a skirt getting in the way of the legs a little, she moves great. And because the cape's hood is separate when it's up, that doesn't cost her any neck articulation, either.

Rather than a Build-A-Figure, the Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics have a "Build-A-Dice-Set" - get them all and you'll be able to play a game of D&D. Sheila just gets a simple D6, the most ubiquitous die there is.

Sheila never had a lot to do in the cartoon - usually just crying and yelling "Bobby!" But in episode 25, "Citadel of Shadow," she managed to defeat Venger by herself; and since he wasn't in the next two episodes, it ended up being his final appearance in the series, suggesting that she canonically defeated him once and for all. Way to go, girl! It's good that she's in the back half of the line, so the toy's construction doesn't suck, but it's bad that at this point no stores want to order them.

-- 01/31/24

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