Him No Bozo, Him King
Hasbro, Transformers Animated Toyline, 2007
In the wake of the live-action Transformers movie, Hasbro had a real problem. On the one hand, they had a very popular and very successful movie on their hands. On the other hand, they had a lot of jilted fans that were a little annoyed at the liberties taken with their favorite franchise. Never ones to look back, Hasbro launched their Transformers Animated line in conjunction with their new animated series that drew from every source prior as well as becoming its own entity. However, as has been stated before, Hasbro knows where its bread is buttered and they went to great lengths to make sure the fans didn’t feel left out on this one.
Transformers Animated was a colorful and somewhat more kid-friendly version of the original Transformers series. The characters are a little bit more outlandish and extreme than their Gen-1 counterparts, but they also benefited from superior character development, event progression, and all the overall progress that cartoons and animation have enjoyed in the intervening decades. And while the plots of most of the individual episodes tended to be a little on the simple side, the overarching season and series plots were more ambitious and powerful, partly due to the anime invasion in the late 1990s and 2000s. As a result, Grimlock in Animated is like a caricature of his Gen-1 self; louder in almost every sense of the word. However, like all good art, through this exaggeration we see even more clearly elements of the character we know and love.
Appearance – 4 out of 5
The Grimlock figure is very well made and beautifully represents the character from the show. Like the character from the show, it clearly harkens back to the original character from Gen-One, all the way down to the nigh-identical transformation sequence. The character is nicely colored and manages to capture the somewhat whimsical look of the character from the series. The only real complaint I have is that seams and screws are way too obvious. There’s pretty much no way for the character to stand that you don’t see at least a few reminders of how the toy was put together.
Construction – 3 out of 5
The figure is relatively solid in its construction and the plastic is a bit on the weighty side, though I wouldn’t be too quick to apply the adjective ‘rugged’. All the joints are sturdy, but there’s still a certain sense of fragility to the figure that isn’t as common to Transformers as one would first suspect. It feels a little light in the hands and the limbs feel a little too disproportionate for their weight distribution. There’s no clear issue with the construction, but it’s just not quite there to make it solid and well done.
Movement – 5 out of 5
This figure is beautifully mobile. It’s got every joint you need and none of the ones you don’t. There isn’t a pose this figure can’t take. The head turns, the jaw of the T-Rex head opens and closes, the shoulders are ball-joints, there’s a waist, and more. The only thing it’s lacking are ankles and you really won’t miss them. Seriously, both forms are extremely mobile and natural to move. The toy even has opposable thumbs for crying out loud!
Extras – 2 out of 5
Grimlock comes with only one extra, but it’s a doozy. He comes with a flaming sword that (in theory) doubles as a gust of flames from his mouth. The sword is appropriately large for a thug like Grimlock and it even has little sprouting flames that pop out by putting it in his hand. In dinosaur form, the sword is supposed to stick into his mouth to simulate his fiery breath. The reality is not so cool as the sword barely fits in his mouth and when it does, it still looks like a sword stuck in his mouth. A for effort, but a D- for execution.
Packaging – 3 out of 5
The Transformers Animated packaging was quiet nice and bordered on excellent, but it just didn’t quite make it. Each package came with a picture of the figure on the front, a plastic window to see the figure inside, and an explanation of the character’s powers and personality on the back. Unfortunately, the explanation was a little sparse and there was no real explanation of the story itself. Other characters were presented, but they seemed haphazardly chosen and represented only a fraction of the available line. Overall, it was good packaging and well-done, but not anything to write home about.
Overall – 4 out of 5
This is a fine example of a very decent toy. While it’s definitely lacking in some notable areas, overall it’s still a well-made toy that’s a lot of fun to play with. The transformation movements are smooth and make sense, the figure is very easy to pose and will hold poses without much effort. I don’t think this is the most sterling example of a Four, but it’s simply too well made and too much fun to play with to reside with the mediocrity of a Three.