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Transformers Animated
by yo go re

The Transformers are technically living beings, not just robots, and one of the criteria for "life" is the ability to reproduce. Now, obviously Transformers don't pair off and rub up against one another, but new TFs have to come from somewhere, right? Each continuity has its own way of doing it (heh - "doing it." --ed.). In Transformers Animated, apparently all it takes is a double blast of energy from Bumblebee and Ratchet.

Grimlock more than lives up to the reputation of his Tyrannosaurus Rex mode. Ill-tempered, powerful, and always ready for a fight, he loves to throw his weight around. He likes the way the ground shakes as he stomps around, and the way people scatter when he roars. He's happiest on Dinobot Island, where he can stomp and roar to his Spark's content, shattering trees with his tail, and breathing jets of flame into the sky. Every once in a while, though, he prefers to find the biggest, most powerful Decepticon he can, and smash its chassis to pieces.

Given Grimlock's incredible (and inexplicable) popularity, it's really not a big surprise that he was chosen to be one of the Dinobots introduced in the first season of Cartoon Network's new Transformers Animated. Visiting a dinosaur theme park, the Autobots accidentally destroy some of the animatronics. When Megatron secretly helps "repair" them, they (also accidentally) become primed for vivification.

Grimlock is, of course, a dinosaur, not a backhoe or a car. He's back to being a T. Rex, but what's really surprising is just how much like the G1 version he looks - no other Animated character has such a strong parallel. Gray body, gold on the neck, toes and tail, red stripe around the torso, circles on the hips... yes, the overall design is sleeker, but even more than Classics Grimlock, this is an update of the G1 toy.

In dino mode, Grimlock is 8½" long and 5" tall. There have been some changes made, both for the Animated design aesthetic and the march of science - different posture, like we explained before - but his trunk has the same sort of football shape that it did in G1. His arms and head are immobile, but he has four joints in each leg, not counting the toes. Press a button on the back of his neck, and he chomps his jaw. His eyes are light-piped blue.

Even changing from dino to bot is accomplished in much the same manner. If you're familiar with the original toy, you won't even need to unfold the instructions. What few differences exist are all for the better, like making his legs aren'thollow, orretaining articulation in robot mode. Keep your receipt when you buy this one, though: there are quality control isues with converting the dinosaur's legs into the robot's arms; they're supposed to retract all the way to the "elbow" and click in place, but some fail to click, some make the halves of the upper legs separate and others won't retract at all. Mine worked fine, but watch for any problems, and don't be afraid to trade it in for one that works.

Again, the visual connection between G1 and Animated Grimlock will hit you over the head. They even put a clear tech panel over his chest! He no longer has the big spikes on his wrists, and the tall shoulders seem to come from Classics, but he still has folded up dino kibble on his back (taking him over the 7" mark), and the tip of his tail on both legs. The upper half of his head is pleasantly retro, with its little ears and the visor, but he gets one of the big lower jaws that Animated is so known for.

Articulation is plentiful, putting G1 Grimlock to shame. Our boy gets a swivel head, ball-and-socket shoulders, hinged elbows, forearm swivels and hinged fingers/thumb, a turning waist, plus balljointed hips and knees. He comes equipped with a flaming sword, which can plug into either hand. The box claims it doubles as a blast of flame breath, but that's bunk. Yes, you can kind of put it in the dino's mouth, but that doesn't make it flame breath, it makes it a sword in his mouth. The sword gets the kind of black paint apps that Snarl's club was missing, and if you twist Grimlock's right wrist while he's holding the sword, more flames pop out from within.

Grimlock still isn't my favorite Dinobot, not even in the Animated continuity, but this is a really good toy. In particular, if you loved the G1 Grimlock the way some people did, you absolutely owe it to yourself to add this one to your collection.


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