I walked to Wal*Mart, in temperatures below zero with killer wind chill, all just to buy Strakk and the two Agori that remain in order to complete my collection. However, the shelves were almost completely barren when I got there. There were no Agori whatsoever, and the only Glatorian available were Gresh and Tarix. At first I was disappointed, but then I realized that this brought interesting news. It meant that 2009 was getting really popular if the sets would fly off the shelves just like that. It also told me that the usual buying pattern had changed. Normally, green and blue, according to Bonesiii, rank in the top three when it comes to sales. Within my area, however, they were the only ones left behind. It was an interesting observation, and it also gave me a little hope that this might help the tansets stay tan.
Now, with a little reluctance, I took Gresh off the shelf and went to the front of the store with him. As I have done with all my past purchases since the summer of 2008, I used the check out counter that was being run by my cousin, who I will refer to as Violet. I payed for the set and left.
I went over to the Hi-Vee which was two or three blocks away. That's where I had walked from. My father's car was parked there. As the good old reviews say, I only made it to the car. As soon as I got inside, I used my fingernail to open the canister lid (I haven't clipped them raw in a couple of weeks). Once the lid was off, I reached down and took out the first piece my hand felt. That piece was one of his leaf swords.
This is where the true examination begins. I am glad to say that my first impression of the sword was a good one. It's better than it looks on the canister. I instantly admired how long and slender it was. It truly does have a catchy design. The word that first came to mind was "dynamic", and that word still comes to mind. The colors blend beautifully. I will tell you how they work with the rest of the set, but that will be later.
For now, I will work from the toes up. The feet, in my opinion, have seen their best use they ever have in their three and a half year existence. They go perfectly with Gresh. As I am sure you have noticed, Gresh has a leafy design, but that too I will get to later. For now, I'm just glad that the feet also came in lime green, in which they look very good.
Gresh is the only set to use the Rahkshi calves. This makes him taller than all of the other sets, because all of the others use a calve than is one unit shorter. I suppose it contributes to Gresh's look. Of all the sets, LEGO went with a slender look for him.
His thighs aren't as big of a disapointment as I thought they were. The odd pieces of armor actually look good for him. Overall, Gresh has a leafy look. I like that because it makes him look like he's from the jungle. Had they tried to go with such a theme for any other set, it wouldn't have worked. The double socket joint piece is black, as I could tell ahead of time from the canister pictures, and I am glad to say that it blends in. I always had a philosophy that black worked better than gray because it was a much calmer and more elusive color. That is to say, it doesn't stand out or distract from the main colors.
Now his torso was something to behold. As much as Bonesiii would say that these aren't humans and don't need human proportions, he's still an obvious humanoid and deserves to look impressive by human standards. This torso is a bit more bulked up, and I like that. The chest armor sticks out farther due to the construction of the shoulder armor, and because of it his chest doesn't seem flat. He seems to have some depth. It's great to see this especially because of my basic knowledge of the human muscular system. I can imagine having a latissimus dorsi, or something like it. I can imagine the pectoralis major, the trapezius, the deltoid, and the abdominus rectus. Not only do I imagine muscles, but I can imagine other things, such as a spine, lungs, heart, and digestive system fitting in there. Human or not, this is definitely pleasing towards his overall appearance for me.
His torso is also almost completely black from behind. The only green on it is the chest and shoulder armor. I personally don't mind. For some reason, it looks totally awesome with green. I don't know why. Fortunately, it is also easy to look over, in case the buyer wanted a set where they just wanted green to catch the eye. I think it is also notable that the black is only found on areas on the torso and the parts of the limbs connecting right to it. I'm glad that it is made this way instead of spreading it out. One it's spread out, it begins t look like a secondary color. However, this way it only brings to mind a specific area of his body, and that is the core strength. Now, if it was used for his ankle ball joint, then it might have been a bit distracting to the color scheme, but it is, overall, very conveniently placed so that is is hardly noticeable unless you are looking for in. Perhaps that isn't the right way to say it. It's there if you enjoy the color scheme that way, but you don't see it so much if you like to focus purely one shades of green.
Sprouting from the back is a life counter. I'm sure we've all formed opinions about these before, and I personally like them. I think it looks fairly good on him, and makes his back something interesting to behold as well. Normally, all the focus on a set is set towards making them look interesting from up front and the backs are left to be dull and unattractive. I found it interesting that the Metru chest piece holding the life counter was black instead of a shade of green. I'm not complaining, though. It's my second one so far, and along with the one from Skrall, it should be quite useful for MOCing. I also like hot this adds more depth to him, just like how the chest armor is put a unit forward. It helps his body looks rounded instead of wide and flat like he's some sort of gingerbread man.
From there comes the shoulder armor. This is probably one of the highlights of the set. It's one of the first things you notice about him on the canister. I never liked those Tahu/Bitil leg stuff last year no matter how it was used, but I congratulate this set for actually raising it up to share its time in the limelight (pun intended). It contributes towards his leavf, fern like look, and in the meantime it kind makes him statuesque. It reminds me of an epaulet, or a pad on the shoulders of a fancy military uniform. While I don't imagine Gresh being a high ranking official, at least the look is something I can relate to and doesn't look completely random. It also adds flair to his shoulders.
As for his arms, there's not much to say. Yeah, we have the familiar Piraka thigh armor now on his bicep, which doesn't look that bad. I guess it helps him look muscular, but in a lean way.
Now I am onto his weapons. I'm start with the Thornax launcher. I'm already established that I like the thornax launcher, and of all the Glatorian, the way he weilds his is my third favorite. It's the only launcher I'm seen in all of Bionicle that is held exactly like a regular pistol. It's even the right size and shape. Granted, it only has one bit of explosive ammunition that takes up a large chunk of its muzzle, but it still looks pretty good and I like it better than the manner in which Strakk and Vorox hold their guns.
His shield-slash-swords are interesting, and I'm glad that I have finally reached them. They really complete him. The shield is interesting, but it is by no means my favorite way to equip the pieces. They looks better when as used as typical swords, although sometimes they can be difficult for finding a good pose. No, the best use for them is when he holds them from the plus rods on their sides. They look excellent that way. If he's holding his wrists strait, they align just right along his forearm. It looks like they were built into him, or like they're part of him. It is in this case that he literally makes me think "Monster Gresh". You can imagine them as the creepy fins from a swamp monster or an alien. Or you can imagine him as, most expediently, some sort of plant monster, because when held this way the swords are like his thigh and shoulder armor in that they look like leafy protrusions coming from his body. He looks like a human plant. It is very cool. I also like the image of the built in weapon because I always thought that having weapons built into the forearm was cool. Let's look at some of our famous super heroes, shall we? We have Spider Man and his webs, Badman and his blades, Iron Man and that small missile that blows up tanks, Buzz Lightyear and that wrist laser, and probably many more that are really cool. I just always loved the idea in the way that Bonesiii always likes spiky shoulders. I just like them. However, just so I don't give you any misconceptions, they are not my favorite weapons of 2009. Malum's claws come in first, and Skrall comes in second with his awesome sword-slash-gun. Gresh is a bronze. One last note about the swords, one of the first things I noticed about them was that then he has his arms down, they sword go past his feet.
I will end this on where I end all things, the part of the set which I preserve as the last thing on the construction process. My opinion on the mask is better than I thought it would be. It continues to add to the leafy look with those three things coming out of it, but I was relieved when I also found out that it looked good on its own, too. The spikes flow backward in a suave manner. I don't think I'll mind their pointlessness as far as prose is concerned in making an efficient helmet. The soldiers of ancient timeshad those funny little mohawk things built into their helmets, so Gresh should be able to pass in having three prongs protruding from his helmet with no purpose other than to look good. I enjoy the simplicity on his mask overall, which is a simplicity that reminds me of the 2001 masks. It has its basic shaped and that's about it. The one gimmick that the designers apparently thought that they'd add was a spine that goes up his forehead. I don't mind it. It adds to the jungle look in him, and it can also help him look like some creepy alien if you want to visualize such things. One of the things that stood out to me about the helmet, however, that I couldn't even guess at by looking into the pictures, is that when he looks down, his masks slips conveniently underneath his chest armor just like Malum's does, at it fist in just perfectly. I can imagine him digging his chin into his chest armor when he might particularly want to protect his neck, just like I might dig my chin into my scarf to protect my neck (and hopefully my lips) from these blasted winter temperatures this January.
There's a lot to say overall. Personally, I will give him the honor of being the second best green set of all time. The winner is the classic Lewa. However, Gresh would have pulled off a gold if the Metru green was instead Mata green. I swear, he actually would have. I would have actually admitted that there was a better set than the classic Lewa. If his Metru had instead been Mata, my brain would have blown up because he would look so awesome.
He's definitely taller and more slender than all the other sets. However, it doesn't bother be. I always imagined Toa of Air (or in this case, Glatorian of Jungle) being taller and more slender than all the rest. The classic Lewa was tall and gangly compared to his Toa brothers and sister, after all. This is my consultation for when I see Gresh right next to Malum and making him look like a shorty.
Gresh is incredibly easy to pose if your have his swords in forearm mode. He looks fairly good in most poses and you don't have to struggle to find something you like. Having him interact with other sets is interesting.
I have yet to give my Gresh a nickname, like I have for my other three sets. Malum is Malum Man, the Skrall is Hannibal, and Vorox is Zand, which is Dutch for sand. I'm considering naming Gresh the Monster Gresh, although I'm also having fun posing him wish his Thornax held high, gazing at it from behind his helmet. What comes to mind so incredibly easy when I pose him like this is the image of a Predator holding a human skull. I might be one to something here...