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    Set Review: 8989 Mata Nui
    ReviewSaturday, June 6th, 2009 at 5:42pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
    [Source: Darth Vader]

    The summer sets are here, and you all know what that means: summer set reviews! We start off our Glatorian Legends reviews with none other than the (formerly/soon-to-be) big guy himself, Mata Nui! Read on to see what BZPower Blog Assistant Darth Vader has to say about the Toa who wears the Mask of Life.

    Presentation
    From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.

    TN 8989 Mata Nui Review 01

    Oh hey, it's Mata Nui (NO HYPHEN), and the Mask of Life. What could be the meaning of this?

    So, the canister is pretty much the same as the canisters from earlier this year. Of course, these ones have new lids. Mata Nui comes packaged in a canister with a yellow lid. This lid is deceptive, as it's the Bitil yellow, not the Keetongu yellow that Mata Nui actually contains.

    The canister lid is pretty reminiscent of the Visorak, what with the raised sides and the circular bump in the center. The lid contrasts very well with the black canister, and you'll have no problem spotting Mata Nui on the shelves when he hits mass retail. The yellow works well with the canister image, the same CG image we've seen since ToyFair, unfortunately. Not only does this mean no new images of the set for you, the consumer, but this also means the canister image is lacking the glorious landscaping and environments from the first Glatorian wave. This was a sore disappointment for me, though the Skrall maze symbol glowing behind Mata Nui does, in a less-awesome-than-Gresh's-canister-image way, contain ounces of cool. But the whole set and background tend to merge together into one big mess of yellow-orange-yellow, and that's disappointing.

    TN 8989 Mata Nui Review 02

    Luckily, there's one way these canisters beat the winter wave of Glatorian - the back.

    Gone is the terrible, and I mean terrible CG images (not CGI images, right 'Raga?) of the set found within the canister and the accompanying Agori, in front of the same arena entrance as the next canister.

    Thank. Goodness.

    Of course, what we find here isn't exactly exciting either. There's an advertisement for the new movie, and a line of images showing off the other Glatorian Legends.

    And of course, the giant block of legalese.

    Ah, legalese. How I ignore you.

    Oh, and Mata Nui's BIO code is there too. And yes, it's just as creative as the winter line-up's was.

    Building
    Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?

    The instruction booklet looks just as you'd expect, the same image as the front of the canister, widescreen format.

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    The building is both the same, boring, boring, boring, boring old Inika/Mahri/Piraka build, while offering some random differences here and there. None of these will pose any challenges, and I really think you could build the set almost perfectly without using the instruction booklet.

    Really, the differences involve either: 1 - New pieces, such as the shin guards and the shoulder armour. 2 - Designs used in conjunction that haven't been before, such as the Mahri shoulderpads as thigh armour, with the Krika/Onua chest armour and Metru chest armour abdomen armour.

    But that's it. This won't be remotely difficult for anyone.

    Set Design
    Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.

    Here we go - the important part. Because this is not only Mata Nui , but this is MATA NUI. He's been the behind the scenes reason for the story since day '01. This guy is the reason for the story. He's it, he's the boss (sorry Andy Samberg). Or, rather, WAS the boss...

    TN 8989 Mata Nui Review 03

    New and recoloured pieces are abundant. Very abundant.

    Though we've received our share of Keetorange pieces in the past, Mata Nui still has quite a few pieces that have never been coloured this way before. These include:

    • The Krika/Onua chest piece.
    • The Mahri shoulderpads.
    • The Inika legs.
    • The Inika clawed feet.
    • The Glatorian hands.

    Plus new pieces in this colour:

    • The UDD-esque shoulder armour pieces.
    • The shin guards (also found on Ackar in MATA RED).
    • The new longer double sockets, with the pin holes lining up on the outside, rather than the inside (the middle hole has also been replaced with an axle hole). These are, unfortunately, not in the above image.

    Oh, and:

    • NEW mold Ignika. (Don't worry, we're about to get to that).

    Other new pieces?

    • The silver UDD-esque pieces used as a shield (?). (Seriously, a shield? This is not a shield. There is no way this is a shield. How would that even pretend to be practical????)

    Alright, I said we would get to the Ignika soon. Here we are.

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    As you can see, the new Ignika is tiny. The '08 Ignika could swallow the new one whole.

    Design-wise, this is clearly the Ignika, minus everything that made the old mask swooshy. Which is a shame. The sides have become rounded, and extended, and the extensions on the top of the head have been minimized. Also, a ridge (that actually already existed on the '08 mold) has been extended and deepened to imply a mouth (or so it seems).

    But the Virtruvian man is still there, and its arms are still the eyes. So at least there's that.

    The new mold isn't terrible. Don't mistake my words for that. It's a beautiful Glatorian helmet, but I really prefer the look of the old mask. And in a stroke that is lucky for those who agree with me, the Titan Mata Nui has the '08 Ignika mask in either Keetorange or Brutaka Gold (which it is for sure isn't an entirely positive guess yet).

    And of course, the new helmet fits onto the once-new Glatorian heads.

    TN 8989 Mata Nui Review 13
    IRONMANIRONMANIRONMANIRONMAN

    Moving on to the build itself.

    TN 8989 Mata Nui Review 11 TN 8989 Mata Nui Review 14 TN 8989 Mata Nui Review 15 TN 8989 Mata Nui Review 16

    With two exceptions, I can easily admit I think Mata Nui looks great. He's shorter than I expected, but his head is also far tinier than I had expected, so the overall design works. He's bulky in a way that looks like he is wearing armour, not just merely a bodysuit, as many other Inika clones tend to do. And the use of the Krika/Onua chest piece means his body has depth not normally seen on sets these days, and as I said in the Gresh review, I am most assuredly for this, as the normal Inika clone proportions (still unrectified) are frustrating in their paper-thin body types.

    I mentioned two exceptions. They are as follows:

    1 - His arms are just too long. Words really cannot express how much this is so. His hands hang down halfway past his knees, and that is abysmally too long. I am continuously confused as to why the designers use the short sockets for thighs, but the long socket for upper arms. On some sets the disproportionate lengths this causes can be ignored easily. Mata Nui is just not that lucky. He looks just plain goofy when posed with his arms at his side, resting. This could be so easily fixed by just swapping the sockets on the upper extremities, and I just don't understand why the designers have never done that themselves.

    2- I quibbled about it on Gresh, so I must on Mata Nui as well. He has a point in his torso that when looking at from the side, you can see right through to the other side. It's much smaller than the gap on Gresh, but also easier to fix. Lengthening the pins that hold the torso together to three-length (though this would have made them BLUE, and NO ONE WANTS THAT), a three-length beam could be put into place, effectively sealing the gap. Easy, and maybe you want to do that to your former Great Spirit.

    TN 8989 Mata Nui Review 15

    And on another minor quibble, but not as much of an exception, because I'll be over-ruled vehemently by the masses, but I still can't get past how odd the hands look. I've figured out my biggest problem with them, and it is this: Because of how the pieces often used as lower arms were designed (Metru legs, Inika legs, Vahki legs, etc), there is a small axle visible before the ball joint at the end of the limb. With the sockets as hands, this doesn't seem so weird. But with the large size of the hands, it almost looks as though Mata Nui is holding a pair of hands holding his weapons (I can hear the meme artists minds running after reading that sentence).

    As a whole, Mata Nui is quite beautiful. He's near-proportionate (dang arms), and the blades on his shoulders actually serve the purpose of looking way cool really well. I am also stoked that the only silver on the set is found in the weapons and life-counter. Hurrahs all around!

    I wish some of the parts were different colours, to mesh as a cohesive scheme a little better, but that's pretty minor. Oh-

    I LOVE THE BLUE HEAD. The blue eyes staring back from the Ignika is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I am very grateful Mata Nui was spared the trans-neon green head, and the orange head. Neither of those would have worked so elegantly on this set, though both were expected (especially orange in my opinion). That they are actually blue is glorious, and helps add this almost un-earthly aura of power to the set. Don't ask how a simple head colour can do that, just accept it, because it does.

    Overall, I have only one other thing to say:

    I wish he was gold.

    Playability
    The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?

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    Mata Nui has the usual points of articulation, meaning he can achieve some sick poses, as you can see above. He can rage at the Makuta who took his former body, and trapped him in this sentient mask, he can prepare for fisticuffs, he can prepare for a rousing game of pickup football, and of course, he can think and ponder the mysteries of a universe he used to command.

    Well, I suppose he almost has the normal points of articulations. The ankle guards do hinder articulation. A lot in certain areas. They also swing around all on their own, which is disappointing.

    Of course there's the Thornax Launcher, and it's not the worst launcher ever. So that's okay. And the SUPER ACTION FIGURE GAME (the caps are necessary).

    TN 8989 Mata Nui Review 21

    Oh, and he's short. Look at him be like a head shorter than Ackar.

    Oh well. He's a good time, and for being Mata Nui, is a pretty tight set. He oozes power and majesty, and that's pretty legit.

    Final Thoughts
    Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?

    Pros
    What's to like?

    • The new Ignika is pretty
    • Plenty of new and recoloured parts
    • Sort of different from the traditional Inika build
    • Blue eyes!
    • Great profile
    • Oozes power

    Cons
    What's not to like?

    • Not too intuitive - still
    • Ignika is less cool than the '08 version
    • The arms are ridiculously, uncoolishly long
    • Launchers still go in the cons
    • That's a shield??

    Mata Nui is a pretty even set. Though there are cons, they are pretty minor, and the pros are pretty cool. In short, this set's pretty close to being legen- wait for it, and I hope you're not lactose intolerant, because it's DAIRY!

    And that, as they say, is that. Hopefully you enjoyed this look at the long-awaited set. Be sure to thank Darth Vader in the Talkback for taking the time to review it. And of course, keeping checking back for more summer set reviews and all the latest Bionicle news!

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