Major edit: PLEASE NO SPOILERS FOR SEASON 8, IK THEY ARE OUT FOR AUSTRALIA ALREADY, BUT PLEASE WAIT UNTIL THE EPISODES HAVE AIRED IN THE UNITED STATES, JUST BECAUSE THE EPISODES ARE ONLINE, DOESN'T MEAN THAT EVERYONE IN THE COMMUNITY HAS SEEN THEM. CAUSE I, LIKE MANY OTHER, MORE CIVILIZED AND PATIENT NINJAGO FANS, AM WAITING FOR THE EPISODES TO COME OUT ON TV, TO WATCH THEM.
IF YOU HAVE FOUND SOMETHING, BECAUSE YOU EITHER LIVE IN AUSTRALIA AND WATCHED IT ON TV THERE, OR YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF AUSTRALIA AND WERE TOO IMPATIENT, SO YOU WATCHED THE BOOTLEGGED EPISODES, THEN PLEASE KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, UNTIL THE EPISODES ARE OUT IN THE US, SO YOU DON'T SPOIL IT FOR THE OTHERS THAT ARE BEING PATIENT.
SO, PLEASE NO SPOILERS. I'VE ALREADY HAD SEASONS 3 & 6 RUINED FOR ME, BECAUSE OF SPOILERS, AND I ACTUALLY HAVE A TENDANCY TO GO ON A RANT ABOUT THAT, WHEN TALKING ABOUT SPOILERS, SO UNLESS YOU WANT CLUTTER, NO SPOILERS.
(I'd like to mention that I posted this WAY BEFORE I have seen the sneak preview on TLNM DVD. Once I have seen it, and analyzed it, I will update this topic with the info that I have found. I also hadn't seen any of the set descriptions for the sets, so this stuff was just based on the images that we've seen.)
Ok, guys, we know that Season 8 of Ninjago, Sons of Garmadon, is going to be focusing around these Oni masks that we have in the sets this year, and the 3 we have are the Oni masks of Hatred(purple), Deception(orange), and Revenge(red).
Credit to the person that originally made this image.
Yet, Oni masks are an actual thing, in Japanese culture. So, about 2 weeks ago, on November 29th, I went and did a bunch of research on Oni masks and Oni in general, to see if I could find anything on oni IRL, that could relate to what we are seeing in the sets, based on the images we had gotten around that time.
Now, before I dive into this, I'd like to link this video that Gaijin Goombah did on Genji's Oni skin in Overwatch, to get a basic understanding about Oni and Oni (or in the case of that video Hannya) Masks. Just gonna warn you guys of some weird imagery in there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifbdvxTYmPQ&t=37s and don't worry about it being from one of the guys from The Game Theorists, because Gaijin Goombah is actually the better one on there.
Now, we're gonna do this by looking at the set first, then look at the real life comparisons that I found, and we're gonna start with this wave's big-fig, Killow my research has led me to thinking that he is sort of inspired by the actual creature/yokai, Oni. Now, if you watched the video, you will know that oni are big, muscular, ogre-like creatures, tend to have long horns, mostly naked with those lion/tiger loin-cloths, and at times extra-limbs, eyes, etc.
If you look at Killow, he's big and a bit muscular, much bigger than a normal minifig. We also see that he doesn't got any shirt on under that biker jacket he has on, and with that Oni Mask of Deception on, he's definitely got 2 long horns on his head.
You will also know, from the video and image, that Oni wield the giant, iron clubs called Kanabō. Now, the weapon that Killow has, to some, might just look like a "spiked baseball bat", and even the Ninjago Wiki calls it that.
but if you look at real life kanabō,
they basically look like "spiked baseball bats". And considering the fact that Oni will beat you up(lightest way I can think of for putting it) with these things, I can imagine Killow really swinging at the ninja with his kanabō.
Now, we're not done with Killow yet, we still have those Oni mask tattoos to go over, but I'll go over that later on, as that is a bit of a broad subject itself.
The next thing I want to cover, before we have a look at the other 2 figures we see with Oni masks on, I would like to cover Oni masks themselves.
Now, these are some examples of Oni masks
and some Hannya masks
Both are mask types used in Japanese Noh Theater, and they portray a character that has become something vengeful or evil, and you can kind of see the resemblance with these masks, minus the noses, of course.
But just to clarify, as Gaijin said in the video, Hannya masks portray women. Even my research states that
"the Hannya mask portrays the souls of women who have become demons due to obsession or jealousy."
And based on my research, Oni masks portray men. And according to the Japanese ghost and monster database, Yokai.com,
"Today, the word oni generally only refers to this specific category of male demons."
Now, while these are called Oni masks in this wave, it is a good idea to look at Hannya as well, especially since we got a female in the S.O.G. gang, Ultra Violet, and this will lead into my analysis on her and our last figure. According to Yokai.com,
"Hannya refers to demons or oni; more specifically to female demons called kijo—even more specifically to those kijo which appear in noh theater."
and it says that there are 3 grades of hannya: namanari, chūnari, and honnari.
"Namanari hannya are kijo that still resemble human women. They have small horns and use dark magic to perform their evil deeds, such as summoning ikiryō to attack their enemies. They are not completely evil; there remains a chance for these beginner demons to return to humanity."
"Chūnari hannya are mid-level demons. They have long, sharp horns, tusk-like fangs, and more powerful magic. However, they are still vulnerable to prayers"
"Honnari hannya are true demons and the most powerful of the three. They have serpentine bodies and breathe fire. Honnari hannya have embraced their jealousy so deeply that there is no calming their fury."
Now, this leads us to my analysis on Ultra Violet herself.
This is Ultra Violet in the S.O.G. Headquarters set when she doesn't have the Oni mask of Hatred on:
and this is Ultra Violet in the Ninja Nightcrawler set with the Oni Mask of Hatred on:
and Yokai.com says that Kijo
"are female demons. They resemble human women in most ways, although they are usually hideously ugly to behold." "Some have red or yellow eyes, blue skin, sharp horns, long claws, or other supernatural features. Usually they dress in rags and wear their hair long and unkempt, living like savages far from civilization."
I went ahead and made some notes on an image I managed to find of the full minifigure of Ultra Violet
the features here do seem to match some of the descriptions that the data base has given us.
but, the page also says:
"Kijo refers chiefly to women who have been transformed from humans into horrible monsters – either out of intense jealousy, wicked crimes committed, or a terrible grudge that twists the soul into pure hatred."
Now, that mention of pure hatred right there, makes it even more fitting for Ultra Violet to be wearing the Oni Mask of Hatred. But the transformation part is what will take us into the look at the minfig we see with the Oni Mask of Revenge, who was actually in the trailer, Mr. E.
This is an image I got of Mr. E in the Temple of Resurrection set, without the Oni Mask of Revenge on.
and this is Mr. E in the Street Race of Snake Jaguar set, with the Oni Mask of Revenge on.
Notice the extra arms he has, when he has the mask on, I mean, even in the set, the mask is on a display stand with the extra set of arms
and if you remember when I was talking about Oni earlier, I said that they tend to have extra limbs. Yokai.com also says that,
"occasionally, when a human is so utterly wicked that his soul is beyond any redemption, he transforms into an oni during life, and remains on Earth to terrorize the living."
So, based on these findings, my theory is that these Oni masks will turn the S.O.G. members that wear them, into demons/oni/kijo(in the case of Ultra Violet) of some sort, and based on what we have seen, and what I saw in the animatic for an upcoming brick film on the S8 sets, I'm believing that this is the case.
Now I did say that I would go over the oni mask Tattoos that Killow has on his left arm,
but it's getting really late at the time I am writing this, so I will have to go over that later on, but I will leave a link to where I found info on oni and hannya mask tattoos and their meanings. But I do want to clarify, that I'm not saying you should go get a tattoo, you really shouldn't be getting a real tattoo, especially if you are under the age of 21, at least. I'm just showing what meanings the hannya and oni mask tattoos have, and how they could relate to the ones that Killow has so that you guys can try and come up with your own ideas on the meanings of Killow's tattoos, if there is any. https://tatring.com/tattoo-ideas-meanings/Japanese-Hannya-Tattoos-Concise-Info-on-the-Origins-Meanings-Ideas
Update: I have watched the Sneek Peek now, and I have not seen anything that adds to my theory as of now.
Update 2: I have just re-watched Gaijin Goombah's video where he analyzes Aku from Samurai Jack, and he actually talks about the Hannya mask more in the video. I'm gonna leave a link to the video here for those that are interested https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSkGngZs_pY&t=62s