As many of you likely know, based off of my avatars, MOCs and comments, I like HF, I would say that I prefer HF to either generation of BIONICLE. Many of you have likely wondered “What the heck is up with him? Was his childhood that bad?” So at the suggestion of @ThatchMac chmac I have made a semi-detailed explanation for why I hold one of the more...controversial opinions in the BIONICLE fandom.
Now, I liked BIONICLE before HF even came out. I saw the Mask of Light trailer, I saw the later sets and I played the games on BIONICLE.com. I had the Mantax happy meal toy. (Look, it was cooler than it sounds) I watched the Mata-nui rising video and the Legend Reborn adverts..I really enjoyed what I could do, and I remember looking at the catalogue at the Glatorian for hours on end.
Now, as for Hero Factory...it is a bit deeper then that.
When BIONICLE ended and HF began, I thought nothing of it. I was very interested in the new line, however because of the Nick-toons adverts in the magazines, I thought it was a licensed theme...then I read more.
My first HF comic was issue #2: Core Crisis. And the magazine it came with also included a small pamphlet that covered all of the HF characters for that year and a detailed explanation of the story universe.
Later that year, I had saved some money from doing different jobs and chores, and we went to a local store (By local I mean an hour away, we lived in the middle of nowhere on a farm. this will be kinda important later) My younger brother bought Bulk 1.0 and I bought Gresh stars and some Bricks and more set. Well...
As we got into the car and I ripped the can open, I noticed that the can already was...well...opened. The only things inside were the golden armor piece, the instruction manual...and a plastic….wait for it...Raptor talon…
(cue dramatic music)
Anyway, we returned the set and my mom asked if they had any other BIONICLE sets, and they brought out a huge box filled to the brim with Hero Factory sets. I dug through them and grabbed the first Furno set I could find without any hesitation. I got the set and it quickly became my favorite toy, it was small enough to be easy to carry around, it could pose without much work and had the super cool weapons. I loved that set.
So then began our obsession with HF, even my older brother and sister were into it! The story was simple enough to understand, but interesting enough to keep us invested. We made up so many characters and stories of our own, we got the Rise of the Rookies DVD from Netflix and watched it over and over again. (We also watched the last three BIONICLE movies around this time, but ye know) Through the next year, we got all of the 1.0 Heros and Xplode, we saw the leaks for the 2.0 sets on Brickapedia, and were so..intrigued by them that we bought them in january of 2011. Even more comics and the website only added more fuel to the fire of our HF addiction. It was amazing, creep crushers is one of my favorite games ever, just because of the fun I had playing it. Now around here I should probably talk about my dad, as he has a bit to do with this story..
My dad did not support the HF craze in our house, he found cartoons a waste of time, he found toys to be pointless and distracting, and made sure to let us know on several occasions, which has led to some of my most clear memories as a kid, and not for the best reasons. One monday morning, we FINALLY ordered the 2.0 Heroes (well, most of them, Evo and Breeze came later.) Now being the young kid I was at the time, the hype was through the roof! I could hardly contain my excitement. I went and showed my dad the page in the LEGO catalogue that showed the new sets, I pointed to the picture of Furno and told my dad that I ordered it. My dad took one look at the page, scoffed and said “What a waste of a good eight dollars”
Now looking back, this does not matter too much, but to 8-year old me it was heartbreaking.
The year went forward, we moved closer to civilization and the HF craze continued. We read the comics, bought nearly every single set and watched the episodes. We even met some friends in church who were into HF and helped get me into Transformers.However sometime in July, something occurred which threw our family, (especially my dad) into whack. It was around this time that HF became something of escapism for me. I could be in my own little world that I could control and honestly...hide from the aggression and confusion that had overtaken our household at times. For my birthday that year, we got even more HF sets and my dad...was not too pleased. I remember showing him and my mom one of the gifts I was given (Raw-jaw) and as I walked away, my dad said something like “More of this garbage?”
In late 2011, I remember finding the leaks for the Breakout sets, and on one April day, my mom and dad went into town (Which was an hour away) and left us at our friend’s house. Before they left, I gave her my money I had saved up and asked her to get Furno and Jawblade. We had a blast and watched the Breakout episodes, not to mention the nerf wars and other assorted fun. Then when my parents came back, they had indeed gotten Furno and Jawblade. I spent the rest of the day building and playing with them. I got more sets as the year went on. I got more in 2013, and continued being devoted to it. 2014 came around...and I heard the rumors on Eurobricks about a new line coming out in 2015. I was such a mess that night I could hardly speak. Then when TTV posted the black and white images for G2, I wanted, I prayed that they were fake, Because I knew that if BIONICLE came back, HF would be gone. And at this point my interaction with the community was very mixed, Most of them seemed to be HF haters that ranted and screamed for BIONICLE to come back. I felt cheated, like all of the whining fans who attacked LEGO and stopped buying had their way. But me, the ever-loyal consumer who had only sent LEGO a message because of a broken piece or because of a Cub-scout project, I was the one who was punished.
Now obviously this was just a very emotionally confusing reaction, and with very selfish reasonings. But it was part of the grieving cycle I guess,. I did not get any IFB sets until my birthday, and I got a bunch, so that was cool. I continued buying and told myself that I would likely never make a tribute or anything to the line, as that would be considering it gone. I was in denial.
But the BIONICLE hype happened, I bought BIONICLE sets and got into the community a few months prior, and I rode the hype train to its destination.
Now that BIONICLE G2 is over, I have very mixed feelings on the reboot, and consider it a waste. But seeing as I have matured a great deal since the end of HF, I have been forced to accept it. I still make HF fan-fiction and MOCs, and will continue to carry the torch as long as I can. I am the only member of my family who still consistently cares about HF and LEGO in general, but as I have met some of my greatest friends in this community and through everything...I am able to look on the past fondly. Some of you like to think back to when canisters washed ashore on a golden beach, I prefer to think back to a time when I could imagine myself looking to the sky and at that great fin-shaped skyscraper, where my own imagination could roam the halls and see where Heroes come from.
TLDR, I prefer HF to BIONICLE because it was one of the few constants in my life when I was younger (Aside from religion and scouting) And it provided an escape, while also helping me to grow closer to people and grow as a person in general. Yes it is nostalgia, yes I look back on it with rose-tinted glasses. But I find that is a beautiful thing, That something as simple as a toyline can affect and change people for the better, and that everyone can have their own experiences with it.
Anyway, I am sorry for the super long post, and if you want someone to blame...uh…@Thatchmac.