Bionicle Lego's saving grace
Bionicle, Lego’s last minute big hit. The toy franchise included three movies that where shown in theaters and nine years of fans just waiting till the next set release, but what made it last so long and keep growing strong?
2001-2005. In the year 2001, Lego was on the verge of bankruptcy so in desperation to regain the money lost in Star Wars royalties, Lego began the legendary franchise with small $10 sets, with a gear function that moved one or both of the figures arms and in a special case there was a bionicle with a kicking leg. With the small sets came one or two weapons and a collectible masks, these sets where the main protagonists (good guys) with their own elemental power including fire, earth, stone, air, water, and ice and their own religion of having a single great being called Mata Nui. Then there were $20-$30 beast sets with special functions of their own which came in two or three per package. The idea of two enemies in a package didn’t last too long because for the next four years each enemy looked the same as one another and where individually packaged even the heroes went through the same dramatic change with only some maintaining some individuality. the main point of individuality was in the weapon’s shape and in the set’s color scheme. After the threat from 2001-2003 had passed our heroes the or elemental masters where told the story of those before them, who faced an almost as dangerous threat like the one our heroes faced. Unlike, our heroes their predecessors were turned into monstrous beasts with a power greater than what they could control, a ripcord “heli-disk” launcher.
2006-2007. 2006 brought with it brand new heroes and enemies. In 2006 was the birth of the proclaimed “Inika build”. Along with it brought blasters to Bionicle for the first time ever and a new head sculpt. The “Inika build” was used for the next three years until Bionicle’s last year with the sets costing $12 per hero/villain with four much larger sets. The 2006 heroes where modified to KILL, yes kill, their foes to achieve an artifact of great power, a mask of life but for reasons it actually lied at the bottom of the ocean which leads into 2007’s story. Under the murky waters lied a new challenge for our heroes including two much larger foes with an inclusion of six beastly creatures only found in a person’s nightmares. Our heroes received the 2004 head sculpt with a six barreled blaster and aquatically designed masks and gear to challenge this new threat. The main sets coasted $12 with much lager more expensive sets costing from $20-$35.
2008-2010. While the mask was being retrieved, another two sets of heroes battled new foes in the sky and in a marsh land, including new but small allies to assist. These heroes carried with them equipment that was stream line and aerodynamic and sphere shooters as a range weapon, but with this wave of Bionicle came the production of it’s weakest upper arm/ thigh pieces which would break fairly easily either of over use or the part had become stiff because it was on display. After the mask was found and was worn by 2007’s hero of ice, the hero became an entity of life that as his first and final act “rebooted” and took control of an ancient “robot” the size of Earth’s moon but was taken over by an evil force called the Makuta that ends the first story. First question you’ll be thinking is where did the “robot” come from? In 2009 a new story revaled that on a separate yet barren world gladiators fought in arenas found huge cities that contained six different tribes there where two gladiators per tribe although one of the gladiators was the barer of the mask of life and named Mata Nui. The same mask of life from 2006-2008 the same mask of life that resurrected the “robot” and through him the villages found peace and united the villages (literally). After the villages unified to make a “mega city” it took the form of a robot much like the one under Makuta’s control which became Mata Nui’s new form. As for what the sets looked like most had the famous 2006 build while some had the 2006 pieces but had a modified build, with the inclusion of a brand new head sculpt and about 40-50 new pieces. On account of inflation the sets retailed for $15 each and the inclusion of six much smaller $5 sets. Now we’re on to the last year 2010 where Lego got cheap and fans got furious. The story included the final battle between Mata Nui and Makuta with the most ferocious war between the forces of Makuta and the friends of Mata Nui with good winning in the end Makuta and his forces where defeated for good. In Mata Nui’s final act he gave life to the world he stayed on as a thank you. The sets took the shape of the much smaller sets but were sold at high prices of $10 with only three out of the six sets released being heroes. There was a gimmick: buy all six and you can collect a golden armor set a feature to get the average consumer to literally collect them all.
Now the story is over and Bionicle has ended, but in this end a new toy line took its place but it didn’t quite fill it's hero factory with this toy line. Lego developed a brand new much more sturdy pieces called the creature character building system and one of the many users of C.C.B.S. had this to say: “when I would use my old pieces to make new designs, they would crack and break but when Lego and hero factory used this system I’ve been able to make sturdier and bigger designs. With this new system of building came the rebirth of Bionicle.
Now we come to present times, or 2015, and with present times come present prices with sets carrying the sets of the first Bionicle heroes Tahu, Gali, Lewa,
Pohatu, Onua, and Kopaka. In these new incarnations came Bionicle's strongest sets even including a reinvented gear box with an amazing 13 points of extra articulation with no build looking the same as another costing from $15-$20.
The story has been reset to where our heroes are on an Island trying to protect its people from yet another great evil a skull spider with six legs. In the summer it is anticipated that five new villains and a brand new hero will come to center stage to fight
Bionicle, the nine year masterpiece, reborn anew now in 2015. The reason it came back isn’t because of fans or its sales but in regret of leaving something that saved Lego itself, something that was cherished by millions of people and now it’s back and with hope it’ll stay for good. With all that now you see how the story elevated till its last moment but the rightful thanks goes to people that with in this five year gap kept Bionicle alive with their own creations and designs.