Recently Christian Faber Posted this image. Seeing as I never properly expressed my experience with Bionicle as a whole, I decided to write a rather free form essay-type thing to somewhat vent and reflect on what exactly Bionicle did for me and what it means to me.
Hopefully others can see this and either relate or just know what it was like to grow alongside this Lego line we all love so much.
Note: it’s copy-pasted from the blog that I posted it on so some phrasing might seem off for the boards.
[spoiler] We as human beings are usually drawn to stories. Sometimes, they make us laugh, sometimes thy make us cry. They remind us of our youth, of what awaits us in the future, of what we were and will become. Most of us have probably forgotten that one singular story that gave us our sense of identity.
Bionicle was that critical story for me.
For those not aware, Bionicle was an original Lego theme that originally ran from 2001 to 2010, and even came back in 2015 (to extremely limited success). It was Lego’s first real attempt at an original IP on a similar scale as other major ones (Star Wars and Transformers come to mind the most).
Bionicle was exceptionally different from other past themes at the time; it featured a unique building system, had a vastly different visual aesthetic than any past theme, and was an attempt at telling a story just to name a few. TTV’s video on Bionicle, “What made Bionicle so special?” covers this topic in greater detail along with it’s origins if you’re interested.
Now, I was only 4 years old when Bionicle first came out. My first memories of the line were watching commercials for the movie Mask of Life, pestering my poor parents for sets, and finding the novels at my school’s book fair. Suffie is to say that I didn’t initially understand the story or building system. But if anything else, I thought it looked amazing.
As I mentioned before, I saw the novels at my elementary school book fair. I begged and pleaded with my parents, and they were able to produce the necessary pocket change to purchase the first book in the series. I lost it on the day I had it and it was vandalized by other children at school, but it was found and I took it home to read.
To this day, I still own that book. Bionicle Chronicles 1: Tale of the Toa. It’s nothing particularly intellectual, nor does it require a high amount of reading expertise. But it was perfect for 7-year-old me. I was enthralled by the adventures they had on the island, and I wanted more.
I managed to obtain the second volume soon after, and did my best to follow the story. We didn’t have a computer or internet at the time so I was limited to finding other books or renting the movies from my local library. I couldn’t have enough.
Eventually in 2006 we obtained both a computer and internet and that was where my interest deepened more than ever. This was when I could finally go onto bionicle.com and see all that it had to offer. I finally had access to the games, online comics, videos, wallpapers, everything that I could’ve wanted.
This was also the time when I began to experience puberty. My body had the changes that come with that, as did my psyche. Coincidentally, this was also the year when Bionicle’s story began to take a more mature route in it’s story telling. Raps were sung, chainlink fences were raised, All American Rejects had a tie in. It felt like the story was growing up with me.
This was in general what occurred throughout the remainder of it’s run for me. I turned 14 and discovered it’s demise, but the effect was done. We matured together; it felt like the journey that I had taken throughout my life had finally ended and I was finally able to focus on my real life.
This was a turn for the worse.
The financial crisis of 2007 had us lose our home and income. We had to move to a different city and adjust ourselves to our new situation. As a child that spent his entire life with fictional characters, I didn’t know how to fit in. I only knew one story: Bionicle. And that was my undoing.
I couldn’t make friends, my knowledge in pop culture was beyond stunted, and I still played with these toys. But worst of all for my teenage self: I couldn’t talk to girls.
I made it through puberty as well as I could, graduated high school in 2014 by the skin on my neck, and overall tried to push myself beyond my comfort zone.
Then rumors of a return began to circulate.
First, there was a leaked display. Then leaked set images. The hype train left the station. I was reliving my childhood. I was going to experience it all over again. And then it came out.
Ask any fan about Bionicle 2015 and they’ll probably say the same thing: sets were good, but the story was a significant downgrade. It was easier than ever to follow the story because we only got updates every few months. There wasn’t this massive push in various mediums, just a minuscule 2 minute update every few months.
Needless to say it was a disappointment. And apparently Lego thought so too.
The series was cancelled in 2016 before the year was even halfway done. What little story there was was hastily rushed to an unsatisfying end. It was unprecedented. My childhood died a second time.
Now, as I’m writing this overly long rant, I can’t help but still love this line and all it was. Yes, we had some bad years. Yes, we had a half-■■■■■ revival. Yes, my life was made harder by my obsession. But that’s only a fraction of what it did to hurt me.
Bionicle gave me an appreciation for construction, stories, music, artwork, and much more. But most importantly, it taught me what it meant to be a hero. This text will be blurred[/spoiler]