Kapura - Master of the Art: a deep dive analysis

This is the ultimate exploration of the 22 year enigma that is Kapura - our favorite Ta-Matoran eccentric weirdo :fire: :smile: :fire:

Everybody knows Kapura: wierd, speaks in riddles and often provides fascinating insight on many aspects of the world. Kapura moves and does things very slowly, but Vakama has faith in his abilities and believes there is more in Kapura than meets the eye. He is not wrong.

With diligent practice Kapura was able to master the Art of traveling great distances by moving very slowly. However he only achieved this during the events of MNOG. This interesting quirk was established in the first Bionicle story bible, but the truth behind it was left up to imagination. During the many years of story, only two groups participating on it, really expanded on this tidbit: Templar Studios and Saffire in MNOG and Legend of Mata Nui respectively.
The intention here is not to establish a definitive answer for the source of Kapura’s abilities (they are meant to be a mystery), but I am going to go over all the pieces of information we have (even very obscure ones) and try to explain the properties and mechanisms of this phenomenon, and make an educated guess at what is probably going on. I am much more interested in the mechanism rather than the origin of Kapura’s Art. Here we go…

First off, we have to acknowledge an immediate suspect - teleportation. This is a very common ability within Matoran Universe (MU) and on the surface level, an obvious candidate for what Kapura is capable of. That said, things are not that simple - there are several different types of teleportation, but it won’t be necessary to discuss them here.

If Kapura’s ability was teleportation, one could come up with a myriad of explanations behind it. Maybe Kapura was experimented on by the Brotherhood or Nynrah and given the power? Did he take a refreshing dip in energized protodermis and happened to be destined for this gift? Or maybe he is the true reason for the Red Star malfunctioning - perhaps he was revived at some point and while being returned back to MU, the teleporter function became linked to his being transporting him whenever he wishes?
Well, wonder no further because the point is moot - as you will see later, Kapura’s ability is definitively NOT teleportation. In fact it has nothing to do with it whatsoever.
So let’s first look at the evidence and information we have. We will have to dig into some weird places, but that should not surprise you when it comes to Kapura…

Relevant MNOG dialogue:

“Vakama says that even though I am slow, I may be faster than all the others, and travel very far. He says I must practice. Jala says I am being silly. I practice often.”

“You are where you are. If I practice, I can be where I am not. I think I can feel it. It is hot here where I am, but where I am not is cold, and I think I can feel it. I must practice more.”

“How did you get here?
It is as Vakama said. I practiced and became skilled. I now know the secret art of traveling great distances by moving very slowly. It is a small matter for me to be wherever I am not. It is a useful skill.”

“If you practice, you can move quickly.”

“Chronicler, it is good of you to come. And thank you, Kapura, fulfilling your mission so quickly. I see that you have indeed gained skill.”

“My left hand is Kapura, who is with you now. He may seem slow and strange to you, but his simple words often carry a hidden wisdom.”

Relevant Legend of Mata Nui dialogue:

"What are you doing here?
I am walking. Vakama says that even though I walk slowly, I may be faster than all the other islanders! Jala says I am being silly. Mata Nui is a large place and I would like to see all of it!"

"How did you get here?
By practicing my special ability!
What is your… special ability?
Vakama says that I am skilled at traveling great distances while walking very slowly."

"Yes Kapura. And you are an amazing individual! How did you cross so much ground so quickly?
Vakama said that I needed to practice my special ability… …perhaps I’m getting good at traveling great distances by walking so slowly.
It seems you have done so. You are a unique individual, Kapura."

So what can we gather from this?

Kapura is regarded by others as strange. His normal speed of movements is slow when compared to others - we see this in his cutscenes in MNOG. Vakama is the only one who initially sees potential in Kapura and tells him to practice. He trusts Kapura enough to make him his left hand. Jaller and others think that Kapura is simply naive and the training won’t make any difference, but Kapura perseveres. He practices often and by the time he must deliver a message to Takua, he finally mastered the “Art” of traveling great distances by walking very slowly. Walking is the important word here, it is our first indication that Kapura is still physically moving (on ground) when he uses his skill. It is after the manifestation of his powers when others recognize Kapura’s skill, first being Vakama. Even the Toa call him an amazing and unique individual.
Important thing to consider is Kapura’s determination - he wishes to travel all across the island and imagines the places he wants to visit and what they feel like. It is thi sensation of a place where he is not, that seems to be the trigger for his ability.
Another notable aspect is that the training is not suppposed to actually make Kapura faster, but to utilize his slow movements for crossing a lot of distance quickly in comparison to others. His actual movement speed should remain the same however - this may seem self-contradictory at first, but as we will see later, it does actually make sense. But first, let’s look at what Greg Farshtey has to say…

Greg’s answers:

Q1: What exactly is “the art of going slow to get somewhere fast” that Vakama is teaching Kapura?
A1: Well, if you knew that, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore… but… I didn’t come up with that, yet it sounds to me like some of the exercises done in Buddhist temples. I used to roleplay with a guy who had studied a lot of Eastern philosophy, and he had us going with a “Bring me a clean bucket” exercise for hours.

Q2: A lot of people on BZP describe Kapura’s relocation ability as teleportation. Is this true or does he just move really fast?
A2: What I know of Kapura is the “get places fastby going slow” thing – I am not aware of him having any teleporation power.

Q3: When Kapura was in space with the others, could he have teleported himself out? I mean, It is as Vakama said, he practiced and became skilled, and he now knows the secret art of travelling great distances by moving very slowly . It is only a small matter for Kapura to be where he is not. It is a useful skill. Where Kapura is, is cold and has no air. Where he is not is overtaken by Makuta and is a city. Could he have been where he was not by moving very slowly?
A3: The problem is, we do not know the range of his powers, we do not know if he needs to be standing on solid ground for them to work, we do not know if he needs to be in line of sight of where he is going … so it may not have been possible for his power to be of any use.

follow up

Q4: I see… Then what would be the range of his powers, would he need to be on solid ground for them to work, and would he need to be in line of sight of where he is going?
So does the mean teleportation with Kapura is canon?
And the most important of all… What does Kapura mean by “moving fast by moving slowly”?
A4: I can’t answer these. This was all part of the 2001 story bible, which was written before I worked at LEGO, and it was never explained what his powers were and how they worked. Since I did very little with Matoran, focusing mainly on Toa, I don’t have this information.

What does Greg’s insight tell us?

While it further removes us from the teleportation interpretation, Greg likens it to the Budhist excercises. Similar things can be found in many of the traditional proverbs like:

“Slow but sure wins the race.”
“The slower you go, the farther you will be.”

It is not about moving fast, but moving surely and steadily to get to the desired location/achieve the goal. I believe Kapura is practicing similar creed aiding him on his journies, however this is not the only factor here. Steady and slow movement would only explain Kapura being an accomplished traveler, but not the fact that he gets everywhere before anybody else. There must be something else at play here in addition to the steadiness and determination.
Greg also raises several interesting questions regarding the functionality and limits of the Art. He himself does not have the answers to them, but we can find those out by analyzing further evidence…

In the MNOG, once the Chronicler’s company sets out on their journey, every member chips in with their skills. Furthermore, at every obstacle, each of them has something interesting to say. There is an instance where the company needs to cross a ravine, but the bridge was destroyed. If you ask Kapura for help, he has this to say:

This is incredibly important! This one sentence answers most of the questions Greg raised in his response. Line of sight has no bearing on Kapura’s Art, missing bridge makes crossing the canyon impossible even for Kapura and the Art cannot overcome this fact. This tells us that Kapura indeed needs to walk on ground and cannot use his ability to get to places he otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. Kapura can only reach locations he can physically travel to by normal means. This along with previous evidence definitevely settles that teleportation is not connected to his ability. Kapura is physically traveling while using the Art.
It explains why Kapura did not use it to return to MU from space - his ability was useless in that case, just like Greg speculated.

Ok, so what we have so far is that the Art is a normal physical movement, which is slow and steady, but when percieved by the others appears to be very fast. How could this be?
This is where we need to dig deeper into obscure media… things are about to get weird. Remember when I said that one of the only story groups who utilized Kapura’s Art was Templar Studios? MNOG was not the only game they made. It’s sequel MNOG II The Final chronicler provides us with the key hint as to the true nature of this power. The info is recorded on BS01:

When playing the game, typing the word “kapura” brings up a box showing the framerate. Pressing numbers on the keyboard causes mysterious things to happen. Pressing ‘2’ creates a green grid that appears all over the screen, and pressing ‘1’ will make it go away. Pressing ‘8’ reloads the screen and fixes any glitches, excluding the Nokama and Le-Koro glitches. The Le-Koro glitch can be beaten another way.

So the people who contributed the most to Kapura’s development think of him as a something that can show the framerate of the “world” (depicted as a game in this case) and alter it in various ways. Hmmm…

With this in mind, what if… what if Kapura’s ability is not some kind of super fast movement (as we already established he should move just as slowly as normally while performing his Art), but Kapura literally alters the “framerate” of the reality around him. This is essentially a mild form of reality warping affecting a single aspect of the world. If we define a single moment as one reality frame, Kapura would utilize his power to slow down the natural framerate of the surrounding reality, while keeping the rate in his immediate vicinity the same. We can visualize this as a sort of personal reality bubble around Kapura where anything inside it keeps operating at the natural framerate and the rest of reality outside the bubble gets slowed down to a lower rate. That way Kapura remains moving at the exact same slow speed, and yet for the outside observer it would seem like he is moving much faster because of the higher relative framerate of the reality surrounding Kapura. With more reality frames nested within a single reality frame of the surrounding world, Kapura has more time to get to places even at his lower speed. The sure and steady movements granted to him by the practice also aid him in traveling long distances at his own pace.
An explanation like this resolves the paradox of Kapura using slow movements to move faster than all others. He is not actually moving faster, but by altering the framerate of the reality, the slow Ta-Matoran gains greater percieved speed.

Let’s move on to analyzing the capabilities of Kapura’s Art at the time he first learned to use it - during the events of MNOG (2001). The online game provides us with one of the only depictions of Kapura performing the Art on-screen, in real time. This is of course during the defend Kini-Nui mini game. Each member of the Chronicler’s company has a dodging maneuver for evading Rahi attacks. They either block the attack with a bamboo disk, jump, or duck out of the way. Only exception is seemingly Kapura who shows something like teleportation, suddenly appearing at a different place and just as quickly reappearing at his original position. However, we now know that it is in fact not teleportation, but another dodge on part of Kapura, percieved as super fast by others.
For the following analysis, I chose a video playthrough of MNOG and looked at the evasive maneuver frame by frame. I have found that the entire animation of this action consists of 10 states and each of them is maintained for several frames. The states are depicted here with state 0 and state 11 being the states before and after the maneuver respectivelly:

We can see that Kapura assumes 3 stationary positions (1-initial, 2-forefront, 3-returned). The states and the number of frames each one lasts (red) are detailed in the table below. Red cells represent the states when Kapura is at the forefront position (dark red is the first state he gets there):

We can see now that the movement from position 1 to position 2 and from 2 to 3 take the exact same amount of frames (7). This makes sense as the distance is identical. 20 frames are spent waiting for the water ball attack to disperse. The entire maneuver (movement back and forth) takes 34 frames. The video used ran at 60 fps and we can use this to calculate the time it took to make this dodge. 34/60=0.5667 s …A little over half a second.
But what we are interested in is the speed of the single movement itself. Since Kapura covers identical distance in both position shifts, I chose the one where the same sprite is present at both positions (state 10) as afterimages. This enabled me to measure the maskless height of Kapura down to a pixel. I then connected the equivalent pixels on the sprites to determine the pixel distance between Kapura’s initial and shifted position.

Dividing the distance with Kapura’s maskless height gives us the amount of maskless body lengths he travelled: 3.8998
Next we need to calculate the absolute distance this represents. I used a real-life size comparison of Toa, Matoran etc. made in stud.io I found online. This should be more precise than measuring physical models. I did not use the measure provided in the picture however, and instead determined the pixel heights of maskless Matoran (340 px) vs Toa (840 px). Using the canon average hight for Toa 1.6 bio [1 bio=1.37 m] we know Toa is 2.1920 m high. A simple calculation using the pixels gives us the 2001 Matoran height of 0.8872 m. Multiplying the number of maskless body lengths with maskless height gives us distance travelled: 3.46 m.
Kapura covered this distance in 7/60=0.1167 s, meaining his speed was 29.657 m/s or 106.735 km/h. Quick search indicates this is similar to averaged sprinting speed for cheetah! That is quite impressive especially when we realize Kapura has instant acceleration and deceleration both on forward and backward movement. He also has practically inexhaustable stamina for this speed because as we know, he isn’t actually sprinting at that speed from his point of view.

Can we determine how much the Art makes Kapura faster compared to his normal unaided speed? Yes!
In the Tahu ambush animation, there is a sequence where Jaller followed by three normal guardsmen runs across the screen which is fixed in position. Kapura runs last. I counted the number of frames each matoran is present on the screen (not counting the spears) and calculated the time it took them.
guard1 - 112 fr.
guard2 - 111 fr. → average of 109.67 fr. → 1.8278 s
guard3 - 106 fr.
Kapura - 340 fr. → 5.6667 s

Kapura is 3.1X slower than an average Ta-Matoran guard.
To determine normal Matoran running speed I used the next shot of guard running toward Tahu. The silhouettes of Tahu and Jaller are alligned and Jaller also coverd most distance, so I used him for this. Starting at the first indication of on-screen presence, I counted the number of frames for Jaller and converted it to time: 158 fr. → 2.6333 s
I measured the maskless body height, distance and body lengths travelled:

1072.16 px equates to 4.7652 body lengths and a distance of 4.23 m.
This makes the running speed of 1.606 m/s or 5.783 km/h for a normal Ta-Matoran. Kapura’s running speed is 3.1X lower, so 0.518 m/s (1.865 km/h).

Finally, dividing the percieved super speed by the unaided speed, we find out that the Art, makes Kapura 57.23X faster. That is quite impressive!
Now, we do not know if this is his maximum performance at the time of the evasive maneuver, but we do know that Kapura can naturally move a little faster than his usual running speed when pushing himself (e. g. the Empire AU) For the sake of convenience and neat numbers, I think it is reasonable to assume he could at least squeeze out the exact 60X multiplier using the Art. With this neat value we conclude Kapura is able to lower the natural framerate of the reality from 60 fps to 1 fps, while he himself continues to operate at 60 fps, and that is why he seems faster to the outside observer.

In the last part of this topic, let’s look at how Kapura continued to improve at his Art over time. In MNOG II, Kapura has this to say to Hahli:

MNOG II dialogue:

I am practicing. Who are you? I am not here, yet I am all places. I am getting faster. Faster? Courage is the soul of movement. You must have courage or you will be frozen. Fear stops all. Courage defeats Fear. Uh, okay. Hello again.

This exchange confirms that Kapura continued to practice his skills even after his rebuilding into a stronger form of 2003 and he is getting faster by the standards of others. We also get a further glimpse into the more metaphysical philosophy behind the Art. Of note is the fact that at the very end of the conversation Kapura greets Hahli again: Hello again. This implies that in between the time Hahli finished her sentence, Kapura travelled someplace else (maybe had an entire adventure) and then came back to Turaga Vakama’s place. When he saw Hahli there he said Hello again. This is the only other time we see the Art being used in real time. In the first MNOG example, the fact that Kapura’s maneuver consisted of multiple states further confirms it was physical movement instead of teleportation, because Greg always described teleporting as instant. However in the second example, we do not see as much as a flicker on the screen. This means that Kapura is now so skilled and impressive that others don’t even notice anything. He has improved from being able to effectively nest 60 reality frames into 1, to nesting some incredibly large unknown amount into 1. Kapura himself even confirms this in his dialogue: "I am not here, yet I am all places. I am getting faster."
Not here, yet all places… Kapura is able to slow down the reality framerate so much that he can travel to any place on Mata Nui and back within a single reality frame. He has gone from percieved superspeed to percieved omnipresence! While being just as slow as ever… quite impressive.

So that’s it! Like I said I am not going to try explain why Kapura has this ability as this is intentionally mysterious. That said, we do know there are a number of glitched individuals within MU with weird unusual abilities, so Kapura could simply be one of them. Vakama is another mysterious example with his visions of the future. And guess who was the only one to recognize Kapura’s potential…

Final figure:

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This is really in depth, good job on figuring out Kapura’s ability.

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Now we know he could be the only person who can control space-time as theorized by Einstein and C.S. Lewis. As he travels at a perceived speed of some massive number of “frames” per second, he essentially is bending space-time around himself, just as the Vahi does. This suggests an interesting theory: that the Vahi was originally destined to go to Kapura, making him the Toa of Time.

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wow this is so fascinating, thanks for all of the work you’ve put into compiling all of this information. i always thought that he was like a wind up motor as he has to move slowly because he’s “building up” speed

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Thank you all for the kind words, I really tried to take everything into account and it all fell into place surprisingly well.

@Eilrach that is an interesting idea, and not necessarily in contradiction in what I described here. One thing I did not mention is the possible reason behind Kapura always coughing up fireballs. In my ‘Many flavors of energy in the Matoran Universe’ topic, I mentioned that physical energy scales up with body size. However in some instances, certain beings can have more of it that their size would suggest, such as the Inika who were supercharged and were given special armor to contain the extra energy within their bodies. When part of the armor was removed such as the mask, the energy leaked out in form of light. It may be possible that Kapura also has unusually high amounts of internal energy which his body cannot hold, so the excess is released in the form of fireballs. It could be this extra energy that powers up the framerate altering ability. The energy builds up (or winds up as you suggest) and is released in a more focused and directed way than the usual fireball cough. Also, it wouldn’t be the first example of a character who constantly builds up energy, only to release it periodically (Kardas dragon). Vakama might have taught Kapura how to make better use of this energy.

@DuneToa that is something I thought about as well, but I later found out that there is one slight difference between Kapura’s ability and time manipulation. In movie 2 novelization, the usage of Vahi is described by Vakama as “slowing down his body and thoughts”, which means that Vakama’s own thought processes and perception of time were slowed down from his own perspective. This is slightly different from Kapura whose skill retains the normal self-perception of time on both sides. But yes, the two are similar and there is once again the Vakama connection.

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maybe the fireballs only happen when he has to stay in one place and its some way of releasing the energy he would normally be using to travel? what i was thinking about was how could vakama tell that he had potential? is it just because he is a turaga? or because he had used the mask of time? or does kapura have some kind physical sign so that vakama can literally “see” he potential?

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One could imagine multiple explanations. I thought perhaps since Vakama is a unique individual with a future seeing ability, maybe he would recognize another person with a special power. Or maybe one of his visions showed him Kapura’s future and a role he (and his skills) would play in the future.

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man i really wish bionicle had kept more of its mystery and style of the older days, also having a focus on the matoran surely would have helped it

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Dude, this was a lot of fun to read, and seems pretty solid to me. Thank you for doing all of this, I had forgotten much of these little details, so it was nice to go back with some additional insight.

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Great analysis! I love the thought of Kapura becoming so skilled he travels mid-conversation with Hahli.

You may be on to something with the framerate idea…at least in terms of being a meta-physical game reference. It might take some of the mystery away, but I remember reading that his ability was intended to tie into fast-travel mechanics of the cancelled PC game. Not sure if it’s true though.

In universe, I do agree that the training has more to do with perception than literal teleportation however. (And he’d be a great candidate for a Toa of Time!)

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“Although he wore the mask of Time, Vakama’s control of it was imperfect. He was unable to stop the temporal wave that slowed down Makuta from slowing himself as well.” -LoMN novelization

So it isn’t necessarily part of the Vahi’s power that slows down the user, it was an unintended side affect when Vakama uses it the first time.

Perhaps that is why Kapura moves so slowly before mastering his ability. He’s unknowingly slowing down his own framerate instead of the world around him. Maybe Vakama realized this, and his experience with the Vahi allowed him to teach Kapura how to turn his ability from a hindrance to something useful.

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I have a bunch of ideas about this, so everything below is kind of jumbled:

For me, this is the most convincing evidence that Kapura’s power isn’t teleportation. Everything else is somewhat vague, but this makes it clear that Kapura still needs to be able to get to his destination the normal way.

This sounds a lot like time-manipulation powers along the lines of what the Vahi is capable of. This provides the link to Vakama, as he was the one who made the Vahi, and (at the time he started training Kapura) was the only one who ever used it.

The other option is that Kapura simply has Kakama-level speed. This still provides the link to Vakama, as he also has strange, unexplained powers.

It’s also worth noting that, whether Kapura has speed powers or time powers, there is a similarity to Vakama in the sense that both beings have innate Kanohi-like powers: Vakama’s visions are extremely similar to how the Mask of Clairvoyance was depicted in-story, while Kapura has the powers of either the Vahi or the Kakama.

If we’re going to assume that these powers are directly linked to Kanohi somehow, I personally think it makes more sense that Kapura would have Kakama powers, as that’s a far more common and less powerful mask.

However, while Kapura somehow having innate Kanohi powers makes more sense in-story, the notes from Templar seem to suggest that it was intended to be a more time-based mechanic, or possibly even a space-based one. His powers being based on space, rather than time, is more in line with his claim that “where [he is] not is cold”.

My personal theory, based on Templar’s presumed intentions, is that Kapura is somehow able to manipulate either space or time to appear to move faster without actually moving fast.

Of course, none of this explain how, or even when, Kapura got his powers. Did he have them on Metru Nui, or did they only develop on Mata Nui? For my space/time theory, it seems unlikely that he could somehow gain such enormous power, which would suggest that he was made with it.

As I mentioned above, it’s possible that Kapura had his powers on Metru Nui, so Vakama already knew about them when Kapura lost his memories.


EDIT: Now that I think about it, Kapura’s powers couldn’t be space-based; if Kapura was able to “squish” the world around him closer together so as to be able to cross large distances with just a few steps, then he would have been able to just step over the canyon in MNOG.

So then why does Kapura focus on where he isn’t, if he doesn’t teleport or manipulate space in any way?

Maybe focusing on where he wants to be allows him to zone out and subconsciously use his powers without thinking about it? So he’d basically get “in the zone” and turn on autopilot.

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That’s impressive dedication, and all, but we already know what was his ability in the bible and its ‘origin’, though it’s obviously not connected to anything in lore after 2001.

In the BLOCKS Magazine #85 there was an interview with Bob Thompson where he explained, that Kapura was a fast-travelling option for the player. Making him move slow would be the command to open portal to another location, so it was actual teleportation. The idea was scrapped early on, but dialogues were left.

On why does he tell he can’t travel through bridgeless canyon, well, that’s probably a gameplay hint if considering what Bob Thompson said. You didn’t reach the location and can’t use fast-travelling.

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Yes, that could be.

I am aware of this. What I am saying is that when Vakama slowed himself down along with Makuta, his own thoughts were slowing down from his own perspective. This wouldn’t happen with Kapura’s ability.

Like I suggested in the analysis, I think this simply has to do with the Budhist-like aspect of the Art. It grants Kapura perseverance while he travels to his desired destination and maybe even guides him like a navigation and/or enables him to choose the most efficient path.

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Is there anywhere online that I could read this full interview? I’ve tried to find scans of the magazine, but I can’t get anything.

Unlikely somebody will scan it specifically for public, it’s not the official LEGO magazine, they just had Bob Thompson answer some questions about half a year ago. I know about the interview, because mister N was talking about it in his blogs (one of the still active 2001-2003 Bionicle researchers).

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This is interesting:

3) Why didn’t Vakama get visions as a Hordika?
3) Because his mind was clouded by the bestial side of himself – he couldn’t focus.

I’m not sure how this should be interpreted, since Vakama’s visions were always portrayed as completely random and unwanted. However, if we take this quote at face value, it means that Vakama’s special power also required some degree of mental discipline, even if he didn’t know it.

Not only does this show another similarity to Kapura’s power, and explain why Vakama would be such a good teacher, but it provides more evidence for the idea that these powers are Kanohi-like in nature.

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