Toa Amnesia and the Philosophy of G3

Sorry if I put this in the wrong place, but we will live.

So listening to the latest episode of the hit show The TTV Podcast, I got really interested in the conversation about the toa having their memories as matoran and slowly gaining or discovering the memories of past iterations of the toa spirits, and I think that’s a good idea, but I had an idea of my own I was wondering if anyone cared. Just humor me and my weird tired ranting.

My biggest criticism right now with this G3 project is that the story has no purpose, no philosophy or message. It’s Bionicle for the sake of Bionicle, which is fine for a fan project, but it won’t really mean anything. A while back there was the huge argument of “What makes Bionicle, Bionicle?” Some said story, some said setting, and others said characters. To say any one of them alone or even all of them is what makes Bionicle special (in my worthless opinion) is wrong. I feel that it is the RELATIONSHIP between these elements and how they interact that makes Bionicle meaningful and special.

G1 was great because it had a heart to it and had a message about power and the individual. It was a tale of the individual versus a greater picture, where six toa went out and dutifully had a preset destiny. The universe gave them their purpose, and in the end they got their robotic butts bit for it as it betrayed them. Maktua took over, and after all that selfless effort, they lost everything, including the one thing they fought for.

What I think this hypothetical G3 should do is expand on that. The toa should be struggling to remember who they were as matoran. They go around the island, see old reminders and possibly friends that call back to a life where they had more of a personal identity, whereas they now have been imbued with a spirit and greater destiny. They can’t remember their old lives and friends, and as they do it opens up worlds of possibility for making each toa complex character. It’s an identity struggle, where the line between who we are and what society deems we should be becomes blurred.

It’s also a comeback to MNOG, where you play as Takua entering the fire village. The toa are these beings with no memory except vague instincts of lives past who’ve suddenly had the weight of their world cast on their shoulders. In G1, the matoran were just cells in the literal body of their universe, meant to be nothing more than parts of a larger function. The point of Bionicle was showing a people grow beyond their God, and take responsibility for themselves.

I can just imagine a dialogue between Tahu and the Tahu spirit, where they argue as to who is the true toa, and who their body belongs to. The toa are sort of sad creatures who struggle to find something else for themselves in the layers of prophecy and destiny spouted at them from every corner. That’s why the toa need each other and have a group dynamic. They are each individuals, but again, also parts of a larger function. Tahu is rage, Gali is wisdom, Onua is peace, Kopaka is serenity, Lewa is playfulness, Pohatu is caring. These are each individual aspects of any complex person. We all get angry, we all act cold, and playful, and quiet, and caring, and the toa complete each other. They fill in each others gaps, and the true quest is a message/idea that echoes throughout every individual piece, and the larger story. That’s rhythm in a story.

I feel that reversing which memories they’ve lost makes the dynamic far more interesting. These are characters that are losing the essence of what they once were for the sake of some greater purpose, and there is an almost sickening shock to realizing your old self was stripped away and hidden, that you used to be a completely different person, and now you have these powers, but can they really replace who you were? Can they fill in the gaps of a more ordinary life, perhaps one less decorated with heroism but one that felt like your own? Now these people have nothing but what the world tells them they are meant to be, and each other. Together they teach each other to become complex again, to rediscover parts of their old selves, but also create something new. It’s the balance between the three virtues, Unity, Duty, and Destiny.

I really think Bionicle is about the part versus the whole, and ultimately finding the sweet spot in between that makes sense and allows for progress. The toa will have this impression of what they should be from the very beginning, but as time goes on they realize their body and power isn’t the beginning and end of their self, but rather the softer parts and the spirit, the WILL, that keeps it together. Having another will (as in individual essence) come in and challenge the old creates a struggle within each individual character. It creates a level of regret, no matter whether the old life was good or not.

I believe that every person is a hypocrite in some way, because we all contradict our very essence since we’re all just making up for either our pasts or our insecurities-- and that’s not all bad, but it’s how we grow beyond them and try to put ourselves together. I like to believe that Tahu may be the glorious Toa of Fire, and he may boast and polish his ego but deep down his heart is burning itself alive, dissolving from the passion that he thought defines his life; Gali is drowning in her own doubt, wondering why she must feel cursed to have the answer to every conceptual problem, but be disconnected from how to handle reality; Lewa loves the air, but must face the self conscious dilemma that he may fall every time, etc.

Sorry this huge wall of text is so unfocused. I fell asleep the night before when I had the real burst of inspiration and now I’m just wildly trying to grasp at my thoughts from before. But the general thing I was trying to do here was show that Bionicle, and any real story for that matter needs to at some level have a greater purpose, to transcend its medium from being just words on a document to being a real story, a personal idea, an emotional will. And also making the toa not remember their matoran lives would help that. Or something.

Hot dang I’m tired, I don’t even know how anyone will respond to this garbage. If anyone needs me for anything I’ve got nothing to do while I wait for life between the letters.


I agree that, so far, discussion on an ‘overall’ moral of any G3 story has been pretty light to nonexistent, at least in the podcast. Or maybe it was there and I don’t remember. Either way, I’m not sure to what extent the cast is planning to take G3, whether they plan on writing a full story or just want to establish a setting to let the fanbase loose on. If their goal is the former, then some themes and morals will surely have to be established or explored at some point soon. If it is the latter, then the cast has no particular responsibility to discuss morals as it will the the fanfiction writers’ job to draw whatever moral they feel is relevant to write about from the setting. We’ll see how that goes.

Regarding using amnesia as a plot device… that’s beyond cliche at this point, and not exactly how amnesia works to begin with. However, if the characters are struggling with the Toa spirits whose power they now wield and who at least partially inhabit them, I don’t think any amnesia is even necessary. Just having the established characters know who they are, what they were, if not necessarily how the world got to where it is, would provide enough room to work with, I think. Amnesia might even be a detriment; why would someone who has no recollection of ties to others or to a place feel particularly strongly about them, even if those ties are slowly revealed later? If the conflict between the interests and desires of, for example, Jaller (the person) and Tahu (the element/spirit that made Jaller into Toa Tahu) is going to be key to explore in the story, then I think it would be important to set that up right from when they are first combined, when Jaller becomes Tahu, rather than effectively removing Jaller from the picture entirely through any amnesia mechanic. I’m sure all the Toa are going to have their own issues to resolve with their elemental spirits and each other if they want to have any hope of saving their friends, families, and homes.

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Fighting against the powers that be with the goal of self-determination is a theme we see a LOT in fiction nowadays. I get what you’re saying, definitely, and that’s a very interesting take on the end of BIONICLE, especially with Mata Nui ultimately telling the Matoran and Agori that they need to forge their own destinies before leaving.

But at the same time, I don’t see that as the essence of BIONICLE, and I’m not really big on that idea. I think coming to terms with what the elemental spirits want you to be, and finding a middle ground, a balance of both, would be a better message. People instinctively want to fight against what is different from them, resisting any need to change on their part. I think that ‘it’s okay to change’ is a valuable message that too few movies, books, and intellectual properties in general promote these days. I think that the story being about Matoran learning to be Toa, and about Matoran learning that what makes them who they are is what makes them special, in equal parts, is the sort of balanced story that communicates a valuable moral to the next generation.

But in terms of the CENTRAL message, it’s got to be Unity. Even though there are three virtues (or gods in this case), Unity always was the central story of BIONICLE, right from the very first comic and novel. And hey, three years, three virtues. First year, the moral could be learning unity, and then once we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can take the character development in a whole other direction for the next year! Or, the Toa could begin the first year learning about their Toa Duty first instead. It would actually be a breath of fresh air not to start right off with yet another Unity-based story. That could be saved for the second year, with embracing Destiny and achieving the aforementioned balance being the final lesson.

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