What made Bionicle Bionicle for you?

What elements of the story or the world made you interested in it and at the same time in a different story with different context would tickle the same itch while the story itself doesn’t fall into the “Bionicle-wannabe-copy” cathegory?

Like, “6 robotic heroes seaching for masks with special powers to defeat The Dark Lord” to me is a bit too specific, but “emotional and sentinel mechanical beings in a non cybernetic setting” is broad enough.

(This is a quite poor example, because I’m noob when it comes to lore and story, only knowing about the frame of the story.)


I’d say two things:
Firstly I’d say the physical aesthetic, I know you said story but I feel it’s important enough to mention. The aesthetic of the bionicle line is really cool and kinda under-pronounced.
Secondly, and more on-topic, the islander idea. Putting biomechanical beings on an island with the minimal tools and the lot is an intruiging idea to me, one I wish was more common and prominent both in and out of Bionicle’s story. You could think of it as kind-of cool that Bionicle wasn’t as islander-pronounced as it could’ve been, because it leaves room for new robo-islander stories to be different enough to not be wannabes as much as what-could’ve-been


That creepy sound in the intro of the early Bionicle videos + jungle setting + colorful robots :slight_smile:


I’ve always enjoyed stark juxtapositions of aesthetics, which Bionicle had in spades in the early years in the form of bio-mechanical beings in a clearly organic world. But there is the underlying feeling that there is more to it. I’m not sure if I could name another piece of media that captures that style of juxtaposition except for Dune.


Bionicle. :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously, though, the sheer amount of multimedia stuff. 6 heroes? Done. Robots? Also done - check Wall-E. Giant Robots? Pacific Rim and Transformers. Elemental powers? Done to death.

Bionicle’s sprawling multimedia empire is unique, though, for a kid’s franchise. Most entertainment franchises don’t have everything, and if they do most of it isn’t important. For example, for Marvel and Star Wars you can just watch the movies and reading the comics or novels is considered optional. Bionicle made it so that you had to follow all of the mediums to get the full story, so Bionicle inevitably became a multimedia experience at some point.

People have complained about this being a liability, but I think it’s a part of how Bionicle distinguished itself. With Bionicle, you were always exploring something new.


EDIT: It just occured to me that, since you are new to the deeper story, this post contains a pretty massive spoiler that probably shouldn’t be ruined. Read at your own risk. Sorry!

Depends on what the question is asking. If you’re asking “what makes Bionicle what it is”, or in other words, “what thing would you have to take away for it not to be Bionicle”, then I would actually say the Great Spirit Robot.

It’s not even something we knew about for a great while, but it was planned from day one and it was a hidden thread that informed many of the aesthetic and tonal choices the franchise made as it progressed. There are tons of other cool, unique things about Bionicle, but the vast majority of them grew out of that single seed of an idea.

Without that, the Toa probably would have been just robots. The “canisters” wouldn’t exist. The world would have likely been fully natural, or fully cybernetic - none of this hybrid stuff. We’d just be looking at six brightly coloured robots - the sets - and the story behind them could have been as simple as the story for throwbots or roboriders.

Even though it’s not something that was known to fans for a long time (and, dare I say it, it wouldn’t even need to become known to have this effect) I feel like it was the driving concept behind the whole franchise. Bionicle means Biological Chronicle - because it’s a story about the “biology” of this singular, titanic being. What if your cells had personalities, hopes, and dreams? What if a part of your immune system grew jealous of you, and kicked you out of your own body? What if the medicine you take to cure you had little warriors inside, determined to save your life no matter the cost?

That’s what really defines Bionicle, in my opinion. It may not be the answer you’re looking for (you might be wondering how to make something feel Bionicle without being Bionicle), but it’s something that doesn’t get brought up enough in these sorts of discussions, I think.


We have spoiler tags, you know.


Aha, good point. Ammended. :wink:

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Just being able to relate to the story and its characters. Here’s a sad story with spoilers. I feel for Vakama as, just as he watched his mentor Lhikan die in his arms, so too did I lose a friend, be there to hold them for their final breaths, all for a reason I knew was my fault.


perfect fusion of tribal culture and complex machinery really set the stage of bionicle in terms of the different roles played by each class of society and it set the aesthetic of the characters, weapons, animals, and buildings.


For me at first (in 2005 when I got my first set) was: cool designs of robotic figures made out of lego pieces in a very interesting world. I didn’t know anything about the lore other than what you could see/read on the commercials, instructions and cannisters. At that time I didn’t even know there was an story I thought each year was its own separate thing, with good and bad guys fighting in different locations, but the interesting and dark world (I specially liked the ruins of Metru Nui and the depths of Voya Nui) was what really got me, I imagined lots of infinite adventures as a kid in that world.
I went back into Bionicle when saw the Toa Mahri on Ebay in 2014/2015 and bought them just because they were the sets I always wanted but never got, searching on the internet I found BioSector01 and started reading the lore… an now 5 years later I’m in love with this theme in all its aspects, but what really captivates me is how deep and intricate the lore is, it seems infinite, after 5 years I discovered Johmak like 3 months ago…
This was way too long but I might have got carried away a bit hahahaha

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The lack of humans. I know there’s a few stories where humanity has died out and some other kind of being has taken their place, but I don’t mean that lack of human - humans still impact such a story. Rather, I’ve always found BIONICLE fascinating as it’s the only (serious) story I know not set in some variation of our world.

There are no humans in any way, and likewise there also are no ants, horses, cats, etc. Sure, there are creatures inspired by real-life animals, but they’re not those real-life animals. Sure, Glatorian/Agori are reminiscant of humans, but they’re also not humans or related to humans. The world is completely fictional.

You don’t find that with superhero comics and movies - they’re set on Earth or off-planet but still in a world where Earth exists. You don’t find that with Pokémon - humans still exist. You don’t find that with HF - Earth and humanity exists there. You don’t find that in Ninjago - sure, they’re minifigs but they’re still meant as “humans.” You won’t find that in Bugs Life - that’s still about “real” bugs, on planet Earth, in a universe where Earth exists. You get the idea, I hope.

Bionicle was an escape from humanity, in a way nothing else was - and I think that’s the primary reason that kept me interested in it, and it is something that can be taken in so many different directions. I wish more would do so.


For me, it was the intricacy of the lore, combined with Greg’s writing style; there’s very little time/words spent exploring character’s feelings or emotions. The way Greg wrote the story, it’s just constant, full-throttle action, especially in the serials. Characters don’t even waste time travelling in the serials; it’s just teleportation all over the place.

Some people may see these as negatives, but I love the constant progression of the plot.

Also, this:

Just that entire post.

(As a side note, could you imagine if Greg did include more traditional writing techniques? The story’s already pushing a million words as it is. Just look at this paragraph from Karda Nui:

“Lewa Nuva stood at the edge of the lightvine barrier, gazing up at the sky. It had been a day and a half since he and the others had joined the defense of the Av-Matoran village. In that time, they had fought off a score of attacks by dark Matoran, shadow leeches, and some particularly nasty Makuta. Half a dozen Matoran of Light had been lost in the battles, and Pohatu Nuva’s shoulder had required emergency repair. But the village still stood.”

That paragraph alone could be turned into an entire novel. But since those battles and repairs weren’t strictly necessary for the plot, they weren’t included.)


Bionicle made Bionicle Bionicle for me.


I agree about the fact that Greg knows how to pace engagingly and skip boring moments, but there’s definitely a score of scenes devoted to internal character stuff. If you watch “Bionicle: Ignition 2” (by Bionicle NP Productions) which is basically just the '07 story converted into a three-hour stopmotion, you’ll find that while the plot moves fast serials notwithstanding there’s actually more time spent on dialogue and charater then there is on action scenes.

In fact it’s one of the things that I like about Bionicle. G2 spent all it’s effort on just plot and no character, and I found it boring by comparison.


I guess you’re right. It makes sense that the Ignition line would put more emphasis on characterization, given Matoro’s feelings of inadequacy leading up to his sacrifice.

Also, you reminded me of another thing I love about the story: the dialogue. I can’t even put into words what I love about it. Greg did such a good job of writing awesome dialogue (mostly one-liners) that just always fit the characters. Pretty much all of Reign of Shadows is just awesome. Especially the part with the Core Processor group.

Maybe the reason I didn’t recognize any of the characterization is because it was hidden in the awesome dialogue.


And not even a well-written plot at that (at least, outside of the novels, that is).:point_up:
The G2 story (as shown in video media) really needed work.


I think Ryder Windham did a very admirable job trying to save the G2 story, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough. I definitely think the novels and comics make Bionicle Bionicle - without those, it’s just another Lego theme.

The plethora of online games is also a thing that is unique to Bionicle G1, a product of its time that distinguishes it from other Lego themes. Those were awesome.


Absolutely the other forms of Media did it for me. I remember fondly how excited I was when the comics came in the mail with the Magazine. I even recently purchased the handful of issues I missed to complete the set. The little disks that came with the Toa Mata were so cool and the Mata Nui Online Game (both 1 & 2) were legendary for their time. Heck! Even the OG Bionicle Game on the Gamecube (while infuriating at times) was neat too! I actually travelled back to my parents house on the other side of the state and made it a point to find and take that game back with me so I can finally 100% it!

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The story is honestly what makes Bionicle special for me. If it didn’t have the sheer volume of lore, it would be like Ninjago or Monkie Kid: all action and plot, but no story. The serials and characters were all planned as they went along, not having to resort to jump scares and Doctor Strange-esque multiverses like many stories and games end up doing. The characterization of everyone was especially good, leaving me with the feeling that these were real people, not some childish toy made to take your money quickly. (Not that I think Bionicle is childish: it’s really good!)
But yes, the plot is my favorite part: that it was truly one of the best stories dreamed up by LEGO in any of their themes.