About damn time. After five years of sighing and shaking my head at the Hero Factory line that replaced it, LEGO's Bionicle line of "Constraction" constructable action figures returns on January 1, with a new story and new cast of colorfully masked heroes.
Launched in 2000 in Europe and 2001 in North America, Bionicle was created to combat a decade of declining LEGO sales. The idea was that a new LEGO property with its own ongoing storyline could revitalize the brand, and damn if it didn't do just that. For nearly a decade the Bionicle line was everywhere — toys, video games, animation — until in 2009 production was stopped, the Hero Factory line brought in to replace it.
Bah, Hero Factory. Every time I see Hero Factory sets on the shelf the same thought pops into my head — these are not Bionicle.
No, this is Bionicle.
My only problem with Bionicle was that I had no idea what was going on in the story. The new line delivers a fresh story and setting while retaining enough of the fiction of the original to appeal to older fans. From the official announcement:
The new storyline takes place on the mythical island of Okoto, where the forces of darkness are on the move and the evil Makuta is once again materializing. He is overcome by the desire for the three mythic masks that will cast the world into darkness - the Mask of Creation, the Mask of Control and the Mask of Ultimate Power.
The desperate island inhabitants enlist six heroes - each masters of a sacred element - called the Toa- to help save their beloved island. The Toa must embark on a quest for Okoto's ancient power masks that will allow them to unlock the full potential of their elemental powers. Only when the heroes are united, will they be able to battle the forces of evil, defeat Makuta and save Okoto.
I read this to my nephew, who was one of the world's biggest Bionicle fans back in the day, and he said "Oh, they've changed it a lot." He then attempted to explain the first series to me, something about six protectors with six masks and then six more masks and then I stopped him. I'll get on at the next stop.
The series launches on January 1, 2015, with a set of six Protectors — Jungle, Ice, Fire, Water, Stone and Earth — and six Masters — also corresponding to those elements. There'll also be a Lord of the Skull Spiders, because we can never escape the Skull Spiders. Sets will range from $9.99 to $19.99, which means at least $120 of next year's tax return is accounted for.