Q:Were you the type of kid that disassembled your bionicles to make your own? I loved doing that :P It gave me a whole new universe to create with endless possibilities.
Yeah, but only after I built the set to the instructions. :P I’d usually use the sets to recreate my favorite scenes in the movies or books. After keeping them built for a while, I usually tried to make adjustments to them, like make them more posable, or streamline a clunky design. Then later when I felt ok with dismantling them again, I’d usually create new ways to construct Toa or Matoran, creating my own characters or characters from the expanded universe.
Q:Another mention is that while the sets might have been a bit biased, and that the percentage of female characters were small, many of the most important, powerful, and sometimes troublesome (in a villainous way) characters were female. The OOMN is mostly overlooked in the stories because they played such an enigmatic part, but their leader, Helryx, was a leader. Another powerful agent of the group, Johmak, has immense power. There are also Tuyet in so many worlds, Lariska, and Roodaka.
Definitely, the expanded universe is where it’s at yo!
Q:I do have to add to that conversation about sexism and Tahu's stance on water. Remember the rivalry between the Nuva up until they defeated the Rahkshi in MOL happened to have Tahu mentioning that Water is beneath him, much like every other element. He wasn't just saying it to be sexist, he was saying it because he thought his fires burnt hotter than any element could extinguish, it took the poisoning and the destruction of Ta Koro to gain the humility to accept that other elements were equal.
Oh, very true! I was so caught up in these gender politics that I didn’t consider the context of Tahu’s story. Though I stand by what I said, this is a very important distinction to make. Not to mention it provides some interesting parallels to look at regarding what I said earlier, and shows how Tahu evolves throughout the story.
Q:What do you consider a high-point and a low-point in the Bionicle sets? For me, high-point were Nuva or Inika. Low-point were Hordika
I consider 2003 to be a pretty high point for BIONICLE when it comes to the sets. The Rahkshi are still my favorite villains set-wise, and the functionality of the gukko and Pewku sets were awesome! We haven’t really seen anything like that since. Also, I loved the poseability the Inika brought, but I’m still very disappointed about their masks. The Mahri were a welcome adjustment to that though.
As for low point? I think I agree with you on the Hordika. That or the Agori. I didn’t really like their design either.
Q:A bit too early to have nostalgia for a video that was released just this month, isn't it?
Yeah, this blog does focus on BIONICLE nostalgia, but I’m not going to limit it to that exclusively. That post was a kind of celebration and contribution to the hype. Though BIONICLE has been rebooted (for real this time), It’s still BIONICLE, and that’s what I celebrate here on this blog. :)
Q:Would you have any insight as to why most of the water toa were female and the supposed "leaders" were fire toa?
I hope you know what you’re asking, because this is about to get long! xD
The short answer, no I don’t know why, but it certainly has to do with stereotypical ideas about gender. I assume LEGO thought that by making all the water beings female, it was supped to add some “gender balance” to the story and give any female fans characters that they could relate to, even though people don’t necessarily relate to others based on gender. It also seems like they may have chosen water to represent femininity because water is soothing, and healing, etc.
The way gender is represented is a very problematic part of the original BIONICLE canon, because out of nearly 20 elements, only 3.5 of those elements are considered inherently female. Water, lightning, psionics, and about half of light Matoran. that’s less than 18% of the population of the MU, (besides any Vortixx). And even the first Toa of Psionics was actually male. I’m not going to go into the whole Orde controversy right now, but it’s clear that the original BIONICLE universe had some problems with sexism. That’s likely because our culture at large has very strong gender biases, and it usually takes a conscious effort to avoid that influence when writing stories. But even though the BIONICLE canon is sexist in this regard, I can’t see why any Matoran element can’t be any gender.
As for making most of the leaders fire Toa, I remember Greg Farshty mentioning once that it’s because the red sets sold the best, so Greg just wrote them as the leaders because they were portrayed as the leaders in the promotional material. Many of the story decisions were made exclusively to sell the sets, and I think that’s one reason why the original BIONICLE canon comes up short in many places. Hopefully this new reboot fixes these issues in some way.
Yep yep. Story reflecting sexist and color-ist marketing ideas.
The whole “water is soothing and gentle” thing always annoys me though. Especially in Tales of the Masks, when Tahu tells Gali, “Water soothes and calms and lulls the spirit to sleep. You cannot understand what true power demands.” I’m like, WTF TAHU WTF KIND OF WATER ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. Did Mata Nui not have the mountainsides of lethal gravity-charged liquid we call waterfalls? Did Mata Nui not have massive ship-dashing waves or floods with the destructive force of a swarm of Bohrok? Water is not for wimps. Water is terrifying.
Of course, water can be soothing too, but so can fire and ice depending on the situation. It’s a problem to associate only one element and only one gender with healing.
You’re absolutely right! Those traits can be applied to any element or gender! Water can be harsh and unforgiving, while fire can be warm and comforting. Either can belong to any gender.
I like to think think that these problems aren’t actually an issue in the BIONICLE universe. That sentence Tahu said is very heavily influenced by our own misogynistic culture and the way society considers feminine traits to be negative, weaker, or lesser than masculine traits. BIONICLE doesn’t have the patriarchal history that our world has, and so those attitudes that were written into the story make no cultural sense within the Matoran universe itself.
Q:Could you maybe do the clip where Onua assembles himself on the beach?
Awesome suggestion, I’ll work on that!