Pros: Wonderful, clever combination of lego and action figures; collector- and kid-friendly; scary looking
Cons: Resembles this stalker guy that I know - I wish it would crush him.
This is the best way to describe the wonderful Bionicle line from world-famed Lego. Combining popular action figures with Lego Technic robots, they've created a veritable plethora of wonderful modern toys for the collector and the player. To create more interest, Lego have also created an interesting and exciting myth behind the toys, about the mythical land of Mata Nui.
On the island of Mata Nui, the evil Makuta rules and times are dark.
The residents of the island, the Tohunga, have put the faith in a legend that says six heroes will come to restore peace.
One day, six canisters drift ashore containing six mighty figures. The legendary Toa have arrived to save Mata Nui.
To defeat Makuta the Toa must find the Great Masks of Power.
On their quest to rid the island of Makuta's evil shadow, the Toa must overcome many dangerous challenges.
BIONICLES - find the Power.
In the first series of the Lego Bionicles, there were three main types of toys.
The Toa - As the legend tells, the Toa are the main characters in this little saga, the heroes. These are the action figure robots of the series - I'll get into some detail on them in just a second.
The Turaga Priests - These priests are the helpers to the Toa, the ones to provide them with the wisdom to find the Masks of Power. They're smaller and cheaper than the Toa and come with their own collectible masks, weapons and action features.
The Rahi - These are great beasts infected with the evilness of Makuta - in other words, the baddies. They are larger than the Toa and Turaga and come in two-packs with action features and masks. They are much more expensive than the Turage and Toa.
In the second series, after the Makuta was defeated by the Toa, a new evil was introduced: The Bohrok.
The Bohrok - These strange, bug-like creatures have invaded the island of Mata Nui. They have elemental powers drawn from their Krana, an parasite-like creature that lives inside of them. Moving in swarms, they savage the lands. Each comes with different weapons on each arm, sharp fangs, and an action feature which extends their heads out to attack enemies. These are slightly more expensive than the Toa.
The Bohrok Va - Small creatures which act as scouts for the Bohrok, they carry Krana back to the Bohrok who have lost theirs. These guys are the same size and price as the Turaga, with their own weapons.
This is just a minor summary of the series; for more information, check out the Bionicle website here: http://www.bionicle.com , or head over to marshmallow's great essays on the series here: http://www.epinions.com/content_2090508420 and here: http://www.epinions.com/content_2532089988 .
The main characters and most popular figures in Bionicle are the Toa. As the legend tells, they were washed ashore in canisters - which is what they are packaged in. The Toa's represent Spirits; Spirits of Earth, Water, Fire, Ice, Air and Stone - and in their power, they can manipulate and use their element to conquer the evil they must face. Each Toa stands roughly 7" tall, comprised of over 30 individual lego technic pieces. The design is relatively simple, but very effective - beginning with a body piece, legs are attached at the bottom, the arms are attached to some gears at the shoulders, and the head is put on the top of the torso, with a wheel coming out of their back which controls an action feature. They're simple to put together so that anyone can make them. Each Toa has a slightly different design and color-scheme to give them individuality and variety; for example, the Toa of Water Gali is the only female Toa (don't worry about the sexism, she beats the the males into submission with her coolness), and has a breast-plate and wider hips to represent this. Each Toa also has a different weapon, and has a different Mask of Power.
So, with this in mind, Onua is the Spirit of Earth, or the Toa of Black. He stands a menacing 6 1/2" tall, which is slightly lower than the other Toa due to his creepy "hunch", which separates his sculpt from the others. His colour scheme is black and grey, and eerie combination that suits his gothic stance, and to top it off he has dark, glowing green eyes shining through his scary mask. Onua's weapon of choice is a set of razor sharp claws, that slash when you turn the wheel on his back. Like all of the Toa weapons, this is really kewl, and you can turn the claws to face four different ways for him to slash. If you want to leave the Toa on display, making the wheel tighter will hold the Toa in whichever pose you wish, which makes them very collector friendly. I can't stress how well these action features work - they are a beautiful improvement over, say, the ToyBiz Lord of the Rings action features, which just plain sucked.
Onua's Mask of Power is Pakari, the Great Mask of Strength. Giving the user brute strength and power, it enables Onua to smash away at marshmallow's pitiful Pohatu with it's sharp, smashing claws. Like the other Toa, Onua can also use other Masks of Power which give him other skills, like the ability to breathe underwater, X-ray vision, levitate, and all sorts of other goodies, once the masks are collected in his color (black). These give him and the other Toa so much play value when more masks are collected! Six in total, these extra masks are available considerably cheaply in small bags called Kanohi, which include two masks and a Bionicle "head" to display the masks on - which plug into the top of the Toa containers for storage. Of course, you can't see which masks are inside the Kanohis, so it adds to the collectible thrill. On the top of my Onua container, I have six heads plugged in, each with the different Masks of Power in Onua's color, and on the top a special silver repaint of his original Pakari, which is a chase mask. The masks add to the toyline, giving them a collectible gimmick for those who want to go beyond the toys, and just one more extra point for the Bionicles. With an uplifting tagline like BIONICLES - find the power. the Bionicle collectibles even rival franchises like Pokemon. Excellent stuff.
Articulation is where the Toa falter slightly; because they are made out of Technic, this doesn't allow for cut joints at places like the neck or wrists like a typical action figure. However, the Toa do have ball-jointed arms, legs and feet (aside from the action feature, which works seperately), and the head can be moved to face four directions. All of these marvelous ball-joints give the Toa wonderful posability and playability, and combined with the action features, they're a joy to play with. Take that He-Man - Onua sliced your arms off!!! Adios Spawn, as I gore you with my razor sharp claws!!! Mwahahahahahaha! I've got the Super Great Mask of Power and I RULE THE GALAXY!!!
Overall, the articulation on Onua and the other Toa is great.
Then we come to all the extra features about the Toa, and you have to stand back and marvel. The amount of extra stuff they can cram into each figure is INCREDIBLE.
Starting with the canister packaging, there's a movable "skin" over the package which moves to show different "mask codes" which you can input onto the website for fun interactive stuff. Nice! Inside the package with the instructions and figure are two great A4 full color posters; one of the Toa in action, and the other with all the collectible masks and a comic. Sweet! Also, in the US, the canisters come with a cd-disc inside, which I don't have because I'm a foreigner, but I'm told that it's full of cool stuff which you can access if you put it in the cd-rom drive of your PC. Wicked cool!
Further, the website has a great interactive RPG that you can join and play, as well as check out new Bionicles and a continuing comic saga. Impressive desktop themes and such are also available to download for those who want to Bioniclise their PC. Neat!
Additionally, the Toa figures themselves combine up into bigger robots, like the Power Ranger mechs. With three of the Toa, you can build a bigger robot as written in the instructions. These aren't as cool as the individual Toa, but they're fun to build none-the-less. And from there on, there are hundreds of websites with guides on how to build other Bionicle robots, from things like monsters, to Star Wars characters, to even animals like chickens. Sky's the limit. For the creative imagination of a child, there's a whole lot of fun to be had with a few Bionicles.
Overall, these are excellent quality toys for everyone. Collectors and children alike will love these, and at their price (RRP $5) they're a good buy. Onua is one of my favourite Toa - he's very creepy looking and his clawed fists are great - he's a perfect example of the creativity behind these toys. The Toa are purchased in the canisters, as mentioned previously, in which they store away into nicely for when they're not being displayed or played with. This is great for everyone except the MOC collector, who will be forced to open his/her toys - which they will be thankful for. These are great and very much recommended. I look forward to the next series of the Bionicles that Lego is sure to make.