Bionicle - Austen Dunavant
I can vaguely remember a day from a long time ago, at least for me. I can remember two plastic containers, a red one and a silver one. I didn’t know it at the time, but they would go on to spark an interest that I still have today.
Later, I would be able to pinpoint that day as December 26, 2010. Every year, the day after Christmas, my family goes to a relative’s house where we get to see them for the only time all year. While there, someone gave me those two figures. They were the first releases of the characters William Furno and Dunkan Bulk, members of the Hero Factory. It was a facility that specialized in creating heroes to fight villains all across the galaxy. This Lego theme managed to capture my attention all the way up until its final waves in 2014.
As much as I enjoyed it, I still heard murmurs of some other theme similar to Hero Factory that was supposedly dominant in every way. PirakaRapper69 insisted that this theme had more complex figures. LimeJoints08 said the world was more built up. People like WolfFan and BohrokCleaner0203 started petitions to bring it back. They called it Bionicle.
I was curious and, as such, I consulted the ultimate source of knowledge in my known universe: Brickipedia, the wiki for all things Lego. My eyes were opened. I became infatuated with it. For about a year straight I researched the masks, the heroes, the villains, the universe itself, and rented the movies from Family Video any time I could. I was on a crusade. Only one thing could stop me.
On July 13, 2014, the Three Virtues (now called the TTV Channel) posted a video titled BIONICLE 2015 SET NAMES LEAKED!!!, which probably caught my eye due to the subtlety of the title. It seemed WolfFan and BohrokCleaner0203 were successful since these looked pretty legitimate. Bionicle was back. As a reboot, that is.
To sum things up, it ended in a couple of years. The sets were good, the story was bad and the marketing was also bad. People weren’t happy with it being a reboot and the marketing and story didn’t help. The general negativity towards it as a whole pushed me away from the theme for a few years.
Jump forward to November 2019. I had just finished reading JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and I needed a story to read that I couldn’t finish super quickly. Naturally, when I thought of a complex story, I remembered Bionicle. But I saw it in a whole new light.
Not only was the story even better than I remembered, but the sets were perfect. In the few years between Bionicle Generation 2’s cancellation and then, I had started collecting action figures, but never fully gave up my interest in Lego. These were the middle ground I was looking for. In my eyes, action figures are meant to be physical representations of characters and a reminder of what you’ve been through along with them. These figures step it up a notch since there is an extra layer of interactivity with them. Not only does each character have a story, but you have a part in their creation as a whole. If you don’t like how the character looks in a certain place, you can change it to match your preferences. You feel an extra connection to the finished product. Normal action figures can’t capture this.
Don’t think that I just blew off the story, though. The most impressive thing that I found going back to it was how thought out everything was. The story starts in complete mystery and everything that happens after is meant to hint to one large answer that should feel like it came out of nowhere, but doesn’t. Each hint expands the universe in some way until you have something on par with the Star Wars Expanded Universe in scale.
Right now, I’m reading through the entire story. This means playing the online games, watching the movies and online animations, and reading all the books, online serials, and comic books. It sound stupid, but I get so much more enjoyment out of learning about the Bionicle story and collecting the sets than most other things right now. And as much as most fans like to hate on Hero Factory, my interest in this Lego theme ultimately began with those two Hero Factory figures I got that one Christmas a decade ago.