The Greatest Toy Ever

Forgotten but not gone, Bionicles still have a large place in junior Jimmy Youngblut's heart.

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Creative Commons Image: Wacky LegoJan & gnuckx

Jimmy Youngblut, Staff Writer

Back in the early 2000s an extremely popular toy emerged that captivated many five-through-twelve-year-olds. Bionicles, an extremely difficult to pronounce toy, were plastic men that had to be constructed and contained small parts. As one of those five-through-twelve-year-olds, I was unhealthily in love with Bionicles, despite the dangers of “caution: small parts” and “caution: do not aim at face.”

Bionicles followed the story of six Toa that represented the six elements. Each Toa was responsible for the protection of their province of Mata Nui, an island on which they all lived. If you haven’t heard of Bionicles this is going to be very confusing. The main character was the fire Toa called Tahu. Tahu’s personal character development was shocking for five-year-olds everywhere as he was the first instance we had ever seen of a hero at war with himself.

Through various alterations, Tahu was continually tested and reassured by his best friend the Wind Toa, Lewa. As the years progressed the “technology” and plastic became more intricate, from small skeletal esque figure to fully weaponized super-soldiers effectively changing the Bionicle Game forever. Now Bionicle play became not only a battle of who looked cooler but with the newly armored figures, they could withstand any number of falls that would continually test the manufacturing quality of the figures themselves.

Much like legos, Bionicles are composed of interchangeable parts that allowed for some pretty creepy and awesome combinations of figures. The easy, “wordless” instructions allowed for kids to remain blissfully illiterate and still enjoy themselves when building a “Master Warrior.” Hours of fun could be had with just smacking two Toa together and testing which character was tougher.

Bionicle was also responsible for the introduction of All American Rejects, “Move Along.” If you ask any true Bionicle fan they will agree that the one commercial motivated them to both memorize not only all of the Toas names but also the lyrics of every AAR song. The particular Toa featured light up swords which completely revolutionized the standard of awesomeness previously conceived.

With easy-to-follow directions and totally- tubular plastic swords these, Toa remained what I wanted to be when I grew up for the entire span of my childhood. Each new generation brought new ideas and even bigger enemies for the Bionicles to fight, and each time the Toa would always win through the powers of friendship, teamwork, and magic pieces that didn’t actually exist on the store-bought figures themselves. Along with each Bionicle came a comic and mass readings were often held at the local Toys “R” Us  on the release of the latest series.

Now it is 2015, and rumors have begun to spread that Lego will be rebooting the original Toa of Mata Nui, including a reboot of our one true hero Tahu. As the years progressed the suggested age on the side of the box has moved from 5-7 to now 8-14. And even though I still don’t fit those requirements, I still will end up purchasing my Tahu, and will be changing my dream career back to “Toa.”