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BIONICLE is a toy line by the LEGO Group marketed primarily at 6 to 16-year-olds. The toy line was launched in December 30, 1999 in Europe and June/July 2001 in Canadamarker and the United Statesmarker. Despite what it may appear to be, "Bionicle" is not "Bionic" with an "-le" suffix, but a portmanteau constructed from the words "biological" and "chronicle". The concept is similar to Lego Group's earlier themes, Slizers/Throwbots and RoboRiders in that each of those lines had characters based on classical elements. Earlier Bionicle packages had displayed the Technic Logo, but it has since been phased out, evolving Bionicle into its own branch of LEGO. It has recently been announced by the director of LEGO that they will no longer make new Bionicle sets after Winter 2010. However, while production of sets will stop, the story will not and Greg Farshtey will continue to update it on the website,


The 2001-2008 story-line arc of BIONICLE was set in a science fantasy world inhabited predominantly by part-organic, part-machine beings (primarily the Matoran) in a subterranean world, which exists in massive domes underground. This world, dubbed "The Matoran Universe", and its races were once protected by a Great Spirit named Mata Nui, until he was cast into an eternal slumber by the evil Brotherhood of Makuta, namely the infamous Makuta Teridax, and the world of the Matoran began to fall apart. Mata Nui has since been revived, with unfortunate consequences beginning with Teridax succeeding in his Great Plan to conquer the Matoran Universe (namely, Mata Nui's body) and ruling it with an iron fist.

2009 began a whole new saga of the story-line, leaving behind the previous years and venturing out to newer possibilities as Mata Nui, after having been banished by Makuta Teridax, finds his way to a mysterious barren planet called Bara Magna. Here he becomes the center of the story and makes new allies as he tries to find a way to save the Matoran from Makuta Teridax's tyrannical rule.

2001 - Quest for the Masks

The story begins with six Toa Mata; Tahu, Lewa, Gali, Kopaka, Pohatu, and Onua, who arrive on an island known as the Island of Mata Nui, remembering nothing beyond their names. They find that the inhabitants, the Matoran villagers, face constant attacks from Infected Rahi, savage beasts controlled by the powerful influence of Makuta Teridax (simply known only as "The Makuta" at the time) through use of Infected Kanohi (masks), a war which lasted about 1000 years. After searching for and finding numerous Kanohi masks, the Great Masks of Power, the Toa each receive a Golden Kanohi mask with tremendous power and seek out Makuta himself. After challenging the ferocious Manas crabs and the Shadow Toa (evil doppelganger-like illusional replicas of the Toa Mata ), the Toa confront Makuta and defeat him by uniting their elemental powers.

2002 - The Bohrok Swarms

Upon his defeat, Makuta released the ancient Bohrok. Bohrok are robotic drones that were designed to "cleanse" the island of Mata Nui to its state "in the before-time". The Bohrok began to tear through the villages on the island, forcing Matoran to flee. One inventive Matoran of Earth, Nuparu, builds a powerful vehicle called the Boxor, made from parts of a damaged Bohrok in order to fight off the swarms. The Toa Mata, unaware of the Bohrok's purpose, collected the Bohrok's Krana (mask-like creatures that function as their brains) to confront the the Bohrok Queens, the Bahrag: Cahdok and Gahdok. The defeated Cahdok and Gahdok are sealed in a prison created by the Toa's elemental powers. The Toa Mata are then exposed to an alien substance called Energized Protodermis, through which it transforms them, granting then new armor and weapons, renaming themselves the "Toa Nuva".

2003 - The Bohrok-Kal and The Mask of Light

With Cahdok and Gahdok defeated, the Bohrok Swarms are stopped and returned to their hives. However six new elite Bohrok, called the Bohrok-Kal, were released with the purpose of releasing the Bahrag. They then proceeded to steal the Toa Nuva's powers, which are the key to breaking the seal. On the verge of defeat, the Toa force all of their powers into the Bohrok-Kal, overloading and defeating them.

Shortly afterwards, two Matoran, Takua and Jaller, discovered the Kanohi Mask of Light. They were tasked with traveling across the island of Mata Nui to find the Toa of Light. Meanwhile, Makuta created and sent out six creatures called Rahkshi to find the mask and stop the coming of the Toa of Light. The Rahkshi tore across Mata Nui, destroying the villages of Ta-Koro and Onu-Koro. The Rahkshi were stopped by the Toa, but not before killing Jaller. Jaller's death caused Takua to realize he is the Toa of Light, and he donned the mask to become Toa Takanuva. Takanuva went to confront Makuta and, during their battle, they both fell into a pool of energized protodermis—a silvery substance with the power to change or destroy a being—and became fused together into the being Takutanuva. Takutanuva then proceeded to open the door to the city of Metru Nui, allowing the Matoran and Toa through while holding the door open. Using some of his life energy, he revived Jaller while still holding the door open. However the use of energy was too great and Takutanuva was crushed by the door, seemingly killing both Takanuva and Teridax, leaving only Takanuva's Mask of Light. Takanuva was promptly revived when his mask was used to activate the beacon to Metru Nui. Afterwards, the Matoran prepared to return to the island city of Metru Nui.

2004 - Legends of Metru Nui

As the Matoran prepared to journey to Metru Nui, the Turaga (village elders) revealed that they had once been Toa, fighting in Metru Nui against threats such as the Morbuzakh plant creature and the Dume-controlled Vahki enforcement squads. They, as Matoran, were transformed into the Toa Metru by Toa stones containing power sacrificed by Toa Lhikan. Their mission was to find the six Great Disks and defeat the Morbuzakh, a plant menace that threatened to destroy the city. When they did, however, they were betrayed by Dume, the Turaga of the city. Later, they discovered that Makuta Teridax had taken the disguise of Dume and taken control of the Vahki, the law enforcement robots. His plan was to put the Matoran to sleep, wipe out their memories, and reawaken them "as their conqueror". The Toa fled, but were attacked by Teridax. Combining their elemental powers, they were able to seal Teridax away in a prison of crystallized protodermis. The Toa traveled to a new island, which would later be known as Mata Nui, vowing to return to save the Matoran.

2005 - Web of Shadows

However, when they did, the evil king Sidorak and his viceroy Roodaka had reigned terror on the island with vicious spider-like creatures called Visorak. The Toa were soon captured and mutated into bestial Toa Hordika. To revert back to normal, the Toa sought out the legendary Rahi Keetongu. Toa Vakama, however, betrayed the other Toa and joined Sidorak, who made Vakama the leader of the Visorak. The other Toa confronted Sidorak's Visorak hoard, and were able to convince Vakama to rejoin them. Vakama then ordered the Visorak to be free. Sidorak, who was betrayed by Roodaka, was killed by Keetongu. The six Toa than defeated Roodaka. However this had the side effect of freeing Makuta as a fragment of his prison was carried by Roodaka, who allowed the Toa to strike her for this reason. The Hordika then were restored to being Toa Metru by Keetongu, and brought the rest of the Matoran to the new island and sacrificed their power to awaken the Matoran, causing the Toa Metru to become Turaga, and together they established new villages on the island of Mata Nui.

2006 - Voya Nui

The Toa Nuva learn that Mata Nui was not only asleep but dying. To save him, they must seek the mysterious Kanohi Ignika, the Mask of Life. After the Toa Nuva headed to the desolate island of Voya Nui, they were captured and were imprisoned by the six villainous Piraka. Six Matoran, Jaller, Hahli, Nuparu, Kongu, Matoro and Hewkii set out to find the Toa Nuva. Upon arriving at Voya Nui, they were transformed into the Toa Inika. After allying themselves with the local Matoran resistance and their protector Axonn, the new Toa faced off against the Piraka. They soon pursued the Piraka through the underground tunnels of Voya Nui to the Chamber of Life, where the Ignika had been placed. In the final battle that ensued, the Mask of Life flew up through the tunnels to the surface and into the nearby waters.

2007 - Mahri Nui

Following the chase for the Mask of Life, the Toa Inika descended into the waters after receiving the mysterious clue "save the sunken city" from Matoro who had saved Hahli from drowning at the cost of him dying from decompression sickness. A burst of energy from the Mask of Life transformed the Toa Inika into water-breathing forms. They discovered an inhabited village of Mahri Nui that had broken off from Voya Nui and sunk a thousand years ago. The village was threatened by ancient warlords known as Barraki that had been mutated by the nearby mutagenic waters called "The Pit". The Toa, now known as Toa Mahri, faced off against the Barraki for to survive. However, by the time the Toa retrieved the mask, the Great Spirit died. Realizing there was still hope, Toa Matoro rushed to the core of the universe and sacrificed his life to revive Mata Nui. In the last moments of his life, Toa Matoro used the Mask's power to teleport Toa Mahri back to Metru Nui and allow them to breathe air again. The Great Spirit's life was saved but he still had to be awakened.

2008 - The Final Battle

After being equipped with new armor and weapons by Artakha, the Toa Nuva arrived at Karda Nui, the core of the universe. There, they came to face the Makuta who were trying to turn the population of Av-Matoran--Matoran of Light--into Shadow Matoran. The Toa Nuva were helped by the arrival of Takanuva, now able to control Light and Shadow because of a shadow leech attack , and Toa Ignika, who is the Mask of Life itself. The Kanohi Ignika had made a body for itself because it wished to see what it was like to be a living being. With their combined forces, they reached a structure in the center of Karda Nui called the Codrex, where Toa Ignika had to sacrifice his new body to awaken Mata Nui. Takanuva, with the help of the remaining uncorrupted Av-Matoran, returned the Shadow Matoran to their previous states. Shortly afterwards, the Toa escaped the core before the energy storm caused by Mata Nui's awakening could destroy them. The Makuta, however, failed to escape, and were all killed. Back in Metru Nui, Mata Nui's awakening was celebrated, but celebration was cut short when it was revealed that Teridax had taken over the body of Mata Nui, revealed to be the universe of the Matoran. Trapping the spirit of Mata Nui in the Mask of Life, he sent it flying into space so that the former Great Spirit cannot interfere with his control over the universe.

2009 - Bara Magna

The Bionicle story now continues after Mata Nui was banished from his body, which contained the world in which the whole previous storyline had taken place, by Makuta Teridax onto a planet called Bara Magna. The inhabitants, unlike those within Mata Nui, are organic with some mechanical implants, as opposed to mechanical with some organic parts. With the exception of a few wildlife species, Bara Magna is a barren desert planet, which only supports so many resources, so each tribe on the planet has a few warriors called Glatorian to battle for resources. These resources, such as food and water, are distributed accordingly. The villagers of this world are known as Agori. The Agori together make up six different tribes, each affiliated with a region. After the Mask of Life lands on Bara Magna, it creates a body for Mata Nui to use. Mata Nui then teams up with a few Glatorian to defeat the combined forces of the Skrall and Bone Hunters, two major threats to the villages, and look for a way to return to his body.


The Bionicle toys, in contrast to most other Lego sets, are action figures built from Technic parts (with several pieces unique to Bionicle). The earliest sets were released under Technic, but from 2002 onwards, Bionicle became its own branch. There are five main kinds of sets: Collectibles, Canister, Boxed, Titans (though as of 2007, these are called "Warriors" on the Bionicle website), and Battle Vehicles. Starting in 2005 and lasting until 2007 were Playsets, which are traditional Lego construction sets with minifigure versions of canister set characters. These have been discontinued since 2008. From 2002-present, new Bionicle sets are released on a two-times-a-year basis with one group in the Winter and the other in the Summer. Lego has recently announced that they will not release any more Bionicle sets after Bionicle Stars of Winter 2010. However, despite this, the story will continue to be expanded.

Māori language controversy

In 2001, Lego faced legal action by Māori activists from New Zealandmarker for trademarking Māori words used in naming the Bionicle product range. Lego agreed to stop commercial use of the Māori language. This resulted in changes being made a number of existing Bionicle phrases, while others were removed. Māori terms involved included:
  • "Huki" means "hammerstroke," "quaking," or "convulse;" it was used as the name of a Po-Matoran, Toa Inika, and a Toa Mahri, and was changed to "Hewkii."
  • "Kahu", meaning "cape" or "cloak," and "Kewa" were used for types of birds; they became one and the same as "Gukko birds."
  • "Maku" means "wet;" it was used as the name of a Ga-Matoran and changed to "Macku."
  • "Puku" means "stomach," "belly," etc.; it was used as the name of a pet Ussal crab belonging to Takua. The crab's name was changed to "Pewku."
  • "Tohunga" means "craftsman," "expert," etc.; it was used for the race of villagers and replaced with the term "Matoran."

In 2003, Lego introduced a new holiday called "Naming Day" to the Bionicle story-line. On Naming Day, Matoran who have done heroic deeds for their village are honored by having their name changed/lengthened.

However, a number of Polynesian and Melanesian terms still remain the same, specifically ones introduced early in the storyline during Bionicle Chronicles. Here are some examples, though this is by no means a complete list:
  • "Akamai" means "clever" in Hawaiian, and is the name of a Toa Kaita combined of Tahu, Pohatu, and Onua.
  • "Kanohi" is the Māori word for "face" and is the Bionicle word for "mask."
  • "Toa" is the Māori word for "Warrior" and is the title held by some of Bionicle's main heroes.
  • "Kopaka" is the Māori word for "cold" or "ice" and is the name of a Toa of Ice.
  • "Onewa" is the Māori word for "basalt" and is the name of a Matoran, Toa Metru and Turaga of Stone.
  • "Pohatu" is the Māori word for "stone" or "rock" and is the name of a Toa of Stone.
  • "Tahu" is the Māori word for "burn" and is the name of a Toa of Fire.
  • "Turaga" is a Fijian title for village chief and used similarly in Bionicle.
  • "Whenua" is the Māori word for "earth" and is the name of a Turaga of Earth.
  • "Koro" is a Fijian word for "village" and is used similarly.

Since this controversy, Lego has not made any more names that are common terms in other living languages.

See also


  1. Official Greg Discussion p. 198 on BZPower forums, post #5922
  3. Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Legends #11: The Final Battle-Epilogue
  4. C.A. Hapka, Bionicle Chronicles #1: Tale of the Toa
  5. C.A. Hapka, Bionicle Chronicles #2: Beware the Bohrok
  6. C.A. Hapka, Bionicle Chronicles #3: Makuta's Revenge
  7. Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Adventures #1: Mystery of Metru Nui
  8. Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Adventures #5: Voyage of Fear
  9. Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows
  10. Bionicle 2: Legends of Metru Nui
  11. Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Legends #1: Island of Doom
  12. Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Legends #2: Dark Destiny
  13. Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Legends #5: Inferno
  14. Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Legends #8: Downfall
  15. Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Legends #10: Swamp of Secrets
  16. Bionicle: The Legend Reborn

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