Bionicle is a playtheme that came onto the market in 2001. Since that time it has been developed by LEGO into a whole story and a brand-new story at the start of 2009. There are also several films with the characters and a video game.
LEGO announced the conclusion of the line in late 2009.
In 2001, Māori from New Zealand protested the use of Māori words used in the Bionicle product rangebbc. In response LEGO tried to argue that only the term "Bionicle" had been trademarked and Lego agreed to stop commercial use of the Māori language after sending an executive to meet with Māori representatives in New Zealandbbc2. Some Māori terms used:
- Tohunga - which means priest or master (of a skill)
- Toa" - which means warrior
- Kanohi - which means face
- Kopaka - which means ice
Since this controversy, LEGO has tried to avoid using names that are common terms in other living languages.
Several movies have been made based on the Bionicle theme. All but the first were direct-to-video releases.
- Bionicle: Mask of Light
- Bionicle 2: Legends of Metru Nui
- Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows
- Bionicle: The Legend Reborn
- Bionicle: Mask of Light (video game)
- Bionicle Heroes
Masks are the collectibles of the Bionicle storyline. In the storyline, they are special, magical masks forged from a purified metal called protodermis. Varient masks in different colours were made available for sale to encourage customizing the characters as well as developing collecting and trading.
The Toa are basically the "heroes" in the story year they are in. Mostly they come in one for every element (see above), but in the movie- Mask of Light, there is a seventh. There is a trend in the more recent Toa to use 3 or 4 large pieces and just have a couple small pieces to make them look more complicated than they are.
The Matoran are the biological ancestors of the Toa heroes. They have a special language individual to the Bionicle universe, and are the common townsfolk of the Bionicle archipelago. Special Matoran, the Turaga, are the chieftains of the Matoran people and lead their respective factions of Matoran. Matoran are divided into factions according to their elemental forces, much the same way as Toa.
- Ta-Matoran are the fire Matoran. They wear warm colours, such as red, orange, yellow and black, and invented the sport of lava surfing. Ta-Matoran are generally mask-makers, lava farmers, and smiths.
- Ga-Matoran are the water Matoran. They wear cold blue colours, and are all 'female', unlike the other factions which are all 'male'. They live in submerged regions of the archipelago and are the most naturally intelligent of the factions. The Ga-Matoran are astrologers, doctors, and teachers.
- Le-Matoran are the air Matoran. They wear cold greenish colours, such as light green, dark green, and turquoise, and have a daring and adventurous nature. They are incredible pilots and have created chutespeak, which they often use.
- Ko-Matoran are the ice Matoran. They wear white and light blue, and are a learned, wise people. The Ko-Matoran are also excellent trackers and trappers. They are scholars, and explorers.
- Po-Matoran are the stone Matoran. They wear rocky, sandy colours, such as brown, tan, and various shades of gray. A rare exception is in Mahri Nui, where the Po-Matoran are yellow and black. Po-Matoran are hardworking and trusty, and are mostly stoneworkers. They invented the popular sport of Kolhii.
- Onu-Matoran are the earth Matoran. They wear very dark colours, such as grey, black, dark brown, or purple. Onu-Matoran were the first to tame Ussal crabs, a form of Rahi, and operate a transport system and a defensive force based on the crabs. Onu-Matoran are generally miners.
- Av-Matoran are the light Matoran. They wear gold and white, and are exceedingly rare. Artakha, fearing that Makuta would hunt down and kill the Av-Matoran for fear of a potential Toa of Light, disguised and hid several Av-Matoran in other factions.
- Fe-Matoran are the iron Matoran. The color of what they wear is currently unknown. They have only been spotted on Nynrah.
These are the local wildlife of the fictional archipelago in which Bionicle is set. At first, different Rahi had individual boxed sets, but over the years Rahi have been relegated to only being available through online building instructions on Lego.com. Rahi include such animals as crabs, lizards, and birds, while more exotic Rahi include a dragon/giraffe hybrid, a winged, clawed insectoid creature, and a massive scorpion, all with their respective Matoran names.
More recently, some characters have been equipped with various launchers in lieu of weapons and as defensive equipment against Rahi.
- Kanoka Launcher - A launcher that fires Frisbee-like disks when the launcher is squeezed (ammunition disks are the same as in Slizers).
- Rhotuka Launcher - A launcher with a ripcord to launch the "Rhotuka" spinner projectile into the air.
- Zamor Launcher - A launcher with an axle through the back to pop a small ball out the end.
- Squid Launcher - A simple holder for firing a rubber squid. Noted by fans of Bionicle to be unreliable and often hard to fire.
- Cordak Blaster - A 6 barreled gun that shoots explosive projectiles, indigenous to the island of Xia.
- Thornax Launcher - A launcher with a holder for Thornax that shoots Thornax (introduced in the 2009 theme).
In the final release of 2009 a new group of characters were created called 'Glatorians who represent a kind of gladiator culture featuring combats between champions of different tribes of Bionicles.
Glatorian Champions and their tribes:
- Gresh (Jungle Tribe)
- Tarix(Water Tribe)
- Malum] (none, exiled from the Fire Tribe)
- Strakk (Ice Tribe)
- Vorox (Sand Tribe)
- Skrall (Rock Tribe)
- Vastus (Jungle)
- Kiina (Water)
- Ackar (Fire)
- Gelu (Ice)
- Stronius (Rock)
- Certavus (Ice)
- Iconox (Ice) (Mentioned only)
The Agori are the villagers of Bara Magna. They live in villages, hire Glatorian to fight in the Arena Magna for them over stuff, and some serve as blockers for the Glatorian.
- Tarduk (Serves as Gresh's blocker in the arena)
- Zesk (Serves as Vorox's blocker in the arena)
- Raanu (Serves as Malum's blocker in the arena)
- Metus (Serves as Strakk's blocker in the arena)
- Berix (Serves as Tarix's blocker in the arena)
- Fero (Does not serve as a blocker in the arena, leader of the Bone Hunters)
Note: Fero is not a blocker in the arena
- Vulcanus (Fire Tribe)
- Iconox (Ice Tribe)
- Tesara (Jungle Tribe)
- Roxtus (Rock Tribe)
- Bone Hunters Camp (Not really much of a village, only the camp home to the Bone Hunters)
- Tajun (Water Tribe)
- Official Site
- BZPower Fan Site
- Official Bionicle:Mask of Light website
- bbc - Lego game irks Maoris - retrieved June 2, 2014
- bbc2 - Lego agrees to stop using Maori names - retrieved June 2, 2014
- Classic LEGO sets: Bionicle on Brickset
- Classic LEGO: Bionicle history (part 1), part 2 & part 3(mis-titled part 2) on Brickset