BIONICLE: Toa Nuva
The mythological island of Mata Nui is the stage for LEGO's BIONICLE line and the characters that inhabit it are the actors. The list of characters and places can be confusing to the uninitiated, so if this is your first trip to Mata Nui and first look at the BIONICLE line, read the overview of BIONICLE and the follow-up covering the Bohrok invasion. A very brief synopsis (as opposed to a long synopsis) of the line's development follows.
The island is a paradise, but there always seems to be a snake or apple in any paradise, and just such a snake reared its head in the form of the Makuta, who was an evil spirit. As with any force for evil, there is a balancing force for good. On Mata Nui this was in the form of six heroes of legend, known as Toa, who returned to the island to fight the Makuta. Thinking they had defeated the Makuta, they discovered the new threat of the Bohrok swarm. Defeating the Bohrok was no easy task, and it has led to the next stage in BIONICLE's evolution.
While tracking the Bohrok Va (who act as helpers for the Bohrok), the six Toa discovered that to defeat the Bohrok swarms they would need to go underground to the Bohrok nest. The brave heroes pressed on to the nest with the help of a powerful exo-suit. They encountered the dreaded Bahraq twins Cahdok and Gahdok. The crushing jaws of the twins are too powerful for any single Toa to defeat them, and only united in purpose and power could the Toa hope to achieve victory. Their combined power turns the battle in favor of the Toa, and they create a cage around the twins made of a new form of energy called protodermis.
Thinking that capturing the beasts would be a final victory, the Toa are shocked to discover that power has been unleashed from the very heart of Mata Nui. This power is combined with the protodermis and causes a metamorphosis in the six heroes. They are Toa no longer, but have evolved in the Toa Nuva, with enhanced armor, masks and powers. As with any great power there is always the danger of using it, and though they are more powerful than ever there is still peril on the island of Mata Nui. Their power may save or doom Mata Nui, but the Toa Nuva will face that future together through their creed of 'unity, duty, destiny'.
The saga of BIONICLE has been designed from the beginning to incorporate rich storytelling into well-designed toys. The line was introduced to American audiences in 2001 after an earlier launch in Europe. The line is a bridge between traditional building toys and that of action figures but built with a strong emphasis on the characters.
The central characters of the drama are the six Toa, and the Nuva versions of them are based on the same characters, just enhanced. Each of the Toa and Toa Nuva are based on an elemental force - earth, air, water, fire, ice and stone. All six have different color schemes and accessories and powers that derive from their elemental force, but they are all well articulated and have action features. The toys do have a comic book that details the story of BIONICLE, and issue #8 is the one where the Toa will transform into the Toa Nuva.
The earlier figures in the line also had the ability to combine into larger beings. The tradition continues as the six Toa Nuva can join in groups of three to form two combined beings. Onua Nuva, Tahu Nuva and Pohatu Nuva for one, with Gali Nuva, Lewa Nuva and Kopaka Nuva as the other. LEGO's toys have always had interchangeable parts, so these beings are just the start of what the figures can become when imagination is added.
The changes from Toa to Toa Nuva are subtle and they clearly build upon the foundation from the earlier figures. The Toa all had tools they used and the Toa Nuva have different tools that are designed to help them travel faster. They are the same size but their design is sleeker than the prior generation and the kanohi masks are larger and more powerful. Complete sets of the Kanohi Nuva in the six colors of the Toa Nuva are pictured on the instructions for Onua Nuva, but it hasn't been revealed yet whether the new masks will be sold in packs of just Kanohi Nuva, or mixed in with Krana. The figures come in pods similar to the ones from the first series but with different tops and art. The tops can double as a place to display some of the various masks that you collect.
Each of the Toa Nuva is detailed below, and they are all designed for ages 7 and up and will retail for around $8 USD.
Gali Nuva - Gali is the only female Toa and she is the spirit of water. She has a pair of axes that are used for climbing sheer cliffs, smashing things or as propellers when in her native element. Gali enjoys water polo and synchronized swimming while not fighting evil.
Kopaka Nuva - Kopaka is the spirit of ice and has double swords as a tool. They can cut through icebergs like a hot double sword through ice, and can be switched to ice skates for speedskating across the landscape. Kopaka has been known to enjoy the icy sport of curling when on vacation.
Lewa Nuva - Lewa is the spirit of air, and he loves to float over Mata Nui. He has two bush blades that can clear jungle foliage and can convert to wings for flying and gliding to trouble spots. His favorite song is 'Learning To Fly' by Tom Petty, which he plays as he shoots the breeze in the secret Toa lounge.
Onua Nuva - Onua likes to play in the dirt, and this suits his role as the spirit of earth. He has a pair of chainsaws, which work like Ginsu knives on tin cans as he slices through the rocky earth to make tunnels. When speed is of the essence, he can change the saws to rollerblades for a quick transit. A little known fact is that Onua's hero is the gopher in 'Caddyshack'. (Read more about Onua Nuva.)
Pohatu Nuva - Pohatu is the spirit of stone and has a set of massive claws for grabbing and moving large rocks. The claws can be merged into a protodermic ball that will smash huge boulders into harmless pebbles. It also leaves a really nasty bruise if you aren't careful!
Tahu Nuva - Tahu is the spirit of fire, and he's at his best when the heat is turned up. He has two ancient swords that he can turn into surfboard for riding lava swells and flows. The swords can cut through lava if need be, but Tahu has more fun hanging ten. Tahu likes to go to the beach with Gali so he can surf and she can swim.
While the Toa Nuva are due for launch in September 2002, they are far from the only act left in the saga of BIONICLE. 2003 will debut a BIONICLE movie with computer rendered animation, and BIONICLE comics will continue to be published. The music of BIONICLE has always been integral even from the start, and there will be a new album with music by Rob Zombie, Woven, Kenna and Cold. (The new album will eventually have a site at BIONICLEthealbum.com.) There will also be promotions at McDonald's featuring cards for the collectible card game of BIONICLE.
What comes after that? You can rest assured that LEGO will be continuing with the line and will probably have more surprises over the rest of the year and at the 2003 Toy Fair.
The images on this page are copyright LEGO Corp., 2002, and are used with permission.