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Hello! I realize I don't post much on this site anymore, I've been busy with college and such, but I've been poking around every once in a while to check in. So it's 2018 everyone! 12 years ago, Bionicle released the Inika sets and they were marketed with the help of popular music in the form of "Move Along" by The All-American Rejects. Looking past gen 1 or gen 2 or whatever gen, if you were releasing a Bionicle wave in 2018 and you were in charge of the marketing for it, would you use a modern artist to help promote the sets? Would you hire a composer to just make some original background music for the commercials? What style/direction would you take the music for said marketing wave? And while we're at it, would you try to capture the atmosphere of the storyline in the song or just try to get something catchy to your target audience to push sales? There are no right or wrong answers. I'm asking to a) just get some good ole' discussion going and b) I'm studying business at my university (and I'm a musician) and using music for marketing interests me quite a bit.
During the run of both generations of Bionicle, whenever a new wave of sets were released, they all had some kind of unifying theme. Either they were clone sets, or shared some kind of overarching design motif, parts and themes. The Bohrok were all, well, Bohrok, the Toa Mahri all had tubes and Cordak Blasters, and all the beasts and Umarak the Destroyer had those large jaw pieces (Ekimu is kind of an odd-one-out here). We all have our opinions on all the existing waves of Bionicle. Love some, dislike others, and so on. However, if you were given the opportunity to design a single wave of Bionicle sets, including the sets themselves and the story around them, what would it be like? Which gen would they be in? What unifying themes, motifs or gimmicks would they use? I always had this idea that, had G1 omitted the shift to Bara Magna and 2008 would end on a positive note with the success of the Toa Nuva's mission, the story could shift to an entirely new team of rookie Toa, down on the southern isles, dealing with a smaller scale problem - a group of dark hunters traipsing around their homes. Since the Southern Isles were a lot less organised and smaller than other areas, each Toa could be from a different island among a small archipelago, and this would be highlighted in their marketing/ character bios. One of the unifying character gimmicks would be a launcher piece that shot nets, similar to the new piece used by City sets this year, in order to "catch" the Dark Hunters. Gear functions would make a return. To signal a shift from the main storyline, none of the six Toa would be of the primary elements that comprised teams before. This wave of sets would have Plasma, Gravity, Psionics, Iron, Plantlife and Sonics. Masks would be two-toned, and would provide set forms of masks previously mentioned in-universe but never seen. In keeping with realism, I'd limit new parts to weapons, masks, the launcher piece, a small number of armor elements, and the required structural elements to incorporate the return of gear functions, similar to the 2015 gearbox piece. Due to the shift of the typical color palette, a large part of the budget would be consumed by recolors. While yet another wave of humanoid Toa characters isn't hugely deviant or original in light of the theme, the sets would seek to be more varied than in the past by not all using the same framework (like the inika build) but would strive for different body shapes, sizes and overall construction, similar to what G2 attempted. Small sets for this wave would be, surprise surprise, a group of Matoran for the Toa. The Matoran sets would draw from the same pool of new elements as the Toa except for their Masks, but would differentiate themselves from the Av-Matoran by focusing on more, smaller parts rather than fewer, bigger parts. They too wouldn't share a body shape, as seen with the Voyatoran and G2 protectors/creatures. Packaged with each Matoran would be an additional mask-like element that can be fitted over the existing masks of the Toa. Think of the windshield element for the Mahri/Phantoka masks, but the other way around - on the outside. In-story, these would 'power up' the masks. The wave would feature two titan sets, both enemies for the Toa (presumably the canister wave of dark hunters would be the next wave, but this thread is about just one wave). One would be a true titan character, while the other would be a small character riding an animal. They would incorporate play features linked to the net-shooters of the Toa. The large titan character would have a unique mask with a unique power up, with which it would be packaged by default. Box-art and promotional images would have a unifying tropical island motif. All previous waves/years set on such islands still didn't focus exclusively on the island element (looking at Tahu Mata or Kopaka Mata's canister wouldn't tell you it's an island). So, this wave would up-play the tropical island thing with a more reserved touch of elemental identity on the images. I'm interested to hear the ideas of other BZP members regarding their "dream" wave of sets. Be as detailed or as vague/concise as you wish.
...which set would you buy/recommend for them? For the sake of argument, let's assume obtaining the set is no issue, so you don't have to worry about the set's cost or when it came out — just whether you think it'd be a good introductory set. If the person I was recommending a set to was a BIONICLE fan or not a LEGO fan at all, 6201 Toxic Reapa would probably be my choice. It's humanoid enough that it gives a fairly good taste of what a typical Hero Factory model would be like in terms of size and articulation. But it's also complex enough that it offers a unique building experience and lots of useful, versatile pieces. But if I was recommending a set to a LEGO System fan and trying to convince them to give constraction a chance, I might instead go with 44018 Furno Jet Machine. Again, it's a fairly typical bipedal humanoid with a not-at-all typical torso build, but in this case it includes parts that are compatible with regular LEGO minifigures. So even if they didn't end up wanting to collect the theme, it'd still be more compatible with their existing LEGO collections than most other constraction sets.
...which set would you buy/recommend for them? Same question I asked about Hero Factory in this topic. Again, for argument's sake, let's assume obtaining the set is no issue. That way, there's no need to worry about how old, rare, or expensive it is. I have a harder time coming up with an answer for this than I did with Hero Factory, because BIONICLE is both an older theme and a theme that lasted a longer time. Thus, it's hard to isolate a single set that really captures what the theme is about, and still provides a good building and play experience that holds up to this day. It's also kind of frustrating because the point at which BIONICLE reached its peak level of articulation and variety for Toa is also when part quality began to steeply decline, so you had issues with breaking joints — not something you'd want a person to experience with their first set. I think the set that I'd most readily recommend would be Toa Lhikan and Kikanalo. Not only does it offer a fairly standard (yet awesome) Toa design with an amazing dual-function weapon and an iconic mask, but it also includes a more complex Rahi so my friend would get to experience two very different styles of BIONICLE building. Both figures have great articulation, but come from before breaking joints were a major issue (even before the 7M double ball cup was introduced in 2005).