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Kerub

Bionicle 2015 Storyline. Where is it?

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So I've just watched the episode 18 here:



I'm going straigh to the point, I'd like to know your thoughts about it. My personal point of view is that this is just awful. Why? Well, there is a huge gap from what LEGO made with the franchise 14 years ago and what it is now. But I truly think this is exploiting. Not that they werent doing that since the start, but the storytelling quality here is definitely poor, and that dont just justify the target audience, 6-14 deserves better. 

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Although I wouldn't be the number one candidate to defend the web series over, say, the soon-to-come graphic novel and the books, a few liberties need to be taken with a web series. I believe the general mindset of making a web series is that you're catering to the more casual fans of the series. The casual fans will stumble across a brief overview and synopsis of the story and the hardcore fans will read every description, book and comic, no matter the age. I think it's important to remember that the hardcore fans are just one slice of the demographic here.

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Although I wouldn't be the number one candidate to defend the web series over, say, the soon-to-come graphic novel and the books, a few liberties need to be taken with a web series. I believe the general mindset of making a web series is that you're catering to the more casual fans of the series. The casual fans will stumble across a brief overview and synopsis of the story and the hardcore fans will read every description, book and comic, no matter the age. I think it's important to remember that the hardcore fans are just one slice of the demographic here.

 

Yes, your point is relevant. But the Casual fans can be seem also as a entrance door to become a hardcore one, with this actual policy, they kill most of its base for that. Maybe they really dont want hardcore base anymore. A brief explanation doesnt necessary demands cheap storytelling. You can be straigh to the point and have quality to the final product at the same time. Maybe they dont want to invest the money. I just think that, having a web series like this, it's even better to not have a web series at all then.  

Edited by Kerub

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I've said this before, and I'll say it again: The first time Lego rolled out Bionicle stuff, they were taking a risk. It turned out to be a success. Then Hero Factory bombed. Now they're taking a risk again: can they effectively, for the first time, outright revive a theme? Especially after the last failure?

 

Risk or not, you can't expect a lot from minute-and-a-half animations.

 

Give it time.

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I'm going straigh to the point, I'd like to know your thoughts about it. My personal point of view is that this is just awful. Why? Well, there is a huge gap from what LEGO made with the franchise 14 years ago and what it is now. But I truly think this is exploiting. Not that they werent doing that since the start, but the storytelling quality here is definitely poor, and that dont just justify the target audience, 6-14 deserves better. 

There's no problem with you disliking the webisodes. Really! That's a legitimate and totally cool opinion. But saying that the storytelling is "poor," especially without giving any reasons why, feels pretty unfair to me. I personally thought that the approach of the animations was very solid, taking from the tried-and-true narrative of inexperienced newcomers who must be inducted into a fantastic new world to become its savior. The Toa themselves were oozing with character as much as 1:30 shorts would allow. They certainly aren't perfect, and the limited runtime is a definite weakness that cost them, but saying that the storytelling quality is poor seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the issues they have. It's also rather weird that you're intimating with the topic title that 2015 doesn't have a story. Just because you don't like the webisodes, doesn't mean they don't "count".

Edited by Pereki
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The funny thing is that there are so many Bionicle fans that have written fanfics and they can tell some really great stories.  And it seems like the people coming up with these animations aren't even trying to.  Maybe they are, but I honestly can't tell.

 

A good starting point would be to quit making these 90-second shorts that simply do not have the time to tell a story (especially when you repeat what happened in the last episode) and make longer ones.  Like five minutes.  That would be much better.  (And hire Tohkann as the animator)

 

It seems that with Gen1 we had so much more story--we had MNOG, Tale of the Toa, the comics, cool detailed bios on the characters--and with Gen2 there's hardly any of that, in exchange for these shorts.  I don't think that's a good trade.

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Well, the first book isn't any different. The dialogue in it is taken straight from the webisodes, with only a few added lines for when the story doesn't focus on Tahu. Plus, I found the book in the "Beginning Readers" section at Barnes & Noble. They weren't marketing the story to 6-14 year olds, but 3-5 year olds.

 

The storytelling itself is just starting out, so I can forgive that. But their marketing aim is a bit low, I'll say.

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I'm going straigh to the point, I'd like to know your thoughts about it. My personal point of view is that this is just awful. Why? Well, there is a huge gap from what LEGO made with the franchise 14 years ago and what it is now. But I truly think this is exploiting. Not that they werent doing that since the start, but the storytelling quality here is definitely poor, and that dont just justify the target audience, 6-14 deserves better. 

There's no problem with you disliking the webisodes. Really! That's a legitimate and totally cool opinion. But saying that the storytelling is "poor," especially without giving any reasons why, feels pretty unfair to me. I personally thought that the approach of the animations was very solid, taking from the tried-and-true narrative of inexperienced newcomers who must be inducted into a fantastic new world to become its savior. The Toa themselves were oozing with character as much as 1:30 shorts would allow. They certainly aren't perfect, and the limited runtime is a definite weakness that cost them, but saying that the storytelling quality is poor seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the issues they have. It's also rather weird that you're intimating with the topic title that 2015 doesn't have a story. Just because you don't like the webisodes, doesn't mean they don't "count".

 

 

I apologize for what I did in the topic title, again, It was a personal approach and I ended up putting fuel on the fire for no reason. But backing up to the discussion, I think that the limited runtime is a decision from their part, not a issue. They have set up those rules when they decided they wanted a web series. Do you remember the early flash animations? 

 

2d5fe43ae555a49f0b54bbc2f8fb4232.png

 

They werent perfect at all, but for that time, you can see that they had special care in adding ambience to the world and visual/ character storytelling in the overall shots. Again, it was a different approach, that worked for that time, but didnt caused a estrangement for the narration side of things.

 
 

The funny thing is that there are so many Bionicle fans that have written fanfics and they can tell some really great stories.  And it seems like the people coming up with these animations aren't even trying to.  Maybe they are, but I honestly can't tell.

 

A good starting point would be to quit making these 90-second shorts that simply do not have the time to tell a story (especially when you repeat what happened in the last episode) and make longer ones.  Like five minutes.  That would be much better.  (And hire Tohkann as the animator)

 

It seems that with Gen1 we had so much more story--we had MNOG, Tale of the Toa, the comics, cool detailed bios on the characters--and with Gen2 there's hardly any of that, in exchange for these shorts.  I don't think that's a good trade.

 

Exactly, that is the point I want to mention here, seems it's lacking effort from their part. And that ends up in the overall quality.

Edited by Kerub
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Is it a bad sign if you've gotten so dissatisfied with the canon story that you've made up way too much fanon just to give a hollow world more life to it?

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Is it a bad sign if you've gotten so dissatisfied with the canon story that you've made up way too much fanon just to give a hollow world more life to it?

 

I dunno, that is kinda what Lego is about, sorta?

 

er, i mean, That is the way... of the Bionicle.

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Well, the first book isn't any different. The dialogue in it is taken straight from the webisodes, with only a few added lines for when the story doesn't focus on Tahu. Plus, I found the book in the "Beginning Readers" section at Barnes & Noble. They weren't marketing the story to 6-14 year olds, but 3-5 year olds.

 

The storytelling itself is just starting out, so I can forgive that. But their marketing aim is a bit low, I'll say.

Your Barnes and Noble obviously shelved the book in entirely the wrong place if it was shelved with books for 3–5 year olds. Even the Scholastic website identifies the interest level as Grades 2–5 (so, about ages 6 and up) and the reading level as Grade 5 (so ideally suited for nine– or ten-year-olds). For reference, that's the same as what they listed for Raid on Vulcanus back in 2009.

 

Anyway, I've really enjoyed this year's webisodes. They're not flawless, but they're about on par with what we might expect from free webisodes. Even if you cut out every one of the "recaps",

, there's still a solid 25 minutes of storytelling, which is more than either of the past two years' Hero Factory webisodes (and for that matter, more than the seven 2002 webisodes all put together). The animation is colorful and expressive, the characterization is fairly solid (though some characters get more of a spotlight than others), the tone is suitably mythic, and the short, episodic format gave us something new to look forward to every few weeks instead of telling the whole story at the beginning of the year and having nothing more to offer for months on end. Also, rather than a story told in bits and pieces like the 2002 Bionicle webisodes, this year's webisodes told a story with a well-defined beginning, middle, and end.

 

I'm with you in hoping that the Netflix series will expand the story further. This year, the LEGO Group was definitely "playing it safe" and not taking any unprecedented risks. A Netflix exclusive series already shows that the LEGO Group is expanding their storytelling approach next year to include something they've never done before. But I don't think this year's story did badly at all, for what it was and how it was told. Even if it had, you seem to be taking it awfully personally. Calling a story "exploiting" because it's not as good as you think you deserve is a bit overblown, don't you think?

Edited by Aanchir
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I'm with you in hoping that the Netflix series will expand the story further. This year, the LEGO Group was definitely "playing it safe" and not taking any unprecedented risks. A Netflix exclusive series already shows that the LEGO Group is expanding their storytelling approach next year to include something they've never done before. But I don't think this year's story did badly at all, for what it was and how it was told. Even if it had, you seem to be taking it awfully personally. Calling a story "exploiting" because it's not as good as you think you deserve is a bit overblown, don't you think?

No, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one that thought that. Again, that's my point of view, mostly because our critic sense grow with our age, and I consider myself not too old or young enough to assume it. I didnt know that the target public was 3-5 years old. Now, it makes more sense, but as T1Shadow said, their marketing seens a little bit low compared to what it used to be.

Edited by Kerub

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I didnt know that the target public was 3-5 years old. Now, it makes more sense, but as T1Shadow said, their marketing seens a little bit low compared to what it used to be.

I thought I just plainly established (with sources) that the target audience ISN'T ages 3–5? It never has been. Even LEGO System is never aimed at three-year-olds. Juniors and Classic sets begin at age 4. Bionicle is aimed at ages 6–14, and the current chapter book is considered an appropriate reading level for 9– or 10-year-olds (smack in the middle of that age range).

 

Most three-year-olds aren't good enough readers to be reading chapter books at all, particularly ones that aren't illustrated.

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My first theory: For the original Bionicle Lego had given the keys over to the Knights Templar through their front operation "Templar Studios." The Templar made sure Bionicle was a success but also tried to wrest control from Lego, thus causing Lego to grow suspicious of the Knights and their front operation. To play it safe the second time around, Lego handed the keys over to an incompetent studio lead by a bunch of Dum!Dums! who made meager films, but dared not challenge the might of Lego... 

 

Just kidding!  :lol-sign:

So my actual thoughts. I recall as a kid that I was exposed to the Gen 1 story by three things: the sets, the comics, and the MNOLG. The canister sets were, okay for the time, but in retrospect they are weak sets compared to newer designs but being 7 years old at the time I wasn't thinking about their design that much... The comics, were good and they were distributed for free with Lego Mania, they got me hooked to the story. I enjoyed MNOLG, but as a kid I could never figure out how to make it to Ko-Koro or Le-Koro, so I didn't know how the cutscenes in the game played out until they were re-released as stand alone videos on Bionicle.com.

 

Flash forward to 2015, our main story sources have been the animations, the sets, and the novel; with a graphic novel coming soon. I can't judge the novel yet since I haven't read it. The sets though are spectacular, had those been released back in 2001 we would be seeing Bionicle on the big screen instead of Bay's Transformers (okay, maybe not but I can dream can't I?). The animations this year had their moments, but at the end it was a rushed cheep action sequence.

 

So comparably, the only things G1 did better story wise its first year was the free comics and a nice video game to support their online animations. G1's story was pretty fleshed out from the beginning but as I recall it wasn't until the Mask of Light saga that the story real got to take its stride. G2 isn't as fleshed out yet, but hey it still has a while to go before the story can really dig in. Plus Lego is also dividing its attention with the story for Ninjago, Nexonights, Chima, Friends, and their several in house IP's. When Bionicle was around it was one of Lego's only in house themes which such an elaborate story, but now it is not alone.

 

Besides, us AFOL's probably were never the target audience anyway for the new Bionicle. If anything, Lego is probably betting that nostalgia for the G1 story line is what is going to get parents/grandparents/siblings/cousins to purchase G2 figures for their youngsters, heck nearly 90% of my classic Bionicle sets came from gifts from my parents and grandparents. 


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Actually, I liked episode 18 the most of all animations yet. That being said, I mostly agree with you. I've been fairly disappointed with the apparent lack of story, character development, world building (well, I guess there's a little bit of that), or much else, but I haven't given up hope. After all, G2 has only officially been going for less than a year. Hopefully, given time, we'll get more and more depth to the story, world, and characters.

I feel like LEGO making a MNOG-esque game would seriously help with that (even if it's in a pretty different format from MNOG, perhaps something more like VNOG), since that gave a lot of intuition into the atmosphere and world of Bionicle. **fingers crossed**

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