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Aanchir

How do you think Ninjago's quality has held up?

How do you think Ninjago's quality has held up?  

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Ninjago's been around for over seven years now and I'm curious how people feel about how its quality has held up over the years. Have the sets and story gotten better, worse, or stayed about the same?

 

Overall, I feel that Ninjago started strong and has generally gotten stronger. It's true that there are a few sets from early in the theme's run that still feel outstanding, like 9441 and 2507. But I also feel like the sets have gotten much more detailed and refined. This is most obvious with sets that are specific redesigns of earlier ones, like 70738 versus 9446 or 70595 versus 9449, but also apparent with a lot of other sets like 70596, 70627, and the ninja vehicles from the movie.

 

And while some of the most memorable moments of the show for me are still early ones like Zane discovering his true nature as a Nindroid, the characters have certainly developed a lot since then. Nya in particular has gone from a sort of generic action girl (highly capable but still relegated to the role of supporting character) to a full member of the team with her own personal challenges to overcome and a deeper connection to her teammates. And Lloyd has evolved from a sort of a wannabe ninja to the emotional center of the team and sometimes even its de facto leader.

 

But I'm curious to hear what everybody else thinks!

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Personally I feel that the quality of both has declined.

 

The storyline has become very stretched out and repetitive and feels more like fanfiction than an actual show (the creator even is has written a non-canon "fan fiction" which makes it even more convoluted). I also find the story boring, especially the villains and how the ninja seem to have stalled and shrunk as characters since they first defeated the overlord. I also find that it is taking itself far too seriously. Not to mention all the continuity errors in the show that somehow get past the animation department.

 

Ever since 2014 ended the main appeal of the sets (for me) has been the minifigures as the builds have been undesirable and the parts have no value when the set is deconstructed. However the Samurai X Cave from a few years ago was a big standout, nearly every film I make has used parts from that set because they are so useful. However the minifigures have been getting duller too. Gone are the days of villains with cool new headmolds, and ninja outfits which you could actually tell what the torso was representing.


My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClo2J14RKmVtcnoJTv7g6PA , Bionicle films coming soon!

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It’s hard to say what the overall quality change is like, because both the sets and their stories have had highs and lows. In general, I would say that the sets have generally improved up to 2015, and then quality has plateaued since then. The story improved in the first few years, but has been about the same since.

 

The quality of the sets jumps up and down a lot depending on a couple of factors, including the price point and basic design concept. For example, the Ninjago dragon designs have easily improved as time went on, as the newer dragons are definitely better than some of the originals. Inversely, motorcycles, another Ninjago favorite, have become blander in recent years. The first couple of cycles had some very unique designs (Skull Motorbike, snake Bite Cycle), but in recent years they’ve managed to standardize the basic chassis build (Ninja Bike Chase, Desert Lightning, Snake Jaguar bikes) and now they kind of all look the same to me with slightly different colors. :mellow: And price point matters a lot; very few of the cheaper Ninjago sets really appeal to me beyond getting the figs, but the larger buildings (Battle for Ninjago City, Dragon Forge hut) have been awesome designs. But you have sets of varying quality in each wave. For example, in 2017 I liked the Samurai VXL car but disliked the Vermillion Invader. In the 2016 Skybound wave, I liked the Sky Shark and Raid Zeppelin, but disliked Misfortune’s Keep. Then if you look at the minifig selection, it varies. For the Ninjas, I liked the winter 2015 wave, but disliked the summer 2015 wave. I liked the figs in 2016 but disliked them ones in 2017. The villains have also been up and down; the Nindroids, Sky Pirates and Ghosts were cool concepts, but the reuse of the snake theme is starting to get a bit repetitive. Clearly, my own personal preferences are in play here, but overall I think that quality of the sets improved to the point where Ninjago became an evergreen theme, and now things have stayed about the same, with highs and lows.

 

In terms of story, I like that it’s long running, because it’s given the characters a chance to grow and change over time. For example, Zane went from being the weird outsider who turned out to be a robot to being the team’s better strategist. What annoyed me about the start of the show was how Kai-centric it was; it was a team of Ninjas, but three were basically supporting characters to Kai’s story. They all got to grow a little in 2012, but then 2013 was all about Lloyd’s story. (Which is also basically what the movie was.) By having a long running series with basic continuity has allowed them to focus on all the characters so they get a chance for development and growth. (I won’t deny there are issues with continuity, but most of them don’t really keep me from enjoying the show) In that way, the seasons that focused on Zane, Jay, and Cole looked more at some of the Ninjas who have been sidelined in the stories that’ve focused on Kai and Lloyd. By now, the show has run long enough that all the characters have had their moments to shine, so there is potential that the show could start becoming stale again, but the latest season seems to be decent enough.

 

I also wasn’t even considering the movie in all this. For that, the sets were generally pretty great; a few were meh, but some were awesome and the best of the year IMO. I wasn’t a huge fan of the revamped Ninja figs, but the rest of the characters were pretty good. The story was lackluster though.

 

(Sorry, long winded answers, basically just saying “Meh, I still like the theme.” Anyway, it hasn’t exactly had a sharp dip in quality like Bionicle had a few times.)

 

:music:

Edited by xccj
  • Upvote 1

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Need to add an "other" option, because my personal feelings on this matter aren't reflected by any of them.
 

(Quick note: I'm only talking about sets from the Ninjago line, not the Movie sets, as those are a category all their own)

 

To explain, I agree with your point about the sets becoming more detailed and refined. They have. But, I feel that, while the quality of sets generally improved since its inception, the last two waves have been nothing but a downward slope for me. Sets like the Dragon's Forge were good, but the rest of the sets just felt bland and wasted to me. The SoG sets are..... Not appealing. Before, I liked to collect at least one good set from every wave of Ninjago. But, this time around, I don't like any of them. The colors, the designs, the action features.... Something about their implementation in these sets makes them all completely undesirable for me. I can only hope at least one of the summer sets redeems this year, but I just can't bring myself to say anything good about the recent wave of sets. This may have to do with how the Movie and show have merged, and the sets reflect that in the worst ways possible.

There was a time when I would have sang the praises of the Ninjago sets. But now, I almost want them to just stop.

(Onto the Movie sets, just for the heck of it)

 

TLNM sets are alright. Nothing spectacular, with three major exceptions: Ninjago City, Destiny's Bounty, and the Green Ninja Mech Dragon. Maybe the Quake Mech, but all the other sets just look like filler to me. Nothing really special there. Good parts packs? Absolutely. Good sets? Ah, no. (Seriously, why the aquatic animal theme for bad guys? That was so stupid. Made for some neat parts and designs, sure, but there was no reason for it.)

------------------------------------------------

 

The story.

The story has had its ups and downs, but I'd say it follows a pattern similar to the sets. The last year or so has been a bit of a downward slope. Last season had a lot of potential, but there's a lot of things that got ignored or swept under the rug.
As for this year..... Yeah, this one is a mess. My main complaints for this year are: 

 

1) Why is everyone acting like resurrecting Garmadon would be a bad idea? The Overlord and all the darkness was wiped from him back in season 2. He was fine up through his apparent demise in the Cursed Realm in the Possesion arc. There's no reason anyone should think bringing him back is a bad thing.

 

2) They spend part of the first episode looking for Wu, and then start to put that whole endeavor on the back-burner all too quickly, especially since they ended last season with the tagline "Where is Wu?" Wasted potential if they're not going to develop it further. This and the first one seem to be due to them merging the Movie and TV show universes, as things like the layout for Ninjago City and the Destiny's Bounty and the Ninja's outfits have all suddenly changed without any explanation. (Really, if they've been spending the last year looking for clues as to what may have happened to Wu, when did they find time to redesign their uniforms and completely rebuild the Bounty into something that only partially resembles the previous iterations? Some consistency, please.)

 

3) Less important than the other two, but still annoying: The First Spinjitzu Master being part Dragon and part Oni, with Wu taking on the nature of the Dragon from his father and Garmadon taking on the more vile nature of the Oni? That's a total retcon to their characterization! Previously, Garmadon had the darkness forced upon him, but now we're learning that he was always evil and was destined to always be the ultimate bad guy? Like I said, consistency, please!

 

I won't comment any further on the current season, as there are still more episodes to go, and hopefully they can start to redeem themselves. But if some of these issues are not fixed, or at least addressed, I don't see it reaching a high note any time soon. Unless, of course, they find a way to explain that this current story is happening in an alternate universe and leave it at that as a sort of soft reboot. I can live with that. But with no other reasons or explanations given, I don't see any of these issues getting fixed any time soon.

------------------------------------

tl;dr -- I used to love everything about Ninjago, story and sets. But lately, it's become a huge mess and I don't see any way of repairing it. I'd like to see it reah a high note again, but it probably won't happen.


~Your friendly, neighborhood Shadow

 

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~Credit for Avatar and Banner goes to

NickonAquaMagna~

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Technically, I look at both stuff as getting better. I always enjoy the new pieces in the sets. Plus, I love how things go in the story, like some drama and action. The Ninja show their character development very well, and the main villains are very reasonable with their evil intentions.:)

 

To be honest, I look at Ninjago as this decade’s version of Bionicle G1, which appeared on the 2000s, the because they share a lot of similarities, like elemental powers, and they are successful. There have been counterparts based on advanced technology, like Hero Factory is an advanced technology counterpart to Bionicle as much as Nexo Knights is to Ninjago, whole both of the advanced technology are sadly inferior and end sooner.:( Just saying.

Edited by Lenny7092

I like Lego, Bionicle, and Hero Factory!:)

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I didn't start watching the show until last year, but overall I feel like the story has been getting better and more cohesive. I also like that we've been learning more about the background and history of Ninjago with the later seasons.

 

Set-wise, I feel like quality has had ups and downs, but on average it's remained about the same. I do think the larger sets have been improving, but the smaller sets from recent years have been less appealing to me than the smaller sets from Ninjago's early years.

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I personally liked the first season's premise the best. The designers for this theme must be really stretched for ideas, given the near ridiculous number of snakes in previous years. The sudden design change of this season was rather off-putting, not to mention that we're only getting three Macguffins this season, down from four, five, and seven, during Skybound. That... might have been a joke. To me, personally, the story has gone down in quality. It has gone from very few issues in early seasons to testing the continuity every time something happens. I haven't seen the most recent season, though from what I just read, I assume that it wasn't a masterpiece. Some issues are questions like what happened to Wu? What happened to Pythor? The Dragons? The realm crystal? Almost all of the previous weapons? Even Master Yang. And, once the nindroid menace passed, why didn't Lloyd attempt to get his powers back via the united elements? I end up seeing a lot of holes in the tapestry that is Ninjago. The sets do seem cool, though I don't have any or investigated them in depth. When I was writing this, I realized something. The ninja are now collecting masks. Take that as you will.


:smilematoro:

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I personally liked the first season's premise the best. The designers for this theme must be really stretched for ideas, given the near ridiculous number of snakes in previous years. The sudden design change of this season was rather off-putting, not to mention that we're only getting three Macguffins this season, down from four, five, and seven, during Skybound. That... might have been a joke. To me, personally, the story has gone down in quality. It has gone from very few issues in early seasons to testing the continuity every time something happens. I haven't seen the most recent season, though from what I just read, I assume that it wasn't a masterpiece. Some issues are questions like what happened to Wu? What happened to Pythor? The Dragons? The realm crystal? Almost all of the previous weapons? Even Master Yang. And, once the nindroid menace passed, why didn't Lloyd attempt to get his powers back via the united elements? I end up seeing a lot of holes in the tapestry that is Ninjago. The sets do seem cool, though I don't have any or investigated them in depth. When I was writing this, I realized something. The ninja are now collecting masks. Take that as you will.

A couple of the supposed plot holes you describe are almost certainly intentional hooks the writers left for future stories: we're apparently supposed to learn more about Wu's fate in Season 8, and more about the dragons in Season 9.

 

In the case of Pythor, he's probably lying low and scheming somewhere, like any career criminal might do if they manage to make a clean getaway after their latest plans have been thwarted. Also, we were already shown where the Realm Crystal is at the beginning of Skybound — in Cyrus Borg's vault. Because most of the events of Skybound were undone by Jay's wish, Nadakhan never would have retrieved it. And after Day of the Departed, Master Yang is still the Temple of Airjitzu's resident ghost, albeit keeping his presence hidden from all the ninja but Cole.

Edited by Aanchir

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I personally liked the first season's premise the best. The designers for this theme must be really stretched for ideas, given the near ridiculous number of snakes in previous years. The sudden design change of this season was rather off-putting, not to mention that we're only getting three Macguffins this season, down from four, five, and seven, during Skybound. That... might have been a joke. To me, personally, the story has gone down in quality. It has gone from very few issues in early seasons to testing the continuity every time something happens. I haven't seen the most recent season, though from what I just read, I assume that it wasn't a masterpiece. Some issues are questions like what happened to Wu? What happened to Pythor? The Dragons? The realm crystal? Almost all of the previous weapons? Even Master Yang. And, once the nindroid menace passed, why didn't Lloyd attempt to get his powers back via the united elements? I end up seeing a lot of holes in the tapestry that is Ninjago. The sets do seem cool, though I don't have any or investigated them in depth. When I was writing this, I realized something. The ninja are now collecting masks. Take that as you will.

A couple of the supposed plot holes you describe are almost certainly intentional hooks the writers left for future stories: we're apparently supposed to learn more about Wu's fate in Season 8, and more about the dragons in Season 9.In the case of Pythor, he's probably lying low and scheming somewhere, like any career criminal might do if they manage to make a clean getaway after their latest plans have been thwarted. Also, we were already shown where the Realm Crystal is at the beginning of Skybound — in Cyrus Borg's vault. Because most of the events of Skybound were undone by Jay's wish, Nadakhan never would have retrieved it. And after Day of the Departed, Master Yang is still the Temple of Airjitzu's resident ghost, albeit keeping his presence hidden from all the ninja but Cole.

Oh. Alot of that makes sense. The dragons have just been missing since season 3, and the realm crystal just disappeared after Skybound and was never mentioned again, so I was just wondering about them. The dragons, though pose that question about what happens if they decide to go in different directions. (Not really a joke.)

 

 I suppose they aren't plot holes, exactly, just missing pieces of information that I, personally, wished were resolved better. So, I guess most of those are just me.

Edited by Downfall

:smilematoro:

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Eh, I think that the sets have been getting steadily better in quality, although I may be slightly blinded by the dazzle of Tiger Widow Island, which was a really awesome set, and that cool Cole vehicle with the buzzsaws? Personally I don't think that Lego has done minifigure mechs since Hero Factory, so them doing it for the Ninjago movie was cool. I might be wrong, but that is okay, it is just my impression from what I remember, and life has happened. I don't mean to insult anyone over the fact that I may not have been paying as much attention as you guys have. 

 

The story I think has been going downhill. It's not bad, but I thought season 2 of Ninjago with the snakes was the best, and the other stories were not quite so good. Season 3 had filler leading up to the Overlord battle and the weird time travel thing. My brother was like "this is why they didn't do time travel in Bionicle" and I agreed. Then they did the weird time travel thing again in season 4, which kinda ruined it. I really liked Zane through 4 and 5 but they threw in the weird element inheritance thing which made everything way more complicated and I lost track. I liked the rollerskates. 

 

The ghosts were okay, like I said I liked Nya, but then real-life stuff happened and I stopped watching the show, and then I heard the movie was coming out and I saw that and I really liked the movie because it was cool and funny and Jackie Chan and the cute cat and the ending which I'm not going to spoil, it was very good. The movie version was what I was looking for in the TV version of those events, but it didn't happen, but was okay because Garmedon was a ninja warrior kind of dad who was testing his son, but then they made it seem like evil is something out of our control and has nothing to do with our choices which would be fine except they made the other version too and I like it more. :)

 

But then they took the movie version of stuff and tried to put that in the TV show where it didn't belong, that is what I hear, but I haven't seen that yet so I can't say anything about that and I want to watch the pirates first. Otherwise I think I will be totally confused.

 

I would read more of other people's opinions here but I do not want to be spoiled for the seasons I did not watch. All of you have done a very good job of explaining yourselves and I admire that, so I don't want you to feel like I am ignoring you, I just have a different place in the universe. It is good. Thanks for reading.

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