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Lenny7092

Is Ninjago the next Bionicle?

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Hi, guys. You ever look at Ninjago as the 2010s’ own Bionicle? I ask because you can see a lot of similarities and how successful Ninjago is. The similarities include: 

1. Elemental heroes, and there are a team of six of them. 

2. More elements showing up later on 

3. New Ninjago City is sort of like Metru Nui 

4. Ninjago began skeletal villains, and Bionicle G2 did the same thing 

5. Searching for golden objects and other items that can be used to defeat evil ultimately 

6. Shadowy demonic villains that shape-shift and don’t stay down easily 

7. Sensei Wu is like Ekimu 

8. Wu’s father is like the Great Beings’ counterpart 

9. Sometimes refer to the past 

10. There are brother-related feuds 

 

So, yeah. I originally thought that Hero Factory would be 2010s’ primary story-telling theme, but Ninjago’s much stronger, and Nexo Knights is like HF’s inferior counterpart that looks like that it pretends to be the successful theme’s successor. Anyone feeling like that?


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

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5 hours ago, Laval- Master of Energy said:

11. Both have lasted for 9 years

I still wonder how Ninjago was able to pull that off.

Yeah. Bionicle had four direct-to-video movies and a Netflix show with four 22-minute episodes while Ninjago is a lot more than this. It has a TV show with over a hundred episodes and a theatrical Lego Movie. I wish Bionicle can have that kind of glory somehow (well, not as a Lego Movie, but a 3-D Animated movie or a live-action movie similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe). I pity Bionicle because of this as well. In the last two decades, when Bionicle began, we never had this much awesome stuff, and we had a lot of cancelled plans for Bionicle.


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

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No, because Bionicle was actually good.

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Rule #1: Always listen to Kek.

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19 hours ago, Laval- Master of Energy said:

I believe you mean better. Ninjago sets were, and still are, quite good.

Anyone who thinks Ninjago sets aren't good, has never seen Ninjago City + Docks in all her sweet glory.

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20 hours ago, Laval- Master of Energy said:

I believe you mean better. Ninjago sets were, and still are, quite good.

Bold of you to assume I even had the sets in mind, or particularly care. Wake me when Ninjago's story and characters aren't garbage on every front instead of just a few like Bionicle's.

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Rule #1: Always listen to Kek.

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27 minutes ago, Sir Keksalot said:

Bold of you to assume I even had the sets in mind, or particularly care. Wake me when Ninjago's story and characters aren't garbage on every front instead of just a few like Bionicle's.

I will. My assumption was based on my opinion that Ninjago's sets are the theme's only major draw.

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4 hours ago, Crimson Jester said:

Anyone who thinks Ninjago sets aren't good, has never seen Ninjago City + Docks in all her sweet glory.

I was more partial to the set with the balloon, if anyone remembers that one. 

3 hours ago, Sir Keksalot said:

Bold of you to assume I even had the sets in mind, or particularly care. Wake me when Ninjago's story and characters aren't garbage on every front instead of just a few like Bionicle's.

It's pretty obvious that the story has gone downhill lately. Do you mind telling me when you started watching the show?

I abandoned it right before the Ninjago Movie because of repetition. Season 2 was the best. Bring Back Pythor.  

Does "just a few like Bionicle's" mean that you don't like Bionicle even and only a few characters aren't garbage?

Please come back when you're feeling better. 

Edited by 21Boomerangs

you can call me boomie :D

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3 hours ago, Crimson Jester said:

Maybe Ninjago is just lacking that knife-sharp adolescent edginess you seem to be exuding?

I didn't realize being critical of a terrible plot with terrible writing was "edgy."

3 hours ago, Laval- Master of Energy said:

I will. My assumption was based on my opinion that Ninjago's sets are the theme's only major draw.

They really are, and therein lies the problem. A franchise should not be defined by its merch even if it's centered around that merch.

27 minutes ago, 21Boomerangs said:

It's pretty obvious that the story has gone downhill lately. Do you mind telling me when you started watching the show?

I abandoned it right before the Ninjago Movie because of repetition. Season 2 was the best. Bring Back Pythor.  

Does "just a few like Bionicle's" mean that you don't like Bionicle even and only a few characters aren't garbage?

Please come back when you're feeling better. 

I started with S1, and gave up right after the episode with "Jole." That one subplot convinced me that this entire storyline was garbage if the characters were actually that idiotic and inconsistent. There's no depth to the characters, no originality, and no real arcs.

Bionicle, for all its shortcomings, had effort put into it. It's not 100% trash because there's actual thought behind the arcs characters go through, and the cast isn't comprised of unintelligent and unlikable twerps who aren't even consistent. Major events, for the most part, have lasting consequences; even when characters die and respawn on the Red Star, they're still stuck there and can't come back in any important way.

Not sure what that last condescending remark's supposed to mean.

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5 minutes ago, Sir Keksalot said:

Not sure what that last condescending remark's supposed to mean.

Your tone suggests that you're tired and stressed. Either that, or you really hate Ninjago. If the latter, why are you even here making yourself miserable talking about something you hate so much? Why do you have to ruin the fun for those of us that like it, or part of it? If you think we're all unintelligent for liking Ninjago, why are you even talking to us? Our unintelligence could rub off on you. 

I just prefer to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are in a bad mood, rather than assume that you are purposefully spreading hatred. 

13 minutes ago, Sir Keksalot said:

Bionicle, for all its shortcomings, had effort put into it. It's not 100% trash because there's actual thought behind the arcs characters go through, and the cast isn't comprised of unintelligent and unlikable twerps who aren't even consistent. Major events, for the most part, have lasting consequences; even when characters die and respawn on the Red Star, they're still stuck there and can't come back in any important way.

I agree with you on this 100%. Bionicle is a remarkable story, the best story that Lego has ever produced. Ninjago is inferior to it. 


you can call me boomie :D

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11 hours ago, 21Boomerangs said:

Your tone suggests that you're tired and stressed. Either that, or you really hate Ninjago. If the latter, why are you even here making yourself miserable talking about something you hate so much? Why do you have to ruin the fun for those of us that like it, or part of it? If you think we're all unintelligent for liking Ninjago, why are you even talking to us? Our unintelligence could rub off on you. 

I just prefer to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are in a bad mood, rather than assume that you are purposefully spreading hatred. 

I agree with you on this 100%. Bionicle is a remarkable story, the best story that Lego has ever produced. Ninjago is inferior to it. 

I don't know why you feel the need to assume I'm here to rip into Ninjago's fans rather than just criticize the line as a work of fiction. If you feel personally attacked when I say something is bad, that's on you. You can like bad things; in fact, the sets are (as has been discussed) the one thing Ninjago really has going for it, so there's even grounds on which to like it. But the actual narrative component (that is, the important thing for those of us who can't afford/don't care about the merch) is still horrendous and saying as much isn't "spreading hatred."

OP asked a question, I had a comment. Don't act like I'm the bad guy for speaking the truth.

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4 hours ago, Laval- Master of Energy said:

I'm not saying that you're the bad guy. I do have one criticism, though: if it's an opinion, is it really the truth?

It's not an opinion that Ninjago's characters are inconsistent and shallow. "I like Ninjago" is an opinion. "Ninjago's story is vapid and conveys nothing of substance" is not. If we accept that art is 100% subjective, we have no real grounds on which to assess it in the hopes of moving art in a forward direction; and this is really important for kids' media like Ninjago, which we ought to demand to make our kids think critically and impart valuable lessons on them. Garmadon, as an antagonist, is terrible for this. Zane's pathetic excuse for an arc on discovering that he's a robot is terrible for this. The nonsense dynamic of Jay and Nya's relationship, especially with the Jole Incident in mind, is terrible for this.

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Rule #1: Always listen to Kek.

Rule #2: If you break rule #1, kindly don't.

Rule #3: EVERYBODY TYPE IN THE CHAT "AVAK IS A STUPID TRIGGER"

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5 hours ago, Sir Keksalot said:

It's not an opinion that Ninjago's characters are inconsistent and shallow. "I like Ninjago" is an opinion. "Ninjago's story is vapid and conveys nothing of substance" is not. If we accept that art is 100% subjective, we have no real grounds on which to assess it in the hopes of moving art in a forward direction; and this is really important for kids' media like Ninjago, which we ought to demand to make our kids think critically and impart valuable lessons on them. Garmadon, as an antagonist, is terrible for this. Zane's pathetic excuse for an arc on discovering that he's a robot is terrible for this. The nonsense dynamic of Jay and Nya's relationship, especially with the Jole Incident in mind, is terrible for this.

Why do you make it sound as though you expected more from that which is just a cartoon? Ask yourself this: is that amount of effort usually put into creative works like that?


RPG Characters: Explota Akkitu

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1 hour ago, Laval- Master of Energy said:

Why do you make it sound as though you expected more from that which is just a cartoon? Ask yourself this: is that amount of effort usually put into creative works like that?

That mentality is a load of bupkis. The medium a work happens to be presented in shouldn't be any excuse to lessen the value of that work, nor should the target audience--especially when that audience is impressionable and far smarter than companies give them credit for. Creative effort should always be implemented to the utmost, no exceptions. Why SHOULDN'T more effort be put into the writing? Why SHOULD kids just be spoonfed meaningless drivel that doesn't say anything as a work of art? Or was the effort put into Bionicle all for nothing with no real benefit for Lego or the consumers?

To respond: no, that's not normally the case. My position is that entertainment should never be dumbed down for a young audience, regardless of what the corporate shills that run the entertainment industry think/care about.

Edited by Sir Keksalot
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Hey everyone. I love seeing people get excited about the things they enjoy, like Bionicle and LEGO. It's that passionate spirit that makes BZPower such a great place to be. It's generated years of great discussion and creativity. However, it's all too easy to let our passion for the things we like (or even the things we don't like) get the better of us, especially in an online environment, and I think this topic is getting a little heated.

With that said, let's all take a deep breath and keep BZPower's Rules and Guidelines in mind, particularly these two guidelines:

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It's all too easy to misinterpret online posts because there's no body language or verbal cues to help make your point. So err on the side of caution and do your best to be polite. Let's continue to make BZPower a great place to be. :)

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Yeah. Let’s not get hasty. We’re here to talk about how Ninjago is acting like the next Bionicle, not hating it. I mean, why not compare the Ninja to the Toa? It’s really simple.


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

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On 1/28/2020 at 7:59 AM, Lenny7092 said:

Yeah. Let’s not get hasty. We’re here to talk about how Ninjago is acting like the next Bionicle, not hating it. I mean, why not compare the Ninja to the Toa? It’s really simple.

Barring its financial success and the formulaic implementation of the characters, there's not a lot of similarity. Bionicle was a constraction theme with lots of complex worldbuilding, mystery, and (in its later years) tryhard edginess. It was presented through relatively cheap means of delivering the story (the comics, novels, and a few B-movies) and was allowed to end in some capacity, if pathetically. When new ideas or gimmicks were introduced, they were progressions of existing storylines and arcs, and there wasn't a great deal of focus on those gimmicks over the general set design and story, perhaps with the exception of 2007 and maybe 2008. The sets and story were extensions of one another, and this is because the line was created for the explicit purpose of getting big so that Lego could balance out the royalties from SW. 

What's interesting is that Bionicle fostered more themes of its ilk in the form of KKII and Exo-Force. Lego found that story-based action-adventure lines were successful, so they tried some more; and ones with a constraction component, no less. While neither line took off as hard as Bionicle, Lego really went and did something interesting because of the success of a big IP. This pattern continued after the line's death, too, with Atlantis coming in just as it died out. What's more, without Bionicle, Hero Factory--which, for its pitfalls, kept constraction's seat warm and was fairly unique in any case--couldn't even have been conceivable.

Ninjago, on the other hand, is a system theme that puts the sets before the story in every way. The media focus is mostly in the cartoon, with books and comics receiving minimal focus by comparison. There's also that (incredibly inconsistent) movie that I have to actively try to remember because it's like my brain wants me to forget it. Ninjago was conceived to be another experimental, 3-year theme, but it was hauled out of the grave no sooner than it entered it and brought back to continue forever and ever without end. Right now, it seems to just be where new possible gimmicks for an action-adventure theme are dumped off. I mean, look at the new "video game" gimmick--that could and SHOULD have been its own theme; it has limitless potential. But no, Lego's cash cow needs more fuel because they're understandably running out of ideas. Ninjago began in 2011; 2 years later, we got Chima; 3 years after that, Nexo Knights. All 3 were experimental action-adventure lines that, while they all had lousy stories, were at least new and creative in some way. 4 years after NK, there haven't been any new themes of that nature. Hidden Side, maybe? But that's a different beast entirely and experiments in a radically different way, much as I have to commend it for truly thinking outside of the box. Elves, perhaps? But that aims for a wholly different audience and has less focus on action for the first year, and sorta evolved into another conflict-based theme; and it died alongside NK. Still, we're never gonna get another crazy, creative action-adventure theme so long as Ninjago is hogging the scene; at least if recent trends continue.

There's no endgame for Ninjago where Bionicle at least had some long-term story goals. Character development and growth are fleeting and minimal, and major events have little in the way of permanent consequence. Where Bionicle's sins laid in trying too hard not to feel like it was just for kids, Ninjago's lie in its refusal to try and be anything more than that. Where Bionicle prompted new themes to be born, Ninjago stifles fledgling themes by competition and snuffs out potential new ideas. It'd be one thing if Ninjago had any of the real merits Bionicle had beyond just set design, but outside of the merch, it's a downgrade on every front. Oddly enough, the Toa-ninja comparison you mention exemplifies this.

Bionicle revolved around 6 protagonists at any given time, while Ninjago only got 6 around halfway through its lifetime. Bionicle rotated out Toa teams regularly, going through 3 by 2009; at which point, it switched to a new type of main cast entirely. Ninjago has had the same 6 heroes since year 2. Bionicle also had something resembling character arcs and internal conflict. Jaller spent his whole career as a Toa going out of his way to avoid making the same mistakes as Vakama and Tahu, and this informed his behavior in the Ignition arc. Matoro, at the end of his arc, freakin' dies. There's permanent consequence for these characters and one another. Meanwhile, with one episode of Ninjago, I would like to point out just why the writing is as bad as it is: the one where we learn that Zane is a robot. Zane has had to deal with social ineptitude up to this point in the show, and it's been a defining part of his character, right? So he finally learns that he's not even human, and his shortcomings are a matter of programming he doesn't even fully understand. And what happens? He...comes to terms with it in a single afternoon! Of course! This HUGE chance for character growth, this thing that could have made Zane the most interesting character in the show...is just done away with! Instantly! No real arc, no meaningful growth, just...filler! There's more instances like this, like how Cole literally dies and becomes a ghost or how Lloyd has to give up being a kid and instantly become a man, but I won't go overboard here. It's the same deal.

Which is the primary reason I've been ripping into Ninjago here, and why I maintain that it's not a worthy successor to Bionicle. There's never a real reason to care because the characters aren't written to be cared about. The story isn't written to pull you in and immerse you in a strange world. The story is just one long commercial, nothing more. Bionicle at least has SOMETHING going for it. There's a sense that the team behind it actually enjoyed it as a narrative, not just a financial asset.

Edited by Sir Keksalot
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For the children of the 2010s I have no doubt ninjago will be their bionicle. Something they'll look back on fondly in a decade or so. For me however as someone who was only somewhat invested in ninjago during its first year it really has no significance to me. Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Overall I echo Kek's views on the matter. Ninjago (at least last time I watched it in 2012) is rather flimsily written and doesn't have much merit on its own. The sets seem to have fallen into the same trap bionicle did in which they now follow a very identifiable pattern. Jet plane, motorcycle, off-road vehicle, a mech, a dragon, small shrine and large temple with vaguely Japanese qualities. A line that was once innovative in its earlier days has since fallen into repetition and as we saw with bionicle this normally doesn't bode well for lego themes. Overall ninjago just doesn't mean anything to me and I won't have a strong reaction whenever it gets discontinued. 

21 hours ago, Sir Keksalot said:

 

Ninjago, on the other hand, is a systeme them that puts the sets before the story in every way. The media focus is mostly in the cartoon, with books and comics receiving minimal focus by comparison. There's also that (incredibly inconsistent) movie that I have to actively try to remember because it's like my brain wants me to forget it. Ninjago was conceived to be another experimental, 3-year theme, but it was hauled out of the grave no sooner than it entered it and brought back to continue forever and ever without end. Right now, it seems to just be where new possible gimmicks for an action-adventure theme are dumped off. I mean, look at the new "video game" gimmick--that could and SHOULD have been its own theme; it has limitless potential. But no, Lego's cash cow needs more fuel because they're understandably running out of ideas. Ninjago began in 2011; 2 years later, we got Chima; 3 years after that, Nexo Knights. All 3 were experimental action-adventure lines that, while they all had lousy stories, were at least new and creative in some way. 4 years after NK, there haven't been any new themes of that nature. Hidden Side, maybe? But that's a different beast entirely and experiments in a radically different way, much as I have to commend it for truly thinking outside of the box. Elves, perhaps? But that aims for a wholly different audience and has less focus on action for the first year, and sorta evolved into another conflict-based theme; and it died alongside NK. Still, we're never gonna get another crazy, creative action-adventure theme so long as Ninjago is hogging the scene; at least if recent trends continue.

 

I wouldn't say it's ninjago specifically that's caused this to happen. This is largely down to Lego's strategy of focusing on licenced themes rather than new lines. In the past bionicle used to take up a huge part of the line up in a given year but it never stopped new themes coming to the forefront. The problem is that the licenced themes are taking up what would otherwise be the space for new themes. In a way Lego has fallen into their pre-1999 mindset of sticking with a proven formula and ceasing to produce diverse lines of in-house and innovative themes that can push the envelope. For example back in the 2000s when Lego released a line it would always be dedicated to a specific type of set. Knights Kingdom and castle were obviously medieval fantasy themed. Exo-Force was the theme for mechs (with anime styling). And you could get themes like Mars mission for spacecrafts (that weren't star wars). Each one would offer consumers a diverse range in each type of set. You had plenty of mechs and spacecrafts to choose from. However since then the philosophy has changed. Look at Nexo-Knights. Instead of being a dedicated medieval fantasy theme it instead decided to incorporate tanks, sci-fi future tech, and mechs all into one with a medieval fantasy theme. The goal seems to be to just sandwich as many popular themes as possible into one. This is part of what I think stifles their innovation. Instead of having a whole range of mechs for kids to choose from they end up releasing maybe two in one given theme and thus not allowing for much experimentation to be done as there is simply no room in the line up.


It's time to move on.

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On 1/28/2020 at 12:51 PM, Sir Keksalot said:

Bionicle revolved around 6 protagonists at any given time, while Ninjago only got 6 around halfway through its lifetime. Bionicle rotated out Toa teams regularly, going through 3 by 2009; at which point, it switched to a new type of main cast entirely. Ninjago has had the same 6 heroes since year 2. Bionicle also had something resembling character arcs and internal conflict. Jaller spent his whole career as a Toa going out of his way to avoid making the same mistakes as Vakama and Tahu, and this informed his behavior in the Ignition arc. Matoro, at the end of his arc, freakin' dies. There's permanent consequence for these characters and one another. Meanwhile, with one episode of Ninjago, I would like to point out just why the writing is as bad as it is: the one where we learn that Zane is a robot. Zane has had to deal with social ineptitude up to this point in the show, and it's been a defining part of his character, right? So he finally learns that he's not even human, and his shortcomings are a matter of programming he doesn't even fully understand. And what happens? He...comes to terms with it in a single afternoon! Of course! This HUGE chance for character growth, this thing that could have made Zane the most interesting character in the show...is just done away with! Instantly! No real arc, no meaningful growth, just...filler! There's more instances like this, like how Cole literally dies and becomes a ghost or how Lloyd has to give up being a kid and instantly become a man, but I won't go overboard here. It's the same deal.

What's important to remember is that all of this was fairly early in the show's lifespan, before it had truly found it's footing. The examples you give of Jaller and Matoro are from fairly late in Bionicle's story. Ninjago had pretty much just started when Zane was revealed to be a robot, and yes, he comes to terms very quickly but his robotic qualities become driving forces of the show going forward. Pretty much the entire reason that Ninjago is so technologically-based now can be traced back to that one episode, where Zane became a central character. 
Likewise, Jay and Nya's relationship is very simple early on, but in later seasons it is focused on and given weight. Season 7, specifically, was entirely focused on Jay almost forcing the relationship to happen and the consequences that come from it. Only focusing on the early seasons and not the newer ones, especially Season 3-onward, is a bit unfair to the theme as a whole. 

But I'll give you the Cole example. He's definitely been snubbed time and again.

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The Ninjago sets are mostly great, however the story started going downhill for me after Zane became a robot. I wish they had stuck to a Japanese fantasy theme with mystical elements and not the Power Rangers theme that we have now. 

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On 2/26/2020 at 3:10 PM, Alexander123 said:

The Ninjago sets are mostly great, however the story started going downhill for me after Zane became a robot. I wish they had stuck to a Japanese fantasy theme with mystical elements and not the Power Rangers theme that we have now. 

Not to mention that the Ninja have forgotten how to do Airjitzu and summon elemental energy dragons, as it seems. That’s silly. They don’t have to make things difficult for themselves. Lol. 
 

For my opinion about Zane, I always thought he’s an organic being who has a dull, naive, and monotonous personality, which is kind of normal for people. I didn’t expect Zane to be revealed to be a robot, but it does explain his personality and his extraordinary ability to stay underwater for a long time. He’s a robot, and robots don’t need to breathe anything. He’s like a mix of Kopaka, Matoro, Nuju, and Preston Stormer from Hero Factory. Whether he’s a robot or not, nothing’s changed much, except for Rebooted and Season 4. It’s becoming a norm, I must admit. He has a heart of a human being.

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

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I recently re-found a blog entry by an old friend: 

 

I think this man has an important point: Ninjago is a comedy series. Bionicle is not. 

This may explain some things going on here. If you're into Bionicle because it's Serious Fantasy Story that takes itself and its storytelling quality Very Seriously, then Ninjago may not be for you. Granted: Bionicle does have its share of jokes, some kinda silly: just as Templar Studios. But I think Ninjago is much more of a kids' comedy show than Bionicle ever was. It kind of got dark near the end.

So in that respect, Ninjago is not the next Bionicle because it doesn't take itself as seriously as Bionicle. Do you see what I mean?


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On 3/27/2020 at 1:32 AM, 21Boomerangs said:

I recently re-found a blog entry by an old friend: 

 

I think this man has an important point: Ninjago is a comedy series. Bionicle is not. 

This may explain some things going on here. If you're into Bionicle because it's Serious Fantasy Story that takes itself and its storytelling quality Very Seriously, then Ninjago may not be for you. Granted: Bionicle does have its share of jokes, some kinda silly: just as Templar Studios. But I think Ninjago is much more of a kids' comedy show than Bionicle ever was. It kind of got dark near the end.

So in that respect, Ninjago is not the next Bionicle because it doesn't take itself as seriously as Bionicle. Do you see what I mean?

True, Ninjago is meant for comedy for some of the time while Bionicle is just action and world-building, but Ninjago is the only currently-running theme to be actually good nowadays. I mean, no Lego theme but Bionicle can top Ninjago. Ninjago also has the TV show that is much more successful and has been running for 9 years. No theme had a TV show that ran that long. Nexo Knights, Hero Factory, Mixels, and evening Bionicle’s The Journey to One for examples, couldn’t do it (most of them are just specials that happen every once in the while while all of them had declining quality gradually before they prematurely and annoyingly ended/cancelled. Ninjago is just special because of its TV show, which I am quite amazed (it even had Legends of Chima be a part of its universe because there are sixteen realms), but we prefer Bionicle because it takes things much more seriously, like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, anyway.

Edited by Lenny7092

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

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On 3/27/2020 at 1:32 AM, 21Boomerangs said:

I recently re-found a blog entry by an old friend: 

 

I think this man has an important point: Ninjago is a comedy series. Bionicle is not. 

This may explain some things going on here. If you're into Bionicle because it's Serious Fantasy Story that takes itself and its storytelling quality Very Seriously, then Ninjago may not be for you. Granted: Bionicle does have its share of jokes, some kinda silly: just as Templar Studios. But I think Ninjago is much more of a kids' comedy show than Bionicle ever was. It kind of got dark near the end.

So in that respect, Ninjago is not the next Bionicle because it doesn't take itself as seriously as Bionicle. Do you see what I mean?

None of that excuses poor writing and storytelling. Kids' comedy doesn't have to entail low quality; heck, look at TLM and TLBM, both strong films regardless of their genre or target audience. A story doesn't have to be serious to be worth taking seriously or for the writers to take their work seriously.

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On 3/26/2020 at 10:32 PM, 21Boomerangs said:

I recently re-found a blog entry by an old friend: 

 

I think this man has an important point: Ninjago is a comedy series. Bionicle is not. 

This may explain some things going on here. If you're into Bionicle because it's Serious Fantasy Story that takes itself and its storytelling quality Very Seriously, then Ninjago may not be for you. Granted: Bionicle does have its share of jokes, some kinda silly: just as Templar Studios. But I think Ninjago is much more of a kids' comedy show than Bionicle ever was. It kind of got dark near the end.

So in that respect, Ninjago is not the next Bionicle because it doesn't take itself as seriously as Bionicle. Do you see what I mean?

I have never watched a kid’s comedy series that didn’t suck, so this is supposed to make me like Ninjago? How? Actually, to be honest, I hate all comedy TV and theatrical films. And you’re not winning any points on that by referring to bonesiii. 

The parts of Ninjago I like are the not-comedy stuff, like the training course montage from the first season. The jokes are universally horrible. At least when Bionicle made a joke, it was dark-humor enough to be funny. The Ninjago jokes aren’t funny.

6 hours ago, Sir Keksalot said:

Kids' comedy doesn't have to entail low quality; heck, look at TLM and TLBM, both strong films regardless of their genre or target audience

What is TLM and TLBM? I don’t know what you’re referring to. Hopefully it’s not something involving minions. Blargh. But if there actually is a good kid’s comedy film in existence, I’d like to know about it. (All of my favorite kid’s comedies are books, not film...)

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7 hours ago, 1womanarmy said:

What is TLM and TLBM?

The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie.

7 hours ago, 1womanarmy said:

Actually, to be honest, I hate all comedy TV and theatrical films.

I--what? Alright, I guess you, uh...don't find things funny? I can't recommend you anything comedic if you just don't like comedy, unless you've somehow never seen a good comedy.

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14 hours ago, Sir Keksalot said:

The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie.

I'm slightly confused as to how these qualify as comedy shows. I mean, they have jokes in them - I seriously dug President Business' reaction to the double-decker couch - but there's like action and actual storytelling in there. And the Lego Batman Movie is comedy? The film that has "One is the loneliest number" played in it and a super-grief-tear-jerky lesson about family? You would call that a comedy movie?

Besides, I think we might be able to agree that TLM/TLBM blow Ninjago out of the water far and away - I mean, we can actually compare apples to apples since Ninjago actually has its own movie (cringe). The Ninjago movie's plot was terrible because it was a rehash of the Lloyd vs. Garmadon plot that no one wanted and was actually worse than the original TV show version of those events. The comedy thing there managed to swallow the theme, so idk if it was a comedy movie or not. It just sucked. 

Regardless, I would not consider "inclusion of comedic lines or scenes" suitable to render the entire work a comedy, because Bionicle has some jokes in it, and we just agreed that Bionicle is not a comedy. So to label something a comedy, I would have to judge that the purpose of the work is to make people laugh, or it would have to meet the formal professional definition of satire (like the Onion, for example). 

14 hours ago, Sir Keksalot said:

I--what? Alright, I guess you, uh...don't find things funny? I can't recommend you anything comedic if you just don't like comedy, unless you've somehow never seen a good comedy.

I tend not to understand the sense of humor of the general population. It escapes me. Sometimes I get some of the Lego-fandom "in-jokes" like the couch reaction about impracticability. I also got some of the Lego Batman references to TV Tropes story deconstruction in the beginning of movie with the helicopter. 

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10 hours ago, 1womanarmy said:

I'm slightly confused as to how these qualify as comedy shows.

Perhaps not shows, but films. "Comedy" as a genre doesn't mean "humor and literally no substance," else classic Simpsons wouldn't be comedic at all. It merely entails a high emphasis on humor. The movies I named have actual plots and evoke actual emotions, but they still put a lot of emphasis on the comic component, which makes them comedies.

9 hours ago, 1womanarmy said:

The comedy thing there managed to swallow the theme, so idk if it was a comedy movie or not.

That's not what went wrong with the Ninjago movie--the characters were. Lloyd is the only character who is both coherent and given importance in the film; Garm is super inconsistent, while the supporting cast is mostly just...there. No arcs, no real personalities, no meaningful dialogue...they just exist except for Wu and (to a lesser extent) Lloyd's mom.

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On 4/6/2020 at 10:31 AM, Sir Keksalot said:

Perhaps not shows, but films. "Comedy" as a genre doesn't mean "humor and literally no substance," else classic Simpsons wouldn't be comedic at all. It merely entails a high emphasis on humor. The movies I named have actual plots and evoke actual emotions, but they still put a lot of emphasis on the comic component, which makes them comedies.

That's not what went wrong with the Ninjago movie--the characters were. Lloyd is the only character who is both coherent and given importance in the film; Garm is super inconsistent, while the supporting cast is mostly just...there. No arcs, no real personalities, no meaningful dialogue...they just exist except for Wu and (to a lesser extent) Lloyd's mom.

I must admit. The Lego Ninjago Movie was a mess. It's like the worst thing we've seen from Ninjago and The Lego Movie Cinematic Universe. The characters in there don't take things seriously. There's no one from TLMCU appearing there. It's like it is in its own universe, like Sony's heinous and should-be-cancelled-soon-for-the-sake-of-Marvel-Studios-character-rights Marvel Universe. It's quite embarrassing to look at it. The giant live-action cat in the movie should be the main antagonist, Lord Garmadon is. The Ninja's looks make them look like cavemen, and Misako is very young and is constantly called "Koko". Garmadon is not cured, either, and he is a fool who likes to lie and push people away in any way. The movie's plot is silly. Wu had made a huge plan to make Lloyd and his dad get along. I mean, it is Wu who started the plot in the first place. Many characters were acting goofy and were never seen in The Lego Movie 2 in 2019 for some reason. That is very weird and annoying. 

The TV show is much more serious, like Bionicle, but has 70-80% seriousness and the rest comedy. Back before late 2019, the show is like that, but now, it has a little more comedy while it has 11-minute episodes. Plus, when 2018 happened, the Ninja look like their movie selves just for modernization, even though that fans don't like that at first. It's just that the movie and TV show don't agree with each other very well. That's why the TV show is better. 

For Bionicle's case, it never had an actual TV show or theatrical movie because Lego probably never had that much budget. If Bionicle had, things would be interesting. I would go for the TV show the most rather than the four direct-to-video movies, The Journey to One, books, serials, and a bunch of cancelled plans because I believe they are kind of hard to follow the story. If a theatrical movie that either happens at the start of the story or just have its own story, it should not be a The Lego Movie for its own sake because of what happened to The Lego Ninjago Movie. 

I see that Bionicle is more serious than Ninjago's TV show and the comedy in Ninjago is a bit overused (the movie did more comedy and it did it too much).

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2 hours ago, Lenny7092 said:

I must admit. The Lego Ninjago Movie was a mess. It's like the worst thing we've seen from Ninjago and The Lego Movie Cinematic Universe. The characters in there don't take things seriously. There's no one from TLMCU appearing there. It's like it is in its own universe, like Sony's heinous and should-be-cancelled-soon-for-the-sake-of-Marvel-Studios-character-rights Marvel Universe. It's quite embarrassing to look at it. The giant live-action cat in the movie should be the main antagonist, Lord Garmadon is. The Ninja's looks make them look like cavemen, and Misako is very young and is constantly called "Koko". Garmadon is not cured, either, and he is a fool who likes to lie and push people away in any way. The movie's plot is silly. Wu had made a huge plan to make Lloyd and his dad get along. I mean, it is Wu who started the plot in the first place. Many characters were acting goofy and were never seen in The Lego Movie 2 in 2019 for some reason. That is very weird and annoying.

You, uh...completely missed why TLNM sucks. Literally everything you just said is superficial at best. It doesn't matter how much it ties into TLM or TLBM. The cat shouldn't be the antag; it's not even a real character. Garmadon is the reason why there are problems for the characters to solve in the first place. He should absolutely be the antag, it's just that he's terribly-written, as though the direction for his character changed entirely halfway through the movie. He doesn't have to be cured, particularly when he gets redeemed--but that's still not ideal because this movie doesn't really do a good job of showing how to deal with having your family split up, it just says "hey it's ok you can bring your family back together by being a good boy!!!" But that's a terrible lesson for kids to internalize because, guess what? If Mom and Dad split up, they're probably not gonna reunite just for you.

And stuff like changing Misako's name or having the ninjas look like "cavemen" (no idea why you said that tbh) is all superficial. Lloyd, Koko, and Garm are the only actual characters in the movie. Everyone else is just...there. The ninjas literally have no personalities. At all. The movie absolutely should have changed stuff from the show because the show sucks. It should not have been so haphazardly thrown together, as it seems to be.

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Today I learned why TLNM is bad for reasons I didn't even know.

Seriously, my parents have been divorced so long, I forgot having two parents who are married to each other was even an expectation when it came to families.

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On 4/20/2020 at 11:04 PM, Laval- Master of Energy said:

It doesn't make sense. Why is it in there, anyway?

I don't quite understand this comment.

Let me clarify. I don’t understand why the cat is in the movie. It’s absolutely not necessary. 
 

What I meant “cavemen”, meaning that the Ninja look messed up, the hair at least. People complained that their movie looks had adapted into the TV show. All of the Ninja but Lloyd are acting like minor characters, despite the fact that the TV show started with the first four before Lloyd and Nya. 
 

I mean, their personalities are less seriously than in the TV show, and they are a more goofy level. They don’t look like themselves in pre-Season 8, either. They shown a little less character development than Lloyd in the movie.

Edited by Lenny7092
I forgot something.

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

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Aw, yeesh. I hadn't set foot in the forums in a while, and it's frustrating that the nastiness in this topic is one of the first things I came across when checking back in this evening.Suffice to say, as an avid fan of Ninjago since 2011, I disagree greatly with @Sir Keksalot's description of the series as "garbage", that it "puts the sets before the story in every way".

Now, it's true that Ninjago has had its fair share of weaknesses over the years: inconsistencies in characterization, painfully normative portrayals of gender roles, a glut of action and fantasy storytelling cliches, characters getting sucked into counterproductive feuds or rivalries, a confusing backstory that often seems to get more complicated as the series gets on, adaptations that fall far short of the core story, characters/vehicles/props that serve little to no narrative purpose except promoting a new toy, etc.

But criticizing those sorts of flaws in a topic like this one seems to imply a vastly misguided belief that those faults were somehow LESS present in Bionicle, when in fact Bionicle is itself frequently criticized for all those same weaknesses! Obviously, how much either series is brought down by these weaknesses is highly subjective. To some people, Bionicle might suffer worse from them than Ninjago. To others, Ninjago might be far weaker overall. Some people (like me) manage to find both series highly enjoyable in spite of their flaws — but many people might likewise see BOTH series as childish rubbish!

And all of those perspectives are legitimate — there's no rule that you have to feel the same way about two series no matter HOW much they have in common. But it's important to realize that Ninjago is beloved not only by kids, but also by many teens and adults. That popularity is no fluke, and goes well beyond even the audience of fans who are interested primarily in the toyline and only secondarily in the TV series.

It's not uncommon to find comments online from parents and other caregivers praising it for its story and characters, even if their attitudes towards kids' entertainment more broadly tend to be rather critical (see here , here, and here for just a few examples). By comparison, as good a job as Bionicle did convincing kids like us that it wasn't just a glorified toy commercial aimed at a less-than-discerning kid audience, I feel like nearly every review of Bionicle media between 2001 and 2010 that wasn't on a dedicated Bionicle fansite tended to disparage it as largely mediocre and borderline incomprehensible to anybody who wasn't a preteen mega-fan (this example is pretty typical of a lot of Bionicle reviews by non-fans, and as critical as it is, it's far from the most negative I've seen).

Already, I've seen a number of kids who began enjoying Ninjago as kids or teens go on to maintain that passion into adulthood, just as many people from my own generation did with our passion for Bionicle. And I've encountered quite a few Ninjago fans among the amazing community of fan artists on social media who weren't previously LEGO fans at all, and didn't even start taking notice of the Ninjago toyline until after the story and characters had captured their hearts and imaginations. After all, one thing Bionicle and Ninjago DEFINITELY have in common is that it's much less expensive to begin experiencing them via the storyline than via the toys!

Anyway, I also disagree with some comments that try to define Ninjago strictly as a comedy. It has a lot of humor, certainly, but the same is true for a LOT of kids' action cartoons, up to and including highly acclaimed ones like Avatar: The Last Airbender, Batman: The Animated Series, or She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. The amount of humor present in Ninjago isn't the slightest bit out of the ordinary in that context.

Bionicle itself had its share of humor in a lot of its various media incarnations, like the Mata Nui Online Game, the movies, and to an extent, even the comics and chapter books (though many of Greg's later attempts at humor were in the form of cringy one-liners or out of place pop culture references that fell flat even at the time). Any time that Bionicle DID feel particularly humorless, it tended to be a weakness, not a strength.

Edited by Aanchir
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1 hour ago, Aanchir said:

But criticizing those sorts of flaws in a topic like this one seems to imply a vastly misguided belief that those faults were somehow LESS present in Bionicle, when in fact Bionicle is itself frequently criticized for all those same weaknesses!

One thing that I tried to make clear early on was that I'm well aware that Bionicle's story is...well, kind of a mess. However, one important point I've been making is that you can tell there was an attempt, and the story was mostly just marred by Greg being a lousy writer/worldbuilder. It's evident that he had a lot of fun with the job he was given and just went to town putting in what he thought was cool, whereas Ninjago has failed to convince me that the writers actually like the IP in that way. Case in point: they're clearly out of ideas, as shown by the video game motif, which should have gone to an entirely new theme.

And Bionicle was honestly more creative in its worldbuilding, even if that worldbuilding was a mess. It tied into itself in a meaningful way, with basically everything revolving around the GSR. It had a direction, a point to everything. Ninjago seems to be just adlibbing everything even harder than Bionicle was. Bionicle lore had payoff, even though it was cut short. Ninjago lore is just "oh yep we're doing this I guess" every year.

Where characters are concerned, Ninjago's just outright suck. I've gone at length about this already, but they're basically just walking cliches without a lot of interesting personality traits. At least some Toa went beyond this. Vakama, in particular, became significantly dynamic through the arcs he had as a Toa; and the character interactions just bleed personality, especially in the movies.

1 hour ago, Aanchir said:

Bionicle itself had its share of humor in a lot of its various media incarnations, like the Mata Nui Online Game, the movies, and to an extent, even the comics and chapter books (though many of Greg's later attempts at humor were in the form of cringy one-liners or out of place pop culture references that fell flat even at the time). Any time that Bionicle DID feel particularly humorless, it tended to be a weakness, not a strength.

But that doesn't mean the story's issues can be fixed by adding more jokes. The presence of comedy can be useful to a story if done right, but just adding appropriate levity at good times doesn't make a story good by itself.

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