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Illuminatus

Why People Dislike the Toa Mistika

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I've been hearing this argument over and over lately that people complained the Toa Phantoka/Mistika looked nothing like the Toa Nuva even though "no one complained that the Toa Metru looked nothing like the Turaga or that the Toa Inika looked nothing like the Matoran or that even the Toa Nuva looked nothing like the Toa Mata."

And I'd just like to get into why I think that's an incredibly flawed argument. There is a difference to be made between the reintroduction of the Toa Nuva in 2008 and virtually any other transformation we've seen throughout Bionicle's entire run.

When the Toa Mata came out in 2001, we'd barely had a year to get used to how excited we were about them when they were transformed. And when they were transformed, no one complained because we were barely getting into Bionicle as a theme. The Toa Nuva were new territory. Everything was new territory. Yes, their Kanohi were entirely different, but their builds were literally identical to the original sets' and so were their color schemes, so everyone could clearly make the connection based on how little existed of Bionicle at the time.

Then, for a whole another year, it was just the Toa Nuva as the main and only good guys in Bionicle. They even got their own movie which was epic. The Toa Nuva were beginning to set in as the first and foremost faces of Bionicle.

Then 2004 came and we were all (literally) shocked that the Turaga used to be Toa. And when we saw the Toa Metru, they had barely anything to do with the Turaga in terms of design, but that was okay because a) that was entirely new territory and b) the Toa Nuva were at the back of our minds.

Then 2005 came and the Toa Metru which we barely had time to get used to were transformed into the Toa Hordika, which once again no one complained about because a) we didn't get nearly enough time to get emotionally attached to the Toa Metru, visually speaking and b) the Toa Nuva were still at the back of our minds and we were already craving to "go back home" to Mata Nui.

Then 2006 came and the Toa Nuva supposedly returned only within the story and only to get their butts handed to them (even though they're supposed to be the strongest Toa in existence!?), so that left a bit of bitter feeling. We wanted to see the Toa Nuva but only ever read about them. Then the Toa Inika came and they looked absolutely nothing like their former characters but no one complained because a) this was new and (somewhat) exciting territory and b) the Toa Nuva continued to stay at the back of our minds.

2007, Toa Inika to Toa Mahri, barely any similarity between each set. No one complained because a) we were already used to transformations and how they completely changed the appearances of characters and b) at this point we were dying to see the Toa Nuva again instead of just reading about them.

Enter 2008 and neither the Phantoka nor the Mistika looked anything at all like the Toa Nuva. Everyone complained. Is it really that surprising? Bionicle virtually began with these characters and their appearance as the Toa Nuva was the one that had set in the most. For nearly six years we'd thought of the Toa Nuva as their 2002 set forms and/or their 2003 movie forms. This was virtually the only instance of a Toa team existing for so long and taking part of the story without any indication whatsoever about their appearance changing. And then they looked nothing like those six heroes that had been at the back of our minds for six years. Of course that's disappointing. Their reintroduction was (for the first time in Bionicle) supposed to feel like coming home, not exploring new territory for the 100th time. It wouldn't have cost anyone anything if they were to simply make their masks resemble their Nuva forms. That's it. That's the only thing that needed to be done for everyone to be happy. Nobody would've complained if they saw the Hau on a less-than-original Inika build, because the Hau screams home and were dying to come home.

It would've been the first time LEGO transformed a Toa team with the same masks, but it was also the only time that that was genuinely required. And they entirely disregarded that.

And that's my two cents on the matter.


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Very good point. It seems like with HF and even G2 LEGO finally figured out how to transition gracefully between generations.

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"You are an absolute in these uncertain times. Your past is forgotten, and your
future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer.
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12 hours ago, Master Inika said:

Very good point. It seems like with HF and even G2 LEGO finally figured out how to transition gracefully between generations.

You got a good point. If G3 and Hero Factory G2 were to happened, they would keep the similarities between generations.


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

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Posted (edited)

I agree with your general conclusion, but I do have disagreements with some of the reasoning.

 

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And when we saw the Toa Metru, they had barely anything to do with the Turaga in terms of design, but that was okay because a) that was entirely new territory and b) the Toa Nuva were at the back of our minds.

Ok, so I've got two disagreements here. First of all, I'd argue that the differences here don't matter because Toa and Turaga are supposed to be entirely different forms of a character. A Matoran-Toa-Turaga transformation is expected to alter the character's look significantly, while a Toa-Toa transformation is just a matter of adapting the character to a new setting. There, some similarities are expected.

Secondly, the Toa Metru DO have similarities to the Turaga. The Great Huna, Rau, Ruru and Mahiki take some design cues from their noble counterparts. This isn't a case that can be made with the Komau and Matatu, but it's not like the Turaga-Toa Metru differences are as drastic as the Nuva-Mistika ones.

 

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Then 2005 came and the Toa Metru which we barely had time to get used to were transformed into the Toa Hordika, which once again no one complained about because a) we didn't get nearly enough time to get emotionally attached to the Toa Metru, visually speaking and b) the Toa Nuva were still at the back of our minds and we were already craving to "go back home" to Mata Nui.

Here, again, the design differences make sense. The Hordika are mutations. And there are plenty of similarities to mark that these were the Toa Metru. Their body designs in particular were very similar to the Metru builds. Many of their tools also had similar design elements to their Metru counterparts.

 

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Then 2006 came and the Toa Nuva supposedly returned only within the story and only to get their butts handed to them (even though they're supposed to be the strongest Toa in existence!?), so that left a bit of bitter feeling.

The "they're supposed to be the strongest Toa" argument bothers me. Being the strongest doesn't guarantee a win. Sure, it's obvious that the Nuva had to lose because of the upcoming Inika sets, but that doesn't invalidate their loss against the Piraka from a story perspective. Underdogs do win sometimes, and the Piraka were very powerful themselves.

 

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We wanted to see the Toa Nuva but only ever read about them. Then the Toa Inika came and they looked absolutely nothing like their former characters but no one complained because a) this was new and (somewhat) exciting territory and b) the Toa Nuva continued to stay at the back of our minds.

Again, like with the Turaga-Toa Metru comparison, the changes were far more acceptable because the transformation was from Matoran to Toa. Not only that, their differences in appearance were given a solid reasoning in the story (new masks + charged by lightning)

 

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2007, Toa Inika to Toa Mahri, barely any similarity between each set. No one complained because a) we were already used to transformations and how they completely changed the appearances of characters and b) at this point we were dying to see the Toa Nuva again instead of just reading about them.

Here's the first instance that is actually comparable to the Nuva-Mistika transformation. The Mahri look nothing like the Inika, and the story explanation for that is extremely flimsy. Heck, some of them completely change body types (Kongu being the worst offender). I'd argue that this is almost as egregious as the Nuva-Mistika transformation, but the fact that they came right after the Inika meant that they used the Inika build, which slightly softened the whiplash of them changing forms. People also generally like the Mahri sets, which certainly helps their reputation.

 

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Enter 2008 and neither the Phantoka nor the Mistika looked anything at all like the Toa Nuva.

Ok, I don't know why you think the Phantoka don't look anything at all like the Toa Nuva. There are plenty of differences, certainly, but you can still tell that they take some design cues from the Nuva (even if executed super lazily, like with Kopaka's eyepiece changing sides). Pohatu is short and broad, with a mask reminiscent of the Kakama, while Lewa is tall and lean, and his mask is also believable as an adapted Miru Nuva. Even with the differences, the "spirit" of these redesigns fits the characters they're supposed to portray.

And here we get to the real reasons why people dislike the Mistika. They literally had no similarities whatsoever to their 2003 counterparts. Not only that, they had body designs that strongly contradicted everything we knew about them. Onua was suddenly tall and lanky. Gali became a hunchback instead of Onua. Their masks bore no resemblance to the Nuva masks. Their weapons were completely different, as were their color schemes (aside from Onua). Gali looked positively hideous, despite having quite an elegant appearance in both Mata and Nuva form. Then there's the overabundance of silver in the sets, which just made them unappealing regardless of what characters they were trying to depict.

 

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This was virtually the only instance of a Toa team existing for so long and taking part of the story without any indication whatsoever about their appearance changing.

This is a good point, I think. No one expected a change of appearance with the Nuva (at least not from a story perspective). Even the story reason didn't imply the drastic change that we got. The adaptive armor supposedly reverts to looking like the 2003 Nuva in neutral environments. Yet, in a swamp environment, it suddenly makes Gali a hunchback and gives Onua a growth spurt? It just didn't work on any level.

 

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It wouldn't have cost anyone anything if they were to simply make their masks resemble their Nuva forms. That's it. That's the only thing that needed to be done for everyone to be happy. Nobody would've complained if they saw the Hau on a less-than-original Inika build, because the Hau screams home and were dying to come home.

I disagree with this, because of what I already said about the body types.

 

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It would've been the first time LEGO transformed a Toa team with the same masks, but it was also the only time that that was genuinely required.

This is another good point. With the Inika-Mahri transformation, the change of mask powers at least gave somewhat of a justification for their change of appearance (even if it was poorly done). With the Nuva, the masks didn't change, so the completely different looks feel all the more wrong.

 

Edited by Toatapio Nuva
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Posted (edited)
On 10/1/2020 at 1:14 PM, Illuminatus said:

Yes, their Kanohi were entirely different

Not entirely. The Hau Nuva is very recognizable as a Hau.

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Then the Toa Inika came and they looked absolutely nothing like their former characters but no one complained

I disagree with this; I was against their non-traditional masks because they were incompatible with the earlier (and, incidentally, later) Toa heads. Not to mention that their own heads, originally announced to be glow-in-the-dark, were not glow-in-the-dark, meaning they had pointless, featureless faces that just blended from white to green, all for no apparent reason.

On 10/2/2020 at 10:26 AM, Toatapio Nuva said:

This isn't a case that can be made with the Komau and Matatu, but it's not like the Turaga-Toa Metru differences are as drastic as the Nuva-Mistika ones.

I disagree to a certain extent on the Matatu; the lower half of the Great version is rather similar to that of the Noble version.

As for the argument as a whole, I generally agree. I, as I assume most other fans were, was hoping at the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006 that the Toa Nuva would return to the story front and center. We were told they would be the protagonists of the first book, so that seemed to be the implication. But then the Toa were horribly defeated and taken captive in BOTH of the first two books, and the summer sets’ names were discovered, and it was clear that wouldn’t be the case. I was disappointed, though it was cool to see some of the less-focused-on Matoran (Jaller and Hahli notwithstanding) become heroes in their own right. For the record, though, I still have a hard time taking Greg’s explanation seriously. He said the Toa Nuva expected no resistance on Voya Nui and were defeated because they were taken completely by surprise. So a group of trained heroes who work together were completely whooped by some undisciplined, brutish, Dark Hunter-dropout punks?

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Ok, I don't know why you think the Phantoka don't look anything at all like the Toa Nuva.

I never really thought they did, either. They’re better than the Mistika Toa Nuva, but if you ask me, the only reason we could really tell any of them were the Toa Nuva is because their canisters had “Toa Kopaka,” “Toa Onua,” etc. printed on them. In fact, the Miru that came with the Axalara was closer to the original Miru Nuva, simply because it had that separate piece with the “wings” under it.

However...there is another argument to be made. You mentioned that each incarnation of an individual Toa looked different because they were “transformed.” This is not true in this particular case. The Toa Nuva weren’t truly “transformed” for their 2008 sets. They are wearing the Adaptive Armor. Their actual bodies are identical to the way they looked in 2002. The key factor here is that they’re adding an artificial layer over their bodies, which inevitably changes their perceived physique. Now, if anything, it should mostly make them look more bulky and stocky, and would definitely not magically make Onua taller and skinnier, so that particular aspect is still flawed.

Regardless of their torsos, though, the armor doesn’t seem to justify completely remaking their masks from scratch, or making Gali ugly (though that picks up on the tradition of uglifying Toa of Water that the mustachioed Inika Hahli started). In conclusion, I agree that the 2008 Toa were rather poor quality in terms of redesigning the Toa Nuva. They weren’t terrible sets, but they were bad representations of the characters we longed to return to.

...now, would anyone care to discuss 2008 Takanuva?

Edited by Cheesy Mac n Cheese
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I concede most of your points. :) Most of my arguments were hastily written so I understand where and why they're probably wrong. I'm happy that you agree with my general conclusion, though.

2008 Takanuva... actually looked more like 2003 Takanuva than any of the other Phantoka/Mistika looked like their former versions. That's my opinion anyway.


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13 hours ago, Illuminatus said:

2008 Takanuva... actually looked more like 2003 Takanuva than any of the other Phantoka/Mistika looked like their former versions.

I guess, but let’s face it: was it really that hard to make him more recognizable than the others?


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4 hours ago, Cheesy Mac n Cheese said:

I guess, but let’s face it: was it really that hard to make him more recognizable than the others?

They could have called that flying zamor launcher with wings polybag Takanuva and it would have been more recognizable than the Mistika.

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"You are an absolute in these uncertain times. Your past is forgotten, and your
future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer.
"
-- Turaga Nokama

nichijou2.jpg

Click here to visit my library!

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