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2003 was the first year we saw a BIONICLE Villain


Wiriamu
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So I was thinking about Bionicle the other day-something I do on occasion-and I had a sudden realization: we didn't see an actual Bionicle set depicting a villain until 2003. Here's my logic:

 

*In 2001 the antagonist sets were the Rahi, which-as we know-were under Makuta Teridax's control and thus not truly evil. The one exception might be the Manas, given that many of them apparently served Karzahni of their own free will, but the indication is that the ones who appeared in 2001 storyline were being controlled by Infected Kanohi and thus not serving Teridax willingly.

*In 2002 the antagonists sets were the Bohrok and, as we know, their conflict with the Toa was based on a misunderstanding and the unfortunate-at least in the grand scheme's eyes-settlement of the Metru Nui Matoran on Mata Nui. A few years down the road, of course, the Toa Nuva would release the Bohrok to carry out their mission of clearing all the unwanted buildup from on top of Mata Nui's face.

*For the first half of 2003 the antagonists were the Bohrok-Kal, whose only objective was to free the Bahrag so that the Bohrok could complete their appointed mission, which-as I've already mentioned-was only a problem because the Matoran were threatened by this and the Toa Nuva were ignorant of why this was necessary at the time. Granted, the Kal did seem to enjoy tormenting the Toa a bit more than was required for their task, but their purpose wasn't inherently evil.

 

As such, the first true villains to be introduced in Bionicle were the Rahkshi and Teridax in the second wave of 2003.

 

It took me thirteen years to notice, but I thought it was an interesting point to bring up.

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Actually this is a very good point. This just shows the brilliant and elaborate nature of the Mata Nui island saga of Generation 1 - I like when the lines between good and evil blur together, it makes the story more interesting. Too bad that in the subsequent 3 sagas  they didn't make use of this kind of creative complexity as well.

 

Good thing is that with Generation 2 we got this approach back - Makuta was never truly evil, he was only corrupted by the Mask of ultimate power. Back in his days as the mask maker he was just an I. R. Baboon type of individual. Back then Makuta wasn't more evil that a girl friend reading text messages on your phone  ^_^

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I was thinking a similar thing about Teridax in 2001, too. The Infected Rahi were just his mind-controlled servants. The Bohrok were supposed to destroy the island, so the Great Spirit Mata Nui can awaken. The Bohrok Kal were trying to undo the Bahrag's imprisonment, so the Bahrag can have the Bohrok do their mission. True, all of these creatures harmed the Matoran and Toa, but the Rahi never wanted to do that, the Bohrok are just doing their job to help the Great Spirit, and the Kal are just helping the Bohrok carry out their mission.

So, these guys are not the Toa's true enemies. It's just that they are either forced against their will or just a big misunderstanding by the Toa, Matoran, and the Turaga. The Toa fought the Rahi because they were harming the Matoran, which is what Teridax wanted. The Toa just misunderstood the Bohrok because the Bohrok harmed the Matoran. The Toa also fought the Bohrok Kal because they stole their Nuva Symbols and harmed them and the Matoran to get them out of the way on their mission.

The Toa's true enemies are Teridax and the Rahkshi in late 2003. They are truly evil, and are the first truly evil villains to be released as sets. Overall, yeah, I agree with you about Teridax and other antagonists in 2001-2003. Very nice analysis. I like the idea of starting with not-truly-evil beings as antagonists before doing the truly evil antagonists, too.:)

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Even the Rahkshi and Makuta as villains in 2003 was a retcon. I'm not kidding - the 2003 style guide says Makuta "will eventually be shown to have good reasons for his seemingly nasty behavior... it is his methods that are at fault more than his motivation." Christian Faber corroborates this in this blog post where he ties it to the Makuta = virus analogy.

 

The first time we got real 'villains' would have been somewhere between 2004 and 2006, depending on when you want to place the redo of Makuta's character.

 

Early Bionicle seemed like it may have been aiming for a message about how enemies frequently have actual motivations for what they do, and that you should try to understand and work with them rather than blindly antagonizing them. Unfortunately that just seems to have been forgotten somewhere along the way.

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believe victims. its actually not that hard, and youd look kind of bad if you were to, say, side with an abuser because theyre your friend

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Under the strict definition of "villain" and limiting your scope to characters released as sets, you would be correct. But not if you expand your scope to include all antagonists (which both the Rahi and Bohrok would qualify as) or to include characters who were not released as sets (with Makuta first appearing in the Mata Nui Online Game and other media in 2001). Also, I would consider the Bohrok Kal to indisputably qualify as villains, since even if their quest to unleash the Bahrag again had a noble purpose, their power-mad desire to rule Mata Nui alongside the Bahrag and clear Mata Nui on their own would escalate them into true villainy (though even then the Kal, like Makuta and the Rahkshi, did not appear as sets until 2003).

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Even the Rahkshi and Makuta as villains in 2003 was a retcon. I'm not kidding - the 2003 style guide says Makuta "will eventually be shown to have good reasons for his seemingly nasty behavior... it is his methods that are at fault more than his motivation." Christian Faber corroborates this in this blog post where he ties it to the Makuta = virus analogy.

 

The first time we got real 'villains' would have been somewhere between 2004 and 2006, depending on when you want to place the redo of Makuta's character.

 

Early Bionicle seemed like it may have been aiming for a message about how enemies frequently have actual motivations for what they do, and that you should try to understand and work with them rather than blindly antagonizing them. Unfortunately that just seems to have been forgotten somewhere along the way.

Fiction is full of villains who ultimately have good intentions, or at least, believe that they do. I think even if Makuta had good intentions, his methods even in the early years were probably more than enough to safely call him a villain. I mean, he was repeatedly sending dangerous monsters to terrorize innocent villagers. While there was no established death toll, there were many established instances that Matoran could have died and nothing to indicate that Makuta would've dialed back his efforts in those circumstances. He knew that his actions put Matoran in mortal peril and was seemingly OK with that.

 

Now, it's possible that the Makuta of the early years might've been more redeemable than his characterization made him out to be later on, so that at some point he might've been able to realize the error of his ways and give up being a villain. But it's hard to tell, since his motivations in those early years were not elaborated on at that time. And given the direction the story ended up taking, despite the continued involvement of many of the same people from those early years, I kind of doubt the story would have gone in the direction of truly redeeming Makuta even if it could have. Faber, Farshtey, etc. seemed to prefer keeping him a villain.

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It's great storytelling. Wave after wave of enemies and then finally we see the puppetmaster. It's a very good reveal 


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I assume we're classifying the Bahrag in with the Bohrok in all of this? At first glance I would have thought they were fairly independent beings, but a closer look leads me to believe the Kal actually had more free will.

 

The reason I bring it up is that you call out the word set and that, at the time, the Bahrag were perceived as and presented to be plenty evil, even if the ultimate, revealed plan was for them to be more...confused and misunderstood.

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Early Bionicle seemed like it may have been aiming for a message about how enemies frequently have actual motivations for what they do, and that you should try to understand and work with them rather than blindly antagonizing them. Unfortunately that just seems to have been forgotten somewhere along the way.

I'd say you can at least partially thank Mask of Light for that. It was in the end really hard keep any of the original intentions of Makuta's character, once the decision was made to cap off the first big story arc with a terrible movie made by people who thought Bionicle was Lord of the Rings with robots.

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Yes, indeed we had alot of antagonists, the first true villain we had (set form) however, was 2003's Terri.

 

I'd like to add, that while say, the Bohrok were not inherently evil, and in fact were created to do good (clearing Mata-Nui's face cover thing so he can continue roaming space or whatever he does), in the Bohrok Invasion they absolutely had to be stopped.

Yes they were doing their job, yes they thought they were doing good. But the fact was that they were (through no true fault of their own) hurting and killing innocent Matoran and destroying their homes. Regardless of what they believed, regardless of their point of view, the truth was that they were doing was wrong, and that they absolutely had to be stopped. in peaceful ways if possible, but it seems the circumstances didn't allow for that.

 

Other than that yea, the Bohrok are pretty awesome. Best cleanup crew there is. Also my favorite villain line ever. So there's that.

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The Kal were quite alive in comparison to their swarm brethren. but they were still just janitors in the end. That whole twist made for a very intricate and almost confusing storyline when I was a kid. It was great to see the puppetmaster finally revealed in late 2003. I remember being super excited about the new Kanohi worn by Terridax (as well as Takanuva's beautiful Avohkii).

However, Doublebee makes a great point. The ambiguity of the bohrok's mission is one of the best plots in Bionicle Gen 1. And it took a while to be revealed in full, as the Toa eventually allowed the swarms to do their work as they depart for Metru-Nui (way after 2003).

All in all, for a children's toy line, Farshtey and Co. did a pretty swell job telling a story.

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