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Is Ninjago the next Bionicle?


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18 hours ago, Sir Keksalot said:

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.

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.

Your criticism of Ninjago's humor is just as applicable to Bionicle's worldbuilding. Interesting worldbuilding on its own does not make a story good. On the contrary, having too much worldbuilding makes a story harder and less rewarding to get into than a story where the worldbuilding is done according to the needs of the story and characters at any given time. "Creativity" isn't worth much if the story is a chore to get through and the worldbuilding barely contributes to the characters' emotional growth.

Speaking of characters... most of Ninjago's characters, like the vast majority of Bionicle's characters, are archetypes. Yes, they are types of characters that are familiar from a wide variety of stories, but that in and of itself is not a weakness. And honestly, cherry picking the few Bionicle characters who happened to express decent emotion or exhibit significant growth doesn't make that franchise's characterization any better. Most Bionicle characters were just as shallow as Ninjago's, if not moreso, which wasn't helped by the story's tendency to sideline its cast in favor of a new one every two to three years. It also wasn't helped by the Bionicle story's reluctance to ever let its characters experience a full range of emotions or have lives outside of being heroes. Ninjago's characters have WAY more interesting traits than most of Bionicle's. They have families, they have hobbies, they react to different scenarios differently from one another. They experience personal crises and personal growth in ways that are not merely a linear path from "not getting along as a team" to "getting along as a team" with no meaningful development or change beyond that point.

I think that's one of the reasons why Bionicle's ending felt so unsatisfying—the big evil was defeated, everybody could finally live peacefully, but the story had given us barely any idea what that was supposed to look like for characters whose only roles up to that point were either being heroes, needing to be rescued by heroes, or working their lives away in a dull monotony that was supposedly their only purpose for existing. "Happily ever after" doesn't work when you have rarely allowed your characters to actually be happy.

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Formerly Lyichir: Rachira of Influence

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You seem to be under the impression that I'm saying Bionicle is particularly good. I'm not. Bionicle's story ranged from decent to outright bad at times, but it had a lot more heart behind it. Ninjago, on the other hand, is starved for ideas and just sucks unabashedly, with little care put into it. Like I said, it never gives the sense that the writers actually care about it.

1 hour ago, Lyichir said:

Your criticism of Ninjago's humor is just as applicable to Bionicle's worldbuilding.

I didn't really criticize Ninjago's humor at any point. All I said was that just being comedic doesn't compensate for bad writing.

1 hour ago, Lyichir said:

Interesting worldbuilding on its own does not make a story good.

Never said it did. I said Bionicle had more interesting worldbuilding, which largely owes to it having a direction from the start.

1 hour ago, Lyichir said:

Speaking of characters... most of Ninjago's characters, like the vast majority of Bionicle's characters, are archetypes. Yes, they are types of characters that are familiar from a wide variety of stories, but that in and of itself is not a weakness.

I didn't say it was. It's a weakness that they're ONLY archetypes. They don't go above and beyond to be a whole lot else.

1 hour ago, Lyichir said:

Most Bionicle characters were just as shallow as Ninjago's, if not moreso, which wasn't helped by the story's tendency to sideline its cast in favor of a new one every two to three years.

That's actually something I wanna talk about more. Bionicle swapped out its main cast every so often so you weren't stuck with the same bland characters for a decade, something Ninjago has done. I feel like even after a few seasons, there just wasn't any more to see of these characters. Again, the "Jole" incident exemplifies this. It's contrived, it's pointless, it's idiotic, and it was the thing that made me give up on the show entirely.

1 hour ago, Lyichir said:

Ninjago's characters have WAY more interesting traits than most of Bionicle's. They have families, they have hobbies, they react to different scenarios differently from one another.

That's not really interesting. Like, at all. That's the bare minimum one should expect from having multiple characters.

1 hour ago, Lyichir said:

They experience personal crises and personal growth in ways that are not merely a linear path from "not getting along as a team" to "getting along as a team" with no meaningful development or change beyond that point.

Sure, if you call Zane learning that he's a robot and getting over it in a matter of minutes and Cole literally dying and becoming a ghost for a while only to move on no sooner than he gets his corporeal body back "personal crises and personal growth." The closest analogue to this nonsense in Bionicle that I can think of is the incident where Lewa gets mind-controlled for the second time, and even then, he's visibly shaken up by it for a while, having serious self-doubt and fearing that the other Toa don't trust him, so while that didn't have nearly enough of a long-term impact as it should have, it still HAD an impact. Zane was a little sad for a while and then BAM! He's over it and he gets more power for it.

1 hour ago, Lyichir said:

I think that's one of the reasons why Bionicle's ending felt so unsatisfying—the big evil was defeated, everybody could finally live peacefully, but the story had given us barely any idea what that was supposed to look like for characters whose only roles up to that point were either being heroes, needing to be rescued by heroes, or working their lives away in a dull monotony that was supposedly their only purpose for existing.

This largely owes to Bionicle being too edgy. In the early years, Mata Nui was described as an island paradise; there was a sense that there was some good to return to once Terry was defeated. Then 04 happened and the default state for the world became 1984 with cyborgs. If Greg were a good writer and knew how to write characters better, then maybe that would have helped out some more; but the worldbuilding is mostly to blame here.

Edited by Sir Keksalot
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1 hour ago, Lyichir said:

I think that's one of the reasons why Bionicle's ending felt so unsatisfying—the big evil was defeated, everybody could finally live peacefully, but the story had given us barely any idea what that was supposed to look like for characters whose only roles up to that point were either being heroes, needing to be rescued by heroes, or working their lives away in a dull monotony that was supposedly their only purpose for existing. "Happily ever after" doesn't work when you have rarely allowed your characters to actually be happy.

Hmm. This is a very interesting take on Bionicle's ending. Though I wonder if it's really true - I mean, the Bionicle characters make jokes, and at least among the Toa, they have each other. I don't think that every character was always sad all the time. What about the Le-Matoran celebrating in MNOG? 

In real life, though, Bionicle is more a representation of going through trauma and abuse than the aftermath when you have defeated evil. It might be an interesting idea to extend the G1 story out to tell the story of the Toa and Matoran learning how to engage in productive work and transition to life on Spherus Magna. There's a lot to cover: the trauma of moving to a new place, the excitement of a new adventure. Personally I like to think that the Toa and Matoran built a fortified city on Spherus Magna and helped the Agori and Glatorian take care of the next generation of Agori/Glatorian children, but maybe that is sentimental of me. Others - like Takanuva - would likely be more interested in exploring. 

I agree here - there's a story of recovery to tell, and it would be an interesting story indeed and be very deep. It would be a bit rough to tell within the premise of an action-figure toyline. It may be a viable option for a story-only Bionicle or perhaps some good fanfiction. 

7 minutes ago, Sir Keksalot said:

Then 04 happened and the default state for the world became 1984 with cyborgs.

I find this comment funny. But it is a fair point that after 04, the setting was harsh and antagonistic in some form. Though Mata Nui did have a lava river, and sharks...

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1 hour ago, Sir Keksalot said:

You seem to be under the impression that I'm saying Bionicle is particularly good. I'm not. Bionicle's story ranged from decent to outright bad at times, but it had a lot more heart behind it. Ninjago, on the other hand, is starved for ideas and just sucks unabashedly, with little care put into it. Like I said, it never gives the sense that the writers actually care about it.

I didn't really criticize Ninjago's humor at any point. All I said was that just being comedic doesn't compensate for bad writing.

Never said it did. I said Bionicle had more interesting worldbuilding, which largely owes to it having a direction from the start.

I didn't say it was. It's a weakness that they're ONLY archetypes. They don't go above and beyond to be a whole lot else.

That's actually something I wanna talk about more. Bionicle swapped out its main cast every so often so you weren't stuck with the same bland characters for a decade, something Ninjago has done. I feel like even after a few seasons, there just wasn't any more to see of these characters. Again, the "Jole" incident exemplifies this. It's contrived, it's pointless, it's idiotic, and it was the thing that made me give up on the show entirely.

That's not really interesting. Like, at all. That's the bare minimum one should expect from having multiple characters.

Sure, if you call Zane learning that he's a robot and getting over it in a matter of minutes and Cole literally dying and becoming a ghost for a while only to move on no sooner than he gets his corporeal body back "personal crises and personal growth." The closest analogue to this nonsense in Bionicle that I can think of is the incident where Lewa gets mind-controlled for the second time, and even then, he's visibly shaken up by it for a while, having serious self-doubt and fearing that the other Toa don't trust him, so while that didn't have nearly enough of a long-term impact as it should have, it still HAD an impact. Zane was a little sad for a while and then BAM! He's over it and he gets more power for it.

This largely owes to Bionicle being too edgy. In the early years, Mata Nui was described as an island paradise; there was a sense that there was some good to return to once Terry was defeated. Then 04 happened and the default state for the world became 1984 with cyborgs. If Greg were a good writer and knew how to write characters better, then maybe that would have helped out some more; but the worldbuilding is mostly to blame here.

I'm wondering at this point whether we've even been watching the same series. Like, the episode where Zane discovers his true nature has more emotional impact in it than pretty much... anything I can think of in Bionicle. Maybe Matoro's death came close? And yes, Zane didn't let that completely devastate him... but it continued to have an impact on his characterization, motivations, and emotions throughout the rest of the series. It's not something that just went ignored.

You think the characters in Ninjago are bland. I can't exactly comprehend how you feel that way, especially if you think a character like Vakama is somehow written better (he's not) but opinions are opinions. But keep in mind that it's "just" an opinion. You can say the writing is bad until the cows come home, but you seem to be really struggling to articulate how Bionicle was some uniquely special story that somehow managed to be that way despite never really having great writing, yet Ninjago is somehow lazy and bad and terrible despite its strong points being stronger than Bionicle's and its weak points being less weak? It's asinine trying to argue with you when somehow all of Bionicle's stupid decisions can be handwaved away as "Greg being bad at writing" but Ninjago's weaker plotlines, which the story has a good track record of overcoming and moving on from, are somehow emblematic of everything that makes it worse.

And yeah, you're right that having characters have families, hobbies, and the ability to react, change, and grow from changes in one's circumstances should be the bare minimum for having multiple characters. So why are you praising a story that struggled to meet those standards time and time again as superior to one that has met them consistently?

Edited by Lyichir

Formerly Lyichir: Rachira of Influence

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21 hours ago, Sir Keksalot said:

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.

It's a little embarrassing when your go-to evidence that the Ninjago creators are "out of ideas" is that they used a new idea you think they shouldn't have. All that shows is that they have a more open-minded and imaginative idea of the theme's scope than you do.

Furthermore, the theme's creators like Tommy Andreasen, the Hageman brothers, Bragi Schut, etc. have made it extremely clear on Twitter, in interviews, and in their convention appearances just how much they enjoy coming up with wild new adventures for the ninja. Tommy in particular has shared quite a bit of fan art and fan fiction of the series which he's created purely for fun, rather than as part of his work on the series! For that matter, he's been every bit as enthusiastic about interacting with Ninjago fans as Greg was with Bionicle fans. He and Bragi routinely encourage fans to share various forms of creative work inspired by the series and weigh in with their perspectives about the story and characters.

Needless to say, this all still reeks of sour grapes on your part. You entered this discussion with a shallow and indignant retort that Ninjago can't be "the next Bionicle" because "Bionicle was actually good." Since then, your attempt to justify that argument has devolved into flimsy assumptions about whether the Ninjago creators actually enjoy or care about their work. Surely you realize that trying to make claims about what Ninjago's writers think or feel about their own work, when you haven't even demonstrated that you know any of them by name, reads as nothing more than psychological projection?

And that's not even getting into the arbitrary double standards you've employed in this thread. You give Bionicle credit for "fostering" the growth of other story-driven themes like Knights' Kingdom II, Exo-Force, and Atlantis… but blame Ninjago for "stifling" the growth of story-driven themes like Legends of Chima, Elves, Nexo Knights, or Hidden Side. Most of these themes lasted about the same amount of time, and the examples from Ninjago's lifetime generally had more sets and a larger media profile than their earlier counterparts. But it doesn't suit your narrative to acknowledge that the themes have not shown any meaningful difference in their impact on the themes around them, does it?

This pattern occurs throughout your posts. Positive things happen BECAUSE of Bionicle's presumed "goodness" and IN SPITE of Ninjago's presumed "badness". Bad things happen BECAUSE of Ninjago's presumed "badness" and IN SPITE of Bionicle's presumed "goodness". You frame every strength of Bionicle and weakness of Ninjago as "the norm", and every weakness of Bionicle and strength of Ninjago as "exceptions". Unless you can put forth an argument for how Ninjago and Bionicle differ that isn't just a painfully obvious attempt to universalize your own subjective preferences, I'm not sure there's any value to engaging with your petty grievances any further.

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3 hours ago, 21Boomerangs said:

But it is a fair point that after 04, the setting was harsh and antagonistic in some form. Though Mata Nui did have a lava river, and sharks...

It also wasn't a blatant dystopia. It was a scenic, natural environment, with sweeping vistas and lots of moments of tranquility. The sharks weren't an oppressive thought police that would throw you in the gulag if you were a minute late to work.

2 hours ago, Lyichir said:

I'm wondering at this point whether we've even been watching the same series. Like, the episode where Zane discovers his true nature has more emotional impact in it than pretty much... anything I can think of in Bionicle. Maybe Matoro's death came close? And yes, Zane didn't let that completely devastate him... but it continued to have an impact on his characterization, motivations, and emotions throughout the rest of the series. It's not something that just went ignored.

I have no idea how you got any real emotional impact from that episode. Zane being a robot became a plot point, but I never got the sense that it had nearly the impact it should have had. This is the kinda thing that gives a man an existential crisis. It should have made Zane question whether he even counted as a person. And what about his relationship with Jay, who has a habit of poking fun at his eccentricities? There SHOULD have been a substantial rift between them. Imagine if we got to see Zane angry. Like, really angry. Legitimately hurt after a serious personal crisis. But no, he's all peachy by the episode's end. He needed AT LEAST a season to work through this thing, but his arc skipped over the part where he actually needs to grow as a person.

And don't get me started on Lloyd. Never--not ONCE--does it really matter that he's skipped out on basically his entire childhood, on being a kid. This is easily on par with the kinda thing Zane has on his plate, but Lloyd didn't even get an episode to address this.

2 hours ago, Lyichir said:

You think the characters in Ninjago are bland. I can't exactly comprehend how you feel that way, especially if you think a character like Vakama is somehow written better (he's not)

Because he's actually dynamic and relatable? Because he has a personality beyond a single character trait? Because I could actually felt a personal connection to this character? Because, through the course of the movies, he had not one, but TWO significant character arcs? Seriously, show me how ANY of Ninjago's characters are better than him. Any of them.

2 hours ago, Lyichir said:

You can say the writing is bad until the cows come home, but you seem to be really struggling to articulate how Bionicle was some uniquely special story that somehow managed to be that way despite never really having great writing, yet Ninjago is somehow lazy and bad and terrible despite its strong points being stronger than Bionicle's and its weak points being less weak?

My entire argument is merely that Bionicle sucks less, if only in different chunks of its story. Bionicle's shortcomings can be chalked up to some incompetence in spite of genuine effort. Ninjago is just lazy and uninspired. And how exactly are Ninjago's "strong points" at all stronger than Bionicle's?

2 hours ago, Lyichir said:

So why are you praising a story that struggled to meet those standards time and time again as superior to one that has met them consistently?

Relatively-speaking, Bionicle's story was more inventive and had better worldbuilding. It had better writing at times, and it gave us better memes. How many memes has Ninjago given us, eh? I thought so. Wake me when horizontal Cole becomes a thing.

2 hours ago, Aanchir said:

It's a little embarrassing when your go-to evidence that the Ninjago creators are "out of ideas" is that they used a new idea you think they shouldn't have. All that shows is that they have a more open-minded and imaginative idea of the theme's scope than you do.

I mean, it's not remotely an original idea, and it's wildly outside the scope of anything in Ninjago that came before it, and it should have been used for an entirely new Lego theme, but sure, I'm the closed-minded one because Lego decided to just give up on coming up with anything actually cool for Ninjago, if only for a season.

2 hours ago, Aanchir said:

Needless to say, this all still reeks of sour grapes on your part.

If by that, you mean that I'm rather frustrated that this theme that refuses to die no matter what has incredibly lackluster storytelling when it's even planted the seeds for something legitimately good, then yeah, my grapes are far past their expiration date. I would have a very different take if the show were particularly good beyond the most superficial level; say, if it were on par with TFA. Then I'd shut my trap and accept that this new theme comes with some positives beyond getting good sets with every wave. Where Bionicle didn't let itself have enough levity, Ninjago doesn't let itself have enough gravity. Bionicle was too angsty; Ninjago excludes angst, even when it'd be appropriate to be angsty. No, that's not where either of their problems begin or end, but it's more or less how their problems differ.

2 hours ago, Aanchir said:

You entered this discussion with a shallow and indignant retort that Ninjago can't be "the next Bionicle" because "Bionicle was actually good."

That was mostly meant as a sarcastic reply which grossly oversimplifies the matter. I said it that way because I thought it was moderately comical.

2 hours ago, Aanchir said:

Since then, your attempt to justify that argument has devolved into flimsy assumptions about whether the Ninjago creators actually enjoy or care about their work. Surely you realize that trying to make claims about what Ninjago's writers think or feel about their own work, when you haven't even demonstrated that you know any of them by name, reads as nothing more than psychological projection?

You've pointed to their interactions with the community as citation that they're actually having fun with their job, and maybe they are. Maybe they're just trying to cobble something together, but don't know how to make compelling characters. I cited that as a likely cause for the problem, not a justification for my argument.

And I find it rather odd that you point to me accusing the writers of having a certain mindset whilst accusing me of having a certain mindset. Tell you what, you stop assuming where I'm coming from, I'll stop assuming where everyone else is coming from, capiche?

2 hours ago, Aanchir said:

And that's not even getting into the arbitrary double standards you've employed in this thread. You give Bionicle credit for "fostering" the growth of other story-driven themes like Knights' Kingdom II, Exo-Force, and Atlantis

Did Bionicle influence Atlantis at all? I don't remember citing it as a byproduct of Bionicle in particular. Those first 2 themes followed a similar formula to Bionicle on purpose.

2 hours ago, Aanchir said:

Legends of Chima, Elves, Nexo Knights, or Hidden Side.

Elves was meant to fill an entirely different niche, at least on conception. And Hidden Side has a story? Not being sarcastic, I'm genuinely asking. I know there are some named characters, but is there any supporting media outside the app? Or does the app have a campaign and a plot, or something?

2 hours ago, Aanchir said:

Most of these themes lasted about the same amount of time, and the examples from Ninjago's lifetime generally had more sets and a larger media profile than their earlier counterparts. But it doesn't suit your narrative to acknowledge that the themes have not shown any meaningful difference in their impact on the themes around them, does it?

In hindsight, the drop in original themes could just be explained by the rising prevalence in licensed themes, and I was under the impression that these themes just sorta came and went without much fanfare, like any other theme. HS is still very much alive, thankfully; though, again, it kinda does fill a different role from the other action themes. Not to mention the greater time break between action themes following NK; the time between it and the next action theme (Monkey Kid) will be the longest in a while, and I'd wager this next theme solely exists to appeal to the Chinese market, so you can understand why I think SOMETHING'S up, I hope. Maybe it's the evergreen theme eating up the competition, maybe it's something else, maybe it's something behind the scenes.

3 hours ago, Aanchir said:

This pattern occurs throughout your posts. Positive things happen BECAUSE of Bionicle's presumed "goodness" and IN SPITE of Ninjago's presumed "badness". Bad things happen BECAUSE of Ninjago's presumed "badness" and IN SPITE of Bionicle's presumed "goodness". You frame every strength of Bionicle and weakness of Ninjago as "the norm", and every weakness of Bionicle and strength of Ninjago as "exceptions". Unless you can put forth an argument for how Ninjago and Bionicle differ that isn't just a painfully obvious attempt to universalize your own subjective preferences, I'm not sure there's any value to engaging with your petty grievances any further.

I mean...I already have, but you're clearly ignoring it. Really, I don't know why this is still going. Both stories fail more than they succeed, it's just that the dumbest things in Ninjago are dumber than the dumbest things in Bionicle. Mostly because Ninjago has Jole. Jole is the real villain here.

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On 4/28/2020 at 1:07 AM, Sir Keksalot said:

It also wasn't a blatant dystopia. It was a scenic, natural environment, with sweeping vistas and lots of moments of tranquility. The sharks weren't an oppressive thought police that would throw you in the gulag if you were a minute late to work.

Tell that to President Business. (<--joke) The sharks were controlled by Makuta though, and weren't exactly friendly - though that really doesn't support my argument, seeing as a villain being in town doesn't make anything a dystopia. Fair point.  

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Yeah, it's the facts vs. emotion thing going on. 

On 4/27/2020 at 9:46 PM, Lyichir said:

I can't exactly comprehend how you feel that way, especially if you think a character like Vakama is somehow written better (he's not) but opinions are opinions.

Um, in my opinion Vakama was the best well-written character in the whole Bionicle. He goes from fear and self-deprecation/hatred to taking on the story's main villain single-handedly. This character inspired me to take on the emotionally abusive people and manipulative people in my own life instead of being scared forever, like going from Kafkaesque bureaucracy and oppression in the mask forging place to being a wise leader. His emotional journey is really important to me because it taught me that I could take on evil in my own life and win. He's an inspiring character that learned to understand his own strengths and get his emotions under control, and that showed me that I could do the same. That's why I consider Vakama a well-written character. 

I get why you might relate to Zane better, though. You might feel like a robot in a group of human beings, and wonder why you don't get things. That's okay. We all need our characters. 

On 4/28/2020 at 1:07 AM, Sir Keksalot said:

Zane being a robot became a plot point, but I never got the sense that it had nearly the impact it should have had. This is the kinda thing that gives a man an existential crisis. It should have made Zane question whether he even counted as a person. And what about his relationship with Jay, who has a habit of poking fun at his eccentricities? There SHOULD have been a substantial rift between them. Imagine if we got to see Zane angry. Like, really angry. Legitimately hurt after a serious personal crisis.

Uh, Zane is a robot. Robots don't have existential crises. You're expecting a robot to have human emotions enough to have an existential crisis...Zane never really seemed to have that much emotional depth - in fact, that character is practically defined by a lack of emotion from the beginning, especially compared to Kai or Jay. 

Someone said that the Zane character mystery was the Ninjago equivalent of Bionicle 2001 somewhere back in the day, but I think it was spoiled for me before I watched episode 1, so YMMV. 

On 4/28/2020 at 1:07 AM, Sir Keksalot said:

How many memes has Ninjago given us, eh? I thought so.

Um...

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ-J1QVk_1w76x5exDvDH6

340?cb=20120519191739

DzUE8_-WsAcNasG?format=jpg&name=largehttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/DzUE8_-WsAcNasG?format=jpg&name=large

I mean if you google search ninjago memes, there are a lot of them. Some of them are bad, but they exist. 

Edited by Black Six
Insulting other members/staff.

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On 4/28/2020 at 1:07 AM, Sir Keksalot said:

It also wasn't a blatant dystopia. It was a scenic, natural environment, with sweeping vistas and lots of moments of tranquility. The sharks weren't an oppressive thought police that would throw you in the gulag if you were a minute late to work.

I have no idea how you got any real emotional impact from that episode. Zane being a robot became a plot point, but I never got the sense that it had nearly the impact it should have had. This is the kinda thing that gives a man an existential crisis. It should have made Zane question whether he even counted as a person. Imagine if we got to see Zane angry. Like, really angry. Legitimately hurt after a serious personal crisis. But no, he's all peachy by the episode's end. He needed AT LEAST a season to work through this thing, but his arc skipped over the part where he actually needs to grow as a person.

Nah. Zane knew he was the same person he always was, and so did all his friends. And in the meantime, he gained a clearer understanding of his own origins, which had been established as a lingering concern of his in previous books and TV episodes.

Perhaps it would be different if this were a storyline that had gone to great lengths to establish that Zane or his friends had some weird prejudice against robots, but it hadn't. So the initial shock of learning he was built rather than born was understandably far outweighed by the subsequent discovery that he had a father who had always loved him and believed in his potential for greatness.

For argument's sake: should Takanuva have spent weeks stewing in anger at everyone who called him "weird" or "different" after he learned he was an Av-Matoran, not a Ta-Matoran? Should Harry Potter have plunged into a lengthy existential crisis about learning he and his parents were wizards? Should Clark Kent have lashed out at his adoptive parents once he learned he wasn't their biological child? I can't really see much reason that any of those stories would be improved by that sort of contrived, soap-opera-style vendetta… I mean, the season three love triangle was bad enough, and that at least had more of a point than "I know who I am and I'm mad about it".

The core message of that episode, in a nutshell, was that your origins do NOT define who you are, how much value you have, or what sort of treatment you deserve from the people around you. Honestly, I'm dumbfounded that you think that ending it with a bleaker or more cynical message than that would be any sort of improvement.

On 4/28/2020 at 1:07 AM, Sir Keksalot said:

My entire argument is merely that Bionicle sucks less, if only in different chunks of its story. Bionicle's shortcomings can be chalked up to some incompetence in spite of genuine effort. Ninjago is just lazy and uninspired. And how exactly are Ninjago's "strong points" at all stronger than Bionicle's?

Gotta say, it's kind of awkward when the contention you've been so adamant not to accept any other perspectives on has degraded to "my generation's terrible kids' series should never be likened to the subsequent generation's terrible kids' series"… especially when you started off saying that the former was "actually good". Oh wait…

On 4/28/2020 at 1:07 AM, Sir Keksalot said:

That was mostly meant as a sarcastic reply which grossly oversimplifies the matter. I said it that way because I thought it was moderately comical.

You thought THAT was moderately comical? A cheap putdown of the very brand the subforum you're in is focused on? Not really making a strong case for your critical tastes, there… not that you were off to a good start with your choice of username.

You keep on insisting Ninjago is "lazy and uninspired", all while acting like the burden of proof is on other people who HAVE continued to enjoy the series to prove that it isn't. Let me put this to you as simply as I can: I do not care if you think Ninjago is trash. It's frustrating that you've turned a topic about something I enjoy into a soap box to rail against it, just as it's obnoxious when Bricksetters derail the comments of Bionicle-related articles to rant how much Bionicle sucks. But the storylines and characters in both themes have impacted me and others in powerful, positive, and lasting ways. Random people who trash-talk others' interests for fun never will.

Edited by Aanchir
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3 hours ago, Aanchir said:

Nah. Zane knew he was the same person he always was, and so did all his friends. And in the meantime, he gained a clearer understanding of his own origins, which had been established as a lingering concern of his in previous books and TV episodes.

Perhaps it would be different if this were a storyline that had gone to great lengths to establish that Zane or his friends had some weird prejudice against robots, but it hadn't. So the initial shock of learning he was built rather than born was understandably far outweighed by the subsequent discovery that he had a father who had always loved him and believed in his potential for greatness.

For argument's sake: should Takanuva have spent weeks stewing in anger at everyone who called him "weird" or "different" after he learned he was an Av-Matoran, not a Ta-Matoran? Should Harry Potter have plunged into a lengthy existential crisis about learning he and his parents were wizards? Should Clark Kent have lashed out at his adoptive parents once he learned he wasn't their biological child? I can't really see much reason that any of those stories would be improved by that sort of contrived, soap-opera-style vendetta… I mean, the season three love triangle was bad enough, and that at least had more of a point than "I know who I am and I'm mad about it".

The core message of that episode, in a nutshell, was that your origins do NOT define who you are, how much value you have, or what sort of treatment you deserve from the people around you. Honestly, I'm dumbfounded that you think that ending it with a bleaker or more cynical message than that would be any sort of improvement.

Gotta say, it's kind of awkward when the contention you've been so adamant not to accept any other perspectives on has degraded to "my generation's terrible kids' series should never be likened to the subsequent generation's terrible kids' series"… especially when you started off saying that the former was "actually good". Oh wait…

You thought THAT was moderately comical? A cheap putdown of the very brand the subforum you're in is focused on? Not really making a strong case for your critical tastes, there… not that you were off to a good start with your choice of username.

You keep on insisting Ninjago is "lazy and uninspired", all while acting like the burden of proof is on other people who HAVE continued to enjoy the series to prove that it isn't. Let me put this to you as simply as I can: I do not care if you think Ninjago is trash. It's frustrating that you've turned a topic about something I enjoy into a soap box to rail against it, just as it's obnoxious when Bricksetters derail the comments of Bionicle-related articles to rant how much Bionicle sucks. But the storylines and characters in both themes have impacted me and others in powerful, positive, and lasting ways. Random people who trash-talk others' interests for fun never will.

I agree very strongly. I am just asking if people could compare Ninjago with Bionicle, and their opinions to answer my topic post’s questions. Both of them are very great themes that are successful and famous. They have ways to do it, as they bring out powerful messages in life. For examples, in Bionicle, Toa learn how to work together to accomplish anything. Takua overcame his self-doubt and fears when he lost Jaller temporarily and became Takanuva, and he put aside his quest to cure himself from the effects of a Shadow Leech when he cured his fellow Av-Matoran before being cured himself. Tahu told Gali that his secret was that he was afraid that his team would split apart if he wouldn’t do something about it (It was in Bionicle’s Legends 11). Lewa was worried about how his friends look at him when he was attacked by a Krana, but he proved to them that he is trustworthy, and when he was mind-controlled by the Krana, Onua convinced a Lewa to use his willpower to remove the Krana from his face. Matoro was scared and secretive before he grew to become a true hero and sacrificed his life to revive Mata Nui. Kopaka grew to accept having companies. Vakama overcame his self-doubts and fears when he fought Teridax and his allies. Matau apologized to Vakama for being rude to him in Bionicle 3: Webs of Shadows. Mata Nui helped out people from both worlds because he wanted to make up for his lack of care for his people. Kiina appreciated Mata Nui’s help with restoring Spherus Magna while she longed to live in a prosperous planet. Ackar overcame his self-doubt when he teamed up with Mata Nui. Even Krika felt that he had to try to stop his own brethren from making a huge mistake with the Energy Storms in Karda Nui. The characters may had life-changing problems, but they are still themselves. There is a lot of good character development in Bionicle. 
 

For examples in Ninjago, Kai was hotheaded, but he learned to calm down to avoid disaster, as he chose saving Lloyd’s life over getting a Fangblade to prove who is the Green Ninja in one episode in Season 1. Plus, when Kai was stripped away from his fire powers in Season 11, he was taught to use his heart to recharge his powers. Cole felt left out when he was a ghost, but his friends got his back in Day of the Departed, so he felt happy and was able to defeat Yang. He was scared of telling his dad as he is Ninja, but he was able to make his dad proud by winning a talent show. Jay always complains, but he learned to be more confident when Nadakhan attacked Ninjago. Jay wanted to show Nya that he loves her, and he was happy when Nya loves him back. Zane was saddened by the discovery of himself that he is a robot, which explained his weird behavior, despite the Ninja making fun of him, but when he learned that his dad/creator wants him to live like a human being and protect his loved ones, he is willing to do it, even if he had amnesia in Season 11. Nya always had problems to try to do something effective, but she put all of her heart into it when she flooded the Preeminent in Season 5 and move ice in Season 11. She also has the love triangle with Jay and Cole, but ultimately chose Jay, and Jay proposed to her. Lloyd was a troublesome kid, but he knew that he is not good at being a villain, so Wu raised him to better himself. Because of that, he always helps the Ninja. He wasn’t comfortable of being the Green Ninja because he believed that he had to fight his evil dad, but he became more determined when he had to face the fact and then the Overlord is the villain that he was prophesied to fight. Lloyd wanted good family relationships. Wu felt responsible for causing some problems in the past, but he want to overcome them when he helps the Ninja more often in some seasons. Lord Garmadon was infected with evil venom for a long time, but he still had a good heart a little. When he changed back, he wanted to make up for them and be a good family member, despite the problems that he caused in the past. He was willing to sacrifice himself in Seasons 4 and 5. When he was corrupted again in Season 8 (It’s like Ultimate Spider-Man TV show when Norman Osborn was forced to become the Green Goblin to attack people for Doctor Octopus), he didn’t remember himself sort of while Lloyd was very mad at him, but when Lloyd and his fellow needed him to defeat the Oni while he wanted to fight the Oni, he decided to help the Ninja fight the Oni before he left and is still on the loose because he’s still evil. Python may be a vengeful jerk who ate his own kind, but when Master Chen and his followers were making his kind look bad, he went to help the Ninja once to defeat Chen and his followers, so his fellow general were proud of him. Morro wanted to become the Green Ninja, but he was upset that he couldn’t do it, so he turned evil. However, when the Preeminent was defeated, he learned to accept the fact that Lloyd is the Green Ninja, so he reformed and decided to help the Ninja in Day of the Departed. Harumi was traumatized about her parents being dead and then turned evil because of that, but when she discovered that her actions weren’t worth it, she decided to save a child’s parents, causing her to reform, before she got herself killed. Like Bionicle, there are many characters who had life-changing moments, but they are still themselves. There is a lot of good character development in Ninjago. 
 

So, Bionicle and Ninjago are around the same level of greatness, despite Bionicle’s not-continued cliffhanger in 2011 (I wish it could be continued because it shouldn’t be like that forever), and they have many reasons like these. Ninjago’s creators love making ideas for Ninjago (and I bet Bionicle’s makers, like Christian Faber, do the same while Greg likes writing about some characters). Even the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Steven Universe are around that level, too. Perhaps other story-driven themes, like Hero Factory, Legends of Chima, Nexo Knights, and the The Lego Movie Cinematic Universe, do the same thing, despite the varying levels of success. 
 

Kek’s opinions are indeed unwise because they involve jumping into super-negative, doubtful, sarcastic, realistic, monotonous, and overly-pessimistic conclusions and criticisms that most fans don’t agree (many of my recent topic have that, which don’t sound). No offense, Kek, but you really need to try experiencing Bionicle and Ninjago again to see the bigger picture and to see why people don’t have the same opinions as you do. So, Ninjago is not meant to be criticized that harshly. It is as respected as Bionicle. People can have their opinions, but try to willingly say something positive, fun, and hopeful while being honest rather than saying sarcastic stuff. Aanchir’s right. This is not a Ninjago hate club. We are here in this topic to have fun talking about our opinions (many of my topics are like that). 
 

Kek, think about this: If Ninjago truly ended, what would you say about it? If Bionicle comes back with G1’s story continuing, a G3 happening, sharing the same universe with HF, and do a cinematic universe, whether 3-D animated or live action with humans and the planet Earth, or a non-cheap 3-D animated TV show similar to Ninjago, how would you feel, too? If Lego would decide to make these ideas come true despite you doubting, how would you feel about it? The same or different? For me, I would be extremely happy, and so would other fans and BZPers. We and you would have faith in these things. No offense, but you look like the only one in BZPower with your opinions, and you need to calm down and try to have fun, so people can try to have fun. Me and Aanchir want you to think twice before you post something. We are being brutally honest. I am not commanding you. I am just trying to enforce my topic calmly (and perhaps my other topics). Don’t be hasty. 
 

Now, please let’s continue talking in this topic, but calmly this time.

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

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  • 5 months later...

i think the part that everyone here has missed is that keksalot quit watching around the middle of rebooted when the love triangle got dropped in, which is fair; personal opinion (and i've heard a general consensus in the ninjago community, however small that is) is that the show takes roughly 4 seasons to use its characters in an interesting way, and that the creators really started putting more effort into making ninjago a watchable show after its "reboot"; it's a show designed to sell toys after all, and the only reason it managed to get 10 years is because it was doing it first and with some impression of real characters and the idea that they could still go in different directions (the pilots were supposed to be a one-off after all) 

prior to tournament though the show is largely pretty hollow: i love the first season when i first saw the episode where zane realized he was a robot and came to terms with it, but i was also 10 and realize that even if it is one of my favorite episodes it's hardly as good as an episode from other shows, or even other episodes from later seasons. season 1 is mostly just groundwork with imo good and important key character elements here and there and but little mind paid to breaking from the mold sometimes, season 2 is fun exploits for kids and what is more or less supposed to be a conclusion, and season 3 is largely action and very little substance; but, coupling the relatively lackluster screenwriting with the relatively lackluster animation, the entire thing feels very vapid and overall like another run-of-the-mill toy commercial with moments where it felt better than usual.

then of course we get a whole season with a whole overarching arc and genuine character struggles and motives and neat fight scenes, followed by a season that (imo) sucks but visually takes ninjago to a higher level and expands the size of ninjago and its own place in the ethereal sense, then a whole character-based one-on-one duel between one ninja and one of the best (arguably ofc) ninjago villains. after a brief divot with 2017 the show went ahead and used the bigger budget and bigger scale to make two seasons that might be some of the best lego-adjacent media to date; and even now the show, despite reorienting to the 8-12 demographic, will at least get you a kinetic & engaging fight scene or fun banter or something (the newest one (13) is honestly one of the best ninjago seasons though). characters themselves are given a lot of time to develop over the focus on promoting toys, and for that matter most of the best seasons are built largely around character moments while the sets act as little set pieces for moments or get 10 seconds of screentime before disappearing entirely; to be honest, ninjago should've been the action figure theme while bionicle did system sets with how much more interesting the characters get.

so yeah, ninjago's not a perfect show overall and it probably didn't deserve its position as the next bionicle but you could argue the writers earned it: they managed to develop a solid plot after a while, the sets managed to grow in quality to where they are now (in large part because of the movie, but still), and even now there's still a lot to get from the show. the movie sucks largely because it fails to create interesting characters outside of maybe a couple and the writing and pacing is all over the place without being a little self aware about it and consequently fails to sell the show or the products by making them interesting ( i've already worked out a script that works better but this is hardly the place to advertise), but regardless the theme has managed to justify its extension and its television series with time, and my bet is that we'll see kai ninjago default dancing in 5 or 10 years like all the tahu memes. it's all in due time or whatever

not a grammarian

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  • 2 months later...

Maybe. Well, Ninjago is doing some similar things that Bionicle does, like elemental heroes and crazy dark lords. True, Ninjago is about mini-figured with mechs and giant steeds and Bionicle is about action figures, and Bionicle G1 acts a little more mature than Ninjago, to be honest, but still, they are similar in some ways.

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

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  • 4 weeks later...

I say this because these themes are the most similar to Ninjago :

  • All themes are classic system themes, while Bionicle has established its own build system.
  • All three themes attach great importance to gimmicks.
  • Four protagonists and an old mentor. The characters from Exo Force in particular resemble Ninjago the most, as they are also just a knock off of TMNT.
  • Antagonists consist of an army led by a major villain. Major Villain has a connection with the heroes' mentor.
  • Both side use a lot of crazy vehicles
  • Small universe, with not too big worldbuilding
  • In the second year there is a new member in the team. With Ninjago it was Lloyd, with Exo Force it was Hitomi.
  • The third year was the grand finale. 
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I think if Exo Force would have been more successful, it would have expanded in the same way as Ninjago, and the main story would have been completed. Yes Exo Force uses some Bionicle Parts, but so did many other themes of the time: Knights Kingdom, Vikings, Star Wars, Aqua Raiders, Atlantis, Castle, Technic and even Ninjago in its early years. Still only a few, as most of it were still normal system parts. What I meant was that Ninjago is more like Exo Force and Knights Kingdom than Bionicle, as it is more similar in terms of the build system and concept.

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I understand what you’re saying. Exo-Force would have looked like that it could make a TV show, but couldn’t. We were limited to the comics, and the theme has been taken out from the Lego website while the story in the comics wasn’t finished. Pitiful. 
 

Anyway, yes, these themes that you mentioned used Bionicle parts (even Ninjago used a Kopaka Master of Ice blade in 2016 in one of its Day of the Departed sets with the Samurai X cave). Nexo Knights is quite similar to Ninjago, too, but never lived up.

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

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On 2/12/2021 at 5:31 AM, yoshiedude said:

I feel like it didn't start off as the next Bionicle but it kinda evolved into that. I remember in my small child brain being like ninjago was was more of the successor than hero factory ever could.

Not really. Bionicle had a lot of worldbuilding and lore. Consequences were long-lasting and there was a fixed goal in the story. Ninjago, on the other hand, goes from one storyline to the other without much changing. Worldbuilding is pretty bland and thin, and there is no fixed goal.

Edited by Sailor Wah!
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On 2/15/2021 at 10:24 AM, Sailor Wah! said:

Not really. Bionicle had a lot of worldbuilding and lore. Consequences were long-lasting and there was a fixed goal in the story. Ninjago, on the other hand, goes from one storyline to the other without much changing. Worldbuilding is pretty bland and thin, and there is no fixed goal.

Also anything ninja themed seem to be easy to market towards kids these days. including several power ranger incarnations and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are big examples.
Still i don't what Lego's big deal is with adding so giant mechs every year.

Edited by (-Kopaka Toa of Ice-)
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