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Leadership in Legends of Metru Nui or: Long Story Short, Nokama is Bae

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This is an essay that I've been working on for... sadly, almost two years now. Writing it was one of the reasons I signed up for BZPower in the 1st place! But it sat on my shelf, and, after a few revisions, I've decided to release it into the world. I'm not sure if my views today are 100% in accordance to the arguments I've made herein, but they're generally close-enough & I'm willing to stand by most of what I claim here.

To begin, Bionicle is... not well-known for depicting a large variety of female characters; mainly because most female characters are exclusively confined to the Water element (at least when it comes to the female characters that get set and story space) and are subsequently saddled with Water's stereotypes.

In particular, Bionicle is lacking in positive depictions of female leaders. Pomegranate talked about this in a much earlier post:


Only time I'd seen a female be a leader in Bionicle is when they're the villains, or Helryx who was never even mentioned in any of the official books or comics, so what's that supposed to teach kids? Maybe it wasn't done to tell kids that women can't be leaders and if they are then they're evil, but that's something that kids could think or have imprinted upon them with little effort. Bionicle was not obligated in any way to teach kids that women are good leaders, that's not its job, but it still ended up providing stories that can be used as evidence against it. It's not their fault, it wasn't done intentionally, but the fact remains that there is a bad influence present and they could've tried harder to prevent that, but didn't even consider it 'cause "girls don't play with LEGOs" and "we are old guys who have no idea how the female psyche works let alone that of youth" and they just didn't care about that.

As mentioned, Gali, Hahli, Macku, Vhisola, and Tuyet are not leaders (at least officially). Helryx is one, and Roodaka, while a leader (and someone who I'll probably talk about in a post after this one) is both a villain and has her own representational hangups. While I could talk about Helryx, I'm instead going to talk about a character that is given greater focus and who serves as an example of what happens when female leaders do exist but aren't acknowledged. 

Yes, we're talking about Toa Nokama. 

Nokama is not the leader of the Toa Metru, yet she suspiciously does everything an actual leader would do (as well as things the actual leader of the Metru should be doing but isn't). For the sake of simplicity, I'm only going to concern myself with how Nokama is depicted in "Bionicle 2: Legends of Metru Nui" and "Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows". I might veer into comic book territory in a separate post. Why do I choose the films and not the books and/or comics? I’m choosing the films for a variety of reasons. For one, the films probably reached a larger audience of children than the novels did, and thus, from a broader cultural standpoint, the films are perhaps more important. Plus, it dishes out more of the story than the comics do. Finally, given my preclusion for being long-winded, this material is more than enough for me to work with. Comparing the depictions of Nokama across all Bionicle’s media would be time consuming and ultimately pointless, because how she is depicted in the novels is going to be different than the video games and the comics.

(Just as a note, I'll reference most of my observations--the ones that didn't slip my mind, anyway--with a timestamp, so you can follow along with me, if you want).

For starters, Nokama is the first Matoran who Toa Lhikan gives a Toa Stone to (LoMN:3:05). In doing so, he tells her to "guide them with your wisdom." That Nokama is chosen first singles her out (admittedly Vakama, by virtue of being chosen last, is also accorded a special position), especially given the advice Lhikan gives her. Guiding her fellow Toa could be taken as a directive to lead them, especially since none of the other Toa are given advice that singles them out as leaders also. 

Vakama, treated as the actual leader of the Toa Metru, is told to "save the heart of Metru Nui" (LoMN:7:55). While Vakama's task is important (perhaps the most important directive any of the Toa are given), it does not explicitly call him out for a leadership position. This isn't the first time Nokama comes first, as it happens. She is also the first Matoran to place their Toa Stone into the Suva, inadvertently calling the other Matoran to action to do so themselves (LoMN:1147). When Vakama receives a vision (from Mata Nui, don't let Greg fool you with his talk of glitches ;) ), all the other Toa are convinced he's gone haywire; only Nokama decides that the visions should be trusted (LoMN:14:54). 

And it is partly on Nokama's word that the Metru go along with the plot to find the Great Disks. Vakama suggested it, but none of the others apart from Nokama appear enthusiastic about the idea. This isn’t really a majority vote either; Vakama and Nokama is still 2 against 4. Onewa states that he's "doing this for Lhikan, no one else," but this line doesn't follow--the Great Disks have nothing to do with Lhikan to Onewa's knowledge. Onewa is also one of the most emotionally defensive of the Metru; what he says isn't always how he feels (for example, he cares about his brothers after they've been captured, yet he disparages them the entire time). His reluctance could be a cover; Nokama's leadership qualities convince him somewhat, but he doesn't want to admit it.

I want to shift gears a moment to when the Toa are tasked with crossing the sea of Protodermis. Here, Vakama (future leader of the group) freezes up and issues no commands to his team; when Onewa asks "what do we do now," Whenua, not Vakama, answers him (LoMN:19:02). Rather, it is Nokama who tries to lead the group out of danger; after a quick "follow me" (LoMN:19:12), she directs Vakama to shoot at the statue of Lhikan, ultimately securing escape for herself, Vakama, and Matau. Nokama also takes initiative to use the Le-Metru chute system to escape Nidhiki and Krekka, with Matau and Vakama following her example (LoMN:23:05). When the chute's flow changes direction, Nokama is the one who leads the trio out of danger, using her Hydro Blades to catapult them out of the chute (LoMN: 28:00).

When the three need to travel to Po-Metru, Nokama seeks out the Vahki transport to use; Vakama (the future leader) instead preoccupies himself with the presently-useless Great Disks, almost missing the transport altogether (LoMN:29:59). When they finally get to Po-Metru, Nokama becomes the first Toa Metru to discover her mask power (something the film treats as an important plot point), which she then uses to track down Lhikan by getting help from the Kikanalo (LoMN:35:26).

After this incident, Nokama proceeds to do absolutely nothing of consequence for the rest of the film (don't worry, there's always the next film), as when reunited, the Metru are lead by directives given by Turaga Lhikan, and once Makuta reveals himself, the film's focus switches to Vakama exclusively for the rest of the film. Still, it's a rather impressive run; this is almost half the film's running time! Most of these points could be condensed down into "Nokama does something, then some (or all) of the Metru decide to follow her," and I'm sure it sounded more than a little repetitive. But my point was to show that Nokama's leadership qualities in B2:LoMN were not a one-time event.

In a vacuum, the end of B2:LoMN shows that the Toa are, at the very least, taking turns as leader. No one is explicitly called the leader at any rate, and while Nokama shows her value at the beginning of the film, Vakama shows his value at the end of it; forging the Vahi, battling Makuta, following the light, and being the first to give up his Toa power to awaken the Matoran. Who lead the team depended on whose qualities were best fit for the situation, reinforcing Bionicle’s themes of Unity and Duty (if not Destiny).

Unfortunately canon, and B3:WoS, have to go ahead and ruin that interpretation. The film begins with Vakama as the definitive leader of the Metru; trying and ultimately failing to rescue the Matoran. Instead, the whole team is captured, and Vakama decides to blame himself rather than motivate the team to look for an answer. While Norik offers support and a potential way out of the mutation, Vakama rejects that offer, instead deciding to abandon and betray his teammates in favour of seductress Roodaka. Granted, Vakama has been suffering depression and lack of confidence for two films in a row and has just been rendered more bestial (whatever that means) by the Hordika venom. The Vakama of B2:LoMN isn’t a perfect leader, but in certain situations he can lead the team effectively in a positive way. But the Vakama of B3:WoS is categorically unfit to be a leader, between getting his team captured, abandoning and betraying his team, and his prior history of low-self esteem and freezing up in dire situations in B2:LoMN. Let me reiterate—this is not Vakama’s fault, per se, but it means that he is not a good choice for a leader.

Nokama’s leadership skills, however, are still in full force. She is the one who insists the Metru must believe in Keetongu, even as Vakama and Matau doubt her (WoS:19:04). She also speaks on behalf of the team on staying out of the Great Temple while mutated (WoS:26:31). When the team enters the coliseum to rescue Vakama, Nokama is the first one to call out to him (WoS:46:22). When diplomacy fails and the Toa charge their Rhotuka, it is Nokama who gives the order (WoS:47:25). When Onewa doubts they should keep charging the spinner (instead of firing it), it is Nokama he directs the question to, implying she is in command (WoS:47:34). When they do fire the Rhotuka, it’s on Nokama’s order (WoS:47:43). Given what results, it is implied that the plan to use the Rhotuka to fly is also Nokama’s doing, given that she gives the order to let go (WoS:48:03).

Web of Shadows ends with the Toa not only accepting Vakama back into the team but letting him stay on as leader. This is crucial—the virtue of Unity required that the Toa accept Vakama back, but there is no reason why he had to return as leader when his prior experience in the role resulted in such failure. In Web of Shadows, Vakama fails his way upwards, as you will, in that his failures as a leader result not in him being reprimanded, but instead in his authority being upheld without further question.

Ultimately, this series of events begs one simple question:

Why is Nokama not the “official” leader of the Toa Metru? She approves missions for the team to follow, leads them out of dangerous situations through quick-thinking, and is the first to learn important aspects of being a Toa that her teammates then follow by example. What else is required of a leader? Who among the Metru can seriously boast being a more qualified applicant?

Greg, the Wikia, or the canon in general, have explained the above with a mix of "it was Vakama's destiny to lead the Metru" and "Nokama was the Deputy Leader of the Metru, and was acknowledged to be good enough to be the actual leader by herself and her teammates, but decided to step aside from the role because it was Vakama's destiny." In other words, a heaping load of bull. Destiny is important to Bionicle, no two-ways about it, but Vakama's actual destiny is shown to us; forge the Vahi (for himself) and save the Matoran of Metru Nui (with the other Metru). Nothing about his destiny requires he be the leader, other than the fact that he's:

A) The protagonist

B) Male

C) The red toy

These three points are interrelated, but to give a counterexample, Matoro was arguably the protagonist of the "Ignition" arc, he was male, and he was one of the most marketed of his team (though not red, both he and Vakama are right up front in the posters). Yet he isn't the leader of his team; he doesn't have to be, and no one expects it of him. His role is even more important than Vakama’s but said role is not diminished by the fact he’s not the leader.

This is all to show Bionicle’s strengths and weaknesses as a storytelling medium. We have strong female leaders in this story. But while the story-verse is gracious enough to treat these female leaders not as a rarity or an odd-quirk, it also doesn’t acknowledge their contribution nor fully reward them for their efforts as often as I think is probably warranted.

And that's it! I regret to inform you that T-shirts declaring 'I read Mukaukau Nuva's essay & all I got was this lousy T-shirt' are not forthcoming, but I wish they were. Thanks for reading :)

Edited by Mukaukau Nuva
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I'll start off saying that I quite enjoyed this post, for a variety of reasons - 1) Love the Toa Metru, 2) Enjoy discussion of leadership and leadership principles 3) appreciate diving deeper into established characters and lore, 4) Taking a long-standing controversy within the franchise (female representation) and choosing a specific angle to tackle it from (that is, the movies and nothing else, more on that later), 5) the specific points you made, timestamped, and used to support your argument, and 6) I want to acknowledge and say that I appreciate the perseverance put into this whole endeavor, and congratulations and thank you for posting it at long last. You mentioned a few places that you have more essays like such in the works, and I'd definitely keep my eye out for them. 

This line, specifically, did get a bona fide 'laugh out loud', and I wanted to let you know. 

21 hours ago, Mukaukau Nuva said:

Nothing about his destiny requires he be the leader, other than the fact that he's:

A) The protagonist

B) Male

C) The red toy


Now, at first, I wasn't totally on board with your decision to tackle movie-version Nokama, and nothing else. I do see a point in your reasoning - particularly that you had to narrow your scope and that the movies were directed at a larger audience. That being said, I was slightly annoyed with myself throughout the read, as I was having trouble remembering what Nokama parts were from books and what was exclusively in the movie. I say this as a disclaimer, some of the points I want to add or bring up may or may not be from the movies. 

Anyways - I do believe she was portrayed in the film (LoMN) as being a teacher. Lhikan gives her her Toa Stone as she's teaching a class (although this isn't explicitly shown or stated as it happens), but Onewa has a line something along the lines 'Save the lesson for your class, teacher'. Unless someone has a convincing argument otherwise, I consider being a teacher (occupationally) a leadership role. I say this to add another point how she was set up as a leader (having prior experience) and was under-utilised. 

This is something I know for a fact is not in the movie, but want to bring up as a leadership quality. These interactions are found in Bionicle Adventures 3:The Darkness Below (basically the book about Nokama's leadership, and it's probably my favorite). Screenshots courtesy of the Biological Chronicle project, taken from pp.84-85 of Book 4: Legends, as listed in the directory. 

This is right at the beginning of the book, after their first major victory as a whole team, defeating the Morbuzakh in Ta-Metru, and they're on their way to present their Great Disks to Turaga Dume to prove themselves heroes. (because obviously that's how you prove heroism.) 


The line about Whenua always amuses me. 

I see this bit as her ability to read a room, being aware of and anticipating her teammates' attitudes. (granted this could also just be the style of narration - it was most convenient for Greg to tell us what everyone was feeling in this scene through Nokama's eyes. I don't think that detracts from the point that she is exercising a leadership skill, though) 

And second, after that Onu-Matoran gives them a task of saving the endangered Archives, and there's some squabbling amongst the Toa about course of action this and that. 


So, I guess it's not obvious from these snippets, but the dialogue between Vakama and Nokama, she's telling him to step up and lead, essentially. This happens again in the next chapter, but for brevity's sake, you'll have to take my word for it. 

Whether or not Vakama was actually an effective leader is a whole different discussion. But recognizing potential in others and encouraging them to step into that potential is also a leadership principle I've seen demonstrated and admired, as the team as a whole has been made stronger for it. I also think it speaks volumes about character, that you are okay with, and even want others to be successful, sometimes moreso than yourself. 

Next up:

22 hours ago, Mukaukau Nuva said:

In a vacuum, the end of B2:LoMN shows that the Toa are, at the very least, taking turns as leader.

Yes. I agree. Two things here. 1) I've always been told that good leaders are also good followers. And a good follower enables the leader to do well (whether that is actively doing their best in their assigned role, or just not being deliberately obtuse, like Matau and Onewa, haha) , so in turn, everyone does well. 2) A good leader, who knows the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, knows how to delegate and knows when to step back and tell or let a team member with more expertise or a more suited skill set for the situation step up and take the lead. Example from LoMN (ignoring your well-put argument that Vakama wasn't named or acting like a leader in the film): Nokama taking lead when dealing with the Kikanalo, as she was the only one who could communicate with them. 

I'm gonna bow out now, as I have even less remembrance of the Web of Shadows movie. You raise a great question - why, when Vakama comes back to the team after betraying them, does he go right back to 'leader'? At that point, I'd chalk it up to Nokama not putting stock in the 'title' of leader, as she's already proven herself capable in such role time and time again. But the title would have been nice, in only for egalitarian purposes. (side point: the only thing that really happens, canonically, after WoS is they fly to Mata Nui with the Matoran Spheres, except Vakama literally abandons ship to have an adventure with the Makuta, then they all turn into Turaga and go on to lead their own villages. So, Vakama coming back from the dark side as 'the leader' kind of was fruitless anyhow)

I wish I was less free with my upvotes, because I really mean it when I give you this one. Great topic in terms of depth, content, and effort. I'd love to see more like this.  

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(disclaimer: none of this banner art is original, I just smooshed it together in gimp. Torchic, Matau)
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Wow! I think you've put more thought in your reply than I did in my original post (which is the best I could have hoped for; begetting good discussion is the whole point).

I'm glad you brought in the books; that is certainly a deficiency in my little write-up. I think I've read Bionicle Adventures 5 as a kid (somehow that was the only one I acquired), but being a little averse to eBooks (& not knowing they were available online) means I haven't 'caught up' w/ them for some time. Perhaps not something a 'responsible' Bionicle fan ought to do, but perhaps this is just the time to start.

A lot of really good catches in the novels, tho. (& things I never knew about either). I think you're right that these scenes continue to demonstrate Nokama's leadership qualities. I actually find her characterization surprisingly consistent, for want of a better word. There are one or two things you pointed out that really got my brain rolling, tho. they might be a bit scrambled:

2 hours ago, Aderia said:

it was most convenient for Greg to tell us what everyone was feeling in this scene through Nokama's eyes

IIRC Greg preferred writing for Gali & Kopaka for the prior team, did he not? If Greg saw Nokama & Gali as somewhat similar characters (which I think he did), then perhaps that's why he favours Nokama in some of these scenes? I don't want to chalk it up entirely to 'girl=heart power' b/c hopefully it is not that shallow. B/c even if he's contractually obligated to write in the PoV of every Toa, now & then, that wouldn't explain why both Gali & Nokama get the same kinds of scenes, if you get my drift. 

1 hour ago, Aderia said:

So, I guess it's not obvious from these snippets, but the dialogue between Vakama and Nokama, she's telling him to step up and lead, essentially.

I think these snippets show all you want them to and more; heck, I think both of them are trying to get the other to step up and lead, as you say. Vakama is even basically demurring to Nokama as he does so ("I'm sure you'll do a fine job"). Admittedly, I don't know how much of that is his sincere faith in her abilities or his own lack-of-confidence. I think 'in-canon' it is supposed to be the later, & Nokama picks up on that & tries to support him.

And poor Nuju & his gendered language! "I don't care who leads us, as long as he doesn't expect me to follow" indeed! 

I can still (kinda) tie this back to something I read earlier. I remember reading (I may have written down where, or maybe not. At any rate I've forgotten now) that a lot of women feel (or are made to feel) unqualified for leadership positions even tho. they have all the qualifications for it (which I've seen spun either as the requisite humility required in a true leader, or oppression at work, or perhaps both).

I think you could read some of these scenes w/ Nokama in that light; some of the team (or at least Vakama) recognizes her abilities, but she doesn't, or if she does, she does not feel that this ought to be her role, regardless of how suited she would otherwise be to it. Now, we don't know if Ga-Matoran experience the world the same way women in our world do, but given Nuju's comment (& the fact this series is written by-&-for humans), I think we can say it is close enough.

2 hours ago, Aderia said:

Whether or not Vakama was actually an effective leader is a whole different discussion

Yeah, I thought about getting into that a bit, but considering his half of the story is already discussed to death (for good reason), I figured it was a good idea to let dead horses lie in this particular arena. In any case, the films do NOT portray Vakama in a good light as a leader (& I still like Vakama, ofc.). The books, & the 2004-2005 story as a whole... I think that case is a lot-less clear-cut, & I'd have a much higher bar to clear if I wanted to claim that Vakama is a mediocre leader in all media for all time. I think the jury's still out on it, for sure.

2 hours ago, Aderia said:

side point: the only thing that really happens, canonically, after WoS is they fly to Mata Nui with the Matoran Spheres, except Vakama literally abandons ship to have an adventure with the Makuta, then they all turn into Turaga and go on to lead their own villages. So, Vakama coming back from the dark side as 'the leader' kind of was fruitless anyhow

Yeah, I was thinking about that too. B/c I think this is where maybe my perception of the story, & not just the 'what happened in canon' is at play here. B/c WoS ends without cutting back to the end of LoMN, so the 'conclusion' to the Metru storyline isn't left to sit with the viewer in cinematic form in the same way. There may also be a bit of my projection at play; I assumed that Vakama remained nominal leader of the Metru even after their transformation into Turaga. Certainly 2001-2003 media don't imply this too much (since in MNOLG the Turaga basically make decisions as a group), but the movies certainly do. IIRC only Vakama has a speaking role in Mask of Light, & he's the one narrating the story in LoMN WoS; both have the framing device of him telling the story to Takanuva (& Hahli, I think?), without any of the other Turaga present. 

Admittedly, this only technically implies that Vakama's the best story-teller of the group (or the one with the best memory), but considering important stuff seems to accumulate onto Vakama like a magnet, I just kinda lumped it into his leadership role. I mean, he is technically teaching, & as you pointed out that's an important role for a leader to take.

Anyway, thank you more than enough for the feedback. It may take a while for the Roodaka piece to come out (since I'd basically only finished the introduction), but my thoughts on her character remain basically the same. We'll see how it goes; Web of Shadows probably won't give me a lot to work on, on its own, but that could be the perfect excuse to incorporate the novels as well (in which case, I need to do some reading). 

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Hindsight being 20/20, both Gali and Nokama deserve a lot more credit than the franchise gives them their due.

Chronologically the very first action scene we ever saw in the franchise was MNOG Chapter 3 with Gali's Tarakava fight in March 2001. The first comic book wouldn't come out until June, and other than the brief commercials there was really nothing else for a few months there in 2001. Maybe it was intentional on Templar's part, or just accidental; but for most of us our first introduction proper to the Toa was Gali. 

Gali then continues to be making some of the biggest story beats in the rest of the franchise. In MNOG's last chapters it is revealed she shares a mental bond with Takua. In Mask of Light when Takua become Takanuva, whose Toa form does he take? Greg said Toa resemble the way "they viewed Toa as Matoran" or something like that, and its interesting that Gali of all the Toa is the one figure Takanuva shares a build with almost 100%. Yes there is a practical set reason for it, so Takanuva has arms long enough to fit on the Ussanui, but its an interesting detail all the same that other than his tools and mask Takanauva is a spitting image of Gali setwise. This is carried over into animated form, as it is arguable that Takanuva again seems like a male version of Gali's build. You can't convince me otherwise, it seems of all the Toa Mata the character Takua looked up to the most was Gali; not Tahu. 

I'd argue like Vakama, Tahu didn't mature into a leader until later books; and in many ways the Toa Nuva were held together by Gali's influence. We also see she is arguable the most powerful Toa using a Nuva Blast on Karazani, effectively causing a tsunami that destroyed an entire island. Again, we can argue that Tahu becomes more powerful when he got the Golden Armor, but story wise Gali is the one we saw using her power in the most dramatic faction. 

Also its G2... but again who is the person who figures out how to defeat Makuta in the Shadow Realm? Yep, that's Gali who basically steals the final scenes of Journey to One with her own journey through Makuta's dark realm. 

Don't get me wrong, I love that Tahu and Vakama are both leaders who were forced to grow in their roles since it gives them a chance for character growth. Vakama in particular has a very interesting arc. But in both cases... it seems what held the team together was the respective women in the group, not the men. It can be argued this is a traditional role of "five man bands" that female characters are the "heart" who emotionally holds the team together, but in Bionicle especially it is strange in hindsight when the female characters are constantly shafted in their screen time; only to make very major plot changing moments when they are on screen. If Bionicle G1 could ever be revisited, it would be nice to give Gali and Nokama more time in the spotlight and give a more solid reason of why they are not the leaders of their team other than "red Toa destiny." Because as the story is written, both are sort of the break out characters of their team when hindsight is applied; but were as far as marketing went were shafted in favor of the male Toa.

Also for reference regarding that whole Five Man Band trope. Even though Toa teams are 6-7 characters, they still fit this set up to the letter (Tahu is leader, Gali is heart/the chick, Kopaka is the lancer, Onua is the big guy, and in lieu of a smart guy; Lewa is more a jokester (a smart aleck?) and Pohatu also plays as an emotional heart character mixed with the big guy stereotype)


More stuff to pile on after taking an even longer look at the prior comments:


Anyway, thank you more than enough for the feedback. It may take a while for the Roodaka piece to come out (since I'd basically only finished the introduction), but my thoughts on her character remain basically the same. We'll see how it goes; Web of Shadows probably won't give me a lot to work on, on its own, but that could be the perfect excuse to incorporate the novels as well (in which case, I need to do some reading). 

Honestly, I don't know if Roodaka's character would be as much out of the blue if it was in a franchise other than Bionicle. One of my oldest memories of Roodaka was flipping through the Lego catalog as a kid in 2005 pausing at the Bionicle section and my mom coming up and bluntly asking "why does that Bionicle have boobs?" The weird way Roodaka's  appeal is dialed up in what had been up to that point a pretty asexual design language for Bionicle still strikes me as odd, and it means that immediately a lot of tropes that Gali and Nokama got to skirt around get dumped on Roodaka due to physical set design itself. Roodaka just suddenly pulls in all the character types we associate with a Jezebel type character, or say even Black Cat and Catwoman if we look towards the comic book influences that got increasingly stronger as Bionicle went on (you can't change my mind that post Time Trap Makuta is just Dr. Doom and Lex Luthor transplanted to Bionicle...). So ultimately the first major female villain (yes technically the Bahrag Queens are first, but they are more insect things than people) of Bionicle falls into a stereotype that doesn't even make sense in the "love isn't canon" universe anyways. Roodaka either forces two bizarre implications, one that the "love isn't canon" stuff is bull and a polite way of avoiding the un-Lego like nature of what its implied with Roodaka's "seduction" (which is what Nathan Furst's soundtrack blatantly calls it); or two everything we see with Roodaka that seems very femme fatale for us human viewers is... oblivious in the Bionicle world, its a character created for the audience to understand, but her actions make a whole lot less sense once placed in the world she actually inhabits? Her three way deception with Vakama, Sidorak and Makuta all in play doesn't make a lot of sense if suddenly its viewed as "everything is super platonic actually we swear, it just looks like a femme fatale to us because we are human, but these people aren't!" It honestly makes her the hardest character to unpack in the franchise, and certainly yes her popularity might be in part due to how much of a sudden departure from Bionicle norms she was; but Roodaka's actions force either the franchise's narrative canon to bend around her, or she breaks it outright. I should clarify, I am not saying the campy femme fatale seductress doesn't work ever, there are plenty of heroes and villains in media who pull it off surprisingly well and many who have gone on to being pop icons (Harley Quin for example), but in Roodaka's case being such a character in a Lego franchise makes her stick out like a sore thumb and you just have to wonder "why do Roodaka like this in the first place?" 

In comparison, Gorast manages to be successful in being a female villain who outright doesn't scream "I am a female villain." I actually didn't realize Gorast was a female character until a few years ago to be honest. As for set design, I hold Gali 2015 as a high mark for improving on Roodaka's lessons of making a set that was feminine without falling for the same mistakes Roodaka made in overly designing it, and all with really a few simple modifications to the CCBS shells arrangement on the set too and nothing absurd!

Edited by Xboxtravis
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  • 1 month later...

Excellent read. I too have realized how leaderlike Nokama is and how underexplored it was. Even as a kid (and a fairly progressive kid I think) I always understood somehow it was just because Vakama was the main character.

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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


Click here to visit my library!

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