The return of the Bionicles, the robots that saved Lego from bankruptcy

A series of action figures that made the boom and generated comics, books, films and video games that conversed with each other, turns 20

Foto: The Lego Company

In March of this year, the relat data was released by Legotherein to their own performances of 2020, with few results other companies in the world can boast: double-digit growth, greater commitment to environmental sustainability, new assinnovative unctions and products, perfectly in line with what has been achieved in the last decade. It seems impossible that the same company, capable of billing almost 6 billion euros last year, was about to to disappear less than twenty years ago – and especially che a salit has been something good away from the traditional brick. but yet Bionicle, the series of robotic action figures launched by the Danish giant in 2001, it is the reason why we can still talk about Lego today.

Skeletal, colorful, armed with swords, machine guns and spears: the army unleashed by the Billund company at the beginning of the new millennium was an open challenge to the historical canons of the mattoncino. Forget it i castles and sailing ships of the 80s, the radditions of Bionicle sank in Maori culture. May 1 evident in the (very rich) terminology used at the beginning of serie, borrowed from the vocabulary Polynesian, e that in the summer of 2001 it nearly led to one diplomatic confrontation with the aborigines themselves, offended from the improper use of some sacred words. Even if in the absence of explicit references to real cultures, afterwards the storytelling it kept its depth intact by articulating itself in comics, books and films.

One of the bases of succit of Bionicle resides indeed in transmediality che characterized the saga since give it beginnings, thanks to the use of means different that they merged into an epic of enormous proportions: if toys were the basis di tale structure, to the next level comics, books, movies and video games they talked to each other, each offering a different point of view on the whole universe.

Bionicle conquered the European and North American markets in one periI hear delicate for Lego. In 1999 magazine Fortune decree the brick “toy of the century “, but the previous year the economic balance of the Danish giant had closed for the first time at a loss. A decline that started at the dawn of the years ’90, aggravated from bad investments e gives a ruthless competition guided dai Pokémon, at the time to theirs apogeo. L’agreement conLucasfilm per to melt the world of Star Wars and that of the bricks brought good earnings, neutralizzati gives very high royalties: it therefore became fundamental create a product whose rights belonged only to Lego and that it was competitive in a marketor where a toy had to be tied to a compelling story.

The salvation it came thanks to the agency’s Christian Faber advertiser Advance of Copenhagen and its revolutionary idea: buildable action figures with Lego elements other than the historic brickO. In 1999 it happened so the launch of the Slizers, followed in 2000 by the Roboriders, two series that with the lfairly successful gold convinced the Billund company to up the ante. The 2000 scored the birth of BoneHeads of VoodOo Island, a project created gives Faber e gives due designers of Lego, Bob Thompson and Martin Riber Andersen. Conceived as a cartoon line full of comic elements (the characters, fromexaggerated proportions, they had unambiguous names such as “Blade” and “Kick”), thank you upon addition in the writer’s creative team Alastair Swinnerston saw the insertion of topics accompanied epics dto an articulated mythology. Were born so iBionicle, crasi di Biological e Chronicle cyborg to the Terminator, work to protect the tropical island of Mata Nui from the evil Makuta.

The idea of be rained heroes dto the sky inside capsules came to Faber from battle that himself he was fighting against a tumor benigno to the brain. The advertising had the intuition to associate the pills to keep nanotechnology disease under control: and if in those capsules yes were hidden tiny robots, ready to repair damaged tissue? The Bionicle plot starts right here.

The overwhelming success broughtò the faces of the six main heroes, the Toa Mata, on cereal boxes, sheets, mugs, juices, shoes and T-shirts, authentic pop stars of the beginning of the millennium. All while around them the Lego-ship continueswill to sink: how he wrote academician David Robertson in his 2013 essay Brick by Brick, the fourth president of the company Jørgen Vig Knudstorp called Bionicle “the toy that saved Lego”.

Years following they saw the succession of various settings, from futuristic cities to the sea depths, promoted by commercial campaigns faithful to the fashions of the 2000s: sand the beginnings of the saga resented of the new age sensibilities of the end of the millennium with mixed echoesthere and tribal, soon they entered in scena motivetti rap and rock that accompanied the growth of youngsterspassionate anuses. Bionicle came withdrawnO from the market In 2010: i quasi thethere years of the series represent a milestone never reached before by a Lego theme.

Since, excluding the breve revival from 2015, disappeared from the shops to become objectO of worship. No.he last times the never dormant interest of fans led to creation of an inspired video game to the saga of The Elder Scrolls, authorized by Lego itself. The supreme proof of Bionicle’s triumph is given by recent poll, promoted by thego dessert, to choose the new set that in 2022 it will commemorate the ninetiesyears of mstick: the saga of biomechanical heroes beat the competition with 18,743 votes. We await the return of your capsules, Bionicle robot.

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