Gathered friends, listen again to our legend of the BIONICLE...
LEGO's (surprisingly in-depth) Merchandise-Driven storyline, originally based on its pre-existing LEGO Technic line. Featuring (Bio-)Mechanical Lifeforms in a Schizo Tech universe, the story mainly concerns the conflict between the followers of the Physical God Mata Nui and the forces of the Big Bad Makuta.The story is told through comics (Published by DC Comics for LEGO Club members and later widely distributed by Papercutz; these hit the high points of the story), a book series (that went in-depth), Web Serials (side stories), and the occasional Direct-to-Video movie (by Creative Capers Entertainment for the original trilogy, Threshold Animation for The Legend Reborn, and Wang Film Productions/CGCG. With both Miramax Films and Universal as distributors). There are also a few beginning reader books, unimportant side stories designed to deliver An Aesop.The main Myth Arc is that one thousand years ago, the evil Makuta made the Great Spirit Mata Nui fall asleep. Since a Physical God protector being unconscious is a bad thing, the Matoran people and their Toa protectors are now working to wake him up again. The Matoran saga is split into three Rotating Arcs (labeled by book series title):
BIONICLE Chronicles: The Toa Mata arrive on the island of Mata Nui and begin their quest to awaken the Great Spirit. Their series of struggles against the evil Makuta are concluded (in the Mask of Light movie) by the arrival of a Toa of Light and the discovery of the lost city of Metru Nui.
BIONICLE Adventures: While the Matoran prepare to return to Metru Nui, tales are told of when Mata Nui fell asleep, showing how Metru Nui became lost. Each half included a movie, Legends of Metru Nui and Web of Shadows.
BIONICLE Legends: The Turaga have discovered that Mata Nui isn't just asleep, but that he's been dying. The Toa Nuva prepare for his final awakening, but first a new team of heroes must save his life. However, it's revealed that Makuta has been running an Evil Plan the whole time that may ensure his ultimate victory. No movies for this one.
In the end, the Toa Nuva finally wake up Mata Nui - allowing Makuta to commit Grand Theft Me and usurp the Great Spirit, sealing Mata Nui's spirit into the Mask of Life and exiling it into space. Nice Job Waking It, Heroes.The story then picks up on the wasteland world of Bara Magna, where tribes of Glatorian and Agori compete in Gladiator Games for scarce resources. Mata Nui lands there and ends up making friends and uniting the tribes while he tries to find his way home. There was one movie called The Legend Reborn, while a web serial kept tabs on the Matoran.The series has Loads and Loads of Characters; check the Character Sheet for more info on them.The toyline ended in mid-2010. The storyline was continued on LEGO's website with Bara Magna restored as Spherus Magna and its people forming a unified society with the Matoran, but it eventually petered out. It was replaced with the more sci-fi Hero Factory, which boasts "From the makers of BIONICLE!" on the label.However, Lego has announced that the line will be rebooted in 2015. Taking place in an Alternate Continuity, the action now shifts to the island of Okoto, where two powerful mask-making brothers, Ekimu and Makuta, came into conflict and fell into slumber on opposite sides of a now-divided island. The new Myth Arc will involve the original Toa (also known as "Masters") going on a quest to find the legendary Mask of Creation, one of the three most powerful masks in existence.One very notable feature about the storyline was that all of the comics and nearly all of the books and web material was written by one man: Greg Farshtey. Throughout BIONICLE's entire run, he kept in close contact with the fans, particularly the surprisingly large fan site BZ Power (check it out here). He answered questions, dropped hints about upcoming storylines, and stayed commendably dedicated to his work for all ten years it ran. Because of this, the fandom considers him My Real Daddy.
Adaptation Distillation: The movies, which seem to be partially aimed at a wider audience, especially the first one.
Adaptation Expansion: The movie novelizations can get into the heads of the characters, better explaining their motivations and providing links to continuity that doesn't appear in the movies. See All There in the Manual below.
Oddly enough, however, the movie Web of Shadows, the novelization of the movie, by the same name, and the comics running at the same time all have somewhat different plots.
The plot differences between the books and the comics are common and generally glossed over.
The Toa Mahri ads showed some sort of machine attaching their masks and gills before they go underwater. In the canon, the Toa Mahri's gills were a permanent anatomical feature, and they couldn't breathe air at the time the commercial took place.
The Piraka Ad implied that they were in a police lineup and breaking out of prison. The Piraka were never imprisoned at the time (and police lineups didn't exist in the Matoran Universe) and were instead leaving the Dark Hunters.
After the End: It's been a very long time since that end though and the whole point of the story is the heroes trying to reverse it.
All Deaths Final: There are a handful of Only Mostly Dead guys (see Matoran sections), but all those had special circumstances and everyone else who dies stays dead.
This may have been subverted by the recently revealed function of the Red Star, in that it had immediately resurrected the characters after their death, but they apparently Came Back Wrong and were unable to go back to their former lives. For the purposes of the story, they were mostly dead, though.
Always Chaotic Evil: There are several always-enemy races on both worlds. The Matoran Universe has the Makuta and their spawn, the Rahkshi; the Visorak, the Skakdi (which include the Piraka), and the Zyglak. Bara Magna has the Rock, Sand, and possibly Iron Tribes; the Bone Hunters, and the Baterra.
Ambiguous Robots: Races from both worlds are partly-organic and partly-mechanical, but good luck telling which parts are which. Officially the Matoran-verse races are more mechanical while the Bara Magna ones are organic with cyber-implants, but you can't tell just by looking.
Matoran saga: A Class 1 event occurs in Adventures, and two separate Class 4s are averted in Legends (The first of the Class 4s actually occurs in The KingdomAlternate Universe, but there are enough survivors to scrape it up to a Class 2.)
Interestingly enough, Mata Nui was attempting to do this prior to Makuta intervening with all the planets, but to reform Spherus Magna rather than destroy all the fragment planets.
Color-Coded Characters: Every major group has members colored red, blue, green, black, white, and brown, though orange or yellow are sometimes used in brown's place. In the case of Mooks there are six breeds in those colors. For Toa and Matoran and for Bara Magnans, the colors show the tribe they belong to; with Toa/Matoran this also indicates gender (or is supposed to) and Elemental Powers. Evil characters (the Makuta and Bara Magna's rock tribe) also favor black.
Constructed World: Notable in that it doesn't even have any humans. Part of the reason the series hasn't had any films or animated series that weren't handled in-house is because the pitches LEGO kept getting always involved humans getting transported to the Bionicle world or added Earthly elements, which was the exact kind of cliché LEGO wanted to avoid.
A large amount of Rahi and just about all the Dark Hunters fall into this category.
Crapsack World: Bara Magna after The Shattering split Spherus Magna. It got better after Mata Nui's restoration.
To add to that about Bara Magna; As 2009 (the year of the Bara Magna Arc) may have been the biggest change in story and sets combined, the old fans may have seen the new toyline and story as this. (See: They Changed It, Now It Sucks)
After the Great Cataclysm, most of the Matoran Universe became this. It got better, though, and then back after Makuta's defeat.
Doing in the Wizard : After the Mask of Light saga, all the mystical aspects (such as Mata Nui being a great spirit/deity) were gradually stripped away for more "logical" explanations. See main page for more.
Earth Drift: Of a sort, related to Doing in the Wizard above. The franchise was never set anywhere close to Earth, but the first few years were very influenced by Polynesian themes (set on a tropical island, everyone wears tiki-like masks, actual Maori terms were used, etc). Part of it was legally mandated (see "Meaningful Name" in the Matoran section), but the theme was pretty much lost by the time they found a lost city Beneath the Earth.
Arguably, also inverted with the relatively much less alien Bara Magna setting, which featured such Earth-inspired themes as characters wearing armor (as opposed to having it be part of their bodies), having romantic relationships, or eating with their mouths.note To be fair, there is a line in the fourth Chronicles book about Onua and Whenua having a meal, but this is the only instance of non-Rahi characters eating in the Matoran Universe.
Elemental Nation: Mata Nui and Metru Nui were divided into seven regions, six of which corresponded to each element of Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Stone and Ice (the seventh was a central neutral zone). Bara Magna has all the trappings of this, but nobody actually has innate elemental powers.
Somebody noticed the resemblance, as seen in this video
Family-Unfriendly Death: Most of these deaths were only described in the books or web serials, leaving exactly how nasty they were up to the reader's imagination. Still, for a Merchandise-DrivenLEGO series, the deaths of characters were pretty graphic, including Icarax getting attacked mid-teleportation, scattering every atom of his body throughout the known universe, Botar being crushed by his armor while he's still wearing it, alternate-universe Tuyet getting hit by a Portal Cut, "Ancient" getting blown to atoms, the "Phantoka" and "Mistika" Makuta being incinerated (with the exception of Krika, who becomes so intangible that his atoms fly apart), and Makuta is on the receiving end of a Colony Drop.
Zaktan was also blown to oblivion by then-god Makuta.
The Bohrok-Kal have their powers boosted beyond control by the Toa Nuva, resulting in a few of these. Special notice goes to Nuhvok-kal, whose gravity powerscrush it into an event horizon.
Fantasy Gun Control: Averted somewhat; lots of projectile weapons but the closest they get to firearms are rocket launchers.
Fire/Water Juxtaposition: Most Toa teams have a Toa of Fire as The Hero and a Toa of Ice as The Lancer, typically having a Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic with one another. Tahu and Kopaka are the most prominent example, although they're both just as likely to start arguing with Gali, the Toa of Water, as they are with each other.
The Full Name Adventures: All three Matoran arcs had this sort of title for their accompanying book series; and Bara Magna probably would have if it had enough books to warrant a unified title.
Genre-Busting: It has magical epic fantasy, cyber-city sci-fi, plenty of action (both regarding the usage of special powers, or plain hand-to-hand combat), a Cosmic Horror Story or two, war tales, crime and mystery, western-ish Desert Punk, some mild philosophizing, tells moral fables, and showcases various kinds of humor (sarcastic and dry verbal jokes, or visual Slapstick). Comes in the form of plastic toys, comic books and novels, 2D and 3D animations and Direct-to-Video movies, and its music ranges from rock and techno mixes of varying hardness to orchestral choirs, tribal drums and hums and almost rural-sounding chimes.
During the final battle of Web of Shadows, bits of dead Visorak can be seen strewn all over the Coliseum floor. During the same battle, Whenua destroys a Keelerak's head and another Keelerak kills a Vohtarak to keep Nokama pinned. Given that Keelerak spinners have acidic powers, it's probably not a coincidence that the camera immediately cuts from the Vohtarak after impact...
It's implied that Hakann has massacred Voya Nui Matotran for his own amusement the Barraki eat Matoran from time.
Handwave: The author Greg Farshtey is probably the token king of this, when he's not making shrugs of God.
Averted with the Brotherhood squad in Karda Nui, the Barraki and the Order of Mata Nui. For the Brotherhood squads Icarax is larger than the others but Antroz is the leader. For the Barraki Pridak was their unofficial leader, while their subordinate Nocturn was probably the largest of the lot. The Order of Mata Nui is filled with massive creatures like Botar, Brutaka, and even the Ancient, but their leader is Helryx, who is stated to be just a normal (but very old) Toa.
Late to the Tragedy: More or less the standard storyline, as it was used in Chronicles, the latter half of Adventures, Bara Magna, and all three parts of Legends.
This was slightly averted in Mata Nui Online Game 2, where there were many names given to every character in the game (as it had an Open World), many of whom had never been seen previously, and - being mostly background characters - mostly did not appear in subsequent stories. There were some names which are human-seeming names (maybe slighly modified), such as Kai and Marka. There were a few which don't fit perfectly in either world, such as Nixie.
Leet Lingo: The web codes on the toy packaging became this as of Bara Magna.
Level In Reverse: BIONICLE Heroes for the DS has a level which is one of the previous levels, only upside down.
Melting Pot Nomenclature: In its first year (2001), the brand drew its character names, place names, and other terminology from a wide range of Polynesian languages. This led to some controversy over the use of Maori names, and in 2003 some of these original names were changed to My Nayme Is variants. But 2003 also introduced Loads and Loads of Characters in the Mata Nui Online Game II, who had Meaningful Names coming from even more diverse global languages. Examples include Nixie (English), Pelagia (Latin), Taiki (Japanese), Tehuti (Egyptian), Kalama (Hawaiian), and Pakastaa (Finnish).
Milestone Celebration: The "BIONICLE Stars" toys, celebrating the line's tenth (and, it turns out, last) year.
Mutagenic Goo: Energized Protodermis is either this or an Acid Pool, depending on the destiny of whatever is exposed to it. The Pit Mutagen slowly mutates any being into Fish People, although the effect is much slower and less noticeable on organic creatures.
Unpredictable Results: Mostly; It's possible to find out if Energized Protodermis will transform someone or not; it's how they're transformed is what's unpredictable.
Myth Arc: Awaken Mata Nui, defeat Makuta, and save the universe.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Extensive use of K-names; plus Scary Nouns (Brutaka - "brute"), "Mor" (Morbuzakh), and The Adjective One (The Shadowed One). A few Foreign Language Names, too, but they mostly belong to the good guys - see Meaningful Name entry in the next section. Bara Magna also has the option of invoking the Ancient Dead Language category via Canis Latinicus.
Also Miserix (Misery), Teridax (Terror), and Tren Krom, whose name sounds like that of one of the Great Old Ones (and is indeed a reference), also Helryx's name begins with the name of the Norse goddess of death, Hel.
Never Say "Die": Averted; despite the line being mainly aimed for kids, characters rarely shy away from calling death what it is.
Except in the early years, anyway. While characters did die in those years, the series really started averting this trope with Piraka saga.
No Flow in CGI: Well, all the characters are cyborgs, for all intents and purposes.
No Hugging, No Kissing: [[Handwave Handwaved]] for Matoran, at least, by the fact that they're cyborgs with no need for romance in the human sense, as they cannot reproduce sexually. There was a Hewkii/Macku pairing and some Jaller/Hahli teasing in the flash animations of Chronicles, as well as the films, though they didn't really have any significance as the storyline progressed. Note: this trope has not stopped shippers in the slightest. (Does anything really?)
Promoted to Love Interest: The Adventures movies have Toa Matau flirting a bit with Toa Nokama and Sidorak offering a marriage proposal to Roodaka (the latter is handwaved that "marriage", here, is just a politically-motivated civil union).
Ship Tease: The last novel throws one in for good measure: Action Girl Kiina hugs Mata Nui and tells him that he shouldn't make her cry just before he places his spirit into the Prototype Robot and goes to fight Makuta alone. Of course, given the No Hugging, No Kissing rule, it's officially wholly friendly and platonic, but it's also not hard to think it would've been written a bit differently if the series wasn't already canceled by that time.
No Pronunciation Guide: Several; for example, is "Lewa" Leh-wa or Lee-wa and is "Onewa" Oh-new-uh, Oh-neh-wah, or Oh-nee-wah? And "Jaller" doesn't use an "er" sound, it's supposed to follow the original spelling of "Jala". (The BIONICLE Encyclopedias do include pronunciations, but variations are still out there. For the record, Mask of Light puts the example names as Lee-wa and On-uh-wa)
Off Model: Both movies and comics exhibit this fairly often.
Only One Name: Pretty much everybody except Tren Krom and Mata Nui. In Tren Krom's case, that's probably to highlight his other-ness.
Only Six Faces: Thanks to the fact that Lego reuses parts often. Very extreme in Chronicles, were everyone had one of twelve masks. It was gradually being averted as the series went on (especially in Legends where we met more communities of Matoran with different masks), but never completely got free. Bara Magna had a similar problem.
This is even more hilarious if you consider that all of the "faces" are actually masks; Matoran, Toa and even Makuta possibly ALL have the exact same face. Ditto goes for almost all the residents of Bara Magna. Averted with everything else, since they usually have heads constructed of generic LEGO elements rather than a mask (subverted in the case of Hydraxon and Maxilos, whose faces are actually mask pieces, but are explicitly stated to be their actual faces, and Toa Ignika, whose whole existence is only a mask to begin with).
Schizo Tech: The rule of thumb in the Matoran universe is "no wheels, no paper", regardless of how high the tech can be otherwise. Taken to its extreme in Chronicles, where cyborgs are mining with high technology to trade gems for fish and torches. Justified in Bara Magna due to the place being a Scavenger World - actually, the major settings in Chronicles and Legends qualify as Scavenger Worlds, too.
Shoddy Knockoff Product: There were several instances of a bootleg line called "Invincibility Robot", which often featured toys that different quite a bit from the packaging, which were ripped straight from the Bionicle toys. They covered everything from the Bohrok to Fero and Skirmix. There was also "SOLDIER", which included the Rahaga with oddly-shaped Darth Vader heads and a barely functional spinner launcher.
Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: Falls on the Toy Accuracy side. The comics and books are fairly consistent with the toys, only needing occasional tweaks; but the Matoran-era movies are pretty inaccurate.
Invisible Anatomy: One of the main "tweaks" is adding fingers to hands, which don't show up on the toys until Bara Magna. The movies also had Heart Lights.
It could be intentional, Mata Nui does have a whole world inside him, though it would make Bara Magna about as big as, say, Neptune, in the real world...
Sealed Cast in a Multipack: The Toa Mata were Sealed Good in a Can, but the sealed and then awakened Bohrok, Bohrok Va and Bohrok-Kal provided the creators with one and a half year's worth of enemy sets and plot-engines for a cheap price... Not so much the collection completists. Subverted in all the Rahi species that escaped from their stasis tubes in the Onu-Metru Archives — those weren't released as sets, and for the most part weren't even that important to the plot.
Shattered World: Spherus Magna was split into Bara Magna, Aqua Magna, and Bota Magna by an even that's even called "The Shattering".
Single-Biome Planet: Justified as all known planets were split from Spherus Magna's larger ecosystem. Aqua Magna (where the Matoran saga takes place) is an endless ocean, Bara Magna is a desert planet, and Word of God says the last piece is mainly forest, called Bota Magna.
Sixth Ranger: Played straight in many series. Beginning in 2003 (and arguably ending in 2009), Lego sold an extra basic toa-sized figure (usually referred to as a "Seventh Toa") packed in with a vehicle and sold at a higher price point, and usually joined the main team of heroes in-universe later in the story, though almost every year deviated from this in some way;
2003 - Takanuva was a new member who joined the team just before the finale of the first movie (and stayed with them afterwards) and was packed with the Ussanui (which existed for about 30 seconds before being destroyed in the movie) and is considered the basis for the "seventh Toa" in the rest of the franchise.
2004 - Toa Lhikan was packed in with a Kikanalo, though in-universe, he existed before the main heroes, is the one who gave Toa Metru their powers, and never had a connection to the Kikanalo.note The Toa Metru, who share Lhikan's body structure, did greatly interact with (and ride) the Kikanalo, and while not advertised, it was intended to hold other Toa of the same build as well.
2005 - The only year without a true Seventh Toa, though the special edition Toa Norik and Toa Iruni were sold on the side and fill the seventh Toa slot (though both were sold at the same pricepoint at the regular figures, neither had a vehicle, and were completely disconnected from the main story in-universe). In some countries, Toa Lhikan & Kikanalo came out in '05.
2006 - Vezon filled the seventh Toa slot but was a villain instead of a hero. Vezon was packed with two sets: first with the spider Fenrakk and then the Kardas dragon, and was (in-universe) a clone of the Piraka Vezok (Vezon is even the Matoran word for "Double") and fought both the Piraka and the Toa Inika.
2007 - Lesovikk filled the seventh Toa role toy-wise (being packed with a "Sea Sled"), but never met the main heroes (the Toa Mahri) in-universe.
2008 - Toa Ignika, packed with a "Skyboard" was, in-universe, the Mask of Life given a physical body who joined and fought beside the team after initially being questioned.
Ironically, the original Seventh Toa, Takanuva, also made an appearence (though in a much larger, Titan-sized form).
It should be noted that there was another villain, Mutran, who was also a basic figure and was packed with another smaller figure (Vican) and was sold as an exclusive, though Ignika more closely follows the Seventh Toa formula.
2009 - It could be argued that Fero falls into the seventh Toa slot as he was a small figure (though he was Impulse sized, not Canister sized) that was packed with a larger one, namely the reptilian steed, Skirmix.
Averted with all of the Codrex Vehicles during the Karda-Nui saga; while they all featured canister sets as their pilots these figures are all alternate forms of two of the heroes and one of the villains. In-universe; the heroes had adaptive armor that changed to suit the vehicles they were piloting, and the villain could shapeshift at will (which pretty much amounted to the same thing).
All Matoran of Water (and by extension Toa and Turaga of Water) are female by default. Since Blue is one of the six colors in every rotation, this meant that every Toa Team, Matoran set and Turaga set had at least one female member, even if they looked nothing like it (Inika Hali was the worse, with her mask having a beard and butt chin).
This got worse with the Glatorian. Some viewed the change in setting means we might see more girls, as they're not exclusively tied to the blue sets of each rotation now. NOPE. The first blue Glatoran and Agori were men, and no different-colored females were present at all. The second wave came with one... then proceeded to release almost a dozen other male Glatorian.
Sticks to the Back: common in animations, especially involving the Toa, as well as the Glatorian's weapons in The Legend Reborn. Justified for Takanuva (Mask of Light version) and the Toa Metru, as the toys had weapon mounts built into their backs.
Stock Subtitle: "Comic 13: Rise of the Rahkshi!", "BIONICLE 1: Rise of the Toa Nuva", BIONICLE Heroes
Team Shot: every year has at least one of these showing the new sets.
There's also a number of quasi-examples that aren't directly marketed, but are built from existing parts. A number, like Graalok the ash bear, the Shadowed One, and Botar, were designed by LEGO and alternate building instructions were included with the toys. Several others, mostly Rahi beasts and Dark Hunter mercenaries, were designed and built by fans and then canonized.
Villain Episode: The Legends book Legacy of Evil (featuring the Piraka), as well as web serials "The Mutran Chronicles" (the Brotherhood of Makuta), "Federation of Fear" (various villains in a Boxed Crook team), "Empire of the Skrall" (the Skrall), and "Sahmad's Tale" (Sahmad and the Iron Tribe).
Also, in the Voya Nui and Mahri Nui arcs, the hero toys got released in a later wave than the villain toys, so in the story keeps pace by focusing on the villains messing things up before the heroes come along to fix it.
Wrap It Up: 2010 skipped over at least two arcs (one with the Element Lords and one on Bota Magna) to get to the final battle with Makuta.
Year Zero: Two. The first is "The Shattering" about a hundred thousand years ago that split Spherus Magna; it also marks the beginning of the Matoran world. The Matoran also have the "Great Cataclysm", one thousand years before the story starts, when Mata Nui fell asleep, causing numerous disasters.
Code Name: The descriptive kind; most Dark Hunters have them (because stuff like "Silence" and "Darkness" don't have to be cleared through Lego's legal department; unlike, say, "Lariska")
Combining Mecha: The theory behind the Toa Kaita, shown with the Toa Mata (Wairuha being formed of Lewa, Gali, and Kopaka, and Akamai being formed from Tahu, Pohatu, and Onua.) It's stated that most Toa groups are able to form Kaita forms, but never comes up in canon beyond the Toa Nuva. The Toa Metru were implied to be able to do it (but didn't know how), whereas the Toa Hordika were one of the few groups that could not (due to the Visorak infection that turned them into Beast People).
Meanwhile, there are other fusions, but very few have come about in the storyline, such as a Matoran Nui and Bohrok-Kal Kaita.
Domed Hometown: The Matoran world is located in underground domes (actually Mata Nui's body cavities)
Egopolis: The lands of Artakha and Karzahni are named after their rulers.
Eldritch Abomination: Tren Krom. Subverted in that, while powerful and immeasurably ancient, he is not an alien - he was created by the Great Beings like everything else in the Matoran world. Written as a Shout-Out to Lovecraft.
Also the Energized Protodermis Entity, who existed within Spherus Magna even before the Great Beings discovered Energized Protodermis.
Makuta tried to appear as this when the Toa Mata first faced him, turning into a mass of swirling pieces and tentacles. After being defeated, he tried to be more direct in later confrontations (largely because the Toa have then learned what he really was).
Genius Loci: The Matoran world is actually inside Mata Nui's submerged body, with the island of Mata Nui perched on his face.
The Ghost: Mata Nui, until around the end of Legends
Ghost City: Metru Nui for a thousand years after the Great Cataclysm, the island of Mata Nui after the events of Mask Of Light.
Goal-Oriented Evolution: Matoran to Toa to Turaga. In their case it's more akin to Goal Oriented Puberty; Matoran who first become Toa are rather naive compared to more experienced ones and act more like teenagers, and the Toa who become Turaga have gained enough knowledge and experience that both Toa and Matoran respect them without question. Matoran of Light can also be Matoran to Bohrok. The Makuta species also evolved to the point of being Energy Beings in Animated Armor.
The Gods Must Be Lazy: Something has to be really wrong in the world to grab Mata Nui's attention. Makes sense when you consider the Womb Level nature of the world - do you think of your stomach when you don't have indigestion? Of course, once he does start paying attention, his hands get tied.
Gods Need Prayer Badly: Mata Nui suffers if the Matoran don't do their jobs. Eventually explained as his robot body will shut down if not maintained and kept working.
Heart Light: All the people of the Matoran Universe have these, at least according to the books and movies. They're even called heartlights.
The Heavy: Usually the Arc Villains are the Heavy to Makuta's Bigger Bad, though sometimes even the Arc Villains stay mysterious and leave Heavy duties to a lesser villain.
Humans Through Alien Eyes: No humans around, but once in a while there's an item that's strange to the characters; the list includes roller skates, eggs, and a scroll.
Humongous Mecha: Mata Nui. He's about 40 million feet high and contains the Matoran world.
Island Base: Odina (Dark Hunters), Destral (Brotherhood of Makuta), and Daxia (Order of Mata Nui); Destral is able to teleport to any location in the Matoran Universe thanks to a device on the island.
Kansas City Shuffle: Everyone thought Makuta's plan was just to knock Mata Nui unconscious and then stay in power while he can't do anything about it. That was his original plan, but he eventually revised it with bigger prizes in mind...
La Résistance: Matoran tend to form these when they're taken over, with the Voya Nui and Karda Nui ones being the best examples. The Toa Hordika and Rahaga also formed one against the Visorak. One also formed against the Toa Empire in the "Dark Mirror" alternate universe.
Lava Surfing: Ignalu Lava Surfing is practiced as a sport in Ta-Koro.
Letter Motif: Each element has a syllable representing it: "ta" for fire, "ga" for water, "le" for air, "po" for stone, "ko" for ice, and "onu" for earth. These show up in some variation in the names of the Toa Mata/Nuva, the Bohrok, the Rahkshi, and the Visorak; as well as in reference to the Matoran tribes (the fire Matoran are called the Ta-Matoran, for example).
Living Ship: In a sense. Word of God states that Mata Nui wandered space with the Matoran world inside - not that the Matoran were aware of where they were (either in space or inside their Great Spirit).
One Steve Limit: Averted somewhat; Mata Nui, Artakha, and Karzahni all have locations named after them, and a plant creature also has Karzahni as a namesake.
"Makuta" and "the Makuta" also sounds confusing, but there's a reason for it: it's a title, and one character prefers the title to his actual name. It's like a group of Dukes, one of which likes being called "Duke".
Also averted when it comes to soundalikes; the series includes characters named Krekka, Krahka, Krakua, and Krika.
One-Winged Angel: Makuta (subverted in that his true form is just energy that can't do much without a shell; played straight in that he's made the shell bigger and nastier in a couple fights)
Our Souls Are Different: Disembodied spirits (including the Makuta's energy forms) can possess robots or soulless-but-still-alive bodies. Makuta can dispossess their bodies at will since they're Energy Beings, but others need to use Applied Phlebotinum (like a Mask of Spirit). And souls depart to whatever afterlife at death, but the death can be reversed and the soul restored if done quick enough (though woe to you if some other soul gets to your body before you do!)
Personal Dictionary: Farshtey used "universe" to mean the Matoran world, not the entire cosmos, as from the Matoran perspective that is their universe and they are aware of very little outside it.
Phlebotinum: Protodermis, the substance that makes up the entirety of the Matoran world - metal, water, living tissue, everything.
Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment: As Energized Protodermis either transforms or destroys whatever it touches, there are special containers that are able to hold it. Exsidian is a component of one type of resistant materials.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: The Toa hold this view but it's dealt with rather pragmatically; this code of conduct was officially adopted on the grounds that they need to keep the trust of the Matoran, but they are willing to waive it (or at least just consider killing) if necessary, such as in wartime or when facing extreme threats. And one of the Order's reasons for existing is to allow the Toa to have this code, doing the Dirty Business in their place.
Heart Is an Awesome Power: In Mahri Nui, as Toa Hahli had a Mask of Kindred that let her copy abilities of animals. Since she was quite knowledgeable about sea creatures and what they could do, she used this mask to great effect.
Abandoned Mine: In the Mata Nui Online Game 2, the Great Mine was abandoned due to flooding by Gahlok in the previous arc. Hahli, a Ga-Matoran and experienced swimmer, has to dive through the mine to retrieve tools and materials for the Onu-Matoran miners.
Amnesiac Hero: The Toa remembered little beyond their names and powers upon arriving on Mata Nui.
Arc Villain: The Bahrag and Bohrok-Kal take over in the middle arcs.
Cave Mouth: The entrance to Po-Koro and the Ice Gate in the Mata Nui Online Game.
The entrances to the Temple of Courage and Temple of Creation in the Mata Nui Online Game II.
Changeling Fantasy: Everyone, audience included, thought that Takua was part of the Fire tribe - until he became a Toa of Light (even then, there's enough Phlebotinum thrown around that him originally being a Fire character was a possibility, until we learned that a tribe of Light did exist)
Moses in the Bullrushes: the Order of Mata Nui secretly spread Matoran of Light throughout the world so the tribe wouldn't be wiped out if their homeland came under attack.
Citadel City: Ta-Koro, a walled city that is surrounded by lava, within a volcano.
Death Is Cheap: Notoriously so in Mask of Light. The two lead characters are both killed, but neither stay dead. Jaller is revived by Takutanuva, and Takanuva... well, his revival has never really been explained.
Decapitation Presentation: Gali presenting a removed infected mask from a Tarakava, heavily, but notably, subverting the trope.
"Did You Actually Believe? I would let them return?" (Makuta in Mask of Light, after Takanuva summoned the Matoran to his lair)
Filler Villain: Although they are more accurately an ensemble of Elite Mooks than a single villain, the Bohrok-Kal were created by LEGO to fill the space between the defeat of the Bahrag and the return of Makuta.
Mata Nui Online Game II: The Final Chronicle ends on a particularly confusing note that only makes slightly more sense if you've seen Mask of Light. After winning the Kohlii Championship and collecting five of the six crystals, Hahli encounters Lerahk in Ta-Koro and escapes, watching as the village sinks into the Lake of Fire. She then arrives on the very beach where Takua's quest had begun, where she finds the last crystal and places the crystals in the Amaja Circle. Hahli is then enveloped in bright light and transported to Kini-Nui, where she sees three Rahkshi fly overhead. Then, Nokama tells Hahli that she's the new chronicler. And... that's it. That's how it ends.
Mask of Light also has a particularly odd ending, one that became partially explained in the following year but was left mostly unexplained. After defeating Makuta in a game of Kohlii, Takanuva takes off the former's Kanohi Kraahkan, and they both fall into a pool of Energized Protodermis which fuses them into Takutanuva. Takutanuva then lifts up a giant door (which, aside from a passing line by Makuta, was never mentioned before) to let the Toa Nuva and Turaga pass through, stopping Hahli along the way to bring Jaller Back from the Dead. Then, Takutanuva dies as the door's weight crushes him, sending the Kanohi Avohkii spinning across the floor. Turaga Vakama takes the mask and positions Hahli, Jaller, and the mask on the BIONICLE logo on the floor whilst proclaiming, "Let us awaken the Great Spirit! Unity, duty, destiny!", and this somehow revives Takanuva. Then, Takanuva, Jaller, and Hahli are standing on a beach and all have glowing, golden masks which send out a beam of light, revealing some new island which Vakama refers to as "home". Oh, and despite all that constant talk about "Mata Nui will be awakened this day!" for the final act, they don't awaken Mata Nui that day after all.
Hammerspace: The Toa Mata/Nuva's extra masks are explained as being stored in their Suva shrines (and later, Metru Nui's Great Temple) when not in use, with the Toa able to mentally switch them at will.
Handy Helper: In the Mata Nui Online Game, Takua becomes Pohatu's eyes when the latter was blinded by a Nui-Jaga scorpion.
I Know Madden Kombat: The final battle of Mask of Light pits Takanuva against Makuta... in a game of Kolhii. However, the sequence plays out somewhat like an actual fight, and ends with Takanuva using his special technique to slam Makuta into a wall.
Instant Runes: appears when Onua uses the Mask of Shielding in the Mata Nui Online Game.
Interim Villain: The Bohrok swarms. Before their introduction, Makuta had just been defeated by the heroes and disappears. Shortly after their story arc was finally wrapped up with the defeat of the Bohrok-Kal, Makuta returns to the spotlight. Although it was later confirmed via Retcon that Makuta was responsible for awakening the Bohrok, he did so to distract the Toa and thus buy himself some time to recover from his previous loss, thus directly invoking this trope.
Ironic Fear: Tamaru, an Air Matoran, is afraid of heights, and given his village of Le-Koro is in the treetops...
Levitating Lotus Position: Gali has a similar pose to this while meditating in the first movie, managing to levitate despite not having psychic powers of any sort, other than telepathy between herself and Takua.
MacGuffin: Despite all the emphasis there was on collecting the Kanohi and Kanohi Nuva, they never affected the plot in any meaningful way. The only exceptions are the Vahi and the Avohkii, which were also the only two masks that the Toa were not tasked with finding.
Mage Killer: the Rahi Nui was created to hunt Toa, and one of its abilities was feeding on Elemental Power, thus being invulnerable to it.
Meaningful Name: Most names and terms introduced in the first year were actual Māori words. Lego stopped the practice and switched to Foreign Sounding Gibberish when Māori activists criticized Lego for the use of Māori words as a trivialization of their culture (though most of the original names still survive).
A lot of the Matorans' names in Mata Nui Online Game 2 were foreign words that were in the theme of the place they were in (example: in Ko-Koro, names meant things like winter and snow). At least Hungarian, Finnish, Chinese and Czech words were used.
My Nayme Is: some of the source words got changed to alternate spellings: "Jala" to "Jaller", "Huki" to "Hewkii", "Hali" to "Hahli", "Maku" to "Macku", "Puku" to "Pewku", "Koli" to "Kolhii"
Puff of Logic: During the Bohrok arc, Pohatu and Onua, both the strongest of the Toa Mata, struggle to break a rock wall to escape before the room fills with lava. However, they're unable to make a single chip in it. Lewa realizes that there's nothing the two of them are unable to smash, which means the wall cannot exist. As soon as they stop believing the wall exists, it disappears. Sure enough, the projectors of said wall, the Bahrag queens, are able to create illusions at will. Several of the Toa again end up fighting false opponents, being helped by their teammates that can see which Bahrag aren't real.
Power of the Void: Makuta claimed to have this power early on. He wasn't shy about it, either.
Gali: How are you like the sea? The sea bears life! The sea bore us!
Makuta: I bore you! For I am Nothing. And out of Nothing, you came. And it is back into Nothing that you shall go.
Armor Is Useless: The Exo-Toa block their users' Elemental Powers. They also have the AI to act autonomously, but haven't exactly been shown to have a stellar track record in this regard since they frequently fall victim to The Worf Effect.
Rage Against the Mentor: By the end of the arc, the Toa Nuva had tired of the Turaga's secrecy and began to confront them on it.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Naming Day was introduced as a way to change characters' names to non-Maori words (see "Meaningful Name" above).
Sealed Evil in a Can: The Bohrok play with this; it seems to be played straight before it turns out (six real-world years later) that they're just doing their Great-Beings-given job (and therefore Sealed Neutral).
Amphibious Automobile: the Vahki Transport used by the Toa Metru to travel between Metru Nui and Mata Nui.
Arc Villain: In order: the Morbuzakh, "Turaga Dume" (Makuta in disguise), Sidorak and Roodaka
Assimilation Backfire Vakama and Onewa managed to defeat a Tunneler, a Rahi which had the ability to take on the form of any force directed at it, by combining their Elemental Powers to transform it into brittle glass.
Badass Armfold: Sidorak in Web of Shadows. It makes him look a LOT more badass than he really is.
Beta Test Baddie: the plant monster Karzahni (no relation to the other Karzahni), abandoned in favor of the more controllable Morbuzakh.
Big Brother Is Watching: The Vahki flash animations generally portrayed Makuta's reign while disguised as Turaga Dume like this.
Matau uses his Aero Slicers to decelerate in a chute.
Done in Legends of Metru Nui, such as Nuju using his Crystal Spikes in stopping his fall on a Knowledge Tower and Nokama with her Hydro Blades in the Coliseum, and again with Matau and his Aero Slicers in the chute.
Creation Sequence: The creation of the Disk of Time and then the Mask of Time by Vakama.
Crystal Prison: When 6 Toa of different elements combine their powers, they can create a Toa Seal that not even Teridax can break out of. Said combination of elements are the only way of destroying Toa Seal.
Discontinuity Nod: Rahaga Kualus insists that "Gukko" is the incorrect name for some bird species and may even be an insult in their language (the original names got retconned out due to legal issues).
Don't Think. Feel: How Turaga Lhikan trains Toa Whenua, Nuju, and Onewa to use their mask powers.
Invading Refugees: As the Toa Metru journeyed through the Maze of Shadows, they were frequently attacked by Rahi running in their direction. After some battle they realize these Rahi were fleeing something away from where they were heading.
Rapid Aging: Anything that gets too close to Voporak suffers this fate, including an armyof Rahkshi and the Shadowed One, though the latter is a rare example of being alive after the aging.
Recognizable By Sound: In the Hordika arc, Toa Nuju speaks to his companion Kualus about his old friend Ehrye. Just then, he hears Ehrye's voice calling for help. Kualus warns him not to follow it, but Nuju doesn't care. Sure enough, the source of the voice turned out to be from an Oohnorak waiting in ambush, having read Nuju's mind and then started mimicking Ehyre's voice.
Sacrificial Revival Spell: Matoro sacrifices himself with the help of the Mask of Life to save Mata Nui's life and, in turn, the Matoran Universe.
Secret Legacy: The Turaga of Mata Nui were once Toa themselves, while their Toa Nuva charges had forgotten that other Toa besides them even existed.
Arc Villain: In order: the Piraka, the Barraki, the Brotherhood of Makuta (with Makuta himself absent)
Ascended Extras: The Toa Inika/Mahri, who were Matoran supporting characters back in Chronicles
Assimilation Backfire: In the Kingdom Alternate Dimension, Makuta is killed after he absorbs Matoro, who fights back successfully due to Makuta's weakened will due to his plan's failure in that dimension.
Atlantis Is Boring: Averted with the Mahri Nui arc, which often considered to be a high point for the series and packs plenty of action, from mutated fishmen to psychotic robots and all manners of sea monsters.
Break Out the Museum Piece: A variation; instead of technology, it's dangerous wildlife in the Archives. It's revealed that long ago, (then-"good") Makuta did this to end the Metru Nui Civil War. The results were gruesome.
Brick Joke (dramatic variant): In Legends, Makuta disappears at the end of the Mahri Nui arc, and remains almost completely absent while the Brotherhood is waging war in Karda Nui. Then comes the final book's epilogue... (Undermined just a little by the fact that a web serial features a search for him, but played straight concerning the other media.)
Brown Note: A Klakk's sonic scream can cure Shadow Matoran.
The Charmer: According to Jerbraz, he was one of the Order of Mata Nui's "most handsome and dashing" members, before he was rendered permanently invisible following an accident. Now he has to get by on just charm.
Darkest Hour: When Makuta pretty much assumes control of the universe, rendering all the Toa's previous battles and struggles rather moot.
Death by Irony: Makuta Mutran thinks of a way to try and control Karda Nui's energy storm, only to be zapped to dust after declaring he figured it out.
Death Is the Only Option: In the Chamber of Death, the only way to proceed was for one member of the Toa Inika team to sacrifice himself or herself. Matoro volunteered, but was revived immediately afterwards, as the purpose was a test of courage. This was because the Ignika, the mask the chamber was protecting, requires the sacrifice of the wearer to be used. Matoro's willingness to give himself up showed the mask that he was the true bearer.
Death Mountain: A rock accidentally left behind by Mutran on the island of Xia became this. It happens to be also alive ad eats whatever tries to scale it.
Diminishing Villain Threat: While most of the Barraki are arguably less intimidating than their backstories had implied (having started a war that Toa couldn't contain and required Makuta of all people to step in and resolve), Carapar got the worst of it after the Mahri Nui Arc. He became essentially a prisoner of the Order of Mata Nui and was sent on a suicide mission with his jailer, then gets killed by Tren Krom's eyebeam in an instant. This is a far cry from his original position as a ruthless and cunning warlord who commanded a whole kingdom. That said, it is explicitly stated that being hypnotized repeatedly by Takadox did a number on his mental faculties.
Doing in the Wizard : At the end of Legends, a number of mythological aspects got explained away. The biggest one is that Mata Nui, revered as a mystical Physical God by the Matoran, was actually a giant robot that they lived inside. About the only things that didn't were the Great Beings - we learned more about them here and on Bara Magna, but they're still mysterious Precursors.
Drama-Preserving Handicap: the Makuta invading Karda Nui. The "Phantoka" team was blinded, the "Mistika" team suffered Shape Shifter Mode Lock and lost some of their multiple powers, and Icarax was painfully devolved back into a physical being. (Mutran was unaffected, but was more of a Mad Scientist than a fighter anyway.)
Egopolis: Makuta renamed the Matoran world the "Makutaverse" upon taking it over.
It's warranted, though. He lost the Mask of Life and pretty much any other power he had. He's smart enough to know that he doesn't have nearly as much of an advantage as he had, so he is likely to be at least partly Obfuscating Stupidity.
Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: the first Toa of Psionics, Orde, was created by the Great Beings to do something like this to the Zyglak. Unfortunately, due to Orde's violent temper, he made them in an Unstoppable Rage. Thus, the Great Beings made the rest of the Toa of Psionics female from then on.
Giant Spider: The big-enough-to-ride Fenrakk (which incidentally gets...
High-Tech Hexagons: In pretty much all the graphics of Voya Nui, plus a large amount of the graphics from Mahri and Karda Nui, there are hexagons in the background, most likely to give the images a high-tech feel. They even changed the shape of the Matoran alphabet characters from circles to hexagons. It does make you wonder, though, why they didn't use hexagons in the last arc, when the futuristic city of Metru Nui was the main setting.
Homeworld Evacuation: In the Kingdom Alternate Dimension, Matoro fails to revive the Great Spirit Mata Nui, leaving the Matoran Universe in danger and prompt mass exodus onto the island of Mata Nui. Not all beings made it safely, but while many made it to the island, it is only a temporary refuge. The survivors settled quickly and also planned on how to leave the island for the stars.
Real Song Theme Tune: All American Reject's song "Move Along" was used as the theme for the Toa Inika. There was even a non-canon Alternate Reality Game with the storyline of the band being kidnapped by the Piraka.
Tuckerization: Order members Jerbraz, Johmak, and Tobduk, who were credited as providing pictures for the Order's atlas, were named for the guide's real-life illustrators Jeremy Brazeal, John McCormack, and Toby Dutkiewicz respectively.
Twist Ending / Wham Episode: two in the Matoran saga's conclusion: the books and comics first show that Makuta wins, then the web content adds the revelation that the Matoran world is inside Mata Nui.
Upgrade Artifact: as mentioned in Amplifier Artifact, Antidermis strengthens Brutaka's species, but when Brutaka fell into a pool of Antidermis, he gained increased power along with many abilities of the Makuta, in addition to physically strengthening his body to the point that his muscle cracked his armor at several places.
Water Is Air: Consciously averted in Mahri Nui, where characters like Jaller and Kongu had tremendous difficulty using their powers, and combat took place in a 3D environment. (Kongu decided just to go with more guns.)
Jaller's team was to have the starring role the whole time, but it was agreed that the heroes who started the saga should finish it, so the Toa Nuva were brought back for Karda Nui.
Also in Karda Nui, they would've taken the shadow corruption to its logical extreme and introduced a Toa of Shadow, but the plans for a toy set fell through so there was little reason to include one in the story.
What If?: Karzahni can show other characters what would have happened if a significant event in their lives played out differently. For negative results, it results in a Mind Rape, but if it has a positive outcome, it turns into a Lotus-Eater Machine.
Why Are We Whispering: A variation is used. Jerbraz and Mazeka have entered a village of De-Matoran. Jerbraz mentions that the locals can probably hear them whispering due to their acute hearing. Mazeka asks why they even bother whispering. Jerbraz replies, "Out of respect"— it turns out that their hearing is so strong that normal noise levels are painful to them.
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Both Hewkii and Kongu in the Mahri Nui arc, as they both come from tribes that don't like deep water (Stone and Air, respectively). In an interesting inversion, the Toa of Fire was relatively unperturbed by the environment.
The Worf Effect: The Toa Nuva got beaten pretty bad by the Piraka in Legends...
You Are Too Late: Sixth kind of use - By the time some of the heroes catch on to what Makuta has been planning and try encountering him at the place he needs to finish his Evil Plan they discover Makuta has already taken over Mata Nui's body.
Arc Villain: Rock tribe leader Tuma was this before Makuta asserted himself. The Element Lords were going to lead the next arc before it was scrapped. There are a few new bad guys emerging since Makuta's defeat, but none have asserted themselves as the "main" villain.
Bavarian Fire Drill: The novelization suggests that this is part of the reason the Agori traitor is able to take control after Tuma's defeat; the Skrall are so panicked by the thing attacking them that they'll listen to anyone giving orders.
Bittersweet Ending: The heroes destroy Makuta once and for all and Mata Nui reforms Spherus Magna, allowing the various Matoran races to finally begin a new age of peace. However the strain from the battle and reformation are too great for Mata Nui and he goes dormant once more, using his last words to tell the Toa and Glatorian to seek out the Great Beings. And that's not mentioning how many have died in the battle against Makuta, making the victory a costly one.
Diminishing Villain Threat: Tuma is utterly upstaged in The Legend Reborn. He only has two scenes (one with no lines, and one where he gets his ass kicked), and ultimately comes off as merely The Dragon to the Agori traitor.
Dragon-in-Chief: Tuma in Legend Reborn. Everywhere else, he's portrayed as the main villain.
Dream Stealer: Annona, who was responsible for the Dreaming Plague that wiped out the Iron Tribe.
Early-Bird Cameo: The baterra and the Element Lords appeared in the '09 web serials and would have showed up more prominently in the original 2010 story.
Eldritch Abomination: As noted in the Matoran section, the Energized Protodermis Entity that existed within the planet until it was moved to the Mata Nui robot. There's also something that looks like a miniature sun that feeds on dreams.
Invading Refugees: The Rock Tribe from the north initially partake in the Glatorian system before straight up invading other tribes for resources. It turns out they were only doing this because the Baterra drove them out of their old home and killed a significant portion of the tribe.
King Incognito: One of the Great Beings has been masquerading as a member of the Matoran Universe for the past 100,000 years. Well over a year after the story otherwise stalled out, Word of God revealed him as Velika, a Voya Nui Matoran.
What a Piece of Junk: vehicles, such as Thornatus, are this, but they are still functional to be used.
The Worm That Walks: The giant made of scarabax beetles that appears in the climax of Legend Reborn.
Wrap It Up: The decision to end BIONICLE was made in 2009, but the Story Team pleaded LEGO for the chance to provide some closure to the plot. The sequels to The Legend Reborn were canceled, so two years worth of story had to be compressed into two comics, a serialized ebook, and an illustrated audio-blog. Numerous subplots had to be aborted or cut entirely.
Composite Character: Ekimu and Makuta appear to have traits from two Cain and Abel pairs from the original continuity: Mata Nui and Makuta (Big Good and Big Bad respectively, the villain is named "Makuta") and Artakha and Karzahni (master craftsmen, portrayed as relatively normal beings rather than unseen mythical gods, the good one wears the Mask of Creation).
Continuity Reboot: The backstory to the relaunch mirrors the original 2001 storyline, but with some key differences: For one, the island and person of Mata Nui have been replaced with "Okoto" and "Ekimu", respectively. The Toa have also been described with character traits they didn't have before.