Sometimes I get reminded that what people see in my splash images aren't what I see myself. In a way it saddens, yet in another way it makes me happy, because I then realise I have a secret story that has yet to be told.
In the story below I explain what my humanoid bionicles are, where they came from, but also a little about who I was when I grew up:
When I was a kid, I played with Bionicle... a lot. But it was actually only in the very beginning, back in 2001, that I actually played 'BIONICLE' with my lego-figures. Sure, I loved LEGO's Bionicle story more deeply than any other fictional universe I have ever known and I paid my deepest respect to it. But whenever I sat down with my toys, I felt free to play whatever I felt like with whatever I felt like. There was no voice inside myself telling me to stick to bionicle with my bionicle figures. Why limit what your toy is in play? I could put Transformers into my playing with bionicle, or Dinosaurs, or michromachines, Pokemon, Digimon or fukin Batman, you name it! Just like how Andy in 'Toy Story' plays with a cowboy and space-ranger at once. I believe this is pretty common too.
So. I started putting a universe together that contained everything I loved in some gigantic mash-up context. And since Bionicle was my dearest of the universes within it, It all revolved around it. At the time, I was also in love with the story-concept of Digimon, having a team of individuals on the quest for good, in which each seemingly weak character could power-up when needed. This caused me to play Team Turaga
vs Team Bohrok Va
(only referring to the sets. not their characters). In 2004 I got 6 Metru-Nui Matoran which became the 'doctor who'-like "regenerations" to my turagas. I called them the "Toa" since I liked the term as a title and I stuck to them since.
As years went on, the story grew bigger and bigger, always absorbing the random things I found in other fiction, or the real world, into the story somehow. The more my personal-universe evolved, the more I got interested in evolving it even further. Whenever I was playing with toys, this story was the only thing I played
. Not that I did the same story over and over. no. I always played new things but it would all always happen within my huge universe. revolving around my main12.. and so a lot happened to my "Toa" and "Bohrok Va", and made me picture the characters more and more. Their personalities started to manifest and became more and more coherent, complex and realistic. I tried to think what they were thinking.
Around 2007 I started picturing what the characters would look like if they were humanoids and not just lego-sets or biomechanical creatures, so I began drawing them and in 2015 I completed my 2½ year long ambition to produce 12 splash images of each of my main12 characters. Today when I look at my shelf, where all 12 bionicle sets are standing, my
characters are what I see.
Even though they are all clearly Bionicle sets
, still with their original Bionicle names
and somewhat Bionicle-abilities
, I see characters with completely different personalities and story.
This has all put me in a sad dilemma. in one hand I have characters I hold so incredibly dear and want to express, but in the other hand I feel I can't show them because they are already known by their Bionicle-twin version of themselves. When I was little I didn't care about originality. I just played for myself afterall.
I wish to show my characters more, but I've reached the point where I cannot go forward without having it look awkwardly much like Bionicle, and I can't go back because the characters are in my head, and I cannot strip away the Bionicle feel they have so hard-wired into their design.
In desire to show my characters to others, I promoted them as simple "humanized" Bionicle characters. And people like them. For that. which is fine. I get a little happiness from seeing a fellow Bionicle fan happy, as well as knowing that others have seen my character, whether they realize it or not . But the originality dilemma probably never ends...