Review: Official Set - 2001 Bionicle Tohunga
When we think of Bionicle 2001, we generally think of the Toa launching the theme to its heights, but what if I told you that there were Bionicle sets before the Toa? Released earlier in 2001, the Tohunga gave everyone a glimpse of Mata Nui’s citizens before we got to meet the heroes. The Tohunga were not sold in stores, but came as a toy inside of McDonald’s Happy Meals at the time.
The 2001 line of Tohunga consisted of six different villagers, one from each region of Mata Nui:
The Tohunga all come packaged in a plastic polybag, which was included in the McDonald’s Happy Meal Box. The front of each bag depicts the character contained inside, which has some very interesting art for each of the regions of Mata Nui. On the back of the packaging there is a map of Mata Nui, which highlights and zooms in on the region which the included Tohunga is from.
Inside we find all of the pieces needed to build a Tohunga villager, as well as the instructions, which double as some advertisement material for Bionicle.
As expected, the builds are incredibly easy and take less than a minute to complete. That being said there is a very great design going on here. Each Tohunga has two different arm molds, one of which is a solid hand, and the other is an open hand which can hold a disc that comes with your Tohunga. The arms are rather flexible, allowing for the main play feature of the set: Throwing discs. The arms can be pulled back, and thankfully due to physics when the arm is released, the disc flings forward. This is a great option since holding it in the open hand is a little bit delicate and tends to fall out. This is not the case with storing the disk behind the head.
One thing that I really came to love about these builds are the color schemes. While they follow the same color scheme as the Toa and Mata Nui regions, every single piece is color, there are no bland axles or joints. This to me makes everything about the Tohunga just pop out at you, and do the best job of this out of the 2001 sets we’ve looked at so far.
The Tohunga, like all other Bionicle sets, include a combination model that can be built if you have all of them: The Matoran Nui. Essentially this is a juggernaut Tohunga, much larger, much stronger, and requires the Tohunga to perform an exorbitant amount of energy to combine together. This character can be seen in action in the comic titled Challenge of the Rahi.
As for the physical model, it’s pretty neat. It definitely feels a bit mashed together, but it still maintains the generic shape of the other Tohunga, just on a larger scale. The legs are huge in comparison to the arms, but it doesn’t throw off the look of the model very much.
As a whole I really, really enjoy the Tohunga. There’s something about them, very nostalgic of course, that makes Bionicle come to life. They’re so different than anything seen before, and the characters are very intriguing. I think if you’re a Bionicle fan, these ought to be really high up on your list.
While in comparison to their original price, the cost nowadays may seem high for a sealed Tohunga, it isn’t all that bad. A brand-new Tohunga will cost you anywhere between 20-30 Dollars on average, and a used one will cost around 10 Dollars. The Toa are great sets, same with the Turaga, but the Tohunga in my opinion, are on another level here.