Review: Official Set - 2003 Rahkshi
Makuta’s final henchmen are finally unleashed. The Rahkshi were his artificial species created as a reaction to the defeat of the Bohrok-Kal and therefore the end of the Bohrok Swarm threat. The Rahkshi are meant to play no games with the Toa and have a reputation to be incredible powerful beings.
Each of the six Rahkshi contains 45 pieces and is marketed for an age range of 7 and up.
Each of the Rahkshi come in a new canister shape that resembles a beveled triangular prism. The front of the packing shows the Rahkshi in a power stance while being lit from behind by a large glow that matches the color of the Rahkshi inside. The front art also has nice renders of the Mask of Shadows and the Mask of Light, which I can only assume is done as a promo for Bionicle: The Mask of Light, which released later that year. The back of the canisters are mainly text-filled with information about where the pieces were manufactured, which in my mind should have been replaced with text filling customers in about the lore of the Rahkshi.
Inside there is a bundle of pieces accompanied by the instruction manual, a small comic, and in some cases, a CD. Some of the Rahkshi came with a promotional CD that was loaded with promotional animations for the 2003 storyline including Takanuva.
I have one word for you: knees. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe these are the first sets to include knee joints in the base models. And they make one heck of a difference. It’s a simple hinge ball and socket joint at the location of the knee, but the ability to pose the Rahkshi really benefits from this one detail. It’s much easier to move them into different stances and then using the knee and ankle joints to balance their center of gravity.
The Rahkshi also work in other new features and details such as glow in the dark orange eyes and brand-new part molds. Almost every major part in these sets is a brand new piece, which really helps to make the Rahkshi pop as these brand new villains that are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
At first it seems like the Rahkshi are all exactly the same just like the Bohrok, but in my opinion the individual molds for the spines and staff ends for each Rahkshi does enough to differentiate them across the board.
The issues I had with the base models all revolve around the fact that the staffs are not able to be repositioned so that they are held in one hand. The staff shape relies on a Black 10L technic axle between the Rahkshi’s hands to make it appear as if the staff goes through their hands. This restricts the range of motion in their shoulder joints and also has a small effect on the sole play function, which is to twist the models from behind and make it look as if they are swiping back and forth with the staff.
I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the Rahkshi Kaita, the pictures shown in the instruction booklets made them look like they were going to be much smaller. The designers gifted us with two very different designs. One of them depicts a mini Rahkshi riding on top of a four-legged beast made out of other Rahkshi parts. I could not have expected this at all, and I really enjoy what they came up with in terms of looks. The issues with this one is the technic gear functions built into the model. The feet are supposed to be used in a gear-twisting function that makes the beast look like it is waddling, but due to the weight of the rest of the model the feet don’t lift up and the gear gets stuck.
The other Rahkshi Kaita model reminds me of Christmas with its green, red, and white color scheme. I honestly don’t know how to describe it other than to say that it has three heads on top of a body with two long arms and legs. It looks really fresh and intriguing, but once again there’s a lack of play functions. The only playability here is to move the different limbs around using the ball and socket joints. The lack of an energetic function is a downer for a model that felt so visually unique.
I will give the designers credit here though for changing up the color schemes. Typically with Kaita models we get blue/green/white for one model and red/brown/black for the other. The designers switched it up and it looks really nice and the colors work well together.
Overall, the Rahkshi present us a glimpse into the potential for future years of Bionicle while also delivering a great set. They feel like a significant upgrade over the Bohrok and Bohrok-Kal sets, and feel like something LEGO® simply could not wait to release.
The Rahkshi are surprisingly cheap considering how iconic they are. To get one in used condition you can expect to shell out around $7, while a brand new one should cost around $45. The deal of the century here is to get Rahkshi in used condition for less than their original release price. Unless you’re bulking up a sealed collection get them used.
The Rahkshi took one giant leap ahead for the Bionicle theme, but the small issues regarding the play function of a toy that is supposed to be played with prevents these sets from posting a monster score.