Review: Official Set - Matoran of Metru Nui
We’re on to Metru Nui. Kicking off the 2004 line of Bionicle is none other than the Metru Nui Matoran. These sets are ones that I genuinely remember myself getting incredibly pumped up for back when they were released. Metru Nui was highly anticipated by my 5 year old self after the conclusion of the Mask of Light.
Each of the Matoran sets contains 27 pieces and are recommended for ages 7 and up.
The packaging takes a considerable step up from the Matoran of Mata Nui sets. This time around, the box art shows off each Matoran in an action pose with a gorgeous background of their native region of Metru Nui. Since this is the first time we’re being introduced to Metru Nui, it’s really nice to get a glimpse of what the different regions look like. The top of each box shows the brand-new disk launching function, and highlights that the disks can glow in the dark. The back of the boxes show a map of Metru Nui, which looks quite similar to Mata Nui, along with images of the siz different Matoran available for purchase as a part of this line and the combination model previews just below the map.
Inside of each Matoran set is a bag of parts, the instructions, and loose pieces including the torso and disk launcher.
The base models for the Matoran of Metru Nui are quite impressive. They very clearly depict an entirely new style of Matoran, and don’t fall into the trap of remaining too similar to the Matoran of Mata Nui designs. Their appearance for whatever reason also has a larger presence to it. Perhaps it’s the torso piece that emulates a Dorito-shape moving down the body that makes their shoulders seem wider.
These Matoran are on top of the game when it comes to articulation for our island villagers. Their arms and legs feature brand new molds that have a very strong grip to the socket joints. The added friction combined with the ability to articulate makes for Matoran that can be posed in a variety of action stances. The head is also able to tilt back and forth, which to be honest feels like a tease that Matoran head articulation will soon be on its way, but we’re not quite there yet.
My favorite part about these Matoran are their masks. Whether it be intentional or not, their masks are the same molds as the 2001 Turaga, only with a twist. These masks feature a fading print from the color of each Matoran’s body to a flat silver color at the top of each mask. The result is really fresh and intriguing. It creates a desirable amount of contrast with the rest of the body without turning to a completely different color that may make it stand out too much.
There are only two issues I have with these base models, the first being the head piece choice. In 2004, specifically in the Toa Metru sets, we see branching out from the Mata Nui head molds that require an eye piece to be snapped in, which is quite hard to remove. But with the Matoran, their heads are actually the Mata Nui heads, which means we have that same old eye piece. It’s not necessarily a flaw, but rather the only thing that makes these models feel like they’re still a part of the Mata Nui sets. The other downside to these base models are the blue pins that show through both sides of the torso. I understand that this was likely the cheapest and easiest way to supply these parts for the sets, but the blue sticks out a bit too much for my liking. If they were black then the look would be much better and more natural.
The main play function that can be performed with the base models are the launching of the disks. This method is a big improvement over the 2001 function of slinging the disks. The Tohunga from 2001 had the problem of their arms getting deformed after bending them too much, and in some cases they would even snap. The disk launcher gets rid of this issue entirely, and provides users with a bit more playability by aiming and launching the disks.
The Matoran of Metru Nui include two combination models depicting Rahi created by Makuta. I actually prefer that we got this as opposed to a juggernaut Matoran or something of that nature. The Rahi builds help to expand the depth of the Bionicle Universe with creatures that otherwise would never have received their own sets. This is a prime example.
The two Rahi are simple but effective and forming unique builds that feel very genuine to the Bionicle theme. They also have no restrictions when it comes to articulation. They both are free to move their legs, tails, and heads very openly. This is also a color combination of alternate builds that we have not seen before. Personally, I’m a fan of this change, it gives us a breath of fresh air from the standard combination color schemes.
The sole issue I have with the combination builds is not so much an issue, but rather a curiosity of what these models could have been if the designers chose to use more of the available pieces.
Overall, these sets were a great introduction to Metru Nui, and a really enjoyable way to kick off the 2004 line of Bionicle. They offered a lot of new mold pieces as well as building techniques that had not been previously seen up to this point in the theme.
If you’re looking to buy these sets for yourself, they are still relatively cheap. A used copy of these sets will cost around $6 while a sealed version will likely fall in the range of $15-16 for each Matoran. Since the difference is so low here between used and new, I would put these as a set to grab brand new. Whether you’re starting a collection or just want the whole experience like it’s 2004 again, these sets are cheap for now, but probably won’t be for long.
The Matoran of Metru Nui are certainly better sets than the Matoran of Mata Nui, but they’re not as iconic as the original Tohunga from 2001.