Review: Official Set - Toa Mahri
When launching us into a new island, one of the most fascinating things is the development of new Toa. The Toa are of course our mighty heroes, but they also are a make or break element to the memorability of a given year of Bionicle. When the Toa are great, the line instantly becomes a fan-favorite. This week, the Toa Mahri aim to solidify our high expectations for 2007.
The Toa Mahri are of course the same characters as our Toa Inika, only modified by the Mask of Life for their journey down below to Mahri Nui. Equipped with their new underwater gear and cordak blasters, the Toa Mahri descended into the depths. Once there, they had to earn the trust of Matoran, who were suspect of the Toa’s motives.
On average, a Toa Mahri set contains 62 pieces and originally retailed for a price of $7.99. All 6 sets are marked for an age range of 7-16.
As per usual, we receive a plastic container that houses the set. Well, sort of. The outer shell is a hard plastic material with a pretty interesting mold. A clear window with a promotional set image sits in the center when looking at the front. The back however is not what you’d expect. It’s simply just a plain sheet of printed cardboard that covers the entirety of the back.
To open the canister you’re forced to peel the back sheet off, making it impossible to repackage the set really in any way because the parts would simply fall out the back. This is a bit disappointing and made for a below average unboxing experience, but the design and imagery should throughout the packaging is quite excellent and makes me very excited to dive on in.
The builds surprisingly took a total of 50 minutes for the six models. The best part about the building process was that it was unique for all six of the builds. A lot of different parts and assembly styles were used to create a wide variety of looks that keep these sets from being mere clones. They are very clearly individual characters that come together to form a cohesive Toa team when displayed together, and this is my favorite part about these sets. So often we get interesting set designs that are then replicated for an entire collection of sets, making those designs feel a bit stale and taking away some of their magic. The Toa Inika improved upon this, and the Toa Mahri I sense are the first group of Toa to really provide us with 6 very unique designs.
The mask design throughout the 6 Toa is quite nice, as they certainly give off the impression that these Toa come from a place below the surface. The masks also include a great mold variety, and even toy around with some creative color gradients across the masks of Toa Jaller and Toa Hewkii. My only concern when it comes to the masks is the failure to really connect us to the previous mask designs of these characters. Of course we know who each of the Toa are, but from a first glance you would never know they’re the same character. Adding in a few mold callbacks to previous sets for these characters would certainly help out in this case.
The landmark mechanism when it comes to the Toa Mahri is the cordak blaster, which uses air pressure to fire off rocket shots. While I can see it being incredibly easy to lose the red ammunition, this function is so much fun. The ability to rapid fire these weapons makes for a great play experience while also providing a new type of weapon that allows for some long range dueling.
Overall, the Toa Mahri are a great success. They establish us even further into Mahri Nui while providing a sense of freshness that we desperately needed from our Bionicle Toa lines. Having never built the Toa Mahri before, I genuinely was taken back to being a little kid again with the same feeling I had when I was cracking open a Toa Nuva canister for the first time.
If you’re interested in picking up some Toa Mahri for yourself, it can get a little bit complicated. To get the entire canister and packaging elements, you’ll have to buy them in new condition. Another reason to stick with new condition for these sets would be the structural integrity of some of the parts. The lime green parts used for Toa Hahli are famously fragile, which means more likely than not if you choose to buy her in used condition then you’ll probably have some cracked joints. Now, I myself had zero issues with the lime green joints in new condition, but I was also very careful with them. The price for a Toa Mahri in new condition can get quite pricy though, and they’re very tough to come by. Generally you can find one though for about $150. In used condition they’re much cheaper at a price of approximately $30 per Toa. In my mind the best way to acquire these sets would be to buy Toa Hahli new, and the remaining Toa Mahri in used condition.
The Toa Mahri don’t quite have enough to challenge the Toa Metru for the best Toa line, but they’re still a dang good group of sets.