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Takua and Pewku

Bionicle
by yo go re

Lego has redesigned (and renamed) the Mata Nui villagers since we first saw them in 2001. Taller now, and more mobile, the Matoran look like beings that would be capable of surviving on their tropical island home. The stories for these little guys are just as complex and involved as those for the Toa. And within the world of the story, there's one Matoran responsible for recording those tales: Takua the Chronicler.

Takua Takua has led a singularly adventurous life for a Matoran. Due to his knack - some would say misfortune - for being present at most of the island's major events, he has been made the official Chronicler of Mata Nui, charged with recording history as it unfolds. He would rather observe important events than participate in them and often acts irresponsibly toward his duties. Despite his faults, Takua is a good and loyal friend, especially to Jaller and the faithful Ussal crab Pewku.

It's Evolution, baby. This is the first time we've gotten a figure of Takua, though he's been a part of the Bionicle story for quite a while. Takua was the hero of the original Mata Nui Online Game on Lego's website, guided by players as he traversed the island in an effort to... well, I'm not sure what his goal was. I just know he walked around a lot and ran into everyone.

Takua is constructed with the new-style body, which allows for a lot more poseability than the old one did: there are joints at the shoulders, wrists, waist, hips and what would either be knees or ankles, and a gear mounted in the figure's back allows him to twist side-to-side, much like Makuta and the Rahkshi do.

This twisting motion allows Takua to join in a friendly game of kohlii, the official spot of Mata Nui. kohlii stick Originally a form of soccer, kohlii has also undergone changes as the story progressed, so that it is now more like lacrosse. Players use their stick to hit or throw the game ball into their opponent's goal, and with a bit of work, the figures can do the same. Each of the Matoran figures includes a kohlii stick and a thick disc that serves as a puck.

Takua is included in a set with his friend Pewku. A retired Taxi Crab, Pewku is sleek and fast. Though we met her in the Online Game and even got an Ussal crab in the Masterbuilder Creature pack, Pewku's design - that of a full-grown ussal - was not created until she became one of the big characters in the Mask of Light movie.

Pewku Lego's designers did a good job of re-creating the Pewku we saw on screen in brick form. 6" in diameter, Pewku does unfortunately look a bit hollow. Her eyes are up on stalks, she's got silver claws and even a distinctly crabbish mouth. There are two spaces on her back for Matoran to sit in, so you can recreate Takua and Jaller's quest for the Seventh Toa.

A great bit of engineering gives Pewku a really neat action feature: roll her along any smooth flat surface and the wheels hidden under the crab's belly turn, making her legs move. The legs alternate position as they move, giving Pewku a nicely natural scuttle as she moves across the floor. The feet are low enough that they actually tap the ground as they drop, adding to the realism.

Pewku is one of the characters who have been renamed due to Lego's agreement to no longer use Maori words and phrases in their line whenever possible - originally she was named "Puku," which was actually quite thoughtful: puku, in the Maori language, means "stomach"; pukupuku, meanwhile, is "cancer." And in astrological terms, what is Cancer? A crab! Clever!

Having seen the Bionicle movie, I'm really glad I got Takua and Pewku. They're both fun characters, and the design is great. They both have nice action features that help justify their cost, and they add a new dimension to the world of Bionicle.


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