Chima will be the must-have 2013 boys toy

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This is the claim made by the LEGO senior brand manager in the UK in an article in this month's Toy News magazine.

The article goes on to say that LEGO expects Chima sales to be 30% more than Ninjago's was in 2012, although "Ninjago still remains one of the most successful and popular IPs to date for us [which we] fully expect to continue next year."

The Chima line is said to "include construction play-sets, social game Speedorz, six Hero-Factory style buildable figures and board games, with the latter two arriving in August".

LEGO UK will apparently be embarking on a nine month roadshow known as the 'Chima Challenge' which will include Speedorz contests with national league tables, pop-up cinemas showing the cartoon and chances for kids to meet Chima characters.

The article also sheds some light on the back-story: "a conflict between six tribes -- three good (Lions, Eagles and Gorillas) and three bad (Crocodiles, Ravens and Wolves)."

All in all, it sounds like they are very excited and are going overboard both in terms of the number of products and on promoting it. It looks as if anyone wanting to be 'Chima complete' will need very deep pockets, I believe there are around 36 Chima products due in 2013 alone.

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By in United States,

36??? Oh, I might as well paint a sad face on my wallet... And where are the gorrillas, anyway?

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By in United States,

Possibly, but Ninjago was a success because of many factors:

* Set improvement from early weak sets
* A very engaging cartoon (I considered it a lame marketing gimmick at first and then found myself totally enjoying the humor and really looked forward to the next episode)
* Cross-marketing with tons of clothing, costumes, clocks, banks, notebooks, erasers, etc.

If they keep the same attitude with Chima, it could be the same. Like any great marketing shift, however, only time will tell, regardless of the confidence of "LEGO's senior brand manager in the UK." Frankly, ninjas are universal. Will anthropomorphic animals have the same lightning in a bottle? I don't think you'll see nearly as many kids wearing Chima shirts as they were Jay and Lloyd, etc. It'll be harder for kids to relate to bird-men in a fantasy than young men wearing ninja costumes and hanging out at the dojo.

I for one, think Lego abandoned Ninjago before its time, but hey, better to go out on a high note I suppose.

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By in United States,

It is refreshing to see LEGO push something that is not yet another boring overpriced licensed theme. I'm all for anything that is LEGO creates themselves internally. The figs look nice too, so that helps! I'm sure I'll pick up a few!

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By in United Kingdom,

The minifigs, particularly the lions, look excellent. It's impressive that LEGO can come up with such interesting character-based IP every few years (even if there is more than a whiff of Thundercats about this one). The first wave of ground vehicles look a bit flimsy, but hopefully that's just to keep costs down. I'll certainly be buying some.

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By in Canada,

I dunno I see this blowing up in their face. I can't see it being nearly as popular as Ninjago let along 30% better. There is just something "time travellerish" about these sets. I think it'll bomb.

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By in United Kingdom,

Why is it that crocodiles are always classed as bad animals?
Chances to meet the Chima characters! Oh boy, oh boy, it's like Disneyland all over again :>.

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By in United States,

I would like to see the legends of chima just as successful if not more than the ninjago sets. A big part of ninjago's success though was the advertising through the television series on Cartoon Network. TLG might not be able to achieve such a goal for Chima without a series for them as well.

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By in Indonesia,

You know what Huw, I agree with you. It's too bad that lots of kids think Chima is inferior compared to Ninjago, stating "I'll never buy LEGO sets again" at least we all know that's not true. I hope kids' opinion will change about this. A new TV series, Game gimmick, board games and Constraction figure line is to look forward to. I also agree with Joefish that Chima is reminiscent to Thundercats (OK, I've only watched like one episode and i wasn't paying my full attention, but you could really notice a few similiarities, like red-haired lion humanoids and ridiculously sized swords with glowing energy cores.)

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By in United States,

@blounty23, I had the same reaction, when reading the story above, about the crocodiles. Also, wolves have enough going against them :( As a person who helps to educate people about the American Grey Wolf, and the benefits it brings to nature's balance, I'm a bit saddened to see the wolf placed again into the role of a negative. Guess I know why I'm not on the toy-line planning committee now.

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By in United States,

I think I'm gonna like these sets. I originally didn't like that the were replacing Lego Ninjago, but I don't think they're gonna be that bad.

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By in United States,

Maybe I'll pick a few up if I have leftover money, which I highly doubt I will.

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By in Canada,

Im kind of on the fence about all the vehicles, but the Eagle jet is pretty cool.

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By in United States,

So, LEGO's really going to push for Chima to be the hottest product with all this promotional material putting the spotlight on it? The same will likely not be said for Galaxy Squad, despite Galaxy Squad appealing far more to fans of older LEGO themes.

Well then, I guess that makes Chima the "Ninjago" to Galaxy Squad's "Pharaoh's Quest".

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By in United States,

Looking forward to this theme, and it's good to know that TLG has really high hopes for this theme... granted, that was hinted by Kevin Hinkle at Brickfair and other conventions this year, but it's good to see it in print. Helps to affirm that this is indeed planned to follow directly on Ninjago's success rather than simply act as a stopgap after Ninjago's conclusion.

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By in Portugal,

I am an hardcore fan of Ninja stuff, so there's no way Chima is going to appeal to me more than NinjaGO.

This doesn't mean Chima isn't cool. It is. I won't make it my priority (i'll have very limited buys for 2013), but i'll make sure to get some if I catch them on discount.

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By in United States,

I really only collected the first wave of Ninjago sets because of the old Ninja affiliation with the Castle line back in the day, but it obviously is not the same as the classic Ninja line. I didn't get any of the new Ninjago sets, since it's sillier than KKII! I don't think I'll get any Chima sets; as a Classic Space fan I'll definitely get all the Galaxy Squad items. But then again, I'm not in the key demographic for Chima either...so my opinion wasn't considered by TLG!

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By in United States,

I think what helped out NinjaGo was that is was fun and crazy. Ninjas vs Skellies? Silly. Then the snakes are neat and the show seems like a big hit.

I really don't understand why it's ending when NinjaGo is such a massive hit. Keep it going and see if Chima is a hit, then phase NinjaGo out.

I have a feeling this might smack Lego in the head.

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By in United States,

To me this is all bloated PR work. It's his job to 'hype' up new themes and absolutely praise them with confidence. Personally, I like some of the sets I've seen, some of the new molds are killer, but lets face it, today's kids will be the deciding factor if this takes off or not.

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By in Sweden,

The minifigures are cool but the sets are so underwhelming. This theme is clearly aimed at young boys/kids, but a little more grown-up appeal wouldn't hurt. Even Ninjago had that with some really interesting sets and its Asian-influenced style.

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By in Sweden,

The gorillas will make their first apearance in the summer/fall release of LoC.

And from what Im hearing this theme will be backed up by the biggest promotion campaign in Lego history. A drawback in this theme is that the Speedorz sets are more pricey than the Spinjitzu sets were. And the Speedorz game doesn't seem to be quite as simple and straightforward as Spinjitzu was.

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By in United Kingdom,

LEGO know what they're doing - Ninjago has had its day. The original fans, like those of Bionicle, outgrow it over the course of 3 years. If you want to see this one mature, buy into it, and you'll see it grow up as the kids who buy it grow up, just as Ninjago did. Even if it's a huge hit and outsells Ninjago 3:1, in 2-3 years time it'll be time for something new all over again. Personally, I'd like to see this one turned into an animation - not that I've ever got to see Ninjago.

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By in United States,

Oh man I don't know about this. Whenever a marketing person starts going on about something I get a little nervous. I think Ninjago's success caught LEGO by surprise, and now they're trying to force lightning to strike twice. It'll be interesting to see if the gamble pays off big time or results in lots of clearance sets for AFOLs a la the third wave of Exo-Force.

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By in Spain,

This theme sounds great, also that I have to see the sets to make my decision about buying some or not. The only thing I don't like here is, that with this theme Lego again implies indirectly that it is a "Boy's Toy". In my opinion the conflict between these 6 tribes is in a way that attracts more boys than girls. Why can't Lego produce a Line that attracts, like in the 80s and 90s, boys and girls in the same way?

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By in United States,

Maybe I imagined it, but I thought that during the last episode of Ninjago that they showed a preview for a Chima cartoon that will be coming.

I'm not sure about LEGO's strategy on this one. I agree with @tensor above, kids related to the Ninjas. We call my son 'J' so the fact that there was a ninja named 'Jay' was too cool for him. Will kids relate to talking animals? Kids might like them, but I don't know if they'll connect the same way they did with Ninjago. If I'm remembering correctly about the commercial adverstising a show, then it will probably do okay. Surpass Ninjago? Don't know about that. Maybe if they can do a better job with production/distribution then they did with Ninjago. Time will tell.

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By in United States,

"...LEGO expects Chima sales to be 30% more than Ninjago's was in 2012..."
"...30% more than Ninjago's was..."
"...more..."

Ah hahaha! Correct name of the article should be: "Chima will be a 2013 boys toy." I really don't see anything extraordinary about Chima at the current moment; I'm not even sure how well the Speedorz work...

@peterlmorris
Force is a very good word to describe this situation; they're trying to make people like something that's not necessarily likable, especially after Ninjago... comparable to Hero Factory (and, by lesser extent, Ben 10) after BIONICLE. Although, HF has improved significantly, starting with, I feel, the jungle subtheme.

Or merely degrading to the sole purpose of MOC Fodder, which seems to be one thing all the Chima sets do well (same, though, with many other sets).

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By in United States,

One other thing:

The designers have made it pretty clear that Chima is essentially Fabuland with mecha and weapons. To see how it all started, just google Fabu-Force, a set of MOCs one of our favorite designers developed a few years ago.

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By in United States,

I don't understand why people are so skeptical about this press release... after all, there was similar hype leading up to the Friends theme, and that took off like a rocket as soon as it was launched. Meanwhile I doubt Ninjago's success came as a surprise when according to a news article I read recently, planning for the theme began in 2008, and blurbs for the 2011 books, released to booksellers long before sales figures were in, included phrasing such as "Ninjago is LEGO's biggest new initiative since BIONICLE!" What has fascinated me about both Ninjago and Friends is how very deliberate their success has been, and how they have STILL managed to exceed their initial, high expectations. I imagine Chima will be the same way.

I can't say for sure how successful Chima will be compared to Ninjago, but I think people are severely overestimating the role chance plays in a line's success. Ninjago was originally conceived when TLG began to notice a resurgence in popularity for ninja-related media-- similarly, anthropomorphic animal heroes have come back into the mainstream recently with last year's revival of Thundercats, last year's Kung Fu Panda TV series, and this year's revival of TMNT. Whether either has staying power is unclear (Thundercats is definitely out of the picture at least temporarily, having not been renewed after its first season), but what is clear is that a lot of people in the industry anticipated a lot of demand for this type of media.

Meanwhile, quality design can mean a lot to the staying power of a non-licensed theme, and Chima definitely has that in spades. Some of the builds are a bit blocky or skeletal, yes, but overall the amazing brick-sculpted animal motifs on the vehicles continue one of the hallmarks of the villain sets from every wave of Ninjago.

I was a bit unsure how well kids would relate to animal heroes as well, but realistically that shouldn't present too much of a problem. Animal characters have long been a staple of kids' cartoons, and there has been plenty of recent fare to suggest that animal characters can be given just as strong characterization as human characters, rather than having to be played entirely for laughs.

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By in United States,

@Aanchir
Quality design is something that Chima is lacking; a few sets, like the recently revealed Eagle Castle, have good design, but the majority of the vehicle-flooded wave doesn't. The animal motifs are the best parts about them, but if they take away from the designs themselves, merely acting as distraction from the other-half of the vehicle, I would rather that they be downplayed.

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By in Netherlands,

Is there any proof yet of the gorilla faction actually? (Except for the floating island with heads thing prelim)

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By in Australia,

I haven't totally fallen in love with the Chima stuff I've seen so far (and maybe Lego is expecting me to), but I am looking forward to a couple of the eagle-themed sets (like the jets and flying machines and things).

I actually wasn't that impressed with Ninjago at first, but I gather, many people weren't. The sets were hit and miss - the vehicles were all a bit lame, but the dragons were exquisite. I mean, I was hooked by the Ice Dragon (and then grabbed the other four, and absolutely loved them). The snake theme was better (but by then, it was all about collecting all 17 snakes, which I did, and am glad to have done so).

I'm looking forward to the sets actually appearing in shops, so we'll be able to see them close-up. But I won't be rushing out to grab every one, put it that way.

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By in Canada,

Is this a joke? The sales won't be the reason Lego is earning more with this theme. The 50 cents it costs to make these poor quality sets that they'll overprice is reason that there will be a 30% sales increase over 2012 Ninjago.

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By in United States,

^^^Well the fact that Lego mentioned them in the press release seems to indicate that they are real.

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By in United States,

@Dragon_Master_48: Personally, I love many of the vehicle sets this wave. A lot of the sets remind me of Exo-Force and Ninjago in a good way. But I know a lot of people also disliked Exo-Force, so it really probably boils down to personal preference.

@SI Builder: Sounds like somebody's had a bad day.

Let's talk straight here: There's no reason why TLG would price these sets higher than they think people will be willing to pay for them, so unless they think their audience in 2013 will be 30% more gullible than Ninjago's audience was in 2012, then they're not going to simply bump up the prices and call it a sales increase.

Additionally, your post assumes that their expected sales figures are going to be based on revenue rather than units sold, which we can't know for sure unless the article actually specifies. Either way it's silly to think sales will increase without an increase in demand: if it's revenue, then sales of an equal-quality or lower-quality theme would likely stay the same, increase slightly, or decrease; if it's units sold, then sales of such a theme would certainly go down.

And of course the assumption that it only costs 50 cents to make each set (I do hope you're being facetious here and not actually as incapable of mathematics as you sound) is the most crackpot idea I've heard about Chima since we first learned about the theme, which is saying a lot. There's no reason whatsoever to think these sets will cost any less to make than Ninjago sets did, or for that matter the sets of any other theme.

The only "joke" here is the wild leaps of logic you're making to justify your hatred of the theme.

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By in United States,

Keep dreaming Lego. Chima is going to bust, Ninjago will still remain the top.

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By in United States,

@Huw, Will they ban the Chima TV shows again in the UK like they did with Ninjago?

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By in Australia,

As an aside, did anyone else -- upon first hearing of the rumours -- think that "China" was just a typo, and this was actually the Legends of China? You know, a historical Asian theme?

I was looking forward to that, and slightly disappointed when it turned out to be *not* terracotta warriors, but animal people. Anyway.

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By in Netherlands,

The sets look awesome for display, but there are better sets next year.

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By in United Kingdom,

HF style figures? Suddenly I'm a whole lot more interested in this theme. :D

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By in United States,

Well, first and foremost, Lego wouldn't have even produced LoC if the didn't think it was gonna be a good series. I find myself like the sets but not the idea of TV show, I'm sure I'll watch it and become a huge fan like I did with Ninjago. The sets look nice, some, I have a feeling, are going to be priced higher than the should be. (based on a price-to-brick ratio). I don't plan on buying every set because I'm not a huge fan of the wolf figurines, but more than likely I'll try to get all the Lion faction and the Eagle faction in the cheapest way possible.
But like some of you are saying, I feel like TLG thinks that everyone who bought Ninjago will like LoC. I feel like the same idea applied when, like some said, Bionicle was replaced with Hero Factory. I guess we'll just have to see how this one ends up. I'm also really carious to see the prices for all the sets.

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By in United States,

Well I don't know about anyone else, but I think Chima looks pretty worthless.

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By in Germany,

LEGO is being quite optimistic. I'm very excited about LoC but saying it's going to sell over 30% better than Ninjago seems a bit over the top to me...then again, I thought the outrageous prices of the spinners would stand in the way of Ninjago's success and they flew off the shelves in the end. :P

-Gata

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By in United States,

@LegendsOfNinjago
But LEGO made Galidor and Ben 10... of course they're always going to hope that their themes succeed.

To me, it feels as if they're trying to force the theme on people, essentially: "You're going to like it even if you don't like it."

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By in United States,

I don't think TLG is counting on all of their Ninjago fans liking Chima. But they are counting on it appealing to similar demographics, which is really what's more important from a business perspective. For every kid within that target age range who became a Ninjago fan, there are probably several who didn't but who might see more appeal in Chima.

And I don't get the idea TLG is trying to force it on people. That would be just stupid. They definitely EXPECT a lot of people to like it, but that was also true of Ninjago and Friends. And like with Friends, I don't think the expectation here is that it will appeal to LEGO fans in general-- one goal with any new theme is attracting kids to the LEGO brand, so people who don't have an established relationship with LEGO products are a significant part of any theme's audience.

Also, for the record, I've never really seen anything that suggested Ben 10 did badly. Galidor definitely underperformed, for a number of reasons. The one I've always stood by as a key reason is that they were marketing them as action figures more than as building toys, and nobody but a dedicated collector is going to want to pay LEGO prices for an action figure when all the other action figures on the shelf are so much cheaper and the building component has been reduced to a mere gimmick. But Ben 10 didn't have that issue-- it was never marketed as anything but a building toy, even if its customization potential was limited compared to the typical action figure sets of the previous several years. It always baffles me how much hate the Ben 10 line gets when to be honest many of the parts were more versatile than the BIONICLE and Hero Factory basic figure sets from that year.

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By in United Kingdom,

It'll do very well, little boys and girls who love Lego will like the animals, vehicles, robots or whatever else rubbish is thrown together for this including all the other cross over media etc. However, I wish Lego would 'return to basics' and make a proper year on year conceited effort to repopulate the Legoland Town brand once more with lovely sets of all prices from small pocket money ones to medium sized and large sized sets like they did in their heyday up until it got ridiculous in the mid to late 1990s. I'm also sick of the licensed over priced stuff and wish it would in fact go away.

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By in United States,

One point of interest, the hot 2013 LEGO topics amongst my son's first grade class seem to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Galaxy Squad. Assuming Aanchir is correct and that Chima tested well by itself, it will be interesting to see if it can compete with these other themes for kids attention.

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By in Singapore,

In this age group that LEGO is targeting for the Chima theme, parents still have much control over the buying behaviour and it's not just the kids. Ninjago appeals to both parents as well as kids, because Ninjago brings in a portion of history, and moral education in many areas to the kids, and the designs are mostly good. While for Chima, after many previews now I still feel the design of most sets are pretty much just average, and there are not a slightest history or relevance to back the theme. Kids may still go crazy over the play elements, they would certainly love to challenge the obstacles set by the game. But apart from that, how many sets will be sold still depends quite heavily on how the sets appeal aesthetically to the parents (and relatives, friends) whom will be buying the next gift for the kids. I will be very surprise if Chima sells more than Ninjago.

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By in United States,

I think points made by @Aanchir are spot on.

One thing to consider is that kids grow up. The kids that fell in love with the Ninjago line are not exactly the same kids that the Chima line is targeting. The LEGO Group needs to implement new ideas to keep things fresh. I'm sure they are using solid market research, play testing, and product planning to make sure that this new line is a success. It's amazing how well the company understands it's market.

As for adults controlling what is bought for kids, that's true to an extent. On the other hand, parents are not the trendsetters. Your kid isn't going to want a toy because parents think it's cool. They are going to be mainly influenced by their peers and mass media. When it comes time to buy gifts, parents often listen to what kids want. How many parents do you think considered buying Ninjago sets only after their kids begged them for it?

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