Random set of the day: Nokama

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Nokama

Nokama

©2001 LEGO Group

Today's random set is 8543 Nokama, released in 2001. It's one of 30 Bionicle sets produced that year. It contains 27 pieces, and its retail price was US$3.

It's owned by 1506 Brickset members. If you want to add it to your collection you might find it for sale at BrickLink or eBay.


38 comments on this article

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By in Australia,

First gen Bionicle? I liked these little guys.

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By in United States,

Weird.

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By in New Zealand,

He’s pretty proud of his trident and his big shoes. Cool set.

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By in United States,

Nokama, one of the original six Turaga sets and the former Toa Metru/Hordika of water. Her mask is the Kanohi Rau, mask of translation. Fun lore fact about her Turaga form: Her trident in-story is carved from the bones of a large fish.

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By in United Kingdom,

She’s a very wise Turaga (wise elder) and a very intriguing character, though I only owned Matau and possibly Onewa, I like Nokama, possibly in the future, I’ll get her…

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By in United States,

NO-kama

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By in United States,

Wish Bionicle came back.

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By in Singapore,

The Turaga were portrayed exactly as in the sets in some of the comics, but then the movies gave them clothes and now they just look so naked and skeletal without them.

I still regret not getting them. The only Turaga I own is (naked and skeletal) Dume and [nonexistent spoiler tags]that wasn't even really Dume[/nonexistent spoiler tags]...

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By in United States,

I loved this first gen line, and how each one “matched” a larger Bionicle so well.

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By in United States,

I got Nokama at the same time as I got the rest of the Turaga as part of a special Lego Club promotion back in June 2001. Her trident is a cool piece, but the Kanohi Rau is done a disservice by the box art. The actual piece looks far more wonderful, with distinct wave-ripples taking up the lower half of the mask.

Nokama is the keeper of Gali's legend. Until the flashback story of 2004, Nokama's role was rather nondescript. In the MNOLG, she played a small role when you ventured to Ga-Koro, but other than that, she had bit parts in the first BIONICLE movie and comics. One enigmatic scene was during the Bohrok Kal saga, when she randomly appeared on a beach after the Toa Nuva managed to stun a Bohrok Kal long enough to obtain its Krana Kal. Turaga Nokama confirmed what the Krana Kal said was true: that the Kal would never stop in their quest to free the Bahrag queens, and that they knew where to find them.

Otherwise, to learn more of her character and history, we'll have to wait for Toa Nokama or Toa Nokama Hordika to become the RSotD.

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By in United States,

Now here is a good set! Glad to see more Bionicle as the Random Set of The Day.

I mostly like this set because I like the character https://biosector01.com/wiki/Nokama

I don't have this set, but it's definitely on my wishlist.

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By in United States,

Notice it's "Technic" Bionicle.

I still wonder how they came up with all those names.

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By in United States,

Nice! Nokama was my first Turaga set back in the day. Fun times!

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By in United Kingdom,

Oooh, first generation Bionicle. That makes me all nostalgic

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By in United Kingdom,

Thank you again, Bionicle fans, for your boundless lore-knowledge.

I wonder: what led to LEGO commissioning this quite complicated cast of characters...?

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By in United States,

^Lego wanting their own version of Star Wars that they didn't have to pay licensing fees for, and a desire to compete against the new Pokemon fad are what caused Lego to commission Bionicle's planning to start in 1999. The creation of the line really can be credited to Bob Thompson, Martin Anderson, Christian Faber, and Alastair Swinnerton. Swinnerton and Faber were both with separate third party contractors that Lego hired to work on the theme. Faber in particular, has detailed much of his behind the scenes work on Bionicle and other Lego themes on his blog FaberFiles since then.

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By in United States,

@Peter1999 it did, and it didn’t do well.

Let’s enjoy the nostalgia for what it is. Had it continued, had LEGO forced it along, it would be a watered down, soulless version of its former self. An aging rockstar in the world of up and coming new talent (e.g. Ninjago). Better to die a hero than see yourself become the villain? Given some of the themes in the original Bionicle storyline, I think it’s fitting it ended when it did

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By in United States,

I guess its worth mentioning how the creativity of the team also pushed the story far more complex than Lego probably intended. Thompson's original vision of Doo Heads of Voodo Island was pretty similar to Slizer. Four heroes, Flame, Claw, Axe and Hook on a tropical adventure. It was Swinnerton who pushed for a "secret narrative " regarding a massive robot under the island. Faber codified the robot with his recent experience with a benign tumor, imagining the heroes as coming in "pills" to fight a "virus" in the giant robot's body. Faber sketched a drawing of the robot under the island which solidified the story direction. It was that hidden "biological" analogy that lead to the name BioKnights, and eventually Bionicle.

Eventually two more heroes were added, Kick and Blade. The team finally decided to name them something more tropical, and after failing to find much information on the Easter Island language; Swinnerton began looking through an English-Maori translation guide instead. So the six heroes became Tahu, Onua, Lewa, Gali, Pohatu and Kopaka. The villagers became Tohunga and their elders became Turaga. The Maori language thing would later bite Lego in the butt when the Maori tribes in New Zealand sued Lego over it, the name Tohunga in particular becoming Matoran instead.

Finally Faber's villain "virus" became fleshed out as the dark Makuta. Greg Farshety's later writing would make Makuta less mystic darkness and more scheming Megatron/Dr. Doom like... but in the early years the villain was treated as a dark force of nature. Swinnerton in particular protested the idea of the eventual 2003 Makuta set, claiming the true nature of Makuta is best represented by a bin of loose Lego bricks; the primal destruction that is the yang to the yin of Lego's creative building process. The 2001 MNOG game stuck to that idea, where Makuta was literally portrayed as a swirling void of Lego pieces.

Of all those founding creators of Bionicle, to my knowledge only Faber and Greg returned to the 2015 reboot; but only as "creative consultants" who discussed their experiences while talking to the new team who took on the reboot.

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By in Germany,

I am beginning to miss the good old times, when Clikits ruled this category... :(

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By in Finland,

I just love that his feet are made of figure head elements.

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By in United States,

Bionicle was almost entirely contained within my dark ages, so I never developed a familiarity with the theme. They were still around when I got back into LEGO, but the odd names and depth of lore created a high barrier to entry that I never surmounted.

That said, I can’t help but smile at this dumpy little fella, sticking out that pot belly and proudly waving that trident in the air. Not sure that’s what they were going for, but still cute.

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By in United States,

Breaking Gender Norms.
ALL good Blue characters are female in Bionicle, except for when we hit 2009. It never made sense that this was the rule, especially when Love isn't Canon (It totally is by the way.), but it's one of those little things that makes Bionicle what it is.

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By in United Kingdom,

I don't have anything to add that wouldn't be soaked in nostalgia, but... I love the guys and girls of early Bionicle. There's just something so... *simple but interesting* about their designs, which feels like it got lost in later years. The box art backgrounds, too, have long been one of the things I loved about these early years, they always seemed to me to contain such character and mystery.

Here seems an appropriate place to mention, however, that I do wish we'd got a better gender ratio amongst the characters. Out of nineteen sets in '01 that were specific characters (the rest being more general animals), only three - including Nokama here - were girls. I get that Lego was aiming for an audience of young boys who, in that day and age, resented any association with the female gender, but... in hindsight, it would have been nice to have had more of a balance.

(Though Bionicle still did better than some of the other themes of its day, so far as female presence went. Looking at you, Knights' Kingdom II.)

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By in United States,

@xboxtravis7992

Wait, the Maori tried to sue Lego over using their language? That's crazy! AFAIK the particular Bionicle character names weren't trademarked. That's like if the Japanese sued Lego over Ninjago, and that's why the writing has been changed from Japanese to an English cipher!

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By in United States,

Yes the Maori tried to sue. I think the case was settled before it went to court, because Lego sent some representatives to New Zealand to talk with tribal leaders. They came to a good faith agreement where Lego would remove the most offensive words. Tohunga being the Maori word for 'healer' 'priest's or 'shaman' was changed to Matoran almost immediately. Other names like Jala were allowed to continue after the spelling was tweaked, in that case to Jaller. Some Maori words like Whenua and Kopaka were allowed to stay the same. The legal case was dropped after that meeting.

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By in United States,

Bionicle: the theme I think is weird but everyone else loves.

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By in Hungary,

@xboxtravis7992

Wow, kudos that you know all these. Thanks for sharing! Are you from NZ?

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By in United States,

Two BIONICLE sets in a week? Score!

@HobbyBros Most of the names early on were based on Polynesian languages, for example Maku means "wet" in Maori. In the later years they switched to a more pun based format, for example Brutaka was a brute.

Oh Nokama you sweet soul. My brother and I played MNOG again yesterday and I must say she's the sweetest of all the Turaga. Cheering you on, giving you the Book of Chronicles, and supporting you in every way. Even Vakama, your own Turaga, doesn't seem as supportive until the final cutscene.

I also appreciate the consistency between the great and noble Rau. Most of the Toa Metru look completely different to their Turaga forms, but with Nokama you could instantly tell! I wish the Turaga came with those robes they had in the movies though.

Nokama was the Turaga elder of Ga-Metru and the former Toa of Water of the Toa Metru. Her noble mask of translation allows her to read any language, and her old great mask let her speak any language. While on the Metru she often acted as the voice of reason, keeping the team in harmony and pushing them towards their goals. Some of her more impressive acts as a Toa was stealing the Ga-Metru Great Disk from the jaws of the Dweller in the Deep and convincing Vhisola not to commit suicide by jumping off of a building (although Vhisola did not actually intend to do so.)
While a Turaga she acted like a kind and motherly figure, particularly to the Chronicler Takua, Kohli player Hahli, and her Toa Gali. Compared to the other Turaga, she was more willing to divulge the secrets of Metru Nui and once set Gali on a mission to cave with illustrations of her and her old team to prep her for the reveal.

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By in United States,

No from the US. Just a nostalgic nerd who spent half his time at work last Saturday reading up on a bunch of Bionicle history in between waiting for patients to check in (I work at a hospital front desk). That's why it's so fresh in my mind! I have been rebuilding some G1 characters into a more CCBS style to match the shortlived G2 reboot. So far got villager versions of Takua, Jaller, Hahli, and Kongu complete with Nuparu and Whenua as WIP pieces. I have masks on hand for future planned Onepu, Macku, Hewkii and Matoro builds and eventually hope to do the rest of the Turaga in that style.

There's actually a bit of a resurgent Bionicle fanbase in my area right now. One guy in Harriman, Utah about an hour drive from my house; owns what is considered the most expensive single Lego piece in existence; a solid platinum Mask of Light Lego commissioned in 2003! $15000 when he paid for it, and now valued at nearly $23000.

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By in United States,

I still have my first Bionicle MOC, a little guy inspired by the Turaga. It used a head and mask from the mask packs, and some loose Technic parts. It was also my only Bionicle MOC, because I had no more Technic spares.

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By in United States,

Ah, the good ol' days of 2001 Bionicle.
There's something to appreciate in the simplicity of these early figures. Simple designs, builds, and gimmick. Also really dig the mask. Rather plain, but instantly recognizable.

Also really dig the box art. Not a lot going on, but the backdrop of a temple structure shrouded in the fog just has this mysterious vibe to it. Almost a little spooky, but still invites your curiosity and makes you want to know more.

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By in United States,

@xboxtravis7992 Wow, so that's what happened to the Platinum Avohkii! I always wondered where it ended up after the Search for the Seventh Toa contest. A bit sad it's no longer with the original owner, but at least it is still in the hands of someone who really appreciates it.

Looking again at the box image for Nokama reminds of one of early BIONICLE's more heinous crimes that got overlooked by the cool story and the toys themselves: unrealistic CGI box art. The actual Turaga Nokama set's head cannot be posed at that angle since it is connected to the body via an axle. The head can only face forward or in 90 degree intervals about the axle. Seasoned LEGO Technic fans like I was at the time weren't fooled by this, but it was prevalent on most BIONICLE set boxes and canisters, with the Toa suffering the most from it. Knees and elbows bend, heads twist, and waists contort in ways the actual set could never do. I think most people overlooked it in 2001, but with the advent of the Toa Nuva (versions 2.0 of the originals) in 2002, expectations were higher, and when the first images of the Toa Nuva were revealed, the slight bends in the knee made a lot of people think we were getting knee articulation in the new heroes. How sadly we were mistaken! We had to wait a whole more year for that, and it was found in one of the series' more intimidating villains, the Rahkshi, the "sons" of Makuta.

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By in United States,

^Yeah, I remember in my BZPower days, one of the Admins won the adult category for the "Build Your Own BIONICLE Website" contest and got that the 14kt gold Kanohi Hau necklace. It was such a coveted piece. Then he sold it. Must be nice to have deep pockets and be a BIONICLE fan nowadays. I'd be lucky just to get a full set of the misprint masks from 2001. Geez.

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By in United States,

I am slowly dipping into the 'misprint' side. I don't know if they are considered true misprints since they were included in International mask packs, but the Ruru and Matatu come in all the colors of the Turaga and Toa unlike the other Noble masks which were restricted to the Turaga colors only. I currently have a Blue Ruru and Brown Matatu.

I want to get the Trans-Yellow and Trans-Light Blue Kaukau eventually... but the Kaukau fetches high prices especially with those misprints. I know of a few other misprints/prototypes out there (a trans-clear and red marbled Hau Nuva; a prototype Miru with black and marbled yellow, a white Huna noble, a brown Komau, etc.) but those are considered some of the rarest Bionicle parts especially since so many were just intended as factory prototypes.

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By in United States,

And hard to believe--we got actual LEGO in Happy Meals at this time. Recall getting a similar figure--and losing half the parts on the deck when I opened it up.

Liability concerns mean LEGO really can't do it anymore. But growing up, among Hot Wheels, the Hummer series, Power Rangers, and LEGO--these are definitely up there.

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