Month: July 2018

Ninjago at SDCC

Just like last year, Ninjago had a strong presence at SDCC (San Diego Comic Con, on the off chance you don’t know). Similarly, we didn’t go this year either, but, thanks to BrickFan, who was kind enough to tweet-out the entire experience, it’s as though we were there ourselves. Fortunately, there were no Ninjago exclusives this year either, so there is very little that we missed, regarding Ninjago info/memorabilia.

Ninjago at the SDCC - logo

The theme for this year’s panel was “Love” – in all of it’s shapes and forms. The panel lasted about an hour, and here’s a rough timeline of the discussions, together with some commentary:

  • Trailer for Ninjago: Hunted was shown. It’s been available online for a while and you can see it here.
  • Voice actors talked about their experiences and the fact that they can be given their lines without a context.
  • Tommy Andreasen’s all-time favorite clip was shown. It’s Nya telling Lloyd to believe in himself.
  • Concept art was shown, mostly for Ninjago: Hunted.
    • Various versions of Dragon Hunters were shown. Personal favorites for Dragon Hunter versions are: Magic Knights, Knightpunks and Samurai.
    • Concept art of Dragons was truly epic. Most of then were more “Asian” in style.
  • Snake Jaguar was referenced, so maybe he’ll return in the future? Apparently it’s the middle name of Kelly Metzger’s (voice of Nya) son.
  • Karaoke time – panel participants sang The Fold – The Weekend Whip.
  • Q&A session. For me, only two questions/answers were interesting:
    • Golden Ninja may return.
    • Ninjago might get an anime version. This is something they’re already playing with.
  • Future reveals:
    • In 2019 Ninjago will get additional 6+ hours of content. This includes a four-part special and, most likely, an entire season.
    • There will be four special episodes, for a total of 100 episodes. This count includes the two pilots, but, for some reason, excludes Day of the Departed.
  • Sneak peak of 100th episode was shown. In the clip Kai is giving advice to Jay how to ask Nya to make their relationship more “official”. Towards the end Dareth joins them. You can see the clip here.

To me, the panel was quite interesting. Hopefully it will be made available on Youtube at some point. Perhaps the slides as well.

Posted by Robert in News, Ninjago, 1 comment

Ninjago: Hunted, episode 89 – semi-review

As I’ve mentioned in the last semi-review, episodes are getting progressively better with time, making me, once more, excited to see each new one. Episode 89, ‘The Gilded Path’, is my favorite episode of the season, at least from the ones I’ve seen so far. Why it is so, read below. Just be vary of spoilers.

Still from Ninjago Hunted Episode 89

The episode starts off with Sons of Garmadon invading the headquarters of the resistance. Dareth tries to stop them with his newfound powers, but he still has to go to the bathroom every time he uses them. Nya, Skylor and Dareth escape with Lloyd in the scrap-tank. During the escape Garmadon almost crushes them with his colossus, however in a moment of weakness his control slips and they manage to escape. I feel like the tank should’ve been included with 70658 – Oni Titan. After they escape, the four of them go into hiding and meet up with Mistaké who’s comes to them in form of a rat. Think who has the power to transform *hint*hint*.

The First Realm part of the episode starts innocently enough, with Wu dreaming of a fishing trip he went on with his father and Garmadon. It makes me wonder whether we’ll see this version of the First Spinjitzu Master in one of the Bricktober minifigure packs in the future. In any case, when Wu wakes up he is no longer a preschooler but a teenager. The ninja chat with him, but are quickly interrupted by Heavy Metal. Who turns out to be a girl named Faith. Apparently, she’s been working for Iron Baron under false pretenses. She wants to get rid of the Oni, and she needs to get the Dragon Armor to do that. Wu’s instincts kick in and he starts leading Faith and the ninja towards it. Faith explains the legend of the First Spinjitzu Master who, apparently, with the help of the Firstbourne, forged the Dragon Armor. At the end of the episode they’re approached by Dragon Hunters who they overpower and take their land-airplanes.

Overall, the episode was almost non-stop action, but very tasteful action, so I liked it a lot. A few shocking reveals, a couple of deus ex machinas, one great episode.

Posted by Robert in News, Ninjago, 2 comments

Ninjago: Hunted, episode 88 – semi-review

I’m getting a little behind on these, hopefully, just like the TV show, I’ll be able to pick up the pace. In any case, episode 88, called ‘How to Build a Dragon’ (a obvious pun on ‘How to Train Your Dragon’), was quite good, but not as good as the rest of the episodes in this season so far. The episode, in my eyes, serves as a good setup for the next few. Thankfully, the episodes that follow are much better – managed to watch them all on my train ride! Don’t let that stop you from reading our, spoiler-full, review below.

Still from Ninjago Hunted Episode 88

The episode starts off with a flashback to Jay’s childhood and the time he meet Wu. The flashback is revealed to be a part of Jay’s dream that gets interrupted by Lloyd’s broadcast (which he did in the previous episode), or at least a part of it. His words were apparently strong enough to shatter the barrier between realms. This lifts his spirit and he gets back to his old self. He comes up with a plan how to free all of them – by making a mechanical version of the Firstbourne. They do just that, but don’t manage to overpower the Dragon Hunters, until the real Firstbourne appears! Under the cover of her attack they manage to escape and free all of the captured dragons. Highlight of the “First Realm part” of the episode where definitely Wu’s wisecracks, which I typically dislike but were quite good this time around. There was also one disturbing reveal – the Dragon Hunters eat dragons. Take that as you will.

The resistance celebrates their victory in Ninjago. Dareth tries to join in on the fun but is ignored by the rest of the members. It’s not all bad though, since that pushes him into getting his own powers, finally! However, they come with a heavy price – he has to pee every time he uses them. Thanks to the fact that the resistance managed to hijack the TV station Garmadon lashes out at Harumi and almost kills her. She however buys herself another chance by revealing the location of the resistance to him. They start their ambush of the resistance just as the episode ends.

As you can see, there isn’t to much going on in this episode, but, trust me, it works as an excellent interlude into what’s to follow.

Posted by Robert in News, Ninjago, 4 comments

40315 – Ninjago Board Game Polybag

About a month ago Promobricks shared an image of another Ninjago: Hunted polybag – and somehow I missed it. The polybag in question is actually quite interesting since it seems to actually contain a board game. Other than that, there isn’t much information. It doesn’t come with any minifigures and with only a few pieces. No word on pricing, nor how it can be obtained. Perhaps it will contain some additional lore in the form of game rules?

40315 – Ninjago Board Game

40315 - Ninjago Board Game - packaging

40315 - Ninjago Board Game

Posted by Robert in News, Ninjago, 0 comments

Ninjago: Hunted, episode 87 – semi-review

Thanks to the fact that Ninjago’s release schedule (thank you CN Singapore!) has picked up pace, we’re already back with another review for you. Episode 87, ‘Radio Free Ninjago’, brings Ninjago back on track of having episode names that make sense. Garmadon goes ahead and destroys all the radios in Ninjago. (no he does not) The episode is quite good, if a bit predictable, but I like the overall direction that the season seems to be taking. More on that in the, spoiler-full, episode review below.

Still from Ninjago Hunted Episode 87

The episode starts of with Kai, Jay and Zane facing off the Dragon Hunters in the arena – but are ultimately captured, mostly due to the fact that the Dragon Hunters have a weapon that attracts elemental powers. Dragon Hunter then use their elemental powers to lure and capture a Wind Dragon. The dragon looks quite nice and I hope we get him as a set. We learn more about the leader of the Dragon Hunters – the Iron Baron and Dragon Hunters themselves. Apparently, they’re hunting/collecting dragons because they fear the Oni’s return. One more horrible reveal occurs during the episode – the Ultra Dragon is dead.

Back in Ninjago Lloyd is taking lessons from Wu 2.0 – Mistaké about being a leader. Mistaké has Karlof beat up Dareth to prove a point. She seems to be a regular bundle of joy. Anyway – the team decides that it would be best to inspire the people than to try and fight Garmadon on their own. A welcome change in direction these things usually take (Ninja trying do to all by themselves, failing, then doing it on their own anyway via some wisdom and/or lesson). They decide this is best done by taking over Ultra Violet’s TV show. Infiltration of the TV tower was one of the best sequences in the episode. Neuro uses a Jedi mind trick to force Killow and other Sons of Garmadon to leave their post and go to a karaoke bar! Skylor uses Paleman’s power to hide them all right in front of Garmadon’s nose (literally). In the end, they manage to take over the show. Lloyd gives an epic speech*, giving hope back to Ninjago.

Overall, I feel that, this time around, the Ninjago bit was a bit stronger than the First realm one, but I think I liked them both almost equally.

* you can view the transcript of the entire text, with some excellent emphasis/highlighting of the most emotional parts, over at Alyce’s post over at the Masters of Spinjitzu blog.

Posted by Robert in News, Ninjago, 3 comments

Ninjago: Hunted, episode 86 – semi-review

Right of the bat, I want to tell you – I was blown away by this episode. It was so much more than Ninjago usually is that I was quite surprised. But let me back up a little. The name of the episode 86 is ‘Iron & Stone’. There was definitely iron and there were some stones as well in the episode. As you know by now, these reviews are full of spoilers – you’ve been warned!

Oh, by the way, it seems that Ninjago will be picking up the tempo and will be releasing new episodes daily (minus the weekends)! I can’t promise I’ll be able to follow that tempo but I will definitely try!

Still from Ninjago Hunted Episode 86

Wow. What an episode! I don’t know how and where to start… The easiest is always the beginning so let’s start (almost) there. The new intro was shown and it was just perfect – the scenery, the music, the mood – everything. Albeit, the music was perhaps just a tad too upbeat and Bond-esque. In any case, I think this intro really encompasses how the ninja must feel during these trying times. The chains fit that theme really well.

The episode itself starts of with the captured ninja. The Dragon Hunters think the ninja are Oni and this seems to be the reasons they’ve been captured. Which, I guess, means that the Dragon Hunters are not Oni. Interesting. I wonder whether we’ll actually see any since there aren’t any in the sets. Anyway – the ninja are taken to an Arena, to be eaten alive by a Dragon. Hilarity ensues and this quickly turns into one of the low points of the episode. To me, it seems like only Kai is aware that they’ve been captured. Zane is chilled (pun intended) about it, and Jay is too chill. I’m a bit annoyed by their somewhat plastic, and predictable, reactions. High point of the entire sequence is the fact that Cole once again dons the Rocky Dangerbuff persona – whose lastname indicates that he is a part of the Dangerbuff Dragon Hunter clan. Towards the end it’s revealed that the Dragon Hunters know about Spinjitzu. I can’t wait to learn more about that.

Back in Ninjago City is where the good stuff was. Right off the bat we get to see one of the darkest moments in Ninjago – Garmadon killing Mr.E, on screen. Mr.E, I hope, will not get resurrected just for ratings sake. Continuing his brutal stroke, Garmadon terrifies Harumi into obedience. I can see it already – this is how his downfall begins. On the good guys side, we get to see the new base of operation for the resistance. Which, it turns out, is a waste management facility. Lloyd gets to bond with Elemental Masters (who are, for some reason, introduced again) and Mistaké, who seems is trying to be the new master Wu. There is also a terrible pun here – her name is Mistaké because she made many mistakes. Yep – can’t make that stuff up.

Putting all the puns aside, I really enjoyed this episode and hope they make many more just like this one. How about you?

Posted by Robert in News, Ninjago, 5 comments

Thunderbird has Many Storms to Bring

Some time ago we wrote about Milan‘s brilliant work, making an alternative build for 70641 – Ninja Nightcrawler. Now he’s at it again, making an even more impressive (regardless of how impossible it may seem) alternative build for 70652 – Stormbringer. I guess he moonlights as a master alchemist-transmuter.

Jay's Thunderbird - LEGO Ninjago Stormbringer 70652 Alternate MOC

Wow, is it just me or does this setup work much better than the Stormbringer? To me, the head/eyes combination definitely looks more natural this way. The Thunderbird is quite poseable, as evidenced by this video, quite a bit more than what you’d expect in a LEGO set. There is articulation in almost every part and the wings are even retractable! Beyond that, the build looks quite good and there is only one thing I would change: I’d add the lightning pieces – I love those! Daddy No Legs gets his own mech in this alternative build, so he can’t complain.

Posted by Robert in MOCs, Ninjago, 6 comments

Ninjago: Hunted, episode 85 – semi-review

Just a few short months ago we were watching the season finale of Sons of Garmadon. Now, it’s already time to watch the first episode of Ninjago: Hunted. The name of the episode 85 was ‘Firstbourne’, but, interestingly enough, that particular dragon was nowhere to be seen. The episode was quite alright. albeit a bit less dramatic than I thought it would be. In any case, I won’t spoil anything, unless you keep reading.

Still from Ninjago Hunted Episode 85

The episode picks up almost immediately where the last one stopped – episode 84 is even the recap. Something like that, I believe, didn’t happen since ‘Legacy of the Green Ninja’. The situation, then is: Garmadon has taken over Ninjago City and the Ninja are licking their wounds. Those in Ninjago (the realm) are in hiding, while the rest, who are trapped in the First Realm are trying to figure out their next steps.

In the First Realm Jay is having a nervous breakdown, while Kai is filling Jay’s usual place. Zane is, of course, chill and is trying to build a device that will let them contact the rest of the team. Cole is the one keeping a calm head and serves as an impromptu team-lead. Together with (Gradeschooler) Wu he goes to collect food, but instead comes upon a dragon. I believe it was a Stormbringer dragon, but the signature nostrils (are they nostrils?) from the sets weren’t there. While they’re being chased by the dragons the rest of the stranded Ninja are taken by the Oni. Or at least it’s implied they’re Oni.

Back in Ninjago things seem to be dire. Lloyd, together with Nya, P.I.X.A.L, Misako and, surprisingly Dareth, are in hiding while the Sons of Garmadon are looking for them. Via a TV show. Of which Ultra Violet is the host. The TV show offers ordinary citizens rewards for capturing “fugitives”. Seems like a good idea, doesn’t it? They manage to catch Ronin though, so it appears to be working. In any case, the team is quickly discovered and confronted by Sons of Garmadon, lead by Mr.E. Two good things come out of this encounter however because: One, they learn that the rest of the Ninja are most likely alive. Two, the Elemental Masters find them and help them out of a thought spot.

All in all, the episode was a bit lukewarm, but the potential is definitely there. The split of time between Ninjago and the First Realm was a bit awkward and I would much rather see an entire episode dedicated to one realm. Let’s see how the rest of the season develops, I’m certain the writers have some interesting things in store for us.

Posted by Robert in News, Ninjago, 6 comments