Jared Boyd

Ninjago Villains and Their Motives – Part 1

Welcome to ‘Ninjago Villains and Their Motives’ series, spearheaded by the talented and very-well informed Jared. This is his second guest post, but it won’t be his last.

Villains: the essential antithesis to heroes, the opposite force that brings drama to the stories we love. No action adventure story is without its antagonists, and Ninjago is certainly no exception. Not all villains are created equal, however. Often what distinguishes a villain from their peers is their motivation. Essentially, what makes the villain a villain-the why behind what they do-can make them an utterly compelling character or a total bore.

With season nine wrapped up, it seems a good time to go back and look at our various villains and see what it is that makes them tick. A couple disclaimers: first, what is expressed here is my opinion. Second, I have watched only a handful of season eight episodes and no season nine episodes, so much of my information on characters who star in them is secondhand. With that in mind, let’s get into the analysis.

Garmadon

Villains of Ninjago - Garmadon
The original Ninjago overarching villain, and arguably one of the most complex characters in the entire series. The oldest son of the First Spinjitzu Master, Garmadon was “consumed by darkness” according to the pilot. Later seasons revealed this darkness to be a combination of Great Devourer venom and Garmadon’s Oni nature. This heritage from his father was apparently awakened by the evil snake’s bite, though it didn’t take full effect until his banishment to the Underworld.

Whatever the nature of Garmadon and his younger brother Wu’s relationship originally, this dark infection caused resentment and jealousy to grow within Garmadon’s heart. At least in his eyes, their brotherhood became a competition, not only for the love of their father but, eventually, for the love of the same woman. However, at least for a time, Garmadon was still swayed by his nobler emotions, as evidenced by the fact that he didn’t rebel against his father. Furthermore, though she would later express some regret at the decision in Garmadon’s darkest moments, Misako did choose him over Wu.

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Posted by Jared Boyd in Ninjago, 0 comments

Female Villains in Ninjago

This is a guest post done by Jared, one of our biggest fans. The piece is exquisite and hopefully just the first one of many to come.

Villainesses of Ninjago

Ninjago: a land of mystery, magic, advanced technology and high adventure. A world of comedy, character, and-admittedly-inconsistent/contradictory canon, particularly when it comes to the “ancient” history of the place. And sadly, a series in which the term “bad guy” has been all too often applicable in referring the various antagonists, as there are were no “bad girls” to be found. In the past couple of years that situation looks to be improving, but we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge that evil-doing has been largely a man’s game for this LEGO theme.

Now, female characters as a whole tend to suffer when it comes to adventure series like Ninjago. Nya was our lonely leading lady for the first couple of years, and even though Misako arrived to help pick up the slack in 2013, it took another three years before she got her own minifigure. But the sad fact is that it took five years for a true female villain to show up in the franchise-not as long as it took for Smurfs: The Lost Village to correct that series’ gender imbalance issue, but still a disappointingly long time. The question is, why? Why were the Ninjago creatives, both in terms of set design and creating characters for the series, so tardy in allowing some lethal ladies to don the mantle of villainess?

Perhaps we’ll never know the answer-I don’t have any connections at the LEGO group and I’m not acquainted with anyone who does, at least that I know of. But perhaps we can take a look at female villainy throughout the series and see what we can discover. Now, since more recent years have included two groups of villains per year, I’m going to simplify things by considering the villainous factions in sets of two.

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Posted by Jared Boyd in Ninjago, 12 comments