Sunday, June 12th, 2005 at 6:03pm by Kelly, BZPower Co-Owner
The long-awaited Bionicle Rahi Beasts guide by Greg Farshtey and Jeff James is finally out, and there are at least three reasons why you should buy this book. This 102-page Scholastic paperback includes pictures and descriptions of nearly 50 Rahi, including old favorites like Tarakava, and original creations by Bionicle fans.
At first glance, this book is simply another of the "guide" books delving a bit deeper into the background of the Bionicle mythos. Even if that were all there was to it, this book would still be a fun read. But there's a lot more to it.
The bulk of the book is made up of an alphabetical list of the more important Rahi (roughly defined as "wildlife" in the book), with full-page pictures and another page of descriptions. Beasts from all the various Bionicle storyline venues (comics, web site, sets, other Scholastic books, movies, video games, and so on) are represented. Not every single Rahi ever mentioned gets its own page, though; many of the lesser-known critters are described in a six-page appendix. Most of these Rahi originated from video games, or are not quite as imposing or menacing as the bigger, meaner ones highlighted in the rest of the book.
The original five Rahi sets (Tarakava, Manas, Nui-Jaga, Nui-Rama, and Muaka/Kane-Ra) are included in the full-page descriptions, but the main focus is on newer and fan Rahi. The cover, for instance, features Tahtorak, the grand prize-winning model by Bionicle fan Justin Lamb. In all, 19 fan-built creations are presented (including several by BZPower members), professionally photographed and superimposed over appropriate Metru Nui scenery.
The book also includes Rahi from the movies (such as Kikanalo and Nivawk), as well as many of the "combiner" models for more recent sets, such as the Gate Guardian (Visorak combiner) and Kavinika (Matoran combiner). Most of the images for previously-seen Rahi are standard publicity images, although they are high-resolution and show more detail than a computer screen does.
Each description includes things about where the beast lives, some of its history, temperament, size, and so on. Most of the critters sound pretty nasty, in fact. At the end of each description is a short quote by a Rahaga about that beast. The quotes are kind of fun, but might also prevent the book from being timely later, after the current storyline of Metru Nui in ruins has been completed. Most of the book is also written in this format, after the fall of Metru Nui and the invasion of the Visorak. This places it firmly within the overall Bionicle story timeframe, which might not be a good thing in the long run, since it prevents a "timelessness" to the book as a reference. On the other hand, since new Rahi will inevitably be announced at some point anyway, the book would become outdated.
Above, I mentioned three reasons to buy the book. One: it's a good book, fun to read, with great pictures and enlightening descriptions. Two: It's got creations by fellow BZPower members! And the third... ?
LEGO, as a rule, doesn't generally publicize the creations by its fans, at least more than one at a time. Most LEGO-based creations seen in official publications and ads are built by LEGO employees, but the Rahi Beasts guide is a shining exception. The quality of Rahi in this book is very high overall, and without names attached to fan-created Rahi, it would be hard to tell which was built by a LEGO employee, and which by a Bionicle fan.
By supporting this type of publicity for fan-built MOCs, there's a possibility that LEGO will use more of the quality MOCs built by fans like you. Show LEGO that you appreciate their willingness to share the spotlight!
The book is available in bookstores and online for $USD5.99, although it's already on sale through Scholastic sales channels.
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