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2001 was the first year of BIONICLE sets.
When released, the 2001 sets established a pattern that would later be adhered to by most future waves. Six small sets, generally marketed as "impulse buys", featuring the Turaga were released. They accompanied the six medium sized sets representing the Toa, which were released in canisters. In the United States, the inaugural wave was released in July of 2001, though European territories saw an earlier release in January.
Alongside the Toa and Turaga, large boxed sets called Rahi were released. These Rahi had intensive Technic builds, and action features based on levers.
Later on in the year, in September, fast-food restaurant chain McDonald's released six "Tohunga" character sets in their Happy Meals. Each Tohunga came with a Kanohi and a Disk, which could be thrown by pulling back on the arm (a similar action feature to BIONICLE's predecessor, the Throwbots).
Four of the Turaga sets were also released as a promotional sets by Japanese candy maker Kabaya.
- See also: Collectibles § 2001
The canisters sets were built around geared action features, for heavy play purposes, and came with unique Kanohi masks that affixed to the face pieces via a loose connection representing a single LEGO stud. These Kanohi masks were the focal point of the year; knocking the masks off would "win" the game, and different colored masks were available in supplemental packs.
BIONICLE's launch year was well received, both critically and commercially. The sales generated by BIONICLE would later be considered a turning point for LEGO, while the sets were lauded for their innovative features.
List of Sets
|Voira Promotional Set|
|Special Edition Set|
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|Promotional||| | | | ||
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