There was great excitement this week as Lego launched a new theme and 8 new sets. LEGO Monkie Kid is loosely based on the 16th Century Chinese novel “Journey to the West“. For those of a certain age, this was also the inspiration for the late 70s Japanese TV series “Monkey” which I fondly remember watching on BBC1 as a child in the 80s. I’m not entirely sure now what the plot involved, but I recall a lot of fighting and floating on clouds!
The Lego press release has this to say about the story behind the sets:
The tale begins when an ordinary boy, Monkie Kid, finds Monkey King’s legendary staff and he becomes the chosen one. Together with his brave and loyal friends, Monkie Kid begins his quest to stop the Demon Bull King and his army of Bull Clones from taking over the city.
Paying tribute to stories known and admired by so many children and parents in China and Asia, this latest LEGO play theme brings new life to the iconic Monkey King fable and provides a common ground for children, parents and grandparents to build and play together.
This new Lego series seems very deliberately designed to appeal to Asian markets, particularly China, where Lego is keen to expand. As such, the publicity shots showing children playing with the sets are very clearly aimed at those territories. But as we’ve seen with the Chinese New Year sets, there is much to appeal to children and adults of all backgrounds.
Alongside the sets, there is due to be a mini movie and a TV series, so this is clearly a big investment for Lego and there must surely be a number of waves of new sets to follow.
The eight sets that have come out so far cover price points from £24.99 to £159.99.
For me, the standout sets are the big ones. “Monkie Kid’s Team Secret HQ” is a fantastic container ship model that splits open to reveal an extremely playable interior, including toilet (for humans and punk cats!), sleeping quarter with hammock, a crane and a small mech. The “Monkey King Warrior Mech”, designed by Justin Ramsden, is a beautiful and massive mech, bigger than anything we’ve seen before. The smaller sets have much to delight too – such as “Pigsy’s Food Truck”, though quite why a pig is selling hot dogs, I’m not sure!
The sets feature a range of interesting new characters, some of which are animals.
So the new sets all feature fantastic design work. But perhaps the one criticism you could level at this new theme is that it’s all just a little bit Ninjago-y. The many mechs, the many cool vehicles, the fight between good and evil. It’s going to be interesting to see how it differentiates itself. Or maybe it won’t – maybe we’ll have a Ninjago crossover at some point in the series. I know Tom would like to see that.
Lego Monkie Kid looks like a really solid new series with some fantastic designs. I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops over the next year or two.
Full details about each set now available in the Lego Store.