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    OpinionWednesday, June 5th, 2002 at 11:07pm by Kelly, BZPower Co-Owner

    From shortly after the beginning of the Mata Nui online game, we've heard of something called "Protodermis". The miners of Onu-Koru delved for it (Whenua called it "the stuff of life"), along with stone and lightstones. But we've never been shown what it was. The closest explanation has been in the Bionicle Lexicon: "A vital substance mined in Onu-Koro, sometimes used as currency."

    MNOLG Whenua

    The word is comprised of two parts: Proto and Dermis, literally "before covering". What the word means in relation to Bionicle, other than what LEGO has already stated, remains a mystery.

    Or does it?

    LEGO has dropped several hints recently regarding the Toa Nuva, the Exo-Toa, the Bahrag, and now Protodermis. They all appear related in some manner. Based on these hints and previous stories and images gathered by Kanohi-Power, I would like to present a theory of just how they all come together. Remember, this is all speculation, and has not been verified or denied by LEGO. (Note that there are several discussion threads on BZCommunity about this theory, prompted in part by Kanohi-Power�s posting of teasers over the last week.)

    Mini comic 1   Mini comic 2   Mini comic 3

    First, you may want to read this KP article about the theory of Toa upgrading to Toa Nuva. The last few pages of McDonald�s promotional mini-comic 3 (see above) seems to confirm that theory, and I stand by it now. Essentially, it states that the Toa become the Toa Nuva after some sort of major transformation. Mini-comic 3 also definitively states that the Toa find the Exo-Toa near the lair of the Bahrag, and use them to defeat the Bahrag. How, exactly, the Toa are transformed into Nuva has not yet been specified.

    But I think the secret is Protodermis, in liquid form. Remember the silvery liquid shown in the previous article? That silvery liquid motif is repeated and emphasized in the Exo-Toa instructions. Most LEGO instruction manuals have some sort of faded-back pattern behind the actual instructions, and the Exo instructions are no exception. It�s a silvery liquid.

    Exo Scan Instructions

    But wait, there�s more. When asked to comment about Protodermis for this story, LEGO had one short sentence: �There will be much more information about protodermis in the fall.� This is undoubtedly to retain the surprise element in their Toa Nuva introduction, and to thwart speculation by overzealous spoilsports such as Kanohi-Power. But notice the timing � the Toa Nuva will be released in the fall, and we�ll find out much more about protodermis in the fall.

    There�s even a promotion that we�ve all heard about by now: Join the Proto Squad.

    Seal of Success

    One final bit of evidence: in the Exo-Toa alternate model instructions (for the Exo-raptor), there is a puzzling bit of guerilla marketing: �The seal of success, the Bionicle Story � BIONICLE PROTODERMIS�. This remains unexplained, but indicates a major initiative wrapped around this most puzzling word.

    Undoubtedly, protodermis is poised to play a major role in the ongoing Bionicle storyline. How it falls out, exactly, is still a secret, but it�s sure to be a great twist on the ongoing Bionicle mythology.

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