What is Ninjago? #illumedati 2


Hey everyone, it’s Whatever Wednesdays again and this is going to be kind of a random post. I’ve talked about Legos recently, like Let’s Talk About Legos and Kylie’s Lego’s, but I wanted to take some time today to talk about something my kids have recently become interested in. So let’s talk about “What is Ninjago?

Ninjago

Stock Photo from: Pixabay

Back story:

You may recall that in a recent post I was doing some heavy research into buying a gift for one of my daughter’s classmates. It was actually my excuse for why the post “Can Things Be Experiences?” was late.

Here’s the part of the post which is relevant to today:

Here are the Ninjago Legos I was researching for Kylie’s Friend. If I was late, I should at least show why… right?

LEGO Ninjago Green Ninja Mech Dragon 70612 Building Kit (544 Piece)

LEGO Ninjago 70593 The Green NRG Dragon Building Kit (567 Piece)

and LEGO Ninjago Samurai VXL 70625

I think these provide the best bang for your buck under $50 for the Ninjago line. I’m leaning toward the Green Ninja Mech Dragon, but we’ll see. My daughter hasn’t expressed any interest in the Ninjago line, so this was the first time I researched it.

There is a lot of cool stuff there. Maybe when my son is older he’ll like it. We’ll see. The little ninja boy still inside of me hopes so.


So which one did you get?

I ended up getting the Green Ninja Mech Dragon for that particular birthday. However, I also ended up getting the Samurai VXL as a present for her other classmate’s birthday.

At the time, my daughter was not particularly interested in the Ninjago line at all. She was more about the Lego Friends line. As of this post, she has finished putting together these sets:

Heartlake Puppy Daycare 41124 Building Kit (286 Piece)

Puppy Pampering 41302 Building Kit

Puppy Playground 41303 Building Kit

        

So she has her own little puppy daycare with its own pampering area and playground. She also really wanted Rapunzel, so she made this one recently as well:

LEGO Disney Princess Rapunzel’s Best Day Ever 41065 Disney Toy

There are more, but that’s for another day. Today we’re going to talk about Ninjago.


So then, What is Ninjago?

Once the Green Ninja Mech Dragon came, my daughter thought it was “so cool” and became a little interested in it. She wanted to learn more about it so I looked into it, and there is actually an entire animated series made by Lego, which just finished its 7th season.

Amazon Prime lets me watch the first two seasons for free so I figured I’d let the kids watch.

Season 1

Season 2

My take on it is that it’s kind of like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meets Voltron of our age since it combines aspects of both. You have the ninjas trained by a master like in TMNT, but then you also have vehicles and robots like in Voltron. At the core of the show is the importance of teamwork and a sense of family. Interestingly, while the show itself has mini-plots which are specific to that episode, there is also an overarching larger plot which concludes at the end of each season.

Quick side note: A Voltron Lego Set was ok’d for Lego Ideas and will get its own set soon. That’s a day 1 buy for sure!

My kids want to watch Ninjago as soon as they get home from pre-school so I let them watch a few episodes a day. They’ve already finished the first two seasons and suffice it to say that they love Ninjago. Unfortunately, the 3rd-7th seasons aren’t free, so I’m not sure if I can I’m going to be getting them anytime soon.

Maybe over the next year or so I’ll buy them a new season to watch, I can’t spoil them and just buy them all the seasons now… right?


Anything else?

Yes, lucky for them (and me), Ninjago is getting its first feature film soon. The Lego Ninjago Movie comes out September 22, 2017. As you can imagine, my kids really want to see it. Also, my son looks like he can stay still long enough to watch a movie now, so we may all go watch it together that opening weekend. Here are the trailers:


So then, what’s the best Lego Ninjago Set?

Good question.

Of course, I’ve poured an inordinate amount of time into researching which Lego Ninjago Set is the best. After a lot of time spent watching videos and weighing the Value Cost Ratio, here are my results:

Best Starter Set:

LEGO Ninjago Temple Ultimate Ultimate Weapon 70617 Building Kit (1403 Piece)

This set retails for $99.99. However, recently it was discounted to $79.99, which is nice 20% off. For a set with 1403 pieces and 7 minifigs, including all the Ninja (Cole, Kai, Nya, Jay, Lloyd, and Zane) AND Garmadon (the main bad guy) that’s a good deal. The rule of thumb for “lego value” is 10 cents a piece. So with 1403 pieces and costing $80, you’re looking at 5.7 cents a piece, which is an incredible value. Even at the MSRP of $99.99 it’s a good value, at 7 cents a piece.

However, the set does have some failings unfortunately. While looking great on the box, the actual set itself lacks depth. Reviewers lamented the fact that the “Temple” isn’t very wide. While it does have a lot of play features with booby traps and such, it would have been nice if they had made the set 3-4 more studs deep. This would have allowed for more interaction inside the Temple itself rather just to playing “around it”.

That said, if you can get one for $80, there is huge value there since you get all the Ninja and the main “bad guy”: Garmadon. At $100 I’d be less inclined to recommend it. However, at $80 you certainly get a lot for your money to start into the Ninjago world.


Most Majestic:

LEGO Ninjago Temple of Airjitzu 70751

This set is a whopping $199.95, which is its MSRP. This doesn’t seem like it will change anytime soon since it came out originally in 2015.

This set is a monster with 2028 pieces and comes with 12 (yes twelve) minifigs. That includes all the Ninja, Master Wu, and some of the supporting cast. However, the major reason I am including this set is because of just how pretty it is. The design is really beautiful and it really should be a show piece. You could build this set and just leave it out with your minifigs hanging out everywhere and it would look great.

Additionally, it has places for minifigs to go everywhere both inside and outside the Temple, with more depth than the Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate weapon above. However, it also costs significantly more. Even with a decent price to piece ratio just below 10 cents per piece (at 9.9 cents per piece), it still ends up being very expensive.

I think this particular set is aimed at AFOLs (Adult Fan of Legos) because of its high price point. However, it’s “Most Majestic” for a reason.


Best Bang for your Buck:

LEGO Ninjago Destiny’s Bounty 70618 (2295 Piece)

You may be thinking to yourself… how does a $159.95 set win “Best Bang for your Buck”?!?!?!?

You’re right. At first glance it seems very expensive, but give me a chance here: This set, like the Temple of Airjitzu, is downright beautiful. Destiny’s Bounty is the “base” of the Ninjas and Master Wu. In fact, there have been other Destiny’s Bounty sets which were previously made:

LEGO Ninjago Destiny’s Bounty 9446

LEGO Ninjago 70738 Final Flight of Destiny’s Bounty

However, those sets, while nice, pale in comparison to this one. Trust me when I say that the Destiny’s Bounty 70618 will be the quintessential Destiny’s Bounty, unless they make some major changes to the Ninjago series.

Ok, first things first.

This thing looks great. There have been some great ships before, but I like this one over the other “great ships”, which would include:

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Silent Mary 71042 Building Kit Ship

LEGO Movie 70810 Metal Beard’s Sea Cow

Nothing against those other sets, I just prefer the look of Destiny’s Bounty over those.

Ok, moving on:

Also, while this set only comes with 7 minifigs, it’s all the ones you’ll want. All the Ninja and Master Wu.

Then this set has 2295 pieces. At its MSRP of $159.95, that’s a price of 6.9 cents per piece, which is great value although not as good as Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon after its 20% discount. However, I doubt Destiny’s Bounty will ever get a discount.

The major complaint that I have heard about this set is its lack of “rigging” that you would expect and resultant loss of realism. However, I think that was on purpose. There is a lot to play with here both on the deck of the boat as well as its other compartments within the boat itself. In my opinion, this set was not meant to simply be a show piece, it was made to be played with.

Of course, since it looks so nice, you could just use it as a show piece, but I believe it was made to be played with. A ton of rigging everywhere would make playing with the set difficult. It would be like trying to navigate a meshwork of nets in order to move your mini-fig around. That said, maybe a little bit of rigging would have been nice, like 2 or 3 ropes per mast or something. Hard to say.

Overall, the combination of looking nice and its playability makes it Best Bang for your Buck in my opinion. The set itself is beautiful, it has good value, and lots of things to play with.


Money is no object:

Lego Ninja Movie: NINJAGO® City

This set can only be purchased through Lego Store for now as a VIP, since it isn’t officially released until September 1st.

Update, it’s on Amazon now, but I think it’s priced over MSRP. Go ahead and check it out on Amazon for pictures and reviews, but probably should just buy it in the LEGO store.

However, all you need to know is:

$299.99 / 4867 pieces / 15 mini-figs

It’s essentially a 3 story “city block” of the Lego Ninjago City. This is set is modular so you can move stuff around if you want and can be both a show piece and a play set. However, given its high price, this one is probably more oriented towards the AFOLs (Adult Fan of Legos).

Even with an excellent price to piece ratio of 6.2 cents per piece, it’s still expensive at $300. However, if you include that is one of the largest sets ever and that both looks great and has excellent playability, then you’ll understand it actually is a pretty good value overall (if you can afford it).

If you were thinking of waiting for a discount on this, let me stop you:

I doubt this will ever be discounted, just like I doubt the Destiny’s Bounty and Temple of Airjitzu above will ever be discounted.

While this technically has a better price to piece ratio over Destiny’s Bounty, for me, Destiny’s Bounty still has the most bang for your buck. The reason for this is kind of nit-picky, but hear me out.

The Ninjago City doesnt include all the Ninja.

You do get Jay, Kai, and Lloyd. However, you don’t get Zane, Cole, Nya, or Master Wu. For those of you already have all those mini-figs then that doesn’t matter to you… and to be honest, if you were considering this set, you probably were going to buy it without me telling you.

However, not getting all the ninja is a set of this magnitude is somewhat irritating. That doesn’t make much sense to me… unless the ninja they left out weren’t around for the events involving the Ninjago City during the actual movie….?


Conclusion:

Overall, I think that because the Destiny’s Bounty comes with all the Ninja and Master Wu, while still looking great with good playability, at the lower price point of $159.95, that it wins Best Bang for your Buck. So, if you want to get a Lego set for a special someone this Christmas as their “big present”, then I would opt for Destiny’s Bounty.

For my daughter, she doesn’t want any Ninjago set unless Nya is in it because “Nya’s the best”. My son doesn’t seem to care as much because he thinks they’re all pretty cool, but I think if given the decision, he’d opt for Kai since Nya is Kai’s sister. As such, I’d need a set with both of them in it.

If you couldn’t already tell, I’ve set my sights on Destiny’s Bounty as their big Christmas gift.


TL;DR

Lego Ninjago are pretty great. Kind of like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Voltron mashed together.

Teamwork and family are important in all of those shoes.

Voltron is getting its own Lego Ideas set soon. REJOICE.

I think The Lego Ninjago movie looks like it’ll be fun to watch with the kids.

You can read my reviews about the different sets above after my extensive (to an absurd degree) research.

A good rule of thumb for “Lego Value” is costing less than 10 cents per piece.

Destiny’s Bounty is my pick for overall “Best Bang for your Buck” for this year (and this Christmas).


I just noticed this post is more than 2000 words. I tend to ramble when it comes to Legos I guess.

Whatever Wednesdays Sensei

-Sensei

Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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