As kid growing up in Australia in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s TV Viewing was pretty predictable in the run up to the ABC’s evening news: The Goodies, Doctor Who and a music video. In 1981, this changed with an English dub of a Japanese series based on a 500 year old Chinese folk tale. The tales of the stone monkey, along with the fish and pig spirits, protecting a Buddhist priest on his pilgrimage to recover scriptures to save the world from chaos captured the hearts and minds of a generation, as matchsticks became quarterstaves, and you could whistle up a cloud in the schoolyard. And that theme song. Ask anyone over the age of 40. they can probably still sing it for you.
Fast forward forty years, and the LEGO Group is releasing a whole new theme based on the Chinese legend….
The trailer to the MiniMovie – “Monkie Kid: A hero is Born” gives us some context for the sets, and characters.
Inspired by the 500-year-old story of the Monkey King, LEGO Monkie Kid is the LEGO Group’s take on a new, untold chapter of the legendary tale. Featuring eight exciting sets, an animated mini movie and TV series, LEGO® Monkie Kid is the first ever LEGO theme to be inspired by a Chinese legend and is rooted firmly in the country’s culture and values. The theme’s sets are packed with fun, excitement and an epic story just waiting to unfold…
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.
There are eight sets in the first drop, with another three yet to be announced, later in the year.
80006 White Dragon Horse Bike
259 pieces, RRP: CNY 299,00/EUR29,99/USD 34,99/AUD $49.99
80007 Iron Bull Tank
430 pieces, RRP: CNY 449,00/EUR 44,99/USD 49,99/AUD $79.99
80008 Monkie Kid’s Cloud Jet
529 pieces, RRP: CNY 499,00/EUR49,99/USD 59,99/AUD $79.99
80009 Pigsy’s Food Truck
832 pieces, RRP: CNY 599,00/EUR 59,99/USD 69,99/AUD $99.99
80010 Demon Bull King
1,051 pieces, RRP: CNY 799,00/EUR 79,99/USD 89,99/AUD $129.99
80011 Red Son’s Inferno Truck
1,111 pieces, RRP: CNY 999,00/EUR 99,99/USD 119,99/AUD $169.99
80012 Monkey King Warrior Mech
1,629 pieces, RRP: CNY 1.299,00/EUR 129,00/USD 149,99/AUD $229.99
80013 Monkie Kid’s Team Secret HQ
1,959 pieces, RRP: CNY 1.599,00/EUR 169,99/USD 169,99/AUD $259.99
Meet the Minifigures
There are some fantastic new designs for Minifigures in this theme, including some new wig moulds and accessories. The Sa
Meet the Design Team
The Monkie Kid team involves many people working together to produce the final product. The team is overseen by Simon Lucas, a Senior Design Director. With a background in Product Design, simon has overseen the creative direction and design of a number of homegrown themes, including LEGO Castle, Hero Factory and Ninjago. He also served as Executive Producer on the LEGO Ninjago Movie. Bringing the Monkie Kid range to life has been, in part, in the hands of Senior design Manager Dennis Fong. Dennis has been involved in research and insights into the line, including managing the model assortment, along with the team of model designers. Before relocating to LEGO Headquarters in Billund in 2017, he was responsible for setting up the LEGO Design Studios in Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai.
Xiaodong Wen is the first designer to join the LEGO Group from Mainland China, where he was based at the Shanghai hub before relocating to Billund in 2016. He has been involved with work for the LEGO Future Lab as well as the Creative Play Lan, where he helped to bring some of the homegrown LEGO themes, such as China, Nexo Knights and Hidden Side to Life. Xiaodong has been heavily involved in designing the entire Monkey King Universe: from concept through theme development, character and element design, to co-producing the TV series. He has been essential in making the Monkie Kid Theme truly authentic to China.
“I have been touched and inspired by China’s rich history and culture, the passion and pride of the people and the incredible creativity of China. It has been an honour and privilege to be able to immerse myself in China’s culture of storytelling, in particular – Journey to the West and the Monkey King. The epic stories and incredible characters have been a huge inspiration to the LEGO design team and me. It is with deepest respect for Chinese culture and the 500-year-old legend that we have created the next chapter in the story of the Monkey King – The Monkie Kid,” says Simon Lucas, Senior Design Director at the LEGO Group.
Children can look forward to eight action-packed sets with colourful characters, impressive vehicles with exciting new and hidden features – plus a blue cat with an orange mohawk! The sets are a result of two years of close collaboration with children and parents in China to ensure they are authentic to local culture. Never before has the LEGO Group launched a theme inspired by one culture and with so much attention to local details, values and traits.
The LEGO Group’s Journey to the East
This theme certainly reflects the increasing level of interest in the Chinese market on behalf of the LEGO group. Over the last few years, we have seen over 15 certified stores open, as well as a number of sets dedicated to various asian festivals, particularly the Spring festival/Lunar new year, as well as Dragon boat racing. And while the Ninjago theme has a feeling of being an amalgam of Asian cultures, the team behind Monkie Kid have been keen to maintain an authentically Chinese feel to the story.
“I am super excited about the launch of LEGO Monkie Kid. This fantastic new play theme is deeply inspired by Chinese culture and built on an esteemed story that is treasured by all generations. We know kids will be delighted by the world of LEGO Monkie Kid, and I can’t wait to see how they immerse themselves in building, role playing and creating new stories through this theme. This is a very exciting innovation for the LEGO brand and one that demonstrates our commitment to building a strong future in China,” says Julia Goldin, Chief Marketing Officer at the LEGO Group.
With a modern Chinese twist, LEGO Monkie Kid celebrates bravery and friendship and lets children engage in great building experiences whilst helping them to develop their imagination and creativity. Paul Huang, General Manager of LEGO China, says: “The launch of Monkie Kid is another important milestone in our journey to provide the creative LEGO play experience to many more Chinese children. Deeply rooted in Chinese culture, the new theme line is created with inspiration from China, for China, and at the same time empowers children around the world to be brave, resilient and optimistic through creative play with LEGO bricks.”
The sets will be released worldwide in store (where open) and online at LEGO.com, as well as the LEGO Certified Stores (They will be available in Melbourne, day one, at the Doncaster certified store).
What do you think of this theme? Great new story? More of the same? Leave your comments below, and until next time,