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Often remarked as the figurehead-set of the 2008 Matoran line, Tanma stands resolute as the leader of the Av-Matoran. With a deeply furrowed brow, standing taller than a Toa Mata, and armed with the most over-used weapons in BIONICLE set history, he does not have a great deal going on for him, which is unfortunate.
- Inclusion of a unique Kanohi: Although this mask was not labeled as a noble Miru until 2009, it is - in its own right - a unique-looking mask. There is a lot of personality behind that scowling-expression, which is something that Air-themed characters do not generally have. This Kanohi represented a shift in BIONICLE towards darker subject matter. Years later, it still seems unique and innovative. It was the first time, in the history of BIONICLE, where a Matoran set had not only come with a unique recolor, but also a singular Kanohi mold which, to this day, remains exclusive to a single set.
- Color combination: 2008 marked the return of lime green to the color schemes of its heroes and villains, a color that had resurfaced in Ehlek a year earlier but, before that, had gone virtually unseen since 2002. In conjunction with grey for the first time, it unlocked a considerable deal of creative potential. Furthermore, this particular color combination was evocative of BIONICLE's Metru-years, providing a sense of progression from the Metru Nui Matoran of yesteryear into the larger Av-Matoran.
- Pre-fabricated Limbs: While not a bad feature in of themselves, the one-piece limbs sacrificed much of the set's original flare, becoming blocky and simple; a stark contrast to BIONICLE's days of TECHNIC designs and quality control. Consequently, limbs could only be bent in so many ways, detracting from play value.
- Structural Integrity: 2008 indisputably gave rise to the decline in the quality of many BIONICLE pieces. For unclear reasons, LEGO downgraded the quality of their plastic, resulting in all connector pieces becoming irritatingly brittle and easily-broken in conjunction with regular, uncontrolled play. Tanma was, of course, no exception and could very easily be subject to cracks.
- Air Katanas: Although somewhat effective tools, this was the third release of the Air Katana pieces as the primary weapon of a set. By 2008, much of the piece's originality had disappeared, making it an expendable commodity rather than an addition to the set.
Critically, I would not say that this is a good set. BIONICLE is a long-ranging LEGO line, with a set history of unique and original designs spanning back to the turn of the century. It is a line riddled with artistic and creative integrity. Tanma, however, does not live up to this reputation.
4/10. Structurally, Tanma is the most sound of the 2008 Av-Matoran. However, given the even worse standards presented by his fellow sets, this was no achievement.