Can you enjoy the LEGO Monkie Kid theme without watching the animated series or already knowing the Monkey King story? Here’s one take…
Did you know that Journey to the West was written during the Ming Dynasty and is regarded by most as one of the most popular novels in all of East Asia? Are you aware of the characters of Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing? For those of you who answered yes, you probably have an interest in Chinese Literature and culture. For those of you who have never heard of Journey to the Westor any of these characters until now – you’re not alone.
The LEGO Group designed the Monkie Kid theme specifically for the Asian market and people who know what this unique theme is based on. But not knowing the story behind this theme shouldn’t deter LEGO fans from picking up a few sets from the theme. I myself know nothing about the Monkey King story behind Monkie Kid, but that hasn’t stopped me from picking up some of the most impressive LEGO sets in recent years.
80013 Monkie Kid’s Team Secret HQ is the most expensive set from the first wave of the theme, and in my opinion the best. When the pictures first appeared online, it absolutely blew me away. I’ve always liked LEGO boats, but this one is like nothing else I’ve owned. From pirate ships such as 6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty, through simple City boats like 4641 Speedboat, to 70618 Destiny’s Bounty from NINJAGO. 80013 blows them out of the water. It’s wide and tall, and packed with details inside and out. The fact that you can fold the entire boat open to access the interior without having to remove or rebuild a single section is fantastic feat of toy design – that is something any LEGO fan can appreciate.
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While the boat itself is great, all of the side builds and minifigures only add to the set. Nothing feels superfluous or out of place. The vibrant greens, blues, reds and yellows will make sure this set doesn’t get lost in your collection. I knew nothing about who Monkie Kid is, who the funny pig-guy is, or why the bigfig has a bright orange mohawk – yet I can still appreciate them as unique, detailed and interesting LEGO figures.
80024 The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain is like nothing the LEGO Group has ever done. Where else can one get an epic mountain with a waterfall? LEGO Friends does have some smaller waterfall/mountain builds, but 80024 is by far the most impressive in LEGO history. While it would be great to collect the entire 2021 wave, this is the set to own from this year’s releases. $169.99 is no small price, but it’s worth it for what you get.
The instructions reveal that each section of the mountain was specially designed to show the different stages of the Monkey King’s journey, from his birth to becoming a king. While I appreciate the thought that went into it, it doesn’t particularly matter to me. I bought it because it looked different and came with funny monkey characters – no deeper reason than that! One of my favourite features of 80024 is its versatility. Remove a couple of Monkie Kid specific elements and this awesome mountain becomes just that a mountain. I currently have my copy displayed along with some added trees, some minifigure explorers, and LEGO animals to give it some more life. Wait until you see what the Blocks team has in store for the set in Issue 80 – it really is packed with potential for customisation.
These two Monkie Kid sets are fantastic in their own right and any LEGO fan can have a blast with either of them, regardless of knowing the actual story behind them. That’s true across the theme. Ever wanted to have a giant demon-bull mech with a glowing chest and a fiery axe? You can find that in 80010 Demon Bull King. A food truck with a giant pig on the roof, run by an actual pig-person? 80009 Pigsy’s Food Truck is the set for you. A horrifying robotic spider mech that looks like it could take over a city? 80022 Spider Queen’s Arachnoid Base delivers.
All in all, you don’t need to understand the lore behind LEGO Monkie Kid to enjoy and appreciate it. Perhaps if your interest has been piqued, you can read Journey to the Westfor yourself or even watch some of the movies that have been inspired by the book. There’s no harm in enjoying these innovative and colourful LEGO sets for what they are though.