Brickset recently ran a fun competition, asking members to vote and advocate for the best LEGO set in the past 20 years. It was a process that took several days and much discussion, but ultimately four LEGO sets made it to the top; the #70620 LEGO Ninjago City, the #21309 LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V, the #10243 LEGO Creator Parisian Restaurant, and the #21310 LEGO Ideas Old Fishing Store. Amongst those four, Ninjago City emerged as the winner in the final rounds. You can read about each round of the competition as well as the results here.
As far as why Ninjago City ended up winning, this quote by Brickset fan, Brainslugged, who advocated for the set in the final round, summarizes it best (you can read the full review here): “I’m not a big fan of Ninjago. I could possibly work out most of the main characters’ names. I’ve never seen the TV show and have only seen part of the movie. My two little girls know even less about Ninjago than I do. And yet, my favorite set of all time is Ninjago City. It has nothing to do with the subject matter, but everything to do with it being the absolute epitome of what LEGO represents. Every inch is an explosion of color and vibrancy and absolutely dripping with love and detail. It looks less like an official LEGO product and more the sort of fan-made creation you’d only see on the pages of a LEGO fan site or at convention.”
And this has been my experience with the set as well. While it may look a bit confusing on the box art, once you start building, you get filled with joy and wonder at every building step. Also, I don’t remember every studying the building instructions of any other set so intensely. The pages are full of creativity, wonderful artwork, and never-before-seen building techniques that you can use for your own models. If you built the set already, you know exactly what I’m talking about, and if not but you would like to try, unfortunately you missed out as it is retired recently. (You can still get it on the secondary market, but prices are high.)
This raises the question; will LEGO release an awesome set similar to Ninjago City? LEGO Ninjago is still a currently running theme, so there is a possibility of another slice of the city, although this would probably not happen so close to retiring the original. However, other current themes might also be able to support a large, old-mixed-with-new, real-mixed-with-fantasy type city, perhaps even with an Asian flair. The most obvious candidate is the fresh new theme, LEGO Monkie Kid.
LEGO Monkie Kid is loosely based on the ancient Chinese legend of the Monkey King in a modern-mixed-with-fantasy setting. There is a TV show related to the theme, and the story is focused on the conflict between the good guys (Monkie Kid and friends) vs. the badguys who ride vehicles that look like bulls and wear bull armor. So far, the sets mostly included mechs, jets, tanks, and trucks, but there are also a couple of buildings. And most notable, the artwork on the set boxes depict and entire city.
The two buildings already released are a small 2-story shop/apartment from the #80012 LEGO Monkie Kid Monkey King Warrior Mech, and another small store from the #80011 LEGO Monkie Kid Red Son’s Inferno Truck. Both buildings have attractive colors-schemes, lovely details, and nice decorations. In fact, LEGO fans and reviewers have been highly praising them both and wanting more. Unfortunately, the second wave of the Monkie Kid sets that was just released did not include any more buildings. However, the theme is still fresh and there is room for a lot more.
Looking at the box art of the Monkie Kid, we can see what a potential “Monkie Kid City” would look like. The #80008 LEGO Monkie Kid’s Cloud Jet depicts the city from above; Asian-style roofs with lovely curved corners, as well as a mix of traditional and modern architecture. The best street-view of the city is on the box of the #80009 LEGO Monkie Kid Pigsy’s Food Truck. Again, traditional and modern buildings side-by-side with Asian-style details – similar to what we got in Ninjago City. And, the box art of the #80012 LEGO Monkie Kid Monkie King Warrior Mech gives us a more vertical view of the city, with taller buildings towering over smaller ones. (As this is one of the two sets that have an actual building, you can also see how it blends in with the artwork.)
As I mentioned above, LEGO fans are already in love with the two small buildings that we got so far. JANGBRiCKS did a video demonstrating the two buildings next to each other and combined with some of the similarly sized LEGO Creator 3-in-1 sets (watch below).
The buildings from the LEGO Monkie Kid sets can also be seamlessly combined with the buildings from the LEGO Ninjago sets. Take a look at this hugely expanded Ninjago City by LEGO fan Keith Fisher. (You can check out more angles and larger pictures of the city at Keith’s Flickr gallery by clicking on the link.)
We don’t know whether LEGO will consider releasing another Ninjago City type set, but as the Brickset poll and the appreciation of the Monkie Kid buildings demonstrate, there is clear interest in architecture that’s more whimsical, different, and exotic than the usual LEGO City and LEGO Creator sets based on European and American building styles. I feel that LEGO Monkie Kid can certainly give us as set as great as Ninjago City, or I hope that at least we will get some more add-on buildings like the two we got so far so we can build our own cities. If you haven’t checked out the Monkie Kid sets yet, visit the LEGO Monkie Kid section of the Online LEGO Shop.
What do you think? Would you like LEGO to release another set similar to Ninjago City? Would you like it to be based on Asian architecture, or some other style/theme? And how about more buildings in the LEGO Monkie Kid collection? Do you think the theme could support the release of a whole city? Would you be interested? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below!
And you might also like to check out the following related posts:
- LEGO Monkie Kid: A Hero is Born – Episodes 1 & 2
- LEGO Monkie Kid Sets Video-Reviews & Thoughts
- Designing & Building a LEGO Modular Chinatown
- Mixing LEGO Creator Palace Cinema with Ninjago City
- LEGO Ninjago City Un-Stacked Small Version
- LEGO Ninjago City Modification Ideas
- LEGO Ninjago City Review & Modular Buildings