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LEGO Ninjago and The Art of Character Development
For many people, when they think of “LEGO” they think of blocks children use to build. More recently, it may conjure even more awesome memories thanks to the success of The LEGO Movie. A little more low-key though, would be the Cartoon Network series “LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu,” of which I am an avid fan.
For those of you unaware of the series, “Masters of Spinjitzu” is the story of five best friends, who protect the land/world of Ninjago from various forces of evil as The Ninja. Pretty standard stuff for a kids cartoon, right? Still, for a show that probably has it’s target audience in the 8-12 year old range, themes such as the betrayal of a brother for a women, father vs. son, and actual death could be a bit jarring.
Still Kai, Jay, Cole, Lloyd, and Zane are made all the more compelling characters through the many trials and tribulations they face. This series has done a great job of carrying character development throughout the series while retaining core elements that made the characters good to begin with.
The fourth season concluded on April 3rd, 2015.
The revelations of season four were some of the best, whether new or building from older material, marking arguably the best one yet. The banishment and sacrifice of Sensei Garmadon, the Lloyd’s rise as a leadership this season, and even Kai’s minute-long fall from grace and emotional revelation all contributed to the noticeable changes and continued nuances of the characters.
In particular, Lloyd’s growth as a character from season 1 has been a joy as a viewer to watch. From wannabe bad boy, to green ninja of prophecy, to Ultimate Spinjitzu Master/gold ninja, to greatest fighter in Ninjago. Lloyd Garmadon has arguably been the breakout character of the series, (although Zane isn’t far behind.)
It’s the ability to let its characters grow that has likely played a large part in the show’s success. Not with just a simple heel-face turn or occasional face-heel turn, but with said turns that don’t compromise the personality of the characters.One can only hope that this is retained in any new incarnation of the series. The creative minds behind the characters, and the amazing band behind the music have done an amazing job with the series so far. With the Tournament of Elements/Second Serpentine War over, it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here, but I have little doubt that wherever it goes, season 5 of “Ninjago” will deliver as past seasons have.