Each Toa has power over an element of nature, and they wear Kanohi Masks that provide them with additional abilities. Like most of the other beings of the BIONICLE universe, Toa are biomechanical in nature, having both organic and inorganic components.
Besides physical attributes, each Toa has a specific destiny, a special purpose that they must try to fulfill. Most also hold to a moral code that upholds justice and keeps one from killing opponents; those who betray such codes are no longer considered "Toa".
Toa traditionally work in teams of six, with each member controlling a different element: so far the typical team contains one Toa each from the elements of Fire, Water, Air, Stone, Earth, and Ice. However, there are exceptions to both rules: some Toa have been known to work alone at times while others have banded together in groups as large as hundreds when needed; and Toa of other elements such as Light, Sonics and Magnetism have been known to exist.
In general, Toa are transformed members of the Matoran race (though some early Toa were created simply as Toa, never existing as a Matoran beforehand). After achieving his destiny, a Toa can be given the option to give up his power for some greater good. If he does so, he becomes a Turaga elder.
There were once as many as 3,000 Toa in existence, but as of the time of the Toa Inika their numbers are down to 50. The Toa Hagah have since returned to active service, raising this number to 56. Currently, after Matoro's death and Toa Krakua's existence in the story, the number remains 56. This number may or may not include "Toa" Mata Nui, who is not a proper Toa.
Powers and equipment
Toa are best known for their elemental powers, allowing them to have tremendous control over the element they represent. This includes creating the element out of nothing, absorbing it into themselves, and manipulating it in almost any shape or form. However, this manipulation uses up elemental energy, and a fatigued Toa must wait for it to recharge before elemental powers can be used again.
Separate from elemental energy is Toa energy, which is not rechargeable. It is this energy that is given up when a Toa becomes a Turaga, though a Toa can use small amounts before then with no ill effects. The effects of Toa energy are vaguely defined, though it has been seen to unlock Toa powers in Matoran (via Toa stones), heal injury and poison, and awaken from a coma.
Each Toa is also equipped with a Great Kanohi Mask that grants them an additional power (though Toa are also able to master the Noble Kanohi Turaga wear). While a Toa can have multiple masks stored away in a Toa Suva (shrine) that they can switch at will for a variety of powers, most Toa only have one mask that they wear constantly.
Toa are also equipped with personal tools, which can be melee weaponry or even ranged weaponry. Since the Toa stand against using these tools to kill living beings, they are most often used to focus elemental powers. Several tools can be used in alternate modes that help with transportation; for instance, a disk launcher can be used as a jetpack, and blades can be worn as ice skates.
According to series writer Greg Farshtey, when Matoran become Toa they subconsciously pattern their armor style after their idea of what Toa armor looks like (barring any outside influences on the transformation). This reasoning is meant to explain why Toa Takanuva takes after the Toa Nuva, and why the Toa Metru have similar armor to Toa Lhikan. (The Toa Inika would have had Nuva-style armor, but it was altered as one of several side effects of their unique transformation.)
A few teams, such as the Toa Nuva and Toa Hagah, wear metallic-coloured armor in addition to that which is built into their bodies; in the Hagah's case, at least, this denotes an elite status.
Three Toa can merge into a single being called a "Toa Kaita". Toa Kaita have the combined elemental and mask powers of the individual Toa. However, Toa cannot stay merged for very long, because keeping three personalities in sync can be mentally taxing.
So far, only the Toa Mata have been seen to form Toa Kaita, and they retained this ability when they became Toa Nuva. No other team has been known to even attempt such a fusion, although they are capable of doing it.Toa can also merge in groups greater or less than three. According to series writer Greg Farshtey, a six-Toa fusion would be called a "Toa Nui", and its power could rival the Great Spirit Mata Nui himself. However, in the BIONICLE universe, the Toa Nui is only a legend.
Major Toa teams
These are the teams of Toa that have had starring roles in the storyline so far:
The Toa Mata / Toa Nuva
Tahu, Gali, Lewa, Pohatu, Onua, and Kopaka are the six Toa whose destiny is to awaken the Great Spirit Mata Nui from his near-endless slumber. They were empowered over ninety thousand years ago, making them among the world's first Toa (however, there are Toa still in existence that are yet older than they).
These six Toa were sent to the island of Mata Nui to confront the Master of Shadows, Makuta. As the only known heroes at the time, they were simply referred to as "the Toa"; fans later created the nicknames "Toa Olda" and "Toa Mata" for this incarnation, and Toa Mata has recently been made the official name (See "Notes" under main article for details on these names).
Arriving on the island of Mata Nui (named after the Great Spirit) with little memory, the local Turaga elders told them of their mission and of the evil Makuta that had enslaved many of the island's Rahi beasts. If Mata Nui was to be awakened, Makuta would need to be stopped first.
The Toa collected the Kanohi Masks of Power scattered around the island and challenged Makuta, but he soon awakened swarms of creatures called Bohrok that threatened to destroy everything on the island. The Toa fought these swarms off and imprisoned their queens, Cahdok and Gahdok. Immediately afterward, they were immersed in energized protodermis, making them Toa Nuva with enhanced powers and equipment.
As Toa Nuva, they fought both the elite Bohrok called Bohrok-Kal and the "Sons of Makuta", the Rahkshi. In the weeks of peace after Makuta's apparent death in a battle with Takanuva, the Toa of Light, the Toa Nuva have been listening to the Turaga's tales of the Great Cataclysm and the Great Rescue that took place on Metru Nui a thousand years ago.
The Toa Nuva have since travelled to the island of Voya Nui in search of a powerful Mask of Life that could save Mata Nui from death. However, they ran afoul of Piraka that were also looking for the mask and were captured. Once they were rescued by the local Matoran, they recognized that this mission rightfully belonged to the Toa Inika and gave them their blessing to go forward. They are now pursuing a new mission of preparing the world for Mata Nui's eventual awakening. Recently, they arrived on the island of Artakha and received new armors called Adaptive Armor, which shapeshifts automatically to fit the environment the wearer's in. They then set off to Karda Nui, aka the Universe Core, in an attempt to stop the Makuta who invaded the land, and to retrieve the fable Kanohi Ignika, the Great Mask of Life.
The Toa Mangai
The Toa Mangai were the team of Toa that defended Metru Nui before the Toa Metru. They were led by Toa Lhikan. Known members included Nidhiki (before becoming a Dark Hunter), Tuyet, and Naho. Over the centuries, they were sent on missions from which some did not return, until Lhikan was the only one left. The volcano on the island of Mata Nui is named after this team.
The Toa Metru / Toa Hordika
Vakama, Nokama, Matau, Onewa, Whenua, and Nuju were once Matoran a thousand years ago in the city of Metru Nui. The city's lone remaining protector, Toa Lhikan, gave Toa Stones to the six Matoran and sent them to the Great Temple, where they were transformed into Toa Metru. Their first task was to stop the Morbuzakh plant creature that was slowly taking over the city, but they then discovered that Teridax was scheming to put the Great Spirit Mata Nui to sleep and take his place as the Matorans' object of reverence. Though they were able to imprison the Makuta leader, they could not stop Mata Nui from falling asleep and had to escape the crumbling city.
In trying to rescue the Matoran from Metru Nui, the Toa Metru were captured by the Visorak hordes that had conquered the ruined city. The Visorak's venom mutated them into beastly Toa Hordika; these new forms had no mask powers, limited access to elemental powers, and if they were to stay as Toa Hordika for long enough they would remain as beasts forever. With help from strange creatures called Rahaga, the Toa fought to free the Matoran from the Visorak; and they looked for the mythical Keetongu, who could possibly cure them of their mutation.
Once the Visorak were defeated and the Toa were cured, they relocated all the Matoran to the island of Mata Nui. There, they gave up their Toa power to wake the Matoran from their slumber, becoming Turaga.
The Toa Inika / Toa Mahri
Jaller, Hahli, Kongu, Hewkii, Nuparu, and Matoro are a new team of Toa, whose purpose is to save the life of the Great Spirit Mata Nui.
After finding out that Mata Nui is in danger of dying and that the Toa Nuva have been sent to save him, Jaller refused to wait helplessly. He gathered a small squad of Matoran to go and aid the Nuva in their quest to find the Ignika Mask of Life. Upon arriving on Voya Nui in canisters meant for Toa, the canisters were struck by lightning from the Red Star and their passengers were transformed into Toa Inika with special lightning-enhanced powers and other alterations, such as living masks. The Toa Inika quickly joined the island's few free Matoran and raced to claim the Mask of Life before a group of thugs calling themselves "Piraka" did.
While the Piraka were defeated, the Mask of Life escaped the grasp of the Toa. It flew into the sea, finding itself in the domain of banished Barraki warlords. The Toa Inika gave chase, and the mask changed them into new forms capable of surviving the ocean depths. They have since discovered another Matoran community in the sunken city of Mahri Nui, who have bestowed them the title of Toa Mahri.
The Toa Okoto (a.k.a. Masters/Uniters)
The Masters/Uniters, also called Toa Okoto by the fans are a team that appear in the 2015 rebooted storyline of BIONICLE. They are consisted of the rebooted versions of Tahu, Gali, Pohatu, Kopaka, Onua and Lewa. Till now, the only thing that is known about their origins,is that they came from an outer planet system, without even them knowing what preceded before they came to Okoto. Their destiny is to defeat the evil Makuta Spirit,his minions (including Kulta, Umarak, and more that will be named in later waves) and his minions' armies (including the Skull Creatures,the Shadow Traps, and more that will be named in later waves) and restore Okoto as the natural paradise it was once. As Masters, under the guidance of the Protectors, they found their Golden Masks of Powers, unlocking their full elemental powers and battled Kulta's Skull Creatures (composed by Skull Slicer, Skull Basher and Lord of Skull Spiders, along with the hordes of the Skull Spiders, Skull Warriors and Skull Scorpios) so they can claim the Mask of Creation and revive Ekimu the Mask Maker, Makuta's brother, so he will use the Mask of Creation to free Okoto from this threat (since it's the only thing that can destroy them).The term Masters come from their abillity to master their elements after getting the Golden Masks.As Uniters, till now there aren't many known about them,except that they will recover a new set of Golden Mask,search for the Great Elemental Creatures(composed by Uxar, Ketar, Akida, Ikir, Terak and Melum) and fight with them against Umarak and his Shadow Traps.The term Uniters come from their abillity to unite with the Elemental Creatures.
Glatorian are different than Toa, however Mata Nui made the Glatorian have Toa-like powers, making the two similar. Glatorian fought in the battle for Spherus Magna.
When the Toa Mata went to face Teridax in his lair, they were surprised to find that one set of his guardians was - themselves. Makuta had taken each Toa's inner darkness and given it physical form. These Shadow Toa had all the powers of the originals and were physically identical to them, save that their colors had been darkened until they were almost black. Each Toa faced off against their shadow counterpart, but the battles were too equally matched; the Toa Mata could only win by fighting as a team and switching opponents. According to the BIONICLE Encyclopedia, the Toa defeated the Shadow Toa when they acknowledged that the darkness was a part of them and reabsorbed the shadows into their bodies.
The traitorous Matoran Akhomu was originally intended to be turned into a Shadow Toa via a Shadow Leech and an outside source of power for the 2008 storyline, along with an accompanying set, but this was scrapped. Instead the Shadow leech meant for him attacked Takanuva.
"Prophesied" Toa Metru
When Lhikan was choosing the new Toa Metru, Makuta was looking to manipulate the choices to his advantage. Mata Nui was fully aware of this, and to make sure his choices would become Toa, he and his Order created false prophecies that said the six Matoran who found the Great Kanoka Disks would become the Toa Metru: Nuhrii, Vhisola, Orkahm, Ahkmou, Tehutti, and Ehrye. Makuta was convinced by the prophecies and influenced Lhikan to choose six other Matoran who were much more stubborn and hard-headed: Vakama, Nokama, Matau, Onewa, Whenua, and Nuju - the ones that Mata Nui had wanted to be Toa all along.
Roodaka would later use these prophecies to demoralize the Toa, making them believe that their election as Toa had been a mistake.
While searching for the Kanohi Vahi, the Great Mask of Time, Vakama had almost become convinced that the Vahi had affected the past so that Lhikan actually had chosen Nuhrii, Vhisola, etc. to be the Toa Metru. In truth, it was just an elaborate illusion created by Makuta. In the illusion, the Toa Metru were encouraging and enforcing stricter laws, even banning experiments with energized protodermis in order to keep other Matoran from becoming Toa.
When arriving on Voya Nui, the Piraka claimed to be Toa in order to gain the help of the native Matoran. However, despite playing the part of heroes, they could not hide their sadistic and cruel natures. They dropped this act once they enslaved the Matoran using their antidermis virus.
- Though the toy figures of Toa are of varying heights, in the Generation 1 storyline all Toa are 7 feet 4 inches, or 211 centimeters, tall.
- ↑ Tiny Bit on 2007 at BZPower forums, post #1
- ↑ Official Greg Discussion p. 241 post #7228
- ↑ Official Greg Discussion p. 179 at BZPower forums, post #5348
- ↑ Official Greg Discussion p. 195, post #5845