chapter  4
26 Pages

Myth Blocks: How LEGO Transmedia Confi gures and Remixes Mythic Structures in the Ninjago and Chima Themes

Ninja defeating ancient evil by tapping into the power of natural elements, and talking animals battling to preserve and share chi, the world’s energy force: this is what happens in the imaginary worlds of LEGO Ninjago and Chima. As my twin sons became increasingly interested in Ninjago, then Chima, and now again the rebooted Ninjago, I was struck by the mash-up of elements from different Asian cultures. As I looked at the Ninjago transmedial world manifesting in toys, cards, television series, books, and in the LEGO Club Magazine , it was as if someone had broken apart mythologies into parts and they had landed in the toy box, myth blocks there to be confi gured however one wished. At fi rst, I perceived the mash-up as appropriation, but as I researched and thought more deeply about mythology and transmedial world-building in the Ninjago and Chima original intellectual property themes, I found a far more interesting story, revealing much about how an imaginary world can be created transnationally, distributed globally, and experienced transmedially, all shaped by the LEGO Group’s “System of Play” and the practices that have followed-and deviatedfrom it.