- "Did you mean 'Legends of China'?"
Legends of Chima, also known as LEGO Thundercats After Licensing Issues and Michael Bay's Fabuland Bonanza, is a LEGO theme introduced in 2013. It features anthropomorphic animals engaging in a war over CHI, the Chinese life fo-- uh, we mean, the blue steroid water.
The inhabitants of Chima are anthropomorphic animals. They wear clothing (thankfully), and all have humanoid arms and legs, though some tribes, such as the Eagles, Scorpions, and Spiders, still have structures such as wings in addition to this. The inhabitants also feel the obsessive need to carry their CHI wherever they go, so most of them also wear harnesses that store their CHI. LEGO has also been very "generous" with their characters' physiques. Eagles get six-packs, for example, even though we've never seen any robins or sparrows in real life with them. The females all also get very generous "curves", despite being reptiles or birds a lot of the time. LEGO has insisted this is not due to fetishes of any of its staff.
The lions and eagles, having been long in charge of the CHI trade, live in elaborate buildings, while the crocodiles, ravens, etc. live in dingier habitats. The animals fight with swords, motorbikes, blasters, saws, tanks, planes... really, just about everything. These items are often stylized over their presumably-vain owners, and powered by CHI, because LEGO has an odd fascination with crystals and energy.
Legends of Chima focuses on a group of teenagers caught in the middle of a world-wide war over Chi involving a variety of tribes from different social standings, yet, unfortunately, the story isn't nearly as deep, thematic, revolutionary, or complex as that would sound. After confusion regarding the disappearance of Cragger's parents, the leaders of the crocodile tribe, as well as manipulation by Crooler, conflict erupts between the once-peaceful inhabitants. The anthropomorphic animal inhabitants of Chima fight over CHI, which seems to give its users strength and hallucinate. (I swear I've heard of something else like that.) Together, the main characters learn that "CHI" should only be used for good deeds or getting high responsibly, and that you need to wait until you're old enough to take them, at which point you can use them all the freaking time.
To help Cragger get clean, Laval stole all of his CHI and dumped it into a ditch. After Cragger and Crooler's mother returned from death and realized the terrible things that her children were doing, she grounded Crooler for life and wagged her finger at Cragger.
Meanwhile, the mysterious pig ShadoWind shocked everyone in Chima by not living up to his tribe's stereotypes and is actually much faster than the animals expected. Laval was ashamed that a pig was faster than he was, but Eris was nice enough to say she was sure it wasn't true to keep him from getting his feelings hurt (and to not confuse kids by maybe suggesting stereotypes were untrue).
After throughly beating Crooler with an alligator skin whip (no, wait, that joke's too disturbing; we take it back, honest), Crunket remembered to mention that her husband and the legend beasts had been captured by some minority animals who had gotten a hold of Chi that had been dumped into the ditch, and they were now threatening to control the Chi trade. As such, they had to be dealt with. It was nothing personal; just business. As she said all this, she played with her low-cutting, torn dress, and everyone quickly decided that they should maybe probably save Crominus, to keep Crunket from getting... ...lonely.
Each tribe selected a champion to be sent to the Outlands to investigate what was happening. These champions would be outnumbered, likely outpowered, in an unfamiliar terrain, and would likely not return. As such, they sent their teenagers. Some parents have reported that they particularly enjoyed this episode, hoping to maybe apply some of the lessons they learned from it. In the outlands, the champions met the tanned, blond, surfer-lion Lavertus, an old friend of Laval's father, Lagravis, who had been exiled, and learned that he was ShadoWind. This explained how a pig could possibly be faster than Laval. They immediately decide to share a place with him and-- wait, din't he say that he was "exiled"? Isn't that, like, normally a punishment for some sort of unspeakable crime? Meh, maybe he said "eggs mild"? He left because the Chima's eggs were mild? Good enough.
After rescuing the eagle, raven, rhino, bear, gorilla, and crocodile legend beasts from the new Scorpion, Bat, and Spider Tribes, or the uglies, Cragger heard his father calling in him to a dream. When he awoke, he found Lavertus hunched over his sleeping bag and breathing heavily, just like what everyone wishes of waking up to. After learning that Lavertus is an awful liar and has a weird fixation on his mother, Cragger shrugs this off way too easily and searches for his father. However, he and Worriz are captured and put with Crominus. Crominus was terrified to learn that Cragger and his friends had been spending time with Lavertus, most likely because of jealousy regarding his speed and not the older reclusive lion's disturbing interest in his son. The other warriors come to rescue them, but loose faith after it is revealed that Laval was inadvertently responsible for the uglies acquiring the CHI. Laval runs off towards the tanks by himself and disappears after a flash, leaving viewers to wonder whether Laval lived or had some minor injury (what, you really think a kids show would kill off their protagonist?).
In its first season, Legends of Chima delved into topics very dark for a show targetted at kids. Most famously featured was the important lesson that children must wait until they are adults before they can abuse drugs. However, Chima did not stop there.
The episode "Gorillas Gone Wild" features the ravens destroying a sacred flower owned by the gorillas. The gorillas retalliate by bringing only the strongest and best of their army to attack a defenseless raven village, teaching kids that war crimes are sometimes necessary to save the environment.
Another prominent lesson featured in the show is that stereotypes are a good way to learn more about people. In Chima, each tribe shares a personality (rhinos are idiots, lions are authoritative, eagles are know-it-alls, etc.). Each tribe is also easily distinguished by looks, making it easy for children to assume a character's personality (or lack-therof). "I could not have taught it better myself," said ex-Georgia congressman Grant Fredericks. "It does my heart good to know that kids are being taught important lessons like this!" Fredericks served in the American Civil War for the Confederate cause before turning to an extensive political career lasting from 1868 to 2012.
The second season of Chima also explores what would happen if minorities decided to fight back. There's also something with Lavertus, but we'd rather not extrapolate the events surrounding him quite yet until absolutely necessary....