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Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu
Lego's popular Ninjago storyline and the voice behind the latest season's uber villain.

There's nothing new about Lego. That's not to imply that there aren't incredibly innovative things happening with Lego but rather that its history dates back to 1932 when Ole Kirk Christiansen began making the toys in Denmark. The plastic version arrived in 1947 but the frenzied acclaim resulting from the television productions and feature films has taken Lego fandom to new heights. Oscar nominations (for 2014's The Lego Movie), BAFTA wins, hit songs ("Everything is Awesome"), and massive TV ratings have made the brand golden. Diversity is the friend of any franchise and Lego has embraced this with positive yields to their efforts. Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu is one of the most successful and longest running of these programs. Airing since 2011, this tale of the Ninjago is timeless in the depiction of good and evil. New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, China, the US (shown on Cartoon Network), and numerous global networks air this production to a loyal and excited Lego fan base.

Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu is classic storytelling at its finest. Fans of Asian film and those of Legos will find it equally enveloping. The mythology surrounds the Four Elemental Weapons of Spinjitzu and the conflict which accompanies their use. This tale of two brothers, Lord Garmadon and his younger brother Sensei Wu, represents the age old temptation of absolute power and the rebuke of it. The four young ninjas known as the Ninjago are protectors of the four elemental weapons but become unwitting accomplices to Lord Garmadon's plan. Told through the lens of Lego, the story serpentines in a delightfully menacing manner!

A requirement of an epic tale is a formidable and powerful foe. Voicing one of the most frightening and recent villains of the show is Zach LeBlanc as Omega Oni, the leader of a race of demonic beings known as the Oni (aka the Bringers of Doom). A powerful fighter with a magical staff and seemingly supernatural abilities, Omega Oni seeks to erase creation from all the realms and blanket all of existence in Destruction. The might and aspirations of Omega Oni seem to eclipse even that of Lord Garmadon. Zach confesses, "I think everyone has levels of anger and frustration in their lives; tapping into to that and letting yourself lash out is a bit of a cathartic experience, which is why probably so many people wish to play villains. For Omega Oni, I went with a voice that was almost all rasp; kind of like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. To maintain it, I pushed to the edge of my throat/base of my tongue and gave it a bit of resonance. Combine that with letting out life's frustrations?and the character came together." LeBlanc whose resume includes such other well-known animated productions as My Little Pony: Friendship is MagicBeyBlade Burst, and others, adds, "I love acting in cartoons; in a lot of ways you're more free. On camera everything usually starts with your look and you'll end up playing characters based around that. In voice acting, you can be a courageous hero, a demonic villain, and an awkward nerd?perhaps even in the same show! Cartoons tend to require bigger performances. Usually, the younger is the audience, the more on the nose and bigger the performances. The older an audience gets, the more grounded the cartoon becomes."

Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu is another indicator of how prominent Lego productions are in the entertainment industry. The proof is in the large viewing audience of the television programs as well as the recent Warner Bros. sequel The Lego Movie 2 (starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett) and its hundred-million-dollar budget. Whether on your personal home screen or at the local Cineplex, you'll definitely be seeing more iterations of Lego's fantastic stories.

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