Kanohi Masks of Power were items vital to the survival of the Matoran and the power of the Turaga and Toa. Kanohi was a Matoran word meaning "mask." Kanohi masks were created using Kanoka disks and were made in Ta-Metru in Metru Nui.
On Mata Nui, there were 36 Great Masks in total, six for each Toa.
When not worn, Great Kanohi Masks took on a dull, gray color. As soon as a Toa put it on, it would change to that Toa's color. The Toa felt a rush of power when he or she put on a new Great Kanohi mask.
Kanohi, including the Vahi, glowed when in use. When summoning the Vahi, Tahu's mask morphed from its usual shape into the orange Vahi.
Kanohi Nuva also appeared a dull grey when not being worn.
The Toa Nuva could "shift" from one Kanohi Nuva to the other.
Kanohi were also called Masks of Power.
Disks found to be of the right purity and power level were forged into Masks of Power.
No matter how many hours of work had gone into a mask, a single, tiny flaw could ruin it. Then it would be transported to the Protodermis Reclamation Center, to sit on top of a pile of other broken, useless masks until it could be fed to the furnace and melted down. A flawed mask could look perfect to the naked eye, its flaws visible only to a truly skilled crafter.
Nuhrii once fantasized about having a Mask of Power named after him, suggesting that masks may have been named after certain individuals.
Vakama had spent his whole life working alone at his forge, crafting protodermis into Matoran masks and Masks of Power. It required patience, skill, and dedication.
When the Toa Metru were attacked by Morbuzakh seeds, the vines reached for their masks; if those were lost, they realized, then so were they.
On Metru Nui, Kanohi Masks of Power were made from Kanoka disks. Kanoka with power levels 1 to 6 were made into Matoran masks, because the power leeched away during the mask-making process. Power level 7 disks were made into Noble Masks of Power. Power level 8 disks were made into Great Masks of Power like those worn by Toa.
On Metru Nui, a small number of highly skilled Ta-Matoran earned the privilege of becoming mask makers. They were responsible for creating every Kanohi Mask of Power in the city, from the ones worn by Matoran to the Great Masks worn by Toa. Kanoka disks were used to make masks. There were two methods used to make Kanohi masks. In one method, a Matoran took a disk, melted it down, and poured the molten protodermis into a mask mold. After it cooled, it was removed from the mold, and any flaws were pounded out by the mask maker. A skilled crafter could spend many days at his forge trying to a get a mask just right. In the other method, a mask maker combined two or more Kanoka disks into one. He then carved the Kanohi from the disk using a mask-making tool, which resembled a small torch. Combining Kanoka disks allowed the mask maker to create new mask powers. After a mask was done, it would go to any one of a number of places. If it was a Noble or Great Mask, it was sent to Ga-Metru and placed in the Great Temple. If it was a Matoran mask, it was sent to Po-Metru for finishing and distribution. If the mask was flawed in some way, it was sent to the protodermis reclamation yard in Ta-Metru to be melted down.
The Kanoka disks of the winning teams of akilini tournaments were immediately transported to Ta-Metru to be turned into Kanohi masks. This was considered to be a great honor by Matoran athletes.
To make a mask, Vakama would put a Kanoka disk in the forge, then wait for the fire to soften the disk. When the time was right, he took it out and began to shape it with his firestaff. Molten protodermis was the raw material that was fed into the forge to be shaped into disks, and later into masks, if the grade of disk was high enough.
As a Matoran, Vakama was not able to access the powers of a Great Mask, but while wearing it he could at least get a sense of whether it was active.
Great Masks glowed when their power was activated. Onewa's mask once activated unbidden when he was in danger of being eaten by a troller.
Use of a mask power required a high level of mental discipline and willpower. For this reason, Turaga were no longer able to use Great Masks despite having once been Toa, and Matoran could not use mask powers at all. Matoran would probably not be able to learn to use Kanohi powers, as their will was just not strong enough.
There were three known types of Kanohi mask:
- Matoran Masks
- Matoran wore Kanohi which had no extra powers. However, wearing them was essential for Matoran, as having a mask off for too long could lead to a condition resembling a coma. Matoran masks were fashioned to look like Great and Noble Masks. They were made from Kanoka disks with a power level of 6 and under.
- Noble Masks
- Noble Masks were less powerful than Great Masks, commonly worn by Turaga and also used by Toa. Noble Masks were made from Kanoka disks of power level 7. Noble Nasks were stored in the Great Temple of Metru Nui. The Toa Metru brought Noble Masks from Metru Nui to Mata Nui.
- Great Masks
- Great Masks could be used effectively only by Toa. They were made from Kanoka disks of power level 8. Great Masks were stored in the Great Temple of Metru Nui. The Toa Metru brought an assortment of these masks to Mata Nui and hid them in various spots on the island.
Extremely powerful masks like the Vahi and Ignika were considered Legendary Masks.
When not worn, Kanohi masks of power changed to a dull color.
Toa Hewkii once passed out after straining to use his Mask of Gravity to lift the entire Coliseum.
Masks were crafted into shapes that represented the powers they had; what really determined what type of power the mask had was the powers of the Kanoka disks used to make it. Matoran masks were made from Kanoka with a power level of 6 or lower and so had no power. However, they were still made from the same combination of Kanoka disk powers that would be used to make the non-powerless equivalent.
Inhabitants of Spherus Magna could not use Kanohi powers. Kanohi were designed specifically for the artificial inhabitants of the Matoran universe by linking to them mentally; they were simply not compatible with beings from Spherus Magna.
Kanohi were linked mentally to their wearers, which is why they could be controlled mentally by the wearer (if he could use mask powers).
The shape of a mask had nothing at all to do with its power. Traditional shapes were usually adhered to just to help identify which power a mask had.
It is not known if the mask-making process outside of Metru Nui involved making them from Kanoka disks.
There was no comprehensive list of masks whose powers were considered too immoral for Toa to use, since the creation of new masks was always a possibility. It was up to a Toa to decide whether a mask's power was something he or she should or should not have used.
Masks provided Matoran a largely unending power source so they could keep working.
Kanohi were part of the initial inventions of the Great Beings, so they were present from the start of the Matoran universe – Matoran, Toa, etc. all wore them.
Although Matoran's powerless masks were crafted from Kanoka with power levels between 1 and 6, there was no particular benefit to a Matoran wearing a mask crafted from a higher level Kanoka.
According to Greg, masks attached to their wearers via magnetic power.
Glatorian were not able to use Kanohi, even those who had been given elemental powers.
The Matoran, being created early on, needed masks to function and moreover had the potential to transform into Toa, who could use mask powers. The Toa needed mask powers to perform their duties. Other species in the Matoran universe that were not intended to play that kind of role did not require mask powers, so they were not designed to be able to use them. Many species did not require a mask to be able to function, and there were obvious design differences among species.
Matoran masks did not have powers and were ceremonial in nature. They did serve an important function, because losing one's mask affected a Matoran the way it did a Toa.[28, 29] The mask served as a power source. When a Matoran did not wear a mask for a long period of time, the Matoran shut down.
Kanohi turned grey when not being worn and could be used by anyone. If, for example, Lewa took off his mask, it would turn gray, and if Gali then put it on, it would turn blue.
If a Toa lost his mask, he lost access to all of his other masks. He needed to be wearing a mask to summon another from a suva.
If someone below the power level of a Toa (a Turaga, for example) wore a Great Mask, the mask would prevent him from being weakened, although he would be unable to use its power.
The powers of the Kanoka disks used to forge a mask were the only factor that determined its power. The shape of the mask was irrelevant, even if it was in the shape of a mask with a different power. This even applied to Matoran masks, which normally had no power. If a Matoran wearing a powerless mask became a Toa and the mask were transformed into a Great Mask, then the power of the mask would be determined by the power of the original disks used to make it.
When Matoran on Mata Nui switched to wearing a different mask, they used extra masks that they had brought with them from Metru Nui. No new masks were made on Mata Nui.
The skill used in making a Kanoka determined its power level, which in turn determined what kind of Kanohi could be made with it. If one tried to forge a Kanohi directly from raw protodermis, then the mask might have ended up with next to no power, wasting the effort. This is why Kanohi were forged from Kanoka.
It was possible to mold a Kanohi back into a Kanoka.
The power of a Kanohi did not necessarily relate to the power of the Kanoka it was made from.
Kanohi were likely attached via magnetism.
The mask-making process itself rendered Kanoka with power levels below 7 powerless.
Some Great Masks had far greater powers than their Noble counterparts, such as the Mahiki and Ruru.
It took a very long time for Kanohi powers to wear out.
Anyone could wear more than one mask like Vakama did when he donned the Vahi, but it was not an accepted practice.
If a Toa wore two masks at the same time, such as when Vakama donned the Vahi, that Toa could not use both of them at the same time.
All Kanohi except the Vahi and Mask of Light turned gray when not being worn.
Any being with sufficient mental discipline could use Kanohi.
Great Masks and Noble Masks looked different so a being could tell them apart in a hurry.
Mask names denoted their powers, not their shapes.
If a Matoran who wore a Noble Kanohi transformed into a Toa, their mask would become a Great Kanohi.
A Kanohi shaped like a Noble Mask worn by a Matoran would shape itself into a Great Mask shape if the Matoran became a Toa.
None of the Piraka, including Vezon, had the mental discipline to use Kanohi.
All Kanohi could be destroyed, even the Vahi.
- Masks similar to the powerless ones worn by the Matoran who would become the Toa Metru were not seen prior to 2004 because they hadn't been designed yet.
- Kanohi glowed in BIONICLE 2: Legends of Metru Nui to show viewers when they were in use.
- Mask of Intangibility
- Mask of Possibilities
- Mask of Psychometry
- Mask of Emulation
- Mask of Growth
- Mask of Rahi Control
- Mask of Clairvoyance
- Mask of Mutation
- Mask of Charisma
- Mask of Adaptation
- Mask of Aging
- Mask of Biomechanics
- Mask of Conjuring
- Mask of Fusion
- Mask of Incomprehension
- Mask of Rebounding
- Mask of Scavenging/Mask of Vulture
- Mask of Sensory Aptitude
- Mask of Undeath