As the Monkie Kid theme grows, so do their sets! The big price tag for the theme 2022, is The City Of Lanterns!
LEGO 80036 – The City Of Lanterns
Available from LEGO.com and LEGO Stores from 26th Dec 2021 for China and 1st Jan 2022 everyone else.
General Monkie Kid 2022 Overview
Monkie Kid is back and ready for action; a new year means a new wave of sets and stories to be told. But the question is, is this theme stagnating? Is the idea stretched too thin? Well, admittedly I was thinking this before we got our hands on the Monkie Kid 2022 sets, and this may very well be one of the strongest waves yet.
We’ve got a multitude of sets to rip through and talk about, so over the next few days we are going to be reviewing these bad boys one-by-one, with the links to all other reviews at the end of the article. We’re gonna start our way small and build our way up – so follow us along for the journey as well delve back into the world of Chinese mythos and explore Monkie Kid 2022.
It’s worth noting that a few parts will be copied/pasted for Minifigures if the characters overlap numerous sets of this wave.
The largest set of the 2022 range is The City Of Lanterns. A model that completely caught me by surprise. Never would I have thought that the largest set of a Monkie Kid range would be something comparable to Ninjago City, for example. This cityscape encompasses a monorail, a noodle shop, karaoke machine, LEGO store, Lobster Diner and more. Better yet, this set is completely modular!
Want to know what I mean? Read on!
One of the features of this set, which isn’t immediately obvious on the box, is the fact that all the shops can be removed from the base with relative ease. Changing out the bustling vertical city to a more lateral streetscape, making it quite easy to integrate with pre-existing LEGO cities.
If we were to take all the shops and food vendors away from the model, we’re left with the foundation of the build. A monorail system that acts in a giant oval shape amongst several different elevated platforms. This allows the build to be given a sense of height without having to the build-up and saves on parts.
It’s an inventive way to really create something more with the set and give an err of customisation. But this set isn’t really designed to be a 360 model. LEGO do try to give the foundation a bit of character by adding lanterns hanging of the rails, frogs, boxes and even an Octan tank, but most of these features are either forward-facing or are too little to have an impact on the rear of the model.
What we are left with is a lot of the ‘secret sauce’ of Technic and tall beam pillars that just make the model go from bustling city to industrial worksite with one 180 degrees rotation. It’s also a shame that when the shop are in place that so much is exposed on the lower levels that it just looks like a bit much to me.
Not all the features that are on the model can be removed like the shops, and we are still left with our karaoke machine, digital map, and monorail terminal after all the shops are gone.
The Bubble Tea shop almost goes completely unnoticed amongst the rest of the build, and is certainly overshadowed by the building next to it. But that doesn’t mean this is bad at all.
The artwork that accompanies the Bubble Tea shop is colourful, quirky, and definitely sets off all the right aspects of what I would suspect of a stereotypical Asian-themed Bubble Tea store.
The poster also displayed out the front of the shop could easily be used in a variety of different settings too, making this quite a versatile small shop.
Do you ever go to one of those small convenience stores, wondering what is inside, and you walk in to find not much of what you expected at all? That’s the Panda Store here. A cute and quirky build from the outside, with a clear sand-green to yellow to white colour palette. But the inside of the build is quite small with little to show for it.
I understand the use of space where possible, but this little tiny shop could have sure benefitted from a shelf of sorts, and maybe something more interesting than, what I believe is, an out-of-place gold frog.
The LEGO Store
The Choice for LEGO to put a LEGO set is quite amusing to me. Yes, we’ve seen this in actual LEGO sets about LEGO stores before, but this is a set with a store selling sets… But it doesn’t stop there. We’ll come back to that.
The outside of the building copies the iconic look of the LEGO Store dragon in Manhattan, New York, Copenhagen, the British one in London… you get the point. This micro build of the dragon is exceptionally better than the ones before as it features more of the body and gives him two blocks to lean up against. It’s immediately eye-catching and draws focus, which is kind of hard to do in this set.
Now the actual building itself is quite small, which is to be expected for something like this. LEGO do a great job of implying the iconic Pick-A-Brick wall, but the other side of the wall captivates my attention much more.
Although using stickers, the other wall harkens back to older classic LEGO themes and sets, and even has a display window for new LEGO sets. In this case the 80012 Monkey King Warrior Mech, which begs the question: Does Monkie Kid exist within a world where LEGO makes sets based on them, or Monkie Kid exists in a world where LEGO makes LEGO sets, and Monkie Kid in itself is both a theme and a world at the same time, creating a paradox?
The sets are as follows:
6416 – Paradisa Poolside Paradise
6285 – Classic Pirates Black Seas Barracuda
497 – Classic Space Galaxy Explorer
An unknown Creator/Factory set
5988 – LEGO Adventurers Temple of Anubis
375 – Yellow Castle
All I know is, I want to shop in this shop.
Hot Pot Restaurant
The Hot Pot Restaurant is the largest feature of the entire build, being a two-storey tall building with a large centrally focussed sign. I am a particularly big fan of how they keep a continued motif of animal-themed builds throughout the whole model.
The upper floor of the restaurant is the actual restaurant part of the build, whereas downstairs is more of a souvenir shop; it seems like they are really monopolising on the fact that the protagonists operate out of this place and obviously get a lot of customers.
The souvenir shop is a nice little sneaky addition that I can easily get behind. There is currently for sale Iron Bull Horns (Wave 1), MK ventilator for space (Wave 4), Bones for Bone Demons (Wave 3), Spider Demon canister (Wave 2), and Mooncakes (Wave 4).
The upstairs restaurant is leagues ahead of the other restaurant in this build, adding new moulds for chopsticks and using simple parts to imply a large number of sauce bottles and oils to the mix. It’s an overall very charming little building, and to be completely honest, with some extra parts added to the mix, would be fantastic in cityscapes.
The Lotus hotel is the highest point across the whole build, and really sets an outside aesthetic of a more oriental-themed build. In the heart of the lotus is one of Ne Zha’s rings, what I would have presumably thought was the penultimate Universe Ring, but the official description lists this as a Fire Ring, and until we can watch the show, we will never know if the Universe Ring would appear.
The Lotus Hotel has some lovely gold inscriptions on the exterior, as well as the lotus symbol on the front door. On the inside of the build is a very simple foyer area to leave suitcases, as well as a map hanging on the wall. The upper floor is entirely, 100% bed.
I really don’t have much to criticise, because the obvious issues with the build are the limitations imposed by the build base size, which is a reoccurring theme throughout the build. But is kept this way to manage costs. Regardless, I still like this building and the sheik it gives.
The Seafood Restaurant is probably one of the first parts of the build that immediately catch many people’s eyes. Outside of our dear lobster friend’s whacky build, we can also find a number of different Chinese-themed artworks around the area.
From the fancy sign with a lobster suit guy, to a Monkie King poster, this area is more a zone of references than an actual kitchen. The eating space is simplistic, and all the lobsters are simply red tooth pieces. It is worth highlighting the ZNAP sign on the guard railing.
Station Entry & Train
The opposite side of the build features a map/info desk of the ‘city’ on the lowest floor, using a translucent light blue to give off a technologically advanced vibe to the build. The build actually carries this motif quite a lot, which just further brings a contrast to the karaoke machine.
Where the city map is quite simple, the small pathway just near it that leads up to the monorail is much more confusing. The map has been changed into more of an artistic expression, and as a fellow metro tram user, confuses me.
The Monorail tram is quite a simple build, and definitely isn’t anything new to anyone who has bought a LEGO rollercoaster in the past few years. This monorail however continues the Monkie Kid theme of Pigsy slapping his face on anything and everything he can, and even converting the whole monorail into a pig itself.
It’s also nice to see LEGO using and abusing the heck out of the Azure colour that fans demanded so much of by using it as monorail track pieces and the monorail foundations also. There’s also a small technic part built to the framework of the city to stop the Monorail from making whole rotations around, which can easily be taken off if not needed, and honestly, I don’t know what its really there for.
Oh, and props to the graffiti of the Iron Bull implying that his food is better on a Pigsy themed rail.
The Karaoke machine/booth is located on the lowest floor on the right-hand side, featuring a large digital sign accompanied by magic wands for effects, as well as brick-built microphone and star accessories.
The build itself is incredibly simple, but it does the job it sets out to do. Because of the location of where this machine is and the lack of similar themed buildings around it. I admittedly feel like this machine is a bit out of place and would have better served on a higher floor. Maybe swapping this out for an ATM would have been better?
The rear of the machine better illustrates my point. The back of it has a poster stuck on it for the Panda Store, one of the above buildings, a missing poster for a spaceman and dog, a Bionicle spray logo (Love it), and what seems to be a Ninjago symbol and a Monkie Kid symbol. To me, this implies this is in a rougher neck of the woods, and a machine like this would have definitely been broken.
Monkie Kid appears in this set in tourist outfit, which is exclusive to this set. Although his face may not be exclusive, it’s nice to see our hero having some downtime and not always wearing the exact same outfit as years previous. He also sports a collar attachment for his staff on his back, which I believe is either new or extremely rare in this colour.
It’s also nice to get his headgear with a solid unprinted band to make it a bit more versatile, and more relaxed.
Mei returns this time around with a new face printing, having her with a happy expression and a cheeky smirk. I’m glad that they made a new face print for her, as her previous versions has fantastic face printing for her battle outfit, with an eyepiece attachment, but wasn’t versatile for something casual.
Her torso print is a nice comfortable green jacket, with handbag underneath and a newer lime green shirt. Her back printing also has her White Dragon logo on the back, which is a nice touch. My only downside with her print is that the pants are also printed on to her torso, which means there isn’t much versatility for the outfit outside of the theme.
Mr Tang reappears this year, but this time around in a much more casual and relaxed look. I am admittedly taken aback by his outfit, as a refined and admittedly nerdy character like him wearing a sleeveless shirt was completely lost on me.
Mr. Tang I feel would have been better represented in his other outfit rather than this one, as he feels like he is sitting at home watching TV, and thus doesn’t really blend with the rest of the city diorama.
Putting this part aside, the detail that went in to his torso is quite nice, and easily conveys this man’s love for noodles, but I really wish it was just a t-shirt to be honest.
I feel like Pigsy is getting slowly and slowly more dirtier and disgusting looking. I mean this as no offence to the character. It might be how he is portrayed. But I do wish we would rather get more expressions for the character, or maybe a battle-chef like an outfit rather than just another sauce smeared chef tunic.
The extra figures of this set include two different types of female shoppers, the train driver, and two named brick built robots. Citybots A05 and A16.
The two female figures, as far as I can tell, seem to actually be sporting new torsos for 2022. One of which is sporting a fiery red jacket with a lightning bolt shirt, whereas the other is wearing a modern mid-yellow outer shirt with a loose light blue shirt inside. Even if these torsos are not new, I am quite pleased to have them to break up the lack of newer and more interesting female torsos.
Our Train driver is unfortunately not sporting any new parts, and admittedly I would have liked it if he had a different torso rather than a generic suit.
The two brick built robots that come with the set reuse the head from 31111. Cyber Drone, and otherwise clicked together from some very generic assembly parts, with only one translucent stud on their heads to differentiate them.
I have, admittedly, been quite harsh in the assessment of this build overall, and I am not ashamed to say that may have been biased in the overall critique of the set.
In a world where we have been disillusioned with sets like Ninjago City (and all other extensions to it), or the Daily Bugle, when we see sets like this that have an extraordinarily large physical footprint, we expect higher quality.
But I can see past that. This set is still just a large set of a wave. This isn’t some standalone build, but more the epitome of the latest wave of Monkie Kid 2022. If we look back to other sets that are the largest sets of their respective waves, they come nowhere near the reference quality, overall complexity, or sheer passion that this set provides.
If this set was more of a standalone like a Ninjago city set, this would have been absolutely phenomenal, but also 1.5x the pricetag.
For what it is worth, if you are considering picking this set up, go for it. If you think that this would be a good fit for your city, get it. If you think that you can get this set, MOC it, and integrate it into your city? Send me pictures.
This set is fantastic – not without its faults – but is something that I do really enjoy.
Check out our other Monkie Kid 2022 reviews –
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This article was written by Tim & Dannii.
Find them on Instagram at @legobuildingwithtimanddannii
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