Kanohi are objects that grant powers to a being when they are worn, named after the Matoran word for "mask." A variety of species can wear and use Kanohi, the most prominent being Matoran, Toa and Turaga, who require Kanohi in order to function properly.
Kanohi are magnetically attached to their wearers. Kanohi of certain levels contain a power that the wearer can access, which is done through focus and concentration. If these powered Kanohi are cracked or broken, they do not function properly or at all. The masks come in a variety of different shapes, derived from the need to discern the power a mask has. While masks can be forged into any different shape, they are not done so in order to maintain consistency in identifying the power it might have. The colors of Great and Noble masks are dependent on their wearers. When Kanohi are made originally, they adopt a grayish color which they keep until they are worn. At that point the mask adopts a color with respect to the wearer. Matoran masks, having no power, will not change color at all, making it necessary to paint them in their colors.
When a Matoran, Toa, or Turaga has their Kanohi removed, they suffer weakness - Toa feel weak and dizzy, Turaga suffer extreme weakness, and Matoran lapse into a coma-like state if the mask is not replaced within an extended period of time. Some beings are able to wear Kanohi, but do not suffer any effects of not doing so.
There are various types of Kanohi that exist; they are primarily grouped into four basic categories, though exceptions arise from special circumstances.
There are four known power levels for a Kanohi: Powerless, Noble, Great, and Legendary.
The most common type of mask is the powerless kind worn by Matoran. The process used to make the mask causes the energy to leak out, which is why these masks have no powers. However, they are needed for Matoran to live and function properly. Although Matoran can sense the power in a Great or Noble mask, they lack the mental discipline needed to access its powers. Matoran can customize their masks, making modifications such as adding a scope. Matoran masks can become Great masks when they come in contact with Toa Energy, and transform again into Noble masks when this Toa Energy is expended. This happens whenever a Toa is transformed from a Matoran, and again when the Toa become Turaga after sacrificing their Toa Energy and completing their destiny.
Toa and other beings wear Great masks, which offer a stronger mask power and can only be used by entities on their power level. Most powered masks worn are of the Great variety, and come in a myriad of abilities. Great Kanohi are the most powerful normal masks. They can be in any shape or form, but throughout the island of Mata Nui, specific shapes for certain powers are known. While Toa are the most well-known beings to use masks, other species are known to be able to use mask powers, like the Lesterin.
Turaga wear Noble masks, which are infused with a small amount of power that they can access. These masks are transformed from Great masks when a Toa is turned into a Turaga. Toa, however, can also access the power of Noble masks. Noble Kanohi possess weakened versions of the powers of their Great mask counterparts. They are also formed when a Toa becomes a Turaga, during which their Kanohi transforms into a Noble one. There can be Noble forms of any mask, except Legendary masks.
There are some extraordinary Kanohi that possess powers far beyond a normal mask; these are known as Legendary masks. Only one is known to exist: the Kanohi Hiripaki, the Mask of Stories.
There are legends about other legendary masks on Mata Nui, most notably the Kanohi Vahi, Mask of Time. However, it is likely that these are just myths.
Anxilia are Kanohi that have been made organic by the power of the Red Star. They have independent identities and can communicate with their user telepathically.
The dark essence of the Makuta, the sentient Kraata slugs, are able to corrupt and infect Kanohi, turning the bearer into a servant of the Makuta's will.
List of regular Kanohi
The Kanohi on this list exist in differing quantities throughout the known world, and are usable by any being capable of accessing their powers, most commonly Toa, Turaga, and Lesterin. These types are also common among powerless Matoran masks. When a Matoran, Toa, or Turaga has their Kanohi removed, they suffer weakness - Toa feel weak and dizzy, Turaga suffer extreme weakness, and Matoran lapse into a coma-like state if the mask is not replaced within an extended period of time. Some beings are able to wear Kanohi, but do not suffer any effects of not doing so, such as the Lesterin race.
The Kanohi Hau, or Mask of Shielding, allows a wearer to protect themselves from any physical attack they are aware of by generating a force field of rippling energy. This force field depletes over time or until deactivated. The only difference between the Great and Noble versions is that the Great version forms a stronger, and longer-lasting, shield than the Noble version. Its greatest weakness is a vulnerability to surprise attacks, and will not protect the bearer against such threats. Haus are typically favored by honorable fighters with backgrounds in military service, seen both as signs of control and for the religious symbolism: the Hau often stands for Mata Nui in carved legend.
The Kanohi Pakari, or Mask of Strength, grants its wearer physical strength far beyond normal limits. With the power of a Pakari, even the frailest become extraordinary in their capabilities. The strongest hurl trees, dig tunnels with bare hands, or toss enemies through rows of buildings. It cannot replace the muscle mass of a wearer, but its powers work in mysterious ways upon all who wear it. Takua, Chronicler during the Dark Times and assembler of the Toa Maru when they were still Matoran, wore a Pakari: a sign of strength and fortitude in his troubled adventures.
The Kanohi Miru is the Mask of Levitation. It allows its user to float and glide on air or slow their fall. To simulate flight while using this mask, the user has to rely on wind currents to push them while they stay afloat. The Miru is often seen as a symbol of daredevils and thrill seekers; those who prefer flying through the air without threat of plummeting to their death often opt for a Kadin.
The Kanohi Kakama is the Mask of Speed. It allows its user to move and run at incredible speeds on all surfaces, far faster than the eye can follow. When using the Kakama, details and features around the user blur and fade from view.
The Kanohi Akaku is the Mask of X-Ray Vision, and is sometimes called the Mask of Vision. It allows its user to see through solid objects and structures. Kanohi Akaku are commonly fitted with telescopic lenses to give their users enhanced vision, which complements the mask's power.
The Kanohi Kaukau is the Mask of Water Breathing. It allows its user to breathe only water for a limited amount of time.
The Kanohi Huna is the Mask of Concealment. It allows its user to turn completely invisible, although their shadow will still remain. The only difference between the Great and Noble versions is that the Great version has a longer duration than the Noble one. The only masks which will see through a Kanohi Huna's usage are Kanohi Elda, Kanohi Arthron, and Kanohi Rode.
The Kanohi Ruru is the Mask of Night Vision. The Great version allows its user to cast a beam of light that allows them and those nearby to see. It also grants them normal night vision and a small degree of x-ray vision. It can be used as a weapon, blinding enemies with its glow. The Noble version does not glow, but allows its user to see clearly in any level of darkness.
The Kanohi Matatu is the Mask of Telekinesis. It allows its user to move targets within their range of view by utilizing the power of thought and lets them project Psionic force. This Psionics power grants the user the ability to perform other such feats like generating telekinetic force. The only difference between the Great and Noble versions is the power's duration and the mental strength afforded by the mask.
The Kanohi Rau is the Mask of Translation. The Great version allows its user to understand and speak in almost any written or spoken language within the Matoran Universe. The Noble version only lets the user understand writing, runes, and symbols. Both versions enable the user to comprehend the meaning behind carvings.
The Kanohi Pehkui is the Mask of Diminishment, or Mask of Shrinking. It allows its user to shrink themselves and their tools down to a minimum of six inches while still retaining their full strength and power capacity.
The Kanohi Kualsi is the Mask of Quick Travel. It allows its user to instantly move to any place in their field of vision. The user can teleport objects with them, but not other beings. A Kualsi user cannot teleport through energy fields, such as those made by a Hau.
The Kanohi Calix is the Mask of Fate. It allows its user to perform at the absolute peak of their natural physical abilities (such as excecuting seemingly impossible leaps, dodges, flips, etc.) so that they move and react better than almost any unenhanced member of their species.
The Kanohi Kadin is the Mask of Flight. It allows its user to soar through the sky under their own power. The Noble version also allows the user to fly, but not as fast or as long as the Great version.
The Kanohi Sanok is the Mask of Accuracy. It allows its user to turn virtually any inanimate object into a projectile weapon and hit almost any target they aim for.
The Kanohi Iden is the Mask of Spirit. It allows its user to temporarily release their spirit from their body. While released, their spirit can move at great speeds and inhabit other living, spiritless bodies or self-powered robots. However, their original body will become limp, as there is nothing inhabiting it. Those who wear Kanohi Elda or Kanohi Rode can see and communicate with the user's released spirit.
While released, the user's spirit cannot access any of their powers, because the use of powers requires a union of the spirit and the body. Their body is also vulnerable, as they have no way to protect it themselves. If the user's body is killed, their spirit will eventually fade away, as they have no body to return to; however, if the user's Iden is destroyed while their body remains intact, the user's spirit will be forced back into their body.
The Kanohi Zatth is the Mask of Summoning. It allows its user to summon one or more random Rahi or Creatures to their location for help. However, the user has no control over what animal will be called, nor control of them once they arrive. The creature summoned must be able to share the user's environment. Additionally, the user cannot use a Kanohi Zatth to send animals away.
The Kanohi Arthron is the Mask of Sonar. It allows its user to sense the movement and positions of targets through echolocation. The wearer can also use this mask to examine their surroundings in darkness. This mask is one of the few that can detect an invisible target (like a Kanohi Huna-user). It identifies the general shape and movement of its target, but does not provide details.
The Kanohi Volitak is the Mask of Stealth. It allows its user to become mostly transparent and completely silent. However, they will still cast a shadow. The only masks that can see through its usage are Kanohi Elda, Kanohi Arthron, and Kanohi Rode.
The Kanohi Tryna is the Mask of Reanimation. It allows its user to give artificial life to and control dead bodies for as long as they maintain concentration. The amount of concentration required to keep the corpses animated increases with the number of corpses controlled.
Mask of Healing
The Mask of Healing allows its user to heal others (but not themselves). In order for the Kanohi to work, the user needs to have a basic understanding of the wounds or illnesses that need curing. The speed of the healing depends on the user's willpower and the condition that needs curing.
Mask of Rebounding
The Mask of Rebounding allows its user to cause non-exploding or non-fragmenting projectiles to come back to them after the object has been thrown at and hit a target. The mask's power uses a small amount of telekinesis, so the harder the user focuses on the projectile, the more accurate the rebound is.
Mask of Sensory Aptitude
The Mask of Sensory Aptitude gives its user the power to enhance all five of their senses to a high degree. The user's sense of balance is also increased. The user's enhanced sight is not as good as it would be as if they were wearing a Kanohi Ruru or an Akaku.
List of unique Kanohi
Of each Kanohi type in this list, only one is known to exist.
The Kahoni Tauhaka, the Mask of Alchemy, allows its user to change the material or element(s) of one object into another.
The Kahoni Auporo, the Mask of Weakness, allows the user to instinctively sense the weakness or weaknesses of other beings.
The Kahoni Kimi, the Mask of Tracking, allows the user to track people or objects.
The Kanohi Hiko, the Mask of Jumping, allows the user to jump between real locations in a flash.
The Kahoni Ruhaku, the Mask of Intent, allows its user to sense the intent of any other creature in the form of an aura around the being.
The Kanohi Hiripaki, the Mask of Stories, is the only legendary Kanohi known to exist. It can be used to transfer things into and out of legend.
- Some players use names for the Masks of Rebounding, Healing, and Sensory Aptitude, as they lack proper canon names. These are Kanohi Marki, Kanohi Vita, and Kanohi Omnus respectively.