Well, the upcoming G4 Happy Meals toys made me think back to the first McDonald’s MLP toys, from 1985. They had an extremely limited release, only being available in and around St. Louis! They are bookmarks—that’s what the clip on top is for.
This mold was also used for “My Pony Pixie” (a Charmkins character), Powder Puff (tiny pony charm who came with the My Little Pony club), the 20 Mommy Charms, and the charm version of Sweet Scoops.
But then I thought to myself, “If MLP was the ‘girls toy’, what was the ‘boys toy’?” The answer is Transformers, of course, making this the perfect topic for Transformers Tuesday!
There were four molds (of Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Brawn, and Gears), and the interesting thing is that unlike the pony charms, where they meticulously made them match the first six ponies, they just went completely crazy on the Transformers colors, making six colors for each mold (24 in all).
Probably the weirdest thing is that there isn’t a Bumblebee figure with the main color yellow. I’m digging the black and hot pink version, though.
G1 toys - The BEST toyline hands down. Simple yet carefully crafted. Magical, exuded quality.
G1 “Rescue at Midnight Castle” - Amazing animation, amazing designs for the ponies. Very horse-like, yet at the same time appropriately anthromorhpic expressions, etc. Amazing villain. Megan didn’t suck. The best MLP animated feature.
G1 “Escape from Catrina” - Pretty good, weaker animation than RaMC. I didn’t like how Catrina “turning good” was handled. She’s this bold, independent person while she’s bad, and suddenly when she turns good she’s all meek and demure? What does that say about the writer’s view of what makes a “bad” woman versus a “good” woman? Why couldn’t she be good and still be bold?
G1 show “MLP ‘n Friends” and the movie - I hate Megan. She is a total canon sue. The last time I checked the show was “My Little Pony”, not “The Adventures of Queen Megan, Great White Savior of Ponyland.” Inconsistent and often sloppy animation. Also the baby ponies talking baby talk—WHY?
The basic plots are often quite good, though, with good villains. Ponyland being turned to glass? Good. The heart of Ponyland being disrupted and magic going crazy all over the land? Yes. So it does have an awesome epic vibe to it. I just can’t get over the ponies needing a twelve year old to run their lives. It’s kind of pathetic.
G1 show “MLP Tales” - MUCH better animation than “MLP ‘n Friends.” Terrible male characters. Ace is a jerk. Teddy and Sweetheart are headed for an abusive relationship. Snoozer plots in Boringworld. Too bad, because this was the first show to really focus in depth on individual characters. I know Sweetheart is a fan favorite, but I loathe her. Patch is the best.
G2 toyline - I don’t like their faces. Specifically, I don’t like their muzzles / mouths. They just look half-formed and, as I’ve mentioned before, I like pony toys that have more prominent nostrils.
That said, this was THE toyline for accessories, often producing individualized accessories for each pony. The US releases were a blob of muddy pinks and purples, but once the line became European exclusive they started utilizing some great color combos.
Their symbols are disappointing, though. Not in content, but in design. They’re usually monochrome and just seem a little “clip-arty”. Few poses and the poses are all rather “samey”.
G2 show - None.
G3 toys - Second best toyline, despite being the start of the stupid “symbols on only one side” thing. NOSTRILS. YES. Their heads are sometimes a little large compared to their bodies. I love their ears. Awesome variety of symbols. Good variety of ideas (Jewel ponies, scented ponies, etc) without getting too gimmicky.
G3 show - If you look at them as the tales of a group of desperately, falsely cheerful survivors of some unknown apocalypse, they’re interesting. (Why the heck do the Ponyville ponies not know about the unicorn kingdom a day’s walk away? Because they can’t leave home, because of RADIATION.)
But that is delving more into fanon than into the shows themselves. As shows, they have consistent animation, great voice actors, and boring, safe plots. Except “A Very Minty Christmas”. I flipping love that one. Minty is the best. I still enjoy watching them in the background while I’m cleaning or something, but there’s just no substance.
G3.5 toys - No.
G3.5 cartoon - They changed G3 Rainbow Dash’s voice. For this, no forgiveness.
Newborn Cuties toys - NO.
Newborn Cuties webisodes - The quality is so low it’s actually amazing. The voice acting, the animation, the “plots” … It must take some dedication to reach that level of suckitude!
G4 toyline - Terrible. The designs which work so well in the cartoon do not work well in real life. The ponies have about an acre of forehead, disproportionately large ears, and, again, “invisible nostril syndrome.” Their symbols are limited by their tiny, tiny bodies. On the bright side, the best designed pegasus wings of any generation. On the minus side, stupidly short unicorn horns. (Shorter than their EARS? REALLY??)
But the main problem with this generation is that it barely has any characters. Mane Six, Mane Six, Mane Six … I get that they’re the main characters and that lots of kids will want them, okay? But do kids really want eight different Twilight Sparkles? Maybe they do, I don’t know. I know I don’t.
It’s not just the lack of characters, either. It’s also the lack of poses. It is RIDICULOUS that there are only two “normal” (i.e. not Celestia / Luna / other special char) brushable pony modes—the “standing there” pose and the oh so exciting “standing there with one leg bent” pose. To put this in perspective, G1 had eight poses by its second year and G3 STARTED OUT with eight different poses. For G4 MLP to be this popular and have so few brushable molds … It makes no sense. Especially with the Mane Six focus, since that would be a way to make the ten million versions of Pinkie Pie less “samey”.
(I should add that blind bags, while cute, are not “the real My Little Ponies” to me. Just like “the real Care Bears” are the plush toys, not the PVC figurines.)
As if this was not lazy enough, Hasbro often reuses G3 Ponyville accessories for the line. Oh yes, Hasbro. Don’t think I don’t recognize them.
G4 cartoon - The best cartoon series (although “Rescue at Midnight Castle” is still my favorite piece of MLP animation overall). Great world building, great characters. I do think they should move the ponies out of Ponyville and have them go on more epic quests, because the whole “learning Friendship Lessons in Ponyville” thing is getting kind of stagnant. But still. The best series, with extremely consistent animation. The animation is not what I’d call beautiful—I don’t really think it can be, being made as it is. But it’s very functional, which is more important. I really appreciate that the ponies act and move like horses in this (using their mouths to pick things up, etc).
Equestria Girls toyline - Not just a travesty, but a cheaply produced, overpriced travesty. Sad Monster High wannabes.
Equestria Girls cartoon - Haven’t watched it. I’ve heard it’s good, but … I watch for the characters who are ponies. Take away the “who are ponies” part and I have no interest.
Some Starlight and Ace fantasy
Unfortunately the reality was Ace acting like a total jackass. (These shots are from Starlight’s dream sequence.)
This was my least favorite MLP episode.
Summary: Starlight likes Ace. Ace is mean, disrespectful, and dismissive towards her. Starlight joins the soccer team to impress Ace. He’s still dismissive. Then she makes the winning goal. Then he’s jealous and mean towards her. (Wow, what a catch this guy is.)
But wait. Later he apologizes and wants to talk to Starlight. Because she’s good at soccer. Her plan totally worked and now she is dating Captain Jackass. Well done, Starlight.
"But maybe the episode is really about giving new activities a chance? Personal growth?" No. It’s not. After the soccer match, Starlight is not happy or fulfilled that she helped the team win; she’s depressed because Ace still doesn’t like her. She only joined the team to impress Ace. She specifically says that.
The lesson is “change everything about yourself for your crush, and blind yourself to the fact that they’re an awful person”, with a smattering of “getting a boy to like you is the most important thing EVAH.” Worst episode.
when i say i like ponies I mean:
Look who I got!!! #mylittlepony #g1 #birthdaypony