My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic- Toy and Story Synergy
In MLP: Friendship is Magic Pony Types I talked about how the different variations of the ponies as a species differed among themselves. I also talked about one of the more recent alicorns of this series, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza. Or Princess Cadence for short. What I did not say was that before Princess Cadence was introduced to the show proper, there was a toy that basically introduced both her and her husband Shining Armor to the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic viewers. While My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic gained popularity and episodes, one must remember that Hasbro, the company that created the original My Little Pony toys, would also create toys for this new series. As a result, some of the toys either arrive early to introduce a possible new character that will appear in the show or reveal a new development for a certain character. Some people may have a problem with this. Mostly because:
- The toys force the show to cater to whatever they toy represented. As shown in the picture above, when Princess Twilight Sparkle gained her own castle as a toy, the show decided to give her her own castle to live in on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
- Newly introduced characters appearing on the show contradicted aspects to the main characters that were introduced in earlier seasons. In the first season it was established that Twilight Sparkle did not have a lot of socialization with other ponies before the events of the show. The introduction of Shining Armor and Princess Cadence contradicted Twilight Sparkle's anti-social past because they were shown at least interacting with her.
- They did not serve a purpose on the show other than being archetypes. For Shining Armor, the writers never really characterized him beyond being Twilight Sparkle's brother who eventually married Princess Cadence. Eventually he does gain some personality, but not enough to really give him his own character.
But there are some positive aspects to introducing the toys into the series. Like making episodes acknowledging these changes.
Shining Armor and Princess Cadence
- Shining Armor and Princess Cadence were introduced in the two-part season finale A Canterlot Wedding (Parts 1 & 2) on April 21, 2012. Shining Armor was Twilight Sparkle's older brother. Princess Cadence was Twilight Sparkle's babysitter.
- Before both characters made their first appearances and revealed how they were connected to Twilight Sparkle, a toy appeared that not only spoiled what they looked like, but also why they were most likely going to be significant to the story.
- As shown on the picture, this set was referred to as a Wedding Castle. Which foreshadowed the fact that both parts of A Canterlot Wedding were all about the wedding between Shining Armor and Princess Cadence.
- When Shining Armor and Princess Cadance were introduced in A Canterlot Wedding, it was in a rushed nature. Twilight Sparkle just said that Shining Armor was her older brother, and the viewer was forced to just accept this new information and move on. Problem here was that previous episodes suggested that Twilight Sparkle never had a lot of people to socialize with in her younger years. She was more preoccupied with being a good student to Princess Celestia. That was why she had to learn the value of friendship in the pilot of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Plus it was implied that she never got to do things with other ponies like having slumber parties.
- Introducing characters that most likely socialized with Twilight Sparkle enough times that she did not have a friendless background retcons Twilight Sparkle's earlier statements about not having many ponies to socialize with somewhat.
- Also not helping Shining Armor and Princess Cadence's relevance to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was their role in the overall story. For the most part both characters were presented as this perfect couple who got married and eventually got to rule their own land. Since the story does not explore their individual characteristics more, interesting plots like having a relatively normal pony become royalty never got explored. Later episodes did confirm that both characters trusted each other in a way that made their marriage less arbitrary.
- And the introduction of offspring may present interesting episodes for these characters at a later time.
Twilight Sparkle's Castle
- Twilight Sparkle, as the main character of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, has had an interesting journey so far. Introduced in the two-parter Friendship is Magic she was the anti-social student who decided to stay in Ponyville so that she could learn how to be a better friend. In the third season episode Magical Mystery Cure Twilight Sparkle's knowledge about Friendship made it so that Princess Celestia granted her new abilities as the new Princess of Friendship. In the fourth season two-parter Twilight's Kingdom not only does Twilight manage to defeat a ridiculously overpowered opponent to save Equestria, but she also gained her own personal castle by the end of the episode.
- As shown in the first image, Hasbro made a toy version of Princess Twilight Sparkle's new castle. Just not as intricate the the show's version. Or covered in crystals as the show's version. Or as big and dark colored as the show's version.
In the fifth season episode Castle Sweet Castle Twilight Sparkle got to deal with the awkwardness of moving into a new home. Which was understandable because her old home was destroyed in the last season. Of course, moving from a modest tree library that was in the middle of Ponyville into a giant castle away from Ponyville helped emphasize the alienation Princess Twilight Sparkle may have had about her new home. Fortunately, Twilight's friends volunteered themselves to try and make Twilight's castle look more like a home. Unfortunately, Twilight's friends had a habit of putting things that fit in their homes rather than what would fit Twilight's home. By the end of Castle Sweet Castle, Twilight's friends took some of the remains of Twilight's old house, turned it into a chandelier, and hung crystals which contained memories of Twilight's life in her old home. And some additions based on Twilight's friends. So while Twilight was forced to move into a new and foreign home, that did not mean that she had to forget about the memories or the friends she made along the way when she lived in her old home.
Princess Skyla/Princess Flurry Heart
- Pictured on the right is the new Alicorn Princess Skyla. Released by Hasbro before the beginning of the sixth season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
- Naturally, people speculated who the parents were when this toy was introduced. And since Shining Armor and Princess Cadence were the only married couples without any children, fans speculated that Princess Skyla was their child. It did not help that genetically, an Alicorn child would naturally have an Alicorn parent.
- On March 26, 2016 My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic aired its first two-parter for season six. Named The Crystalling, which confirmed that the child of Shining Armor and Princess Cadence would be introduced.
- Surprisingly enough, the offspring of Shining Armor and Princess Cadence was no Princess Skyla, but an entirely new Alicorn. Named Princess Flurry Heart. Who would be the catalyst to the conflict of The Crystalling.
- One interesting aspect about this new addition was that it helped somewhat expand the characters of Shining Armor and Princess Cadence. Mostly by showing the stress and untidiness that normally accompanies having a child.
The interesting thing about Princess Flurry Heart was that she was officially the first confirmed Alicorn born in Equestria. Also interesting was that she already had a lot of magical power inside her. Unfortunately, that power destroyed a mystical artifact that threatened to ruin Shining Armor and Princess Cadence's kingdom. Fortunately, timely intervention prevented any lasting damage to the kingdom.
When a show is produced by a company that makes toys, one should expect new toys to either appear in the show or foreshadow a possible change in the status quo. Sometimes newly introduced elements put previous aspects of a show's canon into question. Some toys that get introduced to a show can also help teach morals that the show likes to give to viewers. Depending on the viewer, new toys can help introduce fascinating elements to how a show progresses.