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06 February, 2015

Filly Stars: Something New

Pictured: best Filly and company

Filly Stars is the latest addition to the Filly brand, as you might already know from various sources, including this very website. At the time of writing, Filly Stars does not officially have a publically available website yet, as indicated by its absence in Filly.com's user interface, although it is accessible through inputting a proper website address into the browser of your choice.

What one may find out is that Filly Stars appears to be moderately different to what Filly was doing with previous toylines, such as Butterfly, Witchy, Unicorn, Elves and others. And here are eight details that I am going to showcase.

1. Green Isn't Your Color
The most obvious difference is the lack of the fifth ordinary family. The standard (by now) formula for a Filly toyline has been that there is a special, ultra rare filly and five families that are color coded to match the Filly rainbow: pink, dark pink, yellow, green and blue. Yet in Filly Stars, not only do we get two special fillies (which has only been seen in Filly Witchy before now), but we also lack the green family. To compensate, almost all families have received a boost in numbers, sporting up to six members now, as opposed to normal four.

One may argue that the green family is reserved for a bonus pack, which is also a part of the tradition, but judging from Filly Funtasia trailers and assumptions, the bonus pack family's color is not green. There is no green in Filly Stars. Which is kind of a clever coincidence, since real stars also cannot be green, as explained by physics.

2. Far Apart
A running theme starting from Filly Princess has been that friendly bonds between members of any one family is a given. Also, all families usually tend to be friends with each other, since Filly world is quite a peaceful and welcoming place. To slightly emphasise this, usually a couple of characters have additional information in their resumes which states that they are best friends or are in love with someone from a different family. Which is ever so lovely.

However, Filly Stars character descriptions do not have that. Every character does mention how they love spending time with their relatives and pets, yet there is no mention of anybody outside the family. If I didn't know better, I would say that families are quite cold to each other. Real stars do tend to be quite far from each other, after all, to the point of isolation.

Speaking of isolation!

3. Hailing Frequencies Open
If you don't count Princess Scarlet's Butterfly Ship from Filly Butterfly, Filly Stars is the first Filly toyline to have a family residence which is capable of moving around: the Star Boat. The Star Boat is piloted by the Twilight family, but it also serves as their home: Twilights do not have a traditional house on the surface, which means that they spend most of their time airborne, physically far away from all other Fillies.

The fact that Star Boat is mobile adds a weirdly large amount of dynamic to the scene. When you look at the sky, you will most likely see the ship flying to a destination only its crew knows of, making you wonder what these fillies are up to this time. Or, rather, they just spend their time randomly on the altitude, not landing the ship because they enjoy being in the air. That makes Twilights seem adventurous and somewhat brave, even. No other Filly toyline did that on such scale.

Not to mention that the ship makes for a really good toy.

4. For The Plot
Filly has had a progressive story in its primary toylines since Witchy (or even sooner). Witchy storyline had events that helped separate its ending from its beginning, but it never foreshadowed big events in any way, nor did it take advantage of the already passed events. The next set, Filly Butterfly, took it up a notch by introducing a legit foreshadowing element that eventually paid off.

But the term "story arc" is named after a curved shape for a reason - curved lines, if presented as functions, have non-constant differential value. In less mathematical terms, a story arc is a story arc when it feels like it is driven by something - a good story arc has a well defined beginning, a well defined ending, and well defined progress from one to another. And that is exactly what Filly Stars has on its side.

Filly toylines usually have magazines which in turn contain comic books. Those comic books tell a story, and if in the case of Witchy, for example, a lot of focus is on the worldbuilding, the leaked synopsis of Filly Stars comic books tells us that this time the focus is slightly shifted: it's still about the world, but almost every single story piece has an element of one bigger unified story, which spreads itself over the entire course of the comic books. There is at least one moment which techincally can be classified as a cliffhanger - this definitely never happened before in Filly.

5. Wrong Neighbourhood
The River of Moods from Filly Elves can be considered quite creepy (especially in the flash game), but only if you go as far as to make implications. Apart from that, Filly always had usually happy-go-lucky worlds in every toyline, where every corner of each world is welcoming, either due to Fillies being there, or due to beautiful nature. Although deep woods in Filly Witchy's Zimsala do offer danger, it's still to the side, in the background of the main residence of Witchys, and getting lost there is a fault of the person who dared to enter.

The Moonlight region from Filly Stars, however, is beyond that. Not only is it said to be separated from the main land in an accident, but it is also dark and full of shadows that are thicker and longer than anywhere else in Skylia. The very idea of freely entering the region is not welcomed among the Fillies. It is also home to the Moonlight family, which, if the subheader image is of any indication is indeed not green. The family is also considered a myth by some of other Star Fillies, and that, in conjuction with the overall shadyness, is one step away from being considered mythical harbringers of misfortune. The Moonlight region itself, and everything that is connected to it lorewise, is depicted to be, dare I say, purposely seemingly unfriendly, for the first time in Filly history.

6. Flying Higher Than Ever Before
While it is true that Filly toylines always changed things around slightly (otherwise the entire brand would be bland), they never acknowledged the existence of each other with extremely rare exceptions such as Ice expansions (which count as separate toylines for some reason) and Filly Wedding, which itself is nothing but characters from earlier toylines (but, still, new characters). The worlds interrupted each other to tell a completely new story roughly every year, and the story just happened to be similiar to previous stories in some ways.

Naturally, Filly Stars continues this holy tradition with full force.

Naah, just kidding. It disregards this rule entirely and throws it out of the window by having the previous set - Filly Butterfly - briefly appear at the very start of the story, using it as a transition from one toyline to another. Filly Stars story, technically, opens up with the characters from Filly Butterfly, and only then does it move on to the core of the set. This reminds me of the situation the Power Rangers franchise has been in for years, but in reverse: first seven seasons were mostly different to one another, but were still connected by season finales and premieres, and all seasons starting from the eighth one just abandoned previous ones in favor of the new stuff, which, plotwise, just happened to be similiar to previous stuff in some ways.

7. The Iron Curtain
A somewhat similiar point to the previous one, but this time it's on much bigger scale: Filly Stars doesn't just acknowledge the existence of Filly Butterfly - it acknowledges everything that has happened in the entire brand by finally reliably referencing the "Filly World". It's not the first set to do so, but it's the first set to do so significantly - a lot of character descriptions call it by name, and the ruler of the land is said to visit all other kingdoms (whether or not it includes Forest and Beach Party is debatable).

If it's not enough, Skylia itself serves as a regulator of everything that happens in the sky of the "Filly World": in addition to the aforementioned Star Boat, Skylia has a lighthouse that can be seen from virtually any point in the "Filly World". It seems that continuity is a hugely significant element of Filly Stars, and it has a good chance to remain a significant element in the future. As do the sky boats. I hope.

8. Nicht Definiert
The text in the subheader you see above is taken from the German version of Filly Stars website. Due to the way this website was created, it currently reads a backstory of Filly Butterfly - a blatant oversight that can be forgiven, since the website is still in the works, and I was not supposed to be able to read any of that.

But the interesting part about this is that the English version of the same website has a proper story. In other words, the English version is more developed than the German version, or any other version, frankly, which is bizarre, since Filly has its roots in a country that surely does not have English as a native language. Every other Filly toyline website had German as number one priority, but it's no longer the case now, it seems. The creators of this toyline seem to take globalization seriously in both cases - in the imaginary Filly world and in the real world as well. Incidentally, English Filly Witchy website still is not available. The website says that it has Filly Unicorn and Filly Butterfly in English, but in reality it has every single brand in English. Except Witchy. But that's a story for another time.

9. A Long Game
This is Zack. He is a character of Filly Stars. He is a character in Filly Funtasia. Zack, a character of a toyline that was announced in early 2015, appears in a show that was originally scheduled to air in early 2014.

I'll let you ruminate on that for a bit.