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24 March, 2015

Filly Princess Overview

"These are Swarovski... these are your future."

The Filly brand is evolving constantly, swaying in the most unexpected directions once in a while. The current brand is rich with different and unique settings and characters who remained for the most part separated until the recent (and upcoming) events. But the world of Filly as it is known today still has its beginning, and like most beginnings of natural processes, it's more down to earth when compared to stuff that happened after it.

Filly Princess takes place in the Filly Kingdom - it is said to be located in the middle of ocean, as an island. Stories from Filly Princess contain locations such as Britain, Netherlands and Wild West, implying that the island is on a planet very similar to ours, if not identical. This was most likely done in order to make Filly Princess accessible by children, since understanding a location within an already existing world is much easier than understanding a whole new world with its own rules.

This also fits well with the concept of now discontinued Filly Forest and Filly Beach Party that preceded Filly Princess and were about horses themselves - there wasn't any world of their own, the characters just were there, in their cute forms, in an environment very reminiscent of locations such as Europe, where the brand originates from.

One of the points of the early toylines, namely Forest, Beach Party and Princess, appears to be not the creation of a separate charming world, but the enhancement of our world - these toylines want you to believe that all of these characters and their stories can really exist somewhere you can one day travel yourself. In the case of Filly Forest is it even justified, since all of its characters are different breed of horses that really exist around the world.

On the other hand, stories that are described in Filly Princess imply that the world itself is inhabited by Filly characters instead of humans. This, among other ideas, is probably designed this way to promote your ability to play with the toys, since you can project anything that actually happens in the world around you onto these characters, in addition to things pointed out by the brand itself. The question of validness is automatically lifted, since "would a Filly do something I would do?" is instantly answered with "yes, because they already do".

Filly Princess is the first toyline that features crowns for every named character. This trend is continued in every toyline afterwards, but Filly Princess is the only line that revolves around the crowns - it is a gimmick of the series as a whole, but it is also a gimmick of this one toyline, where it gets much more focus.

The reason why the crowns were introduced is probably to play on the concept of regality, which historically came with a life infinitely better than that of those who weren't among the royals. The characters of Filly Princess live in large colourful feature-complete castles, not knowing food shortages or natural disasters (for the most part). Every member of the royal family (and yes, they all are a big, four generations wide family) has a royal title, and these titles vary greatly - it's not just Princess This and Princess That. The land is ruled by Princesses, Duchesses, Baronesses, Princes, Kings, and even Queens, as well as more exotic titles such as Sultan and more tame ones such as Sir or Knight. Of course, having a land filled only by royalty would be redundant, and this is why a lot of Fillys are surrounded with dozens of servants.

The servants are there to create a frame of reference - to further emphasize the regality and power of the crowned characters. The servants are described to be happy with their lives, too, since their rulers are generally kind, pay close attention to their needs and make sure the kingdom is maintained. This is all done probably to ease the association function of the toyline - since the general public of Filly Princess, in its own terms, is closer to being the servants rather than the royals, you have to see that they are kept in nigh-equally good condition too, making the world much more cozy and, by extension, approachable.

And unlike the future toylines, but like the past toylines, Filly Princess contains almost no magic. Every character save one has the same physical capability as an ordinary human. This, again, helps the characters be sympathetic - it subtly tells its audience that it can be as similar to its favourite characters as possible, and vice versa.

The only character who possesses magic is Princess Crystal - she is described as a beautiful guest from an unknown faraway land. A lot of design decisions around Crystal dictate the otherworldliness of the Princess. Nobody in the kingdom knows who she really is and where she comes from, what the reason of her visits is, how exactly she does magic, and even what magic she is even capable of doing - none of these questions are answered, since the princess smiles and disappears before her visit lasts too long. Princess Crystal is the manifestation of wonder and miracle in the Filly Kingdom - something that willfully enters the residents' lives and grants them marvelous, helpful, irreplaceable things and spectacle, all on her own, before disappearing again with no trace.

Filly Princess is a unique toyline in terms of what it was designed for. Toylines that came after it have been focused on building a rich world full of beautiful and magical things. But Filly Princess went another way - it created a world designed to compliment the world of our own, to make lives of those who would acquaint themselves with the toyline simply brighter. This is not mysticism and discovery as much as it is morale boost. Its similarity shows how beautiful our own world could be if the pieces were to fall into the right places. This, as a whole, makes Filly Princess one of the most welcoming toylines of the franchise to date.

Long live the queen.