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01 November, 2016

Filling You In #4: Modern Toy Lines

Welcome to another entry in the toy line sub-series of the Fill(y)ing You In series! This article will touch on the three latest primary Filly toy lines: these lines came to be after Filly Funtasia was already announced, and after the creation of this very website. Judging by the rate of their appearance, in early 2017 there is going to be yet another new toy line, which will get its own separate article (or articles) - but for now, let us marvel at what currently are the remaining modern Filly toy lines.

Filly Butterfly (2014)
Filly Butterfly website image (one frame)
The next toy line came out in the dreaded year of 2014, also known as the first officially announced release year of Filly Funtasia. Interestingly enough, this toy line was not a tie-in to the TV show, but another self-sufficient part of the ongoing toy series: Filly Butterfly.

Filly Butterfly is quite similar to Filly Fairy in the way that the characters and the setting are inherently connected with nature and flora in particular: the Rainbow colors this time represent Heart, Flower, Sun, Leaf and Water - things you may see if you visit a garden. And the land of the Butterfly Fillys is quite similar to a garden - the beautiful land of Papilia, where everything is blooming and teeming with life. This toy line almost acts like a counterweight to Filly Witchy, with its outstanding daylight and pristine calm plains of greenery.

Contrary to a popular belief, the physical size of a Butterfly Filly is on par with a regular Filly from any other toy line: the butterflies may be small, but these Fillys are as bulky as any other Fillys. Butterfly Fillys look even bigger thanks to their huge sparkling wings which they use to fly in the sky. The size comparison is shown in one of the Filly Stars comic books.
Captain Cara and Princess Scarlet, photobombed by Nikita and Hermia
The slow buildup of magic throughout the last few Filly toy lines stopped shortly before this point in time. Butterfly Fillys do not possess any magic what so ever - all unusual phenomena are back in the hands of the world around the Fillys, and even then they are very subtle in this particular installment. That's not to say our characters don't have unusual abilities at all - in particular, the antennae on their heads allow them to communicate over great distances, similar to how a radio transmission works.

Filly Butterfly introduces the Buttefly Ship under the command of this toy line's Special Filly - Princess Scarlet. The Princess spends most of her time outside Papilia, which is very similar to how Special Fillys were handled in the old toy lines: Princess Crystal in Filly Princess and King Magic in Filly Fairy. Unlike these two, however, Filly Butterfly doesn't leave the explanation at a vague mention of "lands far away" - instead, Princess Scarlet is away visiting other lands of the Filly World.

Oh yes, Filly Butterfly establishes, for the first time in the primary toy lines, a solid base for the overworld known as the Filly World - and according to the stories, Papilia is a very small part of it to the south. It is not clear whether or not the past toy lines also belong to the Filly World. It's a completely fictional world, yet the first toy lines are clearly set on Earth. Personally, I think that the Filly World portion of the series started with Filly Unicorn, and since Filly Funtasia features characters from earlier lines, their setting might have been retroactively altered. If that is the case, it doesn't damage the overall continuity, since there barely is one.

Speaking of continuity…
Filly Stars (2015)
Filly Stars website image (one frame, reconstruction)
Filly Stars. Just Filly Stars.

Filly Stars embodies all the best features of the modern Filly toy lines. Filly Stars came out when Funtasia Daily was in full swing, and as the result, Filly Stars has its own article that delves into details and achievements of Filly Stars.

The edited version of the article is provided below.


What one may find out is that Filly Stars appears to be moderately different to what Filly was doing with previous toy lines, such as Butterfly, Witchy, Unicorn, Elves and others.
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 toy line 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 Skylia, the land of the Filly Stars, not only do we get two special Fillys (which has only been seen in Filly Witchy before), 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.
2. Hailing Frequencies Open
Filly Stars is the first Filly toy line 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 toy line did that on such scale.

Not to mention that the ship makes for a really good toy.
3. For The Plot
Filly has had a progressive story in its primary toy lines since Witchy. Witchy story line 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.

Filly toy lines 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 world building, almost every single story piece of Filly Stars has an element of one bigger unified story, which spreads itself over the entire course of the comic books. The story goes as far as to include cliffhangers at the end of some chapters of the story - this definitely never happened before in Filly.
4. 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 has usually had happy-go-lucky worlds in every toy line, 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 due to 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 Fillys. It is also home to the Moonlight family. The family is considered a myth by some of other Star Fillys, and that, in conjunction with the overall shadiness, is one step away from being considered mythical harbingers of misfortune. The Moonlight region itself, and everything that is connected to it lore-wise, is depicted to be, dare I say, purposely seemingly unfriendly.

Thankfully this is only the initial depiction of the Moonlight region and its family. Later on in the story it is revealed that they are quite friendly, but that's a story for another article.
5. Flying Higher Than Ever Before
While it is true that Filly toy lines always changed things around slightly, they never acknowledged the existence of each other, with extremely rare exceptions. The worlds interrupted each other to tell a completely new story roughly every year, and the story just happened to be similar to previous stories in some ways.

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

Nah, just kidding. It disregards this rule entirely by having the previous set - Filly Butterfly - briefly appear at the very start of the story, using it as a transition from one toy line to another. The story of Filly Stars opens up with the characters from Filly Butterfly, and only then does it move on to the core of the set.
6. A Long Game
This is Prince Zack. He is a character of Filly Stars. He is a character in Filly Funtasia. Zack, a character of a toy line 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.


While Filly Butterfly and Filly Stars are not Filly Funtasia tie-in toy lines, they are supposed to get their own animated specials, named respectively. The story of these specials allegedly will touch on a lot of elements from both toy lines and will help expand their lore in conjunction with Filly Funtasia.

Filly Royale (2016)
Filly Royale website image
Currently the most recent primary toy line in the series, Filly Royale celebrates the tenth anniversary of Filly by revisiting the "first" Filly toy line: Filly Princess.

The gimmick of Filly Royale is beauty: in the land of Royalia, a lot of attention of Fillys is paid to looking and behaving as neat as possible. This fits rather well in the reused gimmick of royalty, and is also reflected in the design of the toys: every Filly has a long brushable tail. Facilities of Royalia are also themed after beauty, with buildings like Royal Spa, Hair Salon and Jewelry Shop.

The colors of the Filly Rainbow are now linked to gemstones: Rose, Tanzanite, Topaz, Emerald and Sapphire. Like Filly Stars, this toy line slightly changes the composition of the rainbow, replacing Dark Pink with Purple. For the first time ever, the colors of the Rainbow are also represented by the crowns themselves in addition to the crystals.

What's interesting is that the symbols used for the colors are the same as the symbols used in Filly Unicorn - the earliest toy line that included the Rainbow. I bet if Princess had it, Royale would have used its symbols instead.

Why? Because Filly Royale is essentially a huge revisiting of Filly Princess - the fundamental toy line that jump-started the Fillys as we know them today. The majority of the Filly Royale characters have the same names as the ones in Filly Princess, and while most of them sport a different look, some are still very close to how they used to look all the way back in Princess. Even the geography of Royalia is somewhat similar to that of the Filly Kingdom.
The Filly Kingdom, Filly Princess
Royalia, Filly Royale
Given the unusual place of Filly Princess in the current canon, Filly Royale almost feels like a replacement, especially considering that it hosts one of the Filly Funtasia main characters: Prince Cedric.
He still often practice sword-fighting!
Whether the Cedric we see in Filly Funtasia is the Cedric we see in Royale, or the Cedric we see in Princess is unknown. Though, looking at how Royale changes a lot of things about the characters except their names, Cedric (and not him alone!) looks awfully well-preserved here: same description, same colors, same crown… Is this the true Cedric now?
The three princes

And that's where we currently are: ten years of Filly, and still going! Throughout these three articles, we looked at the primary Filly toy lines. However, this is not even close to covering everything the Filly brand has (and had) to offer. These are merely consecutive toy lines, yet there are also annual toy lines and even expansions to the lines described in these articles. Now when the evolution of the brand is clear, the next article will touch on the specific branches, such as the certain water-related lines.