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04 November, 2016

Filling You In #5: Spin-off Toy Lines & Expansions

This is the last installment in the Filly toy line sub-series of the "Fill(y)ing You In" article series. Throughout the last three entries, we looked at the primary toy lines of Filly, which have defined what the brand represents. Today, we will discuss special branches of Filly that are sprinkled over the years of its existence.

The Filly Ice Series
Filly Ice Fairy website image (reconstruction)
Filly Ice Unicorn website image
Filly Ice Elves website image
In the time period from Filly Fairy to Filly Witchy, the primary toy lines spawned a row of ice-themed spin-offs, commonly known as Filly Ice. These lines are presented as expansion packs to the original toy lines and introduce new characters, who live in previously concealed parts of the original lines' settings, be it a hidden frozen valley beyond Emocia, or the seventh island of Crystalia which can be visited on rare occasions when a rare Ice Rainbow appears as a bridge there.

The theme of each Ice line is, well, ice - more specifically, ice skating. Each Ice Filly has a pair of ice skates, which they use to graciously dance on enchanted ice. Whether these skates are a part of Ice Fillys' bodies is unknown. The festive nature of Filly Ice is inherently linked with the winter holidays, which the spin-offs usually accompany.

The characters of Filly Ice Unicorn appear to be comparable to the Special Filly(s) of the original lines: their statistics, while not measuring the same thing as for the regular Unicorns (The Ice Unicorns' stats measure Skill, Speed and Artistic, instead of Speed, Intelligence and Beauty), are still above the ordinary Fillys. The special nature of the Ice Fillys is at its most obvious in the case of Filly Witchy, where each Ice Filly gets their Witchy hat - something that only Abra and Cadabra (the Special Fillys of Filly Witchy) used to have.
Every Filly gets a hat!

Her name is Spanish for "snow"!
The Filly Rainbow is still present in the Ice series (except for Ice Fairy, because Filly Fairy did not have the Filly Rainbow), and it is evenly distributed among the characters. The meaning of its colors is the same as it is in the respective original toy line. However, some Ice series bring with them a new color: Purple, foreshadowing a trend that would replace the Ice series.

The Filly Silver Series
Another spinoff to the main Filly series that began during Filly Fairy just like the Filly Ice Series is the Filly Silver series. From Fairy until Witchy, the Silver Series was the second spinoff for each of the main series, which would be released after the Ice series. There are also Silver editions of the Butterfly and Stars toylines, which lack Ice editions. Unlike the Ice editions, the Silver editions feature the same characters as the standard toylines - but parts of the Fillys have been turned silvery.

The crown always becomes silvery, but sometimes other parts of the Filly are turned silvery as well, this has applied to horns, the Witchy capes, the Elves leg rings and necklaces, parts of the Butterfly wings, etc. There's also usually a special silver-themed edition of the Filly Magazine accompanying the release of a Silver Edition. The Filly Silver editions do not add any lore to the Filly universe but are simply alternative forms of the characters to occupy and beautify a shelf, for one of the fundamental principles of Filly has been, ever since its beginning, as a collectible figurine.

The Mystery Families
What is that behind the Butterfly ship?
The Mystery Families is another kind of toy line expansion. It first appeared in Filly Witchy, and since then has appeared in every primary toy line, except for Filly Royale.

Unlike Filly Ice, Mystery expansions integrate themselves into the toy lines: they become a fully fledged part of them instead of acting as a separate addition. This is clearly reflected in the story lines, where by the end of the year, the Special Filly does something that leads to the Mystery family appearing and being welcomed by the Fillys of the original toy line. The levels of foreshadowing of the Mystery Family vary from toy line to toy line: Witchy Mystery family appears out of nowhere when Abra and Cadabra cast a spell to summon them for a celebration of the 13th hour. Butterfly Mystery family gets a bit of foreshadowing in the form of a hidden tower silhouette on the map of Papilia, and are discovered once Scarlet sails her ship towards it. Filly Stars is a special case, where the Mystery family and their leader were actively hinted at throughout the entire story line.

The primary color of Mystery families is Purple in every toy line they appear in, but the color is never given any meaning in terms of the Filly Rainbow - not surprising, considering the Filly Rainbow traditionally does not contain Purple in it.

The Mystery Fillys may seem to be very alien at first, but in reality they are quite friendly, with a few notable exceptions such as Frida from Filly Witchy. Their magical abilities do not differ much from the Fillys of the original toy lines in terms of power, even though the Mystery Fillys are still presented on par with the Special ones.

The Mystery families have a lot in common with the Ice series, and it's fairly likely that one is supposed to be the replacement for the other. Filly Witchy is the only toy line lucky enough to have both kinds of expansion, and it may be the biggest Filly toy line so far. Though there is a competition!

Filly Mermaids (2012+)
Filly Mermaids website image (2012)
Filly Mermaids is one of the most unique Filly toy lines out there, and it might have been considered one of the primary toy lines, if it wasn't for its unusual position in the series: Filly Mermaids is an annual toy line, with a new edition coming out every year, much akin to the Filly brand as a whole! 

The most obvious trait of Filly Mermaids is their fish tails, which they use to travel in the endless oceans of the Filly world. The oceans themselves are actually separated into different kindoms: the two key ones being Aquatica and Coralia. Each kingdom has its own Special Filly, and sometimes not even one, as the new editions of the toy line keep coming out. Like the primary toy lines, Filly Mermaids are touched by the Filly Rainbow - each Filly's alignment is represented much like it is in Filly Elves, but the Rainbow also manifests itself in hooves and tails of the Mermaids.

Excluding the discontinued pre-Princess Fillys, Filly Mermaids is the only Filly kind that so far has not appeared in Filly Funtasia in any form. Although teased by BRB Internacional early on in production, the scale tail signers and dancers are yet to make any appearance outside their own toy line. Which, coincidentally, includes the next special toy line.

Filly Wedding (2014)
Filly Wedding website image (one frame)
The Filly toy lines have had romance between characters for years, and it eventually span out into its own separate line: Filly Wedding.

Filly Wedding is quite a small toy line: it features no Special Fillys, no new Filly kinds and no new locations. Instead, it introduces five couples, one per each of the previous primary toy lines. You've got pairs from Filly Princess, Filly Fairy, Filly Unicorn, Filly Elves and Filly Witchy, all gathered in one place in preparations for likely the biggest event in their lives. The Filly Rainbow is still here, and each pair gets their own color: Yellow, Green, Dark Pink, Pink and Blue respectively. Additionally, the names of Fillys within each pair start with the same letter, which only solidifies the bond between the lovers. There have been no expansions to Filly Wedding. Actually, as pointed out by HareTrinity in the comments, there has been an expansion called "Filly Dream Wedding" which added six new couples - two Butterfly couples and one each of Elves, Fairy, Unicorn and Witchy. It takes place in the tropical location of Romancia as opposed to the wintery setting of the original Filly Wedding.
They're so close together that they even share the description page
It should be noted that Filly Wedding takes place during winter: much like the Ice and, to an extent, Mystery expansions. Combined with the celebratory essence of the toy line, this makes Filly Wedding look like an expansion for the Filly brand as a whole - and that explains its nominal size, which is comparable to those of Ice and Mystery expansions.

Miscellaneous Specials
In addition to primary toy lines, their expansions and spin-off toy lines, the Filly brand features miscellaneous rare Fillys - unattached to any of the primary toy lines, these characters are very hard to find and are visually different to the ordinary Fillys. They have uncommon magical artifacts in their possession, the rules of the Filly Rainbow don't quite apply to them even if they should, and their overall properties suggest they are quite special Fillys.

One of the more notable ones is the angel Rafael, who was featured in a 2012 Filly Regenbogen magazine, as well as in the 2013 Filly Sammelband where he was identified as belonging to the Filly Fairy despite having golden feathery wings instead of the typical flat Fairy wings.

There are a few other Angel appearances in Filly - like this one from the Filly Advent Calendars:
Before the release of Filly Stars, it was assumed that Zack would perhaps be connected to Angels since they were among the very few known Filly characters from the toylines that also had feathery wings. Articles on this very site speculated that Zack would be connected to the Angels. Alas, it was not to be - Zack wasn't connected to these obscure Fillys but to a future unreleased toyline.

There are other Fillys which are mostly known from the Sammelbands, magazine mentions or specific toys which seem to exist mostly as rare Fillys for the collectors and seemingly do not have much relevance to the wider world of Filly and its ongoing storyline.

That is not to say that vast and magical worlds isn't another fundamental principle of Filly, which, I hope, has been showcased in this sub-series of the Fill(y)ing You In series. This article concludes the rundown of the Filly toy lines, from Filly Forest all the way to Filly Royale. Filly Funtasia may have been delayed through the years, but thankfully the Filly toy lines are still coming out regularly. What awaits Filly in the future? What do you think the next Filly toy line will be? Let your imagination soar in the comment section below this article, on the Fillychan imageboard, in your internet blogs, galleries, on your paper and, of course, in your mind, for the Filly will return in 2017! (We do have our own hypothesis for what the next one might be - but that will be the subject of another article!)

Additional information added by Skundi.