• Is Equestria Girls a Bad Thing for Pony?

    We now officially have a third Equestria Girls movie under our belt, and after two and a half years of melding oddly colored humans with candy colored equines, people are still wondering what kind of impact having this extra side-canon has on Friendship is Magic as a whole. Rumors and conspiracies are everywhere surrounding the rise of the Equestria Girl.

    Why does something so off-base to what brought us all here in the first place exist, and why is it seemingly so popular? Is the "High School Musical" alternate dimension version of what many of us consider to be a an incredibly well-created pony world a bad thing?

    Head on down below! Lets dig into it.

    Why is Equestria Girls a Thing?

    Back in 2013 when Twilight Sparkle sprouted wings, and the Equestria Girls news was starting to poke it's furless little head out from the woodwork, people were rightfully wary of the direction the show was going. Not only was out favorite unicorn booknerd becoming a princess, but ALL the ponies were being tossed into the most obvious "SELL MORE TOYS!" plan ever in the form of humanization and high school. The core reason why Friendship is Magic is so successful is because they kept the product placement to a minimum, avoiding the "toy commercial" vibe that earlier incarnations of My Little Pony suffered from. The brony fandom was understandably wary, and in some cases downright angry.

    We've heard endless rumors about "why" it exists outside of the obvious attack on the ridiculously successful Monster High line of dolls. What are some of the better ideas going along with that?

    A few important people have mentioned that part of it's spur to reality was due to the humanization in fan art that has been relatively common over the years. There is no doubt that Hasbro does, in fact, keep an eye on the brony fandom. They may not admit it often, but if you have seen the leaks over the years, they data mine us like it's the gold rush era and we are California. We've had entire packs of Doctor Whoof and Derpy resources materials come in, leaked from DHX, Hasbro, and Top Draw, as far back as 2013.Creating something that little girls will gobble up, while a portion of the "brony" fans might enjoy probably sounded like a good idea.

    Another less likely idea is that the team at DHX wanted to do something different and suggested it. After so many years of working with ponies, they wanted a break. We have seen them say that switching to humans for a bit was a breath of fresh air over in Twitterland, but chances are, this one wouldn't really be in the creative side's control. A project like Equestria Girls is something the higher ups at Hasbro would cook up.

    Regardless, it is now a thing, and probably will continue being a thing long into the future with how many are now on-board with it, which brings us to the next section...

    Is Equestria Girls actually Bad for Pony? 

    If you read the comments on anything at all regarding the movies, you are going to see a maelstrom of mixed opinions. One thing is for certain though, people are liking it. We ran a poll back in 2013 after the first movie, and 50% chimed in saying they enjoyed it. When the second movie rolled around, almost 80% at least liked it, and looked forward to the 3rd one that just released. Internet comments aren't always a good indication of how well received something is. EQD gets hundreds of thousands of visitors a day, yet major posts might get a fraction of a percentage in comments. Did people get scared away and "leave the fandom" over it? That's possible. Unfortunately it's hard to tell what exactly caused the drop after 2013, simply due to the fact that we had EG, Twilacorn, and the longest hiatus yet, all at the same time.

    EG Shines in one category in particular. It's hard for pony to find a new source of "growth" these days. Everyone that would be into something like this has probably at least heard about it by now. There was a period of time where you couldn't go 10 links on the internet without running into at least one pony avatar after all. What Equestria Girls does well, is draw in a crowd that may have ignored the show if it was simply a cartoon about ponies. The group out there collecting Monster High dolls or simply into High School Musical might give pony a shot after learning about Twilight and crew from watching the movies. It broadened the spectrum of potential fans.

    On the other hand, we have had mixed responses from show staff about how it effected actual Friendship is Magic content releases. The huge gaps in time between the last two seasons were probably partly due to Equestria Girls sapping up resources, and these gaps do hurt. When one doesn't have their constant pony fix, one finds entertainment elsewhere and may not have the same "obsession" driving them to keep ponying on if they come back. 

    Money Appeases the Hasbro Masters

    There is no doubt that the show has a much higher budget than it originally did, with a movie on the way in 2017 and all of this extra content to consume. Would that extra money have been better spent on simply expanding the already existing ponyland as opposed to a new, humanized side IP? Should we have gotten three mini TV movies starring equines as opposed to the land of perpetual high school?

    It really comes down to toys, and what makes Hasbro the most money. At the end of the day, they are the ones footing the bill for pony, and if they can't please the almighty investors with increased gains, they aren't going to be willing to funnel more cash into it. You can only sell so many variants on the mane 6 in horse form before people just stop buying them. Sure you have your die-hard collectors that need every possible variant on Twilight Sparkle's cutie mark placement or cheap plastic comb, but for most of us, and even little girls, our single Twilight from years ago is good enough.

    Could a lineup of an alternate mane 6 in another corner of ponyland been as successful for Hasbro's bottom line as breaking into the doll market? Would a perpetually drunk and jaded old Doctor Whoof teaming up with Derpy traveling the multiverse be a killer for an untapped segment of the potential adult market? Who knows! They went with the safe bet, focusing on the little girl market they already have all that doll-based research on, and it payed off.

    In the end, this means more pony for us, even if some of it goes to furthering Canterlot High and humans instead of a side series exploring Luna's school of Witchcraft and Wizardry back in Equestria. (I want that so bad)

    One thing is for sure...

    Keeping it Separate is Good

    Pony canon is important to most of us. We love this show, we love the world, we love the characters, and messing with that trifecta of fandom obsession is a dangerous game. With the third movie, it's pretty obvious that Hasbro got the hint that we want these things to be separate entities. As much as I'd love to see Sunset Shimmer return in pony form, her domination of Canterlot High is probably for the better.

    If you aren't a fan of Equestria Girls, and want absolutely nothing to do with it, we have a team that understands that.  If nothing else good comes out of the idea of humanized ponies to you, at least you have a sacrificial lamb to keep the merchandising hammer away from Equestria. Even if Flash Sentry does find time to hook up with humanland Twilight for the sake of selling more toys to love-crazed little girls, our precious equine version will still be safe. Applejack's pink trunk never became a thing, and the only major product placement we have been bombarded with is Twilight's balloon.

    In the End, We Pony On

    Will we see more Equestria Girls? Most likely. That presentation from earlier in the month listed a full on potential series, and Hasbro doesn't seem to be disappointed in the sales of the toys if the investor calls are any indication.

    At the end of the day, there are some arguable negatives to EG, but in the ever-changing climate of kids entertainment, I think the overall concept is a plus and helped grow a different segment that wouldn't otherwise exist. We missed out on our brony bucks going toward more actual equine stuff, but at the same time, humanizing the ponies broadened the audience and gave people that may have been burned out on ponies more to work with. If someone had perfect answers for exactly how the constantly fluctuating trends of our entertainment based society confused things, they would probably be too rich to care by now.

    If Hasbro's mane 6 universe keeps going, we will keep getting more, and while I would be all for taking Ishi and friends and plopping them over to an Equestria for some awesome new hooved MLP side series on Cartoon Network, Equestria Girls is a fun little distraction between seasons. It may not be exactly what we are all here for, but there is no doubt that they do a great job with the concept they have to work with.

    So, what do you all think? How would you take that money from Equestria Girls to expand the lineup and keep the "My Little Pony" concept as a whole growing?  Hit the comments up!