While some may say My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has many of the negative trappings of princess culture, it’s almost subversive in the way it differs. It’s about female friendship, the characters are also smart and physically active, often engaging in action based character led plots.
This set of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic bedding and curtain will be adored by any young fan of the hit toy line and cartoon.
One thing about fandom, whether it’s sports, movies, or toy ponies, is that you like to wear your fandom with pride. That includes in your own room.
The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic TV show has become a firm favourite in our household – mostly with our daughter, but I’ve been pretty taken with it too. It’s the perfect mainstream antidote to divert girls from damaging princess stereotypes.
Character World sent us these exclusive items for my daughter’s bedroom. The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Bedding features 3 of the 6 central characters – Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, and Fluttershy. For some reason, these seem to be the most common ponies you find on merchandise (and for some reason, Apple Jack appears to be the most frequently excluded. Let’s get #WheresAppleJack trending on Twitter).
Luckily, Twilight Sparkle is my daughter’s favourite character. Less relevant, but I’ll tell you anyway – Rainbow Dash is my favourite. My daughter has much more solid reasons – she likes Twilight’s love of books & study, that she’s wise, and people look to her for leadership. On the other hand, I simply think Rainbow Dash looks cool.
Anyway, the duvet is reversible, and thankfully so. One side is VERY pink, and we both agreed this is very un-MLP like. However, the other side is fine, featuring the 3 ponies, a rainbow bridge, and the kingdom’s castle Canterlot (see what they did there?).
The pillow is from the same fabric design as the pink side of the duvet, but combined with the reverse of the duvet, that’s ok.
Some may not like the fabric of this My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic bedding. It’s not cotton, but breathable polyester microfibre. While obviously not as nice as cotton, I don’t mind and neither does our daughter – but my wife is only 100% cotton will do when it comes to bedding, so this was a big cross against it for her.
I can’t really say much about the curtains I’m afraid, as we have blinds in our house. They are unlined, which in my experience lets in more light than wanted, and are made from the same pinktastic fabric and pattern of the bedding of which we were not fans – but I’m sure a pink loving MLP fan would love them hanging in their room.
As it is, our daughter is rather taken with her new duvet.
These items are exclusive to Argos in the UK. We received them free of charge for the purposes of this review.
After finally taking the plunge and watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic with my daughter, it remains a staple in our household. More often than not, it’s the answer to my question to our daughter “What do you feel like watching?”.
Visually, Pinkie Pie was probably my least favourite Pony. One of the six friends who make up the core group of the show, she is just so… pink!
But the thing is, her character is far from stereotypically girly. While she loves all things party related, she is also something that female characters are rarely allowed to be – funny.
More than that, she’s goofy, silly, whacky… Her character is the source of much physical humour, and she is rightly adored by many children – and not just because she’s pink, but because she makes them laugh.
This set is from the bakery and sweet shop where her character works. As well as Pinkie Pie, this also has another pony called Cheese Sandwich (!) and various accessories such as plastic cakes and balloons.
Included are items specifically for Pinkie Pie to be the loon we love – a ball to balance on, a propeller hat, a fake moustache, and even a rubber chicken. She also has her pet gator Gummy.
As a toy, it doesn’t really do anything. Other than some doors opening, there are no moving parts. Even the figures are just figurines, with no articulation. I can’t imagine someone who hasn’t seen the show thinking much of it.
However, as a tool for imaginative play for children who do know the show, this works fine. I’m glad that the Pinkie Pie figure here is depicted as lovably goofy as her onscreen persona – I have noticed that many MLP toys do not reflect the tone of the vibrant tone of the show.
Pinkie Pie is a character who wants to make people happy, and this set certainly made my daughter happy.
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Sugarcube Corner has an RRP of £19.99.
Disclosure: We received this product free of charge for the purposes of this review.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has become a popular show in our house. My daughter loves watching it, and I was happily surprised at what an empowering show for girls it is.
While in many superficial ways it seem to embody some of the worst aspects of a brand targeted to girls, the TV series is a wonderfully vibrant and feminist show.
The world of Equestria – and especially the characters – offer such a rich resources for Imaginative play, that these toys – despite again appearing stereotypically girly – enable a child to act out themes and scenarios inspired by the show.
We were sent an assortment of toys to review – a blind bag, Twilight Sparkle’s Ice Cream Stand, and a Mrs Dazzle Cake figure and accessories.
Twilight Sparkle’s Ice Cream Stand
With her love of books and knowledge, Twilight Sparkle is one of my favourite characters on the show.
However, instead of a library here she is running an Ice Cream stand. Not sure of the relevance to the character, but hey – most of us like a good ice cream. In the set you get a Twilight figure, the ice cream stand, and a couple of what seem to be ice cream cakes.
It’s simple, and the best thing about it is that it’s Twilight Sparkle.
Twilight Sparkle’s Ice Cream Stand has an RRP of £9.99
Mrs Dazzle Cake
I was confused about who Mrs Dazzle Cake was, until I realised she is the character Mrs. Cup Cake. With her husband Mr. Carrot Cake, she runs Ponyville’s Sugarcane Corner bakery and sweet shop.
This set comes with a hint of that shop – a counter, cupcakes in a baking tray, and a fully decorated cake, to accompany Mrs. ‘Dazzle’ Cake. It’s part of a collection related to the pony Pinkie Pie, who works for Mrs. Cake.
There’s not much to this, but it’s a perfectly fine addition to any existing collection.
Mrs. Dazzle Cake has an RRP of £4.99
My Little Pony Blind Bags
Be careful. These blind bags are a potential money pit.
For those who don’t know, the concept is you can buy a series of collectable toys individually. However, instead of being able to choose which toy of the set you buy, your purchase is ‘blind’, in a sealed packet until you open it after purchase.
So while a collector may want just a few of these, you have to keep buying them blind until you get the ones you want. Same if you want the whole set. You may end up spending a lot of cash doing this.
Of course, there are also trades to be made – something that is a lot easier in this digital age than swapping Star Wars cards in the playground as I did when I was a kid.
The figure is compatible with the other figures, so again they make a decent addition to a collection.
My Little Pony blind bags have an RRP of £1.99 each.
Disclosure: We received all these toys from Hasbro for the purposes of this review.
We were mistakenly sent this My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Minis Pinkie Pie Slumber Party Bedroom Set.
We have recently discovered the awesomeness of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic(FiM). I was keen to check out some of the toys and we were supposed to be reviewing one with the FiM version of Pinkie Pie – however we received this one instead.
We hadn’t watched the Equestria Girls spin-off yet – and to be honest, I wasn’t keen to. The concept transforms the familiar FiM pony characters into girls at High School, and seems similar to many other tween properties – including issues surrounding the sexualisation of young girls.
But despite communicating my lack of enthusiasm, they were still keen for us to review the toy. Before we did I thought we should at least check out the tie-in cartoon, which – like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – is available on Netflix.
My Little Pony: Equestria Girls review
The My Little Pony: Equestria Girls cartoon is currently a series of feature length TV movies. A direct spin-off from Friendship is Magic, the set-up involves Twilight Sparkle and Spike heading through a mirror portal to another world, to retrieve her stolen crown – or else the elements of harmony that protect Equestria will no longer do so. This will either sound crazy or as expected depending of how much FiM you have watched.
This ‘other world’ is much like ours, with human-like characters and a high school setting. Twilight Sparkle and Spike respectively transform into human and dog versions of themselves and undertake a mission to find the crown. The thief is masquerading as a girl at a local high school, and human Twilight finds it populated with some familiar faces from Equestria – only now they’re human.
This first film (of three) is made and voiced by the same team as Friendship is Magic – and many of the things I love about that show are present: the focus on female friendships; the magic and adventure theme; the individual characters.
But by almost literally humanising the characters, something special has been lost. While fairly true to their pony versions, they now have real-world high school interests. This concept limits the characters, so for instance instead of the colourfully adventurous speed freak Rainbow Dash (our favourite), she becomes simply a sporty type instead.
But most troubling, the look of the characters – while being on the surface coyly cute – seems deliberately sexualised. All the girls have the same combo of short skirts, long bare legs, and tight fitting tops. The relative conformity of their look reminds me of the peer pressure to dress a certain way – which increasingly for young girls can involve a move towards sexualisation and objectification, whether they realise it or not.
As well as what they wear, the plots also include boys, parties, and music. The trappings of modern Tween mass media overwhelm much of what makes Friendship is Magic such a great show for kids. I also can’t help but think that the rise of the Brony – the young males who are enthusiastic MLP fans – has in some way influenced this sexualised schoolgirl look.
It’s fair to say the enthusiasm I had for Friendship is Magic has not been replicated towards Equestria Girls.
So, on to the toy….
My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Minis – Pinkie Pie Slumber Party Bedroom Set
The toys are of course the real reason this spin-off line exists. This set is one of the Equestria Girls Minis – as their name suggests, they are smaller than the standard sized dolls. The sexualised look is not quite as obvious in these smaller versions.
If your kid (or you) is a fan of the Equestria Girls series, and especially the teenage girl version of Pinkie Pie, then this is a fine set to get.
It features a posable figure of Pinkie Pie, the high school party planner. As befits the slumber party scene, she is dressed in PJ’s with slippers. The playset features numerous essential slumber party accessories such as a bed, a laptop, and smartphone…
Who are My Little Pony: Equestria Girls for?
Other than my suspicion of appealing to the Brony market, perhaps this spin-off does serve another purpose?
Obviously, it’s an attempt to sell more My Little Pony toys, probably to an older market. But I can also see it as a way of continuing engagement with the themes and ideals of Friendship is Magic when children get older, and the focus of their lives changes from childhood fantasy to pre-teen high school reality.
So as the trappings of impending teenage life – such as how they dress, forming intimate relationships, and navigating the school hierarchy & cliques – takes over, it could continue to encourage and reinforce the positive messages of Friendship is Magic.
But for now Equestria Girls is not something I will encourage my pre-school daughter to engage with, whether onscreen or through play. We’ll happily stick to life in Equestria and the residents of Ponyville.
We received this toy free of charge (and in error). After watching the cartoon, I decided not to give it to my daughter for the purposes of this review.
I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam program. Our household receives free Netflix for a year and I post about how our family uses the service.