Saturday, December 22, 2012

MLP Evolution: Fluttershy

Something I have pondered in the past and am finally getting around to digging deeper into is My Little Pony toy and character development.  Now is as good a time as any and here is my first installment.


Now I say both toy development and character development for a reason.  The 80's TV show and the current TV show are very different with virtually no true character duplications (for a reason), but there are loads of fun facts for adult fans involving the similarities of the two and references back the 80's show.  My original purpose in writing these blogs was a look into where the toy developed from, not the characters.  It seems for some ponies I may be dabbling in both.

So lets get rolling with pony number one:

Huh? I wasn't yellow?
Fluttershy

I didn't pick Fluttershy first because she is my favorite.  I picked her because figuring out how she evolved was the most interesting to me.

My Little Pony is in their 4th generation of toys meaning it's the 4th time they have revamped the brand.  Generally this involves a complete reworking of the toy.  Often Hasbro keeps characters but modifies them, sometimes drastically.

The first apperance of a pony named Fluttershy was in 2003.  This was during the 3 generation.  She only appeared briefly.  She was a purple pony with a pastel rainbow mane/tail and a butterfly cutie mark.  Quite different from today's Fluttershy.
Image courtesy of StrawberryReef.com

Image courtesy of StrawberryReef.com
So how did we go from a purple body and a rainbow mane/tail to a yellow body and pink mane/tail?  Pretty big change.

I started looking through the generation 1 and generation 2 ponies.  Initially I found Sky Shimmer a G2 earth pony that has a color and cutie mark design almost identical to Fluttershy.
G2 designs were not my favorite.

She looks a bit like today's Fluttershy.
When I dug back deeper into generation 1, I stumbled upon Rosedust a Flutter Pony.  You know, the ones with the wings that shattered when you touched them?
Similar to Fluttershy
Image courtesy of StrawberryReef.com
It wasn't until I looked at world variants that I realized exactly where she came from.  During generation 1 (and I am pretty sure this still happens, hello blind bags), Hasbro's releases were not standardized throughout the world and often within the same country a specific pony would have drastic color variations.  They were also made of different plastics because they were made in different parts of the world.  Some plastics were harder and less pliable, others were softer and more flexible.  The first country I happened to look at during my bulk research for many ponies happened to be Argentina.  I started with the A's and I saw this pony.
Image courtesy of StrawberryReef.com
Now THAT looks like Fluttershy to me, only with brighter/deeper hair.  The description says she has red hair.  Who is this pony?  Flutterbye.  Below are two more Argentinian variations.
Here you can see where Hasbro started changing her to an earth pony and her coloration.
This pony is listed as a G1 Flutterbye even though she is completely different.
Image courtesy of StrawberryReef.com

The same variation but with green hair.
Image courtesy of StrawberryReef.com
 So what did the original Flutterbye look like?
Image courtesy of StrawberryReef.com
There she is in all her glory.  The original 1984 Flutterbye that evolved into Fluttershy.  Her body color changed from orange to yellow to purple and back to yellow.  Her hair changed from rainbow to pink to pastel rainbow back to pink.  She was a pegasus and then an earth pony and then a pegasus again.  To be fair during G2 and G3 there were very few unicorns or pegasus'.  I am unaware of the reasoning.  They did start introducing both towards the end of the G3 run.

Oh and there were the wonderfully whacky designs of the generation 3.5 that had the small body and balloon head .  Fluttershy was brief in the G3 design but she did not escape the 3.5 mold.  Thankfully this is just the Ponyville version.  Wait until you see a real 3.5 mold and it will be appearing in the future with different ponies.
Why Hasbro?  Why?
Image courtesy of Horsma.org

Here is where I start getting into the TV show and fun fan facts.  So Fluttershy's change from G3 to G4 was mostly due to the TV show and not typical toy design.

In My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Fluttershy's original concept design was that of Posey.  Mind blown, I know.  She was an earth pony, but I think we can all agree she is much better as a pegasus.  All of the mane six on the show are based on main characters from the 80's show.  Why?  This is because Lauren Faust is a child of the 80's and a fan of the original show.

So Fluttershy is actually Posey.  Now take a look at G1 Posey.
She certainly looks like Fluttershy.

Sounds like Fluttershy
To make things better, via the wonderful internet Lauren shared character design sketches where you can clearly see Fluttershy as an earth pony.
Image courtesy of Lauren Faust

And look, her initial design as Posey (notice the flowers not butterflies) included Angel.
Image courtesy of Lauren Faust
There you have it.  Fluttershy has certainly evolved over the years into the character we know today.  I wouldn't be surprised if Flutterbye or Posey makes a cameo appearance on the show as Fluttershy's mother.  I think Flutterbye would make more sense, but you never know.

Now which character to talk about next?  I found quite a few.  No Clydesdale's yet, but I am not exactly finished looking.

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