This week has been a rough week for me – it kicked off a cycle of toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals. In the last cycle Adventure Time toys were the clear winner, but I am suddenly at a loss as I sit in the drive-thru line as to what kind of Happy Meal I should purchase: boy or girl?
Throwing fandom out the window makes this a difficult decision, so in my traditional fashion, let’s break down the pros and cons of ponies and monsters.
Who Would Win in a Fight?
This is not an easy question. If you have ever watched My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic then you know that Twilight Sparkle and Co. are quite adept at both going on the offensive, and digging themselves out of rough situations. That said, Skylanders are made to fight. Their entire purpose is to secure the realm from evil – plus half of these guys are armed.
Could the Ponies successfully defend themselves against the Skylanders? Yes, they could probably save their land from an outright attack. Would the Ponies use physical force to win? Probably not. In a “fair” one-on-one fight, I regretfully think that the Skylanders would win. Most of them have offensive weapons, and Eruptor is freaking made out of lava. LAVA.
So, in this instance I’m going to have to give the win to Skylanders Swap Force figures. While My Little Pony will always win in my heart, I do think that Skylanders could serve them a beat-down.
Who Has the Best Personality?
This should be extremely clear to you considering this post. I love Skylanders, I really do, but they lack a narrative that makes me want to love them. I think they’re adorable, and if I were a child I would play with them for hours and concoct a needlessly complicated origin story for each of them, but I’m 27 years old and I just don’t have time for that anymore.
Except for SonicBoom. He’s a griffin from a land where griffin’s are the sole monarchs. Sonic Boom is actually second in line to the Griffin throne, but he accidentally got swept up in a tornado Dorothy style and landed in my house in Oklahoma through the chimney.
ANYWAY. I’m not very familiar with the majority of the Skylanders Swap Force characters, so I haven’t had time to create stories for them yet. All the My Little Pony toys already have a story built in if you’ve seen an episode or two of the show. Twilight Spark is a nerd, Pinky Pie is a ditz, Fluttershy is a nervous hippy, and Rainbow Dash is a thrill-seeking tomboy. And they’re all much more than that.
Warning: this video is *slightly* explicit.
When people can make multiple full-length music videos using My Little Pony characters, I think that says a lot for pony personalities. Maybe if Activision were to make a Skylanders cartoon the Skylanders Swap Force kids might have a chance. But they don’t, so the ponies score this point.
Which Toys are Likely to Sell More?
So for this last category (which took me awhile to think of) we’ll let fandom enter the equation. First off, let’s look at the Skylanders accomplishments.
Skylanders Giants was one of the highest grossing games of 2013. As of July 31, 2013 it was the best-selling console and hand-held game in terms of dollars. Activision has already made 1.5 billion dollars and counting on the Skylanders game, making this an enormous and lucrative franchise. There have been three Skylanders Games, Skylanders: Spyros Adventure, Skylanders Giants, and Skylanders Swap Force each new game coming with new figures.
While the franchise has been monetarily successful, I don’t often hear much about Skylanders in terms of Fandom. Sure, there is Skylanders cosplay, but there is cosplay of everything imaginable. That said, when I searched for Skylanders on deviantART I got over 20,000 search results. Apparently people other than me enjoy thinking about the life Skylanders lead in their down-time.I even discovered over 100 Skylanders fan-fiction stories. I’m hoping at this point that all of them are PG. I can’t erase some of the images in that some Jurassic Park fanfiction scorched into my brain.
All of that to say that there is a larger Skylander’s fan following online than I realized.
Despite the fact that Skylander’s actually does have fans (surprise surprise) there is no way that it has more fans than My Little Pony. Bronies (adult male pony lovers) are a strong force to be reckoned with, and that’s before you add in all of the show’s target demographic: young girls.
Does Skylanders have a Wikipedia page about its fandom? Of course not. But My Little Pony does. There are also two documentaries, and more pony pictures on Tumblr than I’d like to count. All of that in addition to the TV Show, Comic Book Series, and Pony Plushies, figurines, and other merchandise.
Let’s face it, My Little Pony fans could theoretically take down almost any other fandom in the world – that’s how prevalent they are. Which is why the My Little Pony Happy Meal will sell more than the Skylanders Swap Force Happy meal.
Will I ever be able to get the numbers to prove it? Probably not. I might actually have to talk to McDonalds to get those, and they’re unlikely to share data with a random blogger (even though I have a Master’s degree in Popular Culture).
Let’s face it, the ponies will be able to attract a much larger demographic than the Skylanders.
Happy Meal toys are broken down into “girl” toys and “boy toys”. Considering the fandom of My Little Pony tends to generate interest from both sexes while the Skylanders Swap Force figures seem to be geared more towards boys (There are cute Skylanders characters, just not in these happy meals), My Little Pony wins.
Here’s my prize: