The following scan of a page from Kidscreen magazine, distributed during this year's Toy Fair, has been circulating the internet, and recently caught the attention of Equestria Daily.
The scan shows a My Little Pony article that hints at a spin-off series, Equestria Girls, starring the main characters as humans, set to be released this spring.
For those who can't read the print, this is the relevant portion of the article:
With series three hitting this year, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic will also reach the critical 65 x half-hour mark. Arnesen calls My Little Pony a "top-priority" brand, so expect the series to continue to explore new themes and storylines until Twilight Sparkle retires to her paddock. A new companion series called Equestria Girls is set to air this spring, sending the pony heroes on a mission to a new world where they take on human form.Prior to the magazine scan, this allegedly leaked image of the main ponies as human girls has also made the rounds on the web:
Bear in mind that this is all still speculation, and no other evidence exists to confirm that this is all real.
Furthermore, show writers M.A. Larson and Meghan McCarthy have both posted tweets revealing they have no information about the spin-off. This could mean one of three things: the spin-off is a hoax, the two are not involved with it, or if they are, they are keeping it confidential.
If the series is real, judging from what little information we know about it, I can confirm my opinion on it:
It's going to suuuuuuuck!
I have no problem with portraying our favorite ponies as human beings, as my human fan art collections show. But at least in that regard, it's nothing more than fan speculation that has zero chance of ever becoming reality. This spin-off, on the other hand, is Hasbro taking that idea and saying: "Yeah, let's make money off it!"
Which leads me to my first problem with this spin-off: it reveals Hasbro's blatant hypocrisy!
The past week has seen Hasbro forcibly remove the abridged series Friendship is Witchcraft and demand a halt to the production of the fan game Fighting is Magic, both under claims of copyright infringement. And yet the company has no qualms taking fan ideas and incorporating them as their own: Derpy Hooves, alicorn Twilight, and now this human spin-off. In other words, fans are forbidden from paying homage to their favorite show, least they face the legal wrath of Hasbro, but their ideas can be ripped off by the company for profit.
Second, spin-off series in general are rarely good. With a few rare exceptions (i.e.: Legend of Korra), spin-offs never have the same appeal as the original series.
Take Rugrats for instance. What made that show special was that it showed the world from a baby's perspective, and thus offered imaginative scenarios that babies could possibly find themselves in. Sure, it was nice to see what the toddlers would be like as full-grown kids in the All Grown Up! special, but when they remained that way for the spinoff series, it completely removed what made the original series unique. Now instead of cartoon babies imagining themselves going on grand adventures (i.e.: Interesting!), they're cartoon pre-teens facing everyday problems (i.e.: Boring!).
And this is the problem with this spin-off series: it completely removes what made My Little Pony special. The series was about multi-colored ponies living in a fantasy world and going on grand adventures. Now instead of cartoon ponies fighting dragons and hydra, warding off parapsrite swarms, and saving the kingdom from a changling invasion, they're cartoon teenyboppers studying for midterms, hanging out at the mall, and flirting with boys. In other words, it's the same preteen trash we see on iCarly and Degrassi!
Look, the ponies visiting our world as human beings, as flawed as it is ("Oh yes, you six are totally inconspicuous with your spectrum-colored skin!"), is an interesting concept for maybe an episode or a special, sort of like with the genderswap episode of Adventure Time, but I simply can't see it as an entire series. It just doesn't work.
But who am I kidding? If this series is real, even if I know it's going to suck, I'm still going to end up watching it along with the millions of other Bronies. We fans are naively loyal that way. Even if we know that a new addition to a franchise sounds blatantly horrendous, we're still going to buy it anyway. Why else were the Star War prequels box-office hits despite being the worst movies ever put to film?
I'm going to watch this series. I'm going to hate it. And I'm going to watch it despite knowing that I'm going to hate it. Because I'm a stupid fan boy.
But then again, this is all assuming that this spin-off is real. Pray to Celestia it isn't!