Week Links 24-2013

Multiple engaging week links today!

Homer Simpson isn’t a positive role model for kids? Eat my shorts…

David Mitchell over at the Guardian has this thoughtful piece about whether or not one of the greatest character ever to grace the TV screen is a bad role model for kids. Well worth a read for the infractions from certain quarters.

The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead and Roundhead: Q&A with Elliot Cowan

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Elliot Cowan is in the process of making a feature film almost single-handedly. He discusses the much-anticipated project over on Zippy Frames in a very insightful interview.

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls trailer – on the hoof? More like on the hooch

"And so the ponies get on with living life to its fullest, by getting hammered on generic-brand alcohol and inhaling strange gasses from balloons."
“And so the ponies get on with living life to its fullest, by getting hammered on generic-brand alcohol and inhaling strange gasses from balloons.”

Another one from the Guardian (this time by Stuart Heritage) but which occupies a much higher position on the sarcasm scale.

Equestria Girls has been covered on the blog here before, but this is an actual review that is more brutally honest than they tend to be:

Next, in a scene that definitely wasn’t added because Hasbro knows that a lot of the My Little Ponies: Equestria Girls revenue will come from adult male brony fetishists, Twilight Sparkle gets down on her hands and knees and lets her dog mount her. Silly Twilight Sparkle! On this planet we put string around our dogs’ necks and … no, wait, that’s playing into the bronies’ hands too. Disregard.

You should definitely read the whole thing, which does a great job of illustrating the marketing/executive farce that is Equestria Girls.

Mike Boon Animation Alphabets

Via Animated Review are a series of alphabets featuring animated characters. Here’s the Simpsons one, but there are many more.

Via: Animated Review
Via: Animated Review
Via: Random Curiosity
Via: Random Curiosity

This announcement may be the one that finally gets me around to buying a Blu-Ray player; something I’ve resisted so far for no particular reason.

However, there’s more to this than a simple home media release:

The anime will come in a collector’s edition on Blu-ray Disc with an original soundtrack disc and a 112-page art book with storyboards, sketches, character art, and illustrations. Video extras include a 66-minute making-of video that chronicles fledgling studio Trigger‘s journey to create Little Witch Academia for the Anime Mirai 2013 program. The disc will have the Japanese soundtrack with English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese subtitles.

Is anyone in any doubt about the ability to sell this given a.) the quality of the film itself and b.) the sheer breadth of material thrown in for the fans and nothing more?

This is what we talk about when we mean catering to fans. The price is currently unknown, but even at $50 it will be worth it.

Coming Soon On Tumblr

Zodiac Starforce

Nope, I don’t know either. But I am intrigued from a business model standpoint as well as a story one.

UPDATE: Thanks Ryan!

Tweets of the Week

 

Equestria Girls Breaks The Law Of Brand Extension

One of the truths about success is that the impulse to fiddle with it always overrules the wisdom of leaving it alone. No sooner has an animated show achieved critical acclaim and commercial success than ideas are hatched to parlay that success into something else. Today’s topic represents the epitome of the concept of ‘brand extension‘, where a successful brand in one area is transplanted into another. Think of the Disney cruise ships as being an extension of the theme parks. The former plays off the positive public image of the latter despite no real connection to it besides a common owner.

Via: Derpy Hooves News
Via: Derpy Hooves News

The proposed Equestria Girls animated TV show is just such an extension. It takes the wildly popular My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and attempts to transplant it from a show based on ponies to one based on human characters. The move is being spun as a celebration of the toy line’s 30th anniversary and will take the form of a series.

Why Equestria Girls Raises Concerns

So what’s the deal with it; why should it matter? Well, brand extension is inadvisable for a number of reasons. Chief among them is that the very hope that customers will follow has been proven again and again to be false. This belief can even be a double-edged sword in the case of a poor extension attempt. Not only is there the risk of failure, but also the risk that the contamination can spread back to the originating brand.

In the case of My Little Pony, this could mean that if audiences reject Equestria Girls, then they may also stop watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, buying the associated merchandise and attending the various conventions. So far, both The Hub and Hasbro have been extremely accommodating of fans (despite some hiccups) but this attempt was clearly initiated without any concern for them.

Why Its Being Attempted

Efforts like Equestria Girls are often symptoms that studios or networks are becoming risk averse. In other words, they don’t want to take the chance that a new venture may fail so they rely instead on variations of an existing success story. The risk is certainly lower, but the risk that the brand itself will wear out quicker is a major conern.

At the time of writing (March 2013) the MLP brand shows no signs of slowing down, but the inevitable slowdown is coming sooner rather than later. The Hub (or rather Hasbro) is sowing the seeds for the efforts to keep the brand afloat with Equestria Girls.

We’ll have to wait until later this year to find out how things go, but as of now, Hasbro is willing to take a chance with their most valuable property.