Takara pony analysis- why did it fail in Japan?

Nightmare Muffin

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I don’t see many people talking about the Takara ponies much, in the g1 collector community. And I think that’s a shame. I really like these ponies, as region exclusive as they are. They’re really cute, and I fully understand that many others within the latest generation fandom don’t seem to think so.

But why did they fail so hard when released in Japan, back in 1985? Let’s try to figure that out.
Looking at the design of these ponies, some things immediately become apparent. These ponies made by Takara (Tomy) are nothing like the originals. They stand upright on two feet....hooves? Rather than on four hooves. In addition, they have tiny, beady eyes and bulbous noses- I suspect that this is just a stylistic chose that the design team went with that mimics the longer muzzle of real life ponies. But the original design of the g1 ponies already had that down.

In any case, this design didn’t fly with the Japanese audience, and understandably so. As someone who has an interest also in anime, and knows that large, expressive eyes and small noses are what is preferred in anime characters, even around that time (Astro Boy, Ganbara Genki, Monchhichi, etc.) I can see why these super stylized ponies missed the mark. What I can’t fathom is why the developers chose these attributes for these ponies, clearly going against the grain for them. It is hardwired for people- especially females- to find small creatures (and characters) with small noses and large eyes to be more attractive- like human babies, kittens, or puppies.

Regrettable though this is, to the point where the MLP g4 designs have been modified to look (and act) more like cats than horses, with practically no existent muzzles, I can see why the g1 Takaras failed, on the design alone. Sadly, many might not think of them as ponies at first sight. (Though that may also be argued for g3 and g4 ponies...)

Though, I find it interesting that when searching for Takaras on Google Lens, the results I got were of “Unicorn no Cony” ( Connie the unicorn), which shares the same beady eyes...- Albeit a much smaller nose than the Takaras sported, but seem...fairly more popular?
 

Winged Mirage

Rainbow Rainbow Pony
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They’re cute but they don’t look like My Little Pony. I think it’s similar to why G2 wasn’t that popular. G4 worked mostly because of the success of the show
 

chii

Teeny Tiny Baby Pony
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Considering the popularity of Moomin in Japan, I think large-snouted creatures have the potential to do well if marketed correctly. I just took a quick look on Yahoo! Japan, and it is stinking hard to find anything about Oshare Pony or Kawaii Pony, which is what the two lines were called. The only specific info I could find was that their design was changed to be more marketable for Japanese little girls. But I think we already knew that...

I noticed that the color scheme matched Takara Tomy's Licca doll line. So I suspect they were probably hoping to attract the same girls... Although I'm not sure why they didn't take off, they definitely still have some pretty passionate fans. On Yahoo! Japan auctions, they go for a fortune. The cheapest auction here is for some accessories for just under the equivalent of $150 (new in box). Most of the auctions are going anywhere between $200~2,500 USD equivalent. (Link: https://auctions.yahoo.co.jp/closedsearch/closedsearch/タカラ おしゃれなポニー/0/)
 

LightningSilver-Mana

So Soft Pony, So hard to clean
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I always thought Takara fakies were popular in the g1 collector community to some extent. I see them floating around Facebook a bit

Nowadays with g4's popularity, it goes to show that our culture favors anything that mimics cats.

How to Train Your Dragon got famous cause the terrible Toothless dragon was cute as a cat.

So you look at g4 and can see how it works.

As for the Takara, if it failed in its own market during its time, I think it's cause they looked too "fakie-like" and tame.

They're like a cross between mlp and Calico Critters and I don't think that was a combo anyone was really hoping for.
 

Skybreeze

80s Glam Rock Pony
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I always thought Takara fakies were popular in the g1 collector community to some extent. I see them floating around Facebook a bit

Nowadays with g4's popularity, it goes to show that our culture favors anything that mimics cats.

How to Train Your Dragon got famous cause the terrible Toothless dragon was cute as a cat.

So you look at g4 and can see how it works.

As for the Takara, if it failed in its own market during its time, I think it's cause they looked too "fakie-like" and tame.

They're like a cross between mlp and Calico Critters and I don't think that was a combo anyone was really hoping for.
Toothless is adorable because of Stitch. ;p Actually same artist who designed both characters.

I’ve never been a fan of the Takara ponies. But I can see the appeal.
 

Nightmare Muffin

Bushwoolie
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They’re cute but they don’t look like My Little Pony. I think it’s similar to why G2 wasn’t that popular. G4 worked mostly because of the success of the show
such a shame, though. g3.5 looks drastically different from g1, so wonder how that got any sort of success in the stream of things. I suppose they still look vaguely pony-ish, when compared to the Takaras, but I still find it odd (and unfair)
 

nessa16

Nurse Pony
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Yet, they kept making Takara fakies...

I think they are cute but it is still hard to wrap my head around the fact that they are indeed MLP. I love seeing the collections people have procured of these. They are just so kawaii. I am interested in the yellow with pink haired ones Milky and Popo. However, I think someone should've had their work checked when it came to naming them lol.

It's funny because as a kid I remember seeing the Takara fakies and "knowing" that they were "Takara fakies" but had no idea that real Takara ponies actually existed.

Is there anyone here that had any as children, either from Japan or maybe stationed there with the military?
 
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