Magical Mash-Ups

Ultra-cute, ultra-positive, and often-magical characters and images have permeated the toy industry and other categories of late and continue to represent a strong trend. Examples include unicorns in particular, as well as mermaids, rainbows, kittens, and the like. A newer, but already ubiquitous development consists of hybrids of some or all of the above, with most involving a unicorn paired with another cute or magical element. The combined creatures often remain super-sweet, but occasionally they skew more toward the comic, ironic, action-driven, or even creepy.

A number of hybrid properties in this vein are entering the entertainment arena:

• Thunderbird Entertainment Group’s Atomic Cartoons division announced this month that it is creating an animated comedy-adventure series based on tokidoki’s Mermicorno family of characters. Tokidoki co-founders Simone Legno and Pooneh Mohajer are serving as executive producers. The Mermicorno characters were introduced in 2015 and are featured on collectible figurines, plush toys, apparel, and accessories.

• Funrise launched its 26-episode animated series Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty on Nickelodeon in January in the U.S., with plans for a global rollout later in 2019. The show is the first from toy company Funrise’s recently established IP and entertainment division. Toys marketed by Funrise are expected on toy shelves later this year.

• Lego’s Princess Unikitty stars in the two Lego movies and in her own breakout TV series, UniKitty!, on Cartoon Network. To date, she is featured on a wide range of mini-figures, building sets, and other products from Lego, as well as on licensed merchandise such as watches, nightlights, plush, and pillows from Lego Movie 2 licensees.

Meanwhile, a number of companies are marketing proprietary magical hybrids without TV backing. Among many examples are Zuru’s rainbocorn line of mystery-egg plush; Douglas Toys’ Lollipop Llamacorn Rainbow plush toy; Zoonicorn’s plush and online content featuring zebra-unicorn hybrids (a property whose launch predated the current trend); and Kellogg’s recently introduced Caticorn cereal, to name a few.

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