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My Little Pony: Guardians of Harmony
by yo go re

This is a toy of a fictional character.

Not in the way that, say, Batman is a fictional character, but in the way that The Gray Ghost is a fictional character: ie, a fictional character to fictional characters. Like Inception, we've gone one level down. BWOMMMMM!

She's ready for adventure!

Daring-Do (called "Daring Do Dazzle" as this toy, for no discernable reason) is an adventurer archaeologist, constantly travelling to exotic locations to find ancient artifacts that she believes belong in a museum. Oh, and she uses a bullwhip and wears a cool hat, too. She stars in a series of novels - 27 and counting - written by the reclusive and frumpy A.K. Yearling, who certainly couldn't have anything in common with her famous creation, no way!

(A.K. Yearling was once asked if she would ever write an autobiography. No one understood why she started laughing.)

The idea of a show within a show (or, in this case, a book series within a show) is nothing new - think about how many of Shakespeare's plays have bits involving someone putting on a play - but rarely do those meta-fictional creations end up in the merchandise. Even the Gray Ghost example linked above was a figure of Simon Trent playing the Gray Ghost, not the Gray Ghost himself. And yet here we have Daring-Do, live and in color. Sort of.

When she first appeared, Daring-Do existed only in Rainbow Dash's mind - that is, Rainbobow Dash was reading the book, and what we saw was simply her imagining what was going on in the story. Since the creative team didn't know if DD would ever come back again, it didn't make sense to spend time creating a unique model for her; instead, they just leaned into the fact that Dash was identifying so heavily with her, and made her a palette-swap of Rainbow Dash's model: the same messy hair, the same intense eyes, everything. Time-saving and clever!

While Daring-Do shares the basics of her sculpt with the Rainbow Dash toy, she's not a repaint of the same mold: the collar and cuffs of her shirt are raised, sculpted elements on the neck and forelegs, respectively. She's a pegasus pony, but has her wings folded down instead of open wide like Dash did, and her right wing is wrapped in bandages. Daring-Do's cutie mark is a compass rose in yellow and green, and while it's still only painted on one side, instead of both, she's the first Guardians of Harmony figure to actually have it on the proper side to match the direction her hair is sculpted.

Although Daring-Do's hair is done all in shades of grey, she still leaves a rainbow behind her when she flies - it's just a grayscale one, rather than fully colored. Clearly she won't be doing any flying anytime soon, thanks to her injured wing, but she still gets all the usual articulation: a swivel/hinge neck, shoulders, and elbows; swivel hips; and balljoints for the tail and wings.

Daring-Do's accessories include her pith helmet (with little slots to accommodate her ears), her whip, a weird little harness/boot thing, a suction-cup-backed compass with a retractable cord hanging from it, and a double-headed jackal statue. The statue is the central macguffin in the first Daring-Do book, Daring-Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone. The whip has a C-clip to fit it over her leg, and the brown harness thing allows her to interact with an accessory that comes with Applejack. She also has one of the golden badges all the figures come with.

Picking Daring-Do for the Guardians of Harmony line is an unexpected choice. She's not a celebrity guest and she's not one of the more important secondary characters (you know if they ever make Derpy, that thing is going to be the scalper bait to end all scalper bait). Since she's the star of Rainbow Dash's favorite books, and helps to pad out the running time of the line (much like Palisades did with The Muppets), it's not a choice entirely without merit, just unexpected.

-- 08/25/17

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