Among the classic mythical animals, one that remains powerful in pop culture is the Unicorn. It is one of the older animal symbols that is still in use today, and has many modern meanings as well. In fact, there is even a National Unicorn day, held every 9th of April.

Unicorns in pop culture

Unicorns have become a part of pop culture, there’s no denying it. Here are some examples of how the magical horned beast has become a part of our cultural landscape.

The Last Unicorn

This movie, also known as Saigo no Yunikõn, is a fantasy film made by a British, Japanese, and American production team. In it, a unicorn finds out that she is the last of her kind, and this makes her curious enough to go out of her own forest and find out what has happened to all the others.

It’s based on Peter S. Beagle’s novel, and the film was directed and produced by Rankin/Bass Production. The animation may feel dated compared to more modern animated films, but the voice acting is topnotch and the
story is surprisingly very adult.


This ‘80s live action fantasy film features the likes of a very young Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry. The story revolves on how Jack, a boy of the woods, leads Princess Lili to the lair of the unicorns. However, this
starts a dark tale of how the unicorn’s horn is broken, and what has to be done to retrieve it from the demonic Darkness.

Not exactly for kids and it can be cheesy, but holds up well for an old movie.

My Little Pony and Friends

The toy line and various animated series under the My Little Pony franchise have featured unicorns among the characters. One in particular is known as Rarity, which is a reference to the pop-culture meaning for the word.


In both the original ‘80s animation and the 2018 reboot, Swift Wind is shown as a horse that turns into a winged unicorn as a power-up to be She-ra’s steed.

Fictitious but not ridiculous

Unicorns started out as symbols of purity and grace – and perhaps, that isn’t so bad a thing, with them now becoming the epitome of creatures of myth and fantasy. After all, what’s wrong with having a unicorn in our minds and hearts? Maybe we all need a little bit of a Unicorn nature to appreciate what’s happening all around us.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s July-August 2020 issue.

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