“Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria, there were two regal sisters who ruled together and created harmony for all the land.
To do this, the eldest used her unicorn powers to raise the sun at dawn. The younger brought out the moon to begin the night. Thus, the two sisters maintained balance for their kingdom and their subjects: all the different types of ponies.
But as time went on, the younger sister became resentful. The ponies relished and played in the day her elder sister brought forth, but shunned and slept through her beautiful night. One fateful day, the younger unicorn refused to lower the moon to make way for the dawn. The elder sister tried to reason with her, but the bitterness in the young one's heart had transformed her into a wicked mare of darkness: Nightmare Moon. She vowed that she would shroud the land in eternal night.
Reluctantly, the elder sister harnessed the most powerful magic known to ponydom: The Elements of Harmony. Using the magic of The Elements of Harmony, she defeated her younger sister and banished her permanently in the moon.
The elder sister took on responsibility for both sun and moon, and harmony has been maintained in Equestria for generations since.” - from Ancient Myths and Tales of Equestria, p.16-21
"My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" (MLP:FiM) is the latest animated show based on the "My Little Pony" (MLP) franchise created by toy maker Hasbro. It tells us about the lives and adventures of six pony friends from Ponyville, a small town in the magical land of Equestria.
The show premiered in October 2010, and was initially developed for television by Lauren Faust, creator of "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends", animator for "The Iron Giant", writer for "Powerpuff Girls", and wife of PPG's creator Craig McCracken.
At the time of this writing, the show comprises a full season with 26 episodes. The second season is scheduled to begin airing Fall 2011.
Although Lauren Faust is no longer involved in the production of the show, the rest of the creative team will be kept for season 2, and director Jayson Thiessen has ensured the fans that the spirit that transformed the first season into a popularity phenomenon will be maintained for the new episodes.
- United States of America (EST):
--- The Hub
----- Weekdays: 8:30 AM, 1:30 PM, 6:30 PM
----- Saturday: 8:00 AM, 8:30 AM
----- Sunday: 9:30 AM
- United Kingdom (WEST):
----- Weekdays: 15:00
PonyGAF is an enthusiastic group of NeoGAF members who have in common their appreciation for this show. It may seem strange to some that a bunch of grown-ups have taken so much after a show geared at young girls, but many different reasons have contributed to the birth of such an unconventional fandom in the midst of a larger community composed primarily of adult gamers. Reasons pointed out by the members of PonyGAF for liking MLP:FiM are:
- Great animation (specially considering it is made using Adobe Flash) and expressions for the characters.
- Excellent voice work.
- Extremely cute and (almost) universally appealing character designs.
- Amazing characterization for the cast, making for surprisingly endearing and relateable characters.
- Very competent writing, with simple but smart dialogue and storytelling that can be interesting even to grown-ups.
- Charming visual and verbal humor that is not based on violence, humiliation or rudeness.
- A quality of innocence that can disarm and soothe even the most jaded hearts - if they're willing to leave that door open.
- An intriguing surrounding universe with just the right amount of exposition, allowing fans to fill in the blanks.
- An emphasis on the virtues and perks of friendship, which is refreshing in a pop culture panorama where violence, cynicism and fierce competition seem to be the prevalent values.
- Great songs and background music.
And above all...
- The sheer rush from the absurdity and cognitive dissonance resulting from the realization that you're a full-grown adult person who is loving a show about magical ponies, geared primarily at young girls, and coming from a franchise with a 25-year history of lowest-common-denominator toy-store-shelf-filling plastic vapidness, and knowing that you are not alone in doing so.
Besides posting in this thread, PonyGAF has a few other hangout places:
- The PonyGAF IRC channel (#ponyGAF at irc.globalgamers.net:6667)
- The PonyGAF Steam group
- A private Team Fortress 2 server set up at 18.104.22.168:27015. The respective password can be found in the above mentioned Steam group.
- For those who would like to talk with the members of PonyGAF on gaming networks, here is a database of gaming ID's.
- The PonyGAF Tinychat room.
- The PonyGAF Facebook group.
- The PonyGAF Synchtube room, with gatherings to watch episodes and new video creations happening at Saturday nights (Sun. 0:00 BST/WEST, Sat. 19:00 EDT, Sat. 16:00 PDT, Sun. 1:00 CEST).
Gaffer Careksims, an extremely talented artist, was kind enough to supply PonyGAF with its own official mascot, Belle Eve, featured in this section's header. Here is a repository of all illustrations featuring Belle created by PonyGAF members.
Twilight Sparkle - The Nerd
Voiced by Tara Strong, singing voice by Rebecca Shoichet
A unicorn originating from the Equestrian capital of Canterlot, Twilight is initially an anti-social pony who would very much rather spend her time reading books alone than hanging out with friends. Her stance shifts dramatically as she discovers about the magic of friendship, even though she still values a certain measure of solitude inside her library. Because of her intelligence, she tends to get somewhat snarky when her opinion clashes with someone else's. Although her great organization skills make her a natural leader, she is prone to breaking under pressure or when reality contradicts her theoretical knowledge. Twilight has amazing magic potential, and is our "point of view pony", a sane counterpoint to all the weird stuff that happens in her world.
Applejack - The Country Pony
Voiced by Ashleigh Ball
Applejack is all about business. This earth pony is in charge of her family's apple orchard, and is a hard-working equine who will do anything to gain an extra (honest) buck. She might not be the most intellectually-inclined of ponies, but she can always find a moment to help her friends, and is the go-to pony in Ponyville for any physical tasks, as she is probably the best athlete in town. Despite this, Applejack is stubborn as a mule, and has trouble admitting when she needs help herself. Her messy, straight-talking, no-frills nature sometimes puts her at odds with other, more prim ponies, but her diligent nature makes her one of the most respected ponies in town.
Rainbow Dash - The Hot-Shot
Voiced by Ashleigh Ball
This pegasus pony has no shame about advertising her love affair with a female pony, and that pony is herself. A full-blown braggart, Rainbow Dash has, nevertheless, the skills to back it up - after all, she is probably the best flier in her town, if not in all of Equestria. Her dream is to belong to famed aerobatics team "The Wonderbolts", but nevertheless, her rock-solid loyalty is devoted to her friends. Despite her bragging, Dash is very insecure when she knows she's being judged, but has little patience for anyone less bold than herself and is quick to judge them as useless. She is extremely brave, even in face of unfavorable odds, but tends to jump into danger without thinking things through.
Rarity - The Diva
Voiced by Tabitha St. Germain, singing voice by Kazumi Evans
Rarity's magic may be nowhere as strong as Twilight's, but this unicorn is all about talent - artistic talent. She's the artist of Ponyville, an eximious fashion designer and dress-maker, being the owner of her own atelier and shop. Rarity prides herself in being the most beautiful pony in Ponyville, and would be hard-pressed to show herself in public with a hair of her mane out of place, but her vanity is only surpassed by her generosity, as she will do anything to make sure that her friends look their best - even if it is against their wishes. Her perfectionism and fussiness are strong to a fault, as she sometimes descends into obsessive-compulsive behavior if things aren't absolutely the way she thinks they should be.
Fluttershy - The Shrinking Violet
Voiced by Andrea Libman
Despite being a pegasus pony, Fluttershy is as much of an opposite to Rainbow Dash as it can be imagined. She is extremely shy, as her name suggests, very sensitive and somewhat of a scaredy-cat, but all who get to know her recognize her enormous gentleness and talent to handle all kinds of animals. In fact, animals are the main trigger to dispel Fluttershy's bashfulness, as she gets very enthusiastic when she gets a chance to interact with them - and they, of course, love her too... or else! Her fear of the unknown can be paralyzing, but she always ends up rising to the occasion, specially when her friends are in danger, causing a hidden protective instinct and a mysterious power of persuasion (“the stare” to reveal themselves.
Pinkie Pie - The Joker
Voiced by Andrea Libman, singing voice by Shannon Chan-Kent
Pinkie Pie defies all explanation. Everybody knows that she loves to party, and is the most social pony in Ponyville, knowing absolutely everyone. But besides that, Pinkie Pie seems to be permanently possessed by sugar rush, showing constant hyperactivity and engaging in wacky hijinks, impromptu singing and seemingly nonsensical behavior that, nevertheless, ALWAYS has a method to it. She is a skilled baker who loves all kinds of sweets and works at the local candy shop, but she'd much rather break the rules of physics and mystify all of her friends, all the while seeming to KNOW something that everyone else doesn't. Her frantic nature means that she sometimes doesn't get taken seriously, and she seems incapable of (or unwilling to) understanding metaphors and figurative speech. Must be seen to be believed.
Spike - The Token Male
Voiced by Cathy Weseluck
Despite being only a baby dragon, Spike acts as Twilight's able assistant, living with her at the library and helping her with her research. Providing a much needed male point of view to Ponyville's happenings, Spike is pragmatic and sometimes sarcastic, but extremely loyal to her caretaker. He acts as the means of communication between Twilight and Princess Celestia, sending and receiving messages royal messages via his magical breath. Spike holds a poorly disguised crush on Rarity, and there's little that he wouldn't do to please the white unicorn.
Princess Celestia - The Wise Ruler
Voiced by Nicole Oliver
From her throne in the city of Canterlot, Celestia has ruled over Equestria for over 1,000 years, and using her powerful winged unicorn magic, she ensures even the movement of the Sun (and the Moon, in her sister's absence). A kind and dedicated monarch, Celestia is also sometimes seen as being a master manipulator and having a prankster streak. She’s Twilight Sparkle's mentor, and the one who the purple unicorn must send regular reports to, regarding her findings about friendship.
Nightmare Moon / Princess Luna - The Sorrowful Heart
Voiced by Tabitha St. Germain
The younger sister of Celestia, Luna used to rule along with her older sister, managing the nights and the movement of the moon. However, her heart grew bitter with time, because of her feeling that her nights were unappreciated by her pony subjects. Corrupted by hatred, Luna became Nightmare Moon, and vowed to make night become eternal. Banned to the moon by Celestia, she stayed there for 1,000 years, and upon her brutal return, only the use of the Elements of Harmony by Twilight Sparkle and her friends was able to stop her plan. Back to her original form, she accepted her sister's forgiveness, and returned to her side to rule once more.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders (Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom) - The Kids Next Door
Voiced by Madeline Peters, Claire Corlett and Michelle Creber; Sweetie Belle's singing voice by Michelle Creber
A group of three fillies who unite on their quest to earn their cutie marks, which are the reflection of a pony’s special talent and their purpose in life. From the left, they're Scootaloo, a pegasus with a penchant for extreme sports; Sweetie Belle, the younger sister of Rarity and owner of an amazing voice and musical talent; And Apple Bloom, Applejack's sister and a great builder and fixer. With these descriptions, one would think it would be a breeze for the CMC's to get their cutie marks. However, their obliviousness regarding their own talents is a great part of what makes their unnecessarily elaborate efforts funny (and sometimes frustrating).