My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

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Boss Doggie

all my loli wolf companions are so moe
Jul 1, 2008
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#1
...I just lost my manliness.

Yet I believe the show is... so good, and not a so-bad-it's-good, but as in it's good-good. o_o

Avatars!

Oh, and courtesy of Myke Greywolf:

Myke Greywolf said:

What is this?
"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.

This show premiered on October 2010, and is developed 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.

New episodes air on Fridays on Hub, Hasbro's propaganda outlet. Episode premiere times are as follows:
- 13:30 ET
- 10:30 PT
- 17:30 GMT

Wait, "My Little Pony"? Isn't that...
Look, you came this far, you might as well keep reading to get a primer on what drives this thread and its dwellers. Bear with us.

Why should I care about this?
If you care about animation, the main thing you should know is that this show may be considered the spiritual successor to "Powerpuff Girls" and "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends".

Everybody knows that MLP is geared at little girls, and the main objective of the animated shows has always been to advertise the line of toys, by shoving as many colorful ponies in saccharine situations down the viewer's throats as possible.

Enter Lauren Faust. Driven by her love of the franchise and by her dedication to her quest to create girl-oriented entertainment that can be enjoyed by everyone, she jumped at this opportunity to bring some credibility to the MLP animated franchise, something considered almost impossible due to decades of neglect by Hasbro.

Picking up cues from her experience on her previous shows, she endeavored to bring into MLP:FiM the following admirable features:

- A compact cast of easily identifiable, likeable characters, following certain archetypes but with surprisingly multi-layered personalities.
- A world with well-defined rules and mythology.
- Simple but well-written stories revolving around the theme of "friendship". This may seem somewhat limiting, but allows for relateable and realistic conflict between characters that can be resolved within the 22 minutes of each episode.
- Excellent voice acting for every. Single. Character.
- Extremely appealing character designs and surprisingly fluid and detailed flash animation, particularly for character expressions.
- Great comedy sense, with cartoon wackiness mixed in with surprising references to other shows and popular culture (nothing too obtrusive, don't worry).
- Morals that are transmitted in a way that doesn't feel like getting hit with a stick in the head, and that apply to adults as well as children.
- A lack of the cynicism that seems to infect most pop culture these days. This is a genuinely good-natured show, and a welcomed change of climate to those tired of the rudeness and nastiness that is pervasive in almost everything we see on TV.

All of these factors should be enough to persuade any reasonable animation fan who can overcome an hypothetical aversion to the color pink to give MLP:FiM a shot, and maybe come out surprised at liking a show aimed at young girls and featuring talking ponies.

Who are these ponies?
The show prominently features six female ponies who live in the town of Ponyville:


Twilight Sparkle - The Nerd
An unicorn originating from the Equestrian capital of Canterlot, Twilight is a somewhat anti-social pony who would very much rather spend her time reading books alone than hanging out with friends. This changes a little after she undertakes the mission of researching about friendship, given to her by her mentor, Princess Celestia. Because of her intelligence, she tends to get somewhat snarky when her opinion clashes with someone else's, and 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
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 intelectually-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
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 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
Rarity's magic may be nowhere as strong as Twilight's, but this unicorn is all about 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
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. Her fear of the unknown can be paralyzing, but she always ends up rising to the situation, specially when her friends are in danger, causing an hidden protecting instinct to reveal itself.


Pinkie Pie - The Joker
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 bakery, but she'd much rather break the rules of physics and mistify 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.

What about those other ponies, and that dragon?


Spike - The Token Male
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 he wouldn't do to please the white unicorn.


Princess Celestia - The Tyrant Wise Ruler
From her throne in the city of Canterlot, Celestia has ruled over Equestria for over 1,000 years, ensuring even the movement of the Sun (and the Moon, in her sister's absence) through the use of her magic. A kind and dedicated ruler, Celestia is a winged unicorn who is also 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
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 hate, 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
A group of three fillies who unite on their quest to earn their cutie marks. From the left, they're Scootaloo, a pegasus with a penchant for extreme sports; Sweetie Belle, the youger 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).

I'd like to give it a try, how can I watch it?

Hasbro seems to consider this show as an advertisement vehicle for their toys, and thus far has been letting fans post every new episode on Youtube. Episodes are also available for full purchase via iTunes.

Fan consensus is that a newcomer should start with episodes 1 and 2 to get introduced and acquainted to the characters, and then try a few more episodes to adjust to the ongoing tone of the series, which is much different from what is shown on the pilot. Recommendations for getting up to speed include:

- Episode 1.7, "Dragonshy"
- Episode 1.9, "Bridle Gossip"
- Episode 1.10, "Swarm of the Century"
- Episode 1.11, "Winter Wrap-up" - great for those who are more musically inclined

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Where can I get one of them pony avatars?
GAFfer Foxix was awesome enough to create and make available an enormous lot of MLP:FiM avatars that you can use to show people your admiration for the show. They are available on this post. Just leave a post of your own telling Foxix which one you took.
Of course, if you have a favorite scene that you'd like to get the avatar treatment, you can just request it, as there are many posters in this thread who would be happy to make it for you.

Q2: For heaven's sake, you're grown people watching My Little Pony! Even the show creators must cringe at the very idea!
Well, someone had the great initiative to go and ask Lauren Faust herself about this. Let's see...

Yup, this fandom is endorsed.

Q3: Who the hell is Derpy Hooves?


Derpy Hooves is the name fans gave to a certain background character who has repeatedly appeared in several episodes of MLP:FiM.

Back in episode 1.1 (17:32), an apparent animation error caused one of the generic background characters to briefly appear with crossed eyes. Other instances of the same generic pony appeared with eyes in correct position, but for some reason, this particular scene stuck with some viewers.



The fandom, back then only a fraction of what it is today, inexplicably warmed up to that particularly silly looking pegasus pony, and crossing over this element with the popular "derp" meme, named her "Derpy Hooves". Soon, this phenomenon grew out of proportion, with several fans developing Derpy's character to great detail, and establishing her as a mainstay in the MLP:FiM "fanon".

The prevalent view is that Derpy works for the Ponyville post office as a mailpony, despite her vision impairment. Some people insist that she is mentally handicapped and affected with Wernicke's aphasia. Some others affirm that, apart from her sight problems, she is a totally normal pony, if only a little airheaded.

The production team for MLP:FiM is undoubtedly aware of this phenomenon. After Derpy's first googly-eyed "appearance", which was probably accidental, there have been several instances that point to some kind of integration of this character in FiM canon, due to the volume of fan response. Some of these instances are:

- Being created as a generic background pony, she appears in several episodes. However, the production team now seem to go out of their way to specifically make her appear with the same crossed eyes that made her popular.
- In her appearance in episode 1.15, she is shown as apparently working with a delivery company, giving echo to fan characterization.
- In episode 1.11 (17:23), the leader of a squad of 4 pegasi alludes to a missing member of her squad, referring to her by the name Ditzy Doo, and Rainbow Dash describes her as a "feather-brain". Earlier in that episode (6:41), we had gotten a glimpse of that same squad before Ditzy got lost, and it seems like the missing member is indeed the pegasus fans know as Derpy. Although this episode was written way before the "Derpy phenomenon", it is possible that, should Ditzy make an appearance in the future, the producers may use "Derpy"'s model to portray her.

This is a great example of funny back-and-forth interaction between the show producers and their fans, and Derpy spotting is now a favorite activity among fans of the show.

Q4: Where are all the male ponies?
They're there. We see them often on the background, even though they're not as numerous as the females and are rarely given speaking roles. The most prominent so far has been Big McIntosh, Applejack's older brother.

Awesome fan-created stuff
The MLP:FiM fan community have proved themselves to be an extremely prolific bunch, using the available original material to create incredible amounts of drawings, the inevitable fan fiction, videos, music remixes, among many other forms of showing their fandom. Some of these creations have reached amazing levels of quality and awesomeness.

While it is impossible to include in this post all the quality material that has been created by fans, here is a sample of particularly interesting, well done or just plain funny works available on the Interwebs.

Video awesomeness
Night Of Pony ★ ナイト・オブ・ポニー
300 Ponies
Daughters of Harmony. A mock movie trailer set to a song named "Sons of War".
The Elder Scrolls VI: Equestria. In case someone missed it.
Friendship is Magnets. The pony version of YouTube poop.
Pinkie Pie is INVINCIBLE + Sonic.
The Friends Forever Mix.
Applejack & Twilight with Celestia intro (Panty & Stocking parody)

Useful links
 
Jul 20, 2009
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#3
Do you mean "Friendship is Magic"? If so, that show is indeed legitimately good, and designed by Lauren Faust (Craig McCracken's wife, both of them heading up Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends).

Also this says all that needs to be said:
 
May 16, 2009
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#34
Mechanical Snowman said:
I think I've been on GAF too long when I didn't know what the hell you were talking about for a second there.

Mickey mouse isn't really what immediately comes to mind when someone says 'Disney' any more.
A shame for us all. Disney is awesome.

Also, he has a rotating avatar. When I replied, it was the magical broomsticks carrying the water buckets. Awesome subtle references, really. Bravo! EDIT - ah, now Mickey himself. No longer subtle.
 
Aug 25, 2010
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#36
I am going to be honest, I first heard of this series through the Penny Arcade boards, and my first reaction was making this connection (and apparently so did a few others):

 
Oct 27, 2009
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#37
Articalys said:
I am going to be honest, I first heard of this series through the Penny Arcade boards, and my first reaction was making this connection (and apparently so did a few others):

thats the first thing i thought of as well
 

LQX

Member
Dec 18, 2008
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#38
I use to watch My Little Pony, Glow worms and Care Bears religiously like I did Transformers, JEM and Bionic Six. Ahh, the good old days were the internet did not sway your decisions easily.
 
May 16, 2009
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#47
watatatow said:
I quickly checked it out, and it looks like Flash animation crap to me. Barely looks any better than Happy Tree Friends. :/
What does it having been made in Flash have to do with anything? The quality of the animation is very high. They have some very skilled animators there.
 
Oct 27, 2009
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#49
Suairyu said:
What does it having been made in Flash have to do with anything? The quality of the animation is very high. They have some very skilled animators there.
some people dont like the look (which i dont understand why)
 
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