My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
"YOU WINNNNNN!" — Patrick Wayne, Tic-Tac-Dough (1990)
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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a Canadian-American magical girl TV series that aired on Discovery Family (originally The Hub) from 2010 to 2019. It had 9 seasons, 222 episodes, a spinoff series focusing on the Mane Six's human counterparts and an exclusive character named Sunset Shimmer called Equestria Girls which launched in 2013, and a 2017 movie. In 2020, it was succeeded by My Little Pony: Pony Life, which features the same voice actors and the same writers. In the same year, a clip show series called Friendship is Forever was released, taking place after the events of the Season 9 finale "The Ending of the End/The Last Problem".
The series follows the adventures and exploits of a studious purple alicorn (previously unicorn) named Twilight Sparkle as she and her small purple and green dragon assistant and friend Spike, along with 6 (previously 5) other mares, travel throughout the fictional land of Equestria to fix and spread friendship. Later, the seven mares build a school named the "School of Friendship" to teach friendship to not only ponies, but to other creatures, lead by a pony named Sandbar, named Gallus the Griffin, Yona the Yak, Ocellus of the reformed Changelings, Silverstream the Hippogriff, and Smolder the Dragon.
Why The Friendship Can Grow
- The concept of using various mythological beings to get them into adventures, problems and plots, is interesting, which is one of the reasons why this program is incredible.
- Despite using Adobe Flash animation (which is usually not a good choice for animated shows), the animation and backgrounds are clean, detailed, and great looking.
- It has great morals but also deals with morally complicated situations and themes, such as xenophobia, colonialism, bullying, standing up for yourself, and forgiveness regardless of how much wrong someone does to you.
- Many of it's characters are relatable and likable, such as the four princesses including Celestia, Luna, Cadence, Flurry Heart and the Mane 6 including Twilight Sparkle herself.
- The role-models for many of the characters are pretty good:
- Twilight Sparkle is the likable, natural-born and intelligent alicorn (previously unicorn) type of pony and the leader of the Mane 6, who can be OCD at times.
- Fluttershy is the calm, kind-hearted, but shy pegasus type of pony who takes care of many kinds of animals, but can be easily frightened sometimes and uses "The Stare" to get bad animals under her control.
- Applejack is the down-to-earth type of pony who helps on her farm called Sweet Apple Acres, kicking down many trees to get the apples, and is well adjusted but can sometimes be stubborn.
- Rainbow Dash is the well-meaning, loyal, but speedy, tomboyish, and sometimes irresponsible pegasus type of pony, who can go fast and has a dream of joining the Wonderbolts (Equestria's version of the Blue Angels), which she officially gets to do so.
- Pinkie Pie is the hyper, wacky, but joyful and happy comic relief earth type of pony who always throws parties and is the one who breaks the fourth wall a lot.
- Rarity is the artful, creative and generous unicorn type of pony who enjoys making fashion, despite her vain and melodramatic tendencies sometimes.
- Spike, who is a dragon, is a loyal, loveable and faithful assistant to Twilight Sparkle. He even gets the ability to fly later like Twilight in Season 8.
- Starlight Glimmer, a skilled unicorn type of pony, started as a villain in season 5 (due to losing her friend Sunburst as a filly), but reforms in the season finale after realizing her actions change the future, reunites with Sunburst in the Season 6 premiere and becomes a protagonist and a friend/ally to the Mane Six.
- Maud Pie is a depressed older sister of Pinkie Pie who loves rocks. Like Fluttershy, Maud Pie is one of Pinkie Pie's sisters who is kind-hearted but shy.
- Yona is an excited and clumsy yak who speaks broken English.
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, who are fillies, are likable as well.
- Cheerilee is a smart teacher to the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
- It has phenomenal voice acting. For example, Tara Strong as Twilight Sparkle. It not only has Weird Al as the voice of Cheese Sandwich and Star Trek actors William Shatner as Grand Pear and John de Lancie as Q-inspired character Discord, but also Maurice LaMarche, the voice of Egon from The Real Ghostbusters, various characters such as Kif Kroker from Futurama, and Brain from Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, as Chancellor Neighsay.
- The Japanese opening and the dub itself are great, as it goes for a more magical girl anime-like feel and stays 99% faithful to the original.
- The Mexican Spanish dub is good too.
- There are a lot of interesting episodes. Some also make nods to the fanbase, such as Slice of Life (the fan-favorite characters in the show), Fame and Misfortune (tackling flawlessness), and Honest Apple (dealing with fan criticism).
- The villains are excellent and threatening. Queen Chrysalis, King Sombra, Suri Polomare and Lord Tirek, in particular, are great examples.
- So many great and iconic episodes such as:
- Friendship is Magic: Part 1 & 2 (which starts the series on a high note, although they were a bit rushed)
- Applebuck Season
- Winter Wrap Up
- Call of the Cutie
- Stare Master
- Party of One
- The Best Night Ever
- The Return of Harmony: Part 1 and 2
- Lesson Zero
- Luna Eclipsed
- The Cutie Pox
- Suited for Success
- Sonic Rainboom
- A Dog and Pony Show
- The Cutie Mark Chronicles
- Sisterhooves Social
- The Last Roundup
- Hearts and Hooves Day
- A Friend In Deed
- Hurricane Fluttershy
- MMMystery on the Friendship Express
- A Canterlot Wedding
- The Crystal Empire
- Too Many Pinkie Pies
- Sleepless in Ponyville
- Castle Mane-ia
- Pinkie Apple Pie
- Simple Ways
- Pinkie Pride
- Twilight's Kingdom
- The Cutie Map
- Castle Sweet Castle
- Tanks for the Memories
- Slice of Life
- Amending Fences
- The Mane Attraction
- Canterlot Boutique
- The Hooffields and McColts
- Brotherhooves Social
- Crusaders Of The Lost Mark
- The Gift of Maud Pie
- On Your Marks
- Gauntlet of Fire
- No Second Prances
- Stranger Than Fan Fiction
- The Times They Are a Changeling
- To Where and Back Again
- A Royal Problem
- The Perfect Pear
- What Lies Beneath
- Sounds of Silence
- The Beginning of The End
- Sparkle's Seven
- The Ending of the End/The Last Problem (which ended the show in a high note)
- It can be pretty hilarious at times, especially from the comic relief Pinkie Pie, who can do many cartoonish feats such as hanging upside down on the ceiling or appear in random places.
- They finally brought back Applejack for the first time since the first generation of the franchise (not counting the third generation, in which Applejack was only in toy form). Other characters in the Mane Six are also inspired by G1 characters, such as Rainbow Dash using traits from Firefly.
- Also, Minty from the G1 and G3 television series returned on the final short in 2019.
- The musical score and musical numbers are both awesome to listen to, such as "BBBFFs" and even fan favorites such as the "Smile" song.
- It has some emotional stories such as in the episode The Perfect Pear, which deals with Applejack's deceased parents.
- It has decent character development. Discord, for example, started as a chaos-making villain, but then got reformed in season 3, and later became an ally (though reluctantly) among the Mane 6 and a friend of Fluttershy, despite occasionally making humorous trouble along the way.
- The action and fight scenes are awe-inspiring and great.
- While there are pop culture references, they aren't forced down your throat, unlike most other popular shows in later seasons. They're also fun pretty fun to point out, such as Neighsay being similar to the Marvel Comics character Doctor Strange, or many of Discord's costumes being similar to movies such as Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas or Harry Potter, or references to other Hasbro properties such as Transformers or Jem.
- Speaking of which, the season 9 two-parter known as "The Ending of the End" is pretty good (despite the lame twist), and it has a fight scene that almost references the final battle from Avengers: Endgame.
- The last episode "The Last Problem" is an excellent, but very sad, and the emotional montage of the Mane 6's adventures and is easily a good send off to the series.
- While most of the character designs use the same body proportions, they look great and cute and can sometimes have some creativity nonetheless.
- Lots of villain redemption, like for Gilda upon her return in the fifth season.
- There are some dark, disturbing, and mean-spirited moments, such as Pinkie going crazy after no one shows up to her party in "Party of One" or Twilight going even more insane in "Lesson Zero" (especially with the crazy faces she makes).
- There are even some adult jokes; although they are funny to some older audiences, they may be a bit inappropriate for the little kids. Examples include Applejack's "Are you saying my mouth is making promises my legs can't keep?" line, Big Macintosh getting whipped between the legs by the vines in "Princess Twilight Sparkle", or Maud Pie swooning over the petrified Mudbriar in "Student Counsel," which inadvertently shows off agalmatophilia.
- There can also be some unneeded gross-out humor sometimes. Examples:
- Fluttershy picking her nose (while being controlled by Rarity) in "Green Isn't Your Color".
- Pinkie Pie wearing Pound Cake and Pumpkin Cake's diapers in "Baby Cakes".
- Discord wearing peanut butter jars on his feet in "What About Discord?"
- Fluttershy getting her face covered in vomit in "A Bird in the Hoof".
- While a handful of the villains were given proper and convincing redemptions and showed how they were going through them (such as Luna, Discord, Starlight Glimmer, Sunset Shimmer, Trixie, Diamond Tiara, the Changelings, etc), the other villains’ redemptions were mostly just forced in order to impress conservative parents and moral guardians who want to insist on mercy and sometimes there are too many villain redemption with some fans liking the villains for being evil and no more so thankfully a few villains remain bad in the show like Queen Chrysalis, Lord Tirek, Cozy Glow, Storm King and King Sombra by the writers which pleases them.
- Since it uses Flash animation, there are some problems with the animation:
- The animation's framerate switches between 12fps and 24fps, so in many shots, objects and distant characters move smoothly while in frame characters will move either smooth or slow and choppy, and it can be distracting at times. This can even cause some framerate issues.
- The CGI doesn't mesh well with the 2D characters and backgrounds, and it can look pretty fake, particularly with the timberwolves.
- Animation errors and clipping errors are common everywhere in the show, such as disappearing or extra limbs, animation cells being seen, character models being copy-pasted, and characters standing still like statues in the background. However, one animation error gave birth to the popular character Derpy Hooves (a.k.a. Muffins and Ditzy Doo), who has since appeared in many episodes as a cameo.
- There can be some plot holes and continuity errors, particularly in "The Summer Sun Setback", where Discord doesn't detect Tirek sneakily stealing magic from the earth ponies in the Summer Sun Festival, even though he had sensed his magic disturbance back in "Twilight's Kingdom".
- Other plot holes include:
- Cozy Glow having no background of her past and no explanation on whether she had parents or was orphaned. Although Jim Miller confirmed that Cozy Glow didn't have parents, it still doesn't explain about her descent into villainy, further widening the plot hole with no clear explanation given by the show creators about her past (even the comics never explains about her past either). Therefore, Jim Miller's half-assed answer fails to reveal Cozy Glow's overall past at all.
- Suri Polomare, who has never returned after Rarity Takes Manehattan and only appears as a cameo in The Gift of the Maud Pie. Even though Suri obviously did horrible things, she has since made no future appearances as she never encounters neither Rarity nor Coco Pommel ever again (although her human counterpart appears in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Friendship Games). This in itself leads her to being a one-shot character with no continuity and is left indefinitely unknown if she has ever apologized to Rarity or Coco Pommel of her actions or wasn't sorry of her actions and had continued on with her bad deeds off-screen yet neither of them went after her since then. And if it was indeed the case, this makes Suri Polomare a Karma Houdini due to receiving no onscreen punishments whatsoever (and if she was indeed punished off-screen, then its unlikely to have any onscreen effects).
- The Sphinx in Daring Done?, who only appears in a flashback and makes no physical appearance in any future episodes afterwards (Ahuizotl was both a flashback and a real character, but the Sphinx only appears in the flashback and not the latter). Furthermore, there was no proper voice actor for the Sphinx, and because she only appears in a flashback and nothing else, she was considered a completely wasted potential due to her lack of appearances. On the plus side, however, the Sphinx is considered to be a highly popular character by many, and there's even plentiful of artwork and fanfiction of her.
- Babs Seed's cutie mark was never shown or explained after the CMC earn theirs in Crusaders of the Lost Mark, and although she does indeed have a cutie mark, she is sadly served as a background character with no spoken dialogue whatsoever due to her voice actress having quit her voice work. As a result, no one knows about Babs Seed's cutie mark or how she even got her cutie mark in the first place due to having no backstory or any onscreen explanation and her encounter with the Cutie Mark Crusaders again never came to be.
- The Diamond Dogs in A Dog and Pony Show that have never made their return for the entirety of eight, future seasons, and it sadly will never be explained or revealed if they have redeemed themselves or have went into hiding.
- Fluttershy's bat pony form from the episode Bats!, which for however reason, she doesn't revert back to her bat pony form and her instincts don't really kick in at all from future episodes (even though in the ending episode of Bats!, her fang is obviously seen). While she does have her bat pony form shown in The Scare Master, this was only a ploy to scare her friends and her fangs were fake, as are her overall attire. Her actual bat pony form was overall nonexistent which completely contradicts from the previous episode Bats! as a result of continuity issues. How she was completely cured of her bat-pony form completely remains a mystery, and the show creators completely failed to explain any of this.
- Gusty from G1 mentioned by Grogar (who is actually Discord in disguise). Although popular, this particular character makes no physical appearances except perhaps in fanfiction and art. Otherwise, she is obviously nonexistent for the entirety of the show.
- Lightning Dust's last appearance in The Washouts. Overall, Lightning's past was never given any explanation about her reckless actions, especially since her first appearance in Wonderbolt Academy, which also doesn't reveal her background. Worse, Lightning's fate is left ambiguous and because of this, it's clear that Lightning Dust is never seen again and it will never be known if she had remained a rival to Rainbow Dash at all.
- Applejack's parents, while revealed in The Perfect Pear (flashback only), are not seen in-person at all. If they're not deceased through unknown causes in this episode, then its likely that their whereabouts will never be known. And because Applejack, Big Macintosh and Apple Bloom have gotten older in The Last Problem, its highly likely that they will have either become elderly, or have long passed away.
- Luster Dawn in the final episode The Last Problem. Although she is an interesting character, she is sadly the last time the viewers will be able to see her and her new friends. Unless there are comic book adaptations that take place after the final episode, it is highly unlikely that we'll be able to see her again. As a result of this, she's considered to be both a wasted potential and a completely missed opportunity.
- Other plot holes include:
- Some characters (for example, Spoiled Rich) can be unlikable.
- Though funny, Pinkie Pie can be foolish, annoying or rarely hypocritical sometimes, and has moments of making situations worse due to being innocently insensitive.
- There have been some bad episodes that tend to have overly heavy and/or poorly-executed messages, such as:
- Owl's Well That Ends Well (depending on your view)
- The Mysterious Mare Do Well (sadly, the real Mare-Do-Well never makes any appearances as a real character)
- Baby Cakes
- Putting Your Hoof Down
- Ponyville Confidential
- One Bad Apple
- Spike at Your Service (depending on your view)
- Rainbow Falls
- Somepony to Watch Over Me
- Princess Spike (depending on your view)
- Newbie Dash (depending on your view)
- All Bottled Up (depending on your view)
- Fame and Misfortune (depending on your view)
- A Matter of Principals (depending on your view)
- 2,4,6, Greaaat (depending on your view)
- Some of the foreign language dubs are very bad, such as the Romanian, Hungarian (in season 2, although it got the songs redubbed), Russian and Croatian HRT dubs. And while not bad,the Brazilian Portuguese dub in the first five seasons is mediocre, although it have talented voice actors like Bianca Alencar (Twilight) and Wendel Bezzera (Shining Armor). Lucklly,the Grupo Macias dub of Seasons 6-9 improved the issues.
- Two of the actors, Andrea Libman and Tara Strong guest starred in the DuckTales (2017) episode "The Missing Links of Moorshire!" as the two ponies Briar and Bramble as the episode made a reference to the show.
- Some ponies like Maud Pie and Lilly Valley have manes that resemble human hair.
- The show is notorious for being popular among boys and even middle aged men, to the point that the fanbase became called "Bronies".
- Despite that many 2-5 year olds watch the show, the show is actually aimed at kids 6+.
Episodes With Their Own Pages
- Sisterhooves Social
- A Canterlot Wedding
- Pinkie Pride
- Twilight's Kingdom
- Castle Sweet Castle
- Tanks for the Memories
- The Beginning of The End
- The Ending of the End/The Last Problem