Some of you may have noticed a strange new obsession sweeping the internet: My Little Pony (MLP). This is a craze that I am a part of. My friend, Tom Parker asked me to write a blog post explain what's so awesome about it. I had to fight with my brony (the name for guys who like MLP) friend, Jack, for this job, but I got it, so here's my post.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a 2010 series by Lauren Faust. The concept of the show was to create a girls cartoon that is just as entertaining as any boys cartoon, in a similar way to the Powerpuff Girls. The original 1980's My Little Pony had been conceived as a thirty minute add campaign more interesting in selling the MLP toys than telling a story. As a child, Lauren Faust had been uninterested in the show but had enjoyed playing with the toys. She would send her ponies on epic quests to save the world and this idea has been adapted into the 2010 series. The show has also been developed with the parents in mind. Adults are going to need to watch the show with their children so it had better be entertaining for the whole family. The new show has amazing writers, great voice actors and… SONGS!
My Little Pony has all the things a great cartoon should have when appealing to a wide audience. Unlike the original series' Friendship is Magic is brimming with personality. The characters are based on very strong archetypes, giving each pony a very individual personalities. The scripts are amazingly well done and appeal to just about anyone. I've found myself laughing so hard I miss half of the episode and have to watch it all over again. The adventures are dangerous and exciting but still keep the girly elements that make girls cartoons great. Humour in the show blends physical comedy with witty dialogue, and even throws in a variety of obscure references that only the adults will pick up on. In episode three, for example, a crowd of ponies chases one of the main characters while a modified version of Yakety Sax from Benny Hill plays.
The show includes some famous, and brilliant, voice actors, Tara Strong (best known for her roles as Timmy Turner in Fairly Odd Parents, Bubbles in Powerpuff Girls, Ben Tennyson in Ben 10, Dil Pickles in Rugrats and she's in one of my favourite animate films, in Princess Mononoke) as Twilight Sparkle and Tabitha St. Germain (from just about every Barbie movie ever, and many other shows and films) as Rarity. Tara is amazing when doing Twilight's sarcastic and condescending side, while Tabitha captures Rarity's wild mood swings and over-the-top theatrics perfectly. While Tara and Tabitha are the most well know members of the cast the other voice-actors are just as amazing. Check out Fluttershy in these scenes.
Normally songs and musical numbers in cartoons turn out pretty torturous, but that's because most shows don't put much effort into them, and just use them as filler. However, in MLP, professional composers are often hired for the musical numbers, and most of the main ponies have a separate performer just for their singing roles, and the effect is easily on par with Disney. One composer was so proud of his work he put it on Youtube to show his friends and colleagues, but accidentally used the wrong privacy settings, leaking the video to the entire internet several weeks before the episode was supposed to air. That video was Winter Wrap-Up, from the episode of the same name.
All these elements combined have created an amazing show with mass followings online. Now, go watch the first episode and judge for yourself.