In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new phenomenon in the Internet. Let me back this up. In 2010, Hasbro bought the Discovery Kids channel and turned it into The Hub, a new children and family-oriented network. To attract an audience, they decided to reboot several of their most popular (and not so popular, in the case of Strawberry Shortcake), one of which was My Little Pony. To do this, they talked to Lauren Faust, an animator whose previous works include Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Power Puff Girls. (both of which she co-created with her husband Craig McCracken). She had actually come to them with a pitch for a cartoon she wanted to do called Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls. When this was leaked onto the web, many people criticized the show, but others decided to try it out. This created a new periphery demographic: grown male fans called “bronies” (female fans are called “pegasisters”). When I heard about this, I blew it off. I taunted some of the bronies who were on Christian Anime Alliance (where I post as rocklobster), mocking them as not being “manly.”
Now, I have to explain something. I’m not against cartoons for girls. I’ve enjoyed two girl-themed anime Sailor Moon and Princess Tutu. But I liked these cartoons because once you took away the girl stuff, you actually had a good story. So why did I blow off this one? Because I’d seen the previous versions. When it was on in the 80’s version was awful. Sure it had a nice fantasy backdrop, but the potential was wasted. The voices were horrible and the characters were cardboard. I never gave it a second glance.
Then my curiosity got the better of me. I decided to watch a couple episodes, just to see if I could stand it. Surprisingly, I liked it. What impressed me?
First, it was the voice acting. There’s quality work here, not cringing, high-pitched voices like the original. I think the best voice work is from Tabitha St. Germain and Ashleigh Ball.
Second was the animation. I’ve seen Flash animation before, and except for Homestar Runner, Iw asn’t impressed because it’s so simplistic. Here, it’s done so well, you overlook the simplicity. Everyone is so expressive, I feel like I’m looking at classic Looney Tunes cartoons.
Next was the characterization and writing. At first, everyone seems like stereotypes: the obsessive nerd (Twilight Sparkle), the Southerner (Applejack), the diva (Rarity). But as you watch, you start to see the complexities. They have both positive and negative traits. The point of the show is that the cast is learning about how to improve social interaction. I think the fact that the characters actually have flaws shows children they have to accept their friends’ traits, even the negative ones. And then there are the morals. Now yes, there’s the standard stuff: racism is bad, cheaters never win, etc. But some also have morals I certainly didn’t expect. The episode “A Friend in Deed” teaches that not everyone has to like you. “Feeling Pinkie Keen” teaches that it’s okay to believe in things that can’t be explained. Other episodes I recommend are “Dragonshy”, “Chronicles of the Cutie”, “Suited for Success”, “Winter Wrap-up, “The Best Night Ever” and the epic season 2 finale, “A Canterlot Wedding”. I mostly like it for this image: