My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

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Fandom
Name: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Abbreviation(s): MLP, MLP:FIM
Creator: Lauren Faust
Date(s): October 10, 2010 - present
Medium: television series
Country of Origin: United States / Canada
External Links: Hasbro official site
Hub Network official site
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is one of several animated series based on the popular Hasbro toys. It is a reboot of an earlier show, and while MLP:FIS is geared towards young girls and their parents, it became unexpectedly popular with adult audiences. The most media attention has been paid to the brony segment of the audience, but the show is popular with adult female audiences as well.

The creator says about the messages she is trying to get across:

"There are lots of different ways to be a girl. [...] Cartoons for girls don’t have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness. Girls like stories with real conflict; girls are smart enough to understand complex plots; girls aren’t as easily frightened as everyone seems to think."[1]

More information on the canon can be found at the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Wiki.

Fandom

MLP:FIM fandom could be considered a feral fandom. It started on the official series boards and has grown out to YouTube and DeviantArt in an almost viral spread. This history is documented on Know Your Meme.

A Fandom Wank report notes the progression of MLP's growth on 4chan:

1. /co/ discovers the new (and awesome) show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The dark horse of The Hub's lineup, it's become quite popular since it's debut.
2. A significant number of the users on /co/ like the show, and threads start popping up everywhere. Seems like it should be fine, since /co/ is for comics and cartoons, right? Ponies of a different color should fit right in!
3. /b/ discovers Pony. Pony threads start popping up all over /b/. You know, that place where gore, bizarre fetishes, and pretty much anything except for Child Porn and Scientology lives in peace?
4. Pony threads reach 6,000 posts in one day. [2]

Several background ponies were adopted and named by the fan community. These include:

  • Ditsy Doo Dash/Derpy Hooves: The cross-eyed Pegasus pony, who delivers mail. While original canon had her as a 'dumb blonde' in the background, the fans felt sorry for her and adopted her, broadening her background story and making her a pony with a disability rather than the stereotypical dumb blond.
  • Dr. Whooves, a light brown stallion with an hourglass shaped cutie mark and a similar hairstyle to Ten. He was an earth pony in several episodes, but he was a Pegasus in another, thus confirming to the fandom that he's capable of regeneration.
  • Vinyl Scratch/DJ Pon3, Originally an unnamed background pony, fans gave her the name Vinyl Scratch and a club name of DJ Pon3. The fan name was adopted by the Hub (the network running the show) and in their Equestria Girls music video, used the fan name to identify the pony.

Fanworks

Rainbow Dash is The Dark Knight. . . sorry, The Rainbow Knight.
Crossover with Robot Unicorn Attack. Art by rattlekitten.

Fans of the series have created a variety of fannish works. Because there is a lot of texture to the characterization of the ponies, both light and dark versions of the ponies get written. "Cupcakes" is the most infamous of the darker stories in MLP fandom, and postulates Pinkie Pie is a serial killer. [know your meme analysis of the story]. Stories with a similar bent are usually labeled grim dark.

Since Hasbro makes their money from sales of the figurines, creation of vids and other fan works is actively promoted by the parent company.[citation needed]

As evidenced by "Dr. Whooves", MLP fandom is heavily influenced by pop culture, drawing in other sources and leveraging them within the fandom. Some vid mashup examples include:

There are also fanart fusions where characters from other series are drawn as ponies in the MLP style. Some examples include:

Fans aren't just creating mashups however. Along with more traditional fanworks like fanfic, art and vids, MLP fandom contains a large number of musicians that create original music themes for the various ponies and villains.

Friendship is Witchcraft by shercloppones is a version of key scenes from MLP episodes where the editor has replaced the lyric line/soundtrack using actors with similar voices to create stories that have the mane six participating in more magic than is shown on the series. (Demons, robots, etc.) As part of the changes, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, which are a pegasus and an earth pony respectively, are given magic. Pinkie's Brew takes one of the series songs (Cupcakes) and creates new lyrics to support the creation of a time spell by Pinkie Pie and Applebloom as part of the reimagined episode.

Fans are also active in the gaming community, and have created many mods on different gaming platforms such as Minecraft, Team Fortress 2, Gary's Mod, etc. These versions of the ponies also appear in fanfiction and fan art outside of the game mods.

Other fanworks include:

  • Past Sins(needs more info on the story)
  • Names of ponies when genderswapped, such as:
    • Dusk Shine (Twilight Sparkle)
    • Rainbow Blitz (Rainbow Dash)
    • Butterscotch (Fluttershy)
    • Elusive (Rarity)
    • Bubble Berry (Pinkie Pie)
  • Names of pony relationships (Pinkie Pie candy names vs. smushed names)
  • Human versions of the ponies in fan art and cosplay

Controversies

There has been several controversies due to the sheer popularity that the show got. For one, a couple of people code Rainbow Dash as being a lesbian, due to her having a tomboyish personality compared to the other ponies, and for her hair being colored like a rainbow, a commonly associated symbol of the LGBT community.

Another often cited controversy is Hasbro's failure on pony names during reboot. Though this is attributed to them not having the copyright to the names of Generation 1 characters save for Applejack, and thus has to go for names that they had the rights for during Generation 3, save for Twilight Sparkle, whose second word was changed from "Twinkle" to "Sparkle".

In addition, some fans and media critics have discussed problematic content in the series:

Resources

References

  1. A Rebuttal, 24 October 2010. (Accessed 03 April 2011)
  2. Pony Wars on Fandom Wank (Accessed March 29, 2011)
  3. StarCraft II Launch Trailer. Likes: 6519 StarCraft II vs 7304 PonyCraft 2. (Accessed 03 April 2011)
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