My Little Pony is a franchise title that associates itself with the likes of Barbie and Polly Pocket. Then Friendship is Magic came along and changed that. Let's head back two months ago. Now I as many others have always known about the franchise, you know, those little pink pony dolls you see in Toys R Us. It wasn't for people my age really. Friendship is Magic I didn't think was any different. To be honest, I didn't even know much about it, I just made an assumption because of the My Little Pony insignia. I would sometimes see the ponies in ads while watching Transformers: Prime on the Hub. Outside of that, I never really saw them. On the internet I began to realize just how popular the show was, spawning hundreds and hundreds of memes. I found out that there are legion of fans who are guys, and that they're labeled 'bronies.' (Bro-pony.) I thought that was...interesting. Sometimes on TOHO Kingdom I would take a peak at the Friendship is Magic sub-forum, these guys were really into it. Throughout the internet I kept hearing about how amazing the toon is. Great animation and stories I would hear. One day I was having breakfast and looking for something to watch on demand. I went into the Hub section and ran into a couple of Friendship episodes. I was there, doing nothing other than having a meal, so why not? That way I could see what all the hype was about. I ended up watching The Show Stoppers. I was a little taken off-guard, it was pretty nice and cute. Okay, so the following day I saw another one on demand, Fall Weather Friends, which featured more of the main cast. Now that was good I thought, it was entertaining, funny, and even gave you a warm feeling inside. So after that I typed the show into Netflix and to my amazement it was streaming the entire show. I started to watch episodes out of order, ones that sounded good. Eventually, I decided to start from square one and work my way through. About a month later, I am finished with Season 2. Wow. Even after finishing Season 1 I knew it...this show was a true gem. Yes, I'm a fan, big fan even. I haven't seen a cartoon like this in a long time. No, I'm not overrating it, it really is a fantastic show.
First off, there is literally nothing wrong with this show. I'm using wrong with both definitions. There is nothing wrong in terms of negatives. As a reviewer, I cannot find any faults with the show. There is literally nothing negative I can say about it. If you read my On the State of the Cartoon post, you would know that I'm not fond of today's cartoons in general. Obnoxious, poor story telling, and is completely moral free with main characters going against their parents almost every episode. (The Amazing World of Gumball....stay away from that show.) There is nothing bad about this series. There's no crude humor that parents would find off-putting, no questionable main characters, and just remains a really innocent show. Most importantly, there are plenty of great morals found. Let me give you a quote from Twilight Sparkle herself:
"It's great to be really good at something, but it is important to act with grace and humility." ~Twilight Sparkle
Grace and humility? Do you hear that ever in any cartoon today? I'd like to think there are two types of cartoons, ones for entertainment and ones moral based. (Cartoon Network vs. PBS Kids.) Friendship is Magic combines them both. I've seen enough things such as anime where they have the cheesy friendship speech where the main character gets hidden power and all that nice stuff. Thankfully, this show is anything but cheesy. The morals come natural as the characters learn them. And don't think these are things only little kids can take out of, people my age could also take them to heart, they're that good. In today's violent world, we could use a show like this. One that's free of today's culture and makes you smile. (I hope I'm not sounding cheesy now.)
Twilight Sparkle is the show's front runner, but the rest of the characters also get plenty of episodes centering around them. We have Fluttershy, (as you guessed, the shy, low-voiced one) Rarity, (the one who is into fashion and looking good) Applejack, (a swift contrast to Rarity, works at an apple farm and doesn't care all that much for fashion) Pinkie Pie, (the hyper one who loves parties and making friends) and finally Rainbow Dash, the tomboy of the group. This is probably the most well-written cast of characters I have ever seen. Their personalities are all extremely well defined, which makes interaction all the more entertaining. You will most definitely have a favorite. They're all awesome however, you can't really dislike any of them. This is of course thanks to the smart writing. In today's toon world, I'm going to admit I have zero expectations for any new TV-Y show, I expect the writing to be juvenile and cringe-worthy. Not here. Another thing I like is how new viewer accessible it is. The Show Stoppers was an episode in the middle of the first season, yet I had absolutely no trouble following along. It takes really good writing and story telling to be able to make practically every episode one which a new viewer can jump in.
I hate sing-a-longs, I really do. I almost died from watching High School Musical 2. I really cannot stand them. Tangled, a very good movie, had them which felt kinda forced in my opinion. Once I heard the first song in an episode here, I started to shout the Darth Vader "Nooooo!" from Revenge of the Sith, but then stopped, cause the song was actually pretty good. This may sound shocking, but the songs in the show are really good, even a little emotional sometimes, it gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling, they're really well done. (Highlights include Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash's pet song duo and At the Gala.) I think I'm going to have to put some of these on my iPod now.
The thing about this show is that you actually care about the main characters. Such as when Fluttershy is sent away in tears from being pushed around by a griffon called Gilda in Griffon the Brush-off or when Rarity is kidnapped in A Dog and Pony Show. Then there's the emotion-filled final two parter of Season 2. I am amazed at the amount of emotion these episodes pack. I gotta say that I don't find too many things in media funny these days. You will be astonished at what passes for 'humor' in cartoons and sitcoms alike. Here the humor is genuinely funny. There's the classic Fluttershy going kinda crazy in the finale of Season 1, almost any scene with Pinkie Pie, among many, many other things. The voice acting is phenomenal. I don't think I've seen a show with better voice work. Each of the ponies' voices compliments their personalities 100%. There are three major villains, Nightmare Moon, Discord, and Queen Chrysalis. All written surprisingly pretty menacingly, especially Discord. While this isn't an action show, don't think it holds out on letting the ponies let loose. Especially in the final episode, where they battle an army of demonic servant things working for Queen Chrysalis.
What I'm saying is that Friendship is Magic is the perfect cartoon. There are literally no faults to be found. These last couple of paragraphs I would never have thought I'd write if this was two months ago. I've spoken to a quite a few people who are hesitant on checking it out just cause of the My Little Pony insignia. If you think it's just a little girls show to help sell the toys, *newsflash* it's not. You're talking to a 16 year old guy who enjoys movies like The Matrix and Aliens. This show is not the stereotype you're thinking it is. It's a series full of heart. With Season 3 starting next month and a comic series coming in November, it's not going away anytime soon. Every thing stated above is why I think Friendship is Magic is the greatest show of the 21st Century, and maybe ever. And with that said, I will close with another quote from Twilight:
"Friendship is a wondrous and powerful thing. Even the worst of enemies can become friends. You need understanding and compromise. You've got to share, you've got care." ~Twilight Sparkle