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My Little Pony Friendship is Magic

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My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is an animated series based on Hasbro's popular My Little Pony franchise. The show premiered on October 10, 2010 on Hasbro's The Hub channel, now known as Discovery Family. It is currently in its fifth season. This incarnation of the franchise is referred to as the fourth generation, or G4, of My Little Pony. The show was developed for television by Lauren Faust, who is known for her work on two of Cartoon Network's popular and critically-acclaimed franchises, namely The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.

The series stars a unicorn pony named Twilight Sparkle, a student of Princess Celestia, the ruler of the magical land of Equestria. The princess gives Twilight the task of learning about friendship and sends her and her assistant, a baby dragon named Spike, to Ponyville. There, they meet some interesting ponies, including action-loving Rainbow Dash, glamorous Rarity, hard-working Applejack, timid Fluttershy, and hyperactive Pinkie Pie. Together, they go on adventures, solve various problems, and learn about the magic of friendship.

Development and production

The series was developed by Lauren Faust for Hasbro as a reboot of the My Little Pony franchise. Faust was pitching her own Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls toy line and animated television series to Hasbro Studios' executive Lisa Licht, when Licht asked her to come up with a new version of the My Little Pony franchise.[1] Development started in 2008, with production of the first season spanning through 2009.[2][3] Jayson Thiessen storyboarded and animated a two-minute short for the approval of Faust and Hasbro.[4] In the animated short used during early development, Tara Strong voiced Pinkie Pie.[5] The show's primary audience is girls 4-12 years old,[6][7][8] and Faust designed the show so parents can enjoy watching it with their daughters.[9] The series has generated a cult following among adults. Fiscal reports by DHX Media suggest that DHX Media received around 6 million Canadian dollars a year for the production of the first three seasons of the show.[10][11][12]

Toys and merchandise

Main article: toys
See also: merchandise

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is associated with the 2010 relaunch of My Little Pony toy line, having figurines and play-sets based on it.[13] Hasbro, the company that owns the brand, has come to see My Little Pony as a "lifestyle" brand, with over 200 licenses in 15 categories of products. The brand grossed one billion USD in retail sales in 2014[14][15] and 650 million USD in retail sales in 2013.[16] The Friendship is Magic toy line receives new iterations approximately every year. The first toys were sold under the Ponyville title​[​citation needed​]​ like their G3 predecessors, followed by Pony Wedding, Crystal Empire, Crystal Princess Celebration, Rainbow Power, and Cutie Mark Magic.

Characters

See also list of characters

Ponies

Main article: Ponies

The series has a main cast of six ponies and a large number of supporting and background characters. As ponies mature they gain cutie marks on their flanks, which represent their purpose or calling in life.

Pony kinds

There are three main types of ponies:

  • Earth ponies: regular ponies. The founders of Ponyville were among this race. They are closer to nature than other ponies and frequently tend to crops and perform manual labor. They have no wings or horns.
  • Pegasi or Pegasus ponies: ponies with wings who can fly and walk on clouds. They frequently tend to the weather.
  • Unicorns: ponies that have horns and possess more pronounced magical abilities, represented by a glow around their horn when used. Many use telekinesis, but some use other kinds of magic as well.

Outside of the three kinds, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, Princess Cadance, and Twilight Sparkle possess Pegasus wings, a unicorn horn, and, depending on the depiction, Earth pony magic. They are called Alicorns in the show. Both Celestia and Luna possess extraordinary magical power, allowing them to raise the sun and the moon. Cadance has the power of love which, according to Twilight, allows her to spread love wherever she goes and can quell the fighting in two ponies' hearts. Twilight has the ability to spread the magic of friendship across Equestria.

Age and sex

The show's ponies may be grouped by age and sex into colts, fillies, mares, and stallions. A pony's sex can be ascertained by the shape and size of their muzzle: stallions' muzzles are angular, squared off and larger, while mares' muzzles have a more rounded appearance and are much smaller than a stallion's. However, this is not the case with Alicorns. Stallions also have bigger and sometimes bulkier bodies than mares. Another way to determine a pony's sex is by their eyelashes and that mares' hooves are the same color as their coat, while some stallions' hooves are coatless, like Big McIntosh's, Shining Armor's, or Prince Blueblood's. Mares and fillies have eyelashes, while stallions and colts don't. However, baby ponies have eyelashes, with males having a single eyelash, and females having two.

In previous My Little Pony generations, all young ponies were often called "baby ponies", while in Friendship is Magic young ponies and baby ponies are differentiated. Young ponies are simply called "fillies" or "young ponies", and are grouped with baby ponies under foals.

The ages of the main characters have been left "imprecise" by the show's developer, Lauren Faust.[17] Faust said that she thinks of the main characters as anywhere from 12 to 17 but gives them "adult independence."[18]

Main characters

Necklaces without Elements S04E02

From left to right: Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Fluttershy, Spike and Applejack.

  • Twilight Sparkle: The main protagonist. An Alicorn (originally unicorn) pony with a light violet body and an indigo mane and tail with pink and purple streaks. She studies extensively and has exceptional magical ability. She is now one of the princesses of Equestria. Her spirit represents the element of magic.
  • Applejack: An athletic and strong Earth pony with an orange body and blonde mane and tail. She is down-to-Earth and dependable, always willing to help anyone in any matter. Applejack comes from a large family of ponies with apple-related names who manage farms, apple orchards and businesses, etc. She wears a brown stetson hat. Her spirit represents the element of honesty.
  • Rainbow Dash: An athletic Pegasus pony with a sky blue body and a multicolored mane and tail. Very brave and bold, she can also be mischievous and proud. She has the ability of speed and clearing the sky of clouds. Her spirit represents the element of loyalty.
  • Pinkie Pie: An Earth pony with a pink body and magenta mane and tail. She has a funny demeanor, is very talkative, and a bit air-headed. She also enjoys singing and playing pranks. Her spirit represents the element of laughter.
  • Fluttershy: A Pegasus pony with a yellow body and a pink mane and tail. She is very shy and quiet around others most of the time but has a great love for animals and caring for them. Her spirit represents the element of kindness.
  • Rarity: A unicorn pony with a white body and a purple mane and tail. She is very stylish and interested in fashion. Although sometimes desiring to be the center of attention, she is always there to help her friends. Her spirit represents the element of generosity.
  • Spike: A young, purple and green dragon. He is Twilight's assistant and good friend. He has an ostensibly-secret crush on Rarity. He is hatched by Twilight in a flashback in The Cutie Mark Chronicles. He grows with greed as shown in Secret of My Excess. He prefers hanging out with ponies rather than his own kind.

Main antagonists

Every two-part episode, along with the movies, features a main villain who is usually defeated at the end of part two. The season four premiere focused on the Everfree Forest being antagonized as a result of a past villain's action. Each season begins and ends with a two-part episode, except for season one, which ended with The Best Night Ever, and season three, which ended with no clearly distinguishable two-parter but Magical Mystery Cure.

Episodes

See also the list of episodes

All of the show's episodes are rated TV-Y[20] for "all ages".

Season one

Season one opened with a "preview", an early screening of the entire first episode five days before the series "officially" started, to coincide with the launch of the television channel The Hub. The introduction of the characters and the plot revolving around Night Mare Moon span over the first two episodes, which together comprise the only two-parter of the season. Episode three introduces the Grand Galloping Gala, which is where the season's final episode takes place. The show's developer, Lauren Faust, served as executive producer for this season. All of season one's episodes are rated e/i for "educational and informative".

This season focuses mainly on Twilight and her getting used to Ponyville as well as the cementing of the friendship between the Mane 6 as well as the Cutie Mark Crusaders in the latter half of the seasons.

Season two

Faust announced that she has been less involved in the making of the show for season two, focusing mostly on story conception and script. She is credited under "Developed for Television by" and "Executive Producer" for the first and second episodes, which were produced during the first season's production span. She is credited as "Consulting Producer" for the rest of season two.[21]

The season consists of 26 episodes, 22 minutes in length. Several minor characters return in this season, including Derpy, Princess Luna, and Mr. Greenhooves, as well as the school-age ponies, Cheerilee, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. The season started airing on September 17, 2011. Like the first season, it opened with a two-parter with the ponies questing for the Elements of Harmony. Episodes 11, 12, and 13 were not aired in production order: episode 13, Hearth's Warming Eve, was aired before episodes 11 and 12, Family Appreciation Day and Baby Cakes, respectively, to be in time for the holiday season. They are listed on the wiki according to air date order. Season two has concluded on April 21, 2012 with the two-parter finale, A Canterlot Wedding.

Starting with the episode Lesson Zero, Princess Celestia exempts Twilight from submitting a report every week, and asks that all six ponies make reports about their findings on the magic of friendship when they come upon them, which reduces the show's emphasis on Twilight's friendship lessons.

We Heart Ponies Fan Favorite Mare-a-Thon

A few weeks prior to the airing of Hearts and Hooves Day, The Hub announced it would be airing a "We Heart Ponies Fan Favorite Mare-a-Thon" consisting of nine episodes selected by the fans. The nine episodes were aired directly before Hearts and Hooves Day. The nine episodes were, in order of appearance: Luna Eclipsed, Green Isn't Your Color, The Best Night Ever, Suited For Success, May the Best Pet Win!, Party of One, Lesson Zero, Feeling Pinkie Keen, and Hearth's Warming Eve.

Season three

The third season premiered on the 10th of November, 2012, at 10:00 AM Eastern Time.[22] The Hub has placed an order for thirteen episodes,[23] but despite the season being shorter than the first two, the show's composer, William Anderson, hinted at the presence of further seasons, of different lengths.[24] Writers Meghan McCarthy, Cindy Morrow, M.A. Larson and Dave Polsky are returning to the show, though story editor for the first and second seasons Rob Renzetti is replaced by Meghan McCarthy,[25] who has been called "showrunner" in an April 2012 article in the online edition of the L.A. Times.[26] Two songs from the third season have been publically screened by Hasbro prior to their official airing: The Failure Song, which was screened at ComicCon 2012, and The Ballad of the Crystal Empire, which was published on YouTube. A clip from the season's premiere episode was debuted on Facebook. The season finale, Magical Mystery Cure, aired on February 16, 2013.

Season four

For a brief period in early February, Daniel Ingram, the show's music composer, had season four listed on his résumé and a total of 91 episodes for the show, leaving 26 episodes for the fourth season after the 65 episodes of previous seasons. At the Las Pegasus Unicon convention on 20 February 2013, Meghan McCarthy said that season four's production is "in full swing". Season four premiered on November 23, 2013.[27] An animatic showing clips from three episodes as well as a new song from a fourth episode was shown at the San Diego Comic Con in July.[28] Additionally, on October 23, 2013, The Hub Network released a synopsis of the the first two episodes of season four on their website.[29] Unlike previous seasons, season four is a season long story arc involving a chest with six keys.[30] The season finale is the two-parter episodes Twilight's Kingdom, which aired on May 10, 2014.

My Little Pony Mega Mare-A-Thon

From August 4, 2014 to August 8, 2014, Hub Network ran a "My Little Pony Mega Mare-A-Thon", in which all episodes from seasons one to four were aired in the order they originally premiered. Coupled with the five-day event were "Ask a Pony" commercial bumps in which the Mane 6 answer fan questions, My Little Pony Equestria Girls, and three Generation 3 My Little Pony specials: My Little Pony: Twinkle Wish Adventure, My Little Pony: The Princess Promenade, and My Little Pony Crystal Princess: The Runaway Rainbow.

Season five

In an interview with WorldScreen.com, Stephen Davis, president of Hasbro Studios, stated about Friendship is Magic, "We are now going into our fifth season—just a tremendous success for us."[31] In May 2014, the Hub Network stated on Twitter and Facebook that season five is "coming 2015".[32][33] A May 7, 2014 article on Examiner.com states that season five will consist of 26 episodes.[34] An animatic showing a four-minute-long clip from a new episode was shown at the San Diego Comic-Con in July 2014.[35] On November 17, 2014, a teaser for the fifth season was uploaded to the official MLP YouTube channel, with a date of Spring 2015.[36] Season five premiered April 4, 2015. This is the first season to premiere on the rebranded Discovery Family Channel. The April 8, 2015 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Fall 2015 / Winter 2016 Frontlist states, "Season 5 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will air in US in 2015 for 26 more episodes, bringing total of 117 episodes aired by end of 2015."[37]

Season six

A Discovery Communications article about Discovery Family's 2015-16 upfront season mentions "My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Season 6" as part of its daytime programming lineup.[38] Jim Miller stated in a Twitter reply regarding this on March 31, 2015, "I think that's a typo."[39] Hours later, "#MLPseason6" was tweeted by both Meghan McCarthy[40] and Michael Vogel,[41] and both "Don't believe it. #MLPseason6 #conspiracy" and "Believe? #MLPSeason6 pic.twitter.com/GcHUkEjPHu" were tweeted by Josh Haber.[42][43] Miller later confirmed the announcement to be true on Twitter.[44]

Episode order and release schedule

Seven episodes were released online prior to their airing on television. On iTunes, Hearts and Hooves Day was released a few days prior to its scheduled airdate; Too Many Pinkie Pies, Apple Family Reunion, and Spike at Your Service were released a few hours prior to their airing. Wonderbolts Academy and Castle Mane-ia were released on Hubworld.com a few days before their airdates, and Pinkie Pride was released on Google Play a few hours prior to its airing.

Fourteen episodes have been aired out of production order: season two's episode thirteen by production order, Hearth's Warming Eve, was aired prior to episodes eleven and twelve by production order; season three's episode eight by production order, Just for Sidekicks, was aired after episodes nine, ten, and eleven; season four's episodes eleven and twelve by production order, respectively Pinkie Pride and Three's A Crowd, were aired in opposite order; and season four's episode eighteen by production order, Trade Ya!, was aired after episodes nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, and twenty-two.

Voice cast

See also crew and credits

Voice talents

Singing voices

Most of the voice cast consists of Canadian voice actors. They are from Ocean Productions in Canada and the voices are recorded in Vancouver, Canada, with the exception of Tara Strong, who records all her dialogue at her home in Los Angeles,[45] with occasional trips to Vancouver to record with the rest of the cast.[46]

International broadcast

Main article: International broadcast
For list of changes to the international versions of FiM, see /International edits.

Hasbro, the company that owns the brand, sees international media licensing as an important revenue source.[14] The show and its related media is broadcast around the world.

My Little Pony movies

Equestria Girls spin-off films

Equestria Girls

Main article: My Little Pony Equestria Girls

Hasbro announced at their Hasbro New York Toy Fair 2013 Investor Event that a My Little Pony direct-to-television movie was at that time in post-production.[47] The movie was announced in May 2013 to be My Little Pony Equestria Girls, which received a limited theatrical run starting June 16, 2013, followed by a DVD and Blu-ray release on August 6, 2013, and a television airing on The Hub on September 1, 2013.

Rainbow Rocks

Main article: My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks

A sequel to Equestria Girls entitled My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks was announced in mid-February 2014. It received a limited theatrical run beginning September 27, 2014, followed by a television airing on Discovery Family on October 17, 2014 and a DVD and Blu-ray release on October 28, 2014.

Friendship Games

Main article: My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Friendship Games

On January 29, 2015, Australian home media distributor Beyond Home Entertainment stated via Facebook that they had obtained distribution rights for seasons 4 and 5 of the show, in addition to Rainbow Rocks and the "third Equestria Girls [movie]".[48] It is scheduled to air on Discovery Family on September 26, 2015 and to be released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 13, 2015.

Feature film

On October 20, 2014, Hasbro and AllSpark Pictures announced a feature-length My Little Pony movie slated for release sometime in 2017. Joe Ballarini (Ice Age: Continental Drift)[49][50] was originally announced to be writing the script. Meghan McCarthy will be acting as co-producer and screenwriter.[51][52] The cast from the TV series will be reprising their roles along with Broadway actress Kristin Chenoweth voicing a new character.

Home media

Main article: Home media

Both season one and season two of Friendship is Magic are available for download from iTunes. Episodes can be purchased in either 480p Standard Definition or 720p and (as of iTunes version 10.6) 1080p High Definition. Individual episodes cost US$1.99 in SD or US$2.99 in HD, while entire seasons, including Season Passes, retail at US$39.99 (SD) and US$49.99.

Episodes of Friendship is Magic have been added to online video streaming service, Netflix, starting April 1, 2012.

Target has offered a two-episode DVD, Celebration at Canterlot, as a bundle together with select toy sets.

On February 28, 2012, a five-episode Region 1 DVD, subtitled The Friendship Express, was released by Los Angeles-based distributor Shout! Factory. The DVD contains the following episodes: Friendship is Magic, parts 1 and 2, Over a Barrel, Hearth's Warming Eve and The Last Roundup. Bonus content includes biographical sketches of the main characters, a karaoke sing-along of the opening theme song and an episode of Pound Puppies.

A Region 4 edition was released on June 20, 2012.[53] Australian entertainment company Madman has been given the rights to distribute season one of Friendship is Magic in both Australia and New Zealand. The release will feature five separate DVD volumes, each disc containing episodes from the show's first season. A collector's box will also be released, starting at a retail price of AU$29.99; it will contain the volume 1 DVD and be meant to store all volumes after purchase.

Typeface

The series uses a typeface named Generation B for its subtitle and various opening credits. Generation B is also used by other media. A similar fan-created typeface, Celestia Medium Redux, is used by Gameloft's mobile game.[54]

The Japanese language dubs use three different fonts in certain key areas. One of those fonts is used for the subtitles to its opening and closing themes, and the subtitles to songs that are not translated are used with this font as well. Another font is used for the opening credits and a variation of that font appears in the series' Japanese logo. The font that is used for the Japanese version of the Gameloft mobile game is used for the episode titles.

Reception

Critical reception

The series has received positive reviews from critics. Todd VanDerWerff of the A.V. Club favorably noted its "sheer and utter joyfulness" and lack of cynicism, unlike many other shows that garnered a cult following of parents and adults. He complimented the characters' stylized appearance, the stories' relative complexity for children's television, and the solid jokes which make the show enjoyable for parents as well as children. He gave the series a B+.[55] Genevieve Koski of the A.V. Club later commented that Friendship Is Magic is an example of a show that, while considered "girly", has been able to tap into the nerd culture to allow it to gain wider acceptance than other comparable forms.[56] Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media, an organization focusing on the parenting aspect of children's media, gave the show a rating of four out of five stars, emphasizing its messages of friendship, tolerance and respect, but advised parents to be wary of the "influence the characters might have on their kids' desires, since it's rooted in a well-known product line of books, toys, and just about everything in between."[57] Liz Ohanesian, for L.A. Weekly, said that the show is "absolutely genuine in its messages about friendship but never takes itself too seriously".[58] Matt Morgan, writing for Wired's "GeekDad" column, praised the show for having "rebooted the long-time Hasbro property while managing to lace it with geeky undertones" and being one of the few "girl-focused shows that a geeky dad can appreciate with his daughter".[59]

Kathleen Richter of the magazine Ms. believed that Friendship Is Magic did little to change the nature of older animations for girls, which she considered "so sexist and racist and heteronormative." For example, she suggested that, through the character of Rainbow Dash, the show was promoting the stereotype that "all feminists are angry, tomboyish lesbians." She also considered that the only darker-colored ponies shown to date were in positions of servitude towards the "white pony overlord."[60] Lauren Faust responded to these claims by stating that while Rainbow Dash was a tomboy, "nowhere in the show is her sexual orientation ever referenced" and "assuming [tomboys] are lesbians is extremely unfair to both straight and lesbian tomboys", and further stating that "Color has never, ever been depicted as a race indicator for the ponies."[61] Amid Amidi, writing for the animation website Cartoon Brew, was more critical of the concept of the show, calling it a sign of "the end of the creator-driven era in TV animation". Amidi's essay expressed concern that assigning a talent like Faust to a toy-centric show was part of a trend towards a focus on profitable genres of animation, such as toy tie-ins, to deal with a fragmented viewing audience, and overall "an admission of defeat for the entire movement, a white flag-waving moment for the TV animation industry."[62][63]

Ratings

Friendship is Magic originally premiered with an average viewership of 1.4 million per month, but expanded to 4 million per month by the end of the first season,[64] making it the highest-rated of any Hasbro offering at the time.[59] Advertising Age reports that the viewership doubled between the first and the second season.[65] The Hub reported that Hearts and Hooves Day which aired on February 11, 2012, in the middle of the second season, was the show's most-viewed episode ever, and the second highest of any program of the Hub network; its viewership exceeded 150% of that of the previous year.[66] This was surpassed by the two-part season two finale, A Canterlot Wedding, airing in April 2012, marking the broadcast as the highest viewership for the Hub Network to that date.[67]

Awards and nominations

Friendship is Magic was nominated for three British Columbia Leo Awards for Animation, "Best Program", "Best Direction", and "Best Overall Sound".[68] Additionally, the songs Becoming Popular (The Pony Everypony Should Know) and Find A Pet Song, both written by Daniel Ingram, were nominated but did not win for "Outstanding Original Song – Children's and Animation" in the 39th Daytime Emmy Awards.[69] The show was named the best animated show for the 2011–2012 television season in a user poll at the website Television Without Pity.[70]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. Joe Strike (2011-07-05). Of Ponies and Bronies. Animation World Network. Retrieved on 2012 February 13.
  2. Lauren Faust (2011-03-17). buy original MLP art and help Japan. Retrieved on 2012 February 12. “Both of these sketches are early development artwork from 2008 and some of the earliest drawings I did of the MLP:FIM characters.”
  3. Lauren Faust (2010-01-01). Galaxy Girls, My Little Pony and 2010. Retrieved on 2012 February 12.
  4. Jayson Thiessen (2015-03-06). Jayson Thiessen on Twitter: "@dash_twilight I was hired by DHX, but @Fyre_flye and Hasbro had to be happy with me first. I boarded/animated a 2min short to prove.". Twitter. Retrieved on 2015 May 4.
  5. Post by Nayuki on an Allspark thread (2012-06-19). Retrieved on 2012 June 22. Archived locally.
  6. Jim Miller (2015-01-19). Big Jim on Twitter: "@MLPRainbow20 It's a show aimed at children. Do with that information what you will.". Twitter. Retrieved on 2015 January 19.
  7. Jim Miller (2014-12-26). Big Jim on Twitter: "@Flameheart_K The demographic the show is aimed at has not changed. It's designed for girls 6 - 12. The content won't be any worse than...". Twitter. Retrieved on 2014 December 26.
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  11. DHX Media Fiscal 2011, p. 7 (2011). Retrieved on 2015 May 27. “$5.83 million for My Little Pony Seasons 1-2”
  12. DHX Media Fiscal 2012, p. 7 (2012). Retrieved on 2015 May 27. “$5.11 million for My Little Pony Seasons 1-3”
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  38. discovery family channel leaps into 2015-16 upfront season. Discovery Communications (2015-03-31). Retrieved on 2015 March 31.
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  41. Michael Vogel (2015-03-31). mktoon on Twitter: "#MLPseason6". Twitter. Retrieved on 2015 March 31.
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  43. Josh Haber (2015-03-31). Josh Haber on Twitter: "Believe? #MLPSeason6 http://t.co/GcHUkEjPHu". Twitter. Retrieved on 2015 March 31.
  44. Jim Miller (2015-04-01). Big Jim on Twitter: "@MLPRainbow20 It's true.". Twitter. Retrieved on 2015 April 1.
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