As in “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Since the alphabet is the building block of our language, the Powet Alphabet is the building block of what makes us geeks.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Who would have thought a My Little Pony show could be good? Well probably a bunch of little girls, but I’ll tell you who didn’t expect it was this 32 year old man who was already into more girl shows than he should, but in 2010 Hasbro’s new channel The Hub put a new twist on My Little Pony with the new Friendship is Magic series. After playing only 14 episodes the show has gained quite a following from viewers far outside of it’s target demographic of 5 year old girls.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Hardcore Ponies

It’s hard to describe just what makes this show so great, but it is instantly recognised when watched. The visuals are top notch. The show is animated in flash, but unlike what many have come to expect from flash animation, it does not do so to render cheap looking visuals, but has top notch animators putting a great deal of work into making it look great.

The show is lead by Lauren Faust, an animator who is known for her work on the Powerpuff Girls, an influence which is immediately seen in this show. The visual resemblance is there as well as some of the wittiness to the story and dialogue that is enough to be appreciated by parents and fanboys alike who may find themselves watching the show.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Twilight Sparkle and Spike

The series pilot sets the bar quite high with a two parter culminating in an epic battle between good and evil ponies worthy of Sailor Moon. The show reverted to a more episodic format lacking the superhero vibe after this. The stories, while simple and always delivering a good moral are well told with intelligent writing.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Epic Battle with Nightmare Moon

The main cast is comprised of 6 ponies. There are 3 kinds of ponies. Those who don’t have any unusual abilities (aside from the ability to talk and stuff…) are referred to simply as “Earth Ponies”. Ponies with wings are “Pegasus Ponies” deriving their name from Pegasus which is the proper name of a single creature, not the generic name referring to all winged horses. Then there are the horned “Unicorn Ponies”. There’s also Princess Celestia and Princess Luna who have both wings and horns.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Princess Celestia and Princess Luna

Twilight Sparkle is the show’s main character. She is the vehicle through which we are introduced to the rest of the characters as she arrives in Ponyville in the first episode. She is modeled after a prior character Twilight Twinkle. It’s not entirely clear if her name is meant to be a reference to the Vampires that sparkle from Twilight but given the many inside jokes in the show it’s quite likely. As a pupil of Princess Celestia we see Twilight in constant correspondence with her writing about all the lessons she learns each week. As a unicorn pony she can use magic which is pretty cool.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Twilight Sparkle

Pinkie Pie is… pretty much insane. This pony oozes cuteness from every pore. She will break into song at the drop of a hat and has a flair for frankly ridiculous looking accessories. She is an earth pony and likes to make sweets and plan cool parties.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Pinkie Pie

Rainbow Dash is one cool pony. She looks like a one pony gay pride parade with all those rainbows and for a while I was convinced she was actually a gay guy and can’t seem to get that out of my mind while I watch the show because she’s such a tom boy. Either as a feminine male or masculine female the gay undertones of this character are hard to ignore. She is a pegasus pony and flies around with great skill, hoping to join a flight team called the Wonderbolts.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Rainbow Dash

Fluttershy is … well shy. She loves animals but when around other ponies she’s very shy and soft spoken, but is willing to speak up when the need arises. She’s a pegasus pony though she doesn’t compare in flying prowess to Rainbow Dash.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Fluttershy

Applejack is also a bit of a tom boy. She’s a country girl who’s all about farming apples. As an earth pony she doesn’t rely on any fancy tricks and isn’t afraid of getting her hooves dirty. She wears a cowboy hat throughout the show though all of her toy incarnations are lacking an appropriate hat.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Applejack

Rarity is a kind of stuck up pony. She likes for things to be clean and proper and fancies herself quite the fashion designer. As a unicorn pony she also has magic powers though she has not trained them as well as Twilight Sparkle. Instead she just uses magic to spice up her fashion shows and such.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Rarity

Finally we have Spike the baby dragon! Though full blown dragons are shown to be quite menacing looking Spike is quite friendly and unassuming. He helps Twilight Sparkle out mainly by arguing with her and occasionally doing this weird thing where he burns scrolls to make them teleport to Princess Celestia and burps up things in return. Needless to say Spike is a pretty amazing little guy.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Spike

The cast of the show is largely unknown but quite talented. Heading up the group is Tara Strong who plays Twilight Sparkle. She’s done a ton of characters such as Bubbles from Powerpuff Girls. Applejack and Rainbow Dash are both voiced by Ashleigh Ball, making for humourous scenes in episode 13 “Fall Weather Friends” where the two characters constantly argue with each other, never breaking the illusion that these are two different people. Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy are voiced by Andrea Libman who might be best known for voicing young AndrAIa in Reboot. Rarity is voiced by Tabitha St. Germain, a veteran of the stage who has recently done much voice work like a character in a couple of Transformers shows no one cares about. Spike is voiced by Cathy Weseluck who I totally met at Anime North a bunch of years ago.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Rainbow Dash arguing with Applejack

Then there are the toys. My Little Pony toys are for girls what Transformers toys are for boys. Move over Bumblebee ‘cuZ 3 types of pony toys are awesome and cheap enough that you won’t have to rob a Baldwin brother to be able to afford one! While the show designs differ greatly from the old school more pudgy looking ponies here are a few toys that look more or less like those seen in the show.

The most talented Baldwin isn't even a Baldwin brother!

The top ones to get in my mind is this 5 toy My Little Pony Entertainment Gift Set which includes Twighlight Sparkle, a hatless Applejack, Pinkie Pie as well as Princess Celestia and the very awesome baby dragon Spike. These figurines are not posable and have hard plastic hair.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: 5 Pony Gift Set.  Apple Jack, Spike, Princess Celestia, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie

These next toys are the more standard type of pony in the style of the new show. They have the classic combable hair and turning neck but are of a smaller size and have builds more similar to the Friendship is Magic designs than earlier toys. They can be found in sets with random things like a balloon or carriage. I got these 6 as part of sets which come with an animal accessory which, aside from Angel the white rabbit included with Fluttershy, doesn’t have much to do with the show. Rarity has a white cat in the show yet her toy comes with a blue bird. Twilight Sparkle should come with Spike but instead comes with some pink bird. Again, no hat for Applejack, though if you buy her as part of a barn playset she will have a blue hat, but her hat isn’t blue in the show! What the hell Hasbro? What the hell?!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Toys: Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Applejack, Twilight Sparkle

Finally we have these tiny figures in unique poses. These once again have the solid plastic hair which won’t get all mangled and knotted. These ponies are nearly half the height of your standard pony! I don’t know if there’s an Applejack in this line, but surely if there is she would not have a hat.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Toys - Mini Figurines: Rarity, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie

We also have My Little: Pony Friendship is Magic Happy Meal Toys at McDonalds. There are 8 in total, though only 6 are pictured as I have not yet acquired Rainbow Dash or Twilight Sparkle. Let me tell you I’ve had a hell of a time getting these as McDonalds cashiers do not have much respect for 32 year old men who have no interest in their food but instead just want them to comb through a bunch of toys looking for specifically numbered pony toys. That 5 year old that just went by didn’t get this kind of attitude! These are a bit of a mixed bag. The price can’t be beat. Cheap with a Happy Meal or just 2$ for the toy alone is less then you’d pay for this kind of toy in a store. The mane is hard plastic which is nice but the tail is combable hair which is in contrast to the rest of the figure. Their proportions and poses are very show accurate but their Cutie Marks are lacking with many ponies having single objects where they should have 3, such as a single apple for the once again hatless Applejack.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic McDonald's Happy Meal Toys: Rarity, Applejack, Princess Celestia, Fluttershy, Cheerilee and Pinkie Pie (not shown: Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle)

For an idea of scale, here are a bunch of Pinkie Pies with a classic sized Pony. From left to right, a common pony sold individually or in sets, a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy, a figurine from the 5 figure gift set, the tiny figure and a classic sized 2008 San Diego Comic Con Exclusive Collectors Pony which I bought for my wife but now want to steal back.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Pinkie Pie Toys shown for scale: Standard Pony, McDonald's Happy Meal Pony, 5 Pony Gift Set Pony, Mini Figurine and classic sized 2008 SDCC Exclusive

Of course a real pony looks nothing like any of these.

aDam on a real pony

Certainly geeks like us are often into things despite the fact that they are outside of the intended demographic, but the mild embarrassment of buying a Transformer, Star Wars figure or even some weird anime toy certainly pales in comparison to that of watching this show and buying My Little Ponies. This show is great, but fans must be able to take the heat or enjoy this one in secret. Luckily I’ve had years of practice buying embarrassing things.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Rarity dressing Twilight Sparkle

Watch My Little Pony Fridays at 1:30pm on the Hub or catch up on recent missed episodes at Canadians can catch it on Wednesdays at 6pm on Teletoon, though be warned we are currently nearly 9 weeks behind.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic