Apr. 29th, 2011

alliancesjr: (Janson Can't Look Dignified)
There's no shame in admitting it; practically half the Internet1 has been rallying around Friendship is Magic for months, and the fact that it has a large male following has been absolutely no secret.

Granted, at first the animation style bugged me, but it grows on you. To be entirely honest, there was absolutely no reason for me to believe that I wouldn't have liked Friendship is Magic - the characterization is solid, the writing is spectacular, voice acting is absolutely stellar, and there are numerous pop-culture references that appeal to adults and kids alike, both subtle2 and center-stage.

I honestly feel like I should expand upon the solid characterization; not only are the characters layered and intricate, but they also are beautifully-developed and realistic characters, with all the flaws and strengths of people that you know every day. It's no wonder that Tessa in particular has gravitated towards the character of Pinkie Pie, the over-excited sugared-up champion of happiness and free spirit; the character acts and feels exactly the way she herself does in a good mood.3

It is on that same note that I found myself captivated with this series, even more than I would have been already, given the comments I made above. No, what really got me hooked was the (arguably) primary protagonist.

Twilight Sparkle is Gifted, with a capital Gift. Her potential is an untapped wonder of the world, and Princess Celestia not only recognizes it, but fosters it in the only way she knows how. Unfortunately, this meant that she grew up in a life of solitude, reporting to the Princess from her workspace and dealing socially only with her baby dragon, Spike. It is only when a millenia-old prophecy predicts doom for the world that she ventures out into society, coming into contact with other people ponies for the first time since she was a little foal.

Her initial distrust of ponies actually wanting to spend time with her was what caught me initially, and the acceptance of the idea of new friends in her life was at once moving and excruciatingly heartbreaking. Like Ben Hanscom4, here was a girl whose only friends were the books she read, until she met a group of friends who accepted her - and even liked her - for who she was.

It's a really sad moment in one of the most recent episodes I've watched, where Twilight realizes she finally gets to have a sleepover, and immediately researches what it's supposed to be. It's played for humor, of course - silly Twilight, always with her nose in her books - but as someone who came into his own social life extremely late, it strikes a particularly painful chord to watch her try to rationalize Applejack and Rarity's argument as simply "not doing it properly".

I'm only a small part of the way through this first season, as Tessa and I have yet to find actual time for a proper Ponython, but I'm absolutely floored. Bravo, Lauren Faust, you've made yet another fan.

  1. Yes, I realize that oversimplifications and generalizations like that are passé. I dare you to find statistics proving my arbitrarily-chosen statement wrong.

  2. Fluttershy's rabbit friend is named Angel, and Twilight Sparkle's dragon friend is named Spike. They don't like each other. Your minds have now been BLOWN.

  3. She's an evil ENCHANTRESS, she does evil DANCES...

  4. On a similar note, do we know what Uncle Stevie's opinion of this show is yet? I haven't seen him in Entertainment Weekly in a while, and I know he always tries to keep up with the pop-culture zeitgeist. I'd imagine he'd be completely in love with this series, though.

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