Flagship My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Fic Announcement

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I wish to change the world with my art.

My ambitions as an artist are quite lofty; my ultimate ambition is to produce such wisdom in my works that I become a sage of similar influence to Gandhi, Jesus, or Confucius. I wish for my pen to bring people happiness and to lift some of the despair from the world. I am a storyteller because I love stories above all things, and I love stories above all things because I have learned more from them than anything else. History’s greatest teachers were master storytellers because stories are the most powerful of all teaching methods.

My sister Aiden and I’s flagship My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfic, titled MLP, was created because I believe that My Little Pony has the power to shake the world to its core. The enormous periphery demographic it has grown is testament to its brilliance; its characters are so fantastic and fully realized that it has drawn many talented writers to craft stories worthy of them. Close friendships and the beginnings of great, positive social changes have come about because of this show, and for that I am eternally grateful to it.

However, there are still some who do not see what I and its other fans see in it. This causes me no small amount of anger, as people dismiss it without even learning about it purely because it’s a young girls’ show, and yet are willfully blind to the richness and depth it has to offer.

In addition, though I do love the show dearly, I consider it to be a flawed masterpiece; though its characters are indeed some of the best fiction has ever seen, it suffers from a great multitude of shortcomings. These include inconsistencies in the rules of the world, an almost complete lack of story arcs (My Little Pony isn’t a sitcom, and I therefore believe it needs them), and the limits Hasbro places on what it can do, both artistically and thematically.

Of course, it is for these exact reasons that I believe it got its intensely vibrant fan work community; the characters are so good we desperately want them to have adventures more sufficiently awesome than the ones Hasbro has provided. I wouldn’t change this for the world, but I still nonetheless find myself constantly unsatisfied because I desperately want to see these characters get a story told about them as grand and epic as they deserve. It is for this reason that I’ve begun MLP.

MLP is going to be an alternate universe/adventure/high fantasy/fix/dark/deconstruction fic of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic that will also act as a reimagining and annotative commentary on the original show. Much of the story is going to closely reflect the original show, though I will alter it in places either to refine it or to bring the implications and subtexts of the original show to the forefront (for more information on what I’m talking about, read my posts analyzing MLP:FiM‘s darker themes and my theories on the characters’ sexualities). However, much of the story of MLP will also be completely original, and I am also going to draw from other fans’ works in crafting it (one of the most obvious nods to the fandom is that Lyra and Bon-Bon will explicitly be a couple in it). I will do this to showcase the best this culture has to offer.

I have high hopes for this fic. My sister and I have spent a year designing it alone, and I am carefully crafting every chapter to be as pristine as possible. I aim for it to be nothing less than the greatest thing to ever happen to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I work for this story to help chip away at the animation, sci-fi, and girl show ghettos and finally bridge the gap between Bronies and the not-yet-understanding outside world.

However, though I am designing this story to compliment and supplement the original show, I am also designing it to be stand-alone in and of itself. I have created for it a complex, detailed world, and I have designed the protagonists’ quest to be a self-contained sprawling epic. However, the thing that I am perhaps most excited about is the magic system I’ve made for it. I think we can all agree that magic in MLP: FiM, like power levels in Dragon Ball Z, is bullshit;

Power Levels are Bullshit

and so for MLP I’ve designed a really cool internally consistent magic system drawing from Dungeons and Dragons, Harry Potter, Magic: the Gathering, Fullmetal Alchemist, The Wheel of Time, and other great fantasy stories that I’m very proud of. Though I’m writing this story as a statement in and of itself, I think the more literary-minded will also enjoy the complexity and depth of the ideas its narrative will have.

But most importantly: I am planning on making MLP a manga, an anime, and a video game, as well. I absolutely guarantee that unless I die before I should complete it I will make it a manga and a JRPG. If you doubt me, know that I am a professional author who has been working on his magnum opus for half his lifetime, and is still determined as he ever was to complete it. I am literally studying Japanese and art in college so that I can write manga in Japan.

So I all of my fellow Bronies: please read this story, and if you see potential in it please share it with your friends- perhaps including those who don’t like the show. Hey, they can’t complain that it’s about ponies anymore (the title MLP is a meaningless artifact that was chosen to show reverence to its original source). The more support I can get, the more likely I’ll be able to make a My Little Pony anime (I’m still squealing in delight at the thought). If you must resort to it, tell them that there’ll be awesome fight scenes and that hot girls make out in it (and some hot guys, too).

You can read MLP on my FimFiction, fanfiction.net, or my personal website. You will also get future updates on it by following me on my FimFiction and my site. I will post a new chapter every Friday on all three platforms, on FimFiction first, until it’s completed (which should take over two years).

It also wouldn’t hurt for you guys to check out my original works when I release them. All iterations of MLP will be free, and if I could I would freely give away all of my projects, but we artists still gotta eat. Think of it as an investment in getting an epic My Little Pony anime.

I hope you guys all enjoy MLP as much as I am!

The Sexualities of MLP: FiM’s Characters

I have just completed Break Your Heart, my first My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfic. As I will do with all of my works, I will do a review of it so that I can discuss discuss it, my writing process for it, and its meaning in depth. Before I can do that, however, I have to discuss my personal theories on the show’s protagonists’ sexualities, as it’ll take long enough that it warrants an article of its own.

One of the characteristics of the body of my MLP:FiM fan works is that they have an ENORMOUS amount of thought put into them. They aren’t merely things that I think would be interesting to see; they are based almost entirely upon my actual, sincere theories on the show and its characters. For instance, in Break Your Heart, I interpret the characters thusly: Twilight and Pinkie are bisexual, Rarity and Applejack are heterosexual, and Rainbow and Fluttershy are homosexual. I didn’t designate them as such haphazardly; those are the sexualities I actually think they are. Without any further ado, here’s my explanation for why:

Let’s start with Twilight, Rarity, and Applejack, as I think they’re the easiest ones to categorize. Of the Mane Six, Rarity is easily the most boy-crazy. She spends a significant amount of time in Season One fantasizing over her encounter with Prince Blueblood, and in Simple Ways she is similarly obsessive over Trenderhoof, another famously handsome Stallion. She’s quite the drama queen, and yet hasn’t shown such an over-the-top obsession with a Mare. Of course, there is the possibility that she’s simply very closeted about it, so I leave open the possibility of bisexuality but at the moment err towards the simpler explanation and assume she’s heterosexual.

I believe that Twilight is attracted to Stallions for the same reason: she has demonstrated canonical attraction to one: Flash Sentry (oh, hush). However, I would argue there is a very good reason to believe that she’s attracted to Mares, as well: her relationship with the Princesses.

If you watch the show, you might notice that Twilight has an enormous, sometimes extreme obsession with Princess Celestia. Celestia was the very reason Twilight began studying magic (her special talent) in the first place; she admired and was awed by Celestia so greatly that she decided to imitate her amazing magical ability. As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, in the episode Lesson Zero Twilight is so terrified at the prospect of being late on an assignment and disappointing Celestia that she descends into madness and attempts to create a problem to solve. She literally tells her friends that it’s the “most horrific trouble [she’s] ever been in,” and this is the same girl who’s encountered a genocidally insane Goddess of the night and an omnipotent, sadistic Eldritch Abomination.

Furthermore, at the end of the first half of A Canterlot Wedding, Twilight’s friends all abandon her for her (perceived) false accusation of evil against (the fake) Cadence. It’s not her friends leaving her, nor her brother leaving her and also telling her to not come to his wedding that she was formerly going to be his Best Mare for, but Celestia’s abandonment that finally drives Twilight to tears.

Along with Twilight’s enormous devotion to Celestia, she also seems to have a crush on Cadence. Of course, she might not have meant anything by it, but I find it interesting that Twilight specifically listed “beautiful” among her descriptions of her former foal sitter. So with Twilight, I think it would be a rather safe wager that her affections extend to both genders.

Applejack is a little trickier, since she never really shows attraction towards anyone in the show. However, I would argue that this is due to deep repression; notice that in Tanks for the Memories, Pinkie says that Applejack only cries “on the inside.” For this reason, I think it’s certainly possible that she’s attracted to Mares or no one at all. On the other hand, she’s the Element of Honesty, so I imagine it’d be rather hard for her to hide an alternate sexuality. Therefore, I assume that she’s heterosexual.

With regards to Pinkie, Fluttershy, and Rainbow, I shall discuss the three of them together, as my theories regarding them are all interconnected; the key to it all is Rainbow.

For those familiar with Break Your Heart, you’ll notice that I raise several questions about Rainbow; why did she move out of Cloudsdale, despite the fact that she’s deeply loyal to it? Why was she bullied, despite the fact that she’s an athletic, attractive, outgoing girl? Her bullies berate her for getting kicked out of Flight Camp, yet she denies that she was, suggesting that she voluntarily left. Why would she, despite loving flying above all things? But above all: why did she become friends with the wildly different Fluttershy, and why did she move to the same Earth pony town Fluttershy did?

Of course, I theorize that she’s gay, Fluttershy is too, and that they were pushed together and out of Cloudsdale by their fellow Pegasi, who due to their competitive and hierarchical nature are extremely homophobic. Rainbow has (in my opinion) displayed attraction to her female friends, as well; in Over a Barrel, her wings extend (a sign of excitement) at the sight of Pinkie in a showgirl outfit. This wasn’t an animation error; a subsequent shot from a different angle shows that her wings are still extended. In Super Cider Squeezy 6000, Rainbow tears Fluttershy’s blanket away from her then stares at her exposed underside for a few moments, causing Fluttershy to cover herself and blush.

As I said before, I think Fluttershy is gay because of her close friendship with Rainbow. Think about it: no two ponies could be more different, and by all accounts Rainbow shouldn’t have become friends with Fluttershy. Fluttershy is deathly afraid of heights, which Rainbow has scarcely any tolerance for. Rainbow is tremendously demanding, but is preferentially gentle with Fluttershy. She was fiercely defensive of Fluttershy when she was being bullied, despite being about as far from “coolness” as someone can possibly be. There must be something they have in common that gives them such a strong bond, and such commonality being shunned homosexuality makes a great deal of sense.

And finally, Pinkie. I am absolutely, utterly convinced that Pinkie is completely in love with Rainbow. To begin, Pinkie is every bit as obsessed with Rainbow as Twilight is with Celestia. In Griffon the Brush-Off, Pinkie follows Rainbow around relentlessly and is determined to spend as much time with her as she can. When Pinkie throws Rainbow a birthday party, she goes tremendous distances to make it amazing that she doesn’t go with their other friends. Another thing I’ve noticed is that when it comes to Pinkie, Rainbow is shown with hearts rather frequently; her face framed by a heart-shaped hole in a wood in Party of One, or the hearts on Rainbow’s birthday banner (which other birthday banners don’t have). Pinkie loves Rainbow Dash; therefore she likes girls (or at least that particular girl).

I actually have rather little evidence for an attraction to males in Pinkie, but I consider it to still be substantial; Pinkie flirtatiously calls a statue of a Griffon king a “charmer.” I also would think that it… well, fits her personality. It’s a close call, but I lay my bets on “bi.”

Oddly enough, Rainbow doesn’t seem to only have caught the interest in Pinkie; Gilda behaves jealously toward Pinkie when she vies for Dash’s attention, and Scootaloo (another Pegasus living in Ponyville rather than a Pegasus city) has an obsession with Rainbow very reminiscent of Twilight’s obsession with her mentor Celestia.

A final note: the only characters whose sexualities I assigned arbitrarily in Break Your Heart are the two other Cutie Mark Crusaders, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom, who are straight and bi, respectively. I ultimately decided on assigning them their sexualities for two reasons: number one, I wanted the Crusaders to be “balanced” the same way the Mane Six were (a completely even ratio of all three sexualities). Secondly, I ultimately decided which would be straight and which would be bi because I thought that it would be more interesting for Apple Bloom to be bi, since her family seems to be extremely traditionalist (see the complete lack of Pegasi or Unicorns in the Apple family?).

Here’s to My Little Pony; I cannot commend you enough for being the pioneers of progress in your industry.

Why MLP: FiM is Secretly EXTREMELY Dark

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is an excellent show. I love it to the point that I am writing fan works for it, and one of those works is going to be one of my major projects. One of the things I most love about it is its multilayered nature; the vigilant viewer can analyze it and uncover a much deeper world and cast than would first be apparent.

I think that MLP: FiM is perhaps the best base for fan fiction ever made because of this enormous hidden depth. I’m a very well-read individual, and it has some of the best characters I’ve ever seen. There are almost no limits to the possibilities of its vibrant world. It’s episodic, so you can make a lot of stories that have few limitations but still don’t conflict with the show’s cannon. It’s a storyteller’s dream.

However, it is generally understood within the MLP fanfic community that there are some limits as to what a writer can say without breaking the established rules of the show. Most notably, that at a certain level of darkness a fic is no longer plausible within the show’s world. After all, this world is very much a Sugar Bowl; the most powerful magic is friendship, and evil will always ultimately fall to it. And sure, there are evil things in this show- but never too evil. After all, it’s a kid’s show- they’d never have anything truly horrific in it. Works like Story of the Blanks, Fallout: Equestriaand Cupcakes would of course never happen or even be implied to happen in the show… right?

A warning to fellow fans of the show: as you can probably tell, I’m planning on using those three darkfics as reference during this article. If you don’t want to hear about things like that or fear that the show will be “Ruined Forever” for you because of me, I suggest you leave now.

With that said, here we go.

I would argue that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is, in fact, one of the darkest shows you’ll ever see. I think the likes of Story of the Blanks and Cupcakes in fact wouldn’t be at all out of place within the world of show (not taking into account Out-of-Character behavior, of course). Will we ever see anything like those fics air on the show itself? No. However, once again, this show rewards the observant. I believe one of the things you’ll find if you pay attention is the truly bleak underbelly this show bears. Though this show superficially appears to be nothing more than a literal cheery, colorful world of rainbows and unicorns, the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) hints and implications steadily reveal the setting to be a tremendously disturbing crapsaccharine world whose damaged characters and vile villains could give Madoka Magica a run for its money.

To begin our plunge into the darkness, let’s begin with the protagonists themselves. Each of the Mane Six is deeply screwed up in their own unique ways. Here they are:

Twilight Sparkle herself is a stress-drinker. In the first episode of the show, she immediately attempts to pour herself a drink from a bottle bearing the image of a bubbling cocktail. She  does this because Pinkie and the others have been bothering her ever since she arrived.

Twilight also has an obsession with pleasing Princess Celestia that borders on madness. In the third episode of the second season (which occurs immediately after her encounter with Discord, suggesting psychological trauma) she is literally so disturbed by the complete lack of problems in Ponyville that in a panic she creates one by enchanting her old doll so that it becomes an “apple of discord,” causing all who see it to fight over it. She does all of this so that she won’t be late in her “friendship lessons” assignment.

Rainbow Dash is obsessed with apple cider to the point that she seems to have an addiction to it. She’s also dangerously cocky to the point that her risk-taking has almost costed her her life a few times.

There’s also the fact that she lives in Ponyville, despite having a deep love for Cloudsdale, and is not a Wonderbolt, despite the fact that she desperately wants to be and is the fastest Pegasus in the world. I believe that the reason for both of these things is because Rainbow Dash is a lesbian (I’ll explain my reasoning for this in another article) and she’s actively eschewed both her hometown and her dream job because other Pegasi are extremely intolerant of homosexuals, which would seem to be consistent with their highly competitive and hierarchical nature.

I think it’s interesting that Fluttershy, who is Rainbow Dash’s friend, has also moved to Ponyville from Cloudsdale. I also find it interesting that while they were in Cloudsdale they were friends at all, considering the enormous dissonance between their personalities and interests. I’ve also noticed that Fluttershy seems to be the most cynical of the group; despite her shy and passive nature, when she’s really pushed she demonstrates a rather abrasive and bitter side. This is particularly noticeable in Putting Your Hoof Down, where she viciously verbally attacks Pinkie and Rarity with such effectiveness that they’re driven to tears, and the insults’ poignancy heavily suggests that both they and Fluttershy at least partially believe the insults she’s hurling at them.

I believe that there is a reason for both Fluttershy’s strange friendship with Rainbow as well as her deep cynicism: she’s gay too, and due to the resulting shunning by her fellow Pegasi she naturally bonded with Rainbow since Rainbow was one of the only ones who would accept her. I also think she grew more cynical than Rainbow because while Rainbow was able to win some respect from their peers through her athletic prowess, Fluttershy had no such asset at her disposal, and therefore she ended up getting it worse than Rainbow did.

Applejack is deeply repressed and emotionally dysfunctional. She sees it as a world-shattering descent into eternal shame to fail at any task, be it wining rodeos or bucking all the apples from her orchard by herself. For a specific example, when she fails at winning money for the town in a rodeo, she runs away from home and vows never to come back until she has the money she promised. My sureness of her emotional dysfunction is further solidified by Tanks for the Memories, where she is said to cry “on the inside” but implied not to do so openly. As any psychologist can tell you, this isn’t very healthy, since we need to cry sometimes.

I suggest that the reason for her repression is her family; I think that the Apples are very, very traditionally orthodox and as a result are dysfunctional and repressed as a general rule. One way I think this manifests is a family taboo on miscegenation with non-Earth ponies. Consider the Flim Flam brothers. All signs point to them being Apples; they have green eyes, red and white manes, apples for cutie marks, and are in the apple agricultural business, all of which are characteristic of the Apple family. Furthermore, when they are first introduced in Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 and are first shown to meet Granny Smith, they don’t have to ask her name; they know her already.

The one thing that sets them apart from other Apples is that they’re Unicorns, which leads me to believe that they were estranged by their family (as Unicorns are incapable of bucking apple trees properly, which is what all Apples are expected to do) and have subsequently set out to prove their family wrong (and get poetic revenge on them) by beating them out of the apple business in spite of and because of their Unicorn powers. This would also explain why they came to Ponyville specifically twice, despite the fact that they were run out by Ponyville’s citizens the first time they came.

Rarity is overly concerned with her standing in society’s favor and is very emotionally manipulative. She literally excused herself from Twilight’s birthday party for the sole purpose of remaining in the Canterlot elite’s good graces (and when it’s in danger she starts stress-drinking, as well). She also has a tendency to use her tremendously good looks to get what she wants from others. Not only does she without hesitation charm stranger Stallions out of anything of theirs she might desire, but I strongly suspect she does so to her friends as well; assuming Fluttershy is in fact gay, I think it’s not too great a leap to suppose that Rarity utilized Fluttershy’s attraction to her to pressure Fluttershy into modeling for her (which, by the way, she knows fully well Fluttershy wants absolutely no part of).

But the most worrisome target of Rarity’s manipulations is Spike. First of all, I find it morally grey at best that Rarity would use Spike’s affections for her to manipulate him the way she does in the show. She more or less uses him as a personal serf (which Twilight arguably does as well, but at least in that case Twilight is feeding and housing him) without ever making clear that he has no real chance with her.

Except that perhaps Spike doesn’t have a practically nonexistent chance with Rarity after all. She does seem to lead him on a lot, but there are a few times when Rarity behaves in such a way that I suspect that there is some sincerity in her feigned interest in him after all. Most of these times, of course, occur in Secret of My Excess;

First, after Spike gives up a rare gem for her, she gives him a kiss on the cheek. Alright, innocent enough…

Second, Rarity proceeds to defend the gem with her life from an enormous dragon (who, though she doesn’t know at the time, is Spike, who at the time is unable to control himself) who will potentially eat her alive. Okay, that’s… a little much…

Third, when Spike transforms back into his baby dragon self and they fall through the sky, Spike attempts to make a Dying Declaration of Love. Rarity stops him halfway through and starts smilingly crying.

Spike is a child, by the way.

Doctor Who What

What the hell was THAT?! 

(This was how I really reacted when I first saw that scene, by the way.)

Fellow MLP fans, was I the only one who was really weirded out and more than a little creeped out when Rarity started crying? Did I mention that Rarity is a teenager and Spike is a child?

Finally, when they’re safely on the ground again, Rarity kisses Spike on the cheek again. Please oh please tell me I’m not the only one who finds this kind of really creepy.

At last, we arrive at Pinkie Pie.

First of all, I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I absolutely do not think that Pinkie would ever do anything like she does in Cupcakes. I think that she’s a very good pony who would be absolutely horrified at the very idea of doing anything like that. However, I think it’s useful as a reference because of a few specific facts about it: first, that it was published within a short time of Party of One, and second, that both Cupcakes and Party of One are based around the idea of Pinkie being psychologically disturbed.

The reason I find these two parallel facts so significant is because they indicate that the writers of both stories had a same basic interpretation of Pinkie’s character: that she is, on some level, mentally unwell. Not remotely to the level of Cupcakes, mind you, but unwell nonetheless. I argue that she has some form of depression, since she demonstrates some of the symptoms (swinging extremes in emotion, emotional immaturity, etc. [if you’re a qualified psychologist, feel free to point out any holes in my theory]). This would also be consistent with Pinkie being raised in what seems to be a rather repressed household (it is for this reason that I also argue that Maud is even more depressed than Pinkie; notice how she and Pinkie have extremely similar personalities when Pinkie loses her Cutie Mark in the first two episodes of Season Five). When Pinkie believes that she’s lost her friends in Party of One, she experiences an extremely disturbing lapse in sanity where she attempts to have a party in which her friends’ roles are filled by inanimate objects. And yes, I do mean extremely disturbing:

Pinkie Snapping 1 Pinkie Snapping 2 Pinkie Snapping 3

A TV-Y children’s show about rainbows and unicorns, ladies and gentlemen.

Let’s discuss the rest of the world and the side characters now.

First of all, the world is insanely dangerous. It has, among other things: malevolent, fire-breathing dragons; manticores; Cerberus; hydras; gargantuan bears; and ice-demon-horses that can freeze things alive. And yes, these things do attempt to kill other things. It never happens on-screen, of course, but still: a group of teenage dragons explicitly desire to smash some unhatched phoenix eggs. They explicitly want to kill them.

With regards to the rest of the characters, they’re explicitly shown to be realistically racist, classist, and otherwise bigoted towards groups of characters different from themselves. There’s also implied infidelity in the show; when Mr. and Mrs. Cake (both Earth ponies) have a pair of twins (a Unicorn and a Pegasus), the protagonists ask how the babies’ races differ from their parents. Mr. Cake replies that he had a great-grandfather who was a Unicorn and that Mrs. Cake had a great aunt’s second cousin twice removed who was a Pegasus, before desperately requesting assurance that that makes sense (for any not familiar with genetics or genealogy, his explanation is rubbish).

Of course, a show is only as bleak as it’s most wicked villains, so I’ve saved them for last. Precisely how horrible are My Little Pony’s villains? I actually doubt you could find villains more utterly evil and shockingly vile than these; they are collectively dishonest, manipulative, unpleasant, abusive, hypocritical, tyrannical, sadistic, sexually perverted, murderous, and torturous. Here is, in detail, what some of them have done:

Perhaps the least evil of the show’s major villains is Starlight Glimmer. However, she remains one of the most disturbing; she rules a cult town that claims all of its citizens to be “equal” through removing their cutie marks. It bears strong resemblances to concentration camps and real-life cults; whenever someone shows signs of possible dissent, Starlight locks them in a room with her propaganda blaring nonstop until they succumb back to submission. For added creepiness, the townsfolk all wear unnaturally large smiles at all times, and Starlight is simultaneously utterly hypocritical and seems disturbingly sincere about her belief that cutie marks cause disharmony; she secretly still has hers, though she seems to have convinced herself that without it her “perfect society” couldn’t exist (this is a real-life practice for cult leaders; the best way to get your followers to believe your lies is to make yourself believe them, too).

Next up is Sombra, who is a tyrannical overlord who the show’s creators have stated to be based on Sauron. He fully lives up to it; he enslaved the Crystal ponies and lives off of their pain and misery (and seems to gleefully enjoy it, too). He’s also killed onscreen by the main characters, by the way.

Next up is Tirek. First of all, he was imprisoned in the Equestrian Hell-equivelant prison Tartarus for many years. Rightfully so; once he escapes, he immediately begins draining ponies’ magical energies to increase his own power. He’s generally power-hungry and unpleasant, but the true extent of his vileness is Fridge Horror: whenever he takes ponies’ magic away, they immediately loose their abilities; Earth ponies loose their strength, Unicorns lose their spell casting, and Pegasi loose their flight. This of course logically means that some Pegasi fell helplessly from the sky to their deaths. We have no reason to believe Tirek would have saved them; he is shown to be a complete sociopath with no regard for others through his remorseless betrayal and mocking of Discord when he no longer served Tirek’s ends.

Next is Chrysalis. Aside from the fact that she attempted a hostile takeover of Canterlot to farm its citizens and feed on their love, she also imprisoned Cadence, attempted to goad Twilight into murdering her, and is heavily implied to have raped Shining Armor and be planning to do so again.

Rape. In My Little Pony. I’m dead serious. I know some of you might contest this, but honestly, they’re not even very subtle about it; first of all, why doesn’t Chrysalis just kill Shining? That would immediately solve her problem of the barrier he places around Canterlot, and then victory would quickly be hers. And it’s not like she’s not willing to kill ponies; once again, she attempted to get Twilight to kill Cadence. Chrysalis also tells Twilight that she can’t have her interfering with her plans for Shining. What other plans could she be referring to? Once again, if it was about her conquest, she could just kill him. There’s pretty much no doubt left by her song; (emphasis added) “No, I do not love the groom / In my heart there is no room / But I still want him to be all mine.”

Finally, we have Discord. He is, in my opinion, the most utterly evil character in the entire show (at his introduction, at least). First of all, he’s a complete jerk. Even after his first “reformation,” he’s still a complete jerk. Between being an all-powerful Eldritch Abomination and being a pure hedonist, everything and everyone else is nothing more than a plaything to him. Despite his chaotic reality-warping causing tremendous distress to everyone around him, he continues to inflict misery on them anyway. He’s also very petty; any slight against him, no matter how minor, is swiftly repaid by him several times over (his response to Fluttershy’s bunny attempting to kick him off a couch, for instance, is to hit and deliberately horrify it).

He’s also a very, very Dirty Old Man. He behaves very creepily around the main characters;  special mention goes to the creepy way he strokes Twilight and Fluttershy’s faces. He seems to have a stalkerish infatuation with Fluttershy to the point that he jealously attempts to throw Fluttershy’s guest to the Grand Galloping Galla into another dimension for being chosen over him. In the same episode, he also appears in Spike’s bed and stares at the Cutie Mark Crusaders while they’re in a dressing room (back-to-back, no less). To drive the point home, all of the kids in question are really freaked out when he does.

Lastly, Discord is a genocidal torturer. He cheerfully breaks the main characters’ minds when they first meet him and is shown in one of the stained glass windows to be burning ponies alive with the same sadistic glee. Here it is:

Discord Window

And why wouldn’t he? He’s easily bored, has no empathy whatsoever until Keep Calm and Flutter On, and doesn’t care at all about the well-being of others. It isn’t hard for me to imagine Discord going to any depth of depravity, including this one.

So, I hope that I have satisfactorily demonstrated My Little Pony to be pretty much as dark as you can possibly get. You all might be wondering, why did I do this? Well, simply put, I did this because I want everyone to know how brilliant this show is.

I am honestly quite sick of people dismissing MLP: FiM as shoddy children’s drivel without even watching it. I did this partially as a response to those naysayers; “I’m watching a really excellent show with amazing characters. It’s really dark; there’s cults, rape, murder, and torture in it. You know what show it is? My Little Pony. Yeah, not so stupid and sissy anymore, huh?”

But I also did this to inspire deeper appreciation of the show from my fellow fans. I didn’t write my observations to depress any of you; I wrote them so you could better appreciate how optimistic and hopeful this show is. Think of Avatar: the Last Airbender or Harry Potter as well as My Little Pony; they are all children’s works that adults love, they all have amazing yet flawed characters, they are all audaciously extremely dark (they all have cults, rape, murder, and torture), and they all ultimately deliver messages of peace, friendship, and hope.

As I said in a previous article, I believe that the best works are the darkest yet most hopeful ones. They teach perhaps life’s most valuable lesson: that while no, life’s not fair, and yes, it’s dark and bleak and terrifying, you can still overcome all the odds and find peace and happiness.

Despite the protagonists’ flaws and shortcomings, they are all still good people; they all love and support one another through every trial the world throws at them, no matter how great and horrible it might be. In the world of My Little Pony, the Moral Event Horizon does not exist; despite how utterly despicable Discord is, they still manage after much trial and error to reform him.

That is why My Little Pony is so brilliant; because it’s so overwhelmingly dark, where there is light it is blindingly beautiful.

Here’s to My Little Pony, a show that shows in every way that friendship truly is magic.

My Little Pony Fanfictions

As part of my writing career, I’m going to be writing fan fictions.

The first I’m publishing are fan fictions for My Little Pony: Friendship is MagicI’m going to publish all new chapters for them on my blog, which are all going to be indexed under the “Projects” tab under the “Fan Works” page. If you want to be informed of new chapters of these fics as soon as I write them, I recommend you go to fimfiction.net, get an account, and follow me so that you’ll be informed of any updates I make to my MLP fics.

I also plan to review other people’s fics; if enough of you request it, I’ll put those reviews on this blog, but until then they’ll just be on my fimfiction page. I’ll also give news updates on my fics on my fimfiction blog, but not this one. All you’re going to hear about those fics on this blog is when I write new fics, in which case I’ll just announce them.

The only fic I have written so far is Break Your Heart, of which I have two chapters written. You can read it on fimfiction or in my “Projects” page. If you want to read any of my My Little Pony fics, you need to read this one before you read any others; this fic is going to be canonical backstory for all the other ones I will write (unless I note otherwise).

Most importantly, I’m writing these fics in preparation for a huge, ambitious MLP fan fiction project I’m planning to do in the near future. Unlike my other fics, I consider this secret endeavor to be a full-fledged project in its own right, so I’ll provide news for it on this blog the same way I will for all my original projects. Even if you don’t like My Little Pony, please watch for it; I think you’re going to like it anyway. Trust me.

Review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

My Little Pony Title Card

Story time.

A while ago, I learned that the latest incarnation of My Little Pony, known as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, had grown a rather enormous periphery fandom of adult males. This intrigued me, as I’ve generally found that other males tend to avoid young girls’ shows like the plague. What was it people saw in the show?

I was of course aware of the piles and piles of porn about it, so I thought that perhaps the fandom was simply there as yuri fans. However, there was one problem with that theory: the characters are, obviously, ponies. I had a little difficulty believing that so many people were genuinely aroused by the idea of seeing animated horses getting down and dirty.

I thought that it must be something about the characters that drew people to them. Did they have sexy-sounding voice actresses? Was there a lot of lesbian ship-teasing between them (this is, of course, a TV-Y show, which unfortunately means that its depiction of homosexuality will never get more explicit than this)? Or were the characters genuinely compelling? I didn’t know.

As a general rule, it’s my policy to not watch a show unless someone whose opinion I respect recommends it to me, so I didn’t watch it for some time. However, I eventually encountered a very vocal fan of the show who I respected, and I asked him what he saw in the show, and his response essentially boiled down to: “I don’t know. I just like it, I guess.”

This is one of the reasons I desperately want people to regularly practice their rhetorical skills; here I was, a potential fan of the show, literally asking to be converted, and because of my friend’s inability to articulate his tastes he lost that opportunity.

Nonetheless, I like to think of myself as an open-minded person. Just because it’s a show for girls doesn’t mean it’s bad, as evidenced by Beauty and the Beast, and by the same token just because it’s a show for kids also doesn’t mean it’s bad, as evidenced by Avatar: the Last Airbender. Eventually I decided that the fandom’s existence despite people’s general fears of perceived immaturity and lack of masculinity was enough of a recommendation, so I sat down and watched a couple episodes (Swarm of the Century and Bridle Gossip, in case you were wondering).

What did I think? I actually rather liked them.

I had dipped my toe in the pool and decided, “good enough,” so I dived in. I watched the show from the beginning.

This is the basic premise: the show is set in a fantasy world in which magic is commonplace and the land is inhabited by monsters and both intelligent and non-intelligent animals. The kingdom the show focuses on (though it does occasionally feature others) is Equestria, in which the primary inhabitants are ponies. There are four races of ponies: horned Unicorns, who can perform magic; winged Pegasi, who can fly and control the weather; Earth ponies, who have the strength necessary to farm; and Alicorns, which are rare, powerful, immortal combinations of the other three that make up some of the show’s pantheon of gods. All ponies have a marking on their flanks called a “cutie mark,” which appears when they discover their special talent (which usually occurs in late childhood) and represents that talent.

The ruler of Equestria is Princess Celestia, an Alicorn who moves the sun and moon through the sky. Once Celestia had a younger sister named Luna, who moved the moon and ruled the night while she moved the sun and ruled the day. However, Luna grew jealous of Celestia, as their subjects frolicked and played during Celestia’s day while they shunned and slept through Luna’s night, so Luna attempted to plunge the world into eternal night. Doing so she transformed into a creature of darkness and renamed herself “Nightmare Moon.” When Celestia begged Nightmare Moon to stop and Nightmare refused, Celestia regretfully used the Elements of Harmony, the most powerful objects in the world, to seal her corrupted sister in the moon.

A thousand years later, Celestia has taken an apprentice: a young but incredibly powerful Unicorn named Twilight Sparkle, who is studying magic (her special talent for which she has her cutie mark) under her.

The show begins on the Summer Sun Celebration, the anniversary of Nightmare Moon’s defeat, when Twilight learns that the stars will align and Nightmare Moon will be able to return. When she tries to tell Celestia, Celestia commands Twilight to oversee the festivities in the nearby town of Ponyville and make some friends there.

Twilight doesn’t have any desire to make friends, as she believes that she has no need for them, so she ignores that command and decides to just oversee the festivities. Nonetheless, she meets several other girls who all attempt to befriend her: the bubbly, energetic party planner Earth pony Pinkie Pie; the friendly, sweet Earth pony cowgirl Applejack; the exceptionally beautiful, generous fashion designer Unicorn Rarity; the boastful, athletic weather Pegasus Rainbow Dash; and the shy, kind veterinarian Pegasus Fluttershy. Though Twilight’s assistant, a baby dragon named Spike, is easily won over by them, Twilight is put off by their rather enormous personalities and avoids them.

When the time comes for Celestia to ceremoniously raise the sun in Ponyville, the citizens are distressed to find that she hasn’t turned up. This is when Nightmare Moon, who has escaped from her prison, reveals herself and declares that the night will last forever.

Knowing that the Elements of Harmony can defeat her, Twilight and her five new acquaintances travel into the dangerous Everfree Forest to go to the Princesses’ old castle, where the Elements are located. Along the way, Nightmare Moon attempts to stop them with several roadblocks, which they overcome using their various strengths; Applejack through honesty, Rarity through generosity, Fluttershy through kindness, Rainbow Dash through loyalty, and Pinkie Pie through laughter. When at last they reach the castle and find the Elements, Nightmare Moon confronts them. Though the Elements at first do nothing and Nightmare Moon believes herself to be victorious, Twilight realizes that the other girls personify the Elements and that she herself represents the last one: friendship, which as indicated by the show is literally magic.

Twilight at last accepts the other girls as her friends, and together they activate the Elements and defeat Nightmare Moon, destroying her corruption and reverting her back to Luna. Here Celestia appears and reveals to Twilight that this was why she told her to make friends; this was the only way Nightmare Moon could be defeated.

Celestia and Luna joyfully reunite and attempt to go back to Canterlot (Equestria’s capital) with Twilight, though Twilight admits she wants to stay with her new friends. In response, Celestia gives Twilight a new mission: stay in Ponyville, continue her studies of magic by studying friendship, and report any findings to her.

The rest of the show details this mission; it shows Twilight and her friends’ daily lives and regular troubles, how they solve them, and ends each episode with Twilight recording what they’ve learned and mailing their findings to Celestia. These lessons continue to prove vital, as they occasionally encounter other great threats to Equestria and must use all they’ve learned about their friendship to defeat them.

So, what do I think of this show?

love it. I was shocked by how much I loved it. This show is incredibly good. And this is from somebody who also loves Gears of War and Batman Begins.

The animation is gorgeous. It’s some of the best I’ve ever seen on a television show. The attention to detail is just staggering; for instance, one monster they encounter is a giant bear that they mistake for an Ursa Major, but if you know about constellations you’ll realize before the show’s characters reveal it that it’s actually an Ursa Minor, as the constellation in question is accurately displayed by the stars on its tail.

This show is quite multilayered and subtle. For instance, Pinkie Pie is one of the most cartoonish characters on the show, able to do things such things as inflate like a balloon or teleport or produce a cannon out of thin air. Of course, as this is an animated show, you’d probably not take these abilities very seriously, or even make the effort to think of them as literally happening within the universe of the show; she’s comic relief, and comic relief characters tend to be able to do such things without much effect on the plot. However, as it turns out Pinkie’s powers are not only very real, but very much not to be taken lightly;  Discord, one of the show’s most major and recurring villains, has all the same powers Pinkie has and more, and though in Pinkie’s hands they are played for laughs in Discord’s they are very serious business and have very real consequences within the show.

His ability to bend reality as he pleases causes enormous havoc within the show’s world; though he has the persona and humor of the Disney incarnation of Aladdin‘s Genie, he is a full-fledged Eldritch Abomination. So great a threat is he that only with the power of the Elements are they able to defeat him.

And in case you still doubt a connection between his powers and Pinkie’s, notice that Pinkie has a “Pinkie twitch” that allows her to predict the future based on several bodily tics she displays. Now watch Twilight’s Kingdom; Discord has the same power. And not only that, it has a HUGE effect on the plot; he “twitches” when the Princesses give Twilight their power, and with this information he proceeds to direct Tirek (another villain) right to her. Never before have I seen such a long-foreshadowed use of Chekhov’s Gag to such profound effect (as a side note, I find it interesting how other fans don’t seem to have noticed that Discord has the “Pinkie twitch,” as they tend to overanalyze everything).

Another display of the show’s subtlety is that after another major villain is exiled, she is shown in later episodes as a background character watching Twilight, obviously planning her next move.

The lesson I’ve learned from all this is: you must pay attention to every detail in this show.

But the absolute crowning glory of this show is the characters. These are some of the best characters I’ve ever seen. I consider this show to be one of the all-time best bases for fan fiction largely because of this; like Transformers, another Hasbro franchise, MLP: FiM has created an entire cast of extremely memorable, fully fleshed out, fantastic characters, each with a very unique and compelling personality. Regarding precisely how amazing these characters are, I will now butcher a Pirates of Penzance quote: “Oh, how awesome! How surpassingly awesome is the lamest of them!”

All of these characters are bright, resourceful, and strong, yet flawed and complex. Though extremely intelligent, Twilight is devoted to her mentor to the point it borders on madness, and this coupled with her obsessive desire for order initiate a small disaster within Ponyville in one episode. Applejack is deeply repressed and internalizes her personal woes rather than depending on her friends, which in one episode causes her to run away without explanation. Rarity is obsessed with maintaining her image to the point that it threatens to damage her well-being and her friendships. Fluttershy’s tremendous fear makes it difficult for her to overcome intimidating obstacles. Rainbow Dash has an ego almost as big as mine, and obviously she does some rashly dangerous things because of it. And as for Pinkie Pie… well, I’ll get back to her on another post.

But the thing is, despite the fact that each of these characters is deeply troubled in their own unique ways, they do gradually overcome their weaknesses and become better, braver, wiser people. That’s where the show’s strength lies, I think; it’s all about the inherent good in everyone. I would even say that’s the show’s core message: no one is beyond redemption.

From episode one, we see this idea demonstrated; Twilight and Celestia are able to save Luna from her own jealousy and have her return to her normal life. In the first Equestria Girls movie, they are able to befriend the film’s villain and have her change her ways, as well. Even Discord, the aforementioned god of chaos is eventually reformed through stubborn showings of kindness towards him despite his general jerkish behavior.

And for you more cynical viewers, this isn’t a message the show makes lightheartedly. You might contend that this show is set in a happy little sugary paradise where of course there would be hope for the redemption of everyone. However, this is not the case. Once again, this is a show that rewards those who carefully observe and analyze it. For the vigilant viewer, it becomes clear that the show is far, far darker than it first appears, to the point that I would even call the world a crapsaccharine one.

Regarding the darkness of this show, I will go into a more in-depth discussion of it in another post, as I don’t want you all to go into angst aversion against it before you’ve seen it because of me (I’d also like to give anyone who doesn’t want to hear about it at all the chance to not accidentally read it) because, seriously, this show is excellent. My only real criticism of it is that I think that being a children’s show under Hasbro‘s thumb limits its potential. I wish it could be more explicit about the adult and mature things it deals with. I wish the animators had more freedom, as its limited budget means that we get few adventure episodes (which are usually the best ones) which usually have the villains defeated via deus ex machina rather than having actual cool battles (and even the handful of cool battles we got ended with the signature deus ex machina anyway). Most importantly, it doesn’t quite respect its audience enough to assume they got the message of any given episode and instead has Sonic Sez-style segments at the end of each one, explicitly stating what lesson they’re supposed have learned (despite the fact that the unsaid messages, such as the “good in everyone” one I discussed earlier, tend to be more potent and ring more true).

But even despite these weaknesses, this show is still amazing. It has some of the best characters you’ve ever seen, and the show shines its brightest when they show huge amounts of powerful emotion (which is why I consider A Canterlot Wedding and Keep Calm and Flutter On to be the best episodes). It’s a gem of a show that hasn’t yet had its polishing finished; it has enormous potential, and there are a good many parts where that potential shines through; several episodes are excellent, and a few are even masterful. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do. You’re free to not like it, but at least read the book before you judge it by its cover. I think (and hope) you’ll be pleasantly surprised, as I was.

This is an excellent show that I adore.