Lately, my interest in My Little Pony has been rekindled. I had somewhat fallen out of collecting and the communities after the G3 ponies became Core 7 and then G3.5. The reduction of characters for Core 7 meant there were less interesting pony toys to collect, although my favourite, Pinkie Pie, was still featured. When the designs changed to the large-headed G3.5 style, I stopped paying attention. It just didn’t quite appeal to me. I enjoyed the collection that I had, but without the thrill of the hunt for new ponies I stopped keeping up with news and other information.
That changed with the redesign of the toys and release of the new cartoon series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
I was apprehensive at first. When I saw sketches of the new artwork style, designed by Lauren Faust, the only thing I noticed was how different it looked from the older artwork. It was angular and modern, not soft and dreamlike as the 80s artwork had been. In general, the My Little Pony community disliked it because it was so far from the vintage pony designs, but I couldn’t quite share their outrage. Although it lacked the charm of the old cartoon, it looked much more professional than the style of art used for the more recent My Little Pony packaging and films. My Little Pony: the Movie was one of my favourite childhood films and something I still watch, but the newer My Little Pony movies decreased in quality until the final “new” movie, Twinkle Wish Adventure, which was nearly unwatchable.
I also didn’t know what they were going to do to modernize the series. As much as I have nostalgic attachment to the My Little Pony cartoon, not every episode is great–some of them are filled with low-quality, glitchy animation, random unimpressive songs inserted in, and confusing or nonsense storylines. Even the less-impressive episodes have interesting moments, but the quality of writing had gotten substantially worse for the modern episodes and movies. More than wanting the new show to preserve the feeling of the vintage ponies, I wanted it to succeed. My Little Pony was getting dangerously close to dying out as brand altogether, and if they couldn’t revitalize it for this third recent attempt it was unlikely to continue.
So far, I’ve been thrilled with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I’ve gotten used to the new designs and don’t dislike them anymore–they have charm in their own way, even if it’s nothing like the vintage designs. The “slice of life” setup works well to keep the episodes connected. The season’s 2-part opening is amazing–very dramatic, with magic and a battle and all kinds of craziness. The rest of the show hasn’t followed that same direction, which is slightly unfortunate…but not too much, because the show as it stands is great. The writers are funny and the episode plots are interesting. The ponies have a refreshing depth of character–although they’re all good-natured and pure-hearted (they are, after all, little ponies), each have their own flaws or issues that they need to work through. They make a really cute little group of friends!
Just a few of the new toys–the smaller ponies are the “normal” size and the larger pony is a “fashion style” pony that came with clothes and accessories. I style their hair.
Enjoying the new show has caused me to also enjoy the new toys. They’re much tinier than the ponies I used to collect, and their big ears are kinda silly, but they’re still quite cute. I remember fondly that most of the toys I loved as a child were very small–if I could have several of them in one small bag or fit them in my pocket, that was very appealing. Once I got over the shock of “wow, these are tiny ponies,” I started to feel more like, “wow, I like these tiny ponies.”
I’m looking forward to seeing what new things they’ll come out with as season 2 starts up. It’s fun to have something that I can actively collect again…although I’m definitely going to start running out of room to keep all these ponies. I feel like I need a separate house just for them to live in, haha~