My Little Pony

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The My Little Pony franchise consists of a series of toys and cartoons created and owned by Hasbro (yes, that Hasbro). As anyone with even a passing familiarity with the subject will know, the target demographic is small girls, and Hasbro generally regards the animated component as an advertisement for the line of toys (just like with Transformers and Black Library books*BLAM**BLAM**BLAM*). The franchise has been around since the eighties and was beginning to lose traction with the economic downturn, but the most recent revision, begun in 2010, has seen an explosion of popularity on the internet, amassing a cult following of "adult" (or semi-adult) men. There's also a healthy female audience, but they're largely not spoken of, since it's not viewed as weird when girls enjoy lovable, marshmallow horses.

Pony fans are called or refer to themselves as bronies, ponyfags, horsefuckers, and a variety of other monikers, and while every enthusiastic fanbase on the Internet tends to sow drama everywhere they go, the bronies have had their notoriety given a leg up by moderator temper tantrums and mass banning across 4chan.


A Legacy Typical to 4chan[edit]

This is the true face of the 80s.

When the fourth generation of the My Little Pony Show, led by Lauren Faust, who had a hand in the creation of works like Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends and The PowerPuff Girls, first aired on television, it found itself being discussed on /co/. Whether the first people to talk about the show were male or female is a mystery, but the fact remains that the show itself was vibrant, colorful, and contained some essential elements that have been present in a lot of big cultural phenomena since jobs and money have become more scarce. Namely escapist and romantic themes, including a society where everyone has a role in life thanks to their most prolific talent being stamped on every pony's butts - they almost always wind up working in the right jobs, with unemployment being all but unheard of.

However, the show also featured some (possibly unintentional) dark undertones starting off. There were hints of political dissent, infidelity, ponies who couldn't find their talents doomed to a life of carting manure, and an episode that strongly hinted one of the ponies was a lesbian with an inter-species girlfriend. Most of these undercurrents have been all but lost as of the third season, but at the time, these niggling strings proved hilarious for adults to grab hold of to unravel the sweater of the show. An animation error even led fans to invent a character with strabismus, who was later formally adopted into show canon and then subsequently banned by Hasbro corporate - until Hot Topic pointed out tons of money could be made by lifting the character idea from the fans.

But most of all (at least according to Encyclopedia Dramatica), the Brony syndrome can be traced back to the already-popular Anime subculture. Throughout the years the Japanese had this concept of "Moe," a character trait of cuteness exemplified by Purity, Innocence and most of all, Cuteness. Some elements may also include submission, humility, selflessness, self-sacrifice, dependence, a tendency to be messianic to the point of sacrificing herself for others, and most suitable for being tortured in many other ways than possible, and crying cutely while at it. This trait manifested itself in one of the show's characters, named Fluttershy. Anime influences also are clear in the composition of My Little Pony: e.g. design of the eyes of the characters, the neotenous facial construction of the Ponies, and typical Anime character stereotypes such as Pinkie Pie as the hyperactive fun-loving girl, Rainbow Dash as the tough-looking Tsundere, Twilight Sparkle as the ice-cold Rei-like rationalist, and of course, Fluttershy, the Moeblob what with her selfless submissive humility.

Growing interest in the show, coupled with a range of expressive screen caps, caused My Little Pony to spill out of /co/. People began using MLP for reaction images, and naturally, this raised a few eyebrows. Threads wound up being derailed as people demanded to know what in the hell they were looking at, and board regulars got tired of seeing it explained all the time. It interrupted discussion because it was confusing and new - some began to get angry for this reason, and others got mad because they simply didn't like seeing a cute girls' cartoon becoming a popular cultural thing on a site known as a den of racism and hatred. It kind of screwed up the rep.

Had the regulars of /mlp/ actually been cheery-eyed schoolgirls, the clusterfuck that has engulfed the entire Internet would never have come to pass.

Ultimately, MLP probably would have come and gone in the natural order of things, rising up then waning again between seasons. However, 4chan has, for years now, tolerated increased moderator activity, including overhauls to mod power which allows them to ban larger crowds for smaller infractions; this would haven't been a problem if the moderators weren't so bad at using their increased power. 4chan's mods are dumbasses - it is not a secret - and sadly, they felt it was their sacred, sworn duty to make an ultimate decision on whether or not My Little Pony should be discussed on the website. They arbitrarily decided the answer was "no."

Thus began the show's meteoric rise, with the conflict between mods and the show's growing fanbase attracting all the more attention and sparking up debates across multiple boards. Posting Pony-related content of any type became a bannable offense everywhere and users began to take sides; ponies quickly became a tool for trolling mods and those in the opposing camps, and needless to say, it all became a complete clusterfuck. It was essentially 4chan moderation at its finest, and the final result is a lingering, yet slowly passing aftertaste where many remember a time that they could not get away from My Little Pony if they visited 4chan at all.

Eventually the moderators had to cede some ground because, as they still have yet to learn, crowds are governed by consent, and the mods didn't have the resources to ban enough dissenters to gain consent by the majority remaining. In a rare moment of Pyrrhic victory, 4chan had actually defeated the site's largest moderator rampage to date. However, although ponies were once again permitted on /co/, a terse stand-off remained, as the mods do not like to lose and they weren't willing to call it quits on the fight.

My Little Pony was allowed a single thread on /co/. It was not the first time that a general thread was used to contain something the moderators did not like to see, but it is a notable landmark in 4chan history, since the use of general threads for the mods' benefit has expanded greatly as a practice afterward. Users went along with it, since it was better than a universal ban; a script was created that directed people to the general threads, which were very active and populated by numerous artists, including /tg/'s own Weaver, the man responsible for Ruby Quest, then going by the name "Glitter Glue".

Unfortunately, the mods were still idiots. Occasionally, 4chan staff would pop in and delete the general thread, which caused chaos. The only possible result was that countless new threads would pop up and almost the entire front page of /co/ would be attempts to recreate "MLP General". 4chan staff would go on banning the new threads ad nauseum, and users would find it impossible to establish a proper, organized thread that followed the rules. This caused various forms of rebellion - sometimes the general thread would be completely relocated to a different 4chan board where mods didn't seem to be as active. There the new general would stay, irritating the locals, until the mods left and the people were allowed to reorganize again.

This ongoing strife of argumentation, kicking the fandom hive, and the growing size of the fandom itself eventually forced the mods to come up with a plan so that they could have things their way while still resolving the problem. Unwilling to admit that their actions were at odds with 4chan itself due to the numerous effects of the abuse, Moot and the moderators once again established a global ban on My Little Pony. But this time, Moot offered an apology which proved empty over time, and he created a new board where the show was to be discussed exclusively. The board was called /mlp/.

So surprisingly, the pony fandom has had a huge impact on 4chan in general and can be inferred to have caused Moot to rethink the way he runs the site in some degrees. Not in a positive direction - he merely works on ways to slow 4chan down to make it easier for his staff to control everything so that he'll never have to admit a tactical loss to his userbase again.

On /tg/[edit]

This Pretty Marines Dreadnought was jealous of Pinkie Pie's color scheme. Either that, or it mistook her for a Leprechaun and thought Lucky Charms would fall out if it ripped it open. Experts are not entirely sure which; draw your own conclusions.

Fa/tg/uys have a historical record of wishing to be the little girl, but the days when /tg/ stood for /totally gay/ and/or /touhou games/ have long since passed and are merely a happy memory now, so our beloved board responded to the Pony plague in much the same way that /tg/ responds to everything it doesn't know how to feel about: violent anger.

For serious, it's just another iteration of the same thing. We saw it before with Touhou, we'll see it again some other time and wish that Ponies were the least of our problems. Regardless, /tg/'s mods never learn from their past mistakes, and fired up the Commissariat - discussion of My Little Pony on /tg/ is now Extra Heresy and will be responded to with bans. Because much like with chakats before them, /tg/ has a built-in excuse literally as old as /tg/ itself; suffer not the furry to live.

Ponies are still common-as-hell on /b/, /f/, and /co/, but they're infrequently brought up on the other boards anymore, /tg/ included. The addition of the /mlp/ board gave bronies a general board to post their content. The mods make it too much trouble to fight for it anywhere else, as the global ban is still in effect and the chances of it being lifted before the fandom dies out is slim.

The general reaction to any mention of ponies on /tg/ varies between simple exuberance, to indifference and apathy, to Khorne-pausing RAGE depending on how well you roll, though the second scenario is more prevalent overall. Even with the bans in place, fans on /tg/ have proven their time-honored ability to get shit done and produced a veritable arsenal of Pony-flavoured RPGs, including titles like Don't Rest Your Hooves, Ponyfinder, Poor Unfortunate Foals and other things that can be found on the internet and had their genesis in /tg/. It just goes to show that even when something's completely ridiculous, /tg/ won't be prevented from dicking around with it and trying to make some win in the process, or at least prying some laughs and mockery out of it. If you go looking around the seven Internets, you can even find fanfiction about the main cast playing D&D, which is like product-placement inception when you remember it's all owned by Hasbro now. Just as planned. While 40K has fallen to the filthy plague of pastel-coloured horse loving man-children, regular Warhammer has not, owing to the fact that WHFB has largely into obscurity outside the Tabletop scene due to being overshadowed by it's futuristic, grimdark counterpart.

Overlapping fanbases have resulted in large amounts of crossover fiction and fanart - including the somewhat bizarre meeting of MLP and Warhammer 40,000, amongst others - and they are guaranteed to incense at least a few people every time they rear their mutated heads. Including you, once you reach this page's gallery section. Look out, here it comes!

Oh yeah most of the Dawn of War cast also did VA work on FIM, most notably Farseer Taldeer's who voices Princess Celestia and Firaeveus Carron who voices Chief Thunder-nuts. In the exact same voice. Meanwhile, Shas'O Kais is done by the same guy who does a gay sea serpent and an annoying little kid on the show.

/mlp/[edit]

A short glimpse into the ride that never ends.

/mlp/ is one of 4chan's more active boards. It's also probably the most tragic.

During seasons one and two of My Little Pony, the board was populated with a huge number of fans discussing the show. A few of /tg/'s old artists, who haven't been seen around /tg/ proper since the great content purge of 2009, were there on a regular basis producing hilarious comics, stories, and drawings for the young fandom. The extreme proliferation of materials led to the creation of a website called Equestria Daily, as well as numerous others, and thousands of Youtube parodies and song remixes which range from very good to inconceivably terrible.

However, in the time between seasons, /mlp/ finds itself struggling to discuss new content. The board was made mainly to satisfy 4chan's moderators, not because the fourth generation of My Little Pony had so much going on that an entire board to itself was really necessary. During these times, the site discusses or sometimes destroys fandom artists, official show staff, or Hasbro's corporate politics. In time, the fandom had also developed a number of ongoing sub-cultures that were entirely sustained by fan artists. Notable examples include or included fluffy ponies, Milky Way, Flutterrape, Anon in Equestria, Ponies on Earth, Satyr Abomination, ass worship, bat ponies, and whatever else can be made into a series during the hiatus. In other words, the board is active, but somewhat starving for material related to the actual show.

The board also had a terrible janitor who was so bad at his job that he became a joke around the site. He was often apathetic, deleted threads inexplicably, and didn't seem to have a purpose beyond wasting everyone's time. Eventually, the board named him "Scruffy", after the janitor from Futurama who seems to have no purpose or positive influence on anything. After that, he was always depicted as the character, and Scruffy's face was sometimes plastered over questionable or NSFW content as a kind of jab at the guy. He wasn't exactly liked, but he wasn't a scourge. Yet.

Eventually, that changed. For unknown reasons, possibly the visiting of Lauren Faust, Scruffy began a crackdown and /mlp/ got to re-live the days of bans and fighting for the right to post content on their own board. He arbitrarily chose a number of the generals to die, some because of racy content and others just because he didn't like them and Global Rule #6 allows a mod to delete anything he feels falls outside of "positive contributions" (which means w. He rapidly went from a character teasingly thought of as someone who couldn't do a job to someone who was actively doing his job very badly. Further outrage ensued when screen caps from the hidden janitor board, /j/, revealed Scruffy to be a total dick hole who obviously kind of hated the board - maybe all of 4chan while we're at it, but that's our moderators for you.

Around this same time, Hasbro realized they were sitting on a money printing machine, and instead of standing back and leaving it alone to just print money, they began hitting it with a sledgehammer in the hopes that the machine would produce some kind of totally new money with a more enticing scent that would be more valuable.

It didn't.

Lauren Faust left the show by the middle of season two. This is one of the few truly skub things discussed between bronies: some claim it really was free will, as she is working on other shows now and has stood by the claim that it was her decision, whereas others claim that she was, in fact, pushed out, as she poured her heart and soul into it and made it clear that she had a plan for where it was going, plus you wouldn't exactly openly say you were kicked off of your own show, now would you?

Anyway, by the end of season two and all of season three, Hasbro was actively injecting lame ideas into new episodes, culminating with the release of a brilliant plan: clutter the main character up with a pair of wings and call her a princess. Disney is making tons of dosh on princesses! How could this go wrong?

Then they took their next step. They introduced a spin-off called Equestria Girls. It was a novel concept in the way that it took a bunch of young adult characters with clear future prospects, an open world full of magic, and a friendly, colorful atmosphere, and then completely obliterated all of that by making the ponies into human, teenage girls trapped in motherfucking high school. It was a movie, and the entire plot revolved around how much the high school basically sucked compared to the pony universe. To the total, utter, unparalleled shock of Hasbro's astounding marketing teams, somehow, a show about pastel girls in the shackles of a tired, stressful cliche of a system did not capture quite the same audience.

So /mlp/ is now a board of dying hope when it talks about the show, and the fandom is on the decline. When it's doing other things, /mlp/ is completely in its own little world. Nobody really knows what will come from season four, but many fans have had their expectations all but crushed. In the end, it just goes to show that My Little Pony was destined to be a fad thanks to its bumbling financiers, and had it simply been allowed to run its course, it would doubtlessly be a fading memory, rather than one of the most common ban excuses on 4chan. ...Then season 4 came out. And it was awesome. Well, not by TG standards more by brony standards but till now bronies were certain season 2 would be the best, and last, great season of the show, yet people are both shocked and surprised that this season is not just more original, but also generally more interesting! You still got the predictable lame episode but you get three kick ass ones in return. The biggest difference seems to be slowly getting away from the slice of life plots of the previous series and becoming much more adventuress. Another thing is they kinda put some mystery into the series while taking away the cheeziest, but also most useful items the characters had, the element of harmony, that used different parts of friendship to make, a kid you not, the exact same beam from "IMMA FIRIN MA LAZOR!" meme. Yeah it was groan worthy that friendship LITERALLY helped win the day but many bronies brushed it off as "WHO CARES? ITS A FRICKIN LAZER BEAM!!!" Start of season 4, its gone. For good. Now they're defenseless, and it means they actually need to DO stuff to beat the big bads as opposed to "WITH OUR POWERS COMBINED!" them.

They still use the power of friendship of course, most notable making Discord good, just less rainbow lasers.

No one is sure HOW THE FUCK THIS HAPPENED! There was no major changes, the directors the same, as far as this TGer knows the writers and staff is the same...Maybe they got their shit together? Maybe they decided to do their own thing, since season 3 did seem like they were trying to emulate Lauren's style...Whatever the reason, it seems the brony fandom is still going. While this means growth would be slow at best, problem for TG is now not only will the fans become MUCH more loyal to the show, even during ruff patches they can always say "OH this happened during season 3 too and look at season 4! It'll all blow over."

Or most likely the real reason was Season 2 and 3 was trying to market directly to Bronies rather than the show's real target little girls. This plan rarely works ever since bronies, despite how they act, are still only a minority in the fandom, the adventuress parts were also Lauren Faust's original ideal as well.

The Season 4 was in full swing when it happened... along with Equestria Girls 2, Hasbro has announced the MLP:FIM brand is going strong at least for another 5 years. This was, of course, met with the kind of response you'd expect from a board that has taken the famous /v/ meme of "Mr. Bones' Endless Ride" to heart... yet another 5 more years stuck with the best show the television has produced since the Slaanesh's birth. In their opinion, at least. This, along with the confirmation that M.A.Larson will return as a writer for Season 5 has given the board life 'anew, although its inhabitants are still angered at Scruffy for taking away their ability to post Clop, which has led to an influx of newfags from other places over the internet. Though season 4's twilight's kingdom turned into dbz on us when Twilight fought Tirek. I kid you not she fired a big ass laser at him then they started fighting, i half expected a spess mehreen to fall out of the sky and chainsword someone. If you want to see it, it's right here. So maybe mlp actually has fightscenes...explains this brony bullshit Original MLP, which is even older than the Wh40k itself, had Tirek and the same kind of violence and everything, but no group of people like us... it sure helps for some people and is a part of the balance that makes it great, but if the show was all like that, it would be just another /co/ cartoon(no offense, /co/mrades, but when it comes to crossovers of our sphere of interest, you usually give us stuff like Battletech/Heavy Gear cartoon).

Post-Mortum Analysis[edit]

Many things can be gleaned from the rise and subsuquent fall of /mlp/, and not just crass observations by /tg/ that Hasbro's marketing division either has or every soon will be undergoing some downsizing. Indeed, one can compare it to the rise and fall of many other diseases that swept through 4chan, and were similarly fucking loathed - but as the MLP fandom, disjointed mess that it is, had a lot of legitimate fans, one can make the argument that you can't really compare it to these embodiments of failure.

...But we all know which fandom it was that brought us horse-fucking, so fair enough.

...We got better

No we fucking didn't.

As it stands the My Little Pony fanbase has been skimmed down to a elite few, the franchise no longer having the mass appeal it seemingly had previously. Those who have left claim it's because of the declining quality of show itself, not to mention the string of terrible movies more akin to a Barbie franchise then the cartoon they loved so much. Those who stay claim that the show is as good as it's always been, it's just been pretty silly and simple from day one. The majority also seem to enjoy the movies, although there are some who consider them just as horrible as the leavers make them out to be. The split really occurred around the first movie, which was following one of the worse seasons in many fans opinion and a change of story direction that made many raise their eyebrows. From here it really depends who you ask, either the quality nosedived or it stayed the same, though there are exceptions. Pretty much every seems to enjoy the season five starter for example.

The main point is the once growing and dominant Brony fandom has finally settled into a more niche environment, like the Beast Wars and Gem fandoms. While not dead, it's more a fandom that's...Just there, as opposed to some attacking force plaguing the internet.

(note) the major cause of the calm down maybe was that it left the major popularity of the mainstream it had ridden on for a while, now reduced to another nerd show past the huge outburst of popularity.

With Season 6 starting off with several D&D references and ponies confirmed until 2019, it's quite clear this ride won't be ending for a long, long time. The shitposting calmed down a lot, and ponies are occasionally brought up on /tg/ with or without rage.

Season 6 ended and was met with mixed reception, generally seen as worse than 5. How much worse is hotly debated.

Gallery[edit]

See Also[edit]

/tg/ Related

Official games:

  • Little Pony CCG - A pretty fun variation of MtG which stresses multi-color decks and solving friendship problems instead of killing each other.
  • Tails of Equestria - Recently announced official P&P role-playing game poised to come in winter 2016, written by Alessio Cavatore of Games Workshop fame.

Fan made content:

Elsewhere
Video Review