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 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.

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 wouldn't have 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 a visit by 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". 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. The exact reasons have been left to speculation, but it probably a variety of causes. MLP has been noted for dealing with constant executive interference, and its writers have complained that there are frequently "too many chefs" in the kitchen. But there's also evidence of some events in Faust's personal life which may have led to her resignation.

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 goose 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.

Going forward, the show has had multiple directors and has lost its sense of vision. The setting has become like wet toilet paper: every time they touch something, they put holes in it. /mlp/ is in a state that was inevitable from the very beginning, where 90% of the threads are about a fetish or the latest greentext fad, and the remaining 10% of threads are arguing over whether the show is still good. The show doesn't bother much with logic any longer, so nobody can really string ideas onto the world and there's a whole lot less creative musing. Fan content is still made, but it's usually character portraits and pornography. Overall, the culture that remains is pretty spergy, even by 4chan's standards.

Post-Mortum Analysis[edit]

tl;dr 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.

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