Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Why I worry about Equestria Girls — even if it's good

Equestria Girls SpikeDogThing
And then there's this. We don't talk about this
Before we go any further, I'd better define "good". So far, Equestria Girls looks to be doing fine on the technical front, by which I mean animation, voice acting and music. (We haven't heard any of the movie's songs yet, but Daniel Ingram knows what he's doing.) The big unknown is whether it will give us a satisfying storyline, rather than just some rehashed rubbish about Twilight winning a popularity contest and ending up in a romance with that guy who helps her up in the trailer. If it can do so, and do so in a way that confounds all of us sceptics, then it could legitimately be called good.

However, that still doesn't mean that I'll like the implications. We've already had a strong hint from Bobby Curnow that there will be comics involving EqG in some way. It's long been abundantly clear that Hasbro is after the Monster High toy market and that EqG is a "brand extension" that would enable them to go after it with a vengeance. However good it is, it's inevitably going to mean that the overall My Little Pony brand is no longer focused entirely on Friendship is Magic. The fact that so many FiM staffers are involved in EqG is presumably one reason why S4 has been delayed for so long.

My real concern, though, is a little more personal. Perhaps it's also silly, but... well... consider what a brony is. Our very fandom is silly, and we generally revel in that. But: one of the major attractions of Friendship is Magic is that, because it's a TV-Y show aimed at little kids, it doesn't have storylines about high school. I don't want those stories — even if they're good. One reason I became a brony is escapism: FiM gives us a fantasy setting entirely removed from the real world, populated by cute talking animals. Add a human element and you inevitably dilute that.

Put bluntly: Equestria Girls shows the world of My Little Pony growing up a little. And, as far as ponies are concerned, I'm not sure I want it to grow up.


  1. It's strange but in an odd way, I don't view the high school setting as growing up. If anything I kinda view it as regressing to a degree. To me, the stories may well be child friendly but the mane six at least appear to be in one way or another older than high schoolers to me.
    The high school setting in general though...I really don't get along with it in general. I dunno, maybe it's in part having a 12 year old daughter. That does mean I get to 'enjoy' the usual plethora of tween shows. Even before that though, it' what put me off a lot of anime.
    Still, we shall see. I'll certainly give it a shot. My youngest (6) loves Monster High and seemed to love the look of the EQG trailer too so they may be aiming right.

    1. I think you're right, actually; "growing up" wasn't the best choice of phrase. I think it's more that I like the safe, cosy (in a way) feel of FiM, and a tween-aimed high school cartoon is almost certainly going to move away from that to at least some degree.

    2. Absolutely agree. Tween comedies definitely rub me up the wrong way too...they all seem to be much the same as each other and the messages they give are sometimes not to my liking either (e.g. an episode of iCarly that gave the message that it's ok to want to a date guy when you think he's been in prison but you find out he hasn't and actually collects stuffed animals and has a sensitive side, he's suddenly unappealing).
      Safe and cosy is a good description of FiM actually.

  2. Put like that, I can certainly see why - in ways I didn't actually realise till you pointed them out there - I just don't really have high hopes for EqG.

    Apart from the fact that I was distinctly underwhelmed with "high" school, and therefore don't really feel the need to revisit it via a cartoon, they're also moving the characters completely out of their world. Which means there's no scary forest full of strange creatures and plants. No fantasy castle. No crystal kingoms and other magical places. Just... plain old earth. After we've visited, via MLP, places like the Everfree Forest, Crystal Kingdom, Ponyville, Canterlot, Cloudsdale... somehow the "human world" is hardly going to be quite so magical in comparison.

    And as you say, and I agree totally, one of the main appeals about the show is that it's set in a completely different world. Many of my favourite stories are set on other worlds, where the writer can let their imagination run riot.