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Original sketch from June 21st.
A couple of months ago I watched the first episode of My Little Pony: Make your Mark, the 3D take on the G5 of the franchise. Technical issues aside, I think it’s pretty good, especially the character dynamic. What I really didn’t expect (and the whole reason why I made this comic) was that, like the film A New Generation, it was adressing some of the biggest issues I had in Friendship is Magic.
I love how Posey Bloom was written in that episode because she brings up a lot of logical points that weren’t adressed in G4, in the same way that A New Generation adressed some issues that weren’t questioned in G4. A pony that questions the use of magic seems reasonable in a post-Friendship is Magic era. One of the main issues I had with the show (and why it took me so many years to finish it) is that it has a very strong status-quo nature. What I mean by this is that, once a character learns something at the end of one episode, that character would forget it in her next episode, repeating the same shenanigans all over again. This is why some characters like Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash were written the way they were.
You can probably see where I’m going with this.
In Friendship is Magic, when Starlight intentionally manipulates someone, Twilight will accept her apologies without getting more severe as a teacher. She could accept her apologies a thousand times without questioning her and Starlight will keep finding arbitrary reasons to manipulate or trick someone, like in Uncommon Bond, Road to Friendship, All bottled up, A royal problem and Starlight the Hypnotist. There was a cause, but no effect. There were literally no consequences for the pink unicorn.
In Generation 5 (both the movie and this new TV show), not only there were ponies actually worried and afraid of how magic can be used by a pony (especially considering the events of Friendship is Magic), but the magical stones can actually crack and shatter when there are huge vibes of negativity, hatred and toxicity.
The G4 writers have tried to figure this out with highly debatable results, including Starlight’s magic as an easy way out. So the fact that the new writers figured this out in G5 is a big deal. I can even argue that the G5 writers are more self aware about this type of issues than the G4 writers ever were, even in some of the most self aware episodes like Crusaders of the Lost Mark, Luna Eclipsed and Putting your Hoof Down.
When I saw that in Make your Mark, I instantly appreciated it as a creative decision. Someone told me that then the ponies would be forced to like each other, but I don’t think that was the point of the episode. The point was that, instead of finding a reasonable solution for everyone, Posey Bloom used that as an excuse to make other ponies hating each other. That was her mistake. She used her personal problems to create more problems out of spite. I don’t think it’s that complicated to understand in the first place. In fact, I’d argue it’s very believable because most of the time, when we get frustrated for something that’s unfair, we create problems out of spite instead of calming down and then making logical decisions.
I love when a writer actually commits to show consequences on the actions of someone, whether is the main character, side character or an antagonist. It’s a pity that it’s not as frequent as I wanted in visual media, possibly because people don’t want to see real consequences or real self awareness in fiction. But Gravity Falls, Steven Universe and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind are great examples of giving more meaning to the consequences of someone’s actions. It’s not like these stories trick the audience. You can’t play the genocide route of Undertale and then say “it was Chara’s fault, not me”.
So, for those G4 purists from the hardcore fringe who kept saying since 2021 that “the ponies without magic are not fun” as an excuse to diminish G5’s value, this is the reason. This is exactly why they wanted to focus more on characterization than magic: To prevent an issue that G4 had in the last 4 seasons. These decisions are the reasons why I trust the new writers. They’re fully aware of some of the problems Friendship is Magic had.
The TV shows where nothing neither changes nor evolves have always existed and they will always exist, but nowadays there’s no excuse for the writers to not create stories that reward the audience for paying attention to little details.
I’m assuming the next episodes and specials will have this type of continuity. In fact, I heard that the official My Little Pony YouTube channel changed the order of the Tell your Tale episodes. These are now numerically marked by apparent chronological order, being the first one Sisters take flight instead of A home to share. This is a clear sign that the new writers want to give a sense of continuity. Why is A home to share the first episode in the first place then? I don’t know, but I think it can be a reason related to pipeline, schedules, production and probably deadlines, since part of the whole production (especially post-production) was planned in the middle of a pandemic, including the film A New Generation.
Just my 2 cents. I’d like to see what the specials and next episodes are gonna be like.