To be honest, part of me thinks we didn’t need another generation of My Little Pony so soon. Friendship is Magic has just barely ended…But then again, it’s a Hasbro property. The show started out as a toy commercial – it’s still a toy commercial, but these days it’s just better written.
But Friendship is Magic left such an impact on our culture that was so unlike the others that I couldn’t help but wonder how they were going to deal with that legacy. Well – as it turns out, My Little Pony: A New Generation takes one of the most obvious approaches and has FiM as part of the continuity. (And it leaves the possibility that EVERY iteration of MLP exists in the same world, just at different times.)
Many moons ago, which is probably several hundred years in the past, all creatures, and all ponies were friends. Until…well, we don’t really know what happened. Earth ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns are segregated, all afraid of the other races. The Mane Six became nothing but a myth, a children’s story.
And the magic disappeared.
You can see where this is going…Sunny Starscout, an Earth Pony adored the Mane Six (known as the Guardians of Harmony) growing up. But the rest of her town fears the other races, to the point where the main industry appears to be anti-Pegasus and anti-Unicorn defense weapon manufacturing.
When Izzy Moonbow, a unicorn, suddenly appears in town – the two decide to set off and find what became of the unicorns’ magic and reunite all of ponykind. Along the way, they also meet Zephyrina (Zipp) Storm and Pipp Petals, the twin Pegasi princesses, who couldn’t be more different.
It’s a fairly obvious introduction for a future series – and while I’m not overly impressed, I am interested in seeing how this world came to be. I would like to see how the show will build upon the lessons of its predecessor.
New Generation, New Art Style.
Unlike previous iterations of MLP, A New Generation is computer-animated. And I like it. There’s a lot more variety in the body types of the ponies – even among the new Mane Five. The intricate details of the unicorn horns, and the fact that each one is unique, is a nice detail. It makes a lot of sense within the context of the world.
I also really like how the Pegasi have multicolored wings, rather than them just matching their coat. In some ways, they feel more like real horses; they have variations in their color with white patches on their noses and their hair hanging over their hooves.
It’s a lot more detailed.
Though the animation style makes other aspects of the world that were easier to ignore in previous seasons, more egregious.
Like, they have real hooves now. How the heck can they hold things? They don’t switch between using their mouths and hooves. They just use their hooves. How does that work?! How did they make touch-screen phones work?
I have questions!
The new setting and how close it is to our reality does make it harder to imagine this as a fantasy world. I liked how FiM didn’t necessarily have electricity or other modern aspects. They didn’t need it, though.
I guess when you don’t have magic, you learn to adapt.
I don’t hate the new setting; it’s vibrant, colorful and lively. It’s just…a little offputting.
I can only hope that the upcoming series maintains the same quality level of animation that the movie does.
Can’t Believe We Have to Say Racism is Bad
This whole movie is about why racism and xenophobia are bad things.
And I get it. It’s an excellent lesson for children to learn and introducing it in a fantasy setting almost ensures, you aren’t going to accidentally be racist or use racist stereotypes.
But man, the moral keeps getting bashed in over the viewers’ heads. Earth ponies are seen as stupid and smelly; Unicorns can supposedly control other ponies and Pegasi kidnap other ponies and eat their young….None of which is true.
We don’t know how the stereotypes developed. We don’t know why the races segregated, but the movie makes it clear that these biases and the segregation are bad, bad, bad things.
The races are completely separated. there are no hints as to how long this separation happened. But, to these ponies, this is the way the world has always been. There’s no mention made of the non-pony races from FiM – but we can assume, if they do exist, they’re treated even worse.
The movie ends, of course, with Sunny managing to reunite the ponykind and bring back magic through 3 magical crystals (that are not the elements of harmony) that represent the different races of Equestria.
And she somehow becomes an alicorn due to that…which, fine. We don’t know what happened to the other alicorns – but yeah, what took Twilight Sparkle several seasons – only took her a movie to accomplish.
I guess things were bad…
But anyway, the main moral of the movie is that you shouldn’t judge others before getting to know them. Like a lot of children’s media about discrimination, A New Generation doesn’t tell us how this discrimination came to be – nor does have a systemic system of power in place. There’s no one race in charge – they’re all equally biased towards the other races and face discrimination from the other ponies.
They all hate each other.
It’s a very simplified version of discrimination.
It’s not reflective of the real world. But then again…it’s My Little Pony. I’m probably thinking too much into it – and if they did try to deal with racism in a radical way reflective of reality – they’d lose all their Nazi Brony fanboys…
And some posts made me realize – that some people really do need this watered-down lesson since they can barely understand it.
The Canon Differences
Even though, FiM and A New Generation exist in the same universe – the canon and the way the world works differs. And it cannot just be an oversight – considering the differences are…pretty major.
Let’s start with one of the biggest – there is no magic, yet there is still day and night. In FiM magic was needed to control nature, including turning day into night and vice versa – but here, it seems to happen naturally. Considering there’s no sign of any of the alicorn princesses (despite their supposed immortality), maybe the world somehow progressed beyond that need.
Same with the seasons, I suppose.
It would make sense considering how these ponies now have electricity, social media, television and all this 21st-century technology.
But this also doesn’t make sense from a continuity perspective, in that the Earth ponies are never said to be missing any kind of magic. Yet, in FiM it was clear Earth ponies are the strongest out of the three races and had a talent for farming – that’s nowhere to be seen in this movie.
All three races seem to have differing levels of technology standards with Pegasi being the most advanced and unicorns having the least amount of tech. Which makes some sense, since they’ve been so separated – but who knows?
There are also little things – like the cutie marks only being on one side of the ponys’ flanks. Nothing about the marks gets mentioned in the movie. I couldn’t even tell you what each pony’s mark is or what it represents.
It’s odd for a movie that makes it so clear that it is connected to another show, to have the lore and history be so different. I do think MOST of this will be addressed in the upcoming series and most of it will have to do with the lack of magic and nature needing to balance itself out. Though I have no idea how they’ll bring the alicorns back.
Or non-ponies for that matter.
As I said, an actual series is imminent.
I think the new series will focus more on prejudice and overcoming differences than the previous one. In that case, the ponies will help other ponies overcome their differences with the other races…and while they look for ways to find connections with each other, the Mane 5 will find out what happened to separate the races…and how magic was lost.
There’s no way all the prejudice is going to be settled with just bringing magic back. There will still be a lot of hatred between the races – that doesn’t go away overnight. Maybe there will be a focus on how the unicorns and pegasi have to adjust to their new abilities while the Earth ponies are upset that they seemingly have no magic.
Undoubtedly, the Mane 6 or at least Twilight Sparkle will return in some form in the present. There’s no way they’re going to leave FiM behind in the dust, not after the success it became. So there will definitely be more mystical stones that will play a role in giving the ponies powers.
I mean how many times did magic stones or crystals come up in the FiM universe? It even came up in the Equestria High series for Celestia’s sake,
I also think there will be a focus on balancing magic and their new technology. It sounds cliche, but it seems obvious that they came up with this technology to adapt to a life without magic – so what now?
I’ll probably work on a better prediction list when the series gets officially announced or gets a trailer.
And that’s the scoop.
Year of release: 2021
Length: 90 minutes
Directors: Robert Cullen, Jose Ucha
Screenplay: Gillian Berrow, Tim Sullivan
Story by: Robert Cullen, José Ucha, Tim Sullivan
Producers: Cecil Kramer, Peter Lewis