I made a top 10 list of the fallacious G5 criticisms I'm most tired of reading.
I am no stranger to the fact that G5 gets a good amount of criticism. If you’ve read my re-assessment of Make Your Mark’s pilot, you’ve probably already inferred this. I know this generation receives some valid points of criticism that I do understand. However, it also receives a lot of invalid points of criticism. Invalid points of criticism, often called bunk criticisms, I’m sure you know are points of criticism founded on false information and misunderstandings.
I’m well-aware that there are plenty of terrible things that receive bunk criticism. Even Star Wars’ The Last Jedi, something I’ve seen this generation be inappropriately compared to, has been subject to bunk criticism. It’s been beaten into the ground constantly why that movie doesn’t work. But facts are facts. Even with a terrible movie like that, if you, for example, complain how it doesn’t explain something that it actually does, that is an example of a bunk criticism.
Just because something receives critical remarks not validated by facts doesn’t mean it’s good. I’m not trying to frame G5 as a perfect masterpiece with this list, this is just me going over the points of ill-founded criticism I’m most tired of coming across.
10. “G5 ignores G4’s lore.”
How people come to the conclusion that a generation continuing the story of the generation before it is “ignoring its lore” over supposed “continuity errors” (which I’ll discuss later), I have no idea. However, more important is pointing out the fact that lore has never been crucial to MLP. This is the same franchise that had all sorts of conflicting information across books made to expand Friendship is Magic’s lore and a comic series with a canon that would get conflicted by the show canon and then go on to “become the primary canon”. G4’s lore was always obviously made up along the way, I never remember a time where contradictions in the lore were something to lose sleep over.
9. “Tell Your Tale is shallow and only good for cheap laughs.”
Tell Your Tale provides both the world and the cast of G5 with more depth. It explains how the Royal Sisters came to live in Maretime Bay while delivering heartwarming moments building their bond, starts the Detective Zipp plot line, a major part of Zipp’s character arc, while explaining how she got her special visor, and even shows us that the Mane 5’s friendship is part of a prophecy foretold by Argyle, revealing to us the level of faith he had in his daughter.
8. “The stories of the Mane 5 in Make Your Mark’s pilot don’t come together and the dragon egg plot is unnecessary.”
You saw this one coming if you read my re-assessment of MYM’s pilot, the Mane 5’s stories do come together and the dragon egg plot is absolutely essential. The pilot’s plot is about the ponies learning about how their magic works and why they have to unite together to stabilize it and create new magic, and all of the main characters do something to aid in that cause. Sparky is a huge part of MYM Chapter 2’s plot, making this old line of criticism about the dragon egg plot look even worse in retrospect. However, even back then, this point came from a complete lack of understanding of the fact that everything in this pilot was meant to affect the series as a whole, even what might not have appeared important at first. Even in just the special’s context, it’s important character development for Hitch as he begins his journey as a father figure.
7. “Sparky is just Flurry Heart but with no destiny.”
A grain of truth to this criticism is that Sparky does act like Flurry Heart. However, pretty much all infant characters that serve the role Flurry Heart does, playing the character of a “cute baby being cute”, are going to feel like the same character because they’re babies. We’re not talking Stewie Griffin or the cast of Rugrats here, infant characters that can talk and display clear signs of personality. And how does Sparky have no destiny? He has magic that is being sought after by the show’s main antagonist, an ancient alicorn that drove the world of Equestria to become what it is now. I get why someone wouldn’t like Sparky, but this is by far the most illegitimate criticism I’ve seen of him.
6. “G5’s story being tied to G4 is lazy writing.”
Too many people do not look at the conception of this generation from the G5 crew’s perspective, and to an extent, Hasbro’s perspective. G4 was MLP’s most successful generation by far. So successful, that they originally wanted to make G5 an alternate version of G4. However, even as so many fans still couldn’t get enough of G4, proven by their clamoring for the story of FiM to keep going even after nine seasons (an incredible feat for a children’s show) and expressing immense disappointment at only getting a tenth season in the form of a comic arc, the G5 creators still opted to not go through with the original idea of essentially giving us G4 in another form. Probably because doing so would’ve felt like a lazy rehash, so instead they gave us something original that continued the story of FiM. They tried to give us the best of both worlds, and of course, because you can’t please everyone, scrapping that potential lazy rehash in favor of something new in a world where people love to tell you how much they’re sick and tired of cash grab reboots and remakes means they “got lazy”. This world makes so much sense.
5. “G5 is filled with inconsistencies pertaining to G4’s lore, like how there’s no explanation for the sun and moon moving on their own and the lack of the Windigos appearing because of the ponies hating each other and being separated.”
The story of Hearth’s Warming Eve in Friendship is Magic explains that before Celestia's rule, ordinary unicorns brought forth night and day. In Between Dark and Dawn, Celestia and Luna only had to put a small amount of their power in an amulet to give Twilight the ability to control the sun and moon. It does not take special magic to control the sun and moon, and since the magic was only sealed away, it's easy to imagine Twilight establishing a measure of some kind. As for the Windigos, this was something a prominent analyst explained long ago and something I touched on long ago myself. What causes Windigos to manifest in Equestria is not separation or just the ponies’ hate, it’s the ponies arguing with each other in a display of hate. This is proven by how in Hearth’s Warming Eve, they were already ruled by hatred, and what preceded the Windigos appearing was the ponies lashing out at each other. They do argue in G5, but not at the level that would trigger the Windigos returning.
4. “Make Your Mark’s pilot leaves a question unanswered about why the weather was normal while the ponies had full racial segregation.”
I’m not the first one to refute this nonexistent plothole callout, I’ll tell you that much. You could skip over what I just wrote about the Windigos and still understand why this point is bunk. Even if we’re not to apply the same “it’s arguing, not separation” point, the MYM pilot’s plot does not involve the weather becoming abnormal purely because the ponies are arguing. The issues with the weather are caused because now that the Unity Crystals have been brought back together, the magic that has been restored requires the ponies to trust and work with each other in order to stabilize it. Their fighting putting the Unity Crystals at the risk of being destroyed was the cause of the abnormal weather, and back when the ponies had full segregation, the Unity Crystals were separated and there was no magic to sustain.
3. “G5 is taking MLP back to the girly mushiness from the earlier generations.”
How in the world is G5 adding a male main character to the cast and attempting to make the series more plot-centric a return to the girly mushiness from the older MLP cartoons? Even before the innovation MYM Chapter 2 made with plot-heavy storytelling and doing away with filler, an ambitious shift from G4, Tell Your Tale and Make Your Mark’s pilot were certainly not a return to “girly mushiness”. I already debunked what people say about TYT being “shallow”, but MYM’s pilot put the world at risk of being sucked into a void. That is a dark kind of peril for a “little girls show”. Hate on the pilot all you want, it’s your opinion. But it’s a fact that MYM still continued the new trend of intricate character-building and world-building in MLP right from the start. A plot where the fate of the world is always on the main cast’s shoulders is not a return to “mushy tea parties”.
2. “G5 undid all of the Mane 6’s progress in Friendship is Magic.”
Again, I’m not the first to tackle this fallacious line of criticism. The commonality in the rebuff I see for why the Mane 6’s progress of uniting all the ponies and different creatures being supposedly undone is actually plausible is because the ponies of Equestria are very easily swayed. This is true, these are the same ponies that all turned against each other over a fake unicorn spreading rumors. However, I feel like this otherwise good point misses the big picture. Getting the ponies of Equestria to not be racist jerks was only a small part of the Mane 6’s greatest accomplishment. When Celestia and Luna announced their retirement, what did they commend the Mane 6 for? Bringing Equestria into its longest period of harmony in recent years. Despite this being their greatest accomplishment, it wasn't intended to be the immutable status quo of Equestria's entire history there forth. What happens in the same season where Celestia and Luna praise the Mane 6 for this? The Windigos return. And although Equestria in G5 became segregated...was it at the cost of peace? No, the world of G5, despite being segregated, was still in a state of peace with ponies living good lives and better lives too considering all the technological conveniences they now have. Nothing in G5 actually overrides the work the Mane 6 did to make Equestria a better place.
1. “G5 assassinated Twilight Sparkle’s character by having her steal the magic from the ponies of Equestria, making her a despot in creating the Unity Crystals.”
This is by far the most detrimental bunk criticism G5 has been given, thus why it takes the Number 1 spot. I still remember the discord (no pun intended) that resulted among fans when the origins of the Unity Crystals were first revealed in Issue #2 of the G5 comics. And to be fair, the way Discord tells the story seems to portray Twilight as overstepping her boundaries at first glance. However, too many people immediately jumped to conclusions, comparing this generation to The Last Jedi over this plot twist. Not considering for a second that there might have been more context to what was going on that Discord simply didn’t explain in this part of the story. No, just like that, the story being circulated everywhere was that Twilight saw the ponies of Equestria not getting along, thus she forced them to get along by appropriating their magic and sealing it in crystals. This story that led so many fans to lose hope in G5…was not even true.
The real reason Twilight did this is made clear as day in the second episode of Make Your Mark’s second chapter, Growing Pains. Her recorded message explains that there are evil forces that want to exploit the magic and that Opaline tried to steal all of the magic in Equestria for herself. Twilight sealed the magic away because her subjects having to live life without magic if they choose to be divided is the much lesser of two evils compared to Opaline stealing it and using it to rule over her subjects with an iron fist (hoof). She didn’t do this out of tyranny, it’s the exact opposite. She did this to protect her subjects from a tyrant.
It’s true that magic is important to Equestria, even as its role is to enhance the quality of life for the ponies rather than make life livable in the first place, and Twilight knows this. However, if you had to choose between sealing away magic and allowing your people to lose access to it if they choose to be divided and allowing it to be stolen and used against your people, which would you choose? The former option, because either way, the magic is lost, and at least with the first way, your people are protected from evil’s wrath. Yet everyone immediately assumed the worst while we only had Discord’s side of the story.
In addition, the magic becoming lost was not Twilight's fault. Look again at the panel in the second issue of the G5 comics that directly follows Discord explaining that Twilight put all of the world's magic in the crystals. What does it show?
It shows Discord explaining that so long as the crystals were protected and all the ponies lived in harmony, magic would be kept alive and well in Equestria, accompanied by an image of earth ponies, unicorns, and pegasi living together. Not only that, but we also see pegasi flying and a unicorn using magic. This proves that magic disappearing was not Twilight's fault. It was the fault of the ponies not wanting to live together in harmony anymore. And although I am aware that the way the canon of the comics coincides with the canon of the show has always been subject to debate, there are no grounds for condemning Twilight Sparkle for what happened in either the show or the comics of G5.
The fact that the explanation we got in the series came three months after everyone saw the origin story of the Unity Crystals is no excuse, especially since the proof that Twilight was not to blame for the magic vanishing was right there all along. The overreaction it sparked still wasn’t justified. Why? Because it’s reflective of the biggest flaw with G5 criticism from reactionary reviewers and commentators as a whole. A complete lack of self-awareness of the fact that they are criticizing a story in progress. Furthermore, a major part of G5’s storytelling that they fail to acknowledge is the fact that G5’s story involves the slow unraveling of a mystery. It needs to build suspense. If every single one of their questions was answered in one big exposition dump, that would make for terrible storytelling.
That’s all for my list. You may now continue your regularly scheduled horse show critiques. Seriously, feel however you want to feel about this new generation. But know that no matter how bad something might be, saying things about it that are untrue or easily refutable will make you look bad. The School of Friendship from FiM, for example, is still a widely controversial plot point. But if you cite one of your reasons for disliking it as a misquote from Celestia, something that character did not even say, does that make The School of Friendship look worse, or you?
It's easy to fall into the trap of forgetting that even really good analysts and reviewers can make mistakes, I know. I make mistakes too, and when I find out about them, I correct them. It doesn’t matter whether you’re getting criticism of G5 from an analyst, reviewer, or even someone simply commentating on G5 news. Criticism of entertainment is just another form of journalism, it’s meant to guide you, not make up your mind for you. Criticism stands the test of time when it’s rooted in facts. It’s okay to get something wrong so long as you own up to it. I only get annoyed when these mistakes aren’t even acknowledged and people just move on to making the next illegitimate claim. Don’t follow that bad example, always fact-check everything, always own your mistakes, and always keep everything legit.
Edited by CloudMistDragon
Massive update to the #1 section.
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