TheAnimationFanatic

Aspects of Friendship is Magic that have gotten better over time?

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What are some story or technical aspects of Friendship that have gotten better over time (Outside of the animation quality, because that's too easy)?

Edited by Theanimationfanatic
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The show's quality has remained pretty consistent - which is a HUGE accomplishment. I know some will say it's not as funny, etc, but for the most part, It's still very much the MLP FiM that we grew to love.

The show has evolved for sure. There are so many characters it is staggering! But I just don't see what has improved that is worth mentioning, other than they continuously improve by delivering such great content.

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One aspect of the writing that actually has improved since the Faust era is the treatment and depiction of Spike - no, scratch that, of a number of the other Equestrian species. During the Faust era, the show's focus was set more onto humourous and lighthearted slice-of-life material (obviously with a few fantastical elements) than worldbuilding or lore, which often showed when the earlier seasons attempted to stretch beyond their comfort zone into sloppy material such as "Over a Barrel" and "Dragon Quest". Having spent the past two months marathoning S1-4 chronologically, I would actually contest that the Spikeabuse is nowhere near as bad as many bronies note, but it's nonetheless present and tends to bog down several of his appearances, particularly in episodes such as "Spike at Your Service" where he is deprived of his agency and competence (despite being Twilight's personal assistant and having a established level of skillfulness at specific tasks similar to those he blunders at in the episode) merely so the plot can be contrived into happening. On the other hand, the later seasons' shift in priority towards worldbuilding, whilst it often comes at the expense of the humour, story consistency (as the priority now leans towards more ambitious themes which the show often tends to slip up at portraying in a deservedly nuanced manner) and intangible charm of the earlier seasons, has ultimately benefitted this issue (aided by Josh Haber's surprising talent at writing Spike as a character, which can be witnessed as far back as "Simple Ways" in S4) - the introduction of the Student Six as rounded and likeable characters, in addition to Spike's growth and increasingly dignified portrayal since S6, evidences this clearly.

Edited by Them's Seeing Ponies
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Just now, Them's Seeing Ponies said:

One aspect of the writing that actually has improved since the Faust era is the treatment and depiction of Spike - no, scratch that, of a number of the other Equestrian species. During the Faust era, the show's focus was set more onto humourous and lighthearted slice-of-life material (obviously with a few fantastical elements) than worldbuilding or lore, which often showed when the earlier seasons attempted to stretch beyond their comfort zone into sloppy material such as "Over a Barrel" and "Dragon Quest". Having spent the past two months marathoning S1-4 chronologically, I would actually contest that the Spikeabuse is nowhere near as bad as many bronies note, but it's nonetheless present and tends to bog down several of his appearances, particularly in episodes such as "Spike at Your Service" where he is deprived of his agency and competence (despite being Twilight's assistance and having a established level of skillfulness at specific tasks similar to those he blunders at in the episode) merely so the plot can be contrived into happening. On the other hand, the later seasons' shift in priority towards worldbuilding, whilst it often comes at the expense of the humour, story consistency (as the priority now leans towards more ambitious themes which the show often tends to slip up at portraying in a deservedly nuanced manner) and intangible charm of the earlier seasons, has ultimately benefitted this issue (aided by Josh Haber's surprising talent at writing Spike as a character, which can be witnessed as far back as "Simple Ways" in S4) - the introduction of the Student Six as rounded and likeable characters, in addition to Spike's growth and increasingly dignified portrayal since S6, evidences this clearly.

This is a big one. Spike had mostly been the butt-monkey of the show for the longest time up until Season 4 (The last remnants of this were in "Princess Spike"). Since then, he's been treated with much more dignity and respect.

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The newer seasons have a much better balance between male and female characters. The older seasons had very few male characters and they either barely appeared or appealed to male stereotypes. The only exception was Spike, the only main male character. I respect newer seasons for putting more focus on developing male characters.

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I think that the characters have gotten smarter over the years for the most part. (Depending on the writer.) 

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The animation has definitely gotten better in my opinion. And 5 out of the Mane 6 have definitely grown a lot as the show has progressed.

Edited by shyabetes3939
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Rainbow dash,Fluttershy , Starlight and spike characterization has gotten so much better in the past 3 seasons.

Edited by Soccer star 123
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6 minutes ago, Soccer star 123 said:

Rainbow dash,Futtershy, Starlight and spike characterization has gotten so much better in the past 3 seasons.

They all have, except for Pinkie - she's gotten worse from Season 4 onwards. :dry:

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The later half of the show feels disjointed and not as tightly written with certain characters and story elements not being as strong as they could have been, namely S6 and S8, episodes live and die completely by the writers assigned to them

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Since season 4 background ponies got more diverse and interesting compared to the early seasons. However, they are overshadowed by the abundance of main and secondary characters now, so they often get unnoticed.

Continuity nods got better in the last season in particular. So did the nods to fandom and fanon over the last couple of seasons (some people may not like it, but I personally enjoy every bit of it).

And the way they handle serious topics (like divorce and even death/hibernation) improved lately.

Lastly, most of my favorite MLP songs are from seasons 5-8, so IMO the quality of show music has improved as well.

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4 hours ago, Mirage said:

The show's quality has remained pretty consistent - which is a HUGE accomplishment. I know some will say it's not as funny, etc, but for the most part, It's still very much the MLP FiM that we grew to love.

The show has evolved for sure. There are so many characters it is staggering! But I just don't see what has improved that is worth mentioning, other than they continuously improve by delivering such great content.

This, this, this. I'm not trying to attack anyone, I'm just trying to keep it real by saying that I am so tired of people not appreciating the fact that a show that "should not have been good in the first place" and is now going on for more than eight seasons without much of the original team that made the show is still of good quality. That is LEGENDARY, ESPECIALLY for a kids cartoon. Both the plots of the show in general and the lore of the show are so much more complex now too. It's incredible how much the characters have grown now, how much of the world they explore now, and how large the show's cast has gotten while still being able to give the characters who are not fortunate enough to get the screen time they need to really develop a special charm to them. :fluttershy:

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2 hours ago, shyabetes3939 said:

They all have, except for Pinkie - she's gotten worse from Season 4 onwards. :dry:

I just hope Pinkie will improve anyhow in Season 9.

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I know "animation quality" is too easy to comment on, but aside from the increased polish of everything, I'd also like to note the increased level of detail over the years. The background ponies are more diverse, and the backgrounds are way more intricate. The voice acting has improved significantly as well. 

I think the show's slowly gotten more willing to directly address more mature and complex subject matter. Compare how growing up was first addressed through cutie marks, and compare that to the more specific portrayal of puberty in "Molt Down." Even Twilight mentions that she had acne as a teen. Further, consider the change in how Applejack's parents were addressed, and then compare that to Gallus saying he has no family in season 8. This is an area where I think the show has genuinely grown more sophisticated.

Very recently I also think that the worldbuilding has improved. In the earlier seasons, dragons were mostly just there to be different from ponies, whereas by season 8 we've learned about their puberty rituals. Hopefully this improvement is extended to ponies in season 9. 

Some characters also have a bit more diversity in the stories told about them. I think I started to like Rarity more once the show downplayed her selfishness, Spike's episodes have become more sophisticated, and Fluttershy's episodes aren't always about her fears anymore. 

Also, the continuity has slowly become more apparent and more interesting, although I maintain that season 1 feels fairly continuous as well. 

Edited by AlexanderThrond
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Just off the top of my head:

  • Its approach of complex or serious subjects. Back in Season 1, they went into the serious angle of racism, but contained massive unfortunate implications by screwing up so badly. Happened again in DQ and especially One Bad Apple. Starting with S4, DHX/Allspark seemed to become more comfortable addressing these messages, ranging from plagiarism to intelligence to xenophobia to abandonment to divorce to grieving (in Perfect Pear).
  • Treatment of Spike. He was a complete buttmonkey in the earlier seasons, especially in many of his episodes, Owl's Well and Princess Spike the worst of the bunch. Although S6 handled the RM7 the worst, Spike had his best season by far, and his character since has been written with the consistency it so deserves.
  • Worldbuilding of society outside of ponydom. For the first five seasons, many species outside of ponies often got the short end of the stick, while the ponies were generally the "role model." Starting in six, things started to change, beginning with a more dignified dragon culture, the evolution of changeling culture after Chrysalis was overthrown, and so forth. S8 was the best year in terms of their worldbuilding.
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17 minutes ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Just off the top of my head:

  • Its approach of complex or serious subjects. Back in Season 1, they went into the serious angle of racism, but contained massive unfortunate implications by screwing up so badly. Happened again in DQ and especially One Bad Apple. Starting with S4, DHX/Allspark seemed to become more comfortable addressing these messages, ranging from plagiarism to intelligence to xenophobia to abandonment to divorce to grieving (in Perfect Pear).
  • Treatment of Spike. He was a complete buttmonkey in the earlier seasons, especially in many of his episodes, Owl's Well and Princess Spike the worst of the bunch. Although S6 handled the RM7 the worst, Spike had his best season by far, and his character since has been written with the consistency it so deserves.
  • Worldbuilding of society outside of ponydom. For the first five seasons, many species outside of ponies often got the short end of the stick, while the ponies were generally the "role model." Starting in six, things started to change, beginning with a more dignified dragon culture, the evolution of changeling culture after Chrysalis was overthrown, and so forth. S8 was the best year in terms of their worldbuilding.

They also took more risks when it came to the stories they told and characters they focused on.

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On 12/22/2018 at 4:34 PM, shyabetes3939 said:

They all have, except for Pinkie - she's gotten worse from Season 4 onwards. :dry:

I’m sadly inclined to agree on this one. Pinks has been wacky all the time, but she’s now wacky obnoxious and dumb, instead of the wacky with class and wisdom. The only times she wasn’t cringey 24/7 Pinks these last few years was in the special and the pony movie

On 12/23/2018 at 5:19 PM, Dark Qiviut said:

Just off the top of my head:

  • Its approach of complex or serious subjects. Back in Season 1, they went into the serious angle of racism, but contained massive unfortunate implications by screwing up so badly. Happened again in DQ and especially One Bad Apple. Starting with S4, DHX/Allspark seemed to become more comfortable addressing these messages, ranging from plagiarism to intelligence to xenophobia to abandonment to divorce to grieving (in Perfect Pear).
  • Treatment of Spike. He was a complete buttmonkey in the earlier seasons, especially in many of his episodes, Owl's Well and Princess Spike the worst of the bunch. Although S6 handled the RM7 the worst, Spike had his best season by far, and his character since has been written with the consistency it so deserves.
  • Worldbuilding of society outside of ponydom. For the first five seasons, many species outside of ponies often got the short end of the stick, while the ponies were generally the "role model." Starting in six, things started to change, beginning with a more dignified dragon culture, the evolution of changeling culture after Chrysalis was overthrown, and so forth. S8 was the best year in terms of their worldbuilding.

Don’t forget another new species of poneh in the kirin:mlp_icwudt:. If the Young 6 6 getting a  sixth ranger, it’s likely to be a kirin:fluttershy: (still waiting for bats tho :dry:

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One thing I like is that they’ve steadily veered away from the letter writing to Princess Celestia. I never liked having the moral of the story spelled out for the cheap seats. The developers should respect their audience enough to recognize they can figure out the obvious stuff for themselves, no matter how young or old they are. I know Lauren Faust wanted to model that aspect of the show after Mork & Mindy, where Mork wraps every episode with a report to his leader, Orson. I appreciate that she had a vision and template for the show she wanted to go with, but it’s been more streamlined without it.

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On 12/31/2018 at 11:30 PM, Dreambiscuit said:

One thing I like is that they’ve steadily veered away from the letter writing to Princess Celestia. I never liked having the moral of the story spelled out for the cheap seats. The developers should respect their audience enough to recognize they can figure out the obvious stuff for themselves, no matter how young or old they are. I know Lauren Faust wanted to model that aspect of the show after Mork & Mindy, where Mork wraps every episode with a report to his leader, Orson. I appreciate that she had a vision and template for the show she wanted to go with, but it’s been more streamlined without it.

 

This I agree with. It was necessary and unique at the time, but, I think that dropping the friendship letters works much better. It allowed for the morals to speak for themselves and not cheapen the lesson by holding the audience's hand.

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Definitely animation. (I'm sorry, I just had to say it!)The attention to detail the show has developed is remarkable. Oh, and also

 

Edited by imawesome
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2 minutes ago, TheAnimationFanatic said:

@Dark Qiviut @This Whomps @Sparklefan1234 @Tacodidra

Here's a new one:

Less reliance on gross out humor. Seasons 1-3 mostly suffered from this.

I’m actually indifferent toward gross out humor myself. However, I can see why others don’t like it.

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Just now, Key Sharkz said:

I’m actually indifferent toward gross out humor myself. However, I can see why others don’t like it.

I'm not opposed to gross-out humor, it was just a bit too prevalent for my liking in the early seasons.

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Fluttershy became a vastly more engaging character in Season 4 onwards. This isn't to say that she was a bad character or that she didn't have any great focus episodes ("Putting Your Hoof Down" aside), but rather that her development would seemingly reset at the end of each episode. 

Now, while Fluttershy still retains her signature timidity, she's no longer the comically domicile pushover she was in Season 1 and 2.

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5 hours ago, TheAnimationFanatic said:

Fluttershy became a vastly more engaging character in Season 4 onwards. This isn't to say that she was a bad character or that she didn't have any great focus episodes ("Putting Your Hoof Down" aside), but rather that her development would seemingly reset at the end of each episode. 

Now, while Fluttershy still retains her signature timidity, she's no longer the comically domicile pushover she was in Season 1 and 2.

Indeed. In Season 1, she was one of the breakout characters, but from Luna Eclipsed until Rainbow Falls or Filli Vanilli, she was defined only by her shyness, oftentimes to her own detriment. Sure, you had the HF, Keep Calm, and Bats, but they weren’t always helpful to her. Season 5 was really the first since S1 to show actual progression and stick to it, improving her rep.

 

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