This is the Analysis page for the Friendship Is Magic series and its accompanying toyline in general, and deals primarily in canon (or near-canon) information. If you would like to get deep into the recesses of fanon thought on the background ponies listed below, go here.
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Pony RacesThere are three distinct races of ponies in Equestria, as opposed to a common misconception that Pegasi and Unicorns are special variants from the basic pony. The episode "Hearth's Warming Eve" as well as the iOS app Twilight Sparkle: Teacher for a Day and its Ruckus Reader version Twilight Sparkle's Special Lesson explain how the three races came together to form the land (the episode tells less of the story but in more detail, while the app tells more of the story but in less detail). The exceptions to this are the rare Alicorns, who possess traits of multiple races (see their entry for details). Genetics do appear to play a role in determining species: in "Baby Cakes", Mr. and Mrs. Cake (Earth ponies) have a set of Pegasus and unicorn twins, which Mr. Cake ascribes to these being from their long-distance relatives. Word of God states that earth ponies do have a passive magic that ties them to the earth and to caring for it, as demonstrated during "Fall Weather Friends" where the race held by earth ponies each year is required to transition the trees into the new season. The pageant in "Hearth's Warming Eve" shows that the Earth ponies were originally responsible for growing food for all three races, further proof of their botanical magic.
Unicorn PoniesThe race of our main heroine, Twilight Sparkle, and the founders of the capital city of Canterlot. All unicorns have telekinesis, which makes them great multi-taskers and gives them an advantage to handling things that would normally require hands. Most unicorns learn additional magic in association with their special talents. For example, Rarity has a magic spell that helps her locate gems. "Hearth's Warming Eve" suggests that prior to the point where Princesses Celestia and Luna took control of the rising of the sun and moon, this duty fell to the unicorns. This implication is also present in the very first episode, where the introduction states that Princess Celestia specifically uses her unicorn powers to raise the sun.
Pegasus PoniesMost pegasi hail from the majestic city of Cloudsdale, a Floating Continent made of clouds and rainbows. Pegasi possess passive magic that allows them to walk on clouds and manipulate the weather, which is very important, because ponies are actually responsible for the environment in this setting. "Hearth's Warming Eve" shows that they were once a race of proud warriors, and to this day enjoy athletic prowess as shown by the Wonderbolts aerobatics team and Young Flyer's competition.
Alicorn PoniesThe rarest and most mysterious of the pony races. The Tie-In Novel Twilight Sparkle And The Crystal Heart Spell establishes that an Alicorn is "a special breed of pony" "able to harness the magical powers of the Unicorns, the flight abilities of the Pegasi, and the strength of a good, true heart of an Earth Pony." Trading cards previously listed them as being Pegasi and unicorns but not Earth ponies, and have since listed them as being all three. Only four Alicorns have appeared in the flesh so far in the shownote , Princesses Celestia, Luna, Cadance, and Twilight Sparkle; an unnamed princess appears in a book in "Hearts and Hooves Day". Besides these few canonical Alicorns, several others have appeared outside of the show: Princess Skyla who has been released in the So Soft Newborn toyline, Celestia's four-year-old cousin Lιon who appears in an illustrated French magazine story (but not in any North American canon), some characters created using Virtual Paper Doll Web Games, and some characters from The Merch. Celestia & Luna are extremely powerful, able to raise the sun and moon daily, though it seems that this level of magical power is exclusive to just the two of them. Cadance, as of the end of the second season, has not displayed above average abilities for any of the three standard pony tribes, though her special spell can be extremely useful in the right circumstances. Twilight Sparkle becomes one in the Season 3 finale by writing new magic. For a long time there was some debate on what to call Winged Unicorns, but "Magical Mystery Cure" has Rarity refer to one as an Alicorn.
EquestriaConstructed World that is similar to our world in many ways but very different in others, it's divided into many pony-inhabited cities, towns, and villages. Ruled by the two powerful pony princesses Celestia and Luna, it is a magical place where everypony lives in (almost perfect) harmony with nature and the land.
Everfree ForestA large ancient woodland just outside of Ponyville where Nature acts on its own without the ponies' control. Nopony is known to live there, although one herbalist Zebranote resides in a hut just inside the forest perimeter near Ponyville. Several dangerous flora and fauna are found there: dragons, hydras, a cockatrice, and the poison joke flowers.
TartarusNot yet shown but mentioned in "It's About Time", Tartarus is a place where many evil creatures are imprisoned and guarded by Cerberus. For those not familiar with Greek Mythology, Tartarus is essentially the Greek version of Hell.
Crystal EmpireSee here. A former kingdom in the far north of Equestria, the Crystal Empire is inhabited by Crystal Ponies who, though no different physically from Earth ponies (except for their eye-shines), nonetheless possess fur and manes with a distinctly crystalline sheen befitting their Crystal Spires-esque home. The land itself is largely barren save for the large crystals that grow out of the ground. The episodes in which it appeared marked the first time anypony had seen it in a millennium, due to its apparently being inadvertently knocked out of time during Celestia & Luna's defeat of tyrannical usurper King Sombra. Princess Cadance has a connection to the area.note
Barley FieldPart of a land outside Equestria that lies beyond the Everfree Forest, shown in one of the German magazine comics (Scanslated as No Way Too Far). Here, Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, and Spike meet a stallion who invites them to be his guests for the evening, though it isn't shown where exactly they spend the night with him. Has not appeared in-show or in any North American canon.
Analysis on the Toys
Hasbro has released multiple series of blind bag toys, some ponies from which bear an uncanny resemblance to some of the fandom's beloved background ponies, unnamed minor characters, and a few named canon side characters. Each toy comes with a collector card. The cards themselves contain the pony's full body cartoon portrait, a small picture of their cutie mark on the corner, and a description of their talent (simple but multi-language in the European version; more detailed but English-only in the North American version). Most significantly are the names printed on the toys' packaging and the cards, which often conflict with the ponies' well-established Fan Nicknames and even a few in-show names. Neither Hasbro nor the animation studio officially or explicitly acknowledges any of the background ponies' existence for the show's continuity nor did they state that the similarly looking toys represent the background ponies themselves and thus are open for interpretation.note A small note: It has been acknowledged by DHX Media (the animation studio) staff in interviews that Hasbro's media and toy divisions tend not to talk to each other much outside of show preproduction, and as such any changes to canon the show makes later on in production might not make it into the toys until much later, if at all. Due to this, a debate whether to consider these similar looking toy ponies as the same characters themselves or a separate character entirely has erupted within the fan community. Opinions range, depending on the fan and the pony, from varying degrees of acceptance to outright refusal, casting away Hasbro's toy-line as a separate continuity from the show. The occasional names that differ from the in-show names, along with Hasbro's mixing up Apple Bloom and Scootaloo's names on two different occasions, have further solidified this notion. Whenever an obvious conflict-of-canon occurs, fans (and the show-focused MLP:FIM Wiki) usually put show canon above toy canon. In a number of cases, as time goes on, the canon toy name will come to be accepted and used by all but the most stubborn of fans, simply to make it easier for others to understand which pony is being referred to; this shift tends to happen with the less-popular background ponies that don't have a lot of fanon baggage. So far most of the toy ponies that are seemingly based on minor ponies are exclusive to the Blind Bags. Not many of them appear in other toy lines like the brushable toyline, which is the "main" My Little Pony line where some of the characters have different art than they do in the Blind Bags (a small number even have unique art).
List of toy names (excluding major characters such as the Mane Six and the Princesses):
Amethyst Star (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 21 and wave 6, pony 17)Matches Sparkler's cutie mark and color scheme. Both names are used by fans.
Apple Dazzle (Blind Bag wave 3, pony 14)Similar to Apple family member Apple Bumpkin. Was thought to also be similar to an unnamed background pony introduced in Season 2, but that pony's cutie mark was later shown clearly in Season 3, turning out to be different.
Berryshine (Blind Bag wave 3, pony 16)Similar to Berry Punch. Fans consider these as two separate entities because of the fact that Berryshine is a unicorn (and a Rarity Palette Swap, but You Don't Look Like You is common for the molded toys) while Berry Punch is and has always been an Earth pony. The only things that make her similar to Berry Punch are her color scheme and cutie mark, which have led some fans to speculate that the two could possibly be related to each other. Initially, there was a move for a fanon compromise that would re-christen Berry Punch as "Berryshine Punch" with "Berry" being a shortened nickname for Berryshine. Once fans realized that the two were different races, most of them jettisoned her toy name completely.
Blossomforth (Blind Bag wave 2, pony 8/Friendship Celebration Collection; also a wave 3 brushable)Identified by name in both the show and the toyline. Her eyes are a different color in the show than they are in the toy line (toy has green eyes, show has blue eyes), which proves that single-color differences can fall under You Don't Look Like You. She's also the only pony so far to appear in the toy line before appearing in the show, proving that the show does pay attention to the toys (though as she had both a brushable toy and a Blind Bag toy out before she appeared in the show, it isn't clear whether the show pays attention to the brushable toys, the Blind Bags, or both).
Breezie (Blind Bag wave 5, pony 5)Matches an unnamed Wonderbolt's coat and mane colors, but it's unknown if her eye color or cutie mark match. Also partly shares her name with Earth pony stallion Mr. Breezy.
Chance-A-Lot (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 10 and wave 6, pony 23)Similar both to Caramel and one of his variations (who has a different eye color). Chance-A-Lot's eye color matches Caramel's.
Cherry Berry (Blind Bag wave 3, pony 21; also a wave 8 brushable)Similar to Cherry. Fans increasingly use the toy name to better distinguish her from prominent one-shot character Cherry Jubilee.
Crimson Gala (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 4 and wave 6, pony 16)Similar to Apple family member Red Gala.
DJ Pon-3 (Friendship Is Magic Favorite Collection brushable)Called "DJ Pon-3" in Hasbro's Facebook and Twitter announcements of the collection she's included in. The box art confirms that that is indeed her canon name, making her a rather remarkable case of Ascended Fanon. At the time of her initial appearance, fans also nicknamed her by popular vote no less "Vinyl Scratch", a name which has only officially appeared on a not-for-sale poster (parodying This Is Spinal Tap) that Hasbro displayed at one toy fair in 2012. Fans have always accepted both nicknames, and often used both simultaneously (the now-canon name typically being her DJ stage name). The canonization of "DJ Pon-3" over "Vinyl Scratch" isn't going to change that anytime soon.
Flower Wishes (wave 1, pony 12/Friendship Celebration Collection; also a Friendship Is Magic Favorite Collection brushable)Matches Daisy in every way but name. There are very few, if any, fans that refer to Daisy as Flower Wishes.
Golden Delicious (Blind Bag wave 5, pony 17)This unicorn mare shares her name with the Apple family Earth pony stallion from the show.
Golden Harvest (Blind Bag wave 3, pony 8)Similar to Carrot Top. Popular opinion suggested that these two are the same pony, with Carrot Top being her nickname and being embarrassed by her real name. Trading cards containing Official Fan-Submitted Content have since confirmed that Golden Harvest is the pony from the show and made "Carrot Top" being her In-Series Nickname Ascended Fanon.
Goldengrape (Blind Bag wave 3, pony 5)Similar to Sir Colton Vines III.
Junebug (Blind Bag wave 5, pony 4)This unicorn mare shares her name and eye color with the Earth pony mare from the show.
Lemon Hearts (Blind Bag wave 1, pony 16/Friendship Celebration Collection)Some fans used to call her Lemon Drop, the name of a G1 pony she resembles. Possibly due to Lemon's lack of popularity, most just call her by her toy name now.
Lyra Heartstrings (Blind Bag wave 3, pony 22 and wave 5, pony 24; also a wave 8 brushable)Called just "Heartstrings" in the initial European release of wave 3, this pony is the one that sparked the Great Name Debate among the fans, which though eventually affecting several ponies on this list remained focused squarely on her throughout. This passion amongst the fans is probably due to her being easily the second most popular of the background ponies (only fandom-avatar Derpy can be said to have surpassed her in BG-pony popularity at the time). Before the brushables, the trading cards, wave 3's American release, and wave 5 settled things, there was another popular interpretation of a similar fashion to the "Berryshine" pony. This concept seemed to revolve around the wave 3 collector card◊, specifically the dark green coat coloration used by the card. Due to this, some fans attempted to conclude that these two were different ponies. This notion spawned a lot of fanwork, most noticeably the "Lyra strangling Heartstrings" fanart that seemed to stem from the fandom's initial reaction to the name and the comically odd "Lyra X Heartstrings" shipping in a similar vein as the "Trixie narcissism" shippingnote . However, even before the later releases, the wave 3 Blind Bag packaging (once they hit stores) showed that the Heartstrings card probably just used prototype artwork, and indicated that the toy's coloration was show-accurate after all. The name debate was put to rest once and for all with the North American release of wave 3 (plus the later brushables and wave 5), which incorporated the Fan Nickname to make her full name what you read in the heading above. This new status quo is exactly the compromise many fans wanted.
Meadow Song (Blind Bag wave 3, pony 17)Bluegrass A.K.A. the Ermac/ninja pony from "Luna Eclipsed". This pony has appeared prior to that episode, most prominently in "Over a Barrel". Fan opinion on whether these two are the same pony or not is vague due to his lack of popularity compared to other background ponies.
Merry May (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 8 and wave 6, pony 13)Similar to Flora.
Minuette (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 5 and wave 6, pony 7)Matches race, color scheme and cutie mark of the background pony previously fan nicknamed "Colgate" or Romananote . Both her canon name and latter nickname are connected to her hourglass cutie mark. Fans are generally more accepting of her toy namenote , although a few fan works (particularly ones that play up the "dentist" angle) have associated the names with two different ponies ΰ la "Berryshine".
Mosely Orange (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 20 and wave 6, pony 11)Applejack's Uncle Orange.
Noteworthy (Blind Bag wave 3, pony 23)Blues, a.k.a the "cyclops pony"note from "The Best Night Ever". He appeared in numerous episodes before the infamous animation glitch. The fandom was more accepting of the toy name and generally considered it his surname, making his full fanon name "Blues Noteworthy" or the other way around.
Peachy Pie (Pony Collection Set, pony 10)This Earth pony mare shares her name with the Earth pony filly from the show.
Peachy Sweet (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 16 and wave 6, pony 22)Similar to an unnamed Apple family member.
Rainbowshine (Blind Bag wave 3, pony 4)Similar to Rainbow Day.
Roseluck (wave 1, pony 13 and wave 6, pony 8)Matches Rose in every way but name, however it's easy to believe that "Rose" is short for "Roseluck", and because of this a lot of fans have adopted Roseluck as her full name,note making this a rare case of show fans preferring the toy name over the show name.
Royal Riff (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 6 and wave 6, pony 21)Introduced in "The Mysterious Mare Do Well", though he wasn't shown clearly until "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" and wasn't the focus of any shots until "Putting Your Hoof Down". Since his crystal toy from wave 4 was seen before he appeared on the show, he was previously considered to be another Blues look-a-like, matching his eye color, having a darker shade of blue for the coat, and having a similarly themed (musical symbols) but different cutie mark (a G-clef instead of a musical note). Some considered him a different pony mainly due to the cutie mark and dark shade of blue. Others thought he looked more like Blues than Noteworthy due to the matching eye color. His non-crystal toy from wave 6 confirmed his identity as a different pony.
Sapphire Shores (Blind Bag wave 5, pony 8)This unicorn mare shares her name (but nothing else) with the Earth pony mare from the show.
Sassaflash (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 15 and wave 6, pony 19)Similar to Wind Whistler.
Sea Swirl (Blind Bag wave 3, pony 10)Similar to Seafoam. Fans use either name depending on personal preference.
Shoeshine (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 23 and wave 6, pony 24)Similar to Linky.
Star Swirl (Blind Bag wave 2, pony 10; also a brushable)This Earth pony mare appeared in the toy line before Season 2 started mentioning the Posthumous Character Star Swirl the Bearded, a unicorn stallion.
Sunny Daze (a So Soft)This Pegasus filly (the toy is a newborn, but its packaging uses a present-day picture of her) shares her name and eye color with the Earth pony filly from the show.
Sunny Rays (Blind Bag wave 5, pony 3; also a wave 8 brushable)Similar to Rays.
Trixie Lulamoon (Blind Bag wave 3, pony 22; wave 5, pony 24; and wave 6, pony 9; also a wave 8 and Friendship Is Magic Favorite Collection brushable)Called just "Lulamoon" in the initial European release of wave 4, but shared all attributes (race, coat, mane, eyes, cutie mark) with popular antagonist Trixie. The toy name had nearly-zero credibility among the fans until the brushables, wave 4's American release, wave 5, the Friendship Is Magic Favorite Collection, and wave 6 made "Trixie Lulamoon" her full name.
Twilight Sky (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 17 and wave 6, pony 18)Ice, a lesser known background pony that appeared in the episode "Green isn't Your Color" as an assistant of Photo Finish's and as a bouncer. Matches eye color, coat color and cutie mark. Others thought it was a pony version of another guy that sparkles, though wave 6 confirmed his in-show identity.
Twilight Velvet (Blind Bag wave 4, pony 22 and wave 6, pony 10)Twilight Sparkle's mom.note
Twinkleshine (Blind Bag wave 2, pony 21; also a wave 4 brushable)This name is generally used for the similar-looking unicorn that appears from time to time in the show.
Pop Culture impact
MLP:FiM proved an overnight sensation on the internet, and even before the first season was over, it had spawned image macros and countless forum threads full of speculation and discussion; it also led to lots of males having existential crises about enjoying a "girl's cartoon" so much. It also provides one of the best examples of Troper Critical Mass in action: one season of a show ostensibly for little girls contains hundreds upon hundreds of tropes, a Characters page, a fan-fiction index, and legitimate fanbases for every character under the sun. The show has spawned a variety of musical compositions and enormous quantities of fan art, enough to flood most of the Image Boards on the 'net throughout 2011 (originating in the Anonymous boards on /co/, where series creators actually visited to interact with the surprising new subculture; but swiftly spreading to message boards devoted to topics as diverse as violent video games, wrestling, and heavy metal, with Team Fortress 2 in particular becoming seen as a fortress of brony-dom). It has even spawned an unofficial fighting game currently in production: My Little Pony: Fighting Is Magic, which is making waves in the industry. There was an attempt by fans to make a multiplayer massive online game, "Equestria Online" (but the project shut down after a C&D request from Hasbro), and a spinoff of the Ace Attorney series, "My Little Investigations". Other game spinoffs produced by the fan community include a Rainbow Dash-mod of the [adult swim] game Robot Unicorn Attack that had hit big with the same crowd several months prior to MLP's premier, helping to establish the inherent manliness of all things rainbows and unicorns. Despite such ironic remarks, the show was cited by Wired as an example of "the new sincerity" in 2010's culture, with adult fans honestly defending the assertion that it took self-confidence to appreciate the show on its own merits as a celebration of innocence, friendship and tolerance. Others watch it for the plot. This video from Know Your Meme explains this evolution in better detail. Friendship Is Magic did not penetrate the mainstream consciousness until summer 2011, when Fox News issued a series of critiques of the "bronies" phenomenon, with William Kristol declaring it to be "worse than terrorism!" (The other people on the Fox panel were supportive of the trend), and other commentators comparing it to the adult fanbase of SpongeBob SquarePants, another cartoon known for its good writing that appealed to children and adults. Of course, America has a long and storied history of producing and marketing animation exclusively for kids. The resulting fan response led to a series of Shout Outs by other media figures, including Stephen Colbert (who gave a brohoof "to all my bronies!") Much like Trek or Doctor Who, the MLP fandom has spawned its own culture with distinctive lingo and code phrases.+ The show and other official material even reference the fandom and occasionally canonize fanon, such as DJ Pon-3 and Derpy. While the phrase "brony" originally referred to the male audience, it has since come to mean any adult fan of the show male or female to a certain extent (there are those who would call female fans "pegasisters"). The high-profile fansite Equestria Daily, which went online on January 19, 2011, has visibly shown the surprisingly quick growth of the fanbase. To compare, it took 57 days for the site to reach 1 million hits. Now the site racks up a million hits every 1-2 days. On January 12, 2013, the site passed 300 million hits. At least one episode is available in Bin Weevils, the entire first season is available in German on the official German & Swiss Nickelodeon sites, the episode "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" is available on Hasbro's official US site, the episode "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 1" is available with Spanish fansubs on an official Mexican My Little Pony site, and one or two recent episodes are usually available on The Hub's official site in the US. DVDs are being released in various regions (with the completeness of the releases depending on the region), and selected episodes are being added in pairs to the Leap Frog App Center. The entire first and second seasons are available from YouTube and Google Play, the entire first through third seasons are available from Netflix, and all of the episodes that have already aired can be bought on iTunes if you're lucky enough to live somewhere in the one-third of the world where they're available. On July 4th 2011, the show began airing in the UK on Boomerang, and premiered on Boomerang worldwide soon after. German Audio Adaptations of the show's first four episodes are available across two volumes in CD and MP3 formats. The show's second season premiered on September 17th, 2011 and ended on April 21, 2012. A third season of thirteen 22-minute episodes premiered on November 10, 2012 and ended on February 16, 2013. The show spawned a movie, My Little Pony Equestria Girls. Friendship is Magic itself is getting a fourth season of twenty-six 22-minute episodes, which is to premiere on November 23, 2013. Fortunately for its prospects, the show has proven very successful with its target audience as well. Ironically, some have cited an initial wave of harsh criticism of the show's kids-commercialization aspect with sparking interest in the show, starting with Cartoon Brew's article "The End of the Creator-Driven Era", which caught the attention of /co/note ; and later with Ms. Magazine writing an article titled "My Racist, Homophobic, Smart-Shaming Pony", which generated hundreds of responses including one from the show's creator, Lauren Faust, who has long considered herself a strong feminist.
Non-Canon Alternate Universes
There has been an immense amount of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanworks and such made by the Periphery Demographic (excluding Mega Crossovers that aren't centered on MLP or MLP characters). A list of them has been created and can be found here.