The fourth incarnation of the Long-Running My Little Pony
franchise, also known as the Friendship is Magic
or Equestria Universe of My Little Pony.
G4 began with the airing of the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
developed by Lauren Faust
, debuting in October of 2010. The series became a surprise smash hit, gaining a huge Periphery Demographic
online fandom. At its core Friendship is Magic
is something of an Adaptation Distillation
for the previous cartoons. It has the fantasy & adventure elements of G1, Slice of Life
stories started by Tales
, and much of the cast are re-imagined G3 ponies. You can read more about the series on its own page.
Hasbro, being at first surprised at the rise of the Bronies and then delighted at the outstanding success of the series, has started to give G4 the full Merchandise-Driven
treatment giving it its own Expanded Universe
, giving it a series of comics
published by IDW Publishing
, several chapter and picture books, a mobile game, and an alternative series
where the ponies are humanized. Most G4 stories take place in the magical land of Equestria, a Fantasy Kitchen Sink
, and usually revolve around the six "mane
" characters: Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy. There are, of course, many more ponies (and a lot of non-ponies)
than that. As the subtitle of the cartoon series suggests, there's a strong emphasis on teaching The Power of Friendship
, from how it enriches everyday lives to how it can defeat ancient forces of evil with rainbow lasers
- The Elements of Harmony: The Official Guidebook: Covering both the fiction of the franchise and its development and success over the first three seasons.
- The Journal of the Two Sisters: A Defictionalization of the diary of Princess Celestia and Luna, along with the diary written by the main characters during season 4.
- Chapter books focusing on major characters:
- Movie tie-in chapter books:
- Equestria Girls: Through The Mirror: (October 2013) A novelization of the first spin-off movie.
- Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks: (April 2014) A prequel to the second spin-off movie.
- Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks: The Mane Event (upcoming, October 2014)
- Under The Sparkling Sea: A picture book, featuring hand-painted artwork.
- Welcome to Equestria!: A young reader's book about Cadence and Shining Armor touring Equestria.
- Welcome to the Crystal Empire! : A young reader's book about Twilight touring the Crystal Empire.
- The Daring Do Adventure Collection (upcoming, October 2014)
Tropes that apply to My Little Pony G4 in general
- Broad Strokes: Because the show, comic, and books are made by different people, the continuity between each of them takes an "only if we feel like it" approach. Thus they will often ignore each other, or if they don't, retcon each other to make their stories work.
- Constructed World: Equestria is clearly a part of its own world that has nothing to do with our own with its own magical elements, pantheon, and mechanics that differ from ours. It is far more complex then anything seen in previous generations, or most girl-oriented media for that matter.
- Follow the Leader: The Equestria Girls line was clearly made to compete with Monster High.
- Human-Focused Adaptation: The Equestria Girls sub-franchise. Its about colorful human versions of ponies going to high school in an Alternate Universe. The main Friendship is Magic universe lacks human though, like G2 & G3 before it.
- Merchandise-Driven: However, unlike the previous three generations, which had the toys made first and had the shows based on the toys (or in G2's case, had no show at all), this generation has the show and the toys based on each other.
- The Multiverse: There's actually a few different "alternate worlds" that have been explored in the franchise thus far, usually accessed with a magic mirror. The worlds given promience so far include:
- Equestria Prime: The mane setting of Friendship is Magic and the IDW comics.
- The Human world of Equestria Girls, which is also a High School AU.
- A Story Arc of the comics features a straight up Mirror Universe where the Friendship is Magic villains are peace keepers and the Mane Six and Princesses are criminals & villains.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: My Little Pony has always had this, but take a glimpse at the Friendship is Magic character page to get an idea of how many ponies there are.
- Palette Swap: Not only do the current (as of 2011) line of figurines resemble more toward pre-G4 versions, but various background characters (sometimes not even existing in the series) are palette swaps of the main characters, if their packaging graphic is anything to go by. For instance, look up Dewdrop Dazzlenote , Feathermaynote , Flitterheartnote , Lulu Lucknote , Plumsweetnote , Snowcatchernote , Twinkleshinenote if you're already familiar with the main G4 cast. Some other examples show attempt to differentiate however, such as "Cupcake" being a wingless version of Fluttershy, or "Sunny Daze" being a non-unicorn Sweetie Belle, or even "Minty" as an Applejack mold sans the hat.
The "blind bag" minifigures even went so far as to have Fluttershy - one of the Mane Six! - as a Pallete Swap of Rainbow Dash. (Which is somewhat amusing after the events of the third season episode "Magic Duel"...) She finally got her own unique mold in a set released in mid-2013. Several other characters who've appeared on the show, though, are still recolors at the blindbag scale, such as Cheerileenote , Trixie Lulamoonnote , and Lyra Heartstringsnote .
- Sugar Bowl: Equestria is a very colorful place. However, there are many elements to it that keep it from being too saccharine.
- The Magic of Friendship: It ain't called Friendship is Magic for nothing. Not only are most problems solved when the ponies work together, friendship is literally described as the most powerful type of magic in the setting.
- The Power of Hate: Coming with friendship and love being big themes in the franchise, the champions for harmony frequently come into conflict with the forces of chaos, despair, and selfishness.
- Universe Compendium: The Elements of Harmony: The Official Guidebook, covering up to the end of season 3.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The more adventure-based parts of the generation indulge in this heavily; it gives Kirby a run for its money. In fact one of the comic covers is the trope image.