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Rescued From The Scrappy Heap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

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My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic redeemed the My Little Pony franchise, as well several in-universe characters.

  • When the first season of the show had just started, Rarity was one of the least popular cast members for her Rich Bitch traits (dim, shallow, arrogant, selfish and useless) and being the most stereotypically girly-girl in a show that generally managed to avoid it. Later episodes demonstrating her Hidden Depths, like "Suited for Success", "A Dog and Pony Show", and "Green Isn't Your Color", had her live up to her intent to subvert the negative aspects of her stereotype, and caught her up with the rest of the cast in terms of popularity.
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  • When the Cutie Mark Crusaders were introduced, they were feared to be annoying one-note characters who didn't serve any purpose other than being more relatable to the series' target audience. However, as later episodes have depicted them as having more depth beyond their search for their cutie marks, fans have come to appreciate them on the same level as the Mane 6.
  • Angel Bunny had always been a bit of a jerkass, but the way he took it Up to Eleven in "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S2 E19 "Putting Your Hoof Down"" made many members of the fanbase despise him. A couple of episodes since then have portrayed him in a much more likable light. His heroic role in the 23rd issue of the comics (and the fact that he will never get any recognition for it) seemed to have completely rescued him.
  • The episode "Baby Cakes" even managed to do this to baby ponies for some people. For a long time, they were a popular target due to their oddly anthropomorphic shapes, arguably ruining the appeal of ponies. Then this episode used their similarities to real human babies to advance a meaningful plot.
  • Princess Cadance managed to go through this twice.
  • Upon her introduction Babs Seed fell very short in attempting to portray a sympathetic character. She came off as something of a sociopath with the way she bullied the Cutie Mark Crusaders far beyond what the other two bullies (Diamond Tiara, and Silver Spoon) ever did. Her Freudian Excuse hardly came close to justifying her behavior. Many fans thought that, at the very least, she could have careened off that cliff and ended up in the mud before her Heel–Face Turn. However, fast-forward only four episodes and she was portrayed in a far more likeable light as a very lovable character, gaining her a ton of popularity. Helping further is her reappearance in an issue of the the comics where she was portrayed as feeling that she still has to struggle to prove that she has reformed. She bonds with fellow reformed antagonist Trixie and helps her catch a jewel thief who framed her.
  • At the end of "Keep Calm and Flutter On", many fans disliked the newly turned-good Discord, as many fans liked him because he was so despicable and dangerous and felt that his reformation came completely out of character. As of the season 4 premiere, those who hated the reformed Discord warmed up to him after he was reestablished as The Imp, still mischievous, very potentially dangerous, and very tenuously held back by a newfound sense of honor and friendship, even to the point where he temporarily relapses into a full-blown villain again in the season 4 finale, which he wound up regretting so heavily that he got a much better received redemption.
  • Twilight Sparkle becoming an alicorn princess in "Magical Mystery Cure" was met with backlash due to the belief it made her overly Sueful and would change her role to something bereft of what made her appealing. The season 4 premiere was a surprisingly well done story of Twilight struggling with the fear that her new responsibilities would keep her from her friends and she wasn't so powerful now she still needed their help to save the day. In fact her standing created just as much new challenge to overcome as it did help. By the season 4 final when being an alicorn princess had changed so little fans were complaining about it doing nothing to justify the controversial change Twilight voiced the same complaints and got her wish to do more what's considered one of if not the greatest moments of the series which wouldn't have been possible if not for her new powers. By the ending when she was formally titled "The Princess of Friendship" the majority fan opinion was she had truly earned it.
  • While Sunset Shimmer, the Big Bad of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls (2013), was easily the most popular thing to come out of it, she still wound up a massive Base-Breaking Character. Critics labeled her a shallow Alpha Bitch whose potential was completely wasted despite having the backstory of being Celestia's previous student, thus effectively serving as an Evil Counterpart of Twilight. When she pulled a Heel–Face Turn at the end of the movie, it was after displaying so many moments of cruelty that many felt Sunset hadn't earned her redemption, or that she was just faking it to get out of trouble. The sequel, Rainbow Rocks, showed not only was this Heel–Face Turn legitimate, but she hasn't been so readily accepted by those she once tormented and has to deal with the ramifications of everything she has done. She also gets her own Evil Counterpart in Adagio Dazzle and plenty of interaction with Twilight, giving Sunset some overdue character depth. Couple that with a few moments that paint her as The Woobie over her struggles, yet earnestly trying to help everyone, as well as finally earning acceptance by being instrumental in saving the day, and Sunset Shimmer won herself a lot of fans.
  • Gilda the Griffon was disliked for being a complete Jerkass whose one redeeming quality was that she genuinely cared for her old friend Rainbow Dash. In "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone" it turns out Dash was Gilda's only friend growing up, and that her mean-spirited attitude is probably a result of growing up in a town where everyone is a jerk. This, along with Gilda saving Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie at the end of the episode, made her much more sympathetic and successfully redeemed her in the eyes of many fans.
  • Diamond Tiara was quite possibly the least popular character throughout the first five seasons of the series, gaining ire even from those who accepted it as intentional. While other villains have their charm, Diamond Tiara was disliked for constantly bullying the Cutie Mark Crusaders for no reason and being protected from lasting consequences by the Status Quo. Fans even thought she couldn't be reformed when she made fun of Scootaloo for not being able to fly, despite Discord reforming after far worse. Come "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" it was revealed that her perfectionist mother's demands for Diamond to act so superior was the source of her bullying. Diamond wanted to be a better pony but didn't know how. This episode has her find out how, and she even befriends the Crusaders by the end of the episode! While she remains divisive (some finding her Freudian Excuse weak), nearly everyone views it as an improvement.
  • King Sombra was heavily criticized for lacking motive or characterization (as well as having no real dialogue), and being (seemingly) Killed Off for Real after showing enough ruthlessness and intelligence that fans decried his potential wasted. Even the show staff admitted that he did not work out as they hoped. Two events rescued him, first, My Little Pony: FIENDship Is Magic showed his Start of Darkness, giving him a much needed backstory as a Tragic Monster that was very well-received. Then the season 5 finale's first Bad Future showed what would happen if he won: Sombra becomes a frighteningly competent military dictator who plunges all of Equestria into war, and Celestia has to lead an army against him in a Big Badass Battle Sequence. It really says something that, despite being the most disliked major villain originally, Sombra's future is the most popular one with fans by a very large margin. (Helped by the fact that a number of major characters have turned into hardened veterans in this future, and Sombra himself displays some combat skills in his few scenes.)
  • Starlight Glimmer was originally well liked as a unique villain, but lost that upon her Heel–Face Turn, being Easily Forgiven despite doing perhaps the worst deeds in the series and a weak Freudian Excuse (losing a friend which other characters went though without falling to villainy) and having magical ability comparable to Twilight Sparkle without explanation. Season Six started redeeming her showing her struggling with guilt and self-doubt over her past and if she deserved forgiveness, and her befriending fan-favorite Trixie letting them become a recurring character with even some who didn't like Starlight enjoying the chemistry of the duo. The Season Six finale further redeemed her when she anxiously faces the challenge of not only returning to her old village, but being thrust into a position of leadership she feel ill-equipped to take on. Starlight's season-wide Character Development shines through, as she crosses the Heroes' Frontier Step by pulling her little makeshift rescue team together, realizing the reason why she was wrong, and using that knowledge to defeat the Big Bad without resorting to using magic, addressing the complaint of her over-reliance on magic to resolve problems. While Starlight remains very controversial with her past action, present mishaps, Character Shilling, and how others tend to be made jerkish or inept to let her take center stage, many fans still warmed up to her. Season Seven further endeared her by giving her a clear role amounts the main cast that played off her uniqueness (addressing the criticism she was an inferior knock-off of Sunset Shimmer) nor came at others expense, even enabling the Princess Celestia and Luna focus episode fans have long awaited.
  • Flurry Heart, besides being yet another alicorn, immediately turned some off with their design thanks to how out of proportion her wings and horn are compared to her infant body. Her debut episode didn't win her any fans, as she was the direct cause of conflict in the Season 6 premiere. In her Season 7 appearance, "A Flurry of Emotions", her antics were far more sympathetic and her interactions with other places and ponies were amusing. The episode overall managed to make Flurry Heart more endearing to the audience.

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