The fandom that has developed in the wake of "Friendship is Magic" is largely something that I cherish and make a part of my daily life. I would like to consider myself actively involved in the community, spending a lot of time surfing Equestria Daily, commenting on various excerpts of pony news, talking to a lot of bronies both on DeviantArt and outside the site, and even lending my hand to a pony-related project or two. I love chatting to the many unique individuals who all have their own reasons for adoring the show, and I find it to be a thoroughly engaging experience to converse with other people of a similar mindset to myself. I have seen excellent remixes and mash-ups of the songs and scenes from the show and have been, frankly, amazed by the fan-made content. Only today did I see a custom Pinkie animation made by one very talented individual who should be offered a part animating on the show right away. I am also aware that some fans like the show, but prefer the fan community to the episodes themselves, and this is perfectly understandable and respectable: being part of a movement so special and rapid in its growth is a mesmerising experience. All things suggest that the fandom that has spawned from "Friendship is Magic" is something that none of us should be ashamed to be a part of. And, until recently, that has been the case.
But a few things have come up in recent times amongst certain fans that have started to frustrate me. Naturally, I'm no stranger to giving my critical opinion about something, and as a result certain aspects of the fandom that have made themselves apparent to me recently have been on the tip of my tongue, ready to be challenged. I debated over whether or not I should release this article, for the simple fact that it could offend some fans. And whilst I may still be in danger of offending a few people I believe the comments that I receive may not be entirely positive with any luck the arguments that I will project shall be credible, ensuring that, although disagreements may arise, my opinion will not be lost in a tempest of hate. I will also make the vow that if anyone does disagree with me, I will take the time to carefully read through any comments given and offer a swift, effective rebuttal.
First and foremost, I would like to tackle the 'issue' of Princess Luna. This first came into my line of sight throughout Season 1, when people began obsessing over her character, demanding that she make larger appearances as quickly as possible. When Season 2's first episode aired and there was, of course, an absence of Luna, some people were mortified. Straight away on the Livestreams there were people commenting that Luna's absence was unforgivable, and that it was an absolute necessity that Luna appear in episode 2. Unfortunately for them, when episode 2 came around there was no Luna, and this just added fuel to the fire. I've seen people, who will remain anonymous, hurling insults in every direction because of this. Some blame Hasbro: they fail to realise that Hasbro is a corporate entity that owns the rights to the My Little Pony franchise and are not, in fact, the people who write the show. Those with a little more sense attack the writers of the show, although they conveniently forget that the season premiere, "The Return of Harmony", was written during Season 1, before the writers had any idea that the fans would go crazy for Luna.
Some say it is inexcusable that Luna was not in the throne-room during Princess Celestia's speech, but I always return with the same argument: what would Luna have actually added to the story? Get beyond the fact that some fans are actively wanking themselves off to her day-in and day-out, and try and approach this from a rational standpoint. Would Luna have changed the plot? The answer is no. Would Luna's inclusion have altered the information that Twilight and the gang received from Celestia? The answer is no. Her inclusion would have merely been to concur with Celestia's points, giving the fans something to scream about. But that is hardly a respectable basis for putting her in the episode, especially as her role would once again be so minor it would almost be insulting. A lot of people felt that during the end of Episode 2 that Luna wasn't there in the big Star Wars climax is unacceptable. I find it amusing that, had Luna been present during this one-minute scene, fans would likely have complained that she wasn't getting enough screen-time.
I want to clear something up before I continue. I do not hate Luna. I can see why the fandom has gone crazy for her character. I put it down to two things: the first is, naturally, her aesthetic appeal, as her design is rather lovely. Secondly, people love Luna simply for the fact that she is such an enigma. Because nobody knows anything major about Luna's personality, people are free to come up with whatever conclusions they want with her. If one was to make Rainbow Dash all shy and introverted, they would be accused of breaking her character; with Luna, as there is no established personality bar those two or so lines of dialogue, people get ideas in their heads and run with them.
Although I am not opposed to fans doing this, it does annoy me that people won't shut up about her. Luna is a minor character; barely more than a background pony. But people still demand that she make massive appearances in the episodes. At the time of writing it has just been revealed that the third episode will be airing on October 15th. I thought it would be interesting to see what people's thoughts and feelings about it were, and decided to search for the word 'Luna' on one topic about it and see how many I could find. As I expected, more people than I would care to count were obsessing over the notion that Luna might be in the next episode. Funnily enough, I actually care more about the mane six and how they develop, not Luna. The inevitable outcome of when Luna eventually does have some screen-time in an episode is that there is a possibility that fans will be disappointed with what the writers do with her. This is because, as said previously, people have their own notions as to what Luna is like. Rather than remaining neutral on the subject, a lot of individuals have said exactly how Luna should behave and written her into the fandom in very particular ways. What if Luna in the show doesn't meet these expectations? Will people actually be able to cope with the fact that Luna just might not be all that interesting?
I dislike that the writers have been put into a difficult position trying to satisfy fans with this character. If people don't like what they see with Luna, I can predict right now that there will be comments like, "Oh no, they ruined Luna!". No, I'm afraid; the fandom are responsible for 'ruining' Luna by elevating her to a God-like position. Again, I will make the point that I don't dislike Luna, and I would be happy for her to appear in the show for the right reasons. But whatever way you look at it, Luna has become something of a curse now; if she only appears for one episode, some fans will be satisfied, but a lot will want more. If the writers don't make her character as the countless fanfictions and fans have dictated, it could have a negative backlash on the community, and that is in no way the fault of the writers. Luna will be excellently written, even if she doesn't match what certain fans have decided of her.
It's not just Luna who has been elevated to ridiculous proportions as well. Before resuming, let me make myself clear: I have nothing against a fascination with background ponies, whether they be Berry Punch, Derpy or anypony. The fandom have the right to obsess over these characters and even, in their own minds, create fictional personalities for these characters. I would also like to make it known that I am not opposed to fanfictions, including shipping or clopfics; if people want to make these then it is their creative prerogative to do so. What I am against, however, is when people take it one step further. In my mind, the fandom and the canon of the show are two very different things. If in a fanfiction an individual chooses to pair together Twilight and Applejack in one of their stories, that's fine; if the same individual tries to suggest that the relationship exists in the show itself, that is where I must draw the line.
"Friendship is Magic" is designed for kids. I understand that it has a large appeal to older fans, but that's not through adult content; it is through sharp writing, witty references and the overall high-quality of the show. I personally get annoyed when I see people watch an episode and then come out with outrageous comments that there were lots of flirty moments between the characters. This is incorrect, trying to find something in the show that quite simply isn't there, and it detracts from the purity of the show. I've seen people who have said that in Episode 2 of Season 2, Rarity and Twilight are totally hitting on one another. Excuse me for missing that: I was too busy entertaining the notion that the animation is innocently cute and fun for all ages, not full of hidden, subliminal smut. The point that I'm making is that fanfiction and the mass consensus of the fandom doesn't make something true in the context of the show. Saying that you want to write a story where Rainbow Dash is a lesbian is fine, but saying that Rainbow Dash is a lesbian in the show is not. Find me some damn evidence in the show that suggests this, or any of the other bizarre sexual combinations that people come up with. And no, I won't be accepting Dash's friendship with Gilda as evidence.
Lyra and Bon-Bon are a typical example of this little dilemma. These two beautiful ponies are often animated standing together or silently talking in the background. Some people make the assumption that these two ponies are lesbians. This is, quite simply, hard for me to accept. As I have said, you have the right as a fan to write these two ponies as lesbians, but you can't argue that in the show itself they are lesbians. What evidence is there for such a suggestion? That they're animated hanging around together a few times? Despite the fact that this is clearly a quick and easy method of animating background ponies, by often designing the same ones together in Flash, why can't people assume that they're best friends instead? If there was some dialogue between the characters where they say that they live together or something, then this would make the assumption more credible; as it stands, there is not one piece of conclusive evidence to add credence to the lesbian argument. It has gotten to the point that if someone challenged the notion that these characters are lesbians, and, oh...I don't know...wrote a fanfic with Lyra and Big Macintosh, it would likely get detractors saying that they're breaking the character. It's a shame that there is no 'character' to break, merely a cute design that people have chosen to give names, personalities and so on to. I'm afraid that that still doesn't make a supposed relationship between these ponies canon to the show.
People are often quick to bring sex into pretty much anything, and so the way in which a lot of these ponies have been put into a sexual position is hardly surprising. But to me, it does ruin the purity of the show somewhat. The amount of people who I've seen saying that they want to see some sort of gesture, like Lyra and Bon-Bon kissing in an actual episode, is insane and ignorant to the fact that the show isn't intended for the adult audience that it has garnered. It's the same logic that causes people to say things like: "I want to see Doctor Whooves get into a Tardis in the background of one episode". Do people not understand that the moment the shows creators start acknowledging these things as canon, the fascination would die out? If Luna had appeared in every episode of Season 1, I can guarantee that the interest behind her character would be far less prominent. If they did make some overt brony-reference, like Magneto swooping through the clouds, it would turn the show into a parody of itself and dilute the content. The fun is in the fandom making these observations externally to the show; "Friendship is Magic" itself doesn't need to blatantly advertise them to appease bronies.
I am an enormous fan of the show and the fandom, but I cannot apologise to anyone who cannot distinguish between the fandom and the canon of the show. Of course the fandom is, generally, an excellent group of people to be around, providing they're not exploring the darker sides of the fiction, such as pairing together fillies like Scootaloo and Apple Bloom and having them engage in God-knows-what together. Child pornography is a punishable taboo in modern society; envisioning young fillies together in that way is a contentious issue. Even on DeviantArt there are individuals who 'kidnap' other people's OC ponies and have all sorts of nasty things going on with them. Whilst I am generally tolerant to anything within reason, I just cannot bring myself to jump on board with people who find something sexual in something that really isn't. Imagining the ponies from the show in sexual circumstances is fine, but don't then try and force it down my throat that the relationships exist within the show itself. None of the mane cast have a single sexual bone in their bodies; the only hint at any form of sexuality comes from Spike's crush on Rarity and Rarity's interest in Prince Blueblood. But again, sexuality is not the same as sex, and although these characters might have innocent little crushes on one another, they should be kept that way in the show rather than blown out of proportion.
I hope that nobody is offended by the above; most fans are rational enough to understand that the show doesn't contain a lot of the mature content that some individuals claim, and this article is directed to very specific people rather than the entire community. The fandom will continue to evolve with a mixture of wonderful talent and the occasional inertia that must be weeded out, and it is up to the fans to remain level-headed. I already had to belittle somebody on Equestria Daily who was saying that he was in tears when he found out that a new episode with Luna won't be airing next week: I can understand people investing enormous amounts of time in "Friendship is Magic", but people need to learn when to accept that the show and the fandom, although juxtaposed, are very different entities. Stop whining about Luna after she has already been confirmed for the upcoming season simply because you personally hyped her up too much, stop trying to find evidence in a kids show for sexual reference-points, and, more importantly, continue to keep creating wonderful fiction...as long as you can remember that it is precisely that.