Starting at the Beginning: A Look Back At The First Episode Of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
At one point, every Brony out there experienced their very first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. For many of us, including me, this episode wasn’t just the first one we saw, but the first FIM episode ever made, the two part pilot, “Friendship is Magic.”
I’ll admit it; the pilot is not my favorite episode. It’s not even in my top ten because the pilot does exactly what it needs to, which is to present the concept and characters of the series, but it fails to do much else. It’s a very serious pair of episodes in comparison to the rest of the series, and is only able to scratch the surface of the Mane 6’s personalities. All of my favorite episodes of season one, like “Dog and a Pony Show” or “Party of One,” really dive into individual characters and make me laugh like crazy, and “Friendship is Magic” does neither of those things.
Thankfully, there is an explanation for all this, and the reason is that these are the only two episodes written by Lauren Faust, a phenomenal animator and the creator of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The rest of the series was written by a team of professional writers, so the tone quickly changes in the following episodes to create the humor and warmth that make MLP so enjoyable.
All that being said, “Friendship is Magic” is still the episode that made me a fan after only the first 20 minutes. Celestia bless Netflix I didn’t have to stop watching after part one of “Friendship is Magic” because I was completely addicted to the show by the end of part two. The animation style, voice acting and characters are amazing, and these elements are present in the pilot. I love cartoons and anime, and it was clear from these very first episodes that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was going to be special.
The pilot introduces the world of Equestria and its most charming inhabitants, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Fluttershy. The Mane 6 are joined in this episode by every-pony’s favorite sidekick, Spike and the royal sisters, Celestia and Nightmare Moon (and her much sweeter form as Princess Luna).
Twilight Sparkle starts out as a loner who doesn’t have many friends, and who also isn’t looking for any. She is a little awkward with people and wants nothing more than to be alone and study, but that’s what makes her so endearing and relatable. I’ve never been able to just jump into conversations or charmingly mingle at parties either; I pretty much always manage to make a fool of myself, not unlike when Twilight drinks hot sauce instead of soda, so I instantly identified with Twilight Sparkle’s desire to retreat to her books.
At the dawning of the Summer Sun Celebration, Twilight’s worst fears are realized and Nightmare Moon escapes from her imprisonment on the moon to impose permanent night on Equestria. Twilight Sparkle and the rest of the Mane 6 must unite to save Ponyville and all of Equestria. Their mission is to find the Elements of Harmony. They discover that they embody the elements, Honesty, Compassion, Laughter, Generosity, and Loyalty, and in their fight to stop Nightmare Moon they realize that the sixth and most important element of harmony is Friendship. By working together as friends, the ponies are able to restore the Elements of Harmony. Once defeated, Nightmare Moon is released from her jealousy and rage and is able to be herself again, the adorable pony, Luna.
This two part episode is what started it all; Part one and two of the episode “Friendship is Magic” debuted the newest world of My Little Pony and created an enormous community of Bronies who cherish that world. I’m not claiming that the pilot is a masterpiece of MLP. In many ways, it fails to truly portray the charm and humor that make the series glow, but without the pilot, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic might never have been launched and we bronies would be missing our hooved friends. “Friendship is Magic” part one and two will always hold a special place in my heart because they made this fantastic series possible.
Best quote from the episode: “Gaaaaaaaasp!” – Pinkie Pie when she first meets Twilight Sparkle