• Seasons, Nostalgia, and The Fandom Part 1: The Beginning and The 4chan Board that Helped Start It All

    It's MONDAY.  I usually hate Monday.  It's right up there with Wednesday for days that nothing happens on.  Luckily we just came off an epic season finale.  I think this is one of those where the incredible amount of hype from the Writers, Voice Actors, Directors, Boarders, and Hasbro Studios folks was fully warranted.  They promised huge, and I'm pretty sure we got huge.  Because of this, we still have plenty of energy leftover on a day I usually greatly dislike! 

    It has been a long time since I've seen the EQD box with ~eighty emails in it when I wake up (I do actually go to bed sometimes), and I couldn't be happier.  Yes fandom, we are once again thriving after that one.  I think I saw twenty different videos come in replacing the music during the Twilight Vs. Tirek fight with various metal/Dragon Ball Z songs.  While we don't usually post stuff like that, It's still exciting to see people so... excited!

    How did this one compare to the other season endings? While we here at EQD aren't the center of the sprawling internet-wide pony thing, I like to think we do see a pretty good amount of what goes on in it.  For the next few days, I'm going to write up a reflection on what made this fandom possible, name some of the major events, and hopefully give all you new people an idea of what we can do to make this next wait feel much less painful!  And if you are still around from the oldschool pony days, join me for a bit of nostalgia.

    Without further adieu, head on down below the break for Season One, and the collective confusion of internet denizens everywhere as they were slowly bombarded by an army of cartoon horses. 

    Season One and The 4chan Board that Helped Start it All!

    I'm going to try my best to not slam you with too many words on all of these, but the nostalgia is strong with this one.  If this poll is any indication, a majority of you missed the birth of this wild world of pony we have here. 

    Despite what stories you may have heard, a major driver of everything early on was the old 4chan Comics and Cartoon threads. An article on Cartoon Brew spawned a thread, which spawned another thread, which spawned ten more threads all at once, which eventually spawned a moderator having to step in and regulate us down to one again. Yes, pony largely appeared in what Fox News once called the "Internet Hate Machine". Questionable headlines aside, it is true that 4chan isn't known for it's welcoming atmosphere and community love, and a show about friendship and togeatherness quickly boggled many while slowly devouring the other boards.

    Something weird was happening on more than just our home board. Odd flash based pastel unicorn and pegasus faces began appearing just about everywhere.  It seems cute colorful ponies and their wide variety of expressions was a popular item for image macros, and using these, 4chan, and eventually the geek side of the internet was taken over by a tsunami of things like this:

    Yep, pretty much Twilight. The world wide web was unprepared for what was about to happen.  Internet tough guys everywhere were showing up with avatars consisting of rainbow manes and unicorn horns.   4chan, being the major origin point of it all, was especially effected  There wasn't a section of the site out there that didn't drop a pony every hour at least somewhere. 

    People were curious, ended up on youtube watching the pilot, and silently liked it while doing everything in their power to convince themselves that they, in fact, do not find Fluttershy adorable.  The majority of said people cracked, and out of the ashes of their manliness, the term "Bronies" was born. 

    The golden age of confused adults wasn't all smooth sailing though.  Understandably, many who didn't "get" it weren't too thrilled at the army of pony denizens clogging up just about everything.  Pony threads and pony images were being banned and deleted left and right.  It seemed like the moderators of 4chan were doing everything in their power to quell the budding fandom before it was too late.  Things were looking bad in the pony world.  The first great 4chan pony war began.

    It was around this time that Equestria Daily was born (and I was banned for a Trixie thread, woops), with the goal of spotlighting what was happening in the pony threads before they disappeared into oblivion.  We had an excellent thread archiver, but it was still a massive headache to catch up, keeping people up into the wee hours of the morning hoping they wouldn't miss anything major. 

    Eventually, the higher ups over on Comics and Cartoons dropped this treaty, and pony was once again allowed to flourish, albeit much more limited than before.  Pony was regulated to one thread at a time, and image macros were outright banned on all other boards.  While far into the future we would see the rise of an entire board dedicated to the show, this was, and still is, the policy.  Luckily at this point, Friendship is Magic was expanding beyond the boarders of a single site. 

    As season one came to a close, many wondered what the future held for our new obsession.  This was during a time when we still weren't even sure if we would see a second season.  Yes, it was loved and spreading, but would it be enough?

    This is where the fan content came in.  Fanfiction especially was a big driver between episodes.  These aren't the 3000-1.5million word stories you see now days though.  50% of them were 1000 word screencaps of X (probably Rainbow Dash) falling in love with Y (whoever your OTP was with Rainbow Dash).  Poor Lauren Faust was under a constant deluge of people clawing for any bit of pony lore they could get their hands on, from how much ponies weigh, to the minute details like... reproduction. Yep, we were crazy.

    And of course, the art.  It was also overflowing in shipping, and usually drawn by 2-3 people, also known as "Drawfags" on 4chan, or "Drawfriends" in /co/ pony threads, hence the name here on Equestria Daily.

    The Best Night Ever finally aired, covering a slight over-arching Grand Galloping Gala theme that we saw hinted at throughout the last 25 episodes.  We didn't end it with a giant villain, or even a two-parter. It was probably the most down to earth, yet touching of the finales we have seen so far.  Twilight Sparkle learned her usual friendship lesson, and the show ended with a song that was stuck in our heads for months.  This was how a lot of season one was.  Aside from Party of One surprising everyone with Pinkie's insanity, pony tended to be very light hearted and straightforward in it's storylines, with a focus on introducing these characters that we would end up loving for years to come.

    The lingering sense of dread for the coming hiatus was felt throughout the various communities in the fledgling ponysphere, including here at EQD. Would we still be around in the Fall when episodes finally started up? How would we keep the interest going without new episodes to fuel lore and fan works?  A lot of us were following the main moral of the show via loads of new online friendships. To this day, I still regularly chat and play games with people I met way back in the old /co/ 4chan threads, not to mention meeting up with them at several conventions around the country.

    That is another story altogether though.  Expect the great first pony haitus and the rise of the fandom that followed in part two!