• Editorial: Which Ponies Have the Best Characterization?

    Friendship is Magic plays host to some of the best and most memorable characters in cartoons today. It's one of the reasons a lot of us keep coming back for more. You'd be hard pressed to find someone that couldn't relate to at least one of the ponies if they gave the show a shot. The plot ain't all it's got!

    This is one of the reasons we have had endless debates throughout the years on who exactly qualifies as "best pony". There are so many good candidates for the title, that getting even a small group of fans to agree on one would be completely impossible. We all like them for different reasons. Some just want a moe pile of adorableness like Fluttershy, while others see Rainbow Dash as the type of personality they wish they were. A few fans even obsess over specific ponies based entirely on their looks and design.

    This editorial isn't about picking my favorites, most waifuable, or who would win in a fandom poll though.  The challenge is to pick ponies that are the most well written, interesting, and useful for the show.

    Obviously no one will agree with anyone else on this, and even my opinions change episode to episode. That's the magic here. Feel free to drop your top 3 instead, or trash mine!

    Go get pones below!

    Twilight Sparkle


    I know I rag on poor Twilight here for her newfound princessyness all the time, but I still think she has some of the best characterization in the show. She has changed a lot, but is that really a bad thing?

    The early day Twilight Sparkle episodes are still my all time favorites. The amount of snark this pony can lay down was always a draw for me, and the overwhelming nerdyness as she learned the rituals of friendship always guaranteed entertainment. Top that off with the ponyville-shattering freakouts, and she was easily my TOP mare.

    While modern Twilight is busier and more practiced in the art of friends, she still has a lot of the old charms she had in the early days. When Discord is around or Rainbow is being obnoxious, the oldschool snark bubbles right back up. While she isn't adorably referencing books for simple friendship things anymore, she still has plenty of socially awkward quirky moments that keep her entertaining. Her interactions with Starlight Glimmer while trying to impress Celestia at her teaching abilities are a good example of how much learning she still has to do! 

    The best part about current Twi for me though, is how terrible she is at being princess of friendship. You could grab almost any of the other mane 6 and they'd probably do a better job. It would be like scooping up a 1st year law student and making them a supreme court justice. This isn't a bad thing though! That's the fun of her character. Watching her learn and stumble around awkwardly in her new job is what makes the Princess Twilight shine. While I still prefer the anti-social and reluctant nerd of the old days, I don't at all hate what she has become. She had to grow up and learn at some point in the last 6 seasons, and I think they transitioned into it well despite the sudden wings.

    Starlight Glimmer


    I know, I know. Controversy. She's the ultimate debate sparker these days. many love her, others adamantly and vocally hate her, but for the people that fall into category one, she really has revitalized things. I have to admit, I was getting slightly burnt out on the mane 6. Outside of the destinies concluding, their isn't a whole lot of variation when it comes to their evolution. It seems the elements of harmony idea has locked them onto a specific path, and you rarely see them migrate outside of it for whatever episode moral they are tackling.

    That's where I feel like Starlight shines. While Twilight is off working on her princessy duties, Glims is back here showing us a different side of ponyland. A side that isn't as fortunate or successful as the mane 6 are. While she's technically friends with everyone, it's not a very close friendship. We saw in "Every Little Thing She Does" how insecure she still was around all of them. The others have always had the six way friendship bond, and it's usually how they end up getting through an episode.

    Starlight on the other hoof only has that kind of relationship with Trixie, an equally damaged pony who seems to help in the complete opposite way by getting her into plenty of trouble. This dynamic adds an extra layer to the show; a section that has always been blasted away by the tight friendship from the mane 6. It's a more down-to-earth and realistic world, where she makes mistakes and has to solve them on her own with less than perfect companions.

    In the end, I love her because she is so different. She's blunt, ramps the old twilight snark up to 11, and has a way of communicating that no one else in the show really does. Her more introverted personality type is a direct contrast to the the nuclear friendship bomb that the mane 6 have become, and I think the show is better for it.



    I didn't say all these choices had to be ponies. Hell, for all we know he could have been one at some point in time.

    I'm not the type that really gets excited for a new Discord episode, but what he does bring to the table is pretty similar to Glimmer. The ultimate contrast. The shaker of stability. He's the type that always keeps you guessing and the discussion after an episode flowing. What is his agenda? What goal does Discord have? Is he evil? Six seasons later and I'm really not 100% sure. The prince of chaos lives up to the title when throwing us for a loop.

    While I wasn't initially a fan of his friendship with Flutterbutter, I do think the side dynamic is a great little booster for the overall story. It augments both Flutters and his character in a way that I don't think either of them would have discovered if they weren't together. Until recently, it really wasn't known if he was even a real friend of Flutters, or if he was just using her to further some grand scheme. He keeps you on your toes, and even now, I'm not sure she can keep him under control if he sees something shiny and corruptible in the distance.

    The idea of villain redemption is always a tough trope to tackle for any series, and something not a lot of people even like. I think they've found a great balance here with Discord though. He's still plenty villainous, but there is a growing soft spot in there that really keeps his episodes interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing where his multi-season long arc takes us.

    Hopefully these choices made sense to you. We get a lot of strange requests for editorials, and this was one that had me and many others stumped. MLP has so many incredibly fun characters that deciding who would fit here wasn't a smooth process. I'm sure plenty of others could sneak right in and take their places, but these are my personal three that I find have the best characterization in the show at the moment.

    I expect it to change by the end of the season. It always does!