Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Trig Topic: Is an Aesthetic Redesign for FiM in Order?

Image courtesy of Hasbro. Just kidding, I stole it.

Some of you are probably thinking "is this the long awaited return of the Trig Rant?!". Well, not quite. This is a much more petite piece aiming to inspire discussion and feedback from Discord Domain's awesome micro-community rather than have a lengthy and not-so-well-thought-out rant about my eccentric opinions. 

So, without any further adue, not including clicking to get past the break if you haven't already done so, here's the first edition of Trig Topics with your host, Trigonometrize.

Cartoons rarely change. Homer Simpson and the rest of the Simpson family seem to have been wearing the same outfits for twenty five years... hopefully Marge is a dedicated clothes washer. I suspect that this static approach to cartoon visuals can be attributed to two things: the artists need to save time in order to produce more episodes (probably the main reason) and the creators want to develop a sense of familiarity with their characters so that when you sit down to watch the show you feel at home.

This way of doing cartoon visuals has never particularly bugged me. At times I wonder why Kim Possible always wears that slightly skanky green tank top shirt and blue jeans to school, but at the same time, it never really got stale, perse.

We arrive today with Friendship is Magic, the cartoon daring to be different. At the start of season two, the entire format of the show was changed; Twilight would no long be the only pony to write friendship letters, but all of her friends would join in when the time came. The Season three finale was an entirely musical episode, communicating its themes and ideas through Ponyville's catchy tunes it has stored up its back pocket. And not only that, but Alicorn Twilight was born, completely changing the role of the main character with at least twenty six episodes still to go.

I'm sure you all know all this, but why is it important? Well, to sum it all up, FiM has proven it can be narratively diverse. It can change the way it presents the show, even if it is the same at its core. This has always been one of the most intriguing things to me about MLP. Few shows are daring enough to grow, change, and evolve at the level ponies does and continues to do.

So now to my proposition. What am I suggesting with all of this? Well, I believe that DHX should channel their enthusiasm for being diverse over to the visual side of things. The main six have grown and developed throughout the course of the first three seasons. They feel like a much more comprehensive set of friends, as well as individuals. Not only that, a few of them are getting closer and closer to reaching their ultimate goals, such as Rainbow Dash getting into the Wonderbolts and Twilight becoming a princess. Because of this, I think it's time for the character models to reflect the ponies' ongoing evolution. We've caught glimpses of the ponies looking different in episodes such as Art of the Dress and The Crystal Empire especially, but these changes never seem to stick. To quote Rarity, "I do so wish it were permanent."

Ultimately, I feel like keeping the same look for seasons upon seasons is antithetical to the fact that these characters are very different from where they started out. Pinkie Pie has the capacity to be mature, Rainbow Dash has been humbled, Twilight has gained self-control, Rarity has discovered what's really important in life, Fluttershy has gained self confidence, and Applejack... um... yeah. If these ponies truly are different from where they started off all those years ago at the Summer Sun Celebration, it's time for their outward appearance to show that as well.

But what do you guys think? Is an aesthetic redesign for FiM in order or is everypony fine just they way they are? Sound off in the comments.