The PONIES: The Anthology trilogy is a series of feature-length compilations of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan videos, largely comprised of short, Robot Chicken-style blackout gags (complete with static bumpers), typically running anywhere from a few seconds to half a minute. The Anthology series are really the only Pony fan videos that I make a point of watching, since they’re curated, meaning they’re somebody’s idea of the best ones out there. Here are my personal favorites of those bests, running about 32 minutes total. Or 22 minutes if you skip 2012: A Pony Odyssey, as I suspect most do.
I’ve tried my best to credit the creators when I could figure out who they were, but there doesn’t seem to be an official list of who created what. I’ll be keeping it within the scope of the Anthology series, with all due respect to the fans of Hot Diggity Demon’s very popular PONY.MOV series; consider it not-forgotten.
And if you’re not a fan of the show, none of this will change your mind. But those who know, know.
Released on May 25, 2011, just a few weeks after the first season ended, this initial installment is a mere 24 minutes long, more proof-of-concept than anything else. But it proves the concept quite well.
Creators: Fall_Child42 (aka Dr. Dinosaur) and ZephyStar.
This is a frame-for-frame parody of Kanye West’s “Power” video, an appropriately strong start to the entire series. I’ve always liked this song, thanks in no small part to the fact that In the Court of the Crimson King is the only King Crimson album I find listenable.
Here they are side-by-side:
2. Pinkie Pi.
The most common kind of fan remix, audio from an outside source mixed into the footage. I think the first time I saw this kind of thing was Todd Graham’s Apocalypse Pooh, which was filler on a Star Wars Holiday Special tape I traded for in the late 90s, from the same person who gave me the (Colossal) Pictures Dubden mixtape.
What especially makes this one work is that Twilight Sparkle has had Pi-style meltdowns on more than one occasion (cf. “Feeling Pinkie Keen,” “Lesson Zero,” and It’s About Time”), and it’s always funnier when it fits with the character.
3. Bozeman’s Derpy.
Ah, Blinky Watts. I’m one of the three people who actually watched Mark Frost & David Lynch’s On the Air during the brief period that it was…um…that it could be intercepted by commercially-available receivers from analog transmissions in the atmosphere. (If only there were a shorter way to put that!) Here’s the original, for those of you who aren’t Lynch completists:
SilkAMV, my favorite contributor to the first two Anthologies, takes the events of “The Stare Master” to their logical conclusion. Back in 2006, I actually saw both Koyaanisqatsi and Naqoyqatsi with the Philip Glass Ensemble performing the scores live. Also, I’ve already seen Visitors, the new film by Glass and Godfrey Reggio. (Oh yeah, these are the kinds of things I brag about.)
5. Pinkie Space, Parts 1 & 2.
There’ll be a lot more Portal (and other games) later in the series, but this particular video – actually divided in two parts in PONIES: The Anthology – has gotten me closer to playing a modern video game than anything else ever has. I’m sure I’d enjoy it, but as heaven is my witness, between work and school and extracurricular silliness I just do not have the time to spare. I know how that sounds, and I am absolutely not being snide toward those who are able to incorporate gaming into a complete breakfast – which I’m fairly certain is the majority of Topless Robot’s readership – nor am I claiming to have superior time management skills: one of the ways I burn off the free time I don’t really have is to browse through the Google Newspaper Archives and collect advertisements from the Jerry Lewis Cinema franchise in the 1970s. Yeah, exactly.
6. Koyaanisqatsi Reprisal.
Fluttershy continues to put your life out of balance.
Released on July 1, 2012, two months and change after the second season ended, this installment is 82 minutes long. I first saw it while doing the Pony Pokey at the Everfree Northwest convention in August 2012, and in fact that was when I became aware of the Anthology series at all. There are a lot more video game references than in the first, but nowhere near as many as in the third. Indeed, PONIES: The Anthology II gets the balance just right.
Rainbow Dash takes on a tour of a sprawling 8-bit Equestria, set to the chiptune sounds of Anamanaguchi’s “Blackout City.” Keep an eye out for Pinkie Pie as Raoul Duke in Las Pegasus.
SilkAMV kills it once again.
9. Fallin’ in Love.
Takes one of the most basic forms of a fan mashup video – a pop song relating to the action onscreen – and gets all Run Lola Run with it. I love the purity of this concept, and there’ll be an even better one later in.
10. Pinkie’s Bass Cannon.
I’d never heard of Flux Pavilion, and was only vaguely aware of what dubstep was at the time, but when I first saw this at Everfree, I wanted to shout from the back of the crowded room, “Oh my god, please play that one again!”
Speaking of musical trends that I was oblivious to in the dog days of 2012, one of the visuals at the dance on Saturday, August 18 at Everfree was a Pony version of the “Gangnam Style” video; the original came out on July 15, the pony version on August 10, and both had stayed completely off my radar until that night.
11. Pony Spheres, Parts I – III.
More spherical goodness from SilkAMV…
12. Pinkie “Pop Pop” Pie.
…who also gets mad props for being an unabashed Community fan. Also, here’s Silk’s lip-sync tutorial.
Oh, is there anything funnier than creatures that should not be singing at all belting out an aria? Lots of things, actually, but this one is terrific, especially because the duck is clearly putting his heart into it by the end. It’s the little details that make all the difference.
14. Twilight Psychology Major.
Damn, but Rainbow Dash as Jeff Winger and Twilight Sparkle as Britta Perry just makes so much sense.
Hard to believe it took this long to happen.
Another pitch-perfect recreation, this time of the opening credits to Archer. Here’s a side-by-side comparison.
17. Ponies React – The Mane Six react to Generation 1.
A parody of the Teens React series, Pinkie Pie actually nails how I felt when I recently tried to sit down and watch the 1984 My Little Pony movie. (The eternal optimists at Shout! Factory keep sending me the DVDs of the pre-Friendship is Magic show, in hopes that I’ll write about them. Yeeeeeeeah, I dunno.)
18. Sweetie Troll.
Similar in concept to “Fallin’ in Love,” but shorter and much funnier – and while the dialog between Big Mac and Cheerilee at the end is taken straight from the episode, it couldn’t be a better punchline.
19. The Trotting Dead.
Spike’s concern about zombies from “Bridle Gossip” leads into a terrific recreation of the opening credits of the first season of The Walking Dead. (Does anyone else feel like the revamped credits for the last couple seasons got a little too J-Horror?)
20. Fluttershy is the Disco Spider.
More Community love from Silk.
21. Pi is Exactly 3!
I can totally see Twilight Sparkle pulling a Frink like this. Granted, she’d be the only one who’d understand it, but still.
22. Spike’s Rant.
This one’s a pretty deep cut: the audio is an Easter Egg from a DVD of the Neon Genesis Evangelion series, in which the main character points out everything that doesn’t make sense about the ending. It turns out to be quite a lot. I was unfamiliar with Neon Genesis Evangelion when I first saw this, but I’ve been covering the feature films since then, and they could all use a similar rant at the end, too.
23. 2012: A Pony Odyssey.
Creator: PartyGrunt and Myst AnimatorX.
The longest Anthology segment by a country mile, and the one that feels like it was made just for me. It necessarily eliminates the middle 90% of the movie, but that’s okay – especially because it’s 10 minutes long without almost no dialog to speak of other than HAL, and thus is faithful to the tone of the original film. There was a lot of fidgeting in the room when I originally saw it at Everfree, but I was blissed out.
Remember how I mentioned I’m collecting ads from Jerry Lewis Cinemas? From the Washington, PA Observer-Reporter from April 22, 1972, this is one of my favorites. For obvious reasons.
Released on December 7, 2013, some 10 months after the end of the lackluster third season, a certain malaise has settled in. Part of the problem, I suspect, is that since Anthology II there’d only been 13 new 22-minute episodes and a 72-minute movie nobody liked, so there wasn’t as much fresh source material to work with. As a result, there are a lot more video games this time around – the “A” in Anthology III is the Half-Life logo – as well as more original 3-D animation of ponies, the creators frequently inserting themselves into the videos and generally getting meta about their relationship with the show, and did I mention that they didn’t like My Little Pony: Equestria Girls? Yeah, they really didn’t.
Flawed though it may be, there are still moments of brilliance sprinkled throughout. (I’m specifically referring to Anthology III, but I think that statement holds true for Equestria Girls as well.)
24. Dragon’s Mare.
Creator: Myst AnimatorX.
Of the many video games in Anthology III, I’m pretty sure this is the only one I’ve played.
25. Musk Rarity.
I honestly don’t have the first clue what’s going on here, but I approve.
Best running gag ever. (Watch out for the screen, Fluttershy!)
Twilight has reconsidered her stance on the value of pi, via the Hard ‘n Phirm song.
Another of the “Why did it take this long?” variety, I’m glad it did take this long, because this parody of the video from the original Japanese Ringu gets it just right – thanks in no small part to it indeed being from the original film, not the American remake. And much like 2012: A Pony Odyssey, it works because it’s faithful to the tone of its source material. It’s even a little creepy!
29. Ferris Bueller Museum.
I spent some time staring Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte at the Art Institute of Chicago a couple years ago, and after I while I saw Pinkie Pie, too.
30. Pinkie Kaufman.
Sadly, Pinkie was voted off the show via a call-in poll a few seasons later.
31. Toy Story.
As I may have hinted, the majority of the fans did not care for My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. (I’ll skip the “recap.”)
32. Mayor Smoke Crack.
On November 5, 2013, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denied being addicted to crack cocaine, and that if he ever had smoked it, it probably would have been in one of his drunken stupors. On December 7, Ponyville Mayor Mare made the same shocking admission.
33. Apple Jack Torrance.
The one theory missing from Room 237: Applejack has always been the caretaker.
Previously by Sherilyn Connelly: