Thursday, May 8, 2014

March of the Ponies: Top 12 Supporting Characters

[NOTE: Links to other March of the Ponies stories will go here as they are published.Part 1 - Abridged MLP historyPart 2 - Review of Lauren Faust's prior works, Part 3 - MLP Comics (TwilightRainbowDashRarityFluttershyPinkiePieApplejackCMCs/Celestia,Spike/LunaNightmare Rarity arc (main series)), Part 4 - Equestria Girls review, Part 5 - Fan-made episodes (Dusk's DawnDouble RainboomSnowdrop); Part 6 - Fan works (MusicDoctor WhoovesFriendship is Witchcraft/Mentally Advanced Series, Fanfictions), Part 7 - Season Reviews: Season 1, Season 2Season 3Magical Mystery Cure, Season 4]

I feel like it's going to be highly debated what characters even should count on this list.

Sure, I could reach and say Celestia, Luna or Discord also belong in major character category, but their roles are more in line with supporting positions. They're certainly a big deal when they are in an episode, but they don't effect the plot as meaningfully when they aren't in a character-centric episode.

I give major character status to one who gets a focused episode multiple times and is seen on a fairly constant basis, which really don't fit anyone on this list.

As such, I'll quickly rifle off my top 12 minor characters on this post before I talk the big ones. Why top 12? Because it's one better than Doug Walker!

12 - Bulk Biceps
11 - Princess Cadance
10 - Cheese Sandwich
9 - Derpy Hooves
8 - Maud Pie
7 - Big Macintosh
6 - Iron Will
5 - Granny Smith
4 - Princess Celestia
3 - Zecora
2 - Discord
1 - Princess Luna

Some of you are probably looking at that list and asking yourself, "What the hell criteria made that list?"

Well it's simple: With minor characters I look for two things: 1. That they impact the plot in some way that is notable, and 2. That they be entertaining and make me want to know more about them.

Ponies like Cadance represents a character who is not entertaining, but relevant to the plot and pretty much harmless to my viewing enjoyment. Bulk is a character who is really "less is more." I felt more thrilled in his "YEAH!" first appearance than when he actually got dialogue.

I love Derpy and what she represents, but outside of some gags that advance the plot, most of what really entertains me with her falls outside the canon. There's a lot of potential, but something in the plot has to signal the depth is real before I can count it.

By now it should be clear I enjoy Iron Will and think he was perfect for his episode, but only one appearance does hinder him from moving higher.

Big Mac and Granny Smith aren't separated by a lot, but Granny Smith has a real backstory with her years of experience, which puts her definitively above being a supportive character with a gimmick. (And Iron Will happens to fit in that small gap.)

The top four felt obvious to me, and what separated them was simple. Every Luna appearance made me want to see how she handles her daily life and personal insecurities. Discord is good to infuse any plot with energy. Zecora is great advisory support, though I don't think she could carry an episode. Celestia absolutely could carry an episode, but the way she's been used in later seasons has diminished her ranking (but she does have the greatest potential to rise back up should she be written well again).

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