Hello there! For whatever reason, it seems you've stumbled upon this humble guide to the My Little Pony fandom. Perhaps you're a new brony looking to see what the fandom has to offer, or maybe you're an outsider coming to see what all the fuss is about. Or perhaps you're already an experienced member of the fandom, just looking to see if there's anything important you might have missed. Whatever your reason for reading this might be, I hope you'll find this guide enlightening.
A good chunk of this guide is basically just a list of what I consider to be the best original animations, songs, comics, artwork, and stories created by the fandom. It will almost certainly be missing some things, as I definitely can't claim to have seen everything the fandom has to offer, but I'm confident I've covered a good chunk of the more popular works.
Keep in mind that unless otherwise stated, the links posted here make no attempt to avoid spoilers for new members of the fandom. The list itself should be reasonably spoiler-free, but click on one of these links without having seen every season of MLP and all the movies and all bets are off (again, unless otherwise stated). That means if you're viewing this list on Reddit using RES and you're concerned about spoilers, make sure none of the below links are expanded before proceeding. Feel free to check with another member of the brony community if you want to be sure that a particular fan work is spoiler-free before you view it. Anyway, read on for a massive list of some of the greatest works in the MLP fandom!
The MLP fandom has a number of very high quality (sometimes even as good or better than that of the original show) animations depicting all sorts of things, including original stories, crossovers with video games, interpretations of events from the show, and more.
Often animators will set their animations to music. Sometimes music from outside the fandom, and sometimes original music from brony musicians inside the fandom. These animated music videos are referred to by those within the fandom as PMVs, Pony Music Videos.
These PMVs are composed primarily of original animation from the MLP fandom. There is some overlap here with the "animated" category above, but I tried to put all the videos where the music is a large part of the focus of the animation in this category.
These are PMVs composed using simple motion graphics and/or carefully selected clips and screenshots from the show or other fan-works. These PMVs are much more common, as they're easier to produce than fully-animated PMVs. Here are a few select stand-outs.
As I mentioned in the previous section, there are a number of artists in the MLP fandom who create original songs inspired by the show. Some of these are remixes of songs from the show, while others are entirely original.
There's lots of pretty amazing stuff here; definitely more than I can cover in this post, so here's a sample of some of my favorites. (I tried my best to cram these into just a few major categories, so sorry if the genres don't fit perfectly in all cases here. I'm open to suggestions if you've got any ideas on how to categorize these better.)
Here are a few of my favorite musical artists in the fandom, some of whom are responsible for the songs mentioned in the section above.
Some members of the fandom find it fun to critique episodes of the show, or to spend time coming up with theories and headcanons explaining details about the world of Equestria which are not fully explored in the show itself. Here are a few of the more popular ones (including a small sample of some of their best works).
Want to relive the joy of seeing the show for the first time? Want to hear what others thought of an episode? A number of people have recorded themselves watching MLP (and related fan works) for the first time (i.e. "blind"), and sharing their thoughts with you as they watch.
There's really so much great content in this category that I can't even begin to compile a comprehensive list of "the best". Below is a small sample of artwork the fandom has created. Beyond that, I suggest you check out what's on DeviantArt and branch out from there. I also have my own collections of my favorite artwork of canon and non-canon characters on DeviantArt which you're free to check out.
Some of the artists in the community have used their skills to create comics about the show. Some of these are random silliness and gags, while others feature original stories.
These are basically blogs where the featured characters respond to questions from the readers. Try a few, you'll get the idea.
And of course, like just about every other fandom in existence, MLP has a number of fanfictions written about it. I personally haven't explored this area of the fandom too much, but here are a few works others have frequently recommended to me. For discovering more stories, FIMFiction.net is a good resource, along with some of the reviewer sites and groups out there like Seattle's Angels and the Royal Canterlot Library.
A number of creators have teamed up to create full fledged video games based on the show. For discovering more games and mods, right now Equestria Daily is probably your best bet.
Trying to find more awesome pony content? Looking to talk with other bronies? There are all sorts of places on the web for that!
Some animators have created parodies of the original show. Lots of random humor and crazy shenanigans here. If you've ever seen any fan-created "abridged series" of other shows, you should a pretty good idea of what these are.
There are a are number of popular memes in the fandom. I don't necessarily consider these to be "top quality" animations or photos (though some of them are pretty funny), but nonetheless they're important to understand in that they give you context for understanding cultural references and inside jokes in the fandom.
Throughout many episodes in the show you'll often see random ponies placed in the background for the purposes of filling out a crowd or livening up the town. They're basically nameless "extras". Except, thanks to the fandom, they're actually not nameless. In fact, most of these random ponies have names and backstories given to them by the MLP fandom. Here are a few of the more well-known background Ponies:
Aside from the show itself, Hasbro has released a few original comics, animated shorts, and songs which tie in to the actual show. While these aren't technically fan-created, I figured I'd mention them here anyway just to make sure you didn't miss them.
No shorts this time, just bloopers.
Several versions of the MLP theme song from other countries feature lyrics and tunes completely different from their English counterparts.
These are a series of commercials The Hub did to advertise the show.
The above is a small selection of some of the best commercials. See here for a full list.
There are also a number of storybooks licensed or published by Hasbro. Some contain fully original stories, while others are adaptations of existing MLP movies.
The list below only includes books authored by writers for the actual show. If you include other officially licensed books there's actually a lot more, but most of those are targeted towards younger children and aren't particularly interesting...
There's actually an official free-to-play (with microtransactions) MLP mobile game created by Gameloft.
Downloads: Android | iOS
Now I'd like to highlight a few of my all time favourites from that massive list above. In my opinion, these are works that all MLP fans should definitely watch at some point.
And yes, these are all animations and PMVs. That's mainly because no work in any other category has managed to wow me enough to make it into this list. For awesome works in other categories, the master list above should suffice. Maybe once I start reading more fanfictions I'll find something from that category to put here, but for now it's basically all just animations.
Fall of the Crystal Empire by Silly Filly Studios is an awesome animation set before the events of season 1 which has lots of interesting implications for the lore of the MLP universe. It contains spoilers for a couple episodes near the start of season 3 though, so you'll have to wait until then to watch it. Hmm... well actually, you could argue that since the events in this animation are set before season 3, they aren't really spoilers. In fact, watching this animation between season 2 and season 3 might be a good tease/introduction to give a bit of backstory to the events that soon follow. I guess it's really up to you. If you do want to watch it before season 3, I think the best time to do so is after the finale of season 2. In any case, it's an amazing animation.
Snowdrop by Silly Filly Studios is an awesome fan-created episode set primarily before the events of season 1. It follows the fan-created character Snowdrop as she struggles to find her place in the world. No spoilers as long as you've seen the season 1 premier. ;-)
Double Rainboom is a really fun animation created by the Savannah College of Art and Design. The plot is a bit goofy, but it's still an amazing animation filled with lots of laughs, so long as you don't take it too seriously. Possible spoilers for season 2 (if you're being particularly observant), and guarenteed spoilers for season 1 (specifically, the Sonic Rainboom episode).
Button Mash Adventures is a great animation created by Jan Animations. No spoilers of any kind, it mostly focuses on a background pony who doesn't have an important role in the real series. There's also a related video which is a "deleted scene" for an episode in season 2. No spoilers there per-say, but you won't really get the joke until after you've seen the related MLP episode. (There's also the Bar Buddies thing, which is just a short gag. No spoilers.)
Nightmare Night is a PMV created by BronyDanceParty based on the song of the same name by WoodenToaster and Mic The Microphone. The animation features the OCs of the song's artists, and the animation quality is seriously awesome. There's also a Source Film Maker PMV of the same song made by Ferexes featuring characters from Team Fortress 2. Neither of these animations have spoilers for anything beyond season 2.
Lullaby for a Princess is an awesome fan-created song by ponyphonic which was recently turned into an epic fully animated musical drama! Approximately 3 years in the making, this video by WarpOut is almost universally considered by the fandom to be one of the greatest fan creations of all time. No spoilers for anything beyond the first 2 minutes of season 1 episode 1. ;-) (It does incorporate some concepts from seasons 2 and 3, but nothing I'd consider significant enough to be a spoiler.) Actually, you could almost just replace the first few minutes of season 1 episode 1 with this video without really disrupting the flow of the story. Just watch it, you'll see what I mean.
Don't Mine at Night is a PMV created by Jan Animations which ponifies the YOGSCAST parody Don't Mine at Night, which itself is a Minecraft parody of Katy Perry's song, Last Friday Night. No spoilers here whatsoever, but I recommend watching Button Mash Adventures (see above) before watching this, as it will give you a better understanding of one of the characters shown in the animation.
Children of the Night by Duo Cartoonist is a PMV of the song Come Little Children from the movie Hocus Pocus. The animation quality is fantastic, and the song fits really well with the underlying story the animation is presenting. In short, it's an awesome PMV. (Not to mention extremely popular, with over 28 million views.) No spoilers.
Remembrance by Argodaemon is an extremely well done 3D animation created with Source Film Maker. The animation quality is amazing, and the story is very touching. You might have a bit of trouble understanding what's happening though unless you're already familiar with a few important bits of fanon, such as (warning, season 3 spoilers in the following link) the logical consequences of some of the events in season 3. Major spoilers for season 3.
The Moon Rises is an epic fan-made song by ponyphonic which now has an equally amazing animation by Duo Cartoonist to go with it! Features a compelling story, great music, and excelent animation quality. No spoilers for anything beyond the first 2 minutes of season 1 episode 1.
Turnabout Storm is probably best described as a visual novel with voice acting. It depicts an epic courtroom drama, in an amazingly well done crossover between MLP and the game franchise Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. (I know that sounds stupid, but trust me, it's actually really awesome.) These videos are a lot longer than other fan works (maybe around 6 hours total), but sooooo worth watching, even if you've never played Phoenix Wright. (For maximum enjoyment, I recommend you play through the first couple cases in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney at least before watching part 2. Again though, that's not required.) Every commentator I've ever seen watch Turnabout Storm has really enjoyed it. (It even had xXSoundspeedXx on the verge of tears by the end; his commentary of this series was really great.) Includes no MLP spoilers for anything beyond season 1, but it does incorporate some concepts and humor from season 2 and several fan works. Does include spoilers for the first couple cases of Phoenix Wright, and minor spoilers for Phoenix Wright up to the third game.
Because of all the various fan-made videos and songs focusing on the events before season 1, especially Luna and her transformation into Nightmare Moon, it turns out it's actually possible to form a sort of coherent story just by watching a few of the more popular videos in the correct order.
Before watching this, you must have at least started season 4 of the show to avoid spoilers.
Here's a YouTube Playlist featuring these videos.
So yeah, that's basically it. Again, the above list is by no means complete. I've almost certainly left out a number of great creations, either due to the fact that I'm just unaware of them, because my personal tastes just don't consider them to be all that awesome, or just because I couldn't possibly fit evertyhing in this list. I encourage you to explore the fandom yourself and discover even more super-ultra-extreme-awesome-mazing fan-made content.
I hope you found this guide helpful. If there's anything important I left out that you feel should absolutely be included in the list above, leave a comment below or message me. Bye now. /)