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 Arrangement of symbols may imply character importance more so than the content of the symbols (cutie mark trends)

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anonymous14z

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PostSubject: Arrangement of symbols may imply character importance more so than the content of the symbols (cutie mark trends)   Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:25 am

This writing is to describe trends that I feel about cutie marks in terms of how their elements (pictures) are organized, and how the aggregate cutie marks seem to be on either powerful characters support characters or powerful main characters, or trivial background characters (they live at the extremes of character importance).


Cutie marks that possess a distinct main element which is enhanced by surrounding elements (which do not touch the main element) are known as "aggregate marks".

I suspect a trend with the aggregate cutie mark style in that a pony with this mark is either the "greater" in terms of character importance or is either trivial in terms of character importance.
This is the rarest style of cutie mark and the focus of this writing.




compound marks are cutie marks that are formed from 2 or more elements that overlap or touch or are nearby each other to form a single compound element.




singular marks are cutie marks consist of a single element.




bundle marks are cutie marks that are formed by many identical elements or highly similar elements.






There are also
4 semi-arbitrary character "tiers" by which the importance of characters is ordered.

Level 4 (main)
Primary characters.
(the main 6 characters)

Level 3 (support powerful)
persisting/temporary-critical/powerful/cataclysm-preventing

Characters that are critical to the story progression for an episode and tend to possess power/abilities that surpass most other supporting characters, which is used sometimes to prevent cataclysmic events (by becoming "superweapons" by various emotional means EX power of love, elements of harmony, power of friendship), these characters also have a much higher chance of reappearing in later episodes. Examples, (princess cadence, zecora, princess celestia, princess luna, shining armor)

level 2 (support weak)
persisting-weakly/temporary-antagonists/weak/realistic

Characters that might appear in an episode and might be critical to the progression of a story, but their successes or failures won't involve large-scale changes to the world, these characters are sometimes antagonists to the main characters (trixie, gilda), these characters usually posses average abilities/powers, these characters usually appear in one episode, only to never be featured (screen time wise) in another episode. Examples (trixie, gilda, braeburn, big macintosh, featherweight, tank, fancypants)

Level 1 (trivial many)
fillers/world-objects/trivial/insignificant/background

These are the characters that would be killed enmass in order to provoke a response from the main characters, utterly trivial without direction, and are frequently used to make the world feel alive, we are most like these characters sadly. Although a bit of an overlay of level 2, these characters sometimes have unique appearances, but rarely speak. These characters have an excruciatingly low chance of being featured in any episode outside the ones they first appeared. EXAMPLES (holly dash, bon-bon,lyra heartstrings, primrose, screws loose, S01E14 Unnamed Earth Mare #1, rarity's dad, snips, snails, nurse redheart)

The function of both the above proposed taxonomies is to clarify what I wish to say about character power/influence(and by consequence take away the magic of my own thoughts), and to make it clear what I wish to communicate to any readers, here is my point.

Characters with aggregate cutie marks seem to either be in character tiers 4 and 3, or 1, or to put in another sense, they are either trivial or substantial, and here is my evidence of my suspicion.

--level 4 and 3 Ponies that support my suspicion

twilight sparkle is the most important character in the entire show, who also happens to have a aggregate
cutie mark, which is strong evidence for my claim.



Cadence is again a abled character that can combat the antagonists in a violent or manipulative way, and can serve as a "superweapon" in much the same way twilight can. she has a aggregate mark.





Shining armor is an abled character, who despite being hypnotized most of an episode, enters "superweapon" mode and defeats the antagonists.
He has a combination aggregate/composite mark.



While zecora is not typically involved in conflict (and lacks a "superweapon" mode), she has been involved in multiple episodes as a major supporting character, and has abilities that make herself substantiated (potions).



It is a bit of a stretch to apply this logic to luna's cutie mark, due to her having a combination aggregate/composite mark, her mark does sate the technicality of the aggregate mark and she also is a major supporting character in a episode, as well as one with cataclysmic powers.




--LEVEL 1 CHARACTERS THAT SUPPORT MY SUSPICION

Nurse redheart, is a fine example of the polarized power levels of those with aggregate marks, she has no powers, or competences that challenge or assist the main characters through tribulations.




Fleur De lis is a generally weak trophy wife of a higher up among canterlot, and being a trophy wife doesn't entale that much power or that much influence over the story.



Persnickety is a minor character that appears when the CMC were singing about finding a date for cheerilee. Nuff said.



----COUNTEREXAMPLES

-LEVEL 3-2 CHARACTERS WITHOUT AGGREGATE MARK

princess celestia's in which a "greater character" (prehaps the greatest) has a singular mark.



fancy pant's cutie mark is a bundle mark, but isn't very powerful, so he doesn't challenge my suspicions much.



prince blueblood could be considered an example, but due to his power level being somewhat low, does not seriously challenge my suspicions



Trixie has some power and can challenge-assist the level 4 characters, but is somewhat weak compared to the other characters, again doesn't challenge my suspicions much.





I also suspect that cutie marks with elements with greater tangibility tend to be weaker. (elements with greater tangibility might be bricks,flowers,pencils,tools and elements with lesser tangibility might be stars,musical notes,emotional symbols,shapes)

TLDR

I think ponies with aggregate cutie marks (described above) are on the extremes of character power and influence over the story (either very weak or very strong) and this mark style is generally more powerful than the other mark styles.

I wish to remind readers that this is only a suspicion I have, it is not a fact.
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PostSubject: Re: Arrangement of symbols may imply character importance more so than the content of the symbols (cutie mark trends)   Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:56 am

You have an interesting hypothesis. You provide a multitude of good examples and aren't afraid to show where you're proposed rule does not hold. Very respectable. Very scientific.
Might I propose an alternate solution?
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PostSubject: Re: Arrangement of symbols may imply character importance more so than the content of the symbols (cutie mark trends)   Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:21 pm

Go ahead Neveda0, I'd be interested to see what you have to propose.
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PostSubject: Re: Arrangement of symbols may imply character importance more so than the content of the symbols (cutie mark trends)   Wed May 02, 2012 8:52 pm

I'll get to that when I'm not studying for finals.
For once in my life I'm actually in danger of not getting at least a B!
Anyway, I'll be useless for the next fortnight or so.
And I need a good way to word my proposal (which is totally legitimate and logical) so that it doesn't sound like I'm being a dick.
I don't want to scare away the only non-dev active member of our forums, now do I?
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PostSubject: Re: Arrangement of symbols may imply character importance more so than the content of the symbols (cutie mark trends)   Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:38 am

I know it is silly for me to be "pushy" to any degree here, but I do think that 1 month (verify) is a sufficient time for you to propose an alternate solution (the first statement still holds).
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PostSubject: Re: Arrangement of symbols may imply character importance more so than the content of the symbols (cutie mark trends)   Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:20 pm

You are completely correct. Once again, I find myself inadvertently neglecting you. Small wonder Immolation is getting so little attention considering how we treat our sparse fans. But that is far beside the point.
Like I said, I like your analysis, it is quite thorough. I feel the solution is much simpler than that:
The animators/character designers spend an amount of time on a characters as the character is important. This accounts for complexity in cutie mark, mane cut, colouration, and many other factors. It also accounts for one of the most fundamental part of all modern humans psychology: Laziness. Why put forth additional effort when additional effort is not needed? But one needs to do work in order to be more lazy later. And thus a balance is set.

Now, the reason I was reluctant to say this (and subsequently forgot about it) is that you brought up some interesting points and said some interesting things in an interesting fashion. I'm also quite sure you too thought of my point here. But you decided it would be far more interesting to seek meaning where there likely is none. This is an important part of the creative process, I feel, and I do not wish to sound demeaning.
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