MLP: FiM was done in Flash until the recent theatrical film, which shifted to ToonBoom, and… yeah, despite the budget and everything else in its favor it’s so obviously Flash. They try to break it up, but the motion is the big tell. Only bits of the models tend to move at a time, and they tend to do so in this odd, smooth, detached geometrical way. The “look” here is also archetypal Flash, with its simple, solid forms and prominent outlines.
It’s fair to say FiM is one of the most prominent and influential modern-day cartoons, even as it’s getting creaky at this point. It sets much of the baseline tone and expectation for more-recent shows, including SU. If it’s wearing Flash so clearly on its sleeve, I guess I can forgive myself for mentally skipping a beat in not realizing a presumably lower-budget post-MLP show like this takes the more laborious and expensive route of hand animation. The character models have a similar kind of boldness and simplicity, and stand out from backgrounds in a similar way. I think my head just went, well, that’s what animation just is now, unless it’s clearly signaled otherwise.
In retrospect, though, no, clearly the keyframing here, the fluidity not just of piecemeal geometry and motion but total form, the variability in the models, it all is clearly hand-drawn. It couldn’t not be. You couldn’t mistake it unless you had checked out and weren’t paying attention. As was my case, apparently.
That it’s drawn on actual physical paper is another step of whoa, but hey.