Free! Charlie the Unicorn
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"Charlie the Unicorn proves that something doesn't have to make any sense at all to earn a cult like following. The animated adventure centers on a group of unicorns venturing to Candy Mountain — "the land of sweets and joy, and joyness" — through the guide of a liopleurodon. Created by animator Jason Steele, the pilot episode gained 46 million views, sparking a series of follow-up adventures." Time magazine
Charlie the Unicorn has become increasingly popular since its inception. Following its posting on Newgrounds in 2005, Geoff Swanson of YouTube posted a copy of the video on the website in 2006, where it rapidly gained popularity. It reached a total of approximately 8 million views internetwide in 2007. The video climbed to forty-six million views in March 2010.
Online magazine Salon described the video as "The unlikely adventure of a crotchety unicorn" and stated "We often feel like Charlie the Unicorn. Annoying, brightly colored colleagues poke at us with their curly horns as we snooze at our desk, promising far-off, sugar-coated delights. Do we muster the energy to follow them, hoping some sweet payoff will break the unbearable bleakness of our daily existence? Can they be trusted?"
The series has also attracted a number of celebrities, including English television presenter Alex Zane, who has openly considered himself a fan of Charlie the Unicorn, and entertainers Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn.
Brian Hamlin of The Hollywood Reporter considered the video to be "incredibly dumb and annoying" yet "really funny and weird too full of unicorn joyness and music." In 2009, Time named Charlie the Unicorn number 49 in their list of "YouTube's 50 Best Videos", stating "Charlie the Unicorn proves that something doesn't have to make any sense at all to earn a cultlike following."