Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks Review

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Looks like it’s time to take a look at the next Equestria Girls film. The first one was pretty fun and it’s always nice to see the Mane 6 in new adventures. I don’t know nearly as much about this human spinoff series as the Pony one, but I am slowly becoming quite knowledgeable on the subject. While this film dials down the stakes and such from the first film, it’s a pretty solid adventure as well. The film’s also quite short, but still manages to give us quite a few songs. I would have liked it to have been a little longer though so we could have seen some of the other teams.

The film starts off with Twilight stopping Sunset Shimmer from destroying the world and the effects are felt even as far as a little cafe on the mainland. There we see 3 villains who realize that magic has now entered the human world. They decide that this is the perfect opportunity to take over the world and so they enter the local school singing competition as transfer students. Sunset Shimmer quickly realizes that this characters have some kind of mysterious ability so she gathers the Mane 6 and even brings in Twilight Sparkle from Ponyville. Can these fighters stop this trio of danger or will their friendships be lost to the wind?

Right away I did like the opening credits/song that was used to start the movie off. Coupled with the opening scene of the villains it made for a pretty nice way to start the film. It felt cinematic and there was a sense of danger. You always want to start a film off like this even if it was a little misleading compared to where the film would go from there. I always think you need to add something extra when you’re making a TV show into a movie. Something that immediately lets you know that you’re watching a feature film like an amazing animation upgrade (DBZ Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan) or a catchy theme. Rainbow Rocks pulled this off.

As expected the soundtrack is top notch as well. The songs are pretty fun although the villains definitely out shined the Mane 6 at least during the concert. Their songs just seemed to be better but the heroes were dealing with a lot of grief that likely held them back. Also you do have to account for the fact that we’ve heard a lot of friendship type songs already so hearing the opposite is always fun. Even in the main MLP movie the villain song ended up being one of the best. There are a bunch of solid songs in the film which are likely the highlight.

The animation’s fairly good. In this respect I don’t think it looks a whole lot different from the show or the Youtube shorts, but the animation isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. It gets the job done which is the important thing. The transformation forms of the heroes are still a blast even if they didn’t really get to fight here. The character designs are on point as well.

If the film falters a little, it’s in the climax just as with the last film. We see the villains transform and you prepare for a big fight as the heroes decide to transform as well. Then the power of music beats the villains so we don’t get a proper fight. I wouldn’t call it disappointing since I think a part of you will maybe even find this to be the expected outcome, but it’s still a little unfortunate. I would have liked to have seen the characters throw down. If anything it would probably be a stomp since Sunset and Twilight can really fight well. The others can sit back and watch the experts at work.

Now lets talk about the characters. The three villains are brand new so I’ll start with them. Adagio is the leader of the 3 and typically takes charge. She’s a reasonable villain who tries to stay serious despite one of her lackeys not being particularly competent which always harshes her vibe. Adagio’s plan was well thought out and seemed like it had a great chance at working. I don’t think there were any flaws to her character. Despite this, my favorite member of the villains was Aria. She’s fairly defiant and hints several times that she has ambitions of becoming the leader. She seems to be the most confident as well as the meanest member of the group. I would have liked to have seen her get more of a role.

Unfortunately the third character falls flat. She is Sonata and is the token comic relief character of the group. She can’t really comprehend basic english at times and is always getting upstaged by everyone. She never ultimately helps the group out and I can see why the others would constantly get upset at her. She’s likely here to ensure the villain plot never gets too serious or dark but I think cutting her out of the equation entirely would have probably been a good idea.

Now lets look at the Mane 6. They are all fighting because of the band and tensions are pretty high. Most of it can be directed at Rainbow Dash as she has decided to be a one person show. She goes on random guitar solos and never lets the others have any creative input. While she is definitely going too far, you can’t put all of the blame on her either. It is Rainbow Dash’s band after all and she was probably hurt that her friends were so quick to replace her as the leader with Twilight. There’s no reason she should have to give up the spot right? Also, the friends were forced to stop her from sweeping the floor with the other contestants during the semi’s since she was playing too good. That’s usually not a problem but in this case it would reveal the Mane 6’s true identities to the villains. All in all, Rainbow Dash was still one of the best characters here as always. She just dances to her own beat and everyone else has to try and keep up.

Rarity and Applejack don’t get to do much here but of course they aren’t happy either. Applejack doesn’t like Rarity’s designs and Rarity doesn’t like not having the designs. Pinkie Pie doesn’t do much here aside from constantly complaining that everyone is taking the competition too seriously. If I were the other characters I would agree and then cut Pinkie Pie from the team. Then of course we have Fluttershy who is sad because she’s written a few songs but Rainbow Dash never uses them. I can see why she’s a little upset there, but she should have pressed the issue more. If she mentioned the songs while everyone was around that probably would have forced Rainbow Dash to use them or to at least confront the issue.

Twilight Sparkle looks a lot better here than in the last film. That’s because her terrible romance doesn’t pop up quite as often here. I do have to list that subplot as a negative though. Whenever that guy shows up Twilight seems to go crazy and it’s weird since she is usually above such emotions. Twilight is the hardened Princess of Friendship. She oversees it without getting involved with such things. I’m hoping that for the third film this subplot finally dies out. Beyond that Twilight’s plot is about dealing with the high expectations everyone has of her. She gets past it reasonably well. I do have to call her out for another scene though and I’ll include the rest of the Mane 6.

So of course Sunset is dealing with a lot of apprehension from the other students since she used to be a bully and almost blew up the planet. It makes sense that the students would take a while to warm up to her, but the Mane 6 are past that right? Well, they constantly bring up the fact that Sunset was evil and like bragging about how they crushed her. It happens a number of times from several of the ponies to the point where it becomes a running gag. Sunset has to constantly say that she’s okay with it, but none of the ponies seem to have any social awareness. They put her in a lot of awkward situations. Then when she calls in Twilight to help and the two had made up from the first film…Twilight acts very stern/uncertain with Sunset. Why would she not take Sunset’s hand when she was trying to help her up? The long hesitation felt really forced since they were on good terms.

As for Sunset, she was a great character as expected. She is really the heart of the team. While the Mane 6 are constantly fighting and being meant to each other Sunset tries to be a shining light to them all. She always takes the hero’s route out of a problem and ultimately reminds the team why they are together. Not inviting her to sing with the band was definitely shallow of the team, but Sunset overlooked this for the greater good. I can see why she is generally accepted as the Mane 6’s leader in this part of the franchise. So far she’s done a great job of it and I’d still like to see her fight with the Ponies in the main series at some point.

Naturally there are a bunch of other characters who get to appear for a bit through cameos and guest star roles. The DJ character certainly played a pivotal role at the end. Trixie also got a big role although it certainly wasn’t her most heroic role. I can see why she would be upset though since there was a lot of cheating going on during the competition which almost robbed her of the hard work she had put into it. In general I also liked seeing everyone get competitive over the competition even if it was due to a lot of mind control shenanigans at play. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do right?

Overall, Rainbow Rocks was definitely a solid sequel to the first film. I think it’s hard to say if it beats the first one because I always like seeing the group get together for the first time, but at the end of the day we can’t have ties. I’ll say that Rainbow Rocks was an improvement and I look forward to seeing how the next film goes as well. It’ll be tough for the next movie to have as many quality songs as this one since the plot revolved around music here, but I’m sure that the series will think of a good plot. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I recommend it. It’s a pretty fun story about friendship and music. At the end of the day those things are crucial to a good movie. We even have the trope of the big cosmic characters (Luna and Celestia) looking terrible as the new villain shows them up which is always important.

Overall 7/10

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My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever Review

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With season 8 all done it seemed like we would be getting a long break with no Pony adventures to watch. Fortunately this was not the case as Hasbro gave us one last special to end the year with. This one is a classic Christmas special with the characters exchanging gifts and remembering that through thick and thin they will always be friends. It’s a pretty solid special that is certainly entertaining. It’s nice to be focused on the Mane 6 once more as opposed to the newer characters. Keep in mind, the newer characters are cool of course, but nothing beats hanging out with the original fighters.

The special starts with Twilight hitting the panic button once again as she can’t seem to get enough time to put up the decorations around the castle and pick out presents for all of her best buds. As always we can blame this on Cadance and Shining Armor. That’s when Applejack decides that they should only give 1 gift this year. Everyone will have a secret pony buddy who they will give the gift too. This will allow them to each have more time to just enjoy the holiday. Twilight thinks that this is a great idea, but now that all of the ponies only need to get one gift, Twilight has to make sure that hers is the best one ever.

Naturally you can probably imagine that this won’t be a particularly easy feat. The ponies aren’t easy characters to buy things for and none of the characters want to actually ask for help. They all get their own plots which is nice and since the special is around 45 minutes there is enough time for all of the various plots to develop and get satisfying conclusions. The music is pretty solid as per usual. We get quite a few songs with the only weak one being Spike’s. It’s always good to have a few lyrical songs to remind us why this series became such a big deal in the first place. The songs are still top notch. As always the animation is consistently good as well. The character models are on point and everything looks very clear and smooth as you would expect. It feels like a 2 part episode which is essentially what this is supposed to be.

First lets look at the Twilight Sparkle plot. Her situation definitely isn’t quite as bad as the others since all of the pressure is just stuff that she is putting on herself, but it doesn’t help that Shining Armor and the others are guilt tripping her about this. They’re completely insensitive to the fact that they are the reason why she is stressed out. I still think they are pretty poor characters compared to the rest of the cast. Twilight doesn’t let all of this get to her though and gradually she solves the issue. The animators had fun with her facial expressions here as they got pretty stretched out at times.

The best plot is certainly the Rainbow Dash and Discord one. Discord may be a little mean at times and he does turn evil on a whim, but you have to give the guy some credit, he knows how to save the day. Without his timely intervention at the end here things may not have gone well. He helped Fluttershy have a fun time. Rainbow Dash was also cool as always and did a great job using her speed to secure the best gift as well. Meanwhile Pinkie Pie ran over to the Yaks for help which was her first mistake. Naturally this plot wasn’t quite as exciting but it’s also super short so don’t think that it’s bad or anything. It’s a good way of including more characters.

Rarity’s plot was pretty good as she made the heroic choice not to take away the hat she ordered from the innocent family. Naturally this whole thing made Derpy look pretty bad though. At least they finally let her talk. I remember there used to be a lot of controversy around the character, but it looks like Hasbro is finally ready to let her move on. Now we just need Derpy to get more of a starring role for an episode at some point. That would be a blast. Unfortunately, Fluttershy also doesn’t look that good here. She gets fooled by some of the oldest tricks in the book. At the end of the day she never even got her money back so she wasted it all in an instant. It’s easy to feel bad for her, but at the same time you just hope that she will use this as a learning experience. Fortunately Applejack doesn’t play around when it comes to lies and she sets the matter straight for the town. She certainly looks pretty good here. Then again, Applejack always looks pretty good in these adventures.

The only plot that wasn’t all that great was Spike’s. As always, his comic relief romance subplot doesn’t go anywhere and it just exists to make Spike look bad at times. He also can’t sing quite as well as the others. Still, it’s not as if the scenes are too painful or anything. Spike aside, the special basically has no weak points. It’s a quality adventure that you can watch anytime and it certainly has a lot of replay value. I think you could even market it as a lost episode for season 1 and nobody would have any problems with that aside from the continuity angle. It’s very well done and hopefully this inspires the team to make more pony specials in the future.

Overall, Best Gift Ever is a really well written special that I could recommend to anyone. You don’t have to be a My Little Pony fan to quickly understand what is going on and get invested into the plot. It’s basic enough for anyone to jump in while also being emotional enough for anyone to cheer along with. Discord was actually the standout character here which shows you how on point the writing was. Now the long wait for season 9 really begins but in the meantime I’ll be gearing up to watch the next Equestria Girls film. I’m certainly expecting big things in that adventure and hopefully it’ll be just as much fun as this special.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Review

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Let me preface this review by putting on the record that I’ve always been a fan of having characters turn humanoid. It makes for a great super form since humanoid creatures are better able to fight on a high level because of how maneuverable they are. So, when the Pony franchise decided to have the main characters become humans I was excited. Finally, the Mane 6 could fight even more powerful threats. Unfortunately, I have to say that ultimately that hasn’t seemed to be the case as of yet so I’m thinking that their pony forms are the definitive versions. Still, this was a pretty fun film and definitely one that I could recommend.

The film starts with Twilight Sparkle trying to confront her insecurities about being the new princess of Equestria. She hasn’t been having an easy time of it lately because there is just too much pressure for her. This doesn’t get any easier when Celestia’s original pupil Sunset Shimmer shows up and one shots Twilight. She steals the crown and escapes into the human world. Dazed and confused, Twilight heads into the portal, but she still isn’t ready for a confrontation. Turning into a human seems to have regressed her confidence even further so now she panics and yells constantly while needing more support from her friends. Fortunately the rest of the Mane 6 have alternate versions in this world so she has to find them all and then unite to stop the powerful Sunset Shimmer. Can they really defeat this demonic pony who is bent on destroying all of reality?

It’s a pretty epic plot. Still, I do feel compelled to let you know that this film isn’t all about the action scenes. The final fight is over in around a minute if not sooner and we don’t get to see the pony versions fight either. Honestly, the TV show probably has more fights on average. So, the film took the opposite approach from what you would have expected and used the human world as a way to nerf the ponies and to treat them more like humans. We do get teased with what the fight scenes could be like though as they all get transformation scenes and prepare to fight Sunset. Perhaps in a future film we will get to see them have a real fight if they are able to access their abilities at will.

The bulk of the film is Twilight trying to get the Mane 6 to get along. See, Sunset knew that the ponies could be a threat (Even if Rainbow Dash is the only one who can realistically fight her) so she tricked them all into not being friends anymore. It was quite easy to be honest as she just spun a few lies and convinced them all not to try and talk to each other. Well, Twilight won’t let this stand. She would have solved this puzzle even sooner if not for getting dragged into a romance plot. This is the weakest part of the film. So, Twilight meets some random guy and suddenly she is acting like a random live action heroine. Twilight Sparkle doesn’t do romance. The TV show is all about how Friendship is Magic and that’s all you need. Romance is relegated to the side characters like Big Mac who don’t really have an on screen presence in the first place. The romance naturally doesn’t go anywhere so it really wasn’t needed. It also results in the guy saving Twilight 1-2 times when she should have saved herself.

The animation looks pretty good. It’s basically the TV show, but using human designs for everyone which is fun. As a big supporter of franchises getting as many spinoffs as possible I’m all for it. The Equestria Girl spinoff series has also lasted quite a while which is definitely cool. We also get a lot of songs which is nice since the show hasn’t featured too many of those lately. The songs are pretty emotional and have a lot of heart backing them up. There aren’t enough to be called a musical, but there are certainly enough for them to be noticed.

Now lets talk about the new character Sunset Shimmer. She makes for a pretty good villain and that’s something that the series has needed. A bully type character who can fight back. The character type of an original student turning evil and escaping is a classic one that works really well. Sensui from Yu Yu Hakusho was excellent since he was a look at what Yusuke could have been if he had gone down a darker path. Sunset is essentially a dark Twilight who may be even stronger than the princess. Unfortunately we don’t get to see her in action much, but she’s definitely a fun character. That’s why it’s a shame how her character arc ended here. I think keeping her around as a long running villain would have been nice. I’m sure she’ll be a good hero as well of course, but she won’t get to show off her tougher side quite as much. I’ll be interested to see if she punches someone out in the sequel though, that’d be cool.

I’ve already spoken a bit about how Twilight Sparkle is out of character here so I won’t go into too much further detail. I will say that she was just lacking in confidence too much here. This isn’t season 1 Twilight, she’s come a long way since then. Between that and the romance she just wasn’t the main character that I’ve come to root for. I want to see more of her rage mode like against Tirek. From the other members of the Mane 6 they are played pretty straight from the show. The only ones with a big role though are Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. Fluttershy is still getting picked on and letting everyone walk all over her so she doesn’t look very good, but Rainbow Dash steals the show as always. Pretty much all of her lines are talking about how awesome she is which is excellent. I get the feeling that Sunset never tries to bully her since that wouldn’t end well. Honestly, in the end it seems like she only rules the school because the tough characters just don’t care and the rest get bullied into submission. Rainbow Dash probably would have lost in a fight since she had no powers at the time, but it would have been neat to see. The school administration is blind to the truth so the students are on their own.

I don’t think Spike needed to be brought along with Twilight and honestly she would have looked better without him since he’s just around to make her look bad. He does work well as a hostage in the climax though. Again, the climax was pretty exciting even if it did end up being rather anticlimactic at the end. I still appreciate the film giving its all in trying to get the atmosphere down just right. Now, this review may have seemed a little on the negative side as I read through it, but this was a pretty solid film. At the end of the day movies really need to fill two questions with the right answers in order to win the day.

First, “Was the film enjoyable?” This film was definitely fun. The pacing was pretty solid and you’ll be left feeling pretty good about the experience by the time it’s all over. It’s not as if this is an end of the world event. Treat the movie as a slice of life adventure with a little drama and you’re all set. Second, “Did the film make any costly mistakes?” I’m not talking about minor stuff like the Twilight romance. This is more for big things like: Did Twilight get nerfed into the ground? Was their animal violence? Bad script? Stuff like that. Equestria Girls was safe from the start for most meaningful negatives due to its rating so it was almost always guaranteed to be fairly decent. The more realistic negatives it would have to watch out for would be things like crude humor and generally bad characters. The series has always had good writing though so I had a feeling that it wouldn’t go that route. It’s a classy franchise. So, the film may have had some areas where it could have improved, but on the whole it did a good job of being quite solid.

Overall, I’m ready to see what the next film has got up its sleeve. The film did a good job of expanding on the main characters in their new world. Now that Twilight is gone we’ll see how her other self handles all of this. Will she get the memories of this latest adventure or will everyone have to clue her in? Time travel and dimension hopping are always tricky, but I’m sure that the writers have a good idea of where to go from here. I’m still waiting for a big budget crossover movie between the ponies and the humans, but we’ll see if that ever happens. It may not be necessary, but I’d like to see the two teams duke it out before eventually teaming up to take on an iconic villain from the past. We also need to see Sunset and Starlight fight since the two are both prodigies who are likely each stronger than Twilight Sparkle by a wide margin. There are a lot of good potential MLP fights come to think of it. Ah well, they’ll come in time.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony Pony Tales Volume 2 Review

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Whenever someone asks if I’m a true My Little Pony fan or just a casual I imagine just showing off my big figure collection to answer the question for me. As I don’t own any figures though, I settle for just calling myself a casual. Well, while that may be the case I can say that this is a pretty solid comic. It’s fairly short compared to most trade paperbacks so you’ll have it done very quickly but it’ll still make for a pretty fun experience. The collection has solid writing and good pacing to back it up as well.

The first story is about the Cutie Mark Crusaders. They have grown bored of Ponyville since nothing ever happens there. They are ready for bigger and better things so they explore the wild and find a rock version of a changeling. It can turn into anything that isn’t alive. The problem is that the Crusaders want it to turn into a bunch of things which keeps tiring it out. If they keep it up at this pace, the poor creature won’t last too much longer. Can they learn to share and care?

Admittedly this story is a little cheesy since you would think that the Cutie Mark Crusaders have already learned this lesson. In fact I am quite positive that they already have so why are they out of character here? It’s a bit of a stretch, but at least they see the error of their ways pretty fast. It’s an enjoyable story that may not be all that memorable, but it’s still pretty solid I would say. It gets the job done.

Then we have the Celestia adventure where she finds out that Ponyville is once again picking on a defenseless pony. One of the oldest teachers in Equestria is being pressured into retiring because the ponies just don’t like her teaching style anymore. They’re all just really inconsiderate ponies who aren’t nearly as grateful as they should be. It’s quite unfortunate but Celestia decides to prove to the town that the teacher used to be really good so they should keep her. The other teachers aren’t thrilled about this, but agree. (Also, they can’t really disagree with the Princess now can they?)

I never really liked the peasants of Ponyville. Luna is always rather harsh on them and now I see that she may have a point. Without strict guidance they quickly become bullies and do their best to keep everyone else down. The teacher may have been a little too oblivious the whole time, but you’d think that they would be a little better at being like the Mane 6. I think Celestia needs to have a word with these ponies. They need to get in line with her teachings.

Next up was Spike’s adventure which is naturally the weakest one. For whatever reason his stories just don’t have the same pop that the others do. He decides to get a pet of his own which turns out to be a multiplying creature which threatens to embarrass him in front of Twilight Sparkle. He decides that he will teach the army how to be good citizens, but can he do it in time?

Naturally teaching a whole race of creatures how to be good in the span of 2 days is difficult, but fortunately these creatures were actually giving it their best shot. They seem like very reasonable little creatures which really helped Spike’s case. None of the ponies really get to do anything here so it’s a little sad that Spike is basically the only main character around. It’s a decent comic, but not the most interesting one.

Finally we end off with the best story of the batch. This one focuses on Luna as she decides to take on Luna’s duties for the day. She is determined to prove that she can handle anything. The problem is that Celestia’s duties are incredibly boring compared to hers. Luna spends her nights chasing off powerful monsters from the kingdom and getting into many spectacular battles. Celestia spends her days insulting everyone and making a lot of signatures. Luna just can’t bare to stay awake for all of this but she must!

Luna has always been one of the best MLP characters with her utter contempt for everyone. While she is a hero, she does a good job of keeping her princess stature as well. I’m always rooting for her in these stories even though she tends to lose every time. It’s pretty unfotunate but I guess the charm of her stories is that one day she will get the kingdom to accept her. I think she did a rather admirable job considering that it was her first time working in the morning. It’s definitely the most entertaining story as well.

The artwork is pretty good here. I don’t think it is quite up to the level of the main series, but it’s close. The characters look right and the action on screen is always clear. You know what is happening so it’s easy to read through the stories very quickly. There’s nothing bad to say here.

In general there isn’t anything bad to say about the comic at all. It’s just a nice batch of stories. You’ll enjoy spending 20 minutes reading through it and getting to see more of Equestria. This isn’t the comic collection you are looking for if you came for the fights, but if you just came to enjoy the interactions then this is the place for you. The pacing is tight and none of the stories are bad. At most, Spike’s was just a little boring, but it’s pretty short so there’s not much time for that feeling to sink in.

Overall, This was a fun volume. The idea of a comic that centers around the side characters is always a risky move, but the MLP series has a very big cast so I suppose that helps this out quite a bit. You’ll miss the Mane 6 for a little while, but you’ll adjust pretty quick. If you haven’t read this comic yet then I recommend checking it out. It’ll remind you of what a good fantasy series should be like.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Omnibus Volume 3 Review

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It’s finally time to check out the next MLP comic collection! While the first collection wasn’t the greatest it did have a lot of epic stories. The second bunch played it a lot safer but most of the comics were more slice of life themed as opposed to dealing with serious villains. This one decides to mix and match from both as it goes back to bringing in big villains but also keeps the violence down to a more tolerable level. Thus, I dare say that this is probably the best MLP volume so far although it has the most power level related issues involving certain Ponies.

The first adventure is a multi part story where Applejack brings along her friends to see the farm her cousin (I think he’s the cousin) owns. Unfortunately it has been attacked by a bunch of Buffalo and Bison as of late. They are terrorizing the poor Apples to the point where the family has given up and are packing there things. Applejack will not stand for such a scene and declares that she will run the Buffalo out of town herself. The problem is that she is outnumbered and the rest of the Mane 6 aren’t really on board with the plan. Looks like Applejack is on her own.

It’s definitely a pretty fun story but the rest of the Mane 6 can be annoying. That’s one of the tricky things about having a show with friendship as its core when the Mane 6 don’t actually get along all that well at times. Twilight is determined not to use her abilities on citizens of Equestria but she takes it way too far since these guys are actually destroying property and beating people up. She’s willing to see her friends get shoved around and mocked while she just watches. This is definitely Twilight’s worst appearance and Applejack is definitely the voice of reason here. There’s no way I can feel bad for the Bison or see their side of the story after this so I was definitely rooting against them. A bit of a frustrating story, but a good one nonetheless.

The next story is also a 2 part adventure. It starts off with a bang as Vines have started to invade Ponyville. Zecora and her woodland creatures were already defeated and now all Ponies are threatened. The Mane 6 head inside the forest to investigate and it turns out that the Deer are behind this. That’s because a Minotaur has started to build a mall on the forest so they are tearing down the trees. The Deers respect the Minotaur’s power so instead of stopping him they will just invade Pony land. The problem is that Celestia may have given the Okay on this project so Twilight Sparkle will have to find some way to stop them herself. The problem is that the vines are stronger than her magic and the Minotaur isn’t afraid of her magical powers. What’s a princess to do?

This one makes Twilight look pretty bad as well though since she is unable to do much of anything against these guys. For starters she is the princess so she should absolutely be able to stop the Minotaurs with her magic. Furthermore, sh has the authority to cancel the project and arrest the builders if they refuse instead of just working around them the whole time. I’d also take down the Deer for his insubordination as well though since the guy was pretty annoying the whole time. The heroes are just very content to let the villains have their way which can be dicey.

Following that up is a one shot story about a pair of wrestlers. One of them is pretty timid and whenever she tries to be friends with her partner she is shot down. The ponies just can’t stop themselves from insulting each other all the time. Rarity thinks this is awful and is determined to get them to make up with each other. When one friend goes down with a broken leg it is up to the other to take her spot in the ring. Can she really do it though? She’ll have to act tough to keep up the facade but doing that while dealing with a world champ is a tall order.

This story naturally isn’t quite as epic as the last two but it’s still a well written story that is pretty fun. You’ll probably see the plot twists coming a mile away though. Rarity looks particularly good here and since she didn’t get a role in any of the other stories before this one in the collection at least this was her chance to get some proper screen time. It’s the weakest comic in the collection by default but a solid one and a good breather before the next issue which gets personal.

Next up we are back to the two parters as Ponyville has its first Civil War. Twilight Sparkle heads off to another country for a meeting but not before declaring that Ponyville will be recognizing its first ever landmark soon. Once she leaves Applejack assumes that it will be her farm since it was the first spot of the town but Rich pulls out a loophole and says that his company was on the first ever building. Various ponies choose sides and it hits close to home for Applejack as some of her best friends leave her including Rarity. She decides that maybe it’s time to leave Ponyville. Can Twilight end this unease upon her return or is it already too late for these friendships to mend?

You’ll be happy to know that Twilight Sparkle is pretty reasonable in this story. I have to say that Applejack was right by the way since the contest was initially about the first ever landmark in Ponyville which is obviously the farm. Without it we wouldn’t have a town in the first place. Rich trying to argue that makes sense but Rarity getting bribed into joining his side makes her look really, really bad. Betraying her friend for money? I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised but then the rest of the gang starts to take sides which is no good. The other members of the Mane 6 who don’t want to be in the War just run away which isn’t much better. It shows just how weak the bonds of friendship are in Ponyville so no wonder the villains always have such an easy time breaking into the place. The heroes don’t exactly make it difficult for them.

The two parters just don’t end as we get another big adventure after this one. It starts off with a flashback showing how edgy Celestia used to be as she blasts Luna away while her sister is pleading for her to stop. Their battle broke off an apple which landed in Ponyville years later. These apples have started to take over all of Equestria and even Celestia may not be strong enough to stop them. The Mane 6 will have to prepare their strongest attacks, but only the return of Fluttershy may be enough to prevail. The problem is that Fluttershy has enough power to wipe out the village as well so is bringing her in really the right move?

This one was a fun homage to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. It’s not 100% serious of course as you just can’t take Apples seriously but it was a fun comic. I have a hard time believing that Twilight Sparkle and the gang couldn’t just blast them out of the sky though. I mean lets be serious about this…they are apples? Applejack makes a living out of breaking them down into many different meals. It’s what she does and it’s why the world always cheers for her. Well, no matter it was a fun comic and I always love seeing an invasion story. Fluttershy also really came through for the team when it counted.

Finally we end with what may be the best saga among all of the MLP comics and it’s a story that I’d love to see happen in the show as well. A mysterious pony has been traveling around Equestria recruiting all of the original Mane 6 villains to form one last attack on the heroes. Among them she brings in the Flim Flam Brothers, The Minotaur, Queen Chrysalis, and King Sombra. Together they will take over the town and restore order to the world. The Mane 6 and Celestia are completely unprepared for this attack but they won’t go down without a fight. This saga is 4 issues long so it’s not rushed at all and there is plenty of time to really enjoy the fights. It’s just very well done.

This saga was epic for obvious reasons. We got to see a lot of big fights including a beam war between Twilight and Chrysalis. That was a lot of fun and I do like how the series makes it clear that Twilight is the stronger pony in a 1 on 1 fight now. With her Alicorn powers that makes sense. Luna and Celestia don’t last very long but it’s not like you would expect much more out of them anyway nowadays. The comic also had some fairly dark visuals with Sombra’s home world. You really get the feeling that the place is very desolate and without hope. Their monster designs are quite intense as well. This is the kind of story that just works really well in concept and in practice. It’ll be hard for any other story to beat this one.

The art switches styles quite often after each story. They all look fine for the most part although I wouldn’t call too many of them great. They all look quite different from the TV show so they will take a little getting used to of course but I wouldn’t call any of them bad either. They’re just different and the character models seem sound. The fights are solid and the images are clear so at the end of the day that’s what you want to see in these issues. You are encouraged to read with how well everything looks.

Overall, This was definitely the best MLP collection yet. All of the stories were quite good and they had a lot of action. I still do think that for better or worse the comic does exaggerate the Mane 6 quite a bit and makes them meaner to each other though. It felt like they were betraying each other in just about every comic which is certainly a bit much. I like to think that their bonds are way stronger than that and they wouldn’t be deterred so easily. At least becoming friends afterwards each time should just ensure that their bonds get even stronger. The Mane 6 aren’t the kind of ponies to stay down for very long. Whether you are a fan of the series or not you definitely don’t want to miss this collection. Fans of any action/adventure story will get a kick out of it.

Overall 8/10

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Omnibus Volume 2 Review

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It’s time to take a look at the next volume of My Little Pony. I’ve definitely had quite the history with this series as it always manages to be hype while also low key at the same time. The first volume was really close to greatness but one panel held it back. I think this volume may have taken the criticism too hard though as most of the action and excitement have been taken away. These stories are more about the daily lives of the ponies which is cool as well, but you do find yourself waiting for the next invasion. There is one action arc in the comic though and that was certainly the best story arc here

One of the plots is about how Trixie has been framed for stealing a rare gem. She had originally been trying to help the cops nab the crook, but it turns out that this was all part of her plan or so it seems. Applejack and Applebloom decide to help her get out of this jam, but finding proof of Trixie’s innocence will be difficult. The true culprit may be closer to home than we ever dared suspect. It’s a pretty solid story and Trixie can certainly be a fun character. It’s a shame that everyone always has such a tough time believing that she has turned over a new leaf though. So much for “Forgive and Forget” right? We get some nice stealth scenes during the adventure and the cops get their due credit. The big reveal on who the true culprit was may not have been the most inspired choice, but I could get behind it. It was a fun set of issues and I was definitely on Team Trixie here. She’s always a very earnest character who just has the bad luck of working in a rough village.

The best comic arc here is definitely the Mirror World one even if Celestia looks pretty bad the whole time. She mixes up her priorities and puts the kingdom in danger by pursuing romance. It’s always interesting to see how rebellious she was back in the day and maybe that’s why she is such a stickler for the rules in the present. Well, that may be a stretch as it still seems like she is just trolling Twilight by having the young pony write her letters every day. The majority of the adventure splits its time between the present and the past. In the past, Celestia and the Wizard head to an alternate universe to learn more about the world. You have to go far in the pursuit of knowledge after all. Unfortunately her visits have started to unbalance the dimensions so she has told not to go back, but Celestia wants to do so anyway for the romance. This further strengthens the evil Celestia and Luna over in that world and then Celestia is forced to leave forever. In the present, Celestia send the Mane 6 into this alternate world to defeat her other version. The Mane 6 figure this will be a breeze, but the only hitch in the plan is the fact that whenever they injure the duplicate Celestia, they harm the real one. They will have to try winning without dealing any real damage, but that’s as hard as it sounds.

I do think that this twist wasn’t a good one though. Because the ponies can’t injure the evil Celestia, that prevents us from having the hype fight scenes that would have been a blast. The whole concept of the story teases a really cool series of fights but this twist prevents it. At least we still do get some nice action scenes and the saga is pretty intense as a whole, but it could have been even better. The villainous Celestia does have a good idea of using friendly fire to lure the heroes out. After all, the ponies can’t just stand back as Luna is taken down. I don’t think Luna should take so much damage after a single attack to be honest, but I guess that’s how it goes.

In all fairness, I would have made the same choice as Celestia in going back. There’s only a chance that the universes would unravel and if we’re being honest it is probably a very remote one. The power of friendship can certainly solve a problem as trivial as this one. This is certainly the most intense arc and I’d be up for the mirror dimension showing up again. This time we need to allow the fight scenes though as there is just so much potential here. It’s always epic watching the heroes go up against alternate versions of themselves.

The first story arc in the collection is a pirate adventure. Basically, the heroes have to stop a corrupt pirate who tries to deceive and capture them. It turns out that he is just pirating for romance though as he wants to be with a mermaid whose family won’t let them be together. Meanwhile, Fluttershy is supposed to let her animal go back to the sea once he is better, but she refuses to part ways. Both parties have to learn a little something about letting go and grabbing the valuable morals from it. In case you wouldn’t tell, this was a fairly weak story compared to the others. I don’t mind having a new locale I guess, but I’m not big on pirate ships. The romance at the end also didn’t really work for me. It wasn’t the ideal Pony story, but it’s not that it was bad. It’s just that it’s very unmemorable and felt like a very standard adventure with nothing to really back it up.

Another arc had Twilight Sparkle’s library get attacked by an army of bookworms. This certainly wasn’t good news for the heroine since books are her life. She realizes that the only way to stop them is to jump into the stories and reenact them without any alterations. The problem is that the Mane 6 prefer their versions of the story and switch up all of the classics. Their bonds of friendship may get tested by this as things are said that can never be unsaid. On this one I have to be on Twilight’s side as the other ponies just don’t seem to care about what happens to her books. Would it really be so hard to just follow the story of the book without making their own edits on the way? It just seems awfully selfish of them if you ask me and I thought they were supposed to be team players. It’s only in character for Rainbow Dash as she has to do things the cool way. The ending is a little anticlimactic though as the worm admits that he never really meant to harm anyone. I don’t buy that for a second and neither should the ponies. He was fully aware of what he was doing and just didn’t care. It was a fun two part adventure and maybe the best one aside from the mirror world arc.

The next story was the weakest one. It’s all about the Mane 6 pets as they try to find out how to break the mind control spell that was placed on the Mane 6. There isn’t much dialogue so it’s all about just watching the animals while a lot of Hijinx ensues. I mean, that’s nice and all, but I’m just not a huge fan of the pets. Perhaps if they could talk it would make the story more entertaining but otherwise it’s just a bunch of pictures. There aren’t really any fights either although the pets do have to elude the Mane 6 so we get a lot of frantic chase scenes. It’s not bad, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend that the series tries something like this again. It’s just not worth it.

Finally, the collection ends with an appearance by Discord. Fluttershy is babysitting the Cutie Mark Crusaders and they want more adventure. Discord offers to take them to a bunch of parrallel worlds and while Fluttershy is nervous about doing this, they quickly get her on board. There are a lot of dangerous monsters and Fluttershy feels like Discord isn’t taking good care of them. It’s a valid concern since Discord is immensely powerful, but likes to pretend that he is weak and panic a lot for dramatic effect. I wouldn’t be surprised if he would let them die at somepoint. It’s a fun issue and we get to see a lot of different locations. Fluttershy is rather harsh to Discord though as she basically says that he shouldn’t even have any friends. That’s just mean no matter how you slice it, but I’ve noticed that subtle theme in MLP at times. Lets just face the facts, the Mane 6 are rather mean ponies at times. They’re nice to their friends, but even then not always. They will turn on anyone at the drop of a hat.

I guess it helps the messages at the end really hit home, but the Mane 6 need to work on their bonds of friendship. The pacing of the issues is solid and they’re all a blast. You expect nothing but quality from the My Little Pony series and they always deliver. I’ll definitely be awaiting the next Omnibus adventure and hopefully we’ll get some more action scenes along with solid story telling in general. The art looks pretty solid like you would expect. The art is nice and streamlined and it works well enough for the action scenes. The facial expressions can certainly be a little out there at times, but it shows that the ponies have strong personalities. It never goes too far so it’s all good. I’m able to easily read the stories so I’d definitely consider that a success in my book.

Overall, this is a fun collection of stories. Some of the stories may have been a little weaker than we’re used to for this franchise but others were strong enough to make up for it. While the stakes have been considerably lowered from the first volume, we must be reminded that day to day issues at the village can feel just as dire as an invasion in the moment. The stories are mostly played seriously and you’ll blast through the volume. It’s a series of issues that I can definitely recommend to any fan of the series or even to someone who is not familiar with the franchise. It’s very accessible and it’s hard not to have a good time while reading it.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Forgotten Friendship Review

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After all these years it is time to finally review my first Equestria Girls special. Ironically it’s the final one (so far) but the special gives a quick recap at the beginning which makes it easy to get most of the context here. It’s a fun special although it does go out of its way to make Twilight Sparkle look bad which is a little odd. I can see why this side of the series has a lot of fans as well since it’s a pretty fun cast, but the Pony world will likely keep its spot at the top.

The end of the school year is rapidly approaching so Sunset Shimmer is preparing all of the pictures. To help with this, Twilight has made a selfie machine and they are all going to meet at the Beach to use it. Unfortunately, when Sunset arrives there the next day, the Mane Clique doesn’t remember her and they actually go out of their way to make her feel bad. Sunset decides to go to Equestria to get to the bottom of this memory mishap, but the true source of trouble may be closer to home then she suspects. Could it be the new student???

I definitely enjoyed the fun intro. See, if you’re going to do a recap then there are 2 key things you need to do. 1. The recap has to be quick. If it’s too long then it defeats the purpose. 2. A song helps. Now, you can play it lazy straight and simply reuse the scenes but spreading them all out and adding a lyrical song to the mix makes it feel a lot more fresh. It has been a while since the last specials as well so a recap isn’t a bad thing. Since the special is under an hour, the plot starts very quickly. The pacing is always pretty good.

The special is a little obvious with the culprit though. Let’s face it, the instant this new transfer student showed up you knew she was trouble. Technically Wallflower has been at the school the entire time, but she’s never appeared before so that’s definitely suspicious. Many other titles have done this before including even the recent Dark Dimensions. The important thing is just making the character likable even if you know she is evil. Wallflower isn’t a bad antagonist if you look at her purely as a villain, but if you try to sympathize with her goals than it may not work so well. She really dug her own grave on this one. I actually disagreed with the moral in this film. Not the actual message but I don’t think it applies here.

As her name suggests, Wallflower hid in the background the whole time and nobody ever noticed her. Apparently this includes Sunset Shimmer and the gang so at the end they learn that they should have been nice to everybody. Not being mean isn’t good enough, you have to be actively nice. Thing is, we never have any scenes where Sunset isn’t being nice. There’s no real indication that this moral should apply to her. The only ground you have to stand on here is that Sunset and the others are being rude for not remembering her. If you’re in the same class as someone for years then you should probably know their name.

However, we find out at the end that Wallflower was actively erasing everyone’s memories of her so why should she hold them accountable? I’m sure the main characters did know about Wallflower and probably were nice to her, but then they had their memories wiped. This means that now Wallflower’s argument has no weight and neither does the moral. All that being said, there is nothing wrong with being even nicer so it’s still not a bad ending.

The music is certainly handled really well. The opening song was a lot of fun and the villain’s song was also very good. It was nice and fast paced while also being pretty emotional. The franchise has always been known for its songs but seems to really bring out the big guns for the films. It certainly helps the movie be even better. The film’s animation is also pretty solid. It doesn’t really seem to be any better than the normal shorts, but I suppose this special is more about getting the cast back for another adventure than it is about stunning everyone with the animation. I’d say it works well enough although I’m also used to it at this point.

As I mentioned earlier, surprisingly the Equestria plot isn’t all that great as Twilight looks absolutely terrible. Now this may just be a running gag in the films as she didn’t look very good in the main one either but her role is completely out of character here. She is overly expressive and out of control here. Sparkle is actually afraid of Celestia and doesn’t do a good job of defending Sunset. I understand Twilight being nervous in season 1, but she’s already seen many times that Celestia always forgives her underlings. Celestia is still rather rude and unlikable as always here, but not to such an extent. Then we get to the library and that’s where Twilight’s panicking gets even worse. I’m guessing this is all just to make Sunset look even better in comparison but there’s no reason to make her look this bad right? If I didn’t know any better I would have assumed that she was the comic relief character of the series.

Sunset looks really good though and has a bit more of an edge than the other ponies. She isn’t afraid to make threats of violence towards the villain and just comes across as tougher than the others. She has a leather jacket on after all and a previous rep as a villain so everyone still respects her. Sunset can still get emotional when her friends are involved, but at least she’s not nearly as mean about it as the others. She’s a solid main character and I certainly wouldn’t mind if she became the lead in the other show although her pony design doesn’t work as well as the human one. She basically has to save the day on her own although one other person was helpful.

Trixie was never a great character as a pony, but in this world she seems to be one of the better characters. Unlike the other characters who were content to mock Sunset she actually did try to help. Trixie also stood up to her when Sunset was making threats and has some legitimite magic power. She also serves as the self aware character of the film as she fast forwarded through the villain’s song and mocked its length. The film was surprisingly poking fun at itself in several other moments like where the characters cut human Twilight off before she can talk about friendship. It’s handled pretty well if you ask me. Trixie is definitely the 2nd best character in the film and maybe this will translate well into future appearances in the main series as well.

Unfortunately the Main 6 look really bad here. Their human forms just aren’t good. They may not remember Sunset, but it doesn’t excuse them being so mean and confrontational to her. They are completely judging her from their past memories even though she obviously didn’t come here looking for a fight. Maybe she has some kind of sinister plan, but I thought these heroes were all about looking on the positive side? They insult Sunset and deliberately try to hurt her feelings. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think they were the bullies of the series or the kind of “friends” you’d see in Ultimate Spider-Man where they make fun of the lead with and without their memories. You have to agree with Sunset when she admits that her friends losing their memories isn’t terrible since she still has Trixie. Trixie is certainly less stuck up than the others and seems like a true friend.

Of course, the characters are so mean to continue the plot so I guess I won’t hold it against them in other specials, but it’s not a great first appearance for those girls. The setting for the special also isn’t my favorite since its the cliche beach episode. I guess even My Little Pony can’t avoid that trope although naturally it handles the episode in a classy fashion unlike 99% of other titles. It’s just there for the scenery as opposed to anything else, but give me the city backdrop any day. The writing for the special is pretty strong for the most part. The obvious exceptions are any scene with Twilight Sparkle and to an extent, any scene with the human ponies unless they are intentionally meant to look really mean.

Towards the end of the film we get to see them transform and unleash their energy blasts though which is pretty cool. I’m glad they still have some level of abilities left within them here since that opens the door to a serious Tirek arc in this world. Trying to obliterate Wallflower may have been a bit much, but I suppose they really didn’t want to lose their memories anymore. Then we have made it to the ending. I have to say that the human versions of the ponies may actually be stronger than their normal counterparts with the exception of Twilight and Rainbow Dash as they can possibly use their energy blasts at will. It’s why we need a fighting crossover. As far as how I’d rank the human characters, Rainbow Dash is still the best with Applejack being a close second so that’s basically the same as always. The others are basically tied as they just weren’t any good, but I’ll give a proper ranking for all of them once I watch the first movie. This special was also a nice break from Equestria as it’s good to get some new backdrops. In general the human world will typically always beat a fantasy one although both have their perks. It’s just that the city leads to a lot of good environmental effects depending on what’s happening at the moment. The Beach is an exception but a lot of the special took pace within the school anyway.

Overall, Forgotten Friendship is a fun special. I think it would have been better if they had just cut out the Pony subplot entirely, but it’s not as if it was bad. It was just really unexpected. This special is still a quality adventure and shows that the Pony universe is still going strong. I’m still in the middle of season 2 of the main show so it’ll be a while before I’m truly caught up, but at least this means I still have many more Pony adventures in store. I’ll probably still wait a while before catching up on the older Equestria Girl specials, but I’m looking forward to seeing Sunset as a villain. I do think that the first film likely won’t be the best one anyway, but I’ll go in with an open mind. Now I just want a true crossover adventure where the ponies and humans have to fight alongside each other. There’s definitely a lot of potential there. If you are a fan of the MLP franchise then you definitely need to watch it. If you like a good slice of life school adventure then this is also a good pick as it is a story that stands on its own pretty well without any real context. The magic stuff may seem out of the blue, but you’ll be able to roll with it since the story is still pretty straight forward.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Omnibus Volume 1 Review

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It’s time to check back in with the ponies! I already read the first few issues from this collection during the original volume 1 release, but naturally I had to check out the Omnibus as well right? A certain scene from the first arc still holds the collection back, but it’s still a solid adventure for the most part. In some ways I wish the show would have as many action scenes as this one, but I guess that runs with its own set of risks as this comic makes evident. Well, lets dive in!

So, the first arc is old, but lets recap in case you did not read my original review. Queen Chrysalis and the Changelings are back and they took over Ponyville in an instant. Derpy was the last to fall but now it is up to the Mane 6 to stop this evil threat. They mobilize their forces and head out to also rescue the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Twilight Sparkle will have to use her full powers if she has any hope of winning this round, but it’s still going to be a very tough fight. The villains aren’t hear to pull any punches.

Well, the arc is pretty solid except for one scene where Queen Chrysalis actually destroys one of the animals. It’s a surprisingly violent scene that you wouldn’t expect in My Little Pony. This is the one tricky part about the comics taking a more intense route than the show. While the comics have more fights and serious plots, they can also add in more violence which can get risky. While it’s a quick page that you can easily miss when embracing the hype of the arc, once you notice it there is no going back. It’s a shame since this one moment does limit the rest of the collection. If we ignore that little bit then the rest of the arc is pretty solid. We do get to see Twilight unleash one of her more powerful energy blasts at the Queen even if it’s not enough to take her down for the count.

It is a little iffy how quickly the Pony bonds are broken though. They know that they are up against shapeshifters after all so they should probably suspect that something is up when their friends start insulting them right? I’d expect some of the Ponies to fall for this, but not the entirety of the Mane 6. Ah well, even the ponies have their off days right? The changeling army is definitely impressive and since they seem stronger than the average pony, it’s fortunate that the Mane 6 are strong. An even numbered fight with the rest of the citizens may not go so well otherwise.

Time for the new content! This arc is easily the best part of the volume. The Mane 6 have all been having nightmares and are wondering why this is the case. Well, it turns out that an ancient evil has re awoken. It is the same darkness which once possessed Princess Luna. It has now set its sights on Rarity and kidnaps her. The rest of the Mane 6 will have to hurry if they are to rescue her but the villain’s army is numerous with many shadow creatures at her disposal. The entire kingdom is in peril so Celestia mobilizes her troops. Still, they’re basically just cannon fodder so she needs Luna. Unfortunately, Luna is dealing with confidence issues. Can she pony up in time to stop this threat or is it game over?

This arc is basically what the first arc would have been like without that quick animal moment. The new Nightmare Moon is a fearsome villain and is actually more serious than Queen Chrysalis. She is set on conquering Equestria and comes awful close. Her magic power is considerable and we get some actual fights here. The Mane 6 even have to use their laser blasts to stop her. We often see Twilight Sparkle use her powers, but not the rest of the ponies so that was cool. Naturally Rarity gets the shaft for most of the arc since she was kidnapped, but still looks good during the adventure. Luna’s still one of the best ponies in the series and this adventure is another reminder on that. She’s strong and has a lot of character development. Luna has learned a lot throughout her adventures and keeps that development. Now that she’s gotten over her confidence issues, she is certainly one of the best all around fighters in Ponyville.

Next up was Big Mac’s two part adventure. I always like how Applejacks’ family have good related names that reminds me of the past. I always used to eat Applejacks back in the day and while I didn’t go for Big Macs until recently, I did like the name. Basically he needs to find a nail so he heads for the shop, but the whole village has been taken over by a festival. It’s going to be difficult to find the owner, but this pony doesn’t give up so easily. What ensues are a bunch of random shenanigans where it seems like every pony is conspiring against him. Can Big Mac prevail?

Big Mac doesn’t handle the situation very well and shows why he is the weakest member of the Apple family. He doesn’t take anything in stride so you have to assume that he never leaves the farm since he should be used to this. Ponyville is always quirky as its inhabitants just love to have a bunch of fun. It’s a bit of a stretch that he couldn’t find the nail for the whole 2 issues, but he was kept pretty busy. The most enjoyable side trip would certainly be when he teams up with Princess Luna to wreck everybody at track and field. That was handled pretty well. The rest of the story was fun enough as well.

The final two issues were about Cadance and Shining Armor. I have yet to see them in the TV show so it was interesting to have a little preview. Basically the issues recount the first time Cadance and Shining Armor got to meet. Armor really wanted to impress her so he worked on his skills and decided to take her to the dance. The only problem is that she already accepted an offer from a richer, more sports savvy pony. Shining Armor will have to use every dirty trick in the book in order to stop his rival.

Unfortunately this was probably the weakest two part comic. It certainly didn’t do anything to improve my opinion of Shiny. His banter with Twilight would probably be the only part of his character that works well and Twilight as a kid is still a quality character. That being said, it’s just hard to be sympathetic to the Knight. He doesn’t embrace the role playing game that his gang plays because he gets too distracted by Cadence. Furthermore, he can’t even speak when Cadance appears and can only say things like “der” and ends up running off. He’s exaggeratedly bad in this comic. Of course, you can’t root for the bully since he’s rather mean, but you have to at least admire the guy’s confidence. He talks tough to Celestia and isn’t afraid of anyone. He probably would make a firm ruler, just a petty one.

As for Cadance, she seems nice enough. Naturally her whole romance with Shining Armor seems rather out of place and isn’t handled too well but if we ignore that chunk of her character than I’d say that she did well. She’s not as fun as Luna or as unlikable as Celestia so I guess she is somewhere in the middle. A reasonable supporting character to have around. So, this volume may have ended on a rather weak note, but it’s not as if this story is bad. It’s just a rather generic prom night adventure featuring two characters that I’m not really invested in. Better them than the Mane 6 though since any romance for one of those characters would result in a permanent addition to the main cast and we don’t want that.

The art for the comics is pretty good. It does take a little getting used to with how expressive it is, but the colors are very sharp and the designs are on point. It does help the issues to feel like the TV show and the animations may be even better to be honest. The comics really breeze by as a result. The writing is also on point as you’d expect. It’s easy to just pick this comic up and start reading. Likewise, the Ponies are about the same as always as well. Rainbow Dash and Applejack are always ready for a fight while Twilight is the one who is prepared for it. Rarity and Fluttershy mainly stick to the back row with Pinkie Pie as they verbally support and insult the other from afar. It would be nice if they could fight a little more, but I suppose it’s good to have a contrast. Rarity did good while she was possessed in her evil form though.

Overall, This was a solid batch of stories. As it’s an omnibus there is certainly quite a lot of content here to make it worth your dollar. The only negative from the whole adventure is when the animal was blown up. Some stories were a little weaker than the others like the last one and even the Big Mac adventure, but it makes sense since the Mane 6 were not the leads. The Cutie Mark Crusaders can hold their own stories as well, but now we know which characters cannot do so. While I can recommend most MLP comics whole heartedly I must cautiously recommend this one. It’s a very solid collection but not for the faint of heart. Still, even with its intensity there is always a lot of quick comedic moments to keep things from getting too serious so for the most part it is okay for kids as well. I’m looking forward to the next Omnibus as that should definitely give us some quality adventures. Until then, I suppose it could be a while before I have another MLP review out I guess.

Overall 5/10

My Little Pony: Legends of Magic Volume 1 Review

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My Little Pony has always been one of those franchises that most people judge instantly. It seems like a show for little kids with happy creatures that you can’t take seriously. It is a kids show, but one that’s well written and has a lot of quality episodes. As I’m about halfway through season 1, I can finally consider myself a part of the fandom. Now I’ve gotten to read another MLP comic and I’d certainly say that this is a good one although I definitely found myself missing the Main 6. There are 6 stories and each one is a self contained adventure although the series is hinting at some kind of plot getting ready to develop with the scholar who is reading the stories.

The first comic is a story about Princess Celestia and Luna from their Pony days. Celestia apparently was still a bully even back in her youth and picks on Luna a lot. She reminds Luna of her previous failures and points out that she will never be proficient in magic. Luna tries to show Celestia that she is wrong and opens up a portal, but it takes Luna away to a dangerous place. Celestia goes along with the Wizard to save her, but it’s a treacherous journey and her power alone may not be enough to win. It’s a pretty fun way to start the comic although it solidifies the fact that I will never become a Celestia fan. She’s just so mean throughout the comic to the extent where it’s hard to believe that she becomes one of the Princesses. It’s easy to see how Luna turned evil for a little while if she had to put up with this every day. I’ve always been a Luna fan so I’m glad she finally gets her due respect in the modern episodes. Her magic eventually did become more impressive than Celestia’s.

Our next story takes us to good ole Rockhoof, a legend among his people. He was a Pony who stood up for what’s right and defeated many powerful adversaries in his day. This story takes place after the legend most are familiar with and he is invited to join the army. He does, but gradually begins to put on a lot of weight as his fans take him to many dinners. He is then too weak to defend the kingdom from a powerful monster and begins to wonder if friendship isn’t magic. The other characters confirm this so he goes back to his rigorous training and makes it in time to stop the giant monster on his own. He finally realizes that hanging out with friends is all right, but at the end of the day you can only count on yourself. It’s a pretty reasonable story and while I would have liked a fight as opposed to words being enough to stop the monster, it’s a resolution that I can get behind. I’d like to see Rockhoof show up in the present at some point.

The next story was quite a bit weaker than the first two. There once lived an old nanny who liked to traverse the wilderness. One night, she noticed that a kingdom was being attacked by animals and no work was getting done. She decided to broker a treaty between the two which is fortunate since Luna had been sent out to deal with the threats. Not officially, but Luna noticed unlike all of the others and would have certainly beaten the animals on her own. Instead, friendship prevailed and Luna altered the Kingdom’s plans so that it wouldn’t interfere with the wildlife. Even back then Luna was a more benevolent ruler than Celestia. The story wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite as exciting or action packed as the first two. The old lady also didn’t make for as good a main character as the other ponies.

Following that adventure was the original Wonderbolts as they struggled against a Tornado. This tornado was going to rip through the lives of many griffins, but the Ponies were declined access across the border. The Griffins wanted to deal with the problem themselves so the Pony commander decides to let them all die. The other Wonderbolts can’t agree this and quit so they can help out without causing a big war between the two species. It’s a pretty noble gesture and I always knew the ponies had it in them. The commander looks pretty bad, but don’t they always? It’s a good adventure even if it’s not the most interesting one. Again, it’s a comic without any of the old characters so you do miss them quite a bit. Rockhoof’s story pulled it off, but it is a difficult thing to do for sure.

On the next adventure we meet our first Egyptian pony. She was known as one of the wisest ponies in all of Equestria and she solved all of her problems without the need for violence. A pretty impressive feat when you consider how unruly and dangerous most of Equestria was. One day her kingdom was being attacked by a large snake so she decides to deal with the issue. She’s a pretty great main character and a step up over the last two stories. She may even be the best main character in the book. It’s a fun enough story and who doesn’t like seeing a giant monster show up? This is one character who would definitely fit right in with the Main 6 if she ever met them. A pacifist is always welcome in Ponyville and especially one with Twilight Sparkle’s intelligence.

Finally, the last story was about a bunch of Pony zombies. This may seem a little out of place in the happy world of My Little Pony, but again, you can’t let looks deceive you. A wandering healer happened to be passing by and decides to cure the Ponies. Unfortunately they aren’t too grateful and make fun of her one liners. Ah well, everyone’s a critic these days. The hero didn’t have a whole lot of personality this time around, but she seemed nice enough. Someone you would want to have in your corner at any rate.

So this was a good batch of My Little Pony stories. It’s always good to expand the universe so having a whole comic series dedicated to this is pretty clever. That being said, the main plot could easily overshadow the stories if the series isn’t careful. It ends in a cliffhanger with the kid trying to find Twilight so that could be intense if it’s played straight. I don’t like that guy, but I guess he didn’t really do anything wrong in the comic so I have to cut him some slack.

As always the writing is solid. These stories could easily have been boring or simply bad if we had a bunch of crude humor and bad characters to bring the story down. Fortunately this wasn’t the case as everything was on point instead. The stories were able to develop naturally and at worst some parts would just be a little rushed since all of the stories had to end rather quickly. They never drag on though and most of the characters seemed pretty reasonable. If you’re going to make a trade paperback about new ponies, they’ve got to be good and the comics did good there.

Unfortunately, the art isn’t very good though. In fact it’s actually pretty bad at different points. It comes across like a cash in although I’m sure they put a lot of effort into the comics. The art just feels unfinished which is a little regrettable. It’s still clear though and you always know what is happening so it’s far from the worst case scenario. It’s nothing that would seriously hurt the score or anything like that. Hopefully it does improve as the series goes on the artist gets more used to the characters.

Overall, I’d recommend checking out this graphic novel. It may not have the Main 6 and can feel like filler at times, but the stories are good. It’s a pleasant enough read and you’ll find yourself blasting through the pages. I would even say that it does beat the main ongoing comic so that’s definitely pretty impressive for a spinoff. Hopefully the library gets more MLP adventures soon so I can check them out. In the meantime I can be satisfied knowing that I’ve learned more about the world and its history.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony: The Movie Review

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It’s always interesting to read a novel adaption right after watching the movie because then you can really notice where they changed or omitted something. In this case, there was really massive change and a few fairly minor ones. The biggest one definitely involved Twilight’s falling out with her friends. Lets dive into the plot though and take a look at how it stands up on its own.

Twilight Sparkle is planning a huge party to celebrate a momentous occasion. She is even bringing out a talented singer to Ponyville for the event. Unfortunately, it is crashed by Tempest and the Storm King. They want to destroy Ponyville once and for all to show that their power is supreme. Twilight’s kingdom is no longer hers so she will have to go on a quest to find the mermaid ponies and save Equestria. Can she really hope to stop this array of villains or will it all be for naught?

It’s a pretty solid premise. As with the movie, it can just be a little annoying to see Twilight let these villains just walk all over her. At this point in the series her power level is quite high and she should have no problem just blasting these guys away. Instead she spends the movie getting wrecked by just about everyone. Even at the end she has to be saved one last time by her friends. She’s still a good lead character though and ironically one of the changed parts of the comic makes her even better. In the film she tells the other ponies that she wished she had other friends or something to that extent when they were bickering about whether or not they should have stolen the gem of power from the mermaids. It’s a big moment since it’s one of those lines that’s hard to take back and that’s why the team splits. In this case, the team splits up because they call her out for being a thief and Twilight responds with a snarky “Oh yeah?” I guess they took that really personally but it does make you wonder why the team would split apart for something like that. It makes their bond look a little more shallow if we’re being honest. Of course, Twilight’s expression in this moment was certainly priceless so I have to give the artist some props there. It was the best panel in the whole comic.
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The other scene that was cut out was Fluttershy getting one of the guards to cry, but I was pretty okay with this since it made the guards a little more serious. Not that they didn’t have any comedy moments, but now they didn’t have much at all. The book is basically the movie though so there’s not a whole lot of other things to say about it. The cast of characters is definitely solid and the art looks good. Of course, that’s basically the same as saying that the movie looks good. The songs are solid and it’s a good overall adventure.

Even if I did cover it as a movie, I’ll give a quick run down of what was good and bad about the story. The good part is that the action scenes are pretty good and Tempest is a solid villain. Her design is really good and her abilities are definitely the real deal. After all she was able to take down Ponyville in a single day. The pacing is pretty good and something is always happening in the book. The only slow part might be when they head to the water world but it was still pretty good.

On the weaker side, the supporting characters weren’t too good here. I didn’t really care for capper much or the mermaids. The Storm King was quite underwhelming with his dialogue and personality so it would have been cool if Tempest had replaced him. That would have made for a more intense climax. The only other real negative is that I felt like Twilight Sparkle should have done a whole lot better. The fact that she really couldn’t contribute at all was pretty bad.

Overall, You’ll be able to blast your way through the movie comic since it’s really not all that long at all. One batch is probably all that you’ll need to finish it. If you’re a fan of the MLP series then you’l definitely love it and even if you aren’t, it’s just a solid adventure. It will teach you about the power of friendship and that Ponyville is still a dangerous and dark place. It’s just how the place is and you can’t really fault the Mane 6 for it. It’s just the rest of the ponies who need to be a little nicer. Maybe Tempest can help to show them a better way. That being said, at the end of the day it’s probably better for you to just watch the movie then to read the comic. It’s just a more wholesome way to experience the story.

Overall 7/10