Suggested by Janelle CJ has the ability to fire off electric blasts and is effectively an internal weather manipulator. That puts her in a pretty good position to win some fights but she is out of her depth here. At the end of the day Pinkie Pie has more abilities up her sleeve including the energy blast from Equestria and a chaos mode. She may not be as offensive oriented as some of the other Mane 6, but when the tough gets going Pinkie is ready. Pinkie Pie wins.
Suggested by Janelle CJ has the ability to fire off electric blasts and is effectively an internal weather manipulator. That puts her in a pretty good position to win some fights but she is out of her depth here. At the end of the day Pinkie Pie has more abilities up her sleeve including the energy blast from Equestria and a chaos mode. She may not be as offensive oriented as some of the other Mane 6, but when the tough gets going Pinkie is ready. Pinkie Pie wins.
Suggested by Destroyer Pinkie Pie isn’t one of the most impressive Pony fighters, that’s for sure. Rainbow has speed, Twilight has power, but what does Pinkie have? More often than not all she has going for her is toon force which doesn’t help much in a battle like this. Fortunately for her she has her Equestrian mode which allows her to fly and at least shoot a small energy blast of sorts. That will be enough to claim the edge in this battle although as she has no magic shield she will still need to make sure she doesn’t get shot. It could be a close battle, but a winnable one for her. Pinkie Pie wins.
It’s time to look at one of the games I got for my Birthday. This one was definitely a very short one though. The gameplay is actually solid with fun visuals and such, but the whole experience will only last you around 30 minutes. No matter how high budget the game is it’s hard to do much with 30 minutes. I’d like to see the developers give this one another shot with a bigger budget.
The plot of the game is pretty straightforward. Pinkie Pie’s birthday is coming up so the other ponies have decided to get her a lot of gifts and such. Unfortunately they’ve lost them all so now Pinkie Pie has to ironically track them all down herself. Can she save her own birthday and prove that finding the gifts can be just as fulfilling as receiving them all? Then we can really just settle down and enjoy all the nice snacks.
I figured that getting a birthday game on my birthday was pretty fitting. This is a game I’ve known about for a long while, but I wouldn’t exactly go out of my way to grab it. It’s not exactly known as a AAA title so right from the jump you know not to get your expectations too high. It was a bit of a blind buy as I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The gameplay mainly has you walk around from area to area as you tap on any presents of puzzle pieces you come across on your journey. Once you have obtained them all then the game ends. Most of the items are just lying around. Once you’ve found those then you have to talk to the other Ponies and they will give you a present upon clearing one of their mini games.
The minigames are all very short and you shouldn’t have a problem completing them. Some are titles where you can’t lose and others try to at least make things a little more challenging for you. They aren’t quite as inspired as the Mario Party minigames though and you probably won’t be tempted to try them a second time. It’s not like there are any high scores to try and improve so the replay value just simply isn’t there. There are a number of things you can do instead but if you really like the games you can replay any of them at any time. The Hub world is fairly short which is good because the map only helps you out for one gift at a time so you’ll be running back and forth a lot.
The graphics are surprisingly good all things considered. The character designs are on point and the backgrounds are sharp. This is probably the most impressive element of the game and I’m actually a little surprised that such effort was included. It doesn’t feel like the rest of the game was taken as seriously. The soundtrack is also incredibly limited which doesn’t help matters either. At least it is a game that is nice to look at which is good. If the game could have even just thrown in an extra hour or two of gameplay then that could have really changed things.
Overall, as mentioned, the game is around 30 minutes long. There is no replay value as you had to collect everything to trigger the ending so that hurts a bit. The actual gameplay is fun, but with such a length there’s no way I could give it a positive score. The best I could do was give it a middle of the road number. If you see the game down the block for a few bucks then you may as well get it. For 15 or up it is really not worth it. You could buy some food combos that would last longer than this game. Even long time fans of the series will likely feel underwhelmed. I think the only way this one works is if you’re buying it for a very young kid who is an MLP fan, but even then I would make the case that there are better games that can be purchased.
Suggested by Destroyer Pinkie Pie may not be the best fighter from the Mane 6, but she does have her party cannon so she can score a few hits every once in a while. The Turkey would have a hard time trying to stop her. He can’t really fight all that well and has no special abilities. Pinkie Pie is a lot faster and wins in just about every category so this would end up being a pretty quick battle. Pinkie Pie wins.
Suggested by Destroyer Buster is back, but he has less of a shot than in his last match. Pinkie Pie has her party cannon which can be a serious projectile. She doesn’t even need to load it, she can throw Buster in and that’ll be it for him. He can’t hope to match her abilities and will be left utterly confused by how crazy she is. Pinkie Pie certainly leaves an impact on everyone she meets and Buster will be no exception. Pinkie Pie wins.
It’s time to look at the next MLP comic. This time it’s the big volume 10 so I’m glad I was able to go back and check this one. It lowers the hole of missing MLP comics I haven’t gotten to check out. It’s a pretty solid array of issues. 2 of them get a little experimental, one of them successfully while the other one ended up not rising to the occasion. The main issue is about the Cutie Mark Crusaders though and you can’t go wrong there!
The first issue has the Cutie Mark Crusaders going on a mountain climbing adventure. Diamond Tiara and her friend go as well, but the heroes are ready to have a good time anyway. Unfortunately their excitement goes a little too far as they ditch the group and go on their own. Eventually this causes them to get lost and they must now find a way to get back to the other ponies. That’s one plan at least, the other is to stay put until the Mane 6 arrive to save the day. It’s hard for the heroes to agree on one strategy and making this even harder is the fact that Diamond Tiara keeps on insulting the crew. She’s not exactly a team player and insists on reminding the other ponies of this time and time again.
This is a pretty good story. It was also really long so I think it may have been 2 issues rolled into one or an annual of sorts. We got to have a lot of development with the CMC doing their best to try and get Tiara on board. You really can’t blame them for anything that happens because the effort was made. Apple Bloom may not have been too eager to slow down for Tiara but if a member of the party doesn’t want to travel with everyone else it’s probably more dangerous to just stay there uncertain of where to go. At least Apple Bloom was trying to lead the group to the next objective and ideally she would have gotten them somewhere safe. It’s inevitable that the Mane 6 would show up at some point so the important thing is to get high up where it will be easier to find them. Apple Bloom had the right idea and this was a great way to kick things off.
The next story was a pretty emotional one about how Twilight and Spike first met each other. This takes place back when Twilight didn’t really have any friends so even looking after a dragon was pretty tough for her. She was already having a hard time keeping up in class so this big responsibility threatened to break her. She did a pretty good job of looking after him either way though. Her methods may have been more automatic than others would have been since Twilight has a hard time showing her emotions, but she was never mean. The series showed some good restraint in making her a reasonable pony and not throwing her character out the window.
Spike was definitely a handful, but he is a baby here so we can cut him a little slack. I can also sympathize with Twilight preferring to spend time with her family during the school meeting than the other classmates. Since she never talked to them during the year that would have been a little odd. So this was a good follow up story to the first one. It may not have had the same level of thrills and teamwork, but I’m always up for a good “first meeting” story.
Next up is the weakest comic of the volume and possibly the weakest one in the whole series. At the very least it would give them all some competition. It starts off with Zecora talking about how 1 bad attitude can spread to countless ponies if not treated right away. We see that Rainbow Dash had a bad day and she begins taking it out on all of the other ponies. Soon all of Ponyville is in a bad mood as none of them can break the cycle and it looks like Rainbow Dash will have to be the one to save the day. I found both the premise to be weak and the artwork, but make no mistake it’s the latter which hurt the issue for me the most.
Experimental artwork usually doesn’t do the trick for me. It can look interesting, but I just really like my polished artwork that you get in most of the comics. Even for anime or movies I typically prefer something traditional to something that’s trying for a very off approach. You can certainly make something unique that’s really cool without being totally crazy. This issue is mainly with watercolors and so everything is hard to make out and a bit scattered. It’s not all that appealing to read and you’ll be tempted to just skip over to the next issue. Art is critically important for a comic. Also the plot is a little hard to buy. Everyone in Ponyville gets upset because Rainbow made one mistake? At least one of the ponies should have been able to break the cycle if you ask me. That being said, Ponyville has never been the nicest town out there. They turn on each other very quickly.
Finally we have a comic where Pinkie Pie and Rarity make a comic. It’s pretty meta in a sense. This one’s also experimental, but it works a lot better. It would probably get old if it went on for more than 1 issue, but as a one shot it’s interesting enough. The dilemma that the two of these ponies face is that their taste in comics are very different. Rarity wants her character to look very regal and nice even though she is supposed to be the villain. Pinkie Pie gets distracted a lot and so her stories become very unfocused. Both of them keep on trying various ideas throughout the issue which vary in terms of art and plot. The arts are all very different and we even get a live action sock puppet style. By the end of the issue they realize that just making a comic is a lot of fun even if they may never agree in the end.
It’s a pretty good message. When creating something with someone else you are going to have to be ready to make a lot of compromises because the odds of you two having the same ideas are slim. Each of you will want to do something different with the characters and that will lead to a lot of disagreements. Just remember why you are teaming up on a comic and hopefully that will inspire you to work these things out.
Overall, This was a fun MLP volume. As always the stories were a lot of fun and also taught good messages along the way. The pacing was good and the artwork for the various volumes was solid as well aside from that one issue. It’s been a consistently good run for this series so I look forward to more of the same in the next volume I check out. Volume 17 is the next one so we’ll be jumping back into the era of Princess Twilight and the Student 6. Hopefully that means Starlight Glimmer will get to appear and another issue about the CMC would be nice. If you haven’t checked this comic out yet then you should. It’s a well balanced adventure.
It’s time to take a look at a pretty big TV show that ended recently. Friendship is Magic is a show that lasted for a very long time and really got a big fanbase. I dare say that My Little Pony is almost a household name at this point and that would have been almost impossible to have seen coming a long time ago. Not even the G1 part of the series got quite this much recognition. In short, it’s nice that MLP is back on the map. Even with this show over the series will continue through comics and the Equestria line. Friendship is Magic is a good show that I would recommend to anyone.
The series follows a pony named Twilight Sparkle who is going to be learning how to be a friend. Celestia gave her a mission to go into town and learn about this. She gradually meets up with other ponies and together they make up the Mane 6. Her allies are the speedy Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie. Together they solve a lot of friendship issues (Sometimes between them) and also fight to keep Equestria safe from the clutches of those who would try and destroy Ponyville. Fortunately Twilight is up to the task!
I haven’t seen a whole lot of shows aimed at a younger audience and especially recently. I watch Transformers Rescue Bots/Academy and that’s probably the only recent one I can think of. A lot of them look solid like I’m sure I’d enjoy Strawberry Shortcake and some of the other titles, but there’s a bunch of em so it’s hard to make time for each one. That’s why I appreciate the fact that MLP has some action scenes. It may not be the center focus of the show and you can go a bunch of episodes without it happening, but just the idea that a fight could show up in the next episode was always great. Plus the characters do have super powers which naturally leads to a cooler setting. The show also didn’t do this half heartedly. The Tirek episode actually had a lot of dark visuals and the fight scenes wouldn’t have been out of place in a total action show.
I managed to fast blast through the show pretty quickly and only got caught up once it was around the second last season I believe. It was a good ride and while I can’t go through episode I’ll at least talk about some highlights. One of the show’s strengths is its consistency as the characters get to learn a lot of morals and gradually become experts in their crafts. Some of the characters may not be all that different from their early days while others like Twilight are definitely pretty different. A slice of life show is only as good as its cast and fortunately MLP has a really solid cast at its disposal.
Twilight Sparkle is the lead character and definitely one of the characters with the most character development. She starts out as a pony who knows nothing about friendship to writing a whole book on it. Twilight is always about doing things according to how they are written and doesn’t like to branch out. By the end of the series she is more confident in leaving things to her friends and doesn’t panic quite as much. She’s a quality character throughout the series and does Pony up when she needs too. Her best appearance is in the Tirek two part fight when she tries to avenge Ponyville after it is close to destruction. She also put up quite the valiant fight against Starlight Glimmer. Twilight’s really stepped up to the plate every time danger arose. She may not be the strongest Pony around, but she is in the top tier fighters of the universe and her knowledge of books comes in handy many times.
Twilight is sometimes at her best when she goes crazy though. One such episode is during the trivia challenge where she decides that she will win at absolutely any cost. This includes messing with her partner and actually sabotaging other teams. You would expect this to be completely out of the question usually but not this time. Twilight was not messing around here. Then there is the other episode where she goes insane and we got a lot of memes out of it. Her facial expressions go all over the place and her mind literally broke. Twilight was under a lot of stress and that’s how she got it out. I’m sure the village will be glad that she ultimately got this under control.
Then we have Rainbow Dash who was consistently fighting with Apple Jack on who the best member of the Mane 6 was. Ultimately she took the lead. You just can’t beat Dash’s confidence and her super speed is incredibly handy. Dash is probably the Pony who would be the most helpful in all of the fights if this was more of an action series. Rainbow definitely stays the most true to herself throughout the series as well. She really hasn’t changed much at all since season 1 which in itself is impressive. Rainbow Dash has been proving herself the whole time and is now one of the most well known members of the Wonderbolts. It’s a good testament to her determination and pure skills.
Next up is Pinkie Pie and unfortunately she is easily the worst member of the Mane 6. She isn’t the worst character or anything like that, but she is definitely not very good. At first she isn’t all that bad. Pinkie Pie is one of the main comic relief characters in the show and mainly does this by throwing pies at everyone or just acting nonsensical. I’m sure it’ll be amusing for some, but the issue is when the series starts to get more serious in some of the later seasons. It’s all well and good to goof off when everyone is at a picnic, but if villains are attacking the town and blowing things up then the time for jokes is over. Unfortunately Pinkie Pie never knows when to stop and this is an issue with most character types like hers. The 24/7 jokes just go too far after a while and by the end of the series you’ll be completely tired of her.
Then we have Fluttershy who is the timid character of the group as her name would suggest. Most of her episodes are about her conquering her fears and becoming more outspoken. She does make some good progress from season 1. By the end of the series she is still very timid, but is at least willing to try and go into the limelight when it is necessary. She’s a nice enough character but while not to the extent of Pinkie Pie, she can feel a little out of her depth. Trusting the enemies may pay off a lot of times here, but it’s always a risky decision and the fact that she chooses this option so quickly is a bit of a red flag. Would Fluttershy be able to fight against the villains 100% if she thinks that they might be turned good? It’s a heroic aspiration, but one that she needs to keep in check.
Applejack takes us back to the intensity we saw with Twilight and Rainbow. Applejack has a rivalry with Rainbow as well as Rarity. In general Applejack is just very competitive and has a lot of great episode in the series. One really solid one is her race with Rainbow in the forest. She’s pretty tough and while she doesn’t have the super speed that Rainbow has, Apple makes up for it with her super strength. Honesty is her main trait and she uses it well as opposed to being too dramatized. Applejack is the kind of pony that you want on your squad.
Rarity is an interesting member of the group since she has magic powers like Twilight. Honestly I think the show may have missed the boat with her a little since we could have had an interesting rivalry there. Rarity is mainly focused on fashion though and has to be reminded at times that she even has friends. Rarity has a franchise and is pretty popular so she is probably the most successful of the group. By the time she closes up shop I fully expect her to be rich. She’ll have led a very satisfying life.
That’s it for the Mane 6, but towards the end of the series we got an honorary 7th member. Starlight Glimmer started out as one of the big villains before getting reformed. I really liked her as a villain. Her time manipulation was on point and she was the closest thing we got to a Dark Twilight. She’s like what Twilight could have become without friends. Since Starlight had a lot of time to focus on her magic she is even stronger than Sparkle which is interesting. In all of their confrontations Starlight had the edge and even at the end of the series she still seems to be more powerful. Starlight is also on the same path that Twilight was put on in season 1 so there’s a lot of good promise to her character. She is a real scene stealer and even the episode without her powers being where they are today in the same flank village she had a lot of great scenes. She’s just excellent at manipulating people.
Next up is Spike and he may not be a pony, but he is still a very important character in the series. He is Twilight’s assistant and is always around to offer advice and help out wherever he can. Things may not always go well for him, but he always tries his best. Twilight and the others would have really been in a pickle without him. I’m not a big fan, but he’s not bad. I just don’t think Spike really adds to the dynamic and the series would have been pretty similar without him.
Meanwhile Celestia is a solid character. She can be a bit mean and comes off as an antagonist though. Luna forgave her so I suppose the rest of us should, but Celestia always jumps the gun and adds on extra pressure to the crew. She also loses pretty much every battle that she gets in which doesn’t help her reputation. I think she stays on the sidelines a little too often which ultimately means that she doesn’t have a lot of battle experience despite being so old. I feel like she should have gotten at least one big win during the series so we could see why she is so revered.
Luna is a big improvement. For starters you will feel bad for her when she transforms into Nightmare Moon. Celestia doesn’t do a great job of trying to understand her. Then in flashbacks and comic adventures we see that Celestia always belittled Luna and teased her. While some of the jokes were in good fun, there’s a saying on how there is a little truth in every joke. If Celestia is always joking about how easy Luna’s job is then you feel like she actually believes it to be the case. This paragraph isn’t supposed to be about how mean Celestia is though. Back to Luna, Luna is just a very nice pony. She’s always the bigger pony in these arguments and gives the heroes great advice. Luna’s job is really difficult since she has to sleep during the day and can rarely spend time with anyone. It’s got to be super lonely and yet she handles her job with no complaints. Definitely one of the best characters in the series.
We also can’t forget about the Cutie Mark Crusaders. All 3 of those ponies are really good although Apple Bloom steals the show. They don’t have Cutie Marks which is something that most ponies get at some point or another. You have to find your specific talent to unlock it though and they had a tough time finding their actual talents. Most of their episodes are about trying various things or helping other ponies find their talents. These episodes are really wholesome and it’s nice to see them making such a difference. They really brighten up every episode and I think they would do a good job with their own spinoff series if given the chance.
Discord is one of the big villains of the series although I suppose he is a hero for longer than he was evil. The guy has unlimited reality warping abilities and should be super strong as a result. Despite this, Discord manages to lose just about every battle he is in which is actually pretty impressive if you think about it. How do you lose when you are so powerful? Discord never ceases to disappoint me and everyone else whenever he can. I like how crazy he is and the guy has a good personality. If you take away his embarrassing losses then he is a great character. Discord never truly changes his spots to the extent that he does whatever he wants, but at least he has good intentions at the end. His plans rarely end up working though which is pretty tragic for him.
Tirek was one of the coolest villains when he first showed up in the show. Not only did he defeat Discord but he also took down Celestia, Luna, and basically the entire cast in the show. The Mane 6 could not stand up to him for a second which led us to the greatest moment in the entire series. His fight with Twilight was amazing and solidified him as the ultimate threat in the series. Honestly the show could have ended right at that moment and it would have made sense. Unfortunately Tirek returned and his character was completely obliterated. He went from being the ultimate evil to comic relief and got wrecked at every corner. I like the idea of a villain teamup, but I have to admit that the show did not handle that part particularly well. Don’t get me wrong, the two part episode at the end was really solid. Tirek just looked really bad and that was a little disappointing.
Meanwhile we have Cozy Glow who was a very different kind of antagonist. Most of the other villains had fierce designs and showed up to destroy Equestria. Glow is a filly and doesn’t look particularly intimidating. She defeats others by making fun of friendship and manipulating everyone. She’s a fun villain even if you can’t really take her seriously in a fight. Cozy does get her share of results after all so it may be a different approach but it works well enough. I was glad she got a super form near the end though.
King Sombra didn’t leave quite as much of an impression on me as the others even though he is a pretty big villain. I gained a lot of respect for him in his final appearance though as he refused to work for Grogar. Sombra did his own thing and while he ended up losing I did appreciate the initiative. Teaming up simply isn’t for everyone and especially a king like Sombra wasn’t about to stand back and take orders. That simply isn’t how he rolls and that is admirable. I think he had the potential to be the best villain if he appeared more.
Queen Chrysalis is one of the more persistent villains. She really can’t stand Starlight or Twilight for wrecking her plans so many times. She has a lot of really good plans for revenge in her following appearances. The dark Mane 6 was great and I still think that should have been a two part saga. There were a lot of great paths that could have taken. Chrysalis can also fight really well and even held her own in a beam fight with Twilight. I don’t think she is as strong as Starlight, but it’s close. Chrysalis was consistently really solid and I’d argue that she was the most evil of the villains. From all of the antagonists she is the only one who was clearly never going to turn good.
Princess Cadence gets outshined next to Luna and Celestia, but this is for good reason. She really doesn’t do anything throughout the whole series and often shirks her princess duties to hang out with Shining Armor. I never liked Cadence, it’s hard to place my finger on it, but she wasn’t all that fun. I think she just came out of nowhere and if you were to cut her out of the show nothing would change. At least Shining Armor has the fact that he is Twilight’s brother to keep him relevant. Otherwise I would really argue the same thing for him. It’s nice to have someone who will debate with Twilight as well.
Big Mac was not one of my favorite characters. He also got most of the worst episodes. I suppose that shouldn’t be held against him though. The series did a lot of things well, but I wouldn’t say that the romance was one of them. The romance episodes have a tendency to drag on and Big Mac only saying “Yup” gets old after the first few times. If he actually couldn’t talk then that would be one thing, but since he can and simply refuses to say anything else it comes across more as a gimmick. The rest of the apple family feel more reasonable.
Diamond Tiara is one of the bullies from the Cutie Mark Crusader episodes. She was sympathetic from the start as you could tell that something was up to make her so mean. She never crossed the line with her pranks either. Tiara definitely made things tough for the trio, but did her part to make things right once she was shown the error of her ways. Tiara is just a fun character and I would have been cool with seeing more of her in the final seasons. Likewise Trixie used to be a bit of an antagonist, but eventually turned good. Now she is Starlight’s best friend and a loyal ally that she can count on. Trixie can be slow on the uptake and may not be the best worker in the school, but at least she tries. Trixie is also sure to stand by Starlight even when everyone else is a bit wary of her. The downside is that Trixie is also super sensitive likely as a result of her past.
Stygian was a big villain in one season as he became the Pony of Shadows. That was a really ambitious story and it was handled well. It had one of the best climaxes as well. On his own Stygian isn’t all that interesting but his symbiote-esque form was really cool. I was pretty surprised that we didn’t see him at all (At least I don’t remember him) after this. I suppose his character arc was complete though. A minor character was Chancellor Neighsay. He is an antagonist since he opposed Twilight’s school, but he did mean well. The guy was just set in his old ways. I don’t buy him losing to Cozy though. That episode was also a bit of a stretch since as Princess I feel like Twilight could have kept her school open. She was still new to the role though so it’s a little realistic that she could be pushed around.
Daring Do is basically a superhero so it was interesting to have her around. Her episodes feel a little different from the average ones so that’s good for a change of pace. I’d like to have seen Rainbow Dash be more useful in those episodes since she also has experience with enemies. Finally we have Derpy who never gets to do much but always seems like an earnest character. It would have been cool to have seen her do more in the show but I suppose that may have defeated the purpose of her character.
Near the end of the show we are introduced to the students of Twilight’s new school. I don’t think they ever quite managed to fit in though. Really they just weren’t all that necessary. I suppose this was probably because the Mane 6 already learned so much and this was a way for the writers to revisit some morals they wanted another crack at. They aren’t too bad, but the episodes just aren’t the same without the Mane 6 taking center stage. Naturally there are a ton of other characters in the show but you’ll have to watch it to see them. With well over 100 episodes you can definitely see how a ton of other ponies and other animals would have shown up.
The best episodes in the series for me are easily the opening two part epic and the Tirek 2 parter. The Tirek episode brought the series the best fight it has ever had and it worked extremely well. I haven’t been so impressed with a payoff in quite some time and it’s clear to me that the show was really going for the gold here. It’s a shame that the fight wasn’t more highly received because I wouldn’t have minded more fights like that. Starlight’s debut appearance was also really solid as was her time travelling adventures. The final two part saga was also really cool even if the actual final episode may have felt a little out of place. It’s hard to expect a perfect ending though so I definitely can’t be too hard on it in that area.
The animation for the show isn’t bad. It’s definitely not exactly my style, but after a few episodes you should be used to it. The show does still manage to have fight scenes with it which is the important thing. MLP has a colorful art style and while the hits won’t have the same impact as something that is hand drawn, it won’t take away from the story. The writing is the important thing after all and the writing in the show is pretty good. The characters are logical and you get some good plots in the episodes. In terms of the music the show has quite a few songs to follow along with. Various characters sing and the songs can be pretty well done. The best one is probably still the song where Applejack and Fluttershy duel over the bats or the Cutie Mark Crusader theme songs. These songs are all pretty wholesome so they work pretty well.
Overall, Friendship is Magic is definitely a show that I can recommend. I know that it may seem a little intense for a kid and I have had parents tell me that this would be too violent for their kid so you may want to wait until they are a little older than the average show like Strawberry Shortcake and such since there are actual big villains here with scary designs. The show isn’t afraid to get a little scary but I would still say that it should be fine for most kids. If you’re a parent just use discretion. If you’re older you can still get something out of this show. A lot of shows that are for kids can still work for older audiences, you just have to go into it with a different mindset. Enjoy the process of learning basic morals and watching a wholesome episode. It may seem basic at times but it’s never a bad idea to re-acquaint yourself with the fundamentals. It’s just a solid all around show. Even with the show done you can expect more MLP reviews soon. I have quite a few comics that I am getting ready to read and I’ll be reviewing all of those of course.
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.
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.
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.