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.