Wednesday, April 10, 2013

S01 EP02: "Friendship is Magic, part 2"

S01 EP02: "Friendship is Magic, part 2"

See Twilight Sparkle's face up there? IT HAUNTS MY FUCKING DREAMS. Welcome to my review of the second part of the pilot to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic! I'm going to let you know right off the bat that I'm going to be trying a new format for the reviews, starting with this one. As much fun as I had writing the first one in a style, it was incredibly time consuming and I'd like to actually get these things out regularly, you know? Maybe I'll do them like that for episodes I particularly enjoyed, and if that is indeed the case, expect them to be sporadic.

Anyway, on with the review!

Plot Summary

Following the events of the last episode, Nightmare Moon shrouds Equestria in eternal darkness and escapes into the night. The ponies try to stop her from getting away, but fail. Twilight Sparkle is confronted by Rainbow Dash due to her knowledge of Nightmare Moon's return, but the others defend Twilight and ask her for details about how to stop Nightmare Moon. Once they've found the information they need about the Elements of Harmony, the six ponies set off towards the ancient castle of the royal pony sisters in the Everfree Forest. 

This caption is dedicated to the memories of the brave Peganuccis who attempted to stop Nightmare Moon. They aren't dead, but I like to think they'd have given the ultimate sacrifice anyway.

On their way through the forest, Each of the ponies display an attribute aligned with the Elements of Harmony as they overcome obstacles sent by Nightmare Moon to prevent them from reaching the Elements. AppleJack displays Honesty when she assures Twilight Sparkle that she needs to let go and will be caught after Twilight is hanging off the edge of a cliff. Fluttershy embodies Kindness when she removes a thorn from the paw of an attacking Manticore.

Pinkie Pie manifests the Element of Laughter when she convinces the other ponies to laugh in the face of fear while travelling through a scary looking forest. Rarity shows Generosity when she gives up a part of her tail to restore the mangled mustache of a  river serpent. And finally, Rainbow Dash reveals Loyalty when she decides not to betray her friends to become the captain of the Shadowbolts, who are an illusion sent by Nightmare Moon. 

At last, the ponies make it to the castle, where inside they find stones representing 5 of the 6 Elements of Harmony. According to the book, it says that the 6th element will appear when the other five are ignited with a "spark". Twilight tells the others she's going to try something and the others leave to give her some distance in order to concentrate. Shortly after, Nightmare Moon appears and whisks Twilight away to another part of the castle. Nightmare Moon then smashes the Element stones, declaring victory.

"They're called Pony Thread Simulators, and they describe what happens to bad ponies when they die!"

Just as all seems lost, the other ponies appear to aid Twilight, which causes her to realize that she has formed genuine friendships with them all. This acts as the spark needed to activate the Elements of Harmony, which manifest as jewels resembling each of the ponies' Cutie Marks. The six ponies use the Elements of Harmony to defeat Nightmare Moon, which reduces her to the form of a young Alicorn. Princess Celestia is freed and reveals that she is Nightmare Moon's sister, and with some coaxing, encourages her sister to reconcile their differences and rule Equestria together once again. Pinkie Pie declares that this is worthy of celebration and throws a party in their honor.

Having saved the day, Twilight Sparkle feels that her victory is bittersweet-- Nightmare Moon has been stopped and daytime is restored, but now she has to return to Canterlot after having finally learned the joys of friendship. Princess Celestia takes note of this and declares that Twilight's new mission is to continue her research on the magic of friendship in Ponyville. The six ponies are overjoyed as the episode ends and credits roll.

What I liked

Pictured: Twilight Sparkle, giving a shit about something that isn't research or herself for once. 

This particular moment where Twilight tucks Spike into bed did more to endear Twilight Sparkle to me than anything in the last one. I think they really should have put this into the first part of the pilot to show that she wasn't a total bitch, but maybe that's just me. At least it's been shown that Twilight actually does care for Spike on some level and that he isn't just some lackey/mailman she keeps around like her own personal Igor. 

"It was under E!"

- Pinkie Pie,  explaining to Princess Celestia's top student Twilight Sparkle on how to use a goddamn library

Pinkie Pie showing Twilight Sparkle where to find the book on the Elements of Harmony is one of the few moments in this series to get me to chuckle thus far. Who would have thought that Pinkie Pie could actually do something besides irritate the fuck out of me? A few more moments like this, and I may find her to be somewhat tolerable. Tragically, I have a feeling they will be hard to come by. 

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic -- The children's cartoon that considers that you might have had to take a piss before the commercial break. 

Another moment that got a chuckle out of me was when Twilight got irritated with Rainbow Dash for describing the events of what happened before the commercial break...because they had just happened. If this meta-humor is a consistent part of the show, then I can at least see partially why the fans are as enamored with this show as they are.

It's like someone threw nightmares into a blender and made the resulting mess adorable. 

I just like the Manticore because it's proof that there are potentially dangerous creatures in this world. I'll be disappointed if we don't get a cute little Beholder later on.

"I watch you while you sleep."
And the show gets even better by mocking musicals. I FUCKING HATE MUSICALS. well, unless they're fucked up ones, like the South Park movie, or Sweeny Todd. But the primary reason I hate them is because the cast breaks into song and it completely takes me out of the story when it happens, and this is blatantly lampshaded by everyone who isn't Pinkie Pie.

What I Hated

Seven seconds left before it's time to roll credits and Pinkie Pie managed to squander nearly all the goodwill she built up in this episode by managing to not shut. The fuck. UP.

Well, there's always next week, I guess.

What the Fuck

Okay, confession time! I was told by Adam that in the pre-production stage, MLP was planned to have a Magical Girl vibe to the story, and Hasbro nixed it because they wanted a show with more stand-alone episodes. If they had gone with Lauren Faust's original idea, I have to admit, I'd probably have made more of an effort to watch this show.

 I grew up watching Magic Knight Rayearth on VHS and Sailor Moon before catching the bus to school in the mid 1990's, and I loved the show when monsters were being fought-- I could take or leave the melodrama and crying, honestly. MLP seems like it could have made the non-combat parts more interesting/entertaining with some time, but in the end, the video below is as close as we're going to get to a pony magical girl show, and that's terrible.

What I Think of the Main Characters 

Twilight Sparkle: Much improved from the pilot. I hope she continues down this path and doesn't devolve back into a self-involved semi-misanthrope. 

Applejack: Bonus points for telling Rainbow Dash to calm her tits when she thought Twilight was a spy. Still my favorite, although now it isn't merely due to slim pickings.

Rainbow Dash: Still kind of a jerk, but a decent pony deep down. I like her a little more.

Rarity: About the same, really. She needs more to do besides be a less abrasive version of Cordelia from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

Fluttershy: Improved by being given something to do by subduing the Manticore. Acceptable. 

Pinkie Pie: Shut the fuck up, please. I'd like to at least not hate you, but you don't make it easy. 
Please shut the fuck up. 

Closing Thoughts

Well that was an improvement! The characters (with one glaring personal exception) are actually likable! I'm relieved, because I was worried I was going to have to go through 65 episodes of liking the other characters simply for not being Pinkie Pie. 

Now that the pilot is out of the way, I'll be seeing what becomes of the show now that the world and it's inhabitants are established and the most interesting concept of the show to me has been shelved. 

Please, God, let it be watchable. 

Whatever. Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this blog, share it with your fellow MLP fans and subscribe! See you next week!

- Apathy Pony


  1. I actually likened Rarity to Cordelia too. :)

  2. I'm in two minds. I'd have loved to have seen what this show could have accomplished with a Magical Girl angle using flash though there's plenty of action scenes throughout the seasons that are pretty cool!