My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “Where the Apple Lies” Review

It’s a disappointing thing to say, but Season Six of My Little Pony is coming to a close in a few weeks. There is however a lot to look forward to next year. Not only is Season Seven confirmed, but we’ll also be seeing three Equestria Girls specials and of course the theatrical film. Back to today’s episode, this is the first Applejack-centered one since “Applejack’s Day Off.” The latter wasn’t great, so Applejack was due for a quality installment. “Where the Apple Lies” is one of the most entertaining episodes yet and one of Season 6’s best.

Official Synopsis: When Apple Bloom tells a white lie to make cover up a mistake, Applejack shares the embarrassing story of how she came to value honesty after telling a series of lies that almost destroyed the farm and landed the whole Apple family in the hospital.

The episode’s first act focuses on Apple Bloom trying to get herself out of a situation by lying. After she’s found out, the rest of the Apple family tell the story of how Applejack came to uphold honesty. The rest of the episode is told through the flashback. This is effective because in real life hearing how one overcame a problem or came to value something can be a great thing for another person. The flashback is a lot fun for a variety of reasons, chief among them being a great look at the early days of the Apple family.

One of the most fun aspects of the flashback is the relationship between Applejack and Big Mac. The two had a loving, but also antagonistic sibling relationship. Mac is a highlight throughout the story here. Apparently back in the day he was the most talkative character. The writing has a blast with this, giving him the most funny lines. Another highlight was Filthy Rich. He hasn’t appeared all that much in the show. Recently his human version was seen in Equestria Girls: Legend of Everfree, but that was a poor representation of him. Here he’s a business pony, but an honest, likable one. His reactions to Granny Smith being “sick” were priceless.

The primary purpose of the flashback is to showcase that lying is never worth it. Not only is it not worth it, but a single lie can lead to many more which can result in a bad situation someone never intended to be in. Applejack’s lying gets her into situations that probably wouldn’t happen in real life, but it’s nonetheless effective. (And humorous.) There aren’t major negatives, just minor things. For one, Applejack as as filly making a deal with Filthy Rich came off as unrealistic.


Overall, “Where the Apple Lies” is a fantastic episode. The subject of lying takes the center as Applejack explains the things that occur when one tries to fix a situation by lying. Not only is it wrong, it makes things worst. The entire flashback is a blast. From Big Mac’s constant talking to Filthy Rich’s fun character, there’s a lot to like.



My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “P.P.O.V. (Pony Point of View)” Review

My Little Pony returns with an episode featuring a well known gimmick. This season in particular has been trying a couple of new formats. The early/mid Season 6 episode “The Saddle Row” is the biggest example. In today’s episode, the “Rashomond Effect” is used. “P.P.O.V.” is one of the funniest episodes of the season. That’s really the only good thing that can be said about it sadly, aside from the ending message.

Official Synopsis: When Applejack, Rarity and Pinkie Pie all return from a boat trip angry at each other, Twilight, after hearing three very different versions of the events, must discern the truth to save their friendships.

One of the reasons why MLP is such a great show is that a new viewer can jump in at any point during the series. For example, my first episode wasn’t the opening two-parter; it was “The Show Stoppers,” which was in the middle of the first season. Some episodes are of course better than others but almost every single one would be a solid way to introduce a new viewer. Sadly P.P.O.V. cannot be counted among these. If for example this episode was someone’s first exposure to the show, they wouldn’t see true friendship at play. Instead they would be witnessing unreasonable characters and then a poorly written conclusion.

The main reason why this episode falters is the portrayal of Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie. They appeared unreasonable throughout and when they finally realized what each was of them was trying to do, the veiwer is left shaking his/her head. It’s just incredibly hard to believe none of the three understood what was really happening. This is not to say this is the worst written portrayal of some of the ponies. (That honor belongs to “The Cart Before the Ponies.”)

Even the best of friends can get into arguments, but the episode needed better writing to showcase that. The overall concept is pretty good. Often people will have biased versions of an event to recollect. The exaggerated versions are entertaining and made me laugh a few times. It doesn’t excuse the three ponies’ portrayals, but at least one can have fun with the story. One of the best aspects is actually Spike. He’s written as a fun sidekick to Twilight. The greatest part was Twilight nailing the delivery of the message at the end. Best friends should never take communication for granted. Misunderstandings can happen if people don’t communicate properly, even among the closest friends.  It’s an excellent message that needed a better middle act leading up to it.


Overall, P.P.O.V. is an entertaining episode, but not a greatly written one. Yes, even longtime friends like Applejack, Pinkie, and Rarity can get angry with one another; but what is shown here seemed unrealistic and hard to believe. The message is fantastic, which is the main well-written aspect.



My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree Review

Equestria Girls returns with its fourth installment. This one introduces a few new things for the spin-off franchise. The first thing is of course that it released on Netflix. (In the US anyway, it was broadcast in Brazil about a week ago on TV.) The first two films had theatrical releases while the third went straight to TV. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for MLP on Netflix. (Who knows, if the show for some reason goes off Discovery Family we could see new seasons on Netflix.) The biggest new story aspect is the debut of this world’s version of the Everfree Forest. Legend of Everfree is another solid entry. It’s not as strong as the last film, but fans will definitely find a lot to like.

Official synopsis: When Canterlot Highschool goes on a trip to Camp Everfree, they’re surprised to find a magical force is causing strange things to happen around camp. With the help of the Mane 6 and especially Sunset Shimmer, Twilight Sparkle must confront the dark “Midnight Sparkle” within herself  and embrace her newfound magical abilities to save the camp.

Legend opens up with a strong dream sequence: Twilight being taunted by her darker self Midnight Sparkle from the previous film. This is a continuing element of the story until the climax. Even though the concept of keeping an evil version of one’s self at bay is nothing new, it will always be an engaging character arc. The viewer can see the terror on Twilight’s face in the final act as she’s forced to use her magic. As the one thing she’s been fearing is coming true: Midnight Sparkle taking over, her friends jump in and throw her some encouragement. Quotes such as “You are a light Twilight!”and “We’ll be here, no matter what!” were powerful and showed what kind of positive impact good friends can have. MLP never fails to showcase what friendship is supposed to look like in the real world.

As the title states, the core story takes place in the Everfree Forest as Canterlot High goes on a camping trip. The previous three films took place completely at school, so the green was a nice change of scenery. The plot moves at an okay pace. There are a few aspects of the writing that bring down the score a bit. For one thing, Filthy Rich is painfully generic. His pony counterpart didn’t seem to be that pretentious. Yes, the idea is to portray the person who only cares about profit. But, there are better ways to do that than the unrealistic portrayal here.

The bigger negative is that the writing decided to add another romance. Twilight (pony) liking Flash Sentry in the first Equestria Girls was incredibly forced, but even that was better than what is seen here. Timber Spruce isn’t a bad character, but the viewer has to question him right away flirting with Twilight. (Camp seems like a scary place if the counselor goes ahead and decides to flirt with one of the students almost instantly.) The writing attempts to develop this romance subplot throughout the duration, but it never works. All this happens over the course of just two/three days; by that night Twilight and Timber are just about to kiss before being interrupted. Again, all that happens in such a short amount of time. The romance aspect wasn’t needed and brought the story down every time it appeared. The only clever parts about it were the friends’ reactions.

The only other main negative with the writing is that there’s a missed opportunity. Everfree Forest is where Zecora lives in the pony world, so it would have made sense to introduce her here. Sadly, she’s nowhere to be seen. Moving on to the positive aspects, the writing aside from what was previously listed contains the quality viewers have come to expect from the franchise. From excellent humor (Rarity’s campfire story on “same color family” was ingenious) to iconic friendship speeches, there are a lot of great things to find here. The best part is the portrayal of Sunset Shimmer.


Sunset Shimmer has come a long way from being the magic-obsessed villain from the first film. Interestingly, in many ways she’s at the moment the Twilight of the group. This is because the Twilight of this world is still new to friendship while Sunset is portrayed as a veteran when it comes to understanding how friendship works. Sunset throughout the story demonstrates how kind and caring she is. She’s just all around a sweet character and one of the best in the entire franchise. If you have a friend like Sunset, give her/him a hug (or at least a handshake) and let them know that you appreciate them. Friends like that are rare, and a blessing.

In some ways, the story is about Sunset and Twilight. The other friends don’t really do much aside from talking. This could be a major negative if the viewer was hoping for a more group-centric focus. Pinkie Pie is the biggest disappointment. She has no notable scenes and ended up just being comic relief. The antagonist this time around features a tragic backstory, a nice change of pace from previous films. Her dialogue was excellent with subtle comedy added in. Her character arc demonstrates the unfortunate happening when one wants too much power, even if it’s for seemingly noble reasons. The ending has her get off a little too easy however. By now we know the pony world and its human counterpart are very forgiving of crimes, but there were literally no consequences for what she did. It just subsided right after it was over.

One of the greatest parts of the film is the soundtrack. Legend might have the best songs from the series yet. The two main highlights are Twilight’s emotional “The Midnight in Me” and Sunset’s “Embrace the Magic.” These two are a couple of the best songs in the entire MLP franchise. Even if a person is not interested in the film, the music is worth listening to.

Overall, Legend of Everfree is another enjoyable film in the Equestria Girls series. Sunset Shimmer is the biggest highlight, showing that she’s just as a fantastic character as any of the Mane 6. (Depending on how you look at it though, the writing leaves the other friends in the dust while giving Sunset all the best dialogue and screen-time.) Twilight’s journey to fighting off her dark self was an engaging plot element. The climax features a great battle and hints at what’s to come for the series. There are some things holding back the film from being truly great, such as the poorly developed romance, but there’s a lot to appreciate despite any negatives.



My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “Every Little Thing She Does” Review

My Little Pony returns with an episode bringing back the season’s semi-main focus: Twilight training Starlight Glimmer in the ways of friendship. This character arc has been pretty good, even though redeeming Starlight in the first place was a questionable decision. “Every Little Thing She Does” isn’t a fantastic episode nor a particularly mediocre one either.

Starlight Glimmer is excelling at her magical studies with Twilight Sparkle, but she has been avoiding her friendship lessons. Feeling pressure to impress her teacher, Starlight attempts to tackle several friendship problems at once.

The episode begins with Twilight in a magic training session with Starlight. This was a fun sequence because we got to see the two in a kind of sparring practice. The main story starts when Starlight sets out to complete all of her friendship lessons at once. Based on the description it seemed like the plot would have Starlight go around Ponyville attempting to complete these friendship quests somehow at once. Instead of going that route however, the writing went in another direction. Sadly, this is where the episode falters.

The story wants us to accept that Starlight is totally okay with using spells to cheat her way out of completing the lessons. It can argued that she didn’t mean to mind-control the ponies, but once she saw what the spell had done, she decided to keep going. Yes, it’s shown she has grown desperate to complete the lessons, but she nonetheless appeared unreasonable throughout the middle act.

The message at the end is the best part and makes the episode slightly above average. Starlight states she’s afraid to do projects with each of the Mane 6 because she’s worried she might not be good at them. Twilight tells her that it’s not about the project; it’s about getting to know the person (pony) more. It’s about the company. This is especially true in real life. If for example I asked my hypothetical future wife to play a game of Super Smash Bros. with me, I wouldn’t be asking because she’d give me a challenge. (This is assuming of course that she wouldn’t be into the game.) I would ask simply because I like her company. We sometimes do things we’re not into/good at for the other person, whether it be to get to know him/her better, out of love, or simply for the company.


Overall, “Every Little Thing She Does” is a standard episode made better by the excellent delivery of the message at the end. With a better middle act, we could have had one of the best of the show.




My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “Viva Las Pegasus” Review

This episode of My Little Pony brings back the Cutie Map. The plot of Season 5 centered around it, and it’s still a clever way to establish a story. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that it chooses two ponies not randomly, but for a reason. “Viva Las Pegasus” stars the unique team-up of Fluttershy and Applejack. While some aspects of it would have benefited from being a two-parter, it nonetheless is an entertaining episode and one of the best from Season 6.

The Map sends Applejack and Fluttershy to Las Pegasus where they find Film and Flam working in a resort called Gladmane’s, where suspicious dealings are going on.

One of the greatest aspects of this episode is the change of scenery. We’ve seen the suburbs and busy city, but never the casino hotel life of Las Vegas. “Fish out of water” is the popular saying, and it applies here as both Applejack & Fluttershy are uncomfortable in this kind of lifestyle. The pacing is excellent as we’re introduced to a bunch of characters. The most notable is Gladmane, whom goes on to be a great portrayal of a corrupt businessman. The writing by the team of Kevin Burke and Chris “Doc” Wyatt is excellent as they manage to tie everything together in the middle-to-last act in a coherent way.


The Flim Flam Brothers haven’t been seen since Season 4’s “Leap of Faith,” so they were due for a new appearance. The middle and last acts are where they shine, because they get to put their deceptive practices to engaging use. Before that however is the problem. It is highly unrealistic that these two brothers would start to argue because one other pony tells each of them something negative: claiming that one Brother said something about the other and vice versa. The big turnaround also happened incredibly unnaturally. This is the main reason why the episode would have been good as a two-parter. More time was needed to establish the Brothers becoming enemies and reconciling.

The lesson isn’t “in your face” this time around, which is fine. Sometimes these type of lessons are best when the viewer can infer what they are. The verse “Love your enemies” best exemplifies what is seen here. When Fluttershy and Applejack see the Flim Flam Brothers are no longer friends, Applejack is totally fine with it while Fluttershy wants to help. This lesson treads difficult ground, because one can throw the analogy of “hey you wouldn’t help two mass murderers get back together right?” True, but are the Flim Flam Brothers truly evil? Deceptive yes, but evil? The lesson would have been more effective if the Brothers had renounced their practices, that way it wouldn’t have been Applejack and Fluttershy bringing together two “bad” characters. On the flip side, even if you help out an enemy there’s no guarantee they will all of a sudden become a hero. So, at the very least, the concept of putting aside hateful feelings and helping even an enemy is something the lesson succeeds at.

One more interesting thing about the lesson is that Applejack doesn’t help out the Brothers until it helps serve her purpose. She doesn’t express to Fluttershy that it was wrong not to help them. So, what does this mean? Is the lesson a well done one or not? It’s tough to say. In concept it’s good, and its execution seems to be aiming more for realism than trying to make a point. It seemed like the story was less about this message and more about the actual plot, which is definitely fine. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call this episode one of the most well done in terms of writing.


Overall, “Viva Las Pegasus” is a great episode. The writing is excellent (one of my favorite lines was when Applejack said, “So all his talk about friendship is just a load of applesauce”) and the story comes together nicely at the end. The subtle unveiling of Gladmane as the antagonist was fantastic. The Flim Flam Brothers are smartly utilized in the final act, which almost makes up for their mediocre portrayal during most of the runtime. It is disappointing that Fluttershy and Applejack didn’t get to interact with each other more, but that’s a minor thing. The episode should go down as a highlight of the Season.




There are a lot of fantastic entries in the Shoujo genre of anime/manga. Today’s show is Yona of the Dawn. It is similar to Garo in some ways, such as being set in a medieval-like time period and the journey to taking down a ruler. Yona however is a more engaging watch, which is mainly due to the focus of the story. The show explores the themes of betrayal, leadership, friendship, and courage. It’s a must-watch for any anime fan.

Upon her sixteenth birthday, the cheerful Princess Yona intended to tell her doting father of her love for Su-Won, but her life was turned upside down after witnessing the man she loves cruelly assassinating her father. Heartbroken by this painful betrayal, Princess Yona fled the palace with her loyal servant Hak. Now, she will take up the sword and the bow on a quest to gain new allies and protect her beloved people.

Yona’s first episode is standard, almost too standard. And that’s the point: to make the viewer think this is going to be something of a stereotype of Shoujo anime. The focus for most of the episode is on the Princess narrating her love for her childhood friend Soo-won. Romance is a primary factor of this genre, so the question always has to be, “what will make this particular show stand out?” The episode answers that question in the climax when Soo-won murders Yona’s father, King II. This scene 24 episodes later still feels like the most powerful of the show. Everything preceding it points to a happy adventure in the kingdom with Yona about to pronounce her love for Soo-won. This scene forces the viewer to rethink that assumption and changes the atmosphere of the story going forward.


Episode 2 focuses on the Princess and her bodyguard Hak escaping the castle. The viewer is fully engrossed here, not knowing what to expect. In many ways Yona mirrors what the viewer is feeling. She’s shocked while trying to adapt to the situation. From here, the show becomes a survival, and then a journey both outward and inward. The outward part plays out much like an RPG. We have the main character going from village to village meeting diverse characters and “treasure searching.” However, instead of objects the goal is to find and recruit people in order to take back the kingdom.

The inward part of the journey is Yona discovering how to be a warrior and leader. It’s amazing to look back at Episode 1 and jump to Episode 22 when she makes her first kill to save her friend. The character development is fantastic. Yona never ceases to be a likable, engaging protagonist. This is enhanced by her ongoing narration as viewers get to hear things from her perspective, know her feelings, etc. She goes from being distressed to a person of courage willing to put her life on the line to help others. This is why the scene of her firing her arrow at Kumji is such a powerful one; it’s the culmination of her past development.

Aside from Yona, the greatest character is easily Hak, the “Lightning Beast.” His character arc remains pretty much the same, which is being a bodyguard for the Princess. The first few episodes were especially great in showing the unique relationship between the two. Hak is typically portrayed as rather serious, which is why it’s always a treat to hear his narration. Early on it was very interesting to hear what he was thinking about on Soo-won killing the King. He’s just as shocked as Yona, but doesn’t have the luxury of getting depressed because he has a scared duty to protect her. Later, he has to deal with the fact that he has feelings for her. As a bodyguard, is it a good thing to let those feelings take over? It’s a tough question he has to ask himself, especially since Yona doesn’t look at him in a romantic way. This subplot is never overplayed nor underplayed. The viewer is left wondering at the end of Episode 24 what will become of it.


Soo-won is a fascinating character. He is the “antagonist” yet the writing rarely seems to portray him as outright evil. His killing of King II for “the greater good” and subsequent scenes gives the indication that he is genuinely concerned about the kingdom. We do see glimpses of a more deceptive side at times, but again he’s not a cackling tyrannical dictator. The fact that he has personal ties with Yona and Hak (as seen in the excellent backstory portrayed in Episode 3) makes the conflict all the more engaging.

King II isn’t around long but his presence is felt throughout the show. The interesting aspect of his character is that a lot of the kingdom didn’t like the way he ruled. A very powerful scene was when Yona ran into a dying man. He claimed that it was the King’s pacifism as the cause of the former’s village being in ruin. So, this gives the viewer an ongoing mystery: was II truly a good king? Did he really have a dark past, as Soo-won claimed? These questions the writing smartly leaves open-ended. This also has Yona question whether her father did things right as a king. It’s engaging to see her decide in the final episode that she has to go against her father’s wishes of complete peace and take up a sword to fight for the kingdom.

After the first few episodes the show focuses on Yona searching for the Four Dragon Warriors. This is where the RPG element comes into play. Each Dragon Warrior (aside from Zeno) has his own mini-arc as the Princess enters the villages. The writing does a solid job at making them diverse. The longest arc is Jae-Ha’s. Some might say it took too much time away from Soo-won’s story, but it helped cement Yona as a warrior princess. Plus, the heartwarming moment with Yona and the pirate captain was excellent. The most disappointing arc by default is Zeno’s. Of course, after the long pirate saga it didn’t make sense to have another multi-episode arc exploring another Dragon Warrior. This sadly then forced Zeno to appear basically out of nowhere and by the end he’s given no backstory. Hopefully in Season 2 he will be explored a little more.

The animation is excellent, as are the fight scenes. There aren’t many standout battles unfortunately, because a good number of them are just against hordes of minions. The best single battle might be early on with Soo-won versus Hak. This was a nice tease for a future showdown between the two. There are quite a few side characters, the most prominent being Yun whom becomes a main character. He’s definitely good, but the writing does sometimes take it overboard with his yelling. (Not to mention the tiresome self-calling “beautiful boy genius.”) Even though the plot is rather serious, the show does like to have fun with itself with comedic scenes. Sometimes they’re effective, but often they border on just being too silly. (Such as some of the bickering between Hak and Kija.)


Overall, Yona of the Dawn is a fantastic watch. At its core it’s about a princess moving past betrayal and becoming a warrior. Yona is a great focus, and her narration greatly enhances the viewing experience. The cast of characters is nicely utilized, especially Hak. The ongoing plot with Soo-won is intriguing to watch unfold. While not perfect in some spots, Season 1 is excellent. Hopefully its sequel will be formally announced soon.



My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “The Fault in Our Cutie Marks” Review

Another week brings in another My Little Pony episode. Like “28 Pranks Later,” this one’s title is a reference to another piece of media. This time The Fault in Our Stars is parodied, though the actual plot of the episode has nothing to do with it. The Cutie Mark Crusaders haven’t had much luck in terms of quality adventures this season. Both “On Your Marks” and “The Cart Before the Ponies” were on the mediocre side. Thankfully, this streak ends with their best installment in a long while.

An enthusiastic young griffon asks the Crusaders to help her get her very own Cutie Mark; the Crusaders encounter a seemingly impossible problem.

This episode is sort of the antithesis to the Crusaders’ general plots. The fillies’ mission is to help others find out their purpose in life and result in a Cutie Mark springing to life. This time however, the question is posed: “What if it’s basically impossible for someone to get a Cutie Mark?” In this case, a griffon by the name of Gabriella has shown immense interest in getting a Cutie Mark of her own. As viewers and the Crusaders themselves suspect, it’s incredibly unlikely for that to be possible since it seems like only ponies can have Marks. The Fillies are thrown in for a loop because for the first time they think a situation for them to solve is helpless. The viewers can feel their genuine sadness as Scootaloo proclaims to Gabby that the Crusaders “can’t help you.”

Gabby is a very fun character to have around, and in many ways the griffon version of Pinkie Pie. Depending on the viewer’s tolerance for the latter, one will either find Gabby cute or annoying. Personally, I thought her dialogue was good and once again the viewer can feel her genuine sadness when she learns that she won’t be getting a Cutie Mark. One of my favorite scenes was the early flashback, which recalled the events of “The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone.” It was a neat callback, but the greatest aspect of it was the fact that one’s actions (in this case Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash’s) can have unseen positive effects. Because of Gabby witnessing the heroic actions of the two ponies, she was inspired and that inspiration eventually led to her realizing her purpose.


Overall, “The Fault in Our Cutie Marks” starts a little choppy but ended up being a great episode. The Crusaders face a problem that seemingly doesn’t have a solution, and the viewer can hear the despair in their voices when things seemingly take a turn for the worst. Writer Ed Valentine makes great use of Gabby as a fun character looking to bring light into her rather mean-spirited city. Twilight appears, though it would have been nice to see her offer some advice. She just explains the impossibility of a griffon getting a Cutie Mark, and that’s it. The song was very good, and all the voice work was especially great in this episode.