Sunday, 22 April 2012

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 2 Review (Part 2)

In this part, I’ll cover my top 10 episodes of the season, as well as give my overall evaluation of the season. So, let’s get started, shall we?

(Note: Two parters will count as one episode in this list.)

10. May the Best Pet Win! – Not many bronies will put this in their top 10 list, but for me, this episode had a certain… charm to it. It may be because of the “Find a Pet” song (which is my second favourite song of the season), or that the morale was essentially, “never give up”, but the fact was, I quite liked this episode. Many people will probably disagree with this, and for good reason, but I feel this episode was worthy of going on my top 10 list.

There’s something funny in this picture somewhere…

9. The Return of Harmony – This two part episode kicked off the season by introducing a new villain (Discord, the spirit of chaos, and voiced by John De Lancie, who also played Q in Star Trek), and the return of a major plot point, the “Elements of Harmony”. The episode tested the mane 6’s resolve, as they were put through Discord’s trials, and eventually put against each other, with Twilight being the only one to save them. It made for some compelling viewing, and, although Discord was eventually put back in his stone prison, I do hope we see more of him soon (Lancie is returning for Season 3, so who knows?)

Dash looks pissed.

8. A Friend in Deed – “Come on everypony, smile, smile, smile!” As I mentioned in part 1 of this review, after hearing that song for the first time, I was grinning like an idiot for the rest of the episode. The song is so happy and cheerful that you really cannot hate it. On top of that, we also got a really good episode, with lots of Pinkie Pie humour, and plenty of character development, especially with the new character in the episode, Cranky. The morale of the episode may have been a little off-putting, but it didn’t hamper an otherwise excellent episode.

                                                  How could you possibly say no?

7. The Last Roundup – Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Derpy. Yes, I was squeeing like mad when Derpy was referenced by name, and I squeed even harder when she started speaking. It was one of the highest points of the brony community, and for good reason. Of course, we also had a great episode, with Applejack taking centre stage, but there was more Pinkie Pie humour to go around, and quite possibly the greatest pop culture reference in the entire season. All in all, a fun and enjoyable episode (even if it was tainted by events that occurred after its initial airing).

One does not simply break a Pinkie Promise.

6. Luna Eclipsed – The Princess of the Night returns! A lot of bronies rejoiced when they found out that Princess Luna, a fan favourite, would get her own episode, and the episode certainly lived up to a lot of people’s expectations, with plenty of character development, humour, and a good story to boot. Also, a lot of memes spawned from this episode, LIKE THIS ONE. FEAR THE POWER OF MY CAPS LOCK! SORRY, MY ROYAL CANTERLOT VOICE!

Luna sees you… and is satisfied. Please continue.

5. It’s About Time – Crazy Twilight is best Twilight. Also, time travel. In this episode, Twilight receives an incomplete message from her future self (who was looking worse for wear), warning of a future event, which leaves present Twilight sick with worry. This episode proved that the show wasn’t just for little girls, with concepts that were just utterly crazy, but also made sense. And who doesn’t love Twilight losing control of herself?

This doesn’t seem scientifically possible…

4. Hurricane Fluttershy – There was one thing that stood out for me in the first season: Fluttershy episodes seemed to be the best episodes. Season 2 is no different. This episode, while a Fluttershy episode at its core, mainly focused on the relationship between her and Rainbow Dash, and how Dash realises that Fluttershy had a troubled past, and encourages her to face her fears. This was a strong, emotional episode, and one that the writers should be applauded for.

I admit, I cried a little here.

3. Lesson Zero – Now I know the writers had fun with this one. Twilight having a complete mental breakdown? Check. Fluttershy kicking the crap out of a fully-grown bear, then snapping its neck? Check. Sonic Rainnukes? Check. Twilight coming extremely close to being viewed as a paedophile? Oh god, check. So yeah, you can see I enjoyed this episode immensely.

Probably the scariest scene of the season.

2. Putting Your Hoof Down – It’s one thing to see Twilight go into crazy mode, but Fluttershy turning into all-out bitch is quite another. Yet, we got that in this episode. The episode focused on Fluttershy getting assertiveness training from a new character, a Minotaur named “Iron Will”. This assertiveness training works a little too well, with Fluttershy becoming the polar opposite of her former self. Great animation and superb voice acting (especially from Andrea Libman, who portrayed Fluttershy’s assertive side very well) made the episode, but just seeing Fluttershy lay the smack down on everyone made this episode a classic for me.

Epic standoff between Andrea Libman and Andrea Libman, right here.

1. A Canterlot Wedding – It’s not usual for me to put the season finale as my immediate number 1 episode, so I’ll just give you the list for why this is an exception: Lots of really good songs, an epic storyline, exceptional animation and voice acting, the return of Vinyl Scratch (as well as revealing her eye colour), a great new villain, and an epic fight scene. There are many more reasons, but those reasons alone make this two-parter my favourite episodes of the season and perhaps my favourite episodes of the entire show so far. It is now clear why the Hub spent so much promoting these episodes: they were just so awesome.

This show is for little girls? I highly doubt that.

At the beginning of the first part of my review, I stated that my main question was: Did Season 2 keep the charm that made Season 1 such a success? My answer to that question is a resounding yes.

Even with Faust gone, the producers knew what their winning formula was, and kept to it this season, while expanding on those ideas and taking some risks in trying to appeal to both its targeted demographic, as well as its unexpected demographic. I felt that those risks paid off, and we were left with a collection of episodes that will be remembered by many people, even long after the brony community has died out (it will happen, don’t deny it). Of course, there were a few things that weren’t as good as others, but nothing’s perfect, and I’m sure the MLP: FiM staff will get around to fixing those mistakes by the time Season 3 airs.

So thank you Hasbro, thank you DHX Media, and thank you Hub for providing us with a highly entertaining Season 2, and I can officially say that this brony cannot wait to see what’s in store for Season 3.

So long... for now.

Until next time.

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