Friday, June 29, 2012

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 1 Episode 7

Last episode, I was in an angry rut because of all the annoying repetitiveness and that the character Trixie was incapable of shutting the hell up.  Things run much more smoothly in this episode, which seems to revolve around Fluttershy, so it looks like we're going from pretty bad back to mediocre at most.

So we start off by meeting Fluttershy's pet bunny named Angel, who seems to be a rather picky and fussy eater.  For starters, he won't even finish his carrot.
And that's when we learn the plot of the episode, in the form of some kind of black smoke.
Try as she might, Fluttershy just can't seem to get anyone's attention to alert Ponyville of the matter at hand.  Fortunately, Twilight Sparkle also saw the black smoke and informs the denizens that according to Princess Celestia, the source is a sleeping dragon.  Also, Celestia has assigned the six main characters (the Mane 6, haha) to persuade the dragon to go sleep somewhere else.  Yeah, I'm sure they can do that.  Well, they pretty much have to, don't they?

We then see this montage of Twilight's friends getting suited up for action like out of action films and television shows from the 1970's and 80's.
Nevertheless... awesome animation here.  Of course, Rainbow Dash, being the gung-ho gal that she is, opts to fighting the dragon and giving it the heave-ho as their solution.  Sure, like a Pegasus could take on a fully-grown dragon.

Now here's what's interesting.  While Fluttershy seems to be the lack of attention, Rainbow Dash acknowledges her sensitivity and apparent lack of courage and asks Twilight if it's a good idea to bring her along.  Twilight initially believes that Fluttershy does well with large animals (maybe she still remembers the manticore), but as it turns out, during the trip up the mountain, Fluttershy seems to do nothing but hold the group back.

Oh, and check out this scene at the canyon.  Fluttershy is even too afraid to jump over.  Like... what?!  Fluttershy, you're a Pegasus!  Fly over the canyon like Rainbow Dash did!  It's not that far!  You didn't hesistate to hover over a long way down to save Twilight, so what's so different this time?  Luckily for her, but not so luckily for me, Pinkie Pie bursts into one of her quick-paced songs to help Fluttershy gather her courage.

Pinkie Pie:
It's not very far. Just move your little rump.
You can make it if you try with a hop, skip and jump.
Twilight Sparkle: We don't have time for this
[Pinkie Pie]
A hop, skip and jump,
Just move your little rump,
A hop, skip and jump,
A hop, skip and jump,
A hop, skip and jump,
A hop skip and jump,
A hop skip and jump! 
Well, it seems to work, but Fluttershy still proves to be incapable of swallowing her fear and look.  It wasn't even worth a jump at all.  Now, am I really supposed to believe that it looked wider when the canyon was first shown and it only took an animation complex just to make it look easy for Fluttershy?  Kinda lame, really.  Again, why didn't Fluttershy just fly or hover to the other side?  She's a Pegasus!  She can fly!

When they finally get to the dragon's cave, Fluttershy eventually reveals that she's afraid of dragons and sits out.  The others have little to no luck getting "Smaug" to leave and just make him angry in the process.

That's when Fluttershy finally musters up her courage and gives the dragon a pep talk on what he's doing.  Yeah, who didn't see this coming?  And wouldn't you know it?  She makes that big dragon cry.  Now, how disturbing is that?  Well, it works because the dragon agrees to leave.  So the smoke is cleared and Equestria, much less Ponyville, is spared from being smothered in dragon exhaust.
And of course, Twilight wraps up with a letter to Celestia, informing her of their success thanks to Fluttershy, and the friendship lesson of the day was never to lose faith in your friends.  Typical.  Yeah, you can hold confidence for your friends, but in reality, if they're losing themselves, it only lasts for so long.  Because if you try everything to get them out of a slump or something and it doesn't work, you start to give up regardless.  And yes, believe it or not, I learned this in art school as well.  So while the lesson is good, in actuality, it's only to a point depending on your friend's mood.  And Fluttershy was in a pretty depressing mood for most of the episode.

Overall, this episode is definitely on a higher scale than the last episode.  The plot is very good and the animation is still damn terrific, except for the canyon part because I didn't get it, but the pacing was just okay because it did feel like at times we weren't gonna get anywhere.  However, the episode itself did help me regain my confidence that this anime-style animation would not go waste on this series because a lot of things that I didn't care for were cooled down tremendously.  Now, it would be nice if the next episode, or few, or maybe even the whole damn series, could just keep this flow and maybe I would find it even the tiniest bit likeable.  But as it is now, I just have mixed feelings, topped off with an overall mediocre outlook.  It was pretty strange when the dragon started crying though.  It kinda makes you wonder what Fluttershy is really made of, especially on the inside.

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