Review: 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' Keys of Friendship DVD (with bonus 'Rainbow Rocks' trailer)
The good folks behind My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic decided that what this show needs is season long story arcs. All the cool shows are doing it now. This DVD tries to collect the first real season long story arc, from season 4 of the show, and pretty much fails spectacularly to do that.
Technically, this story arc contains the two part opener for the fourth season, “Princess Twilight Sparkle” parts one and two, in which the ponies realize they need to be looking for six keys to unlock a magic box that a tree just grew. Wow, that sentence doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but I swear, it’s what happened. Those two episodes are not featured here.
Then, five of the ponies have individual adventures, where they help someone out in a way that relates to their special Element of Harmony, beginning with Rarity and ending with Applejack, because Applejack always goes last. Two of those episodes are collected here, featuring Rarity and Fluttershy. Rainbow Dash’s episode is featured on another DVD I haven’t reviewed yet, and Applejack and Pinkie Pie are waiting for future DVD releases, despite the fact that Pinkie has the best by a long shot.
Finally, we have the season four finale, where the box is opened when Twilight Sparkle finally figures out how to get her key, amongst other things, and, I guess, “Castle-Mania” technically features Twilight trying and failing to research the box, so 10 out of 26 episodes. I don’t think we can call the other 16 episodes filler when they so outnumber the “arc” episodes, and they’re usually better anyway.
All five of this DVD’s episodes are from the fourth season, making it the first themed DVD to exclusively feature episodes from one season, mostly, I’m assuming, because seasons 1 through 3 already have full DVD releases. I thought the fourth season overall was pretty strong, especially the streak between “Bats!” and “Filli Vanilli.”
"Rarity Takes Manehattan"
Well, there goes my dream of Rarity and Applejack starring in a Midnight Cowboy parody, at least for now.
Anyway, Rarity is in a fashion design contest, and the other ponies come along too, because this is not Applejack’s rodeo. When Rarity’s special fabric is stolen due to her generosity, she freaks out, and it’s pretty hilarious, especially when she sarcastically drops the show’s subtitle mid-rant. Eventually, the problem is solved when Rarity takes her friends to a special performance of a hit Bridleway play, “Hinny of the Hills.”
Fun fact: a hinny is the offspring of a female donkey and a male horse. They’re rarer than mules, which are the offspring of male donkeys and female horses, because of the size differences between the two animals means that … and that got horrifically off topic fast, didn’t it?
"Pinkie Apple Pie"
The gist of this episode is that Pinkie Pie discovers that she probably is a distant cousin of the Apples. There’s only one pony that can reveal the truth, so it’s time for Pinkie and the Apples to put on their version of Vacation, except, spoiler alert, Granny Smith does not die. The episode ends ambiguously, which is a bold choice for a kid’s show, though there are subtle hints that Pinkie and Apple family historian Goldie Delicious at the end of the road share certain abilities.
Has absolutely nothing to do with the “keys of friendship” story arc, but is a fun episode nonetheless.
"It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies"
In this episode, Fluttershy is trying to help out a group of bizarre magical creatures called breezies who are an apparent cross between insects and ponies. And you thought the hinny was disturbing.
Anyway, the leader of the breezies, Seabreeze, may actually be my favorite new character of this season; he’s a disgustingly cute critter who talks in a hilarious accent, but apparently doesn’t realize how adorable he is when he’s angry and at one point apparently strings together a collection of choice breezie four letter words. Truthfully, he reminds me of myself, except for maybe the adorable part.
"Twilight’s Kingdom, Part 1"
For the finale’s new villain, My Little Pony goes old school, and brings back the original pony villain, Tirek, to threaten all of Equestria. Discord is originally sent to stop him, but that backfires in the most expected way possible when Tirek offers the chance for a villain team up and Discord accepts. Tirek’s thing is that he absorbs the magic of ponies, with his ultimate goal being absorbing the alicorn princesses’ magic.
"Twilight’s Kingdom, Part 2"
Well, that ends up not being a very well thought out plan, as Discord immediately tells Tirek what’s up, and the show runners decide to go for broke. I remember watching “Magic Duel” and getting a glorified pie fight; on one hand, I was kind of disappointed I didn’t get EPIC ponies, but also kind of relieved, because, after all, it’s really not my show to run, and if the people behind the show wanted to keep it on a smaller scale, that’s also perfectly fine.
However, for this episode, they decided to go full on epic, as Tirek and Twilight blow up half the surrounding countryside. Seriously, there’s more beam spam in this episode than a Heisei Godzilla flick. At one point, Twilight’s library is hit (there’s $111,343 in property damage right there), and the show does something actually really cool. Twilight (and the writers) don’t forget Owlowiscious; Twilight dives in and saves him. It’s a nice little detail.
Another nice little detail is that, in the end, all the pyrotechnics end up not mattering; Twilight beats Tirek by being a good friend. Tirek of course betrays Discord, and though it was pretty obvious all along, it still is a wonderful beat when Twilight still calls him a friend.
So, there’s a sing-along, for Rarity’s “Generosity” song from “Rarity Takes Manehattan”, and … wait, no coloring sheet this time. Jeez, what a rip off.
Bonus ‘Rainbow Rocks’ Trailer
Well, here’s the rather short ‘Rainbow Rocks’ teaser trailer. You can find more on the newest pony movie minus ponies here. My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks will be coming to theaters September 27.