Animation Break: My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic S6 (Spoilers!)

For me, Seasons 4 and 5 of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” (MLP:FIM) were the two strongest seasons in the entire series, which begs the question on how the show’s staff would be able to top those two seasons, and all the other seasons so far. The first five seasons were really able to focus on the Mane Six and the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and each pony’s personalities and team dynamics were tested, strengthened and explored quite thoroughly. These first five seasons also allowed us to watch these characters evolve and become better ponies as the seasons went by. So, it was only natural that the sixth season saw some interesting new character dynamics and pairings, new things for the characters to try out, and more world building for the world of Equestria

Aside from interesting character pairings, new dynamics, and more world building, Season 6 also introduced new characters and allowed returning characters to be further explored. This season also had great ensemble Mane Six episodes, great Spike episodes that showed us how much he has matured over the course of the past seasons, and episodes which were refreshing as they broke the mold and pushed the writers by changing some things up. I also think that the lessons, have been getting progressively more complex as the seasons go along, although that’s mixed in with episodes that have simple but timeless episodes to teach.

Interestingly enough, after doing my usual tally of how many times in the series a particular character was focused on, I discovered that this season had the least amount of focus on Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong),  Sweetie Belle (Claire Corlett), Scootaloo (Madeleine Peters) as individuals. This season naturally did focus a lot on Starlight Glimmer (Kelly Sheridan), and interestingly enough, I felt that Applejack (Ashleigh Ball), Rainbow Dash (Ball), and Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain) had a lot of presence in this particular season. Fluttershy (Andrea Libman), didn’t have a lot of episodes, but her presence was stronger in this season, and they gave her more interesting stories this time around. Pinkie Pie (Libman), didn’t get too much focus, but she was written just as consistently as Season 5, and there were some new sides to her that were explored as well.

The season opener, “The Crystalling Pts. I & II” was a mixed bag with more good than bad in it, but I felt that there was just too much happening, as they tried to go back to opting for a story with big consequences for Equestria. On the other hand, the season finale, “To Where & Back Again Pts. I & II” broke the mold while still using the same old formula of an Equestria wide threat, proving that it can be done.

However, the most stand out episode, and my favorite of the season just has to be “The Saddle Row Review” just because of how creative and innovative they were on how they told the story. This episode was told almost in mockumentary fashion, which actually fit the main premise of a reporter interviewing the Mane Six regarding the opening night of Rarity’s latest venture in Manehattan, Rarity for You.

“P.P.O.V.” was also different in the sense that they went for a “Rashomon” like format before we finally discovered what really happened, but at the same time, it still subverted our expectations, making it an interesting entry in the season.

Season 6 allowed the writers to experiment a lot with new character dynamics, new forms of story telling, and explored new characters, lore and locations within Equestria, making it a unique entry to the series itself.

Now, you know the drill, from here on out, there will be spoilers!

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Interestingly enough, in Season 6, a lot of the world building episodes were Spike (Cathy Weseluck) focused episodes, which also makes sense in a way. “Gauntlet of Fire” sees Spike re-entering the Dragon Lands, and joining the Gauntlet of Fire which is a tournament in which a new Dragon Lord is chosen. Spike showed great maturity in joining it out of his own volition as he knew that if a reckless young dragon became Dragon Lord, it wouldn’t bode well for the other kingdoms in Equestria. Also, in making friends with Ember (Ali Milner) , he ensured that Equestria would have a future ally for moons to come. In “The Times They Are A Changeling”, Spike risks his reputation as the Crystal Empire’s hero after befriending a reformed Changeling named Thorax (Kyle Rideout). This friendship pays off in a big way after the season finale, as Thorax and the Changelings “evolve” and Thorax becomes the leader of this new Changeling society. Once again, this allows Equestria to have another new ally. So, I don’t doubt that Spike’s role in the future is to serve as the official Equestrian ambassador to these species, which also makes sense, given that he is the right hand man of the Princess of Friendship, who, among other things, does seem to take charge a lot of diplomatic affairs within Equestria.

Speaking of Twilight, even though she isn’t as prominent here as compared to other seasons, we see Twilight slowly becoming more of a mentor to Starlight Glimmer (Kelly Sheridan). This, of course, allows us to see Twilight learning how to become a good mentor, with all of its ups and downs. She has been a mentor to others before, but this time is different as its more focused on one particular pony.

I must admit that I did have my doubts about Starlight Glimmer, and sometimes, I still do. However, over time, I have grown a little bit fond of Starlight, and I do like the fact that personality wise, she is very different from Twilight and “The Equestria Girls'” Sunset Shimmer (Rebecca Soichet) (another character that I do enjoy quite a lot). Here, we see Starlight struggling with actually doing her friendship lessons, her fears and worries, and of course, her over reliance on magic to solve all of her problems. However, Starlight has made some interesting strides by actually stepping up to help save the day in the season finale, and making a group of interesting friends which include her childhood friend Sunburst (Ian Hanlin), Trixie (Kathleen Barr), and later on, Thorax and Discord (John de Lancie).

This season saw the Cutie Mark Crusaders in a new chapter in their lives. The stand out episode for them was definitely “The Fault In Our Cutie Marks” as it showed that they have been active in doing what they were meant to do, and it gave us Gabby the Griffin (Erin Matthews), a Griffin who wanted a Cutie Mark of her own. Having their Cutie Marks, however, meant that the girls are also now able to pursue individual interests of their own while they aren’t crusading, something that Apple Bloom had a hard time accepting at first, which is very much normal.

This season also marked new chapters in the lives of Rarity and Rainbow Dash as they were finally able to accomplish some of their biggest dreams.

Rarity finally launched a shop in Manehattan called Rarity For You, while Rainbow Dash finally became an official member of the Wonderbolts.

Fluttershy’s episodes this season showcased how far she’s come as a character, while building more upon her backstory, especially in the case of “Flutter Brutter”. In that episode, we were introduced to her entire family, and she showed that she was capable of some tough love when needed. This season also showed that Fluttershy is also quite a natural at a sport called Buckball, something that Pinkie Pie is also surprisingly good at.

Pinkie Pie’s episodes allowed us to discover that Pinkie has a close bond with ALL of her sisters, and not just Maud, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice at times to make her friends and family happy. In “Buckball Season”, we were also shown that Pinkie does have a seemingly deep rooted fear of failure, especially when other ponies are counting on her, and especially if that particular thing will make them happy. Also, it was reinforced that Pinkie Pie is still the best when it comes to pranks.

As for Applejack, we were shown that she sometimes overcomplicates things, that she’s a terrible actress, and, we were also treated to an interesting origin story on how Applejack became so honest and how Big Mac (Peter New) became a pony of very few words.

There weren’t any episodes dedicated to the two Royal Sisters, but I do like that Flurry Heart is allowing the show to give a new side to Princess Cadance (Britt McKillip) and Shining Armor (Andrew Francis), and that we have another good representation of marriage at a different stage in life.

This season also had Cutie Map episodes (“Spice Up Your Life”, featuring Rarity and Pinkie Pie; “Viva Las Pegasus”, featuring Applejack and Fluttershy; and “Top Bolt”, featuring Twilight and Rainbow Dash), which had unique lessons and characters, were more isolated in impact as compared to Season 5’s Cutie Map episodes, and allowed for very interesting pairings within the Mane Six.

This season’s season finale definitely changed up things by allowing all the Princesses, and the Mane Six to be ponynapped off screen, allowing for the secondary characters- Starlight, Trixie, Thorax and Discord, to save the day by defeating Queen Chrysalis, proving that you can stick the formula and change things up at the same time.

The season premiere, however, was a mixed bag. I was more interested in the slice of life story of Starlight’s reunion with Sunburst rather than everything going on with the Mane Six and the new baby.

The downside of this season is that sometimes the writing wasn’t as consistently strong as Season 5 was, and that there were obvious holes in the writer’s logic that just made me facepalm myself. For example, in “The Cart Before the Ponies”, I don’t know why in Celestia’s name Rarity thought that the best seat for her little sister would be ON TOP of the swan cart she made, and why the race was designed in such a way that at a certain point, all of the carts WOULD definitely crash into each other. However, aside from that, I like that the writers did take some risks into experimenting more with this season.

All in all, Season 6 was a unique and interesting milestone in the show’s history, as it allowed the writers to experiment with the usual formula, have new and returning characters, and have interesting dynamics with and outside the Mane 6.

What did you think of  “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’s” sixth season? What did you like about it? What didn’t you like about it? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

 

 

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