Animation Break: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic S7 (Spoilers!)

As more and more seasons get added on to any series, many start to wonder if the quality will be the same and if they will like the changes to the status quo that each new season brings. After watching Season 6 the first time around, I must admit that I did have my worries about Season 7. However, after watching the entire season, I can see that the writers were able to balance out the usual slice of life stories with grand epic ones, while subtly seeding a recurring theme throughout the season, while continuing to expand on the world of Equestria and the characters in the show. So, although it is not my favorite season, I do believe that this season was a solid and balanced out one.

I applaud the writers and the staff for being able to also concentrate on other ponies aside from the Mane Six, Starlight Glimmer (Kelly Sheridan), and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. I mean, the Royal Sisters actually get an episode that gives us more insight into their relationship, and we get to see more sides to Princess Celestia (Nicole Oliver) than ever before. We also got a wonderful episode that concentrated mostly on Big McIntosh (Peter New); and we finally got to meet Rainbow Dash’s (Ashleigh Ball) parents, spend more time with Twilight Sparkle’s (Tara Strong) family, and most of all, they finally revealed Applejack’s (Ball) parents. That last one is something that the entire fandom has been waiting for since the very first season of the show, and despite the high expectations, they certainly delivered.

Interestingly enough, the recurring theme was seeded quite subtly throughout the entire season. I think that someone who reads the comics might get it at first glance, but it was only in the two part finale that I realized how subtly they teased the recurring theme of “The Pillars of Equestria”.

The lessons that were in this season were more complex in nature this time, and I do believe that most of the stories this season had more profound lessons that made me stop and think about it for a bit, and see how it related to my own life.

I do believe that the main characters were written quite consistently throughout the season; but I feel as if the second half of the season was stronger than the first half.

The songs here were still good, but still not as memorable as the earlier ones that were done in the show.

The season finale was the only two-parter for this season, and it did, interestingly enough, open up new doors for more story possibilities in the future.

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Over the course of the entire series, we’ve been given little glimpses about the Royal Sisters. However, there was a lot more focus on Princess Luna (Tabitha St. Germain), as she was the one who had just come back, and because she appears in the dreams of the Cutie Mark Crusaders a lot. However, we have only been given very little about Celestia herself, and the relationship that the two sisters have. Thankfully, “Celestial Advice” and “A Royal Problem” does give us more insight into Celestia.

Here, we learned that she had actually tried to delay Twilight Sparkle’s (Tara Strong) departure from Canterlot for the longest time due to her fears and worries about Twilight and as she didn’t want to lose the companionship of someone that she regards almost like a younger sister or daughter. We also discover what she does everyday, and why there really is a need for the Princess Luna to monitor the dream realm. I think, however, the best part of “A Royal Problem” is the fact that we got to see Celestia’s darker side- if Luna had Nightmare Moon, Celestia has Daybreaker.

I like how they are progressing with Spike’s (Cathy Weseluck) character, ever since Season 6. Here, he has one episode to himself, but I’m glad to see that I was right about him becoming an ambassador to both the Changelings and the Dragons, and we see how mature his reactions are after he realizes the mess that he caused.

Starlight is also progressing nicely as a character. Sure, she does sometimes fall back to magic to solve her problems, but I like the fact that she is gaining more and more friends, even without Twilight making her do friendship problems. As of the moment, Starlight’s group does include Thorax (Kyle Rideout), Trixie (Kathleen Barr), Sunburst (Ian Hanlin), Maud Pie (Ingrid Nilson), and by extension, Discord (John de Lancie).

I also like the fact that as the outsider within the ranks of the Mane Six, she brings in a whole new and fresh perspective to things. This is why she was the best one to call to solve Celestia’s and Luna’s friendship problem, and why she was the only one not starstruck about the Pillars of Equestria, which allowed her to recognize the root of their problems. That and seeing her give a rallying speech to the Changelings in “To Change a Changeling” allowed me to form my own little head cannon theory about Starlight’s future.

I do believe that Starlight will not turn into an Alicorn, because, honestly, I think Equestria has enough Alicorns as it is, and because I don’t think she’s “princess” material. Sure, Starlight is just as magically talented as Twilight, but personality wise, I think that she’s more suited for a more wizard-commander sort of role. Sunburst is more of pure knowledge than Starlight, but Starlight’s abilities and her ability to command people, will make her a good right hand and a good strategist or tactician. I think her personality isn’t suited to be a royal, and I also do believe that she still hasn’t fully matured yet as a character.

Also, with all of the main cast having been summoned already by the Cutie Map, I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible that they might have to team up with the Pillars themselves for Map episodes, and I’m wondering if the Map only summons those connected the Elements of Harmony, the Tree of Harmony, and those who live inside of it.

Fluttershy (Andrea Libman) was written really well this season, and I love how her lessons now are a little bit more diverse. I love how she can take action and assert herself if need be, in the case of “Fluttershy Leans In” and “Discordant Harmony”. The latter was a great Discord episode, as we see here that without his chaos magic, he just simply fades away.

Pinkie (Libman) was still written well, but my favorite episode of hers this season was “Secrets & Pies”. I always find it interesting when Pinkie goes has a complete mental break down, and I’m glad that this time around, it wasn’t the same as her break in “Party of One”.

Aside from Fluttershy, it can be seen here how much Rainbow Dash (Ashleigh Ball) has grown throughout the seasons, especially when it comes to her relationships with her friends. In “Secrets & Pies”, we see that Rainbow had been lying because she didn’t want to crush Pinkie, as she loves seeing Pinkie be happy, and that means pretending to eat her pies. We also see here how close Rainbow and Scootaloo are, and how sisterly she has truly become to her. This season also introduced Rainbow’s parents, and now we understand why she has a big ego and a lot of confidence. Her parents TRULY supported her always, and praised her for everything she did. However, I am glad that she can admit more readily to her flaws, and I liked the fact that she mentions that her confidence actually helps her to have “the courage to fail”.

To be honest, there wasn’t a lot of focus on Applejack (Ball) this season, except for the fact that she did admit that she is “too eager to please”, and that she learned that alongside being honest, one should be tactful about it too. However, what took the cake was truly “The Perfect Pear”.

Fans have been waiting for the story of the Apple parents since the start of the show, and they really delivered with this, even with the high expectations. I love every single thing about this episode, and it really made me cry. However, I do believe that they have already passed away, and I believe that it happened shortly after Apple Bloom was born. Applejack did spend some time with them, based on the fact that she does dream about them in “A Royal Problem”.

Rarity showcased her generosity and love for beauty in this season well, but I do appreciate what the writers gave her to work with in “It Isn’t the Mane Thing About You”. I like how Rarity ended up turning a dire situation around, and was still generous, despite the fact that things didn’t really go her way.

There was a definite return to form for Twilight this season, as her quirks and faults were more seen here as compared to Season 6. We see her trying to balance being an aunt and princess duties in “A Flurry of Emotions”; her trying to please everyone to the point that she forgot to take care of herself in “Once Upon A Zepellin”;  getting starstruck by her idol to the point that she couldn’t see the real issue at hand in “Shadow Play I & II”; and a return of freak outs in “Celestial Advice” and “A Royal Problem”. Twilight has definitely and is slowly becoming a better princess and mentor, but I’m glad that the show isn’t afraid to point out her flaws and to show her becoming more mature because of them, while trying to have a balanced life.

One of the best episodes this season, aside from “The Perfect Pear”, is “Fame and Misfortune”. Not only was a it a great nod at the fandom itself, but it also allowed the Mane Six to also openly admit their own flaws and quirks publicly. One of the things that struck me the most is the fact that Rainbow knows that her ego is big, but it gives her the courage to fail; and that Applejack recognizes that being too honest isn’t a good thing always, and the fact that she’s too “eager to please”.

As for the Cutie Mark Crusaders, I am glad that they did have an episode which didn’t focus on Crusading; but “Marks & Recreation” was definitely a great way to follow things up for their own storyline.

Speaking of which, Big Mac’s episode, “Hard to Say Anything” was a gem of an episode. This time, we see Big Mac trying to win the affections of Sugar Belle, whom he has a crush on, and we see what a kind and thoughtful stallion he can be towards those he loves and cares about.

The whole idea of the Pillars of Equestria were just fantastic, and I love that we also now have different names for each Element of Harmony. Applejack and Rock Hoof represent strength, Rainbow and Flash Magnus represent Healing, Mist Mane and Rarity have beauty, Fluttershy and Mage Meadowbrooke have Healing, Sonmambula and Pinkie have hope, and Twilight and Star Swirl have Sorcery. However, the entire time during “Shadow Play”, I really wanted to shake both Twilight and Sunburst so that they could LISTEN to Starlight, who, at times, can be the voice of reason.

As for Season 8, we do know that Queen Chrysalis and Tirek will be returning, and that there will be more two parters this coming season. I am hoping that Tirek will show up in the finale, and that we will have build up from Chrysalis in the season premiere trying to team up with Tirek in the end.

All in all, this was a season in which they wanted to expand and elaborate more on non-Mane Six and Cutie Mark Crusaders characters, while adding a whole lot of lore to the mixture. I also believe that they were able to make a balanced season which open a whole new world of possibilities for Season 8 and beyond, as long as the writing is consistently good.

What did you like about Season 7? What didn’t you like about Season 7? What are looking forward to in Season 8? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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