Aug 22, 2015
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “Power Ponies”
Guys, we need to have a serious talk! The world needs to be warned about the content of this episode! It’s very dangerous. Deadly, in fact. Yes, this episode killed me! And I am giving you this warning from beyond the grave.
Wait… Oh, whew, I’m not actually dead. But damn, was that a close one! This episode nearly killed me! I nearly choked and died from laughter, which is about the highest compliment I can pay to any show that’s mainly meant to be comedic, so you can probably already guess where this review is going: I freaking loved this episode!
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Okay, lets get started. The first amazing thing we see is of course Twilight Sparkle with a nightcap, and she looks adorable. Not that this is in any way important to the story or the episode, but nightcaps on characters either look hilariously stupid or absolutely adorable, and it’s nice to know that Twilight can actually pull off the nightcap look.
It’s the middle of the night and Spike, being a typical young (dragon) boy, is sneaking in some late night comic book reading. The comic book is called The Power Ponies, and an excited Spike tells Twilight about the Joker’s origin—I mean, the origin of the “Mane-iac”, but there’s no hiding what they were going for here. They’re dangerously close to crossing the line from “tribute” to “rip-off” here, since the origin of the villain in the comic book is basically the same as the Joker’s origin.
You can even see it in the character’s color scheme, where she has a green mane and purple body. Though, where the Joker has laughing gas, Mane-iac has crazy hair/mane powers, and can do… stuff with her hair/mane.
Spike also mentions Hum Drum, the sidekick to the Power Ponies, and how annoying he is, and how he’s just around for comic relief. Hint hint, nudge nudge, wink wink.
The next day, the Mane Six and Spike are out to restore an old castle, the one Princess Celestia and Luna used to live in, previously seen in the episode “Castle Mania”. However, Spike ends up having nothing to do, and is feeling left out and useless. You know, almost as if he were just a comic relief sidekick character.
I guess they wanted to draw a clever parallel, but, umm… anyone who’s actually watched this show knows that it’s been smart enough not to have Spike be the useless, comic relief sidekick. But I guess for the sake of this episode, we’re just going to forget all those previous adventures where he took center stage. It’s not like he saved the entire Crystal Empire or anything.
Spike is not allowed to help clean the castle, for some reason. You’d think with a castle this size, there’d be a ton of work to do, but nope. Spike is even told to go read his comic book, and frankly, if this were me, you wouldn’t have to tell me twice.
But Spike is sad about this because he feels useless, much like (cough) a certain comic book character he’s currently reading about. Soon, the ponies comes to check up on him, just as Spike is reading a footnote in the back of the comic book that turns out to be a magic spell, and as a result they all get sucked into the book.
No, really, that’s what happens! Which is a twist I actually like. I was assuming that Spike was just going to fall asleep and have a dream about the Mane Six being the Power Ponies, which would have been cute, but ultimately unsatisfying.
Instead, the real Mane Six actually get sucked into the book, and are given super powers, as well as outfits that cosplayers all around the globe are most certainly making for themselves at this very moment.
Twilight is now able to shoot different kinds of beams, though we only ever see her use an ice beam. Rarity basically has Green Lantern’s powers. Applejack has a magical lasso, which is actually a bit more handy than Wonder Woman’s lasso, since Applejack can control it with her thoughts. Pinkie Pie gets super-speed like the Flash. Rainbow Dash can control the forces of nature, just like regular Pegasi in this world. And cute, innocent little Fluttershy can turn into the Hulk.
No, you didn’t read that wrong: this episode has a Pony Hulk. Though, they wisely keep that under wraps until the climax, because it’s the show-stealer, and the thing that nearly killed me.
The villain Mane-iac shows up to fight the ponies. Again, there’s no way around it: she’s really just a female Joker pony with weird hair powers… and it’s absolutely delightful! In her short screen time, the Mane-iac hatches a plot that’s as clichéd as possible, while cackling loudly all through it, and explaining the whole thing to the ponies as well as the audience.
Her energy makes her a far more interesting villain than King Sombra or Queen Chrysalis, both of whom I found kind of generic and, well, boring. Though, I am waiting for the Discord and Mane-iac fan art. They’re both fun villains.
But Spike gets the disappointment of his life when, surprise surprise, it turns out that he gets to be Hum Drum, the one character without any powers. I guess we’re supposed to forget that he’s able to breathe fire, and even transport scrolls using his magical fire breath.
And now it’s time to get to the plot and today’s lesson, which is of course Spike and his insecurities about not being useful. Though, this never seemed to be an issue before. But first, we get to see the ponies fighting evil henchmen while figuring out their super powers, and it’s a lot of fun to witness.
Eventually though, the ponies get captured by Mane-iac, leaving it up to Hum Drum, er, Spike to save the day in spite of not having any special powers of his own. Don’t worry about it, Spike! When Batman had his own episode of Justice League about him not having any powers, the episode might as well have been called “Everyone But Batman Can Suck It!”
Mane-iac has soon frozen the ponies with her Hairspray of Doom. Yes, that’s the actual name of the thing. She also has a giant blow dryer, which I think is supposed to be a gigantic doomsday device. She’s then compelled to make a longwinded, clichéd speech, which as we all know is the greatest weakness of all comic book villains. With all the evil henchmen distracted by the speech, Spike sets up a trap and saves the day by freeing the Power Ponies.
With that, it’s time for some good old fashioned superhero butt-kicking, where the ponies have finally gained full control over their superpowers and they just go nuts.
That is, all but one: Fluttershy, who it seems just can’t get mad. Except for when cute animals won’t do what she wants, I guess. Anyone remember “The Best Night Ever”? The episode that showed us that Fluttershy has a severe case of repressed anger issues, rivalling John Watson’s bottled up anger at Sherlock?
I guess that makes her a perfect Hulk after all, as she sees an innocent little firefly get hurt and that ticks her off and… oh my freaking god…
This.. this is what nearly killed me. I couldn’t stop laughing! It’s just way too ridiculous and way too hilarious! Where’s the comic strip where Tony Stark says, “You may have an army, but we’ve got a Fluttershy!”?
It’s too good. I don’t know how other people out there feel about it. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard much about people’s reactions to this episode, but I love it. They defeat Mane-iac, thus solving the plot of the comic book, and get spat back out into the real world again. Spike learns his lesson, which is not to buy comic books from a store called “The House of Enchanted Comics”.
The keyword of this episode is “fun”. This is a fun episode, even though Spike’s lesson and the story are pretty weak, and they don’t make much sense in terms of what we know about his character. Usually, he’s pretty overconfident in his abilities, and we already dealt with this issue far better in the season one episode “Owl’s Well That Ends Well”. But that’s okay, as Spike’s lesson is just an excuse to get the Power Ponies plot going, and give the Mane Six superpowers, and I think it was worth it.
I love the villain Mane-iac. She too is a lot of fun, and I would love for this episode to have a sequel or two. Maybe they’ll be dragged into another comic book, or maybe the characters of the comic will escape into Ponyville to get revenge on Spike. Both could be a heck of a lot of fun, and I sincerely hope that happens.
Unfortunately, due to the weak Spike plot, I have to take a pony away from the final score of this episode, but I still had so much fun with it that I still find this to be an above average episode. So that’s four out of five ponies for “Power Ponies”.