For the uninitiated (like yours truly), My Little Pony: Equestria Girls is going to take a bit of explanation. Once upon a time, My Little Pony was a cartoon that featured realistic-looking ponies meant to advertise Hasbro’s toys meant for young girls. Before long, those pretty ponies changed into more cartoonish characters and included more mythical varieties, all anthropomorphized to carry out their magical adventures. In the 2000s, MLP fans everywhere were introduced to Ponyville and the characters that populated it, while the 2010s introduced the smash-hit version, Friendship Is Magic. The ponies are still ponies in that series, but a magic mirror provided a twist of fate that turned Twilight Sparkle, Sunset Shimmer, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and more into human versions of their pony selves. That, of course, leads us to My Little Pony: Equestria Girls.
Hasbro’s new digital series is a collection of shorts, 45 of them all told, that explore the continuing adventures of the humanized pony pals. Starting with today’s premiere, the new series will roll out a brand new episode each and every Friday from here on out. I had a chance to check out 10 of these shorts, all of which featured different fan-favorite members of the Mane Seven and more, and all of which had some very entertaining storytelling in store for fans. The girls head to high school in this series, but their adventures take them everywhere from the mall, to babysitting, to the science museum, and more. There might even be a little love in the air for some of them…
Obviously, I’m not My Little Pony: Equestria Girls‘ target audience, but I’m happy to say there’s a lot of clever jokes threaded into each short episode that should make the adults in the audience smile. Even better, each episode has a subtle moral hue to it that casts a feel-good glow over the two to three-minute short, and those lessons won’t be lost on the little ones. Sometimes they’re super-sweet, like when your best pals not only hang out with you in a long line but also pre-ordered that game you’d been waiting for forever. And sometime they’re just fun, like when your buds add a little extra magic to your somewhat-bland science presentation in order to inspire the kids in attendance. Oh, and for those of you who love the musical interludes, this series has those, too! One is a celebration of all things math with Twilight Sparkle cleverly figuring out how each of her friends best learns the tricky subject. Another is one of those clever in-jokes I mentioned since the episode “My Little Shop of Horrors” has some fun with the famous comedy title.
For the diehard fans, this is an easy recommendation to include in your viewing lists. The main/mane characters are front and center, alongside a bunch of supporting favorites, but just because these episodes are on the short side, don’t fret; the leads still get some interesting character arcs that mature along with their audience members. For those who have only a passing understanding of My Little Pony, this is still a super-fun installment in the iconic Hasbro franchise even if it doesn’t instantly look like it’s part of that story.
The super-fun animation includes a bit of a redesign of the characters. Laura Shuffman, the official My Little Pony: Equestria Girls celebrity stylist, helped Hasbro revamp the dolls’ looks from the previous collection, and the look of these new fashion dolls inspired the look of the characters seen in the new series. (The new Equestria Girls fashion dolls line will be available for purchase in the U.S. in December 2017 and globally beginning in January 2018.)
Check out My Little Pony: Equestria Girls today if you need a dose of magic, music, and all-important friendship!
Rating: ★★★★ Very good