MLP – Rarity Investigates & Made in Manehatten – Food for Thought

So here we are a few days after the premiere of Equestria Girls friendship games and despite my urge to review it now, I need to catch up on the last few weeks!

So the first of our double post is “Rarity Investigates” and it’s a nod to a favorite style of mine the one known as noir! Film Noir is a style we typically associate but is not exclusive to the hard boiled detective movies of yesteryear. Chalk full of interior monologues by the protagonist (in this case everyone’s favorite marshmallow , Rarity) it’s a classic form of story telling that I can never get enough of.

That being said lets begin!

Stunning us already is that we pick up almost immediately after the last episode which makes me hope the writers are going to be doing this more and more. Story arcs that are activley part of previous episodes are by in large hard to find in animation these days so this is a step in the right direction. In Rarity’s new shop in Canterlot she and sassy saddles are having a discussion regarding the latest line for sale and how it was inspired by Shadow Spade. Those of you not familiar, should inspect Sam Spade’s tales and instantly know where THIS is going.

Rainbow Dash jumps in and knocks everything over as she shows us that this wont be just a rarity episode. Though it is nice to see her get this and the next episode; something tells me they realized we didn’t focus on her enough in previous seasons and I for one would agree. Rarity went from the worst cliché of a girly girl to a very 3 dimensional character and that I am grateful for because she is quite entertaining now.

Third episode
“They even gave me another episode after this one…darling. How about you?”

We find out Dashie being the Wonderbolt reservist she is has been chosen as an alternate for Princess Celestia’s Royal Garden Opening. Apparently garden openings require the equivalent of the Blue Angels to show up, but why not, we have no real crime or villains. Right?

After Rainbow Dash leaves, we watch as Rarity teaches the younger impressionable viewers that if you can’t get what you want, “charm” your way to it 😛 She has the delivery pony do a bit of extra work after telling him he’s so..delivery-like basically. I’m not sure what lesson that tells the kids, but again, Rarity caps the scene by saying no one hates a compliment.

Making our way to the Dinner celebrating the..day before the grand opening. There we meet this week’s guest star, who if this were Murder, She Wrote, we’d immediately know was no doubt, the villain of the episode. Rainbow Dash introduces him as Wind Rider, whose appearance is no doubt a call back to the old British Air Men, complete with white scarf. Rainbow Dash, of course, Fan Girls all over him and gets a bit sad she won’t be there to see him take the spot of honor in the air show.

I'm the villain!
Well this pony doesn’t look shifty at all…nope.

As the dinner winds down, the Wonderbolts all head to stay in the palace’s East Tower and we’re given our first clue (though we wouldn’t know that yet) of the evening.

Watching the warm ups, Rainbow Dash is still a bit depressed she won’t be flying when suddenly, Soaring comes over not to confirm Soaring/Dash shipping, but to inform Rainbow that Spitfire, the leader of the Wonderbolts, had to leave due to a message from her mother being ill. She now has the chance to fly! Not all is what it seems as we meet Stormy Flare, Spitfire’s mom, who despite her age, looks as attractive as her daughter. But thats another fanfiction altogether. As the Wonderbolts and Rarity realize the note was fake, acquisitions begin to add up that Rainbow Dash sent the note to ensure she was able to fly with Wind Rider.

pilf
“You know I actually auditioned to BE Spitfire…they wanted someone ‘younger’ *sigh*”

Basic reasoning and deduction does make a very convincing case against her, though Soaring gives her a chance to convince them she didn’t send the letter, lest she be suspended forever from the Wonderbolts! As Rainbow Dash wonders how, we suddenly come to the meat of the episode, and despite the fact we’re almost halfway done with the episode (something both Rainbow and Rarity make mention of “running out of time”) we begin our Noir, complete with Black and White filter, we get Detective Rarity!

costume
Where in the world is Carmen Rarity-Ago? Or ..the secret identity of the Mysterious Mare-Do-Well!?

As the trumpet and piano music plays, Rarity’s internal monologue walks us thorough her thought processes as Rainbow Dash gets impatient. She finds several clues throughout her investigation, all the while paying tribute AND poking fun at the Noir style. From forgetting to NOT speak her internal monologues to some pony with a trumpet that seems to be following them around, the hits fly at a paced but not too quick rate.

We get to another step in the processes she’s using as she uses the tactic on the guards that were keeping watch on the previous night she used on our delivery pony. Paying them compliments and also on several levels making jabs at how the guards are practically set dressing in themselves, she discovers they were distracted by…cake! A cake that was delicious and delivered by an unknown person or persons!

family my ass
“I..REALLLY…would like my own set of episodes, boys…surely you could see it that I could get them?”

Following the clue of how the cake tasted and looked, Rarity’s detective skills reveal the bankery in town and the next clue that is considered the damning evidence in this case. Rainbow all the while plays the impatient more then likely younger viewer’s opinion as she doesn’t get ANY of what’s going on and doesn’t understand Rarity is in fact doing a rather good job on her investigation.

Lets stop for a moment. I’m wondering, why is a Fashion Designer investigating this instead of whatever civil structure might exist in Canterlot? We have Infrastructure, because we’ve seen road workers with jackhammers. We’ve got postal since we see delivery ponies all over the damn place, yet we have NO policing agency it seems.

Stay with me here…

You’d think “Well it’s a world of harmony and everyone gets along” to which I agree..until I realize the very issue that centers this episode, proves that wrong. The issue, the problem, the villain in this case, wasn’t Discord or a monster or even a symbiotic alien hiding in someone’s bloodstream, it’s a pony. An everyday person. If this world is as perfect as it seems, we of course don’t require policing, though as the last four seasons show us, there are more issues then people tend to give it credit for. So why hasn’t any kind of litigation, peace officer, or other such department, in place by now? Your thoughts? Comment below! 😀

Resuming our big reveal, we find Rarity and company back at the practice grounds, where the “AH-HA” moment combined with a touch of Scooby Doo occurs. Rarity lays all of it out on the table and the connection of said dots as it were are best seen for one’s self. We find out that the villain is…GASP…today’s guest star Wind Rider! Worried that his record would be beaten by Rainbow Dash, he set the entire thing up to get Dashie banned for life, thus cementing his place in history!

They gave YOU another episode
“I am perfectly capable of holding a series of episodes on my own!” “Sure you are..”

Eventually and rather quickly, he denies and then quickly admits it since we’re running on like minutes of time left in the episode. Finding out where he sent Spitfire, Rainbow Dash speeds after her, as the credits and the ending of the episode are racing towards them! Returning in time, because she’s Rainbow Dash and Spitfire is..apparently awesome too, we quickly realize that Rainbow Dash is ALSO going to get her just reward as Spitfire strips Wind Rider of his statue and allows HER to take his place! Yay!

We close on a final classic Noir moment monologue, that once again, we find Rarity said aloud, embarrassing her. The credits are also a lovely new sound as it takes the theme of the entire episode and plays it, very soothing.

final rarity
“one day…this will be all over won’t it? Well. Thems the breaks. Just like dolls and your health…nothing lasts forever..”

Overall I give this a 7 out of 10. A lot of references for the loyal viewers, and a lot of revelations about culture and dynamics of the world in whole. It’s always nice to see Spitfire, and her lovely mother was quite a bonus. Rarity’s sudden surge in connected episodes makes me more then happy as well, as she’s slowly becoming a favorite of mine.

Don’t go anywhere, as next up we have…

Made In Manehatten!

Diving right in we realize this is the THIRD Rarity episode in a row, that seems also to connect to the last one! Story Arcs! I love them! Keep it up writers!

We start with Twilight, who no doubt like Tara, is bored with her current situation in the Castle of Friendship (oy) and Spike reading a comic book because Spike obviously didn’t learn his lesson the last time he read one 😛

5 more seasons of this
“You’d think I’d get some rest, but no, not I have to play NOT me in a film AND do this..*sigh*”

Rarity and my favorite Earth Pony Applejack burst in, their flanks vibrating (hmm..) meaning it’s time for a good old fashioned “Friendship Emergency” somewhere in Equestria! Much to Twilight’s sadness, it doens’t include her, as she’s slowly stepped into a position like Celestia, where she is sending people off to take care of issues and…sitting at home.

Off they go, our Odd Couple of ponies, to Manehatten, where Applejack is completely out of her element. Establishing Rarity’s love for the city and AJ’s complete fish out of water complex, we quickly move to a joke I hope won’t be lost on this generation. Rarity’s Advice Booth is a rapid fire joke as it leaves frame quickly though I like to think Mr. Schultz would be proud 🙂

Charliebrown
We miss you, Charles…and Snoopy…and everyone of the gang 🙂

Fate, or in this case, the wind, delivers the problem of finding their…problem to solve as a flyer smacks Rarity in the face. Turns out Coco Pommel from the last Manehatten episode is in desperate need of help with a Shakespeare-in-the-park like showing, the Method Mares!

Guest star
“You don’t suppose this will be the last time I get a role, do you?”

Navigating the streets they make their way to Coco’s and enjoy tea and..some sort of sandwiches, where their host explains the history of the show. Seems that Charity Kindheart (Really?) helped make the event wonderful and successful, and now she’s moved away to be closer to family, and with her leaving, the event isn’t resuming as well. Coco’s rather upset that she’s the only one who seems to care, as everyone else is so busy in the big city with cliches..er..I mean with other things.

So Rarity and AJ set out to recruit, meet Christian Bale from Newsies it seems, Bab’s Mother maybe, and a pony version of the monopoly man. No one seems to have time or the want for such a silly idea, and they return defeated. Coco also mentions that the park needs upkeep as no one’s been doing it!

Wait. Didn’t we just find out there’s infrastructure in Canterlot? Where’s Parks and Rec in Manehatten, by all accounts size wise, the same as Canterlot?

The heck
“You get a Noir and *I* get an episode of Home Improvement Skit? I need a new agent..”

Applejack realizes that’s why the she was chosen for this week’s episode and gets to work basically weeding and picking up Central Park 😮 A comical montage later, Rarity and Coco arrive as AJ nearly loses her sanity to the sheer scope of the job, only to be interrupted by the Method Mares, who apparently pack their own stereotypes as they poke fun at the professionalism of the stage.

As all seems lost, Coco practically gives up..followed by Rarity in suit. AJ’s “Never give up, never surrender” attitude kicks in, the one we saw in the very first episode with Big Mac and having to do ALL the apple trees herself. She proposes a smaller yet finished setting for the play (My Fair Filly..heehee)
As the play starts, our three sit down and watch as a relatively pain free scene starts to play out before them. No one really seems to care immediately, though a passing mother and child stop, interested, and become the first of many to slowly but surely filter in. Nevermind the fact they seem to be sitting in the middle of a street, this is live theater! Ponies gather more and more, most remembering how it used to be before no doubt they grew up and got tangled in jobs and other commitments.

Lets stop right there..and stay with me here this may seem out there…

I think we hit the actual point of this episode in my humble opinion. The entire idea that no matter age, race, creed, or other factor, everyone misses a more simple time in their life. When the simple joy of sitting down and watching something you used to love brings back memories of yesterday. When we remember who we used to be in this busy, networked, social media obsessed world, before we started to get wrapped up in everything that distracted us from that which we loved. Thats the real message here: Don’t forget to slow down and smell the roses.

A rose by
You have not heard Shakespeare until you have heard it in the original Pony, Captain.

The play is a hit, and everyone there congratulates our heroes. A few of the ponies who didn’t have time to help before, now suddenly want to help after realizing that smaller things can help and add up too! Once the problem is solved, our pair’s butts start flashing as the quest finishes and the exp rolls in.

Level up
“You know, this doesn’t feel half bad most of the time..wonder if we could just leave it going?”

Overall I give this one 4 out of 10, it’s a nice Lesson episode, and it’s wonderful to see Applejack again, but overall it feels like a small filler between episodes of story element importance. Though i’d love to find out that Starlight has been doing all these things, creating all these problems like the Evil Leaper in Quantum Leap. Course, I doubt we’ll get there. Next up, when I get a moment, Equestria Girls: The Friendship Games! 😀

Until then,

-Think Tank