My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – The Return of Harmony Review

TV

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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (Season 2, Volume 1) – The Return of Harmony

Studio: Hasbro Studios
Publisher: Madman
Format:
DVD
Release Date: 9/06/2013
Price: $19.95 – Available Here

Overview

My Little Pony  follows the story of the mane six, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Apple jack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity and Fluttershy, as they overcome milestones in friendship. Each episode sees the mane six through their lives, day to day, as they each learn new lessons in friendship, and discover how important friends and friendship really is.  My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – The Return of Harmony contains the first five episodes of season two of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The two feature episodes, The Return of Harmony Part One and The Return of Harmony Part Two, are the first two episodes of season two. These episodes follow the mane six as they overcome problems in friendship and defeat the god of Chaos. The other three episodes on disc see the mane six through hiccups in friendship as they help each other and their friends discover the value of friendship.

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Each episode is packed full of bright colors, cute, quirky lovable characters and provides viewers with funny entertainment and keeps them wanting more. Hasbro Studios have yet again delivered another amazing DVD volume suited for young children and families.

Story

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – The Return of Harmony subtly progresses the main story of  My Little Pony. The feature episodes (The Return of harmony Part 1 and 2) follow the mane six as they overcome one of their toughest milestones yet. Discord has returned after Princess Celestia and Princess Luna imprisoned him in stone and is wreaking havoc and chaos throughout Ponyville. He tears apart their homes and, through trickery and deception, convinces the mane six that they don’t need friendship. When it seems all hope is gone, Twilight Sparkle pulls through and helps the others remember why friendship is so important. They regain their memories, rebuild their friendship and defeat Discord, once again imprisoning him in stone, whilst learning that friendship is always worth fighting for, no matter what. The other episodes focus on characters like Princess Luna, Rarity and Sweetie Bell as they learn to not judge ponies without getting to know them, and accept each others differences, no matter how hard it can be.

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The first two episodes Return of Harmony Part 1 and create a two part story arc. In this story arc, Twilight takes the spotlight and saves Ponyville, and Eqeustria, from the clutches of the Spirit of Chaos, Discord. Discord tricks the mane six into believing that friendship isn’t important. Eventually, all of the mane six give up on friendship. All seems lost, until Twilight Sparkle is reminded of the importance of friendship. She reunites the mane six and defeats Discord, returning harmony to Ponyville.

The third episode, Lesson Zero, focuses on Twilight Sparkle. Her weekly letter to Princess Celestia, explaining what lesson in friendship she has learned, is going to be tardy if she doesn’t find a problem to resolve among her friends. Twilight turns to her friends for help, but they don’t take her problem serious enough. After being unable to find a problem to resolve, Twilight decides to create a problem. Chaos breaks lose throughout Ponyville thanks to Twilight, causing Princess Celestia to step in and sort out the chaos. Everything is resolved, and Twilight’s punishment is forgotten, provided that the rest of her friends write a letter to the Princess as well. Each of the ponies realise that it’s important to take your friends problems seriously, no matter how small and insignificant they seem.

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Luna Eclipsed, the fourth episode, focuses on Princes Luna. It’s Nightmare Night, a holiday dedicated to Luna’s alter ego Nightmare Moon. This is Princess Luna’s first time visiting Ponyville after what happened in Friendship is Magic Part 1 and 2and the ponies of Ponyville don’t seem too over-joyed to see their Princess of the Night. It takes a while, but with Twilight, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie’s help, the ponies start warming up to Luna, and begin accepting her. Everypony in this episode learns that no matter who or what they appear to be, each pony deserves a chance.

Sisterhooves Social is the last of volume one. Rarity and Sweetie Bell take the stage, and learn that no matter how hard it may be, siblings must accept each others differences, no matter what. In this episode, Rarity has to babysit Sweetie Bell for a week after their parents decide to go away. Sweetie Bell tries to help Rarity with her day to day activities, but, like most younger siblings, does the complete opposite. Eventually, they dis-own each other, but it doesn’t last long. They soon realise that they need each other, and that life wouldn’t be the same without each other.

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There is no overall plot to My Little Pony. Each episode, with the exceptions of feature episodes, has a brand new story. On occasion, there are flash backs to other episodes, but apart from that, the episodes don’t have much relevance to each other. Due to the lack of overall plot, each episode, with the above stated exception, can be viewed in any order.

Visuals

The DVD cover art captivates the essence of the show and characteristics of the ponies. The cover art fits in with previous volume DVDs. The DVD carries on the spine design from season one’s first and second volume, by placing Pinkie Pie, one of the mane six, on the top of the spine.

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My Little Pony has come a long way in terms of visual aesthetics. Original generation one, two and three ponies had horrible coloring schemes. Not only did the pony’s colors look off, the character design was completely different. The character design has now been changed dramatically, with the new My Little Pony characters looking cute and adorable. The original My Little Pony character design had the characters looking more horse-like, with very strong horse-like muzzles and long faces, whereas Friendship is Magic generation ponies are designed cutely, with round faces and small muzzles.

The cartoon is great quality, presenting their intended audiences, young children and families, with warm, bright colorful characters and smooth animation. The visuals are fantastic. They don’t assault the audience with overly bright and eye-straining colors, like some shows designed for young children do. The pony’s colors are bright enough to captivate the younger audience, yet not to bright that they over balance and take away from the background.  The contrasting works exceptionally well, as does the shadowing. The contrasting is not to stark and over the top, it’s fairly subtle, yet effective. The shadows, though extremely visible, are not over-powering either.

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Audio

Nothing says ‘kids TV show’ like a poppy-girl-band theme song. My Little Pony’s theme song is not an easy tune to forget. Designed for younger children, the tune is extremely catchy, and the lyrics are hard to forget.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – Return of Harmony’s audio fits in with the visuals really well, and helps complete the show. The music scores are worked into each episode and scenes, having a strong yet subtle effect. The music, balanced quietly, works well with the context of the episodes. The witty dialogue caters not only for younger children, but for their older family members also, with little jokes placed here and there that draw out a small chuckle every now and then. The dialogue is  loud enough for you to hear when the TV is at a reasonable volume, but not to loud that you have to turn it down when the characters shout.

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Extras

The extras on the DVD cover trailers of other cartoons published by Madman such as NoddyPearlie and Growing Up Creepy. Each trailer shows a brief insight into the shows and the title sequence. The trailers introduces the shows to the viewers and plays through the title sequence and theme song.

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Overall

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – Return of Harmony is extremely different from the older My Little Pony episodes. With new character design, color schemes and a new catchy theme song, My Little Pony is hard to forget. With each episode packed with bright colors, witty one liners and cute, quirky characters, it’s sure to provide many laughs and keep viewers entertained and wanting to watch more. The show sends across meaningful messages to young viewers, and this particular volume sends across powerful messages, particularly to younger viewers. Return of Harmony is a great volume of episodes, but we could expect no less from Hasbro Studios.

8-0-capsules-out-of-10 

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

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