Dragonshy is an excellent episode, and the turning point wherein the series hits a stride that would bring it the renown it now knows. It prominently features all of the mane six ponies and almost no one else, gives them a lot of fun dialog and animation moments, and has an adventurous feel with a big payoff. The pacing is air-tight, there’s a tiny musical number, and it expands on the lore in what were big ways at the time.
In terms of analysis, there’s not much to say. It’s a super-straightforward episode, and most of the dialog is more humorous or expositional than character-building. What I can analyze, though, is why I would say this when the episode is actually the first of only a few big Fluttershy episodes, and the most important for establishing her character.
I’ve always felt that Fluttershy is the least interesting of the mane six ponies. It’s not that I don’t like her, but there’s not much to her character, and what’s there doesn’t catch my attention. It’s not that she isn’t deep or doesn’t develop—those aren’t the kind of things that I look for in characters. I think that Fluttershy and Applejack are the two ponies who are the easiest to understand without any kind of analysis—but Applejack is a ton of fun to me, whereas Fluttershy isn’t.
Let’s be honest. This episode is fucking terrible. It is one of the worst episodes of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. It was written by Chris Savino, who’s only other episode was Stare Master (decent), and I think it’s pretty clear why. But this is still the Trixie episode, so I cracked open a bottle of hard cider, watched the piece of crap, and here’s some words about it.
I. LOVE. TRIXIE. Don’t get me wrong. Trixie is a horrible one-off character whose sole memorable traits are her amazing facial expressions and her obnoxious voice and dialog. Of the characters with speaking roles in this show that the fandom has taken off and run with, Trixie is the one who most bafflingly was transformed from this ridiculous character in this terrible episode into one of the most hilarious and lovable portraits of failure that I’ve ever seen.
Even though I watched this episode twice very early into my fandom and found it horrible both times, Trixie is as fresh in my mind as ever. I’ve seen all of her facial expressions in countless videos and images, and heard all of her dialog sampled in countless songs and quoted in a hundred memes.
Griffon the Brush Off is a fairly unpopular episode. Out of all the non-pony and one-off characters in the show, I’ve probably seen less fanart and love for Gilda than any other character, which is understandable because Gilda’s a total bitch. Griffons as a general race are more popular as an idea than Gilda, but even then, not so much that they feel like a big part of the pony world.
Besides the fact that Gilda’s a bitch, it’s also an early episode, meaning it comes with the usual problems of early episodes (characters not fully realized, show not at the peak of quality, etc.). That said, I’d only seen this episode once before today, and upon rewatching it I thought it was solid. I see the episode accused of being weak on a thematic level, since the lesson is basically, “don’t be a bitch or let people be a bitch to your friends,” but of course I think there’s more to it than that, and I found the statements that the episode makes about the characters interesting enough.
First, let’s ask ourselves: why is Gilda such a bitch? Obviously because she’s a mean-spirited bully—but why does she act that way? It’s because she’s horribly inauthentic. That’s why Pinkie Pie is her perfect enemy—Pinkie is completely authentic to the core. To pull a page out of my own life, I would say Gilda is to Colony Drop as Pinkie Pie is to myself (lolololol).
(What can I say, I’ve been finishing a lot of shows lately)
K-On! is the weird case of a show that I knew I would like right from the start, but never got around to finishing. I saw the first two episodes as they aired, and I saw those two episodes several times before I saw the third one – and then when I finally finished the show in one go with No Name, we started from the beginning again (since we had 1080p blu-rays~). For a long time, I wondered why it seemed that I couldn’t finish K-On. I thought maybe it was because of the hype, but I’m pretty good at wiping hype from my mind when I watch something. I thought maybe it was because I hadn’t gotten attached to any of the characters yet, but that doesn’t make too much sense – I wasn’t really attached to the characters in, say, Ichigo Mashimaro or Hidamari Sketch or G.A. etc. right off the bat, but it only takes a little bit of time for them to grow on me. Nevertheless, I felt this sense that there was something about K-On! that was keeping me at arms length, and I knew I was going to have to finish the blasted show if I wanted to find out. So I did. And the thing holding me off was actually my other suspicion.