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My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: A Dash Of Awesome

Shout Factory // Unrated // March 25, 2014
List Price: $14.93 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted April 27, 2014 | E-mail the Author
In 10 Words or Less
Rainbow Dash in the spotlight Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Animation
Likes: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the Brony concept, Derpy Hooves
Dislikes: Most girl-friendly cartoons
Hates: Most kids cartoons collections

The Story So Far...
Led by Lauren Faust (The Powerpuff Girls, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends), Hasbro brought their old girl-toy tie-in cartoon back as a centerpiece of their HUB cable channel. Trying to make a better, more universal product than the original, Faust wound up creating a show that not only appeals to young girls, but to older males who have embraced the series and adopted the label of "bronies." The series is currently in its fourth season, and several home-video collections have been released. DVDTalk has reviews of several of the DVDs.

The Show
When I last reviewed a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic DVD, my daughter would have been considered a casual fan of the series. Now, as the assortment of pony toys and dolls strewn across our living room floor at this very minute attests to, she's a die-hard pony pal. She's watched every episode, knows all the characters and enjoys drawing them (as well as other of her favorite characters in pony form.) It would be hard for her to pick a favorite (believe me, I asked) but Rainbow Dash is one she frequently mentions, unsurprisingly, as she's the pony with the brashest attitude and most interesting look, with her rainbow-colored mane and tail.

This collection focuses on the high-flier, and unlike so many other kids-show collections, it stays on-topic and goes in chronological order, pulling three episodes from the show's second season, and a pair from the currently-airing fourth go-round. I figure, with my daughter now eight, it's time for her to get into the family business, so she's going to take over from here:

My Little Pony: A Dash of Awesome

Reviewed by Emma Rizzo

"May the Best Pet Win!" (Season 2)
Rainbow Dash is trying to choose a pet with Fluttershy's help. But to choose, they do a race to choose which is the best. It has to fly, be awesome, cool and radical. In the end, she finds it's better to have a best friend. I liked when Tank the Tortoise uses his head to lift a rock to help Rainbow Dash.

"The Mysterious Mare Do Well" (Season 2)
Rainbow Dash is a hero in Ponyville. When a new hero comes, called the Mysterious Mare Do Well, and helps a resident in Ponyville, she's the new hero. Rainbow Dash doesn't like that at all, so she tries to get her place back in Ponyville. In the end, it's better to be generous and not be selfish. Sometimes you can be the hero. My favorite part was when the Mysterious Mare Do Well fixed the dam with her magic.

"Read It and Weep" (Season 2)
Rainbow Dash is trying out her new tricks when something goes wrong and she breaks her wing. When she's in the hospital, Twilight brings her a book called Daring Do and the Sapphire Statue. Rainbow Dash calls Twilight an egghead because she loves books and Rainbow Dash hates books. Soon she finds out reading is for everypony and sneaks into the hospital to get the book back. My favorite part is when Rainbow Dash sneaks into the hospital to get the book.

"Daring Don't" (Season 4)
I don't even know where to start. Rainbow Dash is waiting for the new Daring Do book by A.K. Yearling. The book gets postponed for two more months. Rainbow Dash can't wait anymore to get the new book. Her friends and her track A.K. Yearling down to see if she can do the book quicker. They find out the truth about A.K. Yearling. Rainbow Dash helps her finish her book. By favorite part was when Rainbow Dash helped save the day.

"Rainbow Falls" (Season 4)
Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and Bulk Bicep are trying to qualify for the Equestria Games, but Rainbow Dash can't decide which team to represent, Cloudsdale, where she was born, or Ponyville, where all her friends live. My favorite part would have to actually be the cheerleaders, because I want to be a cheerleader really bad.

I think My Little Pony fans should get this DVD. I'd get it for children who are 5-8. It would be good for them. It's full of laughter and it teaches children lessons, like lessons about friendship. My favorite episode is "Daring Don't." I love it because of the action. I like them because they are all Rainbow Dash episodes and Rainbow Dash is my third favorite pony. Princess Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy are my favorites.

Thanks, Emma. These episodes offer several examples of how the show continues to court the kids who are the show's reason for existence, while still giving a wink to the older fans who have made it a huge success. From the nameless inclusion of Derpy Hooves (a fan-favorite character famous for being a bit "off", signified by her crossed googly eyes), to the intense Bulk Biceps, a Kricfalusi-esque pegasus with steroid-affected wings and a tendency to yell, the show always finds a way to include something odd for the bronies to enjoy. Adding to the fun behind the cuteness are real-world-to-pony adaptations, like an Indiana Jones-like adventurer and an obviously-inspired author named A.K. Yearling, along with some clever meta gags throughout (like an old-school map trail that ends with Pinkie Pie actually painting a line behind the group.) Of course, at its core, the show is all about cute, silly fun and positive lessons like being loyal, friendly and smart, but it's easy to see why the show attracts more than just little girls.

Packaged in a white single-width keepcase, which is inside an embossed holofoil slipcover, this DVD offers up five Rainbow Dash-centric episodes. The discs has a static, anamorphic widescreen menu, with options to play all the episodes, select shows and check out the extras. There are no audio options and no subtitles, though closed captioning is included.

The Quality
Presented in anamorphic widescreen, these episodes look good, but they can't touch the way the show looks when it airs in high definition, as it comes off as a touch blurry in comparison. Despite that, the series' candy-colored animation is bright and richly colored, and there are no evident issues with compression artifacts.

The audio is delivered via Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks that are fine for this series, coming off clear and strong, with the balanced audio delivering the songs, voices and sound effects with sufficient power.

The Extras
As with most such releases, the extras are brief, offering only a single sing-along segment for the song "Find a Pet," from the episode "May the Best Pet Win." On-screen karaoke-like lyrics let your little one sing with the song, though, based on experience, there's a good chance they already know all the words.

The Bottom Line
If Rainbow Dash is your kid's favorite pony, this set delivers the goods, with a quality sampling of episodes focused on the speedster. Five episodes for about 13 dollars isn't the greatest deal (especially when the entirety of season three costs just two dollars more), and with no extras, this disc may wear out its welcome quickly. However, there's not real negative to this release, so if you can find it cheaper or just have a Rainbow Dash fan to satisfy, it's a decent pick-up.

Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.

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*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.

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