Rarity episodes are always fantastic. There’s the classic ‘Suited for Success‘ and ‘Sweet and Elite.’ There was a disturbing lack of Rarity-centered stories in Season 3. Meghan McCarthy knew this and promised we would be seeing some of her in Season 4. I had high hopes for this one. Nothing against ‘Castle Mane-ia,’ ‘Power Ponies,’ or ‘BATS!,’ but what MLP doe best are stories with heart, and ‘Rarity Takes Manehattan‘ looked like a classic. (The title is also one of the very best.) After watching, I can safely say that ‘Flight to the Finish‘ has been dethroned for the best episode of Season 4. Not only is it fantastic, it’s also one of the show’s finest and maybe Rarity’s greatest outing yet.
Here’s the official episode description from The Hub:
Rarity’s love for fashion takes her to Manehattan for Fashion Week, but her excitement is soon diminished by a fellow designer, who has decided to take advantage of her generous nature and pass off her design ideas as their own.
Besides the fact that it’s a Rarity episode, the other main thing I and many others were personally excited for was the setting. Manehattan has only been mentioned and briefly seen in a flashback, so it was going to be awesome to see in its full glory. Obviously as you know it’s a parody of the Big Apple, so we were going to get ponies in the city! It’s great, because we’re so used to seeing the Mane 6 in the small town of Ponyville as opposed to the busy streets of an industrialized city. Hopefully one day it will be revisited.
Rarity does not disappoint. Sadly she may be the most underrated pony, along with Applejack. Her voice and personality is quite a thrill to watch on screen. Her element is generosity, and we’ve seen that come to play numerous times throughout the show. But I don’t think it’s ever been showcased to its greatest effect until now. When Suri Polomare, a city-pony and new character, asks if she can have a bit of Rarity’s fabric, the latter doesn’t hesitate and gives her a lot more than a sliver. Rarity doesn’t think the worst and that Suri will actually use it to copy her dresses. That’s not how her mindset operates, she’s generous to everyone, even strangers as seen in the first song. So when she sees her dresses has been copied, her generous nature is tested. Fantastic stuff!
You have to admit, MLP has some of the most impressive and diverse voice acting. Suri’s voice for example is one of the most unique in the show. I doubt we’ll see her again, but she was a solid ‘antagonist’ for this episode. Coco Pommel is another solid (and genuinely nice) new character that thankfully got good development in the final few minutes. Now, the first song is very nice with impressive visuals showcasing Manehattan. If you listen to the lyrics, you’ll find a lot of heart and good stuff. If more people had Rsrity’s philosophy, the world would be a slightly nicer place. The second song is more on the emotional side and makes the viewer feel very sad for Rarity. This episode has a lot of genuine emotion, it’s something when a TV-Y cartoon can evoke such emotion. Another example of why MLP is the best.
Despite the show being built around friendship, the stories never cease to amaze me with how it’s portrayed. This one for example showcases how far the rest of the Mane 6 will go for their friend despite her being on the mean side. Yes, we do see Rarity descend into a realm of being non-generous. Despite that, the ponies work hard to get her to win. And then once she sees her friends are absent from the fashion show, she realizes her mistake. The first moral right there is that winning at the expense of close friendships is not worth it. But the main thing to take out of which Rarity makes clear in the final minute is to never stop being generous, even if others will take advantage of it. You shouldn’t let them reshape your generosity. It’s one of the very best from the show, something out of a Season 1 episode.
Overall, ‘Rarity Takes Manehattan‘ exceeded expectations. It’s the best Season 4 episode and one of the show’s finest. Rarity proves once again that she makes for a great focus. The story is amazingly crafted, hats off to Dave Polsky. This is by far his best episode yet. The emotion is real, there’s a lot of heart in the second and third act. The characters are great, the dialogue is fantastic, and the songs are very good. But most of all, the ending moral is something people of all ages can take something out of.
(Alright, that’s technically not possible, but I just wanted to put emphasis on how great of an episode it was.)
Daniel is a huge fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. His favorite is Fluttershy and you can follow him on Twitter: @Destroyer_199