Review: My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Annual 2013
The Fall of Sunset Shimmer
As the father of a six year old little girl that adores all things My Little Pony, I’m familiar with the series and characters. I wouldn’t throw myself in with the group of fanboys that call themselves “Bronys”, however I will freely admit that I enjoy the series and comics with my Princess at home. With that being said, I will admit that I really enjoyed this annual. It provided enough back story to shed some light on a story arc that is being covered on the series on The Hub network. I’ll endeavor to compose as spoiler free of a review as possible, though there may be some, without giving you a panel by panel replay of the book so that the adventure can be yours as you jump into magical world of Equestria and Canterlot.
The story opens as it establishes Sunset Shimmer as a bright and talented student of Princess Celestia, who much like Twilight Sparkle, is tasked with learning about friendship. Unlike Twilight Sparkle she has a huge ego and strives for greater power. Her true desire is to have more power than any pony ever. She hungers for it so much that she sees herself as a potential ruler of Equestria when looking in an enchanted mirror, much like the Mirror of Erised in Harry Potter. After seeing this, she questions Celestia about the mirror continuously and is constantly rebuffed by the Princess. Sunset Shimmer then takes it upon herself to research the mirror independently. This leads to one of my favorite frames in the entire book. We see Sunset Shimmer in the Dark Magic section of the library amidst stacks of books. Most of which have clever plays on regular titles, ie: Crisis on Infinite Equestrias. However, if you are an Evil Dead fan, you’ll notice that she is reading the Necronomicon.
Without revealing too much here, Sunset Shimmer discovers a way to escape the world of Equestria and cross over into another dimension where things are slightly different. Rather than being equine, every pony is human. Enter the Equestria Girls. Act Two of the books serves as character development for five of our favourite friends who aren’t quite yet friends. We meet Rarity, Fluttershy, Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash and of course Pinkie Pie. It’s all their first day in a new school and we see how most struggle with finding their identity in the strangest of worlds- High School.
I’m not a fan of the art direction of the Equestria Girls, but I realize that that it’s not meant for a 38 year old man. The almost anthromorphic design of the girls stays true to their other dimension pony selves though as does their inherent personalities. Looking past the character designs, I see the deeper meaning of the story and it is applicable to any girl whether she is in elementary school or high school. How to deal with real world issues such as ego, bullying, mean girls, and struggling to be popular or at least fit in when everyone around you seems to be insisting that in order for you to be a part of their “club” you must change who you are at the very foundation of your being. Hopefully as the story progresses our young heroines will go to prove that that simply isn’t the case.
As this review ends, take a particularly insightful statement made by a pony who isn’t normally known for being a fount of knowledge with you. Rarity says, “We all need a little kindness every now and then.” Remember that as you go about your day and if you see someone struggling, pass a little along to them. You never know how it may affect them and you.