Yesflix/Noflix: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Vs. TMNT (2012)
If like me you love cartoons but fell behind by several years you may not know where to start. Diving headlong back into the fray brings its own exhilaration but for more cautious cartoon addicts, choosing the right show is not so easy. This is where I would recommend watching new versions of old favourites. The modern style of writing and animation will blend deliciously with your familiarity with the core mythology. Revamps can help bring in a new audience who never had a fondness for the original show. They can also alienate old fans and tarnish the fond memories one had. While the latter may not apply to this article, the former certainly does.
YESFLIX- MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC
If you ever wondered why a 30 year old franchise about plastic toy horses is often used in memes and remix videos on YouTube, the answer is Friendship Is Magic. Director Lauren Faust known for her excellent work on Powerpuff Girls is the mastermind behind this incredible show about a group of magical horses in a far away land called Equestria. They have several adventures together and through them all they learn what it means to be friends.
Having always wanted to make as she put it, “cartoons for girls don’t have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness”, Faust eschewed the earlier MLP cartoon’s saccharine tone and benevolent characters. For Friendship is Magic she gave the six main protagonists distinct personalities with every intention of them clashing. Twilight Sparkle is the hero of the show but is also very bossy and organised, the exact opposite of insane party pony Pinky Pie. Dignified unicorn Rarity designs clothes and wouldn’t dream of working outdoors like her country pony friend Applejack. Rainbow Dash is outspoken and headstrong, much to the chagrin of her friend Fluttershy who, as her name suggests, is a quiet and timid pony.
I would never have expected to like a My Little Pony show. Friendship is Magic really impressed me with how well written it is. The ups and downs of friendship are all presented honestly but with no overly sentimental moments or forced drama. This is impressive for any show let alone one for children. But above all else, the show is absolutely hilarious. The wit and sophistication of the humour is worthy of any animated comedy, especially from the character of Pinkie Pie. I liken her to Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time. She may only show up briefly in an episode but it will always be the funniest moment.
This is a fantastic show for everyone. Not just girls, not just women. Everyone. The success of this show among male fans has led to them being called ‘Bronies’. It’s an affectionate term and I suppose I could be considered one but I just call myself a fan. Good writing is good writing no matter what the perceived fan base should be and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is one of the best written cartoons of the last ten years.
Fans of Powerpuff Girls and Adventure Time will LOVE this!
NOFLIX- TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2012)
Hamato Yoshi and his four pet turtles are contaminated with a mysterious goo which makes them all mutate. While Yoshi gains the features of a rat his four pets grow in size ans intellect. Together they train in the art of ninjitsu and do battle with Yoshi’s old enemy, The Shredder.
This is the 3rd animated series featuring the heroes in a half shell (turtle power). It’s certainly well cast, featuring such heavyweights as Rob Paulson, Sean Astin, Jason Biggs and Clancey Brown. It’s also a fast paced show with a mix of eastern and western animation styles. Despite all that, as a TMNT fan I just can’t recommend it. It’s not terrible and there are worse ways to keep kids entertained, but that’s part of the problem. It’s just noisy, flashy pap with little if any qualities of note. The episodes move along so quickly and with no time for tension or drama that it’s hard to connect with the characters. Everything is said and done at a machine gun like pace leaving little room for character or plot development. It’s less story telling and more frantic box ticking as they feel the need to spit out an insult or pop culture reference quickly so they can move on to the next frantic battle with a monster of the week. It’s all just far too hectic. Should I really expect more from a cartoon about humanoid reptiles with ninja skills? Yes. Absolutely. Why shouldn’t I be? If Superman The Animated Series could do it, TMNT can too.
The episodes themselves are far too outrageous and goofy to invest your attention in. Little if any reasons are given to the insane monsters or aliens which fight the Turtles one mind numbing episode at a time. I guess the writers figured that if one can accept the central premise of the main characters then anything goes. In fact, the opposite is true. If you’re asking someone to believe one outlandish idea you can’t expect them to believe anything else and maintain credibility. As I said, it’ll keep the kids quiet and it’s not the worst. But it’s not very good either. My 9 year old self would be horrified, but I would easily choose My Little Pony over Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.