I give this highly misunderstood 90's cartoon...a 75/100!
Now if someone told me early last year that I'd be in love with a My Little Pony cartoon, I would have called them retarded! But nope! Thanks to the gloriousness that is My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, I am now a MLP fan! But I'm noticing a whole lot more that people think that Friendship Is Magic is the only great MLP series, which I can understand because I can tell right away that anything G3 MLP related is garbage, but they're hating the 1980's series, the series that started it all, and the 90's series, My Little Pony Tales. Out of curiosity and boredom, I decided to check out My Little Pony Tales since it's the most recent series before Friendship Is Magic. Boy, was I in for a big surprise! This is probably going to be my most verbose and detailed review yet, so you better deal with it.
This show came about in 1992, the golden age of exciting Saturday morning animated cartoons, but unlike shows that were about robots killing each other or heroes saving the day or kids going on great adventures with cute monster friends, My Little Pony Tales is pure, ponyfied slice of life. Basically a show aimed at tween girls with ponies as the main characters. You have Starlight, the sensible leader, Sweetheart, the sweet and gentle one, Melody, the gossipy and shallow girl who wants to be a rock star, Bright Eyes, the brainiac, Patch, the energetic tomboy, Clover, the hopeless klutz, and Bon Bon, who's a slightly vain goober who wants to be a fashion model. They basically live life like human beings: go to school, go on dates, go to their favorite ice cream shop, enter talent contests, roller skate, and, most weirdly of all, talk about boys.
Unlike the 1980's My Little Pony series, one thing that turned most fans away is that My Little Pony Tales has all earth ponies. No unicorns, no pegasi, no mythical creatures, no fantasy lands, nothing of the sort. All of that was given the shaft. I kind of found it rather surprising, but I don't think it's one of the most jarring flaws. I won't lie, My Little Pony Tales DOES, in fact, have a LOT of flaws, but at the same time, it also has so many things that are great about it. Yes, I will compare and contrast it to Friendship Is Magic, but it's still it's own entity, and I feel obliged to acknowledge that. I really don't understand why there's so much hate being poured on this underrated show. I mean, sure it has problems, but it doesn't mean someone should automatically hate it. For example, someone on IMDB was appalled by the fact that the ponies dieted for a while so they could participate in a swimming competition, even though it was only mentioned TWICE in the first few minutes, and it wasn't even the main issue of that particular episode! I do think she overreacted quite a lot, deciding that the show is crap JUST because of that one issue. Well, yes, I do agree that kids shouldn't be exposed to the dangers of the real world too quickly, and I do think the dieting thing is a BIT unnecessary, but really, it's only mentioned once in the entire show! That's it! I think I know why the creators did this. I think they did it so they can keep MLP popular. I mean, you have to admit, fighting witches and goblins and running around in caves and castles DO get boring after a while, and making the ponies go through real issues gives it a more personal touch and makes it easier to relate to the characters.
But I won't deny that it definitely has a lot of jarring flaws, so I'll use this time to address them. The first flaw, which I feel ruined the show quite a bit, is the pacing. Things go by REALLY fast, and they don't really give time for the scenes to really sink in. This is apparent in episodes like Out Of Luck and The Play's The Thing. Conflict doesn't go on for too long, and problems get solved way too quickly. I think it was exacerbated by the fact that the episodes themselves are only ten minutes long, and I think this problem would have been rectified if they extended it to 22 minutes, like FIM did. That would have made the scenes more developed and make more of an impact. They could have done so much with 22 minute episodes. I'm sorry, but I have to say it: Ed Edd and Eddy episodes were 10 minutes long, but they have much better pacing than MLPT does. Maybe MLPT could have done much better if it was given the proper episode duration.
Some other issues are the animation and the characters. The animation is great for the 1990s, but at times I did see a few animation derps here and there. Now for the characters. Don't get me wrong, I actually liked the characters. They actually have diverse personalities and aren't totally cookie cutter cardboard cut-outs with permanent smiles on their faces, nor are they perfect little angels. They get into fights sometimes and don't always get along. This made me happy, though I do admit, I wish some got a little more development, like Starlight. I personally feel that out of all the characters, she got the least development in the entire show. The boy ponies were great, too. Their conflicts are quite realistic, and I can see stuff like this happening in real life. My favorites out of all of them have to be Sweetheart and Bright Eyes.
But more flaws need to be addressed, and these two, unfortunately, happen to be the ones that totally killed the show for me the hardest. What's the first one? The music! The soundtrack is one thing, being as bland and generic as it is, but OH GOD THE SONGS!!! The songs that the ponies sing in this are just the single WORST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD!!! Sure, not everybody sings like Celine Dion, which I can understand, but the songs themselves both have generic lyrics and are SO BADLY SUNG they make your ears bleed! I mean, this is worse than the Durarara soundtrack!! OH GOD, don't even get me started with the pony who has the ABSOLUTE WORST singing voice of all: Patch. They seriously should have gone with another person to dub her singing, like how Friendship Is Magic did with Pinkie Pie for reasons I don't think I'll ever be able to fathom, because Patch's singing voice is just grating as heck! It made my ears bleed every time she started singing! Ugh, that song she sang in The Impractical Joker is the single WORST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD!!!! Somebody PLEASE KILL IT!!!!!! But rest assured, not ALL the songs in MLPT are bad. I liked the songs in the episodes Gribet and Birds of a Feather. They were actually well-sung despite being a tad generic.
The final flaw I need to address is one particular episode of the series, the one called Shop Talk. This one episode alone is the only episode of this series that I ever truly hated, not only in the issue it discusses (which is gossip), but the way in which it tells kids to solve it! Seriously, what is it with shows that talk about gossip that tell you that blackmail is the only way to make gossip stop happening?! Hey kids! What lesson did we learn today? Blackmail is the answer to all your problems!!! I'm sorry, but when it comes to talking about gossip and how to properly solve it, Friendship Is Magic did a WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better job at handling the issue than Tales did. Sorry, Tales. If anyone should be complaining about how badly an issue was handled, it should be about this episode!
I take it you're going to say stuff like, "But it's a terrible show! It talks down to its audience and claims our kids to be idiots!" But I do remember asking myself as I watched this: DOES MLPT talk down to its audience? Much to my surprise, other than with the Shop Talk episode, the answer is NO. On the contrary, certain episodes actually take it's audience very seriously. I really liked the episodes Bon Bon's Diary, Stand By Me, Gribet, An Apple for Starlight, Birds of a Feather, and Battle of the Bands. I especially found the episode An Apple for Starlight to be very interesting and actually very smart in the way it tells us that what we learn in school can be very useful for us in the future. Not only that, like I said before, the characters aren't typical cookie cutter characters who are always nice to each other. They get into fights and don't always get along. Yes, they're a little bland, but you have to give them credit for at least trying to give them some diverse personalities and making them a bit less one dimensional. They're still characters who have hobbies, dreams, and personal problems they're ashamed of. We can't fault them for that because we're like that! Not only that, the voice actors behind all of the characters are great, and they're acted very well despite them being total newbies back then (I think in terms of voice acting, MLPT was the debut show for a lot of actors back then). I do wonder why the creators chose to make it about ponies at all when it could have been done with real kids, but I think maybe they did it to re-ignite the franchise and make it popular.
So that concludes my review of My Little Pony Tales. It's not perfect, it's definitely not Friendship Is Magic, but it doesn't need to be. It's still its own entity and while it's riddled with flaws, it's definitely a solid little show that definitely deserves more appreciation than it's getting.