‘Window shopping inspires me’ Equestria Girls Tales of Canterlot High S1 Ep1: Dance magic

When My Little Pony was first created, little did people know that grown men would one day make up a significant proportion of the franchise’s audience. The support of these ‘bronies’ has no doubt contributed to the success of the modern My Little Pony series ‘Friendship is Magic’, which spawned the spin-off ‘Equestria Girls’ series. Equestria Girls is a reimaging of the My Little Pony characters as teenage human girls. Alarm bells should be ringing in your head – this has the potential to be creepy.

And your concerns may well be justified as the series opens with the teenage pony-humans washing a man’s car. Combine that with the amateurish Flash-style animation and this show bears an uncanny resemblance to an unlicensed fanfic. But the anthropomorphic abominations have altruistic intentions. The carwash is just the latest in a series of fundraising schemes to raise money to repair Camp Everfree, which presumably is a place from an Equestria Girls series before Tales of Canterlot High.

Despite their best efforts they are nowhere near their fundraising target, but team leader Rarity spots an advert for a music video competition that would give them twice as much money as they need to save the camp – what a coincidence!

Rarity runs into a team from rival school Crystal Prep Academy and tells them her creative vision for the music video. For a moment I thought one of the Crystal Prep girls was a human version of Derpy Hooves, the My Little Pony character beloved by fans because she was accidentally drawn with wonky eyes. But I don’t think this is intentional – the animation is just bad. The dastardly Crystal Prep students steal Rarity’s idea and get ready to submit it first.

The Canterlot High gang try their best but they’re no good at dancing and they can’t come up with another concept for their video. Rarity is driven to a nervous breakdown from the stress, collapsing in her chaise-longue and weeping bitter tears of defeat. She drowns her sorrows at the ice cream parlour, where she overhears that the Crystal Prep team are having troubles of their own.

Although they’re good dancers, Crystal Prep are rubbish at singing and they can’t submit their music video without a song. So Rarity suggests the rival teams combine their talents and make a video together. It ends with a song and dance, and the rival teams become friends.

This story was riddled with clichés – entering a talent competition to raise money to save the camp/youth club/church from closing is a story we’ve seen a million times before and this episode adds nothing new. And it’s all so girly. The characters worry about the carwash damaging their hair, get distracted by sparkly dresses and end the episode by discussing what they’re going to wear to a party. The message of friendship, teamwork and recognising the strengths of others was a wholesome one, but from what I’ve seen this series is for diehard bronies only.

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