Rainbow Dash receives an invitation to attend the Wonderbolt Academy, but questions whether she is Wonderbolt material.Rainbow Dash receives an invitation to attend the Wonderbolt Academy, but questions whether she is Wonderbolt material.Rainbow Dash receives an invitation to attend the Wonderbolt Academy, but questions whether she is Wonderbolt material.
As far as Season 3 goes, "Wonderbolts Academy" is much better than "One Bad Apple" and "Spike at Your Service". There are also far worse episodes of 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' overall. It is nowhere near one of the season's best either, it's no "Too Many Pinkie Pies" or "Sleepless in Ponyville", and there are vastly superior episodes of the show too. If asked to rank it with the other Season 3 episodes, it would be towards the bottom. It's not a bad episode, just that there is nothing special about it either.
Starting with the good things, and there are many, the animation continues to be great. Especially for the academy, which is like a grand character of its own inside and out. The music fits well tonally and in placement, not overused or overpowering. There are no faults to be had with the voice acting, Ashleigh Ball gives a powerful performance as Rainbow Dash. There are some nice moments in the script, whether amusing or touching. The moral is identifiable and not done in a preachy way.
Pinkie Pie has moments of amusement and Rainbow Dash's stepping out of the office moment is heart-breaking. Love Rainbow Dash, in one of her meatiest episodes of the episode along with "Sleepless in Ponyville", she feels like a real character with real humanity. Snowflake and especially Spitfire are fun supporting characters.
Not everything works sadly. Lightning Dust had potential, but managed at the end of the day to be very generic and rather irritating. Basically a jerk of a character and not much else. The ending felt rushed and too convenient, it was not too hard either on how it was all going to map out.
Other than Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash, the Mane 6 don't progress or compel all that much and some of the character flaws are exaggerated which makes them less likeable. The writing definitely has moments, but it was also on the whole rather bland and didn't have enough to it to let me properly invest emotionally in what went on.
"Wonderbolts Academy" is definitely worth a look, but the season and the show have done a lot better and the wonder isn't quite there. 6/10
- Jul 20, 2020