When most of the Mane Six visit the abandoned Castle of the Princesses for separate reasons, they find it seemingly haunted.When most of the Mane Six visit the abandoned Castle of the Princesses for separate reasons, they find it seemingly haunted.When most of the Mane Six visit the abandoned Castle of the Princesses for separate reasons, they find it seemingly haunted.
"Castle Mane-ia" on the most part for me didn't disappoint. Again it doesn't have flawless execution, but it made great use of one of the season's and show's most creative locations and was one of the season's most interesting atmosphere-wise. Also for me one of the funniest 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' episodes, certainly of Season 4, and the creepiest since Season 3's "Sleepless in Ponyville" (the best episode too of that season in my view).
There are so many good things here. Once again, the animation is amazing. Always did love the animation in 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' and in the early seasons this aspect became more and more polished with each season, but Season 4 often was one of the best looking episodes of the show and "Castle Mane-ia" is for me one of the season's best-looking outings. The character designs are more refined, the transitions and movements more fluid and the colours are not only vibrant and rich in shading and it did strike me that some of the episodes of Season 4 had a darker look than the previous seasons. Really liked the groovy quirkiness of the story and it is dynamic and ominous when needed, really liked the use of the organ which fondly reminded me of the old Gothic horrors and animated shows that mixed horror and comedy.
While the writing was great in "Princess Twilight Sparkle", it was even greater in "Castle Mane-ia" in my view and that is probably not a popular opinion. It is one of the funniest episodes of the season and the show, there is more humour here than in the two parter premiere and all the jokes hit the mark and the best of them are hilarious. Especially with Rarity, who is an absolute joy and a breath of fresh air, some didn't like Pinkie Pie here and found her annoying. To me she works much better here and is much funnier here than she was in "Princess Twilight Sparkle". Not only is "Castle Mane-ia" very funny with an energetic pace to the storytelling, it has a real spooky vibe too in a way that was affectionate and unsettling. All the Mane 6 encounters had creepiness and were inventive. The Mane 6 are very well utilised, are all relevant and they are in character, Rarity steals the show. The voice acting is excellent, especially from Tabitha St Germain.
By all means, "Castle Mane-ia" isn't flawless. The weakest faring character is Spike. Here he is pretty much useless and has very little to do, and what he is given to do got old very fast.
Although the moral is a great one and relatable, a lot more could have been done with it as it has a thrown in feel here.
Otherwise, very good indeed. 8/10
- Aug 24, 2020