Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash are called to the Wonderbolt Academy by the Cutie Map to help academy hopefuls Sky Stinger and Vapor Trail with a friendship problem.Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash are called to the Wonderbolt Academy by the Cutie Map to help academy hopefuls Sky Stinger and Vapor Trail with a friendship problem.Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash are called to the Wonderbolt Academy by the Cutie Map to help academy hopefuls Sky Stinger and Vapor Trail with a friendship problem.
There were a couple of worries though beforehand, being somebody that didn't care for the last Wonderbolt Academy-centric episode "Newbie Dash" and found Rainbow Dash rather problematically written in Season 6, especially in "28 Pranks Later". "Top Bolt" is light years better than "Newbie Dash", nothing really left a bad taste in the mouth, it did a lot with its premise, the two supporting characters are actually interesting and Rainbow Dash is much better written here.
Very little to dislike here. Would have liked a little more of Twilight, as she does take a little too much of a backseat at times. Personally didn't think that Spitfire amused that much or was likeable, have always found her too much of a bully and "Top Bolt" does nothing to change my mind.
However, despite thinking her underused Twilight was the perfect character for the fixing problems/relationships scenario even though not so much for the Wonderbolt setting, having done it so well in "Amending Fences" (too much less so in "No Second Prances" where she was out of character) and seemed willing and sympathetic. Rainbow Dash has some of her better character writing of Season 6 by far, she is brash at times but seems keen to help and is resourceful and in want to succeed without it getting too egotistical. She is much better treated than she is in "Newbie Dash" too, her treatment in that episode was distasteful but not here thankfully. They work beautifully together, even though their personalities are different they both have the same basic goal.
Even better are the supporting characters that are heavily focused upon, Vapor Trail and Sky Stinger. They are very well developed characters, equally so, and their conflict is investable and surprisingly complex. Sky is admittedly a lot less likeable, with an ego that is rather too big for his "hooves" but actually the episode doesn't go too overly far on that to the point of distaste and other episodes did far worse at over-emphasising character flaws in supporting characters (i.e. "Flutter Brutter"). The writing is smart, with some amusing humour and poignant drama. The ending doesn't feel too neat and the moral not too preachy. The story is always absorbing.
Animation is full of life and rich detail and the music is dynamic. All the voice acting is on point.
Overall, a great episode and one of the best of an inconsistent season. 9/10.
- May 6, 2021