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YMMV / My Little Pony TV Specials

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  • Angst? What Angst?: The ponies that were transformed into baleful ponymorphs and were made to assist Tirac bring in The Night That Never Ends sure don't seem too broken up about it at the end of Rescue from Midnight Castle, if we are to assume that they remember it in the first place.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: Thanks to this, people are still surprised at how dark the first special was decades after it was made.
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  • Anvilicious: The anti-drug message of Escape from Catrina is... unsubtle.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The sea ponies' musical number in the first special, which comes out of nowhere and is only tangentially referenced afterwards.
  • Cliché Storm: As good as the original special was, it is also this. An Evil Overlord is trying to Take Over the World and only a Plucky Girl Kid Hero and her ragtag bunch of misfit friends can stop him using a powerful Macguffin given to them by a absent-minded wizard. The same goes for the follow-up.
  • Complete Monster: Tirac, a demon of a centaur in Rescue at Midnight Castle, was the ruler of the Midnight Castle, and planned to send Dream Valley into a state of eternal chaos. To do so, he used a sack containing magical spells in it to essentially torture and transform young ponies into his hideous, winged dragons which he could then use to pull his Chariot of Darkness. In addition, whenever his henchman Scorpan failed him, Tirac would threaten to have Spike's head cut off if he ever screwed up again; Spike was a baby dragon.
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  • Contested Sequel: To a lot of fans either everything that came after these two specials, or just anything after Rescue at Midnight Castle, period.
  • Creepy Awesome: Tirac is personified Nightmare Fuel, and became an Ensemble Darkhorse because of it.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Firefly. Spunky tomboy with guts and attitude? Check. Inspired Rainbow Dash? Check. Being voiced by Sandy Duncan also doesn't hurt.
    • The Moochick: this character is fondly remembered by many fans of the series as one of its finer points. Being voiced by Tony Randall probably helped.
    • Applejack, too, considering her only animated appearance was in "Midnight Castle" but later got a song, reappeared in the UK comics, and a few generations later became one of the main characters of Friendship is Magic.note 
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    • Tirac is also surprisingly popular with the Friendship Is Magic fans. The creators eventually brought him back in said series.
    • Medley, Bow-Tie, Glory, Twilight, Moondancer, and Embernote  all have garnered their place amongst fandom.
    • And of course Habbit, the Moochick's long-suffering rabbit assistant.
    • The Sea Ponies. They're especially popular with the Friendship is Magic fanbase, which is still waiting for them to show up in the series proper. They finally make an appearance in the feature film (albeit with a different design), with the voices of Kristen Chenoweth and Uzo Aduba!
  • Evil Is Cool: Tirac.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Catrina, considering she’s an anthropomorphic cat.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Firefly and Medley have been gaining a bit of support in more recent times.
  • First Installment Wins: Most of G1 fans consider Midnight Castle (and sometimes Catrina) to be high point of the cartoons that were made at the time. With its slick animation, menacing and competent villain Tirac, Anti-Villain Scorpan, and awesome's not difficult to see why.
  • He Panned It, Now He Sucks!: Expect anyone who dislikes Midnight Castle to get this treatment, even if they did have a well thought-out reason why.
  • Memetic Mutation: The Seaponies and their "Shoo-be-doo, Shoo-Shoo-be-do!"
  • Moral Event Horizon: Tirac threatening to behead Spike, a baby, to punish Scorpan for his failure. If not then, the 'turn ponies into mindless monsters to pull his chariot' is probably the point where Tirac crossed this line.
  • Nightmare Retardant: As horrifying as Tirac can be, his sheer hamminess occasionally makes him outright goofy.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Tirac, everything from his voice to turning ponies into dragons, even leaving one out and forcing her to watch.
  • Popular with Furries:
    • Firefly, Twilight, Applejack, and several of the others are popular amongst fans mainly because of this adaptation. Spike as well.
    • Being an anthropomorphic cat, Katrina is one.
  • Sacred Cow: Midnight Castle is generally this for G1 fans. Catrina is this to a lesser extent.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: To a lot of FiM fans. Though these specials were pretty edgy for My Little Pony, the current incarnation has incorporated aspects of these specials, particularly Nightmare Moon and a more powerful Tirac, leaving some G4 fans unimpressed. Although it's downplayed as G4's villains end up being much more humorous after their first appearances unlike G1 Tirac who is never played for laughs.
  • Shipping: Pairings like Firefly and Medley, Bowtie and Applejack, Megan and Scorpan, Twilight and Moondancer, and of course Catrina and Rep have popped up in the rare fanfic.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Though the delivery of the Anti-Drug aesop of Catrina was heavy-handed and fantastic, one can still appreciate it, since drugs really are bad for both the mind and body.
  • Tearjerker: Meta example-all these ponies you've watched and grown attached to in these specials? They're all going to be replaced by an entirely different cast and you'll never see or hear from them again.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Tirac was a very Evil Overlord with intentions of ushering an age of eternal darkness and thus rule Ponyland and possibly Earth for eternity. To do it, he put the local enchanted creatures through painful transformations and constantly kicks his right hand goat-man, Scorpan around without relent and with threats of decapitating his only friend Spike. Scorpan himself was formerly a prince who had previously been enslaved by a previous conquest by this guy. He only got one half-hour to show his stuff, and he spent most of that time sitting on a throne.
    • While the special itself does make great use of Scorpan as a rare My Little Pony Anti-Villain/Anti-Hero who unwillingly serves his evil master in spite of his own good nature, he is never seen again after this and he never undergoes any more Character Development.
    • Firefly, despite all her Wolverine Publicity during G1, never appears again in the cartoons. It's an especially bizarre case because she kept being sold. However, every time she got re-released, they'd just re-run or re-release the one special she was in. She was sold like she was the Optimus Prime of the franchise even beyond the show's era, to the point of being on shelves alongside My Little Pony Tales, or even instead of MLPT, nearly a decade after her first and last appearance.
    • All of the ponies, who only appear in one special each and are then replaced by a completely new cast.
  • Tough Act to Follow: If you start watching the G1 cartoons starting with these, depending on how you view these specials, or even the franchise as a whole, you may or may not be less than impressed with anything that followed after.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Tends to be considered by some fans among the best things put out by the My Little Pony franchise because of its darkness.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Applejack is a girl in Midnight Castle, but the gravelly voice can make it hard to tell.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: A mild example, but some who flipped onto the station to watch this couldn't have have expected to behold the Power of Darkness.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: To some viewers, the Sea Pony dance number exemplifies this.
  • The Woobie:
    • Scorpan, Spike, and Ember in the first special.
    • Rep, Sundance, and Baby Moondancer in the second.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?: Paul Williams as Catrina's henchman.


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