10 September 2020 | TheLittleSongbird
Fun and fashion in Manehattan
The previous seven Season 4 episodes were of a generally solid standard (all ranging from decent to nearly great), starting with a lot of promise. Was personally a little disappointed in "Daring Don't" and "Flight to the Finish" on first watch and they still are lesser Season 4 episodes, but am one of perhaps not many 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' fans to consider "Power Ponies" underrated. As someone who considers Rarity one of her favourite ponies it was hard to not expect great things from "Rarity Takes Manehattan".
Which was exactly what was gotten when seeing "Rarity Takes Manehattan" for the first time when the season first aired, and to this day my very positive feelings have not changed at all and have actually increased due to getting even more out of it. "Rarity Takes Manehattan" still is one of the best Rarity-centric episodes, one of the high points of Season 4 and the first outstanding Season 4 episode. It was just so great to see a familiar scenario and setting being done in a way that didn't feel familiar at all.
"Rarity Takes Manehattan" is at its weakest with its slightly overlong first song, but seeing as the song is still fun and well composed that actually wasn't a major issue for me.
Especially considering that everything else is so brilliant. The animation is gorgeous once again, especially loved the vibrant colours and how much detail went into the creative fashions (which was a lot). The music is dynamic as usual and is pleasant and fun to listen to. Have next to no problem actually with the songs, which have divided the fandom somewhat, with the reprise of "Generosity" being a real jewel and very touching in particular.
Same goes with the writing, which is a great mix of the very funny, very touching and very heart-warming. One of Dave Polsky's best written episodes and easily his best one up to this point of the show's run. It was great that much of the first half of Season 4 did so well with the humour, some occasional forced humour from Pinkie Pie in the season opener two parter aside, which was plentiful and always entertaining. The drama is relatable and poignant, capturing the glamour and vindictive competitiveness of the fashion industry perfectly, and the character interaction is full of tension, fun and heart. The complexity and relevance of the moral, which is also so worth relating to, was appreciated as was the sincerity of its delivery.
Furthermore, "Rarity Takes Manehattan's" scenario and setting is not novel, and neither are the ideas, but the execution doesn't feel old in any way. The setting is portrayed vividly and truthfully and while a lot happens in the story it doesn't feel cluttered or rushed. The character interaction is on point, as is the character writing for Rarity. Rarity was such a great character throughout Season 4 and this was her shining moment of it and one of her best overall episodes, she feels compellingly real as a character. One that has her flaws but also with plenty to like about her. Coco is cute too and it was great that the conflict wasn't too predictable or shallow (like it admittedly sounded on paper). The voice acting is very good indeed, especially from Tabitha St Germain in a beautifully nuanced vocal performance.
In summary, outstanding. Season 4 properly hit its stride with this episode. 10/10