Fluttershy gets a startling surprise one morning when she talks to one of the squirrels at her house…only to hear it talk back. Soon Fluttershy is hearing every animal talk back to her. Fearing something might be wrong with her, she runs to Zecora to get an answer. After conducting a variety of tests and coming up dry, she brings in a raccoon to see if Fluttershy can talk to it, but only when she leaves the room does the raccoon talk and run off, prompting Fluttershy to run after it. Zecora, meanwhile, ends up grabbing two cats and eventually tricks them into talking, then bribes them with catnip to get the truth of their new ability out of them. She runs out to find Fluttershy and tell her the news, only to find she’s already seated with all of her animals friends, all of whom are capable of talking, and having a party. Zecora reveals the reason behind this was Discord (who appears at that moment), who wanted to give Fluttershy a present and made all of her animals capable of speech. Fluttershy enjoys the gift and gives Discord a big hug, actually surprising and embarrassing him a bit, and she enjoys the rest of the party with her friends. Meanwhile, Zecora reminds Discord he’ll have to change them back at the end of this, and Discord tells her it could have been worse…he could have made all of the animals speak only in rhyme.
First off, the title is somewhat misleading. The real “friendship” in this one comes from Fluttershy and Discord, as revealed toward the end. Still, Zecora does figure into the bulk of the plot and many of the pages, so I suppose it’s fitting for her.
Zecora is one of my more favorite side characters, as she’s both “different” from the typical pony as well as still the same. Hence, she’s a nice little balance. I like that she was tapped for potential in Season One and Two beyond her initial appearance, which was mostly to be an episode against racism, and I’ve been kind of disappointed she hasn’t figured so much since although she has made the occasional appearance. I noticed in this one she has something of the same vibe that Guinan did back in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, namely in that she seems to be somewhat knowledgeable about Q/Discord and there’s an unspoken backstory between the two. Still, she’s mostly just another character one of the mane characters goes to with a problem rather than her own character in this one, frequently as she is on the show, and we don’t really learn anything new about her…so that’s kind of a letdown.
But that aside, most of the intrigue and fun comes from Fluttershy and her interaction with the animals. To be honest, I think a lot of the personal enjoyment in this one comes from how the reader can picture Angel Bunny speaks now that he finally has a voice of his own. That would have been nicer with other more familiar animals too…but ah well.
As I said, the real “friendship” in this one comes from Fluttershy and Discord, and the panel with them hugging is pretty cute. The rest of this issue is more wackiness, strangeness, and fun. Not really too much “laugh out loud” fun, but still lots of good silliness. As such, as with most of the “Friends Forever” arcs, I rate it “good-not-great”.
One of Zecora’s tests on Fluttershy is where she tries to get her to read a card with her mind, similar to what the CMCs did in “The Show Stoppers”. However, the card has a couple of wavy lines on it, so it might be an allusion to “Ghostbusters”.
In the panels with Zecora interrogating the two cats, one keeps looking nervous while the other just keeps cleaning itself…but that’s the one that ironically “breaks” first.
3 Stars out of 5