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Synopsis:

A mysterious meteor, a fragment leftover from the battle between Princess Celestia and Nightmare Moon, crash lands in Sweet Apple Acres. When Applejack goes to investigate, she is suddenly ambushed by apples that have spontaneously emerged from the trees around the impact site. The next day, while having a discussion over whether Cutie Marks represent a talent one just discovered or developing of a talent the individual loves, the Cutie Mark Crusaders and Mane Six head out to Sweet Apple Acres to meet Applejack and find the farm has been taken over by sentient, evil apples. The apples absorb magic and use catapults to ground the pegasi, and soon the girls are captured before the apples move on to take over the town. After forcing Mayor Mare to sign a treaty of surrender, the entire town is enslaved by the apple leader, Bad Apple, into making catapults so they can conquer the rest of Equestria. Establishing a secret base in Fluttershy’s cellar, Twilight Sparkle temporarily turns Pinkie Pie into an apple to try and free Spike from Sweet Apple Acres to get a message to Princess Celestia. Although Pinkie fails to free him, she discovers another prisoner: Good Apple, who reveals they all came to life as a result of the meteor and claims the other apples are being manipulated by Bad Apple’s influence. On returning to the others, Twilight Sparkle gets an idea to fight back. First, she uses regressive hypnosis on Fluttershy to cause her to revert to her “Flutterbat” vampire fruit bat persona, then uses the same copy form spell she used on the Breezies to turn herself and the rest of the girls into vampire fruit bat ponies as well, only sentient.

The transformed Mane Six minus one begin to prey on the apples in town, but Flutterbat herself, who is considered too out of control, is confined in the basement. She eventually escapes to seemingly go on a wild rampage, and the girls, after freeing Spike and Bad Apple, find themselves overwhelmed by superior apple numbers. However, before they can get captured, it’s revealed Flutterbat gained control over her animal side and regained her own sentience, and she leads a flock of vampire fruit bat reinforcements to start decimating the apples. To combat this, the apples combine together to form one colossal apple construct with Bad Apple as the core (that looks suspiciously like Spike for some reason…). “Twilight Sparkling”, meanwhile, discovers the meteor and realizes it has trace magic from both Celestia and Nightmare Moon in it. She absorbs as much as she can, then puts it into Spike, who uses it via his dragon breath to launch the meteor back into space. As for the apple construct, “Rainbow Bite” shoots through it and replaces Bad Apple with Good Apple, who talks the other apples into relenting. In the conclusion, Princess Celestia gives the apples a new valley to build their society in, under the direction of Good Apple, and remarks how even if one has more negative tendencies inside them, they can choose to direct them to do something good (as Fluttershy did), and the CMCs learn the lesson that Cutie Marks are both a result of what you’re good at but also doing it in the most effective way from the experience.

Review:

I’m not really sure what’s the best way to characterize this arc. It has the zaniness of a standard episode, but also a touch of drama like some of the heavier episodes. I suppose the best category to lump it in with is the same as the Everfree Forest arc, although this one is a bit sillier than that with “killer apples”. Then again, unlike that arc, this one actually does try to have a Season-One-esque friendship lesson about it, or at least a lesson about Cutie Marks. Considering it came out in Season Five, it was good timing.

Alright, to get the elephant out of the room, it’s clear why this arc exists. It was a chance for the comics to highlight the favored one-shot character of Flutterbat. I’ll give it a bit more credit than that, however. While the plot was rather silly and somewhat contrived to be able to create a reason for Flutterbat to return and, more than that, to turn the rest of the girls into vampire fruit bat ponies as well, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. There’s lots of silly one liners in this, Pinkie Pie as an apple is surprisingly entertaining, and the premise ends up being able to be not only silly but enjoyable and even a bit dramatic at points too. The girls as vampires is also entertaining, as all of them don’t fully “lose themselves” but they definitely get a darker quality to their persona. Something more savage and hungry.

I also thought the authors did an interesting take on Flutterbat. Rather than make her something that was just the result of a spell accident, they reveal that she’s actually something “permanent” inside Fluttershy’s personality. That she has the potential to come out at will from Fluttershy’s dark side and actually induce a physical change in the process. In that sense, Flutterbat is more like a Jekyll and Hyde type deal, which is an interesting development. There’s even a few panels in which Fluttershy and Flutterbat are talking to one another. So in a take on irony, while this arc balks the trend in the comics and ends up saying Nightmare Moon was always Princess Luna, it makes Flutterbat her own individual.

Is it anything earth-shaking like the Nightmare Rarity arc or even some of the other arcs? No, but it’s got a lot more fun and action than your standard fare, and it does a bit more with Flutterbat than just a basic callback. While it’s just a bit too silly to ever see this happening in an actual episode, it’s not too silly and the characters are believable for the given situation. So, all in all, I’d say this one is pretty good.

Fun Facts:

This entire arc is a homage not only to B-movies, but what is considered possibly the biggest B-movie of all time: “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”.

Both the “Nightmare Rarity” arc and Nightmare Moon’s arc in Fiendship is Magic pushed the idea that Nightmare Moon is actually a separate and distinct entity from Princess Luna. Oddly enough, this arc does the opposite, with Nightmare Moon, on crashing on the moon, looking hurt and saying: “How could you, sister?”

Nat Tally’s rapid calculation of how many apples are attacking is reminiscent of a similar line Mr. Spock had in the infamous TOS episode: “The Trouble with Tribbles”.

Pinkie Pie’s outfit at Fluttershy’s is reminiscent of French underground resistance during World War II.

Flutterbat originally appeared in Season Four’s “Bats” and was one of the favorite one-shot characters from that season. While she was more bat-like and an animal in that one as opposed to a true vampire, in this arc the angle that she’s a true vampire is definitely played up more.

As an interesting touch, this arc reveals that Flutterbat was never fully “cured”, but rather remains as an aspect of Fluttershy’s persona. Even more interesting is that it shows the two personalities are capable of interacting with one another.

The names of the vampire ponies are jokes in and of themselves. Twilight Sparkle becomes “Twilight Sparkling”, which is a knockoff of the infamous tendency for the vampires in the “Twilight” series to sparkle. (Later there’s a joke where she says to an apple her name is “Twilight. Sparkling. Vampire.”, and the apple says those sound like they would go good together.) Rainbow Dash becomes “Rainbow Bite”, a play on words of Rainbow Brite. Rarity becomes Nosfu-Rarity, a play on word of “nosferatu”, which literally translates to immortal but is used to refer to vampires. Finally, Pinkie Pie becomes “Drinkie Pie” and Applejack becomes “Appledrac”. In addition to the physical changes, many of the girls also put on collars. For Cutie Marks, Twilight Sparkle gets an apple in the middle of her sparkle, Pinkie Pie’s balloons turn into drops, Rarity gets red hourglass shapes instead of gems(?), Applejack’s Cutie Mark has bites taken out of her apples, and Rainbow Dash’s cloud on her Cutie Mark turns gray. In spite of Twilight’s insistence their personalities will stay the same, the girls are clearly more ravenous-acting and slightly more sadistic as vampires.

When Princess Celestia lists that everyone has bad aspects to their personality, she says “ego,  vanity, stubbornness”. In the same panel, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Applejack are lined up; essentially pointing out their own “bad sides”.

In another Star Trek TOS reference, Twilight Sparkle, on remarking on the apple valley, says: “It would be interesting to return to this valley in the future and see what crop has sprung from the seed we planted.” This is a takeoff of Mr. Spock’s line from the end of the TOS episode “Space Seed”. (And hopefully that’s the only thing it has in common, because that episode served as the prelude to “The Wrath of Khan”. :P)

I’d say this arc uses more one-liners than any arc thus far.

One of the full-page bonus artworks features the girls as famous movie vampires, including from “The Lost Boys”.

Rating:

3.5 Stars out of 5

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