Twilight Sparkle is visiting Princess Cadance at the Crystal Empire for the dedication of the Court of the Crystal Princess, but as they have a few days before that happens they decided to spend some time together. Cadance elects to go with Twilight to the marketplace incognito, as she’s tired of all the Crystal Ponies always bowing to her and treating her with an air of royalty every time she appears in public. However, she gets an unpleasant surprise when she finds that figurines and costumes of her and the other three alicorns are being sold there, but marketing her at the “Pretty Princess” and selling her with the idea that her purpose is to “get married and live happily ever after”. This impacts Cadance negatively, wondering if that’s how ponies really see her, and, unable to shake this self-doubt, she ends up flubbing her royal duties and needing Twilight and Shining Armor to bail her out; which, in turn, only reinforces her identity crisis. By the time the dedication arrives, Cadance is miserable and depressed, and seeing her like that the rest of the crystal ponies feel disheartened–actually causing the Crystal Heart’s light to fade. Twilight tells Cadance that she’s not looked up to just for “being pretty” but because her own love and light fills the crystal ponies with the same light, and inspires them as well as her. On realizing that Twilight, Shining Armor, and the crystal ponies themselves all look up to her, Cadance’s self-confidence is restored and the Crystal Heart is relit. Later in the marketplace, Cadance walks freely without disguising herself anymore, and is pleased to see that Twilight got her own costume changed from “Pretty Princess” to “Crystal Princess”.
I know the IDW Comic has a tendency to get more “meta” than the show does, but this one outdid itself.
There’s no denying that Princess Cadance was never created because the show needed another alicorn. (Lauren Faust herself was committed to the idea of there only being two alicorns in existence as “gods”: Celestia and Luna.) She was made for the explicit purpose of creating a fairy-tale-princess to sell wedding-themed My Little Pony merchandise. And while the writers were smart enough to think ahead and eventually give her a bit more lore, and later seasons have given her more to do from the perspective of a sister-in-law and new mother, the fact is in terms of being an alicorn princess her role is indeed to simply “get married and live happily ever after”. Look no further than her two whole lines she got in “The My Little Pony Movie”.
As a result, one can look at this particular issue as her own character’s existential crisis with her very reason for being included in the series. Does Cadance really have a reason to be there besides to be pretty and loved by everyone?
Oddly enough, the answer seems to stem from the same type of reasoning that eventually got me to fully accept Starlight Glimmer on the show. It doesn’t necessarily matter how important or irrelevant the audience thinks she is if the characters on the show believably want her around. And this arc made it clear how important Cadance is to Twilight. And because she matters to her, she matters a bit to all of us reading as well.
Aside from that, this was a very cute and sweet arc with a very understandable problem for Cadance. On top of all of that, Twilight was actually encouraging her for a change. This is one story that I think could easily be made into a full episode (if not for the fact Cadance cares more about raising her daughter now than how the crystal ponies see her), although it would need some fleshing out. The humor is a bit light in this one aside from the sight gags, but with a good story like this I like it just the same.
Right in the first panel, it looks like the IDW Comic writers got the nursery rhyme right after flubbing it in “Neigh Anything”. 😛
One panel appears to have one of the crystal ponies be a pony version of Elsa from “Frozen”, but I can’t tell for sure. (I’m struggling to find fun facts for this one…)
3.5 Stars out of 5