Tooncrap #41 - Equestia Girls Holiday One-Shot

Social Mediocrity
IDW: 2014

Written by: Raymond Gallant

When I started tooncrap here on Game Show Garbage, my first induction was on the first Equestria Girls movie. And in that induction I said that it was bad, but not the worst thing ever. It was followed later that year with Rainbow Rocks, which I feel fixed most of the issues involving humanized horses. The plot still suffered at points, but it at least showed that this could work beyond just Hasbro's attempt to get into the Monster High market.

But what if I told you that there was something considerable worse than the original Equestria Girls movie, that suffered from abysmal writing, bad art (from an admittedly decent artist), and represented what most people had feared this spinoff would represent. What exactly am I referring to, you ask? Why it's none other than the Equestria Girls Holiday One-Shot. A comic book from IDW released in December of 2014. Consider this a Christmas come early situation.

In late 2012, IDW comics picked up the exclusive rights to produce My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic books, and for the most part they are pretty good. Many representing the show's strengths in terms of adventure and humor. Though there have been many an issue lately that have suffered from some really bad writing and out of character moments.

We'll save you for later.

The EQG one-shot was drawn by artist Tony Fleecs, and written by Ted Anderson. Anderson was also a name under fire through the last year due to his supposed involvement with an anti-brony feminist blog. But my opinion on Anderson is that he's not that bad a writer for the comics... most of the time. And you'll see throughout this review why I think this is a massive misstep even for him. I may have been harsh on Boast Busters, but this to me is the straight up Nadir of all things MLP. So let's open the issue and see just what's wrong as we review this thing.

We open our comic at Canterlot High as Applejack and the newly reformed Sunset Shimmer are talking about Christm-I mean the holiday's. Much like the pony world, there doesn't appear to be a Jesus in this world either. Applejack talks on about how durn great it is to spend the holiday with your family, which bothers Sunset because she never really had a family or friends that wanted to celebrate them.

And this is also where I bring up my issues with the art in the comics. The designs for the most part are kinda ugly. Where the show managed to retain a lot of the look and feel of the pony world in a new human world, the designs from Fleecs get a little alien and weird looking. Sometimes they look alright, other times they look freaky as all hell.

Applejack decides that the best way to cure Sunset's winter blues is to try and cheer her up with multiple slumber parties at the homes of each of the humane five, all culminating at her place in the end. So, in general there's really nothing bad about this plot to this point. I mean, you could fill up the 48 pages of this comic with each different slumber party experience. Except we really haven't seen Fluttershy or Rainbow Dash's families, which means we'd have to omit them lest we raise the ire of the bronies who bitch about their precious headcannons.

You think I'm kidding? Ask Katie Cook and Andy Price about how people handled their story about Shining Armor and Princess Cadance falling in love.

The first slumber party is at Pinkie Pie's place, as Sunset is learning about what a slumber party is all about. Now here's where my issues with the comic begin. The timing of this comic is supposed to be somewhere after Rainbow Rocks, as we'll see in a part later in the comic. And if you actually saw Rainbow Rocks...

Sunset has been to a slumber party before, so it makes her confusion over what goes about in them just confusing. I could chalk it up to Ted Anderson not knowing, but if he's handling an adaptation of something, shouldn't he have been made aware at least? Just muddles and already messy concept.

The party goes on pretty well until Applejack's sister Apple Bloom calls to check up on her sister. Applejack says she's fine, and Apple Bloom hangs up, not before calling AJ "Piggly Wiggly". Sunset asks about the name, and Applejack tells her that it was a name given to her as a kid. One she isn't all that proud of. The next day however, Apple Bloom informs her of some rather bad news.

It turns out that the Piggly Wiggly name has been revealed to the rest of the school through the social networking site MyStable (seriously, MySpace references in 2014? Have you been that asleep, Ted?) posted by someone by the name of Anon-a-Miss.

Anon-a-Miss? Really? I can't FOUR the life of me CHANnel where you came up with that name.

And because this happened after Sunset Shimmer was made privy to the nickname, Rainbow Dash accuses Sunset of spreading the info. Now, while back in the first movie, one of the key points was that Sunset broke their friendship with fake texts, this is still supposed to be after Rainbow Rocks, and in that Sunset is fully reformed, even getting that final moment of full on trust. It really doesn't seem fair to throw her under the coals for this.

It's made no better with Apple Bloom trying to throw Sunset Shimmer under the bus, claiming her to be the one behind Anon-a-Miss. And when we get to the big reveal, this is gonna make your blood boil like hot apple cider.

The next night's slumber party is held at Rarity's. Before Sunset arrives, she throws her little sister Sweetie Belle out as this party is clearly a big girl's affair.

Since Rarity is all about fashion, her party is more dress up themed, as the girls all take pictures of themselves in different costumes and outfits. I can't imagine there would be anything that could embarrass the humane six here.


So now Anon-a-Miss is pretty much pretending to be Sunset Shimmer, and making all her friends lives miserable. And now they clearly blame her for this.

To the point that they leave her in tears over this because they won't even allow her a chance to defend herself. I get it. They're all angry, and the fact that Sunset has burned them when she was evil is still a thing, but why in the hell would she try to ruin her friends lives under a fake username, and if she really was this mastermind trying so hard to kill this friendship, she wouldn't be FRIGGING CRYING OVER LOSING FRIENDSHIPS!

Oh, but trust me, you think the anger's flowing now, we're not even done yet.

Time goes on, and more Anon-a-Miss posts are made. Not just of the Humane Five, but now of the entire school, which begins to send everyone into near fisticuffs. Sunset talks to Twilight through her magic book that was established in Rainbow Rocks, as Twilight mentions that rumors are like evil ghost creatures that can cause chaos. So, cool, maybe it's like evil ghosts that are Anon-a-Miss? Nope.

Now things have gotten much worse for Sunset Shimmer as everybody assumes it's her under the Anon-a-Miss name. Again, knowing her past and all, but considering how badly she clearly is under this situation, blaming her for this is extremely uncalled for. Sunset is reminded by Twilight to go find her family, which in this case is her friends. She shows them the messages she's been sending to Twilight, and tries her best to prove her innocence. They forgive her as we soon learn that the ones behind ruining Sunset Shimmer's life was...

The cutie mark crusaders.

Oh screw right off.

Their explanation was that they were upset about not being invited to the sleepovers, so they decided to use the Anon-a-Miss name to get back at them, and things got out of hand. Really? It's all? Just petty jealousy? To the point of trying to pin it all on Sunset Shimmer? Making it so that Sunset would be a pariah not only to her friends but the entire school? So, after confessing that they essentially committed cyber bullying, and intent to harm someone else's livelihood, how are they treated?

They're instantly forgiven.

Pardon my language, but that is absolute, unfiltered, unabashed BULLSHIT! They almost destroyed Sunset Shimmer's friendships, drove her to depression, tore the school apart, and lord knows if this had escalated further, perhaps even driven Sunset Shimmer to suicide, because that's entirely possible with cyber bullying.

Also, what a load of crap. When they thought Sunset Shimmer was behind this, how quickly were they to turn their backs on Sunset and treat her like the monster she once was? But once the CMC confess, "oh, you're family. How can we be mad at you?" For the crap they pulled through this, intentionally targeting Sunset, they don't deserve that easy a forgiveness. You know what Ted Anderson, maybe I was too quick to say nice things about your writing, because that is absolute idiocy in every form.

In the end, the CMC get detention for six months for their actions (honestly they're lucky they weren't expelled), and are invited to Applejack's for the last big part of this whole slumber party thing. Remember THAT was even a thing? The end.

Man, this comic is bad. The story is absolutely broken with terrible character moments, underserving punishments, and even more underserving forgiveness. I said back when I did the EQG movie that I did like the concept of the whole cyber bullying angle, but how the show handled it was far better than this mess of a story where despite detention, the perpetrators get off scot-free for intentionally trying to destroy someone's life over not being allowed at a friggin' sleepover.

And the worse thing is, this entire comic rips off an episode of the show. The season two episode "Ponyville Confidential" sees the CMC try to earn their cutie marks by being newspaper reporters for the Foal-Free Press. They go under a fake name, and begin to report news and rumors, before completely lying and ruining the lives of others. In that episode, their road to forgiveness is much better handled, and it was never like they targeted one pony in this mess. So when you look at how well the moral was handled in that episode, then see an absolute pile in this comic's moral, it can't help but infuriate you worse. It may be a comic, but it's still tooncrap in every way. Hope you enjoyed this early Christmas present. Bah Humbug!