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November 30, 2013
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MLP FiM: S4 E3 - Castle Mane-ia Review by Cuddlepug MLP FiM: S4 E3 - Castle Mane-ia Review by Cuddlepug

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Review of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 4, Episode 3: 'Castle Mane-ia'

Final score: B -

Previous review (Season 4, Episode 1/2): MLP FiM: S4 E1 - Princess Twilight Sparkle Review by Cuddlepug

Next review (Season 4, Episode 4): MLP FiM: S4 E4 - Daring Don't Review by Cuddlepug

These episodes are all rated in the context of the show - therefore, if I give an episode a score, it is in relation to how it compares to the standard set by the show itself and not external factors.

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1992andbeyond Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2014
I give it a B. I'd give it an A if the ending either, didn't show the Pony of Shadows because they're obviously not gonna do anything with that, or they actually do something with the pony of shadows.
DigidestinedofTrust Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013
My Rating: A   (NOTE: I am not a brony and I have my reasons. I feel it's necessary to see and react to the series from my POV and not with the same expectations a brony may hold it to. Nor do I want to hold it to the standards as an anti-brony might have or just a casual fan's take on the show, because I'm not an Anti-Brony or a casual fan either. And I most certainly do not praise everything about the show like many fangirls/fanboys do, and saying others are wrong and stupid when people disagree with an episode. That being said, I do have an OC- in this case OP- so I definitely am an avid fan.) I've rambled on enough. Now for my review; which by the way will also be my first YouTube review, provided that I actually get the time to do it! :D

I was very pleased with how they went about with this episode considering how it started out. It's typical that Twilight frantically looks through her books trying to find mention of the box that not even Celestia knew about, yet she seems to think that she can find them in a book. It seemed a little odd to me that they'd do that, but I guess they needed a reason to go to the old, abandoned and spooky castle, so for that I can dismiss that.

I liked everything about this with maybe the exception of Rainbow Dash and Applejack still duking it out to see who's the best pony, but even then I'm glad that the writers are staying consistent to the roots of the characters and attempting to give character development while still keeping their personalities in order. All the characters were still themselves in this episode and we need that from time to time; though I admit the dialogue at times seemed a bit drab and dry, especially between Twilight and Spike as well as between R.D. and A.J.

I think my favorite part was the discovery of Pinkie playing the organ and then Twilight's suggestion that they keep a journal of their adventures as the Princesses did. To tell the truth, I found that to be highly necessary and needed! I think that it (the journal, not the organ-lol) will hold the proverbial 'key'- no pun intended....or is it :iconmlpdiscordplz:?- to finding out the secrets that are inside the box.

Anything Pinkie does makes this episode so funny because you know she's the cause of all the mishaps in the castle that cause the others, minus Twilight, to freak out. It provided some humorous and pleasurable flashback memories to adventures like Scooby Doo, or hilarity similar to Looney Toones/Animaniacs/Tom and Jerry/etc.

To me, this episode felt like a good old fashioned cartoon episode that you could still enjoy later on in the future. It wasn't too over thought and neither was it under thought, but like the previous episodes, I thought it to be a good starting point to a new future in Equestria. Episodes 1 and 2 were like the prequels to begin the new future in Equestria and Episode 3 was the backdrop of what was to come.

Things are just getting started and as still a fairly new fan of the show, having watched every season twice through so far and the movie, I'm optimistic that the show won't disappoint and continue to provide what it set out to do in the first place even if Lauren Faust isn't in the picture anymore. I liked Episodes 1 and 2 and thought them to be a strong B+ rating- please see Dr. Wolf's YouTube review since he and I share many of the same thoughts and opinions on the episodes- because it is now focusing on a new era in Equestria. I'll go into more detail on those episodes and this one, however, at a later time.

Hope you enjoyed my review and outtakes on this.

-Digidestined of Trust
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013
Good points!
XGluon Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014
"...Twilight's suggestion that they keep a journal of their adventures as the Princesses did. To tell the truth, I found that to be highly necessary and needed!"

...I actually don't really feel OK with that.
It's mainly because of the fact tht I am perhaps the ONLY person who noted that we NEVER saw the Mane Six giving Celestia permission to keep the journal, and as such we don't know if Celestia knows that the Mane Six are even KEEPING a journal, let alone given her permission for them to write in it.

Even though Twilight is no longer Celestia's student(and as such, Celestia probably expects Twilight to open up a "School for Gifted Ponies" of her own), and it's quite possible that Celestia now wants the rest of the Mane Six to share their friendship lessons with Twilight instead, although Celestia probably expects the REST of the Mane Six to keep writing friendship reports.(Twilight's status as royalty means that she no longer has to write letters anyway, but the rest of the Mane Six are still classifiable as students.)

Then again, Twilight IS royalty now, and so she doesn't need Celestia to give her instructions anymore. It's entirely possible that Twilight doesn't need Celestia's permission for her and her friends to keep a journal instead of writing letters. Like I said, she's royalty now, and she doesn't HAVE to conform to Celestia's standards. Twilight could very well break the "princess and student relationship" mold if she so desires.
Just because ONE of Equestria's princesses has her students write letters doesn't necessarily mean that ALL of Equestria's princesses should have their students write letters. No two schools are alike, you know.
(But then again, Celestia is the only princess we know of who owns a "School for Gifted Ponies"...)
Chances are Celestia's probably OK with the Mane Six keeping a journal. Students don't have to follow their teachers' ways right down to the dot, you know.  I mean, some of Celestia's past students may have become fellow teachers as well, even though they didn't become Alicorns, and they probably had their students write what they had learned in journals as well! Thus, Celestia probably won't mind if the school that Twilight will establish differs from her own.
And as I said before, the Mane Six are probably Twilight's students now, rather than Celestia's. Students are naturally obligated to follow their teachers' instructions, even if they get a new teacher.

Moreover, we must not forget about what I like to call "between-episode business".  What I mean by that is, it's entirely possible that Celestia gave her permission for the Mane Six to keep a journal in the interval between S4E3 and S4E4. After all, there's no way of telling WHAT happens between episodes(with the exception of two-part episodes).

Of course, one problem remains. Although Celestia might be OK with the Mane Six keeping a journal, she may not be too happy when Twilight says that she got the idea from looking in the princesses' journal. After all, we all know that journals and diaries are private business, ESPECIALLY if they are owned by girls...and most of us know that girls really, really, REALLY don't like others reading their personal diaries...
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014
:iconfakecudpug::iconsaysplz:"What-what, how perceptive of you, sport! You raise a very good point -- you hear me, a very good point indeed! Why, when I lived at Trumpington Court --stay on, you accursed moustache!-- I found that the only proper way to deal with [friendship journals] is to lick the bark until a fine sap has caked one's tongue!"
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Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013
I rate each episode on its own merits. This one was good; the last one wasn't.
MuggyHeatWave Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I find myself, once again, agreeing a lot with you on your review of this episode. Whereas the premiere had me horrified that the show was just further degrading into the 'Typical Stereotypes go on wacky adventures' formula that seemed to be taking more and more precedence, this episode, though without much of a punch, gives the show another premise that will encourage it to put it's focus back upon the formula that worked so well in season 1 (and to a lesser degree, season 2). And that is: The friendship between these six ponies.  They all get screentime, and they all get an opportunity to crash, leap, shine, fall and react the way they are want to.

I agree that there's not real 'gumption' to the episode. Just a bunch of ponies running around and screaming. Nevertheless, there wasn't a focus on any one. They all had their moments, and it all came to a head in the end. While the lesson itself doesn't really shine forth in this episode, it promises further lessons in the future. And THAT is what had me so terrified about season 4 (which was why the premiere had me so horrified): that it would eschew the wonderful stories that could still be told between these wonderful characters, and not merely about them.

My favorite episodes have always been the ones where it focuses on two characters, and bounces them off each other. We have yet to see that take place with several of the possible pairs. Like Rarity and Rainbow Dash for example. Or Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy. Or Fluttershy and Applejack. Or Twilight and Fluttershy. Twilight and Rarity?  There are so many more lessons these ponies could give to people about what it means to be friends, even when you're almost nothing alike.

That... THAT was what I found so charming about this series. THAT is why I fell in love with it, and I was terrified that those stories that have yet to be told, would never be told. Because it just seemed like the series was headed in the dead direction of 'adventure' and nothing more... which can be found in any cartoon as of late (and many of which, I would argue, do it much better than this series does).

This episode gives me hope that such stories will yet be brought to light. Not the 'lore' of Equestria. Not the 'history'. Not 'Twilight doing Princess things while her friends do background support'. But the lessons, the friendships, and the wonderfully filled out personalities clashing one with another. That is the magic that made Season 1 what it was, and I hope, dearly hope, that the magic might return.
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013
This is a valuable contribution to the discussion. I agree with your evaluation of when the show is at its best.
Skoonie Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013
Well, I guess I look silly for calling you a troll on your last review :blush:  My apologies, sir.  I had no idea the script had been screwed up in any way, and all I managed to read was "Twilight is still an alicorn.  C-."  Wish that had been made clear to me before my unfounded accusations in your last review.

As for this one, I liked this episode a little less than the first two of season 4, though it was mostly because it was made up of ponies screaming at the top of their lungs for half the episode.  I wish they could've gone more in-depth on the castle's origins, but I'm glad that Josh Haber's first outing was an enjoyable one nonetheless.  Keep up the reviews!
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