FimFiction Link - Short ID: 1888/my-little-dashie
Published: Oct '11
'My Little Dashie' is a twelve thousand and five hundred-word oneshot. Due to a certain turn of events, a filly Rainbow Dash ends up in the human world. She finds herself a loving home.
If I look at this story with the cold eyes of a reviewer, one thing immediately becomes clear: This story really, really wants to drive it home how shitty the world the narrator lives in is. The amount of decay, decrepit homes, and cruel people mentioned almost remind me of Silent Hill, just without all the monsters. Stack on top of this the fact that he is a bit of an outcast, working in a dead end job, and also that both of his parents are dead and you get a situation that's in a way almost comically sad. This is obviously all done for one simple reason. That is to highlight the massive contrast the filly RD brings into the narrator's life. Suddenly the descriptions soften, the city experiences an economic boom, the filly fills an empty spot in the home. The change is as blatant as it is heartwarming and I would be lying if I said it didn't tug at my heartstrings. If I wanted to be very mean, I'd say this is a thinly veiled attempt at appealing to the more depressed part of the brony fandom of old for some cheap feels, especially with all the meme and fandom references, but I feel like it's a much more likely explanation that simply the author themselves was a depressed brony at the time and this is how his feelings manifested.
Moving on, as cute as Dash's introduction is, I feel like the story blunders immediately afterwards by introducing massive time-skips. The reader finds themselves suddenly three years later, with a Dash who not only learned to talk off-screen, but also formed a parental bond with the narrator. I feel like we skipped over some very important parts of her life.
Though it took me by surprise that this is the angle the story went for, I found myself accepting of the idea that this will be a father-daughter story instead of a more abstract "friendship"-related one. I'm not a huge fan of the more wish-fulfillment oriented parts of the story, for instance I found Dash saying "daddy" a bit off-putting, but in itself this wasn't a deal-breaker. The Sonic Rainboom, on the other hand, felt forced. It had little direct relevance to the actual narrative and seemed like something the author just added for the sake of "wouldn't it be cool if she pulled it off."
I don't want to sound too melodramatic, but the part that came afterwards broke my immersion. The conflict of Dash seeing MLP on the TV and flying off was badly executed in my opinion.
I like the basic idea, don't get me wrong. She's an impulsive character who sometimes has trouble dealing with things, so the idea that she would immediately jump to conclusions is great, but the scene suffers from two issues that really hurt my enjoyment.
One being that Dash hardly speaks in this scene, though this is endemic to the rest of the fic too. She already gets very few lines, but here it feels twice as missing. The story just tells us that she lashed out on the narrator, but the reader doesn't get to feel any of this on their skin. It's a tragic case of "tell, not show." Despite how this is supposed to be a climax in the story, I didn't feel nearly as punched in the gut as with other stories, because the fic kept its emotional distance instead of spilling its heart out.
The second issue is related to the first one, the actual conflict isn't made very clear until far later. Is Dash mad because she's a cartoon character? Is she mad because the narrator knew the cartoon in which she's a character? The narrator never hid the fact that she is a pony, but now it's portrayed as a massive revelation.
Before I move on, I also want to mention that I found it pretty amusing that the author almost correctly guessed the number of seasons the show would have, it's weird to see a fic from 2011 talk about Season 8.
The reunion scene that follows is very predictable, but I think of the entire fic, this was my favorite scene. The narrator and Dash meeting in the rain, the latter being all roughed up, before the two hug it out was very sweet. Dash's shower line put the cherry on top. This scene suffers a bit from telling, not showing, but the emotional weight carries it hard enough for this to matter less.
The final scene is a mixed bag. Having the rest of the M6 randomly appear along with Celestia was blatant wish fulfillment in my opinion. There is very little reason for all of them to be there. Just Celestia or perhaps her and Twilight would have made a lot more sense, not to mention the rest of the cast doesn't really do much aside from one or two gags. Also Celestia calling the narrator "good sir" was deeply awkward. Dash not believing that there are other ponies felt very weird when the main conflict of the story was driven by her realization that she's a cartoon character. On the other hand, the resolution of the story is the kind of emotional rollercoaster a fic like this deserves. From grief, to despair, to finally hope, the story ends in a fittingly bittersweet way.
Overall: 6/10 The historical significance of this story is unquestionable. It is a time-capsule of a simpler era when a story of a human raising a pony filly was all that was needed. The story (almost aggressively) makes the reader feel, but its impact is hurt by a few amateurish blunders. I recommend it as long as you can accept its age and the way it tries to appeal to its audience.