More Blog Posts555

  • Monday
    Happy Birthday to Me

    Hurray for birthdays. Visited with parents. Was reminded that I am a failure as a person and can only survive because my folks are rich enough to loan me money. Went to the California State Railroad Museum. Saw many interesting things. Let everyone down because my weight kept forcing me to stop and catch my breath. My cat bit and sliced into my dad's hands when we tried to give my cat a flea bath.


    I need another video. Please, give me one.

    14 comments · 135 views
  • Saturday
    The Justice System in Equestria

    Willfully sabotage the changing of the seasons and endangering countless lives by disrupting nature, followed by the complete destruction of Equestria's chief weather facility, no doubt resulting in no rain or other necessary weather implements being created for the time it takes to rebuild the factory and leading to mass starvation and suffering, all because you can't stand being separated from your tortoise for a few months?

    Yeah, they let you go with a slap on the pastern for that.

    Also, Applejack will not cry, so Pinkie cries for her.

    27 comments · 248 views
  • Friday
    Season Five Episode Reviews: Bloom and Gloom

    Hello, and welcome to...another CMC episode.

    ...I'm going to start crying. I don't know if I will ever stop.


    TECHNICAL SPECS:

    Season: 5

    Episode: 4

    Written By: Josh Haber

    First Aired: 4/18/2015


    SUMMARY:

    The Cutie Mark Crusaders have received glad tidings from their Manehatten counterpart, Babs Seed: she finally got her cutie mark! The filly's flank now sports a pair of scissors (with an apple motif in the handles), meaning she's going to be a hairstylist. The initial excitement wears off, though, when the three realize that Babs can't possibly be a Cutie Mark Crusader if she has her cutie mark, that they may end up getting saddled with a cutie mark they hate, and not only that, but everypony in Apple Bloom's family has apple-related marks, meaning her own cutie mark has to be apple-related.

    This sends Apple Bloom into an existential dilemma: what if getting her cutie mark really stinks? Applejack tries to counsel her with a lullaby, and when Apple Bloom wakes up, she feels much better. When she comes downstairs for breakfast, however, she's astonished when Applejack announces that she has her cutie mark! And it's...a pesticide can spraying an apple. Turns out her destiny is to catch twittermites, foul things that vaporize entire buildings and replace them with lame and self-important hashtags. With her cutie mark, she's a pro at catching them, but it's not something she wants to do for the rest of her life. And when Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon show up, they start mocking her for having a lame cutie mark.

    This upsets Apple Bloom so much that she runs into the forest, where a mysterious shadow offers to remove her cutie mark. She agrees, and is no longer capable of catching twittermites. Unfortunately, her earlier tussle with the bullies causes the tube containing the bugs to break, and they proceed to destroy all of Ponyville before turning their eyes on Sweet Apple Acres. Apple Bloom tries to use the capture device, but without her talent, she can't catch them, and they raze the barn with an Ion Cannon...

    And then Apple Bloom wakes up. Turns out that was all a dream, and when she comes downstairs, she has her real cutie mark: a potion flask with an apple, obviously connected to the potion making she practiced with Twilight. This is a talent she genuinely loves, and she runs off to show it to Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo. Misfortune strikes again, however, as the two promptly kick Apple Bloom out of the clubhouse (that is on her family's property, mind) because they can't be friends with somepony that has a cutie mark. Suddenly, Apple Bloom finds herself back in the forest, and again she is approached by the shadowy creature, who offers the same bargain as before. Soon enough, Apple Bloom is a blank flank again...but her friends have now gotten their cutie marks, and have become such snobs about it that they refuse to have anything to do with her anymore. Apple Bloom screams in the abandoned clubhouse...

    And then Apple Bloom wakes up. Now very perturbed about what's going on, she goes downstairs, where Applejack again announces her cutie mark. This time, however, the tone is quite different, as Apple Bloom is now spouting a dolphin with no apple in sight. The rest of the family promptly disowns her, kicking her out of the house, cutting her out of family photos, and forcing her to remove the “Apple” from her name. Apple Bloom screams as the outside turns out to be a vortex of doom, and she is sucked into the darkness...

    And then Apple Bloom wakes up. After losing her shield to the Like Like she woke up in, she looks in the mirror, and is relieved to see no mark adorning her rear...until she turns around, and suddenly the cutie mark changes every time she looks. The ordeal has turned Apple Bloom against the idea of cutie marks entirely, and she angrily charges through her door, which leads to the forest and the shadowy creature. She accuses the being of casting a spell on her, but it states that it did nothing of the sort; it just offered to help. Apple Bloom tries to run, but is finally stopped by the arrival of Princess Luna, who reveals that this has all been a dream: the shadow creature is literally Apple Bloom's shadow tormenting her with her fear of what will happen when she gets her cutie mark.

    Luna calms Apple Bloom's terror by telling her that a cutie mark is just a representation of who a pony is, and that if she accepts herself, then others will too. Apple Bloom feels embarrassed by the mess, so Luna shows her that Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo are having the same fears about a singing career-turned-janitorial service and becoming a stuntspony-turned-baker respectively. The four then meet in a dream representation of the clubhouse, where they still kick Babs out of the group, but this time offer to send her a care package to show the shallowness of their friendship.

    You can tell I didn't care for this episode, can't you?


    REVIEW:

    You ever have one of those moments where you see something, and you know that it's technically pretty good, but you still can't stand it? Because that's my reaction to this episode.

    The episode is one giant dream sequence, unlike the previous two “Luna visits the Crusaders” entries, and doubles as a Groundhog Day-style loop. To the show's credit, it does a good job increasing the inherent wrongness of each loop, from the pancakes changing to actual cakes to a rooster laying an egg (and later turning into Pinkie Pie in her chicken costume). The story itself is played out very straight, but background details such as this help to give it a bit more flavor.

    The story follows a checklist set out from the beginning. Apple Bloom first confronts a cutie mark that she doesn't want, which in her nightmare forces her into a career she has no interest in. Second is a cutie mark when none of her friends have them (or no mark when both of her friends have theirs), which causes her to be ostracized for being different. And lastly, there's the fear of not living up to the family motif, meaning she'll have to change her name and get kicked out of the house. All three fears are representative of natural insecurities about failing the family, having to assume responsibilities you don't want, and the end of childhood. It's likely none of this was intentional, but it's still interesting to notice.

    The episode also continues the cutie mark theme from the premiere. Apple Bloom's fear of her best friends leaving her over cutie marks reflects Starlight Glimmer's belief that special talents will ruin friendships, and her frustration with the marks by the end of the dream feels like it was plucked out of a “Start of Darkness” routine for the villain. Of course, Starlight turns out to not be involved, but this does appear to be the theme they're sticking with. More interestingly, Luna provides a pretty clear refutation to the idea that cutie marks represent “destiny,” as in being assigned and controlled by a higher power, and instead promotes the original idea that they are simply representations of a pony's character and dreams. After so many episodes (especially “Magical Mystery Cure”) that pushed the idea of destiny and cutie marks, it's nice to see a return to that original, perfectly fine concept.

    The repeating dream plot does wear thin over the course of the episode's run time, mostly because the script adheres very strictly to the previously-mentioned checklist. And while having Luna show up is fine, the resolution still feels a bit weak. In particular, I'm bummed that Sweetie's singing audition is just a nightmare and won't be an actual event, as it would have, you know, probably led to her getting a cutie mark. And as always, the fillies make no progress towards getting their butt tattoos. I know I've complained about this a lot, but it has been five seasons. This plot has completely overstayed its welcome. So I shall give the creative team a choice: they can give the CMC their cutie marks, or they can have them get ran over by a train. Either option will save us from any more of these freaking episodes. Pick one before you realize I have no means of backing up any sort of threat or demand.

    All that said, the episode is a fairly enjoyable little romp...except it does the ONE THING I NEVER WANTED THE CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS TO DO. When Babs gets her cutie mark, the CMC immediately eject her from the Manehatten branch of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. It takes three nightmares and a princess entering their dreams to get them to even send her a care package, and as someone who's been fired via Fedex, that empty gesture pissed me right off. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo kicking Apple Bloom out was obviously just part of the nightmare, so it won't happen that coldly in-person, but it's still very shallow for fillies who banded together because they were different from everypony else to start kicking members (one who, I remind you, was bullied so hard she had to go from Manehatten to Ponyville and change schools when she got back to get away from it all) the minute they actually hit magic pony puberty.

    I'm sorry, but that one thing ruins this entire episode for me. And I know it's completely personal, but...seriously, why?

    CONCLUSION:

    If you can get past the consternation of the CMC kicking Babs out, this is an enjoyable, albeit typical, CMC episode. I do, however, stand firmly by my belief that they need to start giving them the freaking marks, because this plot thread cannot sustain itself any longer.


    Next time, Rainbow Dash tries to stop Winter from happening. Hey, ponies control the seasons. Another thing everyone just remembered.

    20 comments · 250 views
  • Wednesday
    Comic Review: Fiendship is Magic #4 (Nightmare Moon)

    It's week four of Fiendship is Magic, and we're returning to where it all began. Today we look at the show's first baddie, Nightmare Moon, and what she did when she was banished to the moon. Sadly, a mechanical dolphin was not involved.


    The issue opens with...Nightmare Moon plopping onto the moon. She doesn't seem angry or nonplussed about being banished, either; she just decides to start looking for something to rule. And sure enough, the moon is already inhabited by the Nyx (no, not that one), fuzzy creatures that are responsible for managing the dreams of everypony in Equestria. This peaks the interest of somepony named Nightmare Moon, who convinces one of the Nyx, Doran, to teach her how to influence pony dreams...and Celestia's.

    The issue is tied heavily into the Nightmare Rarity arc from Issues #5-8. The Nyx are eventually transformed into the nightmare creatures, Nightmare Moon is far more at home in her lunar prison, and it is implied that the Mare in the Moon is a separate being from Luna. If you haven't read that arc, then at least some of this might fly past you. And if you have read that arc, you may still have the same problem because the issue is very rushed. The nightmare creature conversion occurs off-screen and isn't even alluded to until the reveal. Doran is implied to be helping keep Nightmare Moon out of Celestia's mind, but it never says or shows how. The ending is basically just, “Well, that happened. Now to go plot my next evil scheme.” There are some good ideas in this issue, but the pace never allows them to develop.

    Nightmare Moon not knowing how to enter pony's dreams is both odd and interesting. On the one hand, we see that she is very good at it by the Nightmare Rarity arc, nearly breaking most of the Mane 6 and succeeding when it comes to Rarity, so having her unable to do so when merged with Luna doesn't sit quite right. On the other hand, Luna's ability to enter dreams came out of nowhere in Season Three, so perhaps this could serve as an explanation for how she learned to do so, and for why she's so insistent on making sure everypony gets a good night's rest.

    As for her scheme this issue, it's something that definitely fits the nightmare motif. When initial attempts to infiltrate Celestia's noggin (and, I dunno, make her dream of a world where cake was never invented) fail, Nightmare Moon has Doran help her go into other ponies' minds and terrorize them with visions of a monstrous and tyrannical Celestia, driving them to support Nightmare Moon and wish for her return. In other words, Nightmare Moon is responsible for such things as the New Luna Republic and Tyrantlestia. (But not Xenolestia; that stuff's too evil even for her.) Unfortunately, this is wrapped up far too quickly, with Celestia basically waving her horn and magically making everything better.

    The highlight of the issue is when Nightmare Moon, with the combined power of all of the nighmare creatures, manages to finally get into Celestia's mind...literally. (At the very least, this wasn't part of the original plan.) Her initial attempts to create nightmares fail because Celestia catches on to her presence immediately, and even after discovering her deepest fear (the whole “banished sister” deal), Celestia still defeats her with the power of love. Unfortunately, this part is let down again by the fast pacing and, to be frank, sophomoric writing. The issue in general feels like it was juggling between aiming strictly at a younger audience and trying to reach anyone, and never manages to settle on any particular target.

    There are some amusing bits, such as Doran braiding Nightmare Moon's tail, the moon tyrant using the Royal Canterlot Voice (and then apologizing when she realizes doing so kind of makes her plans more difficult), and one of the possible Celestia nightmares being her going bald. The art is okay, although not spectacular, and there are some really good ideas in this issue. Unfortunately, the fast pacing undermines the story and makes things feel incomplete, and tying the villain origin so tightly into another of the comic's arcs (even one that was generally good) doesn't feel quite right. This is by no means a bad issue (and certainly isn't anywhere near as terrible as the Sirens issue), but it's definitely flawed and a bit of a letdown.


    Next time, we close out Fiendship is Magic with Chrysalis.

    8 comments · 184 views
  • 1w, 2d
    Cutie Mark Crusaders Logic

    We are bullied and picked on because we have no cutie marks. We shall form a merry band dedicated to discovering our cutie marks based on the advice of the least wise member of the Mane 6, and become best friends! Nothing shall ever separate us...

    Oh, you got your cutie mark? Well, I guess we're not friends anymore, because anypony with a cutie mark is automatically a bully. Give us back your cape. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    And if you though that was just Apple Bloom's nightmare talking, ever see her hang out with Twist anymore? Didn't think so.

    11 comments · 223 views
  • 1w, 3d
    Season Five Episode Reviews: Castle Sweet Castle

    A year ago, Twilight Sparkle's home, the Golden Oaks Library, to the most vile monsters known to humanity: Hasbro executives. But she has a brand new castle, so that makes everything better, right?

    ...Apparently not, because this week's episode, “Castle Sweet Castle,” is all about that change.


    TECHNICAL SPECS:

    Season: 5

    Episode: 3

    Written By: Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco

    First Aired: April 11, 2015


    SUMMARY:

    Twilight has been busily helping her friends with everything, most recently cleaning animals with Fluttershy. The cleansing ritual goes without a hitch, but when Fluttershy comments that Twilight must want to head back to the castle for a bath, she kicks Angel into some mud so that she'll have more to clean. After that's done, she goes to Pinkie Pie to help her prepare pancakes for a group breakfast, having her make more and more until they run out of time. By the time everypony is enjoying their cakes and talking about how bizarre Twilight has been acting, her body can take no more and she becomes one with the breakfast.

    Thankfully, she manages to break free from the mind meld her pancakes were trying to foist on her and finally states the truth: she isn't comfortable in the castle. As nice as it is to have a gaudy, crystal fortress in the middle of Ponyville, it just doesn't feel like a home to her. The others, being the friendly sort they are, offer to help spruce the place up to be more homely and appealing for the purple bookworm, while she and Spike are off enjoying a day at the spa.

    Unfortunately, the Mane 6 quickly lose track and bring stuff that makes them feel comfortable. Worse, they throw it all into the same room, creating a cornucopia of clashing styles and tacky decorations. When Spike comes back to check, he throws out a G-rated swear at the sight, and heads back to Twilight to distract her even longer by having Bulk Biceps destroy his body and bothering Twilight for a bed. In the middle of all this, they stop by the burnt-out stump that is all that remains of the Golden Oaks Library, and the two share in their grief over its loss.

    Back at the castle, the Mane 6 have finally cleared out all the unnecessary items...which leaves them with absolutely nothing to show for the day. Realizing their mistake, they try to think about what Twilight would like, and start talking about all the books she had and loved. Following this perfectly logical train of thought, they dig up the Golden Oaks Library, fashion the roots into a chandelier, stick it on the roof of the meeting room, and hang crystals embedded with pictures of Twilight's misadventures in Ponyville. Twilight is overjoyed when she sees it, and finally accepts the castle as her home. Plus, the Mane 6 still did individualized decorating in the other rooms, which Twilight is fine with.

    Also, Pinkie turns the whole place into a confetti minefield. Because she's Pinkie.


    REVIEW:

    In case anyone has forgotten, last season ended on a big note. Twilight's library (officially canonized as the Golden Oaks Library in this episode) was one of the centerpieces of the entire series. Many of the show's best moments took place within its walls, it had a cool design, and it was the perfect habitat for a pony with Twilight's personality, both before and after getting wings. And then a one-shot baddie blows it up so that Twilight can be moved right into a new home, a crystal tree-shaped castle that clashes horribly with the rest of Ponyville's design and was obviously introduced just to sell playsets and toys. This was a major shake-up in the show's setting, and I applaud the writers for setting out to actually address the change rather than pretend that the library was never there.

    That being said, the episode is a very standard affair. The Mane 6 pull the classic mistake of thinking about what they want over Twilight's needs, which feels very awkward this many seasons. They realize their mistake, fight a little, and finally do something that will make Twilight feel better. It's actually something that's made writing this review difficult; the episode just so “okay” overall that it's a challenge to point out anything of note outside of Twilight being an adorable dork and the ending.

    The episode does have some good gags. “I'm pancake!” quickly became a hit, as did Bulk Biceps working in the spa (while moonlighting as the Kool-Aid Stallion) and giving Spike a bone-crushing massage. I just love Spike in general this episode; while he's mostly there to be the butt monkey, he's also supportive and shares in Twilight's grief over the loss of his home, and may or may not actually get a bed. (We don't see one when they get back to the castle, but it might just be set to be delivered later.)

    The ultimate solution is an interesting one. The root chandelier is a cool design, and the gems with pictures of past episodes (magical or normal, it's never made clear) fit well with the castle's motif while serving as a reminder of the good times they've had. You know, like that time Twilight brainwashed the entire town into fighting over a doll. Or the time Twilight blew her library into the stratosphere. Or the time Twilight made the parasprites eat everything. Or the time... You know what, Twilight's nearly destroyed Ponyville several times over. Let's leave it at that.

    And as for the library coming back...it's not happening. Twilight has a new castle, and she will adjust. Hasbro did not go through the trouble of blowing up the tree just to bring it back three episodes later.


    CONCLUSION:

    I really have nothing else to say. This is a very standard episode outside of its premise, and it's certainly not a bad one; it's just not a particularly outstanding or even great one, either. It's a very typical slice-of-life episode, serving as a nice cooldown from the events of the premier if nothing else. Still, kudos to the team for approaching the library issue as they did.


    Next time, we have a *sigh* CMC episode...

    8 comments · 189 views
  • 1w, 5d
    Comic Review: Fiendship is Magic #3 (Sirens)


    You don't get a full review, comic. At least the Sombra and Tirek comics actually made sense, kept the characters close to their show counterparts, and had some interesting things to offer. You have the Sirens deciding to become pop stars in Greco-Roman Canterlot, every genre of music ever being invented by them and Star Swirl the Bearded fighting each other, barely any mention of the fact that the Sirens sing to cause chaos and feed off of the disharmony in place of the Sirens wanting to be big pop stars, and end with them in the modern-day human world despite the fact that it's still ancient Equestria.

    You want to do a sillier story about a trio of villains? Fine. The Sirens have plenty of room for some goofy comedy, what with Sonata's cluelessness, Aria's sarcastic bitterness, and Adagio struggling to contain her loathing for the other two. But that's not here. We get three seahorse creatures that are fine with each other, work well as a team, and seem to take over Equestria with no ill effect. There's nothing about the ponies fighting or rioting. We don't see friendships and relationships crumble because of their influence. We don't see anything from Rainbow Rocks that made the Sirens interesting villains. The issue's not funny, the story's lame, the art is only serviceable, and the entire issue feels like it had no direction. This was just...bad.

    It's not the worst comic (Friends Forever #1 remains a travesty for which all of mankind must one day answer), but it's definitely really bad.

    Next time, something better than this.

    21 comments · 211 views
  • 2w, 2d
    Just out of curiosity...

    Why didn't the ponies just put some, you know, books in the castle? Seems like it's be a lot easier than ripping out the roots of Twilight's former home and stringing unnatural gems that show screenshots of previous episodes.

    Also, Bulk Biceps is best masseuse.

    15 comments · 218 views
  • 2w, 4d
    Season Five Episode Reviews: The Cutie Map (Parts 1 and 2)

    It's been eleven months. Eleven months since new pony (not pony-people) had last graced our television screens. But the drought is over, and we at long last have a new episode to watch and enjoy! So let's sit back and take in “Cutie Markless.”

    …I mean, “The Cutie Map.” Because clever titles are not for shows aimed at seven-year-olds.

    Urge to kill, rising...


    TECHNICAL SPECS:

    Season: 5

    Episode: 1 + 2

    Written By: Meghan McCarthy (story), Scott Sonneborn and M. A. Larson (writing)

    First Aired: 4/04/2015


    SUMMARY:

    Having vanquished the evil Tirek, gotten a castle, and made that trip to the world populated by mutant apes, the Mane 6 still have no idea what the deal with this castle is. That is, until they all sit on their thrones at the same time, which causes a map of Equestria to rise up before them and hover holographic projections of their Cutie Marks above a point at the far end of Equestria. With nothing else to do and a desire to learn more, they decide to go to that spot and find out what's there.

    The train takes them all the way to the very end of the track, where there sits a tiny village. All of the buildings are shaped and colored exactly the same, all of the ponies are smiling the exact same way, and most baffling of all, they all have the same Cutie Marks: an equals sign. This sets off everypony's suspicions immediately, save for Fluttershy, who just finds them all very nice. This is made worse when they encounter the village's leader, Starlight Glimmer, who is overjoyed that a princess has decided to come join their little community. One musical moment later, she leaves them to go check out the town with her number two, Double Diamond, while she plots evil things.

    It turns out that the Cutie Marks are not a coincidence. The ruling mantra of the town is that friendship is only found in conformity and sameness; striving to excel or be the best you can be means that you're hurting all of those that aren't as good at what you do, and that is what ruins friendship. So in other to be the best friends possible, nopony is allowed to excel at anything. The town's fashion designer creates cloaks made of burlap (something that, if the show had a slightly higher content rating, would end with Rarity breaking his legs) and the only baker, Sugar Belle, makes nothing but terrible muffins. The Mane 6 immediately start arguing in front of Sugar Belle over why they're in a town that seems so peaceful and perfect already, but to the mare's shock, it doesn't end their friendship; the idea that friends can disagree but still be friends is anathema to the philosophy her life has been based around. Still, Double Diamond is obviously spying on the Mane 6, so Sugar Belle invites them into her basement, where Party Favor and Night Glider join her in surrounding them...and basking in the glory of their Cutie Marks.

    Turns out the three miss theirs a little, although they wouldn't dare think about trying to get them back; after all, having different talents will ruin their friendship. They do, however, tell the Mane 6 about the vault in the mountains where their Cutie Marks are kept after being removed. (Yes, you can remove magical butt tattoos. Lasers are involved.) The Mane 6 convince Starlight to show them this vault, as well as the Staff of Sameness, an artifact from an ancient pony sorcerer that is how she removes the Cutie Marks. Unfortunately, not only does Pinkie immediately spill the reason they know the vault when Starlight darkly asks, but it's a trap. The rest of the village begins to circle in, and when Twilight breaks from the group and prepares to blast their way out, Starlight easily zaps her with the staff and takes away her Cutie Mark before doing the same to the others.

    The Mane 6 are imprisoned in one of the town houses, with nothing to do but read books about equals signs and listen to state propaganda. Even worse, removing their Cutie Marks also removes the talents and abilities that made them special: Rainbow Dash lost her speed and strength, Applejack her strength and folksiness, Pinkie Pie her gleeful personality, Rarity her fashion sense, Fluttershy her ability to understand animals, and Twilight her magic. Even in this situation, however, Twilight's mind keeps wandering back to the Staff of Sameness; most notably, that Starlight had said it was the night artifact said ancient pony had left, but she remembers reading that there were only eight.

    A plan is hatched: when Starlight takes the ponies out the next day to see if they have been sufficiently broken, they all resist the call of the cult...except for Fluttershy, who had spent the entire trip talking about how awesome this place was. Starlight welcomes her conversion with open hooves, but with one caveat: she has to reveal who told them about the vault. Fluttershy almost shuts down, but Party Favor steps forward and takes full responsibility, and is thus sentenced to the isolation house with the rest of the Mane 6. Fluttershy gets to spend the night with Starlight until her own home is built, and tries to escape at night to retrieve the Cutie Marks, but being Fluttershy lets her fear overcome her...which is fortunate, because she then gets to spy two major shocks. First, Starlight has had Double Diamond bottle up the Mane 6's Cutie Marks so she can store them in her house, with particular attention paid to Twilight's. The second is when Starlight accidentally spills water on herself, revealing that her own equals sign is just paint over her real Cutie Mark!

    The next day, the Mane 6 still refuse to break, although Party Favor is begging for forgiveness after endless lectures on friendship. Fluttershy offers to lock up the Mane 6, and returns soon after with Twilight, who is willing to join as long as Starlight confirms that everypony in the town has given up their Cutie Marks. The hypocrite does so, at which point Fluttershy tries to splash her...and fails. Fortunately, the universe remembers that water splashes, so enough got on her Cutie Mark to wash away a bit of the paint, and a quick wipe from Party Favor removes the rest. Exposed, Starlight states that she needed her Cutie Mark: the staff is a fake, and she's the only one that can use the Cutie Mark-removing spell. The rest of the town is righteously enraged that they lost what made them special for a liar, but before Twilight can make with the friendship speech, Starlight tells her to shut up and runs back into her house, escaping down a secret passage into the mountains with the Mane 6's marks.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the town gets their Cutie Marks out of the vault via an Apple ad, and Double Diamond, Party Favor, Sugar Belle, and Night Glider pursue Starlight, while the still-powerless Mane 6 struggle to keep up. Each uses their special talents to keep up with and wear down the racing Starlight, until Double Diamond discovers his old skis and creates an avalanche that buries the mare. The bottles shatter against the ground, and the Mane 6 are fully restored. Unfortunately, Starlight is still up, and as mad as ever, but even her magic is not enough to overcome a restored Twilight's shield. Another friendship speech is offered, but the vile mare refuses their sentimentalism and winks away.

    The restored townsfolk decide to stay in the village, which is still their home despite Starlight's actions, and begin to celebrate their talents for the first time in a long while. The Mane 6's Cutie Marks begin to beep, signaling new adventures, but they know that their duty is to spread friendship to the rest of Equestria, and they are ready to do their part.


    REVIEW:

    It's been a long time since we had new episodes. We had the Rainbow Rocks content to help fill the gap, and the comics as well (although last year was really bad for the main series), but it's been close to a year since Season Four burned down Twilight's library and gave her a new castle...which is why it's odd they're seemingly picking up immediately after “Twilight's Kingdom.” The exposition dump at the beginning feels quite forced, and each character is given an obviously mandatory line, but thankfully things begin to flow more smoothly once the map pops up.

    Starlight Glimmer and her followers are modeled after the typical trademarks of a cult, including the surrendering of one's individual identity for the sake of the community, moving into an isolated area removed from corrupting influences and giving the leader more control, reverent worship of said leader, and the use of guilt tripping, shaming, and brainwashing to keep anyone from even wanting to leave. The idea of locking the Mane 6 into a small house and blasting blatant propaganda about the evils of ambition and talent seems ridiculous, but said techniques can be very effective, especially when combined with the magical nature of Cutie Marks and how they've been removed.

    The first half of the two-parter is great. We open with some basic comedy and character bits to reintroduce us to the cast, followed by a quick herding to the town. Once they get to the Stepford Smilers, the pacing slows to a solid rate, allowing us to take in how wrong the whole situation is. This is exemplified in the episode's musical number, “In Our Town,” which starts out as a standard march but gradually shifts into something more disturbing and off-putting as it continues. The second episode isn't as solid, but it still makes good use of the time available, making this one of the few times a two-part episode didn't completely suffer because of pacing issues.

    Starlight Glimmer ranks as one of the best villains FiM has produced so far, despite how low-key she is in the grand scheme of things. In fact, the entire adventure is much more low-key than most of the two-parters. Starlight isn't some apocalyptic threat like Nightmare Moon, Discord, or Tirek; if the Mane 6 had not intervened, she would have just had that one village at the edge of Equestria. She's managed to keep this position by careful manipulation and brainwashing of the townsfolk, coupled with presenting herself as a friendly and neighborly pony to any outsiders that happen to stumble onto them. In short, she's basically a normal pony, and the episode shows that even a non-demonic unicorn can be a problem.

    Plus, she's the first villain to actually shut down Twilight's friendship speeches. Not just snidely comment on how sappy or stupid she sounds, but actually shut her up. That earns her a few points.

    The rest of the ponies are more mixed. Double Diamond's name doesn't make sense until you see the skis (hooray for deus ex machinas), and he mostly serves as Starlight's second-in-command. Party Favor is mostly notable in being the only community member punished for their actions, and as we see, the very idea of being separated from the rest of the cult because of what you're told is a moment of weakness is soul-destroying for someone indoctrinated into such an environment. We never learn if his “I DIDN'T LISTEN!” was an act, or if his brainwashing was so effective that he shut out the Mane 6's attempts to convince him otherwise, but it ultimately doesn't matter thanks to Fluttershy's own actions. Night Glider is mostly just there to serve as another body.

    By far the best of the bunch was Sugar Belle. When she is introduced, she takes a brief argument between the Mane 6 as a sign that their friendship is ending, and is likewise flabbergasted when they make up only seconds later. She's a baker, but she can only make terrible muffins because she gave up her Cutie Mark. (The cult appears to operate on the “Tall Poppy Syndrome,” reducing anyone with talent to the lowest possible level so that they don't outshine anyone else.) If anything, she's the best representation of the cult from the regular pony's level, and demonstrates the cracks in Starlight's supposed utopia when she realizes that maybe having special talents doesn't mean your relationships will turn sour. (Plus, she's adorable.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkLc8-8ZZtY

    The episode handles Cutie Marks in a bit of an odd way. In the past, they were supposed to be a representation of what a pony's special talent was. As ponies grow up and experience new things, they eventually discover something they're good at and enjoy, have an epiphany, and then a magical butt tattoo appears. Here, though, the Cutie Marks seem to give the ponies their talent, and once they're removed, they're incapable of doing those things as well as before. The removal even overrides their personality, as seen when Pinkie becomes more Maud-like during their captivity. This becomes even odder when it's extended to Applejack's country-isms; apparently her real special talent isn't apple farming or going home to be a family mare, but dispensing folksy wisdom with as thick an accent as possible.

    The reason for the change? So the episode can sideline the Mane 6 for the final act, making the newcomers into the actual heroes. I am of mixed opinions on this. On the one hand, the Mane 6 are essentially useless to the direct resolution of the episode until they get their marks back, and are shown to be so weak that they can't even muster past a sluggish trot. On the other hand, Starlight's real victims were the ponies she had brainwashed and betrayed, and they definitely deserved to be involved in taking her down. They sound genuinely hurt when they discover their leader had been lying to them the whole time. So in some ways, the episode tries to avert the “Mane 6 swoop in and save everyone” cliché...until Twilight swoops in and saves everyone right at the end.

    FINAL THOUGHTS:

    This was overall a solid start to the season, and the best opening two-parter since “Return of Harmony.” They manage to avoid many of the pitfalls of “The Crystal Empire” and “Princess Twilight Sparkle,” such as making the entire thing about Twilight's journey or constantly escalating the threats, and instead focus on telling a fairly dark (for this show, anyway) story about the dangers of cults and giving up your identity for the sake of friendship. If the rest of the season promises more such adventures, I'm all for it. And if Starlight Glimmer comes back for another round, I'll definitely be willing to give it a watch.

    Also, Celestia episode. Please?

    It's never gonna happen, is it?


    Next time, Twilight gets sad about her old house. The one that Hasbro killed so they could give her a castle.

    11 comments · 278 views
  • 2w, 5d
    Thoughts on Fiendship is Magic #2

    It's okay. It's not a complete story.

    ...

    I have nothing to add. I haven't even finished the episode review, much less the comic one. At this rate, I'll accept surviving until Monday. Or dying before then. Either option works.

    5 comments · 138 views
  • 2w, 6d
    Writing a review isn't easy...

    When your cat somehow managed to get fleas and they are busy devouring your freaking legs. :(

    Sorry for the delay.

    12 comments · 117 views
  • 3w, 1d
    Back from BABSCon

    The convention is not over just yet, but I'm already back home with a song in my heart, immeasurable agony in my feet, and a seething hatred of toll bridges. Makes me glad our state is dying.

    Anyway, I had lots of fun. Didn't get to see the premiere showing (it was around the time the line stretched to Oakland that I realized I was better off waiting), missed the VA panel because my feet were hurting, and I didn't get my Lyra plushie because everyone knows I want one and jack up the price at my approach. BUT I did get to see some really interesting panels, got to try out Twilight Sparkle's Secret Ship Fic Folder for the first time, bought the Bound Together art book (which kicks ass, BTW) and some cool posters and woodwork figures, and was once again reminded that there are so many awesome people in this fandom. The highlight was probably the writer get-together on Saturday night, where drinks were had, I was a total dunce, and we had a fun game of Once Upon a Time that involved exploding cooks and Celestia being Chrysalis' stepmother.

    Now to watch the premiere in good quality. :twilightsmile:

    9 comments · 101 views
  • 3w, 2d
    Equality

    For some, it means the idea that everyone is accepted without prejudice toward their physical or mental features, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.

    For tumblr, it apparently means that everyone has to be made completely the same so that nobody is different in any way.

    ...I missed the season premiere and had to watch the thing on a cell phone with a broken screen and failing speakers. I am very bitter.

    Full review Tuesday at the latest.

    13 comments · 217 views
  • 3w, 3d
    Heading to BABSCon

    In a few minutes, I shall be departing for BABSCon. Hope to see some of you there.

    This also means I'll be catching the season premiere there, so I won't have a review ready this weekend. But hey, that gives it more time to process before I settle on my final opinion.

    See you guys in a few days, hopefully with my spark restored.

    5 comments · 49 views
  • 3w, 5d
    Comic Review: Fiendship is Magic #1 (Sombra)

    Welcome, boils and ghouls!

    ...Sorry, these things are usually done during October. Anyway, for the entire month of April, IDW is putting their usual two MLP series on hold. In their place is a five-part weekly miniseries, Fiendship is Magic, with each issue dedicated to one of FiM's big baddies. For our first outing, we have Jeremy Whitley, Brenda Hickey, and Heather Breckel giving...pretty much a semblance of character to one of FiM's lowest-tier villains: King Sombra.


    Twilight and Cadance have ventured back into the hidden catacombs of the Crystal Palace in search of more information about King Sombra, just in case he wasn't fully exploded and came back for revenge. They discover the fallen overlord's study, which also has a convenient journal detailing his entire life story. And our failed Sauron expy...started like as a foal discovered in the frozen wastes north of the Empire, with no memory of who he was or where he came from, or even the ability to read or speak anything besides, "Sombra." He was taken into an orphanage, where he was a quick learner but otherwise shunned and mocked by the other foals. His only friend was Radiant Hope, a similar outcast who was obsessed with becoming a princess and seeing the Crystal Heart at the Crystal Fair. Unfortunately for Sombra, he's struck by a mysterious ailment every time the Crystal Fair is held, and the one time he looks upon the heart, it shows Radiant Hope a vision of herself as a princess...and him as a monster made of smoke and shadows. There's definitely something different about Sombra, but can he overcome his differences with the help of Radiant Hope and live in peace?

    Seeing as we've seen how things went down in "The Crystal Empire," the answer is a resounding, "No."

    Sombra is the weakest FiM antagonist to date in terms of character. When he was introduced in Season Three, he had no backstory outside of being a generic evil overlord that enslaved an entire empire, was reduced to smoke by Celestia and Luna, and came back along with the Crystal Empire a thousand years later. During said episode, he did nothing but hover around, talk excitedly about crystals, and get blown up thanks to Spike's epic catch and Shining Armor throwing Cadance like a javelin. ANY characterization would be welcome, and this issue definitely delivers. Young Sombra is obviously "off" compared to the other foals; besides the lack of any memory, he also notes that he has to overcome just how wrong it feels to speak the same language as the crystal ponies. But nevertheless, he's still a kid that's really excited about that Crystal Fair his best friend loves, oblivious to the fact that it's intention is to power the weapon that nearly destroys him every year. For all his wrongness, he still tries to overcome the fate prophesied by the Crystal Heart, only to fail and become the monster he once feared.

    Filling out the cast are Radiant Hope and Princess Amore. Radiant Hope is your standard hyperactive, free-spirited girl that wants to be a princess, although we never see if that dream comes true. Her special talent turns out to be the ability to heal anything, and thankfully for the setting, healing magic is established to be uncommon, and extraordinarily rare to the extent that Radiant Hope demonstrates. Unfortunately, this is what causes Sombra's final despair (Radiant Hope being possibly accepted to study in Canterlot - we never see what the letter said exactly - means she won't be able to save him when the next Crystal Fair comes along), and their friendship - and love - ends in tears. Princess Amore, on the other hand, is barely in the story, and mostly serves to tell Sombra that he can still be good without actually offering any direct assistance. Like Celestia in a way, but unlike the Princess of the Sun, things really do not work out for her, as she's turned to crystal, shattered, and her remains spread across every corner of the world so that she can never be revived. (The only reason for that last part is that Hasbro thought a princess character, even a minor one, being murdered was too much.)

    As for what Sombra is...turns out he's literally smoke and shadows from the beginning. I guess what Celestia and Luna did was destroy his outer pony form, although we still saw that reform at the end of his two-parter. There's an entire army of similar beings buried underneath the Crystal Empire, and the reason he took over was to have the crystal ponies dig them up for him. They fail only because, in a last show of decency, Sombra let Radiant Hope live, which meant she was able to warn Celestia and Luna, and both Alicorns were a vastly superior force than Sombra was at that point. This kind of wonks with the timeline, as the crystal ponies in "The Crystal Empire" were mentally broken in every possible way and this implies Sombra may have been in charge for only a few days, but there's no mention of how long it took Radiant Hope to get back to the sisters to warn them of Sombra's actions. Either way, the Empire is zapped away for a thousand years as a final middle finger to Radiant Hope (who was outside the city when it happened and had to watch everything she ever knew vanish) and the crystal ponies, and we already know how things ended.

    ...Oh, and Sombra's horn shows up at the end, implying he may still return. Maybe for a future storyline? Heck, the issue is practically setting up another four-part arc, what with the buried Sombra-likes, whatever happened to Radiant Hope, and Amore's scattered remains.

    This issue is something we haven't seen in the comics: a tragedy. There's very little comedy, and everything regarding Sombra's fall is told completely straight. There's no happily-ever-after, either; Sombra is very much beyond any sort of redemption by the end, having fully accepted the Dark Side, and Cadance is quick to point out that any sympathy Twilight feels over Sombra not getting to go to the Crystal Fair is misplaced. The issue does not excuse Sombra's actions by giving him a tragic backstory, but instead uses said story to explain and show how someone can struggle to fight against destiny and ultimately lose.

    This was a damn good issue, and a wonderful start to this special month.


    Next week, we learn the history of Tirek.

    10 comments · 193 views
  • 4w, 23h
    Yet Another Non-Pony Thing: Borderlands the Pre-Sequel: The Claptastic Voyage

    First, you might be wondering where the comic reviews are. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to finish them because words cannot describe how much I enjoyed both issues. So if you have not done so already, go buy them. Now. Right now. I will inflict locusts upon you if you do not do so.

    ...Trust me, I'll find a way.

    In the meantime, let's talk about some game series I really like because, well, so be it.


    So a while ago, I did a review of Borderlands 2's final campaign DLC, "Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep." It was a wonderful capstone to a solid base game and three mixed-to-good other DLC campaigns, and served as a strong ending for BL2's story. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's DLC story is entirely different. It was an overpriced standalone expansion pack (albeit with a length comparable to the original game) to begin with, and what did its season pass offer? Two characters, a slapped-together arena, and one campaign DLC. Not a very impressive package, especially a ten bucks each.

    Fortunately, much like in BL2, they saved the best for last. "The Claptastic Voyage" is a genuine blast to play.

    The story opens some time after the end of TPS' main campaign. Handsome Jack has summoned his band of Vault Hunters for another job. His former boss has hidden a super-powerful piece of code, one that would make him the undisputed master of Hyperion, and from there, the universe itself. Unfortunately, said code happens to hidden in the most annoying spot of all: the mind of series mascot and one of his Vault Hunters, Claptrap. Our heroes (including Claptrap...somehow) have to digitally project themselves into the nightmarish mess of broken code and crushed dreams that is Claptrap's very being, explore his greatest regrets and most cherished memories, and recover the code.

    The premise is very similar to "Dragon Keep," in that it tells a fantastical story that delves into the storyteller's character. The difference is that while "Dragon Keep" was set in a D&D-styled fantasy world (only with guns) and dealt with things more figuratively, "Claptastic Voyage" is literally going through the mind of Claptrap. You take quests from his Id, Ego and Superego, travel across the "Motherless Board" via data streams, and are attacked by viruses, trojans, and pop-up ads and clickbait. The DLC is actually really clever, even excusing the continued existence of meme-based comedy, and there were plenty of hilarious moments.

    I also have to give props to the world design. While there are some reused areas, they at least have been touched up to look like they're poorly-rendered memories, and most of the areas are new. Enemy placement is much better, and there are lots of side areas and hidden chests to discover. The last areas also deserve mention, as you delve into Claptrap's subconscious and wander through a number of very well-done design effects and illusions.

    The game also adds a new weapon type: glitch weapons. These things are awesome. The premise is that the guns are screwed-up code, so every now and then you'll see them glow a specific color. If you fire while they're glowing, the gun's properties change for a moment. Even better, the glitch weapons have some unique properties, such as a Torgue rocket launcher that fires multiple rockets for the price of one, or a submachine gun that shouts "KILL KILL KILL" in an incredibly high-pitched voice as you fire. You can even grind glitched guns in the Grinder.

    And then there's the story. "Dragon Keep" was notable for starting very silly and ending pretty sad (before getting silly again), and "Claptastic Voyage" does much of the same...only I don't think the series has ever gotten this dark before. After spending most of the series (and especially TPS) as the character everyone in-story hated, wandering through his intense self-loathing is not always a pleasant experience. He's a failed little robot who knows everyone hates him - even the people who actually like or don't mind him - is only able to operate by creating a literal denial program, and pretty much the only victory he has is one you help him dream up. And then there's the ending, which is just downright brutal...right before happy music and people telling Claptrap to shut up.

    Overall, this was a really solid DLC. The only reason I'm not promoting it like I did "Dragon Keep" is because the base product is...eh. If you get the Handsome Collection, have TPS already, or just love the series, it's worth getting.


    ...

    But seriously, buy the comics.

    6 comments · 163 views
  • 5w, 5d
    Comic Review: Issue #28 (The Revenge of Everfree, Part 2)

    At long last, the finale for the latest story arc has reached store shelves. Can our intrepid ponies save their home from those vile, racist, evil, disgusting, preachy-as-heck deer? Or will the wretched curse that is the theme park industry bring doom to all of Equestria?


    We pick up immediately where the last issue left off. Celestia and Luna have freed themselves from the vines and sent correspondence back to Twilight about the situation, while Zecora's attempts to stop the rampant plant growth have come to naught. Aspen is still insistent on destroying the ponies who are obviously behind everything with their tree-hating ways, and after some more attempts to persuade the minotaur Well-To-Do to give up fail, he finally just says they're being thrown out of the hidden deer village the next morning. So far, so bad.

    That's when things take a wee bit of a turn. Turns out Well-To-Do has gotten some sort of smoothie mix...and it somehow works just like the deer potions, only it still works on the supposedly toxic land. When Bramble discovers this, he's kidnapped by the minotaur, who is now ready to initiate his grand plan to make Aspen his toady, remove the deer resistance to his park, and make himself rich. Can the ponies and deer stop the real enemy: capitalism?

    This issue starts just as bad as the last one, echoing the same themes and kicking the Mane 6 around for the sake of comedy. About the only amusing moment is when Twilight tries to revoke Well-To-Do's right to sell merchandise in her likeness, only to reveal that he's created a totally original pony, Twilight Sporkle, who looks like Twilight but has a different face so they are completely original do not steal. The deer are still racist elves that take missed messages (which we see are being intercepted by one of Well-To-Do's goons) as a sign that the ponies are guilty and don't, you know, go in person to see what's up with Celestia.

    Things pick up, however, when Well-To-Do goes from a standard businessman archetype to Looten Plunder from Captain Planet. He essentially turns the elven-king into his park's mascot by holding his son hostage, keeps trying to bribe others into supporting him, and when everyone finally has enough of his crap, goes into a grand speech about how all he cares about is money and progress and everyone had just better give up.

    This would be unforgivably bad if it weren't accompanied by Blackthorn, the other deer we saw last issue briefly, taking control of the now-leaderless deer and, in a matter of moments, starting the entire species on the road to redemption by having the ponies form an army of Everfree monsters to wreck Well-To-Do's crew of bulldozers. And by bulldozers, I mean carts and wagons shaped like bulldozers that are pushed and pulled by ponies. They even have to make their own beeping noises when backing up. The issue ends with a not-quite-epic-but-still-amusing brawl where our heroes fend off Well-To-Do's forces while knocking all those smoothie barrels over, bathing the land in toxic Miracle-Gro and saving the day.

    ...Okay, the smoothie crap was really dumb and rushed. And why didn't the deer potions work again? The comic had better do something to distract me from this plot hole. You know, like killing the villain in a gruesome fashion. Which they proceed to do.

    Well-To-Do, a ruthless businessman obsessed with progress and money, is devoured by a hydra. The scene was apparently so graphic that they had to censor the panel, much like the gag they pulled when Chrysalis killed that lovey-bunny thing way back in Issue #3. And while the final gag strip shows the minotaur still alive in the hydra's stomach, it's only a matter of time before digestion kicks in and all that, so...yeah, he's dead.

    The issue ends with...well, Celestia apologizing to the deer that destroyed her kingdom because they were racist idiots. (Although to be fair, they are very quickly working to repair everything, with Aspen taking personal responsibility for the clean-up, so it isn't as bad as the time they forgave the kelpie for trying to drown them all on the flimsiest of reasons.) Still, Fluttershy nuzzles Philomena, and that's so adorable that it almost makes it worthwhile.

    Overall, this arc was better than the last one, but still very flawed. The first issue was just a mess from start to finish, and while this one toned down the environmentalism after the first third, it still had to carry a lot of the baggage. The villain only becomes enjoyable when he becomes a caricature, and even that's mostly because of how ridiculous he and his comeuppance are. The ponies do very little, which is a bit of a problem considering they're supposed to be the main characters. And the deer...if it weren't for Blackthorn, I'd be advocating exterminatus on their furry hides.

    The moral of the story:

    Elves suck.


    Next issue is about pony wrestling. Here is a brief summation of everything I know about professional wrestling:


    See you next week with two comics to look over.

    14 comments · 237 views
  • 5w, 5d
    On the "great" FiM vs Steven Universe "war"

    So yeah...more explosive drama. Yay.

    There's a show on Cartoon Network called Steven Universe. It's a series about the titular half-human, half-alien hybrid who lives in a sci-fi temple in a tiny beach town. He's raised by three alien warriors that are actually just space gems with hard light bodies, and who take him on missions to train him to become part of their group, the Crystal Gems. Between adventures, he hangs out with his dad (a failed musician who lives in a van and owns a car wash), his best friend/potential love interest Connie, two teenagers that work at the local donut shop, and his hyper-dimensional pet lion.  Over time, the series goes from problem-of-the-day adventures to include a longer story arc revolving about alien invasions, civil war, love and life itself, and Steven growing into a real Crystal Gem.

    It's a very solid series, combining simple-but-effective animation design with solid writing and a charming atmosphere and aesthetic that knows what mood to hit with every scene. It has a very Adventure Time feel to it - which makes sense considering Rebecca Sugar, the show's creator, also worked on that series - but honestly pulls off many of the same things better than that series. And unlike a certain Disney show, it can actually have new episodes in a reasonable amount of time.

    So yes, the show is good. So good that Calpain of Equestria Daily decided to create another, EqD-style site for it. Unfortunately, this caused nothing but drama and heartache, as the very idea of that loathsome other fandom coming into their turf sent bellyaching fans rallied against him until he finally gave up. That's nothing new.

    What is new is that it's the Steven Universe fandom that's stirred up the most shit about it.

    What it boils down to is that Steven Universe is popular, but not just because it's a good show. There are a lot of folks who like it because it's a progressive show. I won't go into too many details because I'd probably get it wrong, but here's an article that explains some things in a bit more detail. It's a children's cartoon that's doing a good job of representing groups that really don't get that good of a deal in media at large...so when news came that someone who created a BRONY website was going to create one for this show, people...overreacted, to say the least.

    To put it simply, the FiM fandom has a reputation. We've ruined MLP by taking it over and making it all about "creepy adult males." The first things anyone brings up is that we make porn, or that we put FiM with things that shouldn't go with it, or that we're chasing out all the little girls and women the show was made for. The fear was that we were going to do the same thing to Steven Universe. To which I say:

    A) There's a ton of porn and inappropriate crossovers already.

    B) The show is aimed at a general audience, whereas FiM is open a general audience but targeted towards girls. There's a difference.

    C) Gatekeeping your playhouse so that nobody but those you approve can come in is freaking stupid and counterproductive.

    Are there a lot of shitty bronies? Of course. Should there be standards on what is acceptable to post in places children can easily see, especially since parents cannot control all their online time in a world where a stapler can probably connect to the Internet? Yes. But there is a definite glass house issue going on with the reaction here. The Steven Universe fandom seems to be more in love with the representation the show provides than the fact that it's a good series. I'm happy that the show's laying some strikes against the shittiness of our society, but that's not why I enjoy watching it. I enjoy watching it because it's a good show. And good shows should be enjoyed by all.

    ...And for the record, there is nothing wrong with liking Fallout: Equestria. I don't like it myself, but it doesn't make you a bad person.

    33 comments · 385 views
  • 6w, 6d
    I'll soon have tons of time to write

    7 comments · 192 views
  • 7w, 4d
    Comic Review: Friends Forever #14 (Spike and Princess Luna)

    So, you might have noticed there were no comics last month. Due to a labor strike that basically screwed over all of IDW's releases for the last half of February, last month's issues will be coming out in March. And to start, let's look at Spike as he teams up with another princess. Sort of.


    Our adventure opens with Spike dreaming about a terrible episode a sub-par outing “Dragon Quest” and those big jerks known as teenage dragons. His vivid memories of his humiliation are stopped only when Luna interrupts the dream and awakens him, as she needs his help. There has been a series of strange fires in Fillydelphia, all of which seemed to have started in a perfectly straight line. And who is the prime suspect? Why, dragons, of course! Those foul, wild, vicious, perfectly-civilized dragons that have their own Chinatown analogue and are treated with suspicion by the Fillydelphia police...

    …Let's back up to “Dragon Quest” again. Remember how it was a big deal that Spike knew nothing about his past? Remember how Twilight went through seemingly every book in the library and stated that nopony knew much about dragons because of how wild and dangerous they are? And now there's an entire city of them in Equestria? Not to mention that the few moments we see with the Fillydelphia dragons paints them practically as saints, while the ponies are quick to use terms like “fire breathers” and equate Spike's presence to using Chrysalis to investigate identity theft. PONY RACISM, NOW AND FOREVER!

    I hate to keep harping on this point, but this is so at odds with how dragons have been shown up to this point that I can't accept it as simple worldbuilding. I can accept dragon civilizations, but in the middle of Equestria? Was this meant to erase “Dragon Quest” from continuity, like when they unceremoniously dumped Spike's pet? And I don't think it would be as bad if IDW hadn't said that they had to change things to match what the show's planning, meaning that this retcon may actually show up in the series. (Albeit in a hopefully better manner.)

    The issue's other problem is that Spike and Luna are not together very long. Much like the Fluttershy/Zecora issue, the two meet up, go to the problem, and then split for nearly the entirety of the adventure. The Celestia/Spike issue gave us some nice character growth and examined both of the cast members; here, Luna just pulls Spike into an adventure, goes off to do paperwork, and then yells at him. Spike ultimately stumbles across the answer (a fire snail that looks like it escaped the set of Adventure Time), with Luna only showing up to help slightly with the final rescue and apologize for not instantly believing the dragon.

    The character that Spike spends the most time with is a new one, a female dragon named Mina that works at a comic book store. There's a page-long conversation about how dragons are almost never shown as the heroes in comics, and Mina's every line is either her fangirling about Luna (which is hilarious) or her decrying how dragons are treated (which is forced). Between the pony racism and Mina's speechifying, the issue appears to be trying to take a stance regarding prejudice and social injustice, which would be fine if it didn't also interfere with the story itself.

    All that being said, there were plenty of highlights. Luna reminisces about banishing villains to the frozen north, and is promptly burned by the chief. One of the cops is obsessed with acting like a siren, most likely as a nod to the infamous Police Academy films. Twilight's dream is to alphabetize the entire Canterlot Library. The characterization for Luna and Spike is generally good, and you can tell the issue is really trying, but the rather large breach in continuity and poor handling of the pairing weigh this one down. It's a so-so issue overall.


    Next time, the bureaucracy expands to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.

    9 comments · 249 views
Feb
19th
2013

Today the Brony Documentary group released a trailer for the extended interviews bonus, with extra footage of Tara, De Lancie and Faust. Most of it's pretty much your basic stuff, but...watch what Faust says...

In case you're lazy, she says that she had planned out destinies for the different characters, and mentions Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Twilight specifically. The first two are self-explanatory: Rarity gets a dress shop in Canterlot and Rainbow Dash joins the Wonderbolts. Those are pretty blindingly obvious, and have been built up to over the course of the show. But then she gets to Twilight...who was going to be Celestia's successor. Yes, successor. As in, princess. She also tweeted after the hype machine kicked into gear that this wasn't in her plan, so that seems to imply that this would have happened at some point in time, but not in the middle of the series' run.

This actually adds credence to the idea that MMC was going to be the series finale. After all the staff turnover and with DHX picking up so many projects, Hasbro cuts their losses and orders thirteen episodes to fill out the sixty-five needed for syndication. That way, they can just sell the airing rights after the fact and make a fortune. But when the show remained popular (and possibly because shows like Care Bears didn't take off like they had wanted), they decided to renew it for another full season. The only problem is that this meant MMC was already in production, and it would most likely be too late and too expensive to pull the episode and totally redo the ending.

So what does this actually mean? Not much, really, but it does give some more insight into the show's conception. And perhaps it can show that Hasbro isn't wrecking Faust's vision like so many claim they are.

InsertAuthorHere · 4,196 views · Report
#1 · 113w, 6d ago · · 2 ·

Uhm... okai... not sure what to say...

#2 · 113w, 6d ago · 2 · 15 ·

Twilight replace Celestia.....this just in: Twilight Sparkle new worst pony.

#3 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

:c

#4 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

This new info and the current state of affairs... it could still happen. o_o

#5 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

Now I think about it, it explains the wierd ending off Wonderbolts Academy. If season 3 would be the last season and everypony off the mane 6 would get their dreams, then Wonderbolts Academy could be one off the episodes about Dash getting her dream. At the end Dash would be accepted as Wonderbolt.

This maybe also explains the remors before season 3 about Flutters changing in a dragon and Rarity getting a duet with Octavia. Flutters changing in a dragon would help her overcome her fear of dragons and help her learn to stand for herself. Rarity meeting Octaia would almost certainly happen in Canterlot. It would help Rarity to get a shop opened in Canterlot.

#6 · 113w, 6d ago · 3 · ·

None of this really surprise me.  Twilight taking up a role as Celestia's successor has always to me seemed a very likely destination for her character arc -- either that or becoming the royal arch-mage/vizier, but now that she's an alicorn the former seems to be the only viable path, and it's not a bad path.

Now exactly how well this will play out over the course of next season (and however many more season might potentially come after that), well, only time will tell.

#7 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

So wait, this implies its our fault. We the fans got this so popular that it warranted MORE episodes and seasons! While Faust's original vision for the work was good, it wasn't multiseasonal enough for US.

This is very interesting. You know what? I would love to see her "fanfic" on the endings for our characters the way she had intended.

#8 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

It's been heavily speculated that the reason this season was thirteen episodes, or one half, was so the other half would go to funding Equestria Girls, and that it never had anything to do with the syndication limit at all. Hasbro knows that ponies is pretty much the life blood right now, so they are broadening their horizons and syndicating FIM for the future.

As for the video itself, a bit surprising given Lauren's reaction on Twitter. Sure, she was never expecting Twilight to actually become royalty herself, but replacing the ruler of the entire kingdom is pretty much becoming royalty, anyway.

So yeah, "ruining Faust's vision?" No, not really.

More like broadening it out while keeping both corporate parties (Toy branch vs Show branch) happy.

#9 · 113w, 6d ago · 1 · 1 ·

It means that we really are in a Babylon 5 - style scenario, looking forward to a season of fillers, hastily-conceived plots and episodes from the scrap pile.

FWIW, I'm hoping that Rainbow and Rarity both reject their automatically-assumed 'destinies'.  It would fit well into the message of the show if they decide that their relationships with their friends and their places in the community in Ponyville was more important to them than celebrity, recognition and even wealth.  "I'm happy here, with my friends.  Money and fame couldn't replace that!" would be a nice message with which to round out the show.

#10 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

Yeah, that is interesting.  Perhaps if we had known this two weeks ago, a lot less people would've freaked out..  (By the way, did you know that kludge is a word?  Because autocorrect seems to want to replace every other word I type with that today.)

#11 · 113w, 6d ago · 7 · ·

So everyone saying Lauren Faust didn't want Twilight to be a princess can shut it? (Sorry, I get more than a little tired of people using her to justify their own arguments.) Huzzah!

#12 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

As long as this burns hundreds of fanfics, then I'm okay with it. :twilightsheepish:

#13 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

What I want to know is how they're going to pull themselves out of this hole they accidentally dug. If they did, like you said, intend for the show to end there, but renewed the show for another season due to unexpected popularity, they've got to find some way to keep it going, right? If they're creative, I'm sure they can find a decent way to prevent hitting a dead end.

#14 · 113w, 6d ago · 4 · ·

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HAH! Sorry, that was mean wasnt it to all of the people who say "messing with Lauren's vision" and "Hasbro is teh dvil," and "Princesses are just pwetty and historically dont do anything (princess Grace, Diania, and Catherine just got DISSED! Though I thank them for giving me the chance to research the real princesses in the real world and see what they did for real and their real lives)? So basically, what we have on our hands is another "DBZ, Kim Possible" scenario where something that was only meant for a particular length (Dragonball was only meant to go for the first arc, and KP was meant for only the 65) and then it got so popular that they decided to keep things going. I wonder if that is another reason for the 13, so Megan and the group could set up an arc  and plot things out slowly to get everything set up. Meanwhile Hasbro goes for the spin off that they want.

My question is this then...Die hard fans, where were you when Danny Phantom was canceled? Why was I stuck with only 3 seasons, 53 eps, and two awesome made for tv movies? Why didnt you save this show? Heck, Hey Armold fans...where were you guys when Nick decided to be the biggest A-holes on the planet and left us the world's second biggest cliffhanger (first place belongs to the always awesome and rewatchable...Berserk). Some of these shows need closure

#15 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

she wants the CMC to get their cutie marks, and they didnt, a thing that will happen in season 4? :trixieshiftright::trixieshiftleft::rainbowdetermined2::duck:

#16 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

On the subject of destinies, I've made a blog post of my own.

I notice someone down-thumbed my previous post.  I'd be grateful if whoever that was could tell me (by private message if you prefer) what you didn't like; I'm genuinely interested in your opinion, okay?

#17 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

>>846166

I'd be okay with that, more Scootaloo is never a bad thing :twilightsmile:

#18 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

>>846235

they just annoy me now because we have seen them do their talents in many episodes and sweetie belle straight out says that even if she is a good singer she refuses to think its her special talent and tries to be like her big sister, you wont get the same cutie mark as your sister, the show shows that nopony can have the same talent, and all of the older ponies know their talents as well, but they arent allowed to tell them because they have to find it on their own, but they wont ever find it on their own if they keep listening to scootaloo trying to get a cutie mark like rainbowdash. I like them, and find them funny, but i dont like how they refuse to acknolodge that their special talent is what they refused to do for the talent show.

#19 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

i will still regard this the s3 season finale as the actual finale when this show finally ends. the fact that twilight suddenly gets wings when i skip this episode before s4 we will solve when we get there.

#20 · 113w, 6d ago · · 8 ·

>>845936

Sorry, Luna's already taken that spot.

#21 · 113w, 6d ago · 2 · ·

>>846007

Possibly, or possibly not. The problem with Babylon 5 was that everything was resolved before the sudden renewal, while here, there's still a lot of ground to possibly cover. And in any case, it's kind of hard to have filler when your show is more of less slice of life, the very definition of filler.

Also, the idea you had for Rarity was kind of what happened in "Sweet and Elite." She goes to Canterlot, makes some huge waves thanks to a high-profile pony falling in love with her work, and feels she has to lie about her friends and origin to avoid being cast out. In the end, she learns that you should always be proud of where you're from. If the show had ended, that could have been a decent ending for her.

>>845988

More like broadening it out while keeping both corporate parties (Toy branch vs Show branch) happy.

It also ties into the claim made back in Season 2 that the show's creators had input on the toys. Although given how rushed the finale was, it's also possible that the change was still mandated, but since they still had Lauren's idea lying around, they decided to work that interpretation into the finale as best they could. It's honestly a shame they couldn't devote the entire episode to it, but at least they'll be addressing what happens now in the next opener.

#22 · 113w, 6d ago · 3 · ·

>>845955

> it could still happen.

"Only on the Hub"?

Sorry, I couldn't resist :facehoof:

#23 · 113w, 6d ago · 2 · ·

I never understood the argument that "this isnt what Faust wanted!". Honestly I dont really care what Faust wants since she isnt apart of production anymore and even if she was I would still judge each episode as I do now. Would be like saying Disney didnt follow George Lucas's vision in their new Star Wars movie. Regardless of if its a flop of success, I don't care what Lucas's vision was since he isnt a part of it.

This info does give us some insight into Hasbro's thinking and I guess that does make me a little less angry. Though I am still way more disappointed than angry. I've been back to watch the songs of that episode several times and the greatest crime is wasting such perfect material and plot with such a convoluted episode. I would have rather them shot for an average episode and just it ending up below average than to have all these amazing scenes and touching moments wasted because of time constraints. Now every time I watch Twilights "I've got to find a way", the groups "A true true friends" or "Celestias  ballad", I can't completely enjoy them because all I can think about is what might have been.

#24 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

>>846543

That isn't an exact analogy as Mr Lucas is supposedly going to be a story consultant on Episode VII (hopefully he'll convince J J Abrams not to turn the entire cast into hormonal teens).

Still, I do get your point; Lauren hasn't really be involved with MLP: FiM since the end of Season 2 and has only ever been credited with writing episodes 1x01 and 1x02, the pilot two-parter.  Although it still owes a lot to her vision, it's a lot bigger show now with a lot more different creative visions involved.

#25 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

Hey look a Faust Tweet

#26 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

>>846625 uh the heck is that a comment to?.....

#27 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

>>846663 in reference to it 'Not being so far from Fausts vision'

#28 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

>>846675 no i mean what is faust commenting about? all that link shows is a blank da page with her post on it.....

#29 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

>>846692 ... What could the "Almighty Faust" be talking about when she says that? :facehoof: Especially so soon after we get a 4'th alicorn. Especially knowing she doesn't approve of Cadence being an Alicorn

#30 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

>>846725 but that post was dated a year ago , and i didn't know anything on what faust had to say about cadence.....

#31 · 113w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

Personally i never was a fan of "Destiny". but i do believe that people can only go so far with their free will.

Meaning that because ones cutie mark is one thing, why does that mean they are tied to doing it?

It understandable if, per say a pony is a singer, or a baseball player, that they would be best doing what they do best, but what about if it isnt, like why can't ponies have free choice?

The thing im hitting at is mainly the royal guard. Does it mean that all of the royal guards are practically aryans, born and raised to guard the princess like roman storm troopers? or could they be stallions who had tallent, and careers, but they decided to join the military?

I remember one of my favorite stories of all time is a cup of joe by the Descendant, in it, Pony Joe was a soldier in the equestrian aremy and became a royal guard and then dcided to open his doughnut shop with the money he earned.

still though, cutiemarks related to fighting and killing by fanfiction writers are immediately poor characters in my opinnion. THink outside the box, there are ways to rationalize it.

#32 · 113w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

>>847030 I kind of view destiny in stories a lot like I do love; I don't believe in either of them, but in order for the story to make sense you have to pretend that they exist...well, most of the time, at least :pinkiesick:

#33 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

You continue to post interesting things, I'm glad I follow you.  :twilightsmile:

#34 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

You know I'm still confused at this prospect of hating on princesses and calling them weak, and yet the show has Luna and Celestia around! That makes little sense!

#35 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

Well, I hope they realize how stupid it would be to cancel the show at this point. With the fans it has produced and the money they make off of it, why would they stop it and pray that care bears is going to somehow replace it?

#36 · 113w, 6d ago · · ·

Good to know, thanks!

#37 · 113w, 5d ago · · ·

>>845933

I'm not sure either really, I'm still absorbing this... wow...

#38 · 113w, 5d ago · · ·

>>846007

>>846536

interesting that 2 other people would bring up Babylon 5, but that's exactly what I'm reminded of too.

Babylon 5 was a sci-fi TV series about a space station called Babylon 5.

Near the end of the show, they blew up the space station.

So there was no more Babylon 5, and everybody's plots were pretty much resolved, it was supposed to be the end of the story.

......and then the show was picked up for another season - and it was terrible.

I'm not saying that's where MLP will go, Babylon 5 was a serial TV drama and MLP is a kids show about candy colored ponies.

MLP can be different, this doesn't have to be an "endgame" story for it.

This show isn't even the kind of thing that even has an "ending", it's more like any episodic cartoon show and it just runs until there is no longer any interest in it. Like Family Guy or The Simpsons, they just get into something new next week .

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