• Member Since 19th Feb, 2012
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A Pole by birth, a Lawgiver by trade and a Trickster by choice. Altogether a most friendly, sociopathic madman. At your service...

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Frenemies Talk, Chapter I · 4:09pm Apr 5th, 2015

Frenemies Talk, Chapter I: The Cutie Map

Greetings everyone,

The new season has begun! And with it, new content, new villains, new adventures and perils. A proper moment to become more active. And active we wish to be. This blog post is, as it happens, done by "us" - me and my dearest friend, Prane.

First of all, let me explain the title. Frenemies Talk. Sounds peculiar. Well, it is absolutely and utterly justified when it comes to the state of things between me and Prane. I could not ask for a greater friend, a more challenging rival and a wonderful person in general. Our differences have always made us close and I can safely say that we would not be the people, or the writers, that we are today without one another.

Nothing cements a friendship more than a good clash of characters, let me tell you!

But enough of bromantic propaganda. It is time for a little sort-of review of the MLP Season 5 premiere episode(s) - The Cutie Map.

Spoilers below the break - you have been warned.

OC Factory. In this room we're branding new ponies with talents. Coming up next: failed design room.

Prane: It is on! The fifth season of our favorite eye-pleasing quadrupeds has arrived, and boy, what a landing that was. We’ve witnessed cutie marks detaching from their noble regions of residence, we were (indirectly) promised more adventuring across Equestria, and most importantly, we’ve met a new antagonist called Starlight Glimmer. Since between the two of us you’re the resident expert on villains, I give you the honor. What do you think about her and her agenda?

Gulheru: I have to begin by saying that I have remarkably enjoyed this season’s start. And mostly because of Starlight Glimmer. A new villain has entered the stage and she is quite the show-stealer. Her design is reasonable and her motivation? Now, that’s the thing that got me hooked up the most. Equality. Equality that creates Harmony. Starlight has decided to do something that I do not think even Starswirl the Bearded would consider. Create Harmony on her own. Not using some ancient artifacts, or forgotten arcana, or antiquated morality. She has the ambition to forge her own power, own order and magic. Through impartiality. And it is a frightening, but impressive vision to have. What has forced her to seek for Friendship this way? Hard to tell. Let us hope the rest of the season shall grant us answers.

But! The most important detail about our dear Starlight Glimmer - she is still around. Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first, absolute first villain not to be bested immediately. Everyone else were defeated, humiliated, conquered. From Nightmare Moon, through the, now-reformed, Discord, Queen Chrysalis, King Sombra, Lord Tirek and throngs of lesser adversaries. But not Starlight Glimmer. She is around, still following her vision, not aware of the error of her ways (at least from the “Friendship is Magic” perspective). A potential recurring villain, somepony we can always look for in the background, plotting, scheming and waiting for another opportunity to challenge our heroes. And that makes her unique.

Yet, do not let me drown you in those words of praise - what is your opinion on Starlight?

Look at how evil I am. Look at me!

Prane: First of all, I think they could put a little more work into her design, because she’s basically Aria Blaze color-wise. As a character she reminds me greatly of Amon from Avatar: The Legend of Korra. He was a charismatic leader of a faction known as the Equalists whose goal was to get rid of benders, the people capable of bending the elements to their will. Much like Starlight is capable of taking away your talent and your cutie mark, Amon could take away your power to bend. And, much like in Starlight’s case, his actions were exposed and he turned out not as equal as he claimed to be.

Still, I think you’re correct in assuming we haven’t heard the last of her. She was collecting cutie marks for a reason, however undisclosed one. Why else would she take the jars with her instead of just abandoning them and saving her skin? Does she want ponies’ talents for herself, or is something more sinister behind that? I’d like to point out that the last character capable of taking away one’s talent, and the magic within, was Tirek. However, trying to connect these two at this point would be a mere speculation. Let’s wait a couple of filler, slice-of-life-y episodes until the next part of the grand mystery behind the cutie marks is revealed.

Oh, and the best thing about Starlight? She didn’t give a damn about Twilight’s speech about friendship. She didn’t let her finish, which clearly means she’s not over yet.

A hug - one of several things that works better in their group variant.

Gulheru: New adventures, new places, new friends to make. Starlight’s little hamlet provided us with an abundance of ponies, some of whom look like they are in possession of intriguing and captivating personalities and abilities. What is your opinion on the newcomers to the show?

Prane: Let’s see. The four characters who saved the day are called, as follows: Party Favor, Double Diamond, Night Glider, and Sugar Bell. They seem to be a nice bunch, and all shipping possibilities aside, they are not all mares. From the very beginning of the show male characters were at best supporting to our heroines, so it’s great to see they gave stallions some spotlight. That’s something I believe couldn’t come to be around season one or two, and it’s a direction I fully support. Moreover, that was the first time somepony relatively unimportant made a difference in the end, which may hint at the greater role the background and secondary ponies have to play in the upcoming episodes. Here’s hoping!

It’s a next logical step from what we’ve seen in the previous season. Twilight and her friends no longer need to learn and re-learn the same lesson about friendship they’ve been studying from their first encounter. They have become the teachers now, and much like they’ve shown Coco Pommel or Silver Shill that there is another way, they will be showing other Equestrians that the Magic of Friendship is worth fighting for.

Maybe the newly introduced characters weren’t that original, with Party Favor mirroring Pinkie Pie and Night Glider being essentially the iced version of RD, but since they’ve decided to stay at their village there may be a story to be told about them, be that through fanfiction or a scene or two later in the show. Not all friendships have to happen in Ponyville, thankfully.

You call that a welcome song?

Prane: Among other colorful pastel things, the show is known from its songs. This time we had a pleasure of listening to a beautifully tailored propaganda in form of a musical number. Was there any part in particular which made you say “woah, that level of brainwash is not for kids anymore?”

Gulheru: Well, I think we could all agree that the show has, long ago, embraced topics than can be associated with more “aged” audiences. But I know what you mean by this particular song being… unique in its own way. And I have to confess that it did cause me to declare: “Atrocity!” loud enough for my neighbors to possibly wonder what the heck is happening. The amount of sheer propaganda in it was incredible. I happen to know a thing or two about the usage of such techniques by governments, especially dictatorial ones, as I have written my dissertation on totalitarian regimes. And “In Our Town” is a wonderful example of such piece of art - strict rhythm, choreography, the choice of uplifting lyrics, choir to emphasize unity.

All in all, it is a masterpiece of storytelling to include a powerful, slightly out of place song, causing some of us to really ask ourselves: “What is this about? Who would sing something like that?” Well, Starlight would. She did. And it was eye-opening.

There was one line that I think we both agree was absolutely stellar: “You can’t have a nightmare, if you never dream.” This sounds… bleak for me. Harsh.

I’ll stay with my Nightmare, thank you very much, Starlight Glimmer.

And that's that. Hopefully our little blog has turned out to be an enjoyable read after all. Let us know in the comments about anything we have overlooked! And if anyone would like to join us next time with a guest question and perhaps promote oneself, just notify us, we welcome you to do so.

If you feel like it, do check out Prane's stories... and perhaps some of mine as well. :twilightsmile:

Catch you next time,


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