• Member Since 31st Aug, 2013
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Mystic Mind


The greatest storyteller of our time, or just another smuck brony on the internet? YOU decide! (Also I do episode analysis sometimes.)

More Blog Posts52

  • 4 weeks
    High Guardian Spice: Flawed Brilliance and Fantasy Fun (Spoiler review/analysis)

    (Note: This is an updated review to include a greater discussion of spoilers, and to elaborate on one or two points I could have made clear.)

    TL;DR: Though far from perfect, primarily due to the rough-around-the-edges animation, High Guardian Spice does a wonderful job in presenting its fantasy coming of age story, building on common heroic fantasy tropes to great effect.

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    0 comments · 276 views
  • 5 weeks
    High Guardian Spice: Setting a High Bar for Future Western Animation

    Despite all the delays, High Guardian Spice is finally here! I will admit upfront that I have some level of bias, since I'm a non-binary fantasy nerd who loves all things magical and colourful. This show was always going to be on my radar, but has it lived up to my lofty expectations?

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    0 comments · 72 views
  • 10 weeks
    My Little Pony: A new Generation

    My Little Pony: A New Gen is a mixed bag. It has a good setup that builds itself on the legends of FiM, and is a film about the monsters we make ourselves to be. It shows how prejudice and stereotype can be pervasive in culture, playing on our fears of the out-group. It's just a shame the story beats feel so forced, with a portion of the cast being under-developed. The resolution also feels

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    1 comments · 71 views
  • 11 weeks
    Major Announcement: Mystic Mind's Patreon!

    https://www.patreon.com/MysticMind89? I now officially have a patreon! I want to try and turn my biggest hobby into something that will support my life financially, in whatever small way that may be. Fancy throwing a bit of money my way to help fuel my writing? Have a browse of the options and give whatever you're able to. I'd be ultra greatful for all support shown!

    0 comments · 36 views
  • 54 weeks
    Deconstruction is Magic: a My Little Pony Retrospective (S1E23)

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrreetings everypony, and welcome back to Deconstruction is Magic, my Retrospective/Review/Analysis of every episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is magic ever. Today, we have a minor epic on our hooves. It's The Cutie Mark Chronicles! Without wasting any more time, let's get on with the analysis! I am the Mage of Mind, reminding you, as always, that even a

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    0 comments · 95 views
Nov
18th
2020

Deconstruction is Magic: a My Little Pony Retrospective (S1E23) · 1:44am Nov 18th, 2020

Grrrrrrrrrrrrreetings everypony, and welcome back to Deconstruction is Magic, my Retrospective/Review/Analysis of every episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is magic ever. Today, we have a minor epic on our hooves. It's The Cutie Mark Chronicles! Without wasting any more time, let's get on with the analysis! I am the Mage of Mind, reminding you, as always, that even a cheeseburger can be deconstructed to its source.

This is an episode which sticks to a very simple formula as a framing device. The primary feature is the story of how each Mane Six member got their cutie mark, and so the CMC facilitate this by travelling to each of them, with Rainbow Dash being the last. CMC search for Rainbow Dash, run into somepony else, get their story, then leave to the next one. Rinse and repeat. It's functional wrap-around device for what is essentially an anthology episode, justified mainly by the tight pacing of the episode. With so many characters to explore in one twenty-something minute episode, something has to give, otherwise it would defeat the purpose!

Given how much I've harped on about the pacing of earlier episodes, I won't fault M.A Larson for the tight balancing act he had to do! This wrap-arounds being simple is a very weak complaint for me, because there is only one other significant issue I find with the episode in general. The CMC (or more specifically, Scootaloo), refusal to understand the key facts of Cutie Marks: that it's personal to the individual. Sometimes, it fits in with existing hobbies, as with Rarity; While other times, it's about finding your place with existing traditions, as with Applejack.


(Henceforth, Rarity became an expert at pointing out the existence of rocks.)

The use of the sonic rainboom to tie the mane six's cutie marks together is, quite frankly, a stroke of genius! It builds on the concept of magic being part of everything in this world. With such an explosive chain reaction of magic, it influences everything, providing inspiration in countless different ways. In a sense, it is a work of magical art, exceptional even for the standards of Equestria! Twilight's reaction is a prime example for worldbuilding of the soft magic system. She struggled, at first, to summon much in the way of magic; but the sonic rainboom broke through her internal dams. What followed was a torrent of magic which not only helped her pass the entrance exam, but exceed it tenfold!

This demonstrates how sometimes, those with disabilities need extra assistence to reach their full potential. Twilight had magic within her the whole time, she just couldn't access it. Her hard work and knowledge of magic was a big step forward, but Celestia's school for gifted unicorns seems to prioritise raw, magical ability over knowledge. In that sense, Twilight is lucky the sonic rainboom happened, because neither Celestia nor the examiners would have given her a second thought otherwise. This shows a fundamental flaw in a one-size-fits-all learning system, which is a piece of subtext I didn't expect to see in a fantasy setting like this - even with the slice of life story focus!


(If this were anime, Twilight would still be powering up three episodes later!)

This episode also reinforces the notion that cutie marks don't always have to be direct representations of a favoured task. Rarity gets inspiration from gems, which is facilitated by her talent for gem tracking. Pinkie's talent is likewise inspired, giving her an unrelenting desire to replicate the feeling of pure, unbridled joy she felt upon witnessing the rainboom. Thus, it demonstrates that a cutie mark is more than just about something you're good at. It's about what defines the characters as individuals, a core part of their being which their life revolves around. Despite later references to "destiny", it is absolutely not predetermined, so such talents can be expressed in any number of ways!

Finally, we come to the humour. There are some nice slices of meta humour here, from classic cartoon tropes such as the line of ducks, to Pinkie Pie's "and that's how Equestria was made!" tangent. Scootaloo's reluctance to showing physical affection serves as a self-aware jab from M.A Larson, since it's a stereotype of media aimed at girls to be "mushy" and overly-emotional. Even then, Scootaloo is shown to be in the wrong. When one group of friends finds they bring the best out of each other, they have every reason to feel loved! Plus, with Spike's lampshade hanging at Twilight's "cheesy" message, it's M.A Larson's way of demonstrating that, once in a while, we can all afford a bit of levity in our lives.


(Thus, the orbital friendship canon was born!)

Conclusion

This is a fantastic episode. It's steeped in lore, giving us a big window into the workings of Equestria's soft magic system, expands on the depth and backstory of each mane six member, with some genius self-aware comedy to boot! While the wrap-around segments are somewhat repetitive, and Scootaloo's resistance to character growth is excessive, this is small potatoes compared to an episode so dense with overall story. As such, The Cutie Mark Chronicles gets a final score of 8.5/10.

What did you think of this episode? Am I over-selling it, or under-appreciating what it means for the show as a whole? Feel free to let me know in the comments! Until next time, stay safe, and take care all~.

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