• Member Since 1st Apr, 2012
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I'm a brony and a Pinkie Pie fan but I like all of the mane six, as well as Spike. I hope to provide some entertaining and interesting fanfics for the Brony community.

More Blog Posts1113

  • Wednesday
    Happy Birthday, Brian Drummond

    Today is Brian Drummond's birthday. He is the talented man who voiced a number of secondary and side characters in FiM. Most noticeably, he voiced: Filthy Rich, Mr. Carrot Cake, Double Diamond, Seabreeze, Ahuizotl and Sheriff Silverstar.

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    7 comments · 63 views
  • 2 weeks
    Happy Birthday, Lauren Faust

    Today is Lauren Faust's birthday. She is the talented woman to whom we owe the creation of FiM. If not for Hasbro's willingness to reach out to her, G4 as we know it today might very well have turned out radically different.

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    6 comments · 111 views
  • 3 weeks
    Happy Birthday, Andrea Libman and Chiara Zanni

    Today we have not one but two big birthdays to celebrate! Today is the birthday of both Andrea Libman and Chiara Zanni. Andrea is the talented woman who voiced Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy, and was Fluttershy's singing voice (she did sing for Pinkie Pie on a few occasions, but for the most part Pinkie's singing was done by Shanon Chan-Kent). She also had a couple of other minor roles throughout the

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    2 comments · 94 views
  • 5 weeks
    Happy Birthday, Claire Corlett

    Today is Claire Corlett's birthday. She is the talented young woman who voiced Sweetie Belle across the nine seasons of FiM, including the character's many voice cracks that led to her affectionately being dubbed Squeaky Belle. Claire also had a few smaller roles as she got older and her voice deepened, including voicing some of the background Wonderbolts such as Surprise. Interestingly, Claire

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    9 comments · 242 views
  • 8 weeks
    Happy Birthday, Daniel Ingram

    Today is Daniel Ingram's birthday. He is of course the talented composer for FiM who gave us memorable songs and even background tracks. He also apparently used to be a former bandmate of Weird Al Yankovic.

    Happy birthday, Daniel. You will go down in history as one of the greatest television show composers of all time.

    3 comments · 128 views

My Little Pony: Make Your Mark Special Review (Spoiler Alert!) · 2:02am May 27th

Well, it's time. The special just dropped on Netflix this morning, and I imagine it's only a matter of time until people find a way to pirate it to online platforms so non Netflix users can see it. Kind of weird that Hasbro is choosing now of all times to commit so heavily to Netflix, not just for MLP but for Power Rangers as well. Netflix seems to be in danger of going the way of Blockbuster, the massive video store chain it eclipsed. Maybe Hasbro's just testing the waters for the time being to see if there's a demand for their products in the streaming wars, or maybe Hasbro's just late to the party. I guess we'll have to see if their commitment to Netflix remains even now that Netflix is gonna start including ads.

Anyway, if you haven't seen the special yet and plan to do so, you know what's coming:

Now, the special itself was written by Gillian M. Berrow, or G. M. Berrow for short. If that name rings a bell, it's because she was a writer for FiM beginning in Season 5. And before then and to an extent afterward she wrote various chapter books based on the show (though not the ones that introduced Scootaloo's aunts, that was a collab between Michael Vogel and Nicole Dubac). I believe Berrow was also involved with "A New Generation" alongside Meghan McCarthy, though what their contributions to that movie are I can't possibly speculate beyond maybe the brief G4 cameo (but I doubt they were brought on just for that). Berrow was never the best writer for the show, and her chapter books for G4 were of varying quality. Still, that does mean we have a veteran writing this special. Does that mean it turned out better than it would've if someone new was writing it? Well, let's find out.

Interestingly, Zipp is the main focus of this special. And let's get the obvious elephant in the room addressed, there are new voice actors for all of the mane five here. These VAs actually debuted with the YouTube "Tell Your Tale" shorts, which I had no interest in due to their obvious intent to mimic shows like TTG except even shorter (five minutes is not enough time to do anything of substance). I don't know if the VAs sounded better there, but aside from Zipp and to a lesser extent Hitch the new VAs are noticeable. I'm sure they're doing the best they can, but it does kind of beg the question of why they got celebrities for the G5 movie if they couldn't afford to keep them around for the Netflix series. At least the G4 movie kept the celebrities confined to new characters, even if that meant said new characters couldn't appear in the show outside of at best non-speaking cameos. Still, they aren't bad and I'm sure they'll grow on me over time. They're not bad but they do sound a bit off, though I don't know if they've done voice work before or not. G4 had veteran voice actors, and supposedly Hitch's VA here is new to voice acting. But everyone has to start somewhere. Let's not forget that Applejack and Fluttershy's voices changed considerably over the course of FiM. It can take time for a VA to perfect a voice of a certain character.

I should also mention that the animation here is a bit of a downgrade compared to the movie. It's not bad, but the backgrounds look kind of stilted and the shading and lighting seem to have dipped a bit. There's also supposedly a lipsyncing error at one point, but it's not like G4 never had errors even though it was 2D animated. The character models are on point though, and there are no obvious animation errors that I could spot. Hopefully, the animation will improve a little as the animators get more comfortable with the software. All that aside, we soon learn that Zipp, Pipp and Izzy are all living in Maretime Bay with Sunny and Hitch, though Zipp and Pipp can still come home to Zephyr Heights (which is not actually a repurposed Canterlot according to the comics). And Maretime Bay is the only place where all three pony tribes now mingle, Zephyr Heights and Bridlewood are still exclusively for pegasi and unicorns. It's kind of a bummer because I'm worried that means we won't get to see those locations be fleshed out, goodness knows Bridlewood needs it. And given how technologically advanced the world of G5 is, I feel like long distance friendships would be easier to maintain now. But I guess it's easier to have all the main characters reside in one place, it cuts down on the number of set pieces you need to use. It's hard to think of a western animated show where all the main characters didn't live together or travel together.

Zipp briefly flies to Zephyr Heights and sneaks into the castle to "steal" a lucky microphone for Pipp, and apparently the guards aren't used to dealing with flying intruders since they don't think to look up. Through exposition, we then learn that Sunny can't just turn into an alicorn willy nilly. It just happens. Hey, at least she doesn't have to worry about changing personalities every time she sneezes.

Sunny's home has also been reworked into the Crystal Brighthouse, which was actually the focus point of the first "Tell Your Tale" episode, so I guess that means the shorts are canon. At least unlike when the Golden Oak Library got replaced by the Castle of Friendship, this actually feels natural since it's still the same structure but the building itself has been repurposed and restyled. Whereas the Castle of Friendship existed just because Hasbro obviously wanted a new toyset to promote.

Maretime Bay is going to host a festival it's always held, called Maretime Bay Day. But then a seagull shows up and steals Pipp's phone (personal note: I'm not a fan of how Pipp tries to sing-song many of her lines, it gets old really fast and she sounds weirdly masculine when she does it sometimes). There's a chase, and eventually the phone is retrieved. But unfortunately, the gang ended up disturbing the flower bed and mailbox of an earth pony named Posey. Posey apparently was also in "Tell Your Tale" first, because she's treated like the gang already knows her. She is more or less the unofficial "antagonist" of this special, taking the place of Phyillis and Sprout. Her complaint is that things were better before magic came back, especially since it seems like earth ponies don't have magic. And it's not like G4 did a good job exploring the concept even though it told us earth ponies did have magic. The most we got was Pinkie Pie's unique abilities and Applejack's physical strength.

Zipp begins to think that something is off due to having witnessed two pegasi foals suddenly stop flying, and later briefly sees two other pegasi lose their ability to fly. However, she's distracted by a phone call from Queen Haven, who misses having her daughters around and wants Zipp to come home and learn how to be a princess. When Zipp questions why Pipp can't be the heir instead, Queen Haven says that Pipp "livestreams everything". But you know, Haven is still Pipp's mom. She could always, I don't know, take Pipp's phone away and teach her to not depend on it all the time. If Pipp really does livestream everything, then it's an obsession and an unhealthy one at that. Also, when Haven says that Pipp "livestreams everything", does she really mean everything, even private stuff like say eating or going to the bathroom?

Zipp decides not to tell her friends or even her sister about this, and goes on to keep ignoring calls from her mom. At one point she does the old "Breaking up" lie.

Meanwhile, Izzy reveals to Pipp that she's working on fixing up the lantern that Argyle made for Sunny as a filly. And she wants it to be a secret, but they don't make it a subplot. This is brought up and then not mentioned again until it's time for the lantern to be relevant to the plot. What is a subplot is that Hitch goes down to the beach with some critters to investigate a disturbance. And the critters are his deputies. Sprout isn't around, which means he's probably been fired but that's the length to which we know anything about him since Phyillis doesn't appear in this special (and neither does Alphabittle even though he's been in "Tell Your Tale"). I guess that means he's run away from home or something?

The disturbance at the beach involves an earth pony getting mad with a unicorn for alledgedly dropping their umbrella into the earth pony's sand castle, but the unicorn insists it was an accident. When asked if there's a rule about magic not being allowed on the beach, Hitch deflects and then happens to spot an egg lying in the sand. He picks it up and takes it home to keep it safe, right as Posey comes by to lodge a complaint about her hooves getting stuck. She thinks it's because a unicorn was playing a prank on her. So I guess unicorns didn't just like to fry brains in the old superstitions?

Getting back to Zipp, she briefly observes the crystals glowing and transforming the brighthouse while the rest of her friends are having fun. Then Pipp decides to reward everyone with makeovers, much to Zipp's displeasure because tomboys in fiction have to always hate doing anything girly. It's during this makeover session that we got the only song in the special, performed by Pipp, entitled "Everything's Gonna Be Okay".

It's not anything special, it's probably in the same boat as "Glowin' Up" and the credits songs in that it's made to be forgettable and throwaway. But FiM was good at taking throwaway songs and giving them actual substance and quality, there is such a thing as trying too hard to be bad. And we all know how that can turn out.

Eventually, Zipp deduces that the crystals are on the fritz because everypony's hostile with each other. And she reveals that she once got Pipp blamed for something that wasn't her fault.

So what's the "solution"? Sunny decides they just need to try harder to reassure everypony during Maretime Bay Day rather than maybe, I don't know, talk to the ponies and try to calm them down before they do something rash? If Sprout could go crazy and become emperor by whipping the whole town into an angry mob, who knows what somepony more competent could be capable of?

Then things get really rushed during the actual Maretime Bay Day festival as Posey and other earth ponies start complaining about everything and anything they can.

They even decide to heckle Pipp when she's gonna go on stage and perform a new song (I don't suppose they could just not attend if they really hate how much things have changed? It's not like the festival is an obligation). This brings things to a head as a storm forms and a void appears in front of the stage. Magic fails completely: Pegasi crash to the ground, unicorns can't perform levitation and earth ponies are stuck. Fortunately, a little bit of quick thinking from Sunny gets everypony to help each other out. But two earth ponies fall into the void (one of them being Posey). So Sunny takes it upon herself to rescue them, Izzy giving her the recently repaired lantern.

Sunny takes the lantern and dives into the void, transforming into an alicorn in the process (we saw via flashbacks that she transformed at random while at what I assume is her job at a smoothie stand).

With the day saved and peace restored, Posey actually apologizes for her behavior and Sunny apologizes to Zipp for not listening sooner (even though she did but made the stupid decision to just try harder to make things work). Zipp, meanwhile, finally works up the courage to confront her mother and ask for permission to stay in Maretime Bay while she figures out who she wants to be and what she wants to do with her life. This could be a nod to the headcanon some people have about Zipp being a transgender stallion, but I don't think that was intentional and I doubt they'll go that route with her in the show. Anyway, Queen Haven is okay with this and Zipp becomes Detective Zipp.

Zipp then starts asking questions I'm sure a lot of us still have about G5 and its world. Also, the dragon egg Hitch has hatches and Sunny mentions that dragons haven't been seen in Equestria for a long time. I just hope we learn how this dragon egg ended up where it did (still not gonna let go of the fact that we never got an answer for Spike's egg, one of the things that should've been wrapped up in the final season instead of wasting time on filler episodes). And Hitch also gets Fluttershy's powers of being a Disney princess, able to talk to animals. While all this is going on, a mysterious pony from an unknown race is watching on what appears to be some kind of television set. She comments that since magic has finally returned, she's going to come and claim it back, probably setting her up to become a reoccurring villain or just a villain of some two parter in the Netflix series.

And that's the story, so what do I think of the special? Well, it's basically a second pilot for G5 (A New Generation being the first) even considering "Tell Your Tale" is canon (all it really contributed was explaining where the Crystal Brighthouse came from). And in regards to it being a pilot, I think it does a decent job of setting things up. It's understandable that when Maretime Bay ponies were fed the lies and superstitions for so long that they wouldn't just get over it upon being told they were wrong. Sprout wasn't the only one who believed Phyillis' lies, he was just too incompetent to truly do anything with the power he accidentally stumbled upon. It's fine that the stakes aren't as high here, this isn't some big adventure it's just a slice of life story. The animation and new voice actors will take getting used to, but I'm willing to bet they'll improve as the first season of the series goes on. However, given what a lot of G5 media has been focusing on as of late, I am a little worried about the decision to focus so much on Zipp here and make her basically the only sane one of the group. Even if Zipp is a good character, she shouldn't be the Sunset Shimmer of the group in that she's the only one who gets to be developed at all. One good character does not a good show make, and it won't matter how well they write Zipp if the rest of the characters aren't interesting (Izzy in particular is worrisome because she seemed to be written a bit dimmer than she was in the movie, and even Hitch seemed like he lost a few brain cells at one point). Pipp in particular really needs fleshing out, and just shoving Zipp in everyone's faces as the only one who wants to know more about the world around her isn't going to make us feel interested in anything G5 offers. The whole gang should be engaged in searching for answers and should be trying to take things at least somewhat seriously. The fact that they don't here even when Zipp raises the valid concerns she does ends up giving us a bad case of "Third Act Stupidity" that also rushes through its climax. That is kind of what happened to G. M.'s other show writing endevaors, her stories played out like she was still doing her chapter books and she seemed to not realize that you need to take more time to build up your climaxes in episodes. Hopefully, if other G4 veterans are coming back for G5, they can do better. And if not, hopefully the new writers can improve from here. As it is, this special gets a very narrow B-. It could be the start of something good, or it could turn out to be the first warning sign for what G5 will be. The first season of the Netflix series will be our best indication as to whether G5 will be worth sticking around for, if they can't give us at least some answers to the mysteries and give characters besides Zipp development then G5 will be doomed to failure. As it is, I'm cautiously optimistic for where things will go from here. After all, G4 took a while to find its footing, it's only fair that G5 get the same chance to prove itself.

Comments ( 7 )

It's ultimately exactly what I was expecting:
Not as good as the movie, but still great.

How did you see this episode, by any chance?

He picks it up and takes it home to keep it safe, right as Phyillis comes by to lodge a complaint about her hooves getting stuck.

It should be Posey, not Phyillis.

Speaking of whom, Dr. Wolf mentioned in his review that he felt Posey being made into an antagonist for this special was a disservice as her G1 counterpart is what inspired the creation of Fluttershy.

Well, not great, I did enjoy watching it

5660226 Saw it on Netflix where it was originally released.

I had hopes coming into the viewing. I was far less concerned about the animation and much more about what kind of story they were going experience. I got a few smiles and 2 genuine laughs from the comedy, but they dumbed-down Hitch and made him just as unserious about being a sheriff as Sprout was unserious about being a deputy. I thought Hitch was going to be the mature/responsible friend who took his duty seriously? The scene on the beach with the 2 colts and the overflowing 'suggestion box' kind of ruined him for me; I wanted him to be 'on the ball' and would have listened to Zipp. I know it's just the first one, but let's keep our fingers crossed that it gets better from here out.

While all this is going on, a mysterious pony from an unknown race is watching on what appears to be some kind of television set. She comments that since magic has finally returned, she's going to come and claim it back, probably setting her up to become a reoccurring villain or just a villain of some two parter in the Netflix series.

2 things:

1. That pony is actually an Alicorn if you look carefully.

2. I personally believe that pony is actually Twilight Sparkle after having become corrupted.

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