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The Legacy of Friendship is Magic.

In this day and age, it’s becoming rarer and rarer for a form of media, especially television, to have a definitive and conclusive finale. Many will either be left to sprawl endlessly until it becomes little more than a shadow of its former self or unceremoniously canceled in the middle of the story and forced to rush the endings.  So, it is with an odd mix of sadness and relief that it’s been finally confirmed that Season 9 of Friendship Is Magic will be the final season. While I will certainly miss the show, I can still take solace in the sheer legacy it has left behind.  When the first episode premiered on October 10th, 2010, many were expecting it to be dead on arrival, little more than another brainless show meant to distract small minded kids for a few minutes while acting little more than a 22-minute toy commercial, only to surprise everyone with its cast of colourful characters, thoughtful and funny plotlines, and an art style that was a joy to look at. What followed what a fandom like no one had ever seen before or I think ever since, filled with people far outside the intended demographic one would expect from “My Little Pony.” As of today, February 18th, 2019, the fourth generation of My Little Pony has managed to endure for over eight years, far longer than anyone could have ever imagined. In that time, a deluge of fan creations flooded the internet: art, writing, animations, plushies, you name it, someone has probably made a My Little Pony of it. But that was just the beginning, as dozens of conventions were created across the globe, gathering together fans from all walks of life together under the banner of a simple message: “Friendship is Magic”. Friendships have been formed between people who would have previously never crossed paths and people even managed to get married because of their relationship to the show, an impressive feat for a show that was originally mocked as a simple toy commercial. When the 100th episode, Slice of Life, aired on June 13th, 2015, I remember thinking that this was an unprecedented accomplishment for the show, having lasted longer than any other show made by Hasbro and doing what many shows couldn’t even attempt in reaching the triple digits. So, imagine my shock and utter amazement when I realized the show was about to take that same accomplishment and double it, as Season 9 will feature the 200th episode, a feat never before thought possible from a Hasbro show. Once the show does indeed finish airing the final episode, Friendship is Magic will then consist of 221 twenty-two minute episodes, a combined watch time of over 81 hours or around three and a half days or so, even longer if you added in the feature-length movie, the specials, and the Equestria Girl’s spin-off series, putting the combined total to somewhere around 86 hours or so.  To put that into perspective, that’s longer than it would take to watch the entire Lord of the Rings movie Trilogy, plus the Hobbit over ten times. Finally, Season 9 will only mark the ending of Friendship is Magic, not My Little Pony as a whole, especially with another movie already planned for 2021 and potentially a Gen 5 in development. Even if it was the end of the franchise, the fandom that this show created won’t just up and disappear, but will no doubt continue to flourish for years to come.  Myself? I’ve made far too many good memories with this show and the people I’ve met through the fandom to give it up the moment the last episode airs. If anything, I will be there with a smile when the show finally does come to end and I will watch proudly as Friendship is Magic takes its final steps into the world. For if nothing else, this show has managed to firmly consolidate one thing during its almost decade long run: Friendship truly is magic.

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

One of my dogs is very sick... and I'm worried

This is Charlie, an 11-year-old Maltese/Poodle Mix. Charlie is a troubled dog. He lived in an apartment with his original owner for the first two years of his life, so he has a bad habit of peeing around the house rather than ask to be let out, he has a bevy of medical issues like frequent ear infections we give him drops for and special food he eats to prevent crystal forming in his bladder and is a very irritable dog from time to time, with a history of biting when angered. Despite all these things and the fact that he is technically a family dog, Charlie is very much my dog, my little "Chu Chu." He crawls into bed with me at night, waits outside the bathroom in the morning for me, cuddles up to me while I'm sitting on the couch, likes to hide under my desk while I'm on the computer and lets me pet and hug him without so much as a growl. Over the last few days, however, Charlie has seemed very off, barely eating, having trouble going to the bathroom and being oddly needy, following me everywhere I go even if I'm still in eyesight. Finally, we took him to the vet today, and the diagnosis was... grim. Two different severe ear infections, one in each ear, and a severe urinary tract infection likely caused by his kidneys shutting down. We have him on antibiotics and such, but right now he's very lethargic and does nothing but nap. Right now we're waiting on his blood test results to figure out how severe his condition is, but everyone's worried.  Obviously, we're all hoping for the best... but I would be lying if I said I wasn't preparing for the worst. Right now I'm trying to spend as much time with his as possible if our fears are realized, but I still don't want to lose my little "Chu Chu"... I'm sorry, I just needed to get this off my chest. Thanks to anyone who sat through my ramblings.        

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

Explaining Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

My family gets on my case all the time regarding my OCD, like I do this on purpose just to piss them off, so in my frustration I tried coming up with someway to make them understand what it's like living with mental illness like OCD or other anxiety disorders. Here's how I experience it:   Imagine you're sitting in a chair in the middle of a room. The state or appearance of the room doesn't matter. except that there are two buttons in front of you: one red, one blue. You are then told to not think about the red button at all. Sounds simple, right?   Wrong, because trying not to think about something makes you think about it even more. So you distract yourself with whatever you can to prevent yourself from thinking about the red button. To complicate matters however, at random intervals someone will pop in to remind you to not think about the red button. Every time you do think about the red button or so much as glance at the red button, speakers in your chair will blast out loud, obnoxious noise, increasing in volume every 30 seconds. Should this happen, then there are three ways to stop it.   1) Hit the blue button
2) Hit the red button, but something bad will happen
3) Wait ten minutes for the noise to stop   Inevitably, you end up thinking about the red button and sooner or later pushing the blue button. You then go on with your life until you end up thinking about the button again and once more hitting the blue button. Sure, sometimes you might try to outlast the music, but in the end you'll break and hit the blue button. You might even try to hit the red button once or twice, but the ensuing consequences will make you afraid to do so ever again.   Eventually, it will get to the point that the second the idea of the red button enters your head, you're already instinctively hitting the blue button, maybe even just randomly hitting the button just to be sure. You know it's stupid, that there's no reason to do so, it takes up untold amounts of your time to the point it might be all you think about and you know that there are better ways to stop this, but you can't stop yourself lest you suffer the loud noise.

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

A Glaring Flaw with Marvel's Captain America: Civil War [SPOILERS]

Ok, let me just preface this by saying that I loved this movie. It’s a movie set in the Marvel cinematic universe, so that’s not a hard thing to do mind you, but even compared to the movies that were used to set this film up like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, this film still manages to stand on its own and deliver a thrilling and action-pack experience.   However, with all that being said, there are two issues that I had a problem with. The first is a minor technical nitpick that more irked me than anything else, but the second is a massive problem that holds the film back from being even better and could have potentially ruined the film.   Warning, this will be spoiler heavy, not just for Civil War, but more than few of the Marvel films that directly tied in with this film, namely Captain America: The Winter Soldier and both Avengers films.   First off, this film jumps back and forth between locations all over the world. That is not the problem though. The problem is that whenever it does this, it introduces the new location by overlaying big, bolded white text of the country name over the entire screen, beating you over the head with it. Most films introduce a change of scenery using subtitles near the bottom of the screen, just large enough that viewers can still read it but it isn’t shoved into your face. By the third time, which is not even close to the last time, you’re sick of it.   The big issue is however, that if you stop and think about it for a few moments, you realize that the set up for this movie is unbelievably weak. I’m talking wet tissue paper levels of weak, with the structural integrity of dry kindling.   Ok, if you’ve never read the Civil War storyline that this film is loosely based on, here’s the short version. During a raid on a home hiding Marvel supervillains, one of the villains suicide bombs himself, not only killing a good number of heroes pursuing him, but also a nearby elementary school full of children. This sparks an outrage amongst the governments of the Marvel Universe, leading to the Super Hero Registration Act, splitting the Marvel universe down the middle.   The storyline ended up leading to major backlash, since none of the writers were in agreement on which side was correct, leading to motivations and characters wildly shifting between books. In some books, the Registration was described as comparable to a driver’s license: fill out a few forms here and there and you’re good, just now there are consequences if your powers end up causing problems, while in others it was forced conscription, where those with powers were forced to enlist as the government’s soldiers or be tried for treason. Same with the Anti-Registration group, were they were either freedom fighters fighting for the protection of civil rights, or out of control vigilantes or, worse, terrorists. That’s not even getting into the stories that spawned from Civil War, like the infamous One More Day, which, if you’re a fan of Linkara like I am, then you have an idea how that turned out.   This movie tried to add it’s own spin on this, tying in the other movies to try and support their argument, but all they end up doing is coming off as whiny jerks whose only complaint is they can’t monetize and control the Avengers for their own selfish purposes.   So, after a brief flashback involving the Winter Soldier, the film opens up in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, which is pretty much the only place in the world you can find large quantities of the metal Vibranium, the stuff that Captain America’s shield is made of. It’s so valuable, that Wakanda has a tight lock on the control and shipment of Vibranium, which has allowed the nation to develop their technology far beyond the rest of the world, which considering this is a world with Reed Richard and Tony Stark, is no small feat.   Captain America/Steve Rogers and his team are here hunting the villain Crossbones, a previous Hydra lackey who hunted down Cap in Winter Soldier and was horribly disfigured after the Battle of the Triskelion. They eventually manage to stop Crossbones and his goons from making off with a biological weapon that was being held at Wakanda’s Centre for Infectious Diseases (why it was there to begin with I have no clue), but as a final act Crossbones’ attempts to suicide bomb himself in the middle of the marketplace in an attempt to take Cap with him. Due to quick thinking by Wanda/The Scarlet Witch, she is able to contain the blast and hurls it up into the air to avoid harming anyone, but loses control at the last second and accidentally sends it crashing into a nearby skyscraper, ultimately killing eleven people and prompting the Wakandan government to demand retribution.   The problem here is that the Wakandan government should be thanking Steve and his team for getting involved. Yes, eleven people died and that’s still a tragedy, but consider for a moment how bad it could have been if they hadn’t gotten involved. Crossbones would have made a clean getaway with a biological weapon, which would have gone on the kill thousands, if not millions of people. Hell, during the fight in the marketplace, one of the goons was perfectly willing to release the contaminant in the packed market, which would have killed himself and the hundreds of people in the area, to say nothing of the number of casualties if it had spread and also not including all the people Crossbones would have fried when he blew himself up in the crowded market. I don’t have an exact number, but I’m positive it would have been higher than eleven.   Worse still, the media treats Wanda like some kind of monster, an unstable powder keg just waiting for a spark. Yeah, tell that all the people she saved. I’m not saying she didn’t make a mistake, but she should have known that something like this would happen at one point, and the only thing she can do is learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.   Oh, but it gets worse. Or stupider, take your pick.   After this, Steve, his team and Tony Stark meet up with the Secretary of State, Thaddeus Ross (Goddammit Ross!). Marvel fans will recognize him from the Hulk film, where he was a stalker with a crush levels of obsessed with capturing the Hulk, to the point he authorized the injection of the unstable super soldier formula into one of his soldiers, the same soldier who would go mad and mutate into Abomination. In the comics, he later becomes the Red Hulk, so “clearly” this guy is a level-headed and trustworthy individual!   Anyway, Ross introduces the Registration Act, which has been renamed “The Sokovia Accords”, or just “The Accords” for short and was named so for the city in Age of Ultron that Ultron turned into a floating landmass that was destroyed during the final battle of the film. In short, the Accords not only hold the Avengers accountable for their actions, but also makes it so they are now under the control of the UN council, and can only act after the council has deliberated and given the okay. I’ll get into the problems with this set up in a moment, but the big problem comes when Ross tries to validate the need for The Accords by bringing up all the damage the Avengers have caused in the past, which consist of the Chitauri invasion of New York from Avengers, Battle of the Triskelion from Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the Battle for Sokovia from Avengers: Age of Ultron.   And it is here where any sound reasoning for this act crumbles to dust and is blow away in the wind.   See, here’s the thing: Yes, the Avengers caused untold amounts of damage in all those examples and the number of casualties greatly exceeded potentially hundreds of thousands, if not more. The problem here is that the ultimate outcomes of all these battles were the Best. Case. Scenarios.   By the time the Avengers showed up, things had long reached what is known as a “Godzilla Threshold”, which is a situation in which any solution, no matter how absurd or extreme, couldn’t make things any worse than they already are. Or, to make it simpler, imagine Godzilla is rampaging through your city. Would launching a nuclear warhead into the middle of the city at the rampaging monster in no way, shape or form possibly make this situation any worse? If the answer is yes, then you’ve reached the Godzilla Threshold.   Let’s break down this idiocy, shall we?   Let’s start with New York. By the time the Avengers arrived, a full scale invasion was well underway, the city had already been desecrated by the giant Leviathans and hordes of invading aliens, and the death toll was increasing by the second. Avoiding casualties by this point would have been impossible, so the Avengers worked to not only stop the invasion before it could spread beyond the city and put the entire human race at risk, but also save as many people as they could.   But wait, it gets better! In this situation, the League of Shadowy Government Officials, who are supposedly the good guys, were more than ready to nuke the city of New York off the face of the globe and would have done so if the Avengers hadn’t stopped them. Not only was there no guarantee that this would stop the invasion in its tracks, but they were perfectly willing to kill 8.5 million people and cause far more damage than the Avengers in the process, which is already more than the number of deaths the Avengers have caused by the time of Civil War. In the words of Samuel Jackson:     Point to the Avengers. Next up, let’s move onto the Battle of the Triskelion from Winter Soldier.   Over the course of this film, we learn that Hydra has been infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. ever since its creation, and has been orchestrating a plan over the decades to make the world as chaotic as possible with wars and the like, so that the human race would willingly give up their freedoms and submit to Hydra’s regime. To this end, they engineer Project Insight, consisting of three Heli-Carriers in low orbit that would allow them to use satellites to target anyone on the planet Hydra deems a threat, which could be anyone from the President of the United States to your High School Valedictorian and kill them with but a push of a button. Once online, the Heli-carriers lock on to thousands of innocents just minding their own business and was literally a second away from killing every one of them before Captain America and his team took control of then and took out the Heli-Carriers with their own guns.   While there still was a good number of casualties, most of them were either Hydra goons who deserved it or loyal S.H.I.E.L.D agents who gave their lives to stop Hydra. Again, the number of casualties were far less than the thousands of unsuspecting people who were a second away from be fired upon, one of whom was the President. Are you seriously trying to tell me that Cap shouldn’t have stepped in, knowing that it would lead to Hydra slaughtering thousands and enforcing their tyrannical regime with their kill-satellites? Are you normally this stupid, Ross, or is this a special occasion?   Another point to Captain America and the Avengers. Oh, but I’m not done yet. Time to move onto the Battle of Sokovia from Age of Ultron.   In the end, Sokovia was destroyed and thousands of its people died. Again, none of these events are any less tragic, but you know what’s a worse death toll than that?   One in the billions. Seven billion, to be precise, since anyone who’s seen Age of Ultron knows that Ultron turned the city into a floating landmass in order to turn it into an extinction level event and wipe out the human race. If the Avengers had been under council like the government wants them to be, the representatives would still be squabbling “We should do something!” and “Should we do something?” right up until Ultron dropped the city on the planet. There wouldn’t be anyone to complain about the number of deaths then, since everyone would be dead then, now wouldn’t they?   Going back to the Battle of New York, the government could have easily tried to nuke Sokovia, since they could have easily written the citizens as “an acceptable loss”, yet the Avengers risked their lives to not only stop Ultron and save the earth, but save as many Sokovian citizens as they could.   Now tell me, between the government and the Avengers, who clearly holds more value for human life? Third point to the Avengers, but I’ve still got a few more nails to drive into this coffin before I’m done.   I can’t begin to tell you how bad of an idea it would be to have the Avengers dictated by council. There are the squabbling bureaucrats I also mentioned, which would end up with the Avengers sitting around twiddling their thumbs while thousands of people died because they had yet to given the okay. Not to mention that I can easily foresee more than a few outright denying the Avengers permission for petty or selfish reason, leading to tragedies getting for out of hand that could have easily been prevented. If they think the damage the Avengers caused was bad, they’ll be in for a big surprise.   But you want to know the worst part of all this? The Accords appear at first to be built up as the main conflict of the movie, the reason Steve Rogers and Tony Stark are even fighting in the first place, just like in the comics. In reality, The Accords end up being little more than a sub-plot at best and are dropped by the halfway point of the movie, which only the barest of mentions afterwards. In fact, the only thing the Accords served to do is introducing the nation of Wakanda and by extension, introduces Prince T’Challa a.k.a The Black Panther into the film.   Better yet, Tony’s reasoning for siding with The Accords is just as paper-thin. Following a presentation, he runs into a woman who whines that he murdered her son in Sokovia and that makes him human scum.   Oh boo hoo, let me play you a song on the world’s smallest violin. Yes, I’m sad this lady lost her son, but she is completely ignoring all the lives Tony did save, including stopping Ultron from whipping out the human race. Complaining like she does here just makes her come off as petty and whiny.   And, for some reason, this one event shakes Tony to his very core and he puts up no resistance to signing the Accords. I’m reminded to similar events that took place in the Superman comics and Mass Effect 3, all of which were just as stupid.   In one Superman story, Superman is giving a speech when a distraught woman suddenly walks up and slaps him. She then goes into a tirade about how Superman is a jerk for not taking time out his busy schedule saving the world to come and use his laser vision to perform surgery on her husband, who was dying from an illness that apparently only Superman could deal with.   Yeah, how dare Superman risk his life to save the planet instead of coming down to help someone he has never met, had no idea was sick, and couldn’t have helped anyway since Superman has no experience performing a surgery, and likely would have microwaved the guy’s internal organs. Lady, to quote George Takei, “You are made of stupid.”   Similarly, in Mass Effect 3, Shepard has seen some serious service in his/her fight against the Reapers. Defending on how you play the game, Shepard might have seen their entire squad wiped out before being tortured, was forced to abandon one of their teammates on Virmire and might have lost some of their teammate during the raid of the Collector Base. Including the events of The Arrival, Shepard knows he might not be able to save everyone.   And yet, Shepard begins developing PTSD and Survivor’s Guilt because they watched a Reaper kill a single kid, a kid Shepard knew for less than five minutes. As I said, Shepard knows death is a possibility and one of the major themes of Mass Effect 3 is that “it’s impossible to save everyone”, so why is this one kid shaking Shephard to their very core?   Going back to the film, the real reason why Steve and Tony end up fighting pops up very early on in the film too: Bucky Barnes, otherwise known as The Winter Soldier. Throughout the film, Steve puts himself in harms way to try and rescue his best friend, putting him at odds with the authorities and Tony, all of whom are instructed to shoot the known Hydra assassin on sight. Even when it’s revealed that there is something more at stake, all Tony sees is that Steve is aiding and abetting a known fugitive and that makes Steve a fugitive by proxy. This makes The Accords even more pointless in the end.   If I haven’t made it clear yet, this reasoning is so weak that it could have potentially damaged the movie. And yet, I still enjoyed the movie regardless, because everything else is strong enough to support itself even with such weak foundation. The characters, both new and returning, the visual effects and especially the ultimate confrontation between Iron Man and Captain America all add up to an enjoyable experience that deserves the praise.   Even so, it doesn’t completely hide this massive stain on an otherwise excellent movie. Just like the comics it was based on, the Registration Act ended up amounting to nothing, and here’s hoping they trash it prior to Infinity Wars.

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

Gripes of an Editor

So, if the title wasn’t a dead enough giveaway, I like to fancy myself an adequate editor/proofreader. I know no one’s perfect so mistakes are bound to happen to even the best of writers, and helping find and fix those mistakes is something I’m good at, that I enjoy doing as a hobby, that I would love to turn into a profession one day and, were I a pony, I might even go so far as to call my special talent.   With that being said, I have encountered a recurring issue that still bugs me:   “Hey, can you edit something for me? Thx, bye!”   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people request my help, and then give me next to no information. I can’t very well make a decision if I don’t have any information to work off, and needing to ask for it when the time zones between us could lead to responses being hours apart only wasted both our times.   Whenever I look for an editor, specifically for MLP fanfics, I always make sure to include:   - The title of the story
- The rating (E, T, M, PG.13, ect.)
- The genre (Romance, Thriller, Dark, ect)
- What characters will be featured
- A brief synopsis/blurb about my story
- Any additional notes of interest, like if gore or sex are included at some point or maybe the word count or estimate length if I have one, possible pairings if it’s romance, whatever.   This way, the editor in question can get back to me as soon as possible with a definite “Yes” or “No” as opposed to fishing for information that should have been presented from the get go.   It’s like going to a job interview and thinking you can only give them a resume after they’ve hired you, or the reverse where they only tell you what the job will entail and how much you’ll be paid after you agree to it.   With that being said, there’s a more cynical part of me that occasional tosses around the idea that there are actually people that think if I agree to help them before they tell me, then I can’t back out and have no choice but to proofread their mature clop fic featuring a incestual three-way between Twilight, Shining Armor and their mother. (*1)   You'll be issued a coupon for a carton of Brain Bleach at the door. While I still have your attention though...   Crossovers
If there’s one thing that fandoms love to do, pony or otherwise, it’s crossover their favourite franchise with their other favourite franchises.  
Maybe it’s a story where a pony finds a lantern ring and joins the Green Lantern Corps, teaming up with Hal Jordan or Guy Gardner to fight Manhunters on the far reaches of the galaxy, or a world where history progressed differently and Ash Ketchum the Jedi battles the forces of the Empire and does combat with his once friend Gary Oak, now known as Darth Vader.   In any case, it’s generally a good rule of thumb to look for someone more than a little familiar with both series in question, which would allow then to not only pick out the inconsistencies and mistakes between the canon of the two series, but also makes it easier for them to understand.   Yes, generally most readers of crossovers don’t have to be familiar with all the series of a crossover to enjoy it. They might even end up being introduced to a new series, like how I finally played Mass Effect after reading a MLP/Mass Effect fic. But for an editor, if they have no idea what’s going on plot wise, terms are being thrown around that sound like another language entire, and references are being made to the source material pass right over their heads, things can get more than a little confusing.   To give some context, once I was asked to proofread a MLP/Zoids fic. My knowledge of Zoids is close to a decade old and based off a single series I saw in the early 2000s, which showed the eponymous Zoids as massive mechanical animals that can be freely piloted by humans and compete in battles for sport while refereed by a “Judge”, which is a robot launched from a satellite floating in orbit, and, despite possibly being of human manufacturing, the Zoids possess some form of limited/animalist intelligence as opposed to being simple crafts. Even after I turned him down once, he still tried to convince me that someone with little to no knowledge of Zoids could still follow along, but I knew that more than one Zoid series had been released since my childhood, so I still turned him down regardless.   It would be like if I went up to someone who has never watched a single Mobile Suit Gundam series in their life, or at the least can count the number of episodes they have seen on both hands, and ask them to give me a detailed description of the difference between the Aegis, the Kampfer Amazing and the Exia Repair. (*2)   (*1) Mark my words, I have no doubt that this fic actually exists in some dark recess of the Internet and it’s the very reason the mature filter exists on Fimfiction.   (*2) Which I can do by the way, since I am by chance a Gundam geek

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

Open World Vs Linear Progression

I was reminded of this while watching a podcast recently. More and more games nowadays are touted as being Open-World/Sandbox games that gives players the freedom to go almost anywhere they want in the world and that they can literally waste tens, if not hundreds of hours in without once progressing the main story, games like GTA, Witcher 3 and Fallout for example   I'm come to find that this kind of game kinda terrifies me in a weird way. I love exploring in games, but without any invisible walls or signs telling me where I can and can't go, I either end up getting lost or so overwhelmed that I inevitably stumble into somewhere I really shouldn't and get killed instantly.   Take Infamous and Fallout 3. In the former, there are points where you have no choice but to progress the story, but you're given free reign to do whatever you want to prior to that, like complete the side missions to control more and more of the city, collecting Blast Shards or Dead Drops or just generally exploring the city until you've literally exhausted all other remaining options. It's for this very same reason that I've only ever played the first two-three hours of Fallout 3, because once I left the Stable Bunker, the game wasted no time in distracting me from the main story with several side-quests that ended with me wandering off into a city where I tried unsuccessfully to take down a Radscorpion that was bigger than I was with the starting pistol.   Compare that to more linear games like most typical RPGs, which have a reasonable path from Story Point A to Story Point B, with the occasion option to branch out for side-questing and such. I'm not talking about "Final Fantasy XIII: The Hallway" level of linearity, but the kind you see in games like Persona, Paper Mario and Bioshock.   Bioshock could actually be looked at as some kind of commentary on the linear nature of video games, long before Stanley Parable. One of the first things you encounter in Rapture are the words "A Man Chooses, A Slave Obeys" which describes the game perfectly (without going into spoilers), because while you can choose to run around the level killing splicers/avoiding them altogether, finding all the Audio Logs or killing Big Daddies and Rescuing/Harvesting the Little Sisters, eventually you'll have no choice but to do what the game wants you to do and move the story forward.   To make things even slightly more confusing, there are also game that fit squarely inbetween these two types of games, like Metroidvania games for instance. You are given free reign to explore the castle to your heart's content, but eventually you'll reach an area that is either impossible to progress past without the proper item guarded by that area's boss, or at the very least is really difficult to get through. In Castlevania: Circle of the Moon for instance, it is possible to get through the waterduct area before beating the boss that turns the water from toxic sludge that drains your health to clean water, it just takes very precise platforming and a hell of a lot perseverance.   Finally, when I see media sources describe a game as having "hundreds and hundred of hours of content", all I can think to say is "Who has the time?"   I mentioned Persona 3, and that game took me a combined total of 80-85 hours or so just to get through the main story. Not only did this take me nearly a month and a half to do, but most RPGs I've played can generally be beaten in about 20-30 or so hours, and completed in 40-50 or so for longer games. If I'm 80+ hours into a game and I've only just starting to get my feet wet, expect me to have jumped ship long before that point to another game. Give me a linear 20-30 hour game over a game I could play for an entire year and still need a physical map to find anything.

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

Happy Canada Day from the land of the Maple Leaf!

Happy Canada Day my fellow Canadians of MLPForums! Let's all celebrate Canada's 148th birthday by feasting on large amounts of Tim Hortons, poutine and Mac N' Cheese! Just remember to lock your igloo behind you when you go out, dress in case of snow and be weary of traffic while driving your dog-sled, those "polar bear X-ing" signs are there for a reason, eh?

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

My look at Episode 100, "Slice of Life"

Let me just start by saying that when this episode was first announced last year, I wasn’t exactly hyped for it. Even with what little they revealed, it was obvious that the episode would be nothing but fan-service and pandering of the highest order and that to me smelled like the perfect recipe for disaster. I’m pretty sure most people still remember the debacle that ensued after Derpy’s speaking role in “The Last Round-Up” and I just pictured it being like that, only on Red-Bull. I tried to be as neutral as possible going into it, but I wasn’t keeping my hopes up.   Anyway, onto the episode itself. “Slice of Life” follows a similar pattern to the old Simpsons episode “Stories of Spingfield”, feature several short scenes featuring mostly secondary characters, all loosely tied together with a single plot thread. The plot thread in question is, thanks to an error in the invitations, Matilda and Cranky’s wedding has been moved up to today rather than tomorrow, throwing Matilda into a panic as she tries to push everything forward and get ready for her big day. While all this is going on, Twilight and the others are pre-occupied with a monster attack Ponyville, an insectoid-ursine hybrid literally called a Bug-Bear.   Now, this second conflict serves a few purposes. The first is to act as a thinly veiled excuse to keep the Mane 6 busy so they don’t swoop in and solve the conflict themselves, which is especially bad because not only is Pinkie Matilda’s wedding planner, but give Twilight ten minutes and she would have formulated a plan like she did with Winter Wrap up.   The second reason, whether intentional or not, is to show just how jaded the citizens of Ponyville have become since the show’s beginning. A small crowd gathering near the huddled heroes even has them remarking with a surprising amount of nonchalant that it’s either a friendship problem and will get cleared up in a half hour or a monster attacking town. When you live next to the Everfree Forest and have had the Guard Dog of Tartarus, a massive bear made of the night sky and the God of Chaos among other things just passing through, a monster attack is really nothing more than a minor convenience. This is also shown that despite frequent glances of the Mane 6 fighting the beast all throughout town, even incurring property damage, this registers as nothing more than background noise as ponies just continue on with their day as if this is just another typical Tuesday.   The third reason is as a possible stealth pun. According to TvTropes, the term “Panda” is now shorthand for pandering, and considering the beast’s colors bring to mind a panda bear, this could very well be literal “Panda”-ing.   Moving on, we get our first bit of fanservive, when we learn that the one responsive for the incorrect invitations is none other than fan favorite Derpy (though she goes unnamed throughout the entire episode for obvious reasons), who even offers Cranky a muffin in apology.   I’m half tempted to keep a running count of all the fanon made canon in this episode, but I’m pretty sure I would lose count very quickly.   Following the opening, we cut back to Derpy, who laments at an outdoor restaurant about how much she screwed up. And who should she be talking to but Time “The Doctor” Turner, who immediately whisks her off to his laboratory which is clearly in no way meant to resemble the inside of the TARDIS. I mean, it’s funny as an inside joke and in the comics, but I’m not sure how I would feel if this Doctor was actually THE Doctor. Time Turner also has neat moment where he remarks on the marvels of science and how he’s been studying it his whole life, or, quote, ”centuries really.”   After Derpy remarks on his fire-less fireworks (I spy an obvious Chekhov’s gun!), Time Turner realizes he hasn’t had time to get his suit tailored (spouting off the very Doctor sounding catchphrase of Great Whickering Stallions as he does so), and rushes off to Rarity’s, who is once again currently indisposed. But Vinyl Scratch just happens to walk by and, just like her EQG’s counterpart, has her music cranked up so loud she can’t understand when Time Turner asks where Rarity is.   This ends up with Vinyl leading them to the bowling alley last seen in Cutie Pox and, just like in that episode, Time Turner runs into the Big Lebowski look-alikes, who were a quick gag to begin with and really have no business being here. Seeing as how their forth guy is missing (oh yeah, they keep uttering the word “man”, which boggles Time Turner’s mind), they convince him to help them bowl in exchange for fixing his suit.   At the same time, Derpy tries to make amends by picking up Matilda’s flowers while the latter runs off with Amethyst Star, who claims to be Ponyville’s premier event planner before Twilight moved into town. Yeah, considering how well Winter Wrap Up turned out before then, I wouldn’t brag too much about that fact. Anyway, this brings Derpy to the Flower Trio of Roseluck, Lily and Flower Wishes, who I don’t think we’ve seen for some time. And, just like they are want to do, they give Rarity a run for her money in overreacting to everything, even freaking out when a single stem is bent on one of the arrangements. Yet the Bug Bear gets zero response, once more proving my point.   From there, we cut to Lyra and Bon Bon (who is very clearly voiced by Andrea Libman this time around for how much she sounds like both Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie) helping decorate the inside of town hall, stating multiple times how much “good friends they are!” Yeah, I don’t care what anyone says, just the way they talk and act still makes me think these two are together without outright saying so. Shipping goggles or not, this ship is still seaworthy!   Moving right along from my delusional fantasies onto someone else’s delusional fantasies, neither is concerned with the fact that a monster is attacking Ponyville, until Lyra mentions that it’s “some kind of ‘bug-bear’.” Bon Bon suddenly becomes serious, freaking out and saying that “it’s finally found her.” Lyra is of course confused, which leads to Bon Bon revealing that her real name is Sweetie Drops, and that she’s a secret agent from a recently disbanded government funded monster-hunting agency founded by Celestia herself and that she’s been hiding in Ponyville under the alias of “Bon-Bon” for some time now ever since the Bug Bear escaped from Tartarus after she personally captured it.     …I’m sorry, but could you run all that by me again? Because it sounds like she’s gone cuckoo for cocoa-puffs. Was this supposed to be a joint attempt to explain why not only her toy goes by the name Sweetie Drops, but why she has had no less than four different voices throughout the series? Because if so…it really doesn’t work, and just leaves me scratching my head in confusion.   Lyra is just as confused as I am, but is more distraught about the apparent fact that their entire friendship was all a lie. Bon-Bon/Sweetie Drops tries to reassure Lyra that it wasn’t all a lie, before climbing from the window using a grappling hook she apparently carries around with her to climb to the ground below and disappear into the crowd.   Well, that was a thing.   Back to Time Turner, he’s interrupted by Derpy coming to the realisation that the Doc’s fire-less fireworks (told you they would become important!) look like flowers, so she rushes off to get them. Don’t know why she didn’t do just do that in the first place rather than tell him this first, but whatever. He runs after her, remarking that the fireworks are extremely volatile and since he doesn’t know what sets them off, they could go off any at moment. He also happens to notice Rainbow Dash tussling with the Bug-Bear, but he has more pressing concerns to attend to!   Cutting away to Lotus and Aloe’s spa, Matilda is fretting over her rapidly approaching wedding before running into yet another surprising cameo: Steven Magnets, the sea serpent from the second episode. And yes, he literally says his name is Steven Magnets, I kid you not. If that weren’t enough, he remarks on how he and Cranky are old time pals and traveled the world together while Cranky was off looking for Matilda, who is in utter disbelief this entire time that she’s talking to a very campy sea serpent.   But, because we can’t have nice things, Steven ruins it by saying that no one cares about whether Matilda and Cranky have a happy marriage, but that the wedding is the single most important part of a marriage, throwing Matilda into another full-blown panic attack.   Smooth Steven…real smooth.   From there, we see Vinyl arriving at a home that looks like it was built by Discord considering it looks like two halves of different houses glued together, revealing one half containing her DJing equipment, and the other featuring Octavia practicing for the wedding. Don’t worry, I’ve removed my shipping goggles for this one, even I can see that Vinyl and Octavia are just roommates, or at the very least share a practicing space.   What follows is a duet between the two of them, involving a dual record/bowstring spin that left me crying with laughter. But because the wedding (and the end of the episode) are fast approaching, Octavia says that they need to leave, doing so by riding through Ponyville on Vinyl’s record set-up, still playing the whole way. It is as ridiculous as it is awesome.   Discord would be impressed by the chaos that ensues. Barreling through the streets (and once again completely ignoring the ensuing battle with the Bug-bear), they proceed to run into Button Mash, the Jelly pony and shiny pony from “The Perfect Stallion” song, Colgate, Ace, That pony seen with the moving truck before Derpy dropped it all on Twilight’s head, Truffle Shuffle, Filthy Rich, Berry Punch carrying a massive barrel of “fruit punch”, Davenport, Raindrops, Pipsqueak, Thunderlane, the window cleaner from “Sweet and Elite, Pokey Pierce, The Cakes and Matilda in her Wedding gown, Aloe and Lotus and finally Cranky (who dodges and only loses his wig) before tripping over the Twilicane of all things, which then hurtles them through the air towards the Town Hall.   And then…I have no idea how to properly describe what happens next.   In a literal “Big Lipped Alligator Moment” from an actual alligator, we inexplicably delve into the head of Gummy of all creatures, who erupts into this really disturbing and nihilistic inner monologue about how life is nothing more than a meaningless search for a Cutie Mark when death could by looming overhead and that life is thus meaningless for a being who could never hope to achieve a Cutie Mark like himself.   I...I just…I can’t even begin to make heads or tails of this scene. Did they need a space filler at the last second and just threw in whatever they had lying around? I’ve said this before, but I can only imagine that this is what it would be like to be on some seriously wicked drugs. I’d use the “What are you blathering about” clip again, but I’d rather just move on.   Anyway, in typical cartoon fashion, everyone and everything lands perfectly into place within the wedding hall. We then get a scene of Celestia and Luna having a sibling’s spat over the fact that they forgot the wedding gift at home, slipping back on their regal masks when someone comes into earshot.   This could very well be one of the favorite scenes in the entire episode, because it shows that despite being immortal all-powerful rulers, they are still family and siblings at that and can be prone to arguing at even the best of times (As someone with multiple siblings, I say this from experience). From there it pans over a few aisles to show Princess Cadence comforting a blubbering Shining Armor, in which she informs an attendee sitting next to them that Shining always cries at wedding…though usually he doesn’t start until after the wedding begins.   As Derpy remarks on how beautiful the fireworks look, Pinkie Pi— no wait, it’s just Bon Bon with Pinkie’s voice telling everyone that the Mane Six have successfully defeated the Bug-Bear off screen. Once that’s done, Bon Bon trots over to Lyra, who is sitting in her own unique way and very clearly still cross with Bon Bon. Lyra reveals that she has her own deep dark secret…she ate all of Bon Bon’s expensive and important oats she was saving for a special occasion. How evil!   So yeah, they make up, Celestia and Luna bicker some more, Time Turner comes running in wearing the Fourth Doctor’s scarf, Derpy hugs him and reaffirms the DoctorXDerpy ship before he ushers them inside with an “Allons-y!” and finally Steven uses his mustache to replace the wig Cranky lost in a nice reversal of the events of the second episode (he even uses his own scale to do it too!)   As Cranky and Matilda step up to the altar, Mayor Mare asks if everyone is here. Twilight and the others come running up to the town hall…just in time for Derpy to slam the door in their faces, which locks shut behind her.   Mayor Mare then give a beautiful speech as the camera pans across the room, remarking on how many ponies from all walks of life have gathered to see these two donkeys wed and how everyone is the star of their own story and no matter whether they be a main character or not, everyone makes life special. During all this, Celestia and Luna wordlessly make up, Shining Armor and Cadence hug and five or six foals are huddled together as far away as possible from a lone, undisguised Changeling sitting in the back row, who has a look on his face that just screams “What? What are you all staring at? Do I have something in my teeth?”   I shall name him Bob. Or maybe Larry.   Cranky and Matilda are officially married to a resounding applause, and their kiss causes Time Turner’s fireworks to all go off, prompting the stallion to excitedly hug Roseluck while remarking that all they needed was love to ignite.   Finally, the episode ends with the Mane Six watching all this from the window, Twilight pulling the others into a group hug while saying how lucky they all are to live in Ponyville and how much she loves them all.  
Conclusion  
In the end, what did I think of all this? As I said, I went into this with already low expectations, so I’m happy to say I did end up enjoying what I originally feared could only end in a total disaster.   Yes, this was packed to the gills with pandering and fanservice, but not only was that the entire point, but I admit that said pandering was caused most of my enjoyment. The story itself isn’t fantastic, but it’s just enough to keep things on track while looking into the lives of background ponies, and having a few of the more popular fan theories become canon did manage to bring a smile to my face for whatever reason.   Not to mention that the voice cast was excellent as usual, especially the new characters with Time Turner surprisingly voiced by Peter New, Derpy once more by Tabitha despite what happened the last time, Ashleigh Ball as Lyra and Andrea Libman as Bon Bon. Which means that, despite being bit players in their own show, Twilight’s single line at the ends means that all the main VA got a moment to shine.   It is not without its fault though. There are the weird scenes like the Gummy and Bon Bon one that sours the mood a little and leaves me confused, and they do go a bit too far in trying to satisfy as many fan theories as possible that once or twice it felt they were throwing in whatever came to mind and saying “This is popular, right? You like this, right?”   With that said, this is still a strong episode. The last few scenes especially were filled with so many "Aww..." moments that I'd be amazed if even the coldest of hearts didn't melt. It’s not an amazing episode by any stretch, but as a milestone celebrating what is now Hasbro’s longest running and still ongoing series ever, it more than delivered. Were I to give it a score, I would rate it a good 7/10, or a B.

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

PoisonClaw's Top 10 Part 3: Least Favorite

Finally, we have the ten episodes I don't much care for. Surprisingly, this was much easier to write than the first two, I guess it's just easier to put into words why you don't like something than it is to say why you like it.  
10. Lesson Zero  
Twilight is prone to freaking out, that’s a fact. However, I have a hard time believing that even Twilight would lose her mind to this degree. Even before the sanity slippage even begins, most of Twilight’s antics take her OCD and cranks it up to eleven. Would Twilight have a list to double check her list? Possibly. Would Twilight throw a mini fit over a few drops of frosting extra on a single cupcake out a batch, to the point she goes nuts from that alone? Nope.   Don’t even get me started when she starts making those face. Funny for some, unsettling for me. The only shining grace about this episode is Celestia’s appearance near the end and the genius resolution at the end with allowing the others to write letters to Celestia now.  
9. Swarm of the Century  
This was the episode that began the theme of “Pinkie Pie has poor communication skills”. Despite the fact that Pinkie claims to have tried to tell everyone about how to stop the parasprites, she not only did no such thing, but had no less than three opportunities where she could have. When Fluttershy first showed up with the parasprite, Pinkie could have tried to warn the others about the critter, since she clearly knows all about it. But nope! She instead decides to just wander off looking for instruments with no further explanation as to why.   Next, when the pests start multiplying and Rarity is doing her best to deal with the swarm, Pinkie again could have told Rarity that she has a fool proof solution on getting rid of the parasprites. But instead she wants her to ignore the bugs and randomly run off to help find instruments, again with no further explanation. Seeing as Rarity has bigger problems at the moment, she of course brushes Pinkie off for wasting her time.   And finally, when Twilight and the others are driving the parasprites back into the Everfree Forest, Pinkie once more just runs up and, with no explanation (is anyone noticing a pattern here?), asks them all to drop what they’re doing and assist her in, what they see as, an utterly meaningless task while they have a crisis on their hooves. Had Pinkie at any point actually tried to explain herself but only ended up being ignored for being, well, Pinkie, then I wouldn’t have an issue, but since she didn’t and then lies about trying to do just that, I do have a problem.  
8. Show Stoppers  
CMC episodes aren’t known for being some of the best, and I initially had Cutie Pox in this spot. But then I remembered that that episode involved Zecora, so that pushes it just a little bit higher than Show Stopper. Even by this early on, the fact that the CMC are oblivious to their true talents had already been done before (and would continue be done over and over again), and the cringe worthy performance was possibly even worse than I expected it to be.  
7. Simple Ways  
I swear, Rarity is one of my favorite characters, but I just knew this episode was going to be bad from the synopsis alone. Seeing Rarity trying to invoke “country” possibly even exceeds “Show Stoppers” in being cringe worthy, not to mention it makes her come off as offensively shallow considering she’s invoking a stereotype and ridiculing Applejack and her family all to impress a guy who wants nothing to do with her.  
6. Inspiration Manifestation  
Remember when Spike was dependable and actually intelligent? Well, forget all that, because here he’s treated like a totally oblivious moron who can’t see danger without a neon sign proclaiming “This is bad!” If that weren’t enough, Rarity’s continued insanity starts to slip into Lesson Zero level of unsettling after a while, finally ended in a resolution that was clearly spelled out within the first few minutes.  
5. Daring Don’t  
“Don’t” is right, as in “don’t” watch this episode. Trying to establish Daring Do as an actual living character, and that her series of adventure novels are in actuality an auto-biography about her adventures was a stupid idea. So much so that this is one of the few episodes that falls into Fanon Discontinuity, wherein fans try to pretend or believe that the worst or outlandish parts of a story never happened.   Which is exactly how I like to believe it.  
4. Rainbow Falls  
How do you top an episode that most would like to believe didn’t exist? How about casting a recurring character in the role of a jerkish “villain” despite the fact that they literally have no solid reason to be such a jerk? Such is the case with Spitfire and Fleetfoot.   Fleetfoot I could maybe buy since this is her first appearance, but the way Spitfire acts conflicts with everything we seen and been told about her up until this point. The Wonderbolts are supposed to be a team that stand by each other, but the minute Soarin in injured, his “teammates” abandon him for a better replacement without so much as a second thought (they don’t even visit him the hospital!) and try and tempt Rainbow Dash to abandon her team because said team are a bunch of losers and the Wonderbolts are infinitely better than them.   Yes, the supposed team of loyal Pegasi are trying to convince Dash, the bearer of the Element of Loyalty, into being disloyal towards her friends. Not only is that a stupid plan, but you could have literally had anyone else in the role here and it would have made more sense without messing with a character’s already established history.  
3. Make New Friends, But Keep Discord  
Once more I was trying to stay away from Season 5 episodes, but good lord did I not like this episode. And while I know this will make me very unpopular considering many are claiming it to be the best episode of the season so far (which I’ve heard the same thing said about Kamen Rider Kabuto and I despise that particular series with a raging passion), I instead can’t help but think back to a time when Discord was at all threatening and, you know, actually served a purpose. Now he’s just an outlet to cram in as many pop-cult references and shout-out as he can into an episode.   Strip this episode of said references and it still isn’t very good, instead focusing mostly on an annoying hippy stereotype that grates on my nerves every time she’s on screen. Who said “You know what this episode needs? A stoner perpetually baked out of her mind!” What’s even worse about this is Treehugger is voiced by Nicole Oliver a.k.a Cheerilee and Princess Celestia, and I just can’t imagine her voicing such an awful character.   Speaking of Princess Celestia, much like Lesson Zero she’s the sole redeeming point of this entire episode. Seeing her cut loose and have a good time makes me so happy after her appearances have gotten fewer and farther apart, not to mention I love the dress she was wearing.  
2. Spike at your Service  
Like Inspiration Manifestation, Spike in this episode is treated as a klutzy doofus who is utterly incapable of performing even the simplest of tasks without making a mess of things, especially at tasks we’ve seen him accomplish with ease previously! To further Spike’s idiocy, we have his “Dragon Code”, which is nothing more than a paper-thin excuse that goes without explanation and only serves to prevent the plot from just collapsing in on itself within the first five minutes. Throw in the out of place CGI Timberwolves, and you’ve got a recipe for a bad episode.  
1. Mysterious Mare-Do Well  
What a shocker that this would find itself as number one. I could write an entire essay slowly picking apart the many, many failing points of this episode, but the short version basically amounts to the fact that this is possibly the most mean-spirited I have ever seen the Mane 6 portrayed outside of bad fanfiction. Their entire plan to humiliate Dash’s overly exaggerated pride was in and of itself out of character, lacked in anything resembling basic logic and to top it all off the ultimate farce of a moral is possibly one of the most broken aesops I have ever seen.

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

PoisonClaw's Top 10 Part 2 - Favorites

#10. Luna Eclipsed   Bronies love Luna. That is a fact, and while you’re free to not like Luna you can’t deny that her debut episode after her brief appearance in the series opener was met with resounding cheer and applause. With numerous fan theories of Luna’s personality already established, no one was expecting her to be PRINCESS LUNA, SOVEREIGN OF THE CAPS LOCK AND NO INSIDE VOICE!   Outside of Luna though, this episode is also one of my favorite from a technical aspect. Very few episodes take place at night, so to have an entire episode at night couldn’t have been easy to animate. If that weren’t enough, one of the cost cutting techniques in animating an MLP episode is to refuse models and just flip them, which is why characters like Rarity look the same no matter which way they facing. However, this is a Halloween episode to boot, so the animators would have needed to make all new and unique models for all the costumes, models that very likely will never be used again. Just imagine how much work that would have taken and it shows in the quality of the animation.   However, the reason Luna Eclipsed takes the bottom spot is because the conflict for this episode is kind of stupid, with Pinkie constantly terrifying the town for a cheap laugh at Luna’s expense without telling anyone she’s kidding, Luna included. Way to be a jerk Pinkie Pie.   #9. Magical Mystery Cure   I already explained the failings of the third season in my Runner ups, and Magical Mystery Cure is at the very peak of that and still stands as one of the most, if not the most polarizing episode of the entire series. While many have warmed up to or are at the very least are indifferent to the idea of Twilight now being an Alicorn Princess, I have seen MMC cited as the very instance the show “jumped the shark” for some and coined the (hopefully satirical) “Thanks M.A. Larson” meme, blaming write M.A. Larson for Twilight’s new role   The main strength to this episode is obviously its wide variety of music. From the upbeat and happy “Morning in Ponyville” that inevitably tempts fate and heralds disaster, to the heart wrenching “What My Cutie Mark is Telling Me” and “I Have to Find a Way”, to the culmination of the very theme of the show in “A True, True Friend” and finally ending with the serene “Celestia’s Ballad”.   However, despite my feeling towards the idea of Princess Twilight, I cannot deny that the ending of Twilight’s ascension nonetheless does come off as forced and contrived. While further explored in the season four opener “Princess Twilight Sparkle”, it still detracts from the episode as a whole. Without the rushed ending, Magical Mystery Cure would still remain an enjoyable episode for me and with said ending it doesn’t detract enough that I wouldn’t like it.   #8. Hearth’s Warming Eve   Let me just say that I freaking love Christmas. It’s my favorite time of the year and ever since this episode first aired it has become a new tradition to rewatch ”Hearth’s Warming Eve” sometime around the holidays. The reason for that isn’t just because it’s tangentially connected to the holidays, but because of how much insight and lore is explained through the simple plot device of a play, a play I should point out suffered no issues despite the fact that the Mane 6 are not professional actors.   #7 Castle Mania   Apart from the Castlevania reference in the title, Castle-Mania was, at least in my eyes, a much needed breather episode following the world changing conflicts of Magical Mystery Cure and Princess Twilight Sparkle. The interaction between every member of the Mane 6 here are pure comedy gold (plus a hint of AppleDash never hurts).   Not only that, but this episode stands as a testament to how far this show has come from a technical perspective. Here is The Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters as seen in the pilot episodes:
  And here is that same structure as seen in Castle-Mania:
  Notice the difference? And then…then there’s this:
  Ladies and Gentlemen, what you are witnessing is a bibliophile in pure bliss. Twilight just exudes adorkableness on such a level, that the first time I saw this I had to physically restrain myself from literally falling out of my chair laughing.   #6 Sisterhooves Social   What’s this, the CMC in an episode that isn’t average at best? What sorcery is this?!   But seriously, Rarity episodes have a tendency to be some of the best episodes and this is no exception. But pairing her with my favorite Crusader? That was a recipe for sheer adorable overload.   This also gave further credence to my headcanon that Rarity must be trained in some form of martial arts. She kicks a manticore in the face in the pilot and then flying kicks Applejack in Return of Harmony, but the level of physical ability she showcases during the actual Sisterhooves Social peeks into her hidden depths a bit.   Also of note is the fact that Rarity, a pony who freaks out at the mere thought of dirt, willingly covered herself head to hoof in mud to prove how much she cares about Sweetie Belle. Even if you compare it to a mud bath, that’s some serious dedication to generosity there.   #5 Cutie-Mark Chronicles   I’ve heard this is a fan-favorite even years later, and I can see exactly why. There’s the look into the childhoods of the six characters viewers had come to love (all of which are incredibly adorable!), the CMC are again in a role that doesn’t suck and the moment when Rainbow Dash and the others realise they were destined to become friends ever since they were kids.
  #4 The Cutie Map   Originally I was against including S5 episodes and Twilight’s Kingdom was here instead, but then I rewatched the latter and realized that while it has a great beginning and end, the middle is where things start to fall apart, largely due to Celestia’s lack of any solid plan outside of “Step 1: Give Twilight all our magic, Step 2: ????, Step 3: Save Equestria!”   With that in mind, The Cutie Map completely blows Twilight’s Kingdom out of the water due to its omnipresent dark atmosphere, it’s chilling representation of a cult including indoctrination and forced isolation among other things, the main villain of Aria Blaze Starlight Glimmer and finally the new group of fan favorites, the Friendship Four of Night Glider, Double Diamond, Party Favour and Sugar Belle.   #3 Pinkie Pride   I’m probably going to get in a lot of trouble for this, but let me get this out of the way first: Pinkie Pie is easily my least favorite of the Mane 6. Now before any Pinkie fans reach for their torches and pitchforks, grant me a moment to explain myself, okay?   I won’t deny that Pinkie is basically what would happen if ”Rule of Funny” was a pony, and I also won’t deny that she plays a huge part in a lot of the series’ humor. However, it is far too easy to over exaggerate that trait until funny turns into annoying, insensitive and just plain stupid.   Pinkie as a character is more often than not easy to get completely wrong, such as her uncharacteristically antagonistic attitude towards Fluttershy in Filli Vanilli, her already mentioned insensitivity in Luna Eclipsed and her downright stalkerish stupidity in A Friend in Deed, just to name a few. And while Season 5 seems to almost be purposely built to improve my opinion of Pinkie Pie, that still doesn’t exempt all her terrible characterisation in the past.   Taking all that into account, Pinkie Pride is an episode that manages to get Pinkie Pie down pat.   Sure, the inclusion of the ever popular Weird Al Yankovich as Cheese Sandwich, as well as being yet another musical episode ripe with fantastic songs both help to elevate this episode into the hearts of viewers everywhere, Pinkie Pride manages to cast Pinkie Pie as much more than a two-dimensional walking joke. Here she shows actual depths when she starts to legitimately doubt her abilities to throw parties, before bouncing back and vowing to show everyone “the real Pinkie”. She may be off the wall zany and over enthusiastic, but she’s not stupid like some episodes would have you believe, and for showing that in such a spectacular way is the reason this episode is so high up on my list.   Plus, this is also the episode that retconned Pinkie’s sister Maud into the show after she appeared in the novels, and given how popular Maud’s become since, chalk up another point in this episode’s favor.   #2 Suited For Success   Remember when I said I had a hard time not including Rarity Takes Manehattan? This is the episode that just barely managed to surpass it. Up until this episode, I didn’t have the highest opinion of the dress making marshmallow. Afterwards however, Rarity quickly become one of my favorite members of the Mane 6 and has stayed there ever since.   This episode is the one that proved Rarity looks adorable in glasses, has possibly the best singing voice of the main cast and exactly why she was chosen to bear the Element of Generosity when she selflessly offered to make dresses for the others while she was still working on her own.   And finally…   #1 Hurricane Fluttershy   This is the closest I have ever seen FIM come to having a perfect episode. Every moment feels necessary and meaningful, all the characters involved feel like they belong, Rainbow Dash is portrayed more sympathetic to offset her often brash attitude, none of the jokes fell flat and the trials Fluttershy endures makes me unable to decide if I want to cheer her on, or give her a great big hug and tell her everything is going to be alright.   But more than anything, this episode hits a personal note for me. What Fluttershy experienced, being afraid of being mocked and laughed at by her peers is something I experienced nearly my entire life through school and still do at times to this day. I relate the most with Fluttershy because I’ve gone through what she has, so seeing Fluttershy triumph like she did (through an exercise montage that looks like it was pulled straight from a Rocky movie) makes me want to jump and cheer for her every time.

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

PoisonClaw's Top 10 Part 1: Runner Ups

I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I've finally worked up the effort and motivation to put out two Top 10 lists for my personal favorite and least favorite episodes of Friendship is Magic.   Though while compiling the Favorite list, I realized that I have a lot of favorite episodes to the point I could have made it a Top 20 and still not had enough room. So I'm starting by getting a few of the episodes that just barely missed the list by the smallest or margins out of the way!  
Power Ponies  
I like comic books, and if you’ve read enough of them then you know that comics have a tendency to get very weird, very quickly. So when you have an entire episode taking place in a comic book, you just know things are going to get nuts.   Power Ponies is just a really fun episode, seeing the Mane 6 in the role of non-copyright infringing super heroes fighting against an unbelievably hammy villain in The Mane-iac, who doesn’t so much as chew the scenery as she rips hugs chunks out of it for breakfast.  
Magic Duel  
Season 3 as a whole is at worst often regarded as the lowest point of the show and at best easily forgettable. With only thirteen episodes compared to the twenty-six of every other season, a lackluster opener that introduced what was widely regarded as the worst villain (at least until Sunset Shimmer) and possibly the most controversial ending to a season to date (to the point people are still arguing about it well over a year later) the quality of each episode in turn ended up becoming skewed.
Good episodes had to work even harder to get noticed and bad or average episode felt even worse without a higher ratio of quality episodes to counteract them. With that being said, Magic Duel is one of the few highlights of the season.   Within the literal first few seconds of Magic Duel, a dark tone has already set up shop. I like when subtle darker undertones are introduced to kid’s media, because it shows that the writers respect their audience enough to understand the more mature themes (although there is a limit obviously). Plus, we have the return of the Great and Powerful Trixie, as well as the presence of an artifact called the Alicorn Amulet, being the first time the word “Alicorn” appeared in the show proper.  
Dragonshy  
Dragonshy was a hard one to not include. While there have been better episodes since it, Dragonshy will always be significant to me because this was the episode when I truly became a fan of this show. You could argue that I was technically a fan after watching the first two episodes and then deciding to continue watching, but Dragonshy was the episode that solidated my status as a fan of this show.  
Rarity Takes Manehattan  
Originally, Rarity Takes Manehattan was actually in the top ten, but after thinking it over, I realized that there were better episodes to take its place. That doesn’t mean I think Rarity Takes Manehattan is bad, far from it actually. This episode highlights why Rarity is one of my favorite characters and was a welcome addition after Season 3 went without a single Rarity focused episode. I have heard that Spike at Your Service was at first going to be a Rarity focused episode, but that idea was scrapped after the writers had a hard time with not making her a total jerk and she was relegated to a secondary role in the episode.   With such a long drought without a Rarity focused episode, Rarity fans like myself leapt for joy when Rarity Takes Manehattan was announced. If that wasn’t enough, this episode not only gave up our first actual look at the city of Manehattan outside of flashbacks, as well as introduced a multitude of new characters such as the despicable Suri Polomare and the instantly lovable Coco Pommel, but this was the first episode in the “Keys of Harmony” arc, which set fansites ablaze with speculation and Wild Mass Guessing.   With that out of the way, time to move on to the actual entries!

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

I know this is probably fake...

...but you have no idea how desperately I want it to be true.     Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is, bar none, my absolute favorite game of all time. But with every Paper Mario game after TTYD being lackluster at best, my hopes for this series weren't looking up. But if Nintendo decided to port TTYD to 3DS like they're doing for Xenoblade Chronicles...I would be in line to pre-order on day 1.

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

Griffon Designs

So, I noticed something while looking for references for a possible griffon character. It’s common knowledge that while ponies use the same body shape (baring a few exceptions), there are noticeable differences between genders, namely muzzle shape and eyelashes/lack there of. Thing is that these differences apply to griffons as well.   As of the end of Season 4, a total of five griffons have appeared on screen. The first was obviously Gilda in “Griffon the Brush Off”, The second was Gustave Le Grand from “MMMystery On The Friendship Express”. Even though this introduced a griffon of both genders, two is not an adequate sample size to make any comparison for the griffon species as a whole. Then Rainbow Falls aired, which included not one, not two, but three griffons (one male and two females) present in the background of several scenes. Between three females and two males, certain patterns started to appear. A griffon’s fur coat, feathers and talons/beak are all different colors.
Talons and beaks are always the same color.
The tuft at the end of a griffon’s tail is always the same color as their wings.
Presumably, these characteristics are present in every member of the Griffon species, though there are rare exceptions. Both Gilda and one of the female griffons have white head feathers as opposed to their wing feathers. This means that griffons can have two different colored feathers, something I can’t say the same to in regards to Pegasus.***
One of the female griffons has black talons/beak, but also black feathers. However, she still has at least three different colors overall.
Three of the five griffons have yellow talons, marking that as the most common color, though other colors do exist.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about gender differences in regards to ponies. Baring ponies with unique character models like Big Macintosh and Fleur, there are three distinct differences between genders that can be noticed at a glance: A different muzzle shape, rounded for mares and more boxy for stallions
Mares have eyelashes, while stallions do not.
Some stallions have unshaven fetlocks the same color as their manes, namely Fancy Pants, Shining Armor and Big Macintosh.
What I found is that two of these distinctions also apply to griffons. Male griffons have noticeably larger and wider beaks compared to females, similar to how different species of birds have different beak shapes and sizes.   Secondly, notice that Gilda's most distinct feature is a “wing-shaped” marking around her eyes, also seen on the two female griffons from Rainbow Falls. This marking is always a different color to their head feathers, either a secondary feather color or the same color as their talons/beak.   Comparably, this could be considered a griffon’s “eyelashes” and as such male griffons do not naturally have these markings around their eyes. Why am I even bringing all this up? Well, because I’m still finding griffon designs that have these markings regardless of gender. It was understandable at first because most used Gilda’s model as a base, but now it’s about as weird as if a stallion had eyelashes and I'm just pedantic about those sort of details.   ***BONUS RANT!    

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

Fans in the wild

In the last few years, I've been able to attend three separate fan conventions and recently a showing of Rainbow Rocks…and even after all that it still mystifies me whenever I encounter a fellow fan of anything in person.   Take just a few weeks ago when I attended a one-day comic con with a friend. While there I saw Daleks, Weeping Angels, Xenomorphs, a six-foot plush dragon, a ludicrous number of Power Rangers and hair in just about every color of the known rainbow (literally in some cases) and no one batted an eye. Sure, heads turned but it was either to point out to their friends the awesome costumes or get their picture taken with them. It felt like I had stepped into a whole other world, where it was suddenly “cool” to like the things that caused me no end of ridicule throughout Middle school right up until High school. That doesn't even begin to describe the attendees.   According to the media of old, the geeky or nerdy stereotype consists of a lanky, physically unfit, possibly even a tad overweight white male, who are all poster children for social awkwardness. And while I sure there were a few in attendance who fit that description to a tee (I was there after all), I also saw people who lured that stereotype into a back alley and mercilessly beat it with a lead pipe. I saw parents with their kids, an entire family of Storm Troopers, I saw males and females of just about every body type either dressed up or having the times of their lives and I saw more than one guy who looked like he could easily snap you in half and not break a sweat…wearing a shirt either depicted a cute anime character or a technicolor equine with a rainbow mane.   Then there was Rainbow Rocks. My worst fear was that I was going to be surrounded on all sides by little kids, all asking their mommies or daddies why the strange man was watching the pony movie. Imagine my surprise when the first thing I see upon walking into my local theatre was a group of woman roughly my age, three of which were cosplaying as Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Fluttershy respectively, followed by at least two other groups of older males already waiting for the movie to start, conversing between themselves about their favourite episodes or the fandom old question of “Who is best pony?”   I've met fans aplenty through the internet, but talking to someone who likes a show or game though a computer screen and meeting them face to face are still too completely different things and I doubt I will ever get rid of that little voice in the back of my head that goes “You can’t go out in public like that! People will point and laugh!”

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

Doctor Who S8E4 - "Listen" Review

[be forewarned: Massive Spoilers await!]   Doctor Who is no stranger to psychological thriller episodes, one of the most well-known being the Tenth Doctor episode “Blink”, which, while mostly Doctor-less, managed to instill a deep seated fear of stone angels that likely lingers even to this day. However, this week’s episode instead focuses on a more primal fear: fear of the unknown. I really hope you weren’t planning on sleeping afterwards, because this is “Listen”.   Get used to hearing that title by the way, because they repeat that one word constantly through a good chunk of the first act. Hell, it’s the first word uttered at the start of the episode, said by The Doctor himself who is meditating on top of the TARDIS while it floats aimlessly through space. In an apparent fit on insomnia, The Doctor is muttering to himself that while nature has perfected the perfect predator as well as the perfect defense, he wonders out loud “What about the perfect hider?” What if there was a creature that had evolved solely to remain hidden? What if we are truly never alone, especially when we’re talking to ourselves? What would such a creature do?   As he ponders this, he sets down his piece of chalk and turns his back on the chalkboard he was using to write all this down. When he turns back around…something has scrawled a single word on his chalkboard: Listen.   Cue Intro!   After that, we open on Clara returning home in a huff after a rather awkwardly fumbled date with a man named Dan Pink. Yes, that is his last name and believe it or not he will become somewhat important for this episode later down the road. The Doctor is already waiting with the TARDIS in her bedroom and despite the fact that she would rather crawl into bed and forget this night ever happened, she reluctantly joins him. After a minute or two of reiterating a majority of what he said in the opening and showing her the chalkboard with “Listen” on it, The Doctor offers this little gem: he believes that, at some point in everyone’s life, they have had the exact same nightmare.   In this nightmare, you wake up in the middle of the night with the feeling that something is wrong. You turn on the light, and prepare to step out of bed. However, the second your feet touch the floor, something reaches out from under your bed and grabs your ankle. What The Doctor wants to know is what that something is.   So, after having Clara stick her fingers in a very gooey part of the TARDIS’ central console, he says he can lock onto her timeline and pinpoint the moment when Clara had such a nightmare. During this process though, Clara is distracted by her phone going off in her pocket and despite The Doctor taking it and throwing it over his shoulder, her mind drifts to her failed date from before. Thus, the TARDIS lands them in the courtyard of an orphanage that Clara has no memory of.   While our resident Timelord goes to get answers, terrifying the man on duty for the orphanage and stealing his coffee in the process, Clara looks up and notices a very familiar looking boy waving at her from his bedroom window, a child who identifies himself as Rupert Pink, though he remarks that he plans on changing his name the first chance he gets. Going up to his room, she learns that he’s scared because he had a nightmare where something grabbed him from under his bed. Trying to cheer him up, she convinces him to crawl under his bed with her to show him that there’s nothing there to get him. This manages to calm him down.   At least until something sits on the bed.   Getting out from out from under the bed, Clara and Rupert are horrified to see that something is sitting upright on the bed, its true form hidden beneath Rupert’s blankets. The Doctor suddenly appears and gives some kind of speech about how fear is good before the three of them turn their back to the creature hiding beneath the blankets. After a truly nail-biting moment in which we see a purposely fuzzy and out-of-focus look at the creature standing behind them, it disappears.   Clearly terrified by the encounter, Clara tries to once more calm Rupert down by finding his collection of army figurines and saying that they’ll protect him. When she asks him what the colonel figure’s name is however, Rupert responds with “Dan”. Growing tired if this, The Doctor puts his finger to the boy’s forehead, apparently scrambling his memory so all this will seem like a dream and knocking him out cold in the process. Because apparently he can do that now!   After we get some needless padding where Clara convinces The Doctor to take her back so she can salvage her date with Dan (only to royally mess it up once more), she encounters a man in an odd spacesuit. Thinking it’s The Doctor, she yells at him only for him to remove his helmet to reveal…Dan?!   Actually, The Doctor explains that it’s not Dan, but a descendant of his from about 100 years in the future named Orson Pink. Because using the same actor and saying he’s a “distant grandson from the future” is just so much cheaper after all. Regardless, The Doctor further explains that using the same method that brought them to the orphanage, he was able to lock onto Orson as he appears in Clara’s time stream.   Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this ties into somewhat of a subplot where Clara realizes that she and Dan are fated to get married and this is her great grandson. Not only is it laughably obvious from the get-go, but it offers jack to the episode except more padding so I’m not going to mention anything further on the matter.   Back on topic, The Doctor excitedly exclaims “And you’ll never guess where I found him!” Where did he find him?   At the very edge of time itself.   You see, Orson was set to test one of humanities first forays into time travel where he would be sent in a small ship to about a week in the future. To say they overshot their mark is an understatement of the century, as instead Orson ended up stranded for six months on the last planet after all life in the universe has been wiped out, making him completely alone in the universe.   Or is he?   While Orson is believable excited about finally going home now that he’s found someone with a time machine, The Doctor says that because the TARDIS is usually unable to jump this far ahead (he was only able to by turning off just about every single one of its safeguards), it has to recharge for the night. Orson is horrified at this proposition, because he remarks that “Something’s out there”.   After convincing him to hide away in the safety of the TARDIS, The Doctor and Clara have a little stakeout in the main console area of Orson’s ship. What follows is essentially a re-enactment of what so many experience when they’re home all alone; the structure rattles, pipes creak and ever sound is magnified by the fear that something is out there. What happens next reminds me of a line from the shortest horror story ever written:   “The last man on Earth sat alone in his room. There was a knock on the door…”   And, lo and behold, that’s exactly what happens. When all life has been exterminated in the universe, something knocks on the door. It’s at this point where any sane man would have jumped inside the TARDIS and took off, but remember this is The Doctor we’re talking about here! So, with his trusty Sonic Screwdriver, he activates the electronic lock on the door. As it slowly unlocks, The Doctor orders Clara onto the TARDIS, but when she tries to convince him to dome too, he yells back that he’s come this far and he’s going to see this to the end. Clara utters one final remark of “Idiot”, before entering the TARDIS and slamming the door behind her.   So, it’s come to this moment. Standing by himself, The Doctor looks on as the door slides open, something just barely visible through the widening crack. And then…all footage of the console room goes dead, including the screens in the TARDIS. For a moment, nothing happens before a loud bang is heard. Orson says that the ships’ air-shield has ruptured, leading to explosive decompression of the ship. The cameras finally turn back on to reveal The Doctor holding onto the console for dear life as everything is sucked outside the ship. Orson manages to get to him before pulling him into the TARDIS, where The Doctor falls unconscious onto the floor.   Now, this is where the episode should have ended. It would have needed a brief epilogue regarding what The Doctor saw, but had it ended there then I would have been more than satisfied. Unfortunately, that was not the end and what follows causes the entire episode to quickly collapse in on itself.   Using the same method as before, Clara sticks her hands into the main console of the TARDIS and manages to send them…somewhere. Stepping out, she finds herself in a barn where she can just make out the sound of a young boy crying in bed. Going up to investigate, she is startled by to figures entering the barn. With little time to spare, she quickly hides under the bed as the two converse with the boy. As they’re leaving, one of them utters “If he can’t get over his fears, he’ll never manage to be a Timelord!”   That’s right: Clara is hiding under the bed of none other than The Doctor himself.   It’s at this point that the present Doctor wakes up in the TARDIS and, wondering where Clara has gone, calls out to her. Hearing noises, the past Doctor prepares to crawl out of bed to investigate. Horrified at the prospect of The Doctor meeting himself, Clara does the first thing she can think of: she reaches out from under the bed and grabs The Doctor’s ankles the second his feet touch the ground.   Are you looking for the nearest solid object to bash your head against? I know I was, but oh it gets so much worse from here. After managing to coax the young Timelord back to bed, she steps onto the TARDIS and offers this little tidbit: “Maybe…maybe there was never a monster at all. Maybe all this has just been a way to say that someone is afraid of the dark.”   You can’t hear or see it, but my hand just physically made contact with my face.   Um…news flash Clara: yes, there was a monster! What do you call the thing that was sitting on Rupert’s bed? A collective hallucination? You saw it, I saw it, we all saw it! Right there is irrefutable evidence that such a creature exists, and you’re trying to hand-wave it away by saying the Doctor’s just afraid? Are you mental?!   Arg…the episode closes with some kind of narration I could care less about as Orson is brought back to his time, the Doctor mopes in the TARDIS and Clara returns to Dan so they can furiously make out. Cue credits. Closing thoughts   How? How do you manage to write a successful psychological thriller that actually caused me to lose sleep over and then completely {bleep} it up in the final minutes? Just…how?!   Anyway, as I said this episode mostly managed to do what it set out to in terrifying its audience. However, that ending is like crafting a gourmet meal worthy of a fine restaurant before hocking a lougie just as you’re ready to serve it.   Logically, there are only two ways this episode could have ended:   1) The monster was real, but we never see it because the fear of the unknown would make it much more effective. Furthermore, The Doctor would reassure anyone that said being was entirely benign and is such a constant in the lives of all living beings that going without would be even stranger than having the knowledge that you are never truly alone   or…   2) There is no such creature and everything truly was all paranoia and fear of the unknown playing tricks on our minds.   Where this episode fails is that it gets greedy and tries to do both outcomes, despite the fact that the two contradict one another and leads to the massive plot-hole that was “What the hell was the thing sitting on the bed?” If it turns out later down the line that it was a time displaced Clara or something like that, then I will personally hunt Steven Moffat down just so I can kick him where the sun don’t shine. Not only that, but it also fails by messing with The Doctor’s history and trying to squeeze in a retcon that ruins everything before it. Now you could say that everything The Doctor has ever done or ever will do has been because Clara grabbed his ankle in a moment of fear which is akin to spitting in the face of the fifty years of established continuity. One of these days, if this keeps up, Steven Moffat is going to burn Doctor Who to the ground.

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw

 

Something that Grinds my Gears

No one will probably read this, but this has been bugging me for some time…   When it comes to literature, especially the kind on the internet and whether it be original or fan fiction, there are certain things that tend to get on some people’s nerves, myself included. This could be overly colorful and long-winded descriptions that only serve to pad out the word count, commonly misspelled or mistaken words like lose and loose or even something as insignificant as writing in the “wrong” font. But none of that comes close to one of my biggest pet peeves that I've been noticing more and more:   Writing in the wrong format.   Take how I’m writing this very article. When writing electronically, the common practice is to separate paragraphs with either double or single spacing, to the point that the default setting on most mainstream writing programs is double spacing. However, while perusing FimFiction I've seen this format often cast aside in favor of ultimately unfavorable alternative methods.   One of the most frowned upon is the dreaded “wall of text”. Here, formatting of any kind and outright legibility are thrown out a two-story window in favor of speed and getting all of one’s ideas into a single stream of consciousness. Any use of the standard “Enter” key is ignored and entire ideas, stories or rants are instead jumbled up into one huge “wall”, living up to its name by stopping the reader in their tracks and making any attempt to decipher their gibberish a literal headache.   Only one step above that but the more personally annoying one is when the author is formatting like they were writing a physical paper book. Using Windows Word as a point of reference, the standard sizing is that of an 8 ½ by 11 inch piece of printer paper. Actual novels on the other hand do not use this sizing, but generally a much smaller one. Because of this, the contents of a book have to almost be squished together in order to save page space and cut back on the amount of pages if you were to even single space every paragraph or line of dialogue. In an actual novel this would be fine, but online this greatly mimics the wall of text, but is ever slightly more readable because each new paragraph is indented with the “Tab” key.   Here’s the thing though; there is no page limit when writing online. Whether you’re writing five pages or five hundred it doesn’t matter. Even if you intend to print what you’ve written on to actual paper, you can just as easily change the font or sizing before resorting to squishing everything together into one large mass only broken up by the occasional use of the Tab key.   Next to that is one of the oddest choices I have seen people use are those who decide to write their piece of fictional literature in the style of a script and/or transcript, with each line of a dialogue indicated by the character’s name.   PoisonClaw: Look, writing like a script is not conducive to writing a novel or piece of fiction. Unless you are literally writing a script for a flesh and blood movie or performance, then there should be no reason to format a story like this. Same for a transcript, which when used for a cartoon is used alongside storyboards to indication how a character will act in a given location or scene.   Gallantry: When you write a script for a play or movie, the purpose here is to indicate what a particular character will say, when he/she will say it in relation to other characters, as well as any actions they are to perform in between. *Gallantry irritably flicks his tail and adjusts his armor as he says all this* There isn’t much setting of a scene in this case because the actors themselves can physically see the set in question and know what it looks like. You don’t need to spend a paragraph or two describing what the bar your characters just walked into looks like unless you are indicating points of interest they should either be looking towards or events they are in turn reacting to.   Leo: The only time this should ever be used is in the context of forum style roleplays, and even then that should be at the digression of those involved. If you intend to flip between multiple characters on a regular basis and need to indicate who is speaking in what order, then by all means use script format.   PoisonClaw: Exactly, and- Wait…what are you two doing here?!   Leo and Gallantry (in unison): We’re helping!   PoisonClaw: Ugh…well…anyway…   This isn’t limited by just how a story is written either, but also how your eyes naturally follow it while reading. In most literate countries, you read from left to right, across and down the page. However, once you reach the end of a page, your eyes instinctively travel almost diagonally upward, stopping on the top of the next page and going from there.   Think of it like the old style typewriters, where the page moved along a slide as each letter was inked onto the paper. Once you reached the end of a line or paragraph the slide had to be moved to the right once more and the process repeated itself. On the subject of the typewriter, the early style devices can also be attributed to why novels are written the way they are in modern day. Back then you typed line by line on an actual sheet of parchment and if you spaced out each line needlessly then you could easily run out of page space mid-thought.   When reading online however, there is a noticeable difference. You still read left to right across and down the page, but now you only go straight down. Once a page ends, your eyes don’t track upwards looking for the next sentence, but keep going downward in what could be compared to a freefall motion. When written in the format of a novel, it more resembles the previously mentioned “wall” of text and makes it harder for your eyes to follow.   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found a story that by all accounts I would have enjoyed, only to turn away the moment I discovered it was using one of the above formats other than double/spaced paragraphs. Which brings me to final reason this bugs me and it’s the pettiest of them all: it just looks ugly. Writing is still at its core an art form, so presentation is still a thing no matter the overall quality of your writing.   Where am I going with all this? Well, if you intend to write something on the internet longer than a two line forum post, please don’t write it out like this:   Or this:   Or like this:

PoisonClaw

PoisonClaw