See * for disclaimer
Friends Forever Volume 1 (Microcomic Issues 1-4, January 22nd, February 26th, March 12th, April 9th 2014)
Issue 1: Pinkie Pie & Applejack: The Pie's the Limit
Pinkie is to compete in the Equestria Super Chef Competition. This appears to be a separate event from the National Dessert Competition that the Cakes participated in back in the MMMystery on the Friendship Express episode. I'm assuming that the 'Hedge Maze Center' is a pun and I just don't know the base of it. My mum used to teach professional cookery and baking years ago, so she likes watching the various televised cooking contests, but I don't recognize anything that would be punned into Hedge Maze.
Jumbo Don. Cute.
Oh, they're referring to a Hedge Maze in Ponyville itself... okay. Interesting. I'm a bit lost, but that's okay.
Blade Sparxx looks like Guy Fieri... oh of course. Fiery... I'm an idiot sometimes.
It wouldn't surprise me to find out Summer van der Hoof and Toffee Truffle are also supposed to be famous TV chefs, but I can't pick them out.
And Marine Sandwich... Relative to Cheese Sandwich, perhaps? And a reference to place I've not heard before: Gallopvania.
And yes, that's the way cooking contests go. They're incredibly strange.
The three judges are interesting. A buffalo, a gryphon, and a pony who has a very distinct Hindi look with the Bindi, hairdo, and everything. Vermouth Roux... she's reminding me of someone specific who used to judge cake decorating contests, but I can't quite place it.
That's actually a good lesson, presented in a nice way for younger audiences. Good job.
How.... how would you use sauerkraut in a desert? I... I just don't want to know. I really don't.
Oh... Dulce de Leche in sugar-cookie cups. A bit sweet for my tastes, personally, but it sounds really nice.
There are several different things called fondant. The most well-known is rolled fondant also known as pettinice, used for cake decorating. I dislike it personally, as it tastes like papier-mâché to me. What this appears to be, however, is poured fondant, which is like the crème filling of the Cadbury's Crème Egg.
The buffalo judge is named 'Big Angie'. Nice.
Issue 2: Cutie Mark Crusaders & Discord
Falconry with an eagle uses the Golden Eagle specifically, and was done all over Europe and Asia. In Europe it was reserved for Emperors and Kings, but the Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, and Mongolians use Golden Eagles almost exclusively for falconry, where it's called the Burkut.
Discord. Just wandering past, coincidentally singing a song all about getting cutie marks. Sure, Discord *never* trolls ponies...
Okay, characterization moment. I normally try to avoid talking seriously about characterization, as I'm not really qualified beyond making a smart-aleck comment or two, but Sweetie Bell is a pet peeve of mine. A lot of fan-writers write Sweetie Bell as ... challenged, and I don't think that's fair. What I see in show is not that she's dumb, but that she always seems to be thinking about something else. She's off-topic, not stupid.
Ice skaters... surprised the CMC hadn't thought of this one before.
American football. Wait, who's on the opposing side. Angle, Spike, the bear... who's that in the middle? Some kind of goblin thing?
Ha! Yes, Discord dressed as Q. They've been dying to do this, I'm sure.
Interesting choices though: Sweetie Bell as Picard, Scootaloo as Riker, and Apple Bloom as LeForge.
Power Crusaders! Though honestly, but the windshield glasses remind me of a very early anime that I can't place the name of. They should have had bird helmets like Battle of the Planets (A Science Ninja Team Gatchaman adaptation). That would have been funny.
Pirates... I'm not entirely sure which comic characters that is a parody off of, there are so many options. Hipsters, standard police buddy movie, Lord of the Rings, and the CMC playing Oubliettes and Ogres, of course.
And Discord gets what he needed, if it wasn't necessarily what he wanted.
Issue 3: Princess Celestia & Spike
There's a Duke of Appleloosa?
Actually, I can see Spike and Celestia having this kind of a relationship.
Rock Lobsters. They remind me of the Crabs from G1's Fugitive Flowers episode.
Well done, Spike. Also, confirmed dragons are capable of eating any rock, it's just that gemstones are more like rock fruit at taste better.
Ha. Excellent. Celesta the teacher. Good argument against the Trollestia meme.
And referencing the fact that as a Dragon, Spike can swim in lava.
You know, I like that one. It really did work.
Issue 4: Twilight Sparkle & Shining Armor
Tree Goblin. One of the things that plagues most D&D games and other RPGs, is the sheer number of monsters. There's no real way to build up a functional ecology with the number of top-tier predators in those games, without either making the world *really* massive, and therefore messing up travel times between places, or do some selective strip mining of the various monster manuals.
More references to Oubliettes and Ogres. Interestingly, this is a fairly common parody name for D&D, and is not unique to MLP Comics. I've seen it all over the place.
Standard bureaucratic blithering. Is that Mario and Luigi?
Princesses have no privacy, apparently. That's... actually pretty accurate historically. That's part of the drawbacks of being royalty, you were expected to give orders for every little thing.
I like this Lex pony. "Could we use another member of staff as bait, instead of a book?"
A lot of old building did have secret passages. Usually hiding places, similar to modern panic rooms, or escape routes. 'Spy' passages did exist, but they were usually retrofit into buildings rather than put in originally. And some were accessed via the fireplaces, simply because those were large, seemingly solid constructions that were usually built in such a way that they all shared chimneys, so there were already interconnected to some extent.
Interesting, turning existing mechanical ego-boosts into traps.
That's not technically true. If you always keep your hoof on the right wall, you will find your way out again, but not necessarily at the other end. That only works for simply connected mazes. Once the third dimension is added, and paths can cross under and over themselves, or the entrance and exit are not on the outer wall, it falls apart. You're better off with Trémaux's algorithm, but that requires being able to mark all decision points with a piece of chalk or something similar.
Okay, so this thing is called a 'Crystal Bard'. Interesting as that's not taken from *anything*. It's actually unique.