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Dowlphin

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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

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    Pinkie, Fluttershy, Luna
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    Rock farm, Germaney
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    The glass is full! No empty! No full! Now it's empty again. No wait, I think it's full again!
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    Ponies. Music. Pony music. Other stuff. But mostly ponies and music. ... And pony music.

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  1. FOREWORD: It was hard for me to get into the mood at first when right at the beginning of ep25 I was reminded of an incident a while ago where someone on the forums was inconsiderately posting spoilers about it where it didn't belong (Apparently some Hasbro spoilers I had missed because I only watch the show!) and had his behavior 100% protected and guarded by forum administration. By far not the first time I got loads of horseapples from that direction (and other areas of the fandom), that's why I stay away from there now and only write in the blog part. It got too infuriating again lately to observe the fertile ground for growing problems. ... The insanity of the world, you know. ... Now to some talking pastel ponies in magic land. I will write this commentary roughly along the timeline and in the format of the thoughts that came up while watching. EPISODE 25: So the mane 6 and Spike, all of them, go into an intense book-hitting,... but they didn't recruit Starlight Glimmer?! The paradise of Equestria, where chewing on pencils is (for anatomical reasons) totally fine: No heartcrossing or toflyhoping this time... Derplejack Who needs to decypher old ponish to figure out it's the Temple of Ponehenge if you got a picture of the location? Sooo... I can't stop hearing "Pwnhenge". Once again AJ is skittling. (Tasting the rainbow.) She did that strikingly often during the beginning of the show. This is almost like a little nostalgia reference: When Starswirl said they didn't come to defeat the Pony of Shadows (who for brevity and hilarity I will just call "PoS" from now on ) but to contain him, I thought: Well, imprisoning him in a realm where no time passes kinda is defeating. Just as you can explode twice, you can defeat someone twice. So that other dimension to banish the PoS to is called "Limbo". The show keeps picking up mythical concepts of past times, heh. My little Popeny When the mane 6 started collecting artifacts we learned that AJ suddenly has powers beyond what we would have imagined. That rock she kicked away was disturbingly big. ... Must have been pumice. I wish Maud had been there to comment. Was certainly very conveniently timed, but we can attribute that to the time constraints of the show finale. In the same style we also learn that Rarity is a super-gardener who can, like if at all we would only have imagined Twilight Sparkle, magically transform an overgrown mess into a royal palace garden with lots of healthy plants that all somehow seemed to merely have been covered by ugly half-dead vegetation. And in the process she can get all kinds of stuff in her hair despite merely pointing her horn all around. It is so easy to make Pinkie Pie happy. When Twilight had finally made a mess, I thought she should have listened to Starlight and have a plan B ready. Dunno why I assumed the plan was specifically designed to only bring back the wardens. - Oh well, opportunity for finally resolving the issue. Not unlike the Nightmare Moon thing. EPISODE 26: Why, oh, why was Twilight so hasty with saving them when they were all trapped in a timeless state? OK, we later learn why, but it was already apparent here that she did it out of fan-admiration reasons, because obviously Equestria didn't really need the aid of Starswirl. Personal note: Fans can indeed be quite selfish. Starswirl then reveals that he's not the scholar we assumed when he said the words "for a millennia", when it is "for a millennium". OK, maybe the long banishment caused him to confuse singular and plural. Maybe the portal was a plurality and should have been a singularity! Another theory would be that this was related to another thing I noticed in that scene: Why is nopony there speaking old ponish? Did they slip in a translation spell in there without saying? Starswirl and his gang shouldn't be able to communicate with the ponies of the present. At the castle was one of my favorite scenes because it listed the elemental association - I'm into that meaningful symbolic stuff: hope -> Pinkie Pie (laughter) ... more like hop strength -> Applejack (honesty) beauty -> Rarity (generosity) bravery -> Rainbow Dash (loyalty) healing -> Fluttershy (kindness) sorcery -> Twilight Sparkle (magic) You might know about the AJ+RD elemental confusion thesis, and here I would say if you swapped the two again, you could see how being honest requires one to be brave and how it takes inner strength to remain loyal. But apparently the associations from the old crew were not to match to the new elements so much as to the traits of the ponies. Fluttershy has a big heart, and that is THE source of healing. But laughter can also be healing, and hope can come from the heart, so there's another ambiguity there. One could really dive deep into philosophy here. The unicorns, Rarity and Twilight, had the most straightforward and fitting associations. Alright, moving on. Seems like an obvious nod to the MLP movie. (Which I haven't watched yet, but it is neigh-impossible to escape this iconic aspect of it.) Then Starlight tried to console Twilight by saying "You didn't know it would happen." and my playful mind added "And I wish I had warned you. ... Oh wait." Then Twilight goes and in still not having learned her lesson, tries to fix the problem by applying the same mindset yet again. Then in a later scene her friends defend her against Starswirl's skepticism by saying she doesn't do anything half-way. Oh really? Didn't the whole crisis stem from Twilight doing a risky maneuver of pulling beings out of a prison dimension without planning for fixing it if it turns out to be a bad idea? I would call that literally half-way. Twilight getting words of approval from Starswirl: The face of fangasmic life fulfillment. When Starlight finally suggested talking to the PoS, I was like: Yeah, that was like my very first though. The PoS seemed quite open and talkative after the summoning. This is maybe part of the progress the realm has made over the idea of glorious fighting against evil. It represents a summary of past successes in Equestria, showing how the old ways are for the past and the new ways are more powerful, have more heart. (This is a lesson our world is struggling with heavily.) Starswirl is basically too much of an old grump, inflexible as people can get with age, carrying a grudge against Stygian. Starlight, you've been through this in the past: When someone keeps making mistakes and you see what's happening, see the folly unfold, you gotta be assertive! Then we have a flackback scene where - as another franchise nod - we see sirens troubling the lands. And when they showed banishing them in another Limbo portal, I thought: Hmm, maybe he accidentally chose the wrong dimension? I could imagine where they ended up. Land of the pink moon! Sold! And a nice fadeover with pink again: The theme around the resolution of this little story is again a bit relatable to me, since I do a lot of sociological observation, and as quite often, I see a bit of sad irony or hidden lesson here. The 'heroes' habitually take the credit for their deeds, but forget to credit those who made valuable contribution behind the scenes, if you will. (I am reminded a bit of the latest Daring Do episode - different point but related issue.) And here comes the kicker: It is happening again. At the very moment they resolve the issue with Stygian, what do we see? Twilight Sparkle again being lauded as the Princes of Friendship, how she always manages to bring friendship into the world, as if SHE wasn't the clumsy student who needs her friend's help time and again, and here I was amazed at how well Starlight took it, considering she was the actual hero of the story. At that point I totally expected Twilight to mention how it was Starlight who practiced the magic of friendship there. Instead she had to bring it up by herself and got a brief seemingly humbled remark from Starswirl that contained the word "I" but not "you". I found that really vexing especially in the context of what had just happened. And as if that wasn't enough, at Canterlot Castle Starswirl again showered Twilight with praise about the magic of friendship. I mean, OK, I get it that Twilight reformed Starlight, but that, too, was something she only managed thanks to the support of her friends. Only in the very last seconds, in a kind of "in private" moment, Twilight made a gesture of giving credit. As if her reputation or anything forbade her from giving credit publicly. Starswirl said: "In turning away from others, you hurt yourself as well." And I feel compelled to connect that to my real life experience, because things are easily said as if they were universal rules. Sometimes turning away is the healthier option, or the only one. Some challenges are far too great. Although that is where concentrated virtue like with the mane 6 can pull it off. Stygian might not have seen a chance back then, being one pony against the group. We don't know the kind of energy that has accumulated among them. If a whole group turns away from one person, if they all share the same issue, there are some nasty energies going around. This is why what is very powerful is to accept things the way they are in order to change them. They couldn't have defeated the PoS with condemnation, without accepting that he existed because of what came before. You cannot change the past, only learn from it.
  2. There are some thematic similarities to the episode Forever Filly, but more basically this was a total unicorn episode. Maud was the only non-unicorn, but she fit in just fine because of the theme. The issue I see portrayed here that the episode sadly didn't even quite touch on due to it being like a unicorn mind bubble is that friendship based on common interests alone, not on interest in each other, is a relatively weak friendship. It's a wholly different level to base it on deeper bonds than just shared interests. New discoveries and all matters of the mind might delight the heart, but when they are gone, so is the delight. And usually just being together a lot in childhood creates a strong bond by itself, but here we saw an example where that, too, was just based on shared interests. (I have a deliberately puzzling saying to sum this up: "True friendship is nothing personal.") Thus, Starlight was closed to just sharing joy with her friend, to generate/practice friendship instead of just expecting to reap the fruits. Her openness is very conditional; her friendship is not practiced in appreciation of itself. Once again I am reminded how Fluttershy should be the actual princess of friendship. She is very heart-focused, and that's where the source of potentially infinite strength lies. In fact, because of how she helped Discord, she should be the Princess Of Mighty Friendship (POMF). And since Pinkie Pie's element is laughter, she should be the Princess of Neighs (PoNeigh). But I digress. This episode could maybe also be considered somewhat autism-themed, since these things seem typical troubles that autistic people face in their life. This would at least explain why the resolution was very modest and still based on the characters' traits that caused the trouble in the first place. A doing-what-works kind of approach that also preserves their character archetypes. When Starlight commented on how the warehouse looked smaller on the outside, that was an amusing self-joke. Who didn't think exactly that? "Where the hay is that huge warehouse in Ponyville? Never seen it before." Judging by the bed scene, Sunburst seems to have gotten too used to wearing his robe. Or maybe the reason he is wearing it all the time is because he's got some kind of insecurity. Starlight seems to know, since she's not inquiring about it. This is the same kind of oddity as with Fluttershy in an early episode. It's generally a bit of a downer to me if the writers ignore the characters' pony nature and just make them act like pony-shaped humans. I found the brief Maud comedy dialogue very witty. Selfless humor, all in the perception, not in the performer. But then she kinda blew it and revealed she's just got a Cmdr. Data approach to it. From the show audience perspective it still worked though. She was funny when she claimed she wasn't and then wasn't funny when she claimed she was.
  3. I like to say there's no such thing as a bad Fluttershy episode, but I have to and gladly will expand that to Pinkie episodes. Not much more to say here. I just enjoyed it way too much to do an analysis. And I love the idea of half-birthdays. Such a pinkie thing. Pinkie.Scriptum.: When it comes to hugs, she knows what she's doing. If the hug is too tight, you are too tight. Oh and did anyone else see this for a brief moment?... ( I've drawn this myself. https://dowlphin.deviantart.com/art/Antlerjack-710062236 ) I definitely had to raise awareness of severe pie deficiency a moment later...
  4. Not much to say for me on details here. Slight connections to Fame and Misfortune. When Twilight made a deal with Iron Will, the problem and likely chain of events was obvious. They need to take the helm and do what Iron Will had in mind, but their way, through sincerity. A bit of a soft mutiny, maybe. Twilight could still improve her leadership skills there. Maybe get some assertiveness lessons from Fluttershy? (Oh well, as I said, it was predictable that things would turn out that way in the end anyway. Just make sure you apply this awareness to your life, too.) I just found it very unlikely how Twilight could miss the Northern Stars, considering she was looking in their direction, with only the ship's cabin blocking the view. Lesson: Don't make deals with crooks, but set them straight, set proper standards. That contract wasn't even legit, considering nopony but Twilight's parents signed it. But apart from that, while law is a worthwhile concept, there are higher virtues that trump it. The Dao De Jing puts kindness over justice. The former is more powerful than the latter, i.e. it does not practice justice, yet somehow takes care of its concerns, too. It is a really good book that I would suggest Twilight to read, so here's the segment from it that I am referring to, from a modern-language version (http://www.beatrice.com/TAO-pamphlet.pdf): 38. People with integrity don't even think about it. That's how you can tell they have integrity. Other people talk about how much integrity they have, when they really don't have much. If any. Truly powerful people don't do anything, but they get the job done. Other people are always busy doing something, but nothing ever gets done. When kind people act, they do so without thinking about it. When the just act, they're always sure they're doing the right thing. But when the righteous act, and nobody reacts, they try to force everyone to do things their way. If you're not in touch with Tao, at least you can still have integrity. If you don't have integrity, there's always kindness. If you don't have kindness, there's always justice. If you don't have justice, all you have left is righteousness.
  5. Right at the beginning when I saw Kettle Corn, I was like: Woah! Bagua calligraphy! ^^ The haiku thing then made it pretty clear that hers is an Asian arts theme. In case you didn't know, circle painting is a very profound practice about reading and getting to know yourself and your interaction with the world and ensuing inner state. I also want to point out that writing a haiku is about more than the 5-7-5 format. Good haikus contain a bit of a turn of expected events or such, surprising the reader in an enlightening-entertaining way. - An example of mine: On the mountain's peak Eagles circling beneath me Sky reaches so deep The episode touches many angles all worth pondering. Rumble was a bit of a wakeup call for the CMC's 'just doing their thing' and becoming a bit inflexible in their mind that way. Him being driven by own issues and rallying others to seek external affirmation and avoidance is of course another common theme, but in that he also had a teacher role. The CMC were right though that cutie marks have a mind on their own (I would say they're a symptom of the inherent Equestrian magic of the land) and one can always trust them to be a wise guide. We probably don't have to mention that it was kinda obvious what Rumble's issue was early-on. But as I said, in a way only half of his issue was in lack of understanding (of his older brother) on his part. The other half was in the CMC's lack of realizing what was going on. This episode's lesson is close to me because I have experienced something like this myself. I once participated in something meant to heal and guide, but the organizers were so used to just doing their thing again and again that they got stuck in a rut and had become a bit inflexible in their mind, going in opposition to what the healing and guidance is supposed to be all about. But that served an important purpose, a little crisis that needed to be experienced by all involved. And that's also the spirit of MLP episodes. Conflict arises as a means to shed light on things that need to be resolved.
  6. Two episodes with Zecora in a row. Nice. Maybe the writers, as I, thought that she hadn't been around for such a long time that she deserves the extra screen time. And a whole episode full of Fluttershy. Sweeeeeeet! OK, some throughs while watching: - How can Zecora possibly not know about those flowers? She seems to know those flash bees, she's pretty much a herbal witch at home in the place, she knows about poison joke, but not about what those blue flowers can do that are floating around, falling from trees? - Fluttershy being out of breath from running to the castle... Why didn't she just fly? Is she really faster on hoof than flying? - When she presented the situation to Twilight, it was probably just to not waste episode time and because miscommunication wasn't a tool of the plot, but to me as a communication buff it is always a joy to witness right-to-the-point talk like that, haha. She might have picked that up from Pinkie Pie. - They were so worried about Zecora coughing bubbiles, but I don't find that so bad. Ask Pinkie Pie what she thinks about this. - I kinda expected that Zecora would eventually lose her ability to rhyme, heh. Those weird blue flower diseases like to shake things up massively. - The two 'Fluttershy door puzzles' in a row were kinda hilarious. All those technical points aside, the message of this episode was very dear to me. ( And it was a Fluttershy episode! Always a huge plus! ) She cares so much for others that she can through cases like this enter an extreme imbalance that helps no one. After all, maybe the information about the mask WAS there in the book all along, as visualized, but she was too tired to make the connection. Then again... What was a bit of the usual odd writing though was that in three days our smart pony Twilight couldn't figure out a solution. (But these maneuvers are kinda common in writing, actually.) Another closely related lesson of the episode is that when you obsess too much over something, your mind blocks itself from utilizing things like intuition and calm observation. Sometimes you just gotta sleep over it to see more clearly.
  7. Good point. Makes this episode even more puzzling. I didn't find the writing nearly as forced as with Daring Done, but I recognized some of the same traits. I guess the strong presence of the mane 6 in this one helped a bit. Sometimes their mare screentime can make all the difference, heh.
  8. While in execution a lot bothered me about this episode, the overall picture is quite fitting to show some differences of Equestria. I found it weird that toupets don't seem to be a thing there. It was a bit funny how they treat a mane like a very special and magical thing, but Pinkie Pie has shown long ago that there's something to it. Rarity just utilizes its magic in a somewhat different way, heh. The bottle confusion was just one of those lazy things. At first I didn't even realize they had gotten two different liquids, because I assumed they'd at least get a label or such. The way it was set up one would assume Zecora did it intentionally. And with all the different tries of toupets improvised out of anything but hair that gave a totally different look, it was odd that nopony suggested to her to use what's left of her mane for such. P.S.: Role switch would have resulted in Punkie Pie. I'd have loved that just for the ... pun!
  9. This episode starts with Pinkie pronking (you guys!). My favorite part of the episode. I found the not well thought-out adventure chees a bit too much at times... Walking straight across a straight bridge blindfolded shouldn't be that hard for a pony, and you can also sense the edge with your hooves if necessary, not to mention its movements giving away your center of gravity. The leap of faith thing was an obvious Indiana Jones reference; no surprise in this episode, hah. But them not seeing the steam vents until they jumped was odd, not to mention them being oddly powerful, giving that scene a very strong arcade jump&run game flavor, and the fact that flying was disabled in the interior space of the pyramid didn't help, ha-ha. Immediately made me think of World of Warcraft. That scene and the whole episode made me think of a "jump&pronk" game starring Pinkie Pie. (That would actually have been a good episode title, haha.) When Rainbow Dash was captured by the villain, I thought: Why didn't she just fly off? But then when she was tied up she wasn't gagged and thus could scream for help. All seems like they tried to fit so much into the episode that they cut corners to a degree beyond the normal. And then finally the villain publicly reveals his plan, but then is surprised by the backlash. This is a lot cheesier than what it is based on, touching on self-parody territory. Oh and then the fact that Daring Do seems to care so much about the villager that she rescues them from danger, but doesn't bother talking to them. Reads newspaper articles about the mess she actually left and cannot figure out by herself that maybe she could help them clean up and/or explain why it happened. Dr. Caballero wasn't really the problem here, he simply exploited a void of communication. Even for a kids' show the writing quality was a bit borderline. I can only assume that maybe they wanted to cram too much into one episode and the playtime limit necessitated such crude simplifications. In closing, and in the spirit of this episode featuring Pinkie (Actually, I don't need that excuse, haha), two conclusion I took from the episode: 1) Idol worship is idle worship. 2) Daring Do turned more into Caring Do.
  10. S07:E17 - To Change a Changeling

    Her speech failing at first but having a slow effect was a classical story writing tool, but the initial comic nature of the outcome masked it so well, haha. Another lesson in there: Sometimes people need time to process something; then one must sense when it's enough and one has to back off, not letting that feel like a defeat. (Although when it does, that's probably an indication that it truly came from the heart; That's why it hurts.)
  11. S7E16 To Change a Changeling - brief commentary

    Thanks. :-) Well, I wouldn't call her the hero, heh. She and Trixie were experimenting with solving problems. Thorax was quite the contributor himself. Pharynx too, just by being true to himself. They all working together was like one big heroic deed.
  12. S07:E17 - To Change a Changeling

    Maybe because it was an expression of fear. When you cultivate love, you give up such habits/abilities and attain others that you need for the new path. And likely also for more show-practical purposes. Them changing into their new colorful shape would lose relevance if they could still just transform into virtually anything. But they retained some of that ability as portrayed, changing their basic colors between a narrow selection. The whole Maulwurf story element was just a means for driving the Pharynx story along. In my opinion, without that they could/would have approached the problem in a different way. (If the show hadn't aimed for a hippie clichée.) Because Pharynx didn't even bring an element of resolve to a loving approach. Instead everybody just gave him a nice farewell violence show. Sweet detailed writing though if one abstains from critical analysis.
  13. As things one can be a fan of, nothing. But Star Citizen would be a somewhat distant second. I like it in part because, like MLP, it kinda represents a new way of doing things and a challenging of the status quo, or more simpler, it's fueled by love, which seems to always be a rebel thing, hah.
  14. I occasionally use it because I have set it to accept cookies, so if a website makes trouble and I only need to access it once, or if a website uses Active Sucker Pages, I use IE briefly. I would never use Chrome. I despise Google too much and it supports the most ruthless and power-hungry conqueror in the browser war. I also find it horribly user-unfriendly, but that sadly might just mean it's the spearhead of a trend that eventually afflicts almost everything. As a power user stupidity in UI design drives me nuts. I am using Waterfox. (It's 64 bit.) I considered Firefox since it's now also offered in 64 Bit, but Waterfox does some things more respectful to the user (involving the topic of data gathering and such). I recently updated from v40 to 55 because major websites stopped working properly and it took me half a day and some more until I got everything working again as before, and (cynically not surprising) some things work less well than with the old version. Also my ancient Opera 12 (which I used until I begrudingly switched to Waterfox when Opera let itself be assimilated by the devil) would often display websites properly that the much newer Waterfox 40 couldn't. And now Youtube does the next crazy step with their new UI which is more of the usual disrespectful sheeple-herding madness. P.S.: Just learned this: Menu Wizard to disable fatal shortcuts and menu options is a MUST for Firefox! Otherwise any time you want to write Q or W and hit CTRL with SHIFT, all text you might have written so far can be lost with the browser closing. The person who came up with these stupid shortcuts should be shot. The worst is, I was already using Menu Wizard to remove a dangerous menu item and wasn't aware there are still direct-access shortcuts and that those triggered a close, and it happened after I had typed a really long text in a web app with no chance of a session backup or such.
  15. Worth watching. Adyashanti's whole channel is a gold mine, but this video is a nice summary of his basic approach. I thought this might be especially helpful to bronies, something they can relate to, are open to or in need of being open to. I found him when I was at a stage where I agreed to most of what he says from own life experience and working on myself. Very challenging times as always, and definitely the right message, getting right down to it. Sometimes it's just nice to listen and absorb, to get into a different frequency for a bit than the things that can bother us so much. A reminder. A recharge. A familiar voice. Not a guru to follow, but a human being to stand with when you stand with yourself. Share your thoughts. Or don't. In any case I'm listening. ( Totally not creepy. ) Favorite quote: "Until everything is possible, we're not even actually inquiring into what's true."