skbl17

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  1. skbl17
    Edit: Hi Tumblr! Also, the post has been updated now that I've finished "season 1" of the dub (i.e. the point up to episode 23 of Smile!).
     
    My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is not the only "girls' show" that I watch. With the barrier down on MLP, I decided to dive into another genre of show that is also derided as "for girls", but has some hidden gems: magical girls. No, not just Sailor Moon and the dark stuff like Madoka Magica, I'm talking about the standard magical girl warrior fare.
     
    One of those franchises is Pretty Cure, a magical girl series created by Toei Animation (the same animation studio behind Sailor Moon, Digimon, and Dragon Ball). It's been going for eleven years, and continues to go strong...in Japan. The initial reason for the popularity of Pretty Cure in its home market was the twist in put on the magical girl warrior subgenre: instead of flashy attacks, the magic was withheld until the end. The actual fighting was completely physical. Sadly, that element has been toned down in recent seasons, but some of it is still there.
     
    Outside of Japan, the success of Pretty Cure has been mixed. It's pretty popular in Italy, where the public broadcaster (RAI) dubbed the first few years of the series; reception was fairly positive. In Hong Kong, TVB has broadcast dubs of most of the series into Cantonese. In the Anglosphere, Pretty Cure dubs are hard to come by; Toei themselves helped produce a 2009 dub of the first season (Futari wa Pretty Cure) for viewers in Canada and the United Kingdom. Reception was also fairly positive, but the networks airing the English dub (YTV and Pop Girl) didn't do much with it.
     
    The United States has had it even worse. 4Kids Entertainment (yes, them) licensed the franchise back in the mid 2000s, but never did anything with it, probably because of the failure to get a merchandising deal for its successful, yet butchered dub of Tokyo Mew Mew. Funimation eventually got the license, and even started to stream subs of the series. That didn't last. Oh well, it didn't seem like Pretty Cure was going to have its day in the United States. Today, the non-Japanese fanbase is tightly-knit, mostly congregating on three sites: 4chan, LiveJournal, and Tumblr.
     
    Anyway, along came a guy named Haim Saban, who in 2012 offered to take over the license for Pretty Cure in the entire Western world. Toei agreed, and since then, Saban Brands - the company behind Digimon, Samurai Pizza Cats, and Power Rangers - has been "hard" at work creating a dub of the at-the-time-airing Pretty Cure season: Smile Pretty Cure!.
     
    That dub began streaming Friday morning on Netflix, but under a new name: Glitter Force.
     
    Star Wars would have to wait.
     


    The Crappy Dubs Strike Back




    Glitter Force

     

    Relevant links have been provided for your convenience. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.


     

    First, some disclosure: I watched Smile Pretty Cure! back in early 2014, as part of my binge on various anime series. I thought it was fine, not my favorite Pretty Cure season, but not the worst. There wasn't much of an overarching plot, the characters were fleshed out to tolerable levels, there was a stupid event halfway through the season that irked me, and the last episode was just a rehash of one of the All Stars crossover movies. Some episodes were brilliant (episodes 13, 18, 19, 22, 23, 35, and 40-44 remain among my favorites of the entire franchise,) while some were horrible (episodes 17, 48, and the one with the kid who plays guitar). The animation was beautiful, and I still maintain that overall, Smile! has the best animation of any series in the franchise. Overall, a simple, fun series, which is what the producers were going for.
     
    So I'm coming in with the perspective of being one of the (few) people in the U.S. who has watched Pretty Cure before.
     
    Now, another word about dubs: I have nothing against dubs. Frankly, I find the "dub-sub" debate to be ridiculous. I'm all for a good Pretty Cure dub; hell, there was an English (not American) dub of the first season, Futari wa Pretty Cure!, which was pretty faithful to the original series, despite the name changes of the two main characters.
     
    With that out of the way, what about the actual series?
     
    - Title: Sure, Glitter Force sounds stupid, but considering the alternative, I'll take it. I kid you not, Saban was initially planning to call the Smile! dub "Gangnam Girls", which would have been even worse. Pretty Cure itself is kind of stupid, but I watch it anyway. I'll give the name a pass.
     
    - Names: All dubs released for kids (4Kids/Saban/DiC/Nelvana, etc.) will have name changes. I'm actually okay with name changes; even Saban did a pretty good job with the names in Digimon. However, my concern began from the moment one of the Danish voice actors leaked the name of Cure Beauty's "Sabanified" name: Glitter Breeze.
     
    Wait...huh?!?!
     
    First, it's Cure March who has the wind powers; Cure Beauty is ice. Why in the WORLD did Saban think that "Glitter Breeze" was appropriate for Cure Beauty but not Cure March?! That makes absolutely no sense.
     
    As other names were leaked, I found them to be surprisingly bearable. While "Glitter Breeze" still irks me to no end, the other names are, well...
     
    SMILE PRETTY CURE -- GLITTER FORCE
    Miyuki/Cure Happy -- Emily/Glitter Lucky
    Akane/Cure Sunny -- Kelsey/Glitter Sunny
    Yayoi/Cure Peace -- Lily/Glitter Peace
    Nao/Cure March -- April/Glitter Spring
    Reika/Cure Beauty -- Chloe/Glitter Breeze
    Candy -- (same)
    Pop -- (same)
    Wolfrun -- Ulric
    Akaoni -- Brute
    Majorina -- Brooja (sp?)
    Joker -- Rascal
    Emperor Pierrot -- Emperor Nogo
    Akanbe -- Buffoons
    Bad End Kingdom -- Shadow Realm
    Nanairogaoka -- Rainbow Hills
    Maerchenland -- Jubiland
    Royale Queen -- Queen Euphoria
     
    - First, I'm okay with Joker being Rascal. If Saban tried to sell merchandise of the generals and used the "Joker" name, DC Comics would be up their rears in a hurry.
     
    - The Glitter names are colors in some other languages (Spanish).
     
    - I find it ironic that Cure March's civilian name in the dub is April. Heh heh.
     
    - I have no problem with the name of the town changing. "Nanairogaoka" means "Rainbow Hills" anyway.
     
    - With Pierrot becoming "Nogo", I was hoping for the Bad End Kingdom to be called "The Nogo Zone" as part of a joke. It's not...I kid you not, it is called the SHADOW REALM. My god, the Yu-Gi-Oh nightmares are back!
     
    Overall, the names are tolerable, except for "Glitter Breeze". It doesn't fit.
     
    - Voices: When I first saw
    ( ) for the dub, I was incredibly concerned with the voice acting. Not only was there a lack of effort, but I couldn't tell any of the girls' voices apart. Candy sounded the same as April who sounded the same as Chloe who sounded the same as Lily. To be honest, the voice acting in the trailer was absolute crap. 
    Thankfully, the actual voice acting is a bit better than the trailer's. I could tell the voices apart (somewhat), but that brings me to my biggest problem: they don't shut up every once in a while. I don't get why Saban thinks this is acceptable; I'm sure kids can handle short pauses in dialogue every now and then. It's completely unnecessary for the characters to talk all the time, including during transformation sequences. Well, at least some of the lines are witty and snarky...but others are painful. I found myself agreeing with some of the villains' lines on a frequent basis ("What a Glitter Farce!" Agreed, Brooja, agreed.)
     
    The protagonists' voice acting is mixed. Of the individual voices, I find Kelsey and Emily's voices to be the best, while Lily and Chloe's voices don't fit. Lily's voice is a bit too low for her personality, while Chloe's is a smidge too....forceful. Pop's voice is awful, while Candy's voice is marginally better than that of Smile!.
     
    The villains' voice acting is better. I like Ulric and Brute's voices, while Brooja's is....meh and Rascal's is terrible. Nogo's is okay...sounds like a stereotypical dub villain.
     
    So far, the voice acting is passable, but they need to shut up once in a while. No need for non-stop dialogue.
     
    - Edits: Another common characteristic of "Americanized" dubs is the edit, and Glitter Force is no exception. Some of the edits, like changing Japanese text to English text on signs and books, are okay. There's also a photoshopped American flag...okaaayy. Then, there's the town name: Rainbow Hills. It sounds cheesy, but the Japanese "Nanairogaoka" means "Rainbow Hills" in English, so it's acceptable.
     
    However, Saban also made edits to the story. Episode 1 opens with Emily having a dream about her (future) teammates....great, just what we need, a huge SPOILER in the first few minutes of the series! Surprisingly, the "Candy Turban" moment from episode 6 was kept; I thought it would be cut for religious/moral guardian reasons. Also, I was wondering what would happen to the Osaka/Kyoto trip in episodes 13 and 14...it became a "trip" to the "Asia-Pacific Expo". Really?
     
    Otherwise, of what I've seen so far, the story seems to be mostly intact, even with the edits.
     
    - Animation: Now, I thought I wouldn't have to address this. Smile!'s animation is great overall. Fortunately, the good animation carries over....except for the CGI endings.
     
    See, Pretty Cure series (since, gosh, Yes!5 I think,) have a tendency to animate their closing sequences in CGI as opposed to 2D. Some are trainwrecks, others are pretty good. Smile!'s were fine, and I thought that Saban would just dub the original Smile! endings.
     
    You would not believe my shock when I saw that Saban decided to CREATE ITS OWN CGI ENDINGS. They aren't even good; they're cheap. Awful. Subpar. The lack of effort shows. Otherwise, the animation is good.
     
    - Attacks and transformations: No magical girl warrior series is complete without the transformation sequence. Remember my complaint about the non-stop talking? That's the case with the transformation sequences; there's so much talking. That's not to mention the catchphrases at the conclusion of the transformation sequences, they vary from mediocre to BAD.
     
    What I find especially shameful is what happened to Cure Peace. First, Smile! viewers know her "Rock-Paper-Scissors" schtick: at the conclusion of the transformation sequence, Cure Peace will go "Jan-Ken-Pon" and throw up a sign (Rock, Paper, or Scissors?) It was a game, and sometimes the antagonists would whine at the result. I never won, but I tied three times. :3
     
    She still does that in the dub, but RPS is not mentioned at all. Instead, she talks about "puppies and kittens". Why? Girls know what RPS is, no need to cut it out, but Saban did nonetheless. Stupid Saban, cutting out an in-show game that the (young) viewers can play along with. The other transformation catchphrases are okay.
     
    Attack names are fine. All the attack names were changed to "Sparkle [insert word here]", but I'm cool with that.
     
    - I could complain about the plot, but as I said, Smile! doesn't have much of a plot. There are small "arcs", but Smile! is fairly simple and episodic for the most part. You could skip around episodes and not miss all that much.
     
    - Cut episodes: Only 40 of Smile!'s 48 episodes were dubbed, so eight were cut. The first 20 episodes of the dub are on Netflix as of this writing. Among the cut episodes include one of my favorites (episode 19), which is tragic, but I see prefer to see this as "the glass half-full": maybe Saban thought that episode 19 was so fantastic that it would be tragic to tarnish it with a crappy dub job. I can only dream that was the case.
     
    - Music/SFX: Ignoring the opening, which I thought was fine, I found the music choices to be cheesy and - at least in the last two episodes of "the first season" - ill-advised. For example, compare episodes 19 and 20 of Glitter Force and episodes 22 and 23 of Smile Pretty Cure!. One of the scenes in episode 19 (GF)/episode 22 (Smile!) involves the main quintet splitting up to contemplate whether they should bail or stick around in the Bad End Kingdom/Shadow Realm to stop Pierrot/Nogo and rescue Candy. The music is a bit too upbeat in the dub to accurately convey the gravity of their decision.
     
    I also noticed that a lot of overly cartoonish sound effects were added to attacks and comedic actions (such as faceplanting on a cliff,) probably to emphasize the kiddy nature of the series. While I don't consider that a bad call, I do think it was unnecessary. Smile!'s already a fun kid-friendly series, and I don't think adding those sound effects will be anymore effective in getting kids to laugh.
     
    - One other thought: I didn't think this was possible, but they managed to increase the girliness factor in the dub. Saban added some lines that reference "girl power", the grayskull call was changed to reference makeovers....I just...did Saban ever think that maybe they're going a bit overboard in trying to appeal to the target audience? Of course not.
     
    - "RIPOFF!": Now, browsing Tumblr, I've noticed (aside from the dub hate) that a lot of users are dismissing this as a "Sailor Moon ripoff". Now, I can sort of understand where these people are coming from; Sailor Moon is the example of magical girl anime in the West. Pretty Cure and Sailor Moon are animated by the same studio, Toei Animation. In fact, Toei has created a new version of Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon Crystal, closer in story to the original manga) that is streaming on Hulu and Crunchyroll.
     
    I don't consider Pretty Cure to be a "ripoff" of Sailor Moon. Don't get me wrong, there were magical girl shows in the mid-1990s that tried to play off the various tropes introduced or solidified in Sailor Moon to various degrees of success. When the original Pretty Cure began in 2004, I found it hard to see the "ripoff" quotient: compared to Sailor Moon, there is a much heavier focus on physical fighting and (at least in the original and as TVTropes calls it) focus on "wonder twin powers" - both members of the duo could fight separately, but needed to be together to finish the job. That element has been toned down a bit as the years have passed, but not enough to the point where I'd feel comfortable calling it a "ripoff".
     
    Plus, many of the tropes from Sailor Moon weren't even unique to that series. The magical girl genre, contrary to popular belief, did not start in 1992; the genre goes all the way back to the 1960s, with a Japanese series called Sally the Witch. Majokko Meg-chan introduced the rival (or "dark") magical girl. Toei produced many magical girl series in the 1980s. Cutie Honey introduced the 'action' aspect in the 1970s. The concept of a team of color-coded heroes fighting evil monsters of the week go back to the Sentai franchise (you may know it better in the West as Power Rangers). Hence, I find it a bit dishonest to claim that everything about a magical girl series came from Sailor Moon. Sure, many of the tropes we associate with that series were mixed and solidified (to an extent) in that series, but very, very little of it was new.
     
    - Overall: I gave it 3 out of 5 stars in my Netflix review. I would have rated it 2.5 stars, but Netflix doesn't give you an option to give fractional ratings.
     
    Honestly, Glitter Force is fairly tolerable...if you're not coming from a Smile Pretty Cure! background. My opinion in this post is colored by my previous experience with the franchise, so of course I'll be pretty mad. If you watched a show that you thought was fine, then heard of an inferior dub that steps on the original work in various ways, you'd probably be miffed too. The only way I'll be happy with Glitter Force is if we end up getting a legal method of watching the original seasons subbed, maybe through Hulu or Crunchyroll, as a result. Fingers crossed.
     
    If you've never watched Smile! (or Pretty Cure in general,) the show is...fine. If you're looking for something to watch with your kids, this is okay. If you end up liking it, point them to some of the other Pretty Cure seasons; there are eleven others. Except for Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart (season 2) and Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo (season 5), which are sequels, all the seasons are self-contained and independent from each other.
     
    The only season (aside from the Smile! dub) that can be legally streamed in the U.S. is the original, which is available on Crunchyroll. All the other seasons can only be streamed through unofficial methods.
     
    P.S.: If you don't like the dub, stop blaming Netflix. Compared to Nick, Disney, and their restrictive Standards and Practices requirements, Netflix grants producers a significant amount of creative control for their programs. All the crappy decisions were made by Saban, not Netflix.
  2. skbl17
    In the OOC thread for my new roleplay, Life in the Big City...State, I said that I'd essentially dump all the facts on the setting in my blog, so as to keep clutter in the OOC thread down. Here's the first of a series of posts on what Port Impala is, and what it's like.
    _______________________________
     
    Basic Information*
     
    Official name: Commonwealth of Port Impala
     
    Demonym: Port Impalan
     
    Languages: Equestrian is the sole official language, and is spoken by 88% of residents in the city-state. Due to the unusually large zebra population, Zebrican is considered a "recognized language" and has its own public media. Government documents are written in both languages, but almost all business is done in Equestrian.
     
    Population: 4,903,779
    - Density: 16,130/mi2 (10,024/km2)
    - Racial breakdown: 41% earth pony, 20% pegasus, 25% unicorn, 13% zebra, 0.9% other
     
    Land size: 304.1 mi2 (489.4 km2)
     
    Type of government: Constitutional parliamentary republic
    - Mayor: Bright Idea (UCP)
    - Opposition Leader: Pic R. Perfect (NA)
    - Chief Magistrate: Golden Gavel
     
    Legislature: Commonwealth Assembly (60 seats)
    - Governing party: Unity and Cooperation Party (UCP - 36 seats)
    - Opposition party: National Alliance (NA - 15 seats)
    - Other parties: Impalan Freedom Party (IFP - 6 seats), Green Association (GA - 3 seats)
     
    Currency: Port Impalan leva (=L=). For comparison with Equestria's national currency, the bit, 1 leva = 3.74 bits.
     
    Nominal GDP: B200.98 billion
    - Per capita: B41,257 (very high)
     
    Cost-of-living adjusted GDP: B198.89 billion
    - Per capita: B40,551 (very high)
    - Differential: B2.09 billion
     
    Right-hand or left-hand driving? Right-hand driving
     
    This is an overview, of course. A more detailed look at the city-state will be coming in future posts.
     
    * All financial information will be given in Equestrian bits (B)
  3. skbl17
    Hey MLPForums, it's been a while since my last login in early April. Season five of MLP:FiM is airing, the site continues to get new users, and many interesting developments have occurred in real life, both positive and negative!
     
    Understandably, my last departure was quite abrupt. At the time of my last login on April 6, I was participating in two roleplays (MLP Nations and Equestria Forward), had profiles for several OCs on this site, and had more developments in the pipeline. Unfortunately, life has an uncanny tendency to throw stuff at you when you're least prepared, and even when you feel you're ready, you're really not. College, internships, and projects do that.
     
    That's not to mention another change that has been building up more slowly, but is a problem: disillusionment with MLP in general. It's not that I hate the show or the fandom, but I just don't feel quite as enamored with the MLP subculture as I was when I first joined the site last year (and further back, when I became a brony in 2011). In fact, even as my issues and challenges in real life have died down a bit, I was strongly considering leaving this site - and the fandom in general - for good. In the end, I opted not to; at worst, I just won't be watching new episodes on time anymore.
     
    Understandably, my sudden departure led to some concern regarding my presence in some site roleplays, as well as the status of my OCs on this site. Hence, I decided to write this blog post to outline what I plan to do with them.
     
    EQUESTRIA FORWARD
    My original roleplay is called Equestria Forward, a roleplay examining life in a cyberpunk, technologically advanced Equestria. The roleplay began in December 2014, and has been maintained ever since. However, with my sudden departure in April, the roleplay ground to a halt, probably leaving some of the active participants incredibly frustrated...especially considering where it left off.
     
    Assuming I'm not left as the sole roleplayer, I tentatively plan on continuing that roleplay from where it left off; I don't feel that it would make sense to permanently abandon an RP that has had so much work put into it. I will make a preemptive post in the OOC thread (linked above) by the end of the day; the post will include a link to this blog post explaining the current situation. Also, the slow pacing of the RP will be rectified....somehow. If the original participants left, I plan on "rebooting" the roleplay itself, but the existing treasure trove of information in the OOC thread will stay.
     
    I apologize wholeheartedly to the users who participate(d) in the RP before my long absence. If you no longer wish to RP, either out of concern that I'll suddenly leave again or something else, I will not stop you.
     
    MLP NATIONS
    Yes, it is technically discouraged to do so ("users who participate must be committed to the roleplay",) but I will be leaving MLP Nations. I feel that the roleplay has advanced too far for me to reliably participate anymore.
     
    OCs (updated on August 2, 2015)
    As of this writing, I have four OCs on this site, two for each roleplay I'm in, with more previously forthcoming. I actually plan on "repurposing" my OCs in MLP Nations, as I plan on leaving that roleplay. My Equestria Forward OCs, Compass Meridian and High Voltage, will not be touched.
     
    That said, after further deliberation, I've decided that my two MLP Nations OCs will be repurposed for use in Equestria Forward. Their backstories and personalities are interchangeable enough to be adapted for the more advanced world in Equestria Forward. I'll work them in somehow.
     
    Further updates are forthcoming! Thank you!
     
    - skbl17
  4. skbl17
    July 2016 update: All of this stuff is still valid. I will write a fanfic one of these days, and my companion site should be up before I return to college on August 22...assuming I don't keep breaking flash drives and having to redo all of my OC vectors.
     
    The original post follows.
     
    -----
     
    Writing fanfics is hard. Writing college papers is hard. Coding projects are hard. Exams are hard, and I'm still not done with them. Websites take time to build. Man, I wish days had more than 24 hours. After taking another unexpected "vacation" from this site, I've realized two things have fallen by the wayside in my absence: Port Impala and Equestria Forward.
     
    First, a flashback: after my last "vacation", I made a blog post describing what my plans were for my properties on this site, specifically my (at the time one) roleplay Equestria Forward, which had been going on on an intermittent basis since last December. If you were paying attention, you may have noticed that both my signature and the "About Me" section of my user profile had "Equestria Forward" scratched out.
     
    There's a reason for that: it's done. Cancelled. I hate to have to retire a roleplay with so much effort put into the setting behind it, but the writing has been on the wall for a long time now. I said it would have come back in November, but that's obviously not happening, and I also noted that it would come back on the to-be-launched roleplay website PonyRoleplay. I don't know if and when that's going to launch, but you won't find an Equestria Forward roleplay created by me there.
     
    So what about the extensive lore behind the Equestria Forward world? Luckily, that's not going away. I also mentioned that I planned to build a companion website that would serve as a database for everything related to that world, as well as info on my original characters and fanfics. That's right, I have decided to bite the lead-filled bullet and try my hand at writing an elsewhere fic that takes place in the Equestria Forward universe. There's no longer a set deadline for either the fanfic or the companion site, but I want to try and get both of those done sometime in the next couple of months once things die down on the college end. Once that site launches, I'm giving carte blanche for anyone who wants to use the universe as a setting or backdrop for a roleplay or fanfic of their own. Just because the roleplay centered around Equestria Forward is cancelled doesn't mean the universe itself has to be.
     
    Next order of business, Life in the Big City...State. Yeah, this is cancelled too. Again, I hate to have to retire a roleplay with so much effort put behind it, but the roleplay itself has fallen into inactivity. Port Impala, its history, its institutions, its government, its culture, and its climate will be absorbed into the Equestria Forward universe, and as such will also have a place on my new companion site. I don't have plans to write fanfics that take place there, at least not at the moment, but again, if you want to write something that takes place there, the door will be open to you once I finish the companion site.
     
    By the way, the existing Port Impala map is outdated. I'm currently working on a new one during this so-called "Thanksgiving break"...whenever I'm not spending time with family or working on college papers. Look for the updated map on the companion site when it launches.
     
    Well, that's all I have. This could be interpreted as a shift, in a way. To be honest, I was always worried about getting involved in the roleplay business again, fearful that college and real life would rear their ugly heads in ways that would inevitably keep me from keeping them moving on a regular basis. Sadly, that has come to pass.
     
    So to those who participated in both roleplays throughout the past year, I apologize. You all were great roleplayers, and I'm glad that you all took the time to partake in these escapades. I wish you all well in whatever endeavors you wish to pursue, from fanfics to custom music to art to other roleplays.
     
    P.S.: Regarding my OCs...all of their pictures and profiles on this site are DEPRECATED. From now on, only the descriptions on my to-be-launched companion site will be valid.
  5. skbl17
    Yesterday, I had an unfortunate accident involving my USB flash drive: it broke. After six years of honorable service in everything, from random files to school documents, it is gone. May it rest in peace with all the other SanDisks in the sky.
     
    The good news is that nothing important to my daily life was on there, so I can simply get a new drive.
     
    This post will outline the bad news, and what it will do to my OCs, roleplays, and lore, for my old flash drive held a lot of that information. Now that it is gone and the files erased, I have a lot of things to set straight regarding almost everything I do that is MLP-related.
     
    Equestria Forward
    When I returned to MLP Forums almost a month ago, I indicated that my futuristic, cyperpunk-esque roleplay Equestria Forward (EQF) would continue, with no reboots or risk of cancellation. That was before my flash drive broke and I lost a lot of my EQF-related files, including maps, character information, and information on the world. Because of this, I've decided that EQF will be rebooted.
     
    I'll have more details forthcoming when I'm finished outlining the reboot, but here are a few major points:
    All of the existing information under the "Egghead's Guide" series of posts are still accurate, and will be carried over to the rebooted roleplay. Some of the information will be modified based on whatever I lost. Users who have posted at least once in the roleplay thread since April 1 will have their character registrations carried over. All other players, including newcomers and registered players who last posted prior to April 1, will have to re-register in the new OOC thread when it becomes active. The reboot will be created in the "Advanced Roleplays" section.

     
    New website
    I soon plan on constructing a website to hold all of the information surrounding all of my MLP-related works, including OCs and roleplay lore. There will be plenty of information there, including character reference sheets, art, maps, detailed looks at the Equestria Forward world, information on fictional cities, organizations, and countries that I use in MLP works, and (maybe) more! I also plan on using the new site to store all of my pony-related files, as a sort of backup solution.
     
    I'm not promising any ETAs, but I'm shooting for the end of November. In addition, I won't be rebooting any roleplays until then, for what's a good, detailed roleplay without a strong foundation?
     
    Original characters
    My old flash drive held all the SVG and image files of all of my previous OCs, so when the drive died, so did my OC-related files. As such, I now have to redraw my OCs from scratch. Let's just say that almost everything in my posts in that "Post your OC" thread is now incorrect and outdated.
     
    The number of OCs I possess have fluctuated since I created my first original character back in 2013. Some days, I had six; other days, I had upwards of ten. Now, I've decided to permanently settle on eight OCs. When I was coming up with the eight OCs that I would maintain, I put into place a racial equality policy, namely to keep in the spirit of certain elements of the show, such as the pre-MMC mane six and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Of the eight OCs, I have two unicorns, two pegasi, two earth ponies, and two alicorns (no, really).
     
    I don't plan on using or roleplaying as any other OC except for the ones listed below:
     
    - Bright Idea: A 41-year old alicorn mare. In my Port Impala-centric works, she is the elected mayor of said city-state. She currently features in my original roleplay Life in the Big City...State.
     
    - Caelum "Cae" Serenos: A 28-year old pegasus mare. She is one of my two OCs raised in rural communities; in Cae's case, a farming community located in northern Equestria. Cae works as a weather pony in the weather patrol (non-skbl17 roleplays)/Meteo Equestria (EQF), but thanks to her rural upbringing, knows just enough about farming to be able to help out if need be. I plan on introducing her in the rebooted Equestria Forward at some point.
     
    - Compass Meridian: My ponysona, a 19-year old unicorn stallion. He is a college student in all of his appearances, and currently appears in Equestria Forward and Life in the Big City...State.
     
    - Crescent Star: A 25-year old alicorn mare. In my Port Impala-centric works, she lives and works in a small rural community about an hour or so south of Port Impala, in the country of Grand Hoofnea. She is also my only OC who doesn't speak Equestrian as a first language. I plan on introducing her in Life in the Big City...State in the future.
     
    - High Voltage: A 29-year old unicorn mare. In my EQF-related works, she works with Sparkwing as a linepony with her region's electric utility, Tropicala Power & Light. Like her coworker, she only appears in Equestria Forward.
     
    - Radio Wave: A 43-year old earth pony mare. In her appearances in skbl17-run roleplays, she is the owner and chief station engineer of a Manehattan-licensed radio station, EMHR (97.1 FM). Currently, I only plan on having Radio Wave appear in the rebooted Equestria Forward.
     
    - Sparkwing: A 33-year old pegasus mare. In EQF-related works, she works with High Voltage as a linepony with Tropicala Power & Light. Like her coworker, she only appears in Equestria Forward.
     
    - Steel Truss: A 40-year old earth pony stallion. He is a civil engineer in all of his (future) appearances. I plan on introducing him in Equestria Forward, with an introduction in Life in the Big City...State being possible for some point in the near future.
  6. skbl17
    Since the Opening fifty years ago, Port Impala has maintained a complex, diverse, and free media, operating with essentially no interference from the government.
     
    pre-Opening media situation
    The autocratic National Alliance governments that ran the country before the Opening engaged in vigorous censorship of the media. Newspapers were mostly government-controlled and acted as little more than mouthpieces for the state; the few private newspapers - like the Peninsula Daily - saw many of their editorials and political news articles censored under Port Impala's severe state security and press laws. The establishment of the state-owned Metropolitan Broadcasting Organization about two decades prior to the Opening didn't improve the press situation, as the MBO's radio output was also subject to severe censorship.
     
    All regulation and censorship was carried out by the government's Ministry of Media and Communications during the pre-Opening era.
     
    During the Opening
    For further information, see the History post (coming soon).
     
    An episode of the MBO Radio program Matter of Fact... is credited with providing the catalyst for the Opening. An audience member went on a twenty-minute rant against the government; usually, these tirades would be censored within seconds of broadcast, but for whatever reason, the MBO censors did not censor this tirade for five minutes. When security finally attempted to stop the audience member's tirade, they did so in a very heavy-handed manner. The sounds of the beatings were also broadcast uncensored, with the broadcast equipment also picking up the sound of one officer calling the audience member a "dog".
     
    A protest began within the studio, eventually spreading to the grounds outside the MBO offices. After doctors pronounced the audience member dead two hours after the MBO program was interrupted, the anti-government protests rapidly grew in size and intensity. Initially, the government responded with severe repression: combined with the police crackdown, MBO was initially forbidden from broadcasting information on the protests before being shut down two hours after the start of the protests.
     
    After the Mayor's cabinet resigned (followed by the Mayor fleeing the city two days later,) a new caretaker administration took power until elections could be held later in the year. MBO was allowed to return to the radio airwaves, radio and newspaper censorship was abolished, and private radio stations came into existence.
     
    Present day
    Today, there are ten newspapers, ten analog television stations, and 31 radio stations licensed to serve Port Impala. None of them are subject to censorship, as the constitution forbids almost any attempt by the government to interfere in the day-to-day operations of media outlets unless the city-state is at war.
     
    Despite those guarantees, over-the-air broadcast media outlets must obtain a broadcast license from the Communications and Media Authority (CMA,) to be able to transmit signals over Port Impala's airwaves. Restrictions imposed on broadcasters by the CMA are few and far between; broadcasters must publish information on their finances and staffing, and scheduling information must be "publicly available".
     
    Public broadcasting
    After the Opening, the state-owned Metropolitan Broadcasting Organization (MBO) was reconstituted as an independent public service broadcaster by the Commonwealth Assembly. The broadcaster, previously run by the government's Ministry of Media and Communications, had its governance changed to a five-member Board of Supervisors, appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Commonwealth Assembly for ten-year terms. MBO is editorially and fiscally independent, with all of its revenue coming from a =L= 6.89 surcharge added to power and water bills.
     
    MBO currently operates two analog television channels and four radio stations, all of which are commercial-free:
     
    - MBO Blue (VHF 2): The general interest channel of MBO's television service, MBO Blue airs dramas, documentaries, sports, comedy, soap operas, and news programs. Established as the country's second television station (signed on two days after the private station Metro9). MBO Blue has been broadcasting 24 hours a day for the last few years, with its overnight programming consisting of news repeats and a picture of a weather radar, overlaid on top of a radio simulcast from MBO R1. Despite the increasing prevalence of private media, MBO Blue remains the most-watched television station in the city-state.
     
    - MBO Gold (VHF 4): The secondary channel of MBO's television service, MBO Gold airs documentaries, lifestyle programs, occasional sports events, and foals' programming. MBO Gold also airs Zebrican-language programming during the day, including a Zebrican-language news program. In the event of a major news story, MBO Blue programs are sometimes moved to MBO Gold. 24-hour broadcasting has been implemented at MBO Gold, with most of its overnight programs consisting of movie and documentary repeats.
     
    - MBO R1 (730 AM, 93.1 FM): The city-state's first radio station, founded as MBO Radio during the latter days of autocratic pre-Opening Port Impala. Since the Opening, MBO Radio has been renamed as "MBO R1", and has added more audio dramas, current affairs programming, and hourly news summaries. Airs 24 hours a day. MBO R1 is also a clear-channel station, allowing the broadcasts to be heard across the southern half of the continent at night.
     
    - MBO R2 (93.5 FM): The broadcaster's Zebrican-language station, and one of only two radio stations aimed at the minority zebra community in Port Impala. MBO R2 has been described as "MBO R1 for zebras", as much of its programming is similar in style to those broadcast on MBO R1. R2 airs 24 hours a day.
     
    - MBO 3Sport (93.7 FM): As its name implies, this radio station airs sports events and programs.
     
    - MBO 4Music (930 AM, 93.9 FM): MBO's all-music station, airing songs from a wide variety of genres. Notable for its "Up and Coming" daily program, where aspiring musicians can perform their songs on the station.
     
    The only other licensed noncommercial broadcasters in the city-state are the University of Port Impala, which operates UPI Radio (91.5 FM, classical music and current affairs,) and Cougar FM (91.7 FM, a student radio station,) and the Government of Port Impala, which operates GOVConnect, a television station (UHF 23) and a radio station (1020 AM, 94.1 FM) that broadcast Commonwealth Assembly meetings, press conferences, visits by foreign dignitaries, and other government-related programming. GOVConnect's AM station is also the CMA-designated emergency broadcasting station.
     
    Commercial broadcasting
    After the Opening, the radio sector was opened up to the private sector. While there are a multitude of private businesses that own and operate television and radio stations today, the broadcast sector is increasingly dominated by two companies. Nonetheless, the commercial media sector is quite diverse, with a variety of television and radio stations broadcasting different programming to different demographics.
     
    Metro Media Ltd. is the largest private broadcasting organization in Port Impala. The broadcaster was founded just a year after the Opening and the subsequent licensing of private media. Metro Media owned just one radio station, but has since grown through the establishment of new stations and the acquisition of a few smaller broadcasters. Today, Metro Media owns two television and two radio stations, airing a variety of programs:
     
    - Metro5 (VHF 5): The country's first television station, beating MBO Blue by five days. Much of its programming includes live sports, dramas, soap operas, reality shows, news, and foals' programs on Saturday mornings. Metro5 is also available on pay television to viewers in the neighboring country of Grand Hoofnea.
     
    - Metro9 (UHF 9): Much of Metro9's programming centers around imports, unlike Metro5's mostly homegrown programming. Otherwise, its schedule is similar to that of Metro5, even though there's an increased amount of documentaries compared to its sister station.
     
    - Beatz 95.5 (95.5 FM): The country's second private radio station. Airs hip-hop music.
     
    - NewsRadio 1010 (1010 AM): A clear-channel news and talk station. Infamous for its center-right, pro-National Alliance slant. Many of the station's personalities were former propaganda directors at MBO Radio during the pre-Opening days.
     
    The second-largest commercial broadcaster in the city-state is Impala Teleradio, Inc., a company owned and operated by the owners of the Peninsula Daily and The Week. Impala Teleradio owns and operates one television and three radio stations:
     
    - TVXI (UHF 11): The country's fourth commercial television station. Airs much more news and current affairs programming compared to its commercial rivals.
     
    - Impala Hits & Talk (99.5 FM): Exactly what it says on the tin; a top-100 hits and talk station.
     
    - Clear 101.1 (101.1 FM): A smooth jazz station.
     
    - Sea 98.7 (98.7 FM): An R&B, rock, and "regular" jazz station.
     
    While Metro Media and Impala Teleradio are the city-state's largest private broadcasters, there are many other single-station owners that also broadcast a variety of music and news programming on their radio frequencies. There are three other television stations: Peninsula's 20, which is known for its wide assortment of movies and comedies, CityTV 7, known for its sports, comedy, and foals' programming, and Seaside TV, which is well known for its longform dramas.
     
    Of course, with zebras making up almost 13% of the population, there is also private Zebrican-language broadcast media - owned exclusively by Impala Zebrican Media, a private consortium of several zebra businessstallions. Radiye Zh'ebric (1070 AM, 91.3 FM) and Te'vezya Zh'ebric (UHF 16) are the sole private Zebrican-language radio and television stations, providing a counterweight to MBO Gold's Zebrican-language programs and the 24-hour public radio station MBO R2.
     
    Newspapers
    After the Opening, the state-owned dailies (Metro Daily and The National Truth) were sold off to private investors, leaving the Metro Gazette as the only government newspaper, to be used solely for the publication and promulgation of new laws. The National Truth no longer exists, having been closed down nine years before Bright Idea's inauguration as Mayor.
     
    The most-read newspaper in the country is the Peninsula Daily, a daily broadsheet newspaper owned by Metro Media and Impala Newspapers. The Peninsula Daily quickly threw off the shackles of censorship immediately after the Opening, then amassed a large reader base by publishing extensive corruption investigations into past officials. The Peninsula Daily still holds some of its investigative roots to this day, keeping its reader base loyal to the paper.