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  1. Ahhhhhhhh, good evening everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"! Well, this week's episode review should be shorter and considerably less angry than last week's for a few reasons: (1) this episode was far less infuriating, (2) I'm in a splendid mood after seeing "Wonder Woman" this weekend, and (3) I need to write a shorter episode review in general. So without further ado, let's begin and dive into "Honest Apple." Now, while this episode is far superior to the dreck that we got last week, it was not without its problems. My friend Jeric boiled it down nicely yesterday when he said to me that the main problem is that we had "Season 1 Applejack interacting with Season 7 Rarity," and I have to agree. Applejack was behaving uncharacteristically OOC, and immature even; I'd even say that I'd have a hard time believing Season 1 Applejack would act this way, even with Rarity when they weren't quite as close. It's not simply an issue of not taking her friend or her feelings and concerns into consideration, Applejack just displayed zero tact or discretion whatsoever, and that's just not like her. I could buy Rainbow Dash in earlier seasons behaving like this, but never AJ; her element may be the Element of Honesty, but that doesn't mean she's blunt to the point of not considering the feeling of others. She understands holding one's tongue, in fact, she's always been the small town ideal of just that; if she's uncomfortable with something, she'll usually have a subtle, wry, blunt comment to make about it, or just hold her tongue if the situation calls for it. Whoever wrote this wrote her like a country bumpkin with no appreciation for higher culture (heck, at one point she's flat out insulting the work of Coco Pommel, a genuinely good friend of hers!), and in our current political climate I don't exactly appreciate those stereotypes being displayed when many of those stereotypes are how we got to such a polarized state in our country in the first place, especially when it's a betrayal of who this character is. On top of that, she's uncharacteristically stupid as well; we know that AJ understands the idea of wearing clothes in different contexts and settings, not just for work or practical business (and sometimes fancier dress is required FOR business), because AJ herself has worn such outfits for such special occasions many times, much of it made by Rarity! She may not get the art side of fashion, but she understands its appeal, that it has appeal, and that it's a whole other industry of its very own. She doesn't walk around with this "If I don't get it it must be stupid and irrelevant" attitude that so many people seem to revel in these days. It's a disappointing missed opportunity, because there was a great episode to be had here, it just needed some tweaking is all, especially considering RariJack is my favorite pair of friends in the Mane 6 and can be such a joy to watch when they are done right. So yeah, not happy at all with AJ, and even less so when I consider that it was done in the name of making the lesson the writers had in mind work. Sad AJ is sad, that's what happens when you write her badly, writers! So what is the lesson you might ask? Well, it's basically an indictment of Internet s*** talking. No really, I'm serious, the whole lesson is about watching what you say or how you say something to others, especially when critiquing something they've done or made. You can't just consider your own thoughts or feelings when doing so, you need to take into account how your words are going to affect the person you're talking to as well. Now, normally I'd have no problem with this lesson. I mean, people not knowing how to be civil with each other or even display the most basic decency to each other on the Internet is a big reason people tend to get so heated with each other these days. So on its face, the lesson is a good one. However, here's why it doesn't work in this particular context. The lesson was forced, at the expense of making any sense whatsoever. We already went into how it forced AJ to be incredibly OOC, but it also doesn't make sense in the setting either. The thing about this lesson is that it applies most to Internet communication because it's incredibly easy to dehumanize or become desensitized to the feelings of someone you're talking with online when all you see is a screen in front of you. This episode, however, is all about face-to-face interactions, and the thing about face-to-face interactions is that people, especially genuinely decent people like AJ, tend to be far more sensitive to the feelings of others when talking in person to someone. Only people who genuinely have no lid on what they say, either because they're that insensitive or have some kind of personality disorder, have no filter when talking directly to others. So really, while the lesson was good, it just made no sense that it had to be taught to AJ of all people under these circumstances. This troll, however, was HILARIOUS! So now that the biggest issues are out of the way, what worked in this episode? Well Rarity is the most obvious choice. Her choice of AJ as a judge was creative but also showed her trust of her arguably closest friend (as well as understanding of her strengths), it was incredibly generous of her to organize an event like this to help others break into the fashion industry she loves so much, and her level of maturity displayed the whole episode was great. She reprimanded AJ when she deserved it, but wasn't unduly harsh, plus her way of teaching AJ how she bucked up was hilarious and witty (also, Strawberry Sunrise is a hilarious s*** talker when it comes to apples). Her biggest issue is that this conflict should not have been one sided; the ideal situation would have been both AJ and Rarity made mistakes to a certain extent. AJ should have been uncomfortable with the judging and not sure what to say since she didn't know how to fit in, and Rarity should have not been aware of AJ's concerns for most of the episode. That way they would have had something to teach each other. She wasn't quite Mary Sue levels here, I can buy Rarity being this mature, it's just the conflict felt forced since one character suffered so much in order to make it happen, and it didn't do Rarity any favors either in doing so. But oh well, the episode more than made up for it by giving Rarity the most amazing 10 seconds of the episode! I have no idea where the buck that came from, but I want more of it!!! All I know is that Rarity apparently has FANTASTIC methods of stress relief and venting! SHRED GIRL, SHRED!!! As for the rest of the episode, it was pleasant enough. I enjoyed that it was largely set in Ponyville, specifically the Canterlot Boutique and the Ponyville business district. The return of Photo Finish and Hoity Toity (in speaking roles, no less) was positively delightful, and I very much liked all three of the up and coming fashion designer ponies as well (especially, for some odd reason, the valley girl one; very strange for me since I usually hate that character type in cartoon shows, but here for some reason I thought it was adorable and hilarious. Possibly because the writers seemed aware of the stereotypes of the valley girl trope and seemed to playfully be poking fun at them while still making the character endearing by, you know, actually being good at stuff). 'Lit'rally' intensifies!!! The set up and conclusion for the episode were both lovely, and the fashion show (along with the instrumentals that sounded very reminiscent of the fashion show in Season 1's "Suited for Success") made this episode feel like a spiritual successor to some extent to "Suited for Success" even. But because of the problems that I cited earlier with both AJ and the forced nature of the lesson, what should have been a good to even great episode ended up just OK. That's a damn shame, but it's nowhere near as infuriating as last week's wretchedness. That's all I've got for ya tonight, everypony! Until next week, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit* To end things off, let's just have a bunch of pics from the better moments of the episode... And finally, the 10 seconds we will always remember from this episode Beautiful
  2. Gooooood afternoon everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"!!! Well... right now, I don't know what else to say but this... Why is that? Well, that's the first word that comes to mind regarding the latest episode of MLP to premiere in the U.S., "Parental Glideance." This episode simply had it all, every single thing that I could possibly love about a single episode of MLP rolled into one. It was just a delightful, perfect 22 minutes of television, and to understand why, we need to dive into what makes an episode like this so very remarkable. This is gonna be one hell of a review ya'll, so without wasting anymore time or dawdling about, let's dive right in. This is "Parental Glideance." The 'It' Factors: Why This Episode Soars (1) Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles Alright, so since at least Season 2 the fandom has been begging, and I do mean BEGGING, to see more of the Mane 6's parents, and to date our desire to see more of their parents has never been quite sated. The closest we've come to doing so has been in some of Pinkie Pie's episodes featuring her family, including her parents (which I love since we usually get to see them in a more normal setting, even if Pinkie is usually there for special get-togethers) and Fluttershy's parents in "Flutter Brutter" (again, another very good appearance because we got to see her parents in their home, learn that they were retired, and the conflict was even centered around Fluttershy helping them get Zephyr Breeze out of the house). That said, up until today we had never had an episode entirely centered around one of the Mane 6's parents themselves from start to finish, and our hunger for such an episode remained unsated. After "Parental Glideance," however... well, if anything I want more episodes like this even more now, but I will admit that my hunger for an episode centered around a Mane 6 character's parents has been temporarily sated, at least. This episode introduced us almost immediately to none other than Rainbow Dash's parents, Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles (surprisingly distinct names when I think myself and many others in the fandom were long worried that their names would be rainbow-related as well in some fashion). How were they? The first word that comes to mind is delight, as in they were absolutely a delight! These two are the walking, talking, living, breathing definition of "superfan parent." Aside from a very hilarious gag at the beginning of the episode about how confused they both were by Scootaloo's shrieks of fangirling, Bow and Windy spent most of the episode just showing how much they adore their daughter in every single way possible, and probably also ways you never thought possible. You wanna know what the most incredible part of it all was? IT WORKED HERE! The superfan parent, like so many other things in MLP, is not a concept that they invented or pulled out of a hat, this is something one encounters in both real life and popular media. In both settings, superfan parents can very often, easily be insufferable, especially as characters, and it's easy to see why. Superfan parents are by definition an extreme, and almost always when depicted in media operate in extremes; thus, here's how they usually get bucked up, (1) the parents come across to the audience as genuinely annoying when they're not supposed to, thereby undercutting anything that's supposed to be endearing about them, (2) the child or children of the superfan parents come off as overreacting to their parents love and adoration, thereby undercutting any degree to which we're supposed to sympathize with their exasperation at their parents behavior, or (3) the child and parents are both Flanderized and given the Mary Sue/Gary Stu treatment, meaning the child accepts the parents over-the-top behavior as perfectly normal and they and the parents get along in complete harmony, and we as the audience are supposed to enjoy this dynamic, when to the audience it simply seems that the parents live only for the child alone and all parties in the family are unrealistically perfect, if not downright obnoxious, in how much they love each other. All three of these scenarios are failures of this trope that it is very easy for it to fall into, because, as I said, it does inherently require extreme behavior to some extent from the parents. So while the failures are understandable, when they happen, they nonetheless make the superfan parent a trope that is all too easily more often than not an annoying one. This was, I am pleased to say, not the case in the slightest in this episode. Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles, despite being superfan parents in every sense of the word, despite having multiple rooms dedicated to their daughter (presumably an only child, but not yet officially confirmed, but c'mon, until I hear otherwise, I am assuming that RD is an only child), about a million types of cheers prepared for her and situations in which to cheer her on, and even a framed diaper of hers, never really came off as that annoying. Oh don't get me wrong, you could understand at points why they were being too much for RD to handle, but that is required for the superfan parent trope to work. It ensured that they did not just come off as a Mary Sue and Gary Stu, but instead as fallible parents prone to embarrassing their daughter in the course of showing how much they love her, as any parent should be. That was really the secret to making them so likable. Most other ponies, including RD and her Wonderbolt teammates, were aware that her parents were being a bit much, but besides RD almost everypony else took it in stride because they knew it was just a couple of parents loving their daughter. These little interactions made it easier for us to accept their behavior as endearing; none of it was really causing any issues for RD, it's not like she was being threatened with losing her spot on the Wonderbolts (I can distinctly recall a number of times where the superfan parent trope has led to a situation where the child of the parents is threatened with losing their job or some other BS if their parents don't tone it down), the worst they did was go a little overboard in their praise for Rainbow Dash (the towel-hanging cheer was too much even for me) and do a couple of not-so-safe things like shoot fireworks at her show. Awwwwwwww, look how much they love watching their daughter! SUPERFAN PARENTS ALL THE WAY!!! OK guys, that's enough, don't wanna get too excited now do we? C'mon guys, cut it- OH BUCK, THAT'S A FIREWORK CANNON, YUP, THAT'S A CANNON THAT IS FLINGING FIREWORKS, HOW DID YOU EVEN GET THAT IN HERE PAST SECURITY YOU CRAZY BUCKS!!! Overall, however, my biggest takeaway from these two was just what a good thing their love for their daughter was. Really, I mean it. That's really the secret to making the superfan parent trope work as a whole; they need to seem both real, even fallible and embarrassing, but when all is said and done their love for their child must both be at the core of who they are as characters and a likable quality, even if it's a bit much at times. That's what I got from start to finish here with these two. They lived and breathed RD, but not in a way that was harmful to their own well-being or their daughter's. Every fiber of their being was devoted to helping their daughter become the best pony she could be, letting her know that she was the best pony she could possibly be in their eyes no matter what she did, and letting as many ponies know as possible just how much they love their daughter. It didn't come off as coddling, or overbearing, or their only character trait whatsoever. From the little we gathered about the two of them at the start of their episode, they lead their own lives and RD is NOT their only pastime or hobby; Bow came off as perfectly normal when he was *snickers* mowing their cloud lawn at the start of the episode (speaking of which, I just realized he almost pushed the mower into Scootaloo's head... thankfully it was just an old fashioned push mower, otherwise I would've been more concerned about her safety), and Windy seems to have some kind of obsession with Princess Celestia based on her collection of both Princess Celestia commemorative plates and some kind of Princess Celestia figurines in the background. But the love they have for their daughter is still a core of their character and who they are, but here it simply worked all the way through. Sure they generally behaved in a manner that varied between energetic and highly kinetic to downright frantic, but that worked because they're Rainbow Dash's parents and she's acted the same way plenty of times. The fact that they were like little schoolfillies whenever they talked about their daughter was downright adorable, and their cheering segments were some of the funniest parts of the entire episode. Heck, it was so endearing that I found myself even wanting what they have, in a general sense; that kind of unhinged, unmitigated, unconditional love that only a parent could feel for their children in such indescribably wonderful ways, and hey, I'm very much hoping I do get the opportunity to feel that sensation some day! All in all, I would love to see these two again after their first appearance. They did what is the toughest thing for any new character in the show these days to do, they added a real layer of heart to the show, and it was especially gratifying to see the parents of a Mane 6 character do so. What more can I say other than I totally dug these two, am totally onboard the Bow Hothoof/Windy Whistles bandwagon, and can't wait to see more of them. Stand up and give these two a cheer everypony! Just, eh, don't bring any firework cannons... This... I want this... I want to give this some day to a kid of my own so badly now (well, even more than I did before) (2) Scootaloo The other heart of this episode, besides Rainbow Dash's parents, was oddly not Rainbow Dash at all, it was Scootaloo. In fact, I'd say this episode was more of a Scootaloo episode than a Rainbow Dash episode. Oh sure, Rainbow Dash learned the lesson here, but I don't think the point of this episode was the lesson learned, at least not entirely. The point was contrasting Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash, stand-ins for two types of kids; those with incredibly loving parents who might embarrass them on occasion in how much they love them... and those without such parents. Scootaloo flat out says at one point in this episode that she's never had the kind of parental support that Rainbow Dash has to this day from her parents; while this is not by any means a sure confirmation of the "Scootaloo is an orphan" fan theories, it's the closest we've ever come to it being confirmed. There are now only two options left: (1) Scootaloo is an orphan, or (2) she has incredibly neglectful parents, both of which would be devastating. I suppose there is a third scenario possible in which her parents knew from the start that she couldn't fly and so never really encouraged her to be her best in order to keep her safe, but I doubt that's the case. Anyways, without deviating too much, Scootaloo is in my estimation the heart of this episode. Among the CMC, I would argue that right now she's actually the most innocent of the three still for a very particular reason (and no, it's not just because she sounds the youngest of them because her VA's voice has changed the least, though that does help). We now know after this episode that Scootaloo has spent the entirety of the show kind of building herself a surrogate family, between her friends, Rainbow Dash, and now Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles. All her life she's wanted to follow Rainbow Dash's example, and in this episode she got so much joy just from seeing how Rainbow Dash turned out the way she was because of how her parents raised her. My takeaway from this is that Scootaloo, more than Apple Bloom or Sweetie Belle, is the most appreciative of the CMC of the simplest blessings and joys in life. Things like RD's mom making RD her favorite sandwich, or her parents giving her a trophy room with all sorts of childhood mementos, scrapbooking every second of her life that they could, cheering her on at every opportunity that they could get, these are things which Scootaloo holds as precious because, based on what we've seen and she said, she's never had that. She knows that it's not the effects of what they do that are what count, but just the fact that they're doing them, THAT'S the love, and that's what she wants more than anything else. It's not being the best that matters to her (she may say she wants to be just like Rainbow Dash, but she's so different from Rainbow Dash, and not just physically), it's just having someone pushing you to be your best, someone there for you no matter what. If nothing else, you could just tell how much joy it was bringing to Scootaloo to even feel like she was sharing in RD's family's experiences, even just a little bit. I think more than anything else, the final scene confirms that she is the true heart of this episode. Rainbow Dash may have learned the biggest lesson here, but Scootaloo got the most out of all of this. Not only did she get to learn where Rainbow Dash came from and what helped make her into the pony she'd become, but because of how she helped remind her of that in showing RD how great she had it in comparison to herself and so many other colts and fillies, she also got even more of a family out of it. It seems that both her personality rubbing off on the two, as well as possibly RD telling her parents that Scootaloo could use a little more support in her own life, has led to Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles treating her as something of a surrogate daughter by the end of the episode as well, much as Rainbow Dash treats Scootaloo already as a surrogate sister. It's hard to exactly say how much this is the case since the most they do is give her a cheering section after getting her report grade, but the fact that they even made cheer-gear for her would suggest they're pretty serious about this, and the look on Scootaloo's face when they do so says it all. Just look at her, she looks like she's about shed tears of joy! Rainbow got reminded of how important her family is to her by somepony who knows because there's probably nothing more she'd want than a family that's always there for her, and that filly may have just gotten her wish to some extent. So here's hoping we see Scootaloo more with RD and her family, she had a great outing, one of her best episodes in quite some time, and hopefully got something she's always dreamed of, a family that loves her. Also, her fangirling was adorable as buck, I'm sorry, it just needed to be said. Hnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggg... TOO... CUTE!!! (3) Backstory and Continuity... Lots and Lots of Backstory and Continuity... Spoken and Unspoken Jeric told me yesterday that the writer of this episode, Josh Hamilton (a first time MLP:FiM writer), has written in the past for Avatar: The Last Airbender and the The Legend of Korra. So needless to say, he has some good credentials. Nonetheless, the debut he made in this show was simply shocking for me, namely in his handling of show continuity. This episode gives backstory galore, and not just with Rainbow Dash. In fact, I finished this episode not thinking of it as the best Rainbow Dash episode ever, but rather the best episode about Rainbow Dash I've ever seen, if that makes sense. In case it doesn't, let's just count all of the backstory we get in this episode. #1. Rainbow Dash's Backstory - so before this episode we knew how RD got her cutie mark and helped Fluttershy and the other Mane 6 get theirs (inadvertently), but we never knew much else besides that about her childhood. Well here, we got filly RD galore. The flashbacks themselves were pretty simple and just showed her on the podium for flying competitions (although they had far more depth than one would initially assume, but we'll get to that later), but there were dozens of photos (most of which we could make out) of Rainbow Dash littered throughout this episode. Most of them showed Rainbow as a filly or foal (which was adorable), and showed us either (1) some stage of her life, or (2) just served as testament to the many ways in which her parents loved her. Regardless, it was a nice bit of silent backstory (which is what I mean by things unspoken, though it is hardly the only bit of backstory or continuity unspoken in this episode), and a nice recognition from the writers that not all backstory needs to be given in flashbacks or exposition alone. You can convey things about characters lives in all kinds of ways, not just by straight up telling us. Oh, but we're just getting started. #2. Rainbow Dash and the Wonderbolts - this was a nice little bit of continuity that would be easy to miss, but I think it came up enough that it's worth noting. This was one of the first episodes where we really got to see Rainbow as a normal, full-fledged Wonderbolt, and it showed. While I wouldn't say the Wonderbolts have treated her badly or anything since she joined them ("Newbie Dash" was way more RD's fault than theirs), she only joined them last season (approximately a season ago actually as of this episode), and since then it's still felt fresh. Well here, it didn't, it actually felt like she was just another member, albeit an exceptional one, of the Wonderbolts. She had a normal rapport with them, she knew her place in their routines, they're even doing favors for her. Heck, even the ways they rib her felt normal; she's clearly still one of the younger ones, but Spitfire and Fleetfoot never gave her anymore crap about her parents than they should have. In fact, Spitfire didn't really say anything at all other than get a little miffed initially by their training getting interrupted (oh, and getting her poor tail cut off, and frankly she should have been madder about that), and Fleetfoot spent a lot of the episode trying to reassure RD that her parents weren't being that bad (although she did steal RD's shit-eating grin from "Daring Don't," but I don't mind, because that smug face is spectacular and frankly we need to see it more, and it was perfectly called for in that scene... keep doing your thing Fleetfoot, I love when our favorite lisping pegasus gets all sassy). Overall, like I said, it was really cool seeing RD just being another one of the Wonderbolts; she might be their captain someday considering she's that good of a flier, but frankly, right now, she's clearly just happy to be living her dream as one of the fliers she always dreamed of being. I like that, and I'm glad we got to get a real look at that and her normal, Wonderbolt responsibilities. Not to mention they were all super awesome for doing that really, really, really nice favor for her at the end, that was cool to see. I love so much that at this point they're pretty much this other subset of friends for RD, albeit on a professional basis. Dayummmmmm girllllll, you just somehow captured, like, all of the sass and smugness in all of Equestria in one look, and it looks amazing!!! Also, now that I think about it, this could double as a flirty look... I'm not gonna take that strain of thought any further, just think about it for yourselves and what scenario would demand THAT being used as a flirty look. #3. Thunderlane's a Wonderbolt - Holy shit, Thunderlane's a Wonderbolt now! When did this happen? I don't know, but I don't care, it's just really cool that he's a Wonderbolt now. I think we'd seen him in the Wonderbolt Reserves before, but based on the one shot of him in the Wonderbolts locker room, in an actual Wonderbolt uniform, not a Reserves uniform, I can only conclude that Thunderlane is now a Wonderbolt. This is super cool because now RD is no longer even the only flier from Ponyville in the Wonderbolts; we've seen Thunderlane since Season 2 and as far as we know he still lives in Ponyville. Also it makes it actually a little clearer how difficult it is to get into the Wonderbolts, or rather, the level of flying that is required. Since RD was the flier we largely followed for six seasons trying to get into the Wonderbolts, it always seemed like it was damn near impossible to get in. But Thunderlane is clearly just an exceptional flier, nowhere near RD's level, but very good nonetheless. The fact that he's in now makes it clear that there is actually a bit of a range one encounters in the levels of talent among the fliers in the Wonderbolts. Not all of them are going to be at RD's level or even close necessarily, they just have to be better than most fliers. It's still an elite unit, but it's nice having a better sense of who gets in there now. #4. Other Wonderbolts Continuity - Not much to say here other than Vapor Trail and Sky Stinger showing up super briefly (in Wonderbolt Reserves uniforms), which was nice to see. And at least Sky Stinger didn't talk this time; he may not be a douchebag anymore, but that doesn't change the fact that he still sounds like a douchebag. Anyways, I did enjoy seeing those two ever so briefly, nice bit of Season 6 continuity there. He's so much less annoying when he's not talking, and she's as adorable as ever... YOU'RE STILL TOO GOOD FOR HIM, VAPOR!!! #5. THE GREATEST THING YOU'LL EVER SEE - OK, so this may be just a bit of an exaggeration here, BUT this last bit of silent backstory was a real game changer. Did it have anything to do with Rainbow Dash? No, not really. The Wonderbolts? Not really, even though they're there too. Well then who, you might ask? DERPY. BUCKING. HOOVES. THAT'S WHO!!! In a span of about 10 seconds, Derpy got perhaps the most important piece of backstory we've ever seen her get, and it all comes down to her eyes. In the flashback where Rainbow Dash is describing how embarrassing her parents were, we clearly see Derpy at first on top of the podium among the young fliers, clearly the best of them all. When RD mentions that she was the youngest in that entire group, we learn quite a bit already, namely that Derpy (and about every other pony she was flying with there) is older than her (which actually makes sense, fans have long speculated that RD is one of the youngest of the Mane 6). But then when RD starts showing her progression higher and higher in the flier standings, we see simultaneously Derpy getting lower and lower. Why? HER EYES! Her eyes continue to get progressively worse as she gets lower in the standings. Combine this with the single shot of her in the Ponyville Hospital in "Where the Apple Lies" with bandages over her eyes, and suddenly, without a single word being said about it, WE HAVE US A CANON BACKSTORY OF SOME KIND FOR DERPY HOOVES! HOLY SHIT! What we know right now for sure is that (1) she used to be a really good flier, (2) her eyes used to be straight, (3) she got worse at flying, and probably clumsier, when her eyes started getting worse, (4) she tried and failed to get them fixed in her late teens or young adulthood, and (5) she is now perfectly happy living with them as they are. Holy buck, that is a crapload of backstory for a bucking BACKGROUND PONY!!! A BACKGROUND PONY!!! Needless to say, this was the single most important thing in the episode for me seeing as it involves my best pony, and that's saying quite a lot considering this was a bucking great episode. But this, I want so badly more backstory like THIS!!! SO, SO, SO MUCH!!! Josh Hamilton, thank you for such a lovely and unexpected treat, and writers, please take notes, we want more things like this. For all I know, this could be even setting up a future Derpy-centric episode, and if it is, I am going to go NUTS!!! I'm not even sure anyone will be able to console me and bring me down from the high that shall be achieved, it would be truly epic in its proportions. The Lesson, And What It Means To All The Rainbow Dashes and Scootaloos Out There So like I said, this is not a Rainbow Dash episode to me so much as an episode about Rainbow Dash. And really, the lesson was not just directed at Rainbow Dash, or kids or adults like Rainbow Dash. The lesson was directed at all the Rainbow Dashes AND Scootaloos out there. For all like RD, the lesson was something akin to the same one that learned by a certain character in a certain recent Marvel flick (I won't spoil anything for those who haven't seen it, but I'll just leave this song here for those who have, and they'll know what I'm talking about), that being that there are things in life that, while you have them it's easy to take them for granted. With parents, especially parents like RD's with love, praise, support, and encouragement so bottomless to the point that it can be embarrassing at times, it's REALLY easy for someone like RD to take them for granted. But then she's confronted by Scootaloo, a pony who's never had what she had, and suddenly she's confronted with wondering what would have been if she never had her parents, or possibly even wondering what if she didn't have them tomorrow? Suddenly, what RD was confronted with more than anything was the single question, "Had she taken them for granted, and what if they didn't really know how much she loved them for always being there for her? What if they never knew?" More important than anything she's ever achieved is simply that her parents have been there for her every step of the way, so the least RD figures she can do for them is try to be there for them as much as they've been there for her. That's what family does, no matter what we end up doing with our lives, the very least and most we have to give each other is all the love and support that we can, and it's a wonderful lesson that RD learned, truly. As for Scootaloo, while she didn't really learn anything in quite the same way that RD did, I think what she did learn is to never stop hoping for the support and love that she's always wanted. Even if she'll never get it from her actual parents, whether they're dead, abandoned her, or just really neglectful, she learned that there are other ponies out there ready at a moment's notice to give her the love and support she's always wanted. It just took a little searching to find. For all the other Scootaloos out there, it's a lesson to never give up hoping for the love you may not have gotten from those who should have given it to you most. You just might have to find it elsewhere, and it may be hard, and there may be a lot of hurt along the way, but if you look hard enough, it just may be out there for you. Overall, just never stop hoping and looking, because you'll never know when you might find it; before you know it, you might have your very own family lifting you on their shoulders (or hooves) cheering you on for the B you just got on your awesome report, moldy sandwich included. Aesthetic Notes Just a couple of things to note about the, as always, amazing animation. First, it was great seeing so much of Cloudsdale, as well as seeing Scootaloo up there finally (though the best part of that was seeing how she got up there). Second, wing expressions, I NEED MORE OF THESE! They were incredibly creative and I feel like we haven't seen nearly enough of them. Finally, Windy Whistles was adorable as buck, and there were quite a few shots which you can compare to past RD stills and see quite a bit of similarity between the two. So A-plus to the animators for giving her a distinct character design (and an adorable one at that) while still making her clearly RD's mom in appearance, especially in the face and some of her expressions. Minor, Minor, Minor Gripes OK, so despite saying this is a perfect episode, I have just a handful of minor, minor, minor things to bring up that weren't so perfect but do require being addressed. First, how the buck did RD's parents not know she was a Wonderbolt? I know they said at one point that they didn't go to Wonderbolt performances so long as she wasn't in them, and that it's not like they have television or the Internet, BUT they do have newspapers, which presumably have sports sections, and I have a hard time believing that it was never reported in a Cloudsdale newspaper that a national hero from that city had been inducted into the Wonderbolts. They sure didn't look like they were living as hermits either. I suppose I could believe that RD would be anal enough in her attempts to keep them from finding out that she'd be willing to steal their newspapers, but until I hear for sure that that's what she did, I'm just gonna chalk this up to a tiny bit of lazy writing. Second, there was only one section of this episode I didn't particularly care for, that being when Scootaloo had her exposition dump of RD's time in the Wonderbolt Reserves to RD's parents. Don't get me wrong, I could totally see her telling them this stuff, I just don't know why we needed to see it. It felt forced and awkward in its delivery (although her parents reactions, especially Windy Whistles, were pretty hilarious and adorable), but this felt more like exposition for the sake of audience members who never saw these episodes than anything that we needed to see her parents learn. It wasn't awful, just wasn't executed particularly well. Other than that, I literally have no other complaints for this episode, it was just that great. The Ideal Season 7 Episode I said to a friend after watching this episode (*cough* Jeric *cough*) that, overall, this episode encapsulates everything I'd want in a standard episode in the 7th season of MLP:FiM. This show is so established at this point, that you can't just keep doing the same thing you've done in other seasons all the time. You need to have payoff! Payoff doesn't just have to be for long-term storylines, the most important in all the show; it can be for smaller story threads as well, things revolving around main characters like RD or Scootaloo, or even background/supporting characters like Derpy and Thunderlane. The point is, this show has made it clear that there is a distinct passage of time by this point. It may be difficult to follow at times, but it's safe to say that at least years have passed by this time in the show. This isn't always made clear, but it's great when the show does recognize this, in big and small ways. Besides the triumphs of backstory and continuity, the introduction of RD's parents to the show was seamless. This is not always the case when it comes to the parents of a main character; sometimes they're too similar to a character to be distinct, other times they're so different that you can't believe they even are the parents of a certain character. But in this case, not only did Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles most definitely seem just about right in their behavior to be RD's parents, but they were also plenty distinct. They weren't freakish athletes just like her (as far as we know at least), they weren't trying to vicariously live through her by making her achievements their own, and they weren't her polar opposites. They were just parents with a ridiculous amount of love for their daughter, and by the end of the episode showed themselves to have plenty of love to spare for others as well, in this case Scootaloo. Their introduction was so smooth, so seamless, that the episode barely can be said to have revolved around them; oh sure, they were main characters of it, but they felt very much like they fit naturally alongside characters we've been following for over six seasons like Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash. THAT is how you introduce parents of main characters at this point in the show. Overall, this is the greatest triumph of Season 7 thus far, just an absolutely phenomenal, nearly flawless episode in every which way possible. If we get more episodes like this this season, you certainly won't find me complaining, and here's hoping we get more episodes featuring Mane 6 parents or even more backstory/continuity for characters like Derpy or Thunderlane. That's all I've got for ya'll this week everypony. Until next week, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit*
  3. We've already seen lots of creatures in the series, but it would be also good to see MLP's variant of the elves like stags and deers. Do you want to see them in the series?
  4. Good afternoon, everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"! Today I'm taking a look at the latest Season 7 episode to debut in the U.S., "Forever Filly," a fun, albeit flawed, little slice-of-life episode. Aside from this being noteworthy as being the first Rarity and technically CMC episode this season, there's not much else to say prior to getting into the review proper, so without further ado, let's begin. This is "Forever Filly." So for the most part almost everything in this episode worked, but in the end I found myself simply thinking of it as good, not great. This isn't on account of any kind of infuriating, obvious flaw, but rather something a little less noticeable and more subtle: the conflict set-up. Not the conflict itself, mind you, in fact this conflict is actually a fairly common one in movies and television. All we're dealing with here, in multiple plot arcs no less, is the "such and such loved one has gotten older and changed quite a bit and I haven't even noticed, and not only do I still want to treat them like I did when they were younger, but I'm also not ready to accept that they're older and have changed." It's a super common story trope, especially in long-running shows where characters have presumably gotten older (you've probably seen such an episode in more than one family sitcom before, usually involving some staple child character in the show getting older, graduating, heading off to college, getting married, etc., or even say a wedding movie where the focus is on the parents of the groom or bride). Heck, really this kind of story even falls into the broader category of the "coming of age" story, and is just one particular way of telling it, namely from the perspective not of the character who is coming of age, but of someone close to them watching them come of age. Here's the problem. It's not that the conflict in and of itself was a bad one in its premise, it's that it wasn't executed properly, and I think I know why. Poor pacing made certain character decisions seem impulsive and poorly thought out. Rarity went from being perfectly level-headed in her business dealings in the very opening of the episode to being an emotional wreck all in a span of five seconds, and then spent the rest of the episode acting as though she hadn't seen Sweetie Belle in years. Likewise, Zipporwhill (voiced again by, of course, Tabith St. Germain, because I swear if there's a character who needs a hilariously over-the-top or unusual voice, Tabitha is their go-to gal to voice her) seemed to be confronted with a problem that really shouldn't be a problem for her. I mean, her cutie mark is presumably because she has some kind of talent at connecting with dogs, so one has to ask why such a pony wouldn't understand the notion of dogs growing up and their behavior changing as they get older? I mean, don't get me wrong, I liked how her subplot tied into the final lesson, but more so because of how things wrapped up, not because of the conflict itself. That conflict too was poor in its set-up because it just didn't seem like Zipporwhill, even if she is still a filly, even if this is her own pet we're talking about whom she has an emotional connection to, should have a problem figuring out what her dog wants when that is presumably her talent and she knows this already because she has her cutie mark. And I mean seriously, it's a dog, plenty of dogs play with toys that they had as puppies if it's one of their favorites, and not to be mean to dogs or anything, but they're pretty simple in their wants and needs, they're nowhere near as picky as cats can be. But the bigger problem with this subplot is that ultimately its presence forced the main conflict to be rushed in its own execution, which is why Rarity came across as being so impulsive and irrational in some of her decision-making. If they'd simply removed the subplot, then they could have had a more basic but also more properly executed episode where Rarity had more time to set the conflict up and get it resolved. She could have set up spending a day with her sister but not so frantically in the show's opening minutes, not as such an emotional wreck, and everything would have come across as feeling a bit more real in execution. The ideas they were dealing with here are very realistic and relatable, I think everyone at some point (or multiple points) will realize that time has gone by quicker than they thought and that someone or something in their life has gotten far older than they used to be or changed a lot. But again, the problem is that because they jammed a plot and a sub-plot together in order to teach the lesson, the conflict set-up in both plot and sub-plot felt rushed, forced, and a bit unrealistic. The conflict set-up and pacing problems didn't ruin the episode or anything, they just kept an episode that was good to very good from being great, and that's just a bit of a shame. OK Jeric, this question is for you in particular; can't you just see Tabitha making this actual face in the recording booth? I mean, seriously, I'm picturing it and it just makes so much sense for her. I wouldn't be surprised if they animated it around whatever face she was making as she read the line. So what did I like here? Oh, a whole lot, believe me, I liked a ton. I did enjoy that they picked Rarity to have this conflict rather than Applejack; at first I thought AJ would be a better pick, but then I realized that AJ had to grow up from an early age (assuming her parents are dead) and would probably be more prepared for Apple Bloom getting older than Rarity was with Sweetie Belle. Her problem is over-protectiveness, not coddling, when it comes to being a big sister. Rarity, on the other hoof, moved out of the house at a pretty early age it seems, and didn't really grow closer to Sweetie Belle until Season 2 after the Sister Hooves Social. Unlike Applejack, who sees family all the time, Rarity is a character who it would be easy for time to get away from between her adventures with the Mane 6 and all of her business ventures, even after she's gotten closer to Sweetie Belle. So both the conflict makes sense for her, as do the emotional bouts; I just thought they happened too quickly, but really I have no problem with how emotional Rarity got over all of this because that does fit her character. I just wish such emotion had been more built up and better paced, like the episode would have been better served starting with Rarity worriedly realizing she hadn't spent enough time with Sweetie Belle lately, but getting more emotional when she realized there was so much about Sweetie growing up that she'd missed. But nonetheless, I like seeing focus placed on Rarity and Sweetie Belle's sisterhood, I liked this particular conflict, I liked that Rarity was put into this position both because it makes sense for her and for whatever reason seeing a character who in her own life (despite having a flamboyant personality) is usually so put-together and in control realize that there was so much she didn't know about someone so important to her, it just felt right. It resonated, it made this message all the more powerful because it helped further illustrate that life can get away from all of us, even those of us who think we've got everything figured out (contrasting the lesson she learned with how put together Rarity is in running the Canterlot Boutique in the opening scene is a perfect example of this). So aside from what I already highlighted as things that didn't work, I thought that Rarity was great here on the whole and loved that she was chosen for this particular type of episode. Sweetie Belle was another highlight, mostly in how she helped resolve the episode in the end but also because it was nice seeing the show recognize that there has been quite a passage of time since the start of the show and that characters have gotten older. Now it would be nice if her actual body got bigger, or if they didn't make things confusing by making it seem as though Rarity hasn't seen Sweetie Belle in years, but still, I liked what we got here all the same. The recognition of this passage of time was nice (which might have been further reinforced by how big Ripley, Zipporwhill's dog, now is as well as how much lower Zipporwhill's voice is than it was in her first episode back in Season 4), and I'd love to see more of it, especially in relation to the CMC. It was nice too that Sweetie Belle didn't really get unduly mad at Rarity; sure she got mad, but not in a "Sister Hooves Social you're not my sister anymore, I hate you" kind of way, but more in a "we're sisters and you're frustrating me right now as only a sister could, so while I'll forgive you later, sorry but we're having a beef right now" kind of way. She still helped Rarity learn her lesson indirectly (while learning it herself as well) by showing Zipporwhill what to do about Ripley, and even before getting mad she appreciated what Rarity was trying to do, just not how she was doing it. Overall, this was just a very good example of how to show that a young character has gotten older in a show without being too flagrant about it; granted, I still argue that her body needs to get bigger because hearing things like Sweetie Belle is into experimental theater while still being as small as she ever has been is just a bit ridiculous and makes it harder to accept, but this was a very nice start and it works with how Claire Corlett's voice has changed over the years as well (though as a quick aside, I must say that Michelle Creber's voice sounds even older now than Claire's does, good Lord writers, PLEASE make the CMC bigger already!). This shot is seriously cute, and while it initially may seem a bit OOC for Rarity, c'mon, she's bonding with her sister, siblings do things they don't typically do with each other all the time. Speaking as an older brother, I can totally buy it. Besides our two main characters, it was cool seeing the CMC finding new ways to assist ponies, namely in helping a pony like Zipporwhill who already has her cutie mark but felt disconnected from her special talent. Granted it was imperfectly executed, but I like the idea because it makes sense that they won't always be showing ponies what to do to get their cutie marks (though I guess they already kinda did this with Bulk Biceps). Zipporwhill's return was completely unexpected and, aside from the problems I already cited with her subplot, worked entirely for me, especially her lower voice; whether this was because she's older now or because the writer's decided the original pitch her voice was at in Season 4 was just ridiculous, doesn't matter to me, because it was a far better sounding voice than her original one and Tabitha did a great job with her accent. Finally, Sassy Saddles for the little she was in the episode at the beginning was fantastic. Her rapport with Rarity is great and I loved the little we got to see of the two of them working together, two ponies simultaneously very similar and very different in their talents and abilities and who when they're at the top of their game can equally appreciate what the other does in their establishment. Some of Rarity's failed attempts to bond with Sweetie Belle were pretty funny, particularly the photo shoot, but others felt a tad ridiculous and forced, like the puppet show or the balloon-making scene. I did seriously love this scene I must also note that it's bizarre, now that we've seen Ripley age, that other pets like Winona have not visibly aged. Still, the recognition of the passage of time in this episode, as well as its lesson of appreciating different stages of life while you have them (including for people in your life) because before you know it, they're gone, but when they are gone all you can do is appreciate what you have now rather than bemoan not having what was in the past anymore, that was all great and I appreciate it very much. It leaves me slightly hopeful that at some point the show might just be willing to tackle the subject of death and loss on that level, possibly in relation to the Apples, but at the same time I know realistically that that remains a long shot. All in all, this is a good to very good episode held back by a few very particular but not very maddening flaws, but important flaws nonetheless. I'm sure I'll enjoy rewatching it, but it certainly won't be an instant classic in my book either. That's all I've got for you this week everypony, thank you for your patience in waiting for my review, and I'll see you next week (probably late again as well since I might have work on Saturday). Till next time, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit* But it's OK, cause they're Best Sisters Friends Forever!!! But yeah, seriously, diabetes for sure...
  5. Good morning everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"! Well today I have good news and bad news. The good news is that this review shouldn't be all that long, but the bad news is it probably won't be that long because I thought this episode overall was just... eh, OK. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't amazing either, and I've seen far better episodes before about Fluttershy becoming more assertive or gaining confidence. But let's not go over all of that here, instead, let's dive on into the full review itself, this is "Fluttershy Leans In." So last week's episode, "Rock Solid Friendship's," biggest flaw was Pinkie Pie with a ton of OOC behavior, and while that was a BIG problem, the episode as a whole was still very likable. This episode, while it didn't have such a glaring flaw, had a bigger issue with the episode as a whole that brought it down to being just an OK episode: a contrived conflict. Now it wasn't the need for an animal sanctuary that was the problem, uh-uh, but rather the issues that arose on the way there. Frankly, it just felt entirely unnecessary that the three "experts" that the Mane 6 recommended to Fluttershy to bring in to help build her dream animal sanctuary be brought in in the first place; the only one of them who had any kind of expertise with animals in the first place was Wrangler, but even her talent for animal enclosures and herding had virtually nothing to do with building an animal sanctuary. Hard Hat it should have been pretty clear only knew how to construct buildings and nothing else, and it seems like a landscaper or exterior designer of some kind would have been a far better choice to help than him. And finally I have no idea what Dandy Grandeur was even doing there; it's not that the animal sanctuary didn't end up having interior "structures" or features of some kind, but I have no idea why Fluttershy or Rarity would have thought a guy who clearly seemed to know nothing but high end interior design would have anything worthwhile to contribute to an animal sanctuary project. So when Fluttershy got mad at all three of them, I really didn't find myself getting mad at them either; if anything, Fluttershy kind of came off as douchey when she did because she just shouldn't have let them get involved in the first place. Wrangler, Hard Hat, and Dandy Grandeur at one point before anything even began all seemed to know they didn't know what they were doing in this project, when they shared very nervous glances with one another. But they tried to help anyway because they were happy to help a friend of Applejack, Pinkie Pie, or Rarity, respectively, so it's not like there was any malicious intent behind their buck ups, they just shouldn't have been brought in to help at all in the first place. Frankly the Mane 6 deserved more of Fluttershy's ire than these new ponies did; the new supporting characters largely didn't know Fluttershy at all and were just doing what they knew how to do best, so technically as far as what they're good at, they were putting their best hoof forward. The Mane 6, on the other hoof, kind of seemed to dump off helping Fluttershy on these three, and not only did that lead to all of these issues, but it was completely unnecessary and avoidable in the first place. The Mane 6 when they work all together are more than capable of tackling a project like this, and as the episode ended up showing, in the end, that's all that was needed. Fluttershy had a clear vision of what she wanted, and all they needed to do was follow her lead and give her the manpower she needed to bring it to life. It was gratifying when we got to see Fluttershy lecture the other five at the end when they almost pulled the same crap that Wrangler, Hard Hat, and Dandy Grandeur did, but really she should have been even angrier at them. I mean, she left things off with those other three badly, and for all we know they might be on bad terms with Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity too now, and once again, this was all avoidable if the Mane 6 had just offered to help Fluttershy instead themselves in the first place! So overall, I just really didn't buy into the primary conflict in this episode. It was contrived and completely avoidable, it's only purpose was to force Fluttershy to be more assertive (which she has done plenty of already in past seasons and in far better episodes that taught such a lesson far more effectively), and it felt forced to the point that I just didn't feel like picking sides like the episode wanted me to. So as I said earlier, while Pinkie Pie was REALLY bad last week, I honestly felt like the contrived conflict that affected this entire episode brought this episode down far more than Pinkie did in last week's episode. Eheheheheh, ya sure ya want us getting involved? I mean, just so you know, we may not know anything about what you want us helping you out with, but OK, if you insist that this plot goes where it will inevitably go if we stay involved, fine, we'll play along until it blows up in your face. Also, can we please get more of Wrangler at least? I don't know why, but I just really dug her design, the colors, the clothes, it all just worked for me. Other than a really contrived and forced conflict, the rest of the episode was largely harmless. Besides how her assertive moments felt forced and needless, Fluttershy was very sweet and I really thought the best trait of hers on display in this episode was her kindness and how that translated into a beautiful dream becoming a reality. My biggest takeaway was that her kindness, her love for all her animal friends, was what kept driving her, even when things got difficult, to finally make her dream of building an animal sanctuary a reality, and it was great seeing those simple, basic elements of Fluttershy on full display here. Also it was pretty hilarious that it was her fault that all these animals were overrunning Dr. Fauna's clinic in the first place because she just couldn't help but recommend her to all her animal friends that she met all over Equestria. Talk about word-of-mouth getting out of control. Dr. Fauna was actually quite delightful, and like Nurse Redheart a couple of episodes ago, it was really nice seeing her in such an expanded role so unexpectedly. She didn't contribute to the problem at all, in fact like I said it was really Fluttershy's fault that she had too many patients to handle in the first place, and she clearly loved animals about as much as Fluttershy did, it's just her expertise was more directly about animal health itself rather than their overall care like Fluttershy's is. In fact, as far as new elements in this episode go, I'd say she was my favorite one; I know she wasn't a new character, but it was just nice seeing the writers so positively utilizing a supporting character in Ponyville when so often the Mane 6's problems either revolve around themselves or supporting characters are just there for comedic gags. This time the Mane 6 helped make a permanent change to Ponyville that benefited the entire town, and one resident of Ponyville in particular, because she and her animal patients needed their help and intervention. I honestly wish we saw more often the Mane 6 helping out Ponyville residents like that as part of their episode lessons, it'd just be a nice, simple way to get more of the entire town involved in their adventures. The return of Big Daddy McColt was quite a bit of fun as well, (though it did beg the question even more as to why Fluttershy didn't just bring him in in the first place since she knew he had expertise that could actually aid her in this endeavor, thereby further undermining the contrived conflict of this episode, but I digress), and it was great to see him paying the help that Fluttershy and Twilight had given him and his family in the first place forward with kindness of his own. So kudos DHX on both Dr. Fauna and Big Daddy McColt, this is exactly how you should be handling supporting characters in the show and involving them in it! Now that's a brohoof I never thought I'd see in this show The animals throughout the episode were pretty cute overall. I did get quite a laugh out of Angle Bunny hurting himself in, of all things, a bucking parkour accident, and even better still being a rotten bastard to everyone afterwards. I shouldn't be so happy about this, but I am... ...and that is why. Most of the animals in Dr. Fauna's office were cute, but two things did bug me. First, that bear was a cheap, knockoff Harry the Bear and had nowhere close to the amount of swagger that Harry does; he was just a freeloading bum in Dr. Fauna's office and when you have a great bear like Harry already, why even both introducing another one when you know he'll be nowhere near as awesome as Harry is? I mean, seriously, get a load of this bum! You ain't Harry, ya cheap knockoff!!! Second, the giraffe was cute in design, but her presence there was very confusing to me. Equestria is a world where we know that a number of animals are sapient; cows can talk and seem to have their own communities, or to even live among ponies (we've seen them buying stuff in Ponyville before but also seen them in dairy farms, but perhaps that's what they do as their jobs), and even sheep, despite being herd animals, can talk (though we haven't really seen that since Season 1, possibly because the writers don't want to raise anymore uncomfortable questions with it by even bringing them up again). I was wrong earlier that giraffes are related to horses, they actually really aren't, but nonetheless I kind of always thought that if they were ever introduced, giraffes would be sapient animals too. Heck, this giraffe's head resembled a pony's (at least by the show's own animation) so closely (she even had eyes like a ponies with the typical eyelashes they use to denote a female character) that it was downright bizarre not hearing this character talk. So I guess giraffes are just "animals-animals" by Equestrian standards now, but I still find that bizarre. Heck, I don't even know what to think about goats anymore; when we first saw them, sure, they didn't talk, but they were clearly assisting Iron Will with his show, which included running electronics and stage equipment, and yet since then we've seen them treated more and more like they too are "animals-animals" in this world. I guess my bottom line is that in this episode, Equestrian biology and how the animal kingdom works in Equestria just got even more confusing for me. I am so confused! Ah well, at least this episode had a super adorable sloth in it! Sloths make everything better, always, like, not even joking, they just do. And her name was Lola, too!!! Uh, Fluttershy, you, uh, you got something on your leg, there... Finally, while I did have my beef with the Mane 6 as far as the overall conflict goes, besides that they were fine. They really should have just helped Fluttershy build her animal sanctuary in the first place, but they made up for it in the end at least, and it's not like their hearts were ever in the wrong spot. I did think some of the "emotional" moments they had when Fluttershy was describing her dream were a bit forced (like, we get it, you love Fluttershy, but you don't have to be on the brink of tears just because she has an awesome dream and is super cute describing it), but overall this was one of their first group episodes (at least in some parts) this season, and I'm always happy to see them all working together towards something as a group, even if it was only for some of this episode. As I've said throughout this review, the animal sanctuary was a really cool idea and it was really neat seeing Fluttershy make such a cool dream a reality. But as a whole, this episode was just OK; there wasn't really anything infuriating about it, but too much of it was too forced and needless for me to really care about this episode either. I guess in that respect I'm OK with how Pinkie was in last week's episode since, even though I hated parts of it, I at least cared about her performance. I will always take something I care about, whether I love it or hate it, over something I'm just plain apathetic about. Still, an OK episode is still one worth checking out, and this one is definitely worth checking out for Fluttershy and her awesome animal sanctuary alone. That's all I've got for ya'll this week everypony; next week my review may be a little late since I'm visiting my girlfriend on Saturday when we both take a trip to Lansing, but I promise to get it up as soon as I can. Until next time, everypony, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit* I have no idea how I missed this face during the episode, but this face is AMAZING!
  6. This is for people who are getting MLP merchandise soon or want merch, whether they already own some or not. I currently don't own any merchandise, but I'm getting the Vinyl Collectible Figures soon; all of them. Well, at least the Mane 6. I'm getting them when I come back from vacation, which I'm very excited about, but I'm wondering what merchandise you want, or plan to get soon? Sorry if a similar topic to this had been created, I've scanned all the topic in this area of the forums and I couldn't find anything too similar to this.
  7. Ahhhhhhhhhh, good afternoon everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews." First of all, my apologies for not getting this review posted yesterday, I was feeling tired and under the weather by the time I was able to write it so it just wasn't happening last night. That said, I am glad I waited and rewatched the episode, because I now feel much better equipped to review this one than after my initial watch of it. Let's not waste anymore time dawdling about and dive right into "Rock Solid Friendship"!!! So this review will largely be broken down by character analysis because I believe you can best review it by analyzing the three main characters in it, Pinkie Pie, Maud Pie, and Starlight Glimmer. So to begin, let us start with Pinkie... in this instance, a bit of an elephant in the room. It brings me no pleasure to write this, but upon watching this episode twice I have to say that this was the worst that Pinkie Pie has been written in the show since "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" back in Season 2. Those of you who know me will recall that that is to this day my least favorite episode of the show, so yeah, this does not bode well. The good news is that this episode on the whole is MUCH better than that one, namely because, unlike in that episode, the majority of the characters here are not vapid idiots, completely inconsiderate, or just plain OOC. The bad news is that Pinkie is, and when Pinkie is written badly, she is written BADLY. Pinkie Pie when written as a stereotype of herself is unbearable, and it feels insulting to the character, like the writers have forgotten that, despite being as hyper and energetic as she is, this is a character who has grown so much since the show began. The perplexing news is that really she was only written terribly for the middle 11 minutes of this episode; she's actually alright in the first 5 minutes when the conflict is getting set up and the last 5 minutes when it's getting resolved, it's only when she's creating the conflict that she is horrible. This somewhat makes sense since the biggest reason she was written so badly was simply so that a conflict would exist in the first place (much like in "MMMystery on the Friendship Express") and it is not excusable here anymore than it was there, in fact, even less so since this is Season 7 Pinkie. Not only should she be mature enough by this point not to cause such a bad conflict, it just doesn't make sense for her character on a number of different levels. First, Pinkie Pie has never considered herself to be a "friendship expert," so why does she here? I could see Twilight having that problem, but Pinkie embodied the Element of Laughter from the start, NOT Friendship. She's the fun expert, all things party and social gatherings and get-togethers and jamborees, that is her schtick! Heck, just last week we even saw how this has been a part of how she's grown more mature; she's really got stuff that she's into down to a science at this point, like that list of every pony in Ponyville's favorite desserts, and that just makes sense for a character like her, she should be on top of stuff like that in an over-the-top way that somehow makes sense for her. I don't even care if you use the excuse that this is because it involved her sister, because that brings up yet another reason why her behavior here doesn't make any sense. When has Pinkie ever felt such distrust toward Maud? From the first episode that Maud was introduced, Pinkie has done nothing but adore her and seems to have complete respect for her! If anything else, Pinkie was probably the least aware of anypony else that there was anything unusual about Maud's behavior; she always loved Maud for who she is and never showed the slightest inkling that she understood that others wouldn't get her. Heck, what about what Starlight and Maud were doing together even made Pinkie think they weren't getting along??? THEY WERE FLYING KITES TOGETHER WHEN PINKIE STARTED FREAKING OUT FOR PETE'S SAKE!!! On top of that, she is Maud's YOUNGER sister! We know that Limestone is the oldest of the Pie sisters, followed by Maud, and that Marble and Pinkie are twins, so why in Equestria would Pinkie belittle her older sister like that by being so clingy, protective, and doing just the most boneheaded, obvious behavior in the name of making a friendship work out that could only lead to running it into the ground?! Heck, this type of behavior seems more suited for Applejack than Pinkie Pie, we've seen her go to over-the-top lengths for her family tons of times, especially being protective a ton to Apple Bloom. Again, I don't care if the stakes were that Maud might move to Ponyville, because Pinkie has never even shown that she misses her family so much that she'd do anything for any of them to live by her. I mean, I'm not surprised she was thrilled by the idea, but at the same time, I cannot justify any of Pinkie's behavior in the middle of this episode just because she really, really, really wanted Maud to move by her. So many forced jokes (Lyra is a rock, really Pinkie??? Even when you're losing it I can't believe you'd seriously try something so stupid), so many boneheaded attempts at forcing a friendship to happen, and most of all, an inexcusable and unbelievable lack of faith in her own sister knowing when she'd found a friend, or even being capable of finding one. I get the set-up, I get Pinkie wanting Maud to move by her. And to be fair, the second Starlight pointed out her problem to her (hilariously, I might add) Pinkie realized her errors and resolved to fix them. But that doesn't excuse that a conflict existed when it shouldn't have, and this conflict was very, very, very painfully forced to the detriment of Pinkie. It is especially painful at this point in the show when any of the Mane 6 are written badly in the name of forcing a conflict because it just feels like they are being regressed and infantilized in the name of making a conflict work, especially when supporting characters like Maud and Starlight are involved who DO know FAR less about friendship than the Mane 6 do. Pinkie should have been able to make a healthy contribution to Maud finding a friend, heck, SHE DID when she encouraged Maud to hang out with Starlight, but then for whatever reason the writers decided that she needed to have a hundred brain farts just so a lesson could be learned. It was bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, and I did not like it at all. Pinkie Pie, I'm sorry, but you get an F here, or rather, the writers who botched you do. If you want to see Pinkie Pie losing it in a way that is believable for her character, there are far better episodes to watch that have just that, like "Party of One." Good Pinkie Bad, bad, BAD Pinkie! Very bad!!! Like... just don't... at all... please. Anddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd... exhaleeeeeeeeeeeeeee. OK, rant over!!! Did you have fun everypony? Cause I sure did! OK, now that that is out of the way, onto the good parts of the episode. Because yes, unlike the irredeemable "MMMystery on the Friendship Express," this was a good episode all around. Not great, but good, and that is largely because the primary plot point, that being Maud finding herself a friend outside of her family, was executed quite nicely (outside of anything involving Pinkie Pie). First of all, it was pretty awesome and hilarious seeing Maud, oh I'm sorry, Maudalina Daisy Pie (which is amazing) getting her "rocktorate" that opening scene was just gold from start to finish, plus it's just damn cool that a kid's show would acknowledge the existence of doctorates as part of its canon and show a character actually earn one. But on top of that, Maud probably developed here more than she ever has as a character, and I liked that a lot. Really, it was necessary in order for her character to remain endearing at all, because just maintaining the status quo with her would be unbearable. Some of her bits at the beginning were confusing, like I have no idea how she wasn't slightly impressed by Twilight's Castle, even if it was just to be a joke. But all in all, the idea that she'd never found a pony who got her outside of her family was a good one and made sense (though I will ask how the Mane 6 don't qualify as friends for her? I mean, they seem to enjoy her, and they may not entirely get her, but they certainly seem to appreciate her for who she is, it's not like they just tolerate her, I mean, heck, Rarity was thrilled to see Maud and not just because she could help her find a gem!). Best of all, her interactions with Starlight were just plain fun, they had a very solid rapport with each other (I have some issues with some of it but I'll bring that up in Starlight's section). It was especially fun getting more of a glimpse of Maud's sense of humor, as well as insight into why she likes rocks so much while still coming to grips with the fact that rocks aren't enough for her, even if she does love them. I was happy that she's essentially living in Ponyville after this episode, and in a pretty cool new setting too, that underground cavern looked pretty snazzy (and hey, no rent, she basically got herself free real estate, unless of course she did have to buy the land, I wonder if that's the case, I mean, she clearly had to get it registered as a new address, we saw a mailbox there and everything). So even if Pinkie Pie was written so stupidly so as to make Maud look like the more mature of the two (which she was), that doesn't mean that Maud wasn't executed well, she was, very much so. Hopefully we'll get to see more of her around Ponyville now, cause when she and Pinkie have good rapport, they are awesome together. Finally, we come to Starlight, who was pretty solid as well. I have a few issues, but mostly with just some of the ideas surrounding her presence, not her execution here. First, that flashback connecting Starlight to Maud was as hilarious as it was deliciously evil; I have some problem with the idea that Maud wouldn't be concerned with pointing some pony to an object that could enslave others, BUT the execution was so good and snappy as a joke that I couldn't help but love it for what it was! As I said before, she and Maud have great rapport together and were very fun to see being friends with one another. It didn't feel like Starlight and Trixie do, where those two are clearly BFFs and Starlight very often has something to teach Trixie about friendship, this felt more like just a, ya know, friendship, where two individuals are just happy to share some interests with each other and spend some time together now and then. I like that because sometimes that's all a friendship is, just digging someone's company now and then, and I can also see that being the type of friendship Maud would desire. Although I don't exactly get why both of them said they didn't want to talk about feelings with each other when that's kind of exactly what they did when Maud explained to Starlight why she likes rocks, giving her insight into her own struggles with ponies, but whatever. The bigger issue I had with Starlight's presence was the episode never really explained WHY Starlight gets Maud. And really, why does she? Why does she get Maud and the other Mane 6 supposedly don't? As I said, I'm not quite sure why Maud doesn't even consider the Mane 6 to be friends. Does she think they just like her because she's Pinkie's sister? And again, what about Starlight makes her qualified to get Maud more than others? Sure they've both struggled with making friends, but for totally different reasons. Starlight just felt alone after Sunburst left her when they were younger, she never felt like ponies were judgmental about her. She has even today a fairly grounded and even-keeled personality, and I don't even get why she thought that liking kites was some kind of weird thing she should largely keep to herself (don't get me wrong, that bit with the kites was hilarious and I loved learning that it's something she really likes, but I still don't get why she acted like it was some big secret, I mean, they're kites, sure not everyone is into them but nobody thinks you're weird for liking kites, they're just bucking kites!!!). But overall, Starlight was fine here and had some great chemistry with Maud. I don't want the show to start having her befriend every major supporting character outside of the Mane 6, because I don't want her to develop her own Mane 6 and don't want the show to send some kind of message that "Starlight is better at some kinds of friendships than the Mane 6 are, because... reasons," but this one I can dig because it felt different from a lot of the other friendships Starlight has made. Overall, despite a few nitpicky issues, I really liked seeing little ol' Glim Glam here, and hopefully we get to see more of her, Maud, and their kites in the future! Oh, also, I completely agree with Starlight, jalapeno-red velvet-omelet-cupcakes sound terribly disgusting, c'mon Pinkie, what're you even thinking??? These two, I totally dig these two A few extra notes to wrap things up. What was up with that Rarity scene? Like, all of it. What was up with it? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy did Rarity freak out when Maud told her that all of the gems there were common gems? I figure Rarity might know more about gems by this point than even Maud, and it seems like in Equestria that gems grow almost as common as apples, so it seems like a ton of gems would be common. I mean, she couldn't bedazzle the s*** out of so many dresses if they weren't. On top of that, there were so many gems in that cave that how could they not be common??? I mean, it was literally covered in gems ground to ceiling, there's no way they could be anything but common! I don't know, this is a nitpicky point, but it bugged me, because if gems were supposedly rare, it seems like Rarity would rather sell them then go to the trouble of putting so many on dresses. But in this world, I've never gotten that impression about gems, heck, Rarity's not even the only one who puts them on dresses, that's how common they seem to be in Equestria, so I have no idea why she was on the verge of tears when Maud told her that, even if it was for laughs. Confusing scene overall and in the end it had no major impact on the episode. The bit with Lyra and Bon Bon, while obnoxiously stupid as far as Pinkie Pie's contribution goes, was pretty hilarious on their end. Lyra's terrified face was too funny and she just seemed so confused by what was going on (although oddly accepting of the idea that she was supposed to be a... rock, but hey, I guess that's just how scared ponies get of angry Pinkie), and Bon Bon looked so terribly annoyed at Pinkie (plus I'm not surprised that she wasn't taking any of her s*** either, I mean, she was a monster-hunting secret agent at one point). The return to Ghastly Gorge and seeing the Quarray Eels make another appearance were both cool callbacks to Season 2, though I refuse to believe that Maud wasn't aware they were there when she was looking into moving there, she's too smart not to have thought of that. "Find your own mint pony, ya pink menace!" Finally, most importantly of all, DERPY HOOVES, BEST PONY FOREVER AND GREATEST GEM THIS SHOW HAS GIVEN US TO DATE, made her first appearance of Season 7, and it was most enjoyable indeed! She first showed up when Maud and Starlight were in the market, just walking around, but then she had her own little bit when Pinkie Pie threw a pizza at her and she gleefully chased after it (hey, at least she got a free pizza out of Pinkie Pie's stupidity, that's more than most ponies can say in this episode about what they got from Pinkie's OOC behavior)! I look forward to seeing more of best pony this season, and cannot wait for Derpy's next appearance. I apologize for all of these upcoming pics but I just had to post this as a sequence... Ha ha, best pony has pizza and you do not, BE JEALOUS, FEEL ENVY!!! Overall, this was the first episode of Season 7 that, for me, was just good. It wasn't great, it wasn't terrible, maybe it wasn't even very good, but it was solidly just good, and given how bad Pinkie was here, it really should be commended for even being that good. I did care about what was happening, I liked what ended up happening, and ultimately something was accomplished, Maud has a friend and lives adjacent to Ponyville, good stuff overall, even if the road there wasn't entirely smooth. That's all I've got for you this time folks, until next time everypony, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit* HOLY S***, BUCK YES!!!
  8. Note: This review is for season 6 as a whole. Prepare for some rearranging and unapologetically unquoted copy-and-pasting. --- So, with season seven arrived, and since I did two others (one for S5, the other for S6's first half), why not for the entire season? Episodes Bottom-6: Newbie Dash: Easily the worst episode of the season and one of the three worst of the series. Rainbow Dash’s far more rational than to willingly force Scootaloo to take part in a task she should know she can’t do. On the other hand, she had every reason to feel the way she did; she’s incredibly sensitive to what people say and think about her, and for her idols to induce a trauma-triggering insult makes her feel justifiably hurt. Unfortunately, the script makes fun of her and shoots her down every time she becomes hurt. Once more, the Wonderbolts are assholes; when they call her “Rainbow Crash,” they don’t hint friendly banter, but nagging, which in turn worsens the training for the event. Ever single “nickname” was incompetence-laden and not verbally pleasing. Lastly, the moral of tolerating and embracing hazing (which governments have cracked down because people sometimes died in them) “because it’s good fun” is one of the worst of the entire show. On top of this, this is a milestone episode: Rainbow Dash officially joins the Wonderbolts. Joining the Wonderbolts has been her lifelong dream, which she stated midway in FIM, Part 1. It’s a major change in the status quo! If this was a common slice-of-life episode, then the quality of the writing won’t sting. But this is like Equestria Games or Spongebob’s Truth or Square: Newbie Dash reminds the audience that she’s joining the Wonderbolts and how important her dream is. You can’t separate it from this torture porn. You can’t skip this episode, because it concludes an arc. Magical Mystery Cure is nowhere close to this level of quality, and I eventually grew to appreciate and respect it more thanks to this trash. PPOV: What — the — hell? What do I have to say about this piece of shit! The characterizations of Rarity, Pinkie, and AJ are abonimable; even though they're angry at each other, they each crossed the line when they blatantly lied to both Twilight and Spike about what happened while giving the other two really mean characterizations. It was played really seriously that they may no longer be friends. Well, if they shit-talked about each other behind their backs, I don't know. Twilight's conclusion for this entire conflict is also hamfisted and doesn't actually solve what happened. PPOV has some of the worst characterization in the show; no one is worse than Applejack. She completely betrays her biggest quality as a character by bastardizing Rarity as an uptight diva and, to make it worse, Pinkie Pie as an idiot who can't tell what's the sky or the ocean. She may not always be the most honest, but at the very least she respects them! She's so out of character here. So pathetic. A reinforcement of how low she was written. She's much worse here than in Somepony. For a long time, I said Rainbow Falls is the worst written episode of the show, and maybe it still is. For now, thanks to its awful characterization, sucky "humor," and the most half-assed resolution of the show, I argue PPOV's worse. 28 Pranks Later: Only watched the first few minutes, and I'll never watch it ever again. Clearly, the people who worked on it had zero idea why Mare Do Well is objectively awful. It's like DHX looked at a couple of comments, added zombies to interest people, and that was it. Sure, they called her out at the castle, but it wasn't fully because of how cruel she was towards Fluttershy, but because her jokes were simple and "lacked effort." Dash's extreme jokes were partly their responsibility for encouraging her to do them and then just letting her perform them without any effort to stop her! Rainbow Dash takes part in the worst opening of the entire show. She pranks Fluttershy with dialogue suggesting she knows quite well that Fluttershy hates being pranked. This isn't like Mare Do Well, where she states, "I hate being alone" after the RM5 were cruel pieces of garbage. Not here; she's so out of character, I could fail this piece of shit even if the rest was good. But nope! Everyone in Ponyville decided that it was best to scare the bejeezus outta her by making her the victim of such an elaborate prank and make it so real that it'll scare Dash witless. What's more disgusting is, like Mare Do Well, the RM5 (and all of Ponyville here) are the GOOD GUYS! We're supposed to cheer when they scare her! This isn't something "true friends" will do! In my opinion, this zombie prank is crueler than MDW, because everyone went into such depth into it and carefully crafted it. And to make THAT worse, there's a really offensive "eye for an eye" moral (worse than MDW's), explained later in the review. This episode rips off MDW and is worse than MDW. I won't cut it any plainer. This garbage is intellectually offensive and potentially harmful to children. It deserves censorship. To Where and Back Again: MMC isn't good, but is nowhere near as bad as the haters make it out to be. To Where is worse. Starlight's reason for choosing Trixie over Twilight is out of character. She saw Trixie as a closer friend than Twilight even thought Twi and Star have much closer and better chemistry. If Starlight chose Trixie to move away from her level of comfort and feels more comfortable spreading to broader goals, why not. Her reasoning makes no sense. This whole two-parter is dependent on the rest of the season to show how far Starlight, Trixie, and Thorax have grown. Unfortunately, Starlight only took part when the show dictates it (including having her involved centrally in three — including the two-parter — following Tail), and Thorax and Trixie were each in one. TWaBA depends on their growth throughout the season and tries to convince the audience that they developed leading up to it, but they had little growth, no growth at all, or were poorly written leading up to it. Secondly, DHX tells the viewer that Starlight changed; she's NOT the character for DHX to stick to their "I-choose-to-follow-the-arc" habit. Unfortunately, she was written both poorly not written into the eps at all sometimes. Lastly, the other season finales showed how the main characters were kidnapped. Not only did DHX not show it here. There was ZERO explanation to how. Their kidnapping drives the entire story. What's the glue that holds the kidnapping and rescue missing together? HOW they're kidnapped. When the glue's missing, everything falls apart. This huge plothole greatly affects the story quality and is its biggest flaw. In short, show, don't tell. No Second Prances: This isn't unorganized, but it does have big problems, particularly in charcterization. Twilight and Trixie were on good terms after they split up in Magic Duel, but Twilight acted really out of character when she tried to sabotage Starlight's friendship with Trixie. Being very worried I can get behind, but there's no reason for her to get in their way and try to break them up. Then, you had poor characterization around, from Mrs. Cake freaking out at Starlight in Sugarcube Corner, Starlight forcing Big Mac to speak against his will (that "joke" sucked badly), and Celestia visibly acting like she doesn't want to be actually at Twilight's castle when she's much more polite than that. Confalone usually writes pretty good characterization, so poor characterization really sticks out. The climax implicated that Trixie was attempting to kill herself, while Twilight and Starlight watched. Guys, she’s attempting a trick she can’t do on her own, and she’s not in the right of mind. Do something the second she tries to enter the cannon! Flutter Brutter: There aren’t many episodes where it becomes very difficult for me to sit through at any point. Flutter Brutter eclipses Princess Spike as the most difficult. And the biggest reason is because Zephyr Breeze takes everything that I hate about a character and amplifies it. He’s a complete creep towards Dash, obnoxious, a combination of the diva and freeloader stereotypes, completely destroys his parents’ prized possessions with complete disregard for importance, and manipulates her friends just to get out of very simple tasks. Despite being a major hate sink, the episode flip-flops its tone to suggest that he deserves sympathy. If he was supposed to be so hateable like what some claim, then why did they write him to be sympathetic in the second half? If he was likable, not a stereotype combo, and actually tried his best to succeed, then his efforts when he does succeed will feel far more rewarding. On top of that, the morals (fearing failure and fearing his or her first step towards doing something) are fantastic, but attaching a freeloader stereotype to it to suggests that everyone who lives with their parents are as lazy as him when in fact it’s not even true. And the overall quality of this episode is such a shame because Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy are excellently characterized. Dishonorable Mentions: Stranger Than Fan Fiction, The Cart Before the Ponies. Top-6: The Times They Are A Changeling: The one big problem this episode has is the exposition, often coming in some awkward places. But everything else is done so right. Spike's strong, flawed, boastful, vulnerable, and brave when needed to. The episode hammers in how he's "The Brave & Glorious" in response to his heroics in TCE and Equestria Games (sometimes to a fault), but that doesn't change how he not just actually lives up to the title, but challenges those when he's confronted. During a series where his character comes at the expense of story quality, this was the second in as many where he was in character and likable. Thorax is fantastic, and in a show where the males are traditionally stupid, evil, jackasses, or many/all of the above, it's a refreshing change. But that's not what makes him a character. Like Spike, he has the strength, kindness, vulnerability, and anger when he has reason to. "A Changeling Can Chang" = S6's best song. And more importantly, this is an episode where, like Bridle Gossip and Dragon Quest before it, racism or xenophobia is the central theme. However, unlike those two, Times succeeds in every way. Due to past experiences, Cadance, Twilight, and especially Shining Armor have very real reasons to be wary of and hate changelings. (Only God knows what Chrysalis did with SA while Cadance was locked underneath Canterlot. *shudder*) Their hatred for changelings is treated as wrong, but the episode also sympathizes with them. Unlike DQ and BG, everyone came out of it for the better. Spike's best characterization as a character in the entire show. Best Spike episode, bar none. A Hearth's Warming Tail: Of the episodes in this list, it has one of the thinnest (albeit serviceable) stories, and one told parodied time and time again: A Christmas Carol. But FIM isn't merely a storytelling medium. It's a visual and sound medium, too. AHWT takes serious advantage of it with its amazing songs, incredible animation, humor when needed, and excellent set design. Applejack, Pinkie, and Luna are excellent choices to represent the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, respectively. Each song tells a story in themselves and helped progress the episode smoothly, especially Luna’s Future. The Saddle Row Review: Compared to the more-heavy-handed works over the past three seasons, this was a huge change of pace and the status quo. TSRR forgoes the traditional FIM formula and parodies the traditional reality TV format by cutting the story into the ReMane Six and Plaid Stripes answering questions from Buried Lede, who in turn writes a review for Rarity’s Manehattan boutique branch, Rarity for You. The sharp dialogue, lighthearted tone, and excellent timing of their jokes makes this episode one of the funniest of the series. To read more about my analysis of the comedy and dialogue, click here. The Fault in Our Cutie Marks: On Your Marks was a good follow-up to Lost Mark, but it didn't quite set up what the CMCs could do in their journey of helping others get the Marks is. Fault did that and did it very well. Everyone was REALLY good. Twilight was good as a tertiary character. But the CMCs continue to show why they're some of the best and the most consistent characters in the show. They try to help Gabby, but worry about disappointing and hurting her, because she seriously wants to get a Cutie Mark even though griffons can't. But they were able to tell her the truth, which in turn made all four come out of it for the better. Gabby, BTW, excellent. This episode establishes the lore that griffons never get Cutie Marks. But DHX decides to double down on it by not giving Gabby one. Sometimes FIM will stretch or break its own continuity for the sake of the story, but they stuck to their rules and created an excellent solution (craft her a tangible one). And the main moral — "There's no such thing as not being capable of having a lifelong goal or dream" — and secondary — "Not visibly showing their passion doesn't mean they don't love it" — are excellent and clever responses to their own lore and Ed's story theme. Gauntlet of Fire: The three main flaws in this entire episode are Garble still being a stereotypical (albeit much more threatening) bully, Celestia and Luna being plugged in as mouthpieces for exposition, and thrusting in Twilight and Rarity to merely be the vessels to force the audience into a reaction. Aside from that, the rest of episode easily overcomes the three flaws in many ways, particularly four huge strengths. Dragon Quest destroyed dragon lore, but GoF fixed it by making the dragon race competent and not a sexist representation of society. Spike, Ember, and Torch are really well written here. Instead of writing Spike as that usual “Spike-is-a-buttmonkey/idiot/scapegoat” role, Lewis and Songco treat him like an intelligent, competent character and use his strengths to both win the tournament and bridge the relationship between ponies and dragons. Neither concept of masculinity nor femininity are written to be better or more important than the other. Princess Ember and Spike have qualities considered “masculine” and “feminine,” respectively, but both sides of the conflict are treated as equally valid, and characters can still keep these concepts while still developing and understanding the other side. Instead of treating Dragon Land as being completely inferior than Equestria, the ponies and dragons are written to being able to understand and learn from each other. Viva Las Pegasus: Outside of The Cutie Map, all of S5's Map episodes were poor. S6's Spice Up Your Life has both a really good (Pinkie) and insulting (Rarity being completely OOC, Zesty = straw man). Fortunately, the other two Map eps this season are very good. This one, though, is the best. Flim and Flam? Hilarious. Gladmane? Hilarious and smart. The stars, though, are AJ and Fluttershy. One big problem with previous Map episodes is (with the exception of Griffonstone) one or both of the characters were flanderized, OOC, or pointless until when the time was right. Not here. Both AJ (easily her best episode of the season) and Fluttershy were on point. Even though they had to solve a friendship problem, their characterizations weren't sacrificed for the sake of the story. Burke and Wyatt understood them and took advantage. Secondly, they solved their friendship problems by predominantly using their strengths over their weaknesses, a refreshing change of pace. Sometimes when the villain is defeated, it's because he gloats like an idiot. Here, Gladmane gloats, but with reason. Flim, Flam, AJ, and 'Shy tried to dupe him into revealing his con, but he outwitted them. Fortunately, Fluttershy has Plan B: activating the intercom. Very nicely done backup plan. XD Honorable Mentions: On Your Marks, The Crystalling. S6 episode ranking (in order): The Times They Are a Changeling: A A Hearth’s Warming Tail: A The Saddle Row Review: A The Fault in Our Cutie Marks: A- Gauntlet of Fire: A- Viva Las Pegasus: B+ On Your Marks: B+ The Crystalling: B Top Bolt: B Dungeons & Discords: B Where the Apple Lies: B- The Gift of Maud Pie: C+ Every Little Thing She Does: C+ Applejack’s “Day” Off: C Buckball Season: C- Spice Up Your Life: C- The Cart Before the Ponies: D+ Stranger Than Fan Fiction: D Flutter Brutter: F No Second Prances: F To Where and Back Again: F 28 Pranks Later: F P.P.O.V. (Pony Point of View): F Newbie Dash: F --- Top-13 episodes (in order, updated): The Best Night Ever Crusaders of the Lost Mark Amending Fences Sisterhooves Social The Cutie Map Party of One Testing Testing 1, 2, 3 Pinkie Pride Suited for Success Lesson Zero Sleepless in Ponyville The Times They Are A Changeling Flight to the Finish Honorable Mentions: A Hearth’s Warming Tail, The Saddle Row Review, The Cutie Re-Mark --- Bottom-13 episodes (in order, updated): One Bad Apple Bridle Gossip Newbie Dash Dragon Quest P.P.O.V. The Crystal Empire Rainbow Falls 28 Pranks Later Princess Spike The Mysterious Mare Do Well Owl’s Well That Ends Well The Show Stoppers Putting Your Hoof Down Dishonorable Mentions: Boast Busters, Appleoosa’s Most Wanted, Trade Ya! Moral Bottom moral: 28PL: If one person acted cruel to you, it's a-okay to be more cruel back. When judging it on its own merits, MDW's moral of not gloating of your successes is fine, but is botched by poor execution. You can't do that here. 28PL glorifies people's lust for revenge and encourages people this. This moral alone is bad enough. FIM is supposed to teach kids lessons of friendship! Celestia forbid some kid takes this to heart and does something they'll regret! Newbie Dash's moral of hazing was awful, but is mostly accidental. Here, they're explicitly okaying the idea of revenge!! Fuck this moral!!! Dishonorable Mention: Even if what he or she says insulted you or hurt your feelings, as long as it’s in “good fun,” everything is okay (Newbie Dash). --- Top moral: Flutter Brutter: Sometimes the hardest part of your idea is your first move. You don’t know where it’ll go or if you’ll like it in the end. The fear of the unknown is real and valid. In the beginning of a Joy of Painting episode (originally thought to be from the 17th series, it’s actually from the early minutes of Snowy Morn in the 19th), Bob Ross decided to let go of his realistic approach to landscape painting: Often, people don’t know what to do before laying that brush on the canvas. The purpose of the painting is for people to relax, enjoy painting, and not be afraid to use your imagination. Their give is fearful, which represses their ability to lie out their ideas. It’s normal to have this fear. It seems like Zephyr not only feared failure, but also the unknown. Honorable Mention: If you have a passion, pursue it. There's no such thing as not having a lifelong future (Fault in Our Cutie Marks). New characters: Characters that appeared on screen prior to S6 (even when in the background) don't count, so no Sunburst, and so on. Bottom-2 new characters: Zephyr Breeze: Outside of Sunset and Radiant Hope, the series's worst character, period. Quibble Pants: A stereotype of "like-the-old-hate-the-new" superfans. Later, his intelligence is removed just to hammer in some humor and (even after all the blatant proof that this is very real) STILL believed that Cabaleron and the temple he and Dash were trapped in were still part of the con experience. Halfway through, they write Quibble (who's pretty intelligent) out of character. Dishonorable Mentions: Zesty Gourmand (A stereotype of critics and a straw character), Mr. Stripes (Sleazy and cookie-cutter, albeit funny, landlord). --- Top-4 new characters: Thorax: I already summarized why he's such a good character earlier, so I'll do it again. What makes him such a fantastic character is he's likable, three-dimensional, and human. He has his strengths, flaws, strong personality, and so on. Give people a good character, and they'll root for him. Princess Ember: An embodiment of a character with qualities society calls “masculine,” but not a character written to be flat or a stereotype of “masculine” people or characters. Despite not featuring any of the physical qualities of a leader Torch expects, she’s a dragon with intangible, tangible, and mentally strong qualities. People male or female can relate to her conflict and desire not to let her species/culture down. Gabby: Absolutely adorable. But despite being able to be great at everything, she's not a Mary Sue. Why? Because despite being good at everything, that isn't what her goal is. She wants to get her Cutie Mark and help spread the Magic of Friendship to whoever she bumps into and wants to hear. To her, a CM is a mark of not just pride, but evolution, too. Sky Stinger: He is a much better Zephyr Breeze. Is he cocky? Absolutely. But why is he cocky? Because he successfully achieved amazing goals to qualify for the Wonderbolts Academy…while having had no idea that Vapor Trail (a better flyer than him) directly impacted his performance. But when he was forced to face the truth, his whole world crumbled. But when he thought his dreams were over, he still worked hard in the Academy to exceed expectations. Honorable Mention: Vapor Trail, Tender Taps, Angel Wings, Coriander Cumin. Mane Eight (Spike and Starlight count): Bottom M8 character: Applejack. ADO was an all-around-average episode, but when she revealed her tedious method into feeding the pigs, she looked really dumb and incompetent. For the rest of the season, she went downhill. Each of the adults suck royally in Cart, but AJ was the worst by her blatant flanderization (constant focus on tradition), acting like a complete idiot, and treating Apple Bloom like shit. And if that's worse, she was one of the ponies responsible for convincing AJ to "put more effort" into her pranks. And to make THAT worse, she blatantly lies to Twilight with sexist/classist and ableist interpretations of Rarity and Pinkie, respectfully. Some of her worst appearances in the entire show come from this season, PPOV being the worst of all-time. Dishonorable Mention: Rainbow Dash. --- Top M8 character: Spike. Give me less episodes with higher-quality roles than a character who surfaces so much with more average or poor roles. Spike’s lone bad role this season was his usual buttmonkey status in Newbie Dash. Other than that, he had his best season. The Crystalling, Gauntlet, Tail, Times, and Dungeons & Discord are all episodes with respectable roles at worst and excellent roles at best. Gauntlet and Times are by far his best roles and best episodes of the entire show. Honorable Mention: Fluttershy (the only other solid character that season). --- Full M8 rank (in order): Spike Fluttershy Pinkie Pie Starlight Glimmer Twilight Sparkle Rarity Rainbow Dash Applejack Moment: Bottom-3 moments: The Wonderbolts reveal to insulting her out of “good fun.” Seriously? Seriously?! The Wonderbolts pull this shtick on her, rub it in her face to remind her not to screw up, and they had no idea that the more she heard it, the worse Dash became. And at the end, they reveal that they do it to everyone. Protip: Just because everyone does it and others have worse insults than “Rainbow Crash” doesn’t dismiss the Wonderbolts of their insolence! Even if you’re a part of a fraternity, you’re entitled to not tolerate abusive subcultures. Yes, the WB are a military, but guess what? I don’t give a damn. The fact that the WB revealed this and the moral implicating a tolerance for hazing is dangerous to kids! Zephyr destroys her parents' prized possessions. If there's one moment to officially call Zephyr become the show's worst character, this is it. He destroyed his mom's flowers and father's cloud collection without any shame. All he cared was lying his lazy ass on the couch without even doing as much as readjust a picture frame. Simply destroying an heirloom accidentally can trigger lifelong guilt. To repeat it, Zephyr destroyed them intentionally. Rainbow Dash pranks Fluttershy. To repeat from earlier, RD targeting her completely contradicts continuity dating back to Griffon the Brush Off (Pinkie reminding her not to prank her, which Dash listened). 28PL not only didn't give a shit about continuity; it doubled-down with dialogue by Dash suggesting that she KNEW her friend hated being pranked and went after her, anyway. Dishonorable Mentions: Starlight and Twilight watch a suicidal Trixie enter the cannon moments after breaking their friendship up, Quibble Pants states that the tiled organization is something only "a true fan can appreciate," Applejack lies to Twilight and Spike about the ship accident, Fluttershy's rant (while giving the audience grotesque facial expression) in Buckball Season. --- Top-3 moments: Spike standing up for Thorax. The little dragon had such an amazing season with such great moments, but this one tops them all. Think about how important this is to him as a character. Equestria and the Crystal Empire royal family hates the changeling kind for understandable reasons, but Spike not only befriends one, but also stood up for him in front of Cadance, SA, Starlight, Twilight, everyone. He willingly sacrificed his reputation to stand up for him and do the right thing. "NO SPOILERS!" TSSR is a comedic genius. Rarity's hilarious line foreshadows the rest of the episode's hijinks. The CMCs tell Gabby she can't get a Cutie Mark. On the surface, this moment is completely crushing to Gabby. She seriously believed she was going to get one, only to find out the hard truth. This moment is heartbreaking, but it's heartbreaking for the right reasons, and the heartbreak helps lead to the excellent moral later. Honorable Mentions: Vapor Trail tells Sky Stinger the truth, Spike interrupts his tale to continue searching for Sunburst, Fluttershy outs Gladmane, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie join "Guys' Night" to conclude Dungeons. What I want for Season 7: Stop shitting on AJ, Rarity, and Dash! Nuff said, McGreevy! Better development for Starlight, and don't do it a couple of times within about eighteen episodes. Remember, she's a good guy now and part of the mane cast. Skipping several episodes and hoping the audience will buy into thirty seconds of vocal babble only treats the audience (including kids) like kids. Don't. Steer clear from the stereotypes, and better research your material. To C&P from my S5 review: And as for researching, please understand your implications! I dictate it far too often why unfortunate implications hinder this show to the point of it being part of my reputation here. As always, less dogshit episodes and more awesome ones instead. More quality consistency, please! More attention paid to the pacing. Crafting good exposition is a work of art. DHX, you ain't that good at it. We as people are more programed to pictorial visuals, so they have more inherent impact than words. To show us respects kids and the medium of animation as a whole, and it helps impact the pacing, too. More good new characters. Like every season, there are poor new characters. However, season six didn't have that many. Whatever characters were introduced, they were perfectly fine for the most part. Sunburst, Tender Taps, Ember, Gladmane, Vapor, Plaid. Even Flurry Heart's decent. More good new characters, the better this show will be. More episodes of the characters at their best. One huge change of pace in Season 5 was its lack of reliance of the characters overcoming a flaw within themselves. Pinkie Pie, Rarity, the CMCs, AJ, and Twilight all used their best qualities as dominant vessels in the conflict to solve a problem. When the episode isn't good, they're the highlights. Gauntlet and Viva did that, too. Each of the Mane Eight have strengths; put them into good use more. Verdict: While S5 is the crème de la crème (including three of the five best episodes), S6 is among the bottom. Personally, I have S6 a little below S3 as the worst. There are three really great episodes, but none of them are among the ten best. Meanwhile, when S6's episodes got bad, they were REALLY bad. Many mistakes from last season weren't just repeated. New ones were added, including ripping off older episodes with a lack of understanding of why they worked. Newbie Dash: the worst status quo masher of the series. Lots of characters feel less developed and become more flanderized and/or OOC, Rarity, Dash, and AJ the worst offenders. Such a shame, too, because it went off to its best start since Season 2. Overall, a disappointing season. Hopefully, season seven fixes things.
  9. Good afternoon everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews." Today we've got the first normal episode of Season 7 proper, following the two season premiere episodes, and I'm very pleased to say that this was a delightful episode indeed. That's particularly important for the third episode of a season because, in past seasons, I've noticed that very often the third episode of any given season very much sets the tone for the general level of quality one encounters or can expect to encounter throughout the season. This was definitely one of the best third episodes of a new season the show has had in some time, so without further ado, let's begin. This is "A Flurry of Emotions." Hi, I'm Batbrony, and this is Flurry Heart... welcome to 'Jackass'!!! Alright, so the most important aspect of this episode was the first really full-episode feature of Flurry Heart since her first debut in "The Crystalling" last season. While I found her to be perfectly harmless when she first showed up last season, there were a fair number of bronies who, to this day, weren't too crazy about her. They thought she was just there for the sake of having an annoying baby character and weren't crazy about her being an alicorn either, and I always thought that was a little unfair to her as a character, even if the threat she presented in her debut was a little ridiculous. That said, we didn't really get much else of her after those two episodes, so the show hadn't really given her defenders much of a chance since then to really justify her existence. Today I'm glad to say that that has been fully rectified with this episode. Flurry Heart was not only even more adorable and hilarious than when she first showed up, but was also still believable as a young foal while clearly having grown and developed (at least by baby standards) quite a bit since when we saw her in her debut when she was only days old. She has long-term memory now, better control over her magic, and even something of a personality, and given the passage of time since she first appeared, this all makes sense. But despite these new additions to her, she still behaved as a foal her age should, and what we got was a foal character that felt very natural and well-put together. I was also very impressed that the show didn't try to pretend like Flurry Heart even had to learn a lesson here; oh sure, Twilight lectured her at the end, but that was largely just to calm her down in the moment because, well, she's a baby still and can only learn so much at this point in time. Overall, I thought that Princess McFlurry was an absolute treat to watch this time around, and Tabitha St. Germain's splendid voice work on her did not hurt in the slightest either, hay, I'd even say it was a better job than her first time around! So all in all I was very pleased with how Flurry Heart's return went, and I do hope we get to see more of her going forward (although I should note that I really hope the show at some point lets foal characters actually get older, because it makes NO sense that the Cake Twins are still around Flurry's age. Heck, the first episode of the season pointed out why it makes no sense; Celestia mentioned that it has clearly been years since the show started in Equestrian time, and the Cake Twins have been around since Season 2, WHEN ARE THEY GONNA GET OLDER IN THE SHOW?! But I digress). Oh, also, before we move on, if you thought this show couldn't find anymore ways to jam-pack adorableness into a 22 minute episode of MLP, then you were quite pleasantly surprised by how cute this episode was. I mean, come on, take a look at this! Sweet Celestia, that's A LOT of cute!!! Anyways, moving on we come to the main character of this episode, Twilight. Through this first three episodes of this season, I've actually been quite pleased to find that the lessons that Twilight's been learning don't seem to be (1) redundant for her, or (2) something she should have learned already. I bring this up because last season, while an excellent season all around, had quite a few instances of characters in the Mane 6 learning lessons that they really should have known by that point in the show, and oftentimes they came off as either jerks or stupid because of it. Now while it may still be early in the new season, the fact that Twilight has been handled so well in the lesson department is an encouraging sign, to say the least. Both lessons make sense as being ones she might have to learn at this point in the show. She'd only just gotten used to being Starlight's teacher last season, so obviously having to let a student go on to her next step in life was something which she'd never done before and needed to learn how to do. Likewise, in this episode we see that Twilight still has a lot to learn about being a responsible aunt, especially when she doesn't see Flurry Heart all that often, which can make it easy for her to just want to be a fun aunt for the young filly, but as we saw today, she doesn't have much experience with full-time care of a foal that age, much less a relative, and couldn't just try to squeeze her into her already packed schedule. A foal Flurry's age needs 24/7 monitoring and care, and Twilight clearly underestimated how hard that'd be to do in this instance, especially while trying to juggle other responsibilities. But like I said, this did not seem like a Season 1 or Season 2 Twilight problem, I could totally buy that she'd need to learn this now. And the best part of it all in execution was that she learned it as the episode went on, not just all in one bunch at the end. Season 1 or Season 2 Twilight would've tried to grin and bear it from start to ugly finish, maybe even deny until she absolutely couldn't any longer that anything was wrong at all. But this is Season 7 Twilight, and by the time she got to the hospital, Twilight was already readily admitting that this day had gotten out of control and was quite the nightmare already, that she'd bucked up. She was just trying to make the best of it at that point and get through the rest. The only difference in the hospital scene was that Flurry finally caused enough of a disruption that Twilight needed to calm her down quite a few notches and admit to Flurry that she couldn't and shouldn't keep trying to drag her to all these places and just keep her off to the side. It wasn't fair to Flurry, nor was it fair to the ponies Twilight was supposed to be helping or who were going out of their way to help Twilight, as evidenced by the toy store clerk, poor Cheerilee (whose mouth must just reek of chalk now, poor earth ponies and pegasi with no digits or levitation magic), and Pinkie Pie in Sugarcube Corner, along with the hospital staff and the sick fillies and colts at the hospital. All in all, while not the deepest of lessons, I still really liked it just because I didn't mind that Twilight was learning it since it all made perfect sense. Twilight's got a lot of experience in a lot of things at this point, but one thing she still doesn't have too much experience in is being a responsible aunt to her alicorn niece. Very good lesson and very good characterization of Twilight. Off to supporting characters, we had quite a bunch of good stuff to go around. First, Spike was awesome. I've really enjoyed his rising maturity levels over the last 3 seasons now, and I feel like mentoring Starlight to a certain extent (in a big brother kind of way, even if he's younger and smaller than her) has really contributed to that. He's much more confident in his ability to have a situation under control now and he's still Twilight's #1 assistant as always, if not even better than ever, and here he just wasn't messing around. He knew the second Twilight proposed letting Flurry tag along that it'd mess up their entire schedule and he also knew that wasn't a good idea for many reasons; sadly, because Twilight needed to learn a lesson and (more likely connected to show canon) because Twilight still has a bad habit of not usually listening to Spike's advice until it's too late, Twilight did not listen, but still, Spike was very enjoyable all the same. He didn't seem too phased by Twilight not listening to him, which means he's either getting used to it or was just perfectly happy to watch everything blow up in her face instead. He also had some fun bits with Flurry Heart, like this bit with the Cake Twins where Flurry and Spike desperately tried to intervene to no avail and get the Cake Twins to stop fighting... "You see this s*** going on over here, dragon-dude? Mannnnnnnnnn, it's not good!" I mean, c'mon, how funny is that s***? Besides Spike we had a very fun subplot with Princess Cadance and Shining Armor, and I must say it's about damn time. We've really only seen these two as a couple during season premiere or finale episodes, usually in the middle of some kind of a national crisis, so I was very gratified that we finally got to see these two, extensively, JUST as a couple doing couple things as they tried to get an afternoon to themselves to get a break from Flurry Heart. Even better, I loved very much that the show was very real in that they went to something, an art show, which neither of them were particularly crazy about, but it was better than nothing at all and Twilight just happened to be in Ponyville too, so it worked, because that's just how much they needed a break from parenting a foal this age. That was delightful in its accuracy, as I've heard of many a parental couple who get to a point when they have a young baby that they're willing to do anything if it means they're out of the house and get a day or an evening of a break from their parenting, even if it's not something they really like! What was even more fun was the art show itself, namely because of Spearhead, Shining Armor's old Royal Guard buddy. This guy was a blast! As I said earlier, he's that rare type of "dude-bro" who, rather than being insufferable, was kind of awesome and hilarious; he wasn't full of himself, he just loves being a dude bro in every sense of the word, and I totally dug that. His approach as an artist as well really worked for me. Not the pieces themselves, but I kept seeing throughout this thread people commenting that they thought the writers were being snarky about modern art and people not liking it. I think that's true to an extent, but I think it changed when Spearhead came in. I don't think the writers were critiquing modern art, I think they were critiquing how some modern artists insist that their art have one interpretation alone. THAT is what makes modern art really insufferable; not so much what it looks like (even if much of it is nowhere as impressive as classic pieces of art) but the idea that such vague and general art can only have one interpretation, which some insufferable modern artists do insist. Spearhead here, however, made his art very accessible for others by insisting that enjoying his art was all about his patrons interpreting it as however they wished, injecting meaning into it that meant something to them. His art meant something very specific to him, but he wasn't going to begrudge others having it mean something else to them, but rather encouraged it. For such a seemingly simple character, and in a subplot no less, this was actually quite a nuanced and subtle message about how to appreciate art no matter what form you encounter it in. For that, I have to give major props to the writers on such a well-written and fun new character. I doubt we'll see more of him this season, but I wouldn't complain if we did, Spearhead was a blast! You're cool in my book, Spearhead, you're cool. Dude-on mah dude-bro! To close out the supporting characters we had some fun appearances from Nurse Redheart (I seriously can't remember the last time she had a speaking role, and it was fun seeing her softer side this time around as opposed to when she made herself Pinkie's mortal enemy when the Cake Twins were born), a new toy store clerk who absolutely unloaded some sass on Twilight about proper organization (and yes, I loved it ), Cheerilee who, as I mentioned earlier, got quite the shaft from having to write all those equations on a chalkboard all over again with the chalk in her mouth (but hey, at least Twilight is getting her apology cookies), but I do love getting to see Ponyville's favorite teacher getting small little bits like that now and then, really helps further bring the town alive when the supporting and background ponies there get to play more active roles, and finally a really funny scene with the Cake Twins and Pinkie Pie in which Flurry Heart had the most adorable, failed attempt ever at trying to teach the Cake Twins how to share (I'd count the hospital scene but there were so many background and supporting characters there that none really stood out aside from Redheart, and I guess we learned what the horsey hives are as well). All in all, for a single episode, it was a pretty darn solid one as far as activity from supporting characters goes. Besides that, I don't have too much else to mention. The animation as usual was lovely and I continue to appreciate the experimentation we continue to see the animators engaging in, ESPECIALLY in some of the faces they throw into the show (which I should also credit the storyboard artists for considering that's where a lot of that starts I'm sure). I mean, get a load of this face, can you even imagine seeing something like this in Season 1 or Season 2? That's hilarious... OK, one more Perfection Besides the facial animation, I was quite impressed by some of the magic animation in this episode, it was unusually ambitious for a slice-of-life episode. Think about it, we had not one but two very powerful magic users (three if you count the few times Cadance used magic, but she barely did here), oftentimes using magic at the same time and sometimes on the same things, and one of them was also an infant, which meant that the magic had to look as though it were being employed, to some extent, by a baby who doesn't entirely know what she's doing all the time. Very impressive, if I do say so myself, and it's hard to believe we've gotten all the way to this point in their magical animation since Season 1. There was also a pretty neat reference to the G1 villain, Grogar (considered the second most evil G1 villain behind Tirek) in the story Twilight was telling to the fillies and colts at the hospital, but whether anything else comes of that remains to be seen. He may be a canon character who shows up at some point, but for right now he's at the very least a fictional character in Equestrian lore, if not an actual historical one, we don't know. If something more comes of that, it'll be very cool indeed that they mentioned him earlier this season. Overall, this episode was a blast and a very, very, VERY solid third episode of the season, which bodes well for the entirety of Season 7. I can't wait to see what comes next, but for now I'll settle for rewatching an episode as immensely enjoyable as this one. This has been another edition of "Batbrony Reviews," everypony! Until next time, everypony, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off! *cue dramatic exit*
  10. Good evening everypony, and welcome back to another edition (and a brand new MLP:FiM season) of "Batbrony Reviews"!!! Tonight, for the season premiere, I'm in the unusual position of having to review two episodes that were not a part of a single story arc. Yes, for the first time in the entire running of MLP:FiM, DHX decided not to have the opening be a massive two-parter where the girls had to battle some threat to all of Equestria and... frankly, this change was probably a season overdue considering that last season's opener (while delightful) involved the Crystal Empire being threatened by a newborn alicorn. Yeah, it's not easy coming up with new threats to all of Equestria on a seasonal basis (especially seven seasons in), much less twice a season, so frankly I'm quite happy they finally decided to do this. And it worked really well since the first episode pretty much picked up immediately from where the last episode in Season 6 left off (and the closure it brought to such a momentous event in Equestria as relations getting normalized with the Changelings was very gratifying to see). But enough of my introductory ramblings, let's get to the real meat of my review... which is mostly me rambling. This is "Celestial Advice" and "All Bottled Up"!!! Awwwwwwwwww, giant wing hug, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! So starting with "Celestial Advice," this episode was important and needed for a number of reasons. As I said, we got really good closure following the Season 6 finale, in particular seeing Starlight and her band of friends hailed as heroes (in many ways it was a fun and silly contrast to the Season 2 "Star Wars" celebration for the Mane 6 in the season opener, particularly because Starlight's group is nowhere nearly as tight as the Mane 6 were by that point and probably never will be since the only two who see each other on a regular basis are Starlight and Trixie). That entire scene was executed very nicely; I was particularly pleased to see such a wide array of Equestrian citizens and their closest friends and allies mingling in the same spot, including the reformed Changelings and Crystal Ponies (though it was odd that neither Princess Cadance nor Shining Armor were there, though I'm guessing that's going to be explained in next week's episode based on the preview for it). But it was also important because Twili- ah screw it, no more beating around the bush, CELESTIA GOT SOME DAMN MEANINGFUL SCREENTIME!!! Wowwwwwwwwwwww, you have no idea how great it was to write that. And seriously, I'm holding off talking about anything else good about this episode until I get this spiel about of the way. First of all, this is what I had to say about Celestia's treatment in Season 6 (and pretty much since Season 4) in my Season 6 review: Oh me oh my, why can't poor Celly get any love on this show it seems? Between time and time again being incapable of actually solving a national crisis (a plot device that seems a bit tired at this point, I mean, it was ridiculously easy for the Changelings to capture both her and Princess Luna, buck, all of Equestria's royalty was bucking useless in that so I can only hope that that was one bucking stealthy operation the Changelings launched) and just disappearing for stretches at a time, this character just can't catch a break these days. Let's not forget that there was a time in this show where pretty much EVERY MAJOR EVENT revolved around Celestia to some extent. She was the main catalyst in sending Twilight to Ponyville and getting her to regularly learn lessons of friendship and report them to her, she bucking made Twilight a princess for crying out loud, and she's supposed to be her dearest mentor, and a mentor and leader to all ponies. Needless to say, since the end of Season 4, that has not been the case and it is NOTICEABLE!!! This is a character who is simply too big in her importance to both the show's setting and main characters to be ignored the way she has the last two seasons by the writers without it coming off as ridiculous. SHE CONTROLS THE BUCKING SUN FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, AND YOU'RE TELLING ME THAT THE HIGH POINT OF HER SEASON WAS A GAG ABOUT HER BEING UNAMUSED IN "No Second Prances" IN WHICH SHE DIDN'T EVEN SAY A BUCKING WORD?!?! It's too much, at this point, it's simply too much. Many of us in the fandom have long been asking for more Celestia, going all the way back to the early seasons, but instead she just had her worst season ever and this NEEDS TO CHANGE!!! She needs an episode next season, to put it mildly, she simply does. Nicole Oliver for one is too good in this role to ignore, but back to the character herself, this is a character that deserves better! Princess Luna has rightfully had a character arc across all six of these seasons, Princess Cadance has even had a character arc and sometimes major appearances in episodes (even if she maybe hasn't ever faced a friendship problem, unless you count "The Times They Are a Changeling"), but Princess Celestia, the sole ruler of Equestria for 1000 years, STILL DOESN'T HAVE A SOLO EPISODE?!?!? BUCKING RIDICULOUS!!! Writers, at this point I'm just begging for anything, anything at all. A fun little slice-of-life episode, maybe about a day in the life of Celestia or a romp with some other character on some random adventure, more about her and Twilight's relationship, maybe a look into her own mind and what her own fears and insecurities are, SOMETHING, ANYTHING!!! But the show simply can't keep ignoring such a big character without it coming off as a major flaw, and until that changes, until Princess Celestia finally gets the proper attention she deserves in the show, even in just one episode focused on her as an actual main character, it will remain quite possibly the biggest long-standing flaw of the show, and it's a shame that a season that was so strong for the most part in its handling of new and old supporting characters was so marred by such a glaring absence. Andddddddddddd... exhale. OK, it appears that the show runners at DHX have taken note of this... GLARING problem, to say the least. As you can see, Celestia's been getting the shaft, and the entire show was going to keep getting brought down for it if such an important character was continually treated so poorly. NOW, I am not yet letting them entirely off the hook because this was NOT a solo-Celestia episode. BUT she was more or less the season opener's deuteragonist, and that is much more than she has been in any single episode for a long, long, long, long, long, long, long time. So for that, major props DHX, I can only hope you're going to build off of this solid foundation of Celly-love and not just let it be a single bone thrown her way. Anyways, yeah, Celestia was great here (and it should be obvious from the title alone that she'd be a major character, I mean, ya know, "Celestial Advice" and all). This is a Celestia I've wanted to see in the show for a long time, with a combination of new character elements we learned about her along with old staples about her that we already loved. The second Twilight asked her for help, I already felt like the show had entered a comfort zone it hadn't been in in a longggggggggg time, too long, in fact. Frankly, it was just nice seeing the show do something it doesn't do enough anymore; have the main characters go to their elders for help. I know some people may be like, "Well, it's cliche or old fashioned," but come on, the main character of this show has a mentor who's over a thousand years old and has ruled Equestria, the greatest country in the entire show, most of her life in relative peace and harmony. The fact that she had barely sought her advice for any major decisions or friendship problems, onscreen, since pretty much becoming the Princess of Friendship (there were exceptions, but not enough), was not just criminal from a storytelling point of view, but stupid, ridiculously stupid. Too often for some time now either the characters have easily learned most lessons on their own, OR Twilight has taught them; I know the former is easy enough to accept for most friendship problems in this show (especially for the veteran members of the Mane 6), and that the latter makes sense in establishing Twilight as the Princess of Friendship in actions and not just in title, BUT come on, surely they could have found more for Celestia to do before now. Anyways, yes, Twilight asking Celestia for help and advice not only made sense, but was great to see, especially in getting to contrast how Celestia is as a teacher to Twilight vs. Twilight as a teacher to Starlight. "I was not aware that I was an expression." Best bucking line in the entire premiere!!! She really just forgot which kitchen her cake was in that day Most of the time Celestia was just calmly listening to Twilight, and when she spoke, it was only because she knew exactly what she needed to say, no more, no less (aside from an innocent joke here or there). Considering how many ponies she's ruled and helped in all her years, this makes a lot of sense; it's probably hard to phase Celestia with much at this point, and she knows the value of hearing all that you need to know before speaking one word. Twilight on the other hoof, when it comes to Starlight, is always either worried that she's not doing enough to mentor Starlight or doing too little. She's not the OCD wreck she used to be, but she will always have a natural inclination to have all her ducks in a row in any professional activity as Princess of Friendship, that's just who she is. An interesting Star Wars analogy occurred to me in thinking of this trio of ponies today: Celestia is very much a Yoda to Twilight's Obi Wan, the former serene and having the utmost confidence in both her students and how she teaches them, while the latter is obsessed with mastering and practicing and perfecting every last bit of whatever it is she's invested herself in to the fullest, and then again, and again, and again. Twilight too is Obi Wan to Starlight's Anakin, but that analogy works in a different way that I'll discuss later. Besides of course knowing exactly what Twilight needed to be told, Celestia gave us some wonderful backstory on both her buildup to sending Twilight to Ponyville (a decision that evidently took her quite some time, most likely months given both the obviously difficulty with which she made her decision as well as the fact that getting the library secured for Twilight must've involved at least some paperwork) and what she was experiencing emotionally in making that decision. She was as afraid for Twilight as she was herself, because it was clear that at that point, Twilight was one of her closest friends (though I got the feeling that Twilight probably didn't think of it in the same way at the time, more like at best a maternal, but first and foremost regal, mentor considering how little she understood about friendship at the time), and she had no way of knowing if somepony as close to her as her sister could truly be saved even after she returned. She had big plans for Twilight already, and unfortunately for her, those plans meant letting the wonderful status quo of having such a wonderful, dear friend by her side almost constantly come to an end. It was great seeing how painful and hard that was for Celestia, and added a level of vulnerability to her we've only rarely gotten to see. And of course, the experience allowed her to tell Twilight with the utmost confidence that part of being a great mentor in anything is knowing when your students are ready to cut loose on their own, no matter in what or how painful it may be for the mentor or student, or even downright scary. All around, I couldn't have asked for a more solid start to the season for Celestia, but that said, she still needs a solo episode at some point, so stick to it DHX, and hopefully you'll deliver just that this season. AHA! BEHOLD, THE RETURN OF TROLLESTIA, BOW BEFORE HER, MORTALS!!! As for the rest of the episode, it was all good stuff. Twilight's increasing, OCD paranoia about what could happen to Starlight on her own was hilarious, and the lesson she learned and actions she took as a result was great too. As far as I can tell, Starlight (while still living in Ponyville, which, given how quickly she decided to do that after they set up so much her getting sent away, felt like a bit of a cop out, even if I was happy for it) is no longer directly being mentored by Twilight about friendship. She'll still live in the castle for the time being, but there appears to be no fixed agenda for her, she's just going about learning how to be a better friend and maybe helping teach others along the way in her day-to-day business. Hopefully this means she might get paired with other members of the Mane 6 besides Twilight, because I would like to see her grow closer to the other Mane 6 individually, though I get the feeling that a huge portion of her adventures this season will be with Trixie. Basically she's kind of where Twilight was at somewhere around middle-to-end of Season 2 or Season 3, at least I think she is. Dat's racist Dat's... also racist. Man, Twilight has some deep-seeded racial insecurities, doesn't she? Discord, while hardly a villain, was quite a good troll here in setting off Twilight's latest freaking-out episode, and it was kinda nice seeing him for the most part just lightheartedly screwing around rather than making himself constantly the center of attention. He felt, oddly enough, like a more normal member of that crowd. The reformed Changelings were adorable and hilarious (though Thorax's voice really doesn't work with that beefed up new look, just doesn't sound right coming out of him), the Mane 6 had some OK bits, the animation was just lovely, Starlight and her friends were great, Spike was once again a low key voice of reason, and all in all everything here just worked. Very solid opening episode, I very much enjoyed watching how everything played out in this one. Moving on to "All Bottled Up," the lesser of the two episodes, but not by much. I still thoroughly loved it very much, and for good reason. It still felt very much connected to the first episode in that here, we got to see what kind of life Starlight is beginning to make for herself now that she's no longer directly reporting to Twilight on a regular basis. It seems she's starting by trying to teach her best friend, Trixie, how to be better at magic in general (since, to be honest, Trixie could stand to improve by quite a bit). This actually presented quite a few contrasts between Starlight and Twilight that I rather enjoyed and which fit very much into how we've seen both of them develop as characters. Going back to the Star Wars analogies, Twilight is the Obi-Wan to Starlight's Anakin in the magical department in the sense that, as far as we know, Starlight's the more powerful of the two when it comes to raw power. Let's keep in mind that when Twilight battled her in Season 5, Twilight was an alicorn and had (and probably still has) more book-learning about magic than Starlight did, and yet somehow Starlight stayed on par with her. Twilight is the learning obsessed master of technique who's greatest skill in mastering anything magical is doing so by practicing it 200 times a day and just getting it down to a T. Hence, Obi-Wan. Starlight, on the other hand, seems to have greater raw power and while she is still probably even in power with Twilight, the fact that she is as a unicorn is ridiculous to say the least and goes to show just what kind of stuff she's made of. While Twilight's calling is clearly as the Princess of Friendship (and that certainly involves plenty of magic, especially since friendship is probably the most powerful magic in Equestria, literally), Starlight, I get the feeling, may eventually go into a more explicitly magical field. I just don't see her being a friendship teacher in the same way Twilight is. As far as friends go, Twilight was not a natural leader to begin with. She was a recluse and anti-social, so it makes sense that like everything else, she taught friendship when she got into it like a project that she had to master through as much study and repetition as possible. Don't get me wrong, she's a great friend, but there are many ways in which she still approaches friendship as she has from the beginning, and it's for those reasons that she's the glue that holds together a group like the Mane 6. Starlight, on the other hoof, IS a natural leader it seems, or at least we have seen that she possesses the will to be. Her problem with friendship was insecurity, not disinterest, and there will probably always be a part of her that fears that she could hurt others if she isn't careful because of her past mistakes. Hence, I foresee her never having a Mane 6 group like Twilight, and frankly I'm OK with that. The show really doesn't need such an arrangement for any reason, it would come off as tired and lazy, and it just doesn't fit Starlight. She will have friends, but unlike Twilight, her closest friends won't be a big group that all are dear to each other as well; her friendships are going to be fewer and far more personal to Starlight, one-on-one so to speak. I mean, to date, it seems that her three truly closest friends are Trixie, Sunburst, and Spike, none of whom are friends with each other in particular (not in the same way at least). Trixie is her best friend, Sunburst is more of a very close childhood friend, and Spike is like a combination of mentor and little brother. Twilight is a super close friend too, but more as a mentor, and to this day you always get the sense that ever since the end of Season 5 Starlight's been kind of in awe of Twilight and in no way considers herself to be on the same level as her as a friend. What I like about this is that it highlights that there are all kinds of different ways to have friends in one's life (something the show has highlighted many times, but this is particularly noteworthy since it's main characters we're talking about). Some people have a solid group like Twilight and the Mane 6, others have few friends but super close ones like Starlight and Trixie. Valuable lesson to be taught, even if it was only in the background here. So the actual lesson was pretty great too (if a bit obvious). Starlight was literally bottling her anger at Trixie because she feared that if she blew her top at her, Trixie wouldn't want to be her friend anymore. This was a little confusing because I'm pretty sure they've had spats before of some kind, but it largely worked because, just like some of Twilight's early friendship problems in Season 1 when she knew little about friendship, Starlight too is still super cautious when it comes to aspects of friendship that she doesn't understand. The idea that getting into a fight with your best friend is OK was clearly bizarre to her, and Trixie's ego probably didn't help convince her she'd take Starlight being angry at her OK. But in the end, doing so only made things worse, and Starlight and Trixie were able to come to an understanding that sometimes, friends need to be brutally honest with each other, and even if they fight as a result, that doesn't mean things won't be OK between them in the end. A good, if simple, lesson, but it got the job done. The real highlights of this episode were the entertaining bits, and boy were there a lot. Trixie was insufferable (even more than usual) in this episode, but hilariously so (her predilection for junkfood seems to be becoming something of a running gag, and I nearly fell out of my seat when she birthed an Eldritch horror in that teacup poodle and insisted that a bag of pretzels were a suitable replacement for homemade teacupcakes... twice). It's nice to see that certain aspects of her personality haven't changed, that her magic is getting better (though there are still things she just bucks up for the strangest of reasons... I think she might be a magical klutz), and hopefully she might even start embarking on more of a character arc than she has to date as, possibly, a developing main character! Pffftttt, OK, in all honesty, she kind of needed a nut cart to be thrown on top of her at some point in this episode... which thankfully happened. Cheeky little bastard used up about 50 too many of her Get Out of Jail Free cards. Also... DAT'S A LOTTA NUTS!!! Spike was very solid here; I love seeing him as now the most low key member of the main characters, and his rapport with Starlight remains fun to watch as he throws out good advice to her here and there, but nowhere near as pushy as Twilight would. Also, his terror of Trixie's magic and her wanting to use him as a teleportation guinea pig was hilarious. The Mane 6's subplot (while largely pointless) was pretty funny. I loved their assistant who clearly knew who they were and just didn't give a buck because he most likely gets paid two bits an hour to do this s*** all day for whoever comes through, and his pleasure at their two second failure at the end was amazing. The song they sang was pretty standard, but was amazing payoff as a joke set up earlier by Starlight that they'd most likely sing a song at some point; really, it was just that standard because the show was being self aware in that moment how cliche this is (there really was no good reason that the girls would sing a song about something so banal as beating a fun puzzle game), and the best part of all was the fact that they sung that song in real time is what kept them from beating the course record. Amazing payoff to a greatly set up joke, and it's great to see that the show runner's still have no problem poking fun at themselves and their beloved show now and then when it's warranted or just in harmless fun. And finally, Bulk Biceps, Granny Smith, and that... new townspony, whoever she was, were all hilarious, both before and when they got possessed by Starlight's bottled up anger. If I had any complaints, it was simply that we've never seen Starlight's anger manifest as a magical entity, and probably won't ever again, so where the buck did that actually come from here? But other than that, this was a pair of lovely episodes to kick off what will hopefully prove to be another wonderful season of MLP:FiM. Join me again next week everypony when I review the next new episode of Season 7. Until then, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit*
  11. It's a different dimension. Lauren and her succeeding minions have chosen to give a sibling to one of the other Mane 6 that isn't Twilight Sparkle. Ignoring the obvious changes and complications it would have for everyone's favorite wedding episodes, if one of the other Mane 6 were to have a sibling suddenly be introduced, much like how Shining Armor was with Twilight, which pony would it be, and what would the sibling be like? For me personally, the thought of Rainbow Dash having an older brother appeals to me, as a head-canon concept. She's a loose cannon most of the time; she's competitive, brash and can have an inflated ego. Ergo, I can imagine her having an older, more mature, cool cucumber of a brother who tries to keep her in check, attempting to keep her on as short a leash as possible best he can when he's around, to various levels of success. All for her best interests of course, to make sure she doesn't overdo anything, or accidentally hurt herself. I can also completely see her getting flustered and embarrassed at any and all affection or talking to's he attempts, as she thinks she's 'far too cool' to be seen being hugged or scolded in public Eh, just seems like it'd be an interesting relationship. How bout ya'll? Can be any of the mane 6, even those who already have a younger or older sibling. Just brainstorming and discussing, here ^^ Being a hypothetical version of the show, each of the mane 6 don't 'have' to still have the siblings they have in the real show.
  12. I made a video talking about my thoughts on upcoming seasons and when pony should come to an end. DISCLAIMER: I do make some jokes that some people would consider offensive, just keep in mind that they are jokes and I do not mean anything by them.
  13. I watched the MLP S6 finale one day. I got bored the next day and made something. Is this an epic coincidence or what?
  14. Do you think there could be too much fandom influence in the show? You know, with the memes and such.
  15. Art Trade I did with Tangle. Her OC Mintyheart.
  16. Have you noticed that sometimes sports teams sell merchandise with famous cartoon characters on them? Like you would see Disney characters or Looney Tunes, among others pretending to be members of a popular sport team. Well I was thinking: What if they did that with My Little Pony? Somehow I can imagine them selling stuff like: -Pony figures in the team's colors with the team's logo as the cutie mark. -Pony plushies with them dressed in the team's uniform. -T-shirts and sweatshirts of the ponies as fans or players of the team. -and other stuff. One problem though is that sometimes they do this for only a select few teams. However I feel they should do MLP sports merchandise for: -All 32 NFL teams -All 30 NBA teams -All 30 NHL teams -All 30 MLB teams -Several NCAA teams. What do you think of this idea?
  17. Two old-ish pones I found. First one, Blue Charm, owned by Blue-Charm on Deviantart. And a pretty old illustration of Fluttershy. Before I had my fluffy style. XD
  18. Lunabelle saving a kitty :3
  19. Drew StarNote's oc as an art trade.
  20. Since I call the ponies little marshmallow floofs I decided to make a character which I named Marshmallow Cloud.
  21. First dragon pony I drew yesterday. Noxious Heart.
  22. Two new OC pones XD First one, Little Raindrop Second one, Sneezy Firefly
  23. Hello just wanted to say mlp s7 is coming and there are even leaks on eqd of episode names plus the movie this year is getting kicked off to a good start also one other thing these people keep saying the show is bad ever since s3 but i dont think so why do people keep saying this its so annoying i have high hopes all the time for this show and they just tear me down
  24. i have a question is is possible for our fandom to reach a higher peak then in 2012 i mean i thought anything is possible i was thinking if the movie was good season 7 was good eqd specials were good and other things like what idw is doing could that bring in more fans
  25. Just when things were getting slow we finally get some new info on the movie plus this new sleek version of the logo! Looking pretty sharp, eh? But that isn't the most important news to break from Variety today as they are also reporting that Zoe Saldana is now part of the MLP Movie! Starring in such films as Avatar as Neytiri, the Star Trek movies as Uhura, Guardians of the Galaxy and more according to her IMDb page. The star power is really adding up, I just wonder what part she will play? Thanks to the countless folks for sending it in!