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  1. And he got biz-zay! It’s a whole family of Supers Scots! What happens Three armies arrive at Aku’s tower, one army of tanks, one army of rhino-riders and one army of statuesque red-headed Scottish warrior women. These are led by the Scotsman, Jack’s old buddy… now literally his old buddy. Although he is now grey-haired, one-eyed and wheelchair-bound, the Scotsman hasn’t lost his pep, and is delighted to have found Aku’s lair. After seeing what his daughter is wearing to the battle, he tells her and the others to cover up, producing a mass groan of “Da-aaaad…!” They obey him and cover themselves, promptly to uncover themselves again as the Scotsman gives the order to charge. The tanks and rhinos advance and launch missiles at Aku’s tower, while the Scots charge, the Scotsman's wheelchair being pushed by Scottish Daughter #1, Flora. Inside, Aku demands to know what all the noise is, and is told by his computer’s voice – no doubt on loan from Invader Zim – that he is under attack. Unzipping his vid-window, Aku is delighted to see some enemies he can crush – which he does, literally; he shapeshifts into a ball and simply rolls over the first two armies. Miley Cyrus, eat your heart out! Seeing this, the Scotsman realizes that the attack was foolhardy and instructs his daughters to run for it while he distracts Aku, who is aiming to complete the slaughter. The Scotsman taunts Aku, calling him a scared baby hiding in his crib, terrified that Samurai Jack is still out there inspiring people to resist him. Aku cuts him off by way of laser eyebeams, leaving behind the Scotman’s skeleton for a moment or two before it crumbles to dust. Aku is satisfied at first, but then gets depressed again at the reminder of the Samurai and goes back to his tower. The Scottish Daughters mourn the loss of their father and pick up his broken sword as a memento, but then his ashes stir and the Scotsman’s ghost appears. The Scotsghost is delighted to note he is back and back in his prime, no less. His answer to his marveling Scottish Daughters as to how this is possible? Why, Celtic magic, o’ course! Magic runes, laddie! All them fancy eye beams will get ye nowhere! The Scottsghost vows to raise another even bigger army and to find Samurai Jack to lead them. Meanwhile, Ashi and Jack are still on that island. Ashi has a vision of the High Priestess urging her to complete her mission and kill Jack, but she argues with it instead, saying she wants to know the truth. The HP accuses her of always being the weak one, but the vision ends. Ashi then gets to ride on Jack’s giant snake… wait, let me rephrase that… Jack summons a sea serpent to swim them to the shore, and says farewell to Ashi. She continues to follow him, however, and when he stops for the night, she demands that he prove to her that he is the good guy and Aku is the bad guy. Jack refuses, not believing she is able to let go of her long-infused hatred enough to accept the truth. She is angry at this, and makes as if to leave, but Jack changes his mind and tells her he will prove that he is telling the truth if she follows him tomorrow. Ashi lies on a rock looking at the sky and asks if it is true that Aku made the stars, but Jack tells her the fairy tale that his mother taught him about two children, Sun and Moon, who rode a phoenix and shot arrows into the sky to make the stars. D’aawww! Who’s a cute little anthropomorphic representation of a heavenly body? You are! Yes, you are! The following day, Jack and Ashi travel to a field of jagged rocks with a single tree. He tells her that this field used to be covered with those trees, but Aku destroyed them, leaving but one left as a taunting reminder of what he had done. Seeing she is still not convinced, Jack takes her to a space port, where a gang of exiled criminals have just docked. An official of Aku allocates them land that is already occupied by innocent, peaceful people, and it is implied the criminals will simply dispose of them when they land. The two end up in a village that has been destroyed, and all the children kidnapped. Ashi is finally convinced of the truth of the evilness of Aku, and they attempt a rescue, but the children have been given implants that allow them to be controlled and turned into an army of mindless beserkers. Jack tries to fend them off while Ashi tries to locate the controlling device. She does, but is trapped and electrically tortured by the operator while the children continue to attack Jack in a frenzy, who is unable to fight effectively due to his need to hold back. Ashi manages to free herself, knock out the operator and shut down the machine. This causes the children to “short out” and collapse. Jack, horrified that he and Ashi might have killed them all, gives a scream of denial and slumps down. The Apparition appears and tells Jack, “It is time.” Jack simply agrees, and walks off into the green mist. Meanwhile, Ashi comes back down to find the children lying there. She cradles one of them and is delighted when the child stirs. The rest start waking up as well. Overjoyed at their triumph, Ashi looks around for Jack, and is anguished when she can’t find him. She starts calling for him, for the very first time using his full name. Annnd… WATCH OUT! Thoughts on the Episode Huzzah! for the return of the Scotsman! I always did like that guy, and although I knew he would reappear (Thanks, Internet, for spoiling that! #sarcasm), it did me good to see him still fighting the good fight. Not a smart fight, mind you, but a good fight. And boy howdy, are his little swimmers strong! Every one of those Scottish ladies is his daughter. His poor wife! I assume she has passed by this point, since he doesn’t mention her. Classic cranky old father behaviour when he harangues them all for dressing like “ye was going to a dance!” and making them cover up, however briefly. Tension breaking moment of humour there, I like it, I do like it. The Scotsman is just hilarious in general, though. Seeing Aku effortlessly plough through two armies… “Ye know what, this was a bad idea!” Gee, ya think? Now all we need to complete the roster of awesome is for the Guardian to return. Aku claims to have destroyed all the time portals… but I think he missed that one. Because Jack has to go back to the past somehow, and that portal was the only one that came equipped with a prophecy. Although how that vision of an older Jack defeating the Guardian gels with the current situation of Jack’s current status as the Ageless, we’ll have to wait and see. Anyhoo, previous Season tangent ahoy! Gotta get back, back to the past present! I’ll admit my flabber was ghasted when the Scottsman was blasted. My gob was thoroughly smacked. After waiting so long to see his return, I felt it was a very unceremonious, nigh ignominious death. I mean, I know Season 5 hasn’t been puppies (with laser-beam eyes or otherwise) and rainbows (on fire or otherwise), but that seemed rather bleak even for the darker and bloodier tone the new episodes have got going on. Sheesh… Luckily, he soon comes back as the Scotsghost, so that turned out all right. Speaking of ghosts… while we don’t get a HJ appearance, we do get the Apparition… and boo yah! I was right about him being some sort of “Jack joins his ancestors in death” deal. In the wake of the “death” of yet more innocents, this time children, and believing himself partially responsible, Jack finally agrees it’s time to leave this cruel reality, shuffle off the mortal coil, join the Choir Invisible, pine for the fjords, yeah, you get the idea. I’m not quite sure I feel about that. Yes, Jack isn’t exactly a paragon of stability these days, but to just assume that all the children had died without even checking to make sure seems a step a little too far. With such good writing as we’ve been treated to up to this point, this particular development seems forced. I guess it ain’t SJ S5 without a cliffhanger ending. And the operator’s speech about “children are gullible and therefore easy to control”, while ironic in being delivered to Ashi, doesn’t really make much sense given that, y’know, the village kids are literally being controlled. It’s not at all the same situation as Ashi’s. Those nitpicks aside, though, this episode was fine. Perhaps not quite as engaging as some previous episodes, but Ashi is now on the side of right, Jack is off communing with his dearly departed, the Scotsghost is raising an army and things proceed apace towards their conclusion. And just one more review to go before we’re all caught up! Will Ashi find Jack? Will she have to remain behind in the world of the dead in order to send him back to the land of the living? Will Batman ever get rid of that bomb? Questions, questions! Please leave comments, commendations or condemnations below, if you consider that course congruent with your conscience. Chocolate chip cookies, you’ll have to send by courier. Stay sunny side up!
  2. I’m getting a sinking feeling that the theme naming of these entries is going to become harder to pull off... and speaking of sinking feelings, let’s check in with Jack and Ashi! What happens Jack falls from the sky, hitting a few branches on the way down that slow his descent enough for the snow to cushion his impact and save his life. When he regains consciousness, he leaps up in panic, swinging a spear around in case of attack (STOP! Hammerspace! ...Oh, God, I’m old…) The only creatures in sight are some crows, and Jack calms down a bit. He notices a blood trail, and follows it to find Ashi, lying as if dead. The crows begin to caw at him, Jack hearing it as a chorus accusing him of murder; in defiance, he shouts back that it was the Daughters’ choices that lead to their death, ending the latest hallucination… but not the last one we’ll see in this episode. When he gets close to Ashi’s “body”, she leaps up and attacks him with her sausage-onna-bun sickle-onna-chain (actually, the former is generally considered to be more lethal than the latter). However, on her own she is quickly defeated and left dangling wrapped up in her own chain again. She verbally lays into Jack once more, but when he just stands there watching her swing, she eventually runs down. Jack tells her she is confused about the respective locations of Jack and Aku on the spectrum of morality, and muses that he has met machines programmed with Aku’s lies and hate, but never a human. Ashi is having none of it, however, having been warned by the High Priestess that Jack is deceptive. Tricksy and false, precious, yesss. Their “conversation” is interrupted by a colossal worm devouring them and half the nearby landscape. Even while falling towards the monster’s maw, Ashi is still trying to cut down Jack, which pretty much just annoys him at this point. She knocks herself out on some of the floating debris, and Jack grabs her as they enter the body of the creature, Jack slowing their descent with his feet. After setting her down, Jack rests for a bit, only to hear joyous laughter from an awoken Ashi, who praises Aku and rejoices that Jack has finally been defeated: they’ve both been devoured and are in her opinion already dead. Jack replies that he has been inside giant beasts before and escaped. A group of large bugs approaches, and Jack uses the chains still wrapped around Ashi to make her into a backpack, to her annoyance. Presenting: AshiUshiro! Stylish and practical! Get yours today at your local GIANT WORM! She still tries to sabotage Jack, even as he fights, but a glancing blow from an enemy knocks her unconscious. Jack defeats the monsters and escapes further into the kaiju. During a rest period, Jack hallucinates some more (I’m getting tired of typing that word at this point), having a conversation with a British-sounding puffball and then HalluciJack. HJ scoffs at him for “getting involved” again with Ashi, and reckons that he should just give over trying to convince her to join his side and simply leave her to her own devices. Jack notes that Ashi is resisting him not because she is inherently evil, but because she’s been fed lies her whole life; she’s essentially an innocent victim. He also blames himself for the situation, since he never found a way to defeat Aku and return to his own time. While Ashi watches Jack argue with himself, another kind of bug monster abducts her, and Jack is forced to rescue her. Then back on his back she goes as the journey continues. Various scenes of odd Parasites Of Unusual Size ensue, until Jack and Ashi find themselves close to an exit from the monster (That’s good!)… pity it’s located over a pit of acid. (That’s bad.) However, various flying creatures are in the same area. (That’s good!) But so is a giant predatory flying fish. (That’s bad.) Barely avoiding the predator, Jack and Ashi are shot out of the exit, escaping the kaiju and landing in the sea. Luckily, there is an island nearby. Jack drags Ashi to it and then sits down to rest and recover. Ashi, seeing him with his guard down and his back turned, manages to find her sickle and creeps towards him. However, a ladybug suddenly flies past. Ashi remembers the High Priestess crushing one that found its way in the Cult's cave, and notes that this one lands on Jack's hand. He simply smiles and lets it fly away. Comparing his behaviour with what she has been taught he is like, she finds she is unable to kill him. She drops the weapon and hugs her knees while she contemplates and… SHE DOUBTS! Thoughts on the Episode I laugh at Ashi and Jack’s first conversation. “You are very troubled…and very confused,” indeed. It’s a minor laugh in a rather dark season. In retrospect, the whole getting swallowed thing was ultimately fortunate for Jack. Actions speak louder than words, and Jack’s continual heroism in keeping Ashi alive really hits home for her in the end. Not to mention the ladybug scene. Throughout Ashi’s appearances, there’s been one aspect of her nature that is highlighted: her curiosity. Curiosity is the bleach to indoctrination’s mould. A curious person asks questions and their eyes (and minds) are open, so they are the hardest to pull the wool over. Once she saw that Jack’s actions gave the lie to the picture of him she had been painted, she found it impossible to hold to her belief in his evilocity (Yes, I know that’s not a real word, just go with it). Of course, while she can’t simply kill him out of hand anymore, she still doesn’t fully trust him. She’s simply considering the new information she now has about him. While Jack is quite right about her being a victim of a slanted worldview and therefore blameless, he doesn’t seem to have extended that logic to the Daughters he has already killed. Or perhaps he has, and that guilt is just hidden. Will we see Jack having hallu – grrr… visions of the Daughters in a later episode? Perhaps he reasons that despite their innocence, at the time he had the choice of him or them, and can lay the blame for their deaths at the feet of whoever raised them to hate him. Questions, questions. Obligatory HalluciJack cameo is obligatory. Quite strange how he notes that Ashi has disappeared before Jack notices. Is HJ really a product of Jack's mental strain, or could it be somehow independent? A ghost Aku cursed him with that tries its best to get him to just "end it all"? I'm probably overthinking things. Jack inside a giant monster: been there, done that, got the furry-back armour. Still, Ashi is now at least entertaining the belief that Jack isn't the evil she was told he was, so the interlude didn’t happen without reason. We are moving right along to the reappearance of everyone’s favourite Celtic warrior, so I’ll see you in the next episode, and don’t forget to stay sunny side up!
  3. Here we go with the second episode of Season 5, featuring the first fight between immortal wandering Ronin Jack and the team of warriors dedicated literally from birth to slaying him, the Daughters of Aku. Things are going to get interesting... What happens The first part of this episode allows us to catch up with an old friend: the Shapeshifting Master of Darkness, the Emperor of Evil, the Shogun of Sorrow… the one, the only, AKU! After waking up, while dealing with dirt-tracking delegations and socializing with scheming scientists, Aku tries to brush aside any mention of the Samurai, saying he no longer cares whether Jack is still running around, and sinks back down out of sight. In actuality, though, he is very much in despair and depression over the issue. He has a conversation with a psychiatrist version of himself, lamenting the fact that his plan of destroying all the time portals and letting old age defeat Jack for him has backfired so horribly, since Jack no longer ages. Special Offer: Two LARGE HAMS for the price of one! He wonders idly if there is not someone out there who will take care of the whole having-an-immortal-mortal-enemy-thorn-in-his-side issue for him. Cut to Jack, as he is ambushed by the Daughters, who wreck his bike and attack him with such speed and ferocity that he can barely even track their movements as they hit from all sides. In the melee, he loses his Tuning Fork Sword to one of his attackers. Pressed to his limit, he manages to use a belt of grenades as a smokescreen and hides under a metal dome (wreckage of a giant robot Jack easily defeated earlier in the episode) as it begins to rain. And enter HallicuJack – a version similar in appearance to Jack as he had been in previous seasons, his hair still neatly tied up, clean shaven and dressed in his signature robe. Jack and HalluciJack have an argument as HalluciJack claims that these new enemies are too strong for him, and he should just give up. Jack responds that his opponents are only nuts and bolts; he has been in seemingly hopeless situations before, but then finds a way to survive. HalluciJack counters that that was when he still had his sword, and further states that he just wants this to end and that their ancestors are waiting for him to join them. Jack sees the Apparition again, but behind it, he sees the entrance to a temple. Ignoring HalluciJack’s certainty that he’ll be killed before he reaches it, Jack sprints for the entrance and its promise of safety, the Daughters soon following. Jack goes to ground in the darkness, but rather than searching for the needle in this temple haystack, the Daughters instead hide themselves to lure him out. After a period of stillness, Jack attempts to sneak out again, but can’t avoid encounters with the Daughters. Eventually, he runs into a giant cavern filled with sarcophagi and the remains of an unknown Warrior King and his armies. He keeps them up his sleevies… Jack hides in one of the sarcophagi, and the Daughters regroup in order to stalk him. After a tense game of hide and seek, Jack is discovered and the fight resumes. Finally, the last of Jack’s armour is destroyed, leaving him clad only in a loincloth. He manages to gain some distance and runs desperately through the corridors seeking escape. One of the Daughters (the one who took his Tuning Fork Sword) cuts him off, but with only a single opponent to face, Jack manages to take it back and in one swift counter-attack, slits her throat. Her mask falls apart, revealing the face beneath. Jack is horrified to realize that what he thought was just another machine was really a human being. He also discovers that she managed to stab him with her own dagger in the last moments of the fight. Bleeding heavily, Jack drags himself towards the end of the corridor, leaving a long smear of his own blood on the stone. He uses the Tuning Fork Sword on the walls of the corridor, and falls into a fast-flowing river, just as the temple explodes and partially collapses. Jack floats face down in the water, bleeding aaaand… WATCH OUT! Thoughts on the Episode Savvy readers may note that the summary makes no mention of the white wolf fighting the tigers. I left it out because one – it interrupts the flow of the summary unnecessarily; and letter number B – I feel it didn’t add anything to the episode itself. I know that the wolf’s story parallels Jack’s own struggle against the Daughters, and that the wolf himself reappears in the following episode, but symbolism for its own sake, particularly blatant symbolism, can be distracting and actually detract from a story. And I think it kind of did here. Also, we know Jack will survive, so showing the wolf apparently dead after the battle with the tigers doesn’t even work as misdirection. Still, these are relatively minor gripes. Back to the episode itself. Yay! Aku’s back, too! And we get to see his take on the whole situation, which is “yup, this sucks”. The psychiatrist version of Aku is pretty funny, seemingly being more eloquent than Aku himself, even though it doesn’t make that much sense, considering it IS Aku himself. While the original voice actor of Aku, Mako Iwamatsu, unfortunately is no longer with us, the new guy, Greg Baldwin (thanks, IMDB!) does a pretty good version… not perfect, but then, Mako was one of a kind. I had kind of hoped that Aku would remain unseen for a while longer, to make his eventual return to the small screen more impactful, but since we already heard him on the phone, I guess him being The Ghost in this season wouldn’t make that much sense. Greg Baldwin has bills to pay, too, you know. This scene does serve to give a bit of light humour amid the rather dark tone of the rest of the episode, so there’s that, I guess. This episode being mostly a running battle with Jack against the Daughters, there isn’t much to talk about apart from the HalluciJack scene (a rather darker mirror of the earlier Aku segment) and the hide-and-seek scene, so let’s go over those. The fact that the Apparition appears when the HalluciJack part of Jack mentions suicide firms my opinion that the Apparition is the representation of Jack’s desire to end it all, which he struggles against. There’s a bit of libido / destrudo dualism there – while the word libido has been co-opted to mean “sex drive” in common parlance, it’s probably more accurately described as the desire for life, as opposed to the desire for death – and making an external representation to portray an internal struggle is pretty common in fiction. Stinker HalluciJack is going to be a fixture from here on out, though, so we’ll have a chance to discuss him again further down the line. The scene with the cavern and the Daughters hunting Jack down is simply wonderful, and perhaps the best part of this episode – the music ratchets up the tension beautifully (the music is almost too beautiful) and Jack’s terror is highlighted here, but I do have one or two questions. First, I didn’t quite understand the firefly bit. Does that represent Jack’s fading hope the closer the Daughters come, or did the firefly somehow lead them to him – which doesn’t make sense since it was inside with Jack. Secondly, exactly how do the Daughters all gravitate to the correct sarcophagus, if the firefly was inside and didn’t lead them there? Any explanation would be welcome, since I don’t quite understand that part. The final fight with the single Daughter provides us with the non-robotic reveal, and reaffirms Jack’s superiority – while outclassed by the Daughters as a whole in this episode, one-on-one he is still the better warrior. In fact, the final stab the Daughter gets in probably would have been avoidable had Jack not been in a blind panic and already at the tail end of his strength from the previous fighting. This scene also cements the tone shift by actually presenting real, red, non-oil blood being spilled for the first time – on both sides. We’ve seen Jack get scratches now and then before, but actual messy, bleeding abdominal stab wounds is a first here. It’s done so suddenly that the blood is legitimately shocking on first viewing. Well, unless you’ve been watching the previews or adverts, it would be. It’s fortunate for Jack that the sister he faced had his TFS: convenient coincidence is convenient. Another honourable mention for the scenes fought in darkness, lit up only when steel strikes sparks. It’s simply beautiful to watch and gives an idea of just how skilled the fighters all are… just not quite skilled enough on the Daughters’ side, as the above paragraph demonstrates. Overall, despite some question marks, the second episode of Season 5 is pretty solid. The Daughters are set up as a legitimate threat to Jack’s life, his continual struggle with pushing himself on despite having little hope and running more on pure stubbornness to survive than any kind of end goal helps us identify with and root for our favourite samurai, and there is even a little comic relief from everyone’s favourite Architect of Annihilation Aku to keep the mood from getting too bleak. And that was episode, still bringing the thrills. I’ll be back to give my thoughts on the next episode real soon. Complain or compliment below, you know the drill. Stay sunny side up, y’all, and remember to WATCH OUT!
  4. Very recently in a close-by land...A wish really did come true... Yes, cartoon fans, Samurai Jack is back on the grid! A mere 13 years after the series was left in limbo, a final ten-part conclusion is airing. Jack's back, babe! And he is sporting a new beard, a new ride and a new attitude. It's beau coup cuckoo, babe! Skeeeee-dee-bab-bab-boo! (That's scat speak for SPOILERS AHEAD, YO! - and those spoilers will cover more than just the first episode - you've been warned!) What Happens The first episode of the new season begins with a trio of aliens (rather cute anthropomorphic dog-ant hybrids of some sort) running from Aku's minions. The three (either a mother, daughter and babe-in-arms, or a big sister, little sister, and a babe-in-arms, or some combination of those - does it really matter?) are quickly surrounded by the robotic bugs. Thinking this the end of the line for them, the two eldest each give a final message of "I <3 you", using their antennae to spell it out. All of a sudden a warrior in samurai armour riding a motorcycle appears and quickly lays waste to the robotic bugs, using spiked wheels, a staff/spear/trident thingie and even various guns. During the fight, his mask gets destroyed, revealing a familiar face with a distinctly unfamiliar amount of facial hair. "Jack" "?" signals the middle child. After defeating the final attacker, the Jack rides off wordlessly, with the grateful middle sister signalling "Thank you!" to him as he leaves. The intro plays... we get a voice over from Jack (Phil LaMarr reprising his role as the eponymous samurai) stating that "Fifty years have passed..." He also mentions that he has found that he is not aging and expresses his despair that Aku is choking the past, present and future. Despite the bleak overtones, Jack's final words show he is still determined to succeed... "Got to get back... back to the past... Samurai Jack!" The new season wastes exactly zero time in clarifying that it aims to be far darker than previous seasons, with a silhouetted scene of a woman crying out in the throes of childbirth. As each of the seven children is born, they are held up by the Cult of Aku and then placed on a altar. The high priestess (also the new mother of the seven - how she can bare to stand up and then doesn't die from blood loss, I have no idea) pledges the seven daughters to Aku's service - specifically to kill Jack, thereby succeeding where all others have failed. The next scene is Jack riding through a bleak desert (no symbolism there, no indeedy) and then finding himself in the Running of the Leaves. Shouldn't that involve actual running? He sees a column of smoke in the distance, but decides to ignore it. He comes upon a stream, and refreshes himself. He is soon disturbed by visions of his father, mother and his people, crying out to him and asking why he never returned to save them from Aku; accusing him of leaving them to die. He then sees a mysterious ghostly apparition of a warrior on horseback wearing samurai armour, which finally scares him enough to run towards the smoke. Stopping to make camp, Jack finds the visions returning in even greater force when he rests, pushing him to make haste. In an odd example of Time Dilation Story-telling, we see the Daughters of Aku training as they grow from toddlers to young adulthood. One of them in particular (named Ashi) stands out... first by making a mistake during the martial arts training (and being told that one mistake = death), then by sneaking away to gape at the beauty of the world outside their conclave enclave cave while the others face off an Amazonian fighter of their order (which scene incidentally provides us with the central tenet of the Daughters' training and indoctrination: Aku is a powerful and beneficent creator and the Samurai is an evil monster who seeks to desecrate what Aku has created - the jury's still out on whether the Cult as a whole believes this, or if it's just a convenient way of instilling a wish for Jack's demise into the Daughters). Later on, a teenage Ashi almost falls off a pillar, just managing to hold on with one hand. Another sister attempts to help her, but is stopped by the High Priestess, who states that "the weak have no place with Aku". She then grinds her staff on Ashi's hand and demands "Are you weak?!"... to which Ashi gives a kiai yell and then regains her footing and pushes on... to the approval of the HP. Back in modern day, Jack finally reaches the smoke, and finds an entire village (more like a city) in ruins, its now-dead inhabitants sprawled everywhere. As the smoke clears, the perpetrator is revealed... a robotic assassin who introduces himself as Scaramouch the Merciless (plus a tithe of titles too tiring to type). He exhorts Jack to take out his ka-ray-zee sword, and is delighted to discover that Jack no longer has his sword... a quick flashback reveals that it fell into a pit (presumably) many years ago. Scaramouch attempts to contact Aku via phone to relay this vital info, but Jack puts the kibosh on that by throwing a kunai at the phone and then firing a few Consecutive Normal Punches at Scaramouch's face. Unfortunately, Jack is not Saitama, and Scaramouch manages to recover and gain some distance. Scaramouch uses his magic flute to animate the rubble into a golem to attack Jack. Jack defeats the golem but then starts hallucinating starving children pleading for him to help them, prompting Scaramouch to observe that he's gone beau coup cuckoo. Scaramouch sends some rocks flying at Jack, inadvertently snapping him out of his reverie. This time, Jack manages to destroy the flute. Scaramouch is not particularly put out, using his scatting powers to remote control his scimitar and pulling out a "tuning fork" sword - anything it hits soon explodes. This causes one of Jack's daggers to blow up. Scaramouch declares "No one plays the blades like I do... NO ONE!" and sends his scimitar at Jack again. Elegantly dodging the attack, Jack allows Scaramouch to hit his final remaining dagger three times... and pause... (kidney punch!) Scaramouch declares it's been fun, but the outcome of the fight is clear... Jack's going to lose and die... until Jack nonchalantly throws the dagger at Scaramouch just as it explodes. This gives Jack the opening to cut Scaramouch in twain with his own scimitar. Scaramouch declares "th-th-th-the-the... that's all folks!" before exploding. Jack takes the tuning fork sword and strides off, once more victorious. Next we switch tracks to the Daughters as their final trial is at hand. The seven climb a spire, fighting off the best fighters of the Cult. Ashi dodges a few arrows, and uses one to stab the archer in the eye, before stealing her bow and shooting two of the Cultists her sisters are facing, also in the eye. Both turn and mutter "Ashi." (The Daughters do, I mean, not the Cultists, who are in fact dead now.) All seven make it to the top, to be greeted by the High Priestess, who declares their training complete and them ready... "You are Seven... but now you wear the face of One... One Purpose, for which you were born... to kill THE SAMURAI!" They exit the temple and WATCH OUT! Gotta get back, back to the past... Samurai Jack! Thoughts on the Episode Hmm, let me guess which of the Seven Daughters of Aku is going to feature most heavily from here on out... it's got to be... Grumpy! Oh, wait, that's one of the seven dwarfs... my bad. I doubt I'd have been hailed as any kind of seer for predicting that she would become one of the central characters this season (since she does). More on that later. The whole concept of the Daughters, from the depiction of their birth with attendant screams of birthing pain, to their brutal training regime, to their final violent test of readiness, highlights that the new season is going to be far darker and bloodier than previous... and I say, bring it on! Not to mention that their tight-fitting catsuits really accentuate their, um... skills. Jack himself is quite understandably having difficulty after fifty years of non-stop wandering the land, not even aging; a side effect of being flung into the future, it seems. The loss of his sword, being in itself a massive development, has forced him to update his armoury and adopt the use of guns (Holy Sidearms, Batman!) Then there's the hallucinations - his people alternately drowning in streams, burning alive, children begging them to save him, "have you forgotten?", "why have you forsaken us?" and all the rest... understandable manifestations of his guilt, although pretty disturbing to watch. And we haven't even met HalluciJack yet! Although we do first see the Samurai Apparition in this episodes. Some fans think this ghost represents someone Jack fought in the past and now wishes to escape. I'm more of the opinion that the Apparition represents Jack's final "solution" - killing himself and joining his ancestors. Which is really kind of messed up, now that I think about. Where there's life, there's hope, but Jack definitely is struggling with finding the will to keep going. Small prediction here: Jack will get his sword back - it is still the only thing that can actually defeat Aku. Unless he finds some other way, but if he hasn't managed to do so in 50 years... I also think that Ashi will help him to do it, maybe sacrificing herself in the process. Moving on to the villain of the first episode (the Daughters don't count): Scaramouch the Merciless, babe! "Hiya, Jack, baby, welcome to Scatman's World!" This guy is just a lot of fun, combining over the top theatrics with a pretty BA skillset. He also has a bit of hidden pride, seen when he declares "No one dances the blades like I do, babe. NO ONE!" while giving Jack a death glare, right before going back to Affably Evil scatting. His weapons of choice all fit right in with his theme of musical assassin - a scimitar he can control by scatting, which is heavy enough that Jack himself has to drag it along the ground, a pipe that can control the debris around him and even form it into attack monsters, and finally that sword that sets up a resonance on anything non-organic, causing it to shatter explosively. Although perhaps he is not as valuable to Aku as he suspects, since Aku doesn't recognize him over the phone. Despite being quite fun to watch, he is totally a bad dude, and Jack's fully justified in ending him for killing an entire village just to draw Jack out. The fight itself is pretty spectacular, demonstrating that while Jack may have lost his sword, he hasn't lost his skills. In the end, Jack doesn't even really seem to be pushed to his limits. Without his PTSD getting in the way, it would have been even more one-sided. The way he simply tosses his final dagger as an improvised hand grenade is not only made awesome by his sheer coolness, but also demonstrates that he has brains as well as brawn... although, that was never really in doubt for anyone who knows about the previous seasons. A quick mention of the animation - gorgeous as always! Just looking at some of the establishing shots of the landscape, I could weep for their sheer beauty. And the action is wonderfully animated too. This is currently my desktop background: So the final season of Samurai Jack is at long, long last under way. It hasn't disappointed me yet, 4 episodes into its 10 episode run, and I don't expect it will. What do you think of the continuation? (Not a reboot, thank Odin, Ra and Vishnu!) If you like, leave comments below and WATCH OUT! for my next review of Samurai Jack season 5, babe!
  5. Yunno the Idol of Boreas? The very thing that keeps Griffonstone together? How did the king actually get that treasure from anyway? And why did a cyclops come to try to steal it but failed? Could he have been trying to, I dunno, steal it back? We dunno where that treasure came from, and knowing the griffon's greediness, it could've been stolen from the cyclopes in the first place. Hopefully we can have an episode that explains this. What do you think about this theory? Where did the Idol of Boreas come from and why was there a cyclopes trying to get it?
  6. Lets look back at Season 5 Premier - Episodes 1 and 2. The entire mane six are sent by the brand new Cutie Map to a distant village in order to find and solve a problem. The map never says what the problem is, it just sends you there and leaves it up to you to figure out what's going on. This is the first time they see it, so neither they, nor the viewer know what to expect. Instead of a problem, they discover a harmonious place lead and choreographed by a beloved charismatic leader, Starlight Glimmer. We know the rest of that story, it's a favorite for a lot of us. But what I'm wondering is this: What if that show ended differently? What if, instead of fighting Starlight's efforts to make everyone equally lame and convincing ponies that Starlight was a fraud who manipulates them, they understand, agree, and don't fight her? Would you still watch? Would you stay in the fandom? What would it take for a fandom backlash? I'm asking because I'm curious if there's anything the shows writers can do wrong that could drive you all away from it. Also, what are some examples you can think of where that happens (in or outside of the fandom)?
  7. Remember in season six? People were complaining about too much Rarity and too much Rainbow Dash. Well, the main problem might not be too much of them. The main problem might be - putting their episodes so close together. in the first half of season six, we got The Gift of Maud Pie in the beginning, and then we got constant episodes with Rarity playing a leading role in Saddle Row, AJ's Day Off, Spice Up Your Life, and Cart Before the Ponies. Too much Rarity in one place. After Rarity had her role in PPOV, at least I didn't think she was a problem anymore. This was the same thing about Stranger Than Fan Fiction, Cart Before the Ponies, and 28 Pranks Later together. Three episodes in a row where Rainbow Dash had the leading role. Then after two Spike episodes, Rainbow had a leading role AGAIN in Buckball Season, and of course there was Top Bolt later on. Plus, the lack of appearances with the rest of the main cast for a majority of episodes in a row doesn't really help out either. Like people say, there's no such thing as too many Rarity or Rainbow Dash appearances. But there is too less of the other main cast, and they need to shine too, and having certain members of the Mane Six having too many episodes so close together doesn't really help either. What do you think of this? Should the Mane Six have more episodes in a row together, or should they be separated so more of them to go around throughout the season instead of all cramped together in one part and less of them later?
  8. What i mean is: What is a lesson from the show which you can connect to that you know should be listening to but continue with your short comings? For example. I have said this multiple times but i don't follow with "Stare Master" The lesson with that episode is "Don't bite more than you can chew." But even still i overwork myself and setting deadlines for a lot of things but BECAUSE i'm doing so many things it's hard to follow those deadlines.
  9. So here's a question: what's your headcanon for what various characters in the Show were doing/ were at in the Crystal wars timeline from the s5 finale? Basically, list any character off the top of your head and your headcanon for what they were doing or where they were at in the crystal wars timeline.
  10. When the "Golden Era" of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic ended after 4 seasons because Twilight had earned her own castle, the Castle of Friendship, it marked the start of a new era of the show (Season 5 onwards). From here, not only did we get new stuff such as the Cutie Map, but also more absences in the Mane Six. Here's what happened throughout the last two seasons we've had: Twilight Sparkle had the most screen time throughout these two seasons, but gradually by less and less time more than whoever was in 2nd, due to almost not having a single Season 6 episode, all because most of the last few episodes of Season 5 all focused on Twilight. Pinkie Pie had the second-most screen time halfway through Season 5 and again between late Season 5 until more than 1/4 into Season 6. So, I guess I was wrong about the Heartfelt Scrapbook earlier. Because of Pinkie's long running streaks for the second-most screen time (and for never having the least screen time in any part of Season 5), she was sentenced for much less screen time during the rest of Season 6, along with having no solo episodes for her that season. Fluttershy didn't have the least screen time until Made in Manehattan, which was Applejack's first Season 5 episode. Before this, Applejack had the least screen time after Rarity got her first Season 5 episode, Canterlot Boutique. Before this, Rarity had the least screen time after Rainbow Dash got her first Season 5 episode, Tanks for the Memories. Before that, Rainbow Dash had the least screen time within all the first four episodes. Consequently, the three ponies who had the least screen time (Rainbow Dash, Rarity, then Applejack) before Fluttershy's still continuing streak were all sentenced to have the most screen time in Season 6 -- each even more than Twilight.Of the three ponies I mentioned above, Rarity and Rainbow Dash each needed three episodes in a row because:Rarity had the second-longest streak of least screen time before Canterlot Boutique. She later got the second-most screen time during most of Season 6, even with no dialogue for five episodes in a row. Rainbow Dash had a very long streak of next to least screen time from late Season 5 until her first Season 6 episode, Newbie Dash, then after another three episodes, fell back down to next to least screen time before Stranger Than Fan Fiction. Applejack came out with the second-most screen time only because of her last two episodes, PPOV and Where the Apple Lies, where she was the only Mane Six pony to appear in the latter episode, and before these episodes, she had the next to least screen time during most of Season 6. Normally, the only way a character can get two or three episodes in a row is if that character currently has had less screen time than most of the other ponies, usually for a long time, and whoever has had the most or next-to-most screen time so far for a long time is more likely to suffer less screen time in later episodes. So, in conclusion, Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Applejack each needed more screen time than all the others in Season 6 because all three of them took turns having the least or next-to-least screen time during both seasons, and Pinkie Pie needed less screen time because after her first Season 5 episode (The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone), she never had the least or next-to-least screen time until much, much, MUCH later in Top Bolt. Now do you get it?
  11. This is just a little thing that I felt like I needed to write because it’s one of my favorite aspects of the show, and also one of the few that are actually inspiring in my opinion. We all know why Twilight is the princess of friendship, sure, she has saved Equestria, defeated monsters, and finished an ancient spell with the power of friendship alone. She’s also very knowledgeable in the matter, and her bond with her friends is really strong, so strong that it was even a product of destiny. She’s basically an authority on the field because of what’s she’s done and what she knows; however, I think the reason she’s suited for that role isn’t that she’s too good compared to anyone, but quite the opposite, that she’s not hesitant to admit that she actually isn’t when it’s necessary. Twilight isn’t a character I like as much as I admire, that’s why Celestia’s ballad is my favorite song of the show, because it was inviting me to feel proud of her, and I did and still do indeed feel proud of her. Twilight’s greatest strength is definitely her humility, and that quality of hers has gotten to shine in two episodes specially: Amending Fences and The Cutie Re-Mark (both of which are in my top 5). In the former she had to admit that she screwed-up, and even though she tried to set things right through the whole episode, what really resolved the conflict is that she accepted that she couldn’t. “You’re right, this party can’t make up for the way I hurt you, but please, don’t let my mistake be the reason you can’t be friends with anypony else”. That’s a really mature lesson, when you want someone else to accept your apology, it doesn’t matter what you do to get it, it’s all about you feeling better about yourself, not about the other person moving on, in fact, that can be a pretty selfish act. You have to accept that the damage is done, and if you can make it up to them then do it, but you shouldn’t expect anything from them, since you’re just attempting to fix your own mess. Any other character would’ve kept trying to get Moondancer’s acceptance of their apology, and that doesn’t make their intentions bad, it’s just that only Twilight would be wise enough to understand that not getting one doesn’t mean you failed to do what you had to do. Of course in the end she was forgiven because otherwise it’d been a pretty sad ending for the episode, but just the fact that Twilight did it is good enough for me. Now let’s talk about The Cutie Re-Mark, being more specific, the Starlight reformation scene, which is my favorite scene of the whole show. I know a lot of people find it rushed and confusing, but I think it’s one of the scenes with the most genuine and believable emotions of the show, but if you see don’t see things from Starlight’s perspective it probably won’t feel that way. She lost any chance at making friends because of the cutie mark incident, which made her grow up totally alone, then she came up with the idea of creating the village so that she, and anybody else, wouldn’t have to feel that way ever again. After so many years she finally had friendship (even if it was fake) and wasn’t miserable, and then Twilight came to take that away from her, all because she had been as lucky to get her cutie mark at the same time as her friends whereas Starlight hadn’t. When someone who had it easier than you comes to lecture you on how to live your life based on the opportunities they had and you lacked, it’s very likely you won’t want to listen, that doesn’t excuse her actions, but makes them understandable in my opinion. What I really love about the reformation is Twilight’s speech, because she had to admit that she didn’t have the right to judge what Starlight had been through, which gets Starlight to listen to her. The lesson is also very reminiscent of Amending Fences, that the past can’t be changed, but how much it affects your future can. Twilight does a really great job delivering the message, I really like the way it was worded, and combining that with seeing her philosophy of life being proven wrong and opening to Twilight about her past, I don’t find it hard to believe that Starlight would just accept Twilight’s help in the end. As I said, Twilight is the princess of friendship for a reason, and I think these scenes are the ones that show why she’s the one that holds that title.
  12. When somebody says “home”, what do you imagine? What set of particular visions illuminates in your mind? Do you perceive a physical place? Or an object? Or something entirely different? “Castle Sweet Castle” explores these interesting questions through a series of thought-provoking concepts. “Twilight's Kingdom” saw Twilight's home, the Golden Oak Library, which Twilight resided in during her life in Ponyville, destroyed in a monumental explosion. Perhaps we didn't realize it at the time, but a part of Twilight's world was shattered at that moment. Initially, the sight of falling debris and wreckage was a shock to her, but Twilight managed to hurdle those feelings of loss by channeling excitement about her new home which sprouted out of the box – with it came new opportunities for adventure and exploration. But time doesn't heal all wounds, and the wound inflicted by the loss of her home – the home that sheltered some of her most precious memories – was deeply stricken. Experience shows that the truth is, sometimes you simply don't know what you had until it's gone. The sense of loss and discomfort inevitably resurfaced, this time rendering Twilight incapable of feeling comfortable in her current residence. Her shiny new Castle only served as a reminder of what used to be. A shallow, empty collection of beautiful but dull corridors, a place that served as a house, but not a home. A roof, but not a shelter. In the same way that a clock does not create time but merely represents it, a house does not create a home, it merely tries to represent one. The ReMane 5 quickly take note of Twilight's bizarre change in behavior, and realize that something feels seriously off. Twilight does not like her new place, so much so that she'd prefer anything over having to spend time inside. The 5 have to figure out why. After sending her off with Spike, the cast of friends get to work making the Castle feel as welcoming and comfortable as possible. The fatal flaw in their plan is that they understand the issue, but are self-centered in their solution. While Twilight certainly loves and appreciates her friends, a collection of things that her friends enjoy is not necessarily going to make her feel at home. They created what appeared to be the perfect home – but the reality of the situation is that what makes a “home” is different for each individual. Instead of formulating Twilight's vision of a home, they subconsciously channeled their own vision. After stalling for more time, the friends rethink their approach. They realize that cramming in a bunch of objects, even if they were objects Twilight would appreciate, won't work. It's not about quantity, it's about quality. What Twilight misses most from the Library isn't necessarily the size and shape of the rooms & corridors, or the objects inside, but rather, the memories ingrained in those rooms. Some things in life are priceless. Memories are one of such things. They cannot be bought, sold, or traded. They simply are, and where they reside depends on where they were made. After a super catchy song and its reprise, Twilight's Castle breathes new life with the addition of a chandelier made out of the roots of the Golden Oak Library, with gems immortalizing the Libraries memories attached. No longer was the Castle seen as a burden. It was now an addition to the memories, and not just a sore reminder. It may only be a fraction of the old Library, but it's enough to make a dramatic difference for Twilight. My only complaint about the tail end of the episode, however, is the removal of the picture of the Mane 6. That would have been a nice touch. The old saying rings true – home is where the heart is. With the help of her friends, Twilight found her home once again. It was no longer a place to be avoided, but rather a place to confide in. A true “home”. This episode works on many different levels. The humor works (Twilight's crazy salon mane style, Spike's one-liners). Spike's role is welcomed, and executed well. I appreciate the notion that not only did Twilight lose a home, but so did Spike. He and his feelings mattered too, and its good to see the episode bring it up. The truth behind what makes a “home” is one of the most interesting, mature, and important morals in FiM. “Home” can be whatever you make it out to be, and whatever matters to you, whether its a physical place or not. I can relate whole-heartedly to Twilight's inner feeling of homesickness. I've bounced around from home to home throughout my life. Two out of the many houses I've lived in I've considered comfortable, real homes. The rest, like the one I currently reside in, felt more like roofs than shelters. The feeling of loss that occurs when you lose a home can feel like everything is falling apart. You lose a sense of safety and identity. It makes you question who you really are, and what you aspire for in life, and what you feel you're missing, what kind of spark you need to feel welcome again. Re-finding a home is like regaining that spark. To conclude this review/discussion/introspection of Castle Sweet Castle and its core message and concepts, and how its relatable, I'll say that I find the episode to be notably underrated. It's one of FiM's best and most mature episodes, one that can be appreciated by a lot of people.
  13. This is an Idea that has bin buzzing around in my head for months now and I decided that I should try and share it. I don't know if someone has already done something similar, so this idea might be redundant. I was inspired by the war with the Crystal Empire in the season 5 finale. My idea is for a fannon Newsreel video series based off that alternate time line. That will gradually progress with the fortunes of war. My idea isn't fully fleshed out at the moment. If anyone finds this idea interesting. I would be willing to flesh it out with them. Please note I have little video editing skill. All I have to offer is my imagination. Here are a few ideas that I had for the series. 2 main Characters: The first is a stereotypical 1930's news reader and the second character is field reporter with a masculine radio voice. The characters would use slang common for the 40s. Like calling someone "Mac" or asking for "a cup of Joe". Stuff like that. The news reader will report the headlines and give a summery of that particular story, then their will be a cut to the field reporter who will give a more detailed account of that days events Headlines would include stories that would Mirror WW1/WW2 for example "Princes Celestia Rallies Troops", "Cupcake Shortage Strikes Ponyville", "Sombre Lays Siege To Canterlot!". I don't want to get too dark with these headlines. I would prefer to stay as lighthearted as possible. Using the headlines the story will gradually progress, creating it's own lore in the process. I would like to keep each video short, around 5 minutes. To be able to post frequently, say once every week. The video quality will have to be simplified. No animation would be used. Except for a few vectors of the main characters and a few background images and headlines. I would like the video to resemble old black and white film footage. Maybe add some cracks and pops in the audio to go along with it? Well, this is the basic idea. I don't have a story or characters figured out, because I don't know if this will ever take off.
  14. I realize this may seem like heresy, but before you bust out the torches and pitchforks and scream "KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!", let me explain: I still enjoy the show, and am definitely still a brony. I merely wondered, after watching and rewatching the first 5 seasons, if it could have been wrapped up thoroughly and completely with finally showing Starlight Glimmer the error of her ways. She understands that individuality is necessary for friendship (which in all truth is the entire plot of the show), and the song at the end seems almost like a send-off. With the CMC finally achieving their penultimate goal as well, it seems like a satisfying ending (so rare in television nowadays) could have been done I understand there are multiple loose ends - the two main ones being whatever will happen to Discord and Cadence's baby. These could have been resolved easily in a series finale or, better yet, the various loose ends could have been uniformly resolved in the movie. I love MLP:FIM, but one of my major gripes with TV shows, especially US/Canadian TV shows is the epidemic of dragging shows far beyond where they should have called it a day (I'm looking at you two, Once Upon a Time and Stargate SG-1). It's a major reason I prefer anime, as many have a 26 or less episode total, and the story is able to be built understanding that limitation. Obviously, there are exceptions, but aside from the Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon series, I tend to avoid shows that go much beyond the 26 (or 52 for two seasons) structure. I gave One Piece a chance, but.....whoo, that's ridiculous. 700+ episodes? Come on. This is simply my own opinion - if you disagree, do remember I am neither attacking you nor plotting various forms of evil machinations. I just think that with MLP being the amazing show it is, a proper and fitting ending may have been the way to go. I do not want to see it beaten into the dirt for the sake of pleasing the fans (let's face it, few fans are ever truly satisfied - most are whiny, entitled dunces - so why bother trying?) or, more likely, making more money. I know, capitalism and blah blah blah, but, this show has become literature. All good literature should have a quality, complete, and satiating ending.
  15. Who is this stunning stallion from Season 5, "The Mane Attraction"? Does anypony know his name? Also I've had a debate with a fellow brony about whether or not that on his face is a mustache or his lips with lipstick?? I'd say mustache, but he won't give in about it being lips... He keeps saying that the color of it is too bright to be a mustache, cause it matches neither his mane or eyebrows. Whaddya all think about it?
  16. Season six has arrived, and my blog has been at a semi-standstill lately. To rev it up, why not publish tops and bottoms for last season? Episodes: Bottom-5 episodes: 5: The Hooffields and McColts The offensive parody doesn't respect the (horrible) history of the real-life feud the Hatfields and McCoys once had. People died from their feud with each other, one of them executed for murder. This episode trivialized that conflict and used rural Southern stereotypes to boot. Combine that with terrible dialogue, pushing Fluttershy to the background until the time was right, and flanderizing Twilight, this episode is skip-worthy. 4: Brotherhooves Social Transphobic unfortunate implications are abundant here via its use of the Man-in-a-Dress trope. Why do so many transwomen get so offended by the trope? Because the media and society altogether use it to abuse transwomen and force them to conform to gender roles and social norms; it becomes a major struggle for them to live as themselves when they're constantly bashed. To top it off, the joke is men literally being in a dress, nothing more. Usually, the MiaD comedy from the trope is cringe comedy and through stereotypes. BM's cover was blown through stereotypes, including the falsetto voice, "powder your nose," Rainbow Dash's sexist line, and the obvious Adam's Apple joke. This isn't like Derpy's unnecessary censorship; the unfortunate implications exist here, and it's no surprising to see Big Mac's attempt at drag offend lots of people. On top of this, the whole setting is mean-spirited; the folks said nothing with the intent of letting BM screw himself up, yet Apple Bloom becomes the unfortunate victim of the conflict. Even worse, the drag queen side-plot is filler; you could've written the same episode without it being bogged down by offensive jokes. Silver-Quill hypothesized BrS as a parody of stereotypes; if it is, it failed miserably. 3: What About Discord? Talk about an episode with a broken approach. Since Discord became reformed, much of his humor is pop culture references and parodies, but it's exploited to the point of overkill and one-dimensional here. Twilight, the lead character here, was written to be the antagonist in this entire thing, but given her whole history with him and their OOC attitude, she had every right not to trust him. Unfortunately, the moral of being able to express yourself was ruined when Discord admitted to setting her up. By doing this, Discord becomes OOC, and Twilight's suspicions throughout were validated. 2: Appleoosa's Most Wanted The worse attempt at comedy in the entire show. Troubleshoes doesn't want to live his life feeling cursed, yet we're supposed to laugh at him every single time he slips up and gets hurt. How the hell are we supposed to laugh at him when he doesn't deserve comedic karma? To make that worse, all of Appleoosa's responsible for the story of TS being a dangerous outlaw, because they ran him off when he was a little colt AND framed him. When he initially caused the pyramid of hay to fall, stakes were raised, but during the climax, it's suddenly written to be a joke? 1: Princess Spike My most hated episode of this season and the second-worst-written episode overall. This whole thing's a complete mess. Spike written to be an incompetent idiot. Spike then written to be a greedy idiot. Spike then written to be framed as his greed causing all the chaos when his selflessness, not his greed, caused it. Dragon Sneeze Trees in Canterlot. Everyone in Canterlot acts like an idiot — not chopping down the trees, fixing the pipes — just because "Princess Twilight" says so. Then there's that ending with hugely sexist implications all but confirming how little DHX cares about his role in his episodes. Dishonorable mentions: Tanks for the Memories, Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep? Top-5 episodes: 5: The Mane Attraction Easily the best Applejack episode, period. Often, when her stubbornness takes a role in the conflict, it's a personality flaw she must overcome. Here, it's played as a strength for the first time, as she suspected something was wrong with Coloratura. The Magic Inside is S5's best song and one of the best in the whole show. 4. The Cutie Re-Mark Best two-part finale. Was Starlight's redemption condensed? Yes. But it also did a hell of a job foreshadowing Starlight into redeeming herself. It's not about the what, but the why and how it came about. Starlight was a villain, but believed she was doing the right thing. With her utopia crumbled, revenge without knowing the consequences made sense for her. Spike had one of his best roles in a two-parter, and Twilight herself had her best characterization and role as Princess of Friendship. For Twilight and her friends to elect Starlight as her pupil is one the best decisions the show's ever made. 3. The Cutie Map Best two-parter. Well-written. Excellently paced. Starlight was introduced as the show's best villain. Characters other than Twilight had to solve Starlight's terror and beat her. Our Town is the series's best villain song with its delightfully creepy tones. Awareness of the dictatorial implications are everywhere. It's a psychological horror flick, and it's more genuine than the stereotypical snuff "horror." 2. Amending Fences Best Twilight episode. Twilight herself was fantastically written, worried about how her old friends would react and tried to right a wrong when she abandoned Moondancer. Moondancer, for that matter, is perhaps the most realistic one-shot character in the show. Her pain, reasons for self-reclusion, want for nothing with Twilight or her old friends, and anger are all real. The moment where she verbally called out Twilight for not showing up and anguished it within her for all this time is gut-wrenching; it's the first moment of the entire show that made me cry. While the moral isn't stated, it's noble: What made be inconsequential to you can have a lasting impact to those around you; beware of the implications. 1. Crusaders of the Lost Mark AKR's original swan song, and the best CMC episode. It's a musical episode packed with so much info, but it's paced really well. The CMC have been breakout characters since season two, and they showed it with their most mature outing. Diamond Tiara has been flat for most of the show, but CotLM changed that by giving her the character development she rightfully deserves; out goes the rich bitch and into a much more mature and likable DT. And then that moment where they finally get their cutie marks is one big ol' slap to the status quo, and at the best time. The CMCs began their quest thanks to her; with her redeemed, their quest comes full circle. It's Magical Mystery Cure done right. Honorable mentions: Bloom & Gloom, Slice of Life. Full episode ranking (in order): Crusaders of the Lost Mark: A+ Amending Fences: A+ The Cutie Map: A+ The Cutie Re-Mark: A The Mane Attraction: A- Bloom & Gloom: A- Slice of Life: B+ Castle Sweet Castle: B Scare Master: B Canterlot Boutique: B- Hearthbreakers: B- Made in Manehattan: C+ Make Friends but Keep Discord: C+ The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone: C The One Where Pinkie Knows: C Rarity Investigates!: C Party Pooped: C- Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?: C- Tanks for the Memories: D+ The Hooffields and McColts: D+ Brotherhooves Social: D+ What About Discord: F Appleoosa's Most Wanted: F Princess Spike: F Moral: Bottom moral: Friendship is all you need to rebuild a community (Lost Treasure of Griffonstone). Griffonstone isn't a community; it's a kingdom, and a kingdom's a combination of dozens of communities. Secondly, the entire kingdom has no economy or agriculture; the griffons ask or demand bits for everything because God knows if they'll survive tomorrow. It'll take decades, at least, to rebuild this bankrupt land. Lastly, friendship is magic here, but friendship should never be treated as the be-all and end-all; the fact that it is during a time where friendship won't fix everything makes this moral very dishonest. Dishonorable mention: To get over your oppressive guilt, just say it, and it'll immediately go away (Magic Sheep). ——— Top moral: Everyone matters in a story, whether they are main or in the background (Slice of Life). One of the biggest reasons why the background characters are so popular is because they do something. When they do something, we notice it, and we create headcanon territory from there. Background characters enrich Equestria's life. Without them, then why the heck should we be so engaged with their world? Unrelated, but observe the crowd: Every single one of them matters, and for them to stay in the same spot regardless of the camera angle tells us as the audience to pay attention. SoL's excellent moral is my all-time favorite of the show. Honorable mention: Consider the consequences of your actions. What may not matter to you may affect others' lives (Amending Fences). New characters: Characters that appeared on screen prior to S5 (even when in the background) don't count, so no Minuette, Twinkleshine, Maud, Igneous, Cloudy, and so on. Bottom-3 new characters: 3. This stallion who whined about needing Twilight to patch up his friendship with another pony because of a seat. *facehoof* If Princess Spike couldn't get any stupider… 2. The yaks of Yakyakistan: They are a combination of two classic stereotypes: vikings and indigenous people. They speak really broken English; have a very primitive, war-first ideology; don't understand more modern technology; don't have manners; and are isolated from all walks of life. 1. The Hooffields. Obnoxious, imbecilic, and with stereotypical southern accents. They're the classic rural southern stereotype. Dishonorable mention: Tree Hugger (classic stoner hippie stereotype). ——— Top-3 new characters: 3. Coloratura. With Lena Hall voicing her, Coloratura really shines in her range of music. The Spectacle is good (albeit with seizure-inducing visuals), but The Magic Inside gave us who she really is. A singer who knows how to put emotion into music and deliver one of the most emotional numbers in the entire series. 2. Starlight Glimmer. The best villain in the show and the only villain with a satisfactory redemption thus far. 1. Moondancer. To reiterate from above, of the one-shot characters, she's one of the most realistic this series has ever had. Her torment and internal conflict are all real, and she's someone nearly all of us can relate to. Honorable mentions: Our Four (from Starlight's village), Limestone Pie. Mane Six (Spike counts, BTW): Bottom M6 character: Rainbow Dash. The biggest problem with Fluttershy up to season five was her stagnated characterization to the point of flanderization. Nowadays, RD's character feels the most flanderized; in her one lead episode (Tanks for the Memories), she led one of her worst performances of the entire series by knowingly disregarding everyone's lives just to keep Tank awake. Yeah, she shared a role with Pinkie, and it was really good, but her solo episodes have crawled to a standstill as far as good characterization is concerned. As a big RD brony, how poorly she's been characterized since season three is a total shame. Now we're at the point where Dash episodes are more in common with Spike episodes. Yes, Dash has had a collection of better episodes, but she seems to work much better with a companion or in a secondary role, ala Griffonstone and Rarity Investigates. But when she's the central character now, when the episode's bad, boy, does it suck! Dishonorable mention: Spike (just because Princess Spike is so much worse!) ——— Top M6 character: Pinkie Pie. In which season four was Pinkie Pie at her worst (Filli Vanilli, I'm looking at you!), season five corrected it by giving her the best characterization of the show, including in her own episode. She's not degraded into being either random for the sake of it or stupid anymore. Her humor has purpose and adds to the story while not making her dumb or mean. More of this Pinkie and not the idiot!Pinkie, please! Honorable mention: Fluttershy. ——— Full M6 rank (in order): Pinkie Pie Fluttershy Applejack Rarity Twilight Sparkle Spike Rainbow Dash Moment: Bottom-3 moments: 3. Big Mac's Adam's Apple reveal. There are so many drag queen and transgender stereotypes in this episode, including methods to hide or reveal his disguise. This is the worst. How it's revealed, the detail, and the closeup makes it one stereotypical gross-out joke. But this gross-out joke isn't funny. It's disgusting. Even worse is it's such an easy joke to make, you see it coming from a mile away, and it ruins a pretty sweet song. 2. Discord admits to intentionally not inviting Twilight just because he can. The entire episode builds upon the idea that Twilight is jealous of her friends and Discord because she missed out on so much despite the fact that she has every reason to not trust him. But when Discord admitted to being a jerk just because, the episode's moral of not to bottle up your emotions is disqualified, and Twilight's suspicions of him throughout were validated. 1. Spike given a dragon sneeze bouquet. The scene prior was actually rather sweet, for they help him rebuild the gem statue. But the event was nullified with the intent to plug in a very tasteless joke to confirm Spike's status as a buttmonkey. But the status worsens by the fact that he's the only main male character. For a supposedly pro-feminist show, to affirm the buttmonkey status for him opens up serious sexist implications. Dishonorable mentions: Rainbow Dash stating she won't go easy on Big Mac 'cause he's a stallion; the construction worker stopping his work on the pipe because "Princess Twilight" said so; Discord threatening Tree Hugger in the climax. ——— Top-3 moments: 3. Twilight apologizing to Minuette, Twinkleshine, and Lemon Hearts. Amending Fences excellently subverts the ol' reunion cliché by having her three main friends in Canterlot forgive her and treat her skipping of town blasély. Simultaneously, it makes her reunion with Moondancer more impactful and crushing to watch. 2. Starlight Glimmer's reformation. Starlight's redemption is Sunset's antithesis in terms of execution and method. Rather than forcing a redemption through a Deus Ex Machina brainwashing her and resetting her whole personality, Twilight gave Starlight the opportunity to change and become a better pony. Start giving the true Magic of Friendship a chance. Starlight chose to redeem herself. The fact that she chose to change makes Starlight's redemption so much better than Sunset's: It's more genuine. But this is also just as great a moment for Twilight Sparkle. Since her ascension, her execution as Princess hasn't always been the best. This scene epitomized why she's the Princess of Friendship and why I now support the Twilicorn. It's her best characterization as an alicorn yet. 1. The CMCs deciding to follow Diamond Tiara after she lost badly and fell out with Silver Spoon. No one would blame them for saying good riddance to her after what she did to them, especially Scootaloo. But for them to acknowledge what she did was awful, yet believe what she did doesn't mean they shouldn't care about her safety shows how mature they are. After leaving a terrible first impression in season one, they improved into becoming breakout characters. This one moment showed us how far they've come and foreshadowed the cutie marks they were going to get at the end of the episode. Honorable mentions: The CMCs getting their cutie marks; Steven Magnet intentionally slicing off his mustache. What I want for Season 6: Continued growth for Starlight. Re-Mark implied an addition of Starlight as part of the Mane cast, and The Crystalling further enforces that notion. Of every character introduced thus far, she's the best candidate to be a part of the team. She's learning the true Magic of Friendship, has a close friendship with Spike now, and will learn more later this season. Don't be surprised if she comes into her own following the season finale. Better characterization for Spike and Rainbow Dash. The Crystalling was his best characterization since Lesson Zero. Less of him being a butt of jokes and more of him as a legitimate character who belongs with the Mane cast. Also, better characterization of Dash as a lead. If I want to compare her episodes to Spike's, I want the comparison to be a positive, not negative! Cut down on the stereotypes. They're a shortcut and a major flaw in this show. If you're going to use stereotypes, then why the hell should I believe you care about the quality of your work? This show is supposed to teach people (especially kids) that people are more than just false representations, but this show sometimes screws this up badly. Put in some effort into your tropes! A more consistent quality of work. This show's good, but it's also really inconsistent sometimes. You have good work, and then you have work that flops so badly. Does it need to be perfect? No. But it deserves better. More consistent effort into high-quality work. Watch out for unfortunate implications. I hammer this all the time. Unfortunate implications are terrible because of the unintended real-life consequences they could have on us as an audience. The fact that kids are impressionable is one key reason why the "it's a kids' show" strawman fails miserably. Poor execution, poor wording, a terrible moral, you name it. Season five did better, but it can also do better. Verdict: Season five is my most favorite season of the show thus far, and it may be the best one, too. While it did some wrong, the pros are excellent, and each and every mane character seemed to grow, learn, and mature, even when their episodes aren't exactly the best. Unlike a lot of family shows, the writers spit on the status quo and helps create fresh ideas as a result. Twilight's adjusting to her role as Princess of Friendship. Starlight is a pupil now. The CMCs got their cutie marks. You name it. Larson, Levinger, and AKR won't write for season six. (AKR's now with Disney.) But Josh Haber is the new lead writer, and hopefully, he can keep the current team in check for season six.
  17. I wanted to do a quick poll just to gage how many people's opinions have changed, however small or not at all. Please pick the corresponding answer, and don't criss-cross so I can get the most accurate result. Personally, I think I like her a bit more after the premiere, but she is not set in stone quite yet for me as a character I particularly like.
  18. Did anyone else notice that the songs in season 5 practically stopped after Tanks for the Memories (it seemed they were on a song streak there, 3 songs in 5 episodes), and then they just went full-out with the latter half of the season? I looked on the MLP wikia and it says that the only songs in the latter half were in the following episodes: Canterlot Boutique Brotherhooves Social Crusaders of the Lost Mark (a musical episode, so this is kinda obvious) The Mane Attraction The Cutie Re-Mark part 2 It seems that as a whole the previous season was kinda lacking in the song department compared to the other seasons, but not by much. It doesn't really bother me honestly, it's just an observation.
  19. WARNING: ESSAY ABOUT A CHILDREN'S CARTOON INCOMING So recently I finally got around to binge watching all of the season 5 episodes and, like many others, was quite amazed by its quality. Some episodes were a bit hit and miss (*cough*Princess Spike*cough*What about Discord*cough*) but overall it was a pretty fantastic season. And one of the best things about it was how it handled one of its two main themes, forgiveness. Oddly enough, I haven't really seen any bornies talk about it, but maybe that's because I didn't search hard enough. People did notice that cutie marks were the other main theme of the season, though. This wasn't the first time this silly horse show had a theme that was prevalent throughout the entire season, of course. Season 4's theme was friendship and its six elements. But the way Season 5 handled its theme(s) was more subtle, focused and less on-the-nose. So, forgiveness. I want to discuss how it is present in this season and how it is the main theme of multiple episodes. It's also the reason for why this season redeemed more villans than any other season. The season premiere was amazing but didn't really have anything to do with forgiveness. However, it did introduce Heimlich Glimmer, an antagonist whose redemption was then set up throughout the season. This is why GlimGlim's reformation shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone whatsoever, but it was, apparently. Am I really the only one who noticed a pattern and was prepared for it ahead of time? I hope not. The first horsepisode to truly handle forgiveness was Lost treasure of Griffonstone. One of my favourite episodes of the series and the one that reminded us that Gilda was a thing half a decade ago. Gilda was an antagonist from the first season and was redeemed in this episode. How? When Dashie was in trouble, Pinkamena reminded Gilda of her past with the rainbow-coloured horse and helped her realize that they're still friends despite the old argument. She apologized for being a feathery asshat and the two mended their friendship. Then the ponies buggered off and left her to fix an entire kingdom by herself. Isn't that wonderful? Haha, just joking. The episode presented the idea that just because you had a falling out with a friend that led to your friendship withering away doesn't mean that you can never be friends again. Also that being an asshat means no friends while being nice means friends. Both ideas would reappear later in the season, more than once. Do princesses dream of magic sheep? I doubt it, but they do dream of torturing themselves, apparently. This was the second episode in the series that focused on Moonbutt and the zeroeth one that focused on Sunbutt. Dammit, Hasbro, are you ever going to give us an episode on Best Princess Trollestia The Wise? In this episode LunaMoona forgave herself with the help of Twilight. Others had already forgiven her a long time ago, but the angsty one refused to let herself forget her crimes. It was a surprisingly dark episode, but it did teach an important lesson about forgiveness: Getting forgiveness from others is hard, but forgiving yourself is doubly so. Amending fences is the best episode in the series and you're wrong if you disagree. This is a fact, not an opinion, dammit. Alright, maybe not the best, but this episode touched me and made me cry like a little baby. And its main theme? Forgiveness. Twilight did everything she could to make me I mean Moon Dancer forgive her for basically ruining her life. It was a touching episode that also reminded us of how terrible and truly awful being asocial is. Please read the previous sentence in a sarcastic tone. In the end, Miss Sparkle realized that begging for forgiveness was dumb and just said "listen, you don't have to forgive me, but don't let my mistake make your life shit." Isn't that a wonderful lesson about forgiveness? Also, this episode had some brilliant foreshadowing: Moon Dancer was angry at Twilight because she left her without a word and crushed her dreams of becoming a socializer. Then in the finale Starlenin complained to Twilight about her friend leaving her without a word and crushing her dreams of being a socializer. Twilight, experiencing some Deja Vu, told Glitler that she can try again and make new friends, which is pretty much exactly what she said to me I mean Moon Dancer. INGENIOUS! Next up... drumroll please... is the legendary Crusaders of the Lost Mark! While the main focus of this episode was on the Crusaders getting their destiny butt pictures, there was also an underlying theme of forgiveness. This episode redeemed the most cruel horse in the series, Diamond fucking Tiara, giving her an excellent Freudian excuse for her awful behaviour. The CMC realized that she had a reason for being bad and that she wasn't completely rotten, and so they decided to forgive and help her. Again, brilliant foreshadowing for the season finale. At the end DT finally had the guts to say "screw you!" to her mother and realized the true meaning of her cutie mark. And then the most awesome thing in the world happened. I think you know exactly what I mean. That's it for the episodes with forgiveness as the main theme, but there were other episodes where it's present: In Make New Friends But Keep Discord, Brotherhooves Social (many manly tears were shed during Big Mac's apology to Applebloom), Hearthbreakers and Hooffields And The Mccolts. And finally, Cutie Re-Mark. A controversial finale, mostly because Starlin was redeemed and turned into a good horse. Or well, her background was also pretty controversial. However, I think that most of you bornies agree that it truly was an example of a poor Freudian excuse. If you're an aspiring writer and want to give your villan a motive based on their childhood experiences, this is good example of how not to do it. Amusingly enough they also showed you how to do it right earlier in the season. Anyways, the redemption. It was foreshadowed multiple times and it brilliantly wrapped up the season, not only because it was directly related to forgiveness but also because it was related to cutie marks. I was pleased with it, although it wasn't perfect and did happen a bit too fast. Twilight and co. showed that they had learned their lessons earlier in the season and instead of banishing SG to TARTARUS they forgave and befriended her. Amazing. But apparently I'm in the minority here, judging by the amount of Glimhate™. I hope that this wall of text made some of you change your minds about the pink horse's redemption. It might have been poorly executed, but at least you should admit that the setup was golden. Leave your comments down below, bornies. I want to see what you think!
  20. Starlight Glimmer is a breath of fresh air. After fighting monster after monster(after monster), quite a lot of people were clamoring for the Mane Six to go head to head with something more mundane as a major villain. Well, we got it. Starlight Glimmer is just as evil and insane as the rest of the Big Bads, but she's just a simple unicorn. The new villain being essentially "human" in the pony world comes with its own set of problems, though. Assuming she comes back, and she's planning something, she would be the first major villain who the Mane Six won't be able to simply just EOH or Rainbow Magic away. She's not some monster drunk on dark magic, and she's not possessed; she's just a highly unstable unicorn with an extreme difference of opinion. At this point, there's no real "evil" to cleanse, even if we assume the Mane Six would risk firing that kind of magic at a normal pony anyway. It's also very unlikely she can be reasoned with, given she had no problems with attempting to harm or even potentially kill some of her followers if it meant she could escape. The Mane Six could fight her, but they could end up seriously injured if they're not trying their hardest, at which point, she could be the one that ends up seriously injured. I doubt any of them are going to risk that. Which leaves me out of foreseeable options. So I ask you guys: is there any possible way the Mane Six are going to be able to deal with Starlight Glimmer as she is now? I say "now" because the most obvious, unsatisfying answer would be to turn her into some form of monster before dealing with her, and i'm hoping we go anywhere except that route.
  21. Hey everypony! I've heard a lot of trash talk about episode 100 lately and was wondering if someone could explain to me why they dislike it so much. Personally, I liked it. Secret agent Bon Bon was adorable, and don't even get me started on how much I fangirled over Doctor Whooves. If I disliked anything, it was Vinyl and Octavia's rampage through town, but I really liked the song. So why didn't you like the episode?
  22. I've been thinking about the idea of Starlight Glimmer being a filly instead of a grown up and The Cutie Map happened not too long after Sunburst got his cutie mark. It would have made better sense for her believing cutie marks destory friendships at such a young age, plus her revenge and childish behaviour would have be more justified. What do you think?
  23. There seems to be a debate going on lately ever since the season 5 finale, about the alternative timeline with Nightmare Moon as ruler of Equestria. So many people seem to think that Nightmare moon seems to be a far better ruler then Celestia and i just ask myself "...where did you get that from?" What we see in this alternative timeline, is just the mere illusion of peace and freedom. The only reason why her servants are loyal to her, is through fear and not through genuine likeness to her. The safety and peace come to the price of kindness and mercy. I have no doubt that she would kill anybody who would oppose her, or even merely think differently of her and even if it's her own subjects. This is not safety and freedom. Celestia is strong because she values life and because chaos and order have a balance to create harmony. Chaos and order are necessary for a kingdom. What do you think? Do you still think Nightmare Moons rule would be better?
  24. Some valentines I've been working on a while. Hope to get through some of the major and minor season 5 characters before around Feb. 12. I don't mind if you want to send them to other people or not. I'd actually be thrilled, but I don't really expect anyone to, considering how silly they are. Starlight Link to original thread in my sig.
  25. There are season 5 finale spoilers (even if it's been two weeks already) So I've been thinking... The season 5 finale had a lot of alternate timelines, most of which were cut and dry, someone won who previously didn't sort of deals. All, except for one. The one that happened to be there when Starlight Glimmer was dragged to the future with Twilight. This alternate timeline was completely barren, windy, and de-saturated. There didn't seem to be other ponies or even traces of life in the immediate vicinity. All the other villains already had their timeline's revealed, so... who caused it? Maybe it was someone whom we would never expect, or perhaps it was a future in which no one won? who? or what? We may never know. But we can speculate.