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  • old blog that i can't delete [1/4]
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  • Archive of my old stupid opinions
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  • hasbro needs to get their act together. [rant]
  • YIGY Shorty Stories
  • The Blog of Storm Spark
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  • My reaction to Alicorn Twilight.
  • Sugar's Sweet Sentiments
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  • fanfics, fan art, and other stuff
  • Nostalgia Gamers Blog!!
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  • .
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  1. In light of the thread a while back on the 'earlier seasons vs. later seasons' debate, I noticed that a number of replies voting for the later seasons detailed specific differences in why they had voted for them - some cited seasons 4-5 their favorites, whilst others preferred 6-7 or 6-8 (or some mixture of the above), with some even expressing mild disappointment over the quality of specific later seasons (most noticeably S8) despite the nature of their voting preferences. Although the division in this case is understandable (the shift from S2 to S4 is one of the most noticeable in the show's duration when watching in chronological order), I suspect that the voting percentages for each option may be a result of the way the poll divided 'earlier' and 'later' seasons, with 'earlier' standing as S1-3 and 'later' as S4-8. Resultantly, this led me to suspect exactly which subdivision of 'later' seasons are generally considered the best (at least by the section of the community represented here). As subjective as it may seem, for the purposes of this thread the show's run will be divided into the following 'eras' based on tone, thematic focus and creative team: The 'early' seasons (1-3): Noted for a more lighthearted and comedic tone than their successors. Tend to focus on mining plots from simple themes and satirizing typical kids' TV conventions (I considered lumping S3 in with 4 and 5 due to lack of Faustian input before realizing that the tonal canyon between S3 and 4 is far wider than that of 2-3). The 'McCarthy' seasons (4-5): More outwardly ambitious, high density of fanservice. Tend to feature more grandiose direction and execution than their predecessors whilst retaining specific fragments of the early seasons' charm (most noticeable in AKR and Larson's output during this period). The 'Haber' seasons (6-7): Produced during/following work on the MLP movie. Noted for focus on non-M6 characters (Starlight Glimmer and the Student Six), their more experimental styles/sardonic comedy and Josh Haber's increased creative influence (I guess you could also call these the 'true later' or 'Big Jim' seasons, but I digress). Considering the differences between each era are fairly clear, it should be interesting to hear what you guys think, as overdone as topics like this have arguably been getting lately.
  2. *slams hand on table* Alright boys we back on this sh— What is a Zipp? A Rainbow Dash clone? An unsympathetic pony and sister? A strawblueberry scoop of ice cream on a snow cone horse? Up until now, we've seen various sides to Zipp's character, but very little to build anything truly consistent with. With certain clips of the Make Your Mark special now out, I believe we have something tangible to work with. Sit back, my little ponies, and let me do what I do best...streams of consciousness. A rehash of what we know about Zipp. In the G5 movie, Zipp was steadfast in her pursuit of magic—more specifically, flight. She was so focused on this that she spent most of her time researching methods of unlocking flight with or without magic, and, when presented with a lead through the notes in Argyle's journal, opted to (granted, with some hesitation) abandon her sister and mother in the midst of a public ousting to chase it. When confronted about this by her sister, her only response was that, when magic was restored, nothing else would matter anymore. More on this later. Her entire character more or less revolved around wanting to fly and there was very little else, apart from enjoyment of music numbers and a rather endless number of moments with Hitch, her obvious soulmate. This was rather concerning for lore buffs and analysts like myself, who wanted to see a character that had some semblance of a rounded shape, a character who could at least react differently in different situations when weighing what was more immediately important. Instead, we got a character with a very one-track-mind, with no depth provided into why she acted this way. It was at this point that a hundred fanfics rained down from the digital sky, weaving tales of strained sister relationships, depression and anxiety, and a dozen other downtrodden topics to try and make sense of this undeveloped character. So then Tell Your Tale comes along, and we got to see how Zipp behaved in a world with renewed magic. Suffice to say, it's a noticeable change. Right from her focused introductory episode, 'Sisters Take Flight', Zipp is far more attentive of her sister, and they have a bonding moment near the end of the episode. But most noticeably to mention is 'Mane Melody', where Zipp has a rather interesting (and adorable) character arc within a mere five minutes. Though starting the episode with hiding from her sister's attempts to style her mane, Zipp ultimately ends up comforting Pipp after a styling mishap, and then allows her mane to be done, purely because it'll make her sister happy. This, right here, remains the most wholesome moment between these two so far, and was a much needed development after their seemingly strained/detached relationship in the film. Tell Your Tale showed us that Zipp's character had mellowed out from what it was in the film. She was paying attention to smaller things and those around her far more than before, now that there wasn't some large-scale threat to flight and magic in Equestria. And so NavelColt began to write adorable sisterfics to counteract all the dour and angst from the previous five months. "*GASP!* Really?! You NEVER let me style your mane!" "*verbal shrug* :)" And so at last we reach the present, on the very cusp of the Make Your Mark special coming out. Well now, thanks to previews and clips galore coming out all the time, we have something interesting to take a look at. Here, we see the return of that very one-track-mind pony we saw in the G5 movie, terrified of not having access to magic (and flight). Not only does Zipp blow off her sister's song (and in a deeper context, her attempt to help Zipp relax), she even shows a more instigator-y side when she purposefully gets a rouse out of Pipp for the sake of demonstrating her point about how the friendship crystals seem to be 'glitching'. Especially in the latter parts of this scene, you can see how laser focused she is on this issue, when she (and Sunny, after jumping in) brainstorm what exactly is going on. And now, an analysis of Zipp's character from my perspective. From the early days of her reveal, Zipp's criticizers have often referred to her as a Rainbow Dash clone, or a mary sue, or both. I'll lay out right now that Zipp is not a Rainbow Dash clone. An inspiration, maybe, but not a clone. Dash is a loud-spoken, boastful extrovert who largely emulates tomboy and jock stereotypes while Zipp is a modest, (mostly) laid-back introvert who has branching interests in math, science, and athletic pursuits. They also have polarizing views on attention. Dash loves to be the center of attention while Zipp actively avoids it, always denouncing her princess title and doing her best to stay away from public photos she believes are embarrassing. "Pipp, no pictures!" "Aww, cmon Zipp, just one? :3" The mary-sue argument had more ground to stand on. It was born from the fact that Zipp, in addition to being athletic, is incredibly learned in math and science (having presumably written out all of the equations regarding aerodynamics and other mathematical functions seen at the start of this topic) while having no real, solid flaws. Even in the early promotional material, Zipp was kind of perfect. She's fit, she's smart, she's stealthy, she's courageous, and she's in line to be a queen. Before TYT and the MYM promotional trailers, it really did seem like Zipp was noticeably less flawed than the other four main characters. For those paying close attention, this bit of promotional material confirms that Zipp loves math. She totally wrote those equations. But now we have more material to work with. Now we know better. Zipp does have major flaws, and they can be summarized like this: When Zipp is fighting for/bothered by something she deems to be very important, nothing else matters. She can grow curt and impatient, narrow-sighted, and will even brush off friends or family in the face of trying to solve whatever she's faced with. To Zipp, chasing magic was more immediately important than attempting to help her sister or mother after the fallout of their family's lie. When Pipp confronted Zipp about this, she blew everything off—her sister's career(hobby?), her status, her worries, everything. She told Pipp to simply 'forget about all that' because '(they) think (they) can bring back magic.' She cited magic, again, as the solution to Pipp's worries and anger later on, saying that, 'once everypony gets their magic back they won't even remember any of that. You'll be a hero, Pipp.' From what we can see so far from the Make Your Mark special, Zipp is displaying traits like this once again, and, like before, it's linked to a crisis involving magic. When magic was a thing that had been lost, it was an insatiable longing that drove Zipp. Now that it's a looming threat of losing magic again, it's become paranoia, as Pipp herself mentions. In both scenarios, this unease drives all of Zipp's major decision making. She likely has some manner of anxiety issue, which a lot of us can probably relate with. In my latest work, 'The S-Regimen', I explore this stance further. Taking place prior to the G5 film, it shows the emotional (and heartfelt) climax that comes from months of Zipp doggedly chasing flight through non-magical means. Zipp's endless pursuit has not only caused her to isolate herself from her family, but to neglect certain rituals with her sister that they've done since foalhood. It takes Pipp yelling at her sister with tears in her eyes for Zipp to realize just how shut off she's made herself. As an introvert with anxiety issues, myself, I know about these things all too well, and again, I'm sure others can relate too. ~ The S-Regimen, found on FIMFiction and in audio form (Parts 1 & 2 ) I think the Zipp we see in Tell Your Tale is a Zipp free of worries. She loves her sister and readily shows it when needed, genuinely enjoys being spontaneous with all of her friends and is (usually) a voice of reason in the group. The Zipp we see in the G5 film, and at least the pre-conclusion of the Make Your Mark special is a Zipp ruled by anxiety. She's often blunt, unsympathetic, and has a one-track-mind for solving the greater problem at hand. Zipp has flaws, everypony, and they're starting to become tangible and identifiable. And that's cause for celebration. Zipp is a queen in both lineage and character, because she's a work in progress, and that's what makes her work. (Let's just hope the writers keep this consistent.) Thank you for coming to my PONE Talk.
  3. MLP "Tale Your Tale" is good but lacks substance. The movie ("A New Generation, aka. ANG) also was lacking in substance, which presents a problem for this new series. Normally shorts don't need much substance, but they are also normally based on a movie, series, or show that has a good amount of substance, so to make a substance-lacking short based on a substance-lacking movie causes issues. These issues are apparent throughout the four currently released shorts in "Tell You Tale" (TYT), and will likely manifest themselves throughout this short series. The issues I'm referring to are lack of worldbuilding, lack of character development, and other areas that have little to no substance. Examples: 1) Sunny's lighthouse is fully restored in a similar way to The Golden Oak Library. How and when did this restoration occur? We don't know, and this problem is a result of lack of worldbuilding. 2) Izzy is (or was?) a bad roommate. Now what I'm about to say is debatable, but I'm going to say it anyways. I think that Izzy's behavior in ANG does not indicate that she would become a bad roommate. I mean, she was not as hyperactive and careless in ANG as she was in TYT, so where did this behavior come from? We don't know, so this problem is a lack of character development. 3) Hitch has a crab. Nowhere was this crab seen in ANG, so where did it come from and how did Hitch get it as a pet? We don't know, and this constitutes as lack of worldbuilding and character development due to the fact that Hitch's relationship with the crab wasn't developed at all before TYT was released. 4) Izzy was able to simultaneously sleep and cast a spell that levitated and moved Pipp's blanket. How was she able to do that? We don't know, so again this is an example of lack of worldbuilding. Those are a few examples that I listed, but there are probably more that I am not aware of as of now, since I only watched each episode once so far. My point in listing those examples, regardless of whether or not they are legitimate, is to solidify my point that lack of substance in shorts that are based on a substance-lacking movie leads to lack of worldbuilding and lack of character development and that leads to issues such as those provided above.
  4. Something clicked in my head while reading other people's comments: Windigoes. If ponies hate each other, then won't the windigoes come back? They'll need a really good explanation for why that didn't happen if this is going to be their backstory!
  5. My personal breakdown of Twilight Sparkle's character, why she's deeper than you think. https://www.deviantart.com/cloudmistdragon/art/MLP-Analysis-The-Morality-of-Twilight-Sparkle-878108051 There is no character from the main cast of Friendship is Magic I think more about than Twilight Sparkle. Though Fluttershy has almost always been my favorite character of the Mane 6, there’s something about Twilight that will never leave my mind. On the surface, she doesn’t seem very complex. A genius introvert that learns to enjoy having friends, a discovery that leads her on a journey where she gains godlike power and becomes an immortal ruler in the end. Only looking at a short summary of her journey, it’s easy to get the false impression that she’s a Mary Sue, even as Twilight’s journey shows her failing time and time again as the flawed character she is. Obsessive, meticulous, and naïve, these are all flaws that land Twilight in trouble throughout her journey. However, none of these flaws seem to reflect a darkness in Twilight’s heart. On the surface, everything in the series seems to paint her as a pure soul. She is not. Twilight’s moral compass is very much flawed. This is not a criticism of her character, as Twilight’s character interests me far more looking at it from this other angle. This is a topic that has become of great interest to me in the wake of the upcoming G5, with speculation of the role Twilight will serve. Will she still be around to lend the new cast of characters a hand, and whether she will or won’t, will she have become jaded by the loss of magic in Equestria? Was the friendship and harmony in Equestria being replaced by paranoia and mistrust her fault? These questions seem to indicate Twilight being more flawed as a character than we initially believed…however, what if this was always actually the case? What if the often perceived as bad writing throughout the series, not just in the final two seasons, was foreshadowing something like this? What if morality in the show was always more complex than we thought? At first glance, this is difficult to imagine. The show’s view of morality seems very black and white. If a villain doesn’t have a backstory, they’re evil just for the sake of it, friendship is good, good always wins in the end. However, despite this, it’s hinted that Tirek, Cozy Glow, and Queen Chrysalis, indisputably the three villains who cause the most destruction in Equestria with their evil ways, could have changed if they had embraced friendship and Tirek even gets a nod to having a reason for being evil. In addition, good does not win in the end in a single one of the alternate universes Twilight visits in The Cutie Re-Mark, evil triumphs purely because of the absence of Twilight and her friends coming together. Yet Twilight and her friends are still not enough to triumph over evil at the end of the show, it’s all of Equestria coming together that has to save them and convince Twilight to accept the fact that there will always be darkness in the world. Yes, despite the fact that there’s no better role model in Equestria than Twilight in this world that apparently has no shades of gray to its laws of morality, she still must embrace darkness as an omnipresent, indestructible force in the world in order to complete her character arc. Obviously, Twilight can not help the way the world works. However, this proves that she is not capable of being a purely good being rejecting all evil. This capability of being corrupted is also shown with Princess Celestia, her mentor, who was tempted in Starlight Glimmer’s nightmare by Daybreaker, an evil incarnation of herself she could’ve become the same way Princess Luna became Nightmare Moon. An evil version of Twilight only appears in Equestria Girls as a corrupted form of the Twilight of that world, but the world of Friendship is Magic does show what Twilight would’ve been like without friendship through two characters that are purposely very similar to her in design, the once coldly reclusive and abrasive Moondancer and the once villainous Starlight. These may only be “What if?” scenarios, but they are not meant to show the only ways Twilight could ever possibly be corrupted. Even the Twilight that knows friendship was shown to be capable of wrongdoing. The most well-known example of this is shown in the MLP:FiM movie, where Twilight attempts to steal a pearl, believing that it’s the only way to save Equestria. Since the justification for her crime in the movie is very understandable, the question this raises about Twilight’s idea of right and wrong is largely overlooked. Other well-known examples are in the episodes Lesson Zero and A Trivial Pursuit, which showcase a manic Twilight attempting to create trouble out of desperation for a lesson to learn and mistreating a friend out of desperation to win a game respectively. Again, the question this dubious behavior raises is often ignored, most often being written off as Twilight simply having an episode. Twilight did something wrong, she learned a lesson, but what exactly made her believe she was in the right for doing wrong? The answer I have come up with is quite simple, and even explains lesser-known instances of Twilight’s impurity. Twilight believes she is in the right for doing wrong if that wrongdoing prevents her from failing. The three aforementioned examples, even with one being far less petty, all showed her feeling that she was backed into a corner with no choice but to sin to succeed. To understand what would make Twilight think this way, start by looking back at The Crystal Empire, which showed how seriously Twilight took test-taking, to the point where even considering the possibility of failure was enough to demoralize her. Her greatest concern on this quest to protect a kingdom from being enslaved by evil was not saving the Crystal Ponies, but failing her mentor’s test, as shown by her greatest fear being scolded by Celestia for her failure. Even after watching what her brother and the sister-in-law she admired had to go through to protect everyone, she still hesitated before commanding Spike to rescue the Crystal Heart, purely because of her fear of failure. You would think that with time, this fear of failure would subside, but no, it never would. Fast-forward to King Sombra’s return in The Beginning of the End, and Twilight’s greatest fear is still being scolded by Celestia after failing to stop Sombra. She imagines a possessed Celestia and Luna rebuking her for allowing Ponyville to be destroyed, but Sombra was only interested in ruling over the Empire at that point of the story and only ever attempted to conquer, not destroy, any land. This shows that, again, her mind was preoccupied by a test to prove herself, this time, to show that she was worthy of succeeding Celestia and Luna as the ruler of Equestria. Interestingly, it’s not that she wants this role, it’s not that she wants power…it’s that she doesn’t want to fail. Twilight is in no way power-thirsty and maintains the utmost respect for ponies in power. That respect is a sign of her good ethic and loyalty to Celestia, but that respect can also create weakness of the heart, a refusal to rebel against what you know is wrong. The two glowing examples of this weakness of Twilight’s are in Shadow Play and School Daze. In Shadow Play, Twilight debates whether or not it’s right to refuse a pony she believes could be redeemed a chance to reform simply because Starswirl the Bearded, the mentor of her mentors, believes it’s impossible to redeem Stygian. Yes, in spite of the fact that Starlight, a living, walking contradiction to Starswirl’s misguided beliefs, is standing right beside her, reminding her that Starswirl is wrong, she still contemplates going along with Starswirl’s plan. It gets even worse in School Daze, where despite the fact that Chancellor Neighsay has just made it clear to her that he is an openly racist bigot who will not tolerate other creatures learning about friendship, intolerance that completely goes against Twilight’s ideals, again, she still contemplates doing things his way at first to get her school reopened before Starlight has to talk her into doing what should have been obvious from the start, following her heart and rebelling against authority. Why is this? Why does Twilight, despite all the evil she has to face, have so much trouble going against not just a pony she admires for what’s right, but a pony she doesn’t admire for what’s right? Put simply, it’s because Twilight has a good soul, but she doesn’t have a rebel’s soul. This makes sense, considering that all her life, she’s been studying under the most powerful pony in Equestria, and even her entire quest of friendship was given to her as an order from the most powerful pony in Equestria. Her entire life, she’s been closely following the directions of Equestria’s government. Are you beginning to see how this could play a part in G5 for setting up a mistake Twilight could make that would allow for the friendship and harmony in Equestria to be replaced with paranoia and mistrust? Anyone, regardless of ideology, is able to acknowledge the fact that governments are absolutely notorious for being susceptible to corruption. And if push came to shove, after everything we’ve reviewed so far, does Twilight sound like the kind of pony who would be willing to rebel against a corrupt government, or attempt to justify that government’s wrongdoings? After everything we’ve looked at so far, wouldn’t you agree that the best way for the corrupt ponies in the government to manipulate her would be to convince her that if she lets them down, she lets all of Equestria down? What better way for them to manipulate her than to exploit her fear of failure? Is Twilight capable of leading a corrupt government? I don’t know, only time will tell. However, we all know that she is capable of resigning ponies to cruel fates, or at least condoning forces of power resigning ponies to cruel fates. Cozy Glow, only a child, ends up being sent to Tartarus instead of being put in a rehabilitation center for juvenile criminals, and King Sombra ends up being destroyed twice, all while Twilight and her friends rejoice in his demise. Twilight, despite having never killed a pony before, having always attempted to only imprison, banish, or reform every other foe, looks down on him with a smile as she leads her friends to annihilate him. You could say that she couldn’t control the magic that did this to him, but recall, who is the Tree of Harmony’s avatar? Twilight Sparkle. What makes Twilight feel at ease with these two being punished so brutally? How does she justify them being given worse than they deserve? The reason Cozy Glow and Sombra deserve to be treated worse than ordinary villains, I believe in her mind, is because these two villains are representations of her failure. Cozy Glow was a student of Twilight’s who became corrupted and Sombra made Twilight helpless in the face of her greatest fear back when she had to save the Empire, not with her own ability, but by allowing Spike to accomplish what should have been her feat. Both serve as eternal reminders of her shortcomings. You never know what is going on in someone’s head, but this theory would explain some of Twilight’s inconsistent behavior. Most inconsistent for her is the uncanny reaction she has to the reveal of Discord using the villains as a way to boost her confidence at the risk of the safety of the citizens of Equestria. Regardless of good intentions, Discord’s actions of using others, enabling an evil child, sending a villain to conquer a kingdom and take Twilight’s family hostage before having Twilight destroy that villain are comparable to the actions of a psychopath. Yet when Twilight hears this…it is not her, but her friends and mentor who rebuke Discord for his actions. She is not angry, but disillusioned despite the fact that she would be more justified than anyone else in losing it. Her family was put in danger, her country was put in danger, she was set up to obliterate a pony for nothing, yet she says nothing to condemn Discord, she’s only upset about the fact that the victories of her and her friends weren’t real. Why does this stand out as her source of distress? Because Discord created an illusion of her passing a test. Out of everything Twilight could be upset at Discord for doing, she chooses his deception. Not enabling evil, not endangering innocents, not sending villains to their doom, but the fact that he lied. Why is everything else Discord did justifiable? Because he was trying to help Twilight in his own way, despite the fact that this way wasn’t even ethical. Twilight sympathizes with him because he wanted her to succeed. Did you catch it? The reason why Discord’s evil must be justifiable is because the opposite of failure is success. The reason why the song Twilight sings in The Crystal Empire that defines her triumphs and her heart’s purity is called The Failure Success Song is because Twilight’s morality is defined by failure and success. This makes perfect sense because she’s lived her entire life as a student. If you are trying to help Twilight succeed, you must have good in you, no matter what. If you are trying to cause her to fail, you must have evil in you that would put her at fault if that evil were to obstruct her. Before Twilight is forced to accept that there will always be darkness in the world, she views the evil in the world as an obstacle of a test that she will either pass or fail. Evil can not triumph for any reason other than her own shortcomings. Since Discord’s shady actions have caused Twilight to both succeed and fail, she becomes depressed rather than angry because she is in a moral dilemma. This also explains why she breaks down like she does in The Ending of the End, even though she has just been reunited with the friends who sacrificed themselves so that she could escape, telling them that nothing they do matters. It doesn’t matter to her that this situation is Discord’s fault, what matters to her is that her test from Discord was just a setup. This causes her to start irrationally believing that all her accomplishments have no meaning, thus losing her will to fight. She doesn’t have the rebellious spirit that would motivate her to fight against a seemingly hopeless and inescapable situation and she doesn’t view her friends as her driving force, but her desire to succeed. Thus why her fire is reignited not by her friends returning alive and well, but by them reminding her of the fact that she succeeded in making a difference by changing their lives, that her friendship with them is an accomplishment. They also have to talk her out of worrying that she’ll just make things worse and that she has already failed. Fear of failure, wanting to succeed, you get the idea now. Twilight has also doubted friendship in the face of failure, not just here, but in the movie, where she had to admit that she “failed friendship” even though she’s the princess of friendship and friendship is magic, her element. Why? Because she does not view friendship as the core of her moral code like you would initially believe, but as the core of Equestria’s moral code, something she has to exemplify. It’s the guiding principle of the world all must follow, but none can follow it perfectly. This is why at the end of her character arc, she has to be reminded of friendship’s power in order to pull through. Because no matter how much Twilight’s character grows and evolves, she can not deny the feeling that she is still Celestia’s student and nothing will motivate her more than the desire to pass Celestia’s test. In her mind, she’s still a work in progress and a student with obligations to her teacher. However, what happens when she takes up Celestia’s role as the teacher instead of the student, with mentoring Luster Dawn in the future? Even here, Twilight’s driving force is not friendship itself, but her role as a teacher, passing down her teachings to later generations. This would explain why she’s content with watching her friends grow old and gray while she retains her youth inside of an immortal body. In the end, it’s not about her friends, but what she has learned about friendship that she and the generations that follow will learn and teach. That is the conclusion of my dissection of Twilight’s flaws on a moral scale. Twilight is still a morally strong character who has done far more good than bad, but she is in no way perfect. I love that about her. It makes her feel more real to me, appreciating these weaknesses of her otherwise strong ethic because no one in the real world has a perfect moral compass. Since everyone has a different idea of right and wrong, I definitely don’t expect everyone to agree with every one of my thoughts on Twilight’s conduct. I also don’t expect everyone to agree with every part of my interpretation since I believe that the show writers know Twilight’s character better than I do. Indeed, many people do not like how Twilight’s character was written. Me, however, if some of the controversial moments in the show were purposely foreshadowing what I’ve interpreted, I’d appreciate the way Twilight’s character was written even more. Even the things I personally don’t like about her character keep me thinking about her and I see that as a sign of a well-written character. For her to not have any flaws, to only be a goody-goody, a perfect representation of morality, she wouldn’t be the same to me.
  6. So we know that the state of Equestria is in a bad way socially speaking with distrust and apathy running rampant. We also know that you have a core group of at least four characters who will likely be motivated to change the current status quo. What I’m wondering is this — will be see any FiM era characters in G5 and how will they be represented? Now I don’t want this topic to be just “I want to see Twilight, Thorax, Ember, Spike, Discord”. This is really a speculative topic that assumes we may actually see one of these characters at some point on the show. The ones I mentioned above may be long lived or even immortal. If we do see them, the inevitable question will be “Hey where were you?” In The Last Jedi we saw a venerated saga character in Luke Skywalker presented as a grump who wanted nothing to do with the war going on. He became disillusioned and cynical. Eventually that changed, but how he was presented upset half of the Star Wars fans. If one of the above characters did the same, would it work in this series? Would it be worse? The only way it may work would be a lonely and broken hearted Discord who but only missed his friends so much but eventually “left” angry at the slow social distrust building. Unable or unwilling to fix things he may have just go off to his realm and allow Ponies to continue to turn their backs on each other. Seeing a cynical Twilight would be way too heartbreaking, akin to a grumpy Luke. Though some may actually see some storylines value in this. Thoughts?
  7. The synopsis of the Generation 5 explicitly states that the new show takes place in an era after Twilight and company set up the future of Equestria to be a stable and peaceful nation exemplifying, well, the magic that comes from friendships. That future wasn’t permanent, and this is where most of my tasty speculation cider is fermenting. It brings up so many many questions. Peace is hard to achieve. It is harder to maintain. Reaching the highs that our hero’s achieved was absolutely miraculous, and I could never take that achievement away, or marginalize it with with a statement that they failed. Did a longer lasting ere of peace and prosperity invite complacency? If so, did the loss of friendships and even this new separation of the tribes come about slowly over a generation or two? Whatever the reason for the current state of Equestria, I look forward to a strong explanation that goes beyond the natural deaths of key characters, or some magical explanation, though those may very well be the cause. What do you all think? Does the answer lie in sociology, evil magic, the lack of venerated characters, or .... is Tom behind it all?
  8. Hello everypony! As much confusion and hope -or doubt, depending on how you take it- the synopsis has left for us, I wanted to somewhat go into depth on the description for G5, based upon what I believe may happen, but also on what they've given us. I'm really looking forward to it, and I don't think I've ever been this hyped for a show! (Aside from G:SP, but that's for another day) Now, going into depth on this description.. It's quite unexpected and scary when looking at it, but broken down, it's not as overwhelming. Something definitely happened. We can guess that Twilight's rule has ended forever ago, as it's confirmed to take place in the far off future. It could be possible that everybody started losing hope after she retired, or something must've happened to her. Either someone terrible was put on the throne as ruler, or we might be getting new villains/characters that contributed to the downfall. Perhaps, a war may have broken out after Twilight's rule has ended . Just because G4 showed us that Equestria became inclusive and had a happy ending, doesn't mean it would've stayed that way forever (I mean, look at the American Dream of the 50-80s.. compare that to now), so anything could be possible. This brings so many possibilities. She could be the only one who believes the Mane Six were real (assuming they're nothing more than legend in this continuation), or the only one who believes in friendship and harmony. This most likely causes her to become an outcast, or seen as different, based upon whatever may be the popular opinion in society. Sunny most likely doesn't have many friends due to this, possibly leading to her obsession and turning to the Mane Six, or classic Equestria in general, as a way of coping. Misguided efforts.. this could mean she makes mistakes, maybe even hinting at possible clumsiness? Hilarious efforts could also just mean she's clumsy as well. As seen from the animatic, which could be the possible G5 opening, we see a stallion -most likely her father, or even Hitch- telling or showing her about the magic of friendship. Maybe she loses her father, and that's the only memory she has left that could contribute to her beliefs, or either of them are the only pony out there that believes in her, and believes in what Equestria once was as well. Another thing that could prove this was the G5 opening animatic for the movie, is that the frames were oddly taken down not long after it was leaked.. it was uploaded by someone who worked at Boulder Media though! They were originally going to upload it to a folder so people with a password could access it.. so it still could be possible, considering the smaller earth pony looks exactly like Sunny. Source This doesn't quite make sense, although it could bring forth any possibilities as well. Why was Izzy lost and wandering? Did she lose her family or her home? Did she wander too far and couldn't find her way back? Or is she a rogue? Perhaps she was banished from her home, possibly believing in friendship and unity like Sunny, causing their friendship to bloom after she arrives. Perhaps Sunny being the only one in the town to show her kindness, leads Izzy to believe that there's still hope, even if she's not an earth pony like the others. While not a huge fan of musical numbers, it seems like we're going to get some action. I'm looking forward to that! I'm wondering if their journey is going to be like Twilight's, or Sunny's going to want to do everything "The Twilight Way." Considering not much information is given on that part, we can only assume -rightfully so- that they work on bringing magic and friendship back to Equestria. Not exactly sure on the flying Pomeranian.. are we talking about the dog or the horse here? Whatever one it is, it better be as cute as promised! If it is the dog breed, I wonder if they'll use what Rainbow Dash had done for Tank, with his little propeller. As for the daring jewel heist, this could imply they're stealing a jewel of some kind, possibly from a villain? That's all I can think of for that part, but for the conspiracy theories, that's just that. The characters coming up with crazy conspiracies about their land, or beyond! Faraway lands! Perhaps we'll see some from the first movie reappear, or we'll get new ones. Maybe they'll bring back older lands from G1? Whatever it means, I'm looking forward to adventure! And the old enemies aspect.. The only "old villains" I can think of are the ones we saw at the end of the G4 finale, or we're going to possibly get some from the older Gens as well. I would LOVE to know how long it's been since the finales setting, and how long Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy have been trapped in stone.. Where would they have been placed, and would they possibly return, causing the events for G5? Or are they going to include enemies that have interacted with the ponies in the universe that we don't know of yet? I would love to see the G4 villains return, but I would also love to see modern takes on older ones as well! From this, we can safely assume that throughout her whole life, Equestria has always been the way the synopsis describes; a divided world in which she lives. From the phrase "Even Little Ponies," we can assume that means that Sunny's trying to prove younger ponies can make a difference, or her species is much smaller than an average earth pony? Whatever it is, I'm glad to see earth ponies getting the recognition they deserve! What do you all think? What are your thoughts on the synopsis, and do you have any theories as to what may happen? If there's any information you'd like me to add for more depth, just add it down below and I'll gladly analyze it!
  9. I had a thought, and I wanted to share it to see what you all thought of it... So, we know the book in FiM; the one that started and ended the series: MLP - FiM - Opening_Closing Book-4uW6FbQmDYA.mp4 (Video credit: Artist Creations Pictures, Inc.) What if, in this new G5 era, it was published as an actual book? What if Sunny had read everything that took place in FiM, and wanted to be exactly like the Mane Six? Like a role model type thing. The closing of the book could have been Sunny (aside from the viewer) reading the whole thing, and they may try to add that into the movie? I don't know how to explain it. I know it probably wasn't an idea of theirs at the time, but somewhere in the movie, she may mention something about reading the whole book? We saw in one of the screenshots that she's reading a book of some sort, but we don't know for sure what it's on. We can only make assumptions, but I like to believe she carries the book around, reading parts of it that relate to events she experiences throughout the movie, to do everything the way the Mane Six had. It could be that, as the book looks really old, and it looks like there could possibly be tabs or cards in between some of the pages? Or it could be the pages are falling apart. What do y'all think?
  10. So as we have heard now, G5 takes place in the same universe as G4, but in the far future, probably about a thousand years or so. in G4, the series premiere starts with opening a book. In the series finale, it ends with closing a book. Sunny is depicted as basically being a brony. MLP - FiM - Opening_Closing Book-4uW6FbQmDYA.mp4 (Video credit: Artist Creations Pictures, Inc.) what if.. the pony that was reading the FiM book was none other than Sunny Starscout???? Mind blown.
  11. Mane 6 (and Spike!) Applejack This relationship has definitely seen the most development. From barely being able to stand each other for more than a few hours in “Look Before You Sleep”, they now seem to be quite firm friends. Of course, Rarity still tries to get Applejack to be more ladylike, and Applejack still thinks Rarity needs to be less fussy, but overall, they seem to have come to an understanding of each other. Applejack’s selflessness devotion to her family has helped Rarity strengthen her bond with Sweetie Belle, where before she was a little selfish. Applejack taught her the importance of compromising. Highlights: Episode 46. “It’s About Time”: Applejack fixes the crack in the dam, while Rarity fixes up the leaves in AJ’s mane. Episode 53-54. “The Crystal Empire”: Applejack cheers Rarity up with a kind word in “The Crystal Empire”. Episode 61. “Spike at Your Service”: Rarity teaches Applejack how to play the “damsel in distress”. Episode 73. “Rarity Takes Manehatten”: Applejack says bluntly, “Yep, you were pretty rotten…” Episode 78. “Simple Ways”: They each parody the other. Twilight Sparkle I don’t usually ship Mane Six members together, but when I do, it’s Rarilight. If I were one to let subtext reign supreme, I would believe these two are already in a relationship. Right from the first episode, Rarity has been very touchy-feely with Twilight. Just go watch the end of “The Crystal Empire”, and tell me she doesn’t act rather tenderly towards Twilight there. She was the first to start singing, went to Twilight to raise her head up with a gentle touch to the chin when Twilight blushed, and put her hoof over Twilight’s as the train left. Sorry, Spike, you’re losing out to your adopted big sister. Even if you ignore the subtext, it’s clear Rarity has a strong regard for Twilight. She noticed she was bothered in “Lesson Zero”, she worried about Twilight not having her crown in Equestria Girls, and most importantly, although she wanted to marry a prince and be a princess, she has never once expressed the slightest sense of jealousy that Twilight is now a Princess and not her. That’s pretty telling, because she was jealous of Fluttershy, and they’re probably the two who spend the most of their time together. Highlights Episode 16. “Sonic Rainboom”: Rarity rump bumps Twilight to encourage her to find a spell. Episode 29. “Lesson Zero”: Rarity calls Twilight a drama queen, after a day of non-stop drama. Episode 53-54. “The Crystal Empire”: Rarity starts the song to Twilight. Rainbow Dash Rarity’s relationship to Rainbow is similar to Applejack, only with a lot less butting of heads. They don’t usually interact, and when they do, it’s pretty low key. We mostly see Rarity doing nice things for Rainbow, like making her a pretty dress for Princess Celestia’s visit, or supporting her in competitions... at first. Not much else to say. Highlights Episode 14. “Suited for Success”: Rarity facedesks when Rainbow can’t be any clearer about her dress than it needs to be cooler. Episode 47. “Dragon Quest”: Rarity tells Rainbow she was surprised her plan worked, and gets a rump to the face in response. Episode 61. “Spike at your Service”: Rarity gives Rainbow a very snarky response to her fanfiction plot, which goes right over Rainbow’s head. Episode 75. “Rainbow Falls”: Rarity takes the relay horseshoe to paint it, to Rainbow’s annoyance. Fluttershy Indications are that Rarity and Fluttershy have been firm friends for a very long time. They often have spa dates together, and Rarity frequently tries to bring Fluttershy out of her shell. Being the prettiest and second-most ladylike Mane Six, they seem to have a lot in common. Their Elements are also quite compatible, since Generosity is being giving with one’s possessions and Kindness is being giving with one’s time and emotion. Other indications of their closeness include Fluttershy helping Rarity with Opal, Rarity calling on her when she needs someone to fly up and help her borrow the Castle decorations. She also tried very hard to be happy for Fluttershy when she caught the eye of Photo Finish, and felt terrible when she was envious. She also very quickly forgave Fluttershy for the vicious tongue-lashing she got in “Putting your Hoof Down”. Highlights Episode 17. “Stare Master”: Rarity is speechless when a quiet word from Fluttershy pulls the CMC into line. Episode 45. “Putting Your Hoof Down”: Rarity pushes a slack-jawed Pinkie’s mouth closed after Fluttershy stands up to Iron Will. Episode 57. “Magic Duel”: Rarity creates a camouflage outfit for Fluttershy that includes bunny ears. Episode 79. “Filli Vanilli”: Rarity quickly picks up on Fluttershy’s eagerness to continue singing. Pinkie Pie Again, not really much to say here. Rarity is sometimes exasperated at Pinkie’s antics, and can even be quite stern with her, but they tend to get along very well most of the time. Pinkie also seems to put some trust in Rarity. In “Last Round-up”, she simply leaps off the stagecoach and tells Rarity to catch her. Highlights Episode 7. “Dragonshy”: Pinkie beats Rarity at Tic-Tac-Toe… 35 times in a row. Episode 45. “Putting Your Hoof Down”: Pinkie and Rarity team up to help Fluttershy be more assertive, but she does so badly that Pinkie buries her head in the ground. Rarity tries to comfort her with a gentle hoof on her mane. Episode 62. “Keep Calm and Flutter On”: Rarity checks her reflection in Pinkie’s newly polished hooves. Episode 73. “Rarity Takes Manehatten”: After Rarity delivers her “going down in flames, isn’t friendship magic?” line, Pinkie gives her a sheepish grin and nods agreement. Spike This is one of the most important and talked about relationships in the series. Ironically, given that FiM doesn’t have much by way of romance. A lot of people give Rarity grief over what they see as her taking advantage of him. In some ways, they’re right, but it’s actually much more of a give and take than is sometimes recognized. Yes, she gets him to do stuff for her, but most of the time, Spike’s perfectly okay with it. And she’s hardly the only Mane Six who does. She also frequently gives him rewards for his troubles, such as gems to eat, a carrot-dog, etc. She also sticks up for Spike frequently, and went to great lengths to keep him safe in “Dragon Quest”. It’s clear that she does care for him in her own way. I suspect that Rarity simply doesn’t know exactly how to handle Spike’s precocious crush on her. After all, by the standards of dragonhood, Spike is not even a teenager yet. She can’t view him as a romantic prospect, but she cares for him and certainly wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings. So, until she can find a way to let him down gently, she keeps their relationship at status quo. Perhaps in her mind, letting him do things for her is a way of showing that she does want him to be around. Not always, of course, but I think that’s a large part of it. Highlights Episode 19. “A Dog and Pony Show”: Spike valiantly defends Rarity from the Diamond Dogs. Episode 36. “Secret of My Excess”: The most touching Rarity-Spike moment, as he tries to confess while falling, only for her to shush him and show that she already knows. Episode 61. “Spike at your Service”: She takes a bite out of his terrible pie to make him happy. Episode 73. “Rarity Takes Manehatten”: Rarity gives Spike that carrot-dog, which is promptly stolen by a bird. He has it again later, so either he got it back or bought a replacement. Family: Parents, Sweetie Belle and Opal Rarity seems to be deliberately avoiding taking after her parents, who seems like very friendly, if unsophisticated types. Middle class is probably a good way to describe them. We don’t yet know if her dad is a unicorn or earth pony, due to his hat. (BREAKING NEWS - He actually is a unicorn, as shown in "Imagination Manifestation"!) She hasn’t really interacted with them enough to get much of an idea of how close she is to them. While Opal can be temperamental, she seems to have affection for Rarity in her own enigmatic cat way. Her moods follow Rarity’s, and she tries to remind her mistress of her priorities at times. Opal seems to stoically suffer some of Rarity’s more whimsical tendencies, such as her baby-talking and coddling. Rarity’s relationship with Sweetie Belle is the focus of a fair number of episodes. While their sisterly relationship has had its ups and downs, Sweetie Belle clearly looks up to Rarity, and Rarity clearly loves her and tries to do good things for her. While she took her a bit for granted in earlier seasons, Rarity has gotten much better at compromising, mainly due to the events of “Sisterhooves Social”. Where before she would put her own comfort and desires first, she’s now more willing to sacrifice them for Sweetie’s sake. The most recent episodes have shown that Sweetie has long been harbouring a grudge for Rarity overshadowing her, and they may become even closer now that Sweetie has realized that Rarity doesn’t want to keep her in her shadow. Highlights Episode 31. “Sisterhooves Social”: We get to meet Rarity’s parents. This episode also improves the sisters’ relationship. Episode 35. “Sweet and Elite”: Opal taps the design for Twilight’s dress, and is annoyed when Rarity doesn’t notice. Episode 58. “Sleepless in Ponyville”: Despite despising camping and “all that… ugh… nature”, Rarity is willing to brave the wilderness for her sister… as long as no heavy hauling for her is involved. Sweetie doesn’t seem to mind, just being glad that Rarity is there. Romantic Prospects Fancy Pants Catching the eye of this stallion is one of the best things ever to happen to Rarity. He’s also later appeared in Ponyville and Manehatten. Could he be following Rarity around? And is that supermodel pony who always hangs on him just eye candy, or a romantic partner? For Rarity’s sake, I hope not! Trenderhoof Creepy shrine? Check. Trying everything she can to win him over? Check. Learning that changing yourself for someone else is a bad thing? Check. Getting over him? Antagonists: Discord Along with most of the others, Rarity is skeptical of Discord’s change of heart. She blames him for the embarrassment of making her think a rock was a diamond, and so she has little patience or sympathy for him. Photo Finish Photo Finish was rather abrupt to her, made Fluttershy a star and caused Rarity to feel like she had betrayed her best friend by being so jealous. Photo Finish has yet to return in a speaking part, but she was present in a cameo during “Sweet and Elite”, so we could speculate that Rarity is over it. Prince Blueblood Apart from acting like a prat, he used her as a pony shield against flying cake. In the dress she was terrified somepony would spill something on in “A Bird in the Hoof”. A crime against fashion! After she told him just what she thought of him, she was forced to flee, and smashed her glass slipper so that he couldn’t find her. Despite this, he also had a cameo, so perhaps she has forgiven him too. Trixie Although Trixie has done some nasty things to her, Rarity seems to dislike Trixie mainly because of how she treated Twilight. Perhaps we can learn more if Trixie gets another episode (I’m counting the minutes ). Suri Polomane Suri represents what Rarity could become if she lost her sense of generosity. And morals in general. Although Rarity was deeply hurt by her betrayal, she didn’t try to excuse her own bad behaviour towards her friends. She also doesn’t seem to feel a need to get revenge on Suri for taking advantage of her generosity. Perhaps she considers Suri losing her talented assistant, Coco Pommel, to be punishment enough. And with that, I draw this three-part analysis of Rarity to a close. Do you think I was accurate? Do you disagree with my points or have something more to add? Any comments are welcomed. Until next time, stay Rarity-side up!
  12. It's amazing how as an adult you can look at animated movies and really wring out all the great lessons and characterizations in the movie itself. The MLP Movie was certainly no exception. Perhaps a few of the greatest examples I can pull from the movie are Tempest's painful past playing a role with her current role as the Storm King's sidekick Twilight's desperation interfering with her friends Not forgetting who you are and what you're made to do Let's go over the first. So...in the movie when we first see Tempest, we see the familiar villain archetype: wanting surrender, wanting power and wanting to complete tasks for selfish gain. We get a hint of something due to Tempest's broken horn. Fast forward to Tempest's Song "Open Your Eyes", and this is where we learn the full story of what happened to Tempest. The pain of losing her horn caused her to become bitter and angry, because her horn was what made her so special. She loved to create beautiful sky displays...but all of that was taken away from her due to the Ursa Minor slicing off her horn. Even when Twilight saved her, she still felt remorse and sadness. She could not see herself as "complete" without her horn. Nonetheless, as the movie conveyed, "You are still you, perfect and beautiful, no matter what happens or what you look like." The next deep point was Twilight's desperation in wanting to save Ponyville over her friendship. This scene was honestly very hard to watch. After a delightful and joyous song "One Small Thing" by the Mane 5 and Princess Sky Star, it was discovered Twilight was trying to steal the pearl. This costs the Mane 6 their new seapony transformation and a banishment from Seaquestria. Twilight and Pinkie get into an argument, which results in Twilight stating she doesn't need her friends, paraphrasing. This was the big moment where Twilight realized she had become too desperate in the need of an item to save Ponyville and Canterlot, and completely forgot about the worth of her friends. This was where Tempest wanted Twilight, alone and with no one to defend her. This is perhaps the hardest lesson to swallow in the whole movie, because it teaches that you can't rely on physical objects to help you complete a task. In the end, it's the people/ponies/friends that matter the most that will help guide you through whatever you need. The last deep point I bring forth is one that has been repeated in countless movies, one of the first being "The Lion King", "Remember who you are". Returning to that hard scene where Twilight was desperate to save Ponyville, she forgot who she was. She forgot that she was the Princess of Friendship, and in that one scene where she confronted Tempest in that small cell, she said "Friendship didn't fail me...I failed friendship.". Friendship is an abstract idea. It is what brings us together. And in this world today, with all of this hate and stuff that's going around, we can easily get swept away in the vortex and forget who we really are, and in that moment, friendships can disappear with a poof. But alas, this quote has another meaning. Remember the pirates that the Mane 6 met who were supposedly henchmen of the Storm King? Remember how Rainbow Dash reminded them who they were and what they were meant to do with that one song "Time To Be Awesome?" Well, the same principle applies here. You can't let anyone steal your mojo and your charisma. That all belongs to you. To conclude, looking at the MLP Movie from an adult perspective really made me think about my journey through life thus far. It made me ask a lot of questions...such as: Do I know who I really am? Are my "friendships" really true and honest? Am I dwelling in past events too long? Has the past influenced my emotions? Am I letting people take advantage of me and making me forget who I am? Am I blaming other people for my wrongdoings when I am too desperate to complete a certain task? There are a lot more questions out there. In the end, looking at the MLP Movie from an older perspective can really help you evaluate yourself from all points and make you think about what has been successful, and what you need to work on, so you can become the best you can.
  13. Alright, here we go again. A theory I’ve come up with from too much overthinking the episode and listening to “This Day Aria” on repeat is that Queen Chrysalis is not as evil as the episode makes her out to be. This theory is based on a lot of personal interpretations from the actual song and some of the things in the episode. I would like to start by saying; we know only that Chrysalis intended to invade Equestria to feed her subjects, the changelings. This is an act of survival, and an act of selflessness because she was actually in the front line and the one at risk through the entire episode. We see that she only wants her race to survive, since she clearly says that they needed to feed on love, and seeing how they hungers for it, they must’ve been starving. In the song, I feel that Chrysalis is not only singing against the real Cadence at the time, but also against herself. Her part of the lyrics can easily be interpreted to contain two actual opinions on the matter. She sings that she have been looking forward to “this day” since she was small, a thing we can interpret as that she’s not only doing this to feed on love, but also because she have a personal dream of marriage, as is often the dream of a princess, the title you have before becoming a queen. She sings that she wants him to be all hers as well as she want them to be together. This would seem like she actually wish for love, but have no other means to get it other than through her evil means. She is a rather awkward species, and we see that she’s the only true intelligent being amongst the changelings we meet. “Finally the moment has arrived For me to be one lucky bride” This was what triggered my initial thoughts on this theory, she actually sings this. That she’s going to be a lucky bride. This is what I see as the proof of her dreaming about marriage since she was small, since she was an innocent little princess. I believe that she have been brought up to have the evil opinion she have, since all princesses must’ve had parents. I think she was taught to be evil and therefore proceeds to fulfill her wishes through the only means she have been taught. As we see, she doesn’t harm the mane six when she captures them, she actually didn’t wish to hurt anypony, she just wanted to have love. All she did was trap what was standing in her way of the love she thought she could gain by fake means. I presume that if one were to give Chrysalis real love, if someone loved her for who she was and “fed” her natural love, she would have no reason to be evil, since the only reason she was evil to begin with was to acquire love for herself and the other changelings. She ends her son with “Mine, all mine” another thing that can easily be interpreted as her wish to have the source of love all for herself, and the reason she acts as evil as she does could be from jealousy towards the couple who felt immeasurable love for each other. If Chrysalis was to find love of her own, I personally think she would have no further reason to act as she did in this episode and she would retreat to being a more tolerable pony/changeling.
  14. Ah yes, this episode...this episode where Rainbow Dash flies with the Wonderbolts for the first time...and completely blows it...resulting in her role models...the ones whom she looked up to as a filly to call her that despicable name...Rainbow Crash. But...amidst all of the hurt...Rainbow...doesn’t exactly go the way we want...and the relationship between Rainbow Dash and the Wonderbolts has quite the bump in the road. Let’s take a pause for a moment and examine Rainbow Dash thus far. So...we meet her in season 1 as the ponies are preparing for the Summer Sun Festival. We immediately get that tomboy and brash nature. We also see her dream of becoming a Wonderbolt and wanting to show her stuff. But most of all, it is established that she is the Element of Loyalty. When we meet Scootaloo, we see that she is a big fan of Rainbow Dash. During Mare-Do-Well, we learn more about Rainbow and how she likes to be in the spotlight. This is perhaps one of Rainbow’s biggest traits that could also be a bit of a curse. The reason why it’s a curse? It leads her to becoming a little arrogant and thinking that other ponies are out to steal her thunder, which is why ponies started to ignore her and prefer Mare-Do-Well because she was silent and humble about what she did. Another big episode for Rainbow was Wonderbolt Academy. This is where we see her stand up to the Wonderbolts, exemplifying her loyalty for her friends and criticizing the Wonderbolts for promoting recklessness over the safety of others. It was here that the Rainbow Dash taught her own role models a lesson. We see it yet again in Rainbow Falls where the Wonderbolts leave Soarin’ in the hospital and offer Rainbow Dash a sub spot. Again, Rainbow’s loyalty to her beloved Ponyville shines through. It is quite the decision and conflict though, as she wants to train and fly with the Wonderbolts since they are they are her forever role models, but Ponyville is her home. It’s where she met her friends and where everything began for her. But then we come to “Trade Ya”, where we notice the writers completed backtracking to a part of Rainbow we haven’t seen in a while: her selfish side. In this episode, because of Rainbow’s thirst for the premium Daring Do collectable, this causes her to lose herself and trade away Fluttershy when she didn’t even realize the pony who made the offer knew she would fall for it. It’s backtracking episodes like this that sadly make Rainbow look bad. But buckle up everypony...this is where Newbie Dash comes in. As stated before, after the big fluke that Rainbow pulled in her first real flight with The Wonderbolts, Spitfire and Soarin’ bring up the name that forever hurt Rainbow Dash: “Rainbow Crash”. They then go as far as to say to deal with the name and that they had names themselves. Uhm...hello? This is Rainbow Dash we’re speaking about...you know there are things that are sensitive to her… You see? Right here. This is one of the biggest problems with this episode. Instead of speaking up and being assertive about that name, Rainbow Dash goes out of character, imitating her friends, acting like she is emotionally ok, when really, the pain is almost unbearable. To make matters even worse, she pulls a Lightning Dust and gets Scootaloo involved. Like...really? This isn’t at all the Rainbow Dash we all know. I understand that pain and hurt can drive people to do the craziest of things but...this is just ridiculous. Rainbow’s out of character feats are what really destroy this episode and made it become what it is. Rainbow Dash is the Element of Loyalty. She may be a bit brash and arrogant, but in the end, she’ll always be there for her friends. Here, they showed how that dreaded nickname turned her into something else that led her into nearly getting kicked from the Wonderbolts. Ok ok...I think I’ve gone long enough about Rainbow Dash...let’s focus on the real culprits of the episode...Spitfire and Soarin’. Ok, so we all know about hazing, which is what Rainbow’s actions led her to...cleaning the entire facility and accepting her nickname. But...here’s the thing I said before, she didn’t have to accept her name. She could’ve been assertive and stood up to whatever Spitfire and Soarin were doing. Speaking of which, Spitfire, and Soarin’ had no business ganging up on Rainbow like that...and that leads me to one conclusion: Ignorance. The Wonderbolts ignorance has been going on for quite a bit...which...leads to say that this ignorance is…(Sorry I gotta steal this from ya Silver Quill) Yes...the Wonderbolts have had a string of ignorance since Wonderbolt Academy, when Spitfire promoted Lightning Dust to leader instead of Rainbow because she was “pushing herself more”, when in reality, she was being reckless. Here, in Newbie Dash, Spitfire AND Soarin’ completely ignored Rainbow’s emotional turmoil thus causing things to get worse, and then...the hazing began. And then we get a lesson about standing out vs fitting in when we know that the writers totally screwed up on the episode. There’s no recovery from that mistake. This is the biggest reason why Newbie Dash is the most misleading episode of FIM...because it fails to address the real problem: realizing the effect of a bad name on a person and thinking you’re using it for their benefit, when in reality, it is tearing them up on the inside. In addition, another possible lesson is along the lines of the “standing out versus fitting in”, is this: “fitting in to stand out...as a team”...which can boil down to...self-control. In the end, Newbie Dash is unfortunately a sad representation of how society can force you to accept something you don’t want to be, or that has hurt you in the past. Sure people can say “Forget about it! It’s in the past! Man up and deal with it and stop acting like a baby about it!” But that’s ignorance too. Rainbow Dash may continue to lionize The Wonderbolts, but in reality, The Wonderbolts themselves have a lot to learn...and so do we. As a popular saying from Tae Kwon Do says “Because there’s always more to learn...the paper is never full”, we will continue to learn valuable lessons in our lives, and as far as MLP, we hope that the writers will continue to supply us with valuable lessons that we can cherish for a lifetime. (Image credit goes to Silver Quill)
  15. These are two very good questions, espeically when it comes too, (with all due respect) #GoldenFox and #MisAnthroPony, and their thoughts on it. So here I discuss this topic and try to answer these two questions Comments are Welcomed #MLPSeason9 #Sparity #RarityxSpike #SpikexRarity #RaritySpike #SpikeRarity #MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic
  16. Bronies and Pegasisters gather round, and hear my news that shall astound… Get off the stage, Zecora. Okay, lets get down to business. I’m here to prove to you, without a doubt, that Spike is a main character, and only those too stubborn to ignore facts won’t agree with this. Now let me clarify what I mean by main character. No, Spike is not a part of the mane 6, otherwise it would be called the mane 7, wouldn’t it? I’m looking at the show as what it is: a TV show, not what the fandom has made it out to be, and who the lead role’s would be. Before we jump in, we need to ask ourselves, what makes a main character? A member of the main cast is measured by two things, importance and screentime. For example, you can have minimum importance to the series, but a large amount of screen time and be considered a main character. Now that that’s out of the ways, lets get things started. First off, let’s start with Spike’s importance to the series as a whole. Spike has multiple episodes that feature him as playing the main role. Let’s compare that to some other main characters of other shows. Here’s a good one: Doctor Who. When you look at the amount of episodes that feature Rose Tyler as THE main role, as in the episode surrounds her and is about her, it adds up to the astounding number of one. Rose Tyler plays an extremely important role to the series, and even when she leaves the Doctor, she is still referred to constantly, more so than any other main character. Spike, a supposed “supporting” character, has more episodes about him than she does. Now, let’s look at Spike’s actually importance in the show. Could the show exist without the number one assistant? The answer is a definite no. While he doesn’t have an Element of Harmony, thats just what the show needed. A main character without an Element. This provides the show to do more with the story, such as when Spike becomes the new Rainbow Dash in the Season 2 premiere. And although Spike doesn’t have as many episodes surrounding him as the other characters, he is constantly on screen during these episodes. Why is that? Well, it’s because Spike is very, VERY good at one thing. Being the character that the others personalities bounce off of. In this way, yes, he is a support, but not a supporting character. He supports the personalities of the other ponies, and is remarkably better at doing so than others. He can laugh or be creeped out by Pinkie Pie, he can give Twilight solid advice or be the comic relief for when its just him and her, he can swoon over Rarity, adding more to Rarity’s personality while doing so, he can tease others with Rainbow Dash, he can be adored by or act protective towards Fluttershy, and he can be told-off by Apple Jack. Unlike the other ponies, who all have more shaped personalities, Spike’s personality can mold to be that perfect fit for the people surrounding him. If the show didn’t have him, the script would have a lot less to go off of. The script would even lose a lot of dialogue with Twilight. Often times, Twilight is alone with Spike, with no cause for other ponies to come talk to her. To provide dialogue, Spike is there. Without Spike, who would Twilight talk to? Owlowiscious? That would get boring VERY fast. You could say they could just replace him with another character to provide dialogue, but if thats true, then I could say they can replace Applejack and give the Element of Honesty to somepony else (Just imagine if Applejack wasn’t a character… Ew). And let’s not forget, Spike was the one who told Twilight she needs to make some friends. He’s also saved Equestria before. Losing him would lead to some drastic changes to the series. Now for Spike’s screentime. Let’s begin with Season 1. While Spike’s screentime is less than the rest of the cast, he is actually a part of the gradual climb downward of screentime for each member of the mane 6. Excluding Twilight (who has godly amounts of screentime in Season 1), the order for most screentime to least goes as this- Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and then Spike. If you look at the amount of screentime they have compared to each other, you may notice something. Its a little hard to explain, but basically, the amount time Rarity has more of on screen than Applejack is nearly equal to the time Applejack has more than Pinkie Pie, which is equal to the time Pinkie Pie has more than Fluttershy, and so on. The distance of time between each of them is virtually equal. Its a slow, gradual descent. So, if one was to claim Spike wasn’t a main character, I could claim Rainbow Dash wasn’t. After all, she does have much less screentime than Rarity and everypony else. When we look at Season 2, it’s a bit different. This time, Spike’s screentime is still the least, but compare it to Fluttershy’s, who is the second least. Spike’s screentime is relatively close to hers, while when you compare Fluttershy’s screentime to Pinkie Pie, Pinkie Pie has much, MUCH more screentime than Fluttershy. This seems perfectly good reason to claim Fluttershy isn’t a main character, considering her screentime is closer to a “supporting” character than a main character. Both Rainbow Dash and Rarity have much more than her as well. In fact, even Applejack’s screentime is more comparable to Spike than Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, or Rarity. I know there are some right now that are saying just because they have less screentime than others for a season doesn’t make them not a main character. And get this: You’re right. You’re absolutely right. But if that’s true, if you honestly believe that Fluttershy and Applejack are still main characters DESPITE having much less screentime than the 4 other members of the mane 6, then you have to believe that Spike is a main character as well. Want to know why? Take a look at Season 3. In this season, Spike has more screentime than Rarity, Fluttershy, AND Pinkie Pie. Why would a supporting character have more screentime than THREE main characters? And if Applejack and Fluttershy are still main characters, why wouldn’t Spike be? They all have been interchanged for different spots on the screentime list, and in Season 3, Spike has the 4th most screentime. In fact, when comparing Spike and Fluttershy’s overall screentime, they has barely any time seperating them, Fluttershy just barely, by mere INCHES, being above Spike. So if Spike isn’t a main character, clearly you must also believe Fluttershy, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie aren’t main characters either. Oh, but I’m not done with screentime yet. Just think for a second about Celestia and Luna’s screentime, who to some people are in the same category as Spike. How can that be possible? Both of the princess’s screentime combined don’t even come near to Spike’s screentime. Even taking two of the members in the CMC and adding them doesn’t reach Spike’s. After looking at all these facts, can you honestly still claim Spike isn’t a main character? Only people refusing to accept that they were wrong could believe that. I’ve shown you the facts, I’ve given you solid evidence, I’ve downright PROVED Spike is a main character. Anyone that says otherwise is just a little to stubborn.
  17. Because Season 9 was its last, FIM was likely going to go out and try to deliver the best episodes possible. Out of the gate, Dubuc and Haber co-wrote Sparkle's Seven, one of the best comedic, animated, and written episodes of the series. Taking ideas from the lead voice actors, they blended together a tremendous script that never let up, delivered an excellent allegory of how well-made predictability transcends poorly-made unpredictability, and used that allegory to create an excellent plot twist. If you wanna read my review, it's right here. Unfortunately, no episode review for The Last Crusade, but my love for it from the minute it debuted early never wavered. While Sparkle's Seven doesn't take itself too seriously, this was an emotional roller coaster from the minute Scoot realized her parents were coming home. Mane Allgood and Snap Shutter were, to put it bluntly, very bad parents for not being able to spend time with Scootaloo, and the parents (and episode itself) know it. Therefore, they come up with a solution that allows them to do the job that Equestria depends them upon while simultaneously taking care of Scootaloo. Unfortunately, it completely overlooked the fact that Scootaloo has hundreds of close relations back in Ponyville and all over Equestria. In trying to resolve a dilemma, they made Scootaloo even more upset and put her at greater odds with them. The only way they were going to let her stay is to show them that the CMCs truly changed their lives for the better; with help from Aunt Holiday, Auntie Lofty, and every resident they knew, they successfully convinced Mane Allgood and Snap Shutter that separating the CMCs would only hurt Equestria over the long haul. Letting her stay in Ponyville and promising to spend more time with her when the train let them was the right solution for the story, lessons, and characters. Both TLC and Seven are outstanding and extremely close in quality, but by the skin of its teeth, Last Crusade overthrew it. No other episode came close to toppling it…until The Big Mac Question. Line 'Em Up! I long repeated this, and to write it again, the dialogue since Shadow Play has really improved, the verbal comedy especially. Since Dubuc relinquished her role as co-editor, the comedic dialogue has, sadly, been somewhat of a step down. Thankfully, I'm reminded through BMQ that the same wit never really left, and that when it's on, it's great. Discord, for that matter, was the king of these great lines. Here are just a few: The first line wasn't quite true, but the second completely was, historically speaking. (The line is doubly important for adding context to the episode's central lesson of how keeping things simple are what really makes things special, but I'll get back to that later.) Not a bad callback. Once more, Discord has a point. Every time someone hopes for the better, something goes wrong. But Discord's the Lord of Chaos with a childish, immature streak, too. Since he wasn't alerted of Big Mac's proposal plan, he became giddy and impatient (with a great mariachi reference [taking a page from Star Trek: TNG]). As he read a message on a painted apple, he quickly realized something was awry in his own way. Big Mac's riddles were clumsily written, sometimes confusing, and easily gave away the second location. In trying to come up with the "perfect idea," Big Mac created a major flaw in his plan. However, Discord still isn't completely accustomed to the "friendship" aspect of Equestria, and given his long, immortal, antagonistic history, he maintains a defiant, devious streak. After he uses his magic to lay every single wooden apple around Ponyville without fully looking at the riddles, he soon caved in to Spike's glares and doubt, agreeing to double-check. From the beginning, Discord believed this game was overblown and instead should give it to Sugar Belle instead, only to have it rejected for "not being romantic" and breaking BM's rule of discovery. Afterwards, when he missed his chance to actually get Sugar Belle to see an apple, he went about spreading "the love" in, once more, his own way: giving the wooden apples life and instructing them to their own posts. Unfortunately, like Big Mac, his instructions and direction were also not quite clear, so the apples popped up whenever another pony passed by, leading to delicious, entertaining chaos. Without it, Discord's involvement in the episode would be out of character and as bland as Cart Before the Ponies. Chaos drives Discord, and his ability to create havoc and mayhem makes for a more entertaining conflict and story, especially around Big Mac and Spike. On the other hand, it puts him into fault. Instead of thoroughly double-checking and making sure everything goes right, he cuts corners and tries to be cute and creative (tho I don't mind ), leading him to become responsible for the spider-looking apple monster. Also, I disagree with the criticism of Discord regressing. Sure, he may not have developed like D&D and TBUBD, but he understands how much Sugar Belle means to Big Mac. Despite his severe disagreement with the plan and Spike's commitment to it, he regrets worsening things and helps rectify the errors with everyone else offscreen as BM and Sugar proposed to each other. Furthermore, this episode shows some subtle growth from Break Down: After a lot of complaining over the lovey-dovey stuff and wanting to play O&O instead, he doesn't let his opinions interfere with Big Mac's proposal and tries to simultaneously help her solve the riddles and respect Spike's pleas. The Time Is Right Michael Vogel's among the best writers of the current crop. The Big Mac Question adds to his résumé, and with Hader co-writing, they co-created well-done, well-timed comedy. Discord's spilling of littler, more innocent secrets works as a joke for a big reason. As written already, Discord still hasn't fully accustomed to friendship, notably keeping a secret. FS's fright of clowns, Twilight's sleepwalking, and Octavia's date have a more innocuous, lighthearted zephyr; yes, he's spilling them to Spike and Big Mac, but not maliciously. This joke leads to the punchline right before the intro: shouting excitedly that Big Mac plans to propose to Sugar Belle. Everyone's curious reaction to the echo is really hilarious, and even better as one of them — Shoeshine — hears it and shrugs it off. Even better, they repeated the very same joke while keeping it fresh. It's 100% understandable that Apple Bloom's family will soon expand with Sugar Belle becoming her soon-to-be sister-in-law. Her giddy face sells her excitement well, so when she shouts out loud and everyone's as confused as before, you still laugh. Every single "shocking" misadventure by the CMCs: Scoot heads to the bowling alley and accidentally causes a Lebowski stallion to throw a bowling ball into a lamp, breaking the wooden panels below. When AB heads to the sanctuary, she shocks a monkey into a sleeping canopy of Smoky and family. SB opens a sauna, where a relaxing mare throws a body towel over her head when she finds out her privacy's invaded. Spike has a point. Discord's poor directions made the apples believe that the next pony to come close will receive the poem, and it followed each pony wherever they went. In trying to make Sugar Belle see an apple, he — surprise surprise! — helped unleash a boatload of chaos at the Ponyville market. Relocating them back to Sweet Apple Acres was another unwise decision, as they merged into THIS monstrosity! However, instead of actually going on a rampage to find Sugar Belle, the apple monster with its six, spidery eyes successfully delivered the assigned message in its grossest, yet most sincere, message of marriage right onto Discord. Yes, all the apple spit's gross, but not done with any ill intentions, and Discord didn't do a lot to make the problem better. Secondly, notice how the large apple's voice is very similar to Big Macintosh's? A nice, little way to get Peter New to talk in his Big Mac voice while making it sound as garbled, menacing, and childlike as possible. Whenever Granny Smith spoke, she was "spaced out," giving DHX plenty of leeway to pluck some great Star Trek references. Beyond "where nopony has gone before," she said this: >References Q >Inspiration for Discord …cheeky cheeky! Yet, the timing of the humor alone wasn't just right. As the apples chased Ponyville in Act 1, the animation crew snuck in this tender moment: Ever since FIM started, Lyra and Bon Bon have always been side by side, and the brony fandom established a long-time ship out of it. In Slice of Life, they teased the possibility despite hammering in the "best friends" line with the cheek caressing, couple-like arguing late, and the bedroom eyes. Over the last few seasons, their "friendship" began to really evolve, especially since S8 when DHX knew the finish line. Just a few examples: Grannies Gone Wild: Everywhere they went in Las Pegasus. Break Down: Exchanging Hearts & Hooves Day gifts. Marks for Effort: Bon Bon buying a green cactus, presumably for Lyra. End in Friend: Having lunch together. Dragon Dropped: Sharing a milkshake together, ala Buttercup and Bright Mac. After what happened in DD, you knew that the animators were just going to do something with Lyra and Bon Bon. From Season 5 onward, their evolving relationship was clearly no accident. While the main stories developed in front of us, their arc developed from the background. I guarantee you someone in this fandom will go back, find all the foreshadowing over the seasons, and build their story. Why is their proposal so significant? Representation matters. The TV debut to Auntie Lofty and Aunt Holiday introduced a same-sex couple for the first time in the show's history. While they're secondary characters, their presence in Scootaloo's life mattered, and they helped lead the CMCs' idea for a CMC Appreciation Day. It demonstrates how significant the brony fandom truly was to the growth of this show. In the beginning, everyone was surprised by how good Friendship Is Magic truly was. Although viewership and overall size of bronydom has dropped over the years, it still has its viewers and dedicated bronies. The brony fandom created this popular fanon ship all the way back to season one…and animator Morgan Shandro made it canon. Lofty/Holiday and LyraBon are special in their own rights. The former gave the LGBTQ+ community well-needed representation in a very popular family show and directly impacted the story. The latter came after years and years of development, and the animators decided that this was the right time to make it official. BTW, how apropos for Lyra to propose by dropping on one knee like a human? Drawing to a Close A giant reason why Shadow Play's one of the greatest episodes of FIM is how it blended so many arcs into one. Changes of editors + writers = changes of direction. The team turnover means new people post and publish episodes that match their own vision of FIM, so you have a wide array of stories that sometimes go nowhere. This two-parter blended so many arcs (the Pony of Shadows, Star Swirl's lack of understanding friendship, the Pillars, Starlight's redemption) so seamlessly that it looks like the creators intentionally left them vague so that they can be completed at the right time. It's one of the most impressive feats this show has ever done. Big Mac Question blends so many arcs in a smaller scale and closes them. Back in The Cutie Map, Spike explains his preference to be with Big Mac as the reason for skipping the Mane Six's first friendship quest. More than a season later, Nick Confalone expanded this little gag into its own story by including Discord in the Guys' Night Out duo. Two seasons later, they all acted like they knew each other since Spike hatched. BMQ added another chapter into this arc with one central goal. Once Hard to Say Anything concluded, Sugar Belle and Big Mac became an item. Over this and the next few seasons, the writers and animators sprinkled in romance between 'em, solidifying their unity. This episode called back to how they became an item in the first place: Big Mac renovating her shelf to add more space for her desserts, and Scoot recognized the blueprint for it inside SAA. Also, great call by Vogel and Haber to have Sugar Belle plan to propose to him, too. Usually, the male proposes to her, and Big Mac planned to pop the question at some point today. However, Plot 1B had Sugar Belle plan her own with Mrs. Cake's and the CMCs's help, showing that Sugar Belle had some ideas and offer of her own to prove her own commitment as his wife. Speaking of the CMCs… As the episode lampshaded, they earned a reputation of concocting schemes, either with success or failure, since they first met. After multiple tries, they finally got Big Mac to become an item with Sugar. Here, they felt guilty for accidentally contributing to the confusion that almost caused them to break up. (In Break Down, the delivery ponies mistook Sugar Belle for Sweetie Belle after smudging the address, leading them to believe she had a secret admirer.) For the first time all series, they're aware of the consequences. By working with Sugar and helping her to find Big Mac, they feel like they can make up for at least some of it. Yet, as what the episode showed, even their good intentions sometimes don't go according to plan. All series long, Spike's romanticism has had an impact on everyone and himself. In Break Down, he hinted his romantic "expertise" by reciting a poem of his unrequited crush on Rarity, only to be hilariously interrupted when Discord ignored him. XD Here, he brags to an offscreen character how he's so romantic and tries to help Mrs. Cake deliver all the proposal messages to the desserts…only to have his idea burn to a crisp. Lyra's and Bon Bon's series-long, evolving relationship, as explained before. Plus, notice how Bon Bon popped the question just after Lyra? Their dual proposal and rings subtly foreshadow Sugar's and BM's later on. Sugar Belle was one of the four ponies the Mane Six met when they first arrived in Our Town, and led them into an underground rebellion so they can regain their magical talent and break free from Starlight's tyranny. At season's end, she forgave her, and later helped invite Starlight to return to the village for the festival. After To Where, DHX slowly incorporated her into the secondary cast. The time she became super-heartbroken over losing her boyfriend and then became super-happy when they reunited was the moment I permanently bought into their romance. When Big Mac talked about how he loves her snorty chuckle, you can tell they really love each other. When they were going to marry was only a matter of time. Aside from being part of the timeline of Dungeons & Discord, Hard to Say Anything, and The Break Up Break Down, it is the perfect sequel to the franchise's greatest episode — The Perfect Pear — and references it in so many ways. Decades ago, Buttercup suspected that Mrs. Cake — Chiffon Swirl back in the day — enjoyed baking, so she gave her ingredients and challenged her to be creative. Her instincts were proven right, as she got her cutie mark and became lifelong, close friends with BC, which continues long after her passing. Here, she's essential to the story by agreeing to take part in Sugar Belle's 21-dessert surprise proposal. When the Pears were about to relocate to Vanhoover, their parents married in secret at the rock that borders the Pear and Apple orchards. (Notice how Bright and BC planted seeds in their opposing orchards, which directly contributed to the growth of the intertwining apple-and-pear tree around the rock in which they declared their love for each other. During their walk together, they find themselves at that tree, and as they talked, the sun sets perfectly within the iconic heart, spiritually indicating their support for Sugar Belle and their romance. Knowing who his father was like means a lot to Big Macintosh. Here, he envisioned proposing to Sugar Belle at a similar desk like the one he built for her a few seasons ago, calling back to Bright Mac's own declaration of love to Buttercup at the rock, only to teasingly falter. Through this episode and his heart-to-heart chat with his girlfriend, we see he knows more about him now and how much his understanding of his parents matters so much. Now that he's older and wiser, he wants to respect their legacy. Sugar Belle’s poignant wisdom and subsequent glow also suggest agreement by them with her, too. The first time Mayor Mare officiated a wedding, she worked with Bright Mac to rush one in before they relocated far away. That wedding was set up quickly and in secret from the feuding families with no certainty if they were going to be together. Bright Mac wasn't lucky just to get her to witness their surprise, but also complete the vows before the Pears moved. This doesn’t happen here. The wedding at the now-grown tree was well-planned and included the wanted decorations, guests, streamers, and so forth. From the start, Sugar and BM know they want to spend the rest of their lives together, a massive contrast from the pressure Pear Butter and Bright Macintosh felt then. One of the two twists within the episode: everyone explaining to Applejack, the unknown narrator. (The other being the wedding, which I'll get to later.) She was the one who agreed to go on that expedition to find out about why the Pears and Apples feuded for so long, which introduced their parents’ pasts to them, brought them closer to them, and helped them forgive Grand Pear. Her tears show how touched she was of not only the story they told her, but her brother's marriage. Speaking of… Grand Pear only had a couple of cameos here, but his biggest one was his appearance at his grandson’s wedding. The last time one took place there, he abandoned his own daughter and never saw her alive again. Several decades later, he returned to Ponyville. Their forgiveness and witnessing of the beautiful intertwined tree together began the long-awaited healing process. This time, he (and Granny) returns to the very same site, stands beside the other Apples and Burnt Oak, and gives Big Mac his unconditional blessings, closing another gap that caused a massive, increasingly bitter divide between himself and his mother-in-law. How poetic is this sequel to have another marriage take place at their tree. Two seasons ago, the Apple kin rediscovered their parents’ legacy, how they introduced each other, and fell in love thru very bitter times. Come to the end of the episode, and that long-standing bitterness that divided the Pear and Apple families for so long is healed. Well, BMQ breaks a second, not-so-talked-about barrier: Sugar Belle’s the first non-Earth Pony to be part of the Apple family. (Also, recall AJ scolding Twilight for using magic unsolicitedly on her farm in S1? Intentional or otherwise, this episode implicates that the Apples welcome unicorn magic full-time on the property now.) A Lesson in Execution BMQ's primary lesson — "When you tend to make things complicated and make mistakes, the simplest things are the most desired and cherished" — is magnificent, but the way it's taught brings that home. Before he takes out his ring, Big Mac wants to show Sugar Belle his commitment to being her husband matters by helping her find him. How? By using those painted apples with attached clues, she travels from one location to the next before meeting him at the hilltop near Sweet Apple Acres. Unfortunately, his plan never properly flourished. Not only did she miss the first apple, but he had to go back to his barn to pick up the screwdriver he left behind. When he realizes she wasn't coming, he walks to Sugar Cube Corner to find her. Discord tries to help Sugar Belle find the first apple, but she misses it twice, resulting in his poor strategy of having the apples follow whoever sees them first. When he cleaned it all up, Sugar Belle still never saw it! Deciding to cut to the chase, he brought her to that same hilltop, only to realize he left. He blindfolded her and then brought her back to SCC. He may believe in romance now, but doesn't quite understand it still. Instead of helping each other out, Spike and Mrs. Cake were so sworn to their own party's secrets that they created an imaginary buffer that prevented helping each other out. When Spike tried to help Mrs. Cake, he found out that Mrs. Cake messed up her desserts and later accidentally burned every one of Sugar Belle's messages. Spike isn't always the politest dragon, and BMQ's no exception. In order to make Sugar's search for BM as perfect as possible, he got a little too worried over the arrangement, placement, and visibility of each apple, glared hard at Discord for not checking carefully, and refused to ease the game's difficulty. Why did he blow his magical fire on the remaining notes? Because he believed they would be able to get into the desserts quickly and easily, only to screw up badly. However, he didn't accept all of the blame, bluntly criticizing Mrs. Cake's terrible desserts. Mrs. Cake accepted a very difficult challenge of baking twenty-one desserts. Immediately, things went terribly wrong. During the rush, she had absolutely no idea what ingredients she was using and whether she used them at all. Poignantly observed by Scootaloo: Fortunately, no pony tasted them. Sugar Belle orchestrated her entire twenty-one-dessert proposal with Mrs. Cake and added another one with its own message to call Big Mac down to the shop. The purpose of having just one word in each dessert was to help Big Mac solve the proposal puzzle after he eats each once, but to bake that many meant Mrs. Cake's margin for error significantly decreased and must work harder than usual to finish on time. On her end, discovering Discord and Spike at the doorstep meant overlooking the apple on the step and running off as quick as they can to find Big Mac. The Cutie Mark Crusaders tried to find Big Mac to give him the dessert as promised. But when they couldn't find him at the barn, Apple Bloom called back Granny's advice and took it a little too literally, causing trouble of their own and annoying her friends in the process. The fact that everyone's plans were too complicated is kind of the point. Every single pony's so focused in trying to create the perfect proposal, they overlook serious flaws. What everyone had to figure out was that by messing things up, they discovered the true worth of commitment and dedication. They never had to go over the top in order to fix it, either. Pairing it down the essentials was all they needed, something Discord comprehended well beforehand. Sugar Belle was the first outside of Discord to truly figure it out after Big Mac felt upset for screwing up his own proposal and feeling that he let the legacy of his parents down. Because he doesn't talk much, his words matter a lot, so when he expresses his sadness, you really feel it. However, despite problems of her own, she understood that this was nothing compared to what they (and when she was controlled by Starlight) endured. To her, this was merely a blip. Mistakes happen; they can use 'em to grow closer and really show their love for each other. I read a few comments on Derpibooru calling their dual proposal cute, and it really is. <3 Their solid chemistry sells the warmheartedness! But I won't end my review until I call out two other things in this episode: All episode long, Spike wore nothing. For all we know, the fourth wall or a character we had no idea existed until then interviewed all of them. What slowly began to change, though, was when he wore a suit and tie for the first time. As a result, the wedding surprise was kept under wraps from the audience; showing him wearing his suit and putting on his bow tie really makes their marriage all the more impactful. Had we knew they were eloping at episode's end, this whole journey would've felt completely pointless. After a lot of great humor, chaos, and a little bit of drama, Discord alerting the apples to drop and sing "happy marriage, happy apples!" was perfect, heartwarming cuteness on top of already perfect cuteness! He might've added to the problems, but he respects their wedding ceremony and uses a subtle, Discord-y twist to show it. Consider this his own, special way to appreciate his friendship with everyone, their marriage, and their future lives. Conclusion What else can I say about this one? The Big Mac Question is really funny, really cute, and really heartwarming. Vogel and Haber tackled all of the emotions at exactly the right time and provided a magnificent cap to several arcs, some of which date back to the first season. This is the new-best Season 9 episode and one of the ten best of the series.
  18. In light of the show's oft-shifting writing roster, I considered creating this thread to discuss which writer had the best 'track' record in each individual season. Note that it's perfectly acceptable to list a single writer for multiple seasons. My preferences would encompass: Season 1: M.A Larson. Penned only three episodes, albeit said three are essentially a triad of majorly formative installments - Swarm of the Century solidified the charmingly witty and self-referential comedy of the Faust seasons, Sonic Rainboom pioneered the show's ability to handle spectacle and tension (the climax remains one of the best to this day) within standalone episodes and The Cutie Mark Chronicles stands as an emotionally affecting finale to the character arcs of S1. All three are fundamentally significant to constructing the foundation of the series both throughout S1's progression and to the show in subsequent seasons. Season 2: Cindy Morrow. All of the four episodes penned by her here are highly effective in their ability to combine the show's Faust-era charm and humour with solid emotional storytelling, thus solidifying the early seasons' ability to convey cliched stories far more effectively than contemporary shows of its category - Sisterhooves Social is both adorable in a low-key manner and serves as Sweetie Belle's breakout moment, Family Appreciation Day is a textbook example of utilizing the third act to recontextualize a decent-yet-shopworn preceding two acts into an altogether more poignant narrative, Read It and Weep is one of the show's best portrayals of Rainbow Dash and features some amazing comedic sequences (despite its dissonant moral for a show focusing on the social interactions between the main cast) and Hurricane Fluttershy is a rock-solid masterpiece. How is this the same writer who would go on to botch up a simple bullying moral a single year later? Season 3: A bizarrely difficult decision, considering the season's shorter duration, but I'll go with Corey Powell, given the phenomenal solidity of Sleepless in Ponyville (otherwise the episode which placed Scootaloo fully onto the map) and the decency of Just for Sidekicks. Season 4: Dave Polsky. The myriad of different style (particularly the larger-scale McCarthy-esque aesthetic of Equestria Games and the more somber and introspectively driven tones of Rarity Takes Manehattan and For Whom the Sweetie Belle Tolls) he tackles throughout the season is successful as a majority, which definitely counts for something considering his distinct comedy-based tone in his S1 and S3 work (thus marking a shift to a more experimental and varied creative palette in a way which the show's other recurring writers have generally not displayed in a comparable way). The only episode out of the five I would consider to be subpar is Daring Don't, although I believe that 'uninspired' is a more accurate term for its qualities as a whole than outright bad. Season 5: M.A Larson again. The Cutie Map is among the show's best and most tonally intriguing two-parters, Slice of Life is one of S5's more successful forays into experimentation (due to its high comic energy) and Amending Fences is touching in an odd, intangible way to me, which stands out amidst the season's bizarre combination of the lighter, more Faustian work of AKR and the more sardonic material of the newer writing team. Season 6: Surprising coming from me, but the Lady Writers (Lewis and Songco). As much as I find their general style and comic leanings polarizing (their best material can be hilarious, but their worst is lame and dissonant with the show's tone as a whole), their two episodes were some of the most memorable of the season - I find Gauntlet of Fire overrated, but its treatment of Spike is a considerable improvement over previous seasons, and Top Bolt is easily my favorite of the episodes catalyzed by the dreaded Cutie Map (due to possessing the strongest plot and character chemistry of the episodes in that particular category). I nonetheless maintain that Mike Vogel has a better grasp on the show's McCarthy-era tone, but the Lady Writer's individual episodes were conspicuously stronger in this otherwise relatively banal season. Season 7: I'll go for Wetta and Crowley - I'm not a huge fan of A Flurry of Emotions , but it was generally cute fun and featured Twilight in a solidly characterized role for the first time in multiple seasons, whilst A Health of Information surprised me in its handling of Fluttershy's character (her episodes are typically better when she actively chooses to leave her comfort zone, which this episode utilizes wisely to push her character forward and set her into a less cliched role than, say, her S4 and S5 episodes tended to). Season 8: Mike Vogel. As I've noted earlier, his style seems to be the most versatile of the current writing team in that he can lean into both the relative charm of School Daze and the looser comedy of The Mean Six. Anyone else willing to share their thoughts here?
  19. From Gail Simone penning "Between Dark and Dawn" for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, for the first time. Some fans had somewhat mixed reactions, (mostly good), they question is asked, "Is it a good idea to bring in an outside write to pen a script for something they've never part of?" Well here I try to answer that. Comments are Welcomed #MLPSeason9 #GailSimone #BetweenDarkandDawn #DCComics
  20. #MLPSeason9 #MLPShipping #MyLIttlePonyFriendshipIsMagic #Romance #Love #Teased LIVE (Audio Only). With "She's All Yak" teasing, if not pushing a Sandbar x Yona ship, it's got the shipping discussion up and running again.
  21. Don't know if anyone pointed this out, but after you watch this character intro videos on DC Superhero Girls YouTube Channel, it just seems to obvious, especially when compare the character's personality's between the two shows. And here I discuss why these shows are the basically (almost) the same. Comments are Welcomed #DCSuperheroGirls #MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic #LaurenFaust #DCComics #Hasbro #MyLittlePony #EquestriaGirls #SunsetShimmer #WonderWoman #TwilightSparkle
  22. It too a while but its finally done! Tell me what you guys think!
  23. (IMO) Here I list the 5 Best season 8 EPISODES of 2018. Comments are welcomed #mlpseason8 #MYLITTLEPONY_THEBESTGIFTEVER #MLPFIM #MLPSEASON9 #BESTOF2018 #MYLITTLEPONY_FRIENDSHIPISMAGIC #TOP5
  24. I have a present for you this Christmas evening: A little glimpse on how MLP:FiM is promoted in China. Preface As its many knock-offs show, MLP:FiM is very popular in China, with small shops selling everything from off-color clay figurines of Princesses Celestia and Luna to almost official-looking play sets of tea parties with Rainbow Dash and Rarity. This fandom does not hesitate to share the knock-offs of the toy line, and to wonder why Hasbro does not crack down on the peddlers more. I have taken many photos of the merchandise on my trip, but very likely others have found these a hundred times over. Surprisingly, I have found that comparatively little of MLP:FiM merchandise other than toys from China gets shared, especially the books. (This seems to be true of other countries and languages too, but of course, this is an American/Canadian (and therefore English) production.) For a show that emphasizes values and therefore a concept of culture, the lack of analysis of books in other languages is rather surprising. Many of us love the show for both the morals and the way it presents the morals, and while the values it presents are very universal, it is still informed by a Western philosophical tradition (and perhaps even an Anglo-Saxon one, as language does shape thought). To see how the East (or China more specifically) treats the morals of the show and their presentations would be quite enlightening. I first bought the second book in the series “MLP: Presenting You 18 Good Habits” to help me learn Chinese using stories I was already familiar with, but soon became interested in the way it presented the stories in themselves. I eventually got the whole series. Introduction The covers are elegant and simple: A floral pattern dominated by one color, based off the member of the Mane Six that graces the center. The series is published by the Tongqu (lit. “childlike”) Publishing Company Ltd., a joint venture of the People’s Post and Telecommunications Publishing House and the Danish publisher Egmont, and apparently only has offices in Beijing. So far as I can tell, this company only has a Chinese distribution. It specializes in children’s books, with IP licenses not only for MLP:FiM but Thomas and Friends, Astro Boy, and various Disney properties, as well as publishing their own original material. Each book is 120 pages long, containing adaptations of three episodes from the show with a common theme of a class of good habits. The first one, “Good Habits of Learning,” which appropriately shows Twilight Sparkle in thought, contains “Read It and Weep” (loving to read ardently), “Rarity Investigates!” (observing and reflecting), and “Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3” (having right study methods). Second has Pinkie Pie delivering “Good Habits of Living,” and features “The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000” (eating a healthy diet), “Hurricane Fluttershy” (exercising), and “Flutter Brutter” (taking care of oneself). The third one, with Rainbow Dash reclining casually on a cloud, is (rather ironically) titled “Good Habits of Working,” and comprises “Somepony to Watch Over Me” (working independently), “Sonic Rainboom” (being earnest and down-to-earth), and “Newbie Dash” (developing team awareness). Fourth has the soft-spoken Fluttershy presenting “Good Habits of Speaking,” through the stories of “Luna Eclipsed” (speaking politely), “Putting Your Hoof Down” (learning to say no), and “Crusaders of the Lost Mark” (not taunting others). In the fifth, Rarity dresses three episodes as “Good Habits of Relationships”—“Amending Fences” (valuing friends), “Make New Friends But Keep Discord” (not monopolizing friendship), and “The Gift of the Maud Pie” (empathizing with others). Finally, Applejack brings us “Good Habits of Safety,” gathering “Appleloosa’s Most Wanted” (staying away from dangerous places), “Viva Las Pegasus” (not falling for sweet talk), and “A Friend in Deed” (not doing dangerous games). The books start with a preface, “Good Habits for Achieving a Good Future,” written by Xue Lei, a National Psychological Consultant, Learning Competency Instructor, and Early Childhood Education Instructor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Psychological Institute (among other things). (I have not been able to find her listed on the CAS website, perhaps because of her status as an instructor.) She is associated with the Faber and Mazlich series of parenting lectures and workshops based on “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk,” which both explains quite a few features about these books and gives it somewhat less of a Chinese slant than I hoped. In the preface, Xue notes that the key to good behavior for “the long prop-up” is not changing bad habits but developing good habits, and that stern lectures tend to backfire. She then goes on to explain the set-up of the book, and concludes with two quotes about cultivating good habits, one from the American psychologist William James, and the other from the Chinese journalist and author of children’s books Ye Shengtao. Curiously, though she describes the stories that follow as “vivid and interesting,” she doesn’t give any explanation of why she chose the stories from MLP:FiM in particular as her vehicle of cultivating good habits. So far as I can tell, however, she has not drawn from other franchises for similar series of books. The Stories Each story, after a title page, begins with an introduction of the major characters in the story. Remarkably, the series often varies the description for the same character, highlighting facts about the character that are relevant for the story that follows. For example, in “Read it and Weep,” Twilight Sparkle is noted as often encouraging other ponies to read more books, because “she knows most ponies do not know the historical legends.” For “Amending Fences,” however, her introduction focuses on her not caring much about friendship before coming to Ponyville, and even “Hurricane Fluttershy” describes her as “able to make all sorts of precision instruments.” At times, especially if it involves one-shot characters like Zephyr Breeze or Gladmane, the introductions end up giving away the story that follows, but not enough to completely spoil it. The stories are written in a colloquial, brisk style, using plenty of common Chinese idioms to add spice and informality. (They editors are particularly fond of using the phrase “bugan-shiruo,” meaning “not to be outdone.”) As one might expect, the stories follow the events in the episodes, but there are some exceptions. These likely are to keep each book at their 120-page limits, but perhaps also is a matter of style. Notably, the cold open from “Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3” is mostly omitted, despite its great characterization of Twilight and RD, instead going straight into reading the Wonderbolts history book. The reader does not really understand the significance of the test until RD fails Twilight’s pop quiz. In the adaptation of “Sonic Rainboom,” Twilight does not warn Rarity about the fragility of her wings, and their melting in the sun comes as a genuine surprise to the reader. Foreshadowing and other hints at possible futures thus do not appear to be favored devices. The hyperbole gets toned down too: A few of AJ’s protective measures from “Somepony to Watch Over Me” are skipped, as is Fluttershy’s encounter with the tourist in “Putting Your Hoof Down.” At times, the stories assume the reader is familiar with the show, despite the character descriptions at the beginnings of each—“Viva Las Pegasus” begins with “The Map once again called out…” even though it is the only Map episode to be featured in this series. The changes are not just limited to omissions. In “Read it and Weep,” Rainbow Dash actually invites Fluttershy and Twilight in when they come to visit her at the hospital, instead of the two knocking and entering themselves. This of course softens the interruption, so the reader is not as attached to RD’s annoyance at being stopped from reading the Daring Do book. The changes and additions are particularly common when necessary to fit the intended good habit. Sometimes these additions and changes are fairly creative and fitting: When, in “Crusaders of the Lost Mark,” Diamond Tiara announces her about-face and gets her father to pay for the playground, she explains that her cutie mark talent is not only about getting other ponies to do what she wants, but even makes a point of the fact that it is a tiara, that she thought it meant she could “dictate to everyone without regard to [their] feelings, even speaking meanly.” This rendition thus emphasizes the flaw of arrogance because of social status more than the actual episode does. (I almost suspect, because it is published by People’s Post and Telecommunications, that it’s Communist Party meddling.) Others are completely shoehorned: For “A Friend in Deed,” the lesson that Pinkie Pie takes from her antics with Cranky is not that everyone has their own way of expressing friendship, but “[to] never do a dangerous game again!” which she even swears on a Pinkie Promise. Earlier, the editors even interpret the Smile Song at the beginning of the episode as not just that she likes seeing everypony smile, but that as long as she can make everypony smile, her friends will let her do whatever she wants, framing her as more careless than the episode would suggest. One shoehorned, but still fun, addition is in “The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000,” where, to make the episode better fit the “healthy eating” theme, the editors add a pony getting a stomachache from drinking the Flim-Flam Brothers’ cider. The Pictures The pictures, as expected, come from screenshots of the show, one (sometimes two) per page. More than occasionally, the pictures do not perfectly correspond with the actual text per page, sometimes even omitting key information. Again in “Read it and Weep,” the page where RD starts reading Daring Do in fact has a picture of RD trying to resist reading the book. A picture of RD wearily starting to read does appear on the next page, although the text describes RD’s reactions to be far more exciting. For “Putting Your Hoof Down,” the text mentions Angel Bunny several times, but only one screenshot with him appears, and there the corresponding text doesn’t mention him. Even more puzzling is the omission of Applejack from any screenshot from “Flutter Brutter,” even though she is listed as one of the described characters at the beginning. It seems as though the editors were less concerned about matching the text with the picture and more content to just remind the reader of what she (or he) had seen in the show. The pictures are largely unedited, but there is at least once instance where something is added: Princess Luna in front of the spider target game in “Luna Eclipsed," using an obvious vector to make clear that she was the one making the spiders real. With the exception of “Rarity Investigates,” each story has at least one line that summarizes the moral of the story, highlighted in colored text, a direct commentary to the reader put in a heart-shaped blurb in a screenshot, or both. The blurb commentaries do not always serve the same functions. Some summarize the moral, others make a tangential point, and yet others give direct advice. Some are self-aware that the ponies are not perfect role models: For “Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3,” in the scene where RD blows spitballs at Twilight during her flashcard lesson, the editors give this warning: “Throwing spitballs [lit. marbles] at other people is very dangerous, kids, you cannot imitate it!” One unusual case, from “The Gift of the Maud Pie,” describes the characters’ own thoughts when Maud retrieves the party cannon. A few are even addressed to the parents rather than the children, such as in “Somepony to Watch Over Me," where, as a caption to Apple Bloom taking care of the chores before Applejack returns, the editors say “Kids are more capable than we imagine. Give kids a free hand to do what they can for the housework.” The Follow-Ups From the stories themselves we turn to the more unique aspects of the books. One of the most interesting is a section called “Pony Voices from the Heart" which summarizes in four frames the story from the perspective of one of the characters, often, but not always, from the one who had to learn something from the events. For a show that emphasizes character development, this approach is quite fitting, to further help the reader empathize with the characters and therefore better internalize the message. Next is the section called “Pony Classroom," which further explains the good habit that the story is supposed to inspire, with three “tricks” each providing a way to develop the habit, and some lines for the child to write down any additional tricks that she can think of. Here the editors are freer to use screenshots out of context, which is usually not a problem but can result in some awkward deliveries. One of the stranger ones, shown to the left, is in the healthy eating tricks after “The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000,” where the second one takes a screenshot from “Spice Up Your Life,” where Rarity and Pinkie are trying the Zesty Gourmand-approved cuisine. The caption that follows reads “Don’t be a picky eater, focus on matching meat and vegetables, and eat vegetables, meat, and fruit of all sorts.” Given that “Spice Up Your Life” was an episode about not eating the same things over and over again, it’s a surprise that it wasn’t used as the story. At the same time, it seems very odd for our vegetarian friends to tell us to eat meat. (It is also interesting in itself that Chinese children also are picky about eating meat, when Western parents would just expect their children to eat their fruits and vegetables. Having tried a lot of authentic Chinese cuisine while in China, I suspect it is because in many meat dishes the bones are chopped up and cooked with the meat.) After that is a section called “Magic Practice Camp,” which presents the kids with a series of hypothetical situations that they are to judge either right or wrong, based on what they have learned. For the ones that are wrong, it further instructs the kids to discuss with their parents what should be done instead. What is particularly notable about this section is that the editors appear to have made a real effort to make the hypotheticals gender neutral—that is, both male and female characters are presented as virtuous and not-so-virtuous about equally. (I qualify this tally, though, because, especially as a non-native speaker, it is difficult to tell which names are male and female, and many Chinese names can be both.) This is interesting because in previous pony storybook publications from Tongqu, the audience was blatantly gendered—one series from 2015 was called “My Little Pony Teaches You to be a Perfect Girl.” Even more interesting is that there is no answer key in the back to accompany the questions. Though nearly all of the hypotheticals are not morally ambiguous, it still shows that the editors are more concerned with getting the children to think and interact with their parents in a dialogue, rather than to come up with the right answer. (Either that or there wasn’t room in the 120-page limit.) What Xue considers the most important part of the books is the “Good Habit Cultivation Chart,” to encourage children to “progress a little every day.” In this four-week chart, she instructs the reader to make a small goal for oneself to develop the habit just taught, and to color in the cutie mark each day that the goal is met. Interestingly, these pages never vary per habit, always using RD’s cutie mark. I find it cute, though that Applejack always heads the chart, as a sort of watchful eye over the reader to ensure that she (or he) is honest in filling in the marks. But what is most puzzling to me is the application of such a chart to the negative injunctions in the safety book, as not playing dangerous games, avoiding dangerous places, and not believing sweet talk always require someone or something else to provide the temptation to do otherwise. There is no reason to believe that a child will encounter such situations every day, unless the goal is not to put a fork in every electrical socket one sees. Each book ends on three notes: First is a reflective send-off of sorts, headed by these sentences: “The cultivation of good habits requires unremitting persistence. The ponies will always be there for you to cheer you on.” These are followed by a blank space next to one of the Mane Six, so the children can draw or paste a picture of themselves next to them. Next is a gallery called “Pony Fan Artwork Exhibition,” which celebrates the artistry and creativity of those who love the show (and the books). I am not sure if these children send these pieces of artwork to Hasbro’s China offices or to Tongqu, as the book doesn’t invite them to send their own artwork to any particular place. In any case, some of the artwork is quite impressive for those from three to eleven. One six-year old (not pictured here) created a traditional Chinese shadow puppet of Fluttershy with the help of her teacher. She must have had her stage fright in mind, for she comments “Although Fluttershy is timid and shy, I hope that she can be as happy as I am every day.” Many of these young fans also like writing letters to Princess Celestia of the moral lessons they have learned in real life. Unlike the hypothetical characters, all the fans featured are girls, but it’s hard to find a young boy who is into MLP:FiM anyway, so that’s not a huge problem. Finally each book provides a paper cutout craft of one of the Mane Six, somewhat boxy but still cute. Miscellaneous Thoughts Although the editors designed each story to be read on their own, there are some indications that the stories also flow from each other. Most obvious is the order of the books: Learning how to learn is of course fundamental to developing good habits, so that is taught first. The basic needs of living are explored in the second book, followed by the habits of good working, which support the basic needs of living. The higher-level ideas of communication with others and forming relationships come next. The only book that completely bucks the Maslow hierarchy of needs is the last book on safety, which should have come in either between the habits of living and the habits of working, or before the habits of speaking. (To its credit, there is a blurb in “Somepony to Watch Over Me” where the editor advises the reader, as Apple Bloom encounters the swamp chimera, that “safety is most important.”) It is also interesting that “Somepony to Watch Over Me,” the story about working independently, directly follows from “Flutter Brutter,” the story about self-care, as a natural expansion of the idea. I have already hinted my puzzlement at why “Spice Up Your Life” wasn’t used as the “healthy eating” story. I suspect two things: First, the Flim-Flam Brothers, as symbols of capitalist dishonesty, are easier, safer targets than the voice of authority that Zesty Gourmand brings. Further, Saffron Masala and her father are clearly inspired by Indian culture, and because of the border disputes between China and India, the Chinese are more likely to see India unfavorably than favorably, so having a story featuring them might get some backlash. (I did not see a single Indian restaurant when I was in China. At the same time, I do not know how "Spice Up Your Life" was received there.) What puzzles me even more is why “Wonderbolts Academy” wasn’t used for the “don’t play dangerous games” lesson instead of “A Friend in Deed.” As I have already said, the editors had to really shoehorn that lesson in. Meanwhile in “Wonderbolts Academy,” not only does Lightning Dust purposely take extreme risks, but RD feels overshadowed by Lightning Dust because of all the risks she takes. It’s hard to interpret the fire in “A Friend in Deed” as anything more than an unhappy accident, and certainly that accident wasn’t morally significant the way that the tornado in “Wonderbolts Academy” was. Perhaps, in light of using “Newbie Dash” for the “teamwork awareness” lesson, the editors found themselves debating whether it was a good idea to show RD retrogressing on her implied awareness in “Wonderbolts Academy” on how the Wonderbolts really should operate. Maybe they thought that RD had too many episodes centered around her at that point. Maybe they just saw “A Friend in Deed” as more fun for the kids. Maybe they also thought that the scenes where Pinkie Pie keeps on waiting for mail from RD to be too distracting from the main story. It puzzles me in any case. (I should further note, however, that this series is not the only set of pony-themed moral development books that Tongqu has recently published; there is one that focuses on making children feel proud of themselves as unique, and another that seeks to impart a more general “wisdom.”) Conclusion While far from perfect, “Presenting You 18 Good Habits” manages to capture a lot of what makes MLP:FiM so appealing to many bronies: the engaging stories, the impact of the morals, the empathy we feel with the characters, and the creativity it inspires. And probably because it was made with the parents in mind, it is no wonder it attracts fans like me, more than many English-language pony publications. (Or, at least, those who know at least a little Chinese.) Happy Hearth's Warming Everypony!
  25. So, recently, I have been entering the world of Romance fanfics. I never thought I would enjoy that kind of thing, but I guess I really have a soft spot for sweet love stories. In fact, one fanfic I read, called "Unexpected Confessions," is now my favourite story of all time. I just felt the need to drop it a line. It's an excellent story, and you will have trouble dropping it to do other things. Now that my plug is over, let's move on. ~Introduction: A Conflict~ As I was on FIMfiction, browsing fanfics, I picked up on the traditional argument among shippers. AppleDash, or FlutterDash? What motivates this conflict? They are both adorable couples in their own right. So why do fans of these shippings come to heads so often, unable to enjoy the idea of their opposing ship? ~Dashie is the issue. Right?~ At face value, the answer may seem quite obvious. Obviously, these shippings come into conflict because both feature the same pony, Rainbow Dash. Right? I would argue that no, is the answer. Rainbow Dash is the most shipped of all the ponies. This is a widely known fact. There just seems to be something about Dashie that makes her popular with fanfic writers. Chances are, if you can name a pony (Aside from the universal ships of LyraBon, Derpy Whooves, and Octav3) she has been paired with them, whether male or female. Yet, all of the other shipping groups don't come to grips with the fact that Dashie is in other shippings. Why then is there such a conflict between AppleDash and FlutterDash? If all other Dashie ships accept every other ship, why do these two in particular argue so often? Obviously, the answer is deeper than simply Dashie. ~Wrong! It's deeper than Dashie.~ So, then, if the issue is not Dashie, than what is the problem? Well, to me, it is apparent that the problem lies in an ideological difference. The two shipping groups have different philosophies about love. Fans of FlutterDash believe that opposites attract. They think that ideal relationships should have the ponies involved complement each other. Dashie's strength helps Flutters' weakness. Dashie's confidence is tempered by Flutters' humility. Dashie's impetuousness is held back by Flutters' calmness. Flutters' fear is lessened by Dashie's courage. They think that FlutterDash is magical because their different strengths and weaknesses mean that, as one whole, they can handle any situation thrown at them by drawing on each other. No external conflict can penetrate their bastion of love. Fans of AppleDash are of the mind that Applejack and Rainbow Dash, as very similar individuals, can be much stronger in the face of conflict. As two birds of a feather, AJ and RD know how the other ticks. They know what to expect from each other, and the fact that their strengths are the same means, when facing certain conflicts, they will have the strength of two ponies instead of one. They also have an incredible understanding of each other, able to read each other like a book, sidestepping almost all possibilities of misunderstanding. They know precisely how to comfort one another in rough times. Now, these paragraphs show why the two schools of thought each have merit. But they also have their faults. In the opposites attract relationship, the two ponies share all of their traits. Given their diversity of strengths, they can add to each others' weaknesses. But internal conflict can be a major issue, as their different natures make it difficult to understand each other, and therefore resolve their problems. It can also lead to misunderstanding when a pony simply doesn't get how their special somepony ticks. Within the relationship, they will be at odds with each other, and will not always be stable. This kind of relationship will be an emotional rollercoaster internally. It is strong when an external force threatens it, but does not have structural integrity in its own right. Regarding the birds of a feather philosophy, the issue is that, while the similarity between ponies means that internally, they will have a stable relationship, rarely coming to odds, it also means that where they fall short, they fall really short. If an external conflict strikes which hits the pressure points of the relationship, it can crumble like a sand castle in the rain. Having the same spectrum of strengths and weaknesses means that they can only handle the same problems. If something comes around which attacks a weakness, they are unable to draw on each other, resulting in feelings of inadequacy, causing tension in the relationship, and a longing for that thing which is missing, or lacking. ~So, what does this mean?~ Both relationship types, as we have seen, have their strengths and weaknesses. AppleDash works nicely internally, but similar strengths mean the ponies have similar weaknesses. And when those weaknesses need strength, they have nopony to draw from. At best, the two deficient ponies can hope that they just barely have enough strength to at least be worth half a pony against their opponent. FlutterDash is an emotional rollercoaster, but complementary traits mean that they can draw on each others' strengths when one of them is deficient, forming an unmovable wall against external conflcit. Where does that leave us? It leaves us with the knowledge that neither relationship is inherently functional or dysfunctional. But we also know that their is still plenty of ground to cover regarding where the relationship falls short. I would argue that, given what we've seen above, the ideal relationship will have the ponies not be polar opposites, nor birds of a feather. For a relationship to work the best, there needs to be some shared traits and some different traits. A delicate Balance, which does its best to draw on the two relationship types. And indeed, the best fanfics I've read have focused on finding this middle ground between the two philosophies, where different ponies found out how to accept their differences, and similar ponies learned how to overcome their weaknesses. And I think this middle ground is where the relationships become as functional as possible, and approaching this middle grounds is what makes both pairings attractive for me. Harmony and Balance applies to all things, love included, and seeing ponies approach the golden realm of Harmony in their relationship makes for great reading, whoever you ship. What do you guys think? Which relationship do you think would have its issues resolved easier? Do you think that they are about equal, or that one is superior? Have you noted characteristics about the two philosophies which I haven't covered? Who do you ship? And why? I look forward to reading your schtuff. And make sure to check out my other philosophical meanderings at http://balancebrony.tumblr.com. I can't wait to read your responses everypony!
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