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Hearth's Warming Helper

Found 207 results

  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. Script Chime

    analysis Script Chime Videos

    It too a while but its finally done! Tell me what you guys think!
  3. (IMO) Here I list the 5 Best season 8 EPISODES of 2018. Comments are welcomed #mlpseason8 #MYLITTLEPONY_THEBESTGIFTEVER #MLPFIM #MLPSEASON9 #BESTOF2018 #MYLITTLEPONY_FRIENDSHIPISMAGIC #TOP5
  4. 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!
  5. 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!
  6. So far this campaign is very interesting. The Tantibus has come back, somehow, and this time it is attacking every Princess in Equestria! You can pick any group you want to help deal with it, I personally chose, what I have termed, "The Night Force Ponies" they are made up of every Night Time Themed Pony and Dragon. You could think of them as the Military of the Children of the Night I suppose. Anyway, the biggest reward you can win in this campaign is the Tantibus itself. You must hurry though, the Group Campaign is only going to be around for 5 more days. I will update this topic as more things progress in the Group Campaign.
  7. I discuss why there are several fans out there that would rather ship Spike with either AppleJack or Starlight, and not Rarity. But the question I (along with other fans) have is, "What's the Difference?" Comments are Welcomed A Fellow Youtuber and MLP Fan had this to say in response: -Trent Osborne (Replied on 10-26-18)
  8. In other words, is this upcoming 44min special the first in many 1hr -90min MLP FIM G4 Stand-alone stories. Here I give my Thoughts on the matter Comments are Welcomed #TheBestGiftEver #MLPSeason8 #MyLittlePony_FriendshipIsMagic #Christmas #EquestriaGirls #Equestria_Girls
  9. Sweet Apple Acres is under attack by Killer Apples.... Tomatoes? Their is also a limited time Quest to get the Tantibus!
  10. Here I review the MLP Season 8 Finale, "School Raze"
  11. Here I review the newest (as far as North America and the U.S. is concerned), "Sounds of Silence", which is one of the best episodes of the season, if no the series. Highly recommend you see it. Rachel Bloom Does a great job as Autumn Blaze ! Comments are Welcomed
  12. As We Head Into The Final Leg of Season 8 (here in North America, At Least), I Take The Time To Discuss Why For At Least 2 Of The 3 Princesses, So Long To Get (What Many Fans Consider) Decent To Great Character Development. Comments are Welcomed #PrincessCelestia #PrincessLuna #PrincessCadance #MyLIttlePony #MLPFIM #MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic #CharacterDevelopment
  13. 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!
  14. Consider this a little belated gift for the Summer Sun Celebration. Princess Celestia's best appearance was Horse Play. For the first time, FIM had a quasi-legit Celestia episode, and she was written very well. Despite being a country ruler, she had no acting experience and really showed how much she sucked at it. But when the play was on the verge of collapse in "celestial" proportions, Celestia leads the Mane 8 into saving it and becoming a nationwide success. This episode is a marvelous exercise in how to make a godlike presence feel human. So, what about her second-best appearance? That goes to The Return of Harmony! Why not Crystal Empire, A Royal Problem, or Twilight's Kingdom? If you don't know my history, I ratted on her appearances in each of them, so no Debbie Downers for this blog. Okay, so why is this her best role pre-HP? Three big reasons. Rightful pass of the baton. One common criticism I know of this series is her (lack of) inclusion or sometimes exclusion in the two-parters, usually for really stupid in-'verse reasons. Twilight's Kingdom, The Crystal Empire, To Where, and the film took the brunt of it, and justifiably so. This isn't the case here. Discord was an old foe of both Celestia and Luna eons ago, but turned him to stone after they discovered and bonded with the Elements of Harmony. Still, powerful the two princesses are, they don't possess them anymore. Only their rightful heirs can harness their true power and restore harmony to Equestria once again, them being the Mane Six. The confusion is very evident on the Mane Six's faces, especially Twilight, as you see here: Her interrupted line echoes her expression: But the camera's panning of the stained glass window — PNG from here — explains why, along with Celestia's explanation: Even though this scene is rather expository, Celestia sets the tone. The EoH trust the M6 into wielding the Elements and using them to defend and protect harmony throughout the land. Twilight promises her they'll reuse them to beat Discord. Therefore, Celestia trusts them, too. Controlled anger. Pay attention to how Celestia behaves when Discord confronts them. Previous appearances showed Celestia as calm, cool, collected, and not afraid to pull a trick or two on others to maintain a loose atmosphere. For the first time, Celestia is the opposite: demanding, hostile, and very angry. All for the right reasons. Thanks to her and Luna's broken link from the Elements, her old foe was released into the modern Equestrian world and can't do it by herself. Discord understands this and uses the priceless artifacts and Celestia's anger to taunt her. With the Elements lost, he can do whatever he wants at his own disposal while maintaining his own integrity. Scenes like this demonstrate how dynamic Celestia not only is as a character, but can be, too. Up to this point, she had a lot of potential, and this back and forth shows us what the writers — Larson here — can do with her if you write the right plot. Also, notice three things during this scene. Despite being angry, she never loses her control. Age carried a whole load of wisdom for her. She knows his mind games and gets tested, but crossing the line by herself is exactly what he wants. As long as she remains calm, he can't really do anything with her. Twice, she extends her wings, once when she yells enough and once when she warns Discord after he toyed with the EoH. Emphasized a degree of majesty and warns Discord to take her and the new Bearers seriously. Before the camera pans to her face, Celestia paws the ground forty-five seconds aggressively into the video above. This shot is no accident. Rarely, a horse will forcefully drag their hoof across the ground to indicate anger, threatening to charge. Here, she warns Discord to not cross the line or hurt the Mane Six, or else. But since they each know she's no threat to him, that's really all she can do. Help from afar. Discord's powers are so great that they influenced her friends and brainwashed them into their polar opposites. Even though she retained her optimism and hope they'll return to normal, their lack of cooperation over her the reference guide made her frustrated and angry, causing a nasty brawl and effectively ending their friendships between each other. Dash's lack of presence (foreshadowed by Celestia's backstory early in Part 1) caused the Elements to backfire and result in Twilight believing that perhaps the Magic of Friendship truly isn't enough. Finally, she couldn't take any more manipulation, discolored, and decided to leave everyone but Spike behind. But who didn't? Celestia. At Twilight's lowest moment, she knew it still wasn't too late to help her or her friends. By returning her friendship lessons to her, she reminds her of her growth since first moving to Ponyville. Every friendship lesson she learned was important, and Celestia won't let her forget it. As Twilight recited them, the Twilight of old recovered, and no longer was she Twilight Quitter anymore. This scene here reinforces RoH's main moral: The Return of Harmony was the most perilous situation the M6 ever experienced. But Elements or no Elements, Celestia knew how to help tell Twilight from afar how important her friendships with the RM5 are. All without telling her, too. But this moment also enforced a secondary moral, which is just as powerful: Almost seven years after RoH first aired, it still rings so true in the old library, don't you think? Conclusion. Despite writing Twilight as the lead, Larson maintains the importance of their whole friendship. All six matter, and he writes the episode as if they matter. Secondly, Princess Celestia had her best role of the series that wouldn't be usurped until Horse Play. Depending on how she's written, she can be a major force to be reckoned with in the story and have a tremendous impact on the conflict and resolution. Despite appearing in Part 1 and briefly to conclude Part 2, she maintains her presence at the most critical times and was there to help Twilight when she was about to quit. Both parts of The Return of Harmony respectively premiered on September 17 and 24, 2011, and Larson's strokes of genius age brilliantly.
  15. Dalkrin-the-Wanderer

    Deconstructing Cutie Marks

    Cutie Marks are an important aspect of the show. They serve as a shorthand to help us immediately understand core aspects of a pony's personality or role, even if they are not given a speaking part in the story. They are often the most recognizable part of a character, to such an extent that when we see a familiar mark on an unfamiliar pony, we tend to take notice. Obviously this is a failing of the medium and not meant to be taken as significant but as a nerd and a Brony, I take it upon myself to be overly analytical of my perky pastel ponies and their society. While it's clear that very little thought was put into the overarching principals of Cutie Mark design by Lauren when she was Show Runner, I expect that some system can be established that can give a general overview of a pony simply by interpreting their cutie mark. I've been met with limited success in this venture so far in my post here but I feel like I'm missing some key aspects. So far, I have accounted for some basic elements of the Cutie Mark, namely the symbols and their position relative to one another but there is more I could use here. ultimately, I want to distribute this system to the four corners of the internet so that content creators can use it to create deep and complex characters with consistency, and to help stem the tides of the dreaded Mary Sues that plague our fan fiction. I intended to begin establishing meanings for Layouts, Color choice and contrast, Imagery and the circumstance in which the mark was earned. All of these things will help creators to home in on their Pony's personality. That said, I can't just make these things up willy nilly and expect them to work. I'll need to set up a database of cutie marks, both cannon an original to create datapoints which I can account for. Obviously some things will simply defy my attempts but I'm still game to try. I hope to conclude this project with an intuitive system that anyone can use. For your perusal, I offer an example of the kinds of things that this system could reveal about a character. I give you Shining Armor! His Cutie Mark is a Dark Blue Heraldic shield with a pink Six-Pointed Star nested inside. This star is Echoed from his sister, Twilight Sparkle. Above the Shield is a Triune of powder blue Five-Pointed Stars which are inherited from his mother, Twilight Velvet. A Shield is a clear indicator of protection and with the Six Pointed star Nested inside, this meaning is reinforced. The six-pointed star has a double meaning in this case as it is simultaneously a strong indicator of Magical talent and Mirrored by his younger sister which indicates her as very important to his talent in some way. The Triune of Five-Pointed stars would normally indicate some interest in astronomy, in this case, since they are Inherited from his mother, their Triune arrangement reinforces a strong affection for her. Taken as a whole, Shining armor appears to be a pony with a strong talent in magical protection who is very protective of his sister and loves his mother dearly. This system is still a work in progress and I hope to have more information to add to it soon! I'll keep you posted!
  16. This is an example of the thought process one can use to reach a conclusion with knowledge we already have, but did not think to consider. It just takes some time and patience. If the brain can store massive quantities of data, why do most people not consciously recall it all? Its because people do not try. All you need is spare time, and recognition of an almost order of operations of logic. In this example I start by asking a question that most would think has no definite objective answer. Then I keep going through a self-critical process of proposals based on reflections and the knowledge it brings to the foreground that I already had but did not know I had. So to simplify. 1. 'unknowable' question 2. reflection 2.a knowledge from reflection 2.b applying the knowledge into the equation 2.c rule it out if it doesn't objectively answer anything 3. repeat 2 til it does objectively answer something 4. add this into the equation permanently 5 repeat 2-5 as needed til the first question is answerable. 6. The answer and its objectively true within the assumptions that 'the world is real'.
  17. My Name Is Sunset Shimmer

    Underused characters

    Hi! Sunset shimmer here~ today id like to talk about characters who go underused or are never used (ie moon dancer or characters who are used for a episode plot or never appear again except for cameos There are characters who go unused in the show and unlike Background ponies they get forgotten about:( some of the characters do get reused once or twice yet there's potential to keep them around for many episodes (ie daring do) in the case of moondancer there could of been a plot where moondancer sticks around with twi or help her in finding important books or being another student for twi too teach. Just a thought That's about it Thanks for reading! Sunset shimmer out~
  18. Feedback on how I could improve would really help!
  19. 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.
  20. I guess we all remember what Twilight Sparkle once said, "All the ponies in this town are CRAZY!" I can see why she might think that. Is she actually right though? Yes, most of the ponies she met are kind of strange, but is there something more to that? Yes, My Little Pony is a children's TV show, but i like to believe that alot of the character, show symptoms of serious mental disorder. It is actually very obvious if you look at it in a certain way. Are the ponies indeed have some form mental illnesses? Let's find out Ironically, the pony we know most about her psych is the same pony that declares the others crazy -- Twilight Sparkle. Her character throughout the first season and into the second was one that was relatively reclusive, untrusting, and bookish. She felt a huge obligation towards getting things done right, and getting them done on time. These are all symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder, a mental imbalance characterized by actively avoiding social contact, out of fear of being ridiculed. People (or in this case, ponies) with AvPD aren't afraid of social interaction, per say; they simply believe they're any good at it, and would just make things bad on themselves and others. They do however generally strive for a social life, which it is shown that Twilight did in fact wish for at the end of the season 1 opener. Victims of AvPD use fantasy or unorthodox habits as a form of escapism, which Twilight exhibits frequently with her profound love for reading and her not-so-slight OCD. Though they are withdrawn, they read a lot into body language and intonation, more often than not coming to a pessimistic conclusion. At first glance, you wouldn't believe Twilight to exhibit this, but she shows it blatantly in Lesson Zero, where she fears that Princess Celestia -- arguably the only pony Twilight trusts completely aside from her brother -- would send her back to Magic Kindergarten. Therefore, it can be concluded that Twilight had been slightly traumatized during her years in Kindergarten, likely the result of bullying and ridicule. Fluttershy as well shows a fear of social interaction; hers, however, manifests in a rather severe case of what is called Social Anxiety Disorder, or social phobia. Many people assume AvPD and SAD to be one in the same; however there are many specific differences between the two, the main one being that social phobia is an actual fear of social interaction, whereas AvPD is simply an avoidance. The main symptoms of social phobia is a pervasive and consistent fear of talking to, being talked to, or otherwise interacting with a person or persons. There is also a withdrawal from society, sometimes even to the point of hermitry. All of these, Fluttershy has exhibited on more than one occasion (though significantly less in season three). There are also several physical symptoms associated with social phobia, such as blushing, nausea, and stammering -- all of which Fluttershy has at one point or another shown, stammering being extremely prevalent. Panic attacks may also be present; and indeed, Fluttershy has a panic attack when Rainbow Dash pushes her to show how fast she can fly in front of hundreds of other pegasi. It is shown in her cutie mark flashback that she had been bullied throughout her school life, which is one of the more common causes of social phobia. Rainbow Dash's pushy nature might also be a contributing factor, but her loyalty and companionship is one that Fluttershy considers indisposable. In this, she seems to exhibit several symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder as well. This is reinforced by the fact that comorbidity between Social Anxiety and DPD is relatively common. The pony that is more often than not considered the craziest is of course Pinkie Pie, the perplexing pretty pink party pony. Her bubbly, energetic personality is a classic case of vivacious subtype of Histrionic Personality Disorder. People with HPD are defined as impulsive, hyperactive, and have a notably low tolerance for negative emotions, even ones not necessarily aimed towards them. Her element, Laughter, is pretty much a light-up sign indicating her intolerance for negative emotions. Victims of HPD have a deep-seeded craving for attention as well, which Pinkie shows rather blatantly in Party Of One. Her spontaneous party throwing can be considered a manifestation of her subconscious need for attention, which is reinforced by her persistance in trying to befriend Cranky Doodle (even to the point of breaking into his house). A possible cause of her mental deficiency is familial abuse. Having grown up on a rock farm and working day-in and day-out as a mere child undoubtedly poses severe mental health problems. The dysfunction termed Hypomania is characterized by a larger-than-life self-image, racing thoughts, and dangerous activity -- all of which can be used to describe one Rainbow Dash, arguably the loudest and most self-possessed pony in Ponyville. A major indicator for hypomania is what is called psychomotor agitation, a reflexive need to move. This is often characterized by restlessness when sitting still, pacing, or biting lips. In Rainbow Dash's case, hovering or extending and retracting her wings are strong indicators of psychomotor agitation. She also exhibits extremely dangerous activity on a daily basis, pushing herself to the brink of her ability to perform death-defying tricks and one day ultimately join the Wonderbolts, a famous team of expert stunt pegasi. Rainbow has a major egocentric personality, continually places herself higher on the pedestal than others; however, she wouldn't hesitate to help her close friends, even to the point of her giving up her dreams in order to help them in a time of need. This lends to the opinion that her hypomania is in no way destructive, except for her edge-of-the-seat lifestyle, and in fact has a positive effect on her and the people surrounding her. Applejack is a hard character to describe, much less diagnose. She's a hard-worker who hates handing the reigns over to anyone else, she never censors herself, and loves to help others who are in need. In this, she seems rather sane, but if you squint really hard you can see that she seems to exhibit several characteristics of Self-defeating Personality Disorder (aka Masochistic Personality Disorder). She deliberately puts herself in harms way throughout the series: Applebuck Season, where she decides to harvest the entire apple orchard by herself; The Last Roundup, where she moves out of town to get a better paying job so as to raise money and fix town hall; and Spike At Your Service, where she saves Spike not only from a pack of hungry timberwolves, but also a giant timberwolf at the end of the episode. She even went so far as to walk all the way around a mountain with another pony on her back, simply because said pony was too scared to climb it herself. This show of altruism definitely points towards a virtuous form of MPD, but she shows a complete lack of the feelings of deserved gratitude. This loans to somewhat oppresive tendencies, since she expresses genuine feelings towards everyone and everything (she is the element of Honesty, afterall), even if those feelings are negative. However, she doesn't have the self-pitiable nature that commonly accompanies the oppresive subtype; this could possibly be due to her altruistic tendencies. The final character we are going to go over is the element of Generosity, Rarity. She, like Applejack, is more than willing to sacrifice her time, money, body parts, etc., on other people without hesitation. Unlike Applejack, however, she is willing to gloss over unsavory comments, instead favoring to soften the blow. She has a tendency to overreact to situations and she is a professional "whiner". On several occasions she's shown to place other people before her lifelong dreams, notably in Green Isn't Your Color, where she would rather help Fluttershy become supermodel than for Rarity to become a world-famous fashion designer. She appears to exhibit characters not unlike the appeasing subtype of Histrionic Personality Disorder. Whereas Pinkie Pie's vivacious HPD focused more on being hyperactive and neurotic, Rarity's appeasing HPD focuses more on brushing away bad emotions, instead focusing on giving unto others and making them happy, as a way to avoid dealing with her own problems. The main difference between appeasing HPD and virtuous Masochistic Personality Disorder -- which we went over with Applejack -- is that there is no feelings of deservation with HPD, and there is no repressing of emotions with MPD. Self-sacrifice is a hugely defining symptom of appeaseful HPD, and Rarity's entire being is dedicated to such. This might seem like nothing but a benefit to others, however it can be extremely detrimental to the victim of the illness. Repressed emotions can cause serious health risks, and given the selfless nature of those exhibiting it, the risks might go unheeded. I think it is safe to assume that Twilight was right in her statement that all the ponies were indeed, "crazy". But we attach too many negative connotations to that word; a more accurate word -- and one that would sound less negative -- would be "disturbed". This is a very unique show, in more ways than one. We've had The Big Lebowski ponified, we've had government conspiracies, we've had international espionage -- If you ask me, it's not too surprising that we also have mental deficiencies.
  21. Note: Credit goes to @ChB, @King Clark, @AlexanderThrond, @Jeric, WaterPulse, and Razgriz for this review. FIM (and by extension, bronydom) is close to seven years old. Over the years, the characters grew into lovable role models and inspirations. Each has their own reasons for watching, loving, and sticking with the show. Through thick and thin, FIM's overcome turbulent times, yet succeeded. How long it'll last is to be determined. By extension, the brony fandom grew, underwent a whole bunch of drama, and grew some more. While Slice of Life was a love letter to the fanbase, Fame and Misfortune takes their own frustrations and responds in a really lazy, broken way. It's the Rainbow Falls of Season 7. Strengths: Glimhorse = Awesomehorse! All season, Starlight's been the best-written Mane character. In every episode she's been in, her roles make sense. She continues to grow into her own and is more and more one of the Mane cast. Even when the episode isn't as good as it should be, she's usually the best part. This episode is her best post-reformed appearance. Everything about her role fits perfectly. While the RM6 wrote in the journal, she was absent and had no knowledge about it. So the journal is new to her, and she can look at what's going on with a fresh mind. Simultaneously, she's treated like an actual, genuine part of the gang, not an ancillary member that the writers can plug in when the episode calls for it. Her best moments occur in two places: At the restaurant after Rarity ran away wailing after two patrons denigrated her behind her back. She took Rarity's reaction and what they said about her really hard. The chilling part is her bitter tone as she replied to Twilight: Combine that with her nasty glare, it's perhaps the angriest the audience has seen her. As Twilight went off to Sweet Apple Acres with AJ, she stayed behind. Her mannerisms and worried expressions show how much Rarity means to her and doesn't want her to get hurt. Moments like these implicate to the audience how much she values her as a friend. When I first began writing this review, I read a comment offsite accusing her of acting like a Deus Ex Machina, a criticism that makes no sense at all. If she's like one here, then she wouldn't be established until the climax or resolution and pops open an idea that wasn't established at any point in the series. Starlight was an important secondary character since the opener and had a major impact in all four acts. Just before she temporarily departed in Act 3, she told the ReMane 6 (and by extension, us) that she'll be back with something important. Coconut Cream & Toola Roola. These two fillies, based on their G3/G3.5 depictions under the same names, are good characters. What makes them strong is, yes, they argue petulantly, but they argue like children. When Twilight stops them, she shows them an important moral to learn from and decide to try. Even with the little screentime, they grow in each successive appearance. Whether they'll appear or not anytime soon I don't know. Personally, I hope they do. This may depend on the VAs (who are kids) themselves. Strong melody. The melody for We're a Work in Progress is really good. It's positive, uplifting, and inspirational. All the qualities that help hone the welcoming backdrop and make FIM's world so endearing. Weaknesses: Handwaved continuity. There are at least four continuity errors, two of them major. Like my RF review, instead of a brief summary, here's a fuller list: They learned that lesson from Return of Harmony. The season 2 premiere. The journal didn't debut until season four. Unless they stated to add them in later (which they didn't directly), it should be only S4 lessons, not a mesh of all four together. The fact that everyone suddenly wanted to know about what they learned. Once they published it, they became popular and unpopular. Why does this not make sense from a continuity perspective? Ever since they defeated Nightmare Moon, Ponyville and Canterlot revered them as celebrities. Sure, other episodes within the earlier seasons had this type of occurrence before, ala 'Shy from Green Isn't Your Color. But Green is from season one, when the characters and world still grew. At the time, it was mostly Canterlot, Ponyville, and the Everfree Forest, So the writers could get away with that. Nowadays, the Forest has no more plot utilization, and the world has expanded beyond not just Ponyville and Canterlot, but Equestria altogether. In RoH, Celestia rewarded their victory with a celebration and stained-glass window. They saved The Crystal Empire from Sombra. Twilight became a princess. After defeating Tirek and saving all of Equestria, they and Spike became responsible for spreading the Magic of Friendship across the world. You get the point. If this was a early-season episode (seasons one through two), then their sudden popularity would be believable. This is season seven. They're international celebrities. If they were interested in the journal and lessons, they would've done so long ago. Particularly the ponies from Ponyville. More about this later. The CMCs' sudden popularity makes no sense, either. They dipped into popularity contests twice (Confidential, Twilight Time). In Flight to the Finish, they were awarded the spot representing Ponyville for the opening ceremony. After Lost Mark, they became permanent celebrities and are sought for advice whenever they wonder where to either find their Mark or reconnect with it. Hell, they remark about their history of success during Forever Filly: So, why would they suddenly become really popular again now? And why would they conveniently skip over Twilight Time's lesson, which SB wrote in that same journal? In the Equestrian world, Daring Do is nothing but a figment of A.K. Yearling's and the Daring fandom's imagination. The RM6 know she's real, yet they respect Daring's/A.K.'s boundaries. She wants nothing but to be remembered as a quality children's storybook series. The entire Daring Do con is commemorated specifically for Daring the character, her world, and overall cast. The ending of both Don't and Stranger imply they (both the ReMane Six and Quibble) keep her identity and privacy a secret. But the RM6 out her in their journal. Not one of the seven, especially Dash nor Twilight, pause for one second to reconsider the consequences of unsolicitedly revealing Daring's secret identity — how big it'll be in the Daring fandom after reading something that should never have been revealed. They just go, "Screw common sense!! We'll publish it, anyway!" The continuity error's even worse when Dash directly references Don't after SG magically published several clean, refurbished copies. Dialogue, you disappoint me. A good chunk of the story's believability lowers considerably when the dialogue is often forced, and that's what happens here. Even though the RM7 and CMCs act in character and the two new fillies are portrayed like kids, sometimes the lines are mechanical, turning fully-dimensional and relatable characters into robots. It happened in many episodes prior, including Rainbow Falls, Trade Ya, Newbie Dash, and Buckball Season. Same thing here. Starlight, Toola, and Coconut spoke the most natural here. The most annoying points come after they remind the audience of the lessons they learned and, in particular, after Rarity ran off: Thanks, Twilight, for reminding us everything we all just saw seconds before. And loud enough so the snobby couple a few feet away could hear (yet didn't react due to plot contrivance). It gets worse when the ponies exposit, and there's a lot of it here. What's the golden principle in entertainment? Show, don't tell. In "children's" entertainment, even more crucial. By expositing so much, much of the seriousness and humor are sucked out, leaving behind an arid story. The tone will be mentioned later. But a repeated flaw in this show (and episode in general) isn't: A Whole Cruel World. The entire setting is really, really cruel. One or two days ago, the Mane Eight were among Equestria's biggest celebrities. Once they published the journals, they became pariahs. A group of leaders that (in the townsfolk's POV) deserve nothing except abuse. Wherever the script went, the RM6 felt miserable. And the more Twilight witnessed their pain, the more and more pain she felt, too. And how did all of Ponyville (or Canterlot) react? Selfishly. Rarity (the diner): Two background ponies talked shit behind her back. Neither of them clearly understand anything what the journals were supposed to say and went off on nothing except baseless assumptions. After she ran away, they feel oh so proud of themselves and pretend like it's no big deal. Not even Starlight's scolding through their thick heads worked. It's really unclear what they're supposed to portray. Is it supposed to be a jab at people for criticizing the writing within the episodes, missing the point in an episode, or hating Rarity's character? Any of the above, all, or none? Whatever the case is, it fails for five reasons. The lack of clarity already explained. The "stuck-up rich bitch" stereotype is enforced. Rarity underwent major trials that completely transformed her as a character. We as an audience saw that ride…but all they read is the result. To echo @Jeric in a chat with me, both RTM and Simple Ways showed her at really low lows. When all they read is how shitty you behaved, then they may have an awful impression of you regardless of outcome. Daisy, a well-known background pony from season one with a sweet (yet overly-dramatic) personality, bashed Rarity. For her to act like a snob is very out of character of her! The newspaper. Observe the 1.5/5 score in the shot linked above. The pony who read it really disliked it, and the couple's dissing only piled everything on. That one shot further muddles the point. Pinkie: It's one thing if they're tourists meeting Pinkie for the first time and wanting to get acquainted with her. All five — Carrot Top, Cherry Berry, Sassaflash, Berry Punch, and Coco Crusoe — are long-established background ponies dating back to season one. We've seen them help each other out so everyone's lives improve. They were seen at one point or another during The Smile Song; all but Coco and Sassaflash not only have very dedicated fanbases, but also actively followed, smiled, sang, and danced with her. Pinkie's presence was more than enough to make them all happy. Glad you said this, Pinkie, 'cause that doesn't make this scene okay! In fact, it makes it worse. Them knowing her for years and suddenly laugh AT her like complete jackasses does nothing but implicate that their happiness before and after Pinkie brightened their days is a façade. In fact, hold that quote. Dash: Bratty pegasi continue to pressure Dash and refuse to leave her alone. It's one thing if they truly were eager to hear more about her stories and adventures. It's another to rip out Twilight's lessons gleefully, pretend Twilight isn't even there, and act all smug about it. Dash wasn't happy with how poorly they treated her friend, but was forced to put up with it, since her "fanclub" is too stubborn to listen. Fluttershy: Several big problems: Like every other pony before them, all four adults are assholes. Or to be accurate, worse than just assholes. They're abusive, gang up on Fluttershy, and then put up a shoddy, lazy excuse just to be awful people. "Entitled to know"? "Why can't I be in the book"?! ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?! There's NO excuse to gang up on her, period! One of the ponies here is Lemon Chiffon, who debuted in Mare Do Well. Previously, she had two hearts as her cutie mark. Here, a half-full glass of water mark along with a snooty, "masculine-sounding" voice. She resembles a lot like Lily Peet, a MTF brony "pundit" with a history of bashing bronies. I don't know or care if she laughed from that or not. If it's intentional, that's a line you never cross. Why? When you parody specific fans, it comes off as tacky at best and self-indulgent at worst. It tells the audience you have a very hostile opinion on not only specific members of your audience, but also the people you're trying to reach out to. Personally, if I'm parodied like this, I'd be really offended, because I'm treated like a caricature rather than a real person. If it's unintentional, then while the line ain't crossed, her attitude, voice, and mark are supposed to mock the "entitled fan" stereotype when FS stands up to them, three qualities Chiffon can't control. Sometimes intent doesn't equate result, yet the possible transphobic implications remain. This "gang" resembles PYHD's market scene, one of the worst of the series. Unlike the former, all of them debuted previously. These four characters and their so-called "personalities" are designed for this episode only. Good chance some or all of them will either never make an important appearance again or (hopefully) change to a more likeable personality. @AlexanderThrond brought up a great point in his review, and I'll expand on that. Fluttershy is used as a vessel to respond to the "criticism" (read: abuse in the episode's context) of their struggle to develop her, completely contradicting their intentions several seasons ago. From Luna Eclipsed until right around Rainbow Falls, her character stagnated, and her shyness was often reduced to comic relief. It looks even worse following an episode where she learns a very valuable lesson. When you flanderize a character like her after she underwent significant development in season one, you reduce her from three-dimensional to one-dimensional. Any long-time brony understands how this valid criticism of her didn't come out of thin air. During season four, DHX attempted to write better stories surrounding her, even when they aren't quite up to snuff: Bats!, Breezies, and Filli Vanilli. The following season, that criticism blossomed, and the flanderized Fluttershy has been absent ever since. The one episode showing Scaredyshy in S5 wasn't written as a daft joke: It expands a pointless scene from LE and explains why she hated Nightmare Night so much: She hates being pranked, and NMN without the pranks isn't fun. Without reading the valid criticisms, understanding them, and putting forth solid effort to fix this flaw, the Fluttershy we see today won't exist. Season five was great for her. Seasons six and seven are her best to date. It conveniently ignores It Ain't Easy Being Breezies. She had to assert herself through a very difficult action that she hated to make: kick out the breezies so they can continue their journey home. In her journal entry, she marks down how she had to learn that tough message. It's her very last journal entry that we witnessed, and it'd make sense if it were her last one in the journal, too. Not one time is it referenced, and it's ignored in order to continue using that journal as a forced plot device to dissuade. To handwave one of the most important episodes and subsequent lessons in her entire saga just to drive a point home makes the meta reference and payoff very deceitful. Rarity (boutique): The context behind the jump scare pile onto the torture. But why would Lemon Hearts (one of Twilight's friends from Canterlot) even be a part of the anti-Rarity hate mob in the first place? She'd know how much Rarity (and the rest of her friends back in Ponyville) mean to her, and she'd respect that. If she got upset, chances are she'd write or talk to Twilight. Applejack: No, they didn't bash her, pretend she didn't exist, laugh at her, or gang up on her. These are huge AJ fans. They're still assholes. Every single one of them show up at Sweet Apple Acres unannounced, immediately declare themselves to be part of her family without any consent, and force them to accommodate them, whether they like it or not. Big Mac, AJ, AB, and Granny not only moped as they slaved away for trespassers, but were actively distressed. Obviously, they want nothing to do with them, yet can't do anything about it since they're so outnumbered by this mob. All of them are terrible, but since she's my favorite character, the FS scene is my least-favorite. Oh, and Twilight? She's her own section. "Comedy." What this show does well often is the comedy. The jokes, timing, and corresponding tone can really make an episode funny. But when the jokes make no sense, forget it. The jokes suck for varying reasons, ranging from missing the point to the story's tone to hypocrisy of the meta "humor." The biggest offenses are the following (in airing order): Fluttershy writing her journal entry minuscule and nervously using the excuse of leaving room for others. This joke is very vague. Is it to reference her Timidshy past, or something? The mashed, rotten apple used to indicate AJ's lesson. Why the hell would she even smash an apple in there to begin with? She may not be the tidiest pony, but c'mon, man. Lemon Chiffon's voice and attitude so the audience can laugh at the "entitled fan" stereotype from all four who brigaded FS. This jump scare: By far the worst joke in the episode and second-worst grossout face of the season to this: If it's a jump scare, it's supposed to be a surprise. Rarity has a history of exaggerated faces, and both Twilight's and Starlight's distress/grimaces clue the audience that they'll hate what they'll see from her. Credit to @ChB for pointing this out. It takes up a good amount of the frame, and is drawn in exaggerated detail. The slowly-dripping mascara and level of intricacy for her mouth are no accident. It's done to be disgusting. The context surrounding it. The couple bashing her behind her back, reading the bad review in the newspaper as they dissed her, and Canterlot boycotting her in front of her boutique took a toll. Of the six who were tortured, Rarity had it the most devastated reaction. The entire scene with AJ is supposed to be a meta reference to her lack of popularity in the fandom and how little she appears in merch compared to the others. Unfortunately, what's supposed to be a gold mine for excellent meta jokes (including parodying the short end of the stick she received by the showrunners since Mane Attraction) is turned into a major missed opportunity. Just about every character who invaded SAA is established as far back as S1, including Cherry Berry (again) and Dinky Doo. This scene reinforces one of the episode's fatal flaws: the sudden treatment of the RM6 as celebrities. Context is key. If this was the first or early joke in order and rewritten a bit to make it seem like it's tens and eventually hundreds of happy tourists from abroad flocking in line at the entrance to meet her, then it's possible to make it work. Instead, every pony other than a specific few leading up to this scene live in town and trespass because of plot convenience. These ponies reinforce that context. AJ's statement of not liking the newfound popularity understates the chaos from SAA and their insufferable behavior. That line (and who it represents) is an imbecilic straw man. People complained about Twilight in season 4, because her characterization was boring, and rising her into princesshood put her on a much higher pedestal compared to the rest. Turning her into a princess means she takes part in ruling the kingdom and making sure none of her actions hurt Equestria. The Twilight of old appeared in Castle Mane-ia, yet what made her so lovable and her status played hooky until Twilight Time. Later episodes, Twilight's castle forming a round table (thus equalizing the Mane Six and Spike), and season five since rectified that, and the criticism has since dwindled considerably. So, how many jokes were successful? Two. Pinkie's party favors popping out of the journal once Dash opened her journal page. Twilight's face becoming flat as a pancake after AJ accidentally smashed her into the wall. Her exaggerated scowl and glare made it funny. Best joke of F&M. *closes "Twilight"* Even though this is an ensemble episode, Twilight receives the most focus. Each time she witnesses a caricature of fans attack/stalk her friends or is completely ignored herself, Twilight's confidence gets beaten down more and more. Like the others, she's tortured by the townsponies just to create a payoff (whether it's the punchline to a joke or otherwise), but the torture pornography helps ruin it, among other things. "Among other things" being the littler details. Recall how I called the dialogue a flaw: There's more to this problem generally. On two specific instances, the dialogue helped ruin the story. Here, Twilight both affirms and doubles down on an absolute viewpoint of what the journal and results should be: If you don't take the friendship lessons to heart, you're not to be listened to, even if you enjoy it. There's no homogenous way to enjoy a product. If there are ponies out there who enjoy the journal, but isn't fully invested in absorbing the lesson, so what? There's no one right way to enjoy it. I'll return to this point soon. … … … Where do I even start with this shit? F&M is FIM's third meta episode of the series. Only this time, the characters are portrayed as the showrunners' avatar, and those who are abusing the ReMane Seven represent the fans they're retorting. It's self-referential and doesn't hide it. When we as an audience criticize the Mane Eight, we don't usually do so because we hate the characters or expect the worst. We criticize because we know that this show is very good and has done great, yet can do better. As an audience, we relate to them in some way or another. It can be a mane pony, secondary, or background. Everyone has a preference of who they like and dislike. Nobody looks at a character exactly the same way. Guess what? That's okay. At the end of the day, we still love the characters as a whole and appreciate the show and staff for what they do. This "parody" is completely inaccurate in message, conflict, and theme. This exchange is the worst dialogue in the entire episode and causes the whole conflict to fall apart. They're characters, not real people. They exist only on screen, on paper, or within our own imaginations. It's the creators' job to flesh them out and make that character become high-quality and memorable. Neither the avatars nor antagonists are real. But in the universe, the characters ARE real and conquer major trials. Each time they wrote in the journal, they changed for the better, even after the episode sometimes doesn't work. Fluttershy after Breezies, Dash in Equestria Games following Rainbow Falls, Rarity after Simple Ways, etc. In canon, the characters aren't dictated by a writer's pencil or keyboard, because there, they don't exist. On the other hand, the antagonists see the autobiographical lessons as fiction and those who wrote them as fictional characters. Neither the antagonists nor protagonists are on equal conflict ground. The ponies questioning, bashing, stalking, and abusing the RM6 are treating them not as real people, but as either characters that we as readers want to replicate on paper and recreate or property that we can recycle. How the hell can the reporter — probably the one who released the 1.5/5-star rating, though that's just a guess — honestly believe the RM6 are fictional characters when he's talking to them directly? Once more, why do ponies from within their inner circles suddenly begin to see them as celebrities when they've known them for so long, anyway? This small exchange does nothing except tell the audience that all of these "antagonists" are straw men. Characters written to be proven wrong in order for the main characters to have the upper hand. What makes them so bad is that you're taking what could be valid points and eliminating them so the protagonists have the upper hand in everything they do. You're making what should be a complex conflict completely one-sided, thus telling parents that the episode — and show, if they watch it for the first time — is trying to emotionally manipulate children into viewing the plot through a black-and-white mentality. F&M uses real talking points from within the fandom, checks them off, and morphs them into abusive caricatures of fans rather than taking the good, bad, and recreating them into what fans as a whole truly are — people. In layman's terms, what could be a good lesson is morphed into a bad one. Straw characters helped ruin the Fluttershy Micro, Root of the Problem, Spice Up Your Life, AND here. NEVER use straw men to teach a lesson! Good melody, poor lyrics. While the musical melody for Work in Progress is good, the lyrics make the song the worst of the season. (Yes, worse than the duel between Big Mac and Stereo Pop.) The song (and by extension, the "we're not flawless" moral) is a loaded statement. Everyone knows the characters are flawed and how important the combination of both strengths and weaknesses makes the characters appealing, relatable, and memorable. Sometimes, the characters make really terrible mistakes, but what makes them work or not is whether these mistakes make sense or not. Sometimes the showrunners make sloppy, careless, or lazy mistakes, and people criticize the execution of the characters and story, because they love the show and know the writers can do much better, hope they learn from their mistakes, and hope these mistakes don't happen again. The "It's flawed" excuse is as stupid as "It's a kids' show." Flawed characters don't make up for poor characterization, worldbuilding, or writing overall. When you're a moral-driven cartoon with huge focus on likeable characters like this one, your reasons for characters (especially ones designed to be role models to children) to act like jerks must make sense. "In character" and "flawed" don't justify bad behavior. Think through your implications! Time and time again, the show has a history of not thinking through the unfortunate implications. Sometimes they're small and don't affect the story so drastically. Other times, they completely affect the entire story and moral. See DQ, Mare Do Well, OBA, and Hard to Say Anything. Here, the implications (in story and out, small and big) are abundant. The RM6 out Daring Do as real, invading her privacy. Pinkie's laughed at by ponies who's known her since at least season one, implying that their appreciation for her and friendships together are lies. The implications surrounding Lemon Chiffon. The fact that ponies from Canterlot and Ponyville suddenly become enamored at the idea of the RM6 publishing the journals. I wrote it earlier, and I repeat it. Place this episode in season one, adjust the story to remove the implications, and write better jokes, this is passable. Why? Because we still haven't fully acquainted with the Mane Six and Ponyville. But have Ponyville and Canterlot act like they never knew them from the beginning in a season-seven episode? A time when where they're celebrities and help spread the Magic of Friendship abroad? Nonsense! Do they genuinely care about the ReMane Six, or was their appreciation for them prior to F&M a waste of time? This moment, when White Lightning walks away, hurt by Lemon's insults of FS: This is supposed to represent how sometimes very vocal negativity can drive a wedge in discussion and may make people fear to express themselves. It becomes even worse when the person is brigaded by many like-minded negative people, creating a very toxic atmosphere. Toxicity goes both ways. "Toxic positivity" is as true as "toxic negativity." As far as the scene itself's concerned, the characters' fans and haters both attempted to trespass on Twilight's property, and it's assumed WL's part of that crowd. It's very difficult for me to pity her when she behaves as poorly as everyone else. The moral is really clunky. It's supposed to be about how despite a whole bunch of people trashing the work, as long as some enjoy it, the effort's worth it. But there's a difference in what you're trying to say and what you're saying. After the song and friendship speech, both sides resumed their bickering and feuding. The lesson paints all of the abuse as merely an obstacle of their next friendship quest. However, this isn't merely an obstacle. These fan clubs and haters are willingly or accidentally ruining their livelihoods. Rarity's boutiques remain boycotted; AJ still can't figure out how to eject her freeloading fanclub; Dash will still be nagged by brats in the sky; haters will still stalk and verbally abuse Fluttershy; and old friends will continue to treat Pinkie like an automatic laugh track. Only Twilight can deal with her problems post-credits. What happened here is not okay and shouldn't be handwaved for the sake of a cheap gag. Coconut Cream and Toola Roola are (apparently) a metaphor of the show's assumed primary demographic: young girls. Because of how self-referential Fame is, how those two fillies are the only ones not the ReMane Seven who are sympathetic, and how they're the only ones who actually the lessons to heart, it sends an unintended message that little girls who take the morals to heart are the only people who matter. What makes this toxic? Let's go back to Twilight's quote from before: Parallel this to the brony fandom and FIM. Would anyone want to take the lessons to heart if they're not entertained first and foremost? FIM's educational entertainment, the emphasis intentional. Everyone wants to be entertained when watching the show. But answering the question as this is a generalization. Critically think why you like the show. Why are you entertained when watching it? What entertains you about it? For some, it's easy, not so much for others. Bronydom is a fanbase of millions. Like human fingerprints, each reason why each brony — yes, little boys and girls count as bronies, too — watch the show and what they value most in the show is very individual. Could be the stories they tell for one, the colorful cast another. One may like the Mane Eight equally, some more than others, or have a dislike of at least one of them completely to the point where they can't stand 'em. For others, could be varying degrees of heart, humor, storytelling, and so forth. For another, how both kids and adults alike can watch it without shame. Hell, the morals of friendship they teach may be the primary reason a few watch it. How much they personally emphasize depends on their preference. Earlier this season, A Flurry of Emotions hinted this moral in the background; whether it's intentional or not doesn't matter. Spearhead creates abstract pieces of art with intent of witnessing other ponies' reactions and emotional experiences once they see them. He understands how each one reminds Cadance and SA of Flurry Heart and dearly missing her and that someone else will react really differently. He's explicitly open with this fact. No one watches the show the same way, either. To echo, Twilight and the entire premise affirm that if the ponies don't learn the friendship lessons and grow from them, then whether you like the journal or not, you're not worthy of being listened to. The moral in itself implicates this by using two fillies as tokens. Combine that thought to bronydom, and it implicates that you're only a fan if you take the friendship lessons and morals to heart; if you don't, you don't qualify for a fan. I doubt that's supposed to be that way. But from how the story's themes were presented and what the characters believed, it makes sense why many take it that way. Because that ideal, accidental or vice-versa, is dishonest in every facet. Some may love aspects of the journal, some may hate it. Others may have equal or less sharp reactions. You can control the content you put in, but not how they feel when they view it. How you, the ones who publish it, respond to it is up to you. Likewise, to repeat from before, no one will react to any FIM episode, comic, short, or EQG film/special the same. No professional material (episode, movie, comic, short, etc.) is free from questioning. Do they miss the point sometimes? Absolutely. All of us have done that, myself including. But when the characters behave out of character, you paint an uplifting and likeable world as cynical and mean-spirited for the sake of the story, and/or teach dishonest and hurtful messages, then criticizing and bashing the story's integrity is fair game. For that matter, and this is a message to everyone reading this review, people regardless of age are entitled to like and love the show how they see fit. People are entitled to dislike and even hate episodes. People are entitled to criticize episodes if they suck. People are entitled to take NO lessons to heart! Does any of this make them lesser of a fan than others? If your answer is yes, exit the page now. Aside from the mane characters, CMCs, and the other two fillies, everyone is a quarter-dimensional, abusive caricature of specific groups of fans. Each set Twilight encounters includes the entitled fan, collector, hate mob, brat, and freeloader. Swap lines within their groups, and their personalities are exactly the same regardless of who's speaking. There's no redeeming quality in anyone here. But what makes this really sad? a. Both kids and adults combined represent these stereotypes, including ALL adult fans. The fact that all of them are false representations of who fans are regardless of age talks down to not only adults who watch the show, but also little kids. The episode paints a broad brush on every antagonist by turning them all into one-note bullies. Every adult (both the lovers and haters) acting so petulant hurts the episode's themes, messages, and reinforces awful geek-centric stereotypes. On their own, the stereotypes are bad enough; it's even worse when using them to try to teach a moral to children. b. F&M doesn't isolate the criticism from the abuse and reacts very defensively to valid (and dated) talking points. Fans (including big Fluttershy fans, like myself) criticized her, because we know they can write her better. (We're seeing this now with AJ and her flanderization.) Ironically, the past three seasons are among her best of the series, thanks to the criticism. Even though he wasn't in the episode, Spike wouldn't have his best season last year had the fanbase not hammer them for their poor treatment of him for so long. c. As written before, these caricatures are straw men. d. Recall the quote: It applies to everyone, not only Pinkie. Most of the characters have been present since the pilot, a large chunk (i.e, Lyra, Bon Bon, Daisy, Lemon Hearts, Twinkleshine, Rose, Amethyst Star) with canonical characterizations prior. The background characters became beloved from their antics, spawning ideas, theories, and other creative forms of imagination. When characters do something with the mane characters, like help, sing, or dance, they tell us how much these ponies care for one another. Slice of Life works in so many ways, one of which is how much they care for each other and see others as part of Ponyville's soul. They actively helped Matilda and Cranky prepare an impromptu wedding and fussed little. The moral and animation presentation make it feel like they accomplished something. So, what do they accomplish here? Becoming ungrateful bastards. That's not what the show stands for. It's so out of character of the show's welcoming atmosphere and progressive morale. Rebuttals to some/common/eventual defenses for this episode. When all we see is everyone from Ponyville or Canterlot behave like assholes, you're telling us to assume that everyone from both towns behaves like this. The same logic applies to bronydom. When 99% of all the audience sees is badly-behaved fans, you paint an impression that this is not only the norm within the brony fandom, but that almost everyone who's a brony is some kind of "manchild." You're guilting people by association. If you're trying to suggest that it's only a portion, either SHOW a portion or clearly dictate that that these jerkasses, while very loud, don't represent the whole. Don't use real talking points. Consolidate the assholes to a spare few, while making the characters recognize throughout that kids and adults — not just two kids — do care about the journal and their well-being. Two episodes apply your defense much better than Fame: Spike's Search from G1. Stranger Than FF. Yes, Quibble can be an elitist and sometimes a bit of a jerk. But he's also a fan of Daring Do like the rest in the con, and the ep never lets you forget it. Just a fan of the first three books. It's very clear to the audience that he was only one bad apple within that entire con, yet the episode treats him as a genuinely good person who just got caught up. On top of that, he learns his lesson at the end. This entire episode is very laid back in tone, so the writers are able to get away with cartoony shenanigans, the satire, and a bunch of the humor. The Daring Do con is a satire of fandom conventions and their quirky charm. It shows us how dedicated many Do fans are, but the con is written in a way so the audience knows it's in good fun. We as people see ourselves in that con, but its accuracy and good-nature comedy make it funny. We laugh at ourselves by simultaneously laughing with the writers. BTW, thanks to Fame, I respect and appreciate Stranger now. Though I stand by on Quibble being OOC in the second half, I was wrong to call him a stereotype, and I was really unfair towards the episode the entire time. Self-deprecation comes primarily not at the audience's expense, but at their own. We're not laughing at ourselves, but at the situation the comedians are in. Rodney Dangerfield was amazing at it: He always never took himself seriously, knew that the audience and he were going to have a great time together, and was just an all-around good guy. You know who was great at making the audience laugh at themself? A hint: he just passed away. Don Rickles. He could deliver any type of insult at you. There was no line he couldn't cross. So why was he funny? Again, Rickles never took himself seriously. The lighthearted tone in his routines loosens the atmosphere and makes the audience more receptive to the jokes. Rickles knew how to insult you without getting personal. He put in the effort to make you laugh through his performance. If they laughed, then he succeeded. He roasted everyone and made them laugh so hard that they couldn't breathe. Despite his act on stage, he was an excellent person behind the scenes. The stories people tell about him show how good he was as a person. When he has that good of a reputation, the audience knows his insult routine is all in good fun. Some of his best roasts were to people he respected or were close friends with, like Sinatra and Reagan. In short, guilt-trip someone who's insulted to laugh at themself, the joke is neither good nor funny. It failed. To double-down and accuse them of being part of the problem is hypocritical. Like "SJW," "fanbrat," "fanboy/girl," and "alt-left," this pejorative jumped the shark. In fact, I hated it ever since I heard it. Why? Because it mocks people just for being able to feel. You're directly trolling people for sharing an emotional response. You mandate that people should act like robots or live in some kind of hive mind. Humanity doesn't work that way. Diversity helps shape up our world. You can't control people's emotions. Ironically, calling people "snowflakes" or "sensitive" is hypocritical, too, 'cause you're emotionally reacting to their emotion. "But why do you love Cutie Map, when it's one of the most cynical settings of the show?" Glad you asked, my imaginary questionnaire. This setting is completely confined into that town only, and both its presentation and Mane Six's reactions make it clear that what they see around them is not normal. Everyone's happiness is completely controlled. Starlight continually brainwashes Our Town's inhabitants into sticking to her ways, or else. Starlight was a ruthless, calculated control freak. Not to mention she was the villain. Something folks like her should do. If she wasn't so evil, then it won't make any sense. It was also very well written. DHX very carefully planned everything about that episode from beginning to end, and the Mane Six figured out how to solve a life-threatening friendship problem very cleverly. In short, TCM's about celebrating diversity and free will, not the opposite. It's cynicism done right. Congratulations for answering your own question. There's no place to treat real people and groups of real people like stereotypes in any show, especially one with intent to educate to children. The fact that we teach kids that (ageist) stereotypes are A-OK in entertainment makes me take it very seriously. This show is way better than this pandering schlock. The better the show, the more it respects kids. And, yes, kids DO care about lore/worldbuilding. If they don't, then why is magical thinking so important in children's development, and why do psychologists and high-quality children's educational shows (i.e., Arthur, Mister Rogers', Sesame Street, Shining Time Station, Magic School Bus, Dragon Tales) value it so much? In a June 2017 interview from The Hollywood Reporter, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner admitted that boys make up 30% of FIM's TV audience, and they no longer allegedly aim toys to a specific gender. Observe the recent trend of FIM being marketed to boys AND girls over the past year-plus. With Let Toys Be Toys campaigning for the desegregation of toys, Audi's Spanish branch publishing a car commercial satirizing gender roles, and companies like Target, Toys R Us, and TJ Maxx (for clothes) de-sexing aisles, this trend is only (hopefully) continuing. Focus that back to MLP. Zacherle founded the franchise as a unisex toyline, and MLP & Friends was for all ages regardless of gender. Faust and crew published FIM as an all-ages, gender-neutral show, too, and it's been that way since. The family-friendly approach and refusal to apply gender and age barriers onto their stories and world are two background reasons why the fandom became so enormous and boisterous. The point? "It's for kids" is a stupid excuse. Being for children shouldn't affect the quality of your product. To use it regardless of circumstance talks down to kids and treats them like idiots. Apply this to "it's for little girls," as well. Labeling FIM as for (little) girls shoves gender roles upon our children, segregates genders into categories, applies different standards of quality to girls when it should be universal, and treats girls as tokens to excuse misogyny and misandry. Being a "good girls' show" shouldn't matter. Be a good show, period. It's odd how no one has come forward to claim credit for the aired product. Larson repeatedly disassociated himself from this episode, both in ToonKritic's podcast and on Twitter. Big Jim was unaware, too: I don't know what happened behind the scenes, but given the visual and audio evidence, the theory of it being a lighthearted poke either originally or after submission to Hasbro deserves the benefit of the doubt. However, for the aired product, it's ridiculous to claim it's lighthearted when Ponyville and Canterlot treat them like crap and the characters become emotionally distressed and scared as a result. Unlike Best Night Ever, Slice of Life, and Stranger, the meta conflict and character reactions are supposed to be taken seriously. The tone and mood are played straight; both sides treat the matter as a really big deal. Laughing and grimacing at the stereotypes don't a satire make. That's why The Good, The Bad, and The Ponies isn't a parody (despite its intentions), and the same applies here. Razgriz made an excellent point last month when criticizing Fame, and I echo my reply on Discord to here with changes: You can't have a show without an audience. People watch and follow the show out of interest, admiration, and so on. They don't watch to get called out. It's a bad move to taunt any portion of the fanbase, because it can come across as an attack on the people you're not attacking. "Lighthearted fun" or "a portion" makes no difference. If you're going to respond to any group of fans, you BETTER know what you're doing. Rickles knew what he was doing when roasting people. Whoever ghostwrote this script didn't. If you have that thought, erase it. There's no excuse for anyone to abuse the showrunners, and I never condone it. I'm on record of being against it, sometimes replying to users angrily when they do. No matter how angry we get at episodes from time to time, these showrunners, animators, and editors are people. They earn as much respect as everyone else here. The criticism, even the harsh ones, are aimed at the product. If I criticize the company or showrunners, it's for their lack of effort if applicable because I know they do better, releasing something with stereotypes or harmful morals (since kids are impressionable), or their behavior if they cross a line (which I've done to no one but IDW's Ted Anderson for his sexism). But I don't get personal; that's a no-no under any circumstance. At the end of the day, DHX is an entity full of people like you and I. That "argument" is the most obvious self-fulfilling prophecy I've heard within fandom in quite some time. One thing the show does very well is it creates and enforces a very uplifting, inviting atmosphere. The pastel colors, likeable mane characters, likeable background ponies, idealistic solutions to friendship, and proactive approach to solving friendship problems tell the audience this isn't supposed to be that type of world where "realistic" doesn't translate into stereotypical cynicism. This was one of the themes when the show started, and it's shown by how Ponyville and Pinkie actively welcomed Twilight in the Golden Oak Library. Sometimes even when the episodes don't do as well, it stays true to its tone. Think about this. When were the episodes at their best? When it shoots up. Hurricane FS, Winter Wrap Up, Perfect Pear, Lost Frickin' Mark! Even when it doesn't do as well as it should, like A Friend in Deed, it still capitalizes on that welcoming, confident setting. OTOH, what are some of the biggest flaws in Mare Do Well, PYHD, Ponyville Confidential, Bats!, Filli Vanilli, 28PL, Newbie Dash, and Owl's Well? The mean-spirited tone. Everything about it is not only completely cynical, but also done in a way that completely beats down on the mane character and makes it act like the entire world is out to get them. When the setting dials up the mean-spirited tone, it makes the world they're living in very unpleasant to watch. Do so with an idealistic, uplifting world like FIM's, then it's done for no other reason than to serve the plot. If you're gonna present something mean, make it feel organic. Each time the series turned up this level of contrived cynicism, the quality of the atmosphere and overall story degrades. You're piling on cruelty again and again just because. Fame, to repeat it, has that same flaw. Ironically, it's similar to one of season 2's worst, which Larson wrote and took credit for: (Link to poster.) Replace the gossiping theme and CMCs with fandom and the ReMane Six, respectively, and you get the same episode. Remove the fandom allegories; all you have left is a town deciding to suddenly declare the ReMane Six famous and treat them like dirt just because they can. So, here's a question, and think about it long and hard. If Fame and Misfortune didn't include fandom allegories, would you grin viciously at this episode? Would you act like white supremacists following Trump's election victory and publish the vitriol in the first place? For a good chunk of you, chances are it's gonna be "no." That alone means Fame is a failure. This "bravery" is cowardice and a self-centered desire to air your dirty laundry as well as support the idea that kids should embrace lazy shortcuts of entertainment. Excusing this lowbrow shit is bad enough. To do so through this doesn't make this episode any better. In fact, you only make it worse. One final note. A few self-contained scenes completely contradict continuity…but I held out one more: the whole premise itself. There's no care in backstory, worldbuilding, and contextual logic in any way, shape, or form. Echoing WaterPulse offsite, it feels like the one(s) who ghostwrote it didn't give a damn about the Equestrian world or threw it all away just to drive home a point. If the story doesn't care about the rich, ever-growing world, why should your audience? Conclusion: Wow. Just…wow. Now, to give Fame some credit, it has a lot of potential. The material to create an excellent satire is there. We as a fandom have its strengths and flaws. A good, effective satire can allow the fandom to actually poke fun at itself: acknowledge the problems, yet do it that makes it funny and not anger-inducing. Stranger pulls it off rather effectively, particularly within that con and treatment of Quibble as a nice albeit stubborn guy. And apparently, this was supposed to be lighthearted, too. So, what the hell happened? Where's that traditional love and care for the audience? How did the show (which aired The Perfect Pear one episode prior) manage to publish an episode that was so wrapped up in trying to send a message to its audience that it forgot to write a story, much less a good one? Larson makes it known that plenty of it was ghostwritten during development, and the fact that nobody claimed responsibility for it is troublesome. That doesn't mean DHX doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt. Far from it. They're a reputable company, and the people within care about their craft and the quality they publish. I feel very sorry for Larson. Even though many of his ideas weren't his, laws require him to be credited for it. This episode as is feels out of character of him. Out of everyone who worked for the show, he's closest to the fandom. He may've screwed up on one satire, but that was due to story oversights, not spite. Additionally, in every episode he writes, he focuses a lot on sticking to the continuity and not contradict it; neither episode that keeps it in mind (this and MMC) were his fault. I originally skipped this one, because I believed it was going to be bad. After watching it the first go around (and then skimmed through a second time), it blew me away. Was it as bad as I thought? No. It's twenty times worse. Fundamentally, it's broken. It doesn't understand what a parody is supposed to be; it tries to parody obnoxious fans, yet the characters play everything so straight that it's treated as a serious plot instead of a satire. Continuity is ignored for the sake of the story, both in sections and throughout. Jokes are rammed in without focus on having them make sense. The premise used the idea that the ReMane Six would finally be recognized as a result of their journal, even though their celebrityhood dates back to the pilot in Ponyville and Canterlot and expanded following MMC. Fanatics are painted with a broad brush by having everyone sans two fillies portrayed as abusive caricatures. Yet, by combining valid criticism with the abuse, reducing existing characters into less-than-flat caricatures and ageist stereotypes of fans, and painting the antagonists as seeing the RM6 as only fictional characters, the antagonists become straw men, damaging the story and morals. The beginning is stupid, and it only worsens with each passing minute. Starlight's appearance, her best since reformation, is wasted here. Fame & Misfortune panders to the lowest common denominator. Lazy, dishonest, and intellectually offensive. This garbage exists as is to check off common talking points within the fandom, whether it makes canonical sense or not. Whoever decided to warp the script into a callous attitude should be ashamed of themself. It overtakes 28 Pranks Later as the most mean-spirited take of Equestria in the entire show and is fundamentally worse than Rainbow Falls and EQG1. Unlike Fame, those two tried to tell a story. Add the unfortunate implications (the ageism, enforcement of tired geek-based stereotypes, and treatment of Coconut and Toola as tokens), it's even worse. It's both my most hated and (so far) worst episode of season seven. At the start of the review, my bottom-13 was like this: One Bad Apple Bridle Gossip Newbie Dash Dragon Quest The Crystal Empire Rainbow Falls 28 Pranks Later Princess Spike P.P.O.V. The Mysterious Mare Do Well Owl’s Well That Ends Well The Show Stoppers Putting Your Hoof Down Now, after talking about another awful episode (Newbie Dash) with King Clark, it's now this: One Bad Apple Newbie Dash Fame and Misfortune Bridle Gossip Dragon Quest The Crystal Empire Rainbow Falls 28 Pranks Later Princess Spike P.P.O.V. The Mysterious Mare Do Well Owl’s Well That Ends Well The Show Stoppers
  22. A few days ago, I watched one of Mr. Enter's older videos: a countdown of his ten worst FIM episodes of the series (only the first three seasons counted). At the time, Dragon Quest was his second-worst, only behind Putting Your Hoof Down. The one thing that caught my attention when summarizing DQ's issues is how he called an episode from G1 better than this. After a quick Wiki search, I found Spike's Search, a 1987 episode from MLP & Friends, containing the following summary: Hmm…similar to DQ, ain't it? For those who are curious, here's a link to the episode: Let's quickly get a few of Search's flaws out of the way. At the time, all animation was hand-drawn, so you'll see shortcuts. A chunk of this animation is more dated than a classic Scooby Doo episode. The lip-syncing is horrible. Many times, the characters were saying one thing, yet their lips say something else. The B-Plot — Weston the Eagle looking for his parents — was dropped until the resolution. The song…not good, either. Both lyrically and vocally. The dragons are stereotypical bullies. Fortunately, this story isn't a dud, and plenty of the faults come from the standards at the time. The background is really good, and Spike is very sympathetic with a noble goal. If I tell you more, I won't be able to explain why Spike's Search is better than DQ. How better? Well, let's get crackin'! The trigger. Every story has to set the conflict somehow, and this is no exception. Two adjectives apply to DQ: sexism, xenophobia. The entire episode is prevalent in this nature, including the opening act. Spike's desire to know about his origins and family comes from their infamous conversation within the ditch: Dash laughs at (and insults) Spike for his pink apron (along with his so-called "feminine" action of baking cookies), and this: This is just one part, but it ruins the story as a whole. Spike's friends declaring how not acting like other dragons makes him better than the rest of the population. In story context, let's put it this way: Not convinced? Apply it to real life: Not funny now, is it? The xenophobia comes from the ponies mocking dragons as a whole for their supposedly brutish, tough, ugly-looking, and aggressive nature while not understanding at all who dragons as a race truly are physically, emotionally, and psychologically. For all the audience knows, they're knocking them through perception, not fact. The one thing all six are aware of about them is their migration patterns. In Spike's Search, that conversation doesn't exist. As the group played volleyball, Spike sneezes, accidentally shooting fire in the process and frightening all the ponies. Spike repeatedly apologizes, and both Megan and brother Danny continually reassure him that it wasn't his fault. Though, the fact that he nearly hurt ponies triggered his guilt, and sneezing fire multiple times afterwards doesn't help. While Spike's friends from DQ peer-pressured him into joining the dragon migration, Spike from G1 pressured himself to find his family. His quest to find his parents stems from the belief that they'll better raise him, control his accidental fire-breathing, understand manners, and so forth. In short, he feels like he belongs better with other dragons. The stereotypical bully. Both Dragon Quest and Spike's Search use the stereotypical bully. It's a big flaw in both episodes. But if you ask me which stereotypical bully is better, it's from Search. Why? DQ attaches both age-old teenage boy and teenage bully stereotypes along with the bully archetype itself. All of their mannerisms are simplified human beliefs of masculinity: overly aggressive, greedy, vocal, the "traditional" teenage boy voice, a lust for intimidation, macho, and selfish. Design-wise, each dragon is supposed to represent what a dragon looks like in their teenage phase. With each scene, the episode shames Spike for being a dragon (and to parallel it, a boy IRL for traits completely unlike a "normal" boy). Spike's Search doesn't do that. He's originally happy to take part in the group of adult dragons, but is taken aback by their rudeness, greed, and selfishness. When two dragons insulted him for his size, the older king dragon dissented and crafted colorful language to try to make him prove to the group that he belongs in their gang. Rather than initially trying to physically bully him into joining or else, the king dragon emotionally lures him via mind games. Most importantly, the metaphors of dragons = boys and ponies = girls don't exist. Not only aren't the labels of masculinity and femininity visually depicted, but the dragons don't attempt to classify ponies as female-oriented, either. Instead, the dragons use Spike's naiveté to bring them into Dream Valley to further manipulate him. The climax. Search's climax is infinitely better. DQ: Dash, Twilight, and Rarity challenge the dragons to a fight, and Spike disassociates himself from his race, literal fighting words to the dragons. So, what do they do? Run away. *sigh* Talk about a major anticlimax. Spike's Search: Spike's friends assemble a party to lure them into a trap. Their weapon of choice: rushing water that temporarily douses their fire-breathing. If they're going to bully people throughout the town and their close friend, there'll be consequences. Since they use fire, words, and size as weapons, Spike's friends using their strengths against them creates a satisfying comeuppance. The moral. This is what seals it. So, what makes this very different from DQ? How it's set up. To reiterate, Spike wants to be a grown-up dragon and initiated his quest on an accident. Dragon life isn't automatically declared to be inherently inferior to pony life at any point. Hell, the group supported him throughout, and both he and Danny walked together to find some. Additionally, it emphasizes that this is only a cluster of dragons, not an actual representation of dragons as a whole. It doesn't metaphorically differentiate boys from girls. With it absent, the sexism implications don't exist. When Spike begins to believe that the dragon life is about bullying other people, Danny quickly interrupts him and reminds him that those dragons aren't the only ones out there. There are different kinds of ponies and dragons. Rather than affirm a generalization to both him and us, he tells Spike he only ran into some bad luck. This type of moral applies as much today and can be done really well if you know what you're doing and tell a decent story in the process. Conclusion: Friendship Is Magic is a great show, but it screws up royally here and there. Dragon Quest stands as season 2's worst due to sexist stereotyping, racism implications, and botching the moral of how no one group is a monolith by generalizing a select few as the whole. Is FIM better than G1? Yes. But sometimes it can take a lesson or two from its predecessors. Albeit with worse animation, Spike's Search does DQ's same plot nearly twenty-five years prior better.
  23. Well, just like last time I could really use some feedback on how to improve (not only to improve but it also helps with motivation). And maybe I am more likly to get some when only posting one video? Anyway here is my review.
  24. I have started doing mlp reviews and the main reasons I did this (besides discussing the show) is to improve my editing and voice acting skills. However I could really use some feedback on what exactly I should improve on to focus those things. So please check out my first couple reviews and tell me what I should improve on. https://youtu.be/-Vjg0wlB0O4 https://youtu.be/Koxvzz9pny8 https://youtu.be/0zknDPwwXII https://youtu.be/RA0bJuurV6s
  25. The Traveler Pony

    Analyst bronies red vs blue buck ball game

    NickyVmlp, Golden Fox and Key Frame should play Mad Munchkin, KP and Aeon of Dreams in a red vs blue buck ball game, With Lighting Bliss as a cheerleader as inspired by Roundtable is Magic 21: Buckball Season w/NickyV and Animechristy! this took me a while and apologies for inconsistency in size it is hard when they are all different sizes to make it all relative to all other ponies and fit on one page of A4