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Hearth's Warming Helper

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  1. "And then... the brash, hotheaded, boastful pegasus Prism Sprint painted ALL of the Peach family's peaches as a prank along with the earth pony who eats too much sugar, Blue Brownie, costing the Peach family an incalculable amount of loss in time, labor, and product! OOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" "Why does this story sound familiar when I've never heard it before?" "Just think about it, sugar cube, I'm sure it'll come to ya eventually." Good afternoon everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"!! Me oh my, this show has seriously got to stop throwing so much amazing at us, for real! I have not seen track records of flat-out great episodes in this show, this consistently, since Season 2 (in my estimation, at least). We got a break last week with an episode that was very much just good, not great, but the show returned to giving us more great episodes again this week in the delightful "Campfire Tales"! This one's gonna be a pretty easy episode to review as I can simply go sequentially through the episode itself, so without further ado, let's dive right in. This is "Campfire Tales." Alright, so this episode set out to do not one, but two things, and given that it had writers who've never written for the show before (Barry Safchik and Michael Platt, respectively), that was no easy feat. However, unlike with Becky Wangberg's atrocious debut in "Hard to Say Anything," these two clearly did their homework, and the result was a great episode. So, just what exactly did the episode aim to do? First, it needed to act as solid continuity to Season 3's amazing "Sleepless in Ponyville," which we all of course remember most for being the first episode in which Rainbow Dash decided to start acting as a surrogate older sister to Scootaloo, but was also just as enjoyable for the camping subplot in which Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo all go on a camping trip together. Now, for the most part the episode handled the continuity great; it's one minor flaw was that the dialogue at the beginning suggested that this was their first annual camping trip since the last one, suggesting only a year had passed in the show since Season 3, and I refuse to believe that given everything that has happened. But that's easy enough to ignore, so I don't need to gripe about it too much. The other thing that the episode set out to do was add some very cool canon of its own to the MLP:FiM universe canon, while still juggling it's primary plot in the present, and in this the episode splendidly succeeded as well, introducing us to characters recently introduced to the MLP comics themselves in the still ongoing "Legends of Magic" series! Let's take a closer look at just how the episode succeeds in both of these respects. So to start things off we get an absolutely delightful opening scene setting up the camping trip itself, establishing that this is now an annual tradition of these three pairs of sisters. We see that Applejack is, as always, the grounded center of this group of six ponies (no surprise given that she's been trying to be a family matriarch since a young age due to the untimely death of her parents, especially for Apple Bloom, and she has the most experience being a dependable sibling of any of the older ponies here, so she can run a show like this no sweat); Rarity for her part has become considerably more practical for a trip like this, though delightfully still brings her own unique touch to it, just in a more reasonable manner; and Rainbow Dash for her part is mostly focused on using this time to hang out with Scootaloo, which makes sense considering (1) she's very busy as a Wonderbolt these days, so probably doesn't have much time to regularly hang out with Scoots, and (2) she has the most reason to do as much bonding with her surrogate sister as she can, seeing as she's been treating her like family for the least amount of time of all three older siblings and thus has the most developing of her relationship to do with Scoots. As for the CMC, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle seemed pretty chill in their activities, but Scootaloo's own behavior further emphasizes my point that she and Rainbow Dash's bonding is especially important to each other on this trip. While the other two pairs of sisters clearly see this as one of many things they do together, Scootaloo and Rainbow both clearly see this as an event that will always be special to them seeing as it was the foundational event of their "sisterhood." On top of that, Scootaloo also clearly is far more nervous in nature now than Apple Bloom or Sweetie Belle are; her nightmares on their previous trip clearly left a bad impression on her, and this was, for me, one of my favorite bits of continuity. In a lesser show, she'd be over these fears by now as if they didn't happen, but here the writers had fun with the idea of Scootaloo instead kinda not doing too well in nature, which added variety to the group as a whole. Some people can camp no sweat like the Apples, others do it while still needing as many comforts from home as possible, like Rarity and Sweetie (though Sweetie would probably do better without them than Rarity would), and others are either bad at survival skills, like Rainbow (given that she almost ate poisonous berries before Scootaloo told her what they were) or just do not do well in nature at all and find it to be an unsettling place they don't ever get used to, like Scootaloo. But anyway, moving on, the trip is off to a lovely start... that is until of course it's interrupted by a fresh spawn of hell in this show's canon, FLY-DERS!!!! Yes, Fly-ders, little bastards that are apparently flies crossed with spiders and all the more terrifying for it. These bastards from the Luna Bay area way up in Northwest Equestria will bite you, web you (apparently they're even carnivorous considering AJ, who seemed to know the most about them, was doing everything in her power to stay away from them), and web up all your shit too just because they can! In other words, they are the Equestrian equivalent of the hyena: NATURE'S ASSHOLE!!!!!! So after the swarms of fly-ders appear, the group is forced to flee into a nearby cave, and the older ponies (after Rainbow quite hilariously and recklessly fetches their campfire from the fly-der swarms) decide to raise their younger sisters spirits and pass the time (hoping the fly-ders will soon leave) telling them all campfire stories, namely stories about their favorite Equestrian legends. Applejack starts off with the legend of Rockhoof, a legendary earth pony whose sheer determination in the face of impossible odds magically unlocked his strength as he saved his village from certain destruction! The story itself was delightful, especially in seeing the Norse-type culture that Rockhoof belonged to, but the real highlight for me was in how Applejack told it. Unlock the other two pairs of sisters, this was a story that Apple Bloom had already heard many times (further highlighting how naturally close those two are as sisters, and delightfully conveyed in how excited Apple Bloom got at certain parts of the story, even squeeing in anticipation, which was too adorable). The backgrounds were especially impressive to me; while Rarity's story probably had the most artistically beautiful backgrounds, and Rainbow's even had the biggest, this somehow felt bigger, even though it was technically a more confined story than Rainbow's was. I think it has to do with how the volcano so nicely contrasted the blue sky; normally an erupting volcano would be surrounded by a sky full of ash and fire in a scene like this, but here you had this massive volcano overlooking this tiny pony village, but contrasted wonderfully by a picturesque blue sky. The lava effects as well, although hardly the first time we've seen them, were very cool, and Rockhoof was quite an awesome character. Since we know that the Season 7 finale is going to tie into the Legends of Magic somehow, I cannot wait to see more of this guy in the finale when it comes around! Aside from being an earth pony, Rockhoof didn't tie too explicitly into the Apple Family like the other two stories tie into their respective characters, but I was OK that; it's easy enough to believe this is a favorite story among earth ponies in general, so Applejack probably heard it from her parents too when she was younger, plus of course I could easily see a character like Rockhoof overcoming his smaller size to do the impossible inspiring younger earth ponies like Applejack used to be before she could do greater feats of strength. Huh, I wonder what he's screaming at... Oh... yeah, that makes sense The next interlude leads into my favorite segment of the entire episode, Rarity's story. Things are set up nicely when Sweetie Belle expresses boredom at their current plight. Rarity in turn starts to do something I wish we saw in the show more often, use her generous nature and eye for aesthetic beauty to the benefit of others in creative ways most would never think of doing. First she shows Sweetie Belle that there's more to the cave they're in than meets the eye, showing how flecks of gold dot its wall (further emphasizing her eye for spotting gems and precious minerals as well), and even uses their campfire to create beautiful shadow puppets (and a pretty humorous throwback to ballerina Twilight as well). I love now knowing that Rarity can both do this, as well as the fact that she clearly used the shadow puppets to help tell her story. While it's possible that Twilight told Rarity about what she did, for some reason I find it more likely (and amusing) that Starlight told Rarity when they were both talking about how OCD Twilight can be sometimes Then she proceeds to tell the best story of the lot, about a unicorn by the name of Mistmane. Mistmane lived in a corner of Equestria where some type of ancient Japanese-inspired culture was prevalent, and the scenery we got to see there was too amazing to describe! So many colors, beautiful buildings, backgrounds, and clothing we've never seen in the show before, and even unicorns with curved horns, something that has only appeared, to date, in either the MLP comics or fan art! As for Mistmane herself, she was a beautiful unicorn and powerful sorceress who was forced to defeat her best friend Sable Spirit, now the empress of their region, who, after trying to magically make herself more beautiful, only made herself more ugly instead, and in her rage chose to have all of her subjects spend their days doing nothing but beautify her palace. Mistmane easily defeats Sable, but then does an even greater act of heroism; saddened by the state of her home, and simply wanting to bring back hope to her people, Mistmane puts all of her magic into restoring both her home and Sable, at the cost of her own beautiful features. While it doesn't fix everything her people have lost, their hope is restored, as is the Sable's perspective upon being shocked by how generous and selfless Mistmane was for the sake of others. Sable resolves to reflect Mistmane's generosity as best she can for the rest of her days, and the land is restored as ponies return to leading their old, happy lives. Mistmane herself spends the rest of her days wandering the countryside, assisting ponies with her magic wherever she can, and spreading beauty along the way as she does; even if there's nothing she can do or nothing for her to do to help someone, the least she can do is make their day a little brighter with something beautiful. What makes this story the highlight of the episode is not only the fact that it's a beautiful story in its own right about generosity, the value of true aesthetic beauty when used appropriately, and self-sacrifice for the good of others and how that is the highest beauty of all, but also the fact that it gives us so much insight into Rarity's own philosophy about both aesthetic beauty and generosity, and how they tie together for her so naturally. This didn't sound so much like a story she would have grown up with like Applejack did, on the contrary, this felt more like something she would have come across when she was growing older, possibly during her college days (so to speak); the story was far more refined and developed than Applejack or Rainbow Dash's were, and it clearly held dear personal meaning to Rarity. She very deliberately saw herself, or at least a pony whose example she wants to follow, in Mistmane, though unlike Rainbow she did not flat out state it either. For her, in this moment, it was most meaningful sharing something so personal and beautiful with her friends and her beloved sister, further illustrating how, even in telling this story, Rarity's generous nature was on display, and also went hoof in hoof with her love of spreading beauty to others as well. Hands down the best segment of this episode for me, it just might also be Rarity's highlight moment of Season 7 thus far, making "Campfire Tales," oddly enough, Rarity's best appearance in Season 7 to date, which is incredibly odd given that she was not the primary focus of the episode itself. I cannot even begin to imagine how complicated and technically difficult some of the animation and backgrounds were in this story... I mean... JUST LOOK AT ALL OF THIS!!! Easily some of the best, complex, and most beautiful animation we've seen in all of Season 7, or the entire show for that matter, so far! Finally, after Rainbow causes a cave in when the fly-ders (little bastards that they are) start advancing on the group again, Scootaloo has a near panic attack, and Rainbow decides it's her turn to tell a story. Uh, Rainbow, I think ya got something on your... ya know what, nevermind, I'm sure you'll notice eventually The best part about the set up for this one (as well as the story itself) is that Rainbow is clearly telling this to calm Scootaloo down. It fits Rainbow's demeanor and personality that she is protective to her surrogate sister, and doing something like this is about as much of a softy as she typically gets. She may have acted a bit gruff at times, acting as though she were annoyed at Scootaloo's panic, but really you could tell she was just trying to put on a brave face for her as she reassured her everything was going to be OK. The story itself wasn't particularly remarkable (especially after Rarity's), but Flash Magnus is easily the best Flash on this show (suck it, Flash Sentry), and it did feature some pretty awesome flying scenes as well as some of the best dragon action of the show (including with, presumably, Ember's father, the former Dragon Lord Torch). I did find it super cool on a personal level that the commander of the pegasi in the Royal Legion was called Commander Ironhoof; I say this because I have a minor character featured in Equestrian history in my own fic-universe in my fic "Batmare Begins" whose name was Eisenhuf, that is, German for Ironhoof! Total coincidence of course, but it was pretty cool seeing the show runners decide that's a badass name for a pony just like I did some time ago. Other than that, the story featured some cool action and a cool new Equestrian hero (I'm going to presume it took place before the Sisters arrived since the pegasi seemed to be in old Pegasopolis armor), but a fairly standard lesson about one's loyalty bringing out your most heroic side. This felt more like a story Rainbow would have learned in school than from her parents, but instantly latched onto when she first heard it; being totally awesome as a result of your loyalty to your companions and friends is something she clearly prizes, so it's unsurprising this was one of her favorite stories. OK, that is admittedly bucking awesome... ...but holy shit, that's adorable!!! After the close of Rainbow's story, (and a failed attempt from Applejack to clear the cave in, but to her credit, she did come close; let's say she had her very own "Captain America almost lifts Mjolnir" moment and almost channeled some Pie-family magic into her strength) the sisters decide to go through the back of the cave, and follow an underground river. Their spirits have all been bolstered at this point by the stories, both young and old, and the river, fortuitously enough, leads to Winsome Falls, their destination for the camping trip. The younger sisters, emboldened by the stories they've just been told, are determined to salvage the trip here, and the older sisters are happy to oblige, glad to see their younger counterparts happy. The episode closes on a happy note, and all is well. Woah! Check out the return of wet-mane Rarity (bonus points for a lil' wet-mane AJ too ... oh don't look at me like that, YOU KNOW YOU WERE THINKING IT TOO!!! ) If this episode has any lesson at all (besides those contained in the stories themselves) it's in the power of older siblings to impact their younger siblings lives for the better in the low moments. Older siblings, especially when their siblings are genuinely smaller than them, can do things they can't, but more importantly are figures they look up to. This doesn't mean the things older siblings do always have to be big, rather, small acts are often some of the most important that their siblings will remember years later. The little ways they went out of their way for them when they didn't have to. As an older sibling myself, I loved getting to see these sides of Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash once more, always do whenever it happens, and so I found myself very, very appreciative for everything this episode did. It's another great episode of Season 7, and me, I got no complaints on my end about that. Until next time, everypony, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit*
  2. Good afternoon ya'll, so sorry I didn't get this up earlier, been busy with the Ward Jenkins Q&A and some other Poniverse business. Anyways, welcome, welcome, welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews" and me oh my do we have a splendid episode to go over today!!! I really need to watch this episode again before I can determine whether or not I think it's the best of Season 6 so far, at least in my opinion, but I would say for sure that I definitely believe it to be the most exciting episode of the season so far. To put it into the appropriate perspective, longtime viewers like myself have been waiting for this episode, THE return of the Changelings in some capacity that actually affects the MLP setting and the Changelings' place in it, in a major way since the end of Season 2. This was a species that immediately grabbed our attention because of how unique they were in the setting, and to this day they have remained a fan favorite group, as evidenced by all the fan art and fan fiction centered around them. Today, we finally got that, and I have to say it did not disappoint in the least, in fact, it pretty much delivered as much as it could have. The only way it could have been any better were if it were a two-parter episode, but that was clearly not necessary here. Without further ado, this is "The Times They Are a Changeling," let's begin! "Oh, thank goodness it's Spike! For a second there we thought you were Carrot Top; man, that guy is the worst, not funny at all!" What? Seems legit, I'd ship it! Cadance, you... you do realize you can't use that as a test for ANYPONY ELSE right? Gosh, no wonder they were all freaking out, pony security against Changelings is apparently still crap! So let's start with our main character, Spike. Oh Spike, your character has developed so, so, SO very well at this point! Spike for way too long has been a character that the writers were inconsistent with, for good reason to be fair. He started out largely as a comic relief character; it wasn't mean-spirited comic relief, on the contrary it usually made sense since he's, well, a baby dragon with a different level of maturity. But given how long the show has been going, he obviously could not stay the same, and as early as Season 2 I would say the writers started playing around with how they could advance and develop. It was still hit and miss and that point, though plenty of highlights have come in Seasons 3, 4, and 5 for the lil' guy. Season 6, however, has probably been his most consistent season ever where it has been most evident that this is clearly no longer the same Spike as in earlier seasons. In fact, he's not even just another Mane 6 member; Spike has a very distinct understanding of friendship that is unique to himself, namely because of his dragon heritage. He is very much aware that he has (up until he met Princess Ember, that is) been one of a kind among his own kind, and in large part because, by a fluke of fate, he had the opportunity to grow up among ponies. What's normal for them couldn't be further from the norm for his kind, and he appreciates the opportunities he's been given and the friendship and love that has been extended to him his whole life. This has never been more apparent than in "The Times They Are a Changeling," even if his heritage did not ever once get directly addressed. We've seen already Spike's capacity, stemming I believe from his appreciation of the opportunities afforded to him, to give others a chance or second chances. This season alone, he has extended kindness and friendship to both Starlight Glimmer, being one of the first in Ponyville to really warm up to her and try to help her in her friendship lessons, and Princess Ember, giving in effect his entire species a second chance at changing for the better by helping Ember ascend to Dragon Lord but, more importantly, learn the value of friendship for herself and dragonkind. Yeah, I won't lie, I loved this gag This time around, however, saw Spike's bravest act of kindness and friendship yet in his entire character's arc through all six seasons. Neither befriending Starlight nor Ember ever risked Spike's place among ponies; Starlight had already been forgiven by most everypony, and with Ember the biggest risk involved was losing any support or chance at friendship among his own kind, not ponies. But in this episode, Spike risked A LOT. The fact that this took place in the Crystal Empire was very important for a couple of reasons. One, the place has a very good reason for being as paranoid as it was about Changelings; for starters, the Crystal Ponies have never had to deal with Changelings, at least to our knowledge, but to make matters worst, their rulers were the ponies most negatively affected by the Changelings the last time they attacked ponykind. So right off the bat you have two ingredients for a paranoid populace the second any news about Changelings crops up (doesn't help that the royal family had a newborn foal as well to worry about). Second, Spike's best reputation in all of Equestria is in the Crystal Empire; he's not just beloved there, he's a friggin' two-time national hero!!! There was a lot on the line for him in trying to befriend a Changeling and get others to do it, and his faltering in the second half of the episode makes a lot of sense. Who would be willing to risk as much personally as he did for a total stranger he just met who's a member of a reviled group? But in the end, he stepped up in what is easily his finest moment in the show yet, yes, even better than his saving the Crystal Empire, befriending Starlight Glimmer, and befriending Princess Ember. He didn't just apply the lessons he's learned his whole life, he used them to teach his own friends who needed some reminding about what makes them so special in the first place. Friendship and extending it to others isn't always supposed to be something that's easy or second-nature; it should be hard to do sometimes, as should be believing in others, especially when those others have either let you down in the past or been downright malevolent. In a beautiful conclusion for the episode and his own character, Spike reminded his friends and family that part of friendship and befriending others is having the capacity to have faith in others, even when you can't be sure if your faith will pay off. It's about taking risks, not just saying you'll be a friend to those you know you can count on, but being willing to befriend those you can't be sure about either but are willing to believe in. Everyone deserves a chance at friendship, a chance to prove their capacity to be good and kind and decent, and Spike reminded his friends how important that is and also that such an opportunity was afforded to him and a risk taken on him by virtue of ponies allowing him to grow up with them at all. A beautiful moment for his character, definitely the pinnacle of his development thus far in the entire show, and just all around a wonderfully done episode for the little guy, I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Next, of course we have to discuss the new character Thorax, our first ever friendly Changeling! Voiced wonderfully by Kyle Rideout (a VA with not too many acting credits to his name), I feel like the writers came up with a great balance of fan head canon in developing this character and GREATLY expanding on the backstory for Changelings. In his origins, we saw that most Changelings are naturally inclined to a predatory nature, which fits about as many head canons as it doesn't, but works for me personally. At the same time, they conveyed that, as evidenced by Thorax, Changelings are capable of changing by nature, they aren't JUST born "evil," and if they're not just born that way, then, with presumably a lot of work, they could also possibly change as well (although I still hope this doesn't happen with Queen Chrysalis since I believe she has more autonomy than your average Changeling to start with, and did come across as genuinely evil and malevolent). So what we have is a happy balance of head canons; generally Changelings have been depicted as either entirely instinctive to an almost animalistic extent in fan work, OR conversely each is individual and unique in their own ways. I'm sure we'll continue to see this in fan work, but here we have a Changeling who is both instinctive (he had trouble controlling natural urges to predatorily react to the presence of love or kindness) but also a unique individual, a happy balance that I appreciate. In fact, it pretty much fits my own head canon on Changelings; I like the idea that they are capable of feeding off of love in a passive, non-predatory manner, simply by getting it from others who genuinely care about them, and giving it in return. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if we see the writers expand upon this idea in the future. This is... very oddly adorable Oh yeah, pretty sure she's still evil as ever Furthermore, Thorax in general was just super likable, and his plight very believable and sympathetic. This is a guy who's clearly been an outsider everywhere he's gone his whole life. He wasn't like any of his own kind, but he rightfully feared that ponies would never accept him either. Frankly, the fact that he survived this long is rather impressive, almost miraculous, and I anticipate that we're going to see some great fan fiction that does a great job of playing around with his backstory. The voice work on him was great, he didn't ever come off as a Gary Stu (the fact that he had natural urges he had to fight, and even reacted angrily at Spike's earlier dejection in the last third of the episode, definitely ensured that), and the animators and storyboard artists did a WONDERFUL job really conveying his emotions and what made him different from the rest of his kind in his body language. Ward Jenkins (who did storyboard art on this episode) mentioned earlier today that they had to be very expressive with his head/face and body in order to convey his emotions properly, because his eyes can't convey much emotion since Changelings don't have pupils like ponies do. I was very impressed with the job they did in that regard, and it never felt like the show was reaching either or being forced any time he got very emotional to the point of tears. It felt real, it felt earned, and this is how this type of character needed to be introduced. Definitely the best new character of the season thus far, exactly what the Changelings needed in order to advance them like this (and for that matter reintroduce them to the show in a serious manner), and just something I've waited to see for a long, long time in this show. I for one definitely believed moments like these, very well done if I do say so myself The final major element of this episode to cover was the latest song, "A Changeling Can Change." This was something we've been waiting for a long time by virtue of the fact that we've waited over five seasons for Spike to get a solo song. At this point, it had to be a song like this if it were ever gonna happen, it couldn't just be a fun song. It had to be something that hammered the message of the episode away, and on top of that it had to be a damn good message. Well, it was a damn good message in a damn good song in a damn great episode! Spike's vocals are hardly something to write home about, his voice alone ensures that, but that lends to the simple, quiet beauty of the song. The song isn't really beautiful because of the lyrics, or the tune, or the voice work; it's beautiful because it comes from such a deep place for Spike. He's never done this before, and I don't just mean sing a solo; he's never really tried to teach his friends a lesson like this before, ponies he's looked up to and learned from his entire life. On top of that, it was his way of repenting for his earlier failing his new friend, Thorax. And finally, the quiet nature of the song and Spike's impassioned pleas hammered away that this was coming from a very real, desperate, sincere place for him as a character. These elements combined to make a song that is beautiful, unusually so for this show, largely not because of the tune itself, but almost entirely because of the substance of the song and the character of the one singing it. Great song, I'm sure it'll be a fan favorite for this season, and I can't wait to listen to it myself. Of this episode I really have no complaints, just things that I believe could have SLIGHTLY improved it. For one, I wouldn't have minded Spike's dragon heritage being mentioned at some point, but I believe that the idea of it playing a role in his development in this episode was still plenty there beneath the surface. I also kind of wanted Cadance rather than Twilight to be the first pony to listen to Spike and reach out to Thorax; I didn't mind that Twilight did and it made sense since she's both a sister and mother to him and also the Princess of Friendship, but I thought there might have been an added element of weight to it seeing the pony who most suffered because of the Changelings last time around (and probably has some trauma from that ordeal still considering she was abducted and held hostage, essentially) being the first to forgive them and try to make peace with at least this one, but again, it worked out just fine. It was great seeing Sunburst and Starlight Glimmer again, especially because, as some have pointed out, Starlight could very much relate to this Changeling seeking redemption, friendship, and just a place to call his own, to call home. Seeing Flurry Heart as well was great, she's as adorable as ever and I loved getting to see her make nice with Thorax too. I also thought it was impressive that none of the ponies ever came off as unreasonable, which would have been really easy to do here; I mean, let's face it, they had plenty of good reasons to be afraid of a Changeling infiltration. Some of the visual gags, like the mirror one (which Ward Jenkins said he drew inspiration for from I Love Lucy) were a lot of fun to see, as well. BEHOLD, a baby! No, before you ask, you cannot eat the baby Overall, this episode I would say was exactly what we wanted it to be. I don't think anyone wanted the entire Changeling race to be redeemed in a single episode or story arc, but to see that they have the capacity for good is exactly what we wanted. This baby step in that direction is exactly how one should do something like that, and it reminds me of similar treatments that both dragons and the griffons have received, although neither of them had quite the same stigma attached to them by ponies that Changelings do. I really hope we get to see more of Thorax in the future as well as further stories with the Changelings as a result of this episode, but for now, let's just revel in how very well done this episode alone was. This is exactly what MLP is supposed to be all about folks, doesn't get much better than this. That's all I've got for this week everypony, until next week this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off! *cue dramatic exit*
  3. OK, good morning everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews." Quite a lovely episode this morning if I do say so myself, though not a terribly mind blowing one, but hey, that's just fine. Aside from it's somewhat fast pace, this felt like a somewhat more contained episode, if only because it was limited to a particular neighborhood in Manehattan. I don't have a whole lot to say about this one, but let's dive in, shall we? Oh come on, it can't possibly be that bad- Oh. Ohhhhhh. Uh, Rarity, I don't like where this face is going. Like, at all. Not feeling the Rarijack, darling? No, not really. First of all, it's always nice to see a RariJack episode. I've been on record many times saying that they're my favorite pair of friends among the Mane 6, namely because not only do they get along so well despite having wildly different tastes, but also have progressed very much in their friendship since the show began. That was very evident here, especially in how they complemented each other so well during their time in Manehattan. Rarity was very supportive of Applejack the whole time and also patient with her uncomfortableness with the big city, and Applejack did a nice job of keeping Rarity focused on the task at hand. They didn't really bicker once (though that partly could have had to do with the fact that there was a lot going on in this episode), and they did a wonderful job of tackling their problem together (though the focus of the episode was quite clearly Applejack given that she had a little more to learn about both herself and that she could actually do some good in a city like Manehattan). All in all, the most horrible thing to happen to either of them was the loss of *gasp* APPLEJACK'S STETSON, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! R.I.P. AJ'S hat: you will always be remembered fondly. You're in the armmmmmmssssssss offfffffff an angel! Next, we saw the return of the lovely Coco Pommel, who is simply one of the most adorable supporting characters this show has seen to date. To be honest, she had a very strong return; we saw that she's been trying to make a positive impact in her community since Rarity first met her (albeit also getting a bit in over her head in the process), and not just trying to further her own career, but still needed some help doing so just cause, well, she's only one pony, and a pony who quite clearly couldn't refurbish an entire stage and park on her own, at that. It was very cool getting to visually learn some about her childhood and background, and interesting to learn that she was a local Manehattanite. I'd always been under the impression since her first appearance that she was on out-of-towner who wasn't used to life in the big city and got taken advantage of by Suri Polomare just like Rarity did, but apparently that's not the case, so that's interesting to know. Not a whole lot else to say about her other than that; her heart's clearly still in the right place, the revival was successful and I imagine she'll do a bang up job heading that up from now on, and she was quite delightful to see again. Nice continuity from DHX, very appreciative always to see continuity in the show. Oh Coco, why you so cute?!?! Finally, Manehattan itself was very fun to see again, and this time the city itself was much more the focus of the episode than it was in "Rarity Takes Manehattan," particularly Coco's old neighborhood. We got to hear multiple accents that are all unique to New York (the Brooklyn accent is standard enough for a kids show, but it was VERY impressive to hear a Latino Bronx accent, I did not expect that in the slightest!), there were all kinds of references to New York-centric media and popular culture, including Newsies and Seinfeld (and even though this isn't New York-centric in the slightest, they also worked in an AMAZING Peanuts and Charlie Brown reference which I simply adored ), and the city itself just got really nicely fleshed out. It had a character here, a distinct look and feel to it, and we got to see it very much for the diverse metropolis that it really is in a more standard neighborhood than we saw in, again, "Rarity Takes Manehattan," which was set in a far more fashion-and-business-centric district than this episode was. You're a good stallion, Charlie Brown The moral too, about teaching others how even the smallest acts of charity can make a big difference, as well as how to slow down for the things that really matter in a community, was very nice, although, as Jeric and I both agreed, it would have been a bit better if they just showed it in the final play scene rather than reiterate in the dialogue afterwards as well as like they did, that made it just a tad forced. But hey, I get why they did that, not all the kids who watch the show might have gotten the moral otherwise, so it's forgivable enough. Twilight was quite adorable in her boredom for the few minutes she showed up, the continuity in this episode was again very much appreciated, just like in last week's episode, the humor was spot on, the animation was colorful, clean, polished, and just gorgeous looking as has become standard fare for this show for a while now. All in all, a very, very solid episode; nothing in particular that makes it first tier for this show, but nothing really wrong with it either. It's an episode that's comfortable being what it is, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Looking forward to next week's episode very much, until then everypony, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off! *cue dramatic exit* Oh shush, Twilight, you'll get your moment in the spotlight soon enough. -_-