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Found 555 results

  1. Marshmallow

    Rate song, then post another!

    Ok, so this is really simple. Basically, someone posts a song. Then the next person gives it a score out of 10, briefly explains why, then posts another song for the next person to rate and so on. Example: User 1: Friday by Rebecca Black User 2: 10/10 Best song evaaar her voice is da bestest evaaaar!!!!lol Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley User 3: 5/10 meh, not my kind of music. But I do like his hair. A lot. Winter Wrap-up - My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic You get the idea. The rules are that you MUST listen to to the whole song, or at least the first 5-6 minutes if it's longer than that. Whether you like the song or not! It can be anything as long as it's labeled music. Pony music, your favorite song, the song that you and your friend composed last night, a song from your favorite opera, a song you hate, ANYTHING GOES! Also, try to include a Youtube link to the song (or any other kind of link really, as long as we can listen to the song) to make it easier for others to listen to it. Also, try to stay classy and respectful. Not everypony has the same music tastes! ^^ Ok, so I guess I should start. Octopus - Syd Barrett http-~~-//www.youtube.com/watch?v=pL36NuJJLIQ&feature=fvst
  2. Dark Qiviut

    episode review "The Mean Six" Review

    Note: Credit to @Jeric, @PathfinderCS, and @Captain Clark and conversations with them on Discord for this review. One of The Return of Harmony's biggest strengths is its clever execution of the Discorded Mane Six. Discord manipulated each and every one of them — sans Fluttershy for humor's sake — into exposing a major internal weakness, such as Applejack fearing no one loves her and running away from the idea and Rainbow Dash fleeing the labyrinth and leaving her friends behind to protect Cloudesdale. Twilight's slow progression of losing her denial that her friends still cared and had some good left in them was a masterpiece of a villain's accomplished deeds breaking down a strong character's confidence so much that she abandoned the Magic of Friendship. Now with Discord a good guy, warping the Mane Eight into Discorded versions of themselves doesn't make sense anymore. But Mike Vogel brings the idea back in clever fashion while still keeping their presence fresh in The Mean 6. Chrysalis crafts a spell to create copies of them. Poorly crafted, apparently. Instead of creating exact mirrored personalities of every Discorded Six, three of Chrysalis's Mean Six are switched up a little in order to be unpredictable and to increase potential for both friction and comedy. Rather than be Rainbow Ditch and wrap up major delusions of Cloudesdale being safe and protected, Mean Dash — who I call "Lazy Dash" — is completely apathetic of everything around her. No matter the interest or urgent, she'd rather fly and sleep. Pinkie Pie in both TRoH and TM6 is a major grump, but Mean Pinkie in TM6 — "Bordie Pie" — finds everything so boring instead of being Chef Hater Pants. TM6's version, Twilight Snarkle, stands out the most for a few reasons, one of which is how much she completely differs from Twilight Quitter in TRoH. She's very snarky with a very keen ability to tap into someone's weak spot to make them pay attention to her. More about her later. Vogel uses Chrysalis's desperation and status to recap past events. Occasionally, Season 8 hides its exposition very organically, The Mean 6 being one of its smartest iterations. Rather than just have Chrysalis spill everything, she explains to still photos of the RM6 of what she used to be, what happened to her now, and what she wants to do next. Each lines oozes with a wide range of personality, from extreme cockiness — i.e., her little prance with matching music — to a lust to conquer Equestria to a deranged thirst for Starlight's pain and destruction. Now that she no longer controls her kingdom and is all alone, she'll do anything to reclaim her credibility as threat to Equestria, and creating half-baked clones of changelings exemplifies her desperation and status. Chrysalis has always been a mixed bag. Very threatening with a slab of ham as her thorax, but often woefully incompetent. Whenever she's ready to conquer Equestria, she overlooks one major flaw in her plan or concentrates more on her own ego over conquering the kingdom. In ACW, she sent Twilight to the same dungeon as the real Cadance and didn't take SA's bond with Cadance so seriously. Rather than capture every single threat to her revenge, she willingly left Starlight behind. So, why is The Mean 6 her best role by far? The episode wisely uses her current status as a solid alibi for why Plan A lacked a major failsafe. When Snarkle criticized her for not attacking the ReMane 7 at the School, she knew right away that trying to destroy them would backfire big time. Defeating Celestia in ACW was by luck, which she and TM6 are aware of. The Elements of Harmony are Equestria's key for maintaining security, but very few are acutely aware of how powerful the Elements are. Until later in this episode, she had no idea the Elements feed the Tree nor of its existence. Among the collection of eccentric villains, she plays the straight woman. Comedy drives the communication between the Mean 6 and Chrysalis; how they respond and react to each other determines the joke's effect. Aside from Snarkle, Chrysalis is the most competent of the Evil Seven, but Chrysalis's quick temper and Snarkle's ability to force QC to depend her really makes her stand out. Without an army anymore, she must not only create something from scratch, but also depend on them. Each clone is headache-inducing and willfully disobedient, but must keep them alive, because they are the possible source to take down the ReMane Seven. Yet, Chryssie knows she can start over and adjust to spell to force the Mean Six to obey her, hence her threat to kill Snarkle just before Act 2 closes. But once she runs out of patience and loses control, she's incredibly threatening. (BTW, kudos to DHX for outlining Chrysalis's shadow as Rarihoard, Boredie Pie, and Liarjack nod nervously. Really emphasizes her intimidation.) The Mean Six, however, share her spotlight and are all great in their own ways. Flutterbitch (or Flutterbrute, for tact's sake) remains just as funny as ever. Nasty, self-serving, sarcastic, and menacing — and a really big bully. Forced a lost bird to walk and climb back to his nest his nest, then told animals living nearby she hopes they freeze to death, and then followed up with classic flower-flattening. She taunted animals and relished it, which Discorded Flutterbitch didn't do (instead smugly cheering Angel on for flattening Twilight). Liarjack would make Discorded!Liarjack feel jealous. Each of her lies are bigger, more outlandish, and meaner. What started out as a small swindle grew grander and grander. Watching AJ try to string together an impromptu lie explaining Flutterbitch, Rarihoard, and Snarkle's whereabouts is just one example of the hilarity, but how our heroes respond to her meanness is where they're strongest. More about that later. Gladly. Despite few lines, she made the most of it. My favorite is this: During RoH, Greedity was a great source of comedy. Rarihoard makes her look sane. Look at her faces! Creepy, ain't they? So why do they work, unlike this, this, this, or THIS? Because of who the source of the joke is. As Rarihoard hogged onto more and more stuff, the more obsessed she became. Her faces accentuated her lust for anything, especially when she caught eye of Applejack's wagon, an immediate trove of treasures. Similar to Return of Harmony, comedy is plentiful in The Mean 6, Rarity's deranged faces a source of it. Grumpie Pie was excellent, and Bordie Pie was just as great. Andrea Libman performed really well emphasizing hooooowwwww boooorrrred she is. But the post-production knows how to counter-balance her boredom with some humor, too: In the beginning of the video linked above, her hair subtly squeaks as she moves her head. But the best one, without question, is Twilight Snarkle. While the ReMean Five are comic antonyms of the ReMean Five, she's the most fleshed out. Extremely calculating, power-hungry, and very snarky, she balances out her villainy through manipulation. Chrysalis cannot defeat Twilight alone; Snarkle understands this through her questions and snarky comebacks. This little bit demonstrates their chemistry masterfully: Fantastic the episode's overall dialogue quality is, their organic exchanges really sell the chemistry. Kathleen Barr — QC's VA — and Tara Strong take advantage of the script to craft excellent tension between each other. Chrysalis rightly couldn't stand Snarkle and the others for being so uncooperative, while Snarkle rightly kept her on a tightrope so she can take out Chrysalis when she least expects it. Very clearly, they can't stand each other. Even when she ain't with Chrysalis, she figures out a way to deliver a shot at her, enforcing her hatred of her and her servants: There are many ways to create a great villain, but the foundation is being a great character; that is highlighted very well through her ability to manipulate a very naïve Pinkie Pie in Act 2. When an evil alicorn evilly rubs her feathers together like hands… …you know ye got her good. >) At the same time, she acts like the straight mare, showing off how dynamic she is. Her sour impatience progressed to anger as Pinkie recaps the events of Twilight's Kingdom creates great friction between them, especially after the fact that Pinkie doesn't know that at all. Oh, yeah, the "bzzt!" sound effect is really funny. XD But the Mean Six aren't alone. The ReMane Seven star here, and they were all done very well, particularly in one aspect: the conflict. From the opening shot, everyone was tense, particularly Twilight. Because "Shutterbug" pushed them ten minutes behind schedule, Twilight slowly lost her cool, and then rolled her eyes when Shutterbug exaggeratedly pleaded for forgiveness. To briefly go on a tangent, Shutterbug/QC's haste to collect their hairs contained several great jokes, like yanking on Dash's tail hair a little too hard, picking out a loose strand from AJ's hat (and not putting it on her head), and this lightning-quick meta reference: But it wasn't just the opener. The beginning of their trek alone is an excellent exercise of foreshadowing. Rainbow Dash questioned Twilight's activities as "fun." Even though all seven agreed to camp, Twilight's plans were kept secret, apparently with little input from anyone. Granted, Twilight designed this camp night to be a surprise, but it made Dash a little uncertain. Adding the nervous rubbing of her hooves helps, too. Pinkie Pie accidentally scared the daylights out of Fluttershy so badly that she hyperventilated, just moments after FS declared her happiness for quiet time with everyone. Unlike Filli Vanilli, this was quick, performed once, and with no ill intentions whatsoever. Not to mention Pinkie warned everypony she was playing beforehand. Starlight sulked the entire time. While her friends were grouped together in front, she lagged behind and grumbled at the swampy weather and bugs. It's her first camping vacation…and showed to hate it without saying it outright. To talk a bit regarding two of the RM7: Pinkie had one of her most likeable roles of the last two seasons, and how she behaves embodies the Element of Laughter. She's so happy to be with everyone and so eager to participate in Twilight's camping retreat. Teaching inside that school meant having few free days to spend quality time with everyone, so she takes the opportunity to take advantage of it. Watching her smell those roses so deeply and then roll around in them like a little baby (and avoiding any thorns ) is unbelievably adorable. Being a massive Starlight brony since she first arrived, it makes no sense avoiding her. In the last few outings, she's been very relatable, and this is no exception. Her immense distaste for camping is really relatable, especially with her reasons why (bugs and humidity ain't no fun), and struggling to keep AJ's gear and cloak on invited nice slapstick. As they trekked deeper into the Everfree Forest, her anxiety, exhaustion, and lack of enjoyment became more and more evident. More about her later. Speaking of anxiety, the whole second scene progressed the tension further while maintaining their close relationships. Rarity and AJ mildly spar over AJ not having anything to keep their manes neat. Even though Pinkie is so cute rolling in the rosebushes, Twilight is less than enthused and got really cross with her for nearly kicking her into the muzzle by accident. But Pinkie's having way too much fun that she doesn't notice and scampers deeper into the forest, building up more tension between them. Fluttershy wanders off into the forest to help a lost bird without telling anyone, leading everyone into splitting up to search for her and Pinkie and further testing Twilight's will. At this juncture, TM6 was really good. When they separated and met another Meanie, it became great. Even though the ReMean Five are sorta cookie cutters, they're dynamic, too, evident by their interactions with the Mane characters and environments. As I wrote previously, Lazy Dash spoke little and wasn't on screen much in the second act, but generated more conflict by ditching FS in the woods and shooing away Twilight while she leaned precariously over the pond. Throughout the episode, nobody suspected something was wrong with their counterpart, except Dash and AJ with "Rarity." Because she grew madder as she possessed AJ's camping gear, they worried for her sanity. As I wrote previously, Rarihoard's deranged expressions are a great source of dark humor, but how Dash and AJ behaved bewilderingly around her adds an extra layer into the jokes. Liarjack's encounter with Starlight and Rarity is the only one to not be comedic, and their first scene marks the episode's initial transition in tone, which will be discussed below. Flutterbitch/Flutterbrute never bumped into or talked into a Mane character, but like Fluttershy, a bird has to return to his nest and got lost. But while Fluttershy helped out their sibling, she got lost and walked around in a proverbial circle, giving the story a grand opportunity to use Flutterbrute to accidentally damage her rep in the forest. Doesn't help when Lazy Dash ditched her (and made FS break the fourth wall in confusion). Yet, because Fluttershy has no idea someone who looks just like her threatened the animals and destroyed the daisy patches, who can blame her for feeling so upset when the animals curse, growl, and yell at her? Ya can't. Snarkle and Bordie talked to one apiece: Pinkie and Twilight, respectively. Bordie, being Equestria's most boring pony, did what she's great at: insulting something exciting as lame and uninteresting. Because Twilight spent a great deal of time and effort preparing the campsite and when to have it, to have her Friendship Retreat blown off like that by someone she's supposedly close with hurts, thus making her actually wonder if it was worth scheduling it after all. Conversely, the tone in the Snarkle-Pinkie tandem was predominantly comedic, using the characters' responses, cartoon logic, and behavior to accentuate it. Originally, Snarkle took delight to Pinkie spilling all the secrets to the Tree of Harmony and the Elements, but the more eccentric she behaved, the angrier she became. Her anger over Pinkie's attitude evolved into callousness for Fluttershy, including telling her to stay on schedule and "get over" her anguish, accelerating the switch of the once comedic tone of the episode into emotional, dramatic, and harsh. When Pinkie accused Twilight of being selfish and ruining everyone's fun, their anger and grief felt really raw. Twilight doesn't cry often, so when she does, long-time viewers will notice. But here, it feels somewhat different. Her hurt didn't just bleed from within, but grief, too. For the first time in years, her friendship with Pinkie was brought into serious question. Regret for not just going out to the retreat, but also possibly formatting the idea of spreading the Magic of Friendship in the first place. Why was Fluttershy's hoarse "CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?!" so crushing? Because of their exchange. Cushioned by her minutes-long fright, she noticed her friendship with Pinkie and Twilight slowly starting to crumble…and she couldn't bear it. And whose emotions were also raw? Rarity and especially Starlight. Think about this episode in Starlight's perspective. She never liked camping previously, but accepted their invitation, because she has been not only an invaluable asset to the School, but also a fantastic friend. She wears AJ's classic camping poncho, struggles like hell to keep the camping gear, but stays quiet out of respect. But that evening, "AJ" tells her her story of how great she is as a camper in Equestria, accuses her of being silly with that gear, and then laughed at her because she thought her look stupid. How would you feel if she were you? Something like this, I presume? If your answer's yes, I can't blame you. Someone she apparently trusted mocked her at her lowest moment all day long. Starlight felt USED! And Rarity did the right thing sticking up for her and sternly threatening to "AJ's" face a long talk about her heinous behavior, one of her most powerful moments of the entire series. A role reversal of… …but without the terrible dialogue and broken setup. In fact, their entire argument in the forest — including the crying — felt real. All day long, they anticipated for quiet time with each other in Twilight's Friendship Retreat, but the Mean Six accidentally exacerbated their friendships further to the boiling point. Their anger with each other was grounded, had weight, and — unlike NCC — wasn't petty whatsoever. This is how you have adult teachers in a cartoon argue angrily without sacrificing their dignity. BTW, kinda funny how Chrysalis almost accomplished her plan to destroy Harmony without even trying! How genius is that?! *ahem* Okay, got a little carried away here. Yet, when their friendship was bound to collapse, Twilight mustered what makes their friendships strong: Despite their differences, disagreements, and arguments, deep down, they care for each other and will help them. Vogel did an excellent job taking his time wrapping up all the conflicts each Mane pony had with someone else, airing their grievances, and maturely settling them one by one. Still, FS rightfully worried no one likes her, so how do they resolve that? By everyone running up to her and roll in the dirt with a hearty laugh. It brings great closure and proves she's one of them. Yeah, neither group figuring out they were talking with duplicates feels a little anticlimactic, but it makes sense, and the criticism of it misses the episode's point. If they figured out who their doppelgangers are, then Vogel contradicts the moral he's teaching: the strongest friendships get through difficult times with one another. The RM7's friendship is so strong, because they use their strengths to get through. No matter the obstacle, the Mane Eight understand the heart of their friendships and work together. On the other hand, the Mean Six are collectively selfish. Despite Snarkle's warning them to follow her lead, they only look after themselves, and their lack of cooperation cost them their sapience. How can you also tell how close the RM7 are? The Friendship Retreat is in complete tatters, but all they can do is laugh it off. This small exchange: Their trust in each other's so ingrained, they lightly tease each other hours after they settled their fight. Season 8's first half is the most consistent in quality for the entire series. The Mean Six is just one example why. Its storytelling is outstanding with excellent dialogue, comedy, drama, and heart. A Hearth's Warming Tail is excellent and was Vogel's best episode; TM6 leapt over it. Bravo!
  3. Hello everyone! If you do not know, I review MLP episodes as part of the show 'Pones N Stuff' on my YouTube Channel, 'The CC Network'. After a long time thinking whether I COULD showcase them here, I've decided to post them to a topic, to see what you guys think of them and putting your own opinions towards the episodes I've reviewed thus far. Sadly, due to only starting the show for Season 7, those are the only episodes that I have thus far. While some may be missing, they will be addressed at a later date. Here's a playlist with all the episodes thus far: I've also started Equestria Girls Month for the entirety of this month, where I'm reviewing the feature films. Only one has been put up thus far, more will follow in the weeks to come: I also do countdowns as well, unrelated to Pones N Stuff, which will be uploaded when they come as well, unless there is a demand to see those as well. All in all, I hope you enjoy the result of my critical and creative labours.
  4. Note: This review has been edited to add more content. Do you remember dreading the thought of a Spike episode? I do. For so long, Spike episode were usually among the worst of the series, much less the season. For the first five seasons, no matter the plot, episodes usually starring him were usually awful; anything better wasn't the norm. But since Princess Spike (his worst outing of the show), everything changed. His episodes became good. DHX wrote him with dignity. Since Newbie Dash, the Spikabuse vanished. Even today, the thought of not bashing a new Spike episode is completely refreshing. Molt Down is the first S8 episode to star Spike, and the show's biggest evolution from the status quo since Newbie Dash. How does it approach it? By describing how a child dragon goes through puberty. Like real life, puberty ain't fun, and several allegories hammer that point home. Itchy, painful stone scales: rashes and pimples. Volume shifts: deepening of the voice. Armpit smell: body odor and hair. Fire burps: dunno. A period, perhaps? Sleep disruptions: teens being more alert late in the day. (Thank @Jeric for that pointer and the accompanying research.) Haber's jokes are equally as funny as sympathizing for Spike. Yet, the jokes themselves have an extra layer of dimension, because they're not all the same type, the characters' reactions vary, and visual cues round the story. Other great jokes include: Zecora stuffing each of her ears with a cottonball after Spike suddenly shouted. The camera's wide shot, Spike's irritated voice, and the squashing/stretching of the pot he's in as he complains create a perfect recipe for a joke. It's wonderfully timed and really hilarious. Smolder smacking Spike a little too hard in the back, accidentally driving him in pain. Pinkie's sudden shouting and liking that foul odor. Her sly faces really sell the characterization, too. Twilight grumbling at the thought of Celestia never creaking out. That said, not all of them. Sometimes they got a little repetitive or cringeworthy, notably Rarity's shouts after a while and the grossout shot of Spike's stone scale. But for the most part, they did their job. That said, let's talk about Spike. Although he grew considerably since hatching from his egg years ago, from how Twilight acted, this is the very first time Spike molted. The stone scale is painful already, but having so many throbbing and itching is completely foreign to him. Puberty is a part of life the majority of us experience, and whatever he has to endure throughout the episode parallels ourselves in some way. The stages of puberty poor Spike suffered through echoes our own. Impressively, despite many chances for Haber to unleash the most cringeworthy puberty-related joke possible, he restrains himself just enough to create them at his expense without crossing the line into Spikabuse. How does he do that? I'm not sure, but many of the guesses include: What Spike had to go through isn't his fault. Every dragon goes through this stage, including Smolder's presumably-older bro. The molt effect that Spike suffered from is no less different than any other dragon when they grow up. When they treat it as normal, we do, too. Spike's friends and Twilight don't ignore him. When they noticed something is wrong with him, they're there to help. They care about Spike and want to work with him so he can get better. Smolder interacts with Spike. Back in S2, Spike grew rapidly due to inherent greed, opening up a big implication into how dragons grew. Is greed the cause? Could Spike control it, which was a main part for two future conflicts? How did other dragons grow when they didn't show signs of greed? Smolder's description of greed-induced growth as not normal for a dragon cleared up so many questions and brought forth more insight on dragon lore and dragon culture in her homeland. Smolder has an attitude, and her description of dragon culture's response to the molt effect increases Spike's anxiety for the unknown, increasing the conflict's stakes. But there's one thing to note, which the episode makes very clear — as scary as her description of dragon life during the molt is, she's not treated as a bad person, and Smolder isn't written to be antagonistic. The molt effect is a part of her life, so what she and others experienced is expected. For the most part, she's prepared for the challenges; theorize that others back home do, too. Spike, on the other hand, isn't. He's lived with Twilight his whole life and knows so little about dragon culture. The molt effect, especially the smell, is putrid, and he fears that Twilight and the others will reject him, forcing him to live on his own. He's not prepared to defend himself from predators that relish for that smell, especially the roc. Because Twilight asked him to retreat to an area that won't fry anyone in the school, Spike assumes even more that the more out of control his molt becomes, the less Twilight will want him around. Can't you blame him for being so scared of growing up and fighting to alter the molt? Of course not! For obvious reasons, Rarity and Twilight are usual partners for Spike in his episodes, but they're all really good here. (Credit goes to @Truffles and his reply for this bit.) What makes them stand out here is their immediate empathy for Spike. In the beginning, when Rarity sees Spike hide something under his eye, she becomes suspicious and worried. She walks around him to sneak a glance at what's under his claws, but never gets frustrated at any point. When he admits to being embarrassed by the stone scale, she assures him not to worry, but treats his embarrassment with the respect its deserves. She's the first to recommend getting some of Zecora's blemish cream, and did so again after Pewee accidentally pinched his scale. Twilight gets worried when Spike sleeps in all morning and also sympathizes with him for getting breakouts, just like her years ago and also recommends heading to Zecora. When he accidentally destroys her lecture, she doesn't criticize him or make him feel worse. Recommends to leave the castle for his own safety and everyone else's. Despite battling a sudden ear infection, Rarity never stops thinking about Spike and asks her for blemish cream to help him with his stone scales. When they bump into each other, she notices his worsening condition and took out the cream (only for the roc to snatch her). Right on cue, Twilight shows up and heads to Zecora's to get the cream. Unlike Cart Before the Jerks and Complete Crap Clause, neither of Spike's closest friends and relatives treat his condition as a lesser deal to themselves or belittle him for it. Both of them treated his condition, embarrassment, and pain as important, never stopped thinking about him, and wanted to help him in any way they can. Zecora's really well written in a nowadays-rare appearance. But rather than be treated as merely a vessel to deliver plot devices, she becomes deeply involved in both the A and B plots: Spike's puberty and Rarity's phoenix-related ear infection. Her interactions with the characters and their problems add depth to her character, occupation, and relationships with others. One big change for this season is the treatment of the Everfree Forest, historically a really dangerous place to roam. What was a common plot device for the Mane Six, Spike, and CMCs to face conflict in S1, its dangers and presence became mostly absent after Princess Twilight Sparkle. But for the third time this season, an Everfree creature threatened creaturekinds' safety. And the chase scene was really tense. Zecora, Spike, and Rarity were in great danger, and the score and sounds throughout hammered in the sudden perils they faced. In the leaked version, the chase's tone was more comedic, courtesy of Twilight's lasers sounding like video game beams. Here, the comedy was more toned down, an excellent change from the leaked product. YO! Do you smell what the roc is cookin'?! Little details refine the episode and shape up the episode's quality. Two really stick out: As the episode progresses, Spike's limbs darken in color, foreshadowing his eventual molt and where it'll start. During the break in the chase, when Spike's old skin starts to encase him, the background music becomes louder and completely stops when he's completely cocooned. For several seconds, we hear nothing except Twilight firing at the roc, increasing the tension and making us wonder what will happen to the poor dragon next. So, what happened after he molted? THANKS, JOSH HABER! After everything he went through in this episode, Spike molting and earning wings is an excellent payoff. I don't know if he grew a little or not, but when you're making a child dragon molt, sticking with the status quo would be a complete slap to the face to Spike and the audience. Something about him had to change. Interestingly, even though his new wings feel earned, Spike and his friends treat his accomplishment as merely a new milestone in his life as he grows into adulthood. Here, MD brings forth a really great moral: For Twilight to deliver this lesson to him shows us how much he means to her, their hug proving their tight bond. DHX, please, more of their family dynamic! If there was one little problem with the chase, it's what Silver Quill pointed out: Twilight's magic felt kinda weak. Yes, you could argue that she scaled it back because Rarity and Zecora were trapped within the roc's talons, but she needed Spike's assistance to rescue them from their fall, when Twilight magically corralled them all during the movie. Conversely, the theme of growing was subtly foreshadowed through Peewee's reintroduction. The now-adult phoenix still interacts with his parents, but a sharp eye will notice he has his own nest now, indicating either a family of his own or the preparation for one. Spike may've released him, but they still know each other very fondly, evident by their embrace. Peewee grew up; Spike will, too. Back in Season 5, I panned Spike being handed the bouquet of dragon sneeze flowers, the lowest moment of the season. Rather than capping off a broken episode with a rather sweet moment, DHX doubled down on his buttmonkey status. After all, isn't FIM supposedly a feminist show? Well, you don't empower women and girls by making your only male lead a punching bag for abusive comic relief. It's hypocritical and massively sexist, one of the biggest stains of the series. But after that, the direction for his character improved. No longer did his personality shift to demand the plot. His role wasn't confined to pure comic relief. His episodes no longer beat him down or abused him just to teach him a contrived lesson. Starting out with secondary roles in Amending Fences and Re-Mark, Season 6 expanded his role, including becoming close friends with Starlight, bonding dragonkind and ponykind by working with and befriending Ember, and sacrificing his celebrityhood to stand up for Thorax. Season 6 was Spike's best season. Albeit a diminished role in S7, he was really good in Triple Threat, Owl's Well done right. Coming into Molt Down, Spike was having a great year. Now he left his biggest mark in the show since Times. His wings demonstrate his evolution in not just his character, but also his role. It's unknown whether his wings will have a big impact on the season, or it's just cosmetic. But what happens in the future will wait. When I watched the leaked version, I liked it, but wasn't totally happy with it. Days before its official airing, however, I was unsure whether I was fair to it or not. Now, when comparing the leaked version with the final product, the leaked Molt's lack of polish and missing score completely affected the episode's overall quality. The final product is excellent, well edited, and really makes the audience feel like Spike earned his pair of wings. Molt Down's one of the best episodes of S8 so far and one of the best Spike episodes altogether. P.S.: And, yes, Molt Down's change of the status quo's superior to MMC's.
  5. Sunrose Petal

    General Reviewing

    What do you think is the most popular method, in terms of reviewing the show? Blog Video (Youtube)
  6. I don't know who was nuts enough to think Discord, Spike, and Big Mac would make a great team back in Season 6, but whoever it is, thank you! Big Mac, Spike, and Discord all act like they knew each other for years, even though this trio only formed after Discord officially became a part of the Guys' Night team. They play off one another through their actions, responses, and emotions, creating great chemistry with one another. Speaking of chemistry, Spike and Discord are outstanding in their best outings of the season thus far (and maybe of the show, too, once it's all finished). Discord's cynicism towards H&HD, and love in particular, plays off spectacularly with Spike, who's very optimistic and refreshingly snarky. To think that only a few seasons ago, Discord was one of his enemies, but from the way they talked to each other and knew each other so well, you'd think he was closer to Discord than Twilight. How they interacted with one another was among the multi-dozens highlights here, such as Spike criticizing Discord's pessimism to Spike intentionally teasing Discord for possibly having a crush on Fluttershy to Discord ignoring Spike's sappy romantic poem about Rarity. They know how to get under each other's skin without crossing the line, making their teasing all in good fun rather than mean-spirited. One of the season's biggest improvements — the dialogue — really shines. Every line's so organic, even when it's somewhat expository, gelling together. Every line oozed with personality and passion, whether it's from the O&O squad or the CMCs. Confalone knows how when to have them talk or act and keep them all in character. Even Big Mac isn't confined to that "Eeyup!" gag, varying his emotions or telling Discord to "EeWAIT!" The dialogue allows for not just some amazing comedy, but also some heart. More 'bout the latter later. The comedy here is golden! Every joke landed perfectly, from the dialogue responses to the satirically cheesy love music playing in the background as Big Mac rushes to Sugar Belle to Big Mac's drinking a barrel-load of cider to Sweetie's "Please say no." Spike's deadpan to Discord as an anti-romance cynic is one hell of a comeback, and that jab towards the greeting card industry by Discord is too funny. Oh, yeah… >Lyra and Bob Bon sharing H&HD bond & gifts >best friends Riiiiiiiight. XP The CMCs were also fantastic here. All season so far, they've been at their A-game. The episode recognizes them as kids, but doesn't make them so obnoxious. They were right to wonder where that mysterious pie came from and search high and low to find him. But the and does a nice swerve: They may not have found that actual special somepony for SB, but had a magnificent time together, anyway. Sweetie's small speech at the end had quite a lot of heart in it. Speaking of heart, as hilarious as TBUBD is, Confalone balances it perfectly. Big Mac's sadness was somewhat over the top, but treated with the respect it deserves. His romantic feelings with Sugar Belle feel genuine, and you can tell by how he talked about the small stuff to Skelenor, like how Sugar snorts and wiggles her nose when she giggles (something that @Nyactis Mewcis Catlum pointed out a while ago in a status). Big Mac doesn't talk much, so when he does, you listen. After they cleared up everything, it was all okay again, and they had a great end to Hearts & Hooves Day. Discord's revelation of finally believing in romance works perfectly and marks my moment of the season so far: revealing to damage her wagon wheel. Why? 'Cause he confirms to us he believes in love and figured out how to get them back together while remaining in character. He's still a jerk, and his advice to BM (long with Spike's) really stinks. But at the end, he retains a heart of gold and does the right thing, even when he's spoiled for Ogres & Oubliettes. Somehow, he predicted what Big Mac was going to do next, but given he's the Lord of Chaos, it makes sense. Really shows he cares for him as a friend. Derpy was great in her role as mailmare. As Discord counted the types of tea he loved, Top Draw lowered the audio quality of de Lancie's mic to match the sound one would hear from the old-school TV. Really masterful editing that helps enhance the joke. (The same scene from the leaked version, BTW, has the same audio quality as the rest of the ep.) Oh, and it has two morals, each executed masterfully: "Don't assume. Communicate with your friends, and everything will work itself out." "Don't be afraid to openly admit your feelings. Those who care for you will listen and understand." This one is my favorite of the season so far, because it's so relatable to everyone. When I first watched it in December, I watched a treat. Seeing it completed gives it such a fresh look, and it still holds up excellent. The Break Up Break Down isn't just the best episode of Season 8 so far, but one of the ten best of the show altogether, as well.
  7. Ironic Nickname

    Original vs Cover

    Remember the old argument that the original is usually better than any covers? Well, let's put it to the test! In this thread, I will be posting the original version of various songs, as well as cover versions, and then you get to vote for the best version, either the original or one (or multiple) of the covers. You may also leave comments on the various songs, if you wish. I will add new songs every now and then, though feel free to vote for and/or comment on previous songs at your leisure. I will attempt to avoid using live versions, and I will only use recorded versions (so no YouTube-only covers or such, and nothing before recording was invented, which rules out quite a bit of really old music, but so be it). I will attempt to cover songs from many different genres of music. I've made a list of a variety of different potential songs to “cover” (pun intended, apologies), yet I'm sure there are plenty of songs that I've overlooked. If you have any suggestions, feel free to send me a private message and I'll consider it. Now, let's kick this off with the first song! What about “Land of Confusion” by the English rock band Genesis, originally released in 1986. Original, by Genesis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZujuYiweht8 AL1CE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGbDjdoWVoI Disturbed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOP6XN45OEk Hidden Citizens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je3w9o7SJZ4 In Flames: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaHsPJ9IlP8 Katzenjammer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lKDF5ti3DQ Let the voting (and commenting, and discussion) commence!
  8. Hey, guys. As most of us know, Equestria Girls has come out today and I thought I would like to do a review on it. I must warn you that there are spoilers. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wjVjcYPSrAEyQrowkUF0OJX8TJGuoN8uhhYykyrVP6c/edit?usp=sharing Tell me what you think. ~David
  9. To continue the pattern from S5, this is a review of S7 as a whole, with both tops and bottoms in respective categories. To view the rest: Season 5 Season 6, 1st Half Season 6 Season 7, 1st Half No apologies for C&P'ing content from my First Half overview (with some changes). Episodes Bottom-5: Fame & Misfortune Where do I start? a. The dialogue is atrocious. b. The RM6 published all of their lessons from S4, including the one from Daring Don't, revealing her identity. c. They publish their journal without testing their target audience via study group beforehand. d. Each of the fan representations they meet are quarter-dimensional, stereotypical caricatures. None of the characters who appear act like genuine people. e. The RM6 are abused everywhere they went. Ranged from not taken seriously (Pinkie) to objectified (TS) to trespassed (AJ) to boycotted (Rarity) to stalked/harassed (FS). The background characters are out-of-character assholes. f. Every "fan," including the Canterlot reporter, honestly believed the journal was a work of fiction, turning the background characters into straw men. g. "We're a Work in Progress" is the worst song of the show for manipulating the audience, excusing bad writing and behavior of the characters over the years, and glorifying their flaws (as if changing and evolving is a bad thing in the show and life). h. The background assholes don't learn their lesson, and the main moral disguises what they did as a setback. Even after they stop group-hugging, Rarity, AJ, and FS still have to settle major problems, and the harmful moral excuses the abuse they suffered. There's no care for continuity, characterization, or story whatsoever. It disregards their main demographics (children and guardians) to boost their own ego and attack the critics. No wonder why Larson disassociates from it and hates it himself. For anyone who wonders why I (enjoy) bash(ing) this episode, dogshit on the sidewalk doesn't deserve to be rewarded a participation trophy. Fame & Misfortune's the worst of S7 by far and the worst written episode of the series. If there were any minuscule saving positives, Starlight continued to show growth, and I gained much more appreciation for Stranger Than Fan Fiction and its nuances after watching F&M. Hard to Say Anything Two words: unadulterated shit. After about 7 to 8 minutes of meandering (but nothing genuinely wrong), the minute Feather Bangs Stereo Pop shows up, the episode flushes down the drain. Big Mac and the CMCs have their worst and second-worst characterizations in the show, respectively. Big Mac for following on the CMCs' hairbrained schemes to try to woo Sugar Belle, the CMCs for believing the fairy tales are how-to romance guidebooks. None of the jokes or twists work at any point — Stereo Pop's characterization is a blatantly dated Bieber parody, Stereo Pop's phallic cutie mark resembling an erect penis with testicles (hence why he covers it up in almost every shot), and the shallow song-off between Mac and Stereo Pop. Protip, DHX: Sexual harassment ain't funny, either. Big Mac's crush on Sugar is contrived as hell, too; not only for the blatant ending, but also by the fact that we don't actually see it develop; the entire crush plot is unrequited. You could've written this episode much more differently and make it better. Hell, Starlight would've been a fine secondary character. Instead, it's a generic, clichéd, by-the-numbers plot that DHX couldn't even write well. Hell, continuity stated in the episode (Big Mac warned the CMCs not to use love poison to force the romance through) was ignored to make it work. Honest Apple While the former was marred by a terrible middle and ending, this episode's marred by a terrible beginning and middle all the way to the climax. Rarity acted incompetent and out of character by putting her contest into action despite only two judges signing off on it with no possible backups beforehand in case someone had to cancel. Apple Bloom looked really dumb for not realizing her bow caused major problems (and is a contrived plot point to boot). But what really drags this episode down is a complete lack of understanding of what makes Applejack the Bearer of Honesty. Does she tell the truth? Absolutely. But she tells them while still caring about others' feelings! So, what does she do here? Turn into an egomaniac with no clue how to judge fashion properly and a lust to tear down their work. The worst moment, by far, is shaking the crossed-over-stitched feathers off Lily Lace's hat. An in-character AJ will NEVER pull this stupid stunt! The only way she was able to realize she was verbally abusive was when Strawberry Sunrise (upon introduction from Rarity) delivered her the same abuse in return. We're in season 7; AJ should NOT have to learn about how important tact is when being honest. The new characters in the episode? Unlikeable, stereotypical, generic, or all of the above. Hopefully, none of them return! Secrets & Pies This is a type of episode that would probably fit in S1, like Honest Apple. It makes no sense for Pinkie to behave the way she did towards Dash here. S&P is a stretched-thin ripoff of Party of One with worse characterization. Pinkie's characterization here is the worst of the season for completely falling for Dash's tricks over the years and her psychotic obsession for catching Dash in the act. Dash is out of character for dumping the pie down Tank's feeding tube twice (easily my least favorite scene and one of S7's worst moments). Dash is partially at fault for causing Pinkie's injury at the academy (that's what you get for crying "wolf!" all these years!). Like most episodes over the years, Dash is beat down to be taught a lesson, a cliché so worn thin and should be tossed in the trash. Unlike PoO, every joke is awful, whether it's repeated to the point of annoying (the "look at that" coverups with no proper variation) or disgusting (Dash trying to eat the dumpster pie, close ups of Pinkie's deranged and tired faces). A good moral — "Don't create a snowball of lies just to make a friend happy. It's more worth it telling the truth." — doesn't save this episode. A Royal Problem The saving grace in this episode: Starlight. No, her actions were wrong, but the episode built that up to the point where Starlight's nightmare was so soul-crushing that it could've damaged her psyche. More on that a little below. Celestia was great in Advice, for showing how human she is without devolving her character. Unfortunately, she and Luna are out of character here. Is it fine for them to bicker as sisters? Totally. But their bickering crossed the line into being personal attacks; each of them treated each other's important roles in Equestrian society as not just pointless, but wasteful, too. On top of that, they never understood that THEY were the friendship problem until Starlight told them directly to their faces, and even then, they were still too dumb to get it till later. (Seriously, Snips and Snails are smarter than them here!) So, when did they finally get it? When they witness Starlight's heartbreaking nightmare. Their lack of appreciation for one another makes no sense, since Luna's envy of her sister and lack of appreciation are why she turned into NMM in the first place. You'd think at their age, they'd figure something out. It's among their five worst appearances for each in the show. But the worst moment of the episode comes during the resolution when Celestia tells Starlight that she was right to swap their marks. Firstly, she performed her spell on them against their will. Just because they say it's okay doesn't make it okay. The princesses absolve her of her wrongdoing. That side would've been resolved had she asked first and the princesses not act like idiots. Secondly, when they say she did the right thing, Starlight's emotional pain during her terrible nightmare becomes an afterthought. That her self-infliction plot-wise and emotion-wise was pointless. Despite quality characterization from Starlight, background music, and animation hints, Celestia's and Luna's out of characterization, idiocy, and incompetence ruin the episode. Even though I have it fifth-worst in overall quality, it's currently my second-least-favorite episode of S7 behind Fame (and easily the most disappointing). Dishonorable mentions: Fluttershy Leans In, Daring Done? Top-7: The Perfect Pear Pear Butter and Bright Mac = best FIM couple and best-written parents of the show. Everything about this couple is the complete opposite of the likes of Flash/Twilight and Sugar Belle/Big Mac: The development of the romance is like someone who knows romance wrote these ponies. Their chemistry from foalhood to matrimony's completely organic and makes complete sense to the audience. They show how much they love each other during and after life. Every joke lands. Only the third episode to make me cry and did so on a few occasions. One of them when Big Mac asked Burnt Oak if they can return to hear more stories about their dad. More about that later. It has misplaced criticism about them leaving out how they passed as well as Granny avoiding the tree. This isn't that episode. TPP's about celebrating their lives, cherishing their pasts, and letting go of both lifelong pain and bitterness. Each note is hit as the episode progresses. Secondly, the entire Pear family disowned Buttercup for marrying an Apple, and they died early. The marriage site gives her too much pain to deal with. The ending provides the perfect closure for this episode. "You're in My Head Like a Catchy Song" = best S7 song. It's so simple in its acoustics, but, to echo RainShadow on YT, packs such an amazing emotional punch. One of three times this episode makes me cry, the other one being Grand Pear apologizing to Apple Bloom. Grand Pear = show's most tragic character. The night his daughter married and became an Apple is the last day he saw her alive. Unfortunately, he'll never apologize to her and has to live with an enormous mistake he'll never repair. The moment he broke down as he apologized to Apple Bloom captures the heartbreak he had to hold within for so long. And excellent voice acting by William Shatner (and Felicia Day for Buttercup). In my first half overview, I said this might be the best episode of the show when S7's over. I was wrong. It isn't simply the best episode of the show, but of MLP altogether. Shadow Play FIM's canon and timeline are constructed on the fly and operate season to season. When an episode many seasons later feels like everything beforehand was preplanned, that's a major compliment. Amending Fences handled it beautifully. Shadow Play executes it just as beautifully, but in another way. Previous episodes both during S7 and in the past hung little details about specific characters' pasts, including Star Swirl. Twilight finished his spellbook, because he couldn't figure out how important the magic of friendship truly was in Equestria. The era he predominantly lived in justifies that, and it's connected to his association with the rest of the Pillars, his venom towards Stygian after he stole their magical artifacts, and bitter shots at Twilight after bungling her spell to free them. This two-parter is nearly one hour shorter than the FIM Movie, but each line matters, is naturally spoken, and the cast is excellently balanced. Everyone here in SP matters and is treated with importance. Remove just one of the Pillar Six, Mane Eight, or Sunburst, and the whole story changes. Speaking of characters, Stygian is the best villain in the entire series. Not only is he a really good character. His backstory that resulted in him becoming the Pony of Shadows is fantastic. DHX could've just stuck with the intro animation — a great callback to the opening scene of the pilot — and leave us with the simple backstory. Instead, each scene builds up the PoS's birth and merger with Stygian more and more. His backstory mirrors Starlight's intentionally. Speaking of Starlight, this is her best appearance of the series. For the entire season, DHX took extra care of her appearances and characterization, making sure she's not only written very well, but also make her a part of Ponyville's society. Unlike S6, her appearances are much more frequent and vary in importance, whether she's the episode's central character in Uncommon Bond or near-background like FLI. Shadow Play's a culmination of what she learned since becoming Twilight's pupil to conclude season 5. Everyone's rush to condemn the Pony of Shadows through the Elements of Harmony echoes critiques some of us had for the EoH, which was a band-aid to force evil to assimilate to Equestria's society; Sunset's character reset exemplifies this flaw to a T. Instead, Starlight pursued the cause of the Pillar's division from Stygian to search for a real fix to the conflict. Like most of S7's second half, SP illustrates a conflict that doesn't put one side entirely in the right or wrong and explored this tension masterfully. It's FIM's best two-parter. Parental Glideance "Wow" perfectly describes this treasure. Easily the best episode by a debut (solo) writer in the series. Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles = character-wise, two of the best canonical parents in the show. They play the embarrassing parent trope while still subverting the clichés, making them feel like they love Dash, and acting realistic. They're hyper, but so damn lovable. The jokes land perfectly. *gasp* The Wonderbolts are fucking LIKEABLE! Somepony call the Vatican! We witnessed a miracle! This episode also shows how to have a likeable character do a Putting Your Hoof Down rant correctly. There, Fluttershy calculatingly insulted both Pinkie and Rarity and then had the blame shifted to Iron Will that night. Here, Dash was at her limit's end, lost her cool, and immediately wanted to make things right. The criticism against the moral's execution is a flaw that doesn't even exist. Was Dash right to be upset at her parents? Yes. Some actions (despite having downplayed stakes) were reckless. Does she have the right to yell at them, slap Bow's hoof away, and implicate disownment of them because they embarrass her so much? No, she doesn't. She takes her supportive parents for granted, and Scootaloo would love to experience this feeling just once from her parents. The moral and execution were on the money. Marks & Recreation Is the cutie mark a pony's true life goal? What about their other passions? Will they be affected, too? Cutie marks are a part of Equestrian lore, but open up other questions, such as predestination, a choice of what they want to do for the rest of their life, their names associated with their mark, or living in a box. This underappreciated gem answers a few of these questions, streamlining its lore. a. Kettle Corn receives a cutie mark related to haiku poetry. @Batbrony highlighted VERY clever foreshadowing in his review: the circle she loves painting over and over is a zero in Japanese calligraphy, and a haiku is Japanese poetry. BTW, she was really good and cute in her curious, poetic, childlike ways. Her mark is unrelated to her name, one of the few in that regard. b. The CMCs are excellent in their roles, especially Sweetie Belle during her shouting match against Rumble. c. Rumble's blistering criticism and fears of a cutie mark trapping him in a box are believable. When he got no answer from Apple Bloom in regards to the last time she brewed potions with Zecora, he gained the leverage needed to retain his status as a blank flank. The song he led to rally the other fillies — "Blank Flanks Forever" — is solid and further developed the conflict. Thunderlane, now a Wonderbolt, is fantastic. His reason for sending Rumble to Cutie Mark Day Camp at Camp Friendship (calling back to Mane Attraction) makes sense: he wants Rumble to exit the box he himself created following his promotion to a Wonderbolt. The climax to resolve the conflict is both mature and tasteful. Yes, FIM could've simply made Rumble the complete bad guy and have the narrative shoot him down everywhere. Instead, the story used Thunderlane, he and the CMCs teaming up, and having Rumble witness and eventually decide to join the campers and TL at the campfire shows us that he can conquer his fear of losing his pastimes and hobbies. The moral — no one person is defined by a label — is fantastic. In all, a fascinating episode. Once Upon a Zeppelin Discordant Harmony Discord has his most likeable performance in the series. He was the spirit of chaos, but in many of his post-villain appearances, he was being a jerk for the sake of it. Here, he shows how much he cares for Fluttershy and wants to be seen as a valuable friend to her. Pinkie's advice's solid, but Discord's naivete with friendship made him take her too literally. Because he and 'Shy are close, it makes sense for him to feel really sensitive when ponies question it. Fluttershy continues to show off her growth from past seasons. Unlike Leans In, it does it better. She's not so timid anymore and really shows how much Discord means to her. Not in the way that Keep Calm implicated, but a genuine care for him. Like equals. When Discord became too normal and began to fade away, Fluttershy jumped into action to try to save him. More about her and the moral later. Out of every episode, this is the first to actually treat their friendship like one. Prior, the show tells us they're friends, but they don't behave like friends. Here, their friendship feels incredibly genuine, a long-time coming for this show. As a cherry on top, the moral is spectacular. More on that later in the overview. Uncommon Bond This great episode shows us how much Starlight grew prior to Shadow Play. This is an external conflict for Starlight: trying to catch up with Sunburst and figure out what they have in common so they can share memories and know each other better after being separated for so long. But when Starlight finds out Sunburst has smoother and better chemistry with Twilight, Trixie, and Maud over her, it's easy to see how discouraging and devastating it must be to her. As such, her rash decision to literally remake one of their childhood pastimes (including turning themselves into fillies) is believable, yet rightfully points out her idea as disturbing. At the same time, Sunburst, who was excellent here, isn't written to be a jerk, but instead got carried away and lost sight of his childhood friend. His interactions with her friends really fit into his character and, in some respects, can get really cute, too. Yes, he should've paid attention to Starlight's mood (she ain't very subtle about how she feels), but it was very clear he wasn't doing it to be mean. How they were able to find something in common fits them all. Instead of playing the board game, the life-size game brings a roleplaying element, alongside using each of their strengths to bond each other more. This episode and Starlight's conflict are very relatable to a lot of people, and everyone being in top form helps shape UB into being one of S7's best. Honorable mentions: It Isn't the Mane Thing About You, All Bottled Up. Note: From now on, F-graded episodes are divided into F+, F, and F-. S7 episode ranking: The Perfect Pear: A+ Shadow Play: A+ Parental Glideance: A+ Marks and Recreation: A Once Upon a Zeppelin: A- Discordant Harmony: A- Uncommon Bond: A- It Isn't the Mane Thing About You: A- All Bottled Up: A- A Flurry of Emotions: B+ To Change a Changeling: B+ A Health of Information: B Triple Threat: B- Celestial Advice: B- Not Asking for Trouble: B- Forever Filly: C+ Campfire Tales: C+ Rock Solid Friendship: C+ Daring Done?: C+ Fluttershy Leans In: C A Royal Problem: D+ Secrets and Pies: D Honest Apple: F Hard to Say Anything: F Fame and Misfortune: F- --- Top-13 episodes (in order, updated; A+ episodes in italics): The Perfect Pear The Best Night Ever Crusaders of the Lost Mark Amending Fences Shadow Play Sisterhooves Social The Cutie Map Parental Glideance Party of One Testing Testing 1, 2, 3 Pinkie Pride Slice of Life Suited for Success Honorable mentions: Lesson Zero, Sleepless in Ponyville, The Times They Are a Changeling. --- Bottom-13 episodes (in order, updated; F- episodes in italics): One Bad Apple Newbie Dash Fame and Misfortune Bridle Gossip Dragon Quest The Crystal Empire Rainbow Falls 28 Pranks Later Princess Spike Owl’s Well That Ends Well The Mysterious Mare Do Well P.P.O.V. Boast Busters Dishonorable Mentions: Putting Your Hoof Down, The Show Stoppers, Appleoosa’s Most Wanted. Morals: Bottom morals: 1. Fame & Misfortune: Your personality flaws are admirable and make up who you are. Like characters in a TV show, people in real life change, either through progression or regression. Everyone's personalities have a balance of their positives and negatives. Part of learning is figuring out how to improve and become better people. By championing and glorifying personality flaws, this moral's actively claiming that changing and improving to become better people is pointless. Consequently, they're preaching a really dangerous slippery slope. To put this into perspective: There's a gigantic difference between liking someone in spite of your flaws and liking someone because of your flaws. F&M preaches the latter. When connected into the show, it's very hypocritical. Why? Because it goes against one of show's core themes of becoming better. The Mane 8, the CMCs, Discord, and so on all have strengths to build upon and weaknesses to overcome. Character development is crucial to the show. Dash's self-absorbed ego, Fluttershy's phobia and timidity, Twilight losing composure so quickly are all well-known character flaws; even when the episode isn't done well, they work forward to improve. Secondly, what do Discord, Diamond Tiara, Gilda, and Starlight all have in common? They all had personalities and attitudes the show and protagonists didn't tolerate, and they had to improve so others could trust and like them (again). When they didn't, the episode rejected them, like Lightning Dust, Gilda in S1, and Wind Rider. This moral spits on their reformations and redemptions. You can read more about my panning of this moral in my status, some of which I C&P'd from. Fame & Misfortune: You can't change how they feel about you, but you can change how they affect you. In a vacuum, this isn't a bad moral. But given the context of the episode and offensive subtexts when paralleled to fans, the implications make this moral toxic. This moral is in response to how Ponyville and Canterlot directly harassed and bullied the RM6 to the point of altering their lives and devastating Twilight. The RM6 handwave all of it as just an obstacle in their friendship and mask it as criticism, thus telling us to tolerate the abuse. --- Top morals: Discordant Harmony: Your best friend may have nothing in common with you, but you're true friends because you care for each other. This is true for just about anyone. Many of us have at least one person we know who have nothing in common in personality, opinions, qualities, 'tude, and preference. Commonness doesn't determine true friendship, but by how much they love each other. Neither Discord nor Fluttershy share anything in common. Their personalities and tastes vastly differ, but they're still friends and show us that. More importantly, she's the one who took him in and trusted him. By delivering that moral, Fluttershy hones in past continuity and growth while not degrading her character. The Perfect Pear: Don't hold onto past anger and guilt of a mistake you can't fix forever. Celebrate their lives, and pursue new memories with their loved ones. I repeated this point ad nauseum since first watching it last June. People from all walks of life make mistakes they truly regret. While some correct their mistakes, not everyone does. Grand Pear is among the latter for disowning his late daughter on the last day he saw her alive. On the opposite end, Granny Smith grew so bitter of the Pear family for how they treated her that she didn't inform Grand Pear of their deaths until much later in life, adding to the grief and longtime feud and whitewashing Buttercup and Bright Mac's romance to her grandponies. Honorable mention: You have the obligation to your own time, even when you feel you must sacrifice it to make others happy ("Zeppelin"). New characters: Characters that appeared on screen prior to S7 (even when in the background) don't count. Even though Star Swirl and Meadowbrook were referenced in past seasons, they didn't make physical cameos until S7, so they're exempt. Bottom-5: Toola Roola & Coconut Cream: Both fillies are lumped into one as a result of one common role. For the first time all series, FIM used token characters in an episode. Their only purpose from a meta standpoint is to tell young girls, their primary demographic, that they matter…when the entire episode leading up to the ending lumped young girls/kids (as the fillies) with the rest of the abusive ponies (the adults). Token characters talk down to children by only telling them they matter on a surface level only. Stereo Pop. Fucking Stereo Pop! A blatant, dated parody of teenage Bieber and stereotypical boy bands. Without him, Hard would actually be able to go somewhere. And, no, that asspull at the end doesn't make him any better. Strawberry Sunrise: She is a straw mare. Her only purpose is to be an asshole just to make AJ understand how it feels to be in the designers' horseshoes. There's no personality beyond this point, and the episode treats her bullying as a good thing. This Canterlot reporter from F&M. He's there only to drive the vessel that the ponies who abused the RM6 see them as merely fictional beings in an autobiographical journal and attack the critics more. Dishonorable mention: Lily Lace (valley girl stereotype), Dandy Grandeur. --- Top-6: Buttercup & Bright Mac. 'Nuff said. Stygian: The best villain in the series. Basically a ponified Squib, he doesn't have the magical abilities the Pillars or any other unicorn have, compensating it with his intelligence. As Shadow Play builds up his backstory, he as a character enriches. Bow Hothoof & Windy Whistles: Eccentric, loud, yet also very dedicated to raising their daughter the best way possible. They're very endearing, relatable, and hilarious. Star Swirl the Bearded: After years of mystery, he and the other Pillars physically appear before the Mane 8. As a character, he's incredibly balanced. Wise, smart, understands magic like the back of his hoof, but also judgmental, difficult to convince, and bitter. When he gets mad at someone, you'll know it, and his putdowns of Twilight in Shadow Play, Part 2 exemplify that. He's a byproduct of the tumultuous era he lived in over a millennium ago. But when he admits he's wrong, he sets his ego aside. A marvelous character. Honorable mentions: Pharynx, Mistmane, Star Tracker. Mane 8: Bottom: Pinkie Pie. She's really good in some episodes this season, in particular Not Asking for Trouble and Daring Done? Unfortunately, her characterization took a collective turn for the worse. During Rock Solid Friendship, she pestered Maud and Starlight continually, contributing to Maud feeling she doesn't belong in Ponyville. In S&P, she fell for Dash's constant cover up and became obsessed with catching her in the act. Dishonorable mention: Rarity. --- Top: Starlight. Overall, she's the best written and most consistent. After a sloppy redemption arc, DHX takes more care to write her correctly. She's not as nervous and hesitant as before, has a sardonic edge, and isn't boring or unlikeable. She still has a ways to go, but the Starlight here transitions into a more-self-confident pony. Every episode she's in makes her feel like she belongs in both Twilight's circle and Ponyville altogether. Plus, she's given much proper use. Her role in Rock Solid's fantastic, and it's a nice touch how she worked with the RM7 to build Fluttershy's sanctuary. Uncommon Bond brings forth a personal side to Starlight, and she humanizes Shadow Play's conflict as the Devil's Advocate. Honorable mention: Twilight Sparkle. --- Full M8 rank (in order): Starlight Glimmer Twilight Sparkle Fluttershy Spike Rainbow Dash Applejack Rarity Pinkie Pie Moments: Bottom-3: Big Mac forcing an attempted kiss on a sleeping Sugar Belle. Ah, nuthin' like a scene that says, "Hey! As long as it's a comedy, sexually harassing girls is a-okay!" Anyone who thinks this… this… AND THIS… …is okay or funny is lying. Big Mac's trying to force a kiss on Sugar Belle, who had no idea he was there! If SB showed or said anything to suggest that she knew he was there and teased him, then this moment won't look as bad. As is, it has NO business anywhere, especially in an education-centric cartoon like this one! I predicted no other moment will be worse than this one months ago, and it remains such. The Canterlot reporter accuses the RM6 and their journal of being fictional. Rather than rewrite why, I'll C&P why from my review: … … … 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! The four Ponyville ponies stalk and harass Fluttershy. What makes this so painful to watch is two reasons: Fluttershy's history. She's a sensitive pegasus who not only battles a psychologically crippling phobia, and was also laughed at (Hurricane Fluttershy) and abused (PYHD). The ponies' reasons for harassing her: Why she keeps relearning the same lessons and one stallion whining about why he wasn't inserted into the journal. Are you KIDDING ME?! FUCK those four ponies! Dishonorable mentions: Vet reveals Tank swallowed a whole pie/Dash chucks pie down her chute in a panic. AJ destroys Lily Lace's hat. Pinkie's bkg. friends laugh at everything she says. Celly and Luna absolve Starlight for swapping their marks. Pinkie tells Dash to "eat up" with a deranged face. Celly and Luna fight. --- Top-4: Big Mac asks Burnt Oak if they can return to hear more stories of his dad someday. This tearjerker is full of great detail. Big Mac — a stallion of few words beyond his "eeyup" gag — being the one to ask makes knowing more about his parents feel more important. After he asks, Burnt Oak cries, indicating clearly how much he missed his close friend. Little touches in episodes like this one turns a great episode into an amazing one. Starlight cries after Star Swirl venomously disowns Stygian. Starlight reformed from her villainous days a few seasons ago, thanks to Twilight giving her the opportunity to change and follow a completely new path. While every Mane and Pillar wrote him off, Starlight sees Stygian as someone who should be given another chance, because she relates to him. Star Swirl casting a final judgment on him as someone unworthy to befriend cuts deeply into Starlight. If she was in Stygian's shoes, she'd likely share his fate. Buttercup sings to BM. Their relationship is real, and the emotional (but simple) song makes it more believable. Bow Hothoof admits to installing the music by himself. Firstly, best joke of the season. Secondly, narrows Dash's parents down perfectly. They devote their entire lives to their daughter and cherish her, period. It helped build up the fallout later on. Honorable mentions: Rumble jumps over the line that divides the CMC and blank flank camps. Grand Pear apologizes to Apple Bloom. Cadance offers motherly advice to Twilight following her meltdown. Fluttershy re-creates Discord's house. Granny Smith forgives Grand Pear and welcomes him to the family. What I want for Season 8: Continue the episode quality. Season 7 is the most consistent in its episode quality (with only 5 bad and average episodes each and 15 good ones), and this was with a lineup of mostly writers who didn't write for the show very long or debuted in S7. Nick Confalone, one of the best writers for S6, only wrote one episode in S7. Josh Hamilton wrote the best debut episode in the show, and Triple Play isn't that bad. The Fox Brothers's Discordant Harmony was a major beacon of great quality to help conclude the first half. While Lappin started off poorly with Honest Apple, To Change a Changeling and Uncommon Bond are great and excellent, respectively. Brittany Jo Flores debuted with Zeppelin, and it's a far more nuanced and clever episode than F&M. Haber, who returned in the second half, had the longest tenure. Haber to continue his magic touch. I don't know if it's a coincidence or not, but after Haber returned to the show, the quality of the episodes spiked collectively. A couple of bumps along the way, but overall, the episodes were at least good. To repeat from earlier, the stretch from Mane Thing to SP was the series' best run since S1-2 (easily its best finish since S1), and who knows whether S8 will continue this trend or not. Once he returned, the direction changed for the better, too. Almost every episode contained dozens of shades of grey. By doing so, the conflict provides an extra side to the story, increasing layers to make the experience more rounded than one-sided conflicts provide. Episodes like Health of Info, M&R, SP, or Zeppelin wouldn't succeed had they not follow this direction. Starlight continue her arc. Her redemption arc isn't done, but she's come so far in the past couple of seasons, S7 being a major step up after DHX follied in S6. Now she's more self-assured and helped save Stygian from returning to limbo. She's heading in the right direction, and I want to see her develop more, maybe interacting more with the others beyond TS and Spike. Once more, watch your unfortunate implications and stereotypes. This got better following F&M, but chances are they may fall in that trap someday. If you have anything you might want to see for S8, let me know in the comments. Verdict: Season 7 was a huge step up for FIM. After S6, I worried whether the show would slow down or not. But not only did S7 squash those fears. FIM has a lot more left in the tank. With so many good and great episodes, and with Nicole Dubuc and Haber together to edit after co-writing Shadow Play so well, it's heading in the right direction. It's my second-favorite and second-best season of the show, and I can't wait what S8 has in store. For those curious about my season order from best to worst: 5 > 7 > 2 > 1 > 4 > 3 > 6.
  10. Captain Clark

    There Are No Perks of Being This Wallflower

    This special overall was alright. It had lots of good going for it but a few bad things as well. The biggest bad thing for me was the villain, Wallflower who I think is one of the weakest antagonists the series has ever had. For one thing, considering all the bad things she does throughout the special, I would have expected at least a little more of a reason for her to do these things than just “she is ignored by people”. I mean sure. Her situation sucks but it’s kinda hard to believe that a sane person would try to ruin someone’s life forever just because she is being ignored. Going too far is an excuse that I can buy to only to a certain degree. What Wallflower did here wasn’t just going too far. It was fucking crazy. So because she was ignored, someone needs to have their life ruined forever with everyone hating them? Ya, that’s bullshit. Speaking of her being ignored, that leads me to my next issue. That issue being her strange and very poorly explained hatred for Sunset. The special doesn’t really explain why Sunset is the main target of Wallflower’s anger when she is doing something that literally everyone else has been doing to her. Sunset forgets about her but then again, so does literally everyone else. The special establishes this numerous times. Heck, it’s not even like she is being mean to Wallflower. Sure it’s not good that she keeps forgetting about her but Sunset always seems to feel really bad and embarrassed every time it is brought to her attention. It’s pretty clear that Sunset doesn’t feel good about it at all and wants to change in that regard. So why exactly does Wallflower think Sunset hasn’t changed if she is doing stuff that everyone else does but still feels bad about it? Wallflower is justifiably upset but targeting Sunset is just confusing. Her motivation here just doesn’t make sense and it kinda feels like she hates Sunset for no reason or just picked someone to focus her anger on out of a hat. Also, sorry to say this. But if literally everyone is forgetting about you and you’re not really making much of an effort to standout, it’s also your fault too. As I said above, it’s definitely not good that they are all forgetting about her but if everybody finds you forgettable then maybe you need to make more of an effort to stand out and make friends. Some of that is on you. But the special doesn’t really bring this up at all. We are just kinda expected to feel bad for her and act like her crippling shyness isn’t an issue when it definitely is and is something that Wallflower needs to work on. You can’t just expect to sit around, be rude to pretty much everyone around you (which Wallflower was) and expect friends to come to you. That’s not how it works. The last thing that kinda ticked me off about this special was how much the special sided with Wallflower. She did apologize and stuff but honestly it really did feel like most of the blame was put on Sunset when realistically next to no blame should actually be on Sunset. Especially since as I pointed out above, Sunset actually kinda does show some kindness to Wallflower by trying her best to not upset her and clearly feels bad about forgetting her. If anything, it’s almost like Wallflower is pushing Sunset away more. She is always giving her glares and is just generally not talking to her very politely at all. It’s kinda hard to want to reach out to someone if they come across as a bit of an asshole. It’s also hard to blame people for not wanting to be nice to people like that. And not to mention how Wallflower reacts to this. I have said this a few times already but I cannot stress this enough. What Wallflower did in this special was absolutely ridiculous and crazy. She decided to ruin someone’s life for such a small reason and for some reason we are supposed to forgive her and feel for her. Sorry but that just ain’t happening. What makes Wallflower honestly even more of a shameful character is that the special she is in is otherwise pretty damn good. It has a couple other issues but none that would have held it back all that much. But unfortunately Wallflower is too important to this special for me to call her a small issue. She is the main villain and therefore the conflict. If the main conflict feels weak due to a bad character, the grade of the media will suffer.
  11. You know, these don't take that long to make. So I'm just being lazy that they are taking so long to make.
  12. First episode... because its one hour long pilot.
  13. Key Sharkz

    MLP's Failed Character Attempts

    When making a show that is intended to advertise toylines, it's not uncommon for new characters, species or entire groups to be introduced in the hopes of being able to push new products or expand story lines. However sometimes these additions for one reason or another fall flat on their face and accomplish nothing more than a spectacular failure. Sometimes these failures are remedied, but many times they are brushed under the rug and the studio hopes everyone forgets they ever happened. These are some of those spectacular failures and some of the possible reasons why they happened. 1. Breezies The breezies were clearly an attempt at nostalgia for older fans of the franchise. Hasbro clearly hoped to cash in and make these little guys cute, adorable and hopefully fly off of the shelves. However, that didn't exactly end up happening. They flew off the shelves about as much as the actual breezies in the episode could fly themselves. Most of their designs were boring, childish and sometimes just plain stupid. Couple that with annoying high pitched voices and a really odd Scandinavian accent for their leader Seabreeze and you're left with a new species that was insanely short lived. They only appeared in a single episode and were mentioned once after that before Hasbro blew a gust of wind to blow these guys out of existence. The species itself was portrayed as unbelievably incompetent, requiring more or less all of nature to fall in line for them to even be able to continue existing. The breezies could not even truly fly on their own, relying on the wind being the perfect speed and strength to get them where they needed to go. So much had to bend over backward for them to continue to exist. That's probably why they didn't land so well with fans and very little if any merchandise of these little guys exists at all. 2. The Buffalo Despite more visits into the wild west and even Apploosa itself, these native American resembling characters have never been seen since their introduction in season one. These creatures never really seemed to catch on for the fans, and as such very little merch of them was made and they remained in season one. They made cameos in a few other episodes but never played an important or even speaking role again. This may have been for a number of reasons, but two that I can muster at this time. Fans simply didn't enjoy the designs. In the early days a lot of fans wanted cute, adorable characters and the buffalo were not exactly the cutest or cuddliest group around. This likely resulted in low interest from fans to bring them back. Hasbro potentially felt they might have come off as racist depictions of natives. Unlikely, but possible they feared people mistaking them as racist. Hopefully not, though. For whatever reason, the buffalo don't look like they will be making a re-appearance any time soon and it looks like interest in seeing them again is insanely low anyway. Perhaps for the better that this stampede trots off into the sunset for good. 3. Diamond Dogs While their debut episode is generally enjoyed and they were amusing at the time it's clear that Hasbro simply could not figure out how to capitalize on this race of characters. Their designs felt off for the entire show and it's possible Hasbro wanted to avoid having too many neandering idiot male characters. To top this off, their only real role outside of this is a cameo in Equestria Girls. I think most fans enjoyed them as antagonists but didn't really care enough to see more of them. Naturally being not cute, and not even appealing to look at they made nill in the way of toy sales or merchandise. And a character that isn't merchandizable always seems to get the boot. These dogs were put outside and never let back in, but that's okay because realistically most seem to be quite okay with the decision. 4. Babs Seed A spectacular failure if there ever was one. Babs Seed was clearly intended as a new addition to the CMC, and clearly designed to be a recurring character for them to potentially expand the CMC dynamic as she was written into two episodes in the season of her introduction so it was obvious Hasbro had high hopes for her. Unfortunately they clearly counted their chickens before they hatched because the general reception to Babs Seed was mostly negative. From her episode being written fairly badly, her terrible attitude, and her annoying stereotypical brooklyn accent that felt completely out of place. Babs Seed became a very disliked character. By the end of season three little merchandise was made of her, and she was dropped entirely with a quick excuse made up to more or less never show her again. It didn't help that her voice actress moved away, which more or less put the nail in the coffin for this unlikeable cousin. What started out as a potential new dynamic for the CMC ended up just being another forgotten adventure with a useless tag along. What are some characters that you feel fell flat and were quickly forgotten?
  14. Jonny Music

    review Chimneys worth dying for!

    These chimneys are sure worth dying for! Shoutout to the Hungarian and Czechian Bronies here!
  15. GrapefruitFace

    Artist Review : Rockstarcrossing (CG)

    So apparently according to this artist if you are a brony you cannot be on her page... I like the yellow used but the message is quite racist. She's also has them in Weaboo, FNAF 5 and Undertale Sans flavors. This one's a bit offensive... our artist is calling ponies "stupid". This gives me the impression that the artist is very immature even though being at the age of 20. yes 20. Also this is a mis-truth as ponies like Pinkie Pie shown in the stamp are quite skilled. Twilight Sparkle being a very cleaver pone and very good a problem solving. You have used LOL when not needing it. And don't tell me it's "ironic" 'cuz we can't tell Attention's great that's why we post our art, i know, but saying you want it and making a stamp is a bit pretentious in the worst possible way. Just join some groups and stop making immature stamps. Also maybe it helps it you didn't make stamps excluding fandoms from your page. Just a thought. Really, i thought you would have liked him. This is a piece of her non-stamp art. I think your style would lend better to cubeecraft templates. Also you should think about using other colors for there outlines other than black, looking at MLP's G4 general art style for the lines they use a darker shade of the fill colour... Who's "stupid now"... Grapefruit Face
  16. Notes: A few points to go through: The entire review will contain very heavy spoilers for the movie. As such, it's contained under a spoiler tag. If you haven't seen it and don't want to be spoiled, don't click and leave. There won't be any comparisons or contrasts with the TV series, judgment of whether the movie does something better or worse than the TV series, or whether continuity's reinforced or contradicted. No judgment of existing show characters as IC, OOC, and/or flanderized. The movie is being judged as a movie, not a continuation of the series. So if you're expecting me to praise or criticize the film for sticking true to or contradicting continuity, click back now.
  17. AlexanderThrond

    Season 7 reflections.

    This show needs direction. I've been saying that for a while. The show has become increasingly scattershot and inconsistent since as far back as season 5, and nobody involved seems to actually understand what to do with the main cast. These past three seasons have all been heavily reliant on new characters, heavy-handed moralizing, and various other crutches - anything to give them an excuse to not actually consider what direction the main characters should go in. This show has never been serialized, but there used to be certain recurrent themes and clear character arcs. I don't think that's been the case for a while now, and the show has been flailing since season 5. In season 5, the writers tried to compensate by straining for pathos every other episode. Season 6 softened the blow with an endless supply of freewheeling experimentation. But there's a sense of obligation to season 7, like the writers are simply going down a checklist, and even the best episodes ride on the back of easy premises and filled-in blanks. Far too often, characters act as vessels for the moral rather than the other way around, and the show's desperate efforts to do anything other than develop the main characters are more feeble here than ever before. What the My Little Pony crew forgets is that growing up doesn't mean throwing away the past entirely. The newer seasons are much more intricate than the earlier seasons, but this hasn't always been a change for the better, and few of these new writers seem to understand how to make these characters sing. To start off, let's return to a point I made halfway through the season, back in May: is the show still single-minded and stodgy? Honestly, I'm not sure I'd say that. There are definitely some episodes in the back half which indulge in digressions - "Not Asking for Trouble," "Triple Threat," "Once Upon a Zeppelin," et cetera. - and even though there's still a fair few which are a little stiff (notably, "Daring Done?" and "Marks and Recreation"), the second half is much looser, if still not especially satisfying. The show is still excessively moralistic, however, and alongside the aforementioned stiff episodes, even more humorous episodes like "A Health of Information" and "Once Upon a Zeppelin" are tediously insistent on expressing their main theme. But I think a bigger problem I've seen this season is that the show doesn't work very hard to justify its story beats. One of the worst examples is still "A Royal Problem," which is heavily reliant on the notion that Celestia and Luna's arguments are a danger to Equestria, but which never gives us any reason to accept this as true. But this is also a problem nearly every time the show introduces a new character. In "To Change a Changeling," why should I care about Pharynx returning? In "Marks and Recreation," what possible reason could I have to be invested in Rumble? Season 6 frequently gave texture and nuance to its characters, but in season 7, every new face follows the same formula: an attitude, a belief, and a connection to ground that belief, and these traits are frequently revealed through verbal exposition. Pharynx is aggressive. Pharynx believes the Hive needs better security. Pharynx, we are soon told, used to protect Thorax when they were young. Similarly, Rumble is charismatic. Rumble hates cutie marks. Rumble, we are later told, actually just wants to be like his brother. It's a formula which clearly wants to evoke sympathy, but which relies too much on exposition and not enough on character development. To be fair, though, season 7 has far fewer new characters than other recent seasons, and in some cases even adds a little more detail to characters we're familiar with. "To Change a Changeling" adds detail to Thorax's past, "Triple Threat" makes Ember significantly more distinctive than she was prior, and "A Royal Problem" does a great job of making the princess sisters feel human. Further, half of the new characters it does introduce tie into one of the season's greatest strengths, which is developing the mane six's family members. None of "Parental Glideance," "The Perfect Pear," or "Once Upon a Zeppelin" are perfect, but all three excel in the offbeat charms they give their protagonists. "Glideance" and "Zeppelin," in particular, depict their respective new faces in unexpected and distinctive ways, and while "Perfect Pear" is a bit blander, it does a great job of crafting endearingly decent individuals with sympathetic issues. Even outside of the new characters, Maud has her best appearance yet in "Rock Solid Friendship," and both Cadance and Shining Armour have their moments in the aforementioned "Zeppelin" as well as the glorious "A Flurry of Emotions." The humour is also a bit less strained in the latter half, but that's in part because many episodes simply have less of it. Some episodes, like "Fame and Misfortune" and "It Isn't the Mane Thing About You," heavily base their humour on scenarios which the audience is expected to find inherently funny, and others like "Campfire Tales," "Marks and Recreation," and "Uncommon Bond" simply don't have that many gags to begin with. There's also a higher quantity of genuinely funny episodes, like "Discordant Harmony" and "A Health of Information," but in some cases even these are offset by narrative clumsiness. "To Change a Changeling" is brought down by a directionless storyline, whereas "Secrets and Pies" is fundamentally asinine in ways which lessen the fun somewhat. Worse still is the show's increasing focus on dreary, unimaginative world building. As buildup to its finale, season 7 focused on characters called the "Pillars," but each of these are taken from simplistic tales inspired heavily by real-world mythology and grafted haphazardly onto the show's existing mythos. This is the closest the show has come to outright serialization, but we barely get to know the "Pillars," and their relationship with the mane six is generally superficial and impersonal. "Shadow Play" is arguably the show's least interesting finale, and while a lot of that comes from it rehashing the same formula beats established back in the early seasons, it also relates to an overly serious emphasis on the increasingly dull setting. At the very least, these stories are confined to three episodes, but they also speak to the show's unfortunate focus on predictable, externally driven conflicts. While there are still some gems like "A Health of Information" and "Once Upon a Zeppelin" where conflicts are derived from insecurities or character flaws, the show hasn't let up on narratives driven entirely by new characters or even faceless mobs. "Fame and Misfortune" is up there with "Fluttershy Leans In" as one of the most blatant examples, but other episodes like "Daring Done?" and "Marks and Recreation" suffer from the same problem. And while the formula beats are less transparent in these episodes, they still don't deviate far from what we've come to expect from this show. A lot of these impersonal episodes star the mane six, and those mane six episodes which do have some internal conflict tend to be simplistic or obvious. Consider, for instance, "It Isn't the Mane Thing About You," which involves nothing deeper than Rarity accidentally damaging her mane. Sure, it completely throws off her plans, but the episode is still focused enough on the damaged mane that Rarity's insecurity feels banal. Similarly, "Secrets and Pies" tells such a juvenile story that it makes everyone involved feel uncharacteristically immature. Even in episodes with a little more oomph, the writing can be awkward. "A Health of Information" makes Fluttershy weirdly hyper and Twilight weirdly relaxed, and while "Once Upon a Zeppelin" features some of the season's best characterization, Twilight's entire role in that episode is restricted to serving the moral. On the other hand are Spike and Starlight. The former is fairly underrepresented, but his appearances are mostly solid, and he's sympathetic in his only focus episode. Starlight, on the other hand, continues to lack distinguishing traits. The best I can figure out is that she's vaguely sarcastic, emotionally somewhat immature, and has trouble considering how her actions affect others. Sometimes, she carries a somewhat grounded air, but that feels inconsistent with her season 6 characterization, and because she has so few personality traits, she often just becomes bland. Further, the show keeps telling us to like her, but her episodes are almost never grounded enough to really explore her insecurities. "All Bottled Up" and "Uncommon Bond" make attempts, but even there, her personality appears to be dictated by the moral. All of Starlight's appearances come across like part of a checklist, and she can often feel shoehorned into episodes which she adds nothing to. There's no reason for her to be in "Fame and Misfortune," and only a joke or two would be lost if she were absent from "Triple Threat." The latter, as well as "To Change a Changeling," suggest she's a skilled manipulator, but this trait is absent from the rest of the season. At other times, she wallows in self-pity, but because as recently as "A Royal Problem" she was making dubious judgment calls, this feels unearned. Further, while she's praised for being snarky, this is largely because the mane six have lost a lot of their sass from the early seasons. Season 7 continues to return flaws to those characters, but they're often lacking some of the nuance they possessed even a single season ago, and Starlight hardly suffices as a replacement. And given that Starlight has more episodes than anyone else - six in total, almost all of which are mediocre to subpar - this soon became exhausting. At least Twilight's still great. Some have commented that the show is "delivering things fans have long asked for," but at what cost? To justify my starting comment about the show going down a checklist, I'd like to compare the season's trend of answering fan demands with its frequently simplistic storytelling. In "Fluttershy Leans In," Fluttershy is finally given a goal... and completes it within a single episode without a shred of self-doubt. In "Daring Done?," we finally get to see Daring Do struggle with an internal conflict... only for it to be dismissed entirely by the end of the episode. In "Marks and Recreation," we finally see someone who doesn't want a cutie mark... which induces zero self-doubt in the CMC, and is ultimately shown to be deflection. Time and time again, the show emphasizes a specific moral over the most interesting implications of a premise, as if it's trying to get these demands out of the way without actually putting in the legwork to make them satisfying. And excepting Twilight, none of the main characters consistently experience fresh challenges. Most of the mane six and Starlight have at least one unique story, but only Starlight in "A Royal Problem" is actually given some insight, whereas Pinkie in "Rock Solid Friendship," Rarity in "Forever Filly," and Rainbow in "Parental Glideance" have their fairly sympathetic concerns buried under a largely antagonistic role. Increasingly, the mane six have become the external force which act on secondary characters, and there's something genuinely dispiriting about having the characters I actually care about in this show dismissed in this way. It doesn't have to be like this. "The Perfect Pear" stands out as a particularly strong example, as the main conflict occurs in flashback to new characters whom might not even be alive anymore, with the actual main characters only being present to hear about these events secondhand. At least that episode is good enough to get away with it. Even the worst seasons of My Little Pony have their decent episodes, and this one isn't without it's gems. I enjoyed relatively little of season 7 - 40%, by my count, and I only consider around half of that genuinely great - but the inconsistency is something I have been putting up with for a while, even if this is perhaps the worst it's ever gotten. What bothers me more is the stasis, the refusal of the show to challenge itself or experiment. The show has stagnated for four whole seasons now, and even seasons 4 and 6, which I liked, didn't move the show forward as much as they could have. That I could handle as well. But season 7 is both stale and uneven, when I find both qualities to be the worst they've ever been in this show, and I'm not sure how much longer I can stand by it. 40% enjoyed. Average of scores: 59/100 Personal rating: 4/10 Next week: My top 10 least favourite episodes!
  18. This is my review on uncommon bind what do you think of the style
  19. Gone Airbourne

    Modest Mouse ~ Float On "song review"

    An old nostalgic song that has helped me throughout a lot of hell as the years have passed me by. I've always wanted to do a review on songs I love. Songs have a different meaning to all of us and our take on them. Some of us tie songs to certain memories and experiences you know what I mean? I always like to say that "music is the love that keeps on giving" whereas with humans heh you can hardly count on at all. Float on is one of those songs that just takes away all of your stress and worries something you can always listen to when you are down and out. At the title of the song suggests it reminds you life is good and you make life how you want it to be 😊. Don't worry cause worrying does not fix anything and just makes you feel worse. "A fake Jamaican took every last dime with that scamIt was worth it just to learn some sleight of handBad news comes, don't you worry even when it landsGood news will work it way to all them plans" This part of the song reminds me that in any situation or circumstances good or bad. Never let the circumstances take over you. You can make the best out of negative experiences because you learn from them and in turn become much more experienced. When he sings he was hit with a scam then he sings well it was worth just to learn some sleight of hand. Don't let anything get the better of you just make the best of the experiences you have and just float on cause with time everything will work itself alright 💚 Band Modest Mouse Album ~ Good news for people who love bad news
  20. (I am reposting the review I typed down on Facebook. Enjoy) [TL;DR at the very bottom of this post. You're welcome.] First off, some of you may be asking "Why would a grown man like you watch a colourful kid's movie?" If my cover photo doesn't already give it away, I'm simply a Brony and I simply wanted to watch it for my absolute love for the TV show this film came from. Next, let's get to the nitty-gritty: Visuals - Very much worth the watch. This is by far the best modern 2D Animated Feature that has ever hit the big screen in years (I'm looking at you Disney and Dreamworks). Every scene was very pleasant to look at because of how marvellously-detailed the animation was thanks to the ToonBoom Animation software the animators used to make this film such a wondrous visual treat. Kudos to the animators, their hard-work was very rewarding. Sound - Even though the film has a Dolby Atmos mix, I sadly was not able to experience that in the theatre I went to simply because they do not have that setup. Other than that, the sound was very well designed, especially the catchy and adventurous soundtrack it has (thanks to Daniel Ingram for his outstanding musical abilities). Characters - We have the usual Mane 6 (plus Spike the Dragon and others of course) from the Friendship is Magic TV series as part of the main cast. Though the film definitely was more attractive with the extra supporting guest cast enhancing the movie even more so. And the roles those characters had, definitely fulfilled them really well (except for some, though I will not mention them due to the purpose of this review being spoiler-free. #sorrynotsorry). Plot - Now this is where it gets a little iffy. With the context of knowing that this is an official My Little Pony movie to ever hit theatres after the animated film of the same name back in the 1980's (and with the intended audience of not only the Brony fanbase but primarily the families with their kids), the plot was understandably mediocre and somewhat easy to predict. Don't get me wrong, however. The film is still enjoyable for all ages (no matter what the "neigh"-sayers will say), thanks to the appropriately-timed and clever funny moments that made us in the audience get a good laugh out of it. Moral/Lesson - I will not spoil exactly what it is, but I can tell you at a personal level, it was very relatable and I'm sure it will be relatable to everyone else, even though the mediocre plot as mentioned earlier, predictably laid it out for simplicity's sake. Final Verdict - with all of these factors in mind, I can say without a doubt, that this wonderful, modern 2D Animated Feature Film gets an 8/10. I know I might have used this score a lot in the past, but I am serious when I say that this film definitely deserved this score. TL;DR: With the factors of the Visuals, Sound, Characters, Plot and the Moral/Lesson coming together, this spectacle of a modern 2D Animated Feature Film to come on the big screen after years of absence was certainly worth the watch, even for just the stunning 2D visuals and soundtrack alone. Thank you for reading, and I hope you guys enjoy(ed) the film too. #MLP #MLPTheMovie #MLPMovie
  21. The Cynical Lone Wolf

    MLP Movie Review [Spolier Free]

    Disclamer: Let all you all know the movie has been leaked in HQ, but I will NOT share the link. If you find it, that’s fine. However, I want you guys to see it in theaters and support it. The only reason I saw the leak is because I don't live anywhere near a theater. Now onto the review This is the first 2D animated film since Princess and the Frog to say there was hype around the film is an understatement. On top of that, this is MLP's first movie since the 80s and that MLP needs to show its better side to a general movie audience more so than a TV audience. Plus the animated films this year ranged from crappy to good. So where does this film lie in that spectrum? Well, I'm going to break down the good and bad. The Bad Okay, let's rip off the band-aid first and get the bad over with. Firstly, the side characters range from okay to cringeworthy. Let's start within show characters first. The princess, besides Twilight, is terrible in this film and hardly have any screen time. Which was my biggest fear once they how many characters there will be in the film. So if you're Luna or Celestia fan and hope they have a bad ass moment, give up now, they don't. Now with the new one-shot characters. One character that very cringey is Grubber. He's line raged from okay funny to trying to hipe with kids funny. The hip time of humor is forced with his lines that almost cringey. Now lets about Storm King. Both the film and marketing make him be the main villain, he is not; I'll leave it at that. Now my biggest grip of the film is the pacing. Its feel rushed, which I called by the way once the running time was announced. To those saying "What did you expect in the 90-minute film?" The Spongebob Film was around the same time limit, and it was well paced. I felt at times that there could have been the scene of quiet thinking or character introducing themselves to each other. Spongebob the Movie also had quite moments from movie to take breaks from adventures to quiet down. Sadly, however, the MLP doesn't have that. As Nostalgia Critic put it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zkf4nYnFZRU&t=16s Yeah, the movie never shut ups. Yeah, there a couple moments the film is quiet, but they happen so rarely and last less than a minute.The movie is afraid that if its quiet for one moment it will lose the attention of the audience . So if the pacing and if the movie more than a minute of quiet time to take a break. I would very minor grips with the film , and I would complain about minor things. The Good So far, I have made the film look bad,but that just get the harshness out of the way without ending this on a poor now. Now for good, which there is plenty to talk about. Firstly, the animation and settings are beautiful. I hope the Toom Boom style is used in the future of MLP:FiM or the next generation of MLP. I love ToomBoom style because it's very popping and the facial animations are really good. There is another animation styled used in the film, but I forgot what's called, but that's also well done. The setting is also breathtaking. There were times in the film where I was saying, "Wow I can see that in Samurai Jack or a Disney film." So huge kudos to the artists in this film, you went huge and delivered. Secondly, most characters in the film, they are handled very well. Each of the Mane Six has their own screen time and moments to shine, even if brief. However, this is Twilight's story, and her arch is very well done, and I felt every emotion she felt throughout the film. The main villain, Tempest, is also very well done. She's very sympathetic villain, and her backstory is very well done. In my opinion, Tempest is what Starlight should have been, a compelling villain with a tragic past. Now the side characters. Each one, even if their stories is brief, do leave a lasting impression. Capper reminds of Grunkle Stan and Han Solo.The pirates are also well handled, and I felt like they were a crew. Princess Skystar and the rest of the seaponies are also very handled and have a nice twist to their lore. I just loved Skystar's innocence and her bouncing attitude. Spike also get also a really awesome moment to shine in the film. So characterization is spot on in the film, well done. Some other things worth noting. Firstly, is that two songs left an impression on me. "We Got This" is is very chancy and song and the visuals to support the film with some awesome and funny cameos. Secondly is the villain song from Tempest which reminded me of Disney villain songs like "Friends From the Other Side" and "Is Prepared." Once a metal version of that song is made, I'm putting it on my phone and listening to it when I exercise. The comedy is also, for the most part, very handle from the main cast and side characters. The story and theme are also very well done and loved that MLP tackled that issue at last. I won't spoil because it will spoil the entire film. The animation style, which I'll prize up and down along with the setting . The characters, even the one-shot ones from, are all very good and Tempest is a very good villain. They all leave a rather good impression on me. Overall Even though the film is leaked online, I still highly encourage you all to see the movie in theaters and support it because it is good. Yes, the film pacing and it never ever shutting up is a big problem for the film. However, the animation , the story, and other things are making the film worth seeing. Again the only reason I saw the leak is that the nearest theater is too far for me and I don't have the money or time to see it in theaters. Sadly, I don't think this going be the animated film of the year because of the problems I have mentioned. I was hoping that MLP film will be as rememberable as much as the Spongebob the Movie, but it isn't. There are rememberable songs, but not as good as "Goofy Gobber Rock." That doesn't mean it's bad, there good things worth noting . The animation and characters are awesome along with the villain too. I Just don't see this film being quoted all that much Grade 78/100 C+
  22. Howdy y'all! Today I attended an advanced screening of the MLP movie, and boy let me tell ya, it was GREAT! This is a spoiler free review, if you would like me to do a review detailing the plot then let me know. When we got there, the theater wasn't open so we had to wait outside. There were a LOOOOOOT of little kids and parents there. For any neighsayers who think the movie will bomb, the theater was packed with loads of kids, parents, and critics, and this was just an early showing! So I think it'll do well. Once the theater opened, a representative from Lionsgate came out and told us that recording was strictly prohibited, and gave us all free posters and a coloring page, which was a nice touch. 20 minutes later, the movie started! No trailers or nothing, not even the Hanazuki short, which I was looking forward to. It starts off with the Lionsgate logo, and then a small purple sparkle. The sparkle outlines something which is then revealed to be the logo! My Little Pony: The Movie! We're in for a treat today! For a brief moment, the MLP theme song is playing in an orchestrated version, but then, the "Ponies got the Beat" song from the trailer is playing in the background. The movie's special effects, presentation, and animation are on point. The scenes in certain portions are very well animated and everything about it is gorgeous eye candy. The songs are great, I'm a very big fan of "We Got This" and Capper's song. Daniel stepped up his game and it shows. The voice acting is top notch. Capper has a very nice voice to listen to and the Mane 6 and co brought their A game. Tabitha better win a goddamn Oscar. You can tell the VA's had a lot of fun recording. The Mane 6 were perfectly in character, and I would argue this is them at their best...well, most of them at least. This movie brought forth a Mane 6 member at her worst, not in terms of writing quality, but in a character sense. You'll know what I mean when you see the movie for yourself. A lot of supporting characters were there! I spotted Moondancer! And Starlight and Trixie get a nice moment in the credits, I appreciated that. And Discord is in the credits too! All in all, it was a great movie! When it comes to your nearest theater, please support it! And I'll answer any other questions if you want.
  23. Girls, can you explain why I look like I’m getting married at the bottom of a pit? – Cheerilee Hearts and Hooves Day (the Equestrian version of Valentine’s Day) has come to Ponyville, and love is in the air. Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo are busy creating a giant greeting card to give to their teacher, Miss Cheerilee. This construction involves large quantities of paper, lace, glitter and paint. Despite the rather haphazard method of its creation, the finished product looks oddly professional… and far too large to fit into the envelope. At school, Cheerilee thanks the girls for their gift. Sweetie surmises that she must have gotten an even better present from her “Very Special Somepony” but Cheerilee reveals that she is currently single, stunning the fillies. Despite their protests (and a rather put-upon expression from the teacher), Cheerilee insists she is content with her romance situation, and that the good wishes from her friends and students is enough for her. Then Sweetie got an idea. An awful idea. Sweetie got a wonderful, awful idea. (Yeah, I know: wrong holiday. What of it?) Sweetie decides the Crusaders should take it upon themselves to find a worthy stallion to be Cheerilee’s VSS, and they quickly head out into Ponyville to find the perfect match. Their search takes the form of a song, sung mostly by Sweetie herself, as they consider and ultimately reject all of Ponyville’s single stallions left and right. There are a few noteworthy images during the song. (Oh, hai, inspiration for Button Mash) Including the first outright acknowledgement of death in Equestria… yup, the “too old” pony is a priest officiating at a funeral: you can see the casket on the right of the screen. The other rather noteworthy entrant in the potential partner pageant is the stallion who is “too strangely obsessed with tubs of jelly”. Eventually, they come to Big Mac, who they find doesn’t have any plans for HnHD, and decide he will be the one. Apple Bloom points out that Big Mac is shy and probably wouldn’t make the first move on Cheerilee. They then decide to set up a picnic at the gazebo, to set the mood and get Cheerilee to make the first move instead. After the picnic is all set up, Cheerilee appears. The girls had brought her out, saying they need help with identifying a tree… an apple tree. Cheerilee is understandably confused. Just then, Big Mac also arrives, having come to fix the gazebo. The fillies then try to leave them alone, hiding in the bushes. Cheerilee looks long at Big Mac, leans in, and they think their plan is working… only for Cheerilee to point out something stuck in his teeth. “Oh, come on,” indeed, Sweetie Belle. Bonus points for the record scratch. The music sounds distorted afterwards, too. The two then head off in opposite directions, leaving the fillies flabbergasted by failure. Cue Twilight… who bumps into them while reading a book. She mentions that the holiday was started by a love potion, piquing the attention of the CMC, who borrow the book and then book it before Twilight can recommend any other reading material. She is not pleased. The CMC prepare the potion, and again call out Big Mac and Cheerilee, passing the potion off as punch they want the two to taste test. Cheerilee explains to Big Mac that she’s entirely aware that the three fillies are attempting to set them up, but they decide to humour them anyway and drink the “punch”. Punch drunk. Love. The delight of the CMC at their plan coming to fruition is quickly cut short by Cheerilee and Big Mac becoming Sickenly Sweet Sweethearts, complete with baby talk and pet names. At least Big Mac is saying more than his customary "Eeyup" and "Nope". On the other hoof, given what he is actually spouting, maybe that would have been preferable. Thoroughly weirded out by the lovebirds, as it were, the CMC retire to their club house to found out what went wrong… only to discover it went horribly right instead. It turns out the original love potion was given by a princess to a princess (interestingly, the princess in question is depicted as an alicorn) but they were so busy being in love that it ended in the destruction of their kingdom. Apple Bloom has a rather dark imagination, we find, as she imagines the results of Big Mac not being able to farm and Cheerilee not being able to teach being an epidemic of poorly educated and starving ponies. However, Sweetie explains that the spell can be broken if they can prevent the couple from seeing each other for an hour. Sounds like a plan… The fillies find Big Mac and Cheerilee at Sugarcube Corner, making even Mrs. Cake uncomfortable with their PDA as they share a milkshake… or would, if they could stop insisting the other take the first sip. When Mrs. Cake mentions wedding bells in the near future, Sweetie gets another idea… using preparations for a wedding as a pretext for keeping the sweethearts apart. AB and Scoots take Big Mac to get a diamond, and Sweetie takes Cheerilee to Carousel Boutique to get a wedding dress. Sweetie traps Cheerilee in the fitting room, while Apple Bloom stalls Big Mac by refusing all the proffered diamonds. A moment’s carelessness means that Big Mac escapes her. AB sends Scoots to inform Sweetie while she tries to stop Big Mac’s pronking progress. However, not even tying a rope to a house is enough to stop him. And this is exactly the sort of thing that drives Berry Punch to drink… At the Boutique, Sweetie is distressed to hear the news, but gets another idea on spying some nearby shovels. They quickly dig a pit trap for the suitor, and Big Mac calls out for Cheerilee just before falling in. Hearing her snookums’ voice, she busts out, veil and all, and heads for her beau. The CMC try to stand in her way, but she simply bowls them over and leaps into the pit. Fortunately, the two were kept apart long enough to end the spell, leaving a very confused Cheerilee to ask what in Equestria is going on and why she is getting married in a pit. The CMC come clean and admit that they made a big mistake trying to force the two into a relationship. Cheerilee thanks them for their concern but she and Big Mac agree the three need to be punished by doing all of Big Mac’s chores (presumably just for the rest of the day.) They also pretend to be going on a real date, just to mess with the fillies some more. And off they stride into the sunset together… Thoughts on the Episode Oh, Sweetie Belle, why do you do things? Without her bright idea to set up Cheerilee with somepony, none of the hijinks would have ensued. Although to be fair, only her first (well, and second, but that was more of a group decision) idea really backfired, the rest of her suggested courses of action actually did assist in ameliorating the first blunder. I think it would have been a little better for AB and Scootaloo to have come up with some suggestions that helped solve the crisis too, since as it is the episode is rather heavily weighted towards Sweetie. She is my favourite Cutie Mark Crusader, though, so I’m not going to object too hard to it. I thought the cringe aspect of the enforced relationship was pretty well handled… the way the two acted under the influence of the love poison was just balanced enough that it didn’t become too annoying, but still did enough to make it uncomfortable… which is as it should be, considering the CMC basically used “date rape” tactics on both Cheerilee and Big Mac. I’ll give Apple Bloom a point or two for being the only one to actually question whether they should be doing this. Pity she was so easily convinced to proceed. In the end, the fillies can be given a bit of a pass for overriding Cheerilee and Big Mac’s free will, since they are fillies, and such lapses of judgment due to immaturity are easier to forgive than in somepony you could reasonably expect to know better. (Looking at you, Starlight Glimmer!) The important thing is that they did learn their lesson, and they didn’t get off scot-free. Props to Cheerilee for assigning them some sort of punishment and not just letting it go. The moral is a little bit meta, since it seems to be a subtle rebuke to the habit some fans have of pairing up ponies without regard to whether it would actually make sense for them to be together. A little bit of romantic speculation is fine (I do it myself sometimes), but I disapprove of the lengths some fans will go to in shipping. See the “Die for our Ship” entry on TV Tropes for examples of the kind of things I mean. But back to the episode itself. As I mentioned above, there were a lot of stallions not usually seen around Ponyville during the song, which seems a little bit odd if you think about it, but hey, songs in the show have always needed some leeway in terms of realism. At least it gave the animators an excuse to experiment… although perhaps some experiments were not meant for ponykind to know… A very jarring image, that. Speaking of jarring images, the scene in Sugarcube Corner is possibly the most suggestive in the show to date. Dat cherry… And then there’s the shots of all three CMC fillies straddled by Twilight… That one gave me some “Hiiiiii, gurllzzz!” flashbacks. Brrr. Highlights/Quotes Watch Cheerilee’s expression when Sweetie asks about her not having a VSS… Single people everywhere can relate. The song is pretty darn funny… watch for that split second of morbidity, though! Cheerilee leans in towards Big Mac… soft romantic music plays… Cheerilee (dreamily): Big Mac…? Big Mac: Yup? Cheerilee (normal tone): …you have something stuck in your teeth… Sweetie Belle (In the distance): OH, COME ON!! When the love potion recipe calls for a Pegasus feather, Sweetie casually yanks one out of Scootaloo’s wings. Cheerilee’s Foe Tossing Charge towards Big Mac… then she leaps towards him with an expression of joy… until she realizes they’re about to collide face first… Pros: A good moral that works both in universe and out of universe. Some pretty funny things happen. Cons: Perhaps a bit too Sweetie-centric. Unsettling implications if you think about it too much. Carousel Boutique, but no Rarity? For shame! Final Rating 5 – Button’s Mom Rank: This episode has got it going on. 4 – Big Mac / Cheerilee Ship Rank: It seems like it should work, but there’s something not quite right… 3 – Button Mash Rank: Worth inserting a coin or two, but nothing super special. 2 – Hugh Jelly Rank: Once taste is enough, then put the lid on the jar. 1 – Love Poison Rank: For your own sake, don’t ignore the pony skull on the label… And once more, we get to see a familiar holiday done the pony way, and it is sweet! Not a perfect episode, but still probably one of my favourites featuring the CMC. Next we have an episode that is somewhat less romance themed, A Friend in Deed. Join me next time as we greet a new character and welcome him to Ponyville. Until then, stay sunny side up!
  24. On the 7th of this month, Bohemia Interactive released the sixth premium DLC package for ArmA 3, titled "Laws of War". Renowned as being the most committed military operation simulator, the reaction from the fanbase was mostly positive at the addition of a humanitarian faction whose goal is to clean up the detritus of war and bring some semblance of a normal life back to war-torn regions. On top of that, with an MSRP of $11.99 USD, Bohemia is donating half of all sales to the International Committee of the Red Cross. With everything said, I had to buy it the moment it came out! Although there was a free update that added all the new content to your harddrive, the DLC vehicles, attire, weapons, and campaign were locked behind a paywall. However, Bohemia did at least provide us with two free showcases, one of which was an exposition of all the new content and a background on the new faction, IDAP (the International Development & Aid Project), and the other was a much more action-oriented seminar where players are run through various simulations to impress the laws of war upon you. Some examples of lessons taught in the seminar included not firing on civilians who haven't engaged you in combat or unarmed enemy medical personnel. There was also a demonstration on how mines and cluster bombs can be more trouble than they're worth, staying hidden in the ground for days, months, or even years at a time until someone, anyone, accidentally disturbs it. Of the new content that was added in the DLC, the campaign will be explained later. Several new civilian, press, and IDAP-themed outfits and clothing articles were added, such as a paramedic jumpsuit, hard hat, dust mask, and safety goggles. Decorative items were also added, such as IDAP tents, water bottles, body bags, etc. The new vehicles include an IDAP van, ambulance, new IDAP skins for the formerly AAF-only Mohawk heavy transport helicopter and CSAT-only Zamak transport truck, and a special utility drone capable of dropping leaflets (which can have custom designs overlayed on them) as well as timed charges for safer disposal of mines and UXOs (UneXploded Ordinance). Speaking of mine-clearing, the mine sweeper that was already in the game was reworked, giving you a new display that shows you the direction of mines and UXOs, allowing you to mark them manually rather than the original mechanic, where the mine sweeper did all of that automatically. However, just because this DLC focused on the civilian and humanitarian aspects of war doesn't mean that the military factions didn't get anything. All organized military factions (so everyone but the FIA) get the APERS Mine Dispenser and the cluster bomb air strike utility. The former item is a portable device that deploys dozens of small Anti-PERSonnel mines in a forward-facing cone after either a 40-second timer or a manual touch-off, allowing players to set up minefields in a fraction of the time that it would have taken them to do so manually. The latter allows for Zeus operators (think Game Masters for organized ArmA 3 custom operations) to call in highly-destructive air strikes, with the very-obvious downside that not all of the cluster munitions will explode. As for the campaign, I'll do my best to explain the nuances of it without spoiling it. For those who don't mind the spoilers, I'll be putting them down at the bottom of the page, but keep in mind that there will be some spoilers for the main ArmA 3 campaign, as well. "Laws of War" takes place in the small town of Oreokastro in the mountainous northwest of Altis before, during, and after the events of the vanilla campaign. For most of the mini-campaign, you take on the role of Nathan MacDade, a former US Army engineer now working as an IDAP mine clearer. As you progress through the town, clearing out mines and UXOs, you encounter "memories", which take on the form of visual anomalies that you can interact with. Interacting with them either transports you into a flashback of what you remember the town was like one year ago, or into the shoes of a member of one of the four warring factions (NATO, FIA, CSAT, or AAF), all of whom were present during the battle in one way or another. The take-away message from this mini-campaign is that there is no such thing as black and white in war. From the opening scene, when you watch, helpless, as a civilian who survived the war and returns to his hometown in search of his brother steps on a mine and dies instantly, to the end, when you're put on the spot and asked to tell a reporter who you think is to blame, you're led to the understanding that war is complex and that when you send young men and women off to kill each other, they don't always make the right choice. No matter how good your intentions are, just because you aren't butchering civilians and laughing while doing it doesn't mean that your actions aren't having adverse effects on the non-combatants whose peace of mind is now shattered. If you're looking for honor and glory, you'll find none of it in war. For those of you who are on the fence about buying "Laws of War", I cannot recommend it enough. While about 60% of it can be classified as a walking simulator, it provides a whole new perspective on war that's rarely seen outside of games such as "This War of Mine". To quote one of Nathan MacDade's most profound lines (as well as the slogan for the game, overall): "This is war."
  25. I hate to admit it to myself, and I’d really hate to have to admit it to my friends, but… I love this book! – Rainbow Dash Twilight, Rarity and Pinkie are watching as Dash practices some of her precision flying. However, during a particularly difficult maneuver, Dash loses control and crashes into the ground, breaking one of her wings in the process. Confined to the Ponyville Hospital to rest and recover, Dash finds herself going nutty from boredom. When she complains about this to her friends during one of their visits, Twilight grabs a book from the library cart entitled Daring Do and the Sapphire Statue, and suggests Dash read it, as it’s one of Twilight’s favorite series of books and the protagonist, the eponymous Daring Do, is a lot like Dash herself. While she holds off for a while, she is eventually driven to open the book and start reading. Quickly becoming absorbed in the story (a basic Indiana Jones knockoff) she is surprised and embarrassed to find she does actually enjoy reading after all. As she works her way through the story, her friends occasionally come to visit her, but she is so hooked on the book that she would rather get rid of them… by means of messy mealtime manners, gratuitously giving up at games and shamelessly simulating slumber. Unfortunately for Dash, her wing heals pretty quickly, and she is discharged from the hospital before she can finish the book. After unsuccessfully attempting to persuade the doctor she is still injured, she resolves to break in. However, the new patient in her bed thinks she is a thief, and sounds the alarm. The doctors, nurses and night watch-pony all give chase, waking up the whole of Ponyville with the hue and cry. Finally cornered, Dash comes clean about her new literary habit, expecting that she’ll be made fun of, but Twilight assures her she’s just as cool, whether or not she is a reader. She even agrees to let Dash read her copies, and the episode ends with Dash curling up with the second book in the series. Thoughts on the Episode This ended up being one of the shortest summaries of an episode I’ve ever done. I could pad it out by including the story of Daring Do, but really, if you just say “Indiana Jones as a pony”, that’s all you really need to know. Not that the story within the story isn’t competently told, but there really is not very much you aren’t going to predict ahead of time. One of the better parts of the episode is how it weaves the story into Dash’s experience, which can get pretty surreal, such as when the menacing villain Ahuizotl gives his nemesis DD a bright and cheery greeting in Pinkie’s voice. There are a few other times this sort of linkage is done, which is really very cleverly interwoven. The humour in this episode is mostly quite subtle, like Dash getting bored within a literal minute, and her antics in trying to get rid of her visitors. Less subtle is the joke that drops after the chase: while trying to catch the “thief”, the hospital staff appear to be accompanied by a tracking dog, complete with excited barking. On bringing Dash to bay, the barker is revealed to be a pony in a straitjacket, one of the hospital patients. The joke does make me laugh, but it also makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. Making fun of the mentally ill is not something I would condone, but perhaps the very silliness of the idea vitiates the offense. The moral is standard, but appropriate considering the brony fanbase: like what you like, and don’t let how others’ perceptions of it dissuade you. Overall, the episode is just a fun romp. Highlights/Quotes Rarity describes a good book as “almost as good as silk pajamas”. Guess what she’s wearing when woken up? Pinkie has one of her moments: Pinkie: Yeah! I love reading, and my head isn't even close to the shape of an egg! It's more the shape of an apple, or maybe an orange, but a big orange! More like a grapefruit really... Pros: Some good jokes. The two main stories are interwoven well. An unexceptional but fine moral. Cons: The Daring Do story is bog standard, even though it’s set in a jungle. A possibly insensitive joke about the mentally distressed may offend some. Final Rating 5 – Daring Do Rank: A great episode. A tip of the pith helmet to this one. 4 – Circle of Jungle Cats Rank: A good episode, but might have a weak link or two somewhere. 3 – Housecat Rank: Aww, it’s so cute about how hard it’s trying. Not succeeding, but trying. 2 – Easily Escapable Death Trap Rank: Worth watching once. After that, assume it all went to plan and leave the room. 1 – Ahuizotl Rank: Hand it off to someone else, fast! Well, that was short! There’s just not that much to cover in this episode, I guess. You are of course welcome to point out anything you think I missed, or make any other comment you wish. Next time, Love (Potion No. 9) is in the air… until then, stay safe, read a book, and stay sunny side up.