MLP – Rarity Investigates & Made in Manehatten – Food for Thought

So here we are a few days after the premiere of Equestria Girls friendship games and despite my urge to review it now, I need to catch up on the last few weeks!

So the first of our double post is “Rarity Investigates” and it’s a nod to a favorite style of mine the one known as noir! Film Noir is a style we typically associate but is not exclusive to the hard boiled detective movies of yesteryear. Chalk full of interior monologues by the protagonist (in this case everyone’s favorite marshmallow , Rarity) it’s a classic form of story telling that I can never get enough of.

That being said lets begin!

Stunning us already is that we pick up almost immediately after the last episode which makes me hope the writers are going to be doing this more and more. Story arcs that are activley part of previous episodes are by in large hard to find in animation these days so this is a step in the right direction. In Rarity’s new shop in Canterlot she and sassy saddles are having a discussion regarding the latest line for sale and how it was inspired by Shadow Spade. Those of you not familiar, should inspect Sam Spade’s tales and instantly know where THIS is going.

Rainbow Dash jumps in and knocks everything over as she shows us that this wont be just a rarity episode. Though it is nice to see her get this and the next episode; something tells me they realized we didn’t focus on her enough in previous seasons and I for one would agree. Rarity went from the worst cliché of a girly girl to a very 3 dimensional character and that I am grateful for because she is quite entertaining now.

Third episode
“They even gave me another episode after this one…darling. How about you?”

We find out Dashie being the Wonderbolt reservist she is has been chosen as an alternate for Princess Celestia’s Royal Garden Opening. Apparently garden openings require the equivalent of the Blue Angels to show up, but why not, we have no real crime or villains. Right?

After Rainbow Dash leaves, we watch as Rarity teaches the younger impressionable viewers that if you can’t get what you want, “charm” your way to it 😛 She has the delivery pony do a bit of extra work after telling him he’s so..delivery-like basically. I’m not sure what lesson that tells the kids, but again, Rarity caps the scene by saying no one hates a compliment.

Making our way to the Dinner celebrating the..day before the grand opening. There we meet this week’s guest star, who if this were Murder, She Wrote, we’d immediately know was no doubt, the villain of the episode. Rainbow Dash introduces him as Wind Rider, whose appearance is no doubt a call back to the old British Air Men, complete with white scarf. Rainbow Dash, of course, Fan Girls all over him and gets a bit sad she won’t be there to see him take the spot of honor in the air show.

I'm the villain!
Well this pony doesn’t look shifty at all…nope.

As the dinner winds down, the Wonderbolts all head to stay in the palace’s East Tower and we’re given our first clue (though we wouldn’t know that yet) of the evening.

Watching the warm ups, Rainbow Dash is still a bit depressed she won’t be flying when suddenly, Soaring comes over not to confirm Soaring/Dash shipping, but to inform Rainbow that Spitfire, the leader of the Wonderbolts, had to leave due to a message from her mother being ill. She now has the chance to fly! Not all is what it seems as we meet Stormy Flare, Spitfire’s mom, who despite her age, looks as attractive as her daughter. But thats another fanfiction altogether. As the Wonderbolts and Rarity realize the note was fake, acquisitions begin to add up that Rainbow Dash sent the note to ensure she was able to fly with Wind Rider.

pilf
“You know I actually auditioned to BE Spitfire…they wanted someone ‘younger’ *sigh*”

Basic reasoning and deduction does make a very convincing case against her, though Soaring gives her a chance to convince them she didn’t send the letter, lest she be suspended forever from the Wonderbolts! As Rainbow Dash wonders how, we suddenly come to the meat of the episode, and despite the fact we’re almost halfway done with the episode (something both Rainbow and Rarity make mention of “running out of time”) we begin our Noir, complete with Black and White filter, we get Detective Rarity!

costume
Where in the world is Carmen Rarity-Ago? Or ..the secret identity of the Mysterious Mare-Do-Well!?

As the trumpet and piano music plays, Rarity’s internal monologue walks us thorough her thought processes as Rainbow Dash gets impatient. She finds several clues throughout her investigation, all the while paying tribute AND poking fun at the Noir style. From forgetting to NOT speak her internal monologues to some pony with a trumpet that seems to be following them around, the hits fly at a paced but not too quick rate.

We get to another step in the processes she’s using as she uses the tactic on the guards that were keeping watch on the previous night she used on our delivery pony. Paying them compliments and also on several levels making jabs at how the guards are practically set dressing in themselves, she discovers they were distracted by…cake! A cake that was delicious and delivered by an unknown person or persons!

family my ass
“I..REALLLY…would like my own set of episodes, boys…surely you could see it that I could get them?”

Following the clue of how the cake tasted and looked, Rarity’s detective skills reveal the bankery in town and the next clue that is considered the damning evidence in this case. Rainbow all the while plays the impatient more then likely younger viewer’s opinion as she doesn’t get ANY of what’s going on and doesn’t understand Rarity is in fact doing a rather good job on her investigation.

Lets stop for a moment. I’m wondering, why is a Fashion Designer investigating this instead of whatever civil structure might exist in Canterlot? We have Infrastructure, because we’ve seen road workers with jackhammers. We’ve got postal since we see delivery ponies all over the damn place, yet we have NO policing agency it seems.

Stay with me here…

You’d think “Well it’s a world of harmony and everyone gets along” to which I agree..until I realize the very issue that centers this episode, proves that wrong. The issue, the problem, the villain in this case, wasn’t Discord or a monster or even a symbiotic alien hiding in someone’s bloodstream, it’s a pony. An everyday person. If this world is as perfect as it seems, we of course don’t require policing, though as the last four seasons show us, there are more issues then people tend to give it credit for. So why hasn’t any kind of litigation, peace officer, or other such department, in place by now? Your thoughts? Comment below! 😀

Resuming our big reveal, we find Rarity and company back at the practice grounds, where the “AH-HA” moment combined with a touch of Scooby Doo occurs. Rarity lays all of it out on the table and the connection of said dots as it were are best seen for one’s self. We find out that the villain is…GASP…today’s guest star Wind Rider! Worried that his record would be beaten by Rainbow Dash, he set the entire thing up to get Dashie banned for life, thus cementing his place in history!

They gave YOU another episode
“I am perfectly capable of holding a series of episodes on my own!” “Sure you are..”

Eventually and rather quickly, he denies and then quickly admits it since we’re running on like minutes of time left in the episode. Finding out where he sent Spitfire, Rainbow Dash speeds after her, as the credits and the ending of the episode are racing towards them! Returning in time, because she’s Rainbow Dash and Spitfire is..apparently awesome too, we quickly realize that Rainbow Dash is ALSO going to get her just reward as Spitfire strips Wind Rider of his statue and allows HER to take his place! Yay!

We close on a final classic Noir moment monologue, that once again, we find Rarity said aloud, embarrassing her. The credits are also a lovely new sound as it takes the theme of the entire episode and plays it, very soothing.

final rarity
“one day…this will be all over won’t it? Well. Thems the breaks. Just like dolls and your health…nothing lasts forever..”

Overall I give this a 7 out of 10. A lot of references for the loyal viewers, and a lot of revelations about culture and dynamics of the world in whole. It’s always nice to see Spitfire, and her lovely mother was quite a bonus. Rarity’s sudden surge in connected episodes makes me more then happy as well, as she’s slowly becoming a favorite of mine.

Don’t go anywhere, as next up we have…

Made In Manehatten!

Diving right in we realize this is the THIRD Rarity episode in a row, that seems also to connect to the last one! Story Arcs! I love them! Keep it up writers!

We start with Twilight, who no doubt like Tara, is bored with her current situation in the Castle of Friendship (oy) and Spike reading a comic book because Spike obviously didn’t learn his lesson the last time he read one 😛

5 more seasons of this
“You’d think I’d get some rest, but no, not I have to play NOT me in a film AND do this..*sigh*”

Rarity and my favorite Earth Pony Applejack burst in, their flanks vibrating (hmm..) meaning it’s time for a good old fashioned “Friendship Emergency” somewhere in Equestria! Much to Twilight’s sadness, it doens’t include her, as she’s slowly stepped into a position like Celestia, where she is sending people off to take care of issues and…sitting at home.

Off they go, our Odd Couple of ponies, to Manehatten, where Applejack is completely out of her element. Establishing Rarity’s love for the city and AJ’s complete fish out of water complex, we quickly move to a joke I hope won’t be lost on this generation. Rarity’s Advice Booth is a rapid fire joke as it leaves frame quickly though I like to think Mr. Schultz would be proud 🙂

Charliebrown
We miss you, Charles…and Snoopy…and everyone of the gang 🙂

Fate, or in this case, the wind, delivers the problem of finding their…problem to solve as a flyer smacks Rarity in the face. Turns out Coco Pommel from the last Manehatten episode is in desperate need of help with a Shakespeare-in-the-park like showing, the Method Mares!

Guest star
“You don’t suppose this will be the last time I get a role, do you?”

Navigating the streets they make their way to Coco’s and enjoy tea and..some sort of sandwiches, where their host explains the history of the show. Seems that Charity Kindheart (Really?) helped make the event wonderful and successful, and now she’s moved away to be closer to family, and with her leaving, the event isn’t resuming as well. Coco’s rather upset that she’s the only one who seems to care, as everyone else is so busy in the big city with cliches..er..I mean with other things.

So Rarity and AJ set out to recruit, meet Christian Bale from Newsies it seems, Bab’s Mother maybe, and a pony version of the monopoly man. No one seems to have time or the want for such a silly idea, and they return defeated. Coco also mentions that the park needs upkeep as no one’s been doing it!

Wait. Didn’t we just find out there’s infrastructure in Canterlot? Where’s Parks and Rec in Manehatten, by all accounts size wise, the same as Canterlot?

The heck
“You get a Noir and *I* get an episode of Home Improvement Skit? I need a new agent..”

Applejack realizes that’s why the she was chosen for this week’s episode and gets to work basically weeding and picking up Central Park 😮 A comical montage later, Rarity and Coco arrive as AJ nearly loses her sanity to the sheer scope of the job, only to be interrupted by the Method Mares, who apparently pack their own stereotypes as they poke fun at the professionalism of the stage.

As all seems lost, Coco practically gives up..followed by Rarity in suit. AJ’s “Never give up, never surrender” attitude kicks in, the one we saw in the very first episode with Big Mac and having to do ALL the apple trees herself. She proposes a smaller yet finished setting for the play (My Fair Filly..heehee)
As the play starts, our three sit down and watch as a relatively pain free scene starts to play out before them. No one really seems to care immediately, though a passing mother and child stop, interested, and become the first of many to slowly but surely filter in. Nevermind the fact they seem to be sitting in the middle of a street, this is live theater! Ponies gather more and more, most remembering how it used to be before no doubt they grew up and got tangled in jobs and other commitments.

Lets stop right there..and stay with me here this may seem out there…

I think we hit the actual point of this episode in my humble opinion. The entire idea that no matter age, race, creed, or other factor, everyone misses a more simple time in their life. When the simple joy of sitting down and watching something you used to love brings back memories of yesterday. When we remember who we used to be in this busy, networked, social media obsessed world, before we started to get wrapped up in everything that distracted us from that which we loved. Thats the real message here: Don’t forget to slow down and smell the roses.

A rose by
You have not heard Shakespeare until you have heard it in the original Pony, Captain.

The play is a hit, and everyone there congratulates our heroes. A few of the ponies who didn’t have time to help before, now suddenly want to help after realizing that smaller things can help and add up too! Once the problem is solved, our pair’s butts start flashing as the quest finishes and the exp rolls in.

Level up
“You know, this doesn’t feel half bad most of the time..wonder if we could just leave it going?”

Overall I give this one 4 out of 10, it’s a nice Lesson episode, and it’s wonderful to see Applejack again, but overall it feels like a small filler between episodes of story element importance. Though i’d love to find out that Starlight has been doing all these things, creating all these problems like the Evil Leaper in Quantum Leap. Course, I doubt we’ll get there. Next up, when I get a moment, Equestria Girls: The Friendship Games! 😀

Until then,

-Think Tank

Reviews, Commentary & Editorials

image

They are coming as soon as I can find a way to capture screens. My main source is not consistant anymore so im working on finding a dependable video source.

Up on deck weve got Rarity Returns: The Phantom Storyarc also known as “Rarity Investigates”. A stunning look at crime and the exsistance of it in even the most happy of pony worlds. Not to mention a wonderful nod to noir.

After that a third Rarity episode with my favorite earth pony Applejack! We learn that shakesphere in the park is not dead in “Made in Manehatten” We also get to reunite with Coco (the only pony ive seen several people believe is a transgendered pony..which if they were would be landmark)

Rounding out the reviews will be “Equestria Girls: Friendship Games” which despite how happy happy go lucky the title sounds is a rather deep look at how the pursuit of knowledge can be dangerous and a quint way to lay pipe for a spin off series!

Ive already got notes for the episodes and after watching the movie again ill be working on it as well. Though it should be interesting as I have not done a full fledged movie review yet!

Stay tuned!
-Think Tank

MLP Season 5, Episode 14 – Canterlot Boutique Editorial and Commentary

Welcome back fellow pony folk, and welcome to the second half of Season 5 of MLP:FIM! As we countdown to the Equestria Girl’s 3rd movie, lets distract ourselves with a Rarity episode!

Rarity-Contract
“To Rarity … contract…buzz buzz….your very own episode this week!”

We start out at Rarity’s boutique of course, she’s obviously very anxious to get something, as focus isn’t her strong point at the moment. Much like a kid waiting for Santa to arrive, our fashion savvy pony is eager to get something in the mail, but soon receives not the item she wants, but a visit from our very own fourth wall breaking pink pony of potent persuasion and pickled…nevermind, there’s enough of those tongue twisters in the episode, trust me. Pinkie Pie shows up with a gift of both the letter Rarity seeks and an odd new flavor of cupcake: Strawberry-Cinnamon-Cilantro, If you haven’t tried it..don’t as ..I think Pinkie’s the only one in the town that seems to stomach them.

Quickly and with little pace, we force our way to the plot point of the episode, not only is it just a Rarity episode, it’s also taking place in Canterlot! It appears that Rarity has purchased a plot (heh) there and is going to open a sister shop, Canterlot Boutique! It’s at that point we enter the theme song and we all know how that goes. That moment where some of you are looking around making sure no one is seeing what your watching, while some of you are turning it up and proud as punch! Either way, neither one is wrong per say, and we stroll forward into the meat of Act I!

Twilight and the rest of the gang travel to Canterlot, no doubt happy that they have ANY part in this episode, as we are bombarded with information from Twilight on the source of Rarity’s ability to purchase this place. Now, that brings me to a point that’s still in contention as far as I know: WHAT is the basis of currency in this world? We hear the term “Bits” and while it’s a play on several horse themes, we never go into the basics of it. For instance, WHAT is the standard? Is every bit represented by gold or jewels in some way? Hardly possible as Spike and other dragons openly and with little complaint from anyone, eat jewels at regular intervals. Perhaps the currency is based on a more 14th century idea and it’s worth is the same as it represents (I.E. gold coins, silver coins, ect). But, no one really explores that, and I hope someone whose reading this will eventually find out for me 😛

As the crew walks into one of their few group scenes, Rarity is elated at the shop, which does in fact look quick fancy. She goes on to toot her own horn a moment, well deserved, but then she mentions she couldn’t do it without the help of this week’s Monster of the Week her new business partner, Sassy Saddles..who looks like she eats about twice a year. Coupled with her attitude and tone, she’s a walking troupe, which I find sad based on previous installments of the show, we seemed to be moving forward in a direction that made complex ideas and stories possible.

Thats right kids I'm the villain this week
You suppose the horns on unicorns are the same as breasts? Each person’s is different in size? 🙂 Sassy Saddles has this huuuuge horn!

Here, we’re just phoning it in. We’re not even TRYING to hide our antagonist this episode it seems, almost like they really didn’t have a writer do a second read on it.

A quick run-down of Sassy lets us know that she will eventually be what Rarity becomes if she loses sight of what she loved about her craft and worried only about success. Though most of us know this, it takes our heroine most of the episode and a structured song to figure that out. For the most part, despite being told and praised for being a savvy business pony, Rarity has AWFUL judgment for the most part. Back when she “took Manehatten” her generosity nearly cost her the key she was meant to use to open the Plot Device in the final episode that season (You remember, when Lex Luthor..er..Clancy Brown..appeared on My Little Pony? Of for you older fans, the Kurgan 😉 )) and now it seems she’s got the same problem here, though her special talent, and her element, seem to work against her. Honestly, if anyone would be trustworthy, it would have been Coco from that same episode, you’d think she would have jumped at a chance to work in Canterlot? Still..I guess we need new villains?

Rarity quickly starts to fall into the shadow of her new partner, much to the distress of her friends. Pushed out of the way at the grand opening and even during her unveiling of her main line for Canterlot, Rarity shows us that generosity…can sometimes screw you over. BUT…something interesting occurs at the unveiling.

The first three dresses are obvious in their inspiration, and the final one is said to be about Twilight. Casual observation yields similarities of course. The name of the outfit makes me think deeper though. She calls it…The Reign in Stain. The stain referring to the Stain Glass windows that appear randomly after we have a season ending event in the Royal Palace, this one inspired by Twilight turning into a Alicorn (and making us buy a new version of her) and “The Reign” of course is in reference to her current occupation. But…and stay with me on this…

The Rain in Spain is part of a verbal exercise in “My Fair Lady”, when Rex Harrison’s character tries to tell Elisa how to speak proper and lose her horrid accent. The entire point is that Rex’s character has bet he could take anyone and turn them into something they were not, in that case a “Proper” lady from a commoner. So we take from that the basic lesson, and apply it here two fold: The story of how Twilight, a pony who had no place really in Ponyville or making friends at the start of the show, turns into the most unlikely heroine, a princess, an Alicorn, and in some cases, a sorta goofy protagonist. The second application of it could be used to reinforce the overall lesson in this episode, which is don’t try to force a round peg into a square hole, you end up ruining the peg and the hole and then what do you have? Nothing. Course..I could be looking far too deeply into this, though..that IS what I pride myself on doing, finding the deeper meanings. Your thoughts in the comments below are welcome!

Say what
Rarity comes to the horrific realization that Sassy may not be a complicated antagonist at all. She’s just a lesson episode after all!

After her friends leave, since they no doubt have to film re-takes of The Friendship Games, Rarity finds herself swamped with orders, far more then she considered she’d be making. By herself, she starts making hundreds of the same dress, as Sassy Saddles has all but done away with ever other dresses, making the Princess dress (What a catchy name..) the only thing the store seems to sell. Of course, the …shall we call them upper crust..ponies all want it since it’s the latest thing being raved about in..(wait for it..) CosMare magazine.

WTF
Here’s another one of those faces that would be SCARY AS HELL for cookies on Halloween…

After she works her hooves to the bone and fills all the orders, she starts to sing, because, why not? Though this time I’m rather taken by the song structure. Three parts with breaks in it as she realizes the problem and solution to the episode’s rather transparent issues. It’s nice to see progression in terms of characters, even in small doses like that.

On a side note, small doses reminds me, Pinkie’s participation feels completely forced in this episode, I’m not entirely sure how else to put it. Like they needed to fill a minute of time or something?

As Rarity fixes up the dresses all the same, she finds them bland, and counter-Rarity entirely. Sprucing them up with gems and her special form of inspiration, she presents it to the next customer. To her dismay, well both of them really, this pony doesn’t really want alterations, she wants the dress exactly like she ordered it, like the one in ..CosMare. I don’t blame her though, for one thing she, for whatever reason, has a cutie mark that appears to be a pair of Hot Peppers on her ass, and the other is that the customer is of course, always right.

Peppers
See? It looks like peppers! WHAT possible special talent could that be? Mexican cooking?!

The harsh reality of the situation finally settles in on Rarity and hopefully the last of our slower viewers as everyone er everypony in Canterlot is seen in the same dress. Every. Single. Pony, and of course, just like the old saying goes “If everyone’s unique…no one is.”

this sucks
This was a simple episode about being true to one’s own self after all. I’ll never get “Rarity and the City” produced ;_;

So, despite all that, Rarity becomes successful, on the cover of magazines, and every dress in eyesight is her design..and she is absolutely miserable. Be careful what you wish for, kids. Thankfully our lovely marshmallow of a fashion designer knows trouble when she see’s it, and quickly shuts down Sassy Saddles apparent over-zealous attitude, and we quickly notice Sassy is clearly in this for herself, quickly turning a 180 on Rarity when she mentions closing. Pleading with her not to close, the only reason she can come up with is that she can’t be part of another failed store….which of course we don’t get to go into because we seem to be running long in the episode (Maybe if we’d have cut Pinkie? 😉 )

As the going out of business sale begins, we’re greeted with Rarity cleaning out the closets of the store and putting all the other dresses she had made on sale. Unsurprisingly the customers (which includes a pony who suspiciously sounds like Raven from the Teen Titans, who is voiced by Tara Strong by the way, hut in this case is voiced by Pinkie’s actress 🙂 )) horde the store and love what they find in terms of variety, while Rarity is rejuvenated by making everypony unique in their appearance instead of the same hum-drum like they had previous.

raven
The only thing that was missing was Starfire and or Beast Boy annoying this pony! 🙂

As we wind down for the credits, Rarity decides not to shut down the shop, but confesses she never intended to move to Canterlot and meant for Ponyville to be her Headquarters. She leaves Sassy Saddles in charge (despite the fact she tried to basically tried to railroad her at every turn) showing us that Generosity really does pay off, and Rarity can have an exciting…episode.

Overall, I give this a 3. It’s cute and it’s nice to hear Rarity for more then a few background lines, though it feels again like an afterthought from the writing staff. I don’t see where the epic nature of our last episodes went, nor why after a hiatus mid season we’d lead off with this. Hopefully we’ll pick up steam next time!

With that, I leave you with well wishes and best regards,

-Watchfire

P.S.  FAT PONY IS FAT!

fat pony!
Seriously did she eat another pony? This has to be Bicep’s mother?