Pony Think Tank takes on “Dance Magic”

 

As the author Equestrian City, it’s no secret I’m partial to Equestria Girls. In my humble opinion, it’s got far more potential for storylines that are relatable to modern issues, not that the MLP show isn’t good at it, but it feels more real.

 

That and it has Sunset Shimmer. 😉 Sunset is by far the most 3 dimensional character they’ve ever made, even more so due to the fact she was, by best I can tell, supposed to be a throwaway character for the one off movie “Equestria Girls”. She turned into something must more, my adoration for her is no real secret either.

 

Each year, it became like a superbowl like wait for that years “Equestria Girls” movie, the best being, again in my own opinion, Rainbow Rocks.

 

So when I heard we were doing three shorts, immediately my hopes of a unlimited series for Equestria Girls soared, as most are aware. The Polish dubbed versions came out to give us a sneak peak, and of course then the English dubs came out, followed by the actual reveal recently on Discovery Family.

 

The first of which, I’ll give my two cents on now, since, well everyone and their brother, sister and mother have already posted theirs, why not me?

 

Dance Magic

 

The title and theme song are, lack luster, but I imagine it will be that way, since it’s really just prototypes.

 

My initial thoughts were “Oh great, they are just doing this one to burn off a song they didn’t use in Friendship Games” and thankfully, it was more amusing than just that. The feeling of familiarity came back immediately as I watched the opening, listening to all the voices I’ve come to love. I was thrilled that we were going to see Rarity do something rather than be window dressing. I’ve always thought she needed more work, thankfully, they seem to be listening recently in the main show 😛 But, I was further overjoyed by the fact that one of the biggest letdowns of the Friendship Games (one of many) was the lack of use of any of the Anti-Mane 6 they worked on hyping up and then barely got any interaction with.

 

This time we get to see Sour Sweet, Lemon Zest, Sugarcoat and Sunny Flare, the analogues to various Mane 6 members. Sunny Flare was nice to see, as she got one line in the movie, and oddly, by the midway point, they felt twice as fleshed out as they did in the 3rd movie.

 

I’m still a bit in the middle about how quickly these girls reform (it seems we’re all about reforming people, if we keep this up we’ll have no villains ;/ ) But, by the time we get to the solution of the problem in a tidy package of 22 minutes, it doesn’t even feel like the dance number (which includes a set of repeated animation, but I can forgive that for this time, it’s all proof of concept it seems for a series “Can we do it” sorta thing)

As the episodes winds down after Pinkie’s rather epic rapping, we come to the conclusion that these four of Crystal Prep are in fact now friends, despite all the hopes some had that they’d return like the Dazzlings might, later.

 

Overall, it’s a lovely episode, feels a bit typical. Here’s something I’ve somewhat noticed having watched them all several times in various languages. Each episode seems to be a audition in a way. This one is a typical MLP-ish episode.

 

  • Problem presented.
  • Solution Given
  • Speedbump.
  • Readjust Solution.
  • Epilogue.
  • Sprinkle in a song somewhere and you’re done.

 

The 2nd one is more an homage to Scooby Doo, although the mystery is really easy to guess, and the third one is trying to compress a movie battle AND a cross over into 22 minutes, which, well I’ll go into that later 😛

 

Anyway, thanks for the read, and by all means, please discuss in a civil way, I LOVE to interact and bounce ideas off.

 

Pony Think Tank takes on “Celestia Advice” and “Bottled Up”

Hello all my new readers, and if they are still here, my old ones! Pony Think Tank today takes on the opening salvo of Season 7! I’ve been on a small hiatus as I work on Equestrian City, which is coming along slowly but solidly I might add, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to take a look at the premiere! This season, we aren’t dealing with a major issue that requires at least two episodes to fix, and I’m not sure if that is entirely good, but we’ll see as we dive head on into “Celestial Advice”

Our cold opening is, surprise surprise, Starlight Glimmer, who seems to be the shifting focus of the series since the writers took Sunset Shimmer’s formula and shoved it into a cookie cutter :P We quickly find that the visual gags are more present than previous seasons so far, which I personally like, with Spike turning his (hair?) into Rarity’s facsimile. We’re then given the fact that we’re not that far off time was since last season, as a party and award ceremony is being planned for the Suicide Squad like team of Discord, Starlight Glimmer, Trixie and Thorax (who if you aren’t familiar with his new appearance, seems to have eat a box of crayons and burped.)

Obviously Thorax needs more color as you can see.

After the cringe worthy intro, we are greeted with the award ceremony where all our team is given the Equestrian Pink Heart of Courage (goodness that is a mouthful). The after party has the newly reformed changeling guests (minus the Queen, thankfully) mingling with the guests, as Twilight and Celestia exchange lines akin to the student has become the master and all that lovely cliche we’ve been hearing in our own heads for a bit.

Not one to be happy about anything for too long, Twilight slowly begins to come to the realization that the lessons she has for her student no longer apply after the writing team seemingly power leveled Starlight to End Game content! Overcome with rapidly sprouting panic, she seeks out her teacher, Celestia, for advice on the matter while Discord seemingly invents a B story for himself, hyping up the announcement Twilight is going to make with gossip and clever manipulation.

Spike’s demeanor is very much attuned to mine personally, each of his lines seems to be for the fans at this moment, most with good humored sarcasm, some with biting cynicism. I approve.

“None of these have me saying more then four or five lines. SPIKE! Bring me the writers!”

As Twilight comes to the conclusion that she needs to follow in Celestia’s footsteps and send HER prize student away, all of which she does without really, any help from Celestia, we come to a chapter break!

Continuing to solve her own problem with the people she has for advice simply watching and, well not really helping per say, we’re given a new spell, this one seems to be a Holodeck spell, where Twilight starts us down the road of my favorite two words: What If?

Arriving at the first stop on what turns into a neurotic spiral into worry, Twilight’s first stop is what if she sends her to the new Changling empire! We quickly find out, based on Twilight’s totally subjective thinking, that the lessons she teaches to the newly reformed critters will be taken in stride and all will be, well, boring and forced. Much like the first and second season.

Just as all seems well, worry hits her and the scenario changes to what seems more likely with a giant hive mind that’s suddenly allowed free thought: mischief.

Snapping out of it we dive into another idea, which to me all sound like story pitches that were flat out rejected, where she’s sent to the dragons and becomes, shall we say, epic friends, with Ember. (You remember her right? We saw her once, everyone free ships with her and Spike, and then we lost her just as quick)

A quick dive into madness and lava later and Twilight is back to square one with her imagination getting the better of her. The final treat we get is what almost seems natural to me, but then again what do I know, in that we send her to the crystal Empire to “study” with Sunburst. This one holds the most interest when a spell goes wrong and they summon a black hole of sorts and everyone seemingly dies. I do enjoy the idea that the spell was to summon something lost in the past, makes one wonder.

So after all that Twilight almost has a break down, and Celestia, as well as the rest of the random I’d imagine, begins to laugh at Twilight.

After explaining she’s not laughing at her she’s laughing…well no she is kind of laughing at her, Celestia sits her former student down and relates that she too had all these years in her head, proving to us Celestia is human after all. So to speak.

“You…actually thought..you’d be the leads forever? Even I was sidelined! Thats hilarious!”

In the interlude, as Discord, in a scene that really seems to me on a subtle level is the rest of the Mane 6 asking each other why they aren’t in this episode, hyped up more around the kingdom until Twilight is greeted with a over anticipated reveal. This seems like the writers again making light of the fact “hey, we’ve really got nothing epic this time out the box.”

“You see girls, you’ve been moved into what they are calling Background Ponies”

 

The rest plays out rather quickly, but it all boils down to the lesson we learn is that, well if You Love Something, let it go. Which is landmark I might add because Celestia is the first in the series to really express the term ‘Love’ in the sense of a deeper emotion and have it mean something.

As the episode winds down, Starlight is thrilled to be graduating, but doesn’t end up leaving the show…I mean the Castle because she doesn’t want to. Thus breaking us from the formula we all thought was destined to happen.

Overall I find this episode is a 5 out of 10. Average. The Celestia section is the only saving grace, as the B story is almost an afterthought. Spike’s overhaul as the straight man is by far more evident this time and is a welcome change from being the comedic foil for the most part. It’s a good start, not a disaster, but there’s room for improvement.

We dive right into episode 2, “Bottled Up”

We’re given another episode where our favorite up and coming ship, StarTrix, opens the show. Greeted by Trixie’s inability to use proper magic, she’s given a quick tip by the one person who knows how to misuse magic, and quickly turns a salt shaker into a teacup. Why? You got me. Still, Trixie’s ability to go overboard with it makes me chuckle as we quickly end up with way way way too many teacups, including a teacup poodle! Full of herself as usual, Trixie annoys Starlight to the point she starts to manifest a dark cloud of..well…dark side energy. Set with the pieces of this episode, we are quickly thrust into the opening song many of us turn down to prevent embarrassment at work ;)

Starlight is not amused!

Coming back from commercial, Starlight and Trixie see our Mane 6 heroes, who seem to be slipping into the backseat of the entire show I might add, off to their Friendship Retreat. Whats a Friendship Retreat you ask? I know I did immediately after it was said, and just as quick, we’re given the explanation most would THINK was the proper one. We find out that’s only half right later on as our two stories divide and our adventure begin!

“Bye, Twilight! We’ll take good care of your show!”

Back at the castle, Trixie and Starlight begin her next lesson, and letting Trixie pick, we find is the worst idea so far. She immediately wants a hard spell: teleportation! Spike, who like the audience, seems to see where this is going, decides to run off before he’s used as the subject of the spell. An interesting point Starlight makes is that her magic is based on her emotions at the time, which just screams Jedi and Sith, but I think is a nice element we can exploit down the road, or later in the episode, as we’ll see.

You have Hate. You have Anger. But you do not USE THEM!

The B story, a little weak as last time, switches us to our Mane 6, who quickly find out the Twilight’s Friendship Retreat is not a Spa, but a locked room that focuses on teamwork far more brain twisting then simply doing the Trust Exercise. The narrative feels at this point, very expedited I might add.

Meanwhile back at the ranch er I mean castle, Trixie eventually goes off half cocked and ends up losing the entire Cutie Map! Thus answering the question how you lose an entire giant magic table many of us were asking after the leaks. Starlight has a minor stroke of course and panics. Quickly becoming upset with Trixie’s ho hum approach, Starlight realizes her anger is manifesting itself in the form of the red cloud. Of course the smartest thing to do is to cast a spell to bottle up her emotion (and we get the title of the episode…ta da!)

Spinning back to the Mane 6 story and the StarTrix story happens far far too quickly again, though it seems only to do so to exploit a transition device as clever as using the last line of the scene to contrast or satirize the opening line of the next. The basic overall plot reveals that Starlight is afraid of losing Trixie as a friend if she doesn’t bottle her anger up, which is why she gets weaker and weaker the more they search for the table in the places Trixie leads to to find. Each successful bottling of the emotion takes it’s toll on Starlight, much like it does in real life, thus and applicable lesson!

“Even THIS comic has better pacing!”

Of course the Mane 6 break into song after they solve their problems, and a very appropriate character tells them the consequences of having broken into song may not have been worth it. I enjoyed that line the most out of the entire episode incidentally.

Back to the StarTrix plot (heh) Trixie eventually notices the magic being bottled up and tries to find out what it’s all about. The ensuing tug of war sends the bottle flying up and down, shattering it and releasing the anger into nearby citizens, all of whom become angry at Trixie for different reasons reflectance of the moments in time Starlight was angry.

“Don’t worry girls, the writers told me next episode *I* have a major part!”

We spiral towards the end of the episode with a quick realization by Starlight that Trixie had no idea how she felt, as she bottled it up inside. Trixie as well admits that as difficult they were to hear, she needed to hear the anger to fully grasp Starlight’s feelings. Again, we use the term ‘Love’ by Trixie to Starlight which let me tell you, probably has the entire shipping world in an overdrive mode. I can hear the lemons being written as I type this. :P

“Did…did you say you Loved me?”

All in all I give this a 5 out of 10. The first thing that stuck out to me was they recycled footage DURING the song that was as even pointed out by the writers, unneeded. I find that concerning. Trixie is fun in moderation, as is Starlight Glimmer, I can only hope we aren’t entirely shifting gears to the next generation to a point we lose our footing on what made the show fun to begin with.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t be shy to make a comment! :D

 

The Death of Celestia and Luna – An Analysis of the future of MLP

 

I propose we may be losing Luna and Celestia soon, and Twilight and Cadance will assume their roles, thus completing a cycle of life that the world of Equestria has had for eons.

DeadCelestia

How did I come to this conclusion? I’ll highlight the elements now:

 

According to all “history” we know of Equestria, Celestia and Luna are “immortal”. Through their teachings, the world molded into one based on cooperation, friendship and understanding. However, during the first few seasons of the show, Twilight is regaled with stories of previous foes Celestia and Luna defeated using the Elements of Harmony together.

 

Two sisters. Together.

Luna and Celestia Discorded

They defeated all the problems in the entire world whenever they arose, is what we’re given as fact.

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Occasionally we hear of Starswirl the Bearded, but no real evidence save the word of Celestia and Luna who are the only living witnesses of that time. For all we know, Starswirl could be an amalgamation of all those that had bit parts to do during these issues?

Stay with me now.

IF in fact previously, thousands and thousands of years worth of troubles were always handled by Celestia and Luna…

Celestia_and_Luna_firing_a_beam_at_King_Sombra_S03E01

why did that tradition change suddenly?

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Why did Celestia take on a student that she pushed, trained, and taught to be a princess, eventually turning into an alicorn and becoming the “Princess of Friendship” ? If ALL the problems of the world had previously been solved with no issue, and Luna was indeed back from her banishment, would there need to be ANY reason she’d need to have a student?

 

We hear only of one other student she took that had any real “potential” and that’s Sunset Shimmer…

apology_accepted__captain_snails_by_mayorlight-d6tyetw

….who went rogue and ran off. She never really talks about what happened, just that she left, and was very upset with Celestia to the point she wanted to return and take the world from her.

Keep going now, this gets more interesting.

I present as the reason this is all happening is that Celestia and Luna are dying, or need to leave for some reason. She’s training her replacements in both Twilight and Cadance.

 

 

I can postulate a few ideas, but one I’ve always had since around season 3 was that Luna and Celestia are not terrestrial to the world called Equestria. Before anyone goes rolling their eyes, let’s examine this for a minute: both Luna and Celestia have powers no one else does, not even Twilight or Cadance can match these powers. Furthermore, we have never heard them speak of their past as young or growing up together prior to being the rulers.

 

In fact, the history of Equestria given to us by local lore is that there were three bands of ponies that hated each other, and only out of desperation did joining forces prove fruitful. Not once is Celestia or Luna mentioned in these lessons. For being the only two rulers in Equestria… EVER… you’d think they’d have had a footnote in the history that retold every year on Hearth Warming Eve.

 

Perhaps they are merely explorers from the stars that ended up there, trapped, and decided to make the best of it, shaping the world into a utopia the best they could with what tools they had at hand.

 

Perhaps..just perhaps…they inadvertently affected the flow of nature order there and as penance they both decided to stay and watch over the world out of guilt or honor? I put forward the basic idea of the Caretaker in the Star Trek Voyager series.

(A decent watch if you have a moment…I own all seasons)

Whatever the reason… TIME… has grown short.

 

That concept in mind I just gave, I propose the reason we’re seeing a sudden change in the way things are (Twilight, Cadance, ect) is that Luna and Celestia are not in fact, immortal. They have very long lifespans compared to others, but still, are in fact, dying. They then know that they have little time before their time in the light passes, and Celestia begins to train replacements for when the time comes they cannot serve in the capacity anymore, rather then let the world die. Perhaps they simply think it’s their duty now, after having shaped the world, that they leave it with some level of similar leadership, leadership and lessons they instill in Twilight and Cadance.

 

No doubt, somehow towards the end, Twilight and Cadance will be given longer lifespans via magic, that in turn finishes off Celestia and Luna. A symbolic, final gesture by the twin gods of the world.

 

Now, that all being said, this occurrence would be but part of the circle of life on the world. Maybe… just maybe…this is the way it’s always been, in a historical sense.Luna and Celestia…

Celestia_and_Luna_form_a_Yin_and_Yang-like_symbol_S1E01

two “sisters” who govern the world and have long life spans could easily… easily be turned into two others that do it.

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Twilight and Cadance would in fact outlive their friends, leaving them to continue on as Luna and Celestia did. In time, as time does, history would forget things, stories would change as they are passed down, seeing as there’s no computer records, in the end, all they have is written word and storytelling.

 

The story, of two “sisters”, who are “immortal” with fantastic powers, who live up to the highest standards of friendship, and expect the world to do just that as well, through their teachings. Teachings that are no doubt bestowed on by various students they both teach. Students that, with each time they teach them, they hope to find what Celestia and Luna found in them: the right person to finally take their place, and let them rest, as did their predecessors.

 

The world would still have it’s two rulers, and all the basic texts would be true if read without question for the most part. No one tends to question the past, or makes a point to reiterate the idea that history is really only written by those that survive it.

 

So we come back to this full circle, that closes, when Princess Twilight and Princess Cadance, the two sisters, find their replacements, and bestow upon them the same gift… or curse… that was given to them.

 

Now, if you’re still with me, let’s wrap this up in a nice little bow:

 

Most, if not all “animated” movies of series are done for the primary reason to tell a story you cannot or would not be able to tell in the span of a regular episode. The 1986 Transformers movie is a good example, as is the G.I. Joe movie of the same decade… both Hasbro I might add.

 

We’ve watched as Twilight has ascended her position as the Princess of Friendship, and now, with the help of her friends, she’s fleshing out and expanding her exposure from the little town of Ponyville to both sides of the Equestrian Map. Learning the lay of the land, and learning of the different cultures, making contacts, fixing problems, exposing her presence to a population that may not entirely be aware of her, but are aware of Celestia.

 

Now that she’s done that, we come to a movie, a movie where no doubt something monumental is supposed to happen, because otherwise, it would have just been another episode.

 

Transformers had the death of Optimus Prime to bring in a new toy line.

G.I. Joe has the “death” of Duke (who was in a coma thanks to ADR after the Fallout from Optimus Prime kicked Hasbro in the marketing breadbasket)

and now…

I propose, as said originally, the My Little Pony Movie… will have the death or departure of Luna and Celestia with Twilight and Cadance taking over their positions, and Starlight and the new characters we’re meeting in this latest season, assuming the roles they had.

 

After mulling this over with various fans in a chat, I seem to have most of them interested in the idea being right, some even feared I was right and told me to stop telling them my idea.

 

Either way, I think we’re heading towards something we may not be ready for, or wanting: the end of an era in the MLP fandom. Hopefully they’ll see an ending as a beginning and give the mature fandom base a bone and make a series geared towards us with the girls, but that would make too much sense 😛

 

Thoughts? Love to hear ’em!

 

Thanks to Rivet Rose, Silver Arrow and iPone for their input and 360 degree feedback during my initial theory crafting session that led to this 🙂

MLP Season 6 “The Gift of The Maud Pie” Analysis

 

Hello out there in Ponyland! It’s that time again, and straight out of the box we get a Pinkie Pie episode with fan favorite Maud Pie and Rarity! Let’s not waste anytime and dive right in! A small heads up, I’ve noticed that Rule 34 pictures per episode are rapidly appearing quicker and quicker, so almost like an Easter egg, I’ll have a NSFW link somewhere in the article the picture is related to. I do not HOST the image, but I find the satire and humor in it, nor are you required to look at it, and it’s labeled 🙂

Now, on with the show!

This episode is a quick overall look at the character that’s taken the fandom by storm: Maud Pie. To say anything else is really given in regards to this episode would be a disservice as while it is a fluff piece, it’s one that’s wonderful!

Rarity is going back to Manehatten to find a new branch for her ever expanding businesses (Which oddly enough, is what she does in my fiction series Equestrian City, spooky) and Pinkie Pie is traveling with her to have a special day with Maud, who’s there getting her… wait for it… her Rockterite 😛 Bad puns aside, it’s a wonderful little ride with little to no real plot specific points to worry about.

Screenshot_2016-04-05-18-03-27
This guy with the Shamrocks..is everywhere. WTF?

I’m not really upset about this, despite some believing I’m a bit jaded in my analysis, I still enjoy a fun little adventure that doesn’t need a massive cliffhanger or implication. It is after all, supposed to be fun.

I will give proper reference to the fact we get a much better shot of Manehatten, despite the fact that we still don’t quite get a clear idea of just who this world’s Statue of Liberty is (I’d like to think Celestia, but I just don’t see it, do you?)

Screenshot_2016-04-05-17-34-10
Honestly it looks more like a grown up Sweetie Belle. Incidentally, no one wears horseshoes, yet we use them ALOT.

 

Another point we see is that wonderful overview of the city map as our cast moves from place to place sightseeing. Being a technical loving fool I am, I enjoyed rewinding and examining the various little things I saw and what the civic layout involved in a larger city then Ponyville. We are treated to a scene involving a Police Pony who has..hoof-cuffs..and that does open a lot of questions in terms of crime vs population density, but that’s another article altogether if we go back (which I’m sure we will!)

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Yet no nightstick or pepper spray. Do they just ask nicely to handcuff them? 😛

 

The final and most important issue we address is Pinkie’s ability to break the fourth wall, and the question is partially answered as Maud has to fix the problem of the episode (mainly Pinkie giving up her party cannon for a present for Maud. The overall lesson is the same in The Gift of The Magi (credit goes to Kestrel for this reference; published in 1905, the lesson still holds true today.)  Maud displays the ability, though with deadpan delivery, to defy physics and seemingly display cartoon like power to confront the issue with a pony, who seems to remind me of Steve Buscemi, and resolve the issue. On slightly related note, it didn’t take MarsMiner (An artist I admire) to pop out a Rule 34 picture for this episode. (NSFW Look at your own risk)

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“I loved you in Reservoir Dogs!”

I give this episode a 5 out of 10. The story itself, while classic, has been done before, though it’s much more amusing with our cast I’ll admit. Giving it a “average” is not so much a slap then a nod, as at this juncture, we’ve already established that each episode in recent memory has been excellent. This one maintains that direction. As previously stated, it’s a fun little fluff piece that has little to do with long term plot or story arc, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that..well..it’s a FUN LITTLE FLUFF PIECE! 🙂 Not to mention it’s got Rarity and Pinkie, seldom do we see them together and Maud is just a bonus in this case.

Until next time,

-Malcontent

MLP Season 6 Premiere “The Crystalling” – Analysis

Well it seems season 6 isn’t as bad as I’d anticipated,  and thank Celestia for that! Welcome to episode 1 and 2 analysis!

Another shout out and thank you to Kestrel for a once over and some input on my article! 🙂

As we proceed into our teaser opening, we are greeting with a bewildered Starlight Glimmer, who as many of us guessed, has become this world’s Sunset Shimmer (aka the reformed villain trope) and now appears to be part of the show.

Normally I’d be against this, but in this case I approve. Why, you may ask? At this juncture we have been at this for 6 odd years and need to have an “everyman”, a Winston to our show. Someone to help new and returning viewers understand what’s going on without having to just spoon feed you by telling characters about something. Honestly they should know just so you can know. (Like why Spike has that statue for instance) it’s also nice that she’s not just suddenly forced on us like something one new recruit of some sort JUST to be that hat device. She was a lovely villain previous season and we do hate to waste good material. 😉

Lost in a giant castle that no doubt stands for her lost wandering in this new world of friendship, Starlight is of course Twilight’s pupil who she will now pass on her knowledge of friendship to and then become one with the force. Or something like that.

Twilight_Sparkle_and_Spike_in_Star_War_by_artist-johnjoseco

This is of course much better than the alternative which is banishment or getting locked in the dungeon at the mercy of those guard ponies. Those of you from rule 34 know what picture I refer to..those of you who don’t let’s move on 😉d147ec6d9f814526cf8b3dfe03dcfbb4

Last season I made a bullet point concerning how well designed Starlight was in terms of motivation as a villain and how they carry on with this in a subtle way. We find out the friend she lost is for whatever reason is now in the Crystal Empire. By now we all know where this is heading as most of us (not I) watched that teaser trailer about 6000 times so we know the B story is going to be about the new baby (they had sex!) in the same setting.

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As the a and b stories collide, we end up finding out that there’s a special ceremony that needs to be performed for the new baby, who we haven’t named yet. As the entire main cast rides via train to the Crystal Empire, we see Starlight is unsurprisingly apprehensive at meeting Sunburst. She has of course built him up in her mind to be a great and powerful wizard ever without any real rational or logical data to base this on. That should be fun when we meet him.

Before we reach that epic moment that will make you want to call it MLP90210, we are greeted with Shining Armor no doubt happy to be back to work after a long break. He is exhausted as expected as any new parent will tell you happens with a new baby!

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(Lovely gem brought to you by MarsMiner! Click for more!)

Sadly, we missed the birth but there’s always next time. A few more parenting jokes later, we find out the two story elements are splitting off. Spike, who has apparently been promoted from Humdrum to semi-important-sidekick takes Starlight to go find Sunburst. Given a precise list by Twilight that’s as long and detailed in only a way our OCD princess could make and sent on their way.

As thought Starlight is in shock as Spike has a statue and is quite frankly the Davy Crockett of the kingdom. Starlight uses this to delay the meeting as well as give us another small pipe laying moment for new viewers. Might also be a way for the writing to to say “no we don’t pick on Spike that bad… just look what we had him do” and to a degree…I’d agree. 🙂

 

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Those eyes…they just seem to follow you..

Back to the main cast, we meet the baby and it’s just cute…and… an alicorn! Apparently that’s an anomaly since alicorns are made not born (which seems to promote the idea that you’re not special until you make yourself special? ) after a pony does something of high caliber princess-like achievers  (say… completing an old spell). This does beg to ask what did Cadence do? She’s already an alicorn in the season 2 flashback when she’s twilight’s babysitter. Did they tighten up guidelines after Cadance?

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Sunshine sunshine ladybugs…well you know the rest.

Pinkie also seems to have a clause in her contract that lets her off with light work this premiere as we see her only with the baby and then only for comedic brief effect. 🙂

Flopping back to Starlight we see the inevitable meeting between two lost friends. Its as awkward as telling your co-workers you’re writing a mlp review. He seems to be socially awkward and a shut-in much like Twilight was. This began to send my gears spinning with this:

Let’s stop a moment and take a considerably chilling moment to think about things.

Are all the new characters a precursor for a new line of toys? Will Celestia die and pass on the Alicorn matrix of leadership to Twilight Alicorn and let Starlight and the new generation of toys take the show over? Those of you transformer fans know what I mean.

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The few lines we get with the two also seem to make me think that her rejection she felt was possibly misplaced love the way things start to go and Starlight turns into Ally McPony.

We dance around the two of them for a minute more and then just as quickly, we end up back with the main cast for the next issue at hand. The Crystalling (Which sounds remarkably like a Stephen King novel or a M.Night Movie) needs to get underway, and sleep deprived Shining Armor is having all sorts of issues with rational decisions. The help of the girls makes it easier as he’s about to have a nervous breakdown and he picks his honor guard and the crystal for the ceremony.

Pinkie and Twilight are in a losing battle with the baby, who is flying and firing random magic bolts with no real sense of responsibility. Even Pinkie can’t hold onto the little critter and she’s practically a Q. Joining Shining Armor, all the cast brings the child to begin the ceremony at the Crystal Heart, when suddenly the overcharged infant unleashes a random magic sound wave that shatters the Heart into thousands of pieces, bringing the shield down that’s holding the never ending storm outside at bay.

OH NO
Now I thought it would have been nice to see Sombra return somehow 🙂

A brief credit sequence later with what sounds like music from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and we’re back with a quick recap.

As Rainbow Dash offers to fix the weather, which most of us immediately thought of, Celestia, in a remarkable show of participation in the episode, stops her. It turns out the weather in that area has a will of it’s own, in other words it’s normal, and you can’t fight nature. As Twilight and the rest go to find a spell to fix what the baby broke, we finally get to see Celestia and Luna hold off the snow storm as long as they can. I for one loved to finally hear more than one statement from them for an entire episode, and we even get to see them using their magic other than in terms of an alarm clock. (Though that does make me wonder, who’s raising the moon and sun while they are up here? )

The rapid onset of snow and freezing winds ramps up the urgency to find something in the library in the Crystal Empire. The baby again becomes the main issue as Shining and Pinkie chase it around as Cadance and Twilight with Rarity search frantically for a quick fix.

After all, we only have about ten minutes left.

Suddenly, the Princesses find the PLOT device, or rather, the book that will help them rebuild the Heart. No doubt it involves hugging and saying something about friendship, right? Before we can really consider that, a deflected baby blast burrows a big ol’ hole into the book! Having only a quick moment to read it previously, Twilight isn’t entirely sure she can cast it from memory. Though when Sunburst is mentioned, we get another clue about him when Cadance remarks she doesn’t know the name, but decides it’s best to bring him as well as Starlight has been talking him up to everyone there.

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Yes this is our unlikely hero! Really? Yup. Really 😛

Off Starlight goes as the timer ticks down to fix this before that darn Petshop show with Rainbow Dash starts! She confronts and discusses with Sunburst the situation at hoof, practically begging him to return with her, and still, he’s hesitant. In fact, he seems to WANT to help, but doesn’t seem to be ABLE to, going so far as to say so.

Finally, there’s a revelation after she presses him again: he declares he’s not even a wizard. We’re treated with few answers, but it seems he didn’t quite make it in Magic Camp, and 1became more of a researcher and achiever than a full fledged wizard. Sunburst practically resents STARLIGHT and that hits her in the emotional breadbasket, and she snaps! She blurts out what happened to HER because of HIM. A brief pause and comedic beat occurs and she finds out as do we, that he’s far more interested that she traveled in time then made a small socialist state in the middle of nowhere.

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Regardless, he suddenly has his moment and realizes that he DOES know what to do, and grabs a hoofful of books to verify it before running to tell the princesses. Meanwhile, Luna and Celestia are overcome by the forces of nature and retreat, as does Rainbow Dash who, in a nice twist, loses the ability to fly for a time when ice covers her wings. As they all turn tail and run to the train, Starlight, Spike and Sunburst meet them and tells them he has the solution!

A quick assessment of the situation at the shattered heart reveals that since the relic is so old it needs more than a run of the mill spell, it needs a combination of spells all combined at once. Much like one does to summon Captain Planet I assume. The entire procedure works, the heart is restored and the shield restored! The most epic thing I can think at the moment was we didn’t have to hug, sing a song and then say Friendship is Magic in order to fix the main issue! Hurrah!

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After a celebratory scene, we finally see Mom and Dad Sparkle! (Tara does her mother’s voice too 😉 ) and we finally find out what we’re going to call the baby: Flurry Heart! (You know, to remember the occasion?)

As the episode winds down, Starlight and Sunburst say goodbye and lay the pipe for all the shipping and erotica you can shake a stick at! No doubt we’ll see more of them! Twilight and Spike have a heart to heart about her teaching ability, Spike has the insight that she’s doing exactly what Celestia did for her, not holding her hoof through it all, but trusting in her to make the decisions proper. (Or else you become Sunset Shimmer).

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What needs to happen now, is that she IS rejected. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Though it probably will.

 

Finally, we leave the Crystal Empire via train, and for whatever reason, foreshadowing or just a silly moment, we see a Changeling flying towards the Empire in the background. Can’t wait to see where that’s going. 😉

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The Truth is Out There! Or..turns out this whole time we have had the wrong Cadance! There’s a good twist!

 

All in all I give this episode a 7 out of 10. It proudly presents itself in a way that’s not overly cliché but still reminds you why you fell in love with every character in the first place. It loses points for how jammed the storyline feels as we have at least 2 more ponies to try and give a problem to and have them fix it. It gains a bit more back by having the more organic and real feel then most previous episodes as well, so we’ll have to see. I just hope I’m wrong about the phasing out of the last generation to make way for the new one….you know a kid actually locked himself in his room and refused to eat or come out once they killed Optimus Prime? Be mindful, Hasbro.

 

Until Next time, my friends!

-Malcontent (one day I’ll pick a name :P)

 

 

MLP Season 5 Analysis

Hello my followers, all four of you! 😛

I’ve been silent for a bit as I work on Equestrian City and The Clopping Dead, but I’m not dead, nor am I going anywhere.

I’ve decided to change format a bit after a rather insightful fan told me I’m less of a reviewer and more of… an analyst. So that’s where we’ll be going from now on in terms of titles. Pony Analyst! 🙂 No name changes or anything, just the article headers will change slightly.

In the meantime, as the clock ticks down to the season premiere of our 6th round of pony goodness and we eagerly (well I do) wait for EqG 4, I’ve decided to give a small update and a few passing notes about our last season.

A HUGE thank you to my newest pony friend, Kestrel, for their thoughts and editing expertise! I hope to continue to work with them as I move forward!

The last season gave us some wonderful things, it had a proper villain for once (Starlight Glimmer) and for the most part our episodes were not cringe-worthy in terms of spoon fed lessons and too many musical numbers. The one thing that set it apart is unfortunately the one thing that broke the pace a bit for me as a viewer and I’ll go into that briefly.

Those of you who read me know that I’ve done a rundown of the villains of the series and have noted the growth writing wise each antagonist we get goes through. Discord is not equal to Nightmare Moon nor is Sunset Shimmer equal to Starlight Glimmer. Each was a step, or version, of improvement.

So first and foremost let’s get Starlight out of the way. I said at the beginning I was rather impressed with her as a character. For once we had a villain, a true card carrying villain that was NOT above trying to kill our protagonists. She tries several times but fails, and in true fashion, runs to fight another day.

Sunset was a prototype it seems, with The Dazzlings being the basic character improvement before the final mold that gave us Starlight Glimmer. She was near perfect in her construction as an antagonist it was making me delightfully giddy that we would have a real showdown at the end of the season.

BEST VILLAIN
See? Completely in the zone and very determined she is in the right. AWESOME villain.

Reasons? Here’s a few:

  • She’s got motivation, real 3 dimensional motivation that unlike previous baddies she doesn’t spill immediately so we can just fix her. A real villain doesn’t sit and tell you why they are they way they are because…THEY DON’T THINK THEY ARE WRONG! They shouldn’t have to explain themselves… and she doesn’t.
  • Secondly, she’s the one offended in the exchange, at least from her point of view. She’s the one, from her perspective who’s been wronged and is merely trying to make things even again and punish those responsible.

These things made her a wonderful arch nemesis for Twilight, whose increasingly passive aggressive assault during the seasons as grating on my nerves personally, and let’s be honest, it was becoming far too formulaic.

Then came the final episode, and immediately before the end of the first part I literally felt like Marty McFly when I sat up and said “She stole my idea!” and laughed out loud.

Starlight’s final point is that she actually had a long term plan as opposed to one that could be destroyed in 22 minutes like some unnamed villains. The most effective idea to destroy someone as powerfully connected magically, politically and friendship-ily… as Twilight would not be a frontal assault like Discord or Clancy Brown tried. It would be to go back in the past and stop her from even becoming friends with her Power Ranger-like cadre of ponies in the first place!

As simple as this is, I’m surprised it took them this long to pop this idea into the storylines.

As the episode plays on, we find out that no matter what Twilight tries, she ends up in a endless circle of a time loop (at which point those of us who watched Friendship Games go “Ohhhh! “ and slap our heads) and she and Starlight seem to be destined to dance the tango of eternity.

However, after a lot of fanservice via the possible futures we see, one or two I personally like, we come to the meat of a villain: WHY? Why are you so grumpy?

It’s at this point I became entirely entranced at the story Starlight told us, like Mr. Freeze telling us his reasons, I felt entirely taken in by her short, but effective, flashback. Those of you who haven’t seen it… first, why are you reading this and two, long story short: the only friend she had as a child got his cutie mark but she didn’t, and it drove a wedge between the two of them. Naturally, logic suggested to her in her state of emotional distress that isolation was the immediate solution, so never to be hurt again.

Cutie Mark Reason
A super villain is born!

After a while, she came to the conclusion it wasn’t entire possible to stay alone, so she formed a brilliant plan: a world where everyone is equal. No bad feelings. No one has to leave, no one ever hurts you again, or anyone else, due to cutie marks.

Ever.

Let’s stop for a moment. I want to make a point about what this episode says on a deeper level. The point we don’t entirely see because of the happy ending we’re forced with at the conclusion is one I’ve made several times. Cutie marks can be just as much of a blight as a blessing. They skimmed and dodged with that cheat in The Cutie Mark Crusaders’ episode so none of the girls would have to turn on each other, but this is the clear cut issue that happens a lot more than we’re observing in the world I’m willing to bet.

The cutie mark is shown to us to be what every pony yearns for, what everyone wants and what makes them special. We are never, until this moment, subjected to the darker and more grim reality of the mark: who it leaves behind. The parents that take Starlight’s friend from her took into no consideration how it would affect others (if you can trust the narrator) and just shipped him off to Canterlot.

I for one applaud this rather blunt and breakthrough episode that shows us not everything is happy-happy-joy-joy in this land.

Remember, the brighter the picture, the darker the negative.

Now, as we close to the end of the season’s last episode, we have the epic showdown between Starlight and Twilight (and her companion HumDrum… er… Spike). There’s a long winded lesson in reality BOTH parties present to each other.  Both, honestly, make sense and make for great back and forth… great conflict is sure to come for years between these two!

Then, the writing team takes out a lighter and sets the entire concept on fire, turning it to ash in front of our very eyes. Starlight has a sudden change of heart, one that makes this analyst turn his head up and literally plant their head on their desk in frustration. A perfectly good, possible LONG TERM villain, and we go and destroy it ALL. ALL of it.

and we puss out
After an entire season of build-up, they end up holding hands and hugging! *Facedesk*

That is why I say that overall, Starlight Glimmer was both a success… and a failure. She succeeded in being the latest version of a villain that our characters fight and provides a REAL genuine threat. She, however, fails not as much to her fault more than likely a need to pull a punch by the writing team or Hasbro, as she stumbles and falls into the hole that is “All Villains Can Be Reformed” cliché Purgatory.

 

As a series, we HAVE been growing, but the show honestly needs to grow up a bit faster. I can hear all sorts of reasons, and in fact have on Twitter, why we can’t.

Oh, it’s a kids show”

Well partially it is, but Hasbro has shown and acknowledged the more mature of us as being part of their income. Lets not forget the Y Rating has been removed as well, another step towards progress.

Oh, they can’t do that, what would the children think?”

Honestly, I think our latest generation of children COULD do with a nice dose of reality in the early years. Not ALL the time, but to shield them from negativity altogether? The idea that everyone’s nice on the inside, you just have to try? That’s dangerous to preach. Why? BECAUSE THEY AREN’T! History is full of examples to back that up.

All in all, the last episode I give a 8 out of 10.

Points lost for the cop-out at the end and the fact there’s very little of the other girls in it, save bit parts.All in all, the overall product is an improvement on previous. Just watch Season 2 and compare it to five and you’ll see evolution in maturity and the way the characters are written. I for one do hope the writers keep going forward with complexity and depth with their newest season! We’ll just have to see 😉