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?

Sunshineblahblah
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 – Crusaders of the Lost Mark – Editorial & Food for Thought

So here we are with another episode and this time its a heck of a ride. As I’ve watched the series “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”through the years I’ve been witness to its evolution from edutainment to the massive power house that its turned into.

Episodes went from having a lesson to being far far deeper in their addressing issues. From the episode that addresses death (Tanks for the Memories) to hidden gems that address deep psychological issues our mane characters may have (Party of One, Lesson Zero) to the episodes that let us observe elements of the lore we would never see evolve in a normal show (Luna Eclipsed, Slice of Life).

This weeks review is about an episode that is the latter. Its called “Crusaders of the Lost Mark”!

(Those of you reading my previous posts all five of you…will notice I’ve skipped “Brotherhooves Social” This is intentional as I address somewhat touchy subjects and want a read through from a few trusted folks first to ensure I don’t seem offensive. Better safe then sorry! )

We start out with what appears to be a rather deceptive story line involving Pip (you know Pip he’s from Trottingham…and no one else is) wanting the Cutie Mark Crusaders help as his campaign manager. Turns out Pip is running for class president against the only bad apple we know of…Diamond Tiara. At this point we’ve already had a song so the long time viewer will know we’re in for many many more since singing randomly is what we all did just before high school.

Twist-of-Death
“THIS is my episode, shove off!”

This of course also makes one wonder the usefulness of having any democratic process if Equestria already has a monarchy system in place. I don’t recall the peasants voting on anything in what little history I remember of the 1700s.

Quickly we find ourselves moving along at a fast pace…why you ask? Because this 22 minute episode seems to be rushed. It may have been better to make it two parts and ill explain why:

We jump from the class president aspect to how Diamond Tiara is the monster of the week..then we have a curve ball thrown at us when Silver Spoon, Tiaras only “friend” finally has enough of being her Procter and ditches her in front of everyone. Personally I saw this coming a while back…that’s why I’ve got her and rarity in charge of conglomerates in Equestrian City. Its always seemed to me this was destined to start with if you look at Silver Spoons characterization. Though keep in mind the original character sheets were made when Hasbro had no clue how big this show would get or how many cerebral viewers they’d get.

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YOU…are a first class $@#^%!, Diamond Tiara. I say that as an impartial teacher of course..”

Of course Tiara loses by one vote..and all doubt is cast aside on who it was when Silver Spoon admits it was her.

After that little gem we watch as what a great number of us already had figured out unravels in front of us. Diamond Tiara is chastised by her mother in front of others (much like she had been doing to Silver Spoon..see? See how that works? :p) and of course breaks into song to tell us about it. It turns out that Tiara is in fact like so many villains..a product of circumstance. The home environment she was raised in shaped her into hurting others the way she was. I dig that personally.

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So..in a world of friendship and understanding conquers all…there’s some sort of upper and lower class system?

After what feels like one song too many finishes the CMC invite Diamond Tiara to their clubhouse. Most of us internally went “whaaaaat?” Me included. The girls show her how many different ways of finding a cutie mark have failed…and for a moment..we see tiara become a person…a decent person…but then..as ANY good villain would she reverts quickly and denies reality for fear of change.

pip
“Why am *I* the only one with a proper British Accent of note…also…isn’t Rarity typically the one with a cow pattern?”

Pip interrupts the flow and reveals there’s no money in the budget for what he platformed on: playground equipment! Now lets stop for a moment:

I’ve touched a couple times on inconsistencies in how the economy seems to work in Equestria. For a society based on sharing, caring, and friendship…we seem to hit this blockade of “payment please” too often. Most Utopian societies have overcome this issue, best example being Star Trek. I believe it was best summed up in Star Trek: First Contact.

The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. They work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity…

Now you’d think this would some how translate in this ideal world where friendship and the lot prevail every 22 minutes wouldn’t you?

Now…back to the episode.

As soon as Tiara hears this of course she goes stone cold again and rushes back to basically tattle tale on Pip in hopes of ejecting him from office and taking his place.

The girls chase her of course and we break into an inevitable song about how what shes doing is wrong and Tiara responds with her own twisted reasoning until they finally make it to the school!

Cliche like a boss
I believe I speak for most when I say “OH COME ON!” this is a little spoon fed isn’t it?

There we watch as..and oddly enough its a surprise even to me…that Tiara does the right thing! She volunteers to have her father donate money (again where is this money? ) to get the playground up and help Pip instead of being adversarial to him.

This of course drops everyone’s jaw and we watch Tiara transform from antagonist to supporting our protagonists after..you guessed it…another song.

After a rather quick but meaningful moment where she stands up to her mother, tiara takes a back seat in the spotlight when she uses the CMC and their purpose as example of the superior decision shes made.

Just as everything clicks into place for Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and most of our viewers he the most substantial moment so far this season occurs.

As the CMC decide that it was far more enjoyable to help others figure out their purpose a sudden and startling transformation occurs: a brilliant flash of light and several dramatic camera angles reveals to us…wait for it…..

GOD LIGHT
CAN IT BE? No..it … it can’t be!

…all three of the CMC bow have their cutie marks!

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Five Seasons it took us. Not bad though, not bad at all. Though the colors confuse me.

Yes after five seasons of stagnation the inevitable occurred finally! Having found purpose in life now all three of them embrace and of course break into song with a montage of just how many misadventures they had to get to this point plays.

So everything turns out fine for everyone and we end on a high note! (And possibly a new intro card)

SMILE

I myself find this to be wonderful and maybe not for the reasons most do. From a deeper point I find this near landmark for the series in a whole. Why you may ask?

When these characters were invented by Princess Faust so long ago, they were for..well lets call them a different..demographic and style of show. Now as time went on and Hasbro noticed the more mature fans they seemed to go from laughing behind our backs, to utter confusion to final acceptance with a long term plan of revenue return.

At the beginning these characters,much like all cartoon characters of the genre, had no intention of being changed. Why? Because if you change characters too much you lose your audience in this particular demographic. Children do not like change..hell most adults don’t. The very fact we had a major set of characters basic personal journey advance in a show like this is incredible. It shows great advancement in terms of how we as viewers are being treated. You’d never see this with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the 90s. Never. Why? IT was for kids.

This show has evolved closer to being an adult show that kids watch with this step and one more I’ll note in a moment. I find that very hopeful as we reach the six season mark of death that typically hits shows. I’ll be honest the fact that they are slowly closing up story points left open for so long makes me nervous. Most shows do that in the last stretch before cancellation when they KNOW they are being canceled.

The one other element occurs during the wrap up scene with Applebloom and Applejack talking. Applejack finally makes mention of her dead parents and how they would be so proud if they were here. Why is that significant?

Many of you will recall the creator of this generation when she disclosed that Applejack’s parents are dead and furthermore she mentioned that Hasbro would NEVER allow that to be mentioned. No doubt fearing parents having to explain death to the kids (though…you will have to eventually you know? )

The mention of the parents though fate unknown is another step in the right direction. We can hopefully look forward to more progress in terms of maturity in the show. We already had subtle commentary on transgender-ism…but that’s another review.

All in all I’ll give this episode an 8. Losing points only for too many micro songs and wimping out on just coming out and saying the parents are dead. On a personal note destroying an antagonist like Tiara is dangerous..one can only hope that means they have new ones to introduce.

Now onto my next Editorial,

-Think Tank

I would LOVE TO HEAR ANY and ALL comments regarding my thoughts and conclusions, please, by all means sign in or comment 🙂

Reviews, Commentary & Editorials

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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?

MLP S5E12, Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep? Review and Food for Thought

Hello my few but well informed friends! I hope you’ve been all spreading the word about me, I know I have been trying the best I can to expose myself (wait..) to every Pony site that will take me, though if you know one that I could try, tell me! 🙂

This week we’ve got quite a treat, it’s an episode called “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?” and it’s title is a play on a novel by Phillip K. Dick, and also served to the best of my recollection, as the basis for the classic movie “Blade Runner” staring Harrison Ford! Alas, Mr. Ford isn’t in this show, though I’m sure we all wish he was!

The teaser made me laugh, as it feels like a very abridged version of every season finale in the show. We come in at the end of a classic setting for the show, where a villain is about to face down our girls, but this time, has a new super evil form to make a last stand with! This time it’s Princess Luna and she’s turning into … Nightmare Moon! Again.

So we watch the transformation only this time she makes reference to something new, as if IT were powering her transformation. As she morphs into the classic version of Moon, our girls are prepared, as they should be because this is like the third time they’ve had to deal with this. No doubt they need to utter a lesson about self love or friendship of loving your friends self or something like that and then it’s over.

Oddly enough the scene takes a turn, in a couple of ways. Never a type to shy away from promotion, Hasbro takes this moment to show off the Mane 6 powering up into their..well lets call it their super-duper friendship outfits, no doubt a new line of toys, as I can’t see why we’d need to change our outfits, and pose for a moment. The scene is epic as always but rather quick, before Stan Bush can kick in and play them an intro, the scenario turns on it’s head.

Luna, or Nightmare Moon in this case, loses her support from the new entity, and it leaves the realm, letting her get hit by the happy-glow cannon the girls all come equipped with now. Of course without fail, this fixes everything proving that if you want to help someone you need to use force…er well nevermind that, we quickly find out that this is all a dream of Princess Luna, who wakes up in distress as it is supposed to be impossible for her to have a good dream.

OMG
“Thou hath given Us an episode of thine own!?”

After the intro, we end up re-focusing on the Mane 6, who all relate to the fact that none of them had a good sleep. All of them suddenly find out that there was a blue smoke monster of some sort in all their dreams. Not certified to work on dreams, Twilight writes to Luna, who is there in an absurdly short amount of time.

Quickly Luna questions all of them and finds it even more distressing that ALL of them are seeing the monster. She informs them that this creature is meant to plague only her dreams, like a parasite that feeds from her dreams. It’s learned of the other girls from the fact Luna has dreamt of them, finally made the connection and spread like some sort of Dream Infection. Worse still, she goes on to inform them that it’s power is proportional to the number of dreams it’s in, it’s now at least 6 times stronger, and if given enough power, will escape into the real world!

So of course, the girls come up with a plan with Luna, who is no doubt thrilled to have more then three lines in the episode, and set up all of the Mane 6 in one room to sleep. As they all quickly drift off, we reach the meat of the episode. Much like Nightmare of Elm Street, any Dream episode’s real awesome story comes when we go to the dream land and see jus thow screwed up the dreams of our heroes are. If I remember correctly, Ray from Ghostbusters dreamed he was being eaten BY a pizza. But anyway, we see Luna mentally probe into all of them and we start with…

beds
There seems to be a slight disproportion in the size of the beds..so much for equality! 😛

Rarity! Whose dream is, filled with floating dresses reminiscent of a Mary Poppins homage. Quickly she finds it less them pleasing as the entity infects a dress and they all attempt to give Rarity her final fitting! Firing back, we finally see Rarity has the ability to magically defend herself. (Twilight’s quick to blast, Rarity is quick to shield, it’s odd that way..). Luna intervenes and ends up having to chase the entity through the ..er…dream walls into that of ,,,

MONSTER Dress
“Ahh! Killer Dress x_x”

Pinkie Pie! Whose extreme ADHD ensures her dreams landscape switches faster then a impatient parent with a remote control. As Luna hops in, Pinkie finds a moment to center on ..cake! Though we quickly see the entity infect her dream and the cakes start to try and eat her! (Anyone seeing a pattern? I know I did! 😉 ) Luna AoE’s the dream and hops off into a much happier place…

sonicetobethepet
I can’t believe she said that without a censor raising a single eyebrow 😛

Fluttershy’s dream! Now, lets stop for a moment and remember, most of these episodes have hidden meanings in them. No doubt they push the limit much like Animaniacs did.

So, we see Fluttershy shying happily as something brushes her, and we see it’s Angel, and he’s just HUGE. Implications aside, she tops it off by saying quite clearly “It’s so nice to be the pet for once”. Now most of you will know what this may imply, so I’m not going to go into any deep discussion about it. Though I must say, I chuckled internally as I imagined the implications. Though if my memory serves most authors tend to make Rarity the Dominatrix.

notreally
“This is all I get..another Apple Joke and then it’s on to the next scene??”

Anyway! One mutant bunny later, Luna lands inside Applejack’s dream, which oddly enough, is just about her having a huge apple. I found this disappointing, as I imagined AJ having a much wilder side she suppresses. Having her parents die early in her life, I’d assume she missed out quite a bit on fun of all manners when she was forced to grow up fast. Luna blossoms from a tree and continues the chase, this time nearly catching it as it eats the apple and flies into..

batmanbitch
Totally a Batman Homage. I love it!

Rainbow Dash’s realm, which resembles that of a Klingon training program. She’s got her hooves full fighting off Changlings left and right with a series of Batman like moves that make me glad I made her human counterpart a natural hand to hand fighter. Luna lands and makes mention that she may be too late, but Dashie informs her that this is just a normal dream for her, when suddenly…the world morphs into a happy..sunshine filled realm with singing flowers that resemble Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls! THIS of course is her nightmare and she screams. The Princess of the Knight Night dives out and we are glad for that, as we’ve reached our final destination..

organized dream
“Huh..says here that ponies gestate for..12 months? That can’t be right…”

Twilight’s dream! No surprise here, her dream is very organized. In fact it’s a library, where she seems quite happy to study while she dreams. As the entity infects her, the world warps slightly and suddenly, you guessed it, KILLER BOOKS! They attempt to corner and … well I don’t quite know what they could do..maybe flap her to death? Regardless, Luna finally gets the upper hand and captures the entity, only to have it escape and wake everyone up!

Getting over their traumatizing moments, quickly Luna informs them that as long as no one dreams of other ponies aside from them, the entity is trapped among them. Pinkie then informs that her last dream as Luna left was sharing ice cream with..well everyone! Luna’s self loathing not withstanding, Twilight quickly formulates that Princess Luna should use her dream-linking powers to bind every pony to one giant dream (Because, that couldn’t possibly go wrong :P)

hentai

The new plan begins and Luna brings…everypony…to one central dream, including the main cast. The combined dreams every extra, supporting pony and background pony are quick a sight to be seen. Some of the highlights include a HUGE Derpy Muffins oh nevermind she’s always Derpy to me. This large Derpy is no doubt a homage to the Skyrim mod that allows ridable ponies. Derpy is just plain silly in size there too! Lyra and BonBon linked together like a reboot of Cat&Dog, and some sort of version of Big Mac that..I’m still trying to figure out…Alicorn Big Mag?!

WTF did i just see
What is this…I don’t even.. o_o

Turns out Luna can’t defeat the creature AND hold all the dreams together, so, against her pride, she finally breaks down and asks for help from her friends (Golly that sounds like a plot point) to which they respond a resounding “Sure!” (Cuz..Friendship is..well you know the rest..)

As the entity grows more powerful from the exposure to more, it starts to open a tear in sub space the dreamworld to head out and turn the reality of Equestria into a living nightmare! Much like the adventuring kids in Nightmare of Elmstreet (Pick one) the rest of the cast finds out that since it IS a dream, everyone can do what they want! This includes Filthy Rich becoming, a sorta Scrooge McDuck Super hero, Scootaloo growing bigger … wings.. and Big Mac..well I’m still trying to figure that one out.

newcatanddog
Okay this is frightening O_O

The two highlights for me is when Dashie and AJ turn into their Power Ponies personas.( Say that three times fast!). Lets face it, those personas are awesome, and were one of the main driving forces for me to write Equestrian City.

zapp
Hail Zapp!

As everything they throw at it just makes it angry, and Luna starting to wallow in self pity, the baby dragon figures out that it gets stronger when Luna goes a bit emo every now and then. Suddenly she reveals SHE made the entity to punish herself for hurting Equestria all those years ago as Nightmare Moon. She made it to ensure she never forgot, even in slumber, what she did.

aj hero
I love she kept the hat…

The lesson of the story comes barreling at us like a cannonball and Twilight and her friends all reinforce the fact that beating herself up over the past does nothing but keep the wounds sore. The only way to defeat this manifested guilt she’s fighting is to let it go, and try to move on with her life.

guilt is power
Beating yourself up over something seldom solves anything. It just makes your problem..bigger.

This is a very important lesson, I’ll admit. Not many people know how to do this, so it’s important to take a moment and take it all in. That being said, Luna suddenly learns the true meaning of Xmas er..understands what Twilight means and the entity weakens and joins back with Luna, ensuring all the chaos and evil do not make it to reality.

As everyone wakes up, everypony notices Luna asleep, and we get a glimpse into her world, where she is dreaming of..well..being asleep in a wonderful nighttime scene that must be observed for oneself.

sleepy
So once again, the dream is saved thanks to…Friendship?

Overall I give this 7 out of 10. Any episode with Luna being more then set dressing gets a boost automatically, and I grew up with Nightmare on Elmstreet so the dream setting was nice to be back in, this time not one of the CMC learning a lesson we guessed at the start of the show. Bonus points for Dashie and AJ as super heroes, and Derpy was fun too! The overall lesson was NOT shoved down your throat like some so that was pleasant, at least both demographics watching get something out of this all, and that’s all you can hope for.

Let me know what you think about this and all my other posts, I’m still trying to gain more exposure in the pony social circles so don’t forget to facebook and tweet me! Until next time, I leave you with Rainbow Dash, who upon seeing Pinkie showing off her flank, decided to show you all what a real flank was?

rump
Thats not a flank..THATS a flank!

-Watchfire 🙂

MLP, Amending Fences – Review and Food for Thought

Welcome back to another Review here at PonyThinkTank! Before I start I wanted to give a big shout out to ManeFrameRadio (Mane-Frame.Com) who are helping me promote myself a bit more and I the same for them! Great line of relaxing music both for hardcore and casual fans! Check them out when you can!

Now, this week we’ve got “Amending Fences” which upon reading the summary, you’d think would be a small filler episode. You’d be wrong in this case as was I, this is one of the better episodes I’ve ever seen! Why you ask? Well, lets take it slow.

Opening with our teaser, we see Twilight relaxing from the recent events of the last few episodes. I like that we have a sense of time flowing more then we did previous seasons, it adds an element of reality to the setting when you feel invested. Spike comes on and makes mention of having to do the dishes..though why he’s doing the dishes I have no idea. The reason being that all the other Princesses seem to have a compliment of guards and housekeepers for them, while it seems Twilight got the proverbial short end of the stick. Six chairs, a blinking map, and a new castle is apparently all that comes in the Princess Starter Kit.

NeverGetAGoodEpisode
“Well according to this script…I don’t get much to do…AGAIN..”

Through quick explanation, Spike reminds Twilight that it’s rather ironic she’s the Princess of Friendship (which sounds like a bad B-Movie from the 80’s) due to the fact she wasn’t exactly the best friend to have back in Canterlot. This of course reminds Twilight she needs to go apologize to her friends because apparently the moment she learned about Nightmare Moon she ended up just leaving town without so much as saying goodbye to anyone. It also serves to remind the hardcore fans about the pilot episode and the VERY brief moment we saw Twilight’s friends in it and Canterlot Wedding.

We return from our intro song (ya ever wonder if Celestia and Luna get tired of the same picture each week instead of a letter? :P) to a rather…suspiciously inappropriate tower.

FishyAboutThatTower
For a show with a TV-Y, that tower seems…rather suspicious. 😛

Those of you who saw the original cover to Disney’s The Little Mermaid will understand what I mean. Though inside we see the first of many nostalgic shots, the library-tower that was in the pilot, still in it’s state of disarray and even the box that Spike drops is still there! It made me smile that they went to such length to recreate the smaller details, even though as Spike picks up the gift for Moondancer’s party (stay with me there’s more on that later) and it turned out to be a bear, he makes mention that the “rest is still there” in the box. This line prevents the ending from being a cheat, and I admire that.

After Spike makes a list for Twilight (there’s a shock) of her friends since she can’t even remember their NAMES…they make their way to door #1! Behind it we find Minutte, a rather energetic unicorn who has obviously not forgotten Twilight nor bears any ill will In fact she immediately embraces her and asks for a picture with her as no one at work believes she knows her.

Selfie
Spike can’t take a picture well it seems…

Aside from the fact the camera she has Spike use seems..DIGITAL…in the viewer but analog in the exterior, most of this is simply setting up for the next scenes, though I will return to this and other dialogue settings in a moment to expand a point.

A familiar setting of the donut shop from Grand Galloping Gala (The first one) is our next stop down flashback lane, where Minutte, Twinkleshine, and Lemon Hearts (good grief these names are almost oooozing with happy) and Twilight catch up, while Spike has a conversation in the background. Thankfully for all of us, none of the girls seem to take Twilight’s leaving too hard and all laugh at her apology, or the fact she thought she needed to make one. The reason makes me chuckle a bit as they explain they just kind of expected it based on the level of friendship she’d displayed beforehand. Apparently Twilight was so self-engrossed with her studies she wasn’t very attentive to any of her friends. Probably why Celestia sent her to learn about friendship in the first place, same as Sunset Shimmer. (Though we all know how that turned out)

allunicorns
“So yeah…turns out this scene, I don’t even get to face the camera…”

A stroll down memory lane leads them all to Professor Xavier’s er Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. The scene with Twilight talking with Moondancer instantly pulled dusty memories of Bubbles Utonium’s voice (Also done by Tara Strong) since she had to pitch it higher since she was younger. The main draw to me is the fact we see a globe..representing the world no doubt. We see at least two separate land masses, one representing the small Equestria landmass we’ve seen (which resembles the United States I might add) and the other one / ones are still but a mystery! It makes me happy to just postulate over the idea of the other lands!

Globe
A Globe! More geographical references! YAY!

The scene reverts and we learn there was a final missing member (Save Lyra, who we know is in Ponyville from her semi-romantic scene in Slice of Life and other small cameos) and her name is…Moondancer! The girls all try to remember where she is but quickly mention that as things went along, they just lost touch. A very important lesson to anyone growing up with the series..sometimes..you lose touch and lose friends. They make a journey to Moondancer’s last known location.

Upon knocking and striking a pin up pose, it’s quickly discovered that Moondancer is a shut in, and has no friends, instead, committing to a rigorous life of studying..well…EVERYTHING.

Manesixalmost
Just think..somewhere..THIS is our Mane Cast…

As the reality of what her actions caused, Twilight’s guilt overcomes her and after looking at what SHE could have turned out to be (lets be honest, she was nearly there) she makes it a mission to fix her mistake!

So of course the first thing to make things right is to..spy on her for three days. Which along with Spike and Minutte, they do. During the intel gathering, it’s finally revealed to Twilight what happened that day she ran off to go warn Celestia about Nightmare Moon. That small line, that throw away sentence no one thought was anything but filler. Moondancer’s Party. Minutte explains that despite the rest of the girls showing up, Twilight’s absence and subsequent vanishing sent Moondancer down a lonely road of self hating to the point she became the very hermit-pony she is today.

FLASHBACK
Betcha never thought this throw away scene would come back and haunt us, did you?

Now lets pause for a moment as I’d like to discuss something that not everyone would notice of this episode. The dialogue specifically. The lines feel REAL for once, not forced like a lot of the time. It feels like Twilight is actually just talking with her old friends, like Lemonhearts is actually just trying to be helpful when she recalls where Moondancer might be living now. All of it from the construction to the lines to the delivery of them by the voice actresses make this entire episode feel ALIVE. Even later on with Moondancers’s finale, it’s gripping compared to what we’ve been having, and I for one hope it’s going to continue.

Now, the big scene that everyone SHOULD be pondering and thankfully, many of you have, is what I noticed during the scene in the restaurant. While the girls are all trying desperate to relate to Moondancer and try to bridge the friendship they lost, there is an ominous foreshadow in the background. Careful viewers can notice that holding a menu, for a period of time that’s far far beyond normal, is a pony who resembles Starlight Glimmer! IF this is her, this of course is wonderful for a few reasons.

yesthereshis
Upper Left corner. No one looks at a menu that long!

Now..stay with me on this..

One reason is that, as I stated in the premiere this season, Starlight is the best villain we’ve had so far. She didn’t back down, even when her way was shown to be wrong. She tried to outright kill people based on the energy level of the spell Twilight shielded the villagers from. Finally, unlike Sunset, Discord, and every other ‘villain’ we’ve had, (Sirens excluded) she didn’t immediately turn to the light and redeem her self when defeated. Starlight did what any proper card carrying villain should have done..she ran in order to regroup and strike again.

Secondly, it reinforces the evolution the writing is taking. You would never have seen a story-arc that stretched an entire season like this one so far has in say..season 2. I for one, can’t wait to see where this all goes, it’s hopefully moving forward to a more mature audience base. Now back to our episode!

So after several attempts to try and force a fix of the situation, Twilight takes a different approach and calls in Pinkie Pie, who sets into action a plan for a party (Because a party seems to fix everything for some reason, still working on that.) while Twilight starts her end of the plan, namely a re-hash of how Peter Griffen lures James Woods into a trap. “Ooo! A book! Oooo! A Book! Ooo! A Book!” and so on and so fourth.

Oooo candy
Ooo! A Book! ooo! A Book!

The finale of the entire situation begins as all the girls surround Moondancer and try to throw her a party like some sort of forced intervention. Naturally she resists, but for once, it feels real to me for a few reasons. Main reason is the dialogue that is exchanged between Twilight and Moondancer..who explains that when her best friend didn’t show up to the party she threw, a party that she had to get so much courage to throw, it hit her right in the emotional breadbasket. Devastating as that was, the subsequent abandonment she felt when Twilight went off to save the world for four seasons without so much as saying goodbye devastated what was left of her confidence, resulting in what she was today, and why she felt worthless for so long.

breakdown
The emotion that actually is shown in the last act, is remarkable.

Hit with this startling realization, Twilight apologizes again, and accepts the fact that they may never be friends. Pinkie nudges in a few extra helping hooves to show Moondancer that there are a lot of folks that consider her a friend. Moondancer comes to realize she can still have a somewhat normal relationship with her previous and new friends, though it feels a bit rushed. (Granted we were running out of time, maybe we need hour long episodes now?) and we get a final payoff of the very first episode. Spike gives her the present he’s almost five seasons late with. We pull back and realize it’s a picture of all of them together before Twilight left.

There’s some hidden subtext that I honestly think I might be the only one who notices with Twilight and Moondancer. I’m not one to ship characters together, but the emotional outburst and how dramatically and deeply she was scarred makes me feel that Moondancer may be in love, or at least was in love, with Twilight. It’s kind of hard to put into words, it’s more something you see as she interacts with her over the episode. Subtle scornful tones and resentment mixed with hope. Again, my thoughts, love to hear counter arguments or supportive statements.

pictureframespike
Notice the way Moondancer seems far far more interested in Twilight. Not even the book. Twilight.

I’d like to point out something interesting about Twilight’s final solution. She lets go of the idea of forcing the friendship. Which is honestly is rather refreshing since Twilight has this tenancy of using “BE MY FRIEND” far far too aggressively. It shows character growth. People ask me why I like this so called girly series, that’s one of the reasons. You wouldn’t see this kind of emotional and character growth on anything else that’s playing.

Overall I give this an 8 out of 10. It’s dialogue is far superior to what we’re used to, the actual breakdown of Moondancer shows real emotion for once and the possible foreshadow of Starlight Glimmer were more then enough to make this enjoyable. Topped off with an episode that goes back and shows you things you remember seeing but didn’t quite understand the importance of ALWAYS get my attention, usually because I’m the only one noticing them I feel.

Again, love to hear back from everyone, I post this on three areas at the moment, get a lot of hits, but not so many comments. Agree, disagree, say Hi, it makes me feel I might be making a small contribution to the fandom!

I leave you all with a game of Pin the Tail on the Deity!

celestia
Gotta wonder what it says psychologically when you pin a tail on your deity?

-Watchfire