CloudMistDragon

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  1. I decided to give my least popular G4 Sombra theory that has been trounced popularity-wise by my G5 theory some support. This expands on the part of my theory about the possibility of him being sealed in the moon. https://www.deviantart.com/cloudmistdragon/art/King-Sombra-in-the-Moon-Theory-Expansion-908613377 Prelude I was honestly pleasantly surprised by my theory about King Sombra possibly returning for G5 getting more attention than I expected, more than triple the viewership of the theory preceding it, King Sombra Was Always There. I suppose it’s not too stunning once I consider that my last G4 Sombra theory came out close to the fall of 2020, when there was hardly any G4 hype or Sombra discussion going on, while my G5 Sombra theory came out only a little over a month after the G5 movie’s release when speculation about Sombra in G5 was relatively popular. It became even more popular earlier this year once a toy of Sunny Starscout was teased with Sombra’s name in the description. However, that’s not what this discussion concerns, and not just because MLP toys have been known to tease things that never actually happened. My opinion on the tease is not strong one way or the other anyway. This writing of mine concerns my response to what not one, but two fans of my theories have told me. This is where my last G4 Sombra theory, which I will expand upon here, comes into play. These fans are both friends of mine. The first one has been a longtime friend of mine who enjoyed my G5 theory but was insistent on countering a claim in my last G4 theory. The other is a friend I have not known for anywhere near as long but is more into my theories and stuff about Sombra in general. He even shared with me his own theory about how Sombra’s story in the Transformers crossover actually is canon in spite of all the insistence that it’s not canon because of how the Season 10 comic’s ending of Chrysalis being freed could be the explanation for how she’s free in that crossover, also citing Jeremy Whitley’s description of the S10 comic as the primary canon now. Needless to say, he believes that Sombra returned from ashes, meaning he’d be opposed to the idea of Sombra being banished to the moon. Likewise, that claim my other friend was arguing against was that the image of the pony on the moon was actually Sombra and not Nightmare Moon. I still feel that there is a good possibility that Sombra was actually sealed in the moon when he was defeated, but I’m always open to hearing someone else’s point of view. The key points in the counter to my claim were assertions that the eye and horn didn’t match, I duly noted. Even though I affirmed what I clearly stated in the theory that only Sombra has something trailing from his eyes and horned headgear, I have it ingrained in me to not take a disagreement personally or act as such. The eye and the horn don’t resemble Sombra’s at first, touché. Back when this friend of mine rebutted me, however, I was only arguing off the top of my head with the facts I had memorized. I had also, at that point, only done comparisons to the image on the moon with images of Nightmare Moon and Sombra that were either full-body images or pictures of their heads. Now, I have done side-by-side comparisons with the features of the pony’s image on the moon to every single feature of Nightmare Moon and Sombra also shown on said image. And guess what? I believe it’s Sombra’s image more now? No. I believe it’s Sombra’s image a lot more now. I am going to show everything I have reviewed with both a visual example and a written explanation of what matches up and what doesn’t so that everyone can follow along. Admittedly, most of this took me some time to catch even as I did come back to review the image of the pony on the moon every so often. However, if you can somehow tell me that you can’t see any similarities between the image of the pony on the moon to Sombra after this, I can’t help you. This breakdown will begin with comparisons between the image of the pony on the moon’s eye to Nightmare Moon’s eye and Sombra’s eye and end with comparisons between the horn in said image to Nightmare Moon’s horn and Sombra’s horn. Eye Although Nightmare Moon’s eye would initially seem to be a better match with its shape and natural curve, both the shape and curve are not unique to her at all. In fact, they are most easily replicated by Sombra right before he is defeated. We don’t see his right eye in the original image, but flipping the left eye and rotating it at the right angle where his right eye would be yields a match. Also take note of how the eye lacks Nightmare Moon’s eyelashes yet still has Sombra’s haze trailing from it like I’ve already pointed out in the past. I’ve also pointed out in the past the similarity between the pose and his pose when he was last defeated, and now we see yet another similarity between this eye and his eye when he was last defeated. This is coincidence, how? Side Curve Just below the pony’s eye is a curve. While Nightmare Moon’s helmet has a curve close to her eye, it’s a short and small one preceding a curve that goes down towards her neck before looping back up. No such pattern is found on this pony’s image, the shape better matches the shape of the curve on Sombra’s face, only going right in the direction of his mouth. Hair and Headgear When Nightmare Moon was sent to the moon, hair did not appear on her visage in the moon. Remember that for later while we compare the hair. Nightmare Moon’s mane is quite long, going over her head. This pony’s mane, however, is short, only goes back, and has horn-like shapes in it. A shape resembling the center part of Sombra’s headpiece can also be seen. The issue of Nightmare Moon’s helmet, which I’ve already discussed, remains too. I said then that it covered everything except her horn regarding the horned headgear, but didn’t mention then that the helmet also leaves her ears exposed. This image shows no ears, which Sombra’s headgear does cover. The helmet also goes down to her snout, ending in a shape not seen here. Rather, we see V-like shapes belonging to the muzzle of Sombra in his pre-Season 9 appearances. Armor On the subject of V-like shapes, this is the key part of why the pony on the moon’s armor matches up better with Sombra than Nightmare Moon. The lines that contort into V-like shapes are only present on Sombra’s armor, not Nightmare Moon’s. This pony also lacks Nightmare Moon’s chest piece that bears an insignia of the moon, a chest piece that doesn’t even cover her entire chest. This pony’s armor covers both its chest and neck. The armor on the pony’s hoof is far different from Nightmare Moon’s as well, also creating a V-shape only seen on Sombra’s armor, covering far more of the hoof, and lacking both its distinct curve and jagged shape. Horn Like I stated before, this is the last comparison and the one I have the most to say about. Part of the reason being because of all the things that should match Nightmare Moon’s features, this has the least reason not to match. Why? Because if you recall Nightmare Moon’s banishment, her horn was actually one of her few features that appeared on her visage on the moon. Her horn is even split into parts on that image where lines of her horn would be. Every feature of Nightmare Moon was drastically simplified for this image of her on the moon. However, for this image that looks like Sombra, they included all these complex details that match Sombra better, specific details that everyone would ignore anyways, but left out a distinguishing quality of her horn for the more detailed design. What designer would do that if the designer’s intent was for the viewer to infer that this was Nightmare Moon? Doesn’t make sense, does it? As we can see here… Not only is this horn clearly too short to be a more detailed rendition of Nightmare Moon’s, it also has a curve, different shades of color to match the different colors in Sombra’s horn, and contains dots, a feature that is unique to Sombra’s horn. Anyone who had seen Nightmare Moon’s visage before could have immediately made the distinction from the horn. Yet just like everything else, they made it match distinct features of Sombra. If you still allege to see nothing, I’ve done all that I can to show you. Conclusion This is where the visual examinations end, but we’re not done just yet. I may have shown everything I possibly could show to get someone not in on this postulation to understand, but there is one more thing I have left to tell before I wrap this up. A logical deduction made from the episode where we see this visage of a pony on the moon, The Summer Sun Setback. Even though Princess Celestia stated that the purpose of the Summer Sun Celebration was to commemorate Princess Luna’s (Nightmare Moon’s) defeat, she also stated that she wanted to end the celebration, saying that she wanted to “leave behind the old to embrace the new”. Think about it. If you were Celestia, would you want the last holiday like this to end with a painful reminder of the time you had to banish your sister to the moon by putting an effigy of her on the moon…or would you rather put an effigy of a recently defeated villain on there, one you and your sister fought and overcame in the past? Never mind that the way she and Luna look up at the moon and react happily is not characteristic of two ponies who have just seen such a painful reminder, rather a good, hopeful reminder and a sign of the capability of Equestria’s new leader. One could still insist that it is “just fireworks”…but that doesn’t explain how they would know of Sombra’s exact pose. That is all I have left to discuss in this expansion. Hold on to whatever opinions you wish to keep, this is just my presentation of the facts. The canon of what happened and what will happen to Sombra is now for the staff of G5 to decide. I personally feel that the G5 show having Sombra return from the moon at the start of the series like Nightmare Moon did at the start of FiM could realistically happen, given how much new generations of franchises like to pay homage to key moments of the past generations, but that’s just my imagination. This is just a continuation of something I’ve wanted to talk more about for a while, it only matters to me that you enjoyed reading this.
  2. CloudMistDragon

    King Sombra is in G5 (Fan Theory)

    Yes, I have now actually made a theory about Sombra dimension-hopping to G5. https://www.deviantart.com/cloudmistdragon/art/King-Sombra-is-in-G5-MLP-Fan-Theory-896633007 Introduction This was originally not intended to be a theory, just my obligatory thoughts on what’s been circulating lately about the possibility of King Sombra returning for Generation 5. Before the G5 movie premiered, there was a particularly interesting and amusing trailer that dropped showing Izzy Moonbow admiring the crystals in Bridlewood Forest. I made a joke about it regarding Sombra, like everyone else, laughed with some people, fully believing what everyone else thought, that it was very likely just a humorous coincidence. I maintained this belief watching the movie when it came out too, even as I naturally made some mental notes of certain features in Bridlewood. Then, not too long after, character designer for G5, Imalou, made a post on the internet that caught everybody’s attention, a surprise confirmation of the Tree of Harmony still being alive and well in the world of G5 in response to a fan’s notion. At this point, I was starting to get more curious. After all, I made an entire theory about King Sombra’s possible relations to the Tree of Harmony, but still, this could have just been a coincidence. Even as the location Imalou referred to as the Tree of Harmony just so happened to be where the main characters are passing by just before they visit Bridlewood. Then a development artist for the movie, Damon Bard, showed pictures of early development models of the crystals. The colors of these crystals were blue, purple, and most notably, black, the trademark color of Sombra’s crystals. And crystals of all three colors are shown in the movie. This is the point where me discussing this at reasonable length was inevitable. You can’t expect me to just sit back and say nothing about something that’s gotten more people talking about the shadow king. I really wanted to give the Sombra theories a rest. It’s been over a whole year now, and I gave them that rest I felt they deserved because I can empathize with people’s fatigue. However, now that something is inspiring more people to talk about him again while giving us things to theorize, I see no reason not to theorize. Even if I just tried to make this theory a discussion of one like my discussion of the theory of Sombra possibly being a kirin, it would have ended up becoming a regular theory anyway because of the evidence tying into my earlier theories. Evidence Correlating to My Theories The theory that the evidence we’ve seen so far corresponds to most is the aforementioned theory about Sombra’s possible relations to the Tree of Harmony. This postulation was a key part of my second theory about how Sombra was still alive. Since Sombra had already found a way to return after being gone for a thousand years when his character first debuted, the time jump from G4 to G5 wouldn’t affect him returning so long as there was a way for him to still linger in Equestria like I theorized, I’m sure we all know. However, would his return involve him having already returned in the past, essentially making him a vital part of the new generation’s lore, or would it involve him returning as a villain to be fought? I lean more towards the former, as I do see a few bits of evidence to support speculations like how Alphabittle could be a descendant of Sombra. Originally, Alphabittle was a blind sage with a curved horn the main characters were intended to meet up with in a cave. A cave where blue, purple, and black crystals were growing at that. The fact that they’re both the same color and share the same crystal fascination is also interesting, the same way it’s interesting how Izzy Moonbow has a color scheme similar to both Princess Cadance’s and Radiant Hope’s, as well as a blue heart for a cutie mark. Also, the name. Moonbow. If that ties in with my theory on how Sombra was sent to the moon, I will be laughing so hard. An easier tie-in for me to imagine though would be what I talked about in my second theory of Sombra still being alive concerning the forest Celestia was in when the shadow resembling Sombra passed by her. Another bit of information that has recently been revealed from an artist who worked on the movie for G5, Alvaro Ramirez, is that Bridlewood Forest was originally intended to be the modern-day Everfree Forest. What did they change it to instead? We currently don’t know for sure, but in the movie, interestingly enough, you can see that Sunny’s map shows mountains just behind Bridlewood. Compare that map to a map of G4 Equestria and you’ll find that for Bridlewood to have mountains behind it, it would have to be somewhere far north, somewhere close to the Crystal Empire. I understand how someone could just look at a forest with crystals and see it as just that. But a forest with crystals that’s also near where the Crystal Empire used to be? How can you not think Sombra? Also, the crystals seem to be more than just an added detail, even disregarding the effort that went into the models. I mean, Crystal Tea Room? Why would they also make the forest crystal-themed? Additionally, the way every unicorn in Bridlewood except for Izzy is depressed and subdued…doesn’t that remind you of the Friendship is Magic Season 3 premiere, what the Crystal Ponies were like before they had their spirits lifted? Taking a look at their horns too, you can see a familiar swirl pattern…one present in the Castle of Friendship, which was created by the box sprouting from the Tree of Harmony. Putting the Evidence Together Even if you are unfamiliar with my earlier theories, passing all of this off as a simple coincidence should be growing quite difficult. The story so far is that Sombra was conveniently led to the Tree of Harmony after being banished by the Elements, had a shadow that looked like him appear in a forest after he was banished again, and now, a crystal-themed forest of unicorns just so happens to appear in G5 right next to the Tree and the Crystal Empire? That isn’t even the last geographical convenience. Remember in the movie, how Queen Haven was able to break out of captivity and get to Bridlewood so quickly, despite being all the way in Zephyr Heights? Well, if you look back at the map again, Zephyr Heights is also not too far from where the Empire would have been. Why do I bring this up? Because people talk about how Haven could be a descendant of Cadance, given her familiar look, the same way they talk about how Alphabittle could be a descendant of Sombra. Remember that Cadance was originally a pegasus, not a unicorn… If Zephyr Heights was actually a land inherited by Cadance’s descendants and Bridlewood Forest was actually a land inherited by Sombra’s descendants, that would explain a lot, most notably why Zephyr Heights is so advanced while Bridlewood Forest is so rundown. Zephyr Heights was likely already a developing society before the magic vanished. As for Bridlewood, we don’t know whether or not Sombra’s magic would have been affected, since it was the magic of light, love, and friendship that had to be restored in the movie, not dark magic. Either way, those crystals had to come from somewhere. After all the evidence we’ve reviewed so far, it’s difficult to assume they’re just naturally grown in a world like MLP’s that always uses mystical explanations for its environmental lore. You could say they came from the Tree of Harmony, but looking at the Tree of Harmony, you can see that it’s lost its crystalline features since G4. The most popular reason speculated right now for this change is the loss of magic. That only leaves the shadow king. Even if the Tree wasn’t affected, Sombra is the only being in the show whom, at the moment, we can fully ascertain has the ability to create crystals that are blue, purple, and black on a whim without limitation. Proof that these colors were not chosen randomly is displayed by both the models and development art done by Ramirez. The only question that remains now is how Sombra was able to return and create those crystals. Explaining Sombra’s Presence Obviously, for Sombra to be the ancestor of Alphabittle, he would need to create some sort of physical manifestation of himself upon returning from banishment. However, he does not need to return at all in order to be the creator of the crystals in Bridlewood. Recall how in FiM, the spirit of the Tree of Harmony never returned again after the Student 6 caused the Treehouse of Harmony to grow from its remains. If Sombra was able to watch Celestia as a shadow in a forest, what would stop him from living on in the form of crystals the same way the Tree of Harmony lives on? Sombra’s recent return in the Transformers crossover comic involves him being brought back from crystal. Though this comic is often regarded to be noncanon, it would be unfairly dismissive to completely ignore how it provides an explanation for Sombra’s apparent immortality. This is something we require in order to fill in an inconsistency left by FiM in the Season 9 premiere, no explanation of Sombra’s return after his first defeat. This is a discrepancy I attempted to explain myself in the past, at one point suggesting that crystals of Sombra’s could still be growing in the cave he was revived in. Intriguingly, a cave with familiar crystals, as discussed before, was where the main cast would’ve originally met with Alphabittle… At this point, we also have no explanation as to how the pony tribes were separated. For right now, we have room to theorize and fill in the lore ourselves about the cause of Equestria’s societal decadence, even speculate that there was a war at one point. After all, the ponies were quick to both accept and forgive Sprout’s declaration of war on the other tribes in the movie. It’s hard to imagine that the only reason they’ve come to be this way is because of what they’re told. I don’t want to go too far and claim that the reason is because Sombra returned from his banishment and started a war, but I did note that the three crystals from each tribe in the movie, when combined together, do form a heart-like shape, perhaps hinting that they originally made up the Crystal Heart. Another thing that everyone had already noted long before the movie had even premiered was the unusual absence of the Windigos in the world of G5 despite the fact that ponies now distrust each other. And long before even that, I wrote an explanation for this apparent inconsistency without even realizing it in my third King Sombra theory. Quote… “It’s confirmed that the cause of the Windigos returning is animosity, hate among the ponies...yet Celestia described Sombra’s return in The Crystal Empire as hatred and fear taking hold. What banishes the Windigos is unity...which is ironically what Sombra does when he puts the ponies under his mind control. Though it’s through evil, he unites them and turns them into a formidable force.” I think you can see where I’m going with this. Even though the pony tribes were segregated in the movie, they were still united within their own tribes. And if you go back to early Equestria in FiM, something pointed out by prominent fan theorist Sawtooth Waves, you can see that the pony tribes live segregated, yet are still able to get by. It’s only when the quarreling between them grows too intense that the Windigos show up, just like in The Ending of the End. The three separated tribes in the movie weren’t arguing with each other, just living away from each other sequestered and paranoid. So long as the ponies don’t abandon unity altogether, they won’t cause the Windigos to return. This isn’t an anomaly created by G5 ignoring G4 lore. G5 is simply expanding on what began in G4, where it’s implied that even a kind of unity that isn’t what you would call “good” would ward off the Windigos. The kind of unity that G5 presents is unity through mind control, ponies being taken hold of by hatred and fear without having to fight among each other. In fact, given that the Sombra in the alternate dimension of The Cutie Re-Mark was able to start a war without triggering the Windigos’ return, this would make the possibility of there being a war in Equestria reasonable. Even if there was no war, Sombra’s presence in G5 would still make perfect sense for an explanation as to how the ponies came to live the way they did, since uniting ponies through mind control, controlling them with hatred and fear without summoning the Windigos, is simply a continuation of something that he began. Conclusion In conclusion…I actually don’t feel that it would be appropriate to give this theory a conclusion at the moment. After all, at the time of me writing this, G5 is quite literally BRAND NEW. I may have to update this theory more frequently than my older ones simply because of how much G5 content is coming in the future. I still understand some people being fatigued with these theories, but know that I am simply inspired by what I see other people talking about. I never wanted to indefinitely create Sombra theories, but so long as there is a purpose to do so being provided by new content, I will continue to do so. I’m just glad that we’ve come a long way since the days where theories primarily focused on him returning because of his horn not being destroyed. It would seem that meme, just like Izzy’s tennis ball, is forever behind us. However, hold on. Just for a bonus, let’s go back to the last time we saw Sombra’s horn, in the well-known scene of his disintegration in The Beginning of the End, broken down frame-by-frame. Obviously, we can’t see what’s happening to the upper part of his horn in any frame of this scene, so let’s just look at the last shot of the lower part of his horn. You would think the horn would’ve been reduced to ash at this point, but instead, it remains intact with gray matter beginning to encase it. Recall that the very bottom of Sombra’s horn is gray. This gray matter, in the very next shot, fully envelops the lower part of the horn as it comes up. Your first assumption for the reason for this detail would be an animation error. However, the moment the horn fully ascends is the trigger for Sombra to open his eye, making this detail very unlikely to be accidental. All of this is highly difficult to catch in full-motion, but slowed down by frame, you can see that particles of Sombra floating up from the rest of his body are easy to confuse with particles you may have thought were from his horn. So what actually happened to his horn? One would still assume it was destroyed, even if only offscreen. But the only thing we can ascertain from these shots is that it was torn from his head, covered, and lifted upwards with its fate becoming unknown. So actually, albeit shockingly, NO. You can not absolutely confirm what happened to Sombra’s horn after his second defeat in The Beginning of the End. Therefore, the meme isn’t behind us after all. And I guess, to be fair, neither are Izzy's balls. Isn’t that incredible and INSANE? There is no reason to presume anything happened differently to his horn besides it disintegrating, and not just because that’s the first thing one would assume. Every speculation I’ve made regarding Season 9 Sombra surviving and returning, every speculation everyone else has made about him surviving and returning, even the explanation for him surviving and returning that the Transformers crossover comic went with, all of it has NOTHING TO DO with his horn surviving the blast. There has been no incentive to argue that Sombra’s horn survived the blast in a LONG TIME, now that we have all this evidence. We’ve never needed this one bit of extremely easy-to-miss evidence all this time…YET IT’S THERE. The only question now is…what do we do with it? I have no idea, I’ll let you make the call. I guess I just won’t be surprised if I see Sombra’s horn in G5 too. In the event that this was just done as an Easter egg, I guess I’ll just sit back and appreciate the effort Sombra put into protecting his manhood. Long live the meme of Sombra’s horn and the meme of Izzy’s balls. And most of all, long live the shadow king.
  3. Yeah, I loved the G5 movie so much more than I expected, so this is my full review. Spoilers are ahead, but I do my best to only spoil what I need to. https://www.deviantart.com/cloudmistdragon/art/My-Little-Pony-A-New-Generation-Movie-Review-893213800 Opening My Little Pony: A New Generation, the movie that has recently been released as an introduction to Generation 5 and a promotion for the upcoming Generation 5 series, is so much better than it should be. If you’ve seen most other reviews of this movie so far, you will hear similar remarks about this movie’s unexpectedly high quality, some MLP fans even going so far to regard it as better than the theatrically released Friendship is Magic film. What went right here? How did discussion of this upcoming generation go from being dominated by skepticism to being dominated by optimism overnight? In this review of the film, I’m going to try to find the answer by breaking down exactly why this movie worked and why you should at least give it a chance if you are still undecided on your feelings about this new generation. Art and Animation I’m starting by going over the film’s aesthetic, since this is the part of the movie that even those who used to be skeptics like myself were pleasantly surprised by upon viewing the early animation reveals and art teasers. The 3D animation in this movie is gorgeous for a children’s cartoon flick not even being theatrically released worldwide. With fluid motion, impressively detailed character designs, and vivid, realistic backgrounds that blend well with the characters in their environments, helping everything appear even more vibrant and colorful than it already is, little is left to be desired. Pixar quality? I would not go that far. However, even as someone who prefers 2D animation, I refuse to let that bias sully my appreciation for the time and effort that went into the visuals for this movie. In fact, whether or not they downgrade from 3D to 2D for the show is something I hold no strong opinion of one way or the other regardless of outcome because of this film’s animation. It even boasts a beautiful 2D animated short of FiM’s main characters at the start that, in my opinion, showcases the best 2D MLP animation we’ve seen yet. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to overrate the animation, but I can’t laugh at it either, especially with some of the 3D animation horrors I have seen on major children’s networks recently. This is definitely as good as animation for a children’s movie not produced by a renowned-name studio and skipping theaters gets. Music Next thing I will discuss is the music, more specifically, the songs in this movie that is technically, like many MLP specials and movies, a musical. In my personal opinion, none of the songs in this movie were bad, not even my least favorite song of the movie, It’s Alright. It’s a generic party pop music song with simple lyrics, and it had me worried that the music in this movie would be lacking variety once I heard the early release of the song following the early release of Glowin’ Up, also a pop song. Thankfully, that proved to not be the case. Even what many call their least favorite song of the movie, Danger, Danger (Angry Mob), displays variety with a rock theme, albeit one I can almost swear is ripped off from The Offspring’s Self-Esteem. The lyrics of said song, I enjoy regardless as lyrics that are not meant to be taken seriously, a humorous take on an antagonistic character’s descent into greater evil. The change in the upbeat, lighthearted tone of the music from early in the film, with the aspiring, cheerful main character’s theme song, Gonna Be My Day, is welcome for the turning point of the movie that sets the stage for the climax. That’s the strength of this movie’s music in a nutshell, always fitting for its characters and themes. My opinion of It’s Alright even improved once I heard how well it fit with the dance competition scene it accompanied, and while I always enjoyed Glowin’ Up and Gonna Be My Day, they, like all the songs, would not be the same songs to me now without keeping in mind the scenes they are made for. And yes, that also includes the relatively infamous “cringe rap” scene from Fit Right In. Come on people, you compare Izzy Moonbow to Pinkie Pie all the time, a character who also did a “cringe rap”. You know pulling something goofy like that suits her. All in all, the soundtrack for this movie is not on par with Daniel Ingram’s work for the generation prior, but it still shines for what it’s worth, even without a big name like Sia. Sia’s Rainbow from the G4 theatrical film is still timeless, but it stands best on its own to me. And even without Sofia Carson’s Glowin’ Up, the feature presentation celebrity song, I won’t be forgetting how well the events of this movie blend with the music any time soon. Humor The humor in this movie, unlike the music, is not something I was ever really concerned wouldn’t appeal to me after watching the trailers. Outside of some blatant pop culture references, there are no real juvenile, cheap laughs. I even liked the Terminator reference in the background, Judgment Neigh sadly looks like it would be a better watch than some of the more recent Terminator films. And on the subject of references and background gags, there are some very clever jokes referencing FiM that were fun to catch. My favorite is the one in Zephyr Heights, where on one of the TV screens displayed by a building, you can see an advertisement for Moon Pies with Princess Luna’s cutie mark. Priceless. The flow of the comedy in this movie, I adored. No joke was obnoxiously repeated or drawn out for too long, the only real running gag of the film I recall is one I remember because it was genuinely funny, a gag about an earth pony being carried away by balloons. You see him in the background screaming later, and then at the end, when he finally lands after being out of the loop of everything that’s transpired in the film…it’s brilliant. Character interactions, although I will save discussion of the characters for later, were my favorite part of the humor of this movie. I love it when I see jokes that would not have worked for characters if they did not have the personality they did. The rap scene I mentioned from earlier could have only worked with Izzy’s song the same way a joke Izzy makes with Zipp Storm couldn’t have worked without her. It’s when Zipp says, “Don’t tell them you saw me!”, before leaving and Izzy replies… “We can’t, we don’t even know your nnnaaammmeee!” The reason that line is so funny is not just because of the way she says it to try and match Zipp descending a gorge, it’s also because she’s the only one who would do such a thing. In addition, it’s also not just a case of, “HA HA, A CHARACTER IS BEING DUMB, LAUGH!”, no. It’s also a clever mockery of their current situation, how could they rat Zipp out if they didn’t even know who she was? It puts me in mind of FiM’s self-aware jokes. The humor in this movie isn’t just good in its own right, it captures the spirit of FiM’s humor beautifully too. Story This is the big one, the main reason why this movie ended up being surprisingly good. This is the part that many, including myself, were most hesitant to laud. Interestingly, however, the plot of this movie would have still been the easiest part of this movie to grant some leeway, being that it involves My Little Pony and is a sequel to a series fans of like myself do not expect to be surpassed in quality. I still went into the movie expecting the plot to work for what it was though, and what I got was something that worked much better than that in ways I never expected. Let’s start with the negatives, of which there are few. The premise of this movie, like the premise of the G4 theatrical movie, plays things simple and safe with a “quest to get a magical item to save the day, wacky hijinks ensue along the way” style plot. Though there’s much more to the plot than just that, the way the movie needs to move this plot along does unfortunately omit some background lore that feels needed up to the viewer’s imagination. The “villain” of this movie, Sprout, is debatably not even the villain at all, not just because of the movie’s implication that the real villain is fear itself, but because he is the son of a Karen and a mama’s boy. If you think that description sounds crude, trust me, it’s not. There’s even something positive I can say about Sprout, and that’s that I like how he naturally progressed from being a bratty kid, to a cowardly jerk, to a power-hungry maniac from his mother’s influence. That’s sadly more than what can be said for The Storm King from the G4 theatrical film, where you were essentially told that if you wanted to know his backstory, you had to read the comics. Yes, I can even speak positively of the movie’s weakest aspect, note that as a good sign as we move on to the positives… Even though I previously spoke something negative of the movie’s pace, it’s only a minute flaw I acknowledge, the lack of lore. You know you are watching a good movie if it has you craving lore. I actually really like this movie’s pacing, how no scene is padded and everything that seems like an added touch at first ties in with something crucial later. For example, Sunny’s letter turns out to be what set the entire story of the movie in motion later. Difficult as it is to speak of these kinds of moments without giving away too much, my favorite key moment of the movie that was foreshadowed magnificently is close to the end. It involves a picture Sunny keeps hanging on the wall as a memento of her late father. Every time it gets knocked out of place in the movie, she puts it right back in place, excluding the point of the movie’s build to the climax, where Sunny leaves it hanging crookedly, disillusioned over what she believes is her father’s ideals being proven wrong. When I first saw this part of the movie, I thought it was simply building to a scene for the happy ending where she would just simply put the picture back up again. However, instead, it ties into this scene showing what the other characters need to do in order to have a happy ending. Obviously, this came back to the movie’s major theme of rejecting division and embracing unity, which would not have worked if it was forced down the viewer’s throat in a ham-fisted way designed to disparage the viewer for holding contradictory beliefs. The movie is surprisingly written in a way so that it is very difficult to infer that the writer’s intent is to immaturely shame others for not conforming to a “golden standard”. It was done so well that even if I was not familiar with the movie’s theme done similarly in Friendship is Magic, I still would’ve appreciated it. The primary reason why I enjoy this movie’s theme is because of how well we see it exemplified by the movie’s cast of main characters. Characters I saved discussion of the characters for last, feeling it’s the perfect continuation for the discussion of the story, a story that I was very impressed to see be largely character-driven. This is, believe it or not, the make it or break it category, not the writing of the plot as important as that is too. Why? Simply put, this movie does not stand on its own, it’s the prelude to a TV series. One could forgive the plot of this movie being underwhelming if they were to be captivated enough by the characters introduced to check out what they’re like in the show. I would know, since in spite of how much I’ve praised the plot, I actually like the main character cast of this movie better than the plot. I’m serious. One criticism I see for this movie is that the plot didn’t give the main characters enough development, a criticism I disagree with. I’ve not seen anyone deny yet that all of them had very endearing traits that made them lovable, but I’ve also not seen anyone go into detail yet about why this movie’s character cast was so well-introduced for a children’s film shorter than ninety minutes, discounting credits. The reason why the character development in this movie works ties in with the movie’s central theme. Every main character goes through a positive character arc, where a character becomes better through overcoming a lie they believe. The lie in this case is that the ponies in the movie are right to embrace paranoia and division. If the writing of this movie was less intelligent, the characters would have a stupid reason to believe this lie and be strawmen for the main character, Sunny Starscout, to effortlessly tear apart. No such thing happens, and not just because the characters are all given a good reason to be the way they are despite being misguided in their beliefs, that reason being that they’re products of their environment. It’s also because Sunny’s character is flawed. What I love so much about Sunny’s character is not just the fact that she is flawed, a complete subversion of our worries that she would be a Mary Sue, but the fact that she experiences loss. The golden rule of good character writing is to make your characters suffer, and oh boy, does Sunny suffer. She isn’t liked by any pony in her town, with the exception of Hitch Trailblazer, she endures being humiliated publicly every year for going against the town’s beliefs, she loses her father at a young age, and to embark on her journey, she risks losing her only friend. Being the only character in the movie besides her father who knew the truth about how the pony tribes were all supposed to be together, a flat character arc, where a character who has no personal lie to overcome changes the world around them, actually could have worked for Sunny. However, it is shown through Sunny’s first interaction with Izzy that she too has been affected by the lie everyone in the movie believes, giving credence to bizarre, insulting misconceptions about unicorns. Even Izzy, who seems like a pure spirit, is no different. It takes time for her too to see that what she believes about earth ponies is wrong after she meets Sunny. Despite being the movie’s innocent comic relief character for most of the film, she straight-up admits in her song, Fit Right In, that what she now believes about earth ponies and pegasi is wildly different from what she believed at the start. That goes for Zipp too, she’s a rebel who realizes that the lies she’s gone along with are wrong. Her intentions in helping Sunny and Izzy are pure, but she can’t deny the way her role in maintaining a deceitful system has influenced her, leading her to deceive and work against her own family. It’s not a black-and-white conflict. In most other movies like this made now, there is no way the script would allow characters with flaws like this to be anything more than caricatures of elitist bigots, let alone to star as main characters with likable personalities. That’s why kid’s movies like this are smart to be subtle and use both the world they are set in and their own limitations to their advantage. I know, Zootopia says hi, but that’s a completely different subject. Even the “villains” of this movie who are indeed caricatures, Phyllis of a Karen, Queen Haven of a snooty celebrity, and Sprout of…Kim Jong-un, I suppose, are not just pure evil. Phyllis tries to stop her son once she realizes he’s gone too far, Haven genuinely cares about her daughters, and Sprout genuinely cares about his mother. For the writers to breathe redeeming qualities into characters like that, it makes clear what their intent for the protagonists is, to have them be flawed like real people, not cartoon parodies. Take Pipp for example. Being the least developed of the main characters, she could have easily just been written as a parody of an internet celebrity. It may seem that way at first glance, but Pipp actually does have a story of development, albeit a short one. She starts off content with her people believing a lie about her because she believes they’re better off that way. Once that lie is exposed, she becomes hated, ruining her life as a star. Initially, she resents her sister for costing her a life of fame, but eventually warms up to the group, realizing that being loved by real friends is better than being loved by strangers. Or for a better example, look at Hitch. He could’ve easily just been written as a parody of a cop, but not only is he a model police officer, he is also a model citizen. He’s loved by the entire town, has put his life on the line to help others, has his mortgage paid off, is loved by animals, and plays a minor antagonistic role in the first half of the film before joining the group. Not a joke, even his cynicism that justifies his defense of the status quo is understandable. He’s the perfect contrast to the optimistic Sunny, who we are supposed to be rooting for, yet at no point of the movie is he made unlikable to make Sunny look better. Towards the end of the movie, when it seems that Hitch might have been right while Sunny might have been wrong, you feel terrible for Sunny even if Hitch happens to be your favorite character. Oh yeah, and then he risks his life to help Sunny during the movie’s climax. Exactly why he’s my favorite. I don’t even feel the need to put in a good word for Alphabittle and Argyle, at least not a long one. Alphabittle was a decent “sly schemer” character who I’m glad would’ve defeated Sunny had he not gone easy on her and Argyle was an admirable father figure who I was sad to see go so early. You get the idea, I love this character cast, including the characters I love to not like. Character writing was the strong point of this movie to me, and that’s rightfully so. Conclusion My final verdict is going to be straight to the point. This movie deserves a chance at the very least, give it one. The poor promotion and marketing of it preceding its release was certainly misleading. Does that mean I would recommend it to everyone? No. Does that mean I would recommend it to every MLP fan? Again, no. However, I would absolutely recommend it to every MLP fan who is still plagued by G5 anxiety, feeling their hopes for the new generation being good were quashed. Even watching the movie to find out that it’s not for you is better than leaving your emotions unchecked. I was in the exact same situation. When I was following the early information releases, I was pessimistic and anxious. Even watching the movie now, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s no masterpiece and that it’s even possible for the show to do nothing with lightning in a bottle. However, it’s only not a masterpiece in the traditional sense. As a follow-up to Friendship is Magic, this movie was perfect for accomplishing its purpose. All it was trying to do was set the stage for a show. Just like the show before it though, it’s an accidental masterpiece. In that regard, it’s definitely a worthy successor.
  4. At least Russia is fortunate. https://www.equestriadaily.com/2021/07/my-little-pony-new-generation-movie-to.html I'm going to miss the theatrical release, but I don't mind watching the movie online.
  5. CloudMistDragon

    G5 Looks Underwhelming

    Super totally understand your frustration with the description from the article making it look like it's going to get the woke disease. I've grown accustomed to most of the things that initially turned me off though and will reserve my final judgment for when I actually watch the movie. If the movie sucks, I'm more than likely passing on the show.
  6. CloudMistDragon

    What’s your favorite MLP song?

    My favorite FIM song would have to be Luna's Future (even as there are definitely other contenders) and my favorite EG song is definitely My Past is Not Today (from a short, not a movie/special).
  7. They recently released another short in celebration of the new year. This one, believe it or not, heavily acknowledges the show's canon.
  8. CloudMistDragon

    King Sombra is Still Alive (Fan Theory)

    The reconstruction of this theory has been finished, including acknowledgement of the major plot twist in the final episodes. https://www.deviantart.com/cloudmistdragon/art/King-Sombra-is-Still-Alive-Version-2-0-816380505
  9. CloudMistDragon

    What Are You Playing Right Now and Progress

    I'm on Chapter 4 of Final Fantasy XIII. Definitely better and more challenging than I thought it would be so far.
  10. CloudMistDragon

    Season 9, Episode 17: The Summer Sun Setback

    Even better than Frenemies. Trust me, that is saying a lot. Though there is some annoyance to the fact that the Mane 6 still have a way of being clueless to what’s really going on under their noses, it’s worth it to see how far the villains have come in terms of competence, being able to infiltrate and advance their plan without provoking any kind of suspicion to their presence. And Discord says character growth is so boring. Honestly one of the funniest lines in the series, and one of the funniest moments in the series is seeing him dressed like Jesus. I like how he continually refuses to be a Deus Ex Machina, allowing us to see how much Twilight’s friends have not changed by believing that Twilight hasn’t changed. The acknowledgement of how they still don’t listen to Applejack is just the cherry on top. Episodes about the villains are definitely tied with Celestia and Luna episodes for the easiest episodes of the show for me to love now.
  11. CloudMistDragon

    King Sombra is Not Dead (Fan Theory)

    My confidence has only been bolstered, not swayed, by the leaks. I went back and revamped this old theory. https://www.deviantart.com/cloudmistdragon/art/King-Sombra-is-Not-Dead-Version-2-0-811524339 It still contains no spoilers, don't worry. My updated version of my second theory and planned third theory will have spoilers, I am going to make them after the finale comes out, to Sombra, I will never say farewell. Farewell to LunaxSombra4Ever though.
  12. CloudMistDragon

    King Sombra is Still Alive (Fan Theory)

    I had to remove the link to the DA version since it now has at least one spoiler. This theory will now need to go under reconstruction thanks to the early leaks, I am well-aware.
  13. CloudMistDragon

    Season 9, Episode 13: Between Dark and Dawn

    The thing I hate most about episodes like this is that they are too, too easy to love. Again, Celestia and Luna act like such characters, the comedy and story write themselves. Like, it just feels unfair almost how this episode stole The Mean 6’s spot for my favorite midseason finale like a day at the beach. Only flaw I could find in this one was some parts being hurried along...for good reason. There is only so much awesomeness from Celestia and Luna you can cram into one single episode while still having a good subplot with Twilight and her friends that gives them a struggle, yet also shows them making character progress in the end with learning how to run a kingdom. There are too many killer moments in this episode, my personal favorites being Twilight thanking the rich ponies for the constructive criticism before tossing them out, Luna actually trying to make the post office sound thrilling, and the ending, which surprisingly transitioned well from being heartwarming to hilarious. Though the actual finale will obviously be what counts the most, I still appreciate how our last midseason finale was divine. Oh yeah, and this godly moment that was screencapped by yours truly wasn't bad either. https://derpibooru.org/2072865?q=King+Sombra I had to update my latest theory accordingly, I am so nervouscited for the second half of the season.
  14. CloudMistDragon

    King Sombra is Still Alive (Fan Theory)

    You're spoiling me. Thank you again, and on that note, I actually did recently write a comedy story about King Sombra. https://www.fimfiction.net/story/442208/king-sombra-returns-and-gets-reformed-by-fluttershy If you're interested.
  15. CloudMistDragon

    King Sombra is Still Alive (Fan Theory)

    Yeah, I've thought about that. What could make a twist like that really surprising for the not overly analytical would be if a good version of King Sombra created by the Tree of Harmony appeared in the early part of the second half of Season 9. He claims to have nothing to do with the evil Sombra, but then in the end, he and his dark self fuse after the evil Sombra returns and gets defeated again. I know, it sounds very Kingdom Heartsy and it was admittedly Devil May Cry 5 that put the idea in my head. However, don't forget how that could fill in the gap of the show having no reformed or good version of Sombra, unlike the comics.