Number95

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  1. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    On the contrary, I had no expectations for the show other than wanting the show to be competent and know what it's talking about. On the other hand, you could say that my "headcanan" would have the show being competent and know what it's talking about, and in that regard, the show didn't match my "headcanon".
  2. The big movie coming out late this year, and I'm hardly excited about it because I'm expecting it to have the main elements of a 2-parter from this show: princesses who do nothing of importance and a rushed climax. There's likely more, but those are the ones that stick out the most. I've always wanted to see some exciting action and interesting lore from this show with all the powerful spellcasters roaming around, but the show hasn't featured much of those. I don't know if it's to do with the target audience, but I'm sure little girls can handle them. Or maybe there's a lack of interest from the creators. I've only seen every episode of the show once and no more (except for the premiere which I just watched so I could do this thread), so an entire rewatch will be necessary to refresh my memory. I'm sure I'll forget some stuff that happens as time goes on, though. For some boring background, I started watching this show in October 2010, though not quite on the day of the actual premiere. Before that, I didn't see much of anything MLP, and what I saw was tacky animation, wooden voice-acting, and boring stories. Thus, I never cared about MLP in any way because there was unsurprisingly nothing in it for me. I did read that Lauren Faust was working on the show, but that still didn't stir my interest. After the first two episodes aired, I read some positive comments. Since I had some free time, I decided to give them a shot, and I actually enjoyed them. With all the magic, mystery, royalty, I thought the show could build an interesting universe. Too bad that hasn't been the case, and if I had known that more than 6 years ago, I wouldn't have bothered with the show. But, here I am only with my hindsight. Well, that's all for now. I need to sleep, so I'll be posting my thoughts on the premiere later. I don't know who will bother to read any of this stuff, but I'm ultimately doing it for myself so I can have a clearer opinion of the show. Take note that I'm not a critic; I won't put everything under an electron microscope. I'm just someone who's casually watching some television show and explaining why I liked or didn't like something.
  3. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Tirek wants more magical power and to destroy everything while Cozy Glow and Chrysalis want to conquer Equestria. As for Nightmare Moon, she had an interesting motivation, but that doesn't mean she was a good villain. Princess Luna felt unloved because ponies preferred to sleep during the night. Since that was all we were given, and since ponies are generally diurnal, even that motivation is questionable without expansion. And NIghtmare Moon wasn't exactly an impressive threat during the series premiere. In terms of threat level, the villain trio did well in the episode since they had plenty of magical power and proved to be threats. However, that didn't work out as well as it should have because of a persisting problem the show has when trying to present the ponies dealing with the threat. That's a fair point. Unity and respect isn't just about having common interests; it's also about being able to accept and even work with differences. And I suppose you're saying that there isn't enough to distinguish one creature race from another other than the others presumably being less familiar with friendship? I do find the "less familiar with friendship" stuff strange as it's a universal concept. Or at least getting help from others who aren't like yourself would be universal. The former two would never happen because the writers don't know what to do with the sisters in terms of their position as rulers. I don't think they would need to depict a real life example of a political job, but the problem the show has is that I don't even know what they're good for. Luna does have her dream powers, but she doesn't need that to be a ruler. Yes, I'll cover "The Last Problem". I don't know when I will get to it, but I will at some point.
  4. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    The Ending of the End The villainous trio is carrying out their evil plan from the ending of “The Summer Sun Setback”. Chrysalis is even remarking about the ease in which she’s building distrust between the unicorn ponies and earth ponies. I can imagine at least a few of the unicorn ponies being paranoid or suspicious enough to immediately buy Chrysalis’s lie, but I’m surprised that there weren’t a few other ponies who heard of these rumors and tried to look into them, or at least ask about them because I don’t know why they would immediately accept whatever some random pony says without question. The trio decided on this plan to eliminate friendship from Equestria as they don’t want to be stopped by the magic of friendship yet again, and it’s too bad they don’t even know the reason behind the Mane 6’s victories. The actual concept of friendship has hardly ever been the reason for the Mane 6’s victories, and even if that wasn’t an issue, “The Cutie Re-Mark” flat-out states that only their friendship is essential to Equestria and no one else’s. And this isn’t taking into account the issues of weaponizing friendship. I also don’t know how they think the “love of Equestria” would help as they have never been helpful in prior episodes. It’s just another case of the show being inconsistent with itself yet again. Grogar’s Bell can absorb magic, and some of Grogar’s own magic is still trapped within the bell as stated in “Frenemies”, which I forgot about until I reread the transcript for that episode. Tirek uses a spell to transfer the magic from the bell to the trio, and Cozy Glow and Chrysalis even become alicorns during this process. They’ll no doubt make better use of its power than Celestia, Luna, or Cadance. Grogar returns with a plan to crash Twilight’s coronation, but the villainous trio ambushes him and steals his magic, turning Grogar into Discord. It turns out that Discord was Grogar all along, so I wonder what the fate of the original Grogar was. Discord immediately flees after losing his magic, and the trio decide that he isn’t worth chasing down since he’s no longer a threat to them. I have some comments about this twist, but I’ll save them for later. I’ll say for now that the twist ultimately doesn’t matter to me because the show screwed itself over beyond repair. Twilight is feeling ready and not panicky for her coronation, so good on her. She even created a royal advisor position for Spike because she still wants him at her side. They check on the setup for the ceremony with some of the Mane 6, and the streets are looking empty while the other ponies are acting paranoid and hostile. They chalk this strange attitude up to the possible nervousness of the alicorn sisters getting replaced, and this kind of nervousness would never make sense because Equestria’s new ruler has time and again already proven herself to be a superior replacement. Even if the pony citizens were ignorant about Twilight’s deeds and accomplishment, it wouldn’t take long before they realize that they’re better off with Twilight than Celestia and Luna. And those who say otherwise would be delusional. The ponies and Spike eventually catch up with Applejack and Pinkie Pie and learn that the two earth ponies are also witnessing hostility from and between other ponies. However, this investigation will get interrupted because Discord suddenly shows up and admits his actions as Grogar and recent loss of power. This gets reported to Celestia and Luna, and I’m surprised the Mane 6 would do this because they didn’t bother reporting Starlight from 4 seasons ago when there was every reason to do so. Discord tries to justify his actions and decisions by saying that Sombra’s defeat made Twilight more confident for her new role of ruler, but the other ponies unsurprisingly chew him out for doing something so dangerous. Twilight even thinks that her success against Sombra wasn’t authentic. The writers really fucked themselves over with this discussion over the authenticity of Twilight and friends’ successes. Sure, Discord planned to use himself to take care of the villains if things were to go awry, but the Mane 6 still blasted Sombra into oblivion without any direct input from Discord. Of course, since they now know that Discord was always going to be available as a failsafe, they couldn’t be sure if he just happened to weaken Sombra behind their backs, or knowing about Discord’s intervention could mean that they might have to rely on him to take care of threats. Nevermind the fact that Discord’s intervention has never been necessary anyways. However, like I said earlier, the writers ultimately fucked themselves over when discussing the authenticity of Twilight’s victories because they have never been authentic maybe outside of the series premiere with Nightmare Moon. In these kinds of 2-part episodes, the alicorn sisters would always get sidelined just so the Mane 6, especially Twilight, could look useful and/or competent. This problem became most prominent in “Twilight’s Kingdom” where Celestia had to screw everyone else over so Twilight would eventually be left on her own to prove her worth as an alicorn princess (i.e. better than the others). And the season 5 finale somehow made that problem even worse by saying that only the Mane 6’s friendship could help Equestria survive, which means no other pony could ever be as essential to Equestria as the Mane 6. Not helping is that the concept of friendship has almost never been essential to their victories even during episodes in which they tried to show that friendship is magic. In short, Twilight’s prowess has never been authentic. Celestia goes to Luna and Twilight so they could formulate a plan to deal with the villainous trio. Why the hell has Celestia never tried to come up with a plan in previous episodes before unloading her shit to Twilight? The answer doesn’t matter because Celestia ends up unloading her shit to Twilight again anyways as Twilight is the only one coming up with some kind of plan. Spike sends a letter to the pillars, Starlight and Trixie, and Cadance and Shining Armor to warn them about the villains. Twilight even ends this voiceover by calling this the “ultimate battle for the fate of Equestria”, which should sound intense and huge in scope, but it will never have that desired impact because the 2-part episodes of the show have never been good, and this one is no different. Meanwhile with the villain trio, the three are deciding whether to absorb or leave Discord’s magic in the bell. Cozy Glow volunteers to test the magic, but she doesn’t know how to use Discord’s power and finds herself unable to control it. The power gets absorbed by the bell again, and the three decide to simply jump straight to conquering Equestria. Tirek previously absorbed Discord’s power and didn’t suffer any ill effects, but he didn’t use the chaos magic. I’m surprised he didn’t decide to absorb the power for himself since he’s all about absorbing magic. We cut to Twilight giving out a motivational speech to her peers, saying that they have been able to beat whatever villains showed up. By “they”, she really just means herself and her friends for the most part. Why the hell is she also addressing this to the alicorn sisters and royal guards if they, especially the former, have never helped? Suddenly, Cozy Glow appears and zaps Twilight. The Pillars try to take on Tirek, but they inevitably lose while he also drains their magic. Those old ponies aren’t the main characters, and it’s pretty early into the episode, so why the fuck would they ever prevail against a major villain especially without the Mane 6? I’d bitch about them getting wasted, but this wastefulness and outcome were always inevitable. At the School of Friendship, Trixie evacuates herself and the students while Starlight confronts Chrysalis. Starlight teleports the two to a frozen wasteland, and she puts up a pretty decent resistance. Too bad the alicorn sisters never were never even given that kind of opportunity as a booby prize. Unsurprisingly, Chrysalis wins and wraps up Starlight in a chrysalis. Also unsurprisingly, the villains would be victorious because what would be the point of bringing them back only for them to immediately get tossed aside when they confront the good guys? Actually, this wouldn’t be different from the treatment that Celestia and Luna get. Back at Canterlot Castle, the unicorn guards try to retaliate to no success. Celestia and Luna also try to retaliate, but Cozy Glow just absorbs their magic with Grogar’s bell. I don’t know what would be worse between launching an attack only for it to immediately fail while losing their magic during the process or Cozy Glow simply deflecting their attacks and then zapping the sisters into submission. It turns out that Twilight planned a pretty good surprise attack with her friends because they keep surprising Cozy Glow at every turn and eventually knock her into the ground before Tirek and Chrysalis barge into the castle. Why the fuck did this plan not incorporate Princess Celestia and Luna? And why the fuck are Celestia and Luna never allowed to be this competent? Tirek and Chrysalis explain that they’ve been causing discord between the other ponies, and now that the Mane 6 have been pushed into a corner, there won’t be any friendship left in Equestria to fight back against the villains. The three villains try to attack Twilight, but Rarity levitates and tosses a boulder them as a desperate bit of resistance. See? Even Rarity, a generally noncombative pony, gets to do be helpful. Why weren’t the alicorn sisters given this opportunity, especially in previous episodes? The villains then launch a big blast at the group only for Twilight to block their attack with a bigger boulder. The other ponies, Spike, and Discord order her to ditch them so she could create a new plan to deal with the villains. Could Twilight simultaneously teleport herself and her friends away, or would that have been too much for one teleportation spell? Actually, Twilight is one of the most powerful spellcasting ponies, so she should always have been able to teleport herself and her friends away. Part 2. Twilight’s friends, the pillars, and the alicorn sisters are imprisoned. The pillars have lost their magic as Tirek absorbed it, and the alicorn sisters’ magic was absorbed by Grogar’s bell. Starlight is also there, and there’s nothing to suggest that her magic is also gone, so why wasn’t it absorbed by Tirek or the bell? I’m also surprised Cadance and Shining Armor aren’t already. Sure, they haven’t received much screentime so far, but they aren’t exactly major characters in the episode, so it would make sense to lump them up with the rest of the prisoners. Cozy Glow wants the alicorn magic that was recently absorbed into the bell. Another bit of confirmation that Celestia and Luna are supposed to be powerful but always get swept to the side because the writers are idiots. Anyways, since Cozy Glow was interested in gaining more raw power, she quickly gets into conflict with Tirek and Chrysalis as they would also want more power to conquer Equestria. Meanwhile with the Mane 6, Discord apologizes for letting his plan go sideways and instead accidentally helping the villains, and he wants to atone for his mistake. He attempts this by offering the villain trio to learn how to use his chaotic power if the Mane 6 are spared. However, Tirek isn’t so trusting about this offer, and neither is Discord after recalling “Twilight’s Kingdom”. Discord eventually taunts Tirek into launching a magical blast which gets reflected off a rock that Discord was holding. The rock is supposed to be the same one from Chrysalis’s old lair that absorbs and nullifies magic, and these rocks were also transported to Canterlot Castle in “Sparkle’s Seven” for warding off magical intruders. I don’t know how the rock could deflect magic instead of absorbing it. Making this scene even weirder is that the reflected magic was able to somehow destroy the magic-nullifying rock on Starlight’s cage. Starlight breaks herself out, and then she launches a magical wave to free the other prisoners. So, let’s recap this scene. The special rock from Chrysalis’s old lair is supposed to dampen any magical abilities so the prisoners could remain imprisoned, but Discord was able to grab a piece of that rock to deflect a magical attack from Tirek, and that deflected attack eventually destroyed another piece of the nullifying rock comprising Starlight’s cage. Starlight’s magical wave somehow broke out the other prisoners even though that special rock should have prevented her attack from even reaching the other prisoners. The writers somehow lost me again. Starlight gets zapped, and the alicorn sisters jump to her defense. Celestia even offers to help stall the villains in spite of not having any magic. Why the fuck did she never offer to help during other crises when she did have her powers? Fuck you, writers. Fuck you all for never being able to determine the alicorn sisters’ abilities, especially in the case of Princess Celestia. The depowered Discord and Pillars also offer their help to stall the villains while the remaining Mane 6 find Twilight. Being the last 2-part episode of the series would mean that the writers want to end everything on a grander scale such as having side characters getting involved in the action, but this just means that there was never a reason to exclude them previously when they were so easily available. If it were ponies like Mr. and Mrs. Cake (and Rarity earlier in the episode) putting up resistance instead, then that could be truly noteworthy as even the noncombative ponies are taking action to defend themselves and their homes. But the episode can’t even pull that off in a genuine manner because it still has that nagging problem of the alicorn sisters’ uselessness and helplessness in this episode and prior ones. The remaining Mane 6 escape from Canterlot Castle, and they finally see that the pony citizens have been split into helping ponies of the same races. They eventually figure out that Twilight is at the Crystal Empire because Cadance and Shining Armor are supposed to be the last line of defense according to Twilight’s plan. So, the villains haven’t considered going to the Crystal Empire beforehand even though there are some important ponies in that area. Whatever. I’m not in the mood to quibble over this detail. Anyways, Twilight is feeling discouraged about trying to find a solution to this problem because she doesn’t think that anything she tries will work in the long term as some of the major villains they have dealt with eventually came back to cause worse problems including Sombra destroying the Tree of Harmony back at the beginning of the season. Not helping is that the ponies of Equestria are divided, so she doesn’t think that her School of Friendship accomplished much, either. I would comment on Twilight’s plight, but it will get answered a little later, and I will comment on it then. Then the Mane 6 suddenly find Windigos appearing as a result of this division. Twilight initially refuses to take action as she her confidence is still at an all-time low, but AJ deflects Twilight’s plight by saying life will always be full of problems, and approaching those problems is the only way to fix them. Twilight still doesn’t think she’s up to the task because she never even noticed that the pony citizens were being divided, and she should be able to notice such obvious problems as a ruler. Is this yet another attempt at trying to make Twilight measure up to her predecessors? Celestia and Luna never noticed this either, and they’ve never noticed any other kinds of trouble in Equestria during previous seasons until the Mane 6 discover them. And this isn’t considering that the sisters never did anything about the troubles that have occurred since the beginning of the show. This scene is supposed to be about Twilight trying to pick herself back up after falling so low, but that was always going to ring hollow since the show has always gone out of its way to portray her as better than her competitors even when she was at her lowest. And even though she has stumbled into a very steep obstacle, at least she’s given the chance to deal with it unlike the other princesses who never get such a chance to solve their own problems. Oh, and there’s small discussion about the power and magic of friendship, but I don’t want to repeat my thoughts from “The Cutie Re-Mark” yet again. In short, the show undermined whatever meaning it wanted to draw from this scene long before the scene itself was ever conceived. Cadance and Shining Armor even appear for a short moment to offer their help, but Twilight rejects their help because they need to protect Flurry Heart as she is Equestria’s truly final line of defense. Somehow, Twilight wasn’t counting Cadance and Shining Armor with Flurry Heart as that final line of defense even though the married couple aren’t being incorporated into Twilight’s new plan. Or has Twilight also realized how useless those two are? She’s actually better off accepting their help since protecting Flurry Heart and protecting Equestria aren’t mutually exclusive, but this is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a show in which the side characters who should be helpful aren’t because the writers suck at making use of them while also sucking at trying to make genuine points with its main characters. I mean, Twilight even pointed out the Mane 6’s list of huge jobs to take care of, and somehow it’s up to only them specifically to take care of those jobs because who else should, could, or would it be up to? What a paradox of problems. Next scene, the Mane 6 approach Canterlot Castle to confront the villains who were already done with the ponies (and Discord) that put up some resistance. Cozy Glow attempts to zap the Mane 6, but Twilight teleports herself and her friends away. So, Twilight could have escaped with her friends at the end of Part 1. Whatever, I’m also not in the mood to nitpick this detail. Anyways, Twilight, RD, and Pinkie attempt to distract the villains so the AJ, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Spike could take Grogar’s bell. The villain trio didn’t need to bring along the bell as they don’t need it nearby to use their own powers, but whatever again. Too bad the villains eventually notice this plan and attempt to attack the others. Chrysalis even attempts to blast Spike, but Rarity blocks the attack with a barrier. The scene even shows Rarity struggling and sweating to stop Chrysalis, which is admittedly not a bad bit of detail to show that Rarity doesn’t usually engage in magical combat. See? It is possible to give other ponies some action like the episode has done twice with Rarity. I know I’m just repeating myself ad nauseum, but it was definitely possible to do something like this with the alicorn sisters if the writers could so easily do this with Rarity. And I’ll be honest. I genuinely did like the bits with Rarity by themselves. It’s just too bad I couldn’t like them more because the show is so problematic that even the stuff that I should like ultimately don’t work for me because of the show’s inherent flaws. The Mane 6 put up some decent resistance, but they ultimately weren’t strong or fast enough to overcome the villains. The villain trio start charging up their attacks to blast the Mane 6 into oblivion, and the Mane 6 probably could have run or teleported away in the amount of time it took for the villains to start attacking, but this kind of long buildup is too common in fiction to create some tension, so whatever. At least the Mane 6 were willing to huddle together and face their deaths without complaining. Overall, it’s not a bad scene. I just wished I could have cared more. However, the Mane 6 is being protected by a magical barrier not conjured up by Twilight. Suddenly, an army of ponies and other creatures (even including Tempest Shadow) emerge to back up the Mane 6, and the barrier was conjured up by the other unicorns and other magical creatures. The Mane 6 converse with their allies (and I’m also sure the other princesses don’t have any), and we get an exposition of background events. The pony citizens have also noticed the Windigos stirring up storms, but they were initially only interested in protecting other ponies of the same race and not others. However, there were at least a few ponies in each race that are still determined to help other kinds of ponies, and the non-ponies were also willing to help out Equestria as the ponies are their allies. Skystar and Novo also made cameos during Silverstream’s scene with the seaponies. Essentially, the other characters were inspired by the power of friendship from the Mane 6 and their school. This should have been a good scene with the idea of friendship, teamwork, trust, respect, and unity all synergizing together to overcome problems and obstacles that multiple groups might face even simultaneously. Then I recall “The Cutie Re-Mark”, and I continue to wonder if the writers ever knew what the hell they were talking about. The villain trio blast aside their immediate opposition, and then they face Twilight. She makes a speech about the power of friendship while teleporting the pillars, Starlight, Discord, and the alicorn sisters to her location. The pillars, Student Six, and the Mane 6 all rise to the sky (with Twilight above all of them figuratively and literally) and gather their inner magic of friendship and blast the Windigos away while also blasting the villains away of the power. It’s another unimpressive. Although the visual effect can look good, it still ends up being dull since there’s no final showdown. All that happens is one side shoots a big magical blast at the other, and the other side simply goes down. Discord takes the Bewitching Bell and restores his own and the alicorn sisters’ magic, and this trio then turns the villain trio into stone. Celestia congratulates Twilight of this victory and her upcoming role as new ruler of Equestria. And by the latter, she really means that Equestria will be better under Twilight than it could ever have been under anyone else. Twilight’s coronation won’t happen just yet as there isn’t much time left in the episode, and there’s one more episode left after this one. Also, the villains made a mess in Equestria, and that’s no way to host an important event. So, the Mane 6 and Spike hang at that donut shot in Canterlot as a way to relax after this ordeal. This episode was just another big and generic 2-part episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Well, it’s bigger, but it’s still another one and thus suffers from the same problems while hardly supporting whatever claims it wants to make. The alicorn sisters being sidelined yet again while Twilight’s “less powerful” friends are more competent was eye-rolling as always. Making this problem even stupider is that the alicorn sisters were able to provide minor help at some points in the episode, so why were they not allowed to do more in this episode or previous ones? Too bad Cadance and Shining Armor weren’t around during the final showdown. They initially dealt with Chrysalis at the end of season 2, and while the scene wasn’t done well, at least they were given something to do. Then they just became rather generic characters who were allegedly powerful but never saw much action because the writers also didn’t know what to do with them. It doesn’t help that they would also have a bone to pick with Chrysalis as she crashed their wedding, but it seems that the writers would much rather have her hold a grudge against Starlight even though the later was introduced much later into the show. See? The writers can also give new characters something to do as shown with Starlight. So, why were Cadance and Shining Armor neglected like the alicorn sisters? Twilight’s friends have their moments in this episode, and since this was about Twilight growing into her new role as ruler of Equestria, she would have a character arc in this episode. Too bad it wasn’t done well. I’ve explained myself earlier in this ramble, so I won’t repeat too much of it. Fundamentally, Twilight never had much to prove in this episode because she was always better than the other princesses throughout the entire show. As a result, her low point and then regaining confidence felt artificial and just something that exists in the episode to give a sense of a character arc. Of course, being a better protector and more competent mage than her fellow alicorns doesn’t mean she would be a good ruler, but we don’t even know what the job is like for Celestia (and maybe Luna if she ever did part of the ruling job) and how the job and Celestia affected each other. As such, with nothing else to go off of, Twilight is straight-up superior to Princess Celestia. And since Twilight is such a competent pony who is able to overcome her problems while Celestia is an idiot who tells others to solve her problems, Twilight would thus be a straight-up superior ruler of Equestria despite whatever nervousness and insecurities she might have. The writers attempted to incorporate the magic of friendship saving Equestria in this episode, but it was too little too late as “The Cutie Re-Mark” shoots down whatever this episode wanted to say. If it weren’t for this episode, then I’ll admit that this was not a bad display of friendship (and other virtues) overcoming problems, defeating the villains, and saving the day. At the very least, the scene was good in concept as showing characters helping each other out of genuine interest would be better at showing friendship. How would simply using magical items allegedly powered by friendship and other virtues to blast the villain without the characters making use of those virtues be a good display of the virtues’ effectiveness? However, since this is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, even a scene that was supposed to be meaningful still stumbled in terms of execution. Ultimately, weaponizing friendship is still a bad idea for the same reasons I stated when talking about “The Beginning of the End”, so I won’t repeat much of that here. Funnily enough, this episode even carries some of the same problems from “The Cutie Re-Mark”. We have these huge cast of characters selflessly helping each other, but only a specific group of friends could deliver the final blow to the enemies as only their magic of friendship was good enough. That still puts specific kinds of friendship over others and thus wouldn’t truly convey the power of friendship. Now, I’ll talk about that Discord-being-Grogar twist. On paper, I’m not actually against it especially when considering Discord’s intentions. Having Twilight and friends deal with some dangerous villains is not a bad way to prove to themselves that they are perfectly capable. Of course, that stuff about capability is worthless because not taking into account that Twilight would always emerge victorious anyways, I have also repeatedly stated that the show has practically proven that Twilight is better than her alleged superiors. So, even if Twilight complained about her victory against Sombra not feeling authentic because Discord had to provide some help, it’s not like her competence is authentic. When considering what happens in-universe, Discord should have planned this out better because he completely let his guard down against the villains, and he unsurprisingly fell to them. Too bad he didn’t notice that the villains weren’t exactly interested in working with anyone else, so he should have expected a betrayal, especially if he kept mistreating them as Grogar. Maybe he could also have given them a fake bell instead of the real deal. On the other hand, if he did have a safety net against this trio, the episode and other events caused by Discord might not be able to happen as they did. So, maybe this twist wasn’t such a good idea as this would create a number of annoying problems in and out-of-universe. There might have been a better way to handle it, but I wouldn’t know what that might be. But as I said earlier, I’m ultimately apathetic to this twist because I was never going to be satisfied with whatever the show did. I suppose that’s how I ultimately feel about this episode: apathetic. I don’t know how I would rank this compared to other 2-parters, but I still wouldn’t even call this good. Such a shame, too. The writers went all out with the stakes and confrontations, but there was no way in hell they could ever have been successful as large-stake episodes have never been their strength. I still have one more episode after this, and I wonder how they’ll handle a single-episode grand finale. I’m sure that previous season finales were produced in a way to also work as something of a series finale in case the show didn’t get another season, so I was honestly surprised when I first saw that the season 9 final didn’t follow suit.
  5. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I'm not against the amulet, at least not in principle. Assuming the show was better at handling the alicorn sisters, I could accept the amulet allowing Twilight to just move the sun and moon as the sisters can use their magic for other purposes presumably out of the other other alicorns' reach, and the amulet only lets Twilight do something specific. Have you watched the last 3 episodes of the show? I'll be covering those eventually.
  6. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    The Summer Sun Setback Still disappointed about his minions failing to get the Bewitching Bell, Grogar wants to find another magical weapon to beat “Twilight and her friends.” Does he consider the alicorn sisters to be among Twilight’s friends? Actually, the answer wouldn’t matter since just about anything can sweep the sisters to the side. Too bad he couldn’t use them as some kind of weapon as the sisters would malfunction and explode upon usage. After Grogar leaves, his three lackeys try to figure out how to use the Bell as such a “powerful” weapon is useless if it can’t be used. The same could be said about the alicorn sisters. Cozy Glow thinks that Canterlot may have a library that has the information they desire, and Tirek even muses that, “Celestia and Luna love to hoard information for themselves.” Tirek wisely worded his sentence. Even though Celestia and Luna collected a bunch of literary articles, that doesn’t mean that they actually read the stuff or even learned anything from them. We cut to Twilight in a room at Canterlot, and it seems I may have missed more from the show than I thought. I have no idea if this room belongs to her because she’s also a princess or if she got a new job at Canterlot. She could probably just be using that room temporarily since she was, according to the alicorn sisters, planning the sister’s last Summer Sun Celebration. The answer doesn’t really matter to me. Celestia and Luna are surprised that Twilight isn’t freaking out about her job, and Celestia would be slightly more aware of this if she bothered to spend time doing anything with Twilight. Luna said that this will be the last time Twilight will need to handle the celebration as the sisters will retire at some point before the next summer solstice happens, and Luna’s wording intrigues me because I don’t remember Twilight doing this during any previous episode. I only remember the holiday occurring in “Friendship is Magic” and “Princess Twilight Sparkle,” and Twilight didn’t plan the holiday during those episodes. Unless she handled previous celebrations off-screen, this is the first and last celebration she’ll handle, at least with the sisters around. As the event is about commemorating the sisters, Princess Celestia definitively declares this specific celebration to be the last one so Twilight can leave her own mark on Equestria she succeeds them. Little did Celestia know, Twilight has already made more of a mark than Celestia ever did, and no one will remember or care about the sisters. Or at least no one will remember or care about Celestia because Luna, unlike Celestia, has helped some number of ponies such as with their nightmares. This is a blessing in disguise for Celestia as she wouldn’t want her history recorded because it would be too shameful to acknowledge. Twilight meets with her friends to tell them the news, and she no doubt wants to make a number of changes to the celebration to make it bigger and better if it’s to be the last one. Discord appears after learning about this development and wants to pitch in as he claims to know them longer than anyone else. He was a statue for over 1000 years and didn’t spend any time with them, so what could he possibly know about them? I’m not even sure if he knows them enough to make some jokes about them. Also, he either didn’t know or forgot that Luna was imprisoned in the moon for almost as long. He also claims that Twilight has undergone some “character growth,” and it looks like I missed plenty of it since other characters are surprised at Twilight keeping a cool head. Actually, I don’t think she even panicked that often, but I suppose doing so even a few times can be annoying, so whatever. It’s back to the villains who are now at Canterlot. Chrysalis disguises herself and tries to get inside the castle, but she wasn’t prepared to handle the new security from “Sparkle’s Seven.” Fortunately, Shining Armor’s ideas seem to be working as he wasn’t given much to do in the show. Fortunately, again, the new security wasn’t handled by the sisters (or at least Celestia) as the villains’ work would have become much easier. Unfortunately, Shining Armor’s fortune will be short-lived as the villains will undoubtedly break in anyways because the episode wouldn’t bother featuring them if they were only doomed to fail unless the episode wanted some comedy. Then again, the show has been generous in regards to featuring Celestia’s embarrassing failures because the creative team thought those would be funny. Also, shouldn’t Chrysalis’s failed attempt to break in have made at least some of the guards more suspicious? Chrysalis meets back with her teammates, and Discord conveniently teleports himself and Twilight’s friends to a spot close to the villains. The villains overhear their plans concerning the setup of the event, and Chrysalis then comes up with a new plan by screwing with those plans. Applejack and Pinkie Pie are handling the catering service in the festival, and Braeburn is even present. He’s handling the baked goods that are being served, and I’m surprised that Sugarcube Corner isn’t involved with the foodservice at all since baked goods are its specialty. Suddenly, Tirek absorbs magic from some ponies while hiding in the bushes, and Braeburn thinks that the food might be contaminated after feeling weak losing his own magic as well. This attempt at disruption is actually good on paper, but contaminated food would also create a sick feeling in the stomach, which none of the affected ponies were confirmed to have. One might wonder why Tirek hasn’t gone out to absorb magic from more ponies while he was free, and that’s because he wouldn’t want so many ponies to have become weakened that the Mane 6 (and not Princess Celestia and Luna) would become suspicious about this. And no one knows that he has been freed, so he wouldn’t want to unintentionally draw too much attention to himself before finding the right time to rise to power again. Thankfully, he didn’t waste the opportunity to steal some free food. Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy meet with some pegasus pony to notify him about making changes to the weather for the festival. After the duo leaves, that pegasus pony freaks out about that sudden and unexpected change, but Cozy Glow appears and offers her help. It seems that Cozy Glow and her activities at the end of season 8 haven’t made headlines since this pegasus pony isn’t curious about her appearance at all. Spike and Rarity approach some unicorn ponies to notify them about Twilight’s requested changes to the fireworks. After his duo leaves, a disguised Chrysalis convinces those unicorns that they have better things to do with their magic. Interestingly, Chrysalis stated that unicorn ponies are the most powerful of the pony species since they can directly wield magic and cast spells. However, the show has stated in its early days that a unicorn pony’s magic is generally specialized in a certain area unless the pony is someone like Twilight or Starlight who specialize in magic itself. Are Chrysalis and that team of ponies aware of this? Back at the Canterlot Castle, Twilight expresses gratitude toward her friends about helping her prepare the Summer Sun Celebration, and then she leaves with Celestia and Luna to learn move the sun and moon with their amulet from “Between Dark and Dawn.” Unfortunately, the remaining Mane 6’s feelings of accomplishment are short-lived as they are notified of disasters occurring after asking for the proposed changes. They even see the weather outside being stormy thanks to Cozy Glow. Of course, Celestia and Luna wouldn’t notice this weird weather, but I wonder how Twilight hasn’t noticed this if she was to practice using the amulet outside. Twilight even reappears shortly and overhears a bit of her friends’ conversation, but her friends sans Applejack refuse to tell her the bad news as they fear her panicky reaction. So, they decide to try fixing everything before Twilight notices anything. They considered asking Discord for help, but he refuses because he knows that the characters won’t learn anything if he solves their problems for them. Is it any wonder why Princess Celestia and Luna were always bad at their jobs? Amidst the chaotic planning, the villain trio deal with a single guard and use his medal to get inside the castle. So, yeah, Shining Armor’s touch up to the security only helped for a short while. At least he was given something even if was almost nothing unlike Princess Celestia who either got literally nothing or lost something. The security by itself would be normally serviceable, but the hole in this case would be directly dealing with major villains as none of them would ever be equipped to do so. Just look at how well Celestia or Luna fared in that regard. The villain trio goes inside the throne room at one point, and one goose inside even awakens. Too bad that goose didn’t wake up the other geese either because the villains weren’t loud enough for him to alarm the others, or the geese are associated with the alicorn sisters who are made of failure, so their failure “sicknesses” infected the geese as well. The goose did follow the trio’s path for a while, but he was never going to find anything because he would just encounter Chrysalis as a goose, and she tells that goose that everything was fine so the villains could continue their business without interruption. They soon break into the Canterlot Library, and Cozy Glow finds the book they were looking for as it conveniently has the picture of a bell on its cover. Why would there be a book specifically dedicated to talking about Grogar’s bell? Is there really that much to say about the bell? It could be about Grogar himself as well, but Grogar should be on the the cover instead. Anyways, she’s able to break the chains covering the book with another book that has a picture of a key on its cover. I have no idea how that works. Couldn’t Tirek or Chrysalis have blasted the chains, or were the chains also enchanted? If the chains were enchanted, there’s no way in hell Celestia or Luna would ever be able to break those chains. In fact, if either of the sisters enchanted the chains, the enchantment would never hold against any kind of force. The respective members of the Mane 6 go back to the other ponies they previously visited in the episode and are having no luck in figuring out what the exact problems are, so they also don’t know how to answer said problems. Actually, I’m a tad confused about RD and the Wonderbolts struggling to deal with the stormy weather as handling the weather is supposed to be one of their strengths unless Cozy Glow threw a one hell of a wrench into the weather machinations. Twilight, Celestia, and Luna eventually notice the event planning going wrong and the rest of the Mane 6 struggling to handle and cover up the problems. Twilight confronts her friends about this, and her friends sans AJ admit that they didn’t want to mention any problems as they were concerned about how she might react. Twilight then counters that not communicating the problem to her would have warranted a similar reaction anyways. It’s a classic example of choosing between letting someone else know about a sudden and unexpected major problem or hoping that someone else won’t find out anything only to inevitably encounter that problem anyways. Of course, being truthful is generally better in these circumstances, but real life knows that actually executing the better answer isn’t always easy or smooth. To her friends’ surprise, Twilight takes this in stride (and freaks out only slightly), and the entire Mane 6 conjure plans to approach the problems. The alicorn sisters even decide to offer their help, but I don’t know how they could be helpful, and I also don’t know why they never decided to offer their help during other troublesome times, but whatever. Next up is a montage of the Mane 6 plus Spike, Celestia, and Luna dealing with the problems of setting up the celebration. Honestly, I’m not sure I understood this montage or how they dealt with the problems. The stormy weather was dealt with like any other stormy weather. I guess the fact that Luna and Discord’s helped with the weather could imply that a team of pegasus ponies wasn’t enough, but I do wonder how much Cozy Glow knows about weather manipulation. Even though she is a pegasus pony herself, that doesn’t mean that she knows everything about weather just like not all unicorn ponies are adept or knowledgeable about magic. She would need to be more than knowledgeable about creating such a huge stormy weather if RD and the Wonderbolts couldn’t answer it. I suppose I could let this one slide if Cozy Glow just threw out too many storm clouds, and more help was simply needed to clear them. However, the solutions to the other two problems weren’t explained well. They never figured out what caused the earth ponies in foodservice to feel weak or that those earth ponies were drained of their innate magic. And Twilight convinced the unicorns that the fireworks were worth the time and effort with a simple talk. Rarity was actually attempting to deal with the unicorns by asking them why they had such a change of heart, and they gave no answer. Chrysalis’s input convinced those unicorns that throwing fireworks was for small fries. While there is plenty to discuss about making the best use of one’s time, efforts, talents, and resources as well as other similarly philosophical topics, this episode clearly wasn’t about any of those, so this conflict instead felt random and out of place. Even the episode seems to notice this as it couldn’t show how the unicorns decided that throwing fireworks was worth their time and efforts again. Eventually, the problems are handled, and the Summer Sun Celebrations starts on schedule with Twilight using the sisters’ amulet to lower the moon and raise the sun without problem. Twilight announces to the crowd about this Summer Sun Celebration being the very last one, and then she tells them that she plans to succeed it with a new holiday known as The Festival of the Two Sisters. I’ll talk about that later. Have Celestia and Luna publicly announced their retirement, by the way? The villain trio is back at Grogar’s lair, and Grogar returns claiming that he has found something that could help his conquest of Equestria. The episode may have been foreshadowing Discord being Grogar as the final scene off the celebration shows Discord thinking that Twilight and friends are “ready for whatever comes next,” and the next scene immediately fades to Grogar walking into his lair and greeting the other villains. On the other hand, this may just be a storytelling device, and that next obstacle Discord was referring to simply could have meant Grogar and pals. The episode ends with the villain trio noting at the ease in which they were able to get the other ponies into conflict with each other. That’s not exactly what happened. The earth ponies were drained of magic, but they otherwise weren’t conflicting with anyone else. Cozy Glow messed up the weather, and that’s it. Other than the pegasus pony in charge panicking, no pegasus pony showed any problems. Only the unicorn ponies got into conflict with another pony, which is only Rarity and literally no one else. It looks like this last scene is foreshadowing the villains’ plans for the 2-part finale, and that’s not a bad way to do so on paper, but there is a problem if an episode misinterprets its own events. Actually, this isn’t an uncommon problem with the show. I’ll talk about what I felt the episode did well. I don’t know how often Twilight got panicky. It has happened in some parts of the show at least when it came to Princess Celestia, and she was still panicky in Celestia’s more than overdue episode “Horse Play.” I don’t recall non-Celestia episodes in which Twilight was panicky, and I’m too lazy to look, so feel free to pitch in. Anyways, showing Twilight being past panicky when encountering a major obstacle is a plus. I did like that minor touch with Twilight still freaking out a little when she finally learned about the truth from her friends, so even though she didn’t give into her emotions, that doesn’t mean she won’t have any immediate reactions. The villain trio still getting along and working as a team from “Frenemies” is worth acknowledging as they don’t even get into any major conflicts with each other, and they communicate their problems to each other like good teammates. However, I can’t say that I cared for this episode, and it should be obvious why. The writers were in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. With the sisters retiring and even leaving soon, how would Twilight continue to honor their legacies long after they inevitably fade from the public’s memories? Nevermind the fact that Luna wasn’t around nearly as long, but whatever. Twilight would remake and rename the holiday into something that more directly observes the sisters. That sounds good on paper, but the show’s flaws have affected this episode too much. Twilight being a competent leader and event planner is fine and all, but what she and the episode want to celebrate is hollow. She wants to continue the Summer Sun Celebration as the Festival of the Two Sisters, and if this show were actually competent at handling alicorns, I would say that this is a reasonable, respectful, and worthy way to observe the sisters’ legacy and their impact on Equestria. But aside from Luna helping with nightmares, what is there about the sisters that is worth celebrating and observing? What do Celestia and Luna even mean to Twilight, her friends, Spike, Starlight, and other ponies? What do Celestia and Luna even mean to each other? There are no answers to any of those questions because the show wasn’t productive with the sisters as individuals, rulers, sisters, or anything. This episode might be at least good if it were better at handling the alicorn sisters, but due to their lousy treatments, anything positive it wants to say the sisters is empty and worthless. If anything, it’s almost disrespectful to the sisters, but how else could the show and episode’s efforts turn out?
  7. If this new generation of ponies will and must acknowledge Friendship is Magic, I wouldn't mind if the references were minor and minimal as even though the show disappointed me as a whole, there were at least some things I liked about it. References to it might be inevitable since it's easily the most popular MLP show
  8. This new movie still takes place in Equestria? I hope it's not in the same continuity as Friendship is Magic because I'm not interested in revisiting that same Equestria. If it isn't in the same continuity, I might be able to go with some references to the previous so. If it's in the same continuity, I wonder how low my interest in the new MLP incarnation will be. Honestly, I'm not even sure how interested I am in this new movie.
  9. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Hopefully, my following response will sort of answer your question. I think whether something being "objectively good or bad" might be impossible since different people will judge the same work differently, but I do agree that general reception doesn't mean everything as we can still have our own opinions about that work. In the case of Luna, you are right about me wanting the show to do more with her, and that her "spectacles" don't compensate enough. It also doesn't help that in spite of all of that extravagance, she still doesn't serve much of a purpose in similarly extravagant episodes. To explain my dissatisfaction a bit more, I think it's a tad ridiculous that they can show Luna giving big performances, but they tease her inner aspects while failing to deliver when they do attempt to talk about those inner aspects. Ultimately, I can accept that something can be flawed but still liked, even liked a lot or loved. Using Princess Luna as an example again, I didn't find much to like about what the show did with her. I never knew that the one with Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam existed. I am aware of a DTV movie with Daffy Duck playing Scrooge existing, but I haven't seen it. I haven't actually seen that many adaptations of the novel. I knew there were plenty of adaptations, but I haven't made the task of seeing them all a goal.
  10. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    They wanted to tell the story of A Christmas Carol in the style of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. How well they did will vary between viewers. I agree with the rest, but expand on this, please. Sorry for the poor wording. I should have said that the writers were at least consistent with a very minor portion of the vague MLP lore. It actually irritates me because they obviously could have shown Celestia and Twilight doing something together if they wanted to. Why they never thought of putting any effort into that concept at any point but followed through with the equally obligatory interactions between Twilight and Starlight is beyond me. I still don't know why they'd prioritize minor Luna-fan-pandering over an insight into her character. I don't remember if that was in any of the adaptations I've seen, though such a scene happening wouldn't look out of place to me since Scrooge slowly drops his hateful heart as he interacts with the ghosts. What other adaptations of the story have you seen?
  11. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I'm willing to cut the episode some slack for not having the exact same main theme as the book as the episode itself was more of a retelling of the original story than an adaptation of it. I still do think that it kept some of the story's major points without tarnishing them. I did say that the episode's attempt at emphasizing the importance of celebrating the holiday was hokey since not doing so somehow meant the end of the world. At least they kept the MLP lore consistent. Too bad they couldn't do the same with the alicorn sisters, but that's another subject. On the other side of the spectrum, there is something to be said about the original story's main theme being more universal. Too bad Twilight sitting down with Starlight is no substitute for Celestia doing the same with Twilight, so no points for the latter concept. I suppose Rarity could've filled the role of Spirit of the Future for the reasons you stated, though Luna wasn't all that flamboyant in the episode unless you also meant a change in presentation. I've never heard of it, and it has been too long since I've seen All Dogs Go to Heaven. Personally, my favorite adaptation/retelling of the story would be Mickey's Christmas Carol. Being short while still conveying all of the story's major points (or at least points from other adaptations) in the past, present, and future definitely gives the special a lot of points. I don't know if this point was in the original book, but I did like the Ghost of Christmas Present showing Scrooge that while Cratchit's life was far from ideal, but he and his family are still much more content with their lives than Scrooge was with his own despite the latter being so wealthy.
  12. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I wanted to edit this sentence, but it looks like I can't, so I'll just have to make a new post. Still, that’s a rather hokey way of trying to convey the importance of spending quality time with others and spreading joy since that means not doing so at one certain point of the year means that Equestria is doomed. It's only necessary because of some evil winter spirits. Otherwise, not having an almost mandatory get-together during the winter wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Ponies would just figure out other ways to adapt unless there was an actual high-authority figure(s) actively making them miserable, but that would be a different story.
  13. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    A Hearth’s Warming Tail I originally had no interest in talking about any episode outside of certain ones from season 9, but since it’s December as of this writing, I felt like talking about one Christmas episode of the show. However, I don’t see myself talking about any other Christmas episode in the show, especially ones that are in seasons 7-9. So, why did I pick this episode? A Christmas Carol has plenty of adaptations, and I have no idea how many people have read the actual book. I did at one point, but that was too long ago, so I wouldn’t be able to say how closely a direct adaptation stuck to the book. Since the book has been adapted so many times, the general idea of the storyline is pretty well-known with a greedy and selfish asshole looking at himself and others and then changing his ways especially after seeing the effect his attitude, personality, and actions have on other people. Of course, how well that description fits the actual book is a different topic, so I’m probably just describing a number of adaptations instead. As for the episode, I’m only gonna judge it based on its own creative choices. After all, a standalone story like this (and this also includes adaptations) should be able to work on its own and not need the original source material for evaluation. If one were to care so much about the book only, they can always find the book somewhere else and read it. Also, the show already did an episode with a similar overall plot in season 4 with “For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils”, but I’m not concerned about that right now, and I also barely remember it. I wonder if I should take a look at that episode at some point. The episode starts, appropriately enough, with a Christmas-themed song being sung by various ponies as they happily and excitedly decorate Ponyville and Twilight’s castle for Hearth’s Warming (Eve). At least the show has never been truly bad with the songs, or maybe I’m just too easygoing in that regard. Normally, people would decorate for Christmas before December, but these ponies are literally putting up holiday decorations at the last hour. How long do they plan to keep the decorations around for? Until Hearts and Hooves Day? Otherwise, taking down the decorations even before the next month (were the ponies ever said to have celebrated New Years?) would be quite the waste of time and effort. Twilight is eager to celebrate her first Hearth’s Warming (Eve) with Starlight, but Starlight doesn’t reciprocate to Twilight and Spike’s horror. Too bad this is season 6, which means this came off the heels of the wretched season 5 finale where Starlight didn’t earn her place among the main cast, so there’s never going to be any sense of excitement from me about the idea. Then again, the show fucked itself up so bad it’s not like I could ever truly accept Starlight’s new and reformed position. Isn’t it a shame for the creative team to waste so much hard work on something ultimately so worthless? The same could be said for Princess Celestia. The show gets a lot of competent voice actresses, and they’re given this to work with. Starlight isn’t interested in the holiday because other ponies don’t celebrate it in remembrance of the origin behind it and only care about presents (insert some random comment here about commercialism and capitalism) and singing. If she really is dissatisfied with how others celebrate Hearth’s Warming (Eve), she doesn’t need to follow them. Okay, she already doesn’t, but she could celebrate the holiday in her own way such as celebrating the unity between different pony races and putting up decorations in remembrance of that. Then again, considering her confusing and/or nonsensical beliefs back in season 5, it’s not like Starlight celebrating the holiday for that reason would make any sense. She also said that the holiday is just an excuse for partying, singing, and other “silly” things. And why is that bad exactly? It’s not like the other ponies are only using their time just to do only those “silly” things. Bottom line: I don’t understand how exactly she feels about Hearth’s Warming (Eve) or why she feels that way. It would’ve been simpler for her to be disinterested because it just feels like another day to her, so she doesn’t see much of a point in having a party at this specific time when that can be done anytime. Twilight tries to convince her of the holiday’s importance by reading to her A Hearth’s Warming Tale. We are introduced to that story’s version of Ebenezer Scrooge, Snowfall Frost who is played by Starlight (and even using Starlight’s old hairstyle). Unsurprisingly, the episode will have familiar characters playing these other fictional characters, and I won’t be commenting on any cameos. One could say this is how Starlight is imagining the story as it is told to her, which makes sense, but the bigger reason is that reusing the same character models and keeping the same voice actors and actresses are also easier on the show’s budget. The creative team could also save more money by not drawing and animating Princess Celestia so they also wouldn’t have to waste more money on her voice actress. Snowfall was dedicated to her studies in magic not unlike Twilight at the start of the show, but Twilight’s dedication wasn’t nearly as extreme. Twilight goes on a tangent about Snowfall being almost as dedicated to studying magic as Star Swirl by praising the latter for a while. Too bad he was given terrible students. Snowfall was working on an alchemical spell and is irritated by the noise made by other ponies celebrating the holiday. She calls for her assistant Snowdash, whose name would indicate a connection to RD, and the latter tries to convince the former of the importance of remembering the point of the holiday. Snowfall doesn’t think that indulging oneself in myths is a worthy endeavor and would rather focus on the real world. She accidentally dismisses Snowdash and becomes more bitter about the holiday since Snowdash also seemed to care more about myths than the real world. As a result, Snowfall decides to cast a spell that will cause everyone to forget about the holiday all while singing a villain song. Her song even mentioned making a year shorter by one day even though that’s not how a year is defined, but whatever. If Princess Celestia was around while such a spell was cast, she would also forget literally everything including how to breathe. Also, if Snowfall was powerful enough to influence the memory of literally every pony with just a spell and her own magic, she probably could also have easily taken control of Equestria, especially since Celestia has shown no ability to fend off any kind of threat. Hell, Snowfall could just walk in, and Celestia would immediately collapse from fright after seeing her. So, one better hope that Princess Celestia doesn’t exist in that fictional Equestria. Starlight mocks Starfall’s rather ridiculous approach for dealing with Hearth’s Warming (Eve), which is met with Spike also mocking Starlight’s “equality” village. It would have been more appropriate to mock that Starlight became a villain in the first place because her friend seemingly left her after he got his cutie mark. And none of this stops “The Cutie Re-Mark” from being complete and utter ass. Anyways, Snowfall tries to cast her spell until AJ as the Spirit of Hearth’s Warming Past appears from Snowfall’s cauldron. Snowfall is surprised at seeing the spirit as no spirit-summoning spell was casted. Does such a spell exist in the “real” world of Equestria? There’s no way in hell the alicorn sisters would ever be allowed to try or even succeed in casting such a spell. If Celestia happened to succeed at that, she’d summon a spirit who would get pissed off at being summoned at such an inconvenient time, and then that spirit would drag her to Hell. The writers like Luna a little better, so nothing would simply happen in her case. It’s also pretty telling that Celestia didn’t get to appear in this episode as some “powerful” spirit while Luna did. AJ as the Spirit of the Past states that a number of otherworldly forces have also noticed Snowfall’s actions and want her to reconsider. If the spirits were so powerful, they probably could’ve just stopped Snowfall then and there, but this wouldn’t be like A Christmas Carol if that happened. Maybe the spirits also believe in choices and free will. The Spirit takes Snowfall (with a lasso even) to see the latter’s own past, and Snowfall was unsurprisingly more cheerful and willing to celebrate Hearth’s Warming (Eve) as a filly. She goes to her classroom to decorate, and she’s also the only student to ever attend the class. Maybe she was actually being tutored. The tutor isn’t happy to see Snowfall decorating because he feels that it’s a waste of time and magic. I don’t know how some minor decorating would be so wasteful as such a task isn’t exhausting or demanding especially with magic to conveniently hang the decorations, but whatever. It’d make a little more sense if young Starfall was wasting too much time and magic for the sake of celebrating, but that wasn’t the case. However, I’d like to think that practicing magic through celebrating is also possible, but the tutor is just too strict and hard-nosed to be concerned about the holiday. Obviously, Starfall adopted her beliefs and views of Hearth’s Warming (Eve) from her tutor. I don’t remember how the original book went (the summary on Wikipedia isn’t enough, and I’m too lazy to reread the book), but I don’t remember Scrooge directly hating Christmas in at least in some adaptations I’ve seen. Mickey’s Christmas Carol, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Disney’s A Christmas Carol from 2009 both had Scrooge being poor as a child and later breaking out of poverty after starting a business with Jacob Marley (whose counterpart doesn’t appear in the episode) which eventually caused Scrooge to care more about money than anything else. Actually, I don’t even think those adaptations even had Scrooge actively hating Christmas, or at least he didn’t explicitly say as such. There was one line in The Muppet Christmas Carol where he actually said that he hated Christmas, but that was it. He was otherwise just or mostly indifferent to the holiday, and he was too cold to care about anyone else’s state until he got a look at some of them. Of course, this may be different in the book, so I’m thus going on a pointless tangent. As for the episode, that moment causes young Starfall to disregard the holiday and her friends completely and focus on her studies while feeling heartbroken about doing so. Starfall even sings about “some hurts never going away”, which becomes unintentionally stupid when considering Starlight’s past. Present Starfall remembers all of her previous happiness and sadness throughout this journey, and she as well as AJ the Spirit leave this memory. Starfall wakes up in front of her cauldron only to encounter the Pinkie as the Spirit of Hearth’s Warming Presents. And the plural matters as the spirit is also all about giving presents. Pinkie is the rather obvious choice to play this spirit, not that I’m complaining because I wouldn’t want to miss this pun. Starfall thinks that presents, as in physical items, aren’t worth spending time or money on. Insert random comment here about materialism. However, Pinkie as the Spirit counters that the item isn’t the point; it’s the gesture behind the item that matters. And she sings a song about what the ponies in the present are doing and why. Essentially, she’s singing about the importance of how the ponies use their time in the present to help each other, especially in regards to quality time, and the effects that the choices and actions of one pony can have on another. The duo overlooks a party that Snowdash and her friends are attending, and Snowdash is rather unhappy about Snowfall’s perspective of the holiday, which is that working hard, learning, and using one’s skills to help Equestria are better uses of time and energy. This is met with some pretty heavy disapproval from other ponies as they feel that they are already doing as Snowfall says as they’re raising each other’s spirits by celebrating the holiday and spending quality time together. As the saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. However, someone like Snowfall (and her tutor) will usually assume that some amount of playing means that one isn’t interested in working at all. Pinkie as the Spirit of Hearth’s Warming Presents suddenly leaves Snowfall right outside the party, and now comes the Princess Luna as the very tall Spirit of Hearth’s Warming Yet to Come. I’d make a comment about the writers blatantly preferring Luna over Celestia, which is one thing, but I also still want to point out that even so, the writers were never even that productive with Luna. It’s just that they didn’t fuck up with handling Luna nearly as much as they did with Celestia. Then again, Luna does share her voice actress with Rarity, a main character, so including Luna in an episode can be cheaper than including Celestia. Still, this just points back to my earlier comment about the show saving money if it just excluded Celestia completely, so I don’t know why the creative team behind the show would only want to use their money wisely sometimes. Luna as the spirit shows the future of Equestria if everyone was to forget about and not celebrate Hearth’s Warming (Eve), which is that with no one getting together to raise each other’s spirits, the Windigos will reappear and cover Equestria in an eternal blizzard. There’s no way Celestia would ever be able to handle the Windigos. In the typical Equestrian threat episode, she would be among the first to freeze either from the Windigos or the storm. Something that I find weird is that even if everyone forgot about the holiday, that doesn’t mean they’ll always be randomly unhappy during that time of the year instead. After all, getting together to spend quality time and raise each other’s spirits can be done anytime and not just at one point. Then again, I don’t know what life would be like if one holiday was removed from the calendar. The episode that first featured the creatures, “Hearth’s Warming Eve”, did say that the Windigos are winter spirits that feed on negative emotions. Maybe the ponies have to try harder at invoking positive emotions during the winter to make sure the Windigos stay away. This part is undoubtedly where the episode deviates the most from A Christmas Carol, at least in the more direct adaptations, where Scrooge sees himself dead in the future, but his death wasn’t the point. It’s that he’s dead, and others are either indifferent or even happy about his death. Seeing this as well as the effects of his negativity on other people’s lives encourages him to change his general attitude. In this episode, Snowfall sees that Hearth’s Warming (Eve) must be preserved so the Windigos can be kept at bay. The spirits could probably have been more direct and shown this in the beginning to discourage Snowfall from erasing Hearth’s Warming (Eve) as well as the Windigos and their power being real, but the episode would be too short, and it wouldn’t adapt A Christmas Carol that much. And maybe the other spirits needed to convince her that the holiday worth plenty to others, so that doesn’t really give her the right to just take away something that’s so valuable to too many others. Snowfall finds herself back at her home or workplace, and she decides to celebrate the holiday along with other ponies to ensure that the Windigos are kept away and to make herself and others happy by spending some time with them. She goes to the party that the other ponies are at, who are all too ready to welcome her, and gives away some gifts in the meantime. And they all lived happily ever after. Twilight puts the book away and still invites Starlight to join the festivities, and Starlight does join as she has also learned to enjoy the present as well as the presence of her “friends”. I’ll keep my comments about the main cast short as whatever they did were just excuses to tell some variation of A Christmas Carol. Starlight’s stated reason for not being interested in the holiday doesn’t make that much sense if you think about it, and it would have been simpler to just say that it’s another day for her, so she wouldn’t feel the need to participate. At least Twilight was receptive of an opposing position as she didn’t force Starlight to join toward the end of the episode. Even though this was an attempt to bring Twilight and Starlight closer as the latter just joined the main cast by the time this episode happened, Starlight’s reformation was always problematic, and this episode does nothing to rectify that problem and even ignores it. As a result, there isn’t much of a positive feeling that was supposed to emanate from the episode. I do want to point out that this is really more of a flaw of the show than the episode. As for this episode’s take on a well-known book, it was fine enough. It still manages to keep the major points of the book (or at least the adaptations) intact while making its own points. Snowfall’s negativity alienated other ponies, and even though Snowfall may be a rather negative pony, she is still capable of feeling and can feel happiness and sadness for herself or for others. She started off not caring too much about how other ponies felt until she saw them in action herself, and then she realizes the positivity that she has denied herself. She can have all the magic in the world, but magic can’t conjure happiness. And there needs to be plenty of festivities during the winter or else the Windigos will attack. Since Snowfall isn’t exactly a bad pony (at least not too much), she wouldn’t want to doom Equestria just for her own selfish desire. That’s a rather hokey way of trying to convey the importance of spending quality time with others and spreading joy, but at least it makes sense in-universe. What’s even more hokey is Snowfall’s backstory. Personally, I’m not big on hatred origins that happen because some terrible event happened on a specific day, therefore that person must always spend so much time and energy hating that specific day or something related to the event. You can already see that the premise already sounds ridiculous just by reading it, and it’s ridiculous because that’s too much of a jump to make without further exploration (not unlike Starlight’s origin, but that’s a different topic). In the case of this episode, Snowfall’s tutor refusing to let her decorate for Hearth’s Warming (Eve) simply led to her hating it. She could also hate that other ponies were able to celebrate and have happier lives during their younger years, but that’s also a different topic and not exactly a theme that was present in A Christmas Carol. Being indifferent would make more sense as she wouldn’t have spent the time to recognize the holiday. At least this is somewhat mitigated with her feeling happy at seeing other ponies enjoying themselves. I guess I could comment on the ponies chosen to play the spirits. Pinkie was obvious as the Spirit of Hearth’s Warming Presents she also likes to make friends and spend time with them, and having a party is one way to do that. AJ probably didn’t need to be the one specifically to play the Spirit of Hearth’s Warming Past since that flashback was all about how Snowfall felt and acted during her filly years and how her origin started. The Mane 6 is already composed of caring and feeling ponies, and anyone of them could identify with how this started. Since AJ is the Element of Honesty, she could be chosen to show Snowfall the truth about how her position started, so maybe AJ was the best choice among the Mane 6. Luna was the Spirit of Hearth’s Warming Future because Luna deals with nightmares, and allowing the Windigos to run rampant would be nightmarish. Out of the three segments, I like the one with Pinkie as the Spirit of Hearth’s Warming Presents the most. Aside from Pinkie fitting her title, her segment was also the one that conveyed the main message of the episode, which is the importance of spending quality time with others and how doing so can have a positive effect on oneself and others. This is best shown with the ponies at the party discussing Snowfall’s perspective using one’s own time and efforts to improve Equestria, and they already felt that they were already doing as she wanted.
  14. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Hm, I didn't know that. I didn't know that Discord was posing as Grogar, and it seems that Grogar himself hasn't made an official appearance in the show. I don't mind spoilers though, and that is especially the case with this show. Tying with the comment earlier about Chrysalis still thinking of herself as queen, it's worth noting that she didn't even try to give orders to Tirek or Cozy Glow. At the very least, Cozy Glow can be given some credit for trying to take charge. Yes, a line or two would've been nice, but I've decided to be generous and just let that slide. The show has much bigger problems to me. Celestia and Luna being able to control celestial bodies should have major impacts on other species and countries. Ponies were also already able to do just that without the alicorns, and that in a way would make the ponies the most important species on the planet. Perhaps these abilities should never have existed in the show due to the various implications they carry, and that's why I wonder what Lauren Faust had in mind with Celestia and Luna. And trying to make sense of "The Cutie Re-mark" is a waste of time and effort.
  15. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Frenemies We start with Cozy Glow, Tirek, and Chrysalis annoying Grogar. Chrysalis’s comment is rather notable in that she calls herself a queen, but she has already lost all of her followers as well as her territory, so that title is worthless. It’s too bad she hasn’t come up with any ideas for trying to kill the Mane 6, so she doesn’t really live up to her own title. A royal who couldn’t be bothered to contribute to her own goal? That sure sounds familiar. Grogar decides to leave so the three can learn how to live with and tolerate each other and not quickly fall apart when finally deciding to attack the Mane 6. I wouldn’t be surprised if the three villains became a better team than the alicorn sisters, not that it would take much to surpass them in the first place. Cozy Glow places herself in charge likely due to having some experience with friendship and thus knowing at least a thing or two about teamwork. She asks the other two to join her in a meeting. Chrysalis’s scene was a tad amusing. She was confiding in a piece of wood, so she wasn’t interested in acquainting herself with her teammates. And she was only interested in the meeting after Cozy Glow mentioned cupcakes. There’s the meeting between the three villains, and they can’t bring themselves to get along with each other. Tirek is trying to absorb Chrysalis’s magic, and they’re both annoyed with Cozy Glow constangly placing herself in charge. it seems that Tirek isn’t absorbing that much magic if Chrysalis doesn’t seem to feel any physical pain. By the way, has Tirek tried to absorb Grogar’s magic? It doesn’t look like an explanation was given at any point, but I’ll assume that Grogar weakened Tirek after pulling him from Tartarus. Or Grogar is powerful enough to rebuff any of Tirek’s advances. Celestia now has even less of an excuse to chicken out of a confrontation with Tirek back in season 4, not that she ever had an excuse in the first place. Cozy Glow attempts to encourage teamwork and bring them all together through a villain song. I’m always up for a villain song, especially one that is fun and sinister. Too bad that doesn’t help my opinion of the show. Anyways, things don’t go well at first as Tirek and Chrysalis intentionally screw over the other during some trust exercises. The villains seem to be in agreement at some point in the song, but they don’t take long to fall apart afterward, and it’s quite notable in the case of Cozy Glow as she insists on being the boss. Grogar appears after the song and is still disappointed in their continuing lack of unity, so he decides to help them by giving them an assignment to see if they can work together to steal some magical artifact. Since his underlings have big egos as they have each come close to victory at least once at some point (I’m gonna take another shot at the alicorn sisters being so incompetent at failing to do anything about any of these villains), they each argue over which one of them should lead this operation. Chrysalis even claims that she almost conquered Equestria “several times”, but that only happened at the end of season 2. You could argue that capturing the important figures of Equestria at the end of season 6 could count, but she didn’t attempt any conquest that time unlike season 2. In any case, twice hardly means several times. Grogar ultimately puts his foot down and points out that they all failed to achieve their goals anyways. Time for a flashback. Grogar talks about one of his old magical artifacts, the Bewitching Bell. Gusty the Great stole and hid it on top of a mountain as the bell couldn’t be destroyed, but Grogar has discovered the bell’s location. Chrysalis mocks the easiness of the assignment, but since we’re not even halfway through the episode, it’s obviously gonna be pretty tough. Not that there’s a reason for the task to be easy in the first place unless the security was handled by the alicorn sisters. If the alicorn sisters handled the security around the Bewitching Bell, the villains would simply walk up to the bell, steal it, and then after a long period of time be surprised to learn that the place was supposed to have security after Celestia or Luna confronts them about this. How about this instead? Let’s say Celestia did set up a bunch of traps and various kinds of securities around the bell. And the traps did go off, but Celestia’s luck is about as good as Wile E. Coyote’s, so the traps immediately collapse upon trigger and even destroy each other, leaving the villains dumbfounded about the awful security and leaving them unopposed. Bonus points if pieces of the trap(s) flew off the mountain and later strike Celestia. Anyways, the three villains head to Mt. Everhoof. Cozy Glow even came up with a plan to get to the top of the mountain, but Tirek and Chrysalis immediately ditch her. She ends up throwing away her plan as a result. I don’t know why she’d want to waste it even if she wouldn’t immediately use it, but whatever. Chrysalis tries to fly to the top, but the winds initially impede her progress too much, so she lands and continues her journey by walking and transforming into various animals to cross various terrains. She eventually reaches a point where she was to fly to the top, but the winds are too strong and blow her back. If the wind was conjured by Celestia, it would just blow Chrysalis to the artifact. How would the wind affect a unicorn who magically carries herself like Starlight did? Would Starlight have been able to use her magic to push through the wind? Cozy Glow hikes up the mountain and encounters the guard Rusty Bucket, who isn’t curious about a lone filly for some reason. She asks for the guard’s help, but the guard continuously declines as he knows that getting to the mountain peak will be difficult and dangerous. If the guard was hired by Princess Celestia, he would have accidentally sent Cozy Glow directions to the bell. Does the guard know about the Bewitching Bell, by the way? Cozy Glow tries to befriend him to later convince him to take her to the top, but Rusty Bucket still declines and reasons that a friend wouldn’t ask him to do something he shouldn’t. He even read about that from a copy of the Journal of Friendship which pisses off Cozy Glow, and that was an admittedly amusing scene. Cozy Glow gets so pissed off and screams, which triggers an avalanche that creates a snowball and carries her off the mountain. It was also quite amusing to see Rusty Bucket shrug off Cozy Glow getting carried away. Tirek starts his trek by blowing some dirt into the wind, and the dirt bounces off a magical barrier and immediately hits his face. I’m not sure why there’d be a barrier for blown dirt but not walking intruders. Maybe the barrier was meant to block projectiles. If that barrier was casted by Princess Celestia, it would somehow block out all of the good guys while leading the villains to the artifact. Good thing Celestia wasn’t responsible for setting up the security around Mt. Everhoof, right? Anyways, Tirek figured out that getting to the top was impossible, so he waited for Chrysalis and Cozy Glow to fail so he can get some foresight about the security. There was also an amusing scene of Tirek and Cozy Glow getting into a childish argument with the two insulting each other. Tirek even points at Cozy Glow while mocking her about how the she sleeps. Chrysalis eventually returns and admits that the three will need to work together. The villains gather around Tirek’s campfire and start to bond over their attempted conquest over Equestria, their hatred for the Mane 6 (especially Twilight), and their desire for revenge. This is sad. I think this bonding scene was fine as it gave them something to like about each other and a common goal to work toward, but there’s something else I feel like bitching about. This scene between the villains is actually more endearing than any scene that ever occurred between Celestia and Luna. That’s right. Nine seasons of the alicorn sisters being reunited, and they never had a moment as tender as this. What did the sisters ever unite over other than the fact that they’re sisters? Take their lack of interaction over the show into consideration, and the relationship between the sisters feels emptier and less endearing than this one moment between the villains. What’s also pitiful is that the villains care more about mocking Twilight and getting back at the Mane 6 instead of a pair of long-lived alicorns. Maybe the villains are also aware of how bad Celestia and Luna are at their jobs. Even if the villains end up being unaware of the alicorn sisters because of how much trouble the Mane 6 caused, that still doesn’t bode well for their perceptions of the sisters since – well – they’re so unaware of the alicorn sisters when thinking about trying to conquer Equestria. Now that the three villains trust each other a little, the three villains try again to climb to the top of Mt. Everhoof, and they have much less trouble getting to their destination this time. They even encounter Rusty Bucket, who isn’t much of a guard as they don’t use much effort to deal with him. The only reason Cozy Glow couldn’t get past him was because she’s physically weaker and also because she had no way of actually climbing up the mountain. When they finally reach the top, they encounter another magical barrier blocking their entry. The only way through is for Tirek to absorb Chrysalis’s magic and blast a hole in the barrier, but Chrysalis is rightfully reluctant since they aren’t actually friends. Tirek promises to return the magic, and since they don’t have any better options for finishing this task, Chrysalis reluctantly allows Tirek to take her magic. Tirek blasts the barrier, but only Cozy Glow is small enough to fly through the hole to take the bell. He even notes that he couldn’t keep the barrier open forever, but couldn’t he stop for a little while and make a hole again after Cozy Glow returns with the bell? After Cozy Glow returns, Tirek initially seems to refuse to return Chrysalis’s magic, and Chrysalis likewise also distrusts Tirek, but he eventually gives in. The three villains finally realize the power of teamwork, but they’re still not interested in being friends as the idea of genuine friendship disgusts them. Thankfully, today’s lesson hasn’t been completely lost on them, so they agree to continue working together as they all don’t like the Mane 6 as well as Grogar for being too powerful. They agree to break up this team after dealing with the two problems. Take note that they didn’t think of needing to deal with Celestia and Luna. They definitely don’t see the sisters as a threat. We get to the ending, and the three villains lie about failing to get the bell. Grogar gets pissed but is also pleased that the villains have learned to work as a team. How is he gonna check to see if they even accomplished that? Maybe he plans to just observe them in the future because a lack of unity will be obvious. And the Bewitching Bell ends the episode with a glow. They better hope Grogar never notices the glow. I have to admit, this episode by itself is pretty good. We see mulitple villains interacting with each other, and since they never really got to know each other (even though Cozy Glow and Tirek spent some time in Tartarus together, but whatever) while wanting Equestria for themselves, it would make sense for them to despise each other. And even though they learned about the power of teamwork, they still weren’t interested in being in each other’s lives outside of helping with their respective goals. So, it made sense for them to not want to be friends. Not even in the case of Cozy Glow who may have read about friendship and went to the School of Friendship, but she was never interested in friendship for its own sake or virtue. The episode also did well in showing that teamwork is still possible even between teammates who don’t like each other that much because teamwork means just that: working as a team. It doesn’t exactly mean friendship, which would require greater emotional input. If anything, they had to set their emotions aside in this case. One interesting bit of irony is that Chrysalis felt reinvigorated after their teamwork and compared the experience to formerly running her Changeling empire. There had to be some amount of teamwork during her time as their queen because the empire would otherwise have fallen apart like this trio of villains almost did when refusing to get along with each other. She also didn’t want the “magic of friendship” to infect herself like it did with her hive, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were Changeling minions who were friends with each other even during Chrysalis’s reign. Another bit of irony is that Grogar himself isn’t playing the teamwork card. He doesn’t even trust his minions as he doesn’t share much info about his plans with them (and he even said himself that he didn’t trust them at the beginning of the episode), and he also didn’t go with them to retrieve his bell. He might just care more about having minions work for him instead. Aside from Chrysalis’s high and mighty attitude, it was also nice to see the villains’ personalities bounce off of each other. In actuality, they all think highly of themselves. Chrysalis was a former queen and expects things to be done when she desires, and I’ll be generous and overlook the fact that we never saw her performing as a queen. At least she’s willing to try and complete her own tasks. Tirek showed some cunningness like at the beginning of “Twilight’s Kingdom” such as knowing that the task couldn’t be completed alone and waited for the others to fail so he can learn from their mistakes while also avoiding humiliation. Cozy Glow is just a filly and fully aware of that, and she wants to abuse that image while being oblivious to how others see her. And both Tirek and Chrysalis can’t stand Cozy Glow because Cozy Glow is an annoying filly. Too bad I don’t care. I’ve already said that the show was already past the point of redemption with poor season finales that must carry over into the next season, so I don’t think any better of the show even though I thought positively of “Frenemies”. It’s also too bad this episode kept reminding me of the show’s wasted potential, namely the all the wasted potential with Celestia and Luna. What does it say about the show that three villains in this episode got to display some genuine unity and teamwork, but the alicorn sisters have never done the same at any point? Even their focus episode featured them barely knowing each other, so whatever bond was supposed to be featured is much weaker than this villainous bond. To top it off, the villains still don’t like each other, but they’ve agreed to this temporary union. This one episode featured a more meaningful relationship between three villains than whatever was attempted with the half-assed episodes the sisters got. That might have been fine if the show never bothered using Celestia and Luna, though the wasted potential still would have been noticeable since the series premiered already established the two characters as sisters. But this waste is even worse as the sisters have appeared at multiple points in the show without doing anything productive.
  16. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I don't know what it's like for a ruler to own a school, so I won't say anything about that. This does remind me of "School Daze", and that episode also said that Celestia couldn't exert her own authority over any school in Equestria. Still, I wouldn't want Celestia to simply exert her own authority about the decisions she makes since it won't sound so different from "because I said so." But you do make a good point about Inkwell considering the idea to leave the school since that don't make an issue out of whatever kind of authority Celestia may or may not have, so that probably would work better. I do prefer your idea of a story that show's the pony citizens' perspectives of Princess Celestia, assuming the story actually shows Celestia being a major source of help to the ponies. Celestia doesn't really get the chance to show her power, and this would be better than having other ponies show their "powers" so Celestia doesn't overshadow them. I mean, Celestia has never really overshadowed anyone in the show, but the cartoon writers keep thinking otherwise. I would rather have a wise, powerful, and competent Celestia, but that's just one viewer's preference. My thoughts about the comic are just thoughts about how another writer tried to handle her. So, yes, you are right about the comic not letting Celestia be as impressive as she should be, but I explained a bit more of my thoughts below. Making a contribution by helping fend off an invasion is definitely something she hasn't always done in the show. If anything, she only did it at the beginning of season 9, though that of course comes with its share of problems. We don't really learn anything about whatever that event in the comic was, but I'm just pointing out even something like this is more than what the cartoon would normally allow. You might say that it only shows that she isn't completely useless, and I don't disagree with this scene not actually doing that much in terms of Celestia's capabilities, but I'd rather take that over her being completely useless. I think I have said that there isn't much to Princess Luna due to her terribly vague backstory and the "modern day" episodes not actually saying that much about her as a "person", and she becomes rather plain as a result. Well, except that she and Celestia don't know each other that well. What are you referring to, exactly? As for what it says about Celestia, you said earlier that the ponies she talked to could've instead laid on their beds, arrived at the same conclusions without Celestia's input, and the comic wouldn't be any different for that. Well, I disagree, of course. If those ponies arrived to those conclusions without Celestia's input, that already meant Celestia didn't try to help Inkwell stick around as she didn't try to convince those ponies about Inkwell's helpfulness, and it also meant that Celestia wasn't needed for anything in the story. Celestia's reminders to those ponies show that she has been aware of Inkwell's activities and hasn't forgotten what Inkwell has done. As in, the comic actually shows Celestia knowing and being a friend to another pony and what Celestia would do for a friend. And before you mention Twilight, I'm just going to point out yet again that Celestia has never helped her, and she has also barely been present in Twilight's life. Oh, I guess she helped Twilight's play, but that's literally it. That episode didn't tell us anything about how Celestia felt about Twilight. And how has Celestia helped Luna, again? Remember that "Magic Sheep" didn't bother including Celestia. Essentially, Princess Celestia did more for this one-shot pony than certain major ponies in the show. I don't know about you, but that's already a pretty bad strike against the show. If you disagree, that's understandable. I'm just saying why I don't agree.
  17. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    We've discussed more than a few times about the biggest problem with Celestia in the show is that there's more interest in saying what she can't do instead of showing what she can do. And this comic does at least show what Celestia is able to do, which was convince some other ponies of Inkwell's capabilities. I actually liked how Celestia even approached the task of convincing the other ponies, which was asking them to remember what Inkwell did for them instead of simply exerting her authority and declaring what Inkwell did so those other ponies would be able to see everything for themselves. And sure, Celestia needed help to deal with some invasion, but I personally never minded if she wasn't all-powerful. At least she made an apparent contribution during that struggle. The teacher didn't want to retire yet, at least according to Celestia. But the comic didn't exactly show the teacher wanting to retire, so whatever. I agree that a story like this is too small for Celestia, but that doesn't make it bad to me. At the very least, this met my minimum requirements for a serviceable Princess Celestia story, which is showing what she can do and letting her do what she can to reach a desired goal while also revealing something about her. I know I would have minded this comic even less if the comics picked up the show's slack.
  18. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I haven't read the books, so I won't comment on those. As for Celestia's comic, I thought it was decent enough as it at least gave some focus to Celestia. She was able to think of a way to keep an apparently dotty teacher around by appealing to the students' parents. Sure, that teacher wasn't relevant to the cartoon, but I already went into the comics thinking that the comics were set in an alternate universe as I doubt the people on the show would bother reading the comics. However, the one major complaint I also have about the comic is that it isn't completely about Celestia herself. This complaint would probably be much smaller if she had ever gotten more focus anywhere else or even in another standalone comic issue, but this lack of focus on Celestia anywhere else unintentionally compounded the problem. And from the looks of the comics, Celestia and Luna don't receive much attention anyways. Overall, I don't think Celestia's micro-issue was bad, and I personally thought it was better at helping Celestia than the episode "Horse Play", but then again I guess I'm able to separate that single issue from the show.
  19. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Honestly, I don't know whether to say the comics are worth it or not. I did buy some of the comics in TPB form, but I only got the micro-series, some of the Friendship is Magic titles (up to issue 24), and some of the Friends Forever titles (also up to issue 24). I have not read any of the other MLP comics, and I don't know which issues the two images are from. Why did I buy the comics at first? They came out during a time when I still had some amount of genuine interest in the show, and I wanted to see the other kinds of weird situations the pony characters could be put in. I suppose I was even hoping that the comics would handle the bigger stories better than the show could as I was more interested in the more magical aspect of MLP, and I was also hoping that maybe the alicorn sisters could get more spotlight somewhere else. Maybe the show wouldn't bother with them, but at least the comics tie-in would be something. I also quite like the artwork I saw. One of the biggest positives of the show is its simple and stylized art direction, looking bright, colorful, and cute while still letting the villains look villainous. The comic artwork doesn't quite look like the show, and I'm not sure the show's exact art would translate that well to comic form, but the characters were still very recognizable. However, there are some comics with art that I didn't like too much. As with the show, the slice-of-life stories are better than the bigger and "epic" stories. Even though the "epic" comic stories weren't as good as I would have liked, I do like the comic stories better than the show's "epic" stories for the most part for a two reasons. One of them is the climactic showdown. The show rarely, if ever, lets the characters fight each other somehow, with the only good example being in "Shadow Play". Otherwise, the villains would show up and immediately get blasted away. The comics at the very least allow some kind of showdown to happen and not end so quickly. The other is that the princesses are actually given something to do, as in they don't get dragged into the stories and then aren't immediately thrown out the window for the sake of the Mane 6. I stopped buying the comics not just because of my declining interest in the show, but also because the comics are always gonna pull from the show. For example, I've read the premises of some of the later issues, and they have Starlight and the School of Friendship, which are things I'm not that terribly interested in, so I didn't have a reason to continue reading them even if the comics aren't in continuity with the show. If you're going to read the comics, you'll have to take them as a completely separate series from the show. They may use the same characters, but it's clear that the creative team behind the show never read the comics as the comics are never referenced in any way. I wouldn't be surprised if the comic writers didn't see the entire show, but I imagine that they might have seen at least a few episodes to get a feel for the show. In other words, the comics are essentially an alternate universe to me. The smaller slice-of-life stories are, for the most part, still enjoyable, so I would say give the micro-series and Friends Forever a look if you're interested enough. There might even be ways to read the comics online if you don't wanna pay for them. I'm not sure if I'll check out the rest of Friends Forever, though. Can you expand on this?
  20. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I'd say there's a fair chance that I'll cover it, but I also want to add that I'm not making any promises.
  21. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Are you saying that you haven't seen all of season 9 yet? If so, how much of it have you seen? Celestia was the only one who was representing the parents. Luna was scowling about her sister not following her suggestions. Since this is MLP:FiM, you know how well that would have turned out. I think the episode's premise could have worked better if the guards were in on the game as well. At the very least, that would line up with the fun and zany premise that the writers and voice actresses wanted to work with. I also wouldn't mind if the parents were involved so there could be more interaction between the family including Spike, and the whole family could also be participating in the activity they did some number of years ago. It might be interesting to see how the parents react to Spike winning the contest. As for the defenses not working at the end of the season, I'm guessing that's the case. For better or worse, the nameless guards would usually get swatted aside by the enemies to prove the latter's power. That's not so different from the good guys swatting aside the nameless evil minions. That's why the named characters who are also tasked with guarding should be allowed to do their jobs, but that's not what the show does. There's also the option of the nameless guards confronting the minions, and that might be a way to show the castle's defenses. As I've said before, I don't even think the show even pandered to the Luna fans that well. Aside from being a counselor in various pony's dreams, Luna hasn't done much else in the show. I guess that's better than being consistently stupid like Celestia, but that's such a backhanded compliment.
  22. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Sparkle’s Seven This episode may be marked as the show’s 200th episode, but the episode didn’t feel it was celebrating anything like “Slice of Life” did with the background characters (that I am admittedly indifferent to) resonating with viewers. Since the episode’s script had contributions from the main characters’ voice actresses, I’m guessing that the voice actresses wanted to do certain things with the characters they played for the show’s 200th episode whether it’s having characters involved in a zany heist, the zany plans the characters would come up with, or showing Spike’s relationship with Twilight Sparkle. Spike goes to Twilight with a scroll from Shining Armor concerning a toy crown they both previously competed over as fillies. According to Twilight, their parents used a chart to record every time either of the siblings did something “special” over the course of a week, and the one with more stars got to wear the crown presumably for a week or until the other sibling won a new week. The chart has 24 boxes for each sibling, or maybe it’s 32 boxes if the parents decided to use the additional but small row. And they probably did as it seems pretty easy for Twilight or Shining Armor to get rewarded as telling a joke and even sharing an apple were already enough for acknowledgment. How would the parents know if either of them shared anything if the sharing (or anything else that was nice) happened way out of their sight? Sure, Twilight or Shining Armor could mention what they did, but taking advantage of the parents’ trust could also be easy if one of them was feeling too competitive. Spike mentions that he wanted to be part of the competition so he could feel like part of the family. Too bad he apparently never asked for his inclusion. Shining Armor wants to meet at the Canterlot Castle for one final showdown for the toy crown, which looks more like it’s made of crumpled paper, but whatever. Oh, I mean “Celestia’s” Castle, as in the episode acts like she actually matters to the show. Twilight and Spike arrive at the castle, and they encounter SA as well as the alicorn sisters. I’ll admit that it’s nice seeing a bit more interaction between Twilight and SA as the show hardly did anything with SA despite having such an important connection to the main character. One might say that Twilight’s parents are also important in her life, but there was much more fanfare during SA’s introductory episode, and he didn’t do anything truly noteworthy in said episode. It’s also too bad Twilight’s relationship with a certain other major pony never got any real attention. Then again, considering how late this episode came in, I can’t say I ever understood the writers’ approach toward the show. Celestia wants to amp up the castle’s security since Sombra was able to take over so easily back at the beginning of the season. Luna apparently disagreed with Celestia’s approach, and they both grimace at each other. However, I don’t like this scene nearly as much as I wanted to because their relationship never got explored, and no, their two focus episodes don’t count as they were hardly sufficient. That’s too bad as their expressions toward each other are so comically nasty and thus amusing. Celestia gave the task of amping up security to the Captain of the Guard, Shining Armor. I’ve read various comments online about the guards being useless against threats, so any improvements attempted will ultimately be for nothing. While that’s a fair point, there is a much bigger problem, which is the alicorn sisters being even more useless during a crisis. So, it’s not like Luna’s suggestion of the sisters amping up security themselves would have ever worked out. Anyways, SA has (supposedly) greatly improved the castle’s security and challenges Twilight to try and break in, steal the crown, and then break out all without getting caught or setting off any kind of alarm SA has put in place. Celestia muses that this challenge will help expose the weak points in their security, and the weak points are obvious. The alicorn sisters and the guards are not the main characters, so they will always fail to repel any incoming threats no matter what they try. Having the Mane 6 or even just Starlight stand guard would already be a better form of defense. SA mentions getting shards of Chrysalis’s anti-magic throne to repel magical threats, and I wonder how Star Swirl was able to lift the shards with his own magic. Would having those shards also affect magical ponies inside the castle? What if Celestia or Luna wanted to cast a spell in case a threat somehow got past all that security? Then again, it’s not like anything they cast would ever work. Twilight relays the “new and improved” Canterlot Castle security to her friends and concocts a plan to break through all of the obstacles SA has put up by making use of her friends’ main talents. Unfortunately for Twilight, Spike coughs up a letter from SA, who has apparently already figured out Twilight’s plans and presumably countermeasures for them. SA has hardly appeared in the show, so that would also mean he hardly or hasn’t interacted with Twilight’s friends on-screen. That means he only got to know Twilight’s friends off-screen, and while I’m not against characters learning certain things off-screen, using that excuse can feel like a bit of a cheat since it also becomes too easy to rely on that excuse. I mean, would showing him interact with some of Twilight’s friends really be too much to ask for? Oh wait, I forgot what kind of show this was. Twilight initially feels discouraged about trying to break into the Canterlot Castle, but Rarity steps in and suggests that each pony come up with their own method of breaking in while also suggesting that Twilight do nothing because those are all things that SA didn’t anticipate. If we had to be realistic here, no security will ever be truly perfect, but the good kinds of security would be able to handle various kinds of threats. In other words, it’s not like Shining Armor’s security would be tailored to handle only Twilight’s plans or moves that SA think the Mane 6 would likely resort to. And now the new plan comes into action. AJ distracts the guards with a song as “Apple Chord”, who may or may not have been AJ’s alter ego at some point. Interestingly, the episode suggests that AJ made up the “Apple Chord” stuff as she was being shifty when questioned by RD. SA immediately recognizes AJ, but it looks like AJ’s plan to distract the guards still worked as she has still shifted much of their attention onto herself. The castle also has giant fans to blow away anyone who tries flying to the castle. RD gives Fluttershy, Pinkie, and Spike a diagram of the new wind patterns around the castle and tells them where they should go. Okay, two things. First, the diagram of the wind patterns came from the Wonderbolts, who apparently figured out a way to get past those blowing fans, so shouldn’t SA have contacted them or some professional flyer about improving the security in the sky? And second, what if a powerful unicorn lifts herself with her own magic like Starlight did? Would the fans be able to blow her away? Actually, it might not even come to that as the unicorn could also disable the fans. At the very least, the castle itself does have some “anti-magic” rocks. Fluttershy and Spike are dropped off into the Canterlot Castle while Pinkie offers to keep watch from above. Pinkie actually wanted to keep watch from outer space at first, but that didn’t take as her hot-air balloon didn’t take too long to pop. This also got attention from the guards AJ was distracting, and she was consequently able to use this chance to grab one of the royal guard’s medal which is needed to open the doors inside the castle. It looks like none of those guards noticed that one of them was missing his medal. Meanwhile, Rarity (in her outfit from “Rarity Investigates!”) and RD try going to a bar to ask for information about “secret passages” to Canterlot Castle. However, the bar is unexpectedly closed, but their trip wasn’t in vain as a pony who may or may not work there was able to point out a “secret passage” to the castle that happened to be close by. That’s not really a “secret passage” then, but if the guards know that, then they would know to amp up security around such a vulnerable area. Luna then conveniently appears with another guard to take over this next shift, and that new guard happens to be Fluttershy’s brother, Zephyr Breeze. He was kind of a loser and a chump in season 6, so I don’t know how he was able to get this job unless the writers are just acknowledging the fact that the guards suck so much that even someone like him gets to be one of them. I mean, they even made a dumbass joke about the alicorn sisters being useless throughout the show at the beginning of the season. However, the end of the episode will reveal why he was in that position. Seriously though, I could see Celestia being stupid enough to think that he would be good at the job. Rainbow Dash recalls Zephyr Breeze having a crush on her, and Rarity takes advantage of that fact to distract him. Rarity then takes down the bricks used to seal up the “secret passage”, and she and RD easily slip past Zephyr Breeze and get in. Next, we cut to Spike and Fluttershy getting in to the throne room, who get in after Spike cuts a hole through the stained-glass window. Too bad the guards or the sisters didn’t come up with a plan to prevent that kind of break-in. The duo tries to approach the crown only to encounter a goose who awaken the other sleeping goose, and the duo ultimately fall into the trapdoor that SA set next to the crown. Too bad nobody came up with a plan to handle the geese in case they tried to holler. It also seems that the trapdoor only leads to an underground chamber. How is any of this supposed to help against magical threats who can just blast their way out or around? Twilight becomes concerned as the new plan doesn’t appear to have worked out at all with Pinkie being unable to watch from above, AJ is no longer distracting the guards (looks like the guards grew bored of her performances), and the others haven’t returned with the crown. Twilight also says that she hasn’t heard anything from the ponies inside the castle, but phones, walkie-talkies, or anything similar don’t exist in their world, so what do they use for distant and immediate communication? I guess a letter from Spike might be one option, but that requires some paper. Otherwise, Rainbow Dash and Rarity don’t have any way to communicate with the other groups. Maybe this oversight was meant to show that this new plan was poorly thought out. While Fluttershy and Spike are trapped underground, they are unexpectedly freed after RD pulls a lever. RD and Rarity are lost and have no idea how to navigate through the “secret passage” as RD was just pulling levers to see what would happen next, so these 4 characters eventually decide to return to the surface and formulate a new and better plan for breaking in. They tell Twilight that almost all parts of this new plan failed (AJ did get a guard’s medal), and Spike suggests going with Twilight’s original plan because that’s easier to work with. And they do just that. Pinkie throws a party to distract the guards (those are some pretty terrible guards if they could get distracted so easily by a party or a performance), Rarity creates a guard costume (Twilight’s original plan had Rarity creating multiple guard costumes, but she must’ve realized that the other ponies have their own roles to play) and disguises herself to move among the guards more easily (too bad the guards also didn’t know that there shouldn’t be a guard that looks like her), Applejack bucks through some boulders blocking another “secret passage” with Maud’s help, and RD flies herself and Fluttershy through the blowing fans. Rarity, RD, and Fluttershy enter the throne room which sets off the geese before Fluttershy could calm them down, and that means SA will be aware of some intruders in the throne room. Spike, Twilight, and AJ finally arrive at the throne room through another “secret passage”, and everything seems to have gone too well. Twilight tries to take the crown, but SA as well as the alicorn sisters suddenly reveal themselves, much to Twilight’s disappointment. It looks like SA didn’t have any countermeasures to Twilight’s plans after all. He just wanted her to think that her plan worked so he could snatch the victory away from her at the very last moment to make his own victory taste even sweeter. SA seems to have won this contest as Twilight can’t escape with the crown and without getting caught, and I honestly wonder if either of them would be desperate enough to resort to combat. Suddenly, Spike reveals that he has the crown as well as his cohort in his master plan, Luna, and she is even petting a goose “evilly” in this scene. I can’t help but wonder if the writers knew this would become a meme. I feel like I should be amused by this scene, but I’m indifferent. I guess I’m just too disappointed that this shit is one of the best things to come from Luna. I’m actually not against having this scene, but this scene only serves to remind me that the writers were never productive with Luna. Spike then explains his plan to the other characters. He noticed that Luna was unhappy about Celestia disregarding her input, so he decided to work with Luna to take the crown for himself while also proving Luna’s point to Celestia about handling the security themselves. It turns out using Zephyr Breeze was part of Spike’s plan. Spike knew about Rarity and RD’s approach, so he tried to make sure that they would be able to get into the “secret passage” by bringing in a twat like him, and he knew the duo would get lost when trying to travel through the passage. Essentially, Spike counted on almost every part of the new plan to fail (he even tore the hot-air balloon) during the first attempted break-in so Twilight would be forced to enact her original plan. Spike also knew that Shining Armor would want Twilight to think that she had won, so Luna teleported the crown to Spike while Shining Armor brags about thinking he had won. Talk about irony. Celestia admits that she didn’t account for another weak point in SA’s security, which is handling a threat that is already in the castle itself. The alicorn sisters exchange some irritated smiles at each other, and I’m still indifferent about this. I’m sure the looks the sisters gave each other in the episode also became memes, and it’s too bad that’s all they amounted to. Spike is ultimately crowned as the winner of the competition, and the ponies all end the episode with a group hug. I honestly didn’t really care for this episode likely due to my lack of any genuine interest in the show. It doesn’t help that the episode kept reminding me about one of the stupider parts of the show. Showing the characters getting involved with a heist (and probably the main reason this episode was made) as well as some crazy plans is fine, but it’s too bad the crap about security serves as the backdrop of the episode. I bet there are viewers who poke fun at the royal guards being ineffective against threats, and that’s a fair point like I said earlier, but I will still reiterate the bigger problem. The episode ends with Luna being right and her input being necessary, but whatever point Luna wanted to make already has no weight. Episodes with major villains on a rampage are portrayed with genuine stakes, and the alicorn sisters have never been useful during any of those times, so why would/should they be useful now? I guess this just says more about the impression the show left on me, and it’s too bad this episode will be the only time Luna is ever competent. I should have just been focused only on the fact that the Mane 6 try to pull off some crazy plans only for another crazy plan to have been happening right under their noses, but I’m already taking some time to bitch about the stuff I don’t like about the show. I probably would have liked an episode like this more if it didn’t include the sisters or maybe anything about the security forces of Equestria. Better yet, the show could have avoided those problems, but excluding the sisters would be the better move at this point. I suppose I can still mention some things episode handled well besides seeing how the Mane 6 approached their new plan and then seeing it go wrong, one of which is how Spike viewed his relationship not just with Twilight, but her family as well. We’ve seen their relationship with each other over the show being familial and professional, but the episode now gives more insight into the former. We know in season 1 that Twilight knew Spike since the latter’s birth, and now we get to see more of their childhood together. During the flashback showing the Sibling Supreme competition, Spike was shown drawing his own gold stars under the chart with Twilight and SA. Not only does he see himself as part of the family (and the others probably do as well), but it’s a bit more specific here as he also sees himself as their younger brother. He also expresses disappointment about them not apparently seeing him the same way during a conversation with Fluttershy. It would seem that Twilight and Shining Armor simply saw him as a family member, so it’s more of a generic position to them. Spike was even a bit hurt when Twilight unknowingly brushes him off after he called himself a little brother. Now, they fully acknowledge Spike as a child they spent time with and also grow up with as children fillies. Spike even showed how well he knew them as he knew the moves they would make and how to convince Twilight to use her original plan so they would ultimately and unwittingly carry out his own plan. It may be a bit late to show SA’s relationship and a bit more of Spike’s relationship with Twilight, but at least the show never fucked them up in the first place. On that note, I could also mention the episode giving some insight into Twilight and Shining Armor’s relationship. Their rivalry over the crown felt genuine as they both showed strong feelings toward it, and it’s nice to see that they would rather get along with each other than fight over a toy. I’ll even admit that there’s some amusement to seeing Twilight and SA acting a bit childish when talking about the crown to reinforce the idea that it meant a lot to them in the past. And at least it’s nice to see Shining Armor be somewhat competent even though we don’t get to see that more often. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the only time he was somewhat competent. It’s a bit of a shame that the two didn’t get more interactions after this episode as the MLP wiki states that he doesn’t make a major appearance after this episode.
  23. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    There was something else about "The Beginning of the End" that also bugged me, but I didn't mention it earlier because I couldn't quite put my thoughts into words. When the state of Equestria worsened as Sombra's hold strengthened, the episode tried to convey that the main characters (especially Twilight) were in over their heads, and the end of the episode pretty much confirms as such since Twilight was given some actual preparation time before becoming the new ruler of Equestria. However, Equestria has been in some deep shit multiple times, so why was this case so bad compared to the others? Maybe it's because Twilight and friends were the ones who had to prove themselves capable, especially without additional help. It's true that even though Equestria has been in deep shit multiple times, that doesn't mean one should think less of this event. However, that leads to another problem I have. The episode itself even noted that the Mane 6 don't ever get additional help against supervillains. Celestia, Luna, and Star Swirl stepping in late into the episode was supposed to confirm that the Mane 6 did in fact need help after all, but their participation (at least from the sisters) felt arbitrary instead as they finally decide to be of some use in this episode when they could have easily participated in other 2-part episodes. I guess what I'm saying is that the episode's attempt to emphasize the gravity of the Mane 6 (or at least Twilight) being unprepared for bigger responsibilities and not yet ready to take the princesses' places felt hollow. Hopefully, this makes some sense.
  24. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    That's also contradictory as Twilight (or at least Twilight and friends) are the most important characters, at least in Equestria. "The Cutie Re-Mark" essentially dug (another) grave for the show. I'm gonna be petty and say that the bolded stuff were hardly done well. As in, what was the point of wrapping up those "arcs" if they were meaningless from the start? Yeah, Twilight was learning about friendship throughout the show, but that's hardly why she is just as good as (as in, better than) the other princesses. When you mentioned those new elements, I'm guessing that they ended up getting hardly any exploration. I find it hard to believe that the School of Friendship wasn't used much in the show, but it's not like I'll ever watch the remaining episodes of season 8 and 9 to form my own opinion.