[Interpolated]
Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
Welcome one and all to An Optimist’s Opinion! Fluttershy YayHappy This is an opinion series I’ve wanted to do for ages. However, I have no equipment/software/experience putting together an analytical video, so this being a written opinion piece will have to do for now.

In this series, I wish to try and put a positive spin or even outright defend things that the fandom seems to despise with a passion. Whether it be character, event, or even an entire episode, I’ll do my best to make it seem a little better. But that will be hard considering my first subject.

Flash Sentry. HuhOff My Lawn

Now, before the pitchforks and torches come out, let me clarify something right off the bat; I agree with the general consensus that EQG1 Flash sucked the big one. Whether Meghan McCarthy was having an off day, she was busy organising season 3 or it being a decree from Hasbro, Flash was a poor character in the first movie.
The biggest middle finger for most bronies is his clear purpose of existence to be Twilight’s human love interest. Everything about him, from his design to his attitude, screams “Date me Twilight”, angering every brony that had Twilight as their pony waifu. Hell, even his colour design is done to compliment Twilight. But ironically his biggest flaw, in my opinion anyway, is that in the first movie, Flash had no character flaws. Any fanfic writer worth their salt can tell you flaws help the reader/viewer relate to the character. In the first movie, Flash had none. He was good-looking, a cool kid, part of a band and drove a pallet-swapped Bumblebee from Transformer Prime. Gonna be pretty hard to relate to that.

Now, don’t let all of that negativity make the first paragraph seem contradictory. From Rainbow Rocks onwards, I feel maybe we’ve been a little hard on Flash. In the first scene in RR, Flash is bashful when asking about Twilight and clumsy on his way out. This is a small step in my opinion, as it’s actually relatable. I can definitely relate to being bashful and timid when asking about someone you have feelings for, so already he was portrayed a tiny bit better than in EQG1. The rest of Rainbow Rocks though, it becomes really hard to identify what behaviour represents the real Flash Sentry and what was altered by the mind-warp from the Sirens. Maybe Flash is genuinely that competitive when it comes to music, though I know he’d never let it allow him to berate Twilight like he did.

HuhGlare
*Riku remembers scene
*Riku grabs sword before remembering why he’s here.


Then we get to Friendship Games, and here is where I got the idea for both these ideas on Flash and this series as a whole. Skipping Flash’s brief outcry at the pep-rally, I think the scenes where he bumps into Sci-Twilight should’ve been extended or there should’ve been more of them. After all, like I said in my review of the movie on the Friendship Games thread, this is a Twilight Flash could get romantically involved with without it being weird, as they’re both human. While I approve of Twilight’s ditching him for her research because it fitted her character, I feel Flash should’ve been given more screen-time to interact with Twilight.
And finally, I’d like to talk about the moment that inspired this series; Derpy putting a hand on Flash’s shoulder. Of all the characters they could’ve had pat Flash on the shoulder, they chose Derpy. Based on this, and how you interpret the line of Derpy’s mouth in the scene, this could be taken in one of two ways;

The first (the favourite of most bronies) is Derpy going “You should just give up. You’ll never get with her.”
The second is her going “Don’t worry Flash, I know how you feel,” relating to all the bullshit Derpy had to endure because of the complaints of a handful of soccer mums. Oops

I tend to lean towards the latter, and this leads me to my opinion of Flash Sentry as a character. He wasn’t written very well in the first movie, but I’ve noticed a couple of little things to make me think maybe I’ve been a little harsh on him. I feel towards Flash the same way Silver Quill feels about Cadence; in that Flash as a character hasn’t been allowed to grow. Given time and a decent plot, Flash could actually be a good character. I mean, we all hated Sunset Shimmer and look at how she’s now the fandom’s darling.

Also, before I end this, I’d like to clarify one last thing; this was only focussing on human Flash Sentry. Why not focus on all the hate pony Flash gets? Here’s why; he hasn’t done anything to deserve it. After all, everything we hate about Flash was done by the human Flash. We could argue that, like other characters, the two Flashes share character traits. However, there’s one key difference that I don’t think anyone’s realised; human Flash is a teenager in high school. Pony Flash is a trained soldier who has always been on duty every time he’s been on screen. Being a member of the Royal Guard, he’d have had the rule of “Don’t get too friendly with the Royalty” hammered in during boot camp. What’s more, he’s never had an awkward moment with Twilight in Equestria, Sure, they bumped into each other, but he helped her up and went on his way, simple as that. In this world, he’s trained to serve her, not hit on her.

So that’s my spiel on Flash Sentry. I’m not expecting everyone who reads this to suddenly like Flash. Hell, I’m still 50-50 on him to be honest. But I do hope that this shows a side of Flash that many of us choose not to see purely out of poor design/stolen waifu rage.

So please, discuss whether I’ve made good points/gone batshit insane/pulling at straws while I look for another discussion from my lynch mob-proof bunker. Hide
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09/01/2016, 02:13 AM (Last edited: 13/01/2016 08:32 PM by Riku006)
Crystal Pony
WA
Posts: 973
Joined: Oct 2011
I know most people want Flash to go, but honestly I felt like there should have been more of him in Friendship Games. If he's written out of EQG4 entirely I'll accept it but I'll still be a little bothered by it. They made a character most didn't enjoy? So what, just keep him around and tweak him into a character people do enjoy.

To be honest, the fact they've been trying to keep EQG separate from the main show's canon iffs me. I want to see pony Flash be involved. I want to see Twilight's supposed feelings resolved.

As for your post. I enjoyed reading it and, if it hasn't yet been evident, I am on board with everything you've said. Flash has been getting better, if only by the smallest amount each time, and to be frank it seems most of the hate he's earned has simply been because of his "waifu stealer" title. So he's a romantic interest of your waifu? Who cares? Waifus get in-universe partners, it happens. I put this hatred on level with the almost mindless love for Crusaders of the Lost Mark simply because the CMC got their butt-marks rather than the merits of the episode itself.
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Foal
Newtown, Sydneigh, NSW
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2015
Well said! You do bring up some good points. Side characters such as Flash I find somewhat exciting in a sense (be them waifu-stealing or not!), in that they offer new avenues for interesting character development; new interactions and potential for the story and overall journey to follow a different path.

As you said, though, Flash Sentry has a similar case to Cadence, or at least Cadence initially, in that he hasn't really been embraced into the story in any meaningful way. Thus goes the initial excitement, then! Without that allure of potential, and nothing else to go on, that is when a little light-hearted animosity sets in for me, I think. Cheerilee

What you've said does indeed cut that animosity short, though, especially for pony Flash ! Nicely done! I look forward to seeing the rest of this Optimist's Opinion series! Smile
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[Interpolated]
Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
First off, thanks to those who read/liked/commented about the last one. I'll take that as proof I should do more. Happy Now if only I could post these when more people are on. Pinkie Pie Shrug

Well, the next topic was a toss of the coin between Spike copping all the abuse and negativity he does, or Starlight Glimmer and her “performance” in the season 5 finale. But then I stumbled onto a video from Lily Peet, one titled Down with Celestia.

insert tasteless Down with the Sickness joke here

In this video, Lily expresses his distaste for the princesses minus Twilight, with Sunbutt being the target of his analytical wrath. He goes on explaining his view that Celestia is an incompetent leader and is only on the throne because of Twilight and whatever magical McGuffin she and her friends had, using the alternate timelines of the season 5 finale to show she was defeated or on the verge of defeat in each one.

Think While I respect his opinion and can even understand where he’s coming from on these points, I call bullshit, and not just because Celestia is best princess.

Now there are three key questions I wish to answer or at least explain in order to hopefully counter Lily’s arguments;
1. Why does Celestia always resort to the Elements of Harmony or Twilight (or both) to solve her problems,
2. Why does Celestia seem to lose every fight she takes part in, and
3. How Celestia loses to each villain in the alternate timelines in a believable and satisfying manner?

For the first point I believe, in his video, Lily overlooked one important factor; Celestia’s position as the mentor character for Twilight. Let’s be honest, it would be a lot easier if Celestia actually could handle each threat on her own. But if she could, there would be no reason for Twilight to be in the show as the main protagonist. It wouldn’t make sense from a writer’s point of view if the mentor character solved the major conflict instead of the protagonist. Imagine how weird it would be if Dumbledore was the one that defeated Voldemort, not Harry. It’d be weird, wouldn’t it? It would render any character growth gained from defeating the villain a moot point. And as for her using the Elements of Harmony, bear in mind some of her opponents are nearly on par with gods. Both Discord and Tirek are strong enough that only the Elements could soundly defeat them, and I assume Celestia and Luna decided to be safe rather than sorry when using them against Sombra. Against Nightmare Moon, Celestia knew they wouldn’t kill Luna, as they’re the purest good fix-everything plot device Equestria has. It’s not a far stretch to assume she knew they wouldn’t kill Nightmare Moon, and this would be further backed up by Celestia not wanting to kill her sister. Another thing to consider is that maybe, even when blasting NNM to the moon, the Elements might not have been at full strength in that battle, considering Celestia was using them on her own. And, as I will explain in my next point, a head-on battle might not have yielded the best result for the Everfree castle.

The second point does stray somewhat into head-canon territory, but it’s the most logical solution I can come up with, and one I often use/plan to use in fanfics. Celestia, when compared to the other princesses, is the strongest alicorn when it comes to magic. Sure, Twilight’s the bearer for the Element of Magic, but the only reason she was able to fight Tirek to a stalemate was because she had the collective magic of all four alicorns. Celestia, also unlike Twilight, has been proven to be able to raise and lower the sun and moon for at least a millennium. Counting leap years, that’s 365,250 days of giving gravity (one of the universe’s strongest forces) the middle finger. Woah This means Celestia’s insanely powerful, much like the sun she represents. But I view her being a pony embodiment of a raging mass of burning gas to be an analogy to her magic.
Getting back to Celestia losing her fights, let’s focus on the season 2 finale, when she took on Chrysalis. Celestia only used a laser beam against Chrysalis and lost because of the stolen power of Shining Armour’s love. Note where they’re fighting; in a hall packed with Twilight, her friends and family, as well as dozens of Canterlot’s most influential/popular ponies. I believe Celestia didn’t fight at full strength in this fight. Sure, unleashing her unbridled might would surely turn Chrysalis into a strain on the tiles, but in doing so, Celestia could also incinerate every pony in the hall as well as probably take half of Canterlot with them. I like to think that Celestia’s that powerful, she can never fight at her full strength without collateral damage, which is something the morally-upstanding princess cannot live with.

And finally, how Celestia loses/appears to lose to the villains in each timeline. Now I know admitting her defeats in each timeline adds weight to Lily’s point on her incompetence, but there is legitimate reasoning for why Celestia would lose beyond her allegedly being a terrible protector.
In the Sombra timeline, she hadn’t completely lost, though Sombra’s Crystal Empire had taken Equestrian land. But honestly, that’s war. It’s not won as quickly as in video games and movies. Not to mention Celestia would value the lives of her soldiers, and as such she wouldn't want them getting caught in the crossfire of an all-out fight between her and Sombra.
Next up is Chrysalis. We’ve already gone over how and why she lost to the Changeling queen, but in this timeline, there was no Twilight and friends to gather the Elements of Harmony, no Twilight to call Chrysalis out on her intrusion. With no one catching her in the act, the Changeling invasion is a complete success and thus leads to the guerrilla warfare scenario we saw.
The next three are pretty simple to explain in my opinion. Nightmare Moon has been shown to be a more aggressive fighter than Celestia, and she has beaten Celestia before, back in season 1. I view that as just to move the plot on quickly and explain why Celestia wasn’t there, but maybe NNM’s hatred of Celestia acted as a power-up similar to Shining Armour’s love for Cadence. Tirek’s easy as. As stated earlier, Twilight needed all the princess power she could gather to merely hold Tirek off. For all of the insane power I mentioned earlier, Tirek would’ve absorbed said power and then continue on his merry rampage. And Discord’s easy as well, since one snap of his claws can turn Celestia into a clown. Without Twilight to rediscover the Elements, there is nothing that can help Celestia overcome the embodiment of chaos that Discord is.
I’m still not sure how Flim and Flam were able to stage their hostile industrial takeover of Equestria, but maybe they turned public opinion against Celestia, ran one hell of a smear campaign that belittled her and then bought their way into the seat of power… Jaw Drop
Holy horse shit! The Flim Flam Bros. are Equestria’s Donald Trump!
[Image: full.png]
Seeing as how we don’t know what caused the absolute desolation timeline, there’s no point defending what is nothing but head-canon territory. Though, considering how scary it is to consider what could’ve caused that level of destruction, I’m not sure I want to know what caused it.

So, those are my arguments. Sure, Celestia might not be the perfect character, but in my opinion, she, and every other character, shouldn’t be. After all, I explained why that’s a bad thing already with Flash Sentry. But hopefully I presented reasonable counters to Lily Peet’s arguments. But don’t take this as me taking a shot at Lily. Like I said, he’s entitled to his opinion and I respect that, much like I respect your opinion on whether I actually said something meaningful here, or whether I just wasted around half an hour typing bullshit.

Now, back to deciding between Spike and Starlight. Decisions, decisions. Think
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Honk
Dandenong, Vic
Posts: 6,022
Joined: Jul 2012
Can't find a picture of Flim/Flam!Trump? Man, people need to step up their ponification game.

Spike next please 'cause I still haven't seen the S5 finale it's sure to stir up people >:]
Say it ain't so, I will not go, turn the lights off, carry me home
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Crystal Pony
WA
Posts: 973
Joined: Oct 2011
I'm with Tee Kay, I want to see you go over Spike. Mostly because I actually like Spike. Starlight Glimmer can bite me.

Also, that was the best response/counter-argument to Lily Peet's video I've seen. Actually the only good counters to Lily's arguments. Of course I stand behind Lily's arguments to a point.

Man, if this was a video series I'd totally watch it. [insert diabolical plans to rope Riku into a youtube channel here] Ppcute
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Donator
University of Newcastle, NSW
Posts: 1,026
Joined: Dec 2012
I always felt like it was the opposite. What if Celestia never had a great deal of power? All those big fights with discord and Nightmare 1000 years ago were won with the power of the elements, but now that she's alone they don't work for her any more. Her only real powers being a long lifetime and changing the time of day (a spell implied to have been possible for other unicorns at some point).

The implications are pretty crazy. For everything that went wrong in Equestria she managed to keep the place insanely peaceful and happy on single giant bluff maintained for a thousand years. Doesn't that make her a genius of skill and perseverance way more impressive than any amount of magic use?

The reason she sends Twilight at everything is exactly because that's how she works. When problems come up she has so many connections and alliance carefully maintained that she always has someone stronger perfect for the task. After all we've seen a single random rouge unicorn like Starlight do so much damage by herself. There could be hundreds of these types of events that went on in between episodes, but this is Twilight's story so we get to see her do stuff.

Either way Celestia is best princess.

(10/01/2016 02:14 AM)Riku006 wrote:  gravity (one of the universe’s strongest forces)
Must not... say it... Actually it's the weakest. Ppcute
Damn it.

(10/01/2016 02:14 AM)Riku006 wrote:  Seeing as how we don’t know what caused the absolute desolation timeline,
Clearly it was zebras with megaspells.
[Image: 1M4YxPZ.png]
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[Interpolated]
Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
Well, you guys made the decision for me. Spike it is!Hungry
Although, if I may be honest for a second Ohai, Starlight would've been a much easier candidate for this series. Expect me to get back to her eventually.

Oh Spike, why do most bronies hate you? Coffee Really, I find it hard to pinpoint where all the displeasure for the purple dragon came from. Was it from his OOC performance in Spike at your Service? Was it his non-helpful attitude in episodes like Bridle Gossip and It’s About Time? Or is it simply because his episodes aren’t always the best?

I think it’s a combination of four distinct problems, specifically;
1. Spike being the cause of the episodes problem/the problem itself,
2. A proportionate number of Spike episodes not being that good,
3. It being easy to make Spike a punching bag, and
4. Spike having no overarching goal.

Let’s go through each one like we did in the last piece, and see if there’s any way to prove Spike’s not the bad character the fandom wants him to be.
The first one is one of Spike’s biggest problems. In most episodes focussing on our favourite dragon, he becomes or causes the problem and then it falls to the mane six to fix it. A key example of this is Secret of My Excess, where Spike’s greed turned him into a discount Godzilla, with Rarity reminding him of what he used to be before Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy saved the two from going splat.

I view this problem as a sign that what Amy Keating Rogers once admitted is true; Spike is difficult to write for, and this is where the third and fourth problems could tie in as well. With six (seven from now on with Starlight joining the group Not Sure ) strong protagonists for the show to focus on, as well as this being a show that is supposed to be aimed at girls, it becomes difficult to give Spike a meaningful story that progresses his character. This is made even harder because, unlike the mane six, Spike has no defined goal. Sure he helps Twilight out as her assistant, but that’s not his dream or destiny, it’s his job. In season 5 we saw Rarity and Rainbow Dash achieve lifelong dreams of opening a boutique in Canterlot and flying with the Wonderbolts respectively, as well as Twilight growing further into her role as the Princess of Friendship. Spike doesn’t have a long-term goal like that, he has nothing to aim for and I assume that forces the writers into making Spike either the cause of the problem, the problem itself, or learning what is essentially the same lesson over and over again.

These complaints also tie into the other problem of the quality of Spike episodes. Of all the ones I’ve watched, I’m certain each one made me roll my eyes or face palm at one point or another; like when he would brag about Twilight in Rainbow Rocks, poke fun at the mane six in Bridle Gossip or disregard the inevitable stomach ache in It’s About Time, and the Cloudsdale anthem was muted the second I realised what was about to happen. Hide That wasn’t done out of hate, but out of cringing at the scenario Spike found himself in.

Getting back on topic, there are definitely more Spike episodes where he is his own biggest flaw than there are where he isn't. But, having said that, just because the little guy doesn’t have the best strike record, doesn’t mean it’s all bad. He had his moments; like when he was the voice of reason in Lesson Zero, trying to talk Twilight out of Crazy Twilight and then sending a message to Celestia when things got out of hand. Then he was also the voice of reassurance in the first EQG movie, calming Twilight’s nerves and getting Vinyl to help out in Rainbow Rocks. He also saved the day in the season 3 premiere and the Friendship Games. But undoubtedly Spike’s biggest positive moment was the entirety of Inspiration Manifestation. The character growth in this episode was undeniable, and it stands as the only time in the series where Spike actually solved a problem he started. Also, his motives in that episode were selfless. I mean, sure, he enjoyed the praise Rarity shelled onto him, but Spike gave her the book in the hopes of raising her spirits. This is just one of many glimpses throughout the series of Spike’s more noble ideals, admirable qualities that most bronies nowadays seem to overlook. Even in saying that, though, there are just as many bronies that like Spike, including a certain veteran member of this site (who just so happens to be lurking despite leaving a while ago) that has Spike as their favourite character. I’ll give you three guesses as to who I mean. Trixie

So, how could this be resolved? Well, I understand the difficulty of such a task, but an ideal way would be giving Spike a long-term goal to work towards. Failing that, a truly brilliant episode would help people get back on-side with Spike. Sure, Inspiration Manifestation was great, but there is potential for even better Spike episodes waiting to be unearthed. Dr Wolf and Silver Quill did a joint video on the subject and each proposed a possible story idea to give Spike that truly great episode he deserves. I prefer Dr Wolf’s idea, though Silver Quill’s isn’t that bad either.

And so we’re left with Spike being a character who, despite becoming a punching bag for both the show and fandom in recent years, is still an integral part of the show, and has the potential for great episodes in the future, which I believe is more than enough to dissuade his detractors. Hungry

Well, that's it for Spike, and I actually managed to upload this one BEFORE midnight. I might leave Starlight for now considering how everyone feels so how about-
[Image: latest?cb=20130331213329]

Sweetie Belle Stare
ABSOLUTELY NOT!
*Riku grabs closest keyblade
*Riku proceeds to destroy image

HuhBlush That wasn't very optimistic of me, was it? Shy
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10/01/2016, 11:52 PM (Last edited: 11/01/2016 10:12 AM by Riku006)
Donator
Carlisle, Perth, WA
Posts: 646
Joined: Aug 2013
I'm surprised you never mentioned Power Ponies, seeing as that episode was kind of a response to dislike for Spike. You say that Inspiration Manifestation was the only time he solved a problem he created, but I think freeing the power ponies from paralysis counts, even if it was flutterhulk who actually causes Mane-iac to be defeated.
But other than that, I pretty much agree with all your points.
[Image: Tu3AqBm.gif]
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11/01/2016, 11:11 PM (Last edited: 11/01/2016 11:13 PM by brsajo)
Donator
Mindarie , WA
Posts: 250
Joined: Oct 2014
(10/01/2016 02:14 AM)Riku006 wrote:  First off, thanks to those who read/liked/commented about the last one. I'll take that as proof I should do more. Happy Now if only I could post these when more people are on. Pinkie Pie Shrug

Well, the next topic was a toss of the coin between Spike copping all the abuse and negativity he does, or Starlight Glimmer and her “performance” in the season 5 finale. But then I stumbled onto a video from Lily Peet, one titled Down with Celestia.

insert tasteless Down with the Sickness joke here

In this video, Lily expresses his distaste for the princesses minus Twilight, with Sunbutt being the target of his analytical wrath. He goes on explaining his view that Celestia is an incompetent leader and is only on the throne because of Twilight and whatever magical McGuffin she and her friends had, using the alternate timelines of the season 5 finale to show she was defeated or on the verge of defeat in each one.

Think While I respect his opinion and can even understand where he’s coming from on these points, I call bullshit, and not just because Celestia is best princess.

Now there are three key questions I wish to answer or at least explain in order to hopefully counter Lily’s arguments;
1. Why does Celestia always resort to the Elements of Harmony or Twilight (or both) to solve her problems,
2. Why does Celestia seem to lose every fight she takes part in, and
3. How Celestia loses to each villain in the alternate timelines in a believable and satisfying manner?

For the first point I believe, in his video, Lily overlooked one important factor; Celestia’s position as the mentor character for Twilight. Let’s be honest, it would be a lot easier if Celestia actually could handle each threat on her own. But if she could, there would be no reason for Twilight to be in the show as the main protagonist. It wouldn’t make sense from a writer’s point of view if the mentor character solved the major conflict instead of the protagonist. Imagine how weird it would be if Dumbledore was the one that defeated Voldemort, not Harry. It’d be weird, wouldn’t it? It would render any character growth gained from defeating the villain a moot point. And as for her using the Elements of Harmony, bear in mind some of her opponents are nearly on par with gods. Both Discord and Tirek are strong enough that only the Elements could soundly defeat them, and I assume Celestia and Luna decided to be safe rather than sorry when using them against Sombra. Against Nightmare Moon, Celestia knew they wouldn’t kill Luna, as they’re the purest good fix-everything plot device Equestria has. It’s not a far stretch to assume she knew they wouldn’t kill Nightmare Moon, and this would be further backed up by Celestia not wanting to kill her sister. Another thing to consider is that maybe, even when blasting NNM to the moon, the Elements might not have been at full strength in that battle, considering Celestia was using them on her own. And, as I will explain in my next point, a head-on battle might not have yielded the best result for the Everfree castle.

The second point does stray somewhat into head-canon territory, but it’s the most logical solution I can come up with, and one I often use/plan to use in fanfics. Celestia, when compared to the other princesses, is the strongest alicorn when it comes to magic. Sure, Twilight’s the bearer for the Element of Magic, but the only reason she was able to fight Tirek to a stalemate was because she had the collective magic of all four alicorns. Celestia, also unlike Twilight, has been proven to be able to raise and lower the sun and moon for at least a millennium. Counting leap years, that’s 365,250 days of giving gravity (one of the universe’s strongest forces) the middle finger. Woah This means Celestia’s insanely powerful, much like the sun she represents. But I view her being a pony embodiment of a raging mass of burning gas to be an analogy to her magic.
Getting back to Celestia losing her fights, let’s focus on the season 2 finale, when she took on Chrysalis. Celestia only used a laser beam against Chrysalis and lost because of the stolen power of Shining Armour’s love. Note where they’re fighting; in a hall packed with Twilight, her friends and family, as well as dozens of Canterlot’s most influential/popular ponies. I believe Celestia didn’t fight at full strength in this fight. Sure, unleashing her unbridled might would surely turn Chrysalis into a strain on the tiles, but in doing so, Celestia could also incinerate every pony in the hall as well as probably take half of Canterlot with them. I like to think that Celestia’s that powerful, she can never fight at her full strength without collateral damage, which is something the morally-upstanding princess cannot live with.

And finally, how Celestia loses/appears to lose to the villains in each timeline. Now I know admitting her defeats in each timeline adds weight to Lily’s point on her incompetence, but there is legitimate reasoning for why Celestia would lose beyond her allegedly being a terrible protector.
In the Sombra timeline, she hadn’t completely lost, though Sombra’s Crystal Empire had taken Equestrian land. But honestly, that’s war. It’s not won as quickly as in video games and movies. Not to mention Celestia would value the lives of her soldiers, and as such she wouldn't want them getting caught in the crossfire of an all-out fight between her and Sombra.
Next up is Chrysalis. We’ve already gone over how and why she lost to the Changeling queen, but in this timeline, there was no Twilight and friends to gather the Elements of Harmony, no Twilight to call Chrysalis out on her intrusion. With no one catching her in the act, the Changeling invasion is a complete success and thus leads to the guerrilla warfare scenario we saw.
The next three are pretty simple to explain in my opinion. Nightmare Moon has been shown to be a more aggressive fighter than Celestia, and she has beaten Celestia before, back in season 1. I view that as just to move the plot on quickly and explain why Celestia wasn’t there, but maybe NNM’s hatred of Celestia acted as a power-up similar to Shining Armour’s love for Cadence. Tirek’s easy as. As stated earlier, Twilight needed all the princess power she could gather to merely hold Tirek off. For all of the insane power I mentioned earlier, Tirek would’ve absorbed said power and then continue on his merry rampage. And Discord’s easy as well, since one snap of his claws can turn Celestia into a clown. Without Twilight to rediscover the Elements, there is nothing that can help Celestia overcome the embodiment of chaos that Discord is.
I’m still not sure how Flim and Flam were able to stage their hostile industrial takeover of Equestria, but maybe they turned public opinion against Celestia, ran one hell of a smear campaign that belittled her and then bought their way into the seat of power… Jaw Drop
Holy horse shit! The Flim Flam Bros. are Equestria’s Donald Trump!
[Image: full.png]
Seeing as how we don’t know what caused the absolute desolation timeline, there’s no point defending what is nothing but head-canon territory. Though, considering how scary it is to consider what could’ve caused that level of destruction, I’m not sure I want to know what caused it.

So, those are my arguments. Sure, Celestia might not be the perfect character, but in my opinion, she, and every other character, shouldn’t be. After all, I explained why that’s a bad thing already with Flash Sentry. But hopefully I presented reasonable counters to Lily Peet’s arguments. But don’t take this as me taking a shot at Lily. Like I said, he’s entitled to his opinion and I respect that, much like I respect your opinion on whether I actually said something meaningful here, or whether I just wasted around half an hour typing bullshit.

Now, back to deciding between Spike and Starlight. Decisions, decisions. Think

Something I want to add
Think back to Season 4 Finale when it is shown Celestia dreams prophetically and we assume that the reason she can allow Twilight to save the day to teach her a lesson, as she knows what will happen. Since we can't tell if she would have had these dreams in the cutie re-mark timelines, so another explanation for Celestia being defeated in those timelines is that she didn't have the same warning she did in the actual timeline.
I know your watching me
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[Interpolated]
Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
(11/01/2016 11:44 PM)Lightsurge wrote:  Something I want to add
Think back to Season 4 Finale when it is shown Celestia dreams prophetically and we assume that the reason she can allow Twilight to save the day to teach her a lesson, as she knows what will happen. Since we can't tell if she would have had these dreams in the cutie re-mark timelines, so another explanation for Celestia being defeated in those timelines is that she didn't have the same warning she did in the actual timeline.

Huh That's actually a very good point. Why didn't I come up with that? Kudos to you Surge, kudos. Wink



You know, I’m really enjoying doing this series. I know it’s only a few days old, but I really enjoy standing up for the downtrodden moments/characters. Plus, the interest you guys have motivates me to keep going, and I’m thankful you all like my work-

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CryWhy By Faust’s wings, you guys are going to skin me alive for this one, aren’t you? Shy

Well, despite generally being well received within the community, there are some bronies (including a few on this site) that don’t like certain parts of this episode, if not the entire episode itself. I’ve even seen some regard it as the worst episode of the season. First off, *cough*whataboutdiscord*cough*. Now, there are a fair amount of common complaints against this episode, such as;
1. The plot/pacing was terrible,
2. Diamond Tiara’s face turn was a massive cop out,
3. The CMC getting their cutiemarks was a cop out,
4. The CMC cutiemarks are shit, and
5. It was a musical episode.

Uuh Well, wish me luck.

First off is the complaint that the pacing of this episode was terrible. I will admit that it could’ve been done better, but consider the fact that this is a musical episode and it’s always hard to write the correct pace when you’re trying to cram in a story between five/six songs in just twenty two minutes. The only musical episode that I consider hit the pace right was Pinkie Pride, but I chalk that up to Pinkie being the focus of the episode, as her character seems a perfect fit for fast-paced episodes. I will also admit that, like in Magical Mystery Cure, there probably was one too many songs. However, unlike the season 3 finale, each of the songs helps advance the story in a satisfying way. And let’s be honest; if this wasn’t a musical, there’d be a fair bit too much expository explanations on the election process during that scene.

Next, Diamond Tiara’s face turn. I will admit, this plotline would’ve benefited not being a musical, as it would’ve allowed more exploring of DT’s character and a slower progression towards the turn. Again I chalk that up to lack of run time. But, despite the shortened time limit, we do see that, despite all the teasing she heaped onto the CMC, Diamond Tiara isn’t a bully for the sake of being a bully. Much like Gilda, she’s a product of her upbringing and environment, and the expected pressures of upper-class living being jammed down DT’s throat by Spoilt Rich don’t exactly help the little filly understand her talent or aid her in finding out who she is. Plus, at the school when Diamond burned her mother, she saw that Spoilt was abusing the CMC, the only ponies who decided to offer friendship to her after everything she had done. Whether or not the CMC reciprocated these immediate feelings of friendship can be debated, and while it’s pretty certain that extra run-time would’ve helped draw out the internal struggle over who to side with, the fact that Diamond chose to defend the CMC shouldn’t be discounted, as it’s a massive moment of character growth for Diamond Tiara. To defend those actually willing to become her friend, and against her own mother no less, shows a large amount of courage when, earlier, we saw what would’ve most likely been the scenario for Diamond Tiara back at home; Spoilt Rich lectures her about high-class horse shit and DT meekly accepts it in the face of her over-expectant mother.

Now to the CMC actually getting their cutiemarks. Many people have argued that getting them at the same time defeats the point of a cutiemark’s individualism, and that it’s a cop out just because it, at the time, appeared to be Amy Keating Rogers’ last episode as well as the fifth anniversary of the show. I can agree with both points somewhat, but on getting them at the same time I have to object somewhat. Back in Bloom and Gloom, it was shown that the three fillies feared getting their marks at different times, as then it wouldn’t seem right to still be Cutiemark Crusaders if one or two of them got left out. So getting them together was the way to go so that no one’s excluded and their bonds as friends would help them accomplish so much more, like the lyrics of Hearts As Strong As Horses explains.
And just in case anyone is afraid that, now they have their cutiemarks, there’s nothing for the CMC to achieve and therefore little reason to have more CMC episodes, that’s a stupid train of thought. Because it’s the exact same train that said “Twilight being an alicorn will ruin her character and the show!” And look where that got us; Twilight’s character grew even more rather than becoming a Mary Sue, being a princess opened up dozens of new story possibilities for her and…
[Image: tirek_vs__twilight_by_quizzicalkisses-d7ifjz9.jpg]
Trixie

It’s a fair assumption to say that the same is now possible for the CMC, getting to go on heaps of new, grand adventures and opening up new story ideas for them Also, let’s be honest; how many more episodes could we have stomached of the CMC trying to get their cutiemarks and the episode ending with them still being blank flanks? There could be only so many more times they could get away with that before pulling the pin on the tattoo grenade, so why wait for the three searching for their marks to become stale?

And finally, the cutiemarks themselves. A lot of people don’t like these because they’re either too vague and not specifically relating to their talent or not the three individual marks that were alluded to in the first two seasons, or just because the design doesn’t sit right with their aesthetic tastes. On being vague, the CMC marks aren’t the only ones whose cutiemark isn’t directly related to their talent. People could, on the surface, assume that the diamonds on Rarity’s butt mean she’s good at making fancy dresses, yet it’s more for locating the gems she uses in said dresses. What’s more, they’re still young. Much like Diamond Tiara, they still have all the time in the world to fully figure out what their marks truly mean (and given the outcry over the cutiemarks, I’m certain season 6 will feature an episode covering exactly that). Concerning how the marks aren’t individual, that’s already explained in the previous paragraph, but the multiple shapes in each mark show that, just because their talent is finding/bringing out the talent in others, they are still skilled in the things they were doing before. I find this adds a level of believability to them, and they’re not the only ponies who, despite knowing what their talent is can do other things. After all, while Fluttershy’s talent lets her go all Dr Dolittle, don’t forget she does know the ins and outs of dressmaking, as displayed in Suited for Success. As for the aesthetic design, that’s a matter of personal preference, though I like how they’re shields and in the colours of their manes. I'll just steal a quote from Milky to sum it up;
(11/10/2015 04:47 PM)Milky wrote:  
(11/10/2015 06:02 AM)Epsilon wrote:  On one hand HECK YEAH THEY FINALLY GOT THEM, on the other hand WHAT A COP OUT OF A SPECIAL TALENT!

When you think of it their talents are doubled, they have what most people expected which was singing, apples and speed, flying or stunts what ever Scoots was, and added their CMC colours and shield behind it to show that their other talent is also helping others get theirs.


So, those are my arguments. I will admit that it was very hard coming up with plausible defences for this episode, and that during the writing of this I was interrupted by dinner among other things, so my writing from Diamond Tiara’s paragraph might be less focussed (a.k.a shittier). However, I liked this episode, even going as far to say it’s close to being in my top five of season 5, if not already in it. And it’s not in there just because the CMC got their marks, but because of the character development and the reflection of seeing how Applebloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo have grown as characters to reach this point, and the excitement to see them continue on this journey they've only just begun.

So yeah, that’s it from me. Now excuse me as I run for the hills before you mutilate me for bringing this up. Hide
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12/01/2016, 01:07 AM (Last edited: 12/01/2016 10:09 AM by Riku006)
Crystal Pony
WA
Posts: 973
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(12/01/2016 01:07 AM)Riku006 wrote:  Well, despite generally being well received within the community, there are some bronies (including a few on this site) that don’t like certain parts of this episode, if not the entire episode itself. I’ve even seen some regard it as the worst episode of the season. First off, *cough*whataboutdiscord*cough*. Now, there are a fair amount of common complaints against this episode, such as;
1. The plot/pacing was terrible,
2. Diamond Tiara’s face turn was a massive cop out,
3. The CMC getting their cutiemarks was a cop out,
4. The CMC cutiemarks are shit, and
5. It was a musical episode.

I wonder who you could be talking about. Disguise

Ppcute

Another good post. One of my first videos for my coming youtube channel will cover my thoughts on the episode as they are now. Not much has changed, but I still enjoy the episode more or less.

I wonder what's next on the agenda.
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[Interpolated]
Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
As some of you may've noticed, I didn't have an opinion to post last night. This is partly because I finished late at work last night and just wanted to sleep, but also because, with the exception of Starlight (who I will get to eventually), I'm drawing blanks for what to talk about.

Which is why I'm opening the floor to you guys. What character/moment/episode from the show would you like me to try and defend/explain?
0
Crystal Pony
WA
Posts: 973
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Defend Applejack. A stubborn pony who mainly faces problems and issues she creates for herself and frequently seems to struggle to represent the element of honesty. Jokingly dubbed the "Background Pony" of the Mane 6.
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νλ
Yarraville, Vic
Posts: 467
Joined: May 2015
Magical Mystery Cure was the worst episode for me, it's a very controversial episode. The music was great, Twilight's Alicorn transformation was great. What I see as really wrong is being on each others property, trying to fulfill switched roles. Acquaintances, friends and family did not interject, like "what are you doing on our property?" "hey that's not yours".

Horseshoe Analysis: Applejack is the best Applejack analysis I've seen. Yes, take a look into Applejack also!
Ohai
You know it's a Freq Wave when you see my liking streak!
0
[Interpolated]
Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
Well, time to get back to it, and this time we’ll be tackling one of the biggest characters of the show. That’s right, the silly, down to earth pony Applejack (Be warned, there may or may not be more of these terrible jokes. I make no promises nor apologies Swag ).
Despite being one of the mane six and a great character, it seems AJ only gets slightly more love than Spike, and is derogatively referred to as a background pony. I might’ve been one of these people back in seasons one or two, but having matured a fair bit since then, let’s tackle this problem, shall we?

The problems, at least as far as I’m aware, are as follows;
1. She is faced with problems she herself creates,
2. Apparently struggles to represent the Element of Honesty, and
3. Is dubiously dubbed a “Background Pony”.

*Starts listening to Sweet Apple Acres by Mandopony Let’s do it, y’all! Applejack Happy

Firstly, Applejack seems to create the very problems she tries to overcome in each episode, much like Spike does. This might’ve leeched some of the Spike hate off onto AJ, though that might be a stretch to suggest. Examples of episodes where AJ causes headaches for herself include Applebuck Season, Apple Family Reunion, and Hearthbreakers. I’m certain there are more, but these are the three that stick out like a sore thumb when discussing this. The difference between AJ and Spike, though, is that AJ overcomes these obstacles on her own, instead of having someone else solve it for her like Spike. This shows a level of maturity to acknowledge that sometimes there are things you can’t handle on your own, the very moral of Applebuck Season. In Apple Family Reunion and Hearthbreakers, AJ is again at fault, though she admits she was wrong on both counts and is quick to make amends.
In Hearthbreakers in particular, it’s her stubbornness that is her downfall, as it was in Applebuck Season, and I have seen people complain about her being a stubborn character. But that’s one of AJ’s charms; that it takes something big to change her mind on an entrenched idea or tradition. An obstacle like stubbornness isn’t something that fades away after overcoming it once, which would just be unrealistic. In real life, people struggle to overcome their flaws like stubbornness or timidness constantly, like Fluttershy showed in Scare Master. It’s harder than most people think, and can take a very long time to break free of those routines. The important thing about all this is that, both times, AJ was able to see where she goofed and was quick to fix the problem herself. Owning up to that, as well as the stubbornness she struggles with is one of the things I can relate to Applejack with, which shows her to be a realistic character.

Applejack is also apparently guilty of failing to live up to the Element of Honesty, Wut which is news to me. The only episodes I can honestly recall AJ being deceptive in any way that could be outside of her character would be The Last Roundup and Leap of Faith, though both are easily explainable. The Last Roundup had AJ lying to her friends, constantly dodging them and even engaging Pinkie Rage.

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Fluttershy Woah It takes a gutsier pony than I to dare tempt that tempest.
But there is a legitimate and relatable reason as to why she did this. For AJ, she banked her pride on winning heaps of blue ribbons, she added the pressure to perform so she could help pay for the repairs to the town hall. And when she failed to live up to that expectation she had mentally conjured up for herself, it was like a sledgehammer to her pride. This can actually be a very relatable thing for some people, especially competitive characters like AJ and Rainbow Dash.
Then there was her little white lies about the curative tonic. This one is definitely not AJ’s fault, as she was talked into thinking this was the right thing for Granny Smith’s happiness by the cunning psychological pitch from the Flim Flam Bros. It’s very easy to get conned into something that sounds nice and good, but could actually be doing harm. Conmen are sneaky bastards like that.
In both instances, AJ apologised once the truth came out. She was forgiven by her friends once they convinced her that, just because the medals she won weren’t blue, that didn’t mean they were worthless, and when apologising in Leap of Faith, she was clearing her conscience and, contrary to criticism, properly representing the Element of Honesty as proved by the rainbow connection hint. There's also the fact that, just because they were the bearers, doesn't mean the mane six must always represent the elements 24/7. It just wouldn't be as entertaining, and certain episodes have shown where sometimes being too much of their element can actually be detrimental, like in Rarity Takes Manehatten and It Ain't Easy Being Breezie.

Lastly, we come to AJ’s most common complaint; that she’s a glorified background pony. Glare Maybe this is because she creates problems for herself like Spike, or because she’s pretty ordinary compared to her friends in the mane six. Another possibility is that, out of the mane six, Applejack seems to have the least amount of episodes focused on her. I’ve gone through and can find only ten (I would’ve said eleven, but Simple Ways is more a Rarity episode than an Applejack one), and a fair majority of the time she’s sharing the spotlight with either her family, one of the other mane six characters or all of them. This displays how she’s not as exuberant or flashy as the others, but I’m glad that’s the case. With characters as energetic as Pinkie and Rainbow or who can get stressed to the extreme like Twilight and Rarity, it’s good that there’s a character like AJ to act as an anchor for the group, almost always being level-headed. Some people may see her episodes being mostly slice of life and think she’s boring, but she’s built as the responsible family character. Besides, she’s important enough to save Twilight’s life on more than one occasion (season 1 premiere, Dragonshy, and even twice in the season 4 premiere), and then there’s the absolute gem that is The Mane Event, no doubt AJ’s best episode, so suck on that AJ haters. Ppcute

So yeah, that’s my opinion on Applejack. I’ll openly admit that, early on after becoming a brony, I might’ve been one of these people saying she’s a background character or not that good, but she’s definitely grown on me, enough to pass Rarity and become my outright third favourite member of the mane six. She’s a stabilising element for the group, a level head who’s sensible and mature enough to realise when she’s made a mistake and not afraid to make up for it. Honestly, how could anyone hate something that admirable? Ohai
Please help, these Applejack/honesty puns won't stop! Noo

Now, for my next piece, I'll be-
Wut Why is that link there?
Spoiler :
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DerpSweetie Belle Stare
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Cutie Mark Crusader
Moorlands, SA
Posts: 115
Joined: Apr 2015
Insert my 2 bits here:

Celestia: (For the record of my biases, I think Luna is best princess.)
In my opinion Celestia loses fights not because she's an incompetent leader but because she has little to no combat experience nor training. She's powerful, but she doesn't know how to use her magic in a no-holds barred fight because she's a peaceful ruler and never has had to. In the past she has resorted to using the Elements of Harmony and now as a great leader she delegates to those who are more competent at certain tasks. IE Twilight Sparkle and the rest of the Mane Six.

Yes, I say great leader because she's managed to keep the peace for a thousand years and create a pony Utopia under her guidance. Maybe the ponies created it themselves but she is their ruler and can at least claim a certain amount of credit. One glaringly obvious example of this pony Utopia is that there does not seem to be any need for standing armies other than the Royal Guard whom seem to be mostly for show. (Or eye candy, if you follow that fimfiction.)

I base this opinion on the fact that most people are peaceful and do not know how to fight because they haven't had to. They may have been in some scraps in high school, but put them into a serious fight and they either flee (Best option) or surrender (Worst option.)

Spike: (For the record of my biases, I quite like Spike.)
Spike is easy to defend. He is a baby dragon. A BABY! His brain is not developed and as such he will make the same mistakes over and over again. He will continue to take baby steps in everything he does for a very long time.

Crusaders of the Lost Mark: (For the record, I LOVE this episode, I consider it best episode and freely admit to shedding a manly tear.)
1. The plot/pacing was terrible,
2. Diamond Tiara’s face turn was a massive cop out,
3. The CMC getting their cutiemarks was a cop out,
4. The CMC cutiemarks are shit, and
5. It was a musical episode.

I agree with almost everything Riku said and can only add small points. First, the plot and pacing of many episodes is terrible because the show is 22 minutes long and it is obvious the writers wanted to say more but the only way to improve the story is to start over again and cut out most of what they wanted. EG The pilot. Second, people can be bullies because they didn't know differently. I forget his name but there is a comedian who admits to being a bully in high school because bullying was so common that he thought it was normal. Now he is an anti-bullying advocate. Third, why is the CMCs getting their cutemarks a cop out? That is only an opinion based on feeling and does not seem to have any reasoning behind it. Fourth, the cutie marks are visually unappealing because the darker shades obviously-based-on-their-manes clash too much and the shield shape looks too much like a superhero logo. Fifth, in my opinion and my opinion only the only good thing about most musical episodes is that they have at least one or two good songs.

Applejack: (For the record, she's my 5th best pony.)
That video link explained my reasoning in very long detail. In short, Applejack has few character flaws remaining and they are mainly hidden by her honesty, reliability and dependability. She has no real lessons left to learn and can only improve if she takes time off from the farm to go study, which is something she has neither time nor desire for.

Think It's proving to be very hard to have an original opinion. I guess when there's an estimated 8 - 10 million bronies it's very hard to have an original idea.
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17/01/2016, 05:22 PM (Last edited: 17/01/2016 05:41 PM by SushiPony)
[Interpolated]
Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
Well, I was planning on fooling you guys buy doing a piece on a different bad episode from M.A Larson (like Boast Busters for example), but after hearing complaints at the Kings Park meet-up from guys like Quiksilver (who has a well-documented hatred of anything musical) and other members of this site Lie. So, let’s not waste any more time dancing around this shark tank and dive right into it; Magical Mystery Cure.

Arguably one of the most hated episodes in the series, and the spawn of every LARSON! Scream ever, I’ve always looked at it as an okay to good episode and, in my opinion, is actually one of the better episodes of season 3. But let’s list off some of the long laundry list of reason why people dislike this episode’
1. It’s a musical episode,
2. The Apple Family didn’t bat an eye that Pinkie had replaced Applejack,
3. Twilight cast a seemingly powerful spell just to “see what happens,”
4. Twilight knows exactly what needs to be done,
5. Twilight becomes an alicorn, and lastly
6. Twilight becomes a princess.

*Riku stretches Let’s do this. Swag

I won’t focus too much on the first point because I already covered most of the defences for this in my piece on Crusaders of the Lost Mark, but let me add that M.A Larson was under added pressure, given this was the first of the musical episodes, he had to write an canon-acceptable plot to satisfy the demands of Hasbro for Twilacorn and do it all in just one episode. I don’t envy writers assigned musical episodes, given the limitations and difficulties of such, but despite this, I think Larson did well considering what he was facing. Let’s all be honest here, this could’ve been much worse. Also, the ballads in this one (I Have To Find A Way and Celestia’s Ballad) are some of the better composed songs, with the latter being one of my favourites of the series.

Next is a minor one I’ve only noticed in making passing jokes; why the Apple family weren’t fussed/didn’t care that AJ and Pinkie switched places. I like to think that the spell Twilight cast actually was far more powerful than the show let on. After all, when Twilight used the time-travel spell, she only needed it to go back one week, yet we get to see the spell used to its full potential by Starlight (I will get to her, don’t you worry). Let’s say that this is the case, and therefore it isn’t just changing the lives of the other mane six members, but also everyone in Ponyville whose lives have been impacted/effected by the mane six. It is straying into head canon territory, but it’s the most convincing argument I can come up with. Other than that, maybe the Apple family simple shrugged, thinking Pinkie Pie Shrug “It’s Pinkie Pie, don’t question it.”

On to Twilight casting a powerful spell to “see what happens.” I know this is like setting off a bomb just to see if it works. Again, the time limit of a musical episode hurts Larson’s ability to write an effective story, but there’s the chance Twilight was unaware of how powerful the spell was. Plus, Celestia did give Twilight a task, and when given something to do by the princess Twilight jumps at said opportunity. An alternative option that could’ve made this scene better would’ve been having this as the prologue section of the episode rather than a flashback, as the scene stands fine on its own in that regard.

Twilight knowing exactly what to do… HuhOhno Damn, I’ve been stumped. I know this series is me giving an excuse for the seemingly inexcusable, but I’m drawing blanks on this one. BlushShy

On Twilight becoming an alicorn, I think everyone’s over this one, but better to be safe than sorry and go over it anyway. Yes, the marketing for this episode was terrible, making it incredibly hard to avoid spoilers. It also doesn’t help this was slightly hinted at in the season premiere as “moving on to the next level of her studies” by Celestia. But, given we have the benefit of hindsight, we know this was the right move and that it has since opened up new story ideas allowed Twilight to grow as a character and Dumb I just realised I’m quoting my Crusaders of the Lost Mark review again. It’s hard not to do, but these two episodes are very similar to each other, thus they can both use some of the same excuses. Besides, for those of us in the fanfiction community, Twilacorn shouldn’t be that surprising. A little triggering that it shot the head-canon down, maybe, but not surprising or rage-inducing. Also, we did run the “Thanks M.A Larson” joke into the ground over this one moment, even though it was an edict of Hasbro that this happen. And thankfully, Larson seems to have taken the joke in his stride on the way to writing excellent episodes (like all of his season 5 outings).

Finally, Twilight becoming a princess. This was seen as a pointless promotion, though the season 4 finale settle that dispute effectively. What’s more, remembering that the target audience for this show is young girls, it would be inspiring for them to see a character they like, they could relate to achieve such a goal. Another thing is, if you really think about Celestia saying “the lessons you’ve learnt in Ponyville have taught you well”, this could mean that, whether he meant to or not, Larson tied all of the first three seasons into Twilight’s ascension. Every decision, every friend she made and every lesson learned helped her grow into the leader Celestia hoped she would be. Plus, Twilight had shown throughout those first three season all the qualities of being a good and benevolent leader.

So that’s my say on the matter. This probably wasn’t my best work, I’ll admit, as I had been planned on doing Boast Busters instead. But thinking of the chats at the meetup yesterday made me decide on this instead, and honestly we all knew I’d be tackling this episode sooner or later. Another reason this one was difficult to defend is that its problems mirror a lot of the same problems in Crusaders of the Lost Mark, and I don’t want to sound like a broken record in this series.

So, what’s next? Come at me I’ve taken on two of the most ripped-on episodes, as well as the most hated character. So bring it-

[Image: king_sombra_joy_vector_by_legat_bf-d6dfx88.png]

Fluttershy WoahCheerilee Challenge accepted.
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Cutie Mark Crusader
Moorlands, SA
Posts: 115
Joined: Apr 2015
Time for my input, if for no other reason than to try to stimulate my brain.

Magical Mystery Cure. Ugh! Now to defend my reaction.

Cute 'n paste from Riku:
1. It’s a musical episode,
2. The Apple Family didn’t bat an eye that Pinkie had replaced Applejack,
3. Twilight cast a seemingly powerful spell just to “see what happens,”
4. Twilight knows exactly what needs to be done,
5. Twilight becomes an alicorn, and lastly
6. Twilight becomes a princess.

First, it's a musical episode. That doesn't bother me so long as the songs are relevant and/or highly entertaining. But most of the songs in MMC seem to be there not to advance nor explain the plot but for the sake of being in a musical episode. Most of these songs can be cut out and replaced with dialogue and there'd be no loss. IMO removing 1 or 2 of the songs would actually improve the story because all they do is get in the way. That's not to say that they aren't good, because Celestia's Ballad is one of my all time favourites that still gives me the feels.

Second, the Apple family. We aren't shown what they are doing or saying, so it's entirely reasonable to conclude that they actually have tried to reason with Pinkie Pie and/or look for Apple Jack. They may have even concluded that because Pinkie Pie's cutie mark has changed that some sort of cutie mark curse is in effect and may be looking for Twilight or even Zecora. I can easily imagine Big Mac looking for Twilight while the CMCs go off on their own looking for Zecora. Having said that I can also easily imagine Granny Smith getting annoyed with Pinkie Pie and having Big Mac physically remove her.

Third, Twilight casting a powerful spell without considering the consequences. The spell is written down. The only way she can learn it is to read it out loud knowing full well that she is casting it and being prepared to take whatever bad karma is going to kick her flank. I know this from learning poetry in high school; I read it out loud in order to memorise it.

Fourth, Twilight knowing what to do. She doesn't. Not at first. Spike offers 3 different ideas before Twilight sings another song and comes up with a solution that she's not actually sure will work.

Fifth and Sixth, Twilight leveling up to Twilicorn and becoming a princess. I started watching the show just before season 5 and was hurriedly catching up, so my surprise was muted and acceptance was almost immediate in order to keep watching the show. I.e. little to no time for reflection.

From what I have read, on one hoof Larson was told by Hasbro to make Twilight an alicorn and a princess in order to market more toys. On the other hoof Faust had always intended that Twilight would actually become Celestia's successor and the show seem to be following this original path.

I only have other people's interpretations of what has been stated/tweeted/written by Lauren Faust and Hasbro on the last paragraph and have not read anything that I can directly reference, if asked. I do intend to check these out some time because the attitude towards Hasbro seems to be negatively biased and I'd rather have my own interpretation.

BTW I personally consider Twilight to be a princess in name only. If she actually has any political power then it seem to be limited to ruling a principality of one Spike, one castle and one Owlowiscious. Because of this I do not actually think of her as a princess.
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frequencywavelength likes this post
23/01/2016, 01:34 PM (Last edited: 23/01/2016 01:49 PM by SushiPony)
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Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
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Well it’s pretty obvious my last opinion piece was the worst one so far, given I was unable to defend one of the main complaints and it felt very rushed and borrowing from my piece on Crusaders of the Lost Mark. Blush But now that we’re dealing with a character again, it should be much easier this time. Smile

So, King Sombra. Dictator of the old Crystal Empire. Much like Flash Sentry, Sombra didn’t have the smoothest introduction to us bronies, now did he? I mean, the season premiere he debuted in was overshadowed by Gak Glare and the seemingly over-excessive use of stairs. But I still think he’s a good villain, at least better than all of Twilight’s “rival” characters (like Trixie, Sunset and Starlight).
I’ve heard complaints about Sombra include but not be limited to;
1. His design,
2. His apparent lack of characterization, and
3. How he seemed to do nothing in the premiere.

Whooves Let us begin.

First off, Sombra’s design. I have heard some critics say Sombra looks like a stereotypical bad OC, and I can see where they’re coming from on this one. Sombra’s dark coat, red eyes and curved horn do seem like overkill in the scary looks department. But I must once again bring up the point that FiM is meant to be for little girls, and, in my opinion, Sombra could potentially be a scary-looking character for little girls to see. Besides, when I attended the WA season 3 premiere meet-up (my first ever brony meet-up BTW), I heard a few people in the crowd go “He looks cool.” And I agreed with them. In a show that had so many cutesy-looking characters, it was both refreshing and interesting to see someone like this. Also, straying into head-canon territory here, but I like to imagine the red on the tip of his horn is from the amount of times he’s gored citizens as examples of disobedience. Fluttershy Woah Wow, that sounds a lot more messed up than how I imagined it would.

Next, lack of characterization. This was one of my initial problems with Sombra, as it was for many who saw the premiere. I mean, all the characterization he seemed to receive had to do with him reclaiming power and hissing “Crysssssstallssssssssssss”. Lie It’s probably one of the reasons why Sombra didn’t get any lines in the season 5 exposition during his timeline (though the more likely reason was because they simply didn’t have the time). Then there’s also the stupid ad (that became a joke we bronies ran into the ground within hours) which got more screen time than the villain (though that was the Hub’s fault, not Sombra’s). But when you think about it, that’s not how Sombra should be treated.
Most villains in FiM seem to carry subtle themes that the writers may or may not be aware of. Examples include Chrysalis representing someone lying to you in order to take something precious, while the Sirens represented how wrong and over-saturated with sexual references the music industry is nowadays. Sombra’s theme is that of a looming apocalypse or natural disaster. With the execption of the Crystal Heart, there’s little anyone can do to stop him. They build him up well, and his expansive shadows resemble storm clouds. There’s also an underlying sense of dread beneath the smiles before his return. Sombra is meant to be seen as a force of nature more than a character.

And finally, why the hell did Sombra not do anything other than wait at the edge of the empire before getting beaten. Many people would look at this and think it makes Sombra a dumb, animalistic villain, but I see it as the value in villains that everyone loves; cunning. Sombra’s not an “In your face” villain like Nightmare Moon or Discord, nor is he a deceiver like Chrysalis or Tirek. Sombra’s a schemer. He never engages without at least three or four back-up plans in place.
Think about it. He hid the Crystal Heart in a place he knew none of the crystal ponies would dare enter; his castle. Should anypony actually be foolish enough to enter, the passageway to the descending stairwell could only be opened using alicorn magic, meaning only the princesses or an alicorn-in-training (like Twilight) would be able to advance further. Awaiting that is the fear-inducing mirror and then a never-ending staircase in which you need to say “Screw Gravity” to get past. And finally, the Crystal Heart was the bait of a crystal trap, one which even teleportation can’t get you out of. All Sombra would need to do after that is wait for Cadence to lose her strength and storm in, since he had already disabled Shing Armour’s magic. He had almost achieved victory without lifting a finger.
The one single, solitary thing Sombra didn’t count on was Spike. Dance Spike was the one that freed Twilight from the fear-door. Spike was the one who suggested the second stairwell was endless, and he was the one who eventually got the Crystal heart to Cadence. Were it not for Spike, Sombra’s timeline might’ve eventuated, proving he’s a vastly more cunning villain than anyone gave him credit for.

I should take this time to clarify two important points. First is that Sombra is, at this point, the only villain currently in the franchise that has been outright killed off. We’ve seen villains be sent flying Team Rocket style, banished or even reformed, but Sombra got the axe. I like to think that this is an indicator of how strong Sombra is, and a possibility that Celestia and Luna didn’t use the Elements of Harmony against him. I know I said in my Celestia piece that they probably used the Elements to turn him into shadow, but it wasn’t a rainbow laser of death that disintegrated the tyrannical king, but a blue and gold one. I view this that the princesses banished him with just their own magic, but it would take an incredible power like the Elements or the Heart to destroy him.
The second point is that I’ve written this piece without having read the comic detailing Sombra’s fall from grace. I’m sure it’s a great read, but comics aren’t exactly my thing. That, and it would mess with the head-canon I’ve created for him (Of which I’m writing a fanfic around. Humble Hint).

So there we go. This one might be a little bit smaller than the others, but it’s been a while since I did this, as well as the last time I heard anyone bashing Sombra. I know there are probably some people that don’t like Sombra, but hopefully this will help those people see there's more to Sombra than meets the eye.

Now, what should I do next? (hint hint)
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Deeayen, frequencywavelength, Midnight Lights, NedKelpie, SushiPony like this post
30/01/2016, 03:39 AM (Last edited: 30/01/2016 02:34 PM by Riku006)


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