Why the Hate?

“I really try not to be judgmental, but girls walking around campus with anime cat ears and guys wearing My Little Pony t-shirts truly test me.” –One of my Facebook friends

Well, it is back to school season for many colleges. Even though I have only been here a week so far, I’ve already worn 2 different MLP shirts. (I got a compliment on my first one, and the second one I only wore for an hour in lab).

I have nothing wrong with people wearing what they want and expressing themselves, and I admit that I am actually kind of judgmental. If this guy is really trying, and he is uncomfortable with people wearing MLP shirts, he clearly needs to try a lot harder. Also, there is nothing wrong with wearing anime cat ears.

It’s sad to see that bronies are being judged and picked on simply because they like a certain show. There is such a huge stigma around it, and status updates like the one here do not help eradicate the stigma. Bronies are not freaks. There is nothing wrong with wearing a shirt with a pony on it.

I have gotten picked on by a few guys (with such fragile masculinities that someone else’s fashion damages their manly pride) for wearing an MLP shirt. But I have also had big, manly football players and skateboarders tell me they like my MLP shirts. People need to mind their own business and accept the fact that other people have the right to wear what they want without criticism.

I’ll continue to walk around in My Little Pony t-shirts, and I might even don some anime cat ears at the same time. I’m not going to let stupid remarks keep me from enjoying my life. Yes, it makes me angry that some people are so ignorant, but there is nothing I can really do to change others, so I just need to focus on myself and keep on doing me.

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Dungeons & Discords

SPOILER ALERT! Those of you who have not seen the show, be warned. This review is going to contain spoilers about the episode. If you have not seen it yet, watch it right now and read my review in 20 minutes, or prepare to have some of the critical plot mentioned before you view it. I am assuming many of you are bronies, or fans of the show, and you are reading this review for an interesting insight on an episode you have seen countless times already (as have I), in which case, continue reading, and enjoy!

In this episode of MLP, we find Fluttershy preparing for a trip to Yakyakistan. Discord does not want her to leave. Fluttershy suggests Discord hangs out with Spike and Big Mac while she is away, as it might be fun. Discord is full of himself and refuses to have fun with sidekicks, which could only be true in an opposite dimension. He then creates an opposite dimension where he wants to hang out with them, but Fluttershy is mean in the opposite dimension and things go back to normal. He begs to go along with Fluttershy, but is not allowed.

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Fluttershy, along with the rest of the Mane Six, depart. This leaves Spike, Big Mac, and Discord alone at the train station. Spike and Big Mac decide to invite Discord to hang out but he says he is busy. When Spike and Big Mac decide their guys’ night will be just the two of them, Discord gets some wild ideas about what guys’ night entails, and “frees his schedule.” The fun is scheduled for sundown at Twilight’s castle.

Sundown rolls around and guys’ night begins. Discord makes a grand and proud entrance. He is prepared to go out for a chaotic night, but Spike announces they’re staying in and playing games.

Discord suggests charades and uses his chaos magic to look like Princess Celestia, but Spike does not mean charades. He means a real game. (Such as trapping best friend ponies in hedge mazes and turning them against each other, according to Discord. This was actually really a really funny quip.) The game Spike and Big Mac play during their guys’ nights is actually Ogres & Oubliettes, a fantasy RPG much like Dungeons & Dragons (from which the title is derived).

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Discord would rather cause chaos than play O&O. He creates an archer named Captain Wuzz, but doesn’t care about the game whatsoever. When Discord/Captain Wuzz tries to play, he fails in all of his actions. The others laugh at his fate and Discord turns into a sore loser. He transports the three of them to a jazz club for a “real” guys’ night. Spike and Big Mac aren’t amused, and want to play the game, inviting Discord to watch if he does not want to play.

Discord brings the game to real life, with Spike and Big Mac as their characters, Garbuckle and Sir McBiggun, in O&O. At first they are excited, but when they get attacked and feel real pain, the game is no longer enjoyable. They should try LARPing. When things become too miserable, Discord is told he was only invited because the others felt bad for him. He releases them from the game, shocked, because Discord thinks so highly of himself.

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Discord leaves. Spike and Big Mac decide to give him a second chance. The two invite him back and he immediately comes. Discord struggles with saying it, but he is sorry for ruining the game and being conceited. They all try to give the game another chance, and have him make it real again (although slightly toned-down). The guys all have a great time playing and celebrate an amazing guys’ night.

When the Mane Six arrive home from Yakyakistan, they open the door to this. Twilight suggests they leave the boys to finish whatever they’re doing. Pinkie and Rainbow decide the game looks too fun to pass up, and walk into the world of O&O, joining the guys in their adventure.

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The moral of the story is that LARPing is great, RPGs are great, and games are life (literally). Nah, it is probably something along the lines of give people a second chance, and don’t use magic to torture others, but to instead have fun. Also, don’t judge a game before playing it, as it might be fun.

This episode really made me want to play D&D, and also join the LARP club at my school. I have never done either before, but it might be fun. I am a major nerd, so I think I would have a good time.

The episode seemed to go by fast, but I enjoyed it. There were some good comical moments, and I loved that it was about an RPG game, since I am a mega-nerd and video gamer. This was a fun episode and I liked it. I’ll have to use it to make all my nerdy friends watch MLP.

More Kawaii Pony Outfits

Since my last post seemed to be a big hit, I decided to do a follow up. I made a few more kawaii-style outfits based on MLP characters. My last batch was the Mane 6, but this time I did the CMC and Derpy.

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Derpy

Muffins are cute, bubbles are cute, and Derpy is ultra cute. I combined all of them for this outfit. I could totally see Derpy as a cute human girl blowing bubbles with her gum, making and eating yummy muffins, and waving her bubble wand through the air one day, all while wearing a playful Totoro dress.

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Apple Bloom

I had to use bows in this. I struggled with Applejack’s outfit because country kawaii is tricky. Basing the entire outfit off of Apple Bloom’s bow is a bit of a stretch and gives a highly girly end result. Girly isn’t bad, but Apple Bloom seems more of a country tomboy. Wearing a dress to do farm work might be sweet, but it sure isn’t practical!

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Scootaloo

Scootaloo seems like the cat kind of cute so I expressed that in the accessories. A pusheen pin and identical keychain show a kawaii character sharing her favorite hobby. The outfit was slightly inspired by Honoka’s workout gear in Love Live!

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Sweetie Belle

Pink, purple, and white are all adorable colors. Sweetie Belle had the perfect color scheme for the theme. I chose some girly pieces in those colors. Since she likes music, I added the pink microphone and fuzzy headphones.

I am out of ideas for more kawaii sets and it might be a while before  I start a new MLP theme. You can follow my Polyvore account http://rfacklam.polyvore.com/ to be the first to see whatever new ideas I get. Inspiration can’t be forced, but I do plan on making some more pony-inspired fashion sets eventually. Probably during finals week or the night before a major paper is due.

Polyvore

I am somewhat into fashion, and absolutely into wasting time on the internet, so I use Polyvore. The site has a database of clothing, accessories, decor, and all sorts of other things. A lot of people use it for serious fashion blogging, but I got into it because I heard of people using it for fandom things.

I started following a few of the MLP-inspired fashion bloggers, but not long after, I started making my own MLP fashion sets. My first few sets were weak, and even after going back to edit them, they are not very good. The more recent outfits are pretty good. I’ve branched out a bit and do some Disney stuff too. I have nearly 900,000 views since I started, and even without updating much, I get around 500-1000 hits a day. I wish this blog was that popular!

I finally got around to adding some more sets to my account. I stuck to the Mane Six today but I have sets for nearly every character until season 5. (By the time season 5 was released, they had made it more difficult to import images into the database, so I could not get the ones I wanted for my sets.) I did some kawaii themed outfits. I have done winter, beach, and back to school themes in the past.

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Twilight Sparkle

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Pinkie Pie

The Twilight outfit wasn’t too hard since has pink and purple in her color scheme. Those kind of colors make kawaii outfits so much easier. 10/10 Kawaii nerd. Pinkie was easy for the same reason. Parties and pink and sweets are totally kawaii, and perfect for her outfit.

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Rarity

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Applejack

Rarity and Applejack were difficult. Since Rarity is so sophisticated, making a cute outfit was really hard. The items in the database were also limited, so I gave her pants, even though the girly fashionista would probably wear a skirt or dress. Making country kawaii was also a struggle, but I think I did alright with the AJ set.

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Fluttershy

I had a blast with this one. Fluttershy screams “kawaii”. Pastel pink, yellow, and blue in her color scheme are perfect colors for an adorable outfit. Her shy, sweet nature is absolutely precious. And what better way to incorporate her love and affinity for animals than with an assortment of plushies?! Of course, a white bunny to represent angel. The animal symbolism is also carried out in several pieces of the outfit too. So cute it hurts!

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Rainbow Dash

Fun but tricky. I tried to think of a sports anime when I did this. I also imagined what the characters in Love Live! (my current anime binge) would wear to practice. Sporty yet girly. Athletic yet rainbow. I was unsure about this but I think it turned out okay after all.

What do you think of these outfits? Feel free to share in the comment section. And if you are inspired to make some MLP outfit sets, I would love to see them!

The Times They Are A Changeling

SPOILER ALERT! Those of you who have not seen the show, be warned. This review is going to contain spoilers about the episode. If you have not seen it yet, watch it right now and read my review in 20 minutes, or prepare to have some of the critical plot mentioned before you view it. I am assuming many of you are bronies, or fans of the show, and you are reading this review for an interesting insight on an episode you have seen countless times already (as have I), in which case, continue reading, and enjoy!

I’m going to get to the point with this one because I am tired and want to go to bed. Okay, who am I kidding? This post is going to take forever to write, and I am going to get sidetracked as always. I will try my best to actually keep on topic this time, though.

Twilight, Starlight and Spike (pretending not to be Spike) are all heading to the Crystal Empire. Twilight wants to see her niece, Flurry Heart, and Starlight is sure to learn a friendship lesson along the way. It seems like it’s been a while since I saw Starlight, but that might be due to the hiatus. Update: after getting sidetracked and doing research, the last time Starlight played a major role was in episode eight. “The Times They Are A Changeling) is episode sixteen. It has definitely been a while since Starlight got to be the star.

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After saving the Crystal Empire, Spike became a celebrity there.

The trio arrives in the Crystal Empire and it seems deserted. Spike the Brave and Glorious deems it to be safe and takes off the disguise. He is immediately surrounded by crystal ponies who worship him, at least until someone questions whether or not he is the real Spike the Brave and Glorious. The title gives away what is going on, and it becomes apparent that the Changelings are back in the Crystal Empire.

Twilight, Starlight, and Spike the Brave and Glorious (STBAG, seeing as that whole title is quite a lot to type) head to the castle to visit Cadence and Shining Armor. Guards stop them at the entrance and ask to see some ID. Since I am assuming none of them had their ID, this would have been bad. Thankfully, Cadence decides to proof them by doing the “Sunshine, sunshine” chant with Twilight. Since Twilight knows the rhyme and dances along, it must be the real one. It’s not the most foolproof method, but ID isn’t either, as those can be faked.

Speaking of ID, do ponies need to show ID to buy alcoholic beverages in Equestria? Is there a drinking age? Do alcoholic beverages even exist in Equestria? There is cider, but that does not necessarily mean it is hard cider. (I am not doing so good at staying on topic.)

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Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake, clap your hooves and do a little shake!

After it is determined that they are not impostors, Sunburst reveals that there is a Changeling somewhere nearby. Cadence explains to Starlight that when she and Shining Armor got married, Queen Chrysalis used her transformation power to take her place and put a mind control spell on her husband. Although all was sorted out, Chrysalis and her Changeling army terrorized the land. Changelings feed off of love, and since Flurry Heart’s Crystalling at the beginning of the season, the Empire has been filled with love.

STBAG is invited to join in the search for the Changeling. STBAG and the Royal Guard head out looking for it. He sends the guards off and is left all alone. STBAG accuses a rock of being a Changeling, kicks it, falls through the snow, and slides down a slippery slope. He nearly goes off the edge of a cliff, but just barely survives. He comes across what he believes to be his reflection. I have no idea why he thought it was his reflection when there is a Changeling nearby, but I guess that’s why he isn’t called Spike the Brilliant and Genius.

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The “reflection” slips on the snow and STBAG discovers it is a Changeling. About time. STBAG runs from the Changeling and falls off the cliff, but the Changeling, who can fly, saves STBAG and says he doesn’t want him to get hurt. The Changeling isn’t evil and just wants to have a friend, unlike the others, who just want to be evil. Rather than feeding off of others’ love, this Changeling, Thorax, wants a friend to share love with. After what happened at the wedding, he was unable to be with the rest of his kind, since they do not share his feelings about friendship.

All of the love in the Crystal Empire drew Thorax there, and he is hungry for love. Without a friend, his hunger grows, yet he seems unwilling to give into the hunger and steal love from others. When his hunger manifests, Thorax turns creepy. His nasty Changeling tongue sticks out and he hisses. I know I am not showing love and kindness right now, but it gives me the heebie jeebies when he does that. Despite this, STBAG wants to be his friend, and tells Thorax he’ll use his celebrity influence to convince the rest of the Empire to befriend him as well.

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He’s a nice guy, but ew.

When Spike goes to talk to everypony about Thorax, it doesn’t go well. They think he’s making a joke about befriending him, and Shining Armor tells him the joke isn’t funny because of what happened with the wedding. Spike pretends it was a joke and returns to Thorax.

Plan B involves Thorax taking the form of a pony. STBAG brings him to meet everypony, and introduces him as his friend and pen pal, Crystal Hoof. The two of them attempting to cover up the truth is pretty funny, as it is horrible lying. Twilight believes the lie, somehow, and lets STBAG and Crystal Hoof walk around town. Everyone seems to like Crystal Hoof as a pony.

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Upon meeting Flurry Heart, the love is too much for Crystal Hoof to handle, and he turns back into a Changeling. The others warn STBAG to get away from him. I wouldn’t want a hungry Changeling anywhere near me or my baby (if I had one). Sunburst says that the Crystal Hoof disguise was just a way for the Changeling to get close to the baby and steal her love, and ST not so BAG agrees that must be the case. Thorax is devastated and runs away with eyes full of tears. A guard orders STBAG to look for the real Crystal Hoof and make sure he’s okay. STBAG clearly upset his friend, but still wants to help. He knows where to look, and goes to find Thorax.

STBAG apologizes but Thorax doesn’t immediately accept. Even when STBAG is just barely hanging onto the edge of a cliff, it takes a moment for his friend to forgive him and come to his aid. The two make amends and STBAG sets off to do what he should have done in the first place: stand up for the Changeling.

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STBAG and Thorax go back and this time, STBAG defends his friend. And finally, we get a solo from him. Let me tell you, the song, “A Changeling Can Change” is amazing and beautiful. I teared up listening to it. It has a similar feel to “Out On My Own” from earlier this season. Both songs are slow, emotional, and incredibly powerful, but listen for yourself.

After STBAG finishes his song, everypony still looks unhappy. Twilight comes from behind them and tells STBAG that she’s very proud of him. He risked all of his fame in the Crystal Empire for his friend.

As proven with STBAG and Thorax, a new friend can come from anywhere. Even Twilight needed to learn that lesson. I love that STBAG taught something to Twilight and that the episode shows that she is not perfect, despite being the Princess of Friendship. She accepts Thorax as a friend, since he is STBAG’s friend. Cadence follows her lead, and the others follow in welcoming Thorax into the Empire as a friend. Thorax is so happy, and hopes to someday teach other Changelings about friendship. Starlight, who also originally doubted Thorax, learned the same lesson as Twilight. Friendship lessons, as well as friends, can come from anywhere. (I think some people in this world could learn that too.)

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I enjoyed this episode a lot. Having STBAG as a teacher was a nice touch, and it did show Starlight as a pupil, even if the episode was not focused on her, like I originally thought. Thorax is a likable character, except when hungry for love. With all of his new friends, he should never get hunger crazy again. The highlight of the episode for me was STBAG’s song, which blew my mind and emotions. “The Times They Are A Changeling” is definitely going to join my all time favorite episodes.

Friendship is Magic

My summer job was hard. I got things thrown at me by rude customers, worked 10 hour days, and was constantly taking care of something. I did get to work with some truly amazing people this summer though, and they were the best part of going to work every day.

I became good friends with 2 of my coworkers. They’re sisters, Kayla and Kelsey. Kayla and I hung out at her house. She has always been into anime, but her sister and I have tried to get her into MLP. She knows a few characters and finally said she will start watching the show! We have successfully converted her.

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On the flip side, Kayla got me addicted to a few of her favorite animes. When we get together next time (hopefully over winter break) we will have many episodes of MLP and various animes to discuss. If she is anything like Kelsey, she is going to become a huge fan of the adorable pony show.

Kelsey, as I mentioned in an earlier post, gave me a Princess Cadence figure because she knew that she was one of my favorites. Over the course of the summer, she has given me so many lovely MLP things. Generous friends like that are a true Rarity.

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love this figure!

In addition to the blind bag figure, she got me some MLP tissues. I am constantly sneezing at work and have to either go to the bathroom for toilet paper or use a napkin. Tissues are the perfect gift for me, and the MLP ones make sneezing so much cuter. She told me she found them while at the dollar store with her mom. MLP things are great, especially when they don’t empty the bank.

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She gave me a Pinkie Pie Popsicle, too. Since the Popsicle was made with whey, she couldn’t eat it, but wanted to be sure I got to. It was delicious.

Kelsey also gave me a Fluttershy figure. In addition to Princess Cadence, Fluttershy is a favorite of mine. I have a Starlight Glimmer with a headband, and I am excited to have a Fluttershy too. Due to budget restraints, I can only usually buy one pony in a collection, so having Flutters too made me so happy.

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In addition to all of the other gifts, I received a bracelet from her. It has the Mane 6 on the outside and says “Friendship is magic” on the inside. On my last day working there, she said she was happy that she and Kayla were able to make such a great friend with me. We are all hoping to get together on winter break since we live close together when not at college. From getting to know my coworkers and share MLP with them, I was able to truly experience the magic of friendship. Having friends like them definitely makes a hard work day a little easier.

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I wore my bracelet with my Pokémon shirt today. It made for a super cute outfit 😀

 

28 Pranks Later

SPOILER ALERT! Those of you who have not seen the show, be warned. This review is going to contain spoilers about the episode. If you have not seen it yet, watch it right now and read my review in 20 minutes, or prepare to have some of the critical plot mentioned before you view it. I am assuming many of you are bronies, or fans of the show, and you are reading this review for an interesting insight on an episode you have seen countless times already (as have I), in which case, continue reading, and enjoy!

The episode title is a reference to 28 Days/Weeks Later. Although I have never seen either of those movies, I have heard of them. I think they are something about a zombie plague, but am too tired and uninterested to do even a simple Google search. (I got a picture for the blog, but did not want to put in any additional effort into finding what it is about.)

28 days later

Anyway, “28 Pranks Later” starts with Rainbow Dash pranking Fluttershy. Rainbow Dash knows Fluttershy is easily scared, yet pranks her anyway. RD isn’t even satisfied with the prank because Fluttershy is scared of everything. I am seriously mad at RD for making Fluttershy cry. It is NOT okay to make the most innocent pony cry! Ever since season one, it was declared that Fluttershy was off limits due to her sensitivity. Pinkie and RD refused to prank her back then. I have no clue why RD would go back on something just for a weak prank. Has Gilda’s nastiness rubbed off onto her?

Because of RD’s sh*tty behavior, a meeting is called. Twilight calls RD’s prank lazy and says a prank is only good if all parties find it funny. When Twilight goes to take a seat, she sets off a Whoopee Cushion that RD put there. This could be funny, but under different circumstances. Out of all the Mane Six, RD and Pinkie were the only two who think the prank had any merit. Rarity says the prank lacked effort, so RD vows to put effort into her future pranks.

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Rainbow Dash goes off to make a cake Sewing Machine for Rarity. This prank is decent, honestly, and if someone made a cake laptop or cookie phone or something, I would be happy (as long as I could locate the original). I am always a fan of free baked goods, but apparently, Rarity is not. At least her sister, Sweetie Belle, has good taste.

In order to avoid being the victim of RD’s next prank, Applejack surrounds her bedroom with loud items and traps. Somehow, RD manages to get AJ’s bed out of the room and into the pigpen. AJ wakes up next to a pig and RD cackles about what a clever prank it was. It was pretty clever, and I would love to know how it could be possible to pull such a prank off. However, it is pretty clear that AJ does not appreciate the prank.

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RD pranks nearly all of Ponyville, but nopony appreciates her tricks. Ponyville’s residents talk to Pinkie about the pranks. Since Pinkie is a bit of a prankster herself, they ask her to make RD quit pranking. It seems that since the episode with Gilda, people have gotten more serious and grumpy. None of them enjoy pranks anymore, even though they used to.

When Pinkie goes to confront RD, she learns of the latest plan to prank all of Ponyville at once. RD plans to replace all of the normal cookies with joke cookies. When ponies buy the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ cookies, their mouths will turn rainbow colors when they eat them.

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Pinkie tells RD the prank isn’t very funny and it is a good time to stop pranking. However, RD continues to follow through with the prank. She has to switch the cookies out for joke cookies without Pinkie’s help. When she goes to talk to Pinkie about it, RD finds her friend sick in bed. Pinkie is less pink than normal. Although RD wants Pinkie to see the prank in effect, Pinkie is stuck in bed, needing more cookies to even have the strength to stand up.

When the CMC sell their cookies, everypony buys some. The town is quiet, but RD is excited and expectantly waits for everypony to realize they’ve been pranked. RD looks around, hoping ponies discover their joke cookie mouths. The whole town seems to be deserted (pun intended). This is when she begins to question that there might be something wrong with the joke cookies.

When she finally runs into a pony, things are not right. It seems the cookies turned the ponies into cookie-obsessed zombies. The ponies who ate the cookies were zombified, but the few who didn’t were totally normal.

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A whole new meaning to “Cookie Monster”

Now, if I was RD, I would be feeling like a major asshole. It would be my fault that my friend Pinkie was sick, and I turned the entire town into zombies. When RD goes to Twilight with her problem, she finds that Twilight and Spike are zombies as well. Only the few who were with the CMC while selling the cookies were not infected.

To avoid the pony horde, RD, AJ, Rarity, and the crusaders hide. In the boarded up shelter, RD explains they need to run and hide because of something in the cookies. AJ points out that the cookie recipe has not changed in years, and RS is forced to admit she swapped the cookies for joke ones. Although she warns the others not to eat any, it is too late.

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Even though the episode was creepy enough, it just got even worse. I can’t believe this is a kids’ show! Or at least, that people say this is a kids’ show. My mom and I watched this episode together, and we were both enjoying the whole thing. I found it rather dark, and the zombie topic seemed a bit much to include in a cartoon pony show, but it was darn good nonetheless.

Zombie AJ lets the rest of the cookie zombies into the barn, and everyzombie corners RD. She tries to keep them away from the cookies. It was supposed to be a funny prank, but it ends up being something totally un-funny. Pinkie agrees, and the whole crowd of zombies wipe the rainbow colors off their mouths. They gave RD a taste of her own medicine and it was only a prank on their end. All a prank.png

She tells the group they can’t go around doing things like that, since she did not have a good time, which is exactly how Fluttershy felt. RD says she will have to top her pranks, and then says “gotcha”! Everypony laughs at that one for some reason, but at least RD learned her lesson. I hope. Because it was a lesson that I thought was covered five seasons ago.

I really hated the backwards character development. Because of that, and the darker tone, this episode didn’t feel like an episode of MLP, except maybe at the end. Even then, the “lesson” was revenge and comeback (as well as something we already had an episode about). I enjoyed how scary it was, and was really thrown off by the plot twist at the end. My mom, on the other hand, knew it was a prank the whole time, and because of this, might not have enjoyed the episode as much as I did. Though it didn’t seem to fit into the series, as a standalone, “28 Pranks Later” was alright.

Dragon Aging

Although some light has been shed on dragons in the show, it still seems like much of these creatures is shrouded in mystery. This season we learned that they are ruled by the Dragon Lord (currently Princess Ember). The dragons obey the Dragon Lord. An earlier episode showed us the dragon migration, and we found out that most dragons are not like Spike; they are mean to ponies. The traditional dragon lore also seems to hold true. Dragons in the series love hoarding treasure and they even eat gems. They are also generally shown as scary monsters with no manners.

But how exactly do they age? We see Spike, and though he clearly several years old, he is still considered to be a baby dragon. He is smaller than other dragons, and only about half the size of most ponies. Yet, in “Secret of My Excess” we see Spike grow in size as he becomes greedier. It could be possible that dragon development is tied to certain characteristics, such as greed or meanness.

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The large dragon in “Dragonshy” hoards lots of treasure. Is it his greed that made him grow so large? Is it the disrespect he treated Fluttershy’s friends with that aided in making him so large? The world may never know.

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“Gauntlet of Fire” shows us Ember, who is told that she is too small to win the Gauntlet and become Dragon Lord. Through her teamwork, understanding, and good morals, she is able to beat the others and become Dragon Lord, although at the beginning of the competition she tried to use brutish tactics like the other dragons. The fact that Spike and Ember are both small could be to show that they lack the unrefined qualities of the rest of their species.

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Even if physical aging is not tied to their traits, developmental progression could be. Spikezilla may have been the same number of years, but there is no doubt that the dragon looked older. Many of the teenage dragons in the show are large, but nothing compared to the massive beast who reigned as Dragon Lord before Ember.

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Feel free to share your opinions on whether or not you think certain “dragon-like” characteristics influence a dragon’s progression. Since there was already a dragon episode this season, I think it will be a while until more on the species is released. For now it is just overthinking time.

 

The Cart Before the Ponies

SPOILER ALERT! Those of you who have not seen the show, be warned. This review is going to contain spoilers about the episode. If you have not seen it yet, watch it right now and read my review in 20 minutes, or prepare to have some of the critical plot mentioned before you view it. I am assuming many of you are bronies, or fans of the show, and you are reading this review for an interesting insight on an episode you have seen countless times already (as have I), in which case, continue reading, and enjoy!

The title of this episode is clearly a play on words involving the common phrase “Put the cart before the horse.” In addition to being clever, it foreshadows the episode. Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity are so busy building the carts they want, that they ignore the needs of the ponies. But more on that later.

First, I need to discuss the beginning of the episode, in which Miss Cheerilee is teaching her class physics. I almost turned the episode off there (not really). I took physics in high school, and even though I was pretty good at it, I couldn’t stand it. I really did not need to be reminded of such dark times, especially in a children’s show. Thankfully, the flashback to the horrors of physics was over soon and the reason the class needed to learn physics in the first place was revealed: they needed to build carts for the derby race.

Cheerilee and the Blueprint.png

There are three awards to be given at the end of the race. One for the fastest cart, another for the most traditional, and the final for most creative. The Cutie Mark Crusaders decide on what ribbon they want to win. Apple Bloom wants the fastest one, Sweetie Belle wants the most traditional, and Scootaloo wants the most creative. This was not what I had in mind. The older ponies the CMC chose to work with were who I had in mind, though. Each wanted to work with their older sister. (“Sister” in Scootaloo’s case)

When Scootaloo asks Rainbow Dash to help her build her cart for the derby, Rainbow Dash reminisces about when she raced in the Cloudsdale Derby. Rainbow Dash won for being the fastest, and she had a great time. Even though Scootaloo tell Rainbow that she has her own ideas, Rainbow still wants to do it her way. Scootaloo is certain that Rainbow’s expertise will ensure things go perfectly with the cart making.

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Meanwhile, Applejack is honored to help her sister take the prize for most traditional. A more modern, fast car is “Not Apple” enough. In order to keep the family tradition going, Apple Bloom needs a slow and traditional cart.

Sweetie Belle isn’t having much luck with Rarity, either. Rarity sees helping her sister as a chance to get the first prize creativity award she never won. She came in second place (behind Derpy) and wants a chance at revenge. Honestly, holding such a petty grudge does seem like something Rarity would do, but kicking high-class potential customers out of her boutique to work on cart designs seemed a little bit much, even for her. Rarity gets so caught up in having her creativity award that she tells Sweetie Belle “to leave tradition to the Apples”and says the prize for most creative will be in her own hooves.

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The CMC and their derby partners wake up before sunrise to get to work on the carts. The older ponies want the carts to win for their own sake, and don’t care about the prizes the Crusaders want. Apple Bloom mentions the possibility of the older ponies doing all the work, and not letting her or her friends have a say in the carts. The other Crusaders reassure her, saying the older ponies know best.

The older ponies are so gung-ho on building the carts they want, that they become helicopter sisters and take the projects over. I assumed that the Crusaders would switch partners so each pair would want to win the same prize, but this never happened. They continue to go back and forth about what they want in the cart and the older ponies simply build what they have in mind.

There’s a montage of the older sisters going back and forth with the younger ones. While the Crusaders try to make the carts the way they want them, the older ponies undo their work and keep things their way.

Speed Cart.png

I just love that Scootaloo wants a chicken cart

Race time arrives, and Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Apple Bloom can’t even drive the carts like their classmates can. Cheerilee reminds the older ponies that the younger ones usually drive, yet the CMC are stuck in the passenger seats. We get to see a great shot of some awesome derby cars as well as schoolponies with their family members.

Carts at the Start.png

We get a decent song during the race scene. The Crusaders are miserable and the race ends in a massive crash. Rainbow Dash, still concerned with winning the race, asks if pushing her cart across the finish line still counts as a win. This is where the Crusaders draw the line and shout that the carts are supposed to be theirs and they they were supposed to design and drive them.

They're not your carts.png

This is where the moral of the story comes in: Although it may be hard to speak up to older ponies, they do not always know what is best, and speaking up is sometimes necessary. Older ponies should also listen to younger ponies, who may have good ideas. Miss Cheerilee gives everyone a chance to build new carts and race again.

The second time around, older ponies are allowed to help build the cart, but can’t be in them for the race. The CMC all make the kind of cart that they want to make and have a blast driving them. While they race, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity lounge on the side, relaxing. It seems as though they should be cheering the CMC on. Other ponies were doing so, and when I did competitive sports in middle and high school, it always felt amazing to see my family and friends root for me. Rainbow Dash does cheer for a moment but just goes back to relaxing. The episode ends there.

The ending was a major disappointment. The winners of the race and ribbons were not shown, so I have no idea if the Crusaders won the ribbons they wanted to win. Also, why the heck were the older sisters not cheering for the Crusaders? They obviously care about them a lot, and it seems like they would normally put higher priority on supporting loved ones. Even Rarity, who was willing to get filthy to help build her sister’s cart, would not cheer Sweetie Belle on.

Mechanic Ponies.png

The lesson was important, though boring, and the song was a bit boring as well. It wasn’t a bad song, but it wasn’t the kind of catchy thing that gets stuck in my head. (Give me a day or two on this, since even boring songs tend to grow on me to the point where I can’t stop singing them.) The humor wasn’t all over the place, but some scenes were funny, such as Rarity losing to Derpy, which I thought was ironically hilarious. It was a decent episode, despite being a dull at times.

Derpy has most creative cart.png

 

Magical Twilight Sparkle Manicure

So I finally decided to paint my nails again. Rather than making an obvious MLP theme, I decided to do a more subtle manicure this time. I based this manicure on Twilight’s color scheme and her magical abilities. I raided all of my nail polish for as many different Twilight-like colors and got to work! The pictures below show close ups of each nail right after they were done. I washed around my nails in cold water to get the excess polish off of my skin.

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I primarily used shades of purple, since that is Twilight’s overall color. I also used pink and blue, since those are part of her color scheme as well. I added a lot of glittery/sparkly coats on top, to represent her magic and her name. Not all of the nails have a sparkly coat on them. Some colors were full of glitter and did not need any extra shine, and I also chose to leave some plain.

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From left to right: Sally Hansen, Hard as Nails (Rock Bottom); Wet n Wild, Wild Shine (Sparked); Revlon (Grape Icy); Sally Hansen, Insta-Dri (Lively Lilac); Covergirl; Outlast Stay Brilliant Glosstinis (Pyro Pink); Pure Ice (Forget Me Not); Nail art kit pen

For every nail, I used one of the following colors as a base coat. Sometimes I needed multiple layers of the base to make the color show up strong. Some colors are only used on one nail, whereas others were put on multiple. To mix it up and give a fun look, I did not put two of the same colors on adjacent nails. Last time I used Pure Ice (Forget Me Not), I got some white polish on the brush. Since I did not brush it off prior to using it on my nail, it gave me a pale color similar to Sally Hansen, Insta-Dri (Lively Lilac). I put glitter over it to help emphasize the distinctness of each nail.

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From left to right: Sally Hansen, Insta-Dri (Clearly Quick); Nail art kit pen; Pure Ice (Dazzle Me); Nail art kit large glitter; Sally Hansen, Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear (Confetti Punch)

Though not every base color got a sparkly top coat, each nail did get a finishing top coat of clear. I did not want to use a sparkly top coat over any of the really glittery colors because it would have been overdoing it. The clear coat over all ten nails gave them a shiny finish and will help the polish from wearing off. My job involves a lot of hand work and I wash them frequently, so I am hoping the clear coat will keep my manicure intact at least until tomorrow night. If the polish does get a chip or two, I will just touch it up with more polish to keep my nails looking great!

This was a super easy to do, and took much less time than my original MLP manicure did. They are also more versatile and grown up. Someone who is shy about being in their fandom or who could not have such an eccentric manicure could do something simple like this instead. The simple color scheme should allow these to blend in with many normal outfits. If I do more like this in the future (perhaps shades of pink and bright yellow/blue polka dots for Pinkie?) they should match my clothes. Sadly, nothing looks good with my work uniform. On the other hand, these would be great to go with a cosplay.

This subtle MLP inspiration reminds me of the outfits I made on my Polyvore page. A lot of my sets on there are based on MLP characters, but to someone who did not know that they were, the MLP references would go unnoticed. Even a fan of the show might not pick up on something like that if they were out in public. It still allows the wearer to express their brony pride, though!