My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks

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Sep 292014
 

So yeah, just saw a… erm, shall we say, a “version” of the second MLP: Equestria Girls movie; Rainbow Rocks.

It a’ight. If you’ve seen the first Equestria Girls, it’s sorta like that, but with more fan canon nods.

The story is that following the events of the first Equestria Girls movie and the finale of the 4th season of MLP: Friendship is Magic, a buncha baddies reveal themselves in the Equestria Girls world.

It’s not a bad movie, but like the first one, sort of feels like an extended episode rather than something big and theatrical. I kinda have a beef in that you need to have seen the Hasbro shorts/teasers to get the full effect though. For the most part, the shorts are just additional info, such as how the good guys’ band was form and giving clues as to which characters might play a bigger part than you’d expect; if you were simply watching just the movie itself.

There’s also a part where the teasers worked even BETTER than in the actual movie. There’s one bit where the baddies come in and start singing, and this resulted in a green mist being generated. The teaser doesn’t explain what’s going on, but the movie sticks in an exposition scene right in the middle of it. Not only does the exposition spoil a mystery that could have been revealed later, but really, it just interrupted the “timing” of the scene.

Oh, and for a movie where the theme is music and such, there’s a distinct lack of it. I mean, there’re plenty of songs and such, but a lot less than you’d expect. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not like the first movie had a lot of songs either. And it’d have been lame to be overwhelmed with music, but the finale probably could have used something a bit catchier.

Overall, it’s a’ight. I dug it well enough and there are some pretty good parts. There’s a nice stinger too.

Oh, speaking of that, this movie REALLY sets things up for a possible Equestria Girls series. I’m not sure I’d want it though. After 4 seasons, a couple movies and I think there’s a 5th season of ponies coming? I’m not sure I’d want a new series that’s essentially the same as ponies, only with humans. Granted, the human world presents some possibilities, but we’d be dealing with basically the same set of characters. Unless season 5 (or beyond?) suddenly focuses on new characters or Equestria Girls go a more Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated route, I’d be feeling a bit of pony fatigue.

So yeah, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, it’s a’ight.

Smarter than the Average Polar Bear

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Nov 262012
 

Polar Bear Cafe. Hanna Barbara animal cartoons. Same universe. Different time periods.

Boomerang, Cartoon Network’s “let’s sluff off all this old shit onto a station no one can watch because these things don’t sell toys anymore” channel, had a little Yogi Bear marathon on Turkey Day. I hadn’t really watched any of those old HB animal cartoons in a while, so I sat down and watched a few episodes. It’s just as charmingly cheap as I remember, with the limited animation, reused backgrounds, and same two or three voices used for every incidental character.

In the midst of all of the comfortable familiarity I noticed something for the first time: Yogi Bear’s existence is pretty damn bleak. He and the other bears in Jellystone Park possess all of the intelligence and emotions of humans, but they’re treated like property. On several occasions Yogi refers to himself as “property of the government.” He isn’t a “person,” despite possessing many of the emotional and mental traits we associate with that concept– Yogi Bear is a thing in the eyes of humanity.

You could call Yogi’s situation slavery. He isn’t expected to do much in the way of labor– he’s only expected to pose for photographs with tourists and not steal their food– but he’s constantly threatened with being shipped off to the zoo if he steps out of line. Yogi doesn’t even have the right to live where he pleases. He has to depend on the grace of the government to determine if he gets rewarded with continued housing in his natural habitat.

But what makes matters all the worse is that Yogi and his fellow bears aren’t trusted by the government and its park rangers. Check this out. One episode deals with the Army running some war games in Jellystone Park. One side of the “war” decides to don bear costumes to infiltrate the “enemy” side. Yogi and Boo Boo get conscripted into the Army, since the soldiers can’t tell the difference between a real bear and some dude in a costume. They’re assumed to be lazy soldiers slacking off. One thing leads to another and Yogi teaches the soldiers how to “live off the land,” which means “stealing picnic baskets.” Thing is, these soldiers do it at gunpoint.

Ranger Smith’s conclusion: the bears have risen up and are revolting. First gut reaction. Those damn dirty bears are getting uppity and want to start a race war.

Things get worse. Smith and a few other rangers arm themselves and go to see if all of this is true. They run across some of the soldiers in bear disguise. Said soldiers fire blanks at the rangers to scare them off, since they don’t want civilians getting involved in their war games. The rangers, who apparently don’t realize there are tanks and shit in their forest, panic and hole up in the ranger office, thinking everything’s falling apart around them. When a tank driven by Yogi comes barreling down on the station, the rangers start talking as if they’ll be remembered like the soldiers at The Alamo– falling for the greater good to protect humanity from the bear uprising. Never mind Yogi’s trying to stop the tank and save the rangers. Nope. The humans in control of the bear population assume the worst every chance they get.

Bears aren’t trusted. There’s an entire episode devoted to Ranger Smith trying to trick Yogi into breaking the rules, so he can have Yogi shipped off to the zoo. Smith goes undercover as a polar bear and pretends to be a fellow bear who wants to live in the Park. He tries to get Yogi to steal picnic baskets, all while constantly reminding Yogi of the rules. He’s clearly baiting Yogi into committing a crime so he can be rid of the Park’s ringleader, and he isn’t afraid to use underhanded tricks to prove his assumptions.

Given that Yogi’s from the late 50s and early 60s, you could look at it as the early days of an animal civil rights movement. Yogi’s a free-thinking bear who wants to be treated as an equal. He’s no saint, but he’s no worse than any of the humans around him. Despite being “smarter than the average bear,” he just wants to be like everyone else– eating the same food, living in the same modes of shelter, and afforded the same rights. He’s something of an early activist for his kind.

Fast forward to the present and look at the world of Polar Bear Cafe. Animals are integrated into society. They still get the odd look, since not everyone is used to socializing with animals, but they don’t appear to be treated any differently as a whole. They can get driver’s licenses. They can own their own businesses. They can own their own homes. There might be some places in society where they aren’t fully accepted, since we see that animals are only fully accepted in roles and jobs humans consider animal-appropriate, so in a way they’re more or less in the same position as most minorities who live in countries with a dominant culture.

You could say that Yogi Bear takes place in Polar Bear Cafe’s past. Animals haven’t always had it this good, and at one time were nothing more than pieces of property to be sold and traded at will. Since then, animals have been able to integrate into human society and be accepted the way they are in Polar Bear Cafe.

There would be no Polar Bear Cafe or Bar the Grizzly without the zany struggles of Yogi Bear and Boo Boo.

Wednesday Morning Pony Cult – Part 3

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Nov 222011
 

The discoveries I made last week about My Little Pony were considerably disconcerting. I uncovered a scheme by the Illuminati to influence the youth of America to accept current global conditions so that they will be willing dupes in the upcoming collapse of our government. This revelation so distressed me that I threw myself headlong into the cult of the Pony. No longer could I take this investigation at a leisurely pace. I had to get to the root of this conspiracy as far as possible and watched the remaining sixteen episodes.

I believe I have discovered the truth behind all of this, and it is more horrifying than I imagined.

The crux of this lies with the Cutie Mark Crusaders. These three ponies are the true audience ciphers in this series. The six main cast members are what kids want to be when they grow up– they’ve found their role in pony society and fulfill it dutifully. The Crusaders have yet to find their place in this world. They’re the youth of the world with their future’s ahead of them.

Yet what do they desire? They aren’t fueled by potential. They aren’t inspired by an uncertain, anything’s-possible future. They desperately want to find their place in society. They want to find their niche at all costs. And in finding this role they will obtain the thing that gives them relevance in society: the cutie mark.

The cutie mark makes a pony worthwhile. Without one, a pony is a second-class citizen– no better than the other sentient animals the ponies keep as slaves and fodder. But with a cutie mark a pony can find a job and participate in society.

Yeah, the cutie mark is the Mark of the Beast. 666 with sprinkles on top.

The globalist conspiracy behind My Little Pony is purely Satanic in origin. It is conditioning children to want the mark of the beast. When the time comes for everyone to line up, it will be the masses of children who have been indoctrinated by this series that will eagerly line up first. It will be a dream come true for them to receive their very own real life cutie mark that determines their fate. And as this show grows in popularity, so will our chances of fighting back against the Antichrists brony-army dwindle.

And in this I fear I’ve learned too much. In the days after I’ve finished this series and begun to work out my theories, I’ve seen strange things. Odd noises ring out at night, as if something large and four-legged lurks outside my window. Even as I write this post the night before I intend to post it, I can hear the rustling in the grass. One-two-three-four steps. Pacing back and forth. Waiting. I believe it is too late for me, my friends in magic, but don’t let my efforts go to waste. Don’t give in to the Cutie Mark of the Beast! If these words reach enough of you, your numbers will be able to grow with just as much might as these vile ponies.

Wednesday Morning Pony Cult – Part 2

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Nov 162011
 

Something’s lurking below the surface of My Little Pony. It may be my personal biases starting to color things in the wrong light, so take what I’m about to say with a healthy dose of “what the fuck is he saying?”

For the most part, episodes 6-10 of the series are more of the same. We get the same morals, such as when Twilight Sparkle learns that it’s fine to be a show-off so long as you aren’t a dick about it. We even get some stuff about racism, where the ponies realize that zebras are just as prone to preachy endings as any other anthropomorphized horse. Characters had more chances to show their stuff. Real chemistry is starting to form between the characters. But something bothered me about these episodes. Bothersome in a fascinating way.

It started with the Fluttershy episode. A dragon moves into the neighborhood and starts spewing smoke and polluting the air in Ponyville. This dragon brings great wealth with him, but the ponies aren’t concerned with his riches. All they care about is the pollution he’s creating. It’s a perfectly understandable reaction, although I have to wonder why the pegasus ponies are helpless to deal with this smog (Isn’t it their jobs to clean the skies?). So the ponies try to reason with the dragon to reduce his pollution production.

The catch is that they want the dragon to simply go away and move to another area. They don’t want to work with the dragon. They don’t care about any kind of productive, economical advantages he might bring with his treasure. They just want clean air that the pegasi are too lazy to clean.

See, the dragon is essentially a metaphor for a factory, and the ponies are the USA. They’re preoccupied with the environmental impact of the dragon and don’t realize the benefits of the dragon’s presence. Maybe the dragon is benevolent (In fact, once they encounter him he seems that way), so maybe he could share his wealth or become a tourist attraction. And if he was a malevolent dragon, adventurers could travel from abroad and use Ponyville as a waypoint on their dragon-hunting quest. Either way, the dragon was going to be some sort of economical boon to Ponyville.

But no, the ponies only cared about their clean air. So they booted the dragon from town so he could pollute elsewhere. It’s not unlike factories being driven out of the US and into the waiting arms of other countries that are all too eager to weather some pollution and other problems if it means economic growth.

My Little Pony is presenting this situation as a good thing. The show wants little kids to look at this situation and say “Yay! The big, bad polluter is gone to some other magical place and away from us! I want real life to be that way as well!” The series is training kids to be accepting of the changing economic climate of the world. It wants kids to like the fact that the US is losing production jobs to other countries.

And this is exactly what the globalist Illuminati conspiracies want. They want an entire generation brainwashed into believing that the world’s problems are a good thing. It’s OK to live in a country where you can’t get a job because that means it’s clean and shiny just like your precious Ponyville.

My Little Pony is a vicious Illuminati brainwashing experiment. And I need to watch more to see where its horrific agenda leads.

Also: my favorite pony is Rarity.

Wednesday Morning Pony Cult – Part 1

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Nov 092011
 

Alright. Five episodes into My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

And the short of it? It’s OK, I guess.

The first two episodes do the usual introductory spiel while tossing in some obligatory conflict. At the request of the ruler of this pony-centric world, Twilight Sparkle moves to Ponyville to help with some lunar celebration. The catch is that Twilight has been tasked with “making friends.”

See, Twilight Sparkle is more than a little full of herself. She the sort that thinks intellectual pursuits can replace, well, just about everything. She’s downright apprehensive about making friends. She doesn’t need that shit so long as she can discover some obscure fact and prove herself to be intellectually superior to those around her. She’s like that Sheldon dude from Big Bang Theory if he was painted purple and got a sex change. I’m sure she’s gonna appeal to certain kids who can relate to that personality, so in that regard I can buy into the socially awkward smart girl who needs to “learn” how to make friends and stuff. But when it comes to being an adult watching this show, she’s already kinda grating on me. Since she’s the main character, that isn’t a good sign.

At least her unwanted friends are a good deal more tolerable. The first episode basically sets up each of the other five characters by having Twilight Sparkle run into each of them– sometimes literally. They’re all broad stereotypes– Applejack the cowgirl, Rainbow Dash the athlete, Rarity the diva, Fluttershy the hippie, and Pinkie Pie the comedian. You can take one look at each of them and know exactly what their shtick is gonna be. Between all of them you hit enough points and have a pony for almost any kid watching. These two episodes don’t delve into any of them far enough to really make any kind of judgement beyond stating one’s natural bias towards these types. That means Pinkie Pie seems to be a little too bubbly and loud for my tastes and Fluttershy makes me want to punt her into the uprights with her overt shyness. The others are pretty decent right off the bat, though.

So we get the main cast established right away. I dig that since we don’t spend a third of the season or so introducing the cast before things start to happen. I may not dig half the cast, but we got them right away so they can play off of each other right away. That’s a nice move.

But this fast-paced intro kinda makes the second episode feel a bit forced. Nightmare Moon comes down and lays the smack down on the world, declaring that the sun will never rise again and that the world will be cast in perpetual night. The six ponies band together, each gets a chance to save the day in the evil forest, and thus each of their strengths is brought to the forefront. That in and of itself is decent, so the kids can get a feel for the characters right away, but it’s the way all of this comes together that kinda sucks. It just so happens that each of these strengths represents one of the “five elements” that are needed to drive back Nightmare Moon. So we get a Final Fantasy-like crystal collecting thing going, where we have a pony for honesty, loyalty, laughter, kindness, and generosity. Combine them all Captain Planet-style and funnel them through Twilight Sparkle’s revelation that “FRIENDSHIP IS MAGICAL” and they put down the big bad super-quick. It’s a well-executed happy ending for the kiddies, but for a cynical bastard like me it was a little too convenient and easy.

With the intro out-of-the-way, I wasn’t really feeling it. I could see where a young girl would be fascinated by the whole thing. The show didn’t talk down to kids, and it presented just enough relatable characters, adventure, and other good stuff. But it’s decidedly made for kids who are new to this sort of stuff. There wasn’t a lot of the sort of self-awareness you see in some kids shows where things are happening just outside of the target audience’s awareness that people with a bit more knowledge and experience will get. It isn’t a matter of overt pop culture jokes and the like that you see in shit like Shrek that people end up calling “humor for the parents,” but there isn’t the sort of “see what we did here” gags and the like you see in a show like Adventure Time or a broader sense of humor that hits on multiple levels. That wasn’t really there in any of the episodes I watched.

As for those other three episodes, they were basically 30 minute morality plays. A situation comes up where the characters’ friendships are mildly threatened: Twilight Sparkle only has two tickets to a party and her buddies argue over who should go, Applejack refuses to accept her friends’ help with the harvest, and Rainbow Dash runs into an old friend who isn’t exactly friendly towards Dash’s other buddies. The party episode was the weakest of the five episodes I saw, since the gags that play out as the five friends compete for Twilight’s attention just didn’t quite work. I did like the way the episode ended, with Princess Celestia basically telling Twilight “Well, why didn’t you just ask for more tickets, you moron!?”

The other two episodes got progressively better, mainly because they were the first episodes where specific characters got some room to “breath” so to speak. They played out as you’d expect, with Applejack finally accepting help and with Dash realizing who her real friends are, but by centering on specific characters we finally got to see characters play off of one another, and that’s exactly what this sort of show needs to work. And these were the first episodes where the humor started to really work as well. They weren’t amazingly funny or anything, but there were some genuine laughs.

So yeah, as far as this being a kid show goes, it’s solid stuff. It isn’t condescending. It’s well-made, with the characters’ facial expressions being especially good. It’s downright good kids shit. But thus far I’m not seeing why adults like this show. I can appreciate it thus far, but I’m not seeing how the internet peeps caught onto this, especially based on how it started. Maybe that comes along later, but as-is the internet’s fascination with this series remains a mystery to me.

But I don’t hate it. Not yet at least. But I do kinda hate Twilight Sparkle. God damn, girl, making friends is not that painful. Especially when said friends are literally throwing themselves at your feet.