Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Trot Topics, *How Canon Is Expanded Universe?: My Little Pirate-Friendship Ahoy

It was probably inevitable that the Mane 6 would set off on some high seas adventure, especially with Rainbow's hunger for a Daring Do-type story. But this one doesn't follow the normal tropes like Pirates Of The Carribean, even though the main pirate in this could pass for a pony version of Jack Sparrow. But still, this outing there are some choppy waves that disrupt the given MLP storyline.

The first of this 2-part story has the Mane 6 going to Horseshoe Bay to take Fluttershy's fish friend Gil back to the ocean. Now this is odd because the background looks like a tropical beach, but according to the Equestrian map, Horseshoe Bay is in Manehattan. They then meet the pirate Hoofbeard(whose beard isn't really hoof-shaped)and he convinces them to become his new crew to set sail on a voyage to the Gallopinghost Islands in search for his old crew that made off with a special map of his. Once they reach a port town, Rarity, Twilight, Dash, and Pinkie head in to look for Hoofbeard's crew to retrieve the map. At a local pub, they encounter alternate pirate versions of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Big Mac, and Granny Smith. It's never revealed why these swashbuckling dopplegangers bear such a strong resemblance to their Ponyville counterparts, and you'd think Rarity would find it strange that there's a unicorn that looks exactly like Sweetie Belle. They find Hoofbeard's crew there and Twilight uses her Princess status to convince them to take them to where the left the map, which is one of the few instances where Twilight's royalty is brought up in comics, mostly as this is the first comics story that takes place after the end of Season 3. Hoofbeard's crew got rid of the map and mutinied against him because the map didn't seem to lead anywhere, and they all thought he was crazy, so they hid it with the Ghost of Gallopinghost Islands, which is a giant ghost crab straight out of Mysterious Island.

The next issue has our pirate ponies fending off the big crustacean while Dash makes a dash inside its hole in the ground for the map, where we can see a human-styled Egytian mask, a garden gnome, and a G1 MLP collectible doll, which makes one ask if there was a dimensional breach of some kind that brought some of these human world ornaments into Equestria. Pinkie manages to calm the ghost down with her surprising ability to whistle up an army of crabs. They return the map to Hoofbeard, and despite his promise to return them back home if they wanted to, the Mane 6 instead mutiny against him for control of the map. We find out that the map leads to where mermares currently roam, which are apparently the G4 version of the seaponies, although seaponies themselves have been referred to in other MLP comics. What the exact connection to mermares and seaponies is unknown, except that mermares are larger. Hoofbeard wanted to find the mermares because he had previously fallen in love with the mermare known as Jewel, despite the fact that its against the mermares' ways to have contact with the outside world. Twilight uses some of her magic to give Hoofbeard gills so he can breathe underwater and be with Jewel, even if he's not a "mermare-colt" and all the complications that might bring up as far as breeding is concerned. Also, Twilight's transformation spell usually only works if she has something else to copy it off of, and there weren't any other Earth ponies with gills to scan that from at the time. The mermares summon up a mantahawk to carry the girls back to dry land, which is a creature that first appeared in an MLP picturebook, so its good to see there is some correlation between the comics and some of the other MLP expanded universe material.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Trot Topics, *How Canon Is Expanded Universe?: Pinkie Pie And The Rockin' Pony Palooza Party

It's Pinkie's turn up to bat in this, the second of the Little Brown chapter books by G.M. Barrow, but this one brings back some characters we've only had a brief intro to, the Pie Family whom until now have only mostly been seen in Pinkie's cutie mark flashback, plus Trixie's V-log of her working on their farm. But read on to find there's still some continuity errors going on since this is an official tie-in to the TV show.

One thing is Pinkie's PPP, Pinkie Party Planner, which is something Twilight gave her to keep track of all the fun events in town. But since Pinkie is supposed to have a photographic memory and remembers obscure facts about everyone in town, it seems odd that she'd need to use a planner. Speaking of which, she apparently forgot her Spring has Sprung party she threw when she came up with the idea for her Spring-Sproing-Spring Party. Also, when she announces this, she sings the original Slinky jingle, which makes you wonder if they have official Slinkys in the Ponyverse.

Another is Pinkie's referring to her Nana Pinkie and Granny Pie as separate ponies. Prior to this, it wasn't established if they were the same character or not. It's unknown if Pinkie was named after her Nana. It's possible that both of these two characters were Pinkie's grandmothers, one from each side of the family.

Pinkie's family's names are now canon as of this. At first thought to be named after Pac-Man characters, but here they are officially named after types of rocks. Her father is Igneous Rock, her mom is Cloudy Quartz, and her sister are Marble and Limestone. This is also the first time we're given any kind of mention to Pinkie's older sister, Maud Pie, who in the story stayed behind to watch the farm.

The next oddity is the whole concern over Equestria's rock trade. Up until now, we really never got the premise for why something like a rock farm exists here, and not in the sense of mining for gems, but regular generic rocks. We see now though that apparently they are used for esthetic decorations, mainly for outside pony's houses as stepping stones. So, since the Crystal Empire's reemergence, there's been a big fad to use gems imported from there for this instead of regular "country grown" ones. This puts the Pie Family farm at risk since they're a rock farm.

This book also marks one of the few times since the end of Season 3 that someone comes to Twilight for her advice as a princess. This carries a lot of weight with the Pies as they seem to value her input over that of their own daughter. Aside from the guards asking her for orders in the Season 4 premiere, there hadn't been to much on the "Princess Twilight" game-changer.

Something else is was the Ponyville regulars' familiarity with a few certain musicians and performers. Like Applejack mentioning Octavia knowing the bassist from "Nine Inch Tails", which is strange because Octavia as far as we know lives in Canterlot and doesn't have any real connection with anyone in Ponyville, despite what a lot of Tavi/Vinyl shippers think. Plus, others like Lyrica Lilac are also local to Canterlot. I'm surprised Sapphire Shores wasn't on the playbill.