Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Discord is Best Princess

Trot Topics, *How Canon Is Expanded Universe?: Rainbow Dash And The Daring Do Double Dare

It's Rainbow Dash's turn to boogie in the third chapter book from Little Brown, and all about her obsession with Daring Do, plus proving she's the best at what she does. This acts as kind of a follow-up to the Daring Don't episode from Season 4, but not completely acknowledging the existence of the Mane 6 running into the actual Daring Do, which is one of several inconsistencies with the TV series.

One bit is during the release of the new Daring Do book where Big Mac was waiting in line in back of Rainbow Dash. Yet again another aspect of Big Mac's life we're not in on. Like, who knew he was a good enough singer to be in a quartet.

Another is during the first meeting of the Golden Oak Library Society. The narration gives us a picture perfect representation of the background ponies reaction to Twilight's meeting setup with Lyra's fixation for sitting like humans. Meaning that the world of the ponies itself recognizes the tropes of its characters that its fans obsess over. Also, the narration briefly hints to the Mane 6 knowing that Daring Do is a real pony and not just a story character, but never really elaborates on it through the rest of the book.

Later on, Rainbow starts taking dares from ponies all over town, and one is Applejack daring her to eat some hot peppers from "South Amareica" that were delivered across the "San Palomino Desert", both of which are places that up until now were only made up locations in Equestria in fan fiction or online RPGs like Wars Of Equestria. It's a little odd for them to take fan-created material in pull it into the established continuity, even in an expanded universe story.

One other shout-out to fan creations was them referring to Bulk Biceps as Snowflake instead, which was one his fan-given names. Although this book was printed just before the Rainbow Falls episode where he was called Bulk Biceps, but you would think that Hasbro would keep track of the characters' names for an official release.

The last thing that's out of canon for this is the addition of the original character Braze, an evil male zebra who is the token villain for this story. He had stolen an ancient artifact that Rainbow Dash is supposed to stop, since the only one who can release the spirits from their prison is somepony that can do the Sonic Rainboom. Also, its strange that once again there was some dark mysterious thing from the past left over in the Castle of the Two Sisters that Celestia conveniently forget to do something about the last thousand years. Was she just going to let all the evil mojo she brushed under the rug after she banished Luna get cleaned up by the maid or something?

But getting back to Braze. This is the first zebra outside of Zecora that has been brought into mainsteam, and like her, he also is compelled to speak only rhyme. He can use magic similar to Zecora too, which makes you wonder if all zebras are supposed to be rapping witch doctors. It's also weird that the writer just decided to throw this new bad guy in near the end, when up until then the whole story looked like it was really all just a set up by Rainbow's friends, just like when they all became Mare-Do-Well to get her to bring her ego down a little. Braze ends up escaping, so it looks like they might try using him again in a future installment of the chapter book series.

This was good book, but didn't really seem to focus on the whole thing that Rainbow knew the actual Daring Do, which seems like it would be something it might want to bring up, especially since it deals with a real situation that Daring normally deals with, i.e.: a maniacal villain using an ancient artifact for nefarious purposes. It's possible the writer wanted to keep the events of the Daring Don't episode out of this for fear of not spoiling it for those who hadn't seen it, but as the other chapter books referenced events from prior episodes, its kinda hard to swallow that idea.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Separated At Birth?, *Paul Lynde & Antique Chicken Salespony

Trot Topics, *How Canon Is Expanded Universe?: Friends Forever #3

The next "super-hero team-up" of Friends Forever has the never-before-seen pairing of Spike and Princess Celestia. Even though their relationship usually consisted of Spike sending her mail from Twilight, this issue has the two of them setting out on an epic quest, but it still bounces off the fourth wall alot.

It starts out with Celestia in Canterlot receiving delegates as part of her daily schedule, including Duke Silversaddle from Appleloosa. Now the strange part about this one is slightly on why a small settler town like Appleloosa would actally have a duke in place, but the name and character design for Silversaddle actually comes from the Hot In Cleveland show featuring a grown man cosplaying at a con as the made-up character, Prince Silversaddle, so its weird to see an OC brought into the regular continuity of the series. Spike shows up to ask about getting a new telescope for Twilight's birthday, even though the resident telescope maker is out of lenses. So the princess and the dragon embark for the Crystal Mountain(also the name of a Pony con!)which is supposed to have proper crystal lenses at its peak, which is a pretty odd bit of geology, almost like finding hot dog trees! Along the way, Celestia mentions to Spike that he doesn't need to consider her as royalty as she's only a princess to ponies and not to dragons. Though later, they head into a cave and run into some "rock lobsters", large talking lobsters made of rock, and Celestia tries to throw her princess weight by demanding they let her and Spike pass. So, Celestia only wants her sovereignty acknowledged when it suits her? Spike manages to con their way out by threatening to eat the lobsters since dragons eat rocks.

Afterwards, Spike asks Celestia why she didn't just use her acclaimed powerful magic to bust them out of there, which is where we get into the meat of the matter. Celestia claims that she only uses her magic sparingly to act as a teacher, not an adventurer, despite all the times she could've helped out Twilight and her friends when they were in mortal danger. She also says she doesn't help out Twilight in these times to be cruel to her or play jokes on her, but that is really hard to swallow. There's been numerous occasions during the series where not only the Mane 6 but all of Equestria could use an extra alicorn to use their magic for something other than just raising the sun. Enemies like King Sombra would have taken her and Luna like about a minute to vanquish, but she just uses the opportunity to let Twilight and her friends risk their lives instead. There's a thin line between using a situation to test the abilities of someone you care about, and just being a self-absorbed twit whose got their own secret agenda who doesn't share it with anyone because they have some serious trust issues.

The comic ends with Spike and Celestia getting the lenses and having a new telescope for Twilight's birthday, since birthdays are a central fixture in Equestria. Celestia sends Spike a thank you letter for letting her come along on his adventure, even though he wouldn't have made it on his own at all. Once again proving that next to Dungeon Master from D&D, Celestia is the biggest troll this side of Mordor.

The Ultimate Power Couple

Jayne is the best pony

You're going to love me!


This'll teach ya to pay for yer apples!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Trot Topics, *How Canon Is Expanded Universe?: Friends Forever #2

Since Friends Forever has become the Brave And The Bold of IDW's MLP comics, this has issue the Cutie Mark Crusaders teaming up with none other than Discord. Although, here the spirit of chaos breaks through the limits of continuity even more than normal.

The CMC have tried nearly everything for trying to get their cutie marks, including parkour which is surprisingly a regular activity in Equestria. Discord shows up turning the Sweet Apple Acres into chocolate-tasting apples, even though he swore not to use his chaos powers for his own devices. It could be argued that he's doing this trying to help out the Apple Family, but he should've at least asked if he could first. The Crusaders convince Discord into using his magic to create different scenarios where they could get their cutie marks, though it might be easier to for him to just conjure their cutie marks for them like Twilight tried for Applebloom. One of these magic situations includes the Crusaders playing football against a team of animals, including one of the gremlins that bugged Rainbow Dash in her micro-series issue. Discord makes these little attempts happen within a pocket universe he creates referred to by Twilight as a bubble reality, which keeps expanding every time he makes a new one up for the CMC. Again, weather Discord is knowingly letting this VR bubble engulf Ponyville or if its happening on its own isn't revealed, so his sincerity to using his magic for good is still in question. The best of these conjured up realities is a Star Trek: TNG parody where Discord cosplays as Q in his judge outfit, plus the Power Rangers one is funny too even if it does make one ask how popular mecha shows are in Equestria. The strangest shout out to the brony fanbase though is a quick shot of the CMC as superheroes with Sweetie Belle as a robot(or possibly in a battle suit)which harkens back to Sweetie-Bot. There's also another one-panel of the Crusaders talking to Starswirl about loosing a certain ring, to which you really have to wonder if this was part of some Equestrian history that mimics the Lord of the Rings, or just a Discord rewrite. The CMC though actually show a lot of maturity by thanking Discord who looks real ticked at all the failed attempts at trying to get them their cutie marks, and they decide to make him an honorary Crusader(which would've been cooler if they gave him his own CMC cape to go with it!). Celestia shows up at the end to sort of rub Discord's nose in the whole thing about learning a lesson, but he clearly still has some resentment towards her as he points out no one likes a know-it-all.

This was a great outing for the Crusaders, even more so than their own micro-series issue, and Discord's first real intro into the IDW comics. You'd think a future issue of Friends Forever might include Discord and Celestia teaming up, but considering IDW also publishes the Star Trek comics it would be even better to do a "Discord meets Q" special!

Batman and Superman use the Elements of Harmony!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Poooonnyyyyy! Poooonnyyyyy!

Hey Teach...How come I'm the only boy in this class?

Imma sleepin'!

Faith in Fluttershy

Hey! This makes my voice sound silly!

The hazards of brony cosplay

The Club Can't Even Handle Me Right Now, *Rainbow Dash, Owlowiscious & Spike

Dude, Ponies Are On!, *Zoraks