Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Trot Topics, *How Canon Is Expanded Universe?: Applejack And The Honest-To-Goodness Switcheroo

As the fifth of the six planned chapter books that each highlight one of the Mane 6, this one is all about everyone's favorite "background pony" of the group, Applejack. Like most Applejack stories, there isn't a deep plot involved, but more of a character analysis and her struggle with being the Element of Honesty.

We start off with a big pie-eating contest at Sweet Apple Acres, which Cranky Doodle Dandy wins. It's unusual to see Cranky taking part in a large social event, but he wins it by being as reserved as he usually seems. In the crowd is Bulk Biceps who here is still called "Snowflake", which means that this story was written before they officially changed his name in Season 4.

Afterwards, Applejack gets a visit by a pony named Blue Ribbon, who says that Sweet Apple Acres is up for winning the award for Best Orchard in Equestria, which will make them the apple suppliers of Canterlot Castle, which is somethingthat Prince Blueblood probably wouldn't care for. He gives her a week to have the farm ready for the official review, so the rest of the Mane 6 volunteer to help AJ throughout the week.

Applejack wants to write something about the whole experience in the journal that she and her friends were sharing throughout Season 4, but Rarity was using it, so Granny gives her an old diary that her mother used to own. This is really significant since its the first time that AJ's parents are ever really mentioned within the context of the given continuity. Still no real backstory on what their names were or what happened to them, but AJ uses it to start writing down some of her thoughts, which probably didn't involve her not learning anything.

Over the next few days, Applejack gets help from one or two of her friends at a time per day, but each one of them seems to disappoint her in one way or another, mostly because she's so particular about how farm labor should be done. We all know AJ can be stubborn, but she really lets this build up over time, and takes all her bottled up "honesty" to save for her personal journal which gets increasingly frustrated in each entry. Applejack forgets how her friends each like to take their own spin on things, and do it in their own signature way, which never seemed to bother her before, but this might be different since to her its messing with her business.

This all comes back to bite her in the flank when Applejack accidently gets her journal switched with the one she's sharing with the others, and the read all the negative criticisms she wrote down in it. After worrying that that they would all be mad with her, she's relieved to discover that they forgive her since she was just being honest and not outright telling off her friends when they were in fact helping her. Sweet Apple Acres officially wins the contest, and they start up business sending apples to Celestia. It's hard to say if this extra source of revenue will ever come up in any future plotlines though.

This was one the milder stories in the chapter book line, with not a lot out of line. It would've taken something a little more out of normal to happen like something threatening Sweet Apple Acres, or Applejack finder her true love, or some other plot device. It makes for a better story that doesn't alter the established timeline in any big way.

Oh my sweet cocaine!


Time to join the other G3 Ponies


The Club Can't Even Handle Me Right Now, *Pinkie Pie


Pweeeeeeeeeaaase???!!!


Friday, April 10, 2015

FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUU-


Trot Topics, *How Canon Is Expanded Universe?: Friends Forever #14

Friends Forever does something that the regular TV series hasn't brought up so far, a society of dragons living within one of the cities in Equestria. This is very off kilter to the given continuity as according to Twilight in Dragon Quest that no pony knows enough about dragons in general as their too scared to get near any of them, and this is from the most well-read pony alive! So, how a fully functioning community of smaller firebreathers existing in a major Equestrian city escaped Twilight's notice really leaves some major questions open for looking into expanded universe territory.

Spike is one night by Luna who comes to get his help, and would've asked Twilight but knows she's too tired from restacking the Canterlot library and is stuck in her dreams on the letter "S", plus that Luna occasionally trolls Twilight as she sleeps. It brings up major thoughts about Luna's semi-omniscient presence within other people's dreams, as if she can do it for one pony at a time while she herself is awake, plus apparently she's a bigger troller than her sister.

Luna tags Spike to assist in her investigating a series of fires in the city of Fillydelphia, which up until now is somewhere in Equestria that hasn't officially been visited before. It give off the appearance of a major northeast American metropolis, but not as busy as Manehattan. They meet up with the unicorn police which consists of Ride Along(a pony whose only purpose is to act as a siren), and the obstinate hard boiled detective Hard Case, so apparently police stereotypes exist in Equestria too.

The Fillydelphia police dept. thinks the perp might be someone from the local dragon population located in a section called "Dragon Town". This is a big shake up to the regular storyline since it was established that dragons don't interact with the common pony folk. None of these are the giant winged migratory kinds we've seen before that hoard gems inside a cave somewhere, but shorter pony-sized usually-wingless ponies that live in their own community with houses and shops throughout the neighborhood. Spike goes to Dragon Town to try and get some answers out of the citizens, but no one seems to want to be open about it, showing that even though they're a little more social, dragons can still be just as jerky.

Spike wanders into a comic book store there run by a fangirl dragon named Mina, although none of the issues in her place are of the "enchanted" variety. She and some of the other dragons there complain a little that dragons in pony-made comics are always used as the villain, and Mina shows Spike a dragon-written comic about a dragon superheroine. This means that there are more or less doujinshi comics within the Equestrian comic market.

Mina and Spike have a little debate about how just because he had bad experiences with other dragons that it means that all dragons must be like that. Spike should have been able to figure that out on his own since he himself isn't just a kindly dragon because he was raised by ponies, especially considering the amount of jerky ponies he consistently runs into. This is a really valid point, and even though Spike is a "baby" dragon, he's read enough and experienced enough to know better that to leap to those kind of conclusions.

Later, Spike tells Luna what he heard, but Luna was hoping for more results from Spike, and flies off in a huff. This means that Luna was being extremely narrow-minded when it came to bringing Spike with her on this mission, hoping mostly for him to see things from the pony perspective and not even considering that the young dragon might instead take p.o.v. of the dragons. Luna has been self-centered in the past, which probably lead to her become Nightmare Moon, but she's experienced enough in her time after being banished to gain enough perspective on how ponies(or dragons)could see things different from her.

Spike finds out the dragons have been put under a curfew, so he goes to investigate a trail of slime left at the latest fire. It turns out that it was a wandering firesnail. But the slimy pyromancer accidently sets another building ablaze, so Spike manages to convince the police to let a few dozen dragons to help them rescue some of the trapped ponies since dragons are fireproof. This has the city exonerating the dragons, and Luna apologizing to Spike for letting her anger get the better of her. So she makes it up to him by meeting Mina, who it turns out is a major fangirl of hers and starts to ask her all sorts of questions you'd expect to see on 4-Chan. Mina faints, but Spike says he'll visit her again, hinting that Spike might have eyes for her, which would make a lot of "Sparity" fanatics weep.

What it all comes down to, is that this made for a good introduction to more dragons in the MLP universe, although not much in the way of a Luna + Spike team-up. There should've been more backstory given though involving the foundation of a dragon neighborhood in Equestria that a knowledgeable princess like Twilight would have known about.