• Community Soapbox #10: A Blogpony Responds

    WeAreBorg here with something new. It was mentioned in the EQD survey that we should try responding to some of the weekly Community Soapboxes and the topics addressed. So let’s do it!

    While any future Responses will only cover a few of the topics in the Community Soapbox, this first trial one will kick the tires so to say and I will respond to all five topics from Soapbox #10 and continue each Soapboxer’s topic into a conversation.

    Join me below for a continued discussion of When MLP Ends, An Equestria Girls Series, and more!

    The Big Question For Us All - The End of Pony
    On Nikolai's soapbox, he asks the question: What happens when FiM ends? He points to other fandoms that are still going strong despite the end of the show and is optimistic bronies will remain. 

    So Nikolai brought up a frequently asked question: What happens when it’s over? That’s an interesting question and after a good deep breath, everyone should realize the show will end. Probably not with season 7, but maybe season 8, or just after that. It is really concerning and Nikolai brought up some great points about other fandoms, take Firefly as an example, who still have fans going strong, making content, shipping in fanfiction, and busting out guitars to put some lyrics with a tune. If the official content stops, bronies won’t. There will still be artists, musicians, and all the rest of the content creators and while we may move on to a few other things, ponies will still be a place to come back to or visit.

    But that’s if the official content stops. Hasbro has learned a new trick with their intellectual property that they’ve taken a little while to learn. A trick that Disney uses all the time. Don’t stop the content. Let’s take Disney’s Rapunzel. The theatrical release of Tangled came out six years ago. A single 100-minute long movie that came out barely a month after MLP first aired. But unlike the six years and 3,217 minutes of pony we’ve gotten, the Tangled story was done then. But the content didn’t stop.

    Back in September, I went to Walt Disney World, and what did one of the parks have? Tangled restrooms that are only three years old. Three years after it was done! Go look at disney.com and you’ll see a number of Tangled references. They have online games to this day and you know you saw Rapunzel and Pascal costumes last Halloween. Just to drive home the point, last year Disney started working on a Tangled animated series that’ll be released next year. The content must flow.

    So will Hasbro keep pony flowing? Yeah, they’ve learned the lesson and all the evidence you really need is Transformers: The Last Knight. Comics, video games, board games, toys, merch, oh yeah that’ll all stay too. The content will change, and maybe even the characters, but ponies will last another generation and a generation after that. More show you ask? Up next, we’ll likely get Equestria Girls: The Series….

    Why an Equestria Girls Show Could be a Good Idea
    PapyJr13 points to the increasing quality of the movies and the latest magic development in Camp Everfree as indicators of a good series and that rediscovering our favorite characters would be fun.

    Even if PapyJr13’s points weren't valid, an EqG show is a good idea because it would tide us over till more hooved pony. Maybe a Guardians of Harmony spin-off. As I mentioned above, the content won’t stop. Even if the idea of high school girls dealing with high school problems sounds unappealing, the characters show roughly the same amount of maturity as their adult, hooved counterparts. Honestly, I don’t know how Sunset Shimmer copes with being a teenager again.

    The movies really have explored what works and what doesn’t and just about everyone I know can point to one of them as one they’ve enjoyed. With each movie, they are building a promising world and they’ve set themselves up for a promising series.

    As PapyJr13 mentioned, rediscovering characters we already kind of know would be kinda fun. And I’ll agree that the magic powers, while a little Captain Planet-y, could add a very interesting dynamic. They’d probably be easier to understand than Equestria’s magic…

    Magic and Its Elusiveness
    Yamiks has been searching for rules regarding Equestrian magic and its use, but can't see that show creators are following set rules, unlike other animated series.

    Yamiks argues that Equestrian magic lacks rules and that’s part of what makes Equestria so fun. Taking a step behind the scenes, though, continuity isn’t an easy thing to do in children’s animation. It is a little bit easier with live action shows. For instance, if Patrick Stewart was about to shoot an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the script had him drinking oolong tea, he’d pipe up and say his character drinks Earl Grey, hot. With animation, however, the VA’s only get half the character, with so many hands controlling everything else. Season to season those hands making our show change, so it’s not uncommon for magic to be used fast and loose or for an easy way out in a story.

    Magic by definition is strange and for each new creature we see, we are guaranteed new magic of some sort, or in the season 6 finale, anti-magic. Tirek’s was wild with his face sucking. And while magic is used to fit the story and situation of each episode, we do know ponies have rules that they follow; all pegasi use magic to fly and control the weather, earth ponies use magic to be strong and control earthy things and most unicorns can only do levitation and magic related to their special talent except those unicorns devoted to the study of magic.

    Like athletic abilities or intelligence, ponies can be better at magic than others. Rainbow Dash has a ridiculous amount of magical ability that she uses to do Sonic Rainbooms, unlike Fluttershy who is not a strong flier. Both Applejack and Pinkie Pie have ridiculous earth pony stamina. Finally, unicorns like ancient, arguably immortal godlike alicorns, students of Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, and other “magic is my special talent” ponies, are ridiculously adept at magic. Like all studies, however, you can study harder in different forms of magic…

    Why Starlight is stronger than Twilight- and that's okay!
    Jarod argues that Starlight's determination in her study of magic has surpassed even Twilight's ability.

    I’ll have to say that I don’t think Jerod is correct and I’d like to point to evidence that Twilight is the more OP of the two. She is, after all, the element of magic and an alicorn, a transformation Glim Glam likely isn’t close to achieving. While Starlight has done some impressive magic and beat Twilight a number of times in combat, there’s an obvious reason: that’s what she studied. Magic is a vast field. If you recall, the two magic wielders mention their years of magic studies right after Twilight blocked Glimmer’s death beam in “The Cuttie Map: Part 2”.

    For example, my Cynder has four college degrees but she couldn’t tell you anything about firearms, other than what she’s read, and wouldn’t be highly effective in using one at first. Twilight too is a professional student. Always learning and has an amazing knowledge of everything, but is better in some fields than others. She can apply a theoretical knowledge to practice on the fly, such as when she first teleported in the 2nd episode of the series. She’s gotten smoother and better since and even taught Starlight the spell. Or when she was trapped in the Canterlot Caves and first fired off her laser, it bounced a few times before exploding. A quick adjustment and she was blowing crystals away with ease.

    Twilight knows a lot of stuff but it’s clear in the show she’s not an expert, say in combat magic. That fight with Tirek was messy and awkward and the raw power of 4 alicorns was just barely enough to go toe to toe with the centaur. Starlight on the other hand, hellbent on equalization of ponies, must have learned some darker arts and other practical magics needed for controlling her citizens. Things like how to remove cutie marks, generating massive shields, flying, energy blasts, and immobilizing crystals. These are her fields of study. The tools needed to complete her vision.

    So put a heroic bookworm against an Evil McEvil pants in a one on one aerial firefight and yeah Twi’s gonna lose 8/10 times. Stronger though? Twi kept coming. Starlight gave in. The magic of friendship makes Twilight strong and that’s the point, isn’t it? It’s not the size of the horn but how you use it. But she does have the sheer power, vast knowledge, and moral character to be formidable to anypony, and we see it again and again in the show. Although, with Starlight learning friendship from the princess of it, is it possible for the situation to change? Well, we see change all the time…

    Changelings Shouldn't Have Changed
    While Jade can see why changelings changed, the new design is unpleasant and they lost what makes them visually appealing. In addition, the lessons learned about acceptance through Spike, should have been enough. 

    “Shouldn’t have changed” are strong words for a species evolved from bug eating plants growing in primordial soup. It’s not that changelings shouldn’t have changed. The root issue is they shouldn’t have taken the one dark and edgy species from us because we like dark and edgy. This is what changelings so appealing. Did we suffer the little girl’s show trope of beautiful-on-the-inside things becoming beautiful on the outside too? Maybe we did.

    Jade is correct in that looking past appearances and not judging a book by its cover was the moral Spike taught us in the episode with Thorax, and that should have carried forward. I get that there is a bit of poetry and symbolism in Starlight Glimmer, a pony on her own quest of reformation, reforming an entire species, quite literally. In some ways, the finale was a huge victory but the loss of changelings as we knew them is just that, a loss.

    Design wise the changelings are actually really cool with the elytra (hard outer wings), optional horn, and bright colors. Reindeer Thorax does look silly, though. That’s not an opinion but a fact. Sorry Thorax. Maybe Luna will let you guide her sleigh. We can all agree, though, that more changeling, or even changedling, is needed in season 7.

    So that was the first Community Soapbox Response. Let me know what you liked or didn’t like below in the comments. I read every one of them. Should blog ponies respond to more Community Soapboxes? Did you agree or disagree with me and/or the Speaker? Is 2-3 a good number of topics to respond to? Did you like all 5? Which blogpony would you like to see respond next? Leave the answers below!

    P.S. While I was writing about ponies and such, which is quite enjoyable, Cynder was hard at work writing 50-page technical papers, taking tests, and preparing for finals for that last Doctoral degree. For her and the rest of you students out there, best of luck on your final projects and finals!

    Twitter: @WeAreBorgPony