• Community Soapbox - Comic Vs. Show Quality, How Scootaloo Was Handled, and More!

    The soapboxes cvontinue! As always, these are the opinions of fandom members, not us here at EQD. If you'd like to submit your own soapbox, hit up this post for infos.

    Have some headlines:

    • Comic Quality vs Show Quality
    • Twilight and Spike: who needs who more?
    • Scootaloo: A Case Study In How Not to Handle a Disabled Character
    • Magic in Equestria, Part 2: Science and Magic

    And get articles below.

    Comic Quality vs Show Quality
    By Hononoken the Samurai

    For this entry, I'm just going to jump right into it. While it's generally considered nowadays that the IDW comics aren't canon with the show (it's more like an alternate timeline at this point), the most hotly debated part of the comics are their overall quality. While some have praised the comics for their attempts at world building and doing darker stories that the show couldn't get away with with its TV-Y rating, others have blasted them (especially multi-part arcs) for perceived bad writing on par with poorly written fanfics. For every "Neigh Anything" and "Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair", there's a "The Good, the Bad, and the Ponies" and "The Root of the Problem". That's not even getting into stories like "Nightmare Rarity", "Reflections", "Siege of the Crystal Empire", and "Chaos Theory", all stories which have sharply divided fans.

    Starting with S7, IDW has addressed these criticisms by trying to tie the comics closer to the show instead of expanding out from them like they had previously done. Reception has improved as a result, though even then, the comics have still put out some stories that fans really despise, such as "Wings Over Yakyakistan" and "Cosmos". Both before and after the attempts to tie into the show better, most of the comics' better moments have mostly come from outside the main line, with series and miniseries like "Friends Forever", "Nightmare Knights", "Legends of Magic", and "Spirit of the Forest" all receiving varying levels of praise.

    Yet while the comic's quality remains a sore spot, many seem to forget that the show's quality hasn't always been consistent, either. Every brony has their opinion on the best and worst seasons of the franchise, due to several moments of character derailment and questionable plots, especially in the show's later years. Notably, S5-S9 are noteworthy for many instances of the Mane 6 being flanderized (ex. "Yakity Sax", "No Second Prances", and "Daring Doubt"), very divisive episodes (ex. "Fame and Misfortune", "The Cutie Re-Mark", and "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?"), and questionable plot elements (ex. the "Grogar is Discord" twist, Sombra coming back, and the School of Friendship's concept). Many of these moments could also be comparable to the IDW series' contested or despised moments, especially the adventure/world-building arcs/episodes.

    Obviously, this is all subjective, but I don't see any difference between the shifting qualities of either the comics or the show. There are good and bad to both mediums, and both have moments I consider the worst in G4. Anyone who sees the comics as inherently bad should keep in mind the show has given out its own set of "bad fanfiction" stories and moments. Yet, for the good they both put out, they are worth watching/reading, and I wouldn't be the brony I am today without both of them!

    Twilight and Spike: who needs who more?
    By: FlareGun45

    So looking at Twilight and Spike, we realize that they're like Celestia and Luna, inseparable. Spike needs Twilight, and Twilight needs Spike. But how much do they need eachother? Does one need the other more? It's not a competition, of course not, we're just talking.

    So why does Spike need Twilight? She protects him, she gives him purpose, she gives him a home, and probably he feels he is in debt to her.

    Now why does Twilight need Spike? Twilight would go "twinannas" without him! She goes twinannas anyway but she'd be like that non-stop without him. She'd be disorganized, her home would be a mess, and she'd constantly be doing the wrong decisions.

    I guess these are the reasons, right? Well, I'm not them, their reasons could be completely different. What if they actually don't "need" eachother at all, and only say they need eachother, so they wouldn't hurt the other - or because they just don't want to separate! Like, they need eachother, but there's not really a reason for it. They just do. That's probably what the show staff would tell ya!

    It's kinda weird, because there were at times when the two didn't need eachother. Father Knows Beast? Spike immediately replaced Twilight with Sludge, and from there on in, he didn't need her anymore, until the truth came out, and then after Sludge left, he was immediately back to her. Makes it look like the show was saying "Spike only needs Twilight, because he has nowhere else to go." which is just sad really. I would hope that there would be a better reason than that. Feel free to correct me in the comments!

    Now we get to Twilight needing Spike - well, she never listens to him anyway. When she goes twinannas, she eventually learns her lesson the hard way, and in Summer Sun Setback, she doesn't freak out anymore. In most of the time Spike works as Twilight's assistant, what we usually see him do is hold a book, or press a button, both things Twilight can do with her magic. Cleaning the castle? Can't Twilight do that herself with her magic, or does she not have time to? Now that she's in Canterlot, Spike doesn't clean anymore, that's what the castle guards are for. One thing that Spike can do that no one else can: handle Twilight's schedule! That's probably the most useful thing he has in his arsenal. I doubt Twilight could handle her own schedule without Spike, unless she can? I dunno.

    I hope someday we can get a story that covers the deep aspects of their relationship. Do they need eachother side-by-side all the time? Or could they go on their separate lives and just visit monthly like Twilight and her friends? By no means would they not be friends anymore, just don't hafta work and be side by side all day, 'er day. Wonder why Spike took that ambassador job in the first place.
    Scootaloo: A Case Study In How Not to Handle a Disabled Character
    By: Hedonism Bot

    For years, fans have been holding up Scootaloo as a role model for people with disabilities. But how well did the series actually handle that issue? Upon reviewing the episodes featuring her, there is a fair amount of evidence that the answer is "not well at all".

    "Flight to the Finish" did a respectable job with its message, but its dialogue actively avoided answering the question of whether Scootaloo was actually disabled or just a late bloomer flight-wise. Previously, there were multiple scenes of her trying and failing to fly, implying that she hadn't been diagnosed with any real disability. This wouldn't necessarily be a problem, except her situation was left ambiguous for practically the whole series until "Growing Up is Hard to Do" showed us her adult body with child-size wings (and even that's technically up for interpretation on account of Bulk Biceps).

    Multiple episodes show her wishing she could fly, such as dream scenes in "Bloom and Gloom" and "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep" where she flies. In "Surf and/or Turf", she dives underwater and her first thought is "So this is what it's like to fly!", forming a large part of her bias towards Seaquestria versus Mt. Aris. In essence, her yearning to fly had consumed her to the point of interfering with her CMC duties toward Terramar.

    In "The Washouts", her motivation for joining them is that she had accepted that her previous dream (the Wonderbolts) was unachievable, and had found the Washouts to be a satisfying second choice. And then right after that (when Lightning Dust nearly gets her killed), we're given the message that this was a BAD thing, and there is no further discussion of what non-Wonderbolt dreams she might pursue going forward.

    Meanwhile, it is established that Equestria is no stranger to heavier-than-air flight technology, such as Apple Bloom's hang glider from "Call of the Cutie". If we're to assume she'd never fly naturally, something like that would have let her compensate. Her wings offer plenty of thrust on her scooter, just not enough lift - you don't have to be Sci-Twi to figure that one out.

    Yet there would never be even a passing mention of anyone helping her learn to fly, nor taking her to a doctor to sort out why she'd been having trouble flying, nor pointing her towards technology that would help her fly if her own wings would never be up to the task.

    When you present a character's goals as impossible without properly establishing said goals to actually BE impossible, the message you actually send is "If you encounter an obstacle to your goal, give up without even trying to find a workaround.". Not a great message to send to people with disabilities (or in general).

    Hopefully, at least the Season 10 comics will give this issue the treatment it deserves.
    Magic in Equestria, Part 2: Science and Magic
    By: A Shy Brony

    In the last part of this series, I described a very basic outline of what magic is in general, relative to the world of MLP. For the next two parts, I’d like to look into how magic originated in Equestria at all, starting with a scientific explanation.

    Firstly, is magic even connected to science in Equestria? The answer is almost certainly yes. We’ve seen that science clearly exists in Equestria; Twilight attempts to use science to explain Pinkie Sense, Dr. Whooves is obsessed with science, etc. So, science is certainly a part of society. But how does this connect to magic? Here are some possible examples.

    One, we know that magic can be created, in the form of writing spells. Starswirl The Bearded wrote several spells, for example. But can you really create magic out of nothing? I don’t think so. I think magic is like the Conservation of Matter principle: Just like matter, magic can not be created or destroyed, only transformed. The ability to create magic out of nothing sounds incredibly hard to achieve.

    Two, evolution. As you probably know, evolution is a gradual change, in which species adapt in different ways to their environment. We likely see this in Equestria. Unicorns have horns that give them greater access to magic in general. Pegasi have wings for flying. Earth Ponies have greater strength. While this is all tied to magic, as noted in Part 1, it’s not impossible to assume that species adapted to the prevalence of magic in different ways. Also, keep in mind evolution does not create perfect beings, a common misconception. If this were true, then every pony would be an Alicorn, the best possible combination of all traits. Evolution instead simply choses traits that are suitable for an environment, but not necessarily the best.

    Three, alchemy. This is the best example of magic and science being connected, in my opinion. With the right skill, and the right ingredients, any pony could create some magic with alchemy. Mage Meadowbrook, Apple Bloom, and Zecora are all examples of non-unicorns, being able to produce magic. Alchemy is after all, essentially Chemistry. The difference in Equestria being alchemy is still magical in some form. Have you ever seen a human scientist create a chemical reaction that causes a flower to physically cough?

    Due to word limits, I’ll stop here with the examples. But where does magic come from? The elements that make up our universe were created in The Big Bang, from water, to gold, to you and me. Perhaps in the universe of MLP, magic is just another element formed from a Big Bang, as prevalent as Oxygen and Carbon is in our universe. If magic were present since the beginning of the universe, it would explain why magic is so entwined with nearly every part of Equestrian society and ecology.

    But what do you think? Can science really explain magic in Equestria? Or do you believe my thoughts are way off? Leave your thoughts in the comments!