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Twilight’s Kingdom... It’s not as bad as the Crystal Empire or Princess Twilight Sparkle. I wouldn't say it’s good, it’s still a rickety story like all of Meghan’s longer episodes/movies, but it is a step in the right direction. Between S2 and 3 for some reason Meghan dropped the ball (it happens), The Crystal Empire (in comparison to Canterlot Wedding) had many gimmicks (Mainly being the Fair (jousting) and Castle (stairs, door)), “jokes” (Rarity obsessing over crystal ponies, flugelhorn, Pinkie Spy...) and instant resolutions (We need information, oh we need the heart. Where Sombra hide the heart? Oh here’s the path. Oh no there’s a door! I got past it.). Slowly over time, Meghan has been picking up the pieces, Twilight’s kingdom mostly avoids narrow sighted gimmick driven stories filled with dumb jokes, which is the best praise I can personally give it really.


My first impressions of this episode, was that it was... boring, simple, generic. I tried it with my byter-patented “can it work as an audio play?” test and it passed fairly well.

One of the biggest problems this episode has, is that the majority of it is just standing and talking, if we just look past what they are talking about, what did the characters actually do?  The main 5 just followed Twilight around for while, then she runs off and they just sit around in ponyville until they are captured and stuff.The princesses just went to Canterlot and then sat around doing next to nothing until they were captured and sent to Tartarus. Discord just meets with the M6, meets the big bad, hangs around with him and gets betrayed/captured at the end. Tirak is just running around separate from the rest of the cast (except Discord and the princesses at one point) until he challenges Twilight and it all gets wrapped up. Twilight just goes from place to place, she gets all the magic and then just messed around with it until the big fight.

    Basically the majority of what “happens” is done by people talking about or through the plot. How does Twilight express her pointless princess position? She talks/sings about it. How does Discord get convinced to be bad again? He talks about it. How do we learn what the villain has done? Celestia tells Twilight about it. How or why do they choose to trust Discord or put all the magic to Twilight? They talk it over. This property, like the rest of the kid exposition this/last season, makes this episode a fair radio drama out the gate, because the majority of the episode is given to us aurally, not visually. This to not say ALL of it is talking, the battle, Twilight controlling her super magic-ness and Tirek bashing down the door are times where (for the most part) the characters don’t feel the need to explain what is going on and what they are doing.


So whilst most of what ‘happens’ is just exposition/talking... what about the plot and characters?

Well as I have established before, I am rather disappointed that once again the rest of the main cast serve no purpose beyond being magical beakers from which to distill “friendship magic”. This show keeps talking about friendship, but I think it’s pretty clear that they only care about Twilight and her magical friendship destiny nonsense more than they care about actually having their friendship manifest in a real/meaningful way. I guess at least, compared to all the rest of the cast, be it the CMC, the cakes or even Mayor Mare... at least the M6 get a little recognition (rather than absolutely none at all).

Ok. let’s be frank, this story is about Princesses (all 4 alicorns) and powerful magical beasts (Discord/Tirak), it’s going for big scale, all the self entitled alicorn magic up against all the magic of all the people absorbed by a giant magic vampire, before friendship comes in at the end to save the day...

The three princesses just move around as a single unit, like a three headed hydra that has even less diversity than the M5 hydra. They weren't that good in my opinion, in the start they just tell Twilight it’s all alright... which means nothing really. They make a lot of the important decisions of the show, making them have all the agency over the story... As I said this story is simple... so the only rational presented is what is going to happen. It actually looks like the Princesses are rather impulsive, as soon as one of them propose something, that’s the plan. Despite being rulers of the whole of Equestria with many diplomatic ties to other nations, the princesses seem to have only two cards in their hand. 1. Send Discord. 2. Hide all the magic in Twilight and just deny total victory. It’s patently just a shallow ploy to have the story be on the level of Twilight and magic vs magic. I mean is there nothing that you couldn't throw at the bad guy apart from Discord? Like arrows, or non magical creatures, or whatever you did last time to arrest and imprison him last time? Eh. The princess's plans weren't that good, it was obvious that Discord was going to betray them. The plan to rely on anonymity of Twilight is also dumb... Discord knows ALL the princesses and he is with the big bad. I don’t think not telling the M5 will change anything because Tirak isn't exactly interrogating everyone, he’s just steamrolling around sucking everything, it’s obviously just another impulsively chosen order that makes no sense because the plot says so.  Also, why would he know about Cadence? She is a new princess of love who has a different race of ponies (in a kingdom) who he hasn't prayed upon (and might not know about). At least smash or cover up the Windows or references to Twilight if you are choosing this plan, an escape plan isn't much of an escape if you leave the important details just lying around. So yeah, the princesses are dumb, control all the decisions and don’t even do that much, though they do sure like talking, so at least no one will be left behind on their dumb and simple plans.

This is trying to be Twilight’s story, but well written it is not.

She is not playing to her strengths at all during this episode. Twilight of the Nightmare Moon or Discord arc was an interesting protagonist because she has always been a driven person, who could motivate the others to come along with her to try to save the world, you know, a leader. It seems though that ironically becoming a princess has undone these traits more than it has let them shine. It starts by her being complacent about being a new figurehead, but it also makes her really passive about it. We common folk have to work hard to get our education/skills and to ply our little jobs... It is hard to relate to someone who has had everything handed to her on a silver platter just whine about it this late in the game.. You are supposed to be a leader, you should try to take charge of something, like you have already done so in the past (winter wrap up), because now you don’t need anyone to order you around, you can set your own goals.

This is a real problem in regards to Princess Twilight in general. Despite her title, she lacks initiative (she needs Discord to basically highlight the answer in their diary) and drive (she just does whatever the other princesses decide, she doesn’t have any plans of her own). She is just a passive puppet who does what she is told, more a drone than a leader. This story, like “Princess Twilight Sparkle” doesn’t really explore her leadership and just displays the issue at the start before dropping it for big events going on in the story. Ironically Twilight is the least fit leader than she has ever been in this story, it is only her ability to use Deus Ex machina things with her magical beakers that really save the day. She shouldn’t get her own kingdom at the end of this, because she acted in a way that almost got the whole of Equestria stomped on by two monsters who were also her fault.
    To use an analogy, she is the plucky peasant who defeated the scary dragon using a supporting team of casters who buffed her to OP levels. The kingdom appointed her a knight, but without a dragon to fight she just sat inside eating pies. When another different dragon shows up (one which grew on all the crusts she left on the messy floor), she got slowly out of her chair and tried to defeat it single handedly, but only after the kingdom had thrown all their remaining money at her to save them. She trades all the kingdom’s remaining money for those casters, who quickly find a convenient chest of wands to buff her up again to save the day again, hooray! Not only that the wands gave her a new palace and the king says to the old lord of the place (assuming that Twi now owns ponyville) “she has a castle here now...so I guess you don’t control these lands now I guess... lol”. 

So yeah. Twilight no longer really fits the role of protagonist like she used to. Her story isn’t that great, she basically just acts as a person around which the plot is made, rather than one who seems to be forcing the plot forward. In most stories we follow a ‘hero’ someone who has the drive and ability to change the world... in this story we follow almost the opposite of that, a princess with great abilities, waste them. She is supercharged to crazy levels but she hides from the problem until confrontation is the only real course and in the end she gives up everything for a pathetic short term goal. I am not saying that strictly speaking her actions don’t make sense... only that the tone of the story and who she is doesn't seem to jive very well together into a cohesive story that people would actually want to watch. I mean it’s still Twilight, it’s still equestria about to be doomed... but ehhh. The people of his place aren't that important and Twilight doesn't do things because she wants to, she does them because she’s ordered too... I just don’t get why watching someone follow orders and make choices that “have” to end in a happy ending is a good story...


Then we come onto Tirak. I don’t really have much to say about him. He is a bad guy who gets crazy powerful and threatening... He doesn't actually crossover with the other characters much. He seems to just be on a vacation tour around Equestria reaving the snot out of everyone. Tirak mostly only plays into Discord’s story and the big fight at the end. Which in the end, is still better than Sombra, both might just be distant, implied danger to the main cast, but at least Tirak did stuff and he was intimidating. I still prefer villains who have chemistry with the rest of the cast, but sometimes you can have just a simple bad guy and have him do bad guy stuff... Simple but not too bad.

So lastly we come onto Discord, I liked his arc the most of all the ‘reformed’ key people. It wasn’t very complex, he’s tempted with power, helps out a bit and eventually gets betrayed. It’s simple... he is a bit dumb, but at least it is more cohesive than Twilight’s figurehead position arc or erm... taking orders? Discord doesn't really have the charm he once did, only really teleporting about and doing silly stuff at the start. Even when he has full reign he just stands around watching Tirek. Discord is not an interesting character because he is dumb and boring. He loved chaos, a free spirit, now he loves being bossed around, lovely. I don’t have much to say on his arc really. It was simple and forced... why did Tirak give him the necklace (if you are about to betray someone you don’t really need to care if you are in their good books)? Well because the plot says so. Why didn’t Discord just freelance around causing his own kind of mischief? Or expect the inevitable power struggle? Because he’s dumb and the plot says so.

Lastly... I guess I should cover what I missed.

The songs were pretty generic... not even catchy. Just sung conversations or morals. I didn't really care for either really. Just singing something randomly doesn’t really change how it feels to me. I actually don’t like the one at the start because singing takes a while and took a whole lot longer to say what would have been said anyway via the Princesses interacting normally. I would actually prefer if they had just tried to make the interaction more complex rather than more flashy. The ending song was ok, mostly just token platitudes like the “success song”. I will only say that the metaphor for rainbows are kinda funny when you think how rare and short lived rainbows typically are. Sure they are colourful, but they are also immaterial illusions, it’s funny mlp wants to use rainbows (beyond toys) as a metaphor for what they are going for.

The fight scene was... a lot of flashy effects. It didn't really focus much on how the characters feel, because it was just goodie vs baddie. It was flashy but lacking substance. Both of them were mostly invulnerable, making each blow... uneventful until (if they ever did, at the writer's discretion) it finally does matter.

The rainbow power and build up to it was clunky. I don’t really care for it. The scene where Twilight just goes through what happened before is pretty underwhelming. The context of a safe room far from trouble or other people doesn't really help with communicating these friendship stories and the pattern between them. Twilight: “Your element is generosity” *reads script* “and you still were that after she was mean” Rarity: “yup”. Eh, fulfilling the box doesn't mean that much implicitly to me, it's just an arbitrary rule set that gives huge powers. Again, making friends means you can rely on them, that's a real chance of friendship manifesting in a real/meaningful way. Reaching 200 friends on facebook is sort of the same (200 people had to accept your friend requests after all), but gaining superpowers from that is just arbitrary.

The dignitaries were kinda forgotten... or not important. It could’ve been better, played a bit into Equestria's foreign ties and allies in times of need.

The loss of the library wasn’t played up very well.. It feels a bit of shame to blast it and not really have the characters say much about its loss... because... OMG another crystal palace has appeared in it’s place! ehhh... it’s just shiny and colourful. It’s just trying to accommodate for something.



All in all, this finale reminded me a lot of the star wars prequels. Both have either: 1. Big flashy battles, which have a lot of work put into them, but not much emotional stakes in them. 2. Dialogue scenes that mostly are just people standing and talking. Both have plots that don’t make much sense beyond their own internal childish logic. Both have great problems with assigning a proper protagonist  This episode is mostly just about big amounts of magic flowing around our boring princesses and beasts, our two main characters (Discord & Twilight) are just walkovers, bland everymen who do what the plot needs them to do. If we subjugate our characters to the plinkett test (tell me about the characters without saying what they do, what they look like and what their job is), when using this finale as the only source material, I think you would be hard pressed to come up with anything. Let’s see.. erm..  Tirek is a erm.. a cold calculating egoist? Twilight is erm.. a princess? No wait that’s her job. Erm. She is very obedient and passive? Celestia is very, erm, she erm, likes the throne room?


In the end, this finale is one of the biggest (in scale) ‘saving the world’ two parters, its sights are set on handling all the ponies magic vs all the alicorn’s magic, the only players are the Princesses, Tirek and Discord. The common pony, aka the rest of the cast, are just pawns in this giant chess game, if they remembered at all. This show wants to talk about friendship, but it is so engrossed in making Twilight a person who has all the superpowers and not a Mary Sue (by being passive and awkward about her powers), that she comes across as a Mary Sue who has no right to her powers, which is ironically one of the least likable Mary Sues out there.

As I have always said, friendship was best shown in the slice of life stories, where the stories were between people on a common grounded level. “Friendship is magic” has always been a shallow lie when the magic aspect comes in. Friendship is the relationship between two characters, not just a tool to unlock ultimate power via dues ex machina. I have never cared for the elements of harmony or the keys and having stepped the game to this level, how are they going to top that next season? Ironically of all the ‘saving the world’ stories, Dragonshy is still one of the most grounded in actual friendship of all of them. It’s not the greatest episode, but without the elements, the ending was way more meaningful because it spoke more to me about Fluttershy’s solidarity for her friends than the biggest dumbest rainbow powers you can throw at me.
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:iconfacilierfan93:
FacilierFan93 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2015
" It didn't really focus much on how the characters feel, because it was just goodie vs baddie"? Did you even see what happened before the fight? Tirek destroyed Twilight's library, so she got pissed and attacked him, starting that fight
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2015
"Tirek destroyed Twilight's library, so she got pissed and attacked him, starting that fight"
So what does that mean? Something happened before... okay... what about it?

Did you even see what happened before the fight? Spike said: "
Seems like only yesterday I was saving this place from being totally destroyed. Hey, you guys remember that?".
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:iconfacilierfan93:
FacilierFan93 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2015
It means, you can see how Twilight feels during that fight, meaning they did focus on that
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Edited Feb 8, 2015
"It means, you can see how Twilight feels during that fight, ..."
How can you see how Twilight feels during the fight? Because as far as I am aware, 'during the fight' is a different time from 'before the fight'. Normally people see 'during the fight', things that happened 'during the fight'. However Twilight's library being destroyed was done before the fight. So therefore you are proposing that something that happened 'before the fight' is a valid substitution for something 'during the fight'.

"... meaning they 
did focus on that"
Yes. Just like how I once ate a meal and then played a videogame. Because I enjoyed the meal, that can be used to explain (without any evidence during the time I was playing,) how I felt whilst I was playing the video game.
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:iconpikachubuneary:
pikachubuneary Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014
Wow...you are fucking terrible at this.
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014
Why?
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:icongammaking:
gammaking Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014
If this is what Meghan McCarthy's capable of, she's a better showrunner than Lauren Faust.
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014
Depends on how one extrapolates capability..

Also depends on how one extrapolates 'capability' into 'good as a showrunner'..
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:icongammaking:
gammaking Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014
To each his own, I guess.
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014
Well that'll certainly be the case if one's rhetoric is not formed in a cogent or understandable manner.
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:icongammaking:
gammaking Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014
Oh well. Everyone's differnet
We each can have our own opinions.
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014
What does everyone being different have to do with anything?

Well some people may have opinions they've inherited or are forced to hold from others, not all our opinions are made in a vacuum. Again what relevance does this have to what?

To start with you made a claim, upon me asking for more explanation of what you've meant, you've just started muttering to yourself stuff like "to each his own" without much reason.

Well two people can do crazy:

On the other hand, you have different fingers. Oh yeah. The other hand has fingers!
When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane. Honk honk!
Smile, it makes people wonder what you are thinking. Hehehehehe.
If you can't convince them, confuse them..  oh wait... :/
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:icongammaking:
gammaking Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2014
Oh. Thanks for clarifying what you meant.

Meghan McCarthy wrote some of the best episodes (Dragonshy, Party of One, Lesson Zero, Sweet and Elite) in the earlier seasons. Each delved into a characters flaws. Fluttershy's cowardice, Pinkie's need for attention, Twilight's neurosis, Rarity's desire to be famous, etc. Lauren Faust left after "It's About Time". My top 5 favorite episodes (Twilight's Kingdom, For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils, Hurricane Fluttershy, Daring Don't, and Magic Duel) all happened while McCarthy was in charge. Meghan McCarthy likes to focus on doing interesting things with the characters, and I admire that.

Please respect my opinion.
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 18, 2014
If you didn't understand what I meant, then you should surely just ask for clarification, rather than just defaulting to irrelevant rhetoric.

I think when you say she's written some of the best episodes, that is surely just in your opinion? And how many writers have written what you think of as the best episodes? I could imagine that you might find many writers could have this detail. Which leads to me asking what (if any) importance do you take from it (and how)?

Well almost all mlp:fim episodes could be said to delve into their character's flaws, pointing out that these ones could have something most, if not all, the episodes could have doesn't really mean anything.

With your top 5 it really depends on what leading factors made you put them above others. And what should this be given to imply? And with her being in charge at the time, how and why do we know that these being your favourites matter?

Could you cite your evidence for this claim about Meghan? Surely all the writers and show runners do want to do interesting things with the characters? I mean could you perhaps prove that the other writers don't want to do interesting things (as her doing it seems to imply, by being a significant feature to admire...)?

Now also how does this tie into my initial written review? I generally spoke of this particular episode (one of ur personal favs) as being rather dull and poorly executed.
I am kind of confused why you would lead by asserting something that seems to imply that Meghan is good or better at something than another, when right from the get go we both seem to probably have very different ideas on what this episode's quality actually is.

I will respect your opinions if they should turn out to be good ones. I won't hold much stock in your opinions if they are poor. In other words, I'll agree with cogent arguments but I will poke holes in flimsy ones...
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:iconatomicbubbles101:
AtomicBubbles101 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay...

If you don't think the episode is good(I've seen on a lot of your "reviews" that it is rare for you to think an episode is good) then why do you watch the show..? No, really, please humor me. Do you keep watching it for just the animation and ignore all of its "flaws"? 
Do you think the characters have depth, but just make stupid decisions?
Is it because all of the pretty colors?
I'm really confused.
Why do you keep watching MLP if you don't the the show is good as a whole?
I really do want you to answer this, but please keep it short and simple.
I probably won't read your response if it's as long as this thing you call a "review".
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:iconatomicbubbles101:
AtomicBubbles101 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Actually, you can cross animation off the list, because in a previous comment you said you weren't impressed with the fight scene at the end, which is clearly the best those animators could give us. Also, character depth can go too, because you clearly are not impacted by the depth of any of these characters.

Really, it makes me wonder if you're really a reviewer, or just a troll, trying to piss everybrony off?
And yes, this is a valid consideration.
All of your points are almost completely negative and I'm also wondering if that's what you think reviewing is really about? Pointing out everything bad with the episode and assuming it's blatantly bad without even trying to see what's good about it?
Granted, I'm not a reviewer myself, but from all of the styles I've seen through hundreds of reviewing videos, I can tell they're all trying to do the same thing: tally the good points and the bad points of an episode, then give it an overall score. Also, keep in mind that most of these reviewers are sponsored through their reviews by YouTube. 
All I see you doing is
"I don't like that, hm, not impressed, nope, didn't seem right to me, welp, I guess since I didn't like 80% of this episode it's a bad one. And my opinion is fact. Filler, filler, filler."
Byter, I don't find you a good reviewer.
And that is just my opinion. 
Any fans of yours that disagree can go into the void to try and find the fuck I give.
The only one I want a response from, Byter, is you.

I'm simply confused and left with the simple question of if you know what you're doing.
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014
"why do you watch the show..?"
Short and simple: I don't write reviews because I am motivated by things I like in the show, not as most of your proposed answers imply. There are other reasons one might want to assess media.

On the reviewer thing: Short and simple: I don't need to be like others to be a reviewer. Being different doesn't mean I am not a reviewer. There's many unique styles out there and many of them could be seen as formal assessments of pieces of media.

On the negativity thing: You seem really dismissive of my points just because they are all mostly negative. It should be how I get to or reason for my points that can be weak, not what they conclude that you should dismiss.

"And my opinion is fact."
I didn't say or indicate that directly at all in my review. Strawman.


Lastly, I must say that I don't like your attitude, or how you come across in these comments. I don't mind discussing things with people if I feel they genuinely are interested in the discourse and trading ideas. But, and I might be wrong here, you seem to not be one of those people. Well I still tried to engage your questions/points with a reply, and to keep it short (as otherwise u said u won't even bother to read any of the work I would've put into it!).

But to try to wrap up my sentiments. My DA journal here should fit under the formal definition of what a review is. I write my reviews because I want to put out and discuss my viewpoints with others. Discussion of my intent or title should be of little consequence compared to the points I make. Because in the end of the day I think the value of a review lies in what it says, not who says it.
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:iconatomicbubbles101:
AtomicBubbles101 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
God dammit. Sorry, I'm using my phone. The touch screen doesn't agree with me.


Anyway, your points are absolutely correct, even though they are negative. I never said they were wrong, I just don't agree with what you think is important.
Most of these negative details you threw into your review are just nitpicking.
The rest of the Mane Six not starring in the episode, for example, is a nitpick because the entire show, though some episodes star different characters, revolves around Twilight learning the importance of friendship.
So if her friends aren't in the two-parter all that much, it's not important. The episode is not aboht them. Do you see their names in the title?


And lastly, about my attitude, well.... you already have a bad rap among the fans of reviewers and finally after 2 years of watching people argue that you're a fantastic reviewer despite what... others have said, I decided to check you out to see if they were right and was highly disappointed.
I suppose that's where the attitude is coming from.

From what I can tell by your reviews and your counter arguments in the comments, you're extremely intelligent.
And way older than me, that's for sure.

But as intelligent as you might be, you're way too stubborn to see that maybe you should try a different approach in your reviews. Not completely different, of course, you have your own style in the way you cover things, but maybe think about the fact that you have more haters than fans, and it could be the other way around if you tried something different. I guess.
Up to you, really, but I suppose you're tired of all these negative comments on your reviews.

Oh, and at the beginning of your response, you stated why you review the show but not why you watch it.
Again, why do you watch MLP if you're always just so... unimpressed with it? Does it ever get boring?
*drops mic*
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014
On main 6's importance: I didn't say that they had to star in the episode. You rebuttal to that is tearing down a strawman.
I said in my review: "the rest of the main cast serve no purpose beyond being magical beakers from which to distill “friendship magic.”. Serving no purpose beyond a shallow hand wave isn't a nit pick, if you ask me. Because if a piece of media purports itself in a shallow or meaningless way, then it is of little worth.

"you're way too stubborn to see that maybe you should try a different approach in your reviews"
Could you provide more extensive explanation and evidence for this claim?

To speak briefly on changing my style. I think that I have changed and improved dramatically over time with my written reviews. I feel it's not exactly stubborn to be changing and improving my work over time. However you claim otherwise and the burden of evidence for this claim lies with you.

"maybe think about the fact that you have more haters than fans,"
This really depends on 'why' I have haters rather than fans. You don't seem to be a fan of my work. Why?

Well you've generally indicated to me that it's because my points are mostly negative (and others have done like wise). Well my conclusions are different to what others want but I am not just going to pretend to think differently for popularity. I am stubbornly an individual (and not a puppet or a sheep).

You say my points are nitpicks, cite only one erroneous example and then knock down a straw man. If people make up their own nonsense to debunk and blame on me... however I write will not stop people from making stuff up. (As to why they do this... I wager it might be the above difficulty with differing conclusions...)


Lastly. Why do I watch the show? Well I have already sort of answered it. To contemplate, review and discuss it with others. I peruse the good, the bad and the ugly because the nature of things I find intriguing and I see value in expressing and discussing such things..
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:iconatomicbubbles101:
AtomicBubbles101 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Apologies for the wrong example.

I'm not a fan of your work because I don't see you being open-minded. Also the negativity... which I know I shouldn't have a problem with, it's just your style in reviewing things, but I do because it dampers my mood.

Also.. I keep seeing the word "straw man" in your responses.. mind telling me what that means?
I don't know if it's a thing in UK, or what, but I have no idea what that means.
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014
I don't think it's fair to see me as not open minded. I discuss openly and fully with (most) the comments I get on my journals and videos. During which time I wish to think I engage criticisms directed at me in an intellectually honest manner.

Perhaps though I might propose that the barrier of entry for my discussions with others are rather high. That in other words, proposing a suitable argument that would likely convince me is a daunting prospect.

I think that giving strong rebuttals is not the same as being closed to the ideas of others. In fact ironically it is my deep interest in other people's arguments that drives me to ask the probing questions and to seek holes in what other people tell me.

Strawman is a term used in critical thinking. I think this video explains it quite well: www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5vzCm…  The short version though is that you were misrepresenting another's argument.

To create an example:
You say something like: 'Twilight is my favorite character'.
A straw man response to this is something like: 'So you think Twilight is better than all the other characters! However [examples of her not being better, she needs others, being the best being a nonsensical sentiment... yadda yadda yadda]'
The original argument just stated a personal preference for Twilight. Preferring someone doesn't mean you think they are the best in all ways. The respondent had twisted the meaning of the original claim (which makes their sentiments irrelevant).
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:iconatomicbubbles101:
AtomicBubbles101 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, your
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:icondemonite89:
Demonite89 Featured By Owner May 17, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
At the end of MMC, I didn't think that Twilight should have been turned into an alicorn pincess, but at that time, I couldn't really say that she didn't deserve it.

After completing season 4, I couldn't help but think that Twilight shouldn't have become an alicorn princess purely for the fact that she does not want to be one AT ALL. During the episodes that focused on her princesshood, all I could think about was that Twilight needed to grow up and deal with her new responsibilities.

The idea of Princess Twilight's role of "spreading friendship across Equestria" also rings very hollow to me. Aside from the other Mane 6, Spike, the Princesses, and the CMC, Twilight doesn't seem to have made any other friends or has aided in friendship problems that didn't involve one of the parties listed before. While Twilight is a lot friendlier towards other ponies than she was in the series premiere, she's only really become friends with those who have all but forced themselves upon her. Pinkie Pie would be a much better character to spread friendship since it's at least alluded to that she has many other friends within Ponyville.
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:icongogogadgethat:
Gogogadgethat Featured By Owner May 13, 2014
I suppose the fact that you didn't utterly despise it is a step up. At this point, I'll take what I can get.
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:iconthegoldcrowondvd:
TheGoldCrowOnDVD Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
There is so much I want to talk about.

The songs were everything I hated about "The Failure Song". A song that was there that served little purpose and if you cut it out, nothing would be lost as we established how Twilight feels without the padding song. Speaking of how Twilight feels, haven't we seen this story before? Three times in fact? Crystal Empire, Equestria Girls, Princess Twilight Sparkle, hell even Winter Wrap Up. Twilight given a big task, having self doubt about herself and role and Princess. Is the extent of her princess character? Her getting selective amnesia learning the the same lesson in every premiere and finale. By the way, what was the resolution? What did she learn by the end of this that made her more wiser. She beat a bad guy with a friendship DEM, got a tacky castle (we'll talk more about this later), and assigned to spread friendship throughout the land...so what? Besides the castle she's already been doing these things forever. So the reason she felt useless at the start was because she didn't have a castle, seems a little shallow.

On to Tirek himself. I don't know I wasn't really feeling it with this guy. Irinoclly I found him most engaging when he was at his weakest with the creepy voice acting and mannerisms. As he got bigger, he just turned into big bruting bad guy. I went back and watched Midnight Castle and I honestly like that incarnation more. They build him up by keeping him in the shadows showing him holding a bag with a bag beating like a heart. Then when they finally show him, he looks like something that crawled out of hell. I also like Scorpan in that one who was completely absent besides the storybook flashback in the FIM version. I just thought FIM Tirek had no screen presence by the time he's really big.

Discord felt like the most organic thing in this episode. Except he's swayed to the dark side faster than Anakin Skywalker. This is why Stay Calm Flutter On really failed. Nothing really convinced me he was a good guy now and wouldn't do something like this. His friendship with Fluttershy felt so flimsy non-existent, just the script telling us they are best friends forever. What did they do together? What common interests do they have? She just sort of sheepishly tolerates his bullshit, but she does that with everyone so it really didn't contribute to much to the relationship. If you have ever read the IDW comic featuring Discord and the CMC, they did a "Good Discord" so much better. You actually see him and the CMC doing stuff together and the sugary sweet ending actually works for me because you see the CMC appreciate his actions and could genuinely see why he'd be touched by it.

The ending was so rushed it wasn't funny. Sure the big DBZ fight (it actually reminded me more of Aang vs the Fire Lord from Avatar) while visually appealing and flashy...just seemed so out of place, like I stumbled into another show. It's like they were meandering and pandering to say "See guys! This isn't a little girls show!". I liked the concept of Twilight saving Discord I thought was good to earn the key, but then I saw there were only five minutes left...and what do you know. They put almost no substance behind Twilight and Discord sharing that moment. He gives a little speech and gives her the necklace and almost immediately after Applejack just blurts out "Hey that might be your key lets go try it!" I would have liked a little more exchanges between Discord and Twilight before she realized it was the key because I wasn't feeling it. I don't even need to comment on the rainbow pony design. They were bad. Period. The castle however looks so dumb and doesn't fit the theme of Ponyville at all. The thing looks so toy-e-tic and tacky. The interior of the place however. I kind of liked. The literal twilight motif it had. The round table thrones that FINALLY make the other 5 look equal to her.

The main thing that I didn't like is as you put it. The cardboard cutouts that make up the mane 5 just feel like a means to an end now. At least in Return of Harmony they were actively doing stuff in the plot. As of late this show is throwing around the word friendship saying it makes you an almighty god compared to the bad guy because they don't have any friends. Yes, they have been sort of the theme since the beginning, but they tried to put a meaning behind it in the past. In the Nightmare moon arc her newly formed friendship gives her hope, in return of harmony she learns through the bad times it's still worth fighting to keep it. The only message of friendship this finale leaves you with is...friendship is good! Yay? I don't feel an undying friendship between these characters, they just seem like regular accentuates who fire a rainbow at a bad guy every now and then, but it's so offset as I feel the story is trying to tell me they are the bestest friends who ever had friends...EVER!

Now I make it out like I hated this episode(s), but actually I found them mildly entertaining. Better than crystal empire and princess twilight sparkle. I just find there is more to talk about when you focus on what didn't work. I only gush about something when it's REALLY REALLY good, like Peter Dinklage's performance last night on Game of Thrones. :)
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner May 16, 2014
The first song is more egregious if you ask me, it takes several minuets out of the start of the episode for basically nothing that we didn't already know (and pointless "it'll be alright's" from the princesses). It does remind me a lot of the failure song, because it's the same talking but singing about what was already obvious waste of time formula. The song at the end reminds me a bit of Raise This Barn, it's a cheery happy dumb song at the end of the episode to signify their final victory. I do think that it didn't do anything except give the story a chance to pat itself on the back and given how the ending is so rushed, it takes time away from many other important things.
Oh joy, another self doubt arc... It's always great to see the characters doubt themselves over and over again with seemingly no meaningful progression. The way it was handled this episode is really lazy, they have her talk about it to start with, drop the concept for the rest of it and then just chuck her a castle at the end. I am a bit surprised at how some people watched that "arc" and say how it was brilliant, I guess they just love the self doubt angle over and over again...

This incarnation of Tirek was rather brute force-y, not very subtle. I was also interested in his initial mysterious, creepy form. I think Tirek was superficially threatening, but he lacked the personal touch. The only thing he hurt that I (or most people) cared about was... well the treehouse (which got replaced anyway). I mean he sucks the M5 and Discord, but only towards the end and it didn't feel that dramatic. Tirek was just a steamroller and Equestria was squished like butter, the job was easy and it's not to impressive to squish a pound of butter.

Discord was the only one with the semblance of a complete arc in this episode... the episode does seem to recognize the flimsy-ness of his reformation, but it still doesn't really set any ground rules. Discord always just feels and does what the writers just want him to do, he is still just a plaything, just used to toy with us whether he is reformed or not.

Yeah the fight wasn't really built up to that well... I think it was because Twilight/Princesses were just trying to run away or keep their distance from Triek all the time. Fighting was never really explored or put on the table until Twilight chose to do it, it makes the fight spontaneous, on a whim. It makes it feel more gratuitous than it really should be. If this fight was always on the table, something that had to be committed too, an all or nothing senario, then at least we are expecting it, at least we have explored the repercussions of it before it starts. As it is, it's just "I can't master this magic... oh look it's the villian... boom. Oh I guess I should fight him I guess".
I felt the whole key thing with Discord was too blatant for my tastes. Why did Tirek give Discord the necklace if he is going to betray him next scene? Why did he choose to betray Discord at that point? Why did Discord team up in the first place but not do anything? Because the plot said so. Most of the characters choices and emotions didn't grab me and Discord's story fails in my eyes because of that. There's no payoff to his key (before or when it happens), if his journey was so stilted, simple and brushed over.
I didn't care for *another* castle building... or the *symbolism* in it's architecture. As with her being a princess, we don't know how much the others will matter in future... I mean those thrones don't mean anything in the end of the day, it needs the personalities to fill them. Given the direction of this show, I don't get that great a vibe. I mean Rairty is just the clothes pony... who is a friend of Twilight... What role are they going to give her on that throne? Well... she is going to help organize and design for the fancy events in future... beyond that, I doubt they will do anything amazing with the M5...

The difference with the past was that the others were a lot more involved in their own stories... the "meaning" felt more personal when they were actually around helping reach the castle or being Discorded. The stories were about a group of friends (where everyone in the group was the focus) which concluded with "friendship". This episodes story is about big magical things flying about (where there's a group of friends in it) concluding with "friendship". I've never liked the "friendship" (or "love") endings... but at least before the journey matched the conclusion. Now it's just a worn out cop out.

There's not much to this finale'. It is plain or rather simple. There's a dumb action plot to enjoy but that's about it. There is so much to complain or nitpick about, because it's a very very rough gem, maybe even just a rock... but hay at least it wasn't horribly awful!
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:iconsomari1997:
somari1997 Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
you know byter i'll admit your review of this episode was a lot better then i expected, i still don't agree with anything you said but at least you weren't as negative as your other reviews
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
I am glad you found out I would be better than you imagined. Though I get the impression that the "quality" of the review and how "negative" it is are proportional to you.
It is a shame you don't agree with "anything" I said... I would have hoped that at least the basic details of the episode I got right, like how Discord talked to Tirak or how the rest of the cast wasn't seen this episode... oh well..
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:iconthe-daily-rage:
The-Daily-Rage Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I'm sorry, but this reply makes you seem a bit egocentric.  People are going to have different opinions with you on just about anything (I have a lot of different opinions than you about this two parter that I'll post later). That's one thing you need to understand when you're a reviewer. 
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014
I don't think some details are really up for being a 'matter of opinion'. If I say that Twilight was in this episode, then anyone who thinks otherwise is going to be clearly wrong. It is not egocentric to think that the more basic details are things that people should be able to agree on. If someone can't even agree on these more basic details, then it is most likely that they are just disagreeing for the sake of it.
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:iconthe-daily-rage:
The-Daily-Rage Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
It's also that truth is subjective, at least most of the time. We all can agree that The Last Airbender sucked, or Hurricane Fluttershy was great. That's why I think it's a bit egocentric. You're stating your opinion as fact, when we can use arguments against it, such as Twilight's self doubting herself adds more depth to her character, and avoids making her a Mary Sue, which they could have taken that route, if the wanted to go the lazy way. And I'm not disagreeing for the sake of it, I have a legitimate disagreement. 

Still though, ugh, a bit off topic, but we can both agree that MMC sucks. 
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014
I did't say "truth" I said the "basic facts". The basic facts aren't exactly 'The Last Airbender sucked'... I stick to what I said, that some basic facts would be things like Twilight was in the episode or that Tirek spoke to Discord.

You might disagree with the more personal or complex sentiments I have made, but that doesn't mean there's some veracity to my most basic sentiments...
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:iconthe-daily-rage:
The-Daily-Rage Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I still disagree with these 'basic facts.'  Twilight is playing her strengths the best she can. Even the greatest of leaders have their self doubts. Hell, Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president on this side of the pond had self doubts. George Washington had self doubts.  And now on to her not fitting as the protagonist. Let me put this in a way to make this clear

THE WHOLE STORY REVOLVES AROUND HER. How is she not the protagonist?  The reason why she hid her powers was because Celestia told her to hide them from her friends as to not put them in danger. Granted they got captured anyway, but it's not a bad reason. 
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014
"I still disagree with these 'basic facts.'"
So you don't think she's in this episode?

"Twilight is playing her strengths the best she can. Even the greatest of leaders have their self doubts. Hell, Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president on this side of the pond had self doubts. George Washington had self doubts.  And now on to her not fitting as the protagonist. Let me put this in a way to make this clear""
So by playing to her strengths this shows that she isn't  in the episode? Having self doubts doesn't say anything about her presence, though to see it, she should be present and showing doubt...

"THE WHOLE STORY REVOLVES AROUND HER. How is she not the protagonist?  The reason why she hid her powers was because Celestia told her to hide them from her friends as to not put them in danger. Granted they got captured anyway, but it's not a bad reason. "
So you disagree with my basic fact that she's in the episoe. But you think she's the protagonist... you think someone is the protagonist, who isn't even there. Okay... *backs away slowly*.
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(1 Reply)
:iconredwallfanforever:
redwallfanforever Featured By Owner May 14, 2014
Did some of the action scenes slightly impress you? The fact that they had a big energy ball blast fight and showed Twilight's library getting destroyed proved that this show still has guts!

Let us now file that away into a folder labeled "Friendship Is Magic moments to show non-bronies what this show they don't like can do"
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner May 14, 2014
I am not really that impressed... Spectacle and craft in spectacle is not hard to come by. I have never really cared for bombastic explosions and pyrotechnics on their own. Does take guts for a show that isn't founded on spectacle to suddenly rely on spectacle? I guess so, I mean it's fan base has been founded on slice of life, not spectacle; and their abilities at spectacle is still inferior to dedicated Spectacle shows out there.

I don't know if showing non-bronies this moment is that genuine. This season has had 26 episodes, most of which isn't one short fight scene... This fight scene isn't what mlp:fim really is, it's just an example of Micheal Bay or George Lucas bravado...
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:iconmichealdark:
michealdark Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
Wow, I'm actually shocked that you didn't hate it hate it. It seems like it still wasn't a complete meal to you and you found a lot more to complain about than other analysts so far, but it was a somewhat satisfying snack from a "big dumb action story that succeeds in being a big dumb action story" perspective.
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
I did think it was a step away from the horribleness we saw in TCE or MMC. I was not entertained by it, but I wasn't aggravated by it either. I do put it in a similar bucket to the star wars prequels, because from where I stand it is so similar to them.
I am not sure it's a satisfying snack, it's a bland one that has a fancy wrapper, the placebo effect can do wonders to fans, it did nothing for me. I actually wonder where they'll go from here, how do you beat that spectacle? I mean if you try the same thing again, it's gonna feel samey, unless you go crazy with the fight scenes and just even more mindlss action... we'll have to wait and see.
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:iconmichealdark:
michealdark Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
I personally loved it, but then, I'm more easily impressed by feels moments (and character development) and spectacle, and that's the bulk of the story.

But yeah...this is going to be hard to top. I'm surprised by how much they were allowed to get away with (then again, I was shocked with Dragonshy too. Almost killing everyone in a well-animated for the time rock slide was something I was not expecting). Tirek was a pretty hyperviolent villain, and they actually showed it on screen (unlike A Canterlot Wedding, which relied on comic book style reaction stills rather than actually showing things like RD smacking changelings in the face or Pinkie trying to blow them away with a confetti cannon). I'm not sure with the rating they have that they could get much more graphic with things. And if they go for more property damage, then it becomes Double Rainboom, which is a project I loathe.
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner May 13, 2014
Well... the majority of the time is just spent talking about the issue and standing around. "Feels" include Twi 's doubt at the start and erm... Discord's betrayal.  The spectacle really is just the finale fight. There's not much there even on this level... at least compared to other drama shows or action shows.

 I am not sure if 'getting away with more' means 'better' it just means 'more chance to be threatening'. The problem is yeah, how are they going to top this threat? I do hope they don't just try to top the threat, because we need that villain to start interacting and informing the main cast's actions in a more direct way...
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:iconmichealdark:
michealdark Featured By Owner May 13, 2014
I would love to see a bit of political intrigue as a threat, but that's hard to do when Equestria is so benevolently ruled. With no obvious problems with its governance, the populace would have no reason to think about any more nuanced structural problems.

Basically, I want to see a V for Vendetta situation, but it would have to be massively bullshitted to work.

Which is why I'm thinking instead to write it for a subplot in an FOE side fic.

Oi, trying to think of a satisfying way to top this with a more nuanced threat is hard. The adventure stories thrive on obvious external threats, but it feels like they've taken that about as far as they can go unless we're headed into an FOE style epic pony war like Twilight was speculating about in It's About Time.
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:iconquewisorest:
quewisorest Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
hey byter, since season 4 is over and probably your gonna do a season 4 roundup podcast and written review (like season 3), do you think that the crew of mlp have finally fix the problems that you found in season 3 in season 4 (since in the video you said that hopefull the crew in the series will know the problems that they have in season 3 and they will know how to improve and fix those mistakes) or you think that because of alicorn twilight, bland story (like you describe bready), kid exposition and new writters not only they probably made the same mistakes, but also new ones that made it probably "worse"?

also, great review like always
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
Hmm, it's a tough question.
I think S3 was a weird half child, half dumb stuff, half simple storys/gimmicks. It was still kinda my cup of tea that tasted wrong.
This season (4) has gone full out with the camp stories and camp gimmicks. I mean it wasn't my cup of tea, but at least it's just bottled water with fancy packaging.
The season opener and finale (as ever for this show) are different from rest of the season. I felt that ironically these stories are rather stilted. This episode wanted to play a straight face as it messed around with Discord gain and gave us a flashy light show.

So to answer your question directly. I think one of the problems in a slice of life show, or one about saving the world (action), stupid gags don't have their place. The finale has avoided this, but it's still lacking a heart or soul. This show has lost its way in regards to how it handles it's characters and stories, that hasn't been fixed this season, or this finale. Not by a long shot. Pinkie is an example of this, so is Rarity; they didn't aquit themselves well this season/episode because the writers aren't respecting them. So, my feeling are that the show still needs some quality control, an editor with them motivation to make this show good again. Because meghan writing and editing her own finale is just silly.

Thanks.
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:iconthe-daily-rage:
The-Daily-Rage Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I'm sorry... But where has this show lost it's heart or soul?  You never really specify there. This show still has it's heart. Hell, look at the action scene and the song. The animators went all out for the fight scene, and the song was pretty good.  Though for all of your points, you as a reviewer HAVE to expand on your points. 
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014
Surely you mean 'how' has it lost it's soul? If your problem is a lack of clarification or expansion on my points. Also, I thought I did explain more of what I meant after I said it lacked a heart or soul.

On the action or song, I think I do talk about them in the review itself. Though for the claims about lacking a heart n soul, the burden of evidence lies on the one making the claim, so this is just currently a red herring..
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:iconthe-daily-rage:
The-Daily-Rage Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, the burden of evidence does lie with the one making the claim, which in this case would be you. I'm interested to see how this show has lost it's heart and soul. 
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2014
"Also, I thought I did explain more of what I meant after I said it lacked a heart or soul."
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:iconthe-daily-rage:
The-Daily-Rage Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
After looking through, I couldn't find where it was, but for the moment, I'm going under the assumption that this review was your reasoning why the show is losing its heart and soul. If not, then I didn't read through hard enough on it, or that I skipped it as I'm really tired (got off of work an a hour ago). 
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:iconbyter75:
byter75 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Quoting the original use of the term:
"...The finale has avoided this, but it's still lacking a heart or soul. This show has lost its way in regards to how it handles it's characters and stories, that hasn't been fixed this season, or this finale. Not by a long shot. Pinkie is an example of this, so is Rarity; they didn't aquit themselves well this season/episode because the writers aren't respecting them. So, my feeling are that the show still needs some quality control, an editor with them motivation to make this show good again. Because meghan writing and editing her own finale is just silly."

I follow up 'lack heart and soul' with several reasons/points. Which is in the context in a reply to a comment on this journal.

Sorry, where are you going with this? I thought some basic points can be agreed upon, but even that you tried to refute. Now you can't find the points I made after the line you are taking me to task about... How much effort do you really put into these comments? And if you have difficulty agreeing that Twilight was in the episode, don't you think anything more complex is going to just turn out to be a waste of time?
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(1 Reply)
:iconsuka-chan13:
Suka-chan13 Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Student Artist
What get to me about this episode is that the Mane 6 basicly go Rainbow Super Sayajinn. And they already came out with the toys that have them in this form. And the Keys were obvious, it was somethis that could be called on the first episode it was shown.
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