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Oh, Luna, I can't do this! I was wrong. Your job is so incredibly hard! You have to battle nightmares and work in the darkness and do it all alone! It takes such a brave, strong pony to do what you do! - Princess Celestia

So, this episode happened, and it left us with so many details and informations that I don't know where to begin. So, to make it easy, let's start with an unexpected development right from the beginning of the episode:

Starlight Glimmer got sent by the map to solve a crisis!

Here, we have two things that never happened before: The map sent a pony who isn't a member of the Mane Six on a mission and it sent only one pony this time.
This is interesting, because it is partially supporting an intriguing theory I have about Starlight Glimmer that I developed last year. After the Season 5 Opener the case seemed clear, the Tree of Harmony wanted the Mane Six to go into Starlight Glimmer's village to free it from her reign and to prevent Equestria from getting turned into an equalist society eventually.
But a while after Starlight Glimmer joined the good side again, I started to think the Tree of Harmony had different intentions with this. Maybe he simply wanted that the Mane Six get Starlight Glimmer out of her village and that they bring her back on the right path, because she is needed to stop a disastrous event in the future, something the Tree of Harmony already knows is going to happen.
I can't tell exactly if this mission Starlight Glimmer went on just now already was the kind of looming crisis she was meant to prevent from happening and for which she needed to be on the good side again but, all things considered, it was something that somepony else, particularly the Mane Six, could have solved as well.
Obviously, Starlight Glimmer's ability of magically influencing and changing cutie marks has proven as the right thing to prevent this conflict from escalating, but since she merely made Celestia and Luna switch their duties for 24 hours, the Mane Six could have brought them to do that, as well, especially Twilight who has a special connection to both of them. Although Celestia needed Luna's magic to perform dreamwalking, Luna wouldn't have needed Celestia's magic to perform her daily duties since all of them involved diplomacy and decision-making, neither of which requiring any magic, and Celestia could have taken care of other duties Luna has at night to experience how Luna's work is. This was something even Twilight alone could have solved, so if the Tree of Harmony would have sent her, even though it would have taken her longer to figure out the problem since she didn't initially believe that Celestia and Luna could have such problems with each other in the first place.
Overall, this does not seem like a problem only Starlight Glimmer could have solved, yet, the Tree of Harmony has chosen her for this mission. It is very apparent here that this, granted that my theory from above is right, was a mere training mission for Starlight Glimmer, so the Tree could prepare her for something bigger that lies ahead of her in the future.
I have a theory about what this could be, the big crisis Starlight Glimmer is meant to solve and that is the reason why the Tree of Harmony wanted her to leave the village and let go of her equalist ways, but I will come to this in its own analyzis soon.

The next big thing this episode has to offer is, surprisingly, showing us something that gives me a lot of satisfaction in a certain regard:

Celestia trotting in Luna's horseshoes and getting to know her work and the things she has to put up with at night.

In Fall 2013, I was thinking about the time Luna became Nightmare Moon and this was when I realized that the reason why Luna turned into Nightmare Moon was first and foremostly loneliness she felt during the night that is devoid of most ponies, since they are asleep at this time.
It is known that Luna developed feelings of jealousy towards Celestia, which eventually turned into the hatred that gave Nightmare Moon enough power to come to the forefront and take control of Luna's body and suppress her mind, and since the only thing that separates Celestia from Luna are her different duties during the day, Luna obviously became jealous of Celestia's position. Of the position that allows Celestia to meet dozens of different ponies during the day she can talk with, such as delegates and dignitaries and mayors of other towns, she has to negotiate, settle conflicts or finding solutions for certain problems with.
These are things Luna can't experience at night, since almost everypony is asleep, and she has to do her duties alone for the most part. Nopony likes to be alone, so it is not hard to see how Luna could, over time, become lonely at night and then become jealous of Celestia's colorful day, where she can be in company of so many ponies.
This is even something that Luna outright confirmed with this episode:

"But, as always, my sister is too busy having fun with dignitary ponies to acknowledge anything I do."

Pay attention to the words Luna emphasized on in this sentence. At first glance, it seems like she is simply upset over it that Celestia doesn't acknowledge her efforts to give ponies in the castle a peaceful sleep, but, if taking a closer look, one can see there is more to it than that.
Her emphasis on "sister" is simply showing that she has a problem that is caused by Celestia, while her emphasis on "fun" in reference to Celestia meeting so many dignitaries reveals an underlying desire of Luna to meet dignitaries as well and to have the same kind of fun with them that Celestia has.
When Celestia steps up to Luna's task during the night later, we also get demonstrated how lonely this kind of job is, as Celestia shows clear signs of regret and even grief over having to work alone:

"Moon raised! It's even easier than raising the sun! What's next? Of course. Everypony is asleep at night. Luna works alone."

"Alright, everypony is asleep. You're talking to yourself, Celestia. But there's nopony else to talk to!"

"Oh, Luna, I can't do this! I was wrong. Your job is so incredibly hard! You have to battle nightmares and work in the darkness and do it all alone! It takes such a brave, strong pony to do what you do!"

"Only because you were here. I don't know how you do this alone."

If we watch Celestia saying those sentences, it becomes easily apparent how she gradually realized what loneliness Luna feels at night and how much weight this is on her sister.
Of course, one could argue that switching their duties wasn't easy for Luna either but, unlike Celestia, Luna never showed any signs of grief or regret while doing Celestia's duties. On the contrary even, she has shown that she truly cared for doing things the right way and she never appeared like she hated doing it. All she showed were signs that she isn't used to Celestia's job, but even that seemed to vanish over time, as she apparently did her job with solving the conflict between the two mayor just fine and succeeded in leading them to an agreement.
What we saw with this episode was Celestia learning a lesson. A lesson that let her realize the hard way the true reason why Luna could become Nightmare Moon.
Seeing this is something that makes me truly happy. I always realized that, if Celestia only had offered Luna to switch their duties here and there so that Luna can meet some ponies as well, this would have cured Luna's loneliness and prevented her from becoming Nightmare Moon. Celestia never offered Luna this solution for her problems, be it because she lacked awareness of what caused Luna's problem or because she selfishly wanted to keep her own position for herself only, so it is incredibly satisfying for me to see how Celestia had, for once, to suffer from the same things Luna suffered from and to learn first-hoof how lonely Luna feels at night.
This is the thing that makes this episode special and I hope that, eventually, Celestia will realize that it was essentially her fault that Luna became Nightmare Moon by being ignorant to Luna's loneliness and that she will finally give Luna this one offer she should have given her more than thousand years ago.

Now that we talked about this most important aspect of the episode, let's continue with talking about Daybreaker.
Daybreaker is, obviously, only a figment of Starlight Glimmer's imagination. She was created by her mind as Starlight Glimmer feared that Celestia could turn into a similar demon like Luna did due to the conflict between them getting out of control.
There doesn't seem to be a reason to believe that Daybreaker (or a similarly-called, dark version of Celestia) really exists, other than in Starlight Glimmer's imagination. There is one particular statement by Celestia that challenges this, though:

"No, you're not! You are not real. And you will never exist again!"

The first thing that jumped into my ear here, is, that Celestia chose the word "exist" when she spoke about Daybreaker. This is very interesting already, considering that Daybreaker did not actually exist, as she was just a product of Starlight Glimmer's nervous mind.
The second thing I noticed is the clear contradiction between those statements. Celestia first said that Daybreaker isn't real. Then she said that Daybreaker will never exist again.
If Daybreaker is not real and indeed just the product of Starlight Glimmer's mind, then, why would Celestia refer to her as "existing"? And why would she use the phrase "never exist again" when she speaks about defeating Daybreaker in Starlight's dream?
Celestia never outright says this, but this statement is implying that Daybreaker does exist, in reality! This is breathtaking what Celestia implied here!
And it throws up many questions; how does Celestia know Daybreaker? Is Daybreaker indeed her, does she have a similar demon sealed inside of her like Luna has with Nightmare Moon? And if so, did Daybreaker break free once and threatened Equestria, perhaps while Luna was on the moon? Is Celestia keeping a secret here, from Luna, and probably also from everypony else?
This is something we can't give a definite answer on, for now, but there was fear in Celestia's voice when she refuted Daybreaker's words about how she could turn into her and that she doesn't need Luna, so the possibility of this is definitely there, which the new informations we have gotten with this episode now show.

And, as if the exciting main events wouldn't have been enough already, this episode also provided us with interesting details in the background or mentioned only in passing:

- I love the way how the creators of this episode put it that Starlight Glimmer got sent by the map. The very first thing to see in the episode is Starlight Glimmer's cutie mark swirling around Canterlot on the map, followed by Twilight standing there with an open mouth and eyes full of disbelief, then Starlight coming on screen and cheering about getting sent.
It's almost like DHX wanted to send a message to certain people here.....

- We see a new spell used by Twilight that we never saw before! She slipped herself into the figure of a music box to be with Starlight during her mission without completely breaking the Tree of Harmony's rules. Every time you think you saw everything about Twilight's magical skills, she pulls something new that blows your mind.
Also, this reveals that soul-transferring spells exist in Equestria, as Twilight said to Starlight that she isn't actually here and still at home, which can only mean that she transferred her soul into the figure on this music box while her physical body stayed at home.

- Celestia makes breakfast for her and Luna every morning. She definitely isn't the typical princess that lets her flank getting carried around by servants.

- And on the next day, Celestia had put pineapples on her pancakes, the same fruit Luna ate the morning before when she told Celestia that she was too tired. Celestia was really trying hard to get Luna to eat breakfast with her.

- Why are there rumors about timberwolves roaming around in the Whitetail Woods? Could they escape the Everfree Forest? Is there something wrong with the Tree of Harmony? Or is there something happening that makes the citizens who live near the Whitetail Woods only believe there are timberwolves in the Whitetail Woods?
There definitely is something interesting behind this, I wish we could get an episode that shows us what.

- We now know how the mayors of Baltimare and Fillydelphia look! They were the two stallions Luna talked with before her day ended.

- Luna uses night-colored scrolls! What can be more epic than that?! :D

- Like "Celestial Advice", this episode provided us with a view of Canterlot from above, but this time, we saw it at night! It looks even more beautiful than during the day. <3

- There were tons of details in the dream bubbles Celestia has seen!
We saw Fluttershy riding Angel who has grown to gigantic size (she really has a thing for dreaming about Angel that way, anyone remember "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?"), Daring Do on an adventure, Cadance raving to music that Flurry Heart as her DJ has put on, Discord dreaming about a sleepover with The Smooze in Twilight's library and having a pillow fight with him (Does this mean Discord misses Twilight's library? Or does he maybe think he's at fault for its destruction and feels guilty for that?), Pinkie Pie dreaming of using Gummy like a surfboard (It's just Pinkie Pie), Applejack as a baby getting cared for by two ponies we've never seen before and who are presumably her parents (So, she dreams about them a lot, which makes apparent how much she misses them.....), either Twilight or Rainbow Dash dreaming about flying with the other (Makes me wonder why the two of them, specifically? It definitely is a good inspiration for a shipfic.), Doctor Whooves seemingly trapped in the garden labyrinth of Canterlot Castle, Flim and Flam bathing in tons of money (I guess Gladmane's etablissement still goes well?) and, finally, Derpy sitting on one of the thrones in the throne room of Twilight's castle, wearing a queen's outfit with crown and everything and holding the Twilicane as her scepter, all of that even without being an Alicorn! (Does this mean Derpy dreams of being more than being a simple mailmare? Lines up nicely with her dream we saw in "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?" and of her dressing up as Princess Twilight in the last Nightmare Night we've seen in the show, so there seems to be something to it!)

- Very obviously, Starlight's mind was filling in things that Nightmare Moon and Daybreaker said, because Nightmare Moon mocked Daybreaker about smiling and Starlight heard Luna talking to Celestia about her smiles.
We also heard Daybreaker making fun of Nightmare Moon for feeling sad and assuming she expresses this with her black spell, does this mean Celestia thinks low of Luna for feeling sad and depressed? This might just be an assumption by Starlight about how Celestia thinks, as she didn't witness Celestia expressing such a thing about Luna, but it makes you think.

- MLP: FiM officially has creepy, chanting children that make you lose your teeth because they don't like your smile in dreams now, adding another layer to its darkness.

- Did Twilight bring Spike's toothbrush for Starlight or did she accidentally use the wrong spell and turned Spike into a toothbrush in all her excitement? There should be a fic trying to answer this question.

And that's it for this episode! This is so far the longest review I have written (or would have written, concering the fact I couldn't write one for "Rock Solid Friendship" yet and decided to not write one for "Parental Glideance") for Season 7 and putting down the facts about this episode was an amazing experience!
I'm very excited for the finale of Season 7 now, for which Daybreaker is now another possibility, aside from Grogar, and it makes me so happy that Celestia had to learn how Luna feels while doing her duties at night!
This episode could easily become the best episode of the first half of Season 7!
  • Listening to: Amend by Sights Unseen
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: A Royal Problem
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: Nothing right now.
  • Drinking: Orange Juice!

"I think my sensible everypony take on fashion is exactly what the pony community needs."

No, Applejack, that's not what it needs. It doesn't need this like the brony community doesn't need all those reviewers on YouTube and their takes on the show.

Seriously, this comparison is more than fitting. Here we had Applejack being a judge for a fashion contest and she was going around and harassing fashion designers (= artists), insulting them and their work, forcing her opinions on what they create on them and demanding they do it the way she wants, or, literally judging their creations.
This is exactly what you can find on YouTube or in EQD's review compilations. And you can draw so many comparisons with the fandom when watching this episode.

When Applejack told Photo Finish and Hoity Toity that, despite their expertise, the new color of Inky Rose's costume still looks black to her, this was like every time a brony who is unsatisfied with an episode because of something that is actually good for the episode/show and was built into it because the writers know what they're doing, starts complaining and claiming that it's bad anyway, ignoring those who understand it better than they do, with their amateur view.

When Applejack criticized Ink Rose's design choice of holes in her costume and said that ponies don't want to buy clothes with holes in them after they got holes into the clothes they already have, this is like every time a brony says something shouldn't be in an episode because that's not what they want to see.

When Applejack called Lily Lace's blue dress impractical because it gets dirty when it touches the ground, this was like every time a brony claimed that something in an episode isn't needed, even though this was what made this episode, this episode.

When she acted like that mare's mane wasn't styled yet, this was like every time a brony just flat-out refuses to see what is good about an episode and acts ignorant that way.

And when she said that the two belts look the same (Fun Fact: If looking at them very, very closely, one can indeed spot tiny differences.) this was like every time a brony claims that an episode plot was repeated even though it wasn't, much as like the belts don't look completely the same, only very similar.
Especially this reminded me a lot on the "28 Pranks Later" complaints and on the claims how it's exactly the same as "The Mysterious Mare Do Well".

In this episode, we really see Applejack go through each way bronies insult and badmouth episodes of the show for not understanding them, much as Applejack didn't understand the dressmaking, but just had to comment about it anyway.
And much as them, she defended herself and justified her behavior by saying it's "her opinion". It was quite a while ago now that I realized that saying this is just a fancy way of saying "Yeah, pfft, I don't care if I'm a jerk or if I hurt someone's feelings, I just say what I want because I can!"
This episode has done a very good job of portraying this stubborn and selfish mindset one can see with so many bronies, especially with the YouTube reviewers.
Though, there's one thing that separates Applejack from the fandom. Applejack learned what she did wrong in the end, when confronted with the same mindset by a pony who acts the same way.
Strawberry Sunrise, our new addition to the cast of the show, is an even more accurate representation. "Disgusting", "Tasteless", "Worm-filled things", those insults sound very familiar and similar insults can be found in comments of many people who didn't like an episode.
Much as "Spice Up Your Life" and, even more so, "Stranger Than Fan Fiction" with Quibble Pants last season, this episode is making very clear statements and is very clearly aimed at the entitlement many in our fandom often have.
I like this new trend that the show occasionally roasts our fandom these days, by having meta episodes like this.
There is not much else I have to say about this episode because this is what really sticks out about it and there wasn't much interesting stuff in the background this time.
But episodes like this demonstrate that the staff at DHX is aware of the critical nature our fandom has developed the last years and that it does not approve of the fandom tearing apart their episodes they put so much work into, like Applejack teared apart Lily Lace's feather hat.
And it does so in an excellent way, with carrying along the message that speaking your opinion is something that you should handle carefully and that you sometimes better not say anything if it isn't something nice what rests on your tongue.
This is both the kind of episode that the fandom needs and deserves, occasionally, a clear 10/10 from me here, one of the best episodes of this season.

  • Listening to: Battle for Sugar Belle
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: Honest Apple
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: Pizza!
  • Drinking: Orange Juice
Now the show finally did it. After more than six seasons and more than six years, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic finally got a true, 100% shipping episode!
Not the relationship between the Cakes, not Cranky and Mathilda, not the marriage between Shining Armor & Cadance. No fake love via love potion poison, no love triangle that did not lead to anything in the end.
Two ponies we know, one of which with a rather extensive role in the show, who weren't in a relationship at the time the show started, who don't have any romantic past together and who weren't already a couple when they
appeared in their first episode, found each other and started a romantic relationship and this episode was showing us all of it, a first in the show's entire history!
I still remember so many bronies saying "The show will never do this, because, you know, it's for kids!", but, here we are. "Hard to Say Anything" brought us the first detailed romance in the show!
And this is something that was much needed for MLP: FiM. With constantly teaching about love and tolerance, it would have been odd if the show would have never went there.
Seeing this episode feels like something got added to the show that was for a long time missing from it, like that one missing piece in the upper right corner of the puzzle you're working on and that you finally found.
Genre-wise, this episode gives the show a satisfactory feeling of completion.
Magic is more than just Friendship, it is Love too, and this episode has finally made this clear!

Not so clear, though, was the way how this would happen. Big McIntosh of all ponies, who is probably the shyest pony around right after Fluttershy, is the pony who ends up in that relationship! And it's not
even Marble Pie he ends up with, no, it is Sugar Belle!
Just recently, in my review of Forever Filly, I said that MLP: FiM just isn't predictable and here, we have seen this confirmed again!
Nothing hinted at that Big Mac even knows Sugar Belle or that she knows him, not even that Big Mac ever was in Starlight Glimmer's village in the first place! Yet, with this episode, we found out that he is delivering apples to it regularly and that he got to know to Sugar Belle at one of those deliveries.
Apparently, Big Mac has forgotten Marble rather quickly, which is not very surprising, as he probably doesn't visit the rock farm too often, unlike Starlight Glimmer's village where he has to deliver apples to. Sugar Belle had it easy to pierce his heart and to replace Marble Pie in it.
Though, despite that, and despite that Sugar Belle obviously ordered more apples from him than she needed (seriously, have you seen how many barrels of apples those were for just one delivery?!) to lure him over
time and time again because she was crushing on him too, he was much too shy to talk to her and to confess his love and ask if she feels the same way.
Luckily, Cheerilee's Angels, I mean, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, were on the case! Similar to "Forever Filly", but this time for all three of them, this episode has really shown us how much they have grown up and matured. Where we saw them giggling in foalish innocence in "Hearts and Hooves Day" back during Season 2, they were flat-out talking about crushes and love in a very serious manner, almost hoofwaved it even, this time.
They even laughed it off as Big Mac told them not to use a love potion again to make Sugar Belle love him like they did with Cheerilee a few years ago.
Though, despite their maturity, we can see that they aren't grown up completely yet and that some of their foalish innocence is still left. In an interesting contrast to the events seen in "Forever Filly", it was
Sweetie Belle who made this clear when she spoke about finding the right answers in a fairy tale book.

Even more interesting is that Sweetie Belle even contrasted this foalish innocence during the same course of events.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has always been a daring show in the things the creators were willing to show on-screen, even if some might appear a little controversial, so I'm not completely surprised that
Sweetie Belle is apparently crushing quite a bit on Feather Bangs.
When Scootaloo mentions his good timing and his good-looking mane, Sweetie Belle suddenly gets a dreamy expression you would have a hard time interpreting differently:

Later on, this impression gets deepened when Sweetie Belle is the only one who is excitedly grinning at Feather Bangs' song performance:

The show doesn't hide here that Sweetie Belle, who is only hitting adolescence now, has developed a nice little crush on an adult stallion. It's unclear if it's long-term or just a short-lived crush, but I'm impressed that the episode showed us this. With how controversial certain things are in our society, the writer and the animators were taking quite the risk there.
It nicely continues the tradition of the show to be brave and I'm happy they dared to portray that such a thing
can indeed happen, regardless of age or difference thereof.

Another daring thing, although to a lesser extent, is that this episode showed us the implication of a blooming, polyamorous relationship. After Feather Bangs admitted to Applebloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle that he has problems with actually taking to a mare and that he feels lonely, which revealed in finest, surprising fashion of this show that he is actually a quite deep personality, Sweetie Belle told him (what a sacrifice for her!) that there are three other mares who are all interested in him and Feather Bangs has spoken about talking to "them" rather than just "her".
It is clear he wouldn't mind any of them and that each of the three swooning mares wants him, so I'm calling it, he will choose all three of them and they will end in a polyamorous relationship together.
It is a wonderful thing of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic to portray different kinds of love in this episode, instead of just the classical love between a mare and a stallion, this really stays true to its message of Love and Tolerance. :)

Last, but not least, since I'm already at the topic of daring things here..... THIS SONG. Feather Bangs' song, of course, Big Mac's song was a rather tame one, by comparison.
This song is full of innuendos, both lyrical and visual. Just to give one example (but I'm sure there's more I haven't heard yet):

"Be my sugar plum, I will be your water melon!" (While Feather Bangs' backup dancer bites with relish into a watermelon, followed by juice of it trickling down his hoof.)

I will let you figure out the juicy meaning of that one. Though, to be fair. Big Mac had an interesting line, too:

"We plant the seeds of love together."

I am thoroughly amazed they went there to put such lines into the episode. The demand for the "You know, for kids!" joke gets bigger and bigger these days. I fully approve of this.

As always, this episode has some nice details to discover, as well:

 - Apparently, Scootaloo has a faible for spying and secret agent stuff. I bet if she would know about Bon Bon and Lyra being agents, neither of them would have a quiet minute anymore. And it even brought us a
reference to Charlie's Angels:…
Pay close attention to how they are holding their forelegs and hooves during this moment. Everything lines up perfectly, they have the exact same posture there.

- As their second attempt of bringing Big Mac and Sugar Belle together fails thanks to the intervention of Feather Bangs, Sweetie Belle yells after his carriage "Hey, that's our metaphorical sunset you're riding off into!". I don't know if it is meant as a reference by the writer, but it does resemble Sweetie Belle's famous "Oh, COME ON!" line from "Hearts and Hooves Day" in tone, which is interesting, considering that another thing Sweetie Belle said is indeed referencing those events.

- The three mares that swoon after Feather Bangs are an earth pony, a pegasus and a unicorn, respectively. I'm sure the fandom will be doing a lot with those and I can only imagine how incredibly useful it will be for Feather Bangs to have a marefriend from each race. I would say that certainly provides interesting opportunities for him.
Especially every night. :3

-Starlight Glimmer's house is not in the village anymore. It used to be at the far end of it, but now, a big tree is where it once stood. I wonder why they teared it down?

- It was only two weeks ago that we got the last Cutie Mark Crusaders trio episode. This is like in Season 5, where it also had only been two weeks between "Bloom & Gloom" and "Appleloosa's Most Wanted".
Additionally, the last episode had roles for all three of them, and a very big one for Scootaloo, as well. There seems to be a much bigger focus on them this season and I certainly hope this continues! :D

And that's it for this episode, there was a lot to cover this time! I am happy we got to see more of Starlight Glimmer's village and the first episode that focused on it and that allowed us to see more of its citizens, as neither S5 nor S6 have shown us much of it after Starlight Glimmer left it.
This, the unexpected Cutie Mark Crusaders episode and that the show finally really tackled the topic of romantic love head on by having two characters getting into a relationship together and even in two more ways, make this episode a fantastic one and make it, for now, my second-favourite episode of this season!
Onwards to more next week! :D
  • Listening to: AssasinMonkey's stream
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: Hard to Say Anything
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: Nothing right now.
  • Drinking: Raspberry Juice
So..... Let's get this started, I guess. There is something I didn't hear when watching the episode for the first time.

"You know, some ponies would dream of having parents like that."

"Yeah, right. Name one."


"Growing up, I never thought I would be the best at anything. Because nopony ever told me....."

Scootaloo's parents are dead. I'm not going to sugarcoat this. I know, this will sound ambigious to some..... But I will not sugarcoat this. Her parents are dead. Or have abandoned her as a baby.....
I won't write much about this episode. I don't feel like analyzing it..... It speaks a clear enough language anyway.
This is the confirmation that her parents are dead or gone. She would have never worded this that way, never used those words she used, if they would still be alive, or, if she would live with them.
That's all I can say. No big review this week..... I just don't feel like it.
  • Listening to: AssasinMonkey's stream
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: Parental Glideance
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: -
  • Drinking: Raspberry Juice

With this episode, something happened for which I was waiting for quite some time already.
Since Applebloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle got their cutie marks, I was imagining how they would help a lot of foals in Ponyville to get their own cutie marks now and how this would result in Cutie Mark Crusaders episodes in which foals like Dinky, Berry Pinch, Noi, Lily Longsocks and many others would get a bigger spotlight and get promoted from background ponies to side ponies.
This was something I strongly expected to see in Season 6, many Cutie Mark Crusaders episodes with different foals in the spotlight. When Season 6 came, though, there were far less CMC episodes than I thought there would be and instead of foals we already knew, they were helping Tender Taps and Petunia Paleo. Which was fine, and especially Petunia is a really awesome and admirable foal, but we didn't get any bigger roles for background foals we saw in past seasons and episodes.
But with this episode, this has changed now. With this episode, what I expected and hoped for finally happened. They finally helped a foal who has a problem with its cutie mark who is one that got barely any role in the show so far. Even better, it is a foal who we haven't seen at all since Season 4 (!) and for which I already developed the theory that she has moved away from Ponyville again shortly after the Ponyville Pet Center Fundraiser:


I'm amazed by her return and this is a huge surprise! Of all foals living in Ponyville, she was the one least expected to star in an episode. This really goes to show that MLP: FiM just isn't predictable.
And with her unexpected return into the show, it seems like DHX is really widening their scope in regards to characters. Already in my review for "All Bottled Up" I said that we might have a very colorful season in regards to characters ahead of us and, so far, Season 7 is following this formula precisely!
Six episodes in and we already had one episode focusing on Starlight and Trixie, another one focusing on Starlight and Maud, one heavily focusing on Flurry Heart (with Pinkie Pie and Twilight having to share their screentime with other ponies that were equally important for the plot, so they aren't complete Pinkie Pie/Twilight episodes) and an episode that had, even though it was technically a Twilight episode, still quite a lot of focus on Starlight and even on Celestia, who Twilight once again had to share her screentime with!
Only "Fluttershy Leans In" was a classical episode with almost the sole focus on a Mane Six member so far.
And now, we've seen a pony again that didn't have any role or appearance in the show at all for two and a half seasons!
After I had watched "Rock Solid Friendship", I developed the theory that DHX is building up a new manecast, consisting of Starlight, Trixie and Maud, and perhaps some other ponies we've yet to meet, (which I couldn't detail in a review, because a spontaneous gum infection decided to try and murder me) and, even though none of them had a role in this episode, "Forever Filly" gives even more the impression that the show is branching out and gradually getting away from Twilight and her friends as the mane characters.

What impresses me about this episode, aside from Zipporwhill's return into the show, is that it has a quite unique structure. We start out with Rarity, who realizes that her work takes more and more time away from her and that she hasn't visited Sweetie Belle for a very long time due to that.

The episode then shifts to Applebloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle who help another foal to get a cutie mark and after Zipporwhill's arrival in the clubhouse, the focus returns back to Rarity, until she and Sweetie Belle leave the clubhouse to spend the day together. From that moment, the episode constantly jumps around between Rarity and Sweetie Belle during their "quality" time and Applebloom, Scootaloo and Zipporwhill who try to solve the problem they face.

This constant back and forth between the two plots makes for a very unique narrative, especially when both plots come together at the end.

Due to Rarity's mistreatment of her, Sweetie Belle was able to draw a connection to Zipporwhill and Ripley and figured out that Ripley had the same problem with Zipporwhill that she has with Rarity. And not only that, as Rarity listened to how Sweetie Belle explained Zipporwhill what the actual problem is, this helped her as well, to realize what she did wrong with Sweetie Belle.
The two plots of the episode blend together in a completely seamless way there, after they had already been strongly interwoven since the start, which is something you don't see often in a TV show and probably was not easy to write, but the Fox Bros. pulled this off excellently!
Additionally, we saw a very unique conflict with Zipporwhill in this episode:

Zipporwhill didn't just have a cutie mark problem, by thinking that she got her special talent all wrong, she actually couldn't cope with it that her puppy had become older and stopped being interested in the way they used to play together.
So she ignored the change and tried to get Ripley to act the way she was used to from him, in the belief he would start being the same again if she just tries hard enough and keeps treating him like a little puppy.
Which didn't happen, of course, and eventually led to her believing that Ripley doesn't like her anymore and that this has to mean that taking care of dogs isn't her special talent.
Even though she thought her problem was related to her cutie mark, it was actually a real life crisis as seeing her puppy changing like this was simply too much for her to bear and with that, much more than a cutie mark problem.
This is the kind of episodes involving the special talents of my Crusaders that I hoped to see since Season 6; episodes that use the full potential of their destinies of helping other ponies with their cutie marks and show in which varieties such problems can exist. I hope to see much more of those kinds of episodes from now on!
And judging by the number of clients they have on their waiting list, as indicated by that mountain of binders in their clubhouse, I'd say there is a good chance for this!

Aside from Zipporwhill, this episode had a surprisingly high number of background foals appearing.
The way Pina Colada, Noi, Dinky, Alula, Tornado Bolt, Cotton Cloudy, Berry Pinch, Aura and Tootsie Flute sat there together at the puppet theater, only to be later at the balloon pony together, really gives me the impression they had school-free that day and that all nine of them were hanging out and spending a nice day with each other.^^
Only Alula was suddenly gone and there was a gap in the line at the balloon pony right behind Dinky..... Which even got closed later, which means they knew Alula wouldn't return or didn't reckon with a return of her.
I wonder what her mysterious departure means.....
Also, we saw Cotton Cloudy and Tornado Bolt constantly talking with each other while in the line, which indicates they are definitely close friends. Or maybe even more than that, because Cotton Cloudy just couldn't leave her eyes off Tornado Bolt, not even after they had stopped talking already.^^ It could be one-sided, but there is some romance there that can be sensed.
Interestingly, we got a short speaking role by Aura in this episode. At the puppet theater, we hear her shouting something in excitement that sounds like "Super!". This is remarkable, since Aura didn't have a speaking role since "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" in Season 2, which is almost five seasons ago now!
And, and that is the best observation to be made from this episode, Dinky can use magic now! As Rarity and Sweetie Belle stand in front of the fountain to get their balloon, we can see Dinky for a very short moment before she dashes off-screen, levitating her balloon animal with her magic!
Despite many background appearances in past episodes and seasons, it is the first time we see Dinky using magic now, which means she just recently learned how to use it! :D
Most interestingly here, her magical aura is not yellow, like I always thought it is because of her eye color, and how it is shown in fanwork all the time, but actually blue! This also lets us know what color her cutie mark will have now, as a unicorn's aura always has the color of either the eyes or the cutie mark. It's unfortunately not enough to start speculating how her cutie mark will look exactly and what her special talent is, but it's good to find out more about her nonetheless!^^

Overall, this was an excellent episode! We met a new pony with Chipcutter, met one we saw in the past again with Zipporwhill, got lots of characterization for her and some interesting dynamic between Sweetie Belle and Rarity that reminds a lot on what we saw in "Sisterhooves Social" in Season 2 (and the baby-blue sapphires seem like a reference to this episode and I'm sure they were part of the reason why Rarity suddenly came to the crushing realization she had) and a ton of interesting background events and appearances!

As much as I love "A Flurry of Emotions", this episode is definitely my new favourite episode of Season 7 so far and I can't wait to see if we get more episodes like that! :D
  • Listening to: None
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: Forever Filly
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: Nothing right now.
  • Drinking: Raspberry Juice

Wow..... This was one bombastic episode! Here I said that it's time for the best Mane Six member to shine in my comment before it started, and wow, how much she shone here!
I barely know Fluttershy anymore..... But let's start at the beginning.

After Angel had an accident while practicing for a parcour contest in Ponyville (Who knew that's a thing in Equestria? I love it even more now!) and breaks his leg, Fluttershy visited Mane Goodall Dr. Fauna because she ran out of bunny foot braces, where she has seen that the animals the veterinarian was treating have made themselves at home there, even after their ailments were healed already.
So Fluttershy remembered on her yearlong dream, to build an animal sanctuary where animals can rest up after their wounds have been healed and she decided to finally build it!
And this is where the episode starts to become really great.
In a heartfelt speech in front of her friends, that moved all of them, including Rainbow Dash, who even started to tear up despite all her toughness, Fluttershy announced her plans.
And as her friends praised her, she told them that she can only speak with so much conviction now because they taught her so much about how to build up her confidence over the years and that it is thanks to their friendship that she finally feels able to make her dream project become true.
Hearing this sentence really feels like Fluttershy has reached the end of a personal path and what we see after does not fail with giving the same impression.
Her friends recommended her three different experts for building the animal sanctuary, but unfortunately, none of them was really familiar with what Fluttershy wanted.

Hard Hat, sent by Pinkie Pie, had no idea about building animal sanctuaries and he can only construct buildings, so despite Fluttershy having told him what she wants exactly and what animals need, he ended up building an animal hospital.

Dandy Grandeur, sent by Rarity, despised Fluttershy's taste and even simply ignores her wished and forced his own taste on her.

And Wrangler, sent by Applejack, believes it is too dangerous to let animals run around freely and brought along cages for the animals, having ignored Fluttershy's wishes as well.

And Fluttershy? She was having none of this. More confident than we have ever seen before she scolded all three of the "experts" and then sent them away. Like a boss, she told them that she does not require their services anymore.
And this wasn't even where it ended. Even after this first failed attempt at building a sanctuary, Fluttershy did not give up and simply decided to build the sanctuary on her own with the help of her friends, one of which even turned out to be Big Daddy McColt, who Fluttershy met during her map mission with Twilight.
Fluttershy, I mean, Flutterbold, even shut up her friends once they suddenly tried to bring in their own visions for the sanctuary and told them that she wants her thoughts to be respected by them.
In some way, this episode reminds me a lot on "Hurricane Fluttershy". When Fluttershy said to Dr. Fauna that she will not give up her dream of building an animal sanctuary, I instantly had to think on how she decided to fly with the other pegasi on Tornado Day.
Back then, about two and a half years ago in Equestrian time, Fluttershy needed convincing of her animal friends to make that decision, but now, she made the decision all by herself!
This is an incredible progress Fluttershy made over the years and since we saw her so unconfident in episodes like "Hurricane Fluttershy". As Zephyr Breeze moved into her house, she managed to be so assertive towards a family member, but now, she even managed it towards ponies she didn't know at all, complete strangers!
Fluttershy seems like a completely different pony now. We've seen her grow so much and now she grew over all of her own insecurities and anxieties!
What makes this even better for me is that I can even relate. Three years ago, I commissioned a cover art for a fic I have written and, after discussing some changes that should get made with the artist, he ended up changing something I liked a lot and that I haven't told him to change. I gave him a similar peptalk like Fluttershy just gave Hard Hat, Dandy Grandeur and Wrangler and this makes me love her reaction even more! <3
At this point, I think Fluttershy can hardly become more confident. The whole episode feels like the end of her personal arc in the show, which I think is exactly what we've seen here, and I couldn't be more proud of her!

Overall, this episode seems like a calm one at first glance, compared to the first four, but if you are a fan of Fluttershy and watched her growth, it is an excellent conclusion of her arc in the show that started way back during Season 1!
I wonder what this means for Fluttershy's role in the future? Maybe she will help Big Daddy McColt with his animal sanctuaries at Smokey Mountain and we get to see this in new episodes with her?
Whatever it is, I look forward to seeing her again now that she has completed her journey to self-confidence!

  • Listening to: The music on AssasinMonkey's stream
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: Fluttershy Leans In
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Raspberry Juice
I'm starting a new analyzis series today, which I will update in irregular patterns, as much as my time allows.

This is an idea that I already had during the hiatus, since right after the Season 6 Finale. When I saw so many bronies claiming that the show is going to end or that it has run out of villains, because Chrysalis is the only known villain left who hasn't been reformed, sealed or imprisoned and who is still a threat, I wondered about this reaction, because I know there are still a lot of villains that could throw Equestria into chaos or bring it close to its destruction.
So the idea for this was born, an analyzis series about possible future villains of Equestria, to demonstrate that Chrysalis is not where it ends in regards to villains.

There are still many possible threats for Equestria that have a high potential for challenging villains in two-parters of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. So far, I have analyzed enough of those possible villains to keep this series going for a while. The villains and threats I'll be talking about are all based on hints and informations from both the show and the official comics; some of which are quite obvious, while others are very subtle, but all of them can be seen and found via close observation.
There will be quite a number of surprises for you in this series, as I will talk about a lot of threats that you never considered as possible villains, or, even as existing in the first place so far!

Originally, my intent was to start this series during the hiatus, when the fandom was in a tizzy after the Season 6 Finale, for the aforementioned reasons. But several things got in the way and left me with neither enough time nor enough concentration to kick this off before the start of Season 7. However, with "A Flurry of Emotions", an excellent opportunity to start the series with what I had planned as the first part of it has arisen now, so I am using this to get it going.

Now that the introduction is out of the way, I present you, without further ado, Part 1 of my new analyzing series:

Future Villains of Equestria: Grogar, the Necromancer

Grogar and Gutsy1 by BillyGGruff

And I start this series with a villain who you might be familiar with: Grogar.
Grogar is a villain whose roots are very, very deeply anchored in the history of My Little Pony. In Generation 1 of the franchise, way, way back in the 80s, he appeared as an evil sorcerer. Once having ruled the land, which was known as "Ponyland" in G1, he was banished together with his city called "Tambelon" (that is some really epic contrast here) into a shadow realm, by ringing an ancient bell that hangs in his city, from which he returned 500 years later to conquer everything again, then got banished a second time as the bell was rung a second time.
Many believe that Grogar was a ram necromancer, which I refer to in the title of this analyzis, but this is actually not true. When rewatching the whole episode "The Return of Tambelon" from G1 for the purpose of researching before I wrote this analyzis, I mostly hoped to find out anything about why he is referred to as such. But, as opposed to my expectations, he was never called a "necromancer" by anyone in this episode. And neither did he raise the dead or summon spirits or anything you would expect a necromancer to do.
Through my researches, I could find out that the reason why those who still knew G1 began to refer to Grogar as "ram necromancer" is probably rooted in the 2004 released tabletop/card-based fantasy game Heroscape which, interestingly enough, comes from Hasbro as well.
In this game, a card titled "Necromancer Skull" exists. It gives you the ability to raise a fallen character and bring its card back into the game and is adorned with a picture of a demonic-looking, bipedal skeleton in full armor with blade and shield, which wears a helmet with structures that look akin to the horns of a goat. A goat like Grogar was one.
Apparently, many who saw this began to draw the conclusion that, based on those horns, Grogar must have been a ram necromancer as well. But since it is nowhere mentioned that he is a necromancer in "The Return of Tambelon" and he isn't seen doing any necromantic things during any scene of the episode, this is simply fanon.
Grogar was just an evil, demonic sorcerer who was able to use very powerful and very dark magic.
So far about Grogar's history..... Now, where does My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, G4, come into play here?

Until recently, it was not clear if Grogar even exists in Equestria. With G4 showing a whole, different universe than G1, the chances were split and it could have been there is indeed an alternate version of Grogar living in Equestria, but also that he doesn't exist there at all as well. Even though we knew about another version of Tirek living in Equestria since the S4 Finale, we could never be sure if the same goes for Grogar. We simply lacked information about an Equestrian counterpart of him. Until "A Flurry of Emotions" aired almost two weeks ago.

When Twilight sat in the hospital and read to the sick foals, she was reading from the book "Gusty, the Great", about a unicorn warrior called "Gusty" (who has the same name as a G1 pony) who tried to reach Cloudsdale on hoof together with her army and then encountered "the treacherous Grogar".
What we could hear Twilight reading from the book did not give us many details about Equestria's Grogar, neither do we find out much about his powers, nor what he actually is. Is he a goat as well? Or another creature? Or maybe a pony even? In an alternate universe, everything is possible, and we don't have enough infos to answer these questions yet, but now we know for a fact he exists there. Although, with a catch:

Since he is a character from a book, Grogar only exists in Equestria inside of fictional literature, but he is not actually real.

This is making the prediction that I'm building up here, that Grogar will appear in the Finale of Season 7 as a villain, impossible..... Almost.
Over the years, MLP: FiM introduced to us a few ways for actually getting into a book and exploring the worlds inside them in Equestria. In "Power Ponies", episode six of Season 4, we saw Twilight and her friends, together with Spike, getting sucked into a magic comic book, which let them slip into the roles of the comic's protagonists, the Power Ponies, and they had to fight a villain called "Mane-iac".
And only a short time after, we saw Twilight using a spell to get inside of books in order to prevent a magical bookworm from eating all her books and bringing the characters from the devoured books to life and into the "real" world, in the 6th arc of the official comics that released in January and February of 2014.
In both instances, Twilight and her friends could freely explore the world inside of the books, which brought up the interesting question if those worlds are any less real than their own world.
Magic definitely has means to bring Grogar to life, or, to release him from his world in the book and transport him into Equestria's world. But how exactly would this happen?
There is one other arc of the official comics in which we see magic getting used to bring book characters to life..... the current arc, "From the Shadows", spanning from issue #51 - issue #53. The new pony introduced to us in this arc, Shadowlock, has this exact ability and he uses it to distract Twilight and her friends as they try to stop his plan of destroying all of Equestria's history books to erase the memory on a dark event of the past.....

What makes this significant is the announcement that this very arc is going to tie into Season 7 directly and that we will see events in Season 7 that are in direct relation to the events seen in this arc. Which probably means that we will see Shadowlock in the show as well in an upcoming episode of Season 7 and this is were things get interesting..... It is something I did not see myself at first (the hype over the speaking role of a certain background filly might or might not be responsible for this) and I needed my dear friend :icondinkyuniverse: DinkyUniverse to alert me of it, but this arc and the book Twilight read from in the hospital lead to very exciting conclusions:

What I think will be happening during the Season 7 Finale is that Shadowlock will, upon remaining a villain and keeping to follow his plan of erasing Equestria's history, summon Grogar from the book "Gusty, the Great" to stop Twilight and her friends and flee once more. Full of zeal for his plan, he will unleash a much greater threat for Equestria than the records of whatever past event he wants to become forgotten by ponykind tell about, leaving Twilight and her friends with the task of defeating Grogar and bringing him back into his book to save Equestria from him.

This is how I think the aforementioned tie-in of the current arc of the official comics with Season 7 is going to happen and I can't wait to see if my prediction is correct. There are a few more questions, however..... What exactly will Grogar do once he returns? And what are his powers?
As I mentioned above, what we heard Twilight reading did not give us much information. And unfortunately, my main theory about his powers and what he is and can do was based on the expectation of him being a necromancer, due to his G1 counterpart. Who is not actually a necromancer, so this theory (which, in short, was that he will try to conquer Equestria with an army of undead ponies and that the Apple Family parents will have a very tragic appearance in the show, because they get raised from the dead as well and become part of his army, much to the horror of their family) sadly falls apart.
There is still a slight possibility of him being a necromancer anyway, as alternate universe versions of a person can differ greatly, but there is no actual clue for this anymore now, so I can't use my theory for this analyzis anymore.....
However, what we know is that fear gives Grogar power, which reminds on King Sombra, yet sounds different at the same time. How does this work? Sombra was sowing fear in his enslaved subjects to bend them to his will, but maybe Grogar is literally empowered by fear and it increases the strength of either his spells, his body or of both.

Overall, we are left with a lot of questions about Equestria's Grogar, but if my prediction becomes true (and I bet a lot of bits it does!), we will get an answer on those soon. Until then, we have to wait, hopefully for a season finale in October and not in July already (I look at you, Treehouse TV, we don't need a longer hiatus!), but I have a strong feeling that the wait will be worth whatever is coming our way in the Finale!
  • Listening to: My LoE writer's meeting
  • Reading: Proofreading this analyzis
  • Watching: Rock Solid Friendship
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: Nothing right now.
  • Drinking: Raspberry Juice
I shall dub this episode:

CUTE: The Episode

Because that is exactly what it is. We have seen many episodes with cute fillies in this show, but this episode here is the epitome of this, the highest peak the cuteness can reach, for it is an episode with Flurry Heart!
And the sheer amount of cuddling and snuggling Twilight had going on with Flurry Heart after she arrived, makes me jealous and wish to be in Twilight's place.....
But, before I come to talk about Flurry Heart, I am going to talk about something else, because with this episode, a momentous occasion happened! An occasion you don't see often, a rare event of absolute delight, inducing pure joy in the hearts of everyone who could bestow it.....


This is signficant. This is wonderful! A background pony does not get a speaking role often, especially not if it is a foal, but here it happened. And my heart is overflowing with happiness from this!
I love Peach Fuzz. Not as much as I love Applebloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, and I don't know what fascinates me about her so much, but I do.
I really recognized her for the first time in "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", without knowing her name yet (but got already a fic idea for her), then saw her again in "On Your Marks" and uploaded a .gif of her getting fed with cake by Silver Spoon, which was where I found out her name while searching for it on Derpibooru to tag the picture correctly. Followed by more uploads of pictures of her after seeing her in her cheerleader dress in "The Cart Before the Ponies".^^
I'm beyond every imaginable amount of happiness over the fact she got a speaking role now!
And her voice is pure perfection! It sounds really squishy, like you're gently squeezing a peach, it's like her name is describing her voice.^^
I'm absolutely in love with her voice! :D
And, of course, with hearing her voice for the first time, this goes hoof in hoof with finding out a few things about her personality as well!
For once, she really seems to be into epic adventure tales involving dragons. While Spike is reading, she is the one who is the most excited about the story, indicated by that broad smile that lifts her cheeks. And then she is the only one who points out that Spike kinda looks like the dragon in the book, with a huge grin on her face.
Additionally, she seems to adore Spike now, after she noticed that similarity.^^
The most interesting thing, though, that I really adore about her, now that I found that out, is apparent on the class photo that was made after she and her classmates got sick with the horsey hives.
On the photo, all of the sick foals look weak and sad, or even angry about having gotten sick like that, but she is the only one who is grinning widely for the photo! She manages to stay happy and swinging, even though she is sick and struck with that illness.
This does show an interesting aspect of her personality; Peach Fuzz always stays happy and optimistic, even during tough times, able to wear a happy smile and always keeping her sunny mood, even if she has to put up with something bad.
This is a remarkable feat and something that not many ponies are capable of! I said that I don't know what fascinates me so much about her, but I certainly have found something that fascinates me about her to no end now!^^

Good and now that I'm done with the fangasming over Peach Fuzz (for now!), let's talk a little about Flurry Heart and Twilight.....
I have to say, I'm baffled again what absolute amazing moral and message a new episode of MLP: FiM delivered here!
In this episode, we see Twilight obsessing over schedules so much again, that she even neglects her niece who she loves so much and treats her like an useless appendage. Even to the extent that she rips her tail out of Flurry Heart's hooves in a harsh way and, later, that she doesn't even notice that Flurry Heart is crying because of her, because she is so focused on sticking to her plan.
We get an interesting insight into Twilight and see some quite dark abyss of her soul here..... It is something I saw about Twilight a little in the past already (and now I regret that I never got around to write an analyzis about this), but this episode showed it in great detail, that Twilight can get so focused on something that she is not only forgetting everything around her that hasn't to do with a specific task, but can also become pretty cold and heartless in such a situation.
During the whole time, Flurry Heart gave her hints to what is wrong and, while Twilight at first tried to still pay attention to her, she started to become more and more ignorant to Flurry Heart the more time passed and the more she got behind on her schedule. Culminating in her not even noticing why Flurry Heart was so upset all of a sudden and just yelling at her that she should put them all down immediately. Causing Flurry to erupt into a crying fit and making her so disappointed that she didn't even want to see Twilight anymore.
We saw Twilight making one of the worst mistakes a parent or foalsitter can make here; neglect of the foal she cares for, causing stress in Flurry Heart with it, since Flurry just wanted to spend time with her and wasn't at fault that Twilight took her on despite having to do so many other things.
Twilight's ignorance is especially interesting when we consider how much love she showed towards Flurry Heart at first. We didn't see this before, but she loves Flurry Heart in a very intense way, more than you would expect from an aunt, which gets especially indicated by how she bought a closet full of toys for Flurry Heart, without even knowing when she is going to see her again!
It seems that Twilight suffers from a very interesting inner conflict; trapped between the desire of being there for the ones she loves and the feeling of duty to fulfill her tasks in a perfect way.
This also shows that Twilight probably would not be a very good mother. Even though she learned her lesson from everything, having to take permanent care of an own foal of hers would clash with her schedules and her obsession over planning everything she does through, resulting in the same emotional turmoil for her foal.
We really have seen an interesting and dark side of Twilight here and it brings along with it one of the most important and mature morals the show ever had, a perfect lesson for parents, foalsitters and big brothers/sisters alike!
It is remarkable that, after six seasons, the show is still able to do this, to include such meaningful and important life lessons, even though it feels like it already has taught everything that is to teach!
The strength of this show is something that should never get underestimated.

And, speaking of insights into personalities, we did not only get this for Peach Fuzz and to see something new of Twilight's personality, we also saw more of Flurry Heart's personality!
While we don't see many new aspects of her personality, we do see again that Flurry Heart is quite intelligent for her age; she completely understood everything Twilight said to her, was alerting Spike when Pound Cake and Pumpkin Cake began to fight where other babies would have just sat there and watched and she appeared especially mature towards the end of the episode, after Twilight yelled at her, her reaction and how she rejected Twilight more reminding on a preteen foal, than on a baby.
We also saw that she forgives very quickly, even after getting hurt, something that could really be either very good or very bad for her in the future, depending on how the rest of her personality develops and how she uses this strong sense of forgiveness when she is older.
Finally, Flurry Heart is a very well-behaved foal; which shows nicely in this episode with how she contrasts to Pound Cake and Pumpkin Cake. While the latter were busy fighting and even began to treat her quite brutal, she remained a level head and even tried to end their fight (even though her natural, foalish naivety let her go about this the wrong way).
Flurry Heart already shows the signs of a strong, resilient personality and I can't wait to see her growing further!

That points out the most important things about this particular episode already, but, there is more to it than that this time, because we got some interesting (semi-)worldbuilding as well!
Letting aside a few from the books Twilight talked about with Cheerilee; which are already interesting enough cause we hear about other, popular books in Equestria than just Daring Do books, even a science-fiction novel involving space travels (whose science Twilight called out as preposterous quickly, apparently, she's too much of a scientist to take enjoyment in the science-fiction genre^^), which might mean the concept of interplanetar travels is not completely unknown to Equestria, there is one special book Twilight read.....
To the foals in the hospital, Twilight is reading a book about a unicorn called Gusty and its soldiers going to war against an enemy listening to the name "Grogar"..... Sounds familiar?
It seems like Tirek is not the only one who does exist in Equestria as well, in an alternate form.
Grogar, though, seems to be only a fictional book character, from what we know so far. However, this might not make him any less dangerous.....
As attentive followers of the official comics know, there is a certain stallion who has the ability to bring book characters to life..... Remember this detail, this is probably going to be important later.

This covers the biggest and most exciting aspects of the episode, but even with all that said, "A Flurry of Emotions" still allowed for some more interesting observations to be made.....

Interesting Details on the Side or in the Background:

- Ponyville has a toy shop! I find that very interesting. Ponyville is a small countryside town, almost a village and shops are something we haven't seen there a whole lot, except for Quills & Sofas. Even a lot of the food is getting bought on a marketplace!
A toy shop is something one would expect in Canterlot and other big cities and that Ponyville's citizens have to travel there to buy toys, yet, Ponyville does have one. This is aligning with something I noticed while watching "Applejack's Day Off" and that I wrote in my review for it.
This toy shop does further the impression that Ponyville's economy is getting better and that the town is expanding.

- Why were Lyra and Bon Bon in the toy shop together? While there could be lot of reasons why they went there to buy toys, including buying toys for the birthdays of foals of friends, it makes you still wonder if that is a sign for something..... Could it be true and Tootsie Flute is indeed their daughter? Or somepony else?
I will keep an open eye for more things pointing into that direction.

- Cheerilee seems to be grieving over not being able to use magic. After Twilight had cleaned the blackboard that Flurry Heart messed up, Cheerilee was complaining over having to rewrite everything with her mouth. Right after Flurry Heart used her magic to draw on the blackboard.
It seems that Cheerilee is not really happy with being an earth pony and envious of the ability of unicorns to use magic, since that would make everything easier for her.

- Pinkie Pie's party planning cave is back in the show! And what is new here, Pinkie Pie can get there from the bakery itself as well, not just from her room. She even has a secret mechanism that gets activated by hitting a certain key on the cash till! If we wouldn't already know what this secret cave is for, I would start to theorize that Pinkie Pie is secretly a superhero now.

- Nurse Redheart had a speaking role again! This isn't as interesting as Peach Fuzz' first speaking role, but still unexpected, since it was in Season 2 (!) that she had her last one!

- Cadance and Shining Armor are jealous of Twilight because Flurry Heart likes her so much. After Shining Armor and Cadance returned to Flurry Heart upon realizing how much they missed her, they made quite unhappy faces as Flurry Heart was flying right back at Twilight.
A very classical case of parental jealousy here.

- And lastly, we heard about a new, equestrian disease! The Horsey Hives seem similar to the hives humans here on Earth know and come with some of the symptoms, as indicated by Peach Fuzz scratching over her welt-covered leg. Though, the Horsey Hives are evidently worse, since the foals sick with it have to stay in the hospital for an extended time, most likely due to fever that is caused by them.

And I guess this wraps it up. It took me longer than usual to write this review, this episode is as jam-packed with interesting details as Twilight's schedule was and I'm amazed by the sheer amount of infos we got!
The first two episodes of the season were already great, but this episode surpasses them with ease.
If the rest of the episodes are so packed with interesting stuff, I'm gladly sitting here for the whole night to write reviews for them!
See you next week!
  • Listening to: Peach Fuzz' beautiful voice *-*
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: A Flurry of Emotions
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: Too busy reviewing to eat!
  • Drinking: Orange Juice!
With this episode, I'm starting to get seriously worried about Starlight's magic. We always knew that her magic is very powerful and that she could be a big threat with it if she wanted, but now, it turned out that there is an aspect to her magic that even she can't control.
Her magic is fueled by her emotions and what she casts is depending on what she currently feels and the stronger her feelings are, the stronger her magic gets.
In this episode, we see her anger about Trixie getting manifested as a dark, red, magical cloud about which Starlight herself said she doesn't know what it could do, so she needs to put it into a bottle to keep everypony safe.
We've seen later how the magic escaped and made other ponies angry, who then expressed her own anger towards Trixie instead of herself doing that. Beyond that, though, we don't know what else her anger could do after having become manifested like that.
Every time the cloud appeared over her head, we saw lightning come out of it, which quite clearly indicates that this manifested cloud is of a destructive nature and could actually destroy something if getting out of control. There is a lot of dangerous potential in that ability of Starlight's emotions getting manifested as dark magic.
What if someone with bad intentions would make use of this? A villain could capture Starlight, keeping her hostage and making her angry on purpose via manipulation and brainwashing. Or cast a spell on her that lets her be constantly angry. Then he could collect her manifested anger and store it and then, once he has enough, attack a city with it and wipe it out.
Or Starlight could get incredibly mad on her own, producing a magical cloud that is far bigger than the one we have seen in this episode. And if she then can't vent her anger somewhere fast enough.....
And this does not even take into account other feelings of hers that could manifest. There is a wide spectrum of emotions and not all of them are good. Serious grief or desperation could have similar devastating effects.
What if someone dear to her dies and she feels great grief over this, to an extent where she just doesn't want to carry on anymore? How could this affect other ponies and her environment? Would her grief maybe get contracted to other ponies who would then do unspeakable things, including commiting suicide, because of how Starlight's grief affects them?
The worst thing here, though, is, as I already mentioned it above, that even Starlight herself doesn't know what the magic manifested by her emotions could cause. According to her, she always used so much magic before that there never was enough to let her emotions getting manifested.
But now that she lives in Ponyville and isn't a villain anymore and has a peaceful life, she doesn't have as many opportunities anymore to use up her magical energy, so the manifestations of her emotions happen suddenly. And considering that she doesn't even know herself what they could do once free, this is a frightening development.
This makes Starlight's magic actually dangerous now all of a sudden; while she used it for evil things in the past, she at least did so intentionally, but dangerous magic she can't even control herself is posing a far bigger threat than any of the things she did in the past.
I don't like to say this, but, considering this new development, it would probably be for the best to seal Starlight's magic so that she isn't able to use magic anymore. Not as punishment or as revenge for the things she did, but to keep the ponies around her safe from whatever could happen if her magic gets out of control completely.
Unfortunately, this begs the question what her emotions would do to her if she isn't able to cast spells and release them anymore..... Would her emotions still manifest as magic then, but inside her head, and slowly drive her insane or leave permanent brain damage?
This is a possibility and doesn't make it easy to decide what is the best cause of action in this situation. I hope Starlight will tell Twilight about this secret of hers and that they can find a solution together.

On a more positive note, I got intrigued by something Starlight Glimmer said about her past. She was talking about having been engaged in magical duels. Does anyone else wonder what kind of duels she was talking about there?
Of course we know that she fought such a duel with Twilight during her revenge, but this was only one battle. But here, she was clearly talking in plural, meaning at some time in her past, she regularly fought magical duels with other unicorns.
I think it should be pretty obvious to everyone that Starlight didn't found her equalist village immediately, since when all of her grief started, she was still a filly. So, this could mean there was an era in her life where she tried to quench her grief and vent her frustration and her anger about the direction her life was taking by participating in magical duels or maybe even joined an army of some sort where she had to fight regularly.
Maybe we have gotten an interesting hint at Starlight's past here..... Could this be part of a built-up to an episode where we find out more about her past life? I will be amazed if such an episode happens and will eagerly look out for more clues on that!

Letting aside Starlight's past and worries about her magic, I really like the moral of this episode:

Don't bottle up your anger, let it out!

As someone who is not bottling up his anger either and tells other people quite directly that I'm angry and why, I can relate to this a lot. I had people in my life telling me that venting your anger on others isn't the right thing to do and that you should keep it to yourself. That's why it makes me incredibly glad that the episode tackled this subject.
Bottling up your anger is a very bad thing and has very devastating consequences; for yourself, because it makes you feel miserable and lets you needlessly suffer, and for others as well, because no matter how much you try bottling up your anger, at some point, it will always break free, and since you will have accumulated a lot more anger until then, the results of that will be much worse to the ones you're venting at than they would be if you would let the anger out immediately. Or, your friends start to think they can do everything with you and you will always just shrug it off and never be angry about it, if you never show you're mad at them for something, and you will become their doormat, like Starlight became Trixie's doormat for never telling her how she felt.
That is one incredibly useful life lesson everyone can learn from, especially in this world, where a lot of people seem to believe it is not an okay thing to do to vent your anger on someone else, not even if that someone has caused you to be angry in the first place. This is easily one of my favourite morals the show ever had!

And, of course, that song! It never happened before that a song in the show made me laugh so much! :D
Obviously seen by the writers as a parody of the show itself, it also shows in a great way how when ponies in Equestria sing a song, their emotions always play a role in that and that how and what they sing is determined by whatever feelings they have currently.
Here, we had Twilight and her friends gushing about how good friends they are in a very overbearing way and then, when they began a song, it of course was a cliched "We are such good friends!" song that sounds like a mixture between commercial and generic teenie pop song.
I will always love the subtle humor of this show and how its creators even dare to intentionally put a bad song into it to make a joke! :D

Another thing that fascinates me is that we got a few new insights about how magic works in Equestria again, thanks to Starlight. This seems to become a very common thing with episodes centered around her.
First, something I figured since last year already got confirmed, that a magic user has to picture something he wants to cast in his head when using a spell, no matter if something should get created, transfigured or teleported away.
Further, Starlight explained that nothing can ever truly disappear, not even with magic. I like this info the most, since, with the experiences I made, many in the fandom seem to believe that magic is an all-inclusive problem solver in Equestria that can literally do everything you want, while I always shook my head at such a thing and thought that of course magic has some limitations as well. This reveal by Starlight shows that nicely, one thing that magic can't do is let something disappear. It can only send it somewhere else, but never erase something from existence. This makes me wonder if this goes the opposite way as well, can magic also never truly create something out of thin air, but only teleport something from another place or transfigure one item into another, instead?
This also lines up well with the third info we got from her, that magic can never disappear and always has to go somewhere.
It seems that, with every Starlight Glimmer episode, we get to understand a little better how magic works in Equestria and I hope that keeps up for future episodes with her!

Finally, I wonder about this jeweler mare that got infected with Starlight's anger together with Snowflake and Granny Smith..... In one moment, she threw her hat at Trixie like a boomerang and essentially used it like a weapon to attack and hurt her, with all the anger she felt. Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to do, if it is just a normal hat she is wearing, cause then it would be too soft to hurt Trixie, so using it as weapon would be futile then.
Yet she did use it that way and this makes me wonder if the hat is actually sharp-edged and that she just keeps this a secret. And I can only think of one reason to wear equipment like this..... Is this mare actually a secret agent and that hat is part of her agent equipment and she wears it in case something unexpected happens and she needs to defend herself from a threat?
If that is true, she might be a member of S.M.I.L.E. (what this is can be found explained in the book "Lyra and Bon Bon and The Mares from S.M.I.L.E.") and stationed in Ponyville to observe something there, something that could potentially cause trouble in the future.
Little details like this are responsible for it that the show feels so lively and I will definitely be on the lookout for that mare in future episodes.^^

All in all, this is another great episode with lots of interesting reveals! I'm only a little disappointed that the pony who helped Starlight finding the map was just Trixie and not some background ponies, like the synopsis made it sound like. But this is really just Discovery's fault, for once again making an episode sound more exciting than it actually is in the synopsis it released, like it happened with "Where the Apple Lies" last season.
On a final note, this episode gave me more the feeling that DHX is slowly preparing for focusing on other ponies more than on the Mane Six. I already said at the beginning of Season 6 that they seem to prepare and build up a new manecast, including Starlight Glimmer and Sunburst, and with how little screentime the Mane Six had in this episode and with how quickly the plot shifted to Starlight Glimmer and Trixie (not to mention that the episode even started with them!), I get an even stronger impression of this now.
If that is true and this episode is any indication for the rest of Season 7, we definitely have a very colorful season in regards to characters ahead of us and I can't wait to see what it brings! :D
  • Listening to: Best Friends Until the End of Time
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: Celestial Advice & All Bottled Up
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: Tons of meat
  • Drinking: Orange Juice! And freshly squeezed this time!
Season 7 finally happens! And I finally get to write reviews again! Even though this hiatus was a lot easier because of the start of the closed beta of "Legends of Equestria", I still anticipated Season 7 a lot, so I'm glad I can finally do this again!
And this episode was a first blast of awesomeness already! :D I think what I already like the most is how the episode seems like the writers were teasing Starlight Glimmer haters:

After Discord taunted Twilight with it that she still thinks about giving Starlight friendship lessons, even though she just defeated Chrysalis, and that Twilight doesn't have any plans for Starlight like Celestia had for her, Twilight goes to Celestia for advice and starts to think that she has to send Starlight Glimmer away now.
Followed by her going through several scenarios of where to send her, via magical illusions, which all end up horrible, each one more horrible than the last one. And all of that, only for Starlight Glimmer to reveal after the announcement of her graduation that she isn't ready to leave Twilight yet.
It is like DHX had a message there that they directly wanted to address to Starlight Glimmer haters. Obviously, that wasn't the intent, but the vibes are there and this is one of the major reasons why I enjoy this episode so much:

Starlight Glimmer is here to stay.

I love this so much, because not only do her haters have to continue putting up with her in the show despite the undeserved hatred they give her, it also shows that DHX does not give in to fandom complaints and still continues to go the path they want to go with the show. With the script writing process always starting about one and a half years before the respective episode airs, which makes "Celestial Advice" having gotten written before Season 6 even started and before the fandom warmed up to Starlight Glimmer and made her becoming a favourite, this really shows that DHX stays independent and follows their own ideas, no matter how much certain fractions of the fandom complain about something.
This is the most admirable thing they could do and that the episode contains said teasing and Starlight Glimmer stays in Ponyville anyway is already making the episode for me. :)
But, of course, there is more to it.

After I saw Discord's teaser (Get it? :P) of Twilight announcing Starlight Glimmer's graduation, I was thinking she wouldn't really let Starlight graduate and had just started to think of herself as a bad teacher because Discord put that into her head with his teasing and therefore, decided to stop teaching Starlight. As it turned out, it was different.
While Twilight really did think she is a bad teacher and Discord had indeed put that thought into her head, it was actually because she never considered that Starlight could not need any more friendship lessons and might be ready to graduate, as well as because she didn't make any plans for Starlight's future, like Celestia did for her.
At first, I was perceiving this as such that Twilight simply noticed Starlight wouldn't be ready to graduate yet and thus, planned her friendship lessons for the next three years in advance, but the reveal was a surprising one:

Twilight likes Starlight so much that she would miss her if she would leave her.

This is interesting, because it shows that Twilight was already aware that Starlight might be ready to graduate after defeating Chrysalis, but that she suppressed this thought, simply because she didn't want that they can't see each other that often anymore.
And it's even more interesting that Celestia was the one who brought Twilight to this realization, by telling her she felt the same when it was time to send her away to Ponyville and how hesitant she was with doing that, out of fear that Twilight couldn't need her anymore afterwards.
This is something that lines up well with Celestia's characterization in the just a few days ago released first issue of "Legends of Magic". I won't spoil how exactly here, in case you didn't read it yet, but the coincidence that, just a few days after this issue got released, we find out those details about Celestia, amazes me!
But, obviously, Twilight isn't the same as Celestia. She has a different personality, so her reasons for liking Starlight so much must be different ones as well.
Remarkable here, is, that Twilight doesn't even know Starlight that long. If we assume that Starlight is her student for four or five months now, which should be a good estimation for the time that has passed since the events at the end of the Season 5 Finale, then Twilight actually knows Starlight only for a really short time.
But despite that, Twilight was afraid of Starlight leaving her. She even reacted as extreme on that as she would on the prospect of one of her longtime Ponyville friends leaving her.
Seeing this reaction from Twilight, after only knowing Starlight for months, makes me wonder if she could have feelings for Starlight that go beyond a teacher and student relationship and beyond those of a friend as well.
The chemistry between Starlight and Twilight always worked very well; they have the same interests and a very similar personality and, as I said, Twilight likes Starlight an awful lot for the fact she doesn't know her for very long. Romantic love is something that could develop very well between two ponies that are so similar and live so close to each other. Not to mention that Starlight owes Twilight a lot and Twilight was the only one who showed her true kindness at first despite all the stuff she did, so she might even respond to Twilight's feelings.
I would not be surprised if something is brewing there, at least from Twilight's side. I will definitely keep an eye out for that from now on.
And speaking about strong feelings for somepony else, it is interesting that Discord has shown something similar with this episode. While Discord doesn't do any efforts to hide that he has a crush on Fluttershy, he seems to have taken a platonic interest in Starlight Glimmer. As he semi-reveals at the end of the episode, the whole reason why he messed with Twilight like this was that he hoped Twilight would send Starlight into his realm if he reminds her that she doesn't have a plan for Starlight.
I wonder if this might mean that this season will have a Discord & Starlight Glimmer episode. Since Discord probably won't give up getting close to Starlight, this is not an unlikely thing to happen, especially with her graduation now.
However, even though Starlight graduated, I think Twilight made this decision too quickly. At the end of "Every Little Thing She Does", we saw that Starlight still had problems to hang out and relax with friends, even after learning her lesson after that spell disaster she caused. What we see in the next episode supports that even, but I talk about this in my next review.
I think Twilight letting Starlight graduate so early will cause some trouble in the future and that Twilight will have to take that decision back. If that means that Starlight could have a massive relapse is something I can't tell, but I hope she has come too far for that to be possible, at least.

Another thing that amazed me is that, despite we didn't get an epic two-parter as season opener, but two Slice of Life episodes at once this time, the show still manages to be very dark, with Twilight's illusions of Starlight getting into trouble elsewhere becoming gradually darker.
It started out somewhat funny with the changelings, then continued with Garble killing Starlight and basically telling her he is going to kill her, with a cheerful smile on the face (a portrayal that is frighteningly accurate for Garble, Twilight definitely got that one right!), then culminated in Starlight and Sunburst erasing all of reality by letting it getting sucked into a magical black hole. The last one let Twilight break out in tears even.
Of course, nothing of this actually happened. But those were Twilight's imaginations of what COULD happen and Twilight knows Garble and knows the spells she was talking about during the first illusion as well, which makes it clear that mixing those three spells while experimenting with magic would actually result in the destruction of reality indeed.
I like these occasional reminders that Equestria isn't Happy Sunshine and Rainbow Land, but actually a really dangerous place, where spells can get out of control and cause world shattering disasters and where psychopaths and tyrants exist and pose a threat to the rest of society. It is majorly responsible to distinct G4 from the awful early generations, so things like this are always good in my book.
And maybe we see Garble in the future as a major villain.....

What finally amazes me is, that already in the first episode, we get to see lots of interesting things in the background again!
First, we see the Dragon Lands on the map in Twilight's castle. Right when she gets the idea of sending Starlight there, she stands in front of the map and eyes a certain mountain. I always thought the Dragon Lands are outside of Equestria, with how alien everything looks and is there, but actually, they are part of Equestria! They are even where the mountain with the gigantic skull is, the place that made so many in the fandom curious, so we already know this place even.
We also got a nice, new view of Canterlot from above, when we see Celestia standing on a hill and looking down at it, while thinking about what to do with Twilight. And now that I think about that while writing this, that view reminds me quite a bit on the "Lullaby for a Princess" animation. The only difference is that Celestia looked down at Ponyville in it, not Canterlot. I still can't help but think this might be a reference to the animation, though, especially with Celestia looking up to the moon in that moment.
But, most interestingly to me, is that we got to see a new filly! In the classroom during the flashback, we see Lyra hugging another filly after they finished their task together. A filly who, at first glance, looks like Berry Pinch, but since this is obviously not possible, she's a filly we don't know yet!
What makes this so interesting is that, while she knew Lyra and might have known the rest of the Canterlot Six as well because of that, we never saw Twilight and her old Canterlot friends talk about anypony else than themselves in "Amending Fences". It makes you curious who that filly is.....
I already have several thoughts about her which would go beyond the constraints of this review, which I will probably outsource into an own journal.
Letting that aside, finally seeing an actual, tight hug in the show, between two fillies to boot for maximum cuteness, is my favourite moment of the episode, simply because it was so long overdue to see a hug like this in the show!

I guess that covers this episode. For the first episode of Season 7, there is a ton to talk about already and the season is off to a fantastic start with it! I will write another review for "All Bottled Up" very soon!
  • Listening to: Lullaby for a Princess
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: Celestial Advice & All Bottled Up
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: Tons of meat
  • Drinking: Orange Juice! And freshly squeezed this time!
Update, April 4th: And just in case you doubt anything I wrote about Vicodin's intentions with this post, here is how Vicodin reacts when he finds out you criticized him and exposed that all he wants is damaging the fandom:…

Backup picture, in case the tweet mysteriously vanishes

No, I'm not going to write about how to promote the death of the fandom. I'm going to write about the opposite, actually, how to avoid that from happening and what needs to be done to let the fandom continue to flourish and bloom.
"Who is then promoting the death of the fandom?" you will ask. I come to that in a bit..... But first, I want to talk a little about fandom sustainability.

If you look around in the brony fandom, it's not hard to see that we are by far the most active and productive fandom ever. We have a very high output on fanfics, some of which are so good that you would not be surprised finding them on the bestseller lists even (and we did turn some of those into actual books, indeed) and there is a plethora of professional writing guides and other things to help new writers on, which ensures the high-quality fic output we have.

We have artists here who create pieces of literal museum quality. We do enough to fill a whole blog about the show we gather around with tons of fanwork every single day and even write so much that we can afford our own, dedicated fiction page, where only fics about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic get published, a novum among fandoms.

We even create our own fanmade episodes of the show, in fully flash-animated glory to keep us occupied during hiatuses. Not to mention the many long-running comic series we create as well.

Other fandoms often have huge problems..... They might see a bunch of fanarts here and there. Or a fanfiction every other month. But, most of the time, they sit on dry land once their TV show is on hiatus and they have to wait a year or more for the next season. Talking about the new episodes can only keep them afloat for so long. Eventually, this gets boring, and when everything is said, they turn to other things.
But not with our fandom. We just create our own things in masses and entertain us with those while we wait for new episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. We are a 100% self-sustainable fandom, probably the first one there ever was even.
That's partially because of the sheer quality MLP: FiM has. But to big parts also owned to Hasbro, who allows us to do everything we want and rarely sends a C&D. Other fandoms don't have this luck. Try to program a fan-made Pokémon game and then count the days until Nintendo knocks on your door and tells you to stop. You won't come far.
But we have a very high number of fan-made pony games, even work on a full-fledged MMORPG that just so happens to have hit closed beta recently. This acceptance from Hasbro is definitely a reason why we flourish and bloom so much.

But I don't want to talk about the reasons why we can do this here. I simply want to talk about that we do and how we can ensure that we keep doing that and don't die out.
A thing that we have in common with every other fandom is, that we age. Time can't be stopped and it waits for no one. MLP: FiM is more than six years old now and so is our fandom as well.
And when a fandom grows older, it can happen that members leave it. They might just stop creating for it and turn to other things to create for. Or they might even stop watching the show entirely.
But no matter the reason for that, this doesn't mean the fandom dies. Old members go and new members come in.
This is something we still see happening a lot. My watchlist here is bursting from pony art every day. And I get to see more new fics during 24 hours than one can read in that timespan.
Lately, sees its counter of hits per day increasing again. Which is not even happening because Season 7 is approaching with big steps. Currently, sees hit numbers that it didn't see for two years now.
We're not dying and we're also not shrinking. And no matter what some in the fandom might say, we are STILL growing. We just transition from old fandom artists to new fandom artists, who are equally talented and bring equally interesting ideas to the table like the old artists did.

Of course, with being here for six years now, we also need to ensure that new pony creators find an environment where they can grow. An environment where they can be recognized for their talent and find an audience. Because, as much fun as it is to create fanwork for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, if you don't find an audience, don't get feedback and none of those ego-stroking upvotes (or downvotes that show you need to improve), then it's just not really satisfying and there isn't much motivation to show your work to the public.
This is why it is important to give new pony creators a chance and to look at their stuff. If there is a new pony artist and his art is only subpar to what you are used to from the fandom's artist veterans from the early days, then look at it anyway. Take the picture or comic in, give them advice and help them improve and most importantly, give them support that motivates them; by writing nice comments, giving upvotes and faving their art. Because those pony artists will continue what they're doing if they find an audience that is interested and they will then practice and get better and become as good as those pony artists you miss these days because they dropped out of the fandom.

And the same goes not just for artists, the same goes for writers, animators, musicians, PMV makers, ect. ect. as well. It goes for every type of pony creator.
Don't ignore their work because it isn't up to the quality you are used to, because they are newbies. Because if you do, you contribute to create an environment that is toxic for new pony creators. One where they can't grow and in such an environment, they will soon get demotivated and leave for other pastures, wherever they find an audience. You will never see them become better and as good as your favourite pony creators from the fandom's early days and you will never be able to relive those times with art that is equally good.
If you see new pony creators; upvote, comment, fave and give them feedback on how to get better. Tweet about their art, write about it on Facebook, show their art to your friends. There are lots of ways to help them getting their names out to the fandom.
Helping out those new pony creators, to get their name out and to keep them motivated in the pony art they're creating, this is something that is essential if we, as the fandom we are, want to stay what we are and if we want to keep up our art output, as well if we simply want to keep existing.

I said we don't die out just because we're getting older as a fandom. And this is true. But, I did not say that it is impossible for us to die out. We can die out and, if we don't care, we will.
There are ways to ensure our fandom keeps sustaining itself, and I listed them above, but there are also ways to kill our fandom.

One way of doing that is simply to ignore new pony creators because they aren't as good as the old ones yet. If they get ignored, they won't find an audience. If they don't find an audience, they will stop creating pony art and try other things, until they finally have an audience. Showcasing art is not very motivating if you don't get any reactions.

Another way is running a pony blog and featuring art from pony creators but, at the same time, be too selective about the art that gets featured and only featuring the art that is up to the quality of the big, great artists this fandom already brought forth in the past and its early years, because you believe no one will be interested in that newbie art and that your blog won't get enough views if you feature it.
Or, simply hiding important pieces of pony art in special roundup posts because the type of content you usually put into those roundups is waning and you want to save your roundup posts by force. This has the same effect.
If no one finds the art of new pony creators, because none of the places that are suited to give them exposure wants to feature them, this is equally demotivating and leads to the scenario I described above.

A third way to contribute to drive the fandom into the ground is, getting demotivated yourself with running your own pony blog and therefore, falsely assume the fandom's great days are over, that it's dying, and using this belief to spell doomsday in public blog posts.

And a fourth way to achieve such a thing would be, to make propaganda for original art on your pony blog and use the influence you have with the popularity of your blog, to try and get visitors to believe that pony creators quitting with pony art is a good thing:…

Or, you know, you can get someone else on board of your blog to do this, someone who is known for his controversial opinions in regards to the fandom and the show anyway, if you don't want to get bombarded with negative e-mails in your personal mailbox.
It doesn't matter, the outcome is the same:

You will motivate people to look at non-pony art and help creating an environment where new pony artists can't rise and therefore, contribute to the fandom's untimely death by it running out of pony creators.

Now we have reached the inspiration for this journal entry and what motivated me to write it.....
No matter if you are new to the fandom or an old, seasoned member who is here since 2011, if you know Equestria Daily, then you know that it is a blog to feature art and creations based on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and news about the show, as well as news about the official comics, the official books and any other official things related to the franchise.
In other words, exactly what you would expect from a blog called "Equestria Daily".
But this post up there? This is the exact opposite of what you would expect from such a blog. What Vicodin does there is actively encouraging the fandom to look at other content that isn't fanwork based on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, content, that does not help our fandom, because it's not contributing anything to it.
There are several problems with this. The most severe one is already that Vicodin (as well as EQD in general, because, without a doubt, Sethisto gave his blessing to this) is thinking he has any right to lure members of the fandom away from pony art, in order to support pony creators who ventured on, by urging them to look at the original art of these former pony creators.
This is not to say you can't enjoy original art as well if it appeals to you..... But there is a major issue if you are a newsposter on a blog dedicated to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and if you basically tell the visitors of the blog:

"Look at original art, even if that means that you have less time to look at pony art and that you can't support new pony creators who help to enrich our fandom further and to keep it alive!"

Translating this to a living creature, it would mean to take a knife, stab said creature and injure it with a wound, then not caring about if it will survive with this wound or not. What Vicodin and EQD do here is stabbing the fandom, by distracting from new pony creators that are vital to the fandom's survival and that we need to keep the fandom going.
Just a reminder here again, you didn't accidentally click on a wrong link and got to "Original Art Daily", you are indeed on Equestria Daily, a blog called to life to help pony artists get the word about them out and to nurture the artistic community My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has, if you read the post linked above.
Which brings us right to the second problem here. At this point, I'm just repeating what I already said a thousand times in this entry and what probably comes out to your ears by now:

This is killing the fandom. Not right now, not in a few days, not even in a few months. But it gives the fandom a stab in the back and, if EQD should continue into the future with crap like this, will lead to a slow and painful death of it.

What Vicodin does here, is nothing short off sabotaging the fandom and hindering its development. More than that even, it is actively doing a step to lead the fandom into decay.
If you followed EQD over the last year, you often saw Sethisto saying something like this, that the fandom is slowing down. But, by looking at stuff like this, combined with other incidents where EQD flat-out featured non-pony art without blushing or fills its Drawfriends with less pony art than possible on a single day. Or where Calpain is filling the Nightly Roundups with valuable pony art that is either of good quality or shows potential to growth of the artist who created it and should get its own post, essentially hiding this art in there, just to save this particular type of posts.....
Then I can't help but starting to think that Sethisto is tired of running EQD and wants to stop, which he tries to achieve by running EQD against the wall and actively ruining its reputation. Without caring if EQD, once it goes down, pulls the fandom with it into the abyss.
Maybe I'm wrong with this, it definitely is a theory..... But in the end, it doesn't even matter if that theory is right or wrong, because the result is the same regardless of EQD's motivations:

Things like this are killing the fandom, both by encouraging fandom members who have respect for EQD and take its words seriously to rather check out original art of former pony creators, instead of pony art by struggling new pony creators, and by making blog posts that give a poor picture of EQD and have the potential to get bronies to avoid EQD (which can contribute to the same, devastating effect for new pony creators, because there is only one such pony blog) for its off-topic posts and behavior that outright harms the fandom.

Equestria Daily, as a blog for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and its fandom, as the only one of its kind even, is having a certain responsibility to nurture the fandom and to help new pony creators rise to success and popularity by showing interested audiences their work. This is one of the purposes of the blog.
And this doesn't mean any of them are forced to do this. Not that Sethisto is forced to do this. But, if Sethisto does not want anymore. If he is getting tired of running EQD, then he should give away the blog to someone else, someone who still has the drive to do it. This can technically be anyone in the fandom, it just needs to be someone who can handle the organization of such a big site and who still has passion for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the motivation to run a blog for it.
And this is nothing anyone can force him to either. But, if he decides to keep running Equestria Daily, whatever the motivation might be, then he is failing to do this if he not only posts unrelated things, but also actively allows aforementioned fandom sabotage and original art propaganda to appear on Equestria Daily.
If Sethisto does things like this, it is not just affecting Equestria Daily. It is affecting the whole fandom on a devastating level.
And for a site that is supposed to help the fandom and its pony creators, not contributing to ruin it, this is a kind of shameful, backstabbing behavior that lets me sit here in disbelief and almost knocks the breath out of my lungs.
This is not how a blog for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is supposed to be. Equestria Daily has become the fandom's enemy at this point.

There is not much more I can say about this..... I'm not writing this to tell you "Never look at original art or art for other fandoms". I'm not Vicodin.
But if you love My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, then make sure to support new fandom pony creators. Leave them some nice comments, fave their work, give feedback. Don't just follow the old pony creators to their original work and leave the new pony creators that keep joining the fandom aside while they starve.
We are a big, strong and passionate fandom. But even we can die, if we don't nurture our next fandom generation.
But if we do this, if we support our new pony creators and give them a place to show they're here and to prove what they can do, then we can and will live for a very long time, and will even outlive the show itself by many, many years.
This is a responsibility we all have, to keep the community we joined and that was founded six years ago together. It's in the hooves of all of us how the future of the fandom looks and how long it exists.
And as we long as we keep this train rolling and help future brony generations to get their hooves in here and their names known as pony creators, then this ride won't end. This is something we all can and should contribute to, to not lose what we have built.
  • Listening to: Can I Do It On My Own? by Zephyr Breeze
  • Reading: -
  • Watching: To Where and Back Again
  • Playing: -
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Orange Juice!
Belated again, I'm posting my Season 6 Hitlist, just in time for Season 7! Here we go:


1. The Cart Before the Ponies
2. The Fault in Our Cutie Marks
3. On Your Marks
4. 28 Pranks Later
5. Newbie Dash
6. To Where and Back Again Part 1 & 2
7. P.P.O.V. (Pony Point of View)
8. Where the Apple Lies & Top Bolt
9. The Crystalling Part 1 & 2
10. No Second Prances
11. Every Little Thing She Does
12. A Hearth's Warming Tail
13. The Times They Are a Changeling
14. The Saddle Row Review
15. Viva Las Pegasus!
16. The Gift of the Maud Pie
17. Stranger Than Fan Fiction
18. Flutter Brutter
19. Applejack's Day Off
20. Spice Up Your Life
21. Gauntlet of Fire
22. Dungeons & Discords
23. Buckball Season


1. Derby Racers
2. Find the Purpose in Your Life
3. Luna's Future
4. The Seeds of the Past
5. Say Goodbye to the Holiday
6. Hearth's Warming Eve Is Here Once Again
7. Hearth's Warming Eve Is Here Once Again (Reprise)
8. Pinkie's Present
9. Can I Do It On My Own?
10. Out On My Own
11. A Changeling Can Change
12. It's Gonna Work
  • Listening to: Can I Do It On My Own? by Zephyr Breeze
  • Reading: A mountain of pony books!
  • Watching: To Where and Back Again
  • Playing: -
  • Eating: Bean soup with rice
  • Drinking: Orange Juice!
Then you came at the right time, because EQD just perfectly delivered. I'm not even saying much about this, just delivering you with the link. Sorry, the promised textwall is not needed here, this just speaks for itself for the most part:…

So..... A random feature of some Zootopia animation, just because it was made by an animator who is a brony? Yep, that happened. Your eyes definitely do not deceive you there.
I'm not going to dig around now which PONY animation or video that is well-made could have been featured there instead of a completely unrelated thing, because I still need to get that other stuff I talked about organized and lack time.
But this is..... I don't find words for it. EQD was featuring non-pony stuff before, what with occasional progress reports on "Them's Fightin' Herds" and some non-pony songs here and there just because they were made by a former pony musician who left the fandom in favor of other stuff (and they got a lot of flak for that already), but this is the first time EQD straight up features something big in a single post that is not even tangentially related to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
I'm out of words, really. All I can say is, I can guess the reason for that:


Even though Seth would probably not admit it, EQD isn't doing too good in views these days. And Zootopia has a huge fanbase, there are probably a lot of bronies who love it too.
As I said, no textwall. I just let you do the rest of the math.....
  • Listening to: The sound of my head banging on the desk
  • Reading: Prickle Berry Tries to Be Careful by David Silver
  • Watching: EQD's downfall, with my prophetic eye (Still)
  • Playing: -
  • Eating: Spaghetti
  • Drinking: Orange Juice!
And it did not come unexpected. Today, I received a ban there, which was something that really was a long time coming already. Not because of bad behavior on my part, but because EQD has changed.
There are a multitude of reasons that indirectly play a factor in this ban. I will post some more journals about that, detailing all of them one after another.
I realize that not many will read this, because I don't have many watchers here, but it's mostly to vent and let off some steam.
There are quite a few things about EQD that I'm bottling up for a while now and they want to break free, now that it doesn't matter anymore when I put certain negative things about this site into the limelight.
For now, I will leave it at this and just calm down. There are certain other things I need to get organized first, but expect the first of the journals soon.
And be prepared for long reads too, because I have a lot to say. See you soon.
  • Listening to: Reflection & Reformation by The Music Reborn
  • Reading: Prickle Berry Tries to Be Careful by David Silver
  • Watching: EQD's downfall, with my prophetic eye
  • Playing: -
  • Eating: The food I'm about to order
  • Drinking: Orange Juice!
Edit: See the update in the comment below. It contains some clarifications over what I wrote here.

Today, I got inspired to write a little piece of analyzis about shipping. Silver Quill on Equestria Daily wrote an editorial about shipping and shipfics and one bold claim in it was sticking out to me and I knew I couldn't leave it unanswered. I ended up writing a long comment on EQD, but was also rather late with submitting it because it took time to write this, so I decided to copy it into a journal here too to share it with a bigger audience.
The claim that started it all is quoted below, followed by the whole analyzis:

"Often if you ask someone why they ship characters, they might talk about "evidence" from the show or how obviously the two would compliment one another. I think this is a mistake."

So? I can challenge that.

First off, let's delve into the general topic of "off-screen events". Every TV show, no matter which one, has characters that live a life. Each of them does. A portion of this life is what we see in the respective shows.
More life of the main characters, less life of the side characters, even lesser life of the background characters.
But they have one. All of them have a life. And even if we don't see them on-screen, their lives continue. They continue outside of the screen, when the "cameras" pan away from them and focus on other characters.
In "A Hearth's Warming Tail", we saw Lemon Hearts kissing Autumn Leaf on the cheek under a mistletoe that she hovered over them, followed by both of them blushing:…

We know what happened afterwards, there was a Hearth's Warming Eve party in Twilight's castle, Twilight taught Starlight about the true meaning of Hearth's Warming and why it's important to celebrate it and Starlight was convinced and joined the party. Then they all sang and celebrated.
That is something we've seen. What we didn't see was how they exactly celebrated after finishing that song that we saw them singing at the end of the episode. The credits cut as off of that, but we know they did continue to celebrate even after the credits pulled us away from them, maybe even for the whole night.
We also know they were already celebrating while Twilight was reading to Starlight. We did not see this either, because the episode showed us another room of the castle during that time, but we know they did and it might have been a very wild party already there.
But we don't know what happened during the duration of that party. And we don't know what Lemon Hearts and Autumn Leaf did there. Because there was no other episode that showed us and no scene that showed us what happened there while Twilight was reading..
But of course they did something together. We can't know what exactly, but we know they did, because even after we stopped seeing them, their lives continued.
Maybe they sat on a table together, eating away at some cupcakes, giving each other love-dazed glances, both of them trying to do the next step, while Twilight was reading the story to Starlight?
Maybe they were more daring in their blooming relationship already and went, after some eating and dancing, away and locked themselves in some guestroom of the castle and ended up occupying the bed together for the whole night?
Or maybe they just spent their time together near the chimney, wrapped in a blanket and cuddling up to each other and kissing while drinking cider, so deeply enthralled by each other that they couldn't even hear the loud party around them anymore?
Whatever it is, they did something together and probably had a great time.
And that is where it starts. That is where our shipfics start and we write about them, making theories about what they did during that party exactly.
We might not be able to find out for a fact what they did during the party. We might come close to what actually happened, might even nail it completely or are far away from it, but either way, we can never find out, unless the show presents us with a flashback to that party one day and we get to see what they did exactly.
But we know something happened between them at that party, because their lives continued off-screen, so we write our fics and show what could have happened there exactly.
And even though we can't see what happens off-screen, sometimes, what we do see on the screen gives us hints for what happened, or, is going to happen. And sometimes, these hints are even so overwhelming that it's just clear as crystals what's happening next, once the cameras don't show us the scenery anymore.
And not always is it as crystal-clear as with Lemon Hearts and Autumn Leaf there. Sometimes, it's more subtle, like, a pony giving another pony bedroom eyes in secretive ways that make clear something romantic is going to happen next:

What happened there? Why did Sweetie Belle give Berry Pinch those eyes?
After I saw that, I developed the theory they are in a relationship for a while now, have become young lovers, but, for some reason, keep it a secret. So Sweetie Belle was giving Berry Pinch a subtle sign of "Meet me after school. You know where.". And Berry Pinch understood so they met at their secret place after school was over that day and had a nice, romantic afternoon together.
Since the episode aired, I have this noted as a fic idea, which could go into either direction on the maturity spectrum, but no matter what I decide for in the end, it inspired me to write a shipfic.
Because, even after that moment and after the election was over, the life of every pony we saw there continued, and so, the lives of Sweetie Belle and Berry Pinch continued as well, off-screen.
This is more subtle than with Lemon Hearts and Autumn Leaf, yet, even in this case, we know something happened between Sweetie Belle and Berry Pinch afterwards, because Sweetie's expression was unmistakable.
And so, one day, I will go and write a shipfic about this, about what they did together on the afternoon of this day.
And same as with shipfics about Lemon Hearts and Autumn Leaf, I might nail what happened completely or fail with it horribly, or something in between. And same as an author who writes a shipfic about Lemon Hearts and Autumn Leaf, I can never find out what happened exactly that afternoon, unless I get gifted with a flashback.
But I can write about it and my fic will have credibility, because it's rooted in something that actually happened, something that the episode didn't show in its entirety, but that was hinted on and continued off-screen later.
And both ideas for shipfics I discussed here developed from such a moment, from something that actually happened and of which we only saw a glimpse, before the ponies involved disappeared from the screen and carried on with their lives without us watching them. Both of these fic ideas are based on something that actually happened, not just imagination or wishful thinking, but actual events. And from there, they expanded those events.
Both of these ships are valid and have evidence backing them up, one more, the other less.
But neither of them are any more valid than the other, they are equal, because both of them gave clear signs of romantic feelings involved. Because sometimes, something as subtle as a certain expression in the eyes is already enough to give those feelings away.
And this is what we should do, writing shipfics based on such evidences we see on-screen, be they tiny or big, because this gives the fics we write and the ships we have credibility.
Of course, imagination and creativity still are a factor and not every pairing or shipfic must be based on such evidence. Sometimes, we can let our minds go wild and create things from the ground up if our imagination leads us there and if we fancy an idea. Which is a good thing, sometimes the personalities of ponies fit together so well that it just raises the suspicion they might fall in love with each other one day and it would be a shame to not write down an intriguing idea. This way, we explore possibilities and have more to read to get our ponyfix during a hiatus and this can never be a bad thing.
But still, if we base our shipfics on such moments with evidence, the fics we end up writing will feel so much more realistic than a made-up pairing, due to the credibility the evidence gives them.
If you are a shipfic author, you should try and base your fics on these little romantic moments that hint on something greater that happens once the cameras are out. Your fics and your readers will benefit from it.
  • Listening to: Hearth's Warming Eve Is Here Once Again
  • Reading: Prickle Berry Tries to Be Careful by David Silver
  • Watching: -
  • Playing: -
  • Eating: Potato chips and cheese
  • Drinking: Orange Juice!
:iconvanillamocha01: VanillaMocha tagged me, so here we go!


1. Write the rules. (Or copy and paste them, whichever you prefer.)
2. Write 13 things about yourself. 
3. Answer 13 questions made by the person who tagged you, and make your own 13 questions.
4. Tag 13 deviants.
5. Make sure they know that they are tagged.
6. Don't say ''You're tagged if you read this".
7. It is forbidden not to tag anyone.
8. Tag backs are allowed. 
9. If you don't make this tag in a week, you need to obey a wish of the person who tags you.

13 Facts about me:

1. Scootaloo is my favourite pony!

2. I'm in love with the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

3. I'm a quest writer for "Legends of Equestria".

4. I'm a proofreader for and best friend of :icondinkyuniverse: DinkyUniverse.

5. Everyone says 2016 was a bad year, but it was the best year ever during my whole life in this world so far!

6. I'm a strong supporter of the multiverse theory, Equestria is out there somewhere!

7. I'm a misanthrope.

8. While I have a human body, I consider myself a pony in mind.

9. Making chicken jokes about Scootaloo is an easy way for you to get me to not like you.

10. I'm also a strong supporter of the motto "Love & Tolerance" and tolerate pretty much everything, except hate and stuff that is about hurting others.

11. I hate Horse News.

12. Ironically, I still hate the human species, because humans are a species that is hateful itself.

13. I adore Foalcon.

Questions from VanillaMocha:

1. Are you a fan of MLP? No..... I'm a fan of "Friendship is Magic", aka G4 of My Little Pony. The earlier generations shall not be named. Though, more accurately it would be to say that I'm a fan of Equestria and the Equestrian lifestyle.

2. Cats or dogs? Cats!
3. Mac or PC? I have a PC and I never used a Mac.
4. Best day ever? October 10th, 2015. The day my magnificent Crusaders got their cutie marks. <3
5. What are your dreams? Becoming a popular and well-known pony author and sustaining myself via Patreon, to escape the clutches of the ordinary job world.
6. What are your wishes? That Discords opens a door across the multiverse for me and I can enter Equestria to live there.
7. What do you think about Vanilla Mocha officially being an alicorn now? I never heard about this OC before, but I'm fine with it.
8. I can't think of anything else... is that alright? ..... No. Three months of Crystal Empire dungeon, starting RIGHT NOW. Guards, carry her away.

My questions:

1. Waffles or pancakes for breakfast?

2. Do you like post-apocalyptic pony scenarios?

3. Best fan-made MLP: FiM game?

4. How much attention do you give background ponies in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?

5. Ever heard of Lily Longsocks, Crackle Pop or Petunia Paleo before you read this question?

6. What is the most controversial thing you're thinking sometimes? (Word your answer ambigiously if it could get you into trouble)

7. If you would get transported to Equestria, what is the first thing you would do there?

8. Would you decide to stay and live there or decide to return to Earth?

9. Who is your favourite pony (only ponies who live in Equestria, OCs don't count)?

10. What is your favourite food?

11. If you're an author, how do you fight burnout and writer's block? If you're not an author, would you consider becoming one?

12. What is the most annoying thing you can think of?

13. What is the most pleasuring thing you can think of?

People I'm tagging:

1. :iconvanillamocha01: VanillaMocha01 (Did you really think you would get away with answering only six questions? Oh, no.....)

2. :icondinkyuniverse: DinkyUniverse

3. :iconstartledflowerpony: StartledFlowerPony

4. :iconpastel-pony-artist: Pastel-Pony-Artist

5. :iconshadowwing34: ShadowWing34

6. :iconhellnosorrynotsorry: HellNoSorryNotSorry

7. :iconchanceyb: ChanceyB

8. :iconsb99stuff: SB99stuff

9. :iconartwork-tee: Drawponies

10. :iconmeto30: meto30

11. :iconaskbuttonmash: AskButtonMash

12. :iconscootalooandtails: ScootalooAndTails

13. :icontwilight-monsparkle: Twilight-Monsparkle
  • Listening to: Heceta by FritzyBeat
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: Heceta (Animation) by DinkyUniverse
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: Nothing right now.
  • Drinking: Orange Juice!
For this year, I will for the first time write a retrospective while looking forward to the upcoming year. 2016 was special for me in many ways, so it deserves a recap in its honor.
I'll be writing it per month. Here we go:


Very surprisingly, this year didn't start out with a whole lot of ponies. It even started very rough and everything promised that it would be my WORST year ever.
Exactly on January 7th, I had to move out of my shared flat, because my roommate, and at the same time, owner of the apartment, wanted to sell it, so I had no choice than to find a new place to live.
Which I did..... And I made one of the most horrible mistakes one can make when making my choice.
Desperated and afraid to not find a new place on time, because it was getting tight already, I did not notice how "strange" my new, future roommate was. I noticed he was eccentric, a bit, but thought he was nice and we would get along together very well. My gut feeling and very reliable instinct for people told me to not move in there..... I didn't listen. As I said, I was afraid to not find a new place on time anymore, so I ignored the nagging feeling that something is wrong with this guy. And this was a huge mistake.
Shortly after moving in, it turned out he was a hopeless drunkard; loud, obnoxious, annoying and even verbally abusive (which might be a weird term to use here, since he wasn't a parent of mine, but that's how it felt). That would have been worse enough already and I thought it couldn't get worse anymore..... Until he threatened me and said he will tell the other roommate who lived in there with us to cut my throat if I make problems. Nice, isn't it? It got better when, on the same evening as moving in, he smugly showed me the gun in his room.
Sufficed to say, I made the resolve to get out there again as fast as possible and I did.
In a rush, I went to search for another apartment to live in. Not even two weeks later I had found one, a time which I barely spent in the apartment, but rather at McDonalds with my netbook and crappy Wi-Fi while searching. Only times I was there was to sleep and to shower, the former of which I did with one eye open and a blocked door of my room there (since I couldn't lock it) and the emergency number of the police ready on my phone.
So, using up my last savings (especially since the moving company scammed me and took more than they should have), I moved out from that guy and into a new apartment on January 20th, exactly one day before I would have lived with that guy for two weeks.
At this point I was pretty broken, financially and mentally. The fact the guy himself scammed me too and kep the 200$ deposit I paid him by pretending I destroyed something did not help either.
The only light I saw during these less than two weeks was Equestria Daily reporting on hints that Maud is going to have another role in Season 6:…

Which was one of those things building me up and giving me strength during this time.
Another downside, though, was the fact I could not attend an Open Server Weekend of "Legends of Equestria" that happened, because UPC failed to set up Internet connection at the guy's apartment in time for it, making it the first OSW I missed:…

But yeah, I managed to move out before getting killed..... Or having to kill him in self-defense.
The month ended on a higher note than it began on, with the move and the announcement of Flurry Heart, which I mostly avoided because spoilers, but lifted my spirits tremendously anyway, because I felt connected to Flurry almost immediately:…

From there on, things began to look up slowly, but it was also that the time began where I couldn't buy any MLP: FiM fan articles (aside from the monthly official comics, which was already a risk to do, but I needed those) and where I had to buy the cheapest food possible to restore my emergency savings.


Not much happened here..... Winding down, relaxing, recovering from the terrible experiences and from nearly two weeks of panic. Which unfortunately brought back my videogame addiction, that had returned way back in 2014 and that I was fighting since then, so I watched pointless Let's Plays of "Harvest Moon: Back to Nature" and others for a while, essentially wasting my time in the process.
I felt so weak, actually, that I had problems to unpack my ponies and bring them to their respective places where they're used to be, something I needed to force myself to do. A process that only happened very sluggishly.
Overall not a very good month, but better than the last and I needed a break.


Things began to look up more. I caught up with the fics released on and looked through two months worth of fics to put them into my bookshelves and our Cutie Mark(ed) Crusaders group.
I caught up on reading all the fanfictions for "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" that were released in this time as well. Another quiet time, that I sorely needed to recover.
I also discovered the Sweetie Bot Project in this month, making the resolve to support it on Patreon once I'm better off financially again:

Then, at the end of the month, Season 6 started on the 26th and suddenly, things were a lot brighter again..... I even dared to invest some more money, since it started on Easter, to celebrate this a little with more than rice soup and dry bread.
I watched the Season 6 Opener and fell in love with Flurry Heart immediately. And watching the episode even gave birth (No pun intended! But it's funny.....) to a fic idea for Flurry Heart that should turn out very important for me in the coming months..... More about that later.
I also wrote a very deep analysis based on something interesting I caught while watching the Season 6 Opener and developed a theory about the future, one that yet needs to be proven right:

Theory: The Mane Six will make a Time Travel!Ok, here's something very exciting that I just saw when watching "The Crystalling" for the seventh time. I'm really psyched about this, because I'm sure no one else in the fandom has noticed that yet.
Have you taken a closer look at the antique vase Spike shows to Applejack and the others, including Starlight, while he explains the Crystalling? Here's a reminder:
I stopped the video there and in the second before I wanted to continue it, my eyes fell on the pony that stands on the far left of the five blue ponies and I thought, without suspecting anything yet, "This pony looks a little bit like Pinkie Pie."
I hesitated with continuing with the episode because of that and then my eyes fell automatically on the pony to her right and I thought "And that one looks a little like Rainbow Dash."
And from there it went on. I looked at the pony at the upper right and recognized that it looks kinda like Applejack.
I was then unsure about the ponies in the lower row, but after some moments of thi

Another thing I did in this month was starting my first fic collaboration with Raylan Krios, a fic author on, to write a fic for Lily Longsocks together. It still goes on, but we keep working on it!


I started writing on the aforementioned fic for Flurry Heart, based on an idea that the Season 6 Opener brought me, an idea about Flurry Heart's future in which a certain decision her parents made for her might bring her a lot of problems.
This month also brought the first Cutie Mark Crusaders episode after my lovely Crusaders got their cutie marks. <3 Our Cutie Mark(ed) Crusaders group on was holding a very big celebration for this occasion:…

Which was even preceded by another stream event during the week where we caught up on the first three Season 6 episodes, combined with some gaming:…

This was also the month where we started to livestream episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic regularly on our Cutie Mark(ed) Crusaders channel on Equestria TV and the events were a rousing success!
A not so fortunate event in this month was Sony creating trouble, as it had acquired licensing rights for a bunch of the show's songs and proceeded to abuse those rights by blocking everything containing these songs, from the songs themselves to animations using them on YouTube. But we prevailed and defeated Sony together:

VICTORY my friends! Sony has given up! :DUPDATE: A little update for everyone who has used the song removal feature on YouTube, instead of making the videos private! AstrumSpark on Equestria Daily knows how to reverse this:
Tell people who used "song removal" feature already on their videos to make them playalbe again, they can undo it!
For that you should find a video on a Video Manager page and click Edit on it.
Then in its Audio tab on the editing page you can find the buttons to undo those song removals back!
So today, I was again informed by :iconsuppliedrelic: SuppliedRelic of something, but this time it's good news:
Sony has given up on slaughtering our creations on YouTube and all claims were retracted!

I just went through the videos I linked in the second journal on the matter and all of them work perfectly again! Some others that were set on private by their creators for safety measures are still unavailable, but are bound to return soon now!
Have two examples of what we got back (Update


May came..... Or should I call it "Month of the Sweep"? Because that's what it was:…

When Twilight started sweeping Rarity's new boutique in Manehattan rhythmically to a made-up beat, it became a trend in the fandom and Sweep Remixes were suddenly everywhere. I even made a playlist for them:…

Of course, that was not the only interesting event in Equestria that we witnessed in this month..... More importantly was that Rainbow Dash finally became a Wonderbolt! Scootaloo was even with her when she heard the good news, which made the moment even better and very special, especially for me. :D
And with this month, it was also that I got presented with another Hearth's Warming Eve episode, which finally showed me what I wanted, ponies celebrating Hearth's Warming Eve together (sorry, Pie Family, but amish Hearth's Warming does not count) and I couldn't have cheered more over this! The best thing about it? Luna, our Princess of the Night, graced us with a solo song! It hyped me up more than anything else in episodes of Season 6 before and more than anything that came after it:

Writing-wise, a success started for me this month. While I was up until this point resolved to finish writing my fic for Flurry Heart, then release a chapter per week, I lost my patience on the beginning of the month and couldn't wait anymore..... I finally wanted to release it! So I did just that:…

And I was stumped by the response and the success the fic had! In no time, it had more than hundred views and comments and favourites began to trickle in in masses and haven't stopped since.
This fic brought me a stable readerbase that came back every time I released a new chapter and commented on it with theories and speculations of the future course of the fic.
"Princess Flurry Heart, Destroyer of Worlds!" even made it to Popular Stories, a first for me:…

And as if that wouldn't enough for this great month already, there was a chance that presented itself to me, something I thought would never happen, but which I always dreamt about a little.....
To become a quest writer for "Legends of Equestria"! Of course I took the chance:…

I applied and wrote a little fic that was required for the application:…

Which brought me into the second round of the application process, much to my joy:…

Next up was writing an own quest to show I am able to do that, something I proceeded with swiftly:

Legends of Equestria Quest: Love Is In The AirName of current Quest: Love Is In The Air
Author: CMC Scootaloo
Tier: Low
Prerequisites: None
Giver: Sunny Meadows
Other NPC(s): Tornado Twist
Location(s): Ponydale, Sugarcane Corner; Ponydale, Park
Key points:
Talk to Sunny Meadows in Sugarcane Corner. She tells you about a colt in her class who seems to have a crush on her and pleads you to ask him about that.
Go in the Ponydale Park and speak to Tornado Twist.
Ask him if he has a crush on Sunny Meadows.
He admits the crush and you get presented with three choices to answer.
Choose any of the answers to steer the quest into a different direction each.
When you return to Sunny Meadows you can again choose between different answers.
Depending on your answers to Sunny Meadows at the end, you get 20, 10 or no bits from her pocket money as reward.
Quest Dialogue:
* aliasname
#When the player speaks to Sunny Meadows:
SM: *sigh*
>What’s up? You look n

But how that turned out was something I should only find out in June.....


The month began with some bad news, because I found out I would have to cope with another mid-season hiatus! "Flutter Brutter" and "Spice Up Your Life" (to my big surprise a new map episode!) aired and then there was silence from Equestria for one and a half month, at least on the TV screens (Luna bless the official comics!).
But before the hiatus started, I was given a great gift. Completely unexpectedly, I got a little insight into Dinky's life, the life of one of my favourite background ponies, as she appeared with her patronizing and overbearing aunt on the screen, annoyed by her aunt covering her ears over Fluttershy's "swearing".
It is not often that we get such a deep insight into a background pony's life and see what this has to put up with in its daily life. And it happened for Dinky to boot! I was so happy and overjoyed that I knew I had to start writing a fic:……

It was a special moment for me to see this and so it was a matter of course to write about it and explain how Dinky's life with that obnoxious mare might be exactly. And just a day later, it even got to Popular Stories, my second fic making it there:…

And like "Princess Flurry Heart, Destroyer of Worlds!" before, "Aunt Millie" acquired a respectable readerbase that returned to read and comment on every single chapter! But this was not the only good thing that happened in this month.....
On June 2nd, a nice e-mail jumped into my inbox and it was telling me..... that I made it and became a quest writer for "Legends of Equestria"!!!!! A dream got fulfilled with that:…

I also wrote and finished my first quest for "Legends of Equestria", called "Special Star's Heroic Deed", in this month. If you play the game, look for the quest in the Crystal Empire Library!
This was one of the best months in this year and in my entire life in this here world, but not the last awesome month this year.....


A more quiet month again, because of the mid-season hiatus, which I spent with writing and becoming a master (but not really) in slaying zombies as a pony when playing Left 4 Dead 2's ponymod.
But despite the quietness, it was also that Sony showed its ugly face again by once again taking remixes and other videos on YouTube down. But we beat it this time too:

The 2nd Sony Remix War is over! We won again!This just happened. Today, the newest album for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic released and upon checking on remixes of the songs on it that got blocked worldwide by Sony, I found them freely available on YouTube again!
The protest has worked, my pony loving friends, Sony has once more retracted the claims on MLP: FiM songs on YouTube after Hasbro's intervention!
Here are two examples of remixes, both from my first journal about the incident, that got blocked by Sony, but are now free again:
Einarx' remix of "I'll Fly" and JoinedTheHerd's remix of "The Magic Inside", both available again for your listening pleasure!
It's the second time now that Sony attacked us and the second time that Hasbro stepped in for us, saved our creations and helped us winning the fight!
This is something that was, until now, unheard of, a company defending fan creations, but this is what Hasbro does!
And to show your gratitude, as well as demonstrate that supporting Fair Use and fanwork pays off by voti

On the end of the month, it was over with being quiet, as Season 6 returned on the 31st with the return of Daring Do, while simultaneously, another OSW of "Legends of Equestria" happened!
I finally played it again, of course, and it was an anniversary even, as it was my 10th OSW! I also got inspired to another quest for the game.....
And finally, I also had fixed my savings and restored them again, which meant the end of the cheap life, finally!
How fitting for this, I even made a little trip together with my Crusaders, for "Ponies Around the World", and we enjoyed a good day and night outside together:

The Cutie Mark Crusaders at Fool's Tower, Vienna by CMC--Scootaloo


August proved itself to be an especially awesome month again, as MLP: FiM presented us with two very special episodes "The Cart Before the Ponies" and "28 Pranks Later".
The former one I was suspecting to be a Cutie Mark Crusaders episode, especially after I heard that Ed Valentine has written it, and it turned out it was right! The real surprise about this episode, though, was that we found out about another relative of Derpy, her little brother, Crackle Pop! After seeing him, I had another strong urge to write a fic and I proceeded to do so and wrote a fic about Crackle Pop, his little sister Chirpy and his participation in the race with Derpy, going by the title of "Fate must be Cruel only to the Kind":……

I even came up with a big cutie mark backstory for him, which was a first for me!
What made this month even more interesting was that MLP: FiM finally got a zombie pony episode with "28 Pranks Later", something I hoped for since I saw Season 1 already!
I was so happy about this, that I even spontaneously decided to hold a small stream event for our group again:…

Aside from this, I participated in the Newbie Artist Training Grounds by Equestria Daily and made some interesting drawing experiences again:

NATG VI - Day 8: Pegasus Sibling Hoofbump! by CMC--Scootaloo NATG VI - Day 10: Sleepy, little princess by CMC--Scootaloo NATG VI - Day 13: Super Saiyan Scoots! by CMC--Scootaloo NATG VI - Day 30: Prehistoric Apparel by CMC--Scootaloo

The first one of which was drawn during another day, or rather, night, that I spend outside with my lovely Crusaders, as we celebrated my first time reading of the Cutie Mark Crusaders Micro Series comic three years ago!
And of course started to write my next quest for "Legends of Equestria", something that should turn out as a long ride.....
Another trip I made this month lead me to "AniNite", Austria's biggest anime convention, where I bought a ton of pony merch as always, even a Luna plushie this time!
And something else interesting happened as well. While diligently looking through all the Crackle Pop fanarts that got submitted to Derpibooru, I came across one by an artist called "DinkyUniverse".
I loved the art style and was glad to see another drawing for Crackle, but otherwise did not think much about it..... Finding this artist should prove to be important later, though.


September was holding something for me that I did not expect..... After finding the account of :icondinkyuniverse: DinkyUniverse here on Deviantart, when a picture of her was submitted to the Scootalove group, she wrote on my page and..... it turned out we shared the same view regarding new background ponies and how important it is that they get more stories and art!
She added me in Skype and quickly, I became her proofreader and we decided to take on that task of making new background ponies more popular together!
September was also the month in which "The Fault in Our Cutie Marks" aired, the third, and sadly, last, CMC episode of Season 6. I looked forward to this episode with anxiety and excitement both, thinking the title hints at a terrible fate for my Crusaders, one which they either have to endure themselves or to witness.
Luckily, it was not as bad as I feared, although something happened that was hard for them still. It turned out to be an episode with very sad moments, especially as we saw Scootaloo lamenting once again over the fact she will never be able to fly. :(
But the episode also introduced Petunia Paleo, a background filly with huge potential, I immediately fell in love with:…

I also started supporting the Sweetie Bot Project on Patreon, finally, with my money problems being fixed, the first time that I support someone on Patreon!
And after this, a very special day came up in October.....


It was in this month, that the first Cutie Mark Anniversary of Applebloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle happened! I celebrated the day accordingly in their honor, by giving out a boatload of money for tasty food, cake and chocolate bars:

One Year Ago.....One year ago, something great happened. No, not great. Something extraordinary. Something that was long awaited, by everyone, and that should change the lives of three fillies forever.....
Today, exactly a year ago, it was that Applebloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle got their cutie marks! Needless to say, I celebrate this momentous occasion in all the fine ways:

And there were lots of chocolatey presents for Equestria's famous Cutie Mark Counselors:

Of course I rewatched "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" too. Even though it's a year ago now, and I already saw the episode for the 21st time today, I still teared up when I saw their big moment happening.
There were a lot of bronies saying they would never make it, that they are just not clever enough to get their cutie marks and that they would never get them because of that, but they really showed them all.
Since then, they are not just the Cutie Mark Crusaders anymore, they are Equ

After eating more sweets and drinking more Dr. Pepper than it should be legally allowed and indulging myself in catching up with a great fic based on "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" (which you should totally check out:…), I returned to my usual schedule.
This month also saw the end of Season 6 and its last six episodes..... But a new ship (Skytrail FOR LIFE!!!!) and an awesome season finale thanks to Starlight Glimmer, Trixie and the return of the dark and evil Queen Chrysalis, as well as a few others, gave a worthy end of the season (Flurry Heart was a little responsible for this too:…), before I was left out into another, long hiatus.....
Another thing that happened this month was my very first Nightmare Night fic, which sadly did not gather many views, but it was my fault because I released it on the most fitting, and yet at the same time, most impractical, day of the month:…


Season 6 was over and once more, I was left to rely on fanwork to keep me connected to Equestria..... Luckily, the fandom did not disappoint in releasing said fanwork, especially the artistic acquaintance I could make:…

It was also in this month that :icondinkyuniverse: DinkyUniverse and me began to grow closer to each other. What began as a professional artist and proofreader relationship slowly turned into friendship as we found out that we have pretty much everything in common.....
I also returned "Aunt Millie" out of a, dumb and unannounced, hiatus and "Princess Flurry Heart, Destroyer of Worlds!" out of a semi-hiatus, and continued to write both fics, not with a loss of some readers, though..... Which was something I learned my lesson from:…

I also finished "Fate must be Cruel only to the Kind":…

And included Dinky's pet turtle, Twee, in "Aunt Millie":…

And I finished my second quest for "Legends of Equestria" after a very long time, which saw long writing sessions and even the creation of two NPCs, my first ones!
The real highlight of the month, though, was when I got to meet Andy Price at Vienna Comic Con! I could see him and could get an autograph on my Luna Micro Series issues! And, on top, two of his famous headsketches and a print with Derpy by him:………

Meeting Andy Price brought this month onto a high note, but the last month of the year should be a blast as well.....


The big thing happened this month:

"Legends of Equestria" finally started the Limited Access Release, its very own closed beta test! *-*

Of course I am there and I played the first few days straight and without interruption..... It feels good to finally never having to leave the game and to make it my permanent home!
A dramatic situation also happened this month, though..... Having just realized how similar :icondinkyuniverse: DinkyUniverse and I am are and how important she is to me, she told she might not be able to return because her computer broke and she didn't have a replacement anymore.....
I did not let this happen and some amount of money generously spent in true "Element of Generosity" fashion fixed the problem soon. The events and heartfelt confessions even resulted in a small fic:…

It even marked my 20th fic submission on, what a fitting fic for the occasion!…

My writing was slowly reduced this month, as I began to settle for a holiday brak, this time with announcement. But I did not leave for this break before releasing a few more chapters for "Princess Flurry Heart, Destroyer of Worlds!" and "Aunt Millie", as well as my very first Hearth's Warming Eve fic, which coincidentally was my first ponification of a story as well:…

The new chapter for my Flurry Heart fic was even a special one:…

After this, I was ready to go into a break, which I needed, especially after a last emergency happened in this year:…

Now, only relaxation happens, after I ventured into my break:…

And now the year is slowly ending. While writing this, it is less than an hour until the new year starts here in Austria..... Not much happening anymore except for looking at Hearth's Warming fanwork, eating way too much, playing "Legends of Equestria" and relaxing..... But as last big news of the year, I adopted a story by an author who leaves FIMFiction, something I never did before, so the year ends with another "first":…

So, even though the future is unsure, one thing about 2017 is already clear:

There will be more writing! ONWARDS TO 2017! :iconscootplz:
  • Listening to: Silva Hound - Prisma
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: -
  • Playing: Legends of Equestria
  • Eating: Holiday Food!
  • Drinking: Orange Juice, even freshly squeezed this time!
Here's something I have to put my mind to for a moment. I usually don't write journals like this. But yesterday, something questionable happened, and it's going through my head ever since, so I need to address this to clear my head and get it out of my system.

Yesterday, EQD published a news concerning :icontoxic-mario: Toxic-Mario, about him allegedly tracing a picture:…

He drew a picture of Rarity as anthro referencing a female character called "Yoko" from an anime called "Gurren Lagann", a crossover picture like you can find many in the fandom:

Sharp as they Come

It got uploaded to Derpibooru, where the first comment written by M1J outright suggested that it was traced, followed by someone comparing it to a fanart of Yoko drawn by another artist:…

Eventually, Horse News, in its usual fashion and with its tendency to stir up drama in the fandom as our beloved tabloid paper, made a news about it after the comments on Derpibooru blowing up for a while, followed by EQD making its own news about it some days later.
The supposed piece of evidence for Toxic-Mario tracing the picture is this, an overlay between the fanart of Yoko and his drawing of anthro Rarity in the same pose:…

Some lines there match, others don't, yet a lot of people take this as confirmation and hard proof for it that he was tracing this picture. This interpretation of the supposed piece of evidence is problematic for numerous reasons, but most importantly for one: The fact that not everything on his picture matches with the fanart of Yoko.

"Tracing" is the term for the method of putting your paper or canvas over another drawing and then tracing over the lines you can see through, so that you don't have to actually draw by yourself and not draw a picture from scratch.
The result is, unless your hands are shaking, a perfect copy of the art piece you traced. A picture where every line matches up perfectly, like you are the artist who actually drew the original picture.
If you draw something by reference instead, the picture will never look 100% the same. The quality of the picture and how close it comes to the original will still vary among different artists depending on their skill level and how sharp their eyes are, but there will always be at least tiny differences that you can spot if you closely compare the two art pieces.
These are the very definitions of traced pictures and referenced pictures and that's how it can be determined if a picture is one or the other. If every single line fits perfectly, it is a trace. If there are differences or inconsistencies, then it is referenced.
The differences necessary for a picture to be the latter can be found in Toxic-Mario's drawing of Rarity as Yoko:

There are many differences that can be spotted. I will only pick the three most obvious ones here:

1. The legs

The legs of Yoko are very thin and at a slightly skewed angle. The legs of anthro Rarity are a lot thicker and at a straighter angle. This angle also looks more realistic, while Yoko's legs don't exactly fit to her pelvis and are at a weird angle compared to it. Letting the differences aside, it can be clearly seen here how Toxic-Mario looked at the original picture as reference piece, noticed what was off about Yoko's legs and did it better for his own drawing to avoid making the mistake the original artist made.
This is a typical step every artist who references a picture would do. A tracer, however, would not care about that and not even pay attention to it. Tracers do not care about improving.

2. The elbows

Yoko's elbows, both the left and right one, are of a very angular shape, which makes the left one look sharp even. These are edged structures and shapes one normally does not find with humans, if drawn realistically.
Anthro Rarity's elbows, however, are smooth and round. This is something that would not happen if one would trace over Yoko's picture.
It also shows again that Toxic-Mario did steps to improve the original picture and to avoid adapting its flaws, something a tracer would not even attempt.

3. The breasts

Yoko's right breast looks awkward. Once again, it looks very edgy, which is probably supposed to depict her nipple poking up under her bra, but might as well just be the artist having drawn the breast in a weird way. Edges seem to be a thing that happens a lot to this artist. The bra also does not adjust to her breast and rapidly changes its angle halfway through.
While the breast on anthro Rarity how Toxic-Mario drew it looks very round all the way through, there are no rough edges and no sudden changes in angle.
Once again we do not only see differences here, but clear improvements as well.

There are more differences between the two pictures, many of them not as easy to spot as the three I detailed here. To see and compare those too, or if you are simply still not convinced that there are enough differences to safely say Toxic-Mario's picture isn't a trace, here is a .gif that shows all of the differences much more clear:

Generally, anthro Rarity's body is a bit more plump than Yoko's and much less edgy, with softer, rounder shapes everywhere.
The differences we see here, as obvious they are if one pays attention to them, are exactly the kind of differences one would expect from a heavily referenced picture.
But not from a trace, as those differences make the picture not perfect enough for a trace and neither would a tracer bother to improve the picture he traces.

So much for this. And now we get to the hard part.
Every time I saw someone saying something similar, defending Toxic-Mario's drawing against the tracing accusations, the ones who insist on it that he's a tracer said that he just traced, then changed minor stuff to not make it obvious.
And this is completely possible. Tracing is frowned upon, HEAVILY, as this whole incident shows. Every tracer who has a bit of a brain will trace first, then make slight adjustments, unless he only traces for practice and therefore can openly admit to having traced without guilt or impending reprimands. For everything else, especially if the traced picture in question is one that is supposed to get sold, a tracer will do his best to not make the tracing obvious.
It's not only possible, it WILL happen if someone traces for non-practice purposes.
I know Toxic-Mario a bit and I can tell he's a pretty clever person. IF he would decide to trace something to shortcut his drawing process, he would not make it obvious, he would go and change small stuff, so that he can keep his head out of the rope.
That far, I can follow the arguments of the ones who believe in the tracing. And considering that no tracer wants to get caught, especially not if the art piece is supposed to get sold, those arguments make a certain sense that can't be denied.
But the logic here, that the picture is still traced, despite the differences, still poses a major problem.
During this whole case, Toxic-Mario showed himself cooperative. He provided evidence when asked, among that the original sketch and timestamp proof that he didn't make the sketch later in order to cover himself up:

But none of these provided pieces of evidence helped him to proof his innocence. Instead of believing him and letting it rest, many picked his evidence apart, saying he could have still traced the sketch, that the timestamps could have been faked by changing the computer time, ect.
Which is all possible to do and, again, when keeping in mind that a tracer would do everything to prevent getting caught with how big the fallout for tracers tends to be, it would make sense for him to fake all of these things to cover himself up.
And essentially, to what this comes down too, is, that it is incredibly hard for him to proof that he didn't trace this picture. The only way for him to do that, to provide an undeniable proof, would be to show a video where he is seen drawing the sketch without tracing. Something he obviously can't show, because he didn't film himself while drawing it.
So the only real piece of evidence he could offer does not exist, which does not give him any way to convince anyone of his innocence.
Toxic-Mario is aware of this, as his answer of having provided the evidence and that others can now decide to trust him or not, while he goes back to normalcy, shows.
There is not something he can do anymore now, aside from letting the evidence he provided speak for him and hoping that the whole case blows over soon and there won't be too many negative consequences for him.
What all of this boils down to in the end is a situation where it depends on opinions and the amount of trust in him if someone believes him and stops the accusations of tracing or if someone continues to insist on him being a tracer.
Right now, there is not any unrefutable evidence either way. There is nothing profound that undoubtedly proofs his innocence. But there is also nothing profound that undoubtedly proofs that he did trace.
The evidences point in two different directions right now and contradict each other. There is no proof to be made either way and it will likely remain like this.
What happens right now is that many think that he COULD have been traced and that it's better to assume this in case he really did, in order to not let a tracer getting away with it. What is overlooked, though, is that there is still a not small possibility that he didn't trace a single line of this picture and that he is indeed innocent and saying the truth.
There is a reason for it why in front of court, you are seen as innocent until your guilt is proven, not the other way around. Toxic-Mario is right now not in a position to proof that he didn't trace, but neither is any of us in a position to undoubtedly proof he did, but if he is seen as a tracer and treated as such, there is a very big risk that he is in fact innocent, but gets wrongfully punished.
And in that case, the consequences for him would be far greater than the consequences for us and the whole fandom if he did trace and we keep trusting him anyway.
If you keep trusting him and it would turn out one day that he really traced art and sold it too, then you might have invested into art you believed wasn't traced. But if he is not a tracer and people keep thinking he is, this could ruin his whole reputation and, since he earns money with his art, his income and therefore severely threaten his life situation. This is something you should keep in mind when you think about how you approach him.
Right now, nothing is proven, yet like with :iconartwork-tee: Drawponies last year, people are getting at Toxic-Mario now and start to punish him for a crime he might not even have committed. There is a word for this:

Mob justice.

I used this word a lot last year and it hasn't lost any of its accuracy, because I see the same things happening now. And mob justice is not a trivial matter.
It means to hunt and to punish people based on the personal, subjective feeling that these people did something bad, without having any way to know if they actually did. This is not how a proper functioning society works and there are reasons for it why mob justice is usually not a thing anymore today and frowned upon.
Mob justice is a sign for, and now I'm saying this as serious as I can and take the full risk that you feel offended by it, a defective society where no one cares about the truth anymore, but only about justice for the sake of justice and it is a sign of primitive, stupid people.
If you don't trust him and hunt and punish him, despite that there is nothing actually proving that he traces, then you are a stupid and primitive person that acts on his or her primal instincts and nothing else and if our fandom is becoming like this, if this becomes the norm, then we have truly failed and our fandom is a defective fandom where anarchy, revenge and punishment count more than anything else.
Let these words sink in and think if you want to be like that.

If you don't want to be like this, then there is something you can do:

Calming down and trying it with a little trust.

There are suspicions, and as I explained, they are not completely unfounded. But no one saw him tracing. He was not "caught tracing" as so many say it right now.
He uploaded a picture that someone suspected to be traced, others read the comment of this person, became wary, looked at his picture (again), saw how well-drawn it is and started to feel the same way. From which it spiraled out of control with more people becoming convinced that he traced the picture up until the point where people got angry and became emotional over this, leading to it that they didn't think it through in a rational sense anymore. The word "trace" triggers most people and anger can cloud the mind easily, which is what is happening right now.
This whole, bad situation started because people felt indifferent about his picture and became worried it could be traced and because they could not bring up enough trust to believe him.
But "trust" is something subjective, as much subjective as the opinion that he traced is, since we lack objective facts and evidence that he did, and that's why the distrust in him of those that are convinced he traced can't and shouldn't be seen as evidence or fact.
There might be an overwhelming number of people right now who believe he traced and are mad at him, but we remain with the fact that we don't have objective proof of him tracing and that no one saw him actually tracing.
What we can all do is think about this fact and staying cool and level-headed and calm.
Toxic-Mario was never seen tracing, there is no reason to distrust him like this, especially not with such flimsy evidence.
Calm yourself and try to put a little trust into him. There is a way to handle this situation better than it is done now.
  • Listening to: Sinking Ships (I can't get it out of my head)
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: Over the game I help building.
  • Playing: Ballgames with Flurry Heart
  • Eating: Too much work to eat.
  • Drinking: Dito
Well, isn't that quite the combination of secondary characters? - Discord

And here we are. The Season 6 Finale has arrived. Properly and without any leak nonsense.
And it was an epic Finale that went beyond my wildest expectations! One of the reasons for that was that it started like anything but a season finale:

Twilight, Starlight and Spike are in the castle, as Starlight gets an invitation for a festival in her old village (delivered by BEST former background pony and best sidepony Derpy Hooves!!!! :D).
She arrives there, only to be confronted with hatred and disdain, before she realizes that it's a nightmare and Luna comes to help her, giving her the advice to talk about her feelings with her friends.
They build her up and Twilight advices her to go to the village with a friend she trusts and who cares about her, subtly implying that she's talking about herself, only to get the shaft when Starlight immediately thinks about Trixie. Trixie, apparently still not liking Twilight, mocks her because Starlight chose her and then she and Trixie make their way to the village.
Once arrived there, it quickly becomes too much for Starlight when the ponies she had formerly enslaved want to put her in charge of the festival and, after she attacked them while losing her nerves and Trixie took the blame for it and helped her escape, showing what a true friend she is in the process, they talk it over and Starlight resignedly returns with her back to Ponyville.
With this set-up, the Finale starts completely ordinary and it seems like it's a Slice of Life two-parter for once.
So far, every two-parter had already hints for it that something dangerous is going to happen or at least hints for a big, major event that will go down, like the wedding in the Season 2 Finale, but this two-parter is different.
It started out completely unsuspecting and innocent, only to slowly turn into hell very soon. It was only when Trixie and Starlight had arrived in Ponyville again that it became clear that something is wrong.
This is the first time a two-parter of the show had such a sudden turn of events, without any hints for that at all, a plot twist that reminds me on the Season 2 Finale and Chrysalis' reveal, just even more unsuspecting and sudden then back then.
It's already here where the Finale shows how thrillingly good it is, but of course it doesn't end here and neither do the similarities with the Season 2 Finale.
From the moment of their return to Ponyville, a very slow build-up happens, starting with Twilight and her friends all acting strange. And unless you got a spoiler for the episode and knew that Chrysalis would attack again (which unfortunately happened to me and spoilered me more than I thought it would, as I had to realize), you still didn't know what was going on there.
Was this just another nightmare by Starlight Glimmer? Has she maybe not even woken up yet and she didn't yet go to the village? Or did some villain unknown to us attack and put a spell on the citizens of Ponyville to make them his loyal followers?
There was no definite way of telling that Chrysalis had returned and let her changelings replace Twilight and her friends in order to prepare another invasion of Equestria.
Only when Luna appeared in Starlight's dreams again and warned her, it became clear who is behind everything and, even then, it took a few minutes longer until we saw it directly confirmed, when the changelings who replaced the Mane Six and Spike contacted Chrysalis with their magical communication rocks.
This is a masterfully crafted, slow build-up that lets the suspense and the thrill of the situation crawl under your skin deeper and deeper while everything becomes slowly revealed in a pace that is almost painful to watch with the steady increase in atmosphere.
From there on, the pace suddenly quickens and we get the complete reveal of all of the heroes who would help Starlight on her unexpected dangerous adventure to save her friends and all of Equestria even, after it turned out that even Celestia and Luna were indeed replaced by changelings:

Trixie, Thorax and Discord.

After Trixie losing her nerves and panicking over the situation and making a plan to get to the Crystal Empire to tell Cadance what happened, Thorax appears and tells them that Cadance and Shining Armor, and even Flurry Heart (!), were taken as well!
Sunburst sent him to Ponyville to get the help of Twilight and her friends, only to discover that it's too late for them too.
This is already an interesting starting point with both Starlight and Thorax having believed that they could get help elsewhere at the respective other end of Equestria, only to find out that this place has fallen too and that they are on their own when they meet. We also find out that something mysterious happened to Thorax' wings, something that even he doesn't understand, which will be important later.
But it gets even better, when Discord appears too and, upon hearing that Fluttershy was captured too, loses his temper completely and teleports them to the changeling hive, which fails, so they only land nearby it.
Here the next big surprise happens, when we find out that Chrysalis is more powerful than we thought she is:

Her throne is built from a type of rock that sucks up all kinds of magic except for changeling magic, like changelings suck out love from their victims, leading to it that Discord's attempts to charge at the hive and take it apart to save Fluttershy fail.
This does, at the same time, give an explanation of how the changelings could, apparently very easily, overthrow Celestia, Luna and Cadance, as well as how Chrysalis did it with Cadance the last time; they possess rocks that can suck up a unicorn's or alicorn's magic, letting them easily defeat magic users without any effort.
All of a sudden, the changelings appear to be even more dangerous than they used to be!

Here, the first part of the adventure ends, with the fate of Equestria in the hooves and claws of four unexpected heroes; a mare whose only real strength is magic, unable to use it, and who has anxiety issues when being in charge of something, a showmare without much magical talent who has to rely on her wits and equipment to fight, a seemingly reformed changeling with knowledge about the hive who joined the good side and could turn out as either a loyal ally or cunning traitor during their mission and a draconequus without his reality-bending powers.

They make their way towards the hive, with the plan to destroy Chrysalis' throne so that Discord can defeat the changelings with his powers, not without developing a code in case they get separated and need to confirm their identities.
Arrived at the hive, they climb in through a hole in the wall, only to get informed by Thorax that the hive is constantly changing its appearance like changelings themselves do (which is, I want to say at this point, an incredibly epic thing!) and that only changelings can find their way in it, which he impressively demonstrates quickly by turning at a wall in which an opening appears a mere second later.
Unfortunately, they soon run into a dead end and even Thorax can't find his way anymore. Has Chrysalis changed something significant about the architecture of the hive after Thorax betrayed her and fled or has he lured them into a dead end on purpose?
Either way, Discord loses his patience and loudly announces his mission to save Fluttershy to all of the changelings in the cavern they're in, which leads to the first of our heroes' time to shine:

Trixie pulls out her smokebombs and distracts the changelings chasing them, while the others sneak upwards into another room. Where it gets revealed that it was actually Thorax doing all of that, not Trixie!
He took Trixie's smokebombs and transformed into her to distract the changeling while the rest of his team snuck past them.

Having been unintentionally getting led into the direction of the throne chamber by two of the changelings, they continue their way and have to stop again at the gate to the chamber when they saw that it's guarded by six changeling guards.
This time, Discord, still devoid of his usual power, uses his personality to pave them a way through the gate, by doing an improvised stand-up comedy show with the help of Trixie's microphone to distract the changelings, which succeeds and the others slip through the gate unseen.
Discords gets chased by them, though, and suddenly stumbles into a trap by a changeling who turned himself into Fluttershy. The events take a turn for the really creepy here when a whole swarm of changelings does the same, playing psychotic games with Discord by leading him to believe that one of them is the real Fluttershy, trapping him in the dilemma of having to decide between trying to figure out who the real Fluttershy is and risking to get caught or to flee and to leave Fluttershy behind, with potentially lethal consequences for her.
This was once again one of those "You know, for kids!" moments, where it shows that this show is made for a much broader audience than just children.
Having escaped the changeling swarm, Discord joins Starlight, Trixie and Thorax again a few minutes later.
But when he fails to follow the code, it becomes clear that he was replaced and Thorax explains that he's trying to lure them to a changeling swarm that is ready to attack.
Trixie offers herself to distract the changeling in Discord's disguise, which lets Starlight panicking over losing another member of her team and almost crack under the pressure, but Trixie manages it to calm her and to let her realize that she's a good leader because she brought them so far without any magic.
Then she captures the changeling with one of her tricks, while Starlight and Thorax flee into the other direction to the throne chamber, and Trixie sacrifices herself for her team when a changeling swarm lashes into her from the ceiling.
Soon, even Thorax and Starlight get separated, but Starlight manages it to reach the throne chamber alone, where Chrysalis already awaits her with more soldiers of her army.
Starlight stays confident, even though Chrysalis already spells doom on her for being all on her own, and mentions that Thorax is still out there, which makes Chrysalis furious.
She forbids her to mention him by name and calls him a traitor and then proceeds to announce that she will kill him once she finds him.
Shocked over this announcement, a blue shine appears in Starlight's eyes and it turns out that she was Thorax all along!
Chrysalis transforms him back by force and threatens him, while Starlight is in the back, trying to destroy the throne with a rock as her only means to do so, but Chrysalis finds her and forces her to hide herself.
With Thorax captured and herself being unable to do anything to fight Chrysalis, Starlight Glimmer remembers what Thorax had told her earlier about it that he lost his need to feed after making some friends and suddenly, she has a realization.
She tells Chrysalis that changelings don't need to feed on the love of others if they make friends and share love in hope to get Chrysalis to stop with everything that way.
But instead, Chrysalis becomes wrathful over this statement. She pulls Starlight out of her hideout and shuts her down immediately by saying that changelings are always hungry for love in a very enraged, almost nervous, way.
When Starlight continues to argue, Chrysalis becomes even more furious, shuts her down once more by telling her that she doesn't understand the changeling race and what it means to be a leader and throws her against a wall with full force in an attempt to kill her.
Starlight survives the impact, though, and, persistently, explains Chrysalis that being a leader does not mean to rule in fear and intimidation, speaking about her own past and what she learned thanks to Twilight and her friends.
But it fails again and Chrysalis proceeds to kill Thorax by sucking all of his love out of him, which is when Starlight finally realizes what the transformation of his wings means.
She encourages Thorax to give all of his love to Chrysalis, which creates such a big surge of love energy that his queen gets blown away through the whole throne chamber and against her throne, where she witnesses in horror how he gets wrapped into a cocoon.
As Starlight touches it, it opens and, in a bright light, it gets revealed that Thorax has transformed into a new kind of creature, akin to a changeling, but different!
Encouraged by Starlight, the other changelings follow his example one after another, and undergo the same transformation as he did by giving away all their love, which destroys Chrysalis' throne and the whole throne chamber.
All of Chrysalis' captured victims, including Discord and Trixie, become freed from their cocoons and Flurry Heart gets re-united with her parents by one of the newly transformed changelings.
After a quick explanation what happened that Starlight gives Twilight as she wakes up, Chrysalis turns out to be still alive and everypony, including Flurry Heart herself even (!!!), get ready to fight her.
Starlight approaches her, but, instead of attacking her with her magic that she can finally use again now, she tells Chrysalis what she did after Twilight and her friends defeated her and explains that she doesn't have to go down the same path of revenge, but can be a good ruler for her subjects.
Robbed of all her power, weakened and facing superior forces, left with the decision between fleeing and giving up her dark plans, she falters for a moment and thinks about giving up, only to realize again that power means more to her and that joining the good side would be a sign of weakness for her.
She slaps away the hoof Starlight had stretched out to her and promises her to enact revenge on her, then she dives down the remains of her hive and flies away through the badlands surrounding it.
Starlight realizes that she made herself an enemy and gets comforted by Twilight in this hard situation.
At this point, my prediction from shortly before the episode became true:

That Starlight will be the one who ultimately gets to decide what will happen with Chrysalis and that she will have to decide between killing her or letting her go.
And she decided for the latter, as I said in my comment before, she applied the forgiveness she received to Chrysalis and offered her the same chance, only to get fooled into giving Chrysalis the opportunity to escape, with the threat of another attack on Equestria, and even herself, looming over all of them.

Another prediction I made became unfortunately not true. Until the very end, I was convinced that Applebloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle would be Starlight's unexpected heroes, based on the magical outburst that happened when they got their cutie marks, hinting at it that an unknown power rests in them, and the fact that most wouldn't expect them to be heroes who save Equestria.
Sadly, it didn't come like this, so, I guess we need to wait longer until we see what that outburst meant and what epic things destiny holds for them.
But I am glad that Chrysalis didn't capture them as well. I feared so, at first, and it took me a while to realize that she hasn't replaced all of Ponyville, only those who could have been dangerous for her, which I'm incredibly relieved about, because with already having captured them and tried to kill them once, she would have made short process with them if she would have gotten them.

At the end, Celestia announces to improve the relationships between the changelings and ponies and then, Discord brings them, upon Starlight's suggestion, to her village where they proceed to celebrate the Sunset Festival together and, unexpectedly, Discord and Trixie of all ponies, two polar opposites, show to have gained a mutual respect for each other during their mission.

All of these moments, after Starlight and Trixie discovered the changelings, get built up superbly in a way that increases the suspense by the minute in fast, yet not rushed, pacing, until everything culminates into the epic showdown between Starlight and Chrysalis and the unexpected conclusion of everything.
I can't write everything that stands out about this Finale into this review here, and I don't want to derail it with too much deep analysis, so I'm keeping it mostly at plot descriptions here.
But I will outsource a lot of analyzis in own journals over the course of the next days and weeks.
This finale has brought so many new things and is a real game changer, it contains so many exciting events and reveals that give plenty of opportunities for a vast amount of analyzis, fics, art and more based on it!
So, even though the hiatus has started now, there will be much more analyzis about the Finale from me in the coming weeks.

To end this review, this Finale is without any doubts the most exciting and suspense-filled we've ever gotten during the show so far and with all the things it promises, the future for the upcoming seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is definitely full of things that will probably exceed it in quality by far!
Can you wait? I certainly can't await it and already desire the end of this dreadful hiatus to see how everything continues now, what changes the recent events bring and how the life of the ponies I love so much, especially of my Crusaders, continues now!
  • Listening to: Can I Do It On My Own?
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: To Where and Back Again - SEASON 6 FINALE!!!!
  • Playing: Ballgames with Flurry Heart
  • Eating: Baked Fish
  • Drinking: Orange Juice!
Some quick thoughts before the season finale. Spoilers are ahead, so proceed with caution if you didn't watch it yet:

So, I got one spoiler for the Finale..... Already pains me, but I'm probably lucky I didn't get more.
I know that the foe that attacks is Chrysalis.
So, Starlight Glimmer and her heroes (no idea who they are, WOOHOO!) have to fight Chrysalis.
As we know, especially those who read the official comics (and don't disregard them as non-canon because of waifu issues and other nonsense), Chrysalis is a ruthless killer who enjoys murdering a lot.
No motive, no reason, just being a murderous parasite with a heart as black as the void.
There is no reformation for her, Chrysalis has made this pretty clear in the past.
So, from this, I have two thoughts about the Finale:

1. How will Starlight Glimmer treat Chrysalis?

The interesting thing here is, that Starlight Glimmer was a villain once too. No murderer, but a villain.
And this leads to me to think about how it will all happen if she and her heroes should manage it to defeat Chrysalis.
There are two outcomes here, the latter I will describe better under #2; either Starlight Glimmer shows no mercy and finishes her off. Or..... Chrysalis begs for forgiveness when she's defeated, faking that she wants to join the good side, as it is her attitude, and..... Starlight believes her and lets her go, because of remembering how she was forgiven too after doing horrible things.
Which, of course, Chrysalis will use to escape and, without a doubt, she won't keep her promise.
This would mean that Starlight brings havoc over Equestria once more, by applying her own forgiveness she deserved, to someone who doesn't deserve it.

2. What if Starlight does not do that?

If Starlight does not accept Chrysalis' faked apology..... If she does not forgive her, knowing that Chrysalis is different and way worse than she was..... She will finish her off, both to rid Equestria of Chrysalis, as well as to give herself some salvation. She would basically leave her own time as a villain behind in a symbolic way by killing Chrysalis.
But if she does that, even though she will save Equestria from Chrysalis once and for all with it, it will also show that Starlight does have quite a dark side in her, if she mercilessly kills off her helpless enemy.

So, whatever happens, Starlight will do something that she might regret later, in one way or another.
Or, she won't regret killing Chrysalis and just be fine with it, showcasing further that some darkness is in her and probably always will be.
Either way, this finale will not only be epic as all hell, it will also offer an interesting insight into Starlight's mind once the fight with Chrysalis is over, whatever she decides for.

I can't wait to see her decision.
  • Listening to: "Top Bolt" audio
  • Reading: Proofreading this journal
  • Watching: To Where And Back Again - SEASON 6 FINALE!!!!
  • Playing: Ballgames with Flurry Heart
  • Eating: Salami Pizza!
  • Drinking: Orange Juice!