Saturday, 24 September 2016

Pony Music Library 26: "Unleash the Magic"

Writing continues apace on what I now like to think of as Proper Story, which may not work out perfectly but which is already approximately a billion times better than Sunset's Sales Snag. Today, though, it's music that takes my attention, with a song that's only a year old but which I think is one of the finest canon tracks of them all.

What? "Unleash the Magic"

Who? Daniel Ingram, Caleb Chan and Trevor Hoffman (music); Daniel Ingram and Josh Haber (lyrics)

Which? Equestria Girls song

When? September 2015

Why? After the sustained musical excellence of Rainbow Rocks, the third film in the sub-franchise had a hard job living up to it – and it didn't. Although a couple of songs were very good, others did tend to suffer from Ingram Disease, the tendency to overcomplicate music that would be more effective if kept simple. "Unleash the Magic" just works, though, and (as with "This Day Aria") is a great example of how Disney-style villainy can be incorporated into music and still fit in with the world of MLP. Iris Quinn's fine turn as Cinch is wonderfully backed up by the Shadowbolts, with Rebecca Shiochet's eternally fantastic Twilight voice being the icing on the cake.

Friday, 23 September 2016

New story by me: Sunset's Sales Snag

Red and yellow stylised sun logo
Taken from some public domain picture library or other
Sunset's Sales Snag by Loganberry
Sunset Shimmer and OC
Comedy/Equestria Girls/Slice of Life; 1k words; Sep 2016; Teen (Sex)
Sunset Shimmer works in market research. It's not going too well.
Sunset Shimmer, now 21 but still stuck in a dead-end sales job knocking on doors for a cake company, has put up with plenty in her years on the road. Drenching rain, clueless managers, hyenas... it's probably surprising she hasn't run into this problem before. A bit of silly fluff for Sunset Shimmer Day.

Before you say it: yes, I know yesterday was Sunset Shimmer Day. I did in fact publish this then, but have only just got round to posting about it here. Don't expect much (even by my standards) from this one – that last sentence of the description pretty much says it all. It's a case of writing a few paragraphs for fun, writing a few more, realising I was going to pass 1,000 words... and shrugging and deciding I might as well publish the damn thing anyway. The [Sex] tag is cautious, and is there for thematic reasons; there's nothing explicit in the story.

As I type this, the story isn't doing terribly well with readers: its thumbscore is +12/-4 as I type. It probably deserves that mediocre rating, though I suspect at least some of the downvoters did it just for the ending (which is indeed feeble). But I'm just relieved to have got something out after more than six months since my last full-length fic. Hopefully the next story I put out will be back to somewhere remotely near where I'd expect to be. :)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Text Review Roundup: "Viva Las Pegasus"

Wide view of Las Pegasus
That head at the back... that's not modelled on Shining Armor, is it...?
It's Thursday, so it's time for this week's TRR. "Viva Las Pegasus" got a rather mixed reaction on UK of Equestria, but a more positive one on Equestria Daily. The text-based reviewers generally side with the EQD commenters this time, with nobody outright disliking the episode. As usual, you can click on a reviewer's name to read their thoughts in full.

ArthurCrane –positive ("really fun")

Articles of Destroyer –very positive (rated 9/10; "a highlight of the Season" though wanted more AJ/FS interaction)

Derpy News – fairly positive (graded B; "Mileage may vary on Flim Flams")

Louder Yay – very positive (four stars; "really entertaining and different")

MLEEP Reviews – wildly positive (rated 10/10; "some truly fabulous performances")

The Railfan Brony Blog – positive (rated 8/10; "wasn't perfect, but ... had potential that didn't feel wasted")

The Super Mario Brony Blog – wildly positive (rated 10/10; "will blow your mind, fascinate you, and entertain you")

Super Recaps – mixed ("okay, but it didn’t do anything special and it had a few jokes that fell really flat")

TheDragonWarlock – mostly positive (graded B+; "[AJ and FS] work well together")

Thrond Media Pony Corner – slightly positive ("fun, if not terribly memorable ... plays it safe")

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 125: InterCity

I'm writing ponyfic again! I'd like to thank the anonymous person who joked that I should write a [2nd Person] fic. I wrote a couple of paragraphs of one to humour them, and it morphed into an actual story. It's looking like it'll make it to Fimfiction, too, although it's very unlikely to be a second-person fic by that time. As it happens, there's a second-person story in this week's selection, albeit one by a far better writer than I shall ever be. Still, not even the best are sure-fire guarantors of success, so let's see how we do.

Pinkie Pie Is An Eldritch Abomination by PonyAmorous
A Fledgling's Struggle by BillBooks
Uncle Dave's Coffee Shop by SugarPesticide
For Whom We Are Hungry by Cold in Gardez
Forever Faithful by Konseiga

★: 0 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 2 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 1

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A musical interlude: Matías Peñaloza plays "Shine Like Rainbows"

Because of family commitments, I haven't had time to finish writing "Most and Least Rewatchable: Season Four", so that feature will be held over until next Tuesday. I'll put your minds at rest, though, by saying that I have indeed resisted the immense temptation to put "Bats!" or "Rainbow Falls" at number one just to annoy people. :P

Instead, today I bring you this very fine performance of my favourite Rainbow Rocks song, played on keyboard by the excellent Matías Peñaloza – who, if he hasn't been featured on EQD already, surely must be soon. Clearly Casio keyboards have come a long way from the 1980s, when they were a bit of a joke, but it's the skill of the man playing the song that's the reason I'm posting this here. :)

Monday, 19 September 2016

Episode review: S6E20: "Viva Las Pegasus"

Siegfried, Roy, Fluttershy and prairie dogs
Fluttershy has some absurdly cute faces in this episode. Yes, even more than usual
Could it be true? Were we actually going to visit a city that wasn't Manehattan? I was looking forward to this episode for that reason alone, but it didn't hurt that its writers – Kevin Burke and Chris Wyatt – had shown their colours with "The Times They Are a Changeling". The title was an obvious Elvis reference, but last week's title had no bearing on the plot so I wasn't assuming anything. Past the break for the review itself!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Comic mini-review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #45

IDW MLP comic issue #45, main cover
I like the little heart shape Tony Fleecs included in this
And so we come to the end of this slightly disappointing three-issue arc. You'd think Thom Zahler, Tony Fleecs and Heather Breckel could have done a little more with the premise, really. This final part is a small step up in entertainment value from last month's issue, enough to push it into the three-star band. In contrast to some reviewers, it seems, I actually quite like how the Nightmare Moon thing turns out, and some of Fleecs's dark-tinged panels are really rather striking. The resolution of several ponies' stories (including Fluttershy's) is disappointingly sudden, though, and Zecora's dialogue still grates on the ear. As a whole, the arc goes into the "mildly diverting" category, no more than that. ★★★