Tag Archives: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Writing: Unicorns Need a Publicist

…Okay, stay with me on this one.

While I spent the last weekend sick, I had time to do some musing on my novel getting type-casted as being middle-grade, despite knowing my prose is at 9th grade reading level, my main characters are seventeen (if sometimes decidedly immature, but…teenagers), and while the goblins are ridiculous, the hobgoblin is a real threat. I also knew most of the elements I used in my query/first 10 appear in other YA and even adult fiction books, so it couldn’t be them. What did that leave me with?


Now, I don’t know about all of you, but I grew up watching The Last Unicorn on repeat from the ages of 6 or 7 till…present. I love that movie. I can quote that movie from memory, and I’m due for a rewatch. And I can quote most of the Butterfly’s speech at that. Around 10, I found Bruce Coville’s A Glory of Unicorns and then his Unicorn Chronicles series. (I discovered The Unicorns of Balinor too young for it to click with me, the shortness started driving me nuts.) As a teenager, I kept hoping unicorns would feature more prominently in the Harry Potter series or in Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books since they keep getting name-dropped along with the werewolves. I read the Acorna series by McCaffery, but it wasn’t the best thing ever since it was very much sci-fi and that isn’t my cup of cocoa most of the time (plus I got bored about the time the lead got a girl and gave up).

And now as an adult writer who keeps getting told her YA book is too MG in sheer concept, I have to wonder. At one point was it decided that after the age of 12, we no longer like unicorns? That they are meant to be cutsey and wootsey and pretty, but we have to grow up and start liking “serious” books that talk about the world around us, or that if we must do fantasy, shouldn’t we read about dragons, who can be both good or bad or neither and be beasts or companion?*

When I googled unicorns, I didn’t pull up images of Amalthea. I didn’t pull up pictures of fantasy artwork featuring them, like the poster that was in my childhood bedroom up until my mother sold her house four years ago. I didn’t even pull up pictures from old medieval texts, where they were trying to hash together what a unicorn looked like, and boy, were those a mess.

I pulled up My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic characters. I pulled up cute, stout little chibi figures. I pulled up rainbow and glitter silhouettes. I even pull up a couple of collections of Unicornos, a collection of figurines big out of Asia with different crazy designs that reminds me of MLP in a lot of ways. Or I pull up the horn with a smile and big eyelashes underneath, which is the latest fad, particularly for these “unicorn” cakes. Worse, I pull up super cheap figurines and stuffed toys that are fine for those about age 9 and younger, but any older and you will get some funny looks.

This strikes me as odd. Now, I liked the first two seasons of MLP, but let me tell you, I’d have never admitted to that in high school. (Especially since the show got increasingly juvenile after Faust left.) And as for what I did have… Amalthea faced hardship, and had to change the fundamental core of what she was in order to save the others. Lightfoot and his people went to war, so people could continue to be happy, could continue to have art and music and joy to their lives, for without them, humans were a sad, miserable lot. I wasn’t embarrassed about enjoying those characters, because I knew that they could withstand the scrutiny. Yes, I was able to immerse myself in a fantasy about unicorns, about creatures called to young girls mostly, but they weren’t these one-dimensional ideas, they were actually people with personalities and flaws and growth.

So that now leaves me with a question. Has the world changed? Have teenagers decided they are too old for unicorns, that they don’t need the ideals but instead need the dark and the gritty reality of their world, or only knights and dragons? Or have we, the adults, just decided that they don’t need it anymore? That it’s just a security blanket of childhood, and that there is no depth to be found there?

I hope it’s the latter, and that we can change it. Because I don’t know about you all, but I still need unicorns. I still need to believe in something fundamentally good…even if some of them are jerks, like Moonshine, or a little too interested in fighting, like Sunny will grow up to be.


My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 2 Finale Review

…Lord that title is long. And yeah, I skipped last week. Massive deadline and plus I had the debut of the episode wrong. ^^;; Oops.

ANYWAY, I’ll start off with the story structure, which was pretty epic, even though it was kind of cliche. However, there is no such thing as an original story, so I’m willing to forgive that. Though I do wonder how many times Twilight can be right. There comes a point where I really want her to wrong. Like way wrong. But I’m also cynical. The only part that felt awkward was when Twilight confronted her brother. It was okay for about half of that scene, but then it just didn’t flow right. I think it could have used a little tinkering.

Which gets me to characters. Shining Armor was SO FLAT. Admittedly, we don’t see much of him, but there comes a point where I was rather annoyed with him. Plus, he gave up WAY too easily for the Captain of the Royal Guard, especially with his beloved AND his kingdom in danger. Ugh. And I shall not be bribed by Luna, people! …Okay, I squeed like a fangirl when she appeared every time, but still! I cannot believe she slept through the whole day that solidly and didn’t notice the changeling invasion. That’s just strange. Chrysalis was pretty amazing, but I had such Nightmare Moon flashbacks… I guess there is only so many ways to do an evil mare. As for my previous complaints about Cadance? Three seconds of flight in a song sequence does not validate wings. Nope.

…The music was pretty epic though. I don’t know who does the music for MLP, but they do an amazing job. As do the voice actors. “This Day Aria” is amazing, not only as a song, but because of the singer. I love the duality of it, which reminds me subtly of Disney’s The Little Mermaid with Vanessa and Ariel (if Ariel could talk at that point in the movie). Britt McKillip really deserves a round of applause for making so even if you don’t have a picture in front of you, you can tell two different people with identical voices are singing. That is so hard to do, and she managed it with phrasing and the subtle way of hitting notes to make Chrysalis just sound like an evil version of Cadance. (And yes, I’m listening to that song on repeat as I write this.)

There were a couple of animations blips (“This Day” has some involving Cadance and the mirror), and I can’t say I like the “good” Cadance’s wedding dress. It really isn’t visually appealing to me. The evil suited her better, somewhat. Like if I could take the “good” version’s skirt, minus the giant pink RANDOM bow, and the straight-edged veil, and the front/hair of the first one’s, I’d be happy. And speaking of the veil, way to be subtle there. XD I just feel like there’s a disconnect between the bridal party in the end, which is slightly annoying.  Also, holy bipedal ponies, Batman! They pushed that pretty far in this episode(s).

Overall, it’s a good way to close out the season. (And us Soarin/Dash shippers got to freak out at the end, thanks for that.)

Sticking with Creator’s Intent

So, from the middle of tornado season (it’s been nuts all day and is promised to be the same tomorrow), I’m going to discuss something that has a frivolous source, but I think is a big deal: people going in later and changing a creator’s work.

First things first. I, gentle readers….am a brony.

For those unfamiliar with the term, it means I watch the latest relaunch of the My Little Pony enterprise, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I blame being sick and images on deviantart for getting me curious enough to watch it, but the first and last two-parter episodes of Season 1 were too epic to ignore, and the opening for Season 2 was just as good. Now we’re approaching the finale for Season 2, and suddenly, my writer’s britches are in a bunch.

Between the two seasons, Lauren Faust, who has worked behind the scenes of such shows as Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and The Powerpuff Girls and conceptualized MLP: FiM, left the show in the hands of other staff who came on board. On one hand, I can tell the difference in the stories, but on the other, it wasn’t so drastic a change that I think anyone who wasn’t a writer would have noticed. She did have her hand though in some of the character and story creation for the second season before she left. One of which is the upcoming finale, the first half premiering this weekend. As could be expected, the Hub is making quite a big deal, and several facts have already been released. SOMETHING is going on at a wedding between Twilight’s brother (who knew she had one? This is the season of finding out about families we didn’t know existed for the main characters…) and Princess Cadence/Cadance (her spelling is up in the air officially), a niece of Princess Celestia (and one would assume Princess Luna too, but she is frequently forgotten, poor dear).

When I first read that, my mind went, “Oh, another pseudo-relation like Prince Blueblood of Season 1. Meh, okay, I can go with that. Maybe the two are even related.” The former character was a unicorn stallion, not an alicorn like the two princesses. (Alicorn, btw, is a highly incorrect term for the unicorn/pegasi combos in the fandom. Incorrect because, as unicorn fans know, alicorn is a unicorn’s HORN.) Alicorn in this universe seems linked to goddess, due to how long-lived they are and their strength of magic. The two princesses for example have been around for over 1000 years (Admittedly (spoiler), Luna spent most of that sealed away in the moon) and have the ability to raise and lower the sun and moon, a.k.a. controlling day, night, and life as we know it. It makes sense there are only two of them. But then my curiosity bit me in the butt and I went to the show wiki to look the character up, because sometimes pictures are released early too.

And I see a purple and pink alicorn and I about broke. Especially since I knew Faust had even said how powerful/rare the alicorns were in an interview. This led to a little investigating, which turned up that when Faust was part of the show, Cadence wasn’t an alicorn at all.

And this is where as a writer, I am moderately annoyed on her behalf. As my giant diatribe above notes, there are reasons there are only two alicorns in the series. They serve a purpose, and lord knows Luna is frequently forgotten as it is. So why on earth would they throw in another one? Unless it was because people had a brain break when Prince Blueblood was a unicorn, but that was explained so I have issues with that. I’ve heard speculation that she’s meant to replace the old Celestia toy in Hasbro, since the character was originally pink but became white, but that makes no sense because Faust created her. Writers tend to do things for reasons…or subconsciously for reasons that end up being relevant later (I did that with The Last Guardians trilogy, it’s funny NOW).

…All I have to say is there had better be a PLOT RELEVANT reason why Cadence suddenly had to have wings and a horn both, or else I might mutiny. I’m already half-tempted, just because how Luna became Nightmare Moon hasn’t been explained YET, which is annoying. I mean, before it made sense that her own power corrupted her due to feeling jealous and ignored by her older sister. But Faust broke that bubble, and now I demand a reason.