Thursday, 30 May 2013

Comic review: MLP:FiM Micro-series issue #4: Fluttershy

MLP:FiM Micro-series #4 Cover A
Tony Fleecs's Cover B has a lovely simplicity to it
Look at the title of this blog. That will explain to you why I've been so apprehensive about the appearance of issue #4 of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Micro-series. I've long felt that Fluttershy is the hardest of the Mane Six to write really well, and some very good writers have stumbled at times. This one, which again was bought from Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham, has been written by Barbara Randall Kesel, who's new to Pony, and illustrated by Tony Fleecs, who drew the Rainbow Dash micro. Past the jump we'll see how well the team did.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Classic episode review: "Applebuck Season" (S1E04)

Applejack yawning
Who's a sleepy pony? You're a sleepy pony!
Okay, I think it's time for another classic episode review. "Applebuck Season" is the first episode not to carry a writer's credit for Lauren Faust. Nevertheless, some continuity is maintained by having the previous ep's co-writer, Amy Keating Rogers, handling this one. This is seen by many fans as the first good example of the slice-of-life episodes which the show does so often. After the jump, I'll talk about how I see things.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Equestria Girls dolls break cover... or possibly not

Possible Equestria Girls dolls
I can't decide which is scarier, the arms or the necks
The eagle-eyed Hazzat over on UK of Equestria has spotted that the Russian toy website is advertising dolls as shown above. They're listed as out of stock (Нет на складе) at the moment, which I'd guess means that they haven't yet been released. Their designs are... interesting, though. Note that the dreaded cutie mark face tattoos are back, for one thing. And what has happened to AJ's hat? As for our beloved Fluttershy, she looks like she's contracted jaundice. All right, the FiM brushables don't look much like the show ponies either, but really, Hasbro...

Edit: Ah... Equestria Daily says they're early prototypes, presumably from the same time as the similarly-tattooed cartoon characters. So probably the finished dolls will look a bit less terrifying. Even so, it's amazing that anything looking like this was allowed to see the light of day

Edit 2: Unsurprisingly perhaps, Lauren Faust was not at all happy with the way the EqG girls were portrayed in those dolls.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

PonyVid: As a Brony (ACRacebest/BlackGryph0n et al)

As it's a Bank Holiday weekend, I thought today's post should be silly. Admittedly that doesn't make it different from many of my other posts, but hay ho. This is a collaborative venture between ACRacebest (video/lyrics) and BlackGryph0n (vocals) with backup from the "Village People" of BlackGryph0n (again), Saberspark and Dustykatt. As it's practically the law that Rina-chan has to be involved in any well-known brony video, she provides the (small) voice sample for Colgate, who was vectored by ThatsGrotesque.

My thoughts? It's a lot of fun, of course; how could it not be with a song like this? There are one or two places where I think the lyrics have been rather forced to fit the music, and could perhaps have been a bit more elegantly done — the end of the second verse is one example. But still, I'm nit-picking and it doesn't really take away from the cheerful insanity of it all. So give a listen: it's a lot of fun. Or, as the Pinkies would put it: FUN! FUN! FUN! FUN! FUN! FUN! FUN! FUN!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Why capitalise "brony"?

Otherwise known as an "it's Saturday; Logan's too lazy to make a proper post" post. But still... I have to admit that "Brony" looks rather weird to me. I can't decide whether those who do it as a form of empowerment (as some people write Black) or by analogy with other fan descriptors like Trekkie. The latter approach falls down, though, in that Star Trek is clearly a proper noun, so it's reasonable to maintain the capitalisation for "Trekkie" — whereas "brony" is entirely fandom-created and is not a proper noun, so makes more sense in lower case.

The only place I've actually seen this subject discussed is here on MLP Forums, and the associated poll came out roughly 60/40 in favour of the lower-cased spelling. Not, of course, that this actually matters all that much (or indeed at all) but as I said, I can't be bothered to think up anything more significant for today's ramblings. For what it's worth, I always write the word with a lower-case b, and I can't see any reason to change. This post was brought to you by the letter X, because I'm contrary like that.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Okay, I'm just curious...

...but why do I keep seeing people arriving here after searching for "Lounder Yay"? It's been happening for a long time now, and it doesn't really make any sense. There's no N in my blog's name, and the word "lounder" doesn't mean anything — in English, at least. It's really, really odd. :P

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Welcome to Ponyville DVD cover appears

Cover of the first R2 MLP:FiM DVD
Spike seems... quite pleased to be next to Rarity
And here it is: region 2 Pony is revealed! Thank you to MrBaBa over on UK of Equestria for alerting me to this. Its Amazon listing doesn't really tell us anything much else, but the fact that it's a one-disc release suggests that Clear Vision may well follow the Australian region 4 pattern: over there, S1 was put out on five DVDs, with the initial disc (called Friendship Changes Everything Down Under) containing the first five episodes.

The cover design is nothing special, in that it uses the same vectors we've all seen hundreds of times, but at least it's a different look to the front of the Aussie and American DVDs. If our release does follow the Australian pattern, then unfortunately there probably won't be any extras — but let's face it, MLP:FiM is a bit of a niche show over here in any case, so we should probably be grateful that we're getting R2 releases at all.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Ceci n'est pas un poste

Well, all right, I suppose it is. But it's not the one it was intended to be. I was waiting to post my review of the eagerly awaited (especially by me) Fluttershy micro comic, but sadly it seems that it's not out today after all. This time, it's not IDW's fault — there's nothing at all on their official forum to say that it would be coming out today — but rather the likes of Forbidden Planet who advertised it as such. Boo to them. Anyway, it seems that the comic will be out next week, so I'll make a post then. I hope I'll make a post (or more) before then, but it won't be that post. Got it? Good.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sometimes I really love our fandom

Fluttershy Happy by Mast88 (CC by 3.0)
Fluttershy Happy by Mast88, May 2011. CC by 3.0
Well, actually I love it most of the time. Not always, however, and if you've spotted the labels I've put on this post then you may have an inkling of what I'm about to say. Yes, it has to do with Equestria Girls, or more precisely the reaction of some fans to it. Now, I freely admit to detesting what I saw of the show in the earlier previews, and although the trailer is much better made than I'd feared I still worry about the premise. Hopefully, it won't be a generic "misfit thrown into high school becomes prom queen" story, but we won't know for sure for another few weeks.

However, there's a big difference between whinging about what you fear might happen to MLP, or — even more justifiably — feeling disappointed that it won't be a full-on Friendship is Magic movie, and taking things just that bit too far. Which means? Well, a small number of people let themselves and our fandom down by going so far as to harass DHX employees. I don't personally know anyone who did that, and it's not as if this fandom is uniquely bad for these things; any big fandom will have such people in its midst; but it's still a shame.

That's the bad bit. Now the good bit: a fan named Featherprop decided to counter the harassment, by starting a campaign to use the Twitter hashtag #ThankYouDHX. It quickly got noticed, as these things do in our fandom, and a lot of people tweeted messages with the hashtag. Even me! (Bet you didn't even know I had a Twitter account...) Best of all, though, it was used by Hasbro themselves, and their VP of development and scripted entertainment contacted Featherprop to say that what he did had been hugely appreciated.

So, what started out as a rather embarrassing and ugly story, about a minority of fans taking things way beyond the limits of acceptable complaining, ended up as a heartwarming tale of the goodwill so many of us have towards the people who've helped to bring us FiM in the first place. It's things like this that remind me why I love being in this fandom so much. As you can see from the picture at the top of this post, Fluttershy approves, and there is no greater honour than that!

Monday, 20 May 2013

I want this cover

MLP:FiM comic issue 10 Cover A preview
Do I sense some Lyra-Rose tension going on here?
Unfortunately, it won't be out until August, as it's Andy Price's art for issue #10 of the main series. But it's a regular cover (A) so there's actually a decent chance of being able to pick it up for a sensible price. Yay for sensible prices! (But let's hope Price isn't too sensible...)

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Video: Fluttershy's weakness is part of her greatest strength

It's probably not an enormous surprise to most of you, given the title of this blog, that I like Fluttershy. I also think that it sells her very short when she's reduced to being portrayed as a two-state switch who never seems to learn her lessons. Now, over on YouTube, DRWolf001 has produced this excellent short video explaining why he believes Fluttershy has grown as a character during her time on the show, and why some of the criticism she's received about having the same problems repeatedly is misplaced. It's well worth a watch.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

First UK MLP:FiM DVD coming out on 2 September

We've known for a little while now that Clear Vision, purveyor of a motley collection of DVDs ranging from mixed martial arts through NBA basketball to Marvel, has signed a deal to bring the first two seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic to the UK. What we haven't known until now is how long we'd have to wait to see it. Thanks to this listing, it appears that the first disc will make its debut on these shores on 2 September — just in time for the post-BUCK comedown.

There's precious little information about the DVD so far, but the facts that it's apparently going to be a single-disc product, and that it will be subtitled Welcome to Ponyville, are fairly strong pointers that this won't be the full-season box set that I think a lot of us were hoping for. The Region 1 box set fits on four discs (7/6/7/6 episodes) and that seems like quite a strong possibility, though a five-disc release with one DVD of six episodes and four of five is also in the running.

One big question concerns extras. The Region 1 S1 box set — though sadly not the S2 one — contains commentaries by the show team, which are generally considered to be the single biggest reason to buy it. I'd love those to be included on the UK version, but in the apparent absence of a proper box set I may be asking for too much. Actually, I think we need to steel ourselves for a potentially very basic release, containing little or nothing beyond the episodes themselves.

I think that those thinking of waiting for a Blu-ray release may also be asking too much. Given how much of a minority interest the show is in the UK (and it will remain so unless it gets proper TV coverage...) I really can't see a Blu-ray being released. If you want your ponies in HD, you'll have to buy the German Blu-ray, 2.0 English audio and all, or wait until the recently-announced European iTunes version adds an English option to the current German dub. It's coming soon, apparently.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Budget bunching for BUCKaneers

The Silent, Pink Artist by Archive-Alicorn
The Silent, Pink Artist by Archive-Alicorn, Dec 2012. CC by-nc-sa 3.0
As we all know, there was some initial disquiet when the price list for this year's BUCK convention was published, showing large hikes over 2012's charges. This has now largely died down, thanks in no small part to good communications by the con's PR team, but some people did still have questions. After Germany's GalaCon published this post on transparency, including a pie chart showing where the con's budget went, it was suggested that BUCK might do something similar.

And now it has! Saturn, the con's chairman, has published what I think is an excellent open letter explaining the financial situation. It's pointed out, for example, that a substantial element of GalaCon's funding (a little under one fifth) comes from crowdfunding and other donations. This is not the case for BUCK, where something like 99% of the budget comes from ticket sales. (Which, I have to concede, is an excellent reason for only selling pre-booked tickets.) There are other differences: for example, BUCK is a company limited by guarantee, whereas GalaCon is a voluntary association.

But for the purposes of this post, I'll concentrate on the figures shown in the pie chart. If you want to see the pie itself (and I don't mean Pinkie) then you'll have to go and read the post I linked to on the BUCK website: yes, I'm doing this to encourage you to do just that, as it's extremely impressive. However, I'll concentrate here on the numbers themselves. There are four categories which take up more than 10% of BUCK's budget, and they are:
  • Venue (34%) — this covers the hire of two venues, the Bridgewater Hall and wherever it is the Summer Sun Celebration will be held. Remember that both venues need a day either side for preparation and clearing up.
  • Equipment (19%) — this covers audiovisual stuff, PA systems and so on.
  • Guests (16%) — this covers getting VIPs (John de Lancie!) to the UK, putting them up somewhere suitably comfortable and of course their appearance fees.
  • Fees and insurance (12%) — this covers the costs for things like ticket processing and also insurance in case anything to do with the event goes horribly wrong.
All the other categories shown in the chart — decor, admin & sundries, food and security — account for 5% or less of the budget each.

So, what can we deduce from this? Well, the fact that venue costs come top is no surprise, given the need to pay for two major venues. I'd also guess that the Bridgewater Hall does not have the cheapest hire fees in the world; it's not as if BUCK is being held in a rundown leisure centre on an industrial estate somewhere. (We don't yet know where the Summer Sun Celebration will be.) I'm not sure why the equipment costs are so high, but I'd guess that it's got something to do with the large size of the main auditorium, and the consequent need to use highly capable equipment.

The "Guests" budget is much lower, proportionately, than at GalaCon; in fact, it's barely a third the size (16% v 47%) — but then the German con has five show guests, counting those from non-English versions. BUCK (currently, anyway) has one personal appearance and two cyber-appearances. This is not in any way a complaint; it's just interesting, as it's by far the largest disparity in the two cons' budget breakdowns. (Obviously I have no idea how the cons' total budgets compare, but they're presumably of the same order of magnitude.)

And finally, there's "Fees and insurance", of which the first component is, I suspect, a relatively small proportion of the whole. The second bit, though, is an extremely important one for those who feel the need to be reassured. BUCK has taken out event insurance, so if something terrible happens, there isn't going to be a financial catastrophe. (And yes, we'd get our ticket money back.) This is the sort of thing that you want to see if you're looking for an organising team who are behaving responsibly and professionally. I really don't have any qualms at all in that respect.

Now, go and read Saturn's open letter, rather than just relying on my amateurish second-hand babblings. Then, if you haven't already got a ticket, wait for the second wave to become available in a few weeks' time and buy one. At least. That's an order.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Comic review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic issue 7

Stephanie Buscema's Cover B for IDW's MLP:FiM comic #7
Stephanie Buscema's extremely nice Cover B
One of these days, I'll work out IDW's release schedule for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. If it has one. As usual, I was only sure this comic was coming out earlier this week, so it was the usual trot to Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham to hand over £3.15 in exchange for what you see above. Well, not just the cover, impressive as that is; I did get the comic inside, too! But on the subject of that cover, I've always found Stephanie Buscema's art to be rather cute, but this is definitely her most striking and — dare I say it — awesome design. Anyway, past the jump, if you would be so kind!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Why I worry about Equestria Girls — even if it's good

Equestria Girls SpikeDogThing
And then there's this. We don't talk about this
Before we go any further, I'd better define "good". So far, Equestria Girls looks to be doing fine on the technical front, by which I mean animation, voice acting and music. (We haven't heard any of the movie's songs yet, but Daniel Ingram knows what he's doing.) The big unknown is whether it will give us a satisfying storyline, rather than just some rehashed rubbish about Twilight winning a popularity contest and ending up in a romance with that guy who helps her up in the trailer. If it can do so, and do so in a way that confounds all of us sceptics, then it could legitimately be called good.

However, that still doesn't mean that I'll like the implications. We've already had a strong hint from Bobby Curnow that there will be comics involving EqG in some way. It's long been abundantly clear that Hasbro is after the Monster High toy market and that EqG is a "brand extension" that would enable them to go after it with a vengeance. However good it is, it's inevitably going to mean that the overall My Little Pony brand is no longer focused entirely on Friendship is Magic. The fact that so many FiM staffers are involved in EqG is presumably one reason why S4 has been delayed for so long.

My real concern, though, is a little more personal. Perhaps it's also silly, but... well... consider what a brony is. Our very fandom is silly, and we generally revel in that. But: one of the major attractions of Friendship is Magic is that, because it's a TV-Y show aimed at little kids, it doesn't have storylines about high school. I don't want those stories — even if they're good. One reason I became a brony is escapism: FiM gives us a fantasy setting entirely removed from the real world, populated by cute talking animals. Add a human element and you inevitably dilute that.

Put bluntly: Equestria Girls shows the world of My Little Pony growing up a little. And, as far as ponies are concerned, I'm not sure I want it to grow up.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Classic episode review: "The Ticket Master" (S1E03)

Fluttershy cuddles Angel while Twilight looks on
Gratuitous Fluttercuteness ahoy!
Apologies for the month-long break since my last classic episode review; unfortunately life got in the way. It does that. Anyway, today we're taking a look at what might be considered something of a transitional episode. This is the first episode that is part of the regular series, rather than being a pilot... but it's also the last episode to have Lauren Faust getting a writer's credit. In this case, she shares that honour with Amy Keating Rogers, who would go on to write many more. After the jump we'll consider how well it turned out.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Equestria Girls official trailer released

Well, that was unexpected. Here's the official trailer for Equestria Girls, and I have to say it looks very different from the abomination that those early (leaked?) character designs suggested. The animation looks good and it has the proper VAs, so that's two points in its favour. On the debit side of the ledger, the setting is extremely clichéd, there's more than a hint of an (equally clichéd) romantic subplot for Twilight... and Spike is reduced from "number one assistant" to a dog. Yes, I know, I know, Winona.... but still.

There's certainly more pony in this trailer than I expected, though I can't decide whether that's a good or a bad thing. It's good because it's always nice to see our favourite ponies again, but what bothers me is that S4 of Friendship is Magic proper might now come to consider the events of EqG to be full canon. I hope not; I'd much prefer it to be treated rather in the way that Doctor Who and Torchwood are, ie as almost entirely separate entities. I don't like high school series much anyway, which doesn't help.

Meghan McCarthy has called EqG "an extension of the mythology", but that's (deliberately?) rather vague. Who knows what Lauren Faust would make of this? A lot of bronies are assuming that she'd hate it, but she's being as professional as ever and not shooting her mouth off, so assuming is all it is. Equestria Girls still looks like being a lesser show than the one that spawned it, and I do hope it doesn't end up taking over from its beloved parent. But if I get the opportunity, I'll give it a chance. Though...
"We are responding to the desire by our fans to experience the brand in more ways," said John A. Frascotti, Hasbro’s chief marketing officer. "They imagined themselves as which pony they would be or which pony they identified with the most."
That is probably the most depressing comment I've seen from anyone on the entire EqG affair. Imagining ourselves as ponies, quite possibly. As ponies, Mr Frascotti. Not as humans based on ponies.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Is the shine starting to wear off our fandom?

Alexa ranking for Equestria Daily since spring 2011
Let's put our fandom in perspective: MySpace, even now, ranks about 500
Season 3 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has not been universally well received, and some people have suggested that it marks the beginning of the end of the "brony fandom". While I think that that's considerably overblown, I do think there's an argument that it could mark the beginning of the end of the fandom as a phenomenon. In other words, it could be starting to transition from a huge and sprawling mass into a rather smaller, rather quieter place for those who truly love the show.

One measurement we can look at is the Alexa ranking of a highly popular fandom website — and of course, in this fandom the best known and most popular site of them all is Equestria Daily. The graph reproduced above shows the changing fortunes of EqD over the last two years, in terms of the site's daily traffic rank. The way this works is simple: the most popular site in the world (yes, scores 1, the next 2 and so on. In other words, a lower score means a higher ranking.

I think we can pick out several distinct periods in what we see above. To help illustrate this, I've marked a number of significant dates with a red dot. Here's what I think can be discerned:
  • 2011: Strong growth. At least until late in the year. The first dot shows the S1 finale in May, while the second one shows the S2 premiere in September. (Remember only having to wait four months between seasons...?)
  • Early-mid 2012: Consolidation. Traffic stays quite steady, although overall there is a slight increase, until the third dot: the peak of the S2 finale. "A Canterlot Wedding" remains the high point of EqD's Alexa ranking to this day.
  • Later 2012: Steady with a blip. After several quiet months, there's a sudden drop in early summer. I can't explain this, and it might simply be a feature of a change in the way stats are recorded. This ends when S3 previews become available in early autumn (fourth dot).
  • 2013: Decline. The fifth dot marks the broadcast of the S3 premiere, and from there on in the trend is clearly downhill. This is disguised to some extent by the large peak for the season finale (last dot), but the fall is nevertheless unmistakable.
So, having noted all this, what conclusions can we draw from it? My own view is that this is nothing terribly surprising: we've reached the point at which Pony is no longer the newest, shiniest fandom on the block and so those without a relatively deep attachment to the show are beginning to peel off. The same goes for those who are in it for the memes. Had the S3 finale not attracted such interest and controversy, the trend would have been even clearer.

It's a long time until S4, and I do wonder whether Hasbro have made the wait a little too long. Of course, they need a space to allow Equestria Girls its time in the sun, but that's showing next month: surely My Little Pony could have been given an autumn slot, as with S2? I think the steady decline will probably continue over this summer, with the unknown factor being whether EqG attracts or drives away fans.

Over on UK of Equestria recently, I asked the question "Where will the fandom be in 10 years' time?" and the consensus was that it will be much smaller but still with a core of fans; after all, there's plenty of precedent for recognisable fandoms continuing long after their official source material has stopped being produced. I think the Alexa figures may show that this process is starting to happen. Much therefore rides on S4.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Aviators returns with something special

I've loved Aviators' music for some time now. Really, ever since I heard "The Fear of Flight" last year. So it was with some excitement that I discovered a few days ago that he'd released a new song. This one is based on the S3 finale, so Twifans should be happy. Actually, everyone should be happy: it's a tremendously good song, which I've listened to any number of times already since last week. Click above to listen on YouTube; there's a download link in the video description.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Equestria Girls poster and synopsis revealed

Equestria Girls advert
There are no words. Really there aren't
So, we now know that 16 June (as we say in the UK) will be the day of reckoning, for that is when Equestria Girls will be released in American cinemas. Not all that many cinemas, mind: this list adds up to about 340, which is only about 6.5% of the total in the US, not counting drive-ins. So it doesn't look as though Hasbro is going for Disney-style saturation. After all, still resolves to the main FiM site* — and we haven't even been shown a trailer! What we do now have, though, is a synopsis:
My Little Pony Equestria Girls is a brand new full-length feature introducing an exciting new dimension to the incredibly popular My Little Pony brand. When a crown is stolen from the Crystal Empire, Twilight Sparkle pursues the thief into an alternate world where she transforms into a teenage girl who must survive her biggest challenge yet… high school. With help from her new friends who remind her of Ponyville’s Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy, she embarks upon a quest to find the crown and change the destiny of these two parallel worlds.
The first and last bits of that sound okay, if nothing terribly thrilling. However, there's one phrase that elicits nothing but groans: "her biggest challenge yet... high school." This is an idiotic thing to say: Twilight has spent years of her life studying at Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns; are we really to believe that she didn't come up against any of the same experiences and annoyances there that she would in a humanised world? The CMC do at their own school, after all.

Worse yet: there's a rumour going around, which may or may not be true, that humanised Twilight will have a boyfriend. Who will be a stereotypical "jock", possibly an (American) footballer. And who has a pet name for Twi... "Princess". Yes, really. I think I'm going to cry. Though I will give Hasbro a point for humour if they have him say "Well, excuuuuse me, princess" at any point. Even though Friendship is Witchcraft has already done that one. Better.

Now, you may well object that, three years ago, many of us would have dismissed FiM. This is true to an extent... but that series had Lauren Faust, determined to make a TV show aimed at little girls that wasn't just like everything else, and that had strong female leads who were not reliant on boyfriends and the like. The problem with EqG is that, so far at least, it looks like every other high school cartoon, but with ponies shoe-horned in.

This may prove to be unfair. If I get a chance to see EqG then I will, though the very fact that Hasbro are being so quiet when it comes to trailers really does not bode well. Daniel Ingram is apparently involved, so the music should be good — but FiM also has a clear initial vision, coherent design, superb writers, wonderful voice actors and a large, active fandom. If EqG gets that lot, then it will deserve success. I just don't think it will.

* Update 10/5/13: It doesn't any more! Now you end up at a single-page holding site with a picture based on the one above.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

April IDW comics sales figures: could be worse

Close-up of Rarity
"They said what about me getting a comic to myself?"
As usual at this point in each month, it's time we had a good look at the latest sales figures for IDW's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic. As was the case last time, the estimates (which, remember, cover only sales to North American shops) are taken from Comichron's table. In what will surely go down as a bizarre and controversial move, I'll be starting with the main series; issue #6 secured 65th spot in the table and clocked up sales of:
This is a decline of 6.7% over issue #5, which on the face of it is a little disappointing. That means that the only time we haven't seen a fall in circulation between two issues has been between issues #2 and #3. It's still not exactly a bad figure, and it remains IDW's best seller by a huge margin. However, the company's inability to maintain a consistent release schedule probably isn't helping. So, what about the Rarity micro-series comic? That made no. 91 and sold:
Again, we see a significant — although not enormous — decline, with sales having dropped by 8.4% compared with the last (Rainbow Dash) micro. Certainly, to see another fall in sales is a bit of a shame, since the Rarity micro reunites the wonderful Cook/Price/Breckel team and has been received extremely well by the fandom. However, the harsh fact is that Rarity is not as widely popular as Dashie. It will be fascinating to see how well this month's Fluttershy micro does.

As well as the problems engendered by the inconsistent release dates, I suspect that there are a couple of other reasons for the continuing decline. Casual readers are probably moving on: MLP:FiM is no longer the newest, shiniest thing on the internet block and there are no new TV episodes to get it noticed outside the fandom. I therefore think that next month's numbers will probably show a similar fall.

However, it is most certainly not time to get alarmed. This isn't The Walking Dead or Batman, and for an all-ages comic Pony is still remarkably successful. The main comic is outselling Adventure Time about 3:2, for example, though such comparisons should always be done with caution. We're never going to return to the astonishing sales figures the main comic had on its debut, but these are still the only IDW comics in the top 100.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Blind bags again

My Wave 7 blind bags
Spitfire's called Soarin on her card. Don't tell me there isn't already a fanfic based on that
Yes, it's one of those posts. I was going to write some more thoughts about the latest Equestria Girls news, but I can't face it. (In short, though: Twilicorn sees a humanish Twi through a magic mirror and ends up in high school. Or something.) Instead, I'll just give a plug for Tesco Extra in Cradley Heath, who provided me with my first Wave 7 blind bags, the ones you see above. Yes, I'll admit to doing a bit of sifting this time, which hasn't usually been my practice. I just really like the Wonderbolts' manes!

As for the rest... well obviously I had to bring a Fluttershy home. Obviously. And if I'm going to have one Mane Six pegasus then I should probably have the other one too, so that's Rainbow accounted for. Pinkie Pie looks a bit weird, but she is number 01 in this wave and for some reason that attracted me. And then there's, er, Banana Fluff. I bought her simply because she has a truly ridiculous name. Incidentally, I also found Rarity, but left her behind in the box, laughing callously as I did so.

Friday, 3 May 2013

UK publication for Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell?

Now this is an interesting listing on it looks very much as though Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell is going to be officially released in the UK. The publisher is listed as Orchard, who have a couple of other British Pony books forthcoming. Merch being released in the UK is always good news, but the snag is that the RRP is listed as £4.99 — and given that you can buy the US edition from anyway for more than a pound less, I can't see many people buying it online. What would be intriguing, though, would be if it turned up in the likes of Waterstones...

Also, you'll note that I've now introduced a "uk-specific" tag. Since one of the points of Louder Yay is to discuss MLP:FiM from a distinctively British perspective, some might say that this innovation was somewhat overdue!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Lauren Faust answers S1 questions

She did so via Twitter, but thankfully the fine people at Equestria Daily have collected them all together, and made this post of all her answers. She was confining herself to S1 questions — unsurprisingly, given her history! — so anything else was ignored, as (quite rightly) were those questioners who did us all a disservice by asking yet again why Faust left the show. Yes, we'd all like to know... but she's said as much as she's going to, at least for now, and we should respect that.

Anyway, back to the S1 questions. Some are more predictable than others, and some (such as the "pony that thinks it's a deer" episode) were already known through other means, but there are still some very interesting revelations in Faust's replies. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Trixie was created as a stallion... but Hasbro wanted her to be a mare
  • Trixie (again!) went to Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns, just like Twilight
  • Faust's working name for Berry Punch was Pinot Noir(!)
  • Celestia and Luna still lived with their parents (in the castle from the premiere) when Nightmare Moon appeared
  • Before appearing in Ponyville, Nightmare Moon went to Canterlot to magically banish Celestia to the Sun in revenge
  • Twilight's power surge in E23 attracted Celestia's attention: Tia knew then Twi could reignite the elements... and do "other stuff" Faust had planned that never came to be
  • In maturity terms, Spike starts out as around eight years old in human chonological equivalents