Sunday, 27 October 2013

Series 2 trading cards in the UK at last

Series 2 trading cards, with a few from S1 in there too
Is it wrong of me to be more excited by the foil Fluttershy than by the Rainbow Dash S1 promo?
For those (many) fans who collect Enterplay's My Little Pony trading cards and would prefer to buy them in person rather than online, you can now get down to your nearest Toys R Us and find S2 cards in the usual dispensers by the checkouts. They cost £1.50 a pack, the same as Series 1 cards. They're pretty much the same deal as before, with foils appearing in 1:2 packs and standees/stickers in 1:4 packs each. And yes, again we get the irritating if inevitable adverts for awesome-looking sweepstakes — that we're not allowed to enter on account of living in the wrong country...

I'm actually very pleased with what I've seen so far of the S2 cards. I took a photo of the cards I obtained yesterday, minus the tattoos (which themselves included a Trixie and a Vinyl!) but with a S1 Fluttershy I was given and the Rainbow Dash and Discord promos I got in the last Enterplay flash sale. I think the S2 cards have a lot of interest to them: of course the foil Fluttershy I happened to get comes top of the list, but the Sombra standee is great, as is the Flim Flam Brothers card, Aloe & Lotus and "Clock... is... ticking!" Actually, there aren't many I don't like. I'll be getting more!

Hello to my readers!

Thanks to events this weekend, I now know that I have at least two. Woo! ;) And yes, I am making this post just so that something goes up rather than there being a huge blank space. I do have a review to post in the near future, but it may be a few days yet. Or not. Who knows? :P

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Season 4 premiere synopsis released!

Hub promo pic for the S4 premiere
That ice tree thing is presumably not there just to add some local colour...
Thanks to Derpy Hooves News for this: The Hub (or, as they now call themselves, Hub Network) have published a synopsis for the opening story of Season 4 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. As you'd expect, it will be a two-parter, and as you'd also expect, it will be an adventure. I remember Meghan McCarthy saying that it will continue the story from "Magical Mystery Cure" in some way, so it'll be interesting to find out how. Anyway, here's what the press release has to say:
The fourth season begins with a revealing two-part premiere in which the newly crowned Princess Twilight must balance her new royal duties and her friendship with the other ponies. Amid preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration in Canterlot, Princesses Celestria [sic] and Luna go missing and the Everfree Forest is taking over Equestria. These unexpected turn of events sends Princess Twilight and her pony friends on a quest to discover a mysterious foe who threatens to destroy everything. It is all up to Princess Twilight and her friends to help save Equestria from being destroyed. As part of the journey, Princess Twilight is given the chance to discover the secret behind the Elements of Harmony.
I'm absolutely thrilled by this! Ever since I read the comment in Lauren Faust's interview in The Elements of Harmony book telling us that the Everfree Forest had encroached on Equestria, I've wanted to know more about this. I've felt that the dark, unsettling nature of the forest itself (as opposed to its inhabitants, eg the Timberwolves) has been a little neglected ever since Season 1, but this looks like making up for that in spades. One month to go, and I can't wait!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

DVD review: Call of the Cutie

"Call of the Cutie" DVD front cover
How do you like them Apples?
Clear Vision have released the second in their series of UK-spec DVDs of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episodes. This time around, I found the disc in the enormous Asda in Minworth on the outskirts of Birmingham. It cost me £6, but if you don't have an Asda nearby then fear not: although there's a slightly annoying 9-12 day wait, stock it too. Unlike with its predecessor Welcome to Ponyville, this disc's online price matches the supermarket's. Is it worth it, though? Come with me past the break and we'll see!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Finally, an official Season 4 teaser pic!

Hub S4 promo sketch
Maybe those butterfly wings Rarity had would have been a better idea
Okay, we had the animatics video weeks ago, but I think this is the first still picture. It's currently visible on The Hub's Facebook page and, while it doesn't reveal anything too startling, at least gives us a starting point. It looks as though, despite the end of "Magical Mystery Cure", Twilight is not instantly a proficient flyer, and it makes sense that she'd be taught by the best flyer around, Rainbow Dash. Whether this will be a major plot point or simply a small scene in an otherwise unrelated episode, though, we don't yet know.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Ponies Around the World!

There's just today and tomorrow left to enter Equestria Daily's Ponies Around the World event. Sorry for the late notice, but I didn't realise it was on myself until recently! Anyway, the idea of PAtW is that you take a photo of a pony toy of some description in front of a landmark of your choosing, then submit that according to the instructions on the EqD page I linked to. Unfortunately the weather hasn't always been kind of late, but here are my two entries anyway.

The first photo shows Twilight in front of the recently opened Library of Birmingham, the largest public library in Europe. (No wonder Twi is gazing longingly at the place!) The second picture was taken nearby, and shows Octavia posing in front of Symphony Hall, the home of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and one of the foremost concert venues in the world. Maybe she'll play there herself one day!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

About time we had a music post again

One of the things I love most about the MLP fandom is the music people create... but it's fair to say that a few genres do get the lion's share of the attention. With that in mind, here's something you don't see an awful lot of: a piece of Pony-inspired classical music. This piece is called "Magic Duel" (from the episode of the same name) and is by the Argentine musician Night Breeze. It has a very Mozart-ish feel to it, and I think it's absolutely excellent. More of this sort of thing would be very welcome!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

It was three years ago today...

...Lauren Faust began to feed us hay. *cough* Anyway, thank you so much, everyone involved with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. You have made a lot of people all over the world very happy with your show and the fandom it's spawned. Whether we've been there since the start, whether (like me) you joined the fun a little late, or whether you're only now seeing what all the fuss is about, it's been a wonderful ride — and one that I hope won't be ending any time soon. As Fluttershy would say... you rock! (Woo-hoo.)

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

September IDW comics sales figures: yes, it was a blip!

Cadance close-up from MLP:FiM comic issue #11
Cadance clearly has shares in IDW...
We've reached that point in the month when we look at the sales estimates for IDW's My Little Pony comics. If you remember, last month I was rather concerned at some fairly hefty falls and expressed the hope that it was just a blip. September's Comichron table shows that yes, it was! Possibly this was down to distribution problems, but whatever the cause it's good news. A lot to get through this month, so let's start off with the main series. Issue #11 secured the no. 79 spot (up five places) and shifted:
This is a rise of 33.9% since last time! More sensibly given the above-mentioned distribution problems, it's a fall of 6.7% over July's total. That still sounds a little on the bad side, but the July issue (#9) was tremendously popular. Issue #11 actually sold a very similar number to issues #6, #7 and #8. Next, let's have a look at the micro. This month's featured Celestia, so I wondered how well it would do. In the event, it placed at no. 136 (down 36) and sold:
This actually represents an 8.6% rise on last month's equivalent statistic. The apparently huge fall in the comic's chart placing is almost entirely explained by the fact that DC were in the throes of a gimmick and put out about a billion comics in September, certainly far more than they would usually publish. I suspect the micro would have been around the no. 100 mark again had this been a typical month. So really, no worries at all from me on that score.

For the first time, the MLP comics did not rank first and second among IDW's titles. The reason for that was the success of Powerpuff Girls #1, which sold almost 39,000 copies to propel it to the no. 50 spot. It will be interesting to see how well it does in future months, along with the other all-ages titles that the company is adding to its portfolio this autumn. Even so, nothing else got near Pony: the next best IDW title was Locke & Key Alpha #1, which shifted under 18,000 copies.

I have one more point to make about the MLP monthly figures, but three collections made the graphic novel chart. The most successful of these was the second main-series anthology (collecting issues #5 to #8) which broke into the top ten, charting at no. 9 with sales of 4,169. The first anthology continues to sell steadily, hitting no. 91 with another 1,121 sales (about 8,000 in all now). Finally, there's the first Digest, whose 941 further sales take its total over the 5,000 mark.

Okay, back to the point I promised: there are actually two further entries in the comics chart — because both the previous two issues (#9 and #10) of the main series shifted several thousand extra copies in September. Issue #9 slipped in at no. 325 by adding 5,030 sales, while issue #10 did better at no. 274 with a further 7,385 comics sold. What this suggests to me is that there's still demand for MLP comics even considerably after their publication date. And that's good news for all of us!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Classic episode review: "Boast Busters" (S1E06)

Trixie showing off, as ever
"They'll pay for picking that stupid tiger over me. I'm the one who's grrreat!"
Gosh, it's been a while, hasn't it? The last CER I posted was back in early July, but it really does seem time to do something about that. With "Boast Busters" we come to an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic that has huge popularity among a large slice of the fandom. This is, of course, because it's the ep that introduces The Great and Powerful Trixie. It's also one of only two episodes to have been written by Chris Savino ("Stare Master" being the other) and after the jump I'll let you know whether I think that's a good thing or not.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Just watched "Sleepless in Ponyville" again

No, I know this isn't a proper post, but it does at least stop there being a long gap with nothing! All I'll say here is that I've just watched that episode, and every time I see it, it gets better. It is by far the best ep of S3 for me, and it may well be in my top four or five overall. Corey Powell did a stupendous job with this one, and I'm sure it will be seen as a classic episode when we look back long after the Friendship is Magic days are over.

"Sleepless in Ponyville" was actually the first ep I reviewed here, and I gave it 9/10. I'm actually tempted to say that I did it a disservice. It may not quite be a 10 — though even that is arguable — but I think it's probably a 9.5. It certainly shines like a beacon in the very up-and-down S3, and I just hope there'll be some eps in S4 that measure up. I really can't praise it enough. It's a work of wonder.