Friday, 27 December 2013

Taking a short break; Top 10 Pony Songs of 2013 coming soon!

Don't worry, nothing bad has happened. I'm just off on holiday for a while, and I won't have much internet access for the next week or so. Unfortunately that means that my review of episode 7 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will be delayed. I may be able to watch it during my break, though, and I do intend to post a review of E7 before episode 8 comes out.

Some time in January, I also intend to post my Top 10 Pony Songs of 2013. To make things easier, I will only consider tracks that have been uploaded to YouTube with a 2013 datestamp. I don't allow remixes of official tunes,* and only one song per artist is permissible. I did this last year, and here's what made it into the chart I compiled twelve months ago:
  1. A Pony Like Me (Replacer)
  2. The Fear of Flight (Aviators)
  3. Vicious Lies (d.notive)
  4. The Moon Rises (Ponyphonic)
  5. So Much Left to Know (MandoPony)
  6. Loyalty (Acoustic Brony)
  7. Sweetie's Big Race (Toastwaffle)
  8. Discord (The Living Tombstone)
  9. Fluttershy – The Voice of Nature (Legendary)
  10. Hay Ms Derpy (Forest Rain)
I already have several songs in mind that are virtually certain to make the list, but I'm open to recommendations if you want to leave any comments here. You can probably get a fair idea from last year's list of the sort of music I generally like. Remember, though, only this year's releases are eligible.

* In case you're wondering, if I did allow official-tune remixes, I'd go for the Aviators remix of "Helping Twilight Win the Crown".

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Happy Hearth's Warming to you all!

Festive Fluttershy 3 by tall-guy-2552
Festive Fluttershy 3 by tall-guy-2552. Dec 2013. CC by-nc-nd 3.0
Yes indeed, it's that time of the year again! It's really crept up on us this time around, but Fluttershy never misses an opportunity to be kind. I don't know what's in that tiny present she's giving to her songbird friends, but I'm sure it's something that they've always wanted. As for me: amazingly, Louder Yay has now been running for over a year. It's been fun, and a big thank you to everyone who's read any of my ramblings. I certainly hope to continue with this for some time to come. In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas (or Hearth's Warming!) and I'll be back after the festivities are over. Yay!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Episode review: "Power Ponies" (S4E06)

The Power Ponies
Where's Humdrum? Well, someone has to press the shutter
And so another week passes, and that means another episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic to review. This one has been eagerly anticipated ever since its earliest preview (in the SDCC animatic sequence), though some fans felt it would either be amazing or terrible with little middle ground. This was the first episode whose writing credits were shared between three writers: Meghan McCarthy, Charlotte Fullerton and a newcomer in Betsy McGowen. I had reservations about that, but did the result allay my fears? After the break, Power Readers!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Comic review: MLP:FiM Micro-series issue #10: Luna

MLP Luna micro comic, cover B
And to think, I thought this couldn't be a real cover!
I told you there'd be another review, and so there is! It's been delayed a few days, but I hope you'll find it worth the wait. This is the last in the collection of My Little Pony micros, with the Friends Forever series taking over next month. The IDW team certainly seem to want to go out on a high, with their A-team of Cook, Price and Breckel combining to write about perhaps (and on EqD, certainly) the most popular pony of them all. I don't entirely subscribe to the "Luna is best pony ever ever ever" squeeing, but after the break we'll see how this comic struck me.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Comic review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic issue 14

MLP:FiM comic #14 cover A
Dash! Aaah! Queen of the impossible
As an early Christmas present, IDW gave us not one but two My Little Pony comics this week. I'll review the final instalment in the Micro-series in due course, but here I'm going to concentrate on issue #14 of the main series. This is the second and concluding part of the two-issue "pirates" arc by Heather Nuhfer, Brenda Hickey and Heather Breckel. I was fairly impressed by issue #13, and I was more than happy to hand over the usual £3.15 to Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham. After the break, I'll talk about what I thought.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

November IDW comics sales figures: f-arrr better

Part of the cover of MLP:FiM issue #13
Rainbow Dash always buckles in swash
No, that subject line is not a typo! This month's comics sales figures have taken forever in coming out, presumably because of Thanksgiving getting in the way at the end  of last month, but at last we have Comichron's table to consider. Last month, as you may remember, IDW's finest didn't do so well, and I speculated that the very late-month release meant that the low sales numbers for the main series would be another blip. Thankfully, it would seem that I was right about that. The pirate-themed issue #13 reached no. 56 in the chart and sold an excellent:
Set against last month, that's a fairly ridiculous rise of 50.5%, so let's compare it with the non-dodgy September figure. Even then, there's been a rise of 8.8%, which is very pleasing indeed. In fact, in terms of both outright sales numbers and chart position, issue #13 is the best performer for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic since issue #5 way back in March. Moving on to the Micro-series, things are very slightly less rosy. Spike's issue was always likely to be a tough sell; he hit no. 111 and shifted:
Again, we can't compare directly with last month (because there was no micro; we got the Equestria Girls annual instead) but compared with September it's a fall of 10.9%. That makes this the worst selling of the micros, although it's only a few hundred copies shy of the number the CMC sold. And the two Pony comics are once again IDW's best sellers, well ahead of third-placed TNMT's 17,000 or so. All in all, I think the comics have had a pretty good month. Perhaps the main series was helped by pirates, or simply by the return of the TV show.

Finally, the Art Gallery sold 6,028 copies to make the top 300, at no. 272. Not bad considering its slightly more specialist appeal. The graphic novels department was quiet last month, with no new titles appearing in time to shake things up. Vol. 1 of My Little Pony Tales added 472 copies at no. 245 to go past the 4,000 mark, while vol. 2 of the main series collection made no. 262 and put on 442 extra sales, taking it through the 5,000 barrier. Next month, I expect to see the Luna micro doing better than Spike's, because, well, Luna, and hopefully the main series continuing to hold up.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Episode review: "Flight to the Finish" (S4E05)

Scootaloo and friends scoot off to the Crystal Empire
I love the way Scoots' wings can change gear!
And here we are again! It only seems a week since the last episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Wait... it was only a week! This time around, the episode is one I've been looking forward to ever since I read the one-line synopsis. I loved "Sleepless in Ponyville", so "Flight to the Finish" has a lot to do to displace it as my favourite Scootaloo ep. The task falls to a brand new writer to the show, Ed Valentine. Can he manage it? Jump past the, er, jump and we'll see!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Stationery on the way to the UK at last?

MLP lockable notebook
Note the dreaded Pinkie vector hiding away at bottom left
I picked up the "Lockable Secrets Book" you can see above in a local branch of Poundland today. It's a hardback notebook, about 16 by 11.5 cm in size, with 30-40 lined pages inside. The "lockable" feature is not really worth bothering with as the keys are tiny and the lock is flimsy... but for a quid, who's complaining? More interestingly perhaps, maker Blue Sky Designs seems to be planning to release more stationery. (I say "seems to" as their website hasn't caught up with reality.) This is a great development if so, as some people – including me – have been screaming for MLP:FiM stationery for a long time. More, please!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Episode review: "Daring Don't" (S4E04)

Daring Do prepares for battle
"Bring it, Polsky"
Season 4 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has got off to a pretty impressive start, and three episodes in we've yet to see a really disappointing instalment. This time around, the show welcomes back a stalwart of the writing stable, Dave Polsky. I personally wouldn't rate any of his episodes as absolute Celestia-tier examples, but in the main they're good fun if you don't look too hard for problems. Will "Daring Don't" follow that pattern? Join me after the jump and we'll see!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

An interesting idea for BUCK

Over on UK of Equestria, Nethesem (BUCK's deputy PR guy) has mentioned that someone on the show staff made a suggestion to him recently. This was that they could do a presentation showing how storyboarding helps an episode of MLP:FiM take shape. This has had a very positive reaction so far, and I'm not surprised: I think it's a great idea. It's also encouraging in that there seems to be some good-quality contact between the con team and the official side of Pony. Show guests aren't the priority this year, which I don't mind too much but some people may.

I do also think it's a good idea to tweak the pure Q&A format that was used for panels for BUCK 2013. It worked well sometimes – the Writers panel was extremely enjoyable – but at other times it creaked quite a bit. Some questions rambled a lot, some weren't able to be answered (eg asking Cindy Morrow what would be in S4) and some verged on the inappropriate at times, or at least were interpreted as such. I'd support having a smaller part of the event devoted to questions, and having those pre-screened by the con team.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Episode review: "Castle Mane-ia" (S4E03)

Applejack and Rainbow Dash looking scared
"Have you seen Josh Haber's Twitter account?"
After the excitement of last week's Season 4 premiere, this week's episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was unfortunately leaked a few days early. I really hope this doesn't happen again, since I felt that it significantly lessened the excitement of seeing what a brand new writer (Josh Haber) could do with our favourite ponies. I didn't watch the episode until after it had officially aired, but I think I can say that the wait was worth it. Come with me past the break for the usual waffle!