Thursday, 30 July 2015

My Little Convention has been cancelled

My Little Convention, the pony con planned for Southport in late August, will not now be going ahead. Here, taken from the official site, is the announcement:
It’s with heavy hearts that we regret to inform you that due to financial difficulties we have been forced to cancel My Little Convention 2015.
More details are to be announced soon but we wanted to make everyone aware of the situation as soon as possible.
I'd guess that "financial difficulties" means "we didn't sell enough tickets to cover our costs", but hopefully there'll be some clarification later. MLC was set up as a limited company, so nobody should end up taking a devastating personal hit. It's also good that the organisers have bitten the bullet now rather than attempting to keep going and risking a complete crash-and-burn on the day.

Sadly, I'm not entirely surprised by this news. MLC has struggled throughout its life: the guest list was not particularly inspiring for a con charging £50 for tickets, and several guests complained publicly a while back that they had not been kept in the loop by the organisers. The Southport location, quite close to Manchester (site of BUCK and GBBC) may not have helped, either.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 67: It's Wonderful to Be Here, It's Certainly a Thrill...

I'm currently reading Chengar Qordath's The Life and Times of a Winning Pony (which I'm surprised to see hardly anyone else has reviewed), and that should be a PR spotlight either next week or the one after. No spoilers, please! Right, back to today's task, which is the reviewing of the standard five pony fanfics. These are all short, and they're a mixture of stuff I've had on my RiL list for too long, things I came across semi-randomly and (in one case) the newest completed story I could find. Today's batch consists of:

Having a Ball by Cereal Velocity
Seeds of Future Past by Georg
This is Why There's Only One Draconequus by CelestialTremolo
Black-Tie Affair by Emylia Hawke
Twilight Sparkle Does Not Like Bees by Honey Mead

Sunday, 26 July 2015


As I write this on Sunday evening, it looks as though the Great British Brony Convention (GBBC) in Manchester has worked out. It's impossible to tell from the photos I've seen what sort of attendance they had, but credit where credit is due: GBBC does seem to have succeeded. It's no secret that I was a bit sceptical – not setting up a limited company is dangerous, for example – and I don't think UK of Equestria was wrong to lock its official GBBC thread given the organisers' lack of contact. (GBBC talk itself was absolutely not banned; it just went to a general "Conventions" discussion.)

But I would never wish failure on a pony convention, so I'm glad it did what it set out to do, and I hope anyone reading this who attended had a good time. I'm guessing that it won't run again in 2016, given the return of BUCK in the same city, but maybe it will encourage someone else to put together a smaller-scale con. To my mind, BronyScot remains the example to emulate in this department, but there's certainly an opportunity for someone, especially given the con desert south of Leicester. London may well be too expensive, but what about Bristol or Birmingham? It could happen!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Comic mini-review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #32

MLP:FiM #32 convention cover
The wear and tear is printed on. Even I don't treat comics that badly!
First things first: I paid a little more than usual to import the SDCC cover of this (above), and I don't regret it at all. However, I might well if I'd paid out for the story alone. The concept – evil apples take over Ponyville – is potentially awesome in a B-movie kind of way, but the execution is lacking. Thom Zahler's writing isn't that great, though Pinkie in particular has her moments, and on one or two occasions it doesn't really match the art. (Also, "remnants ... it returned" – grr.) Tony Fleecs' artwork is fine, on a par with his other recent stuff, and colourist Heather Breckel is reliable as always. The wait for a really good main-series story goes on, though. ★★

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 66: Get Your Kicks

A post Chris made in his own blog a little while back reminded me to remind you: since I'm British, to me "quite" generally means "fairly" – so "quite good" is not such generous praise as it may appear to some of you. Moving on. To my considerable surprise, I managed to squeeze in five ponyfics this week. None of them are all that long, but that's hardly surprising for me. Here they are:

What my Cutie Mark was Telling Me by Quillery
Variables by The Descendant
Let It Not Snow by Pump It Up
Celestia's Smartypants by Beware the Carpenter
Blossomforth Needs Her Own Tag by Twinkletail

Sunday, 19 July 2015

At the halfway point: how S5 stacks up so far

At the mid-season break, it's time for me to take a look at how S5 has done so far. I think it's been a pretty good season, with the potential to be a great one. There have been a few misses (sadly, and almost inevitably, including The Spike Episode) but a lot of things have come off. "Amending Fences", in particular, looks like going down as an all-time classic. In the next rank, we have the season opener and "Magic Sheep", but there are also quite a few more episodes that fall into the "good but not amazing" category.

What would I like to see from the rest of the season? I'll try to avoid any obvious spoilers from that leaked list of titles, given that it's been accurate so far. But S5 could be heading for greatness if it included:
  • A Celestia episode. This is perhaps the single biggest omission of the series as a whole up to this point. Luna has now had two and even Cadance has had several substantial roles. What has Celestia had? Not much – and in S5, almost nothing. This needs to change.
  • More songs. Not counting the instrumental number in "Slice of Life", we've now gone eight episodes without a song, the longest dry spell in the show's history. Please don't let all the others be crammed into a musical episode and the season finale; give us at least a few conventional songs, please.
  • A conclusion to the Cutie Mark Crusaders' central storyline. I'm with the majority who believe that this is being stretched to its limit now, and that giving the fillies their cutie marks is bordering on being overdue. They should be strong enough characters to manage without that thread now.
  • A satisfying resolution to the Starlight Glimmer plotline. Starlight has the potential to be the most interesting villain in the series' history, but that will of course depend on what the writers do with her. Her "Amending Fences" cameo should be a good sign, as long as it did have significance.
  • A really good Fluttershy episode that didn't revolve around her facing down her fears. They managed that way back in S1 with "A Bird in the Hoof", so there's no reason it can't happen again – especially with the interesting smaller roles that 'Shy has been playing this time around.
There are probably more things that could be added to that list, but they're the first few that come to mind. When we all reassemble after Friendship Games, I'll be hoping that most or all of them have also come to the minds of the people who actually make the show!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 65: Ponez Meanz Ficz

I've had trouble with that annoying creature known as Real Life intruding over the last few days, so this will be a rather short edition of Ponyfic Roundup. Next week's is also likely to go the same way. Four short fics under review this time around, and they are:

A Rose's Dilemma by Manaphy
Yaks Not Ponies by Metool Bard
AJ's Intervention by Bok
The Laughter I Choose to Be by Trick Question

Monday, 13 July 2015

Episode review: S5E13: "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?"

Spike rides Derpy into battle
If there's anything around here more epic than this, I want it caught and shot now
After last week's wonderful episode, most of us were on a high. This mood was punctured a bit by the mess Hasbro made of their hiatus announcement, but at least we had one more ep before the break. This one, with its Philip K. Dick title reference, was that dreaded thing: a multi-credited episode. Scott Sonneborn wrote it, from a story by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller. Still, these things have to come good sometimes, right? And this one, mirabile dictu, did just that.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Bad news: not only is S6 *not* coming this year after all, but... looks like there'll be a mid-S5 hiatus as well. Hasbro seem to have made an almighty mess of their own PR tweeting, and their latest update says:
Correction! Second half of #MyLittlePony #FriendshipisMagic season 5 is coming later this year. #HasbroSDCC Forgive us, we got nervouscited
Sigh. I should have guessed it was too good to be true. If there's a bright side, though, there will in fact be more time for fanfic!

End of the world? No, of course not; we all (I hope) have plenty of interests outside watching the show, and indeed outside the wider fandom. But this is a My Little Pony blog, so I'm damned if I'm going to take a wider perspective. That's not what this thing is for.

Season 6 coming this year! Oooooh, no it isn't!

And here's the proof. After the enormous gap between S5 and S6, we'll be going to the other extreme next time. Which does lead to one (possibly wildly inaccurate) thought: could it be that S5 will end with a cliffhanger, one that will only be resolved in S6? Plenty of other shows have done it...

Also, I get to break out another new tag. :P

Nope; not happening after all. See next post.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 64: Stating Point of View

Up until a couple of days ago, the weather in these parts was rather nice, and highly conducive to sitting in the garden with the e-reader. That means that I've managed to get my week's stories read with some ease this time around. In fact, I've managed six! As ever, I list the fics under review in the order I read them. They are:

The Contest by Cold in Gardez
Deadlock by monokeras
So Long, and Thanks for All the Ponies by Sir Ginger
Twilight Lifts a Pebble. by Squarks
Celestia's Dream Journal by TooShyShy
He Kindly Stopped For Me by Pascoite

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

A little thing I missed out of my "Amending Fences" review

Someone pointed this out in a YouTube comment: Moondancer's mane stripes match, or at least nearly so, Twilight's body and (main) mane colours.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Episode review: S5E12: "Amending Fences"

Twilight and her new old friends say hello to Moondancer
Well, she does have "wink" in her name...
Three weeks ago, M. A. Larson gave us the truly extraordinary "Slice of Life". He returned this week to offer up "Amending Fences", which from the previews looked as though it was also going to feature some background ponies. Not in quite the same way as before, though; in fact, this looked as though it was going to be something of a return to MLP:FiM as we used to know it. The big question was whether this episode would work. The answer to that is...

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Comic review: Friends Forever #18: Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash

MLP Friends Forever comic #18 main cover
Cloud Kicker won the "Most Popular" award. Well, well...
Okay, folks, this is the big one: the Friends Forever that really, really matters to me. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Fluttershy in general, and of FlutterDash friendshipping in particular, so this is a comic I badly wanted to get things right. It's drawn by Jay Fosgitt, who seems to be establishing himself as a regular MLP artist, with a story by Christina Rice and colours by the dependable Heather Breckel. Let's see how it goes...

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Friendship Games trailer is out

Well, here it is: our first look at footage from Equestria Girls 3: Friendship Games. It looks as though this is going to be a straight-to-TV film, with a release date of 25 September. That's an interesting choice in itself, since S5 of FiM won't have finished by then. No word on any cinema release, though I'd love it to happen here in the UK, as the first two films made for a couple of excellent meetups.

I'm not desperately enthused by the subject matter itself, nor really by the songs we hear in the trailer (which Daniel Ingram has confirmed are his work). The "Let's Go!" line is also Discovery Family's tagline, surprise surprise. High school sport is wildly different in the US and the UK, so there's rather less relatability for us on this side of the Atlantic than there was with Rainbow Rocks.

I'm more interested in the position of Other Twilight as part of the Shadowbolts team. I assume that's where the conflict will arise this time round, and if Other Twilight hasn't become firm friends with the other six by the end of the movie I'll be very surprised indeed! What I do want to know, though, is whether she'll actually meet Equestrian Twilight at any point, and if so what might pass between them.

A snap judgement based on the little we know would be that this film looks better than the first EG movie but not as good as Rainbow Rocks. I'd love to be proved wrong on the second part of that; there's less than four months until we find out.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 63: Breaking the Rule

Because none of the fics I'm reviewing today are Rule 63 stories. Oh, Logan, the sheer wit of it all. Anyway, I've looked at five fics this week, including one that's picked up more than 50,000 views on Fimfiction and another that I first read a long time ago but hadn't actually reviewed here until now. Also, this PR takes me past 300 reviews, which is far more than I ever thought I'd manage. In reading order as ever, the fics I review here are:

The Great Fruit-Off by Twinkletail
Temporary Hiatus by TheMessenger
My Roommate is a Vampire by Dennis the Menace
An Earth Pony Orphan In The Unicorn Court by Benman
Fluttershy's Night Out by Bad Horse