Monday, 31 October 2016

UK PonyCon 2016, Sunday: Public gaming and tiramisu

Part of the "Maretropolis High Street" vendor hall
A small part of Maretropolis High Street. I loved the pony-coloured lighting effects!
Here I am again with the third out of four reports from UK PonyCon 2016. As with the others, this is simply a record of my personal experience and shouldn't be taken as anything more than that. After all, there were many events I couldn't or didn't attend! Past the break you can get some more of my lovely rambling. :P

Saturday, 29 October 2016

UK PonyCon 2016, Saturday: Rhubarb and custard

The hotel TV playing pony songs from USB
Now that Travelodge TVs have USB sockets, I could prepare properly!
Saturday was the really big day at UK PonyCon, and I was at the convention for something like 13 hours all told. I had a superb time, and if you come with me past the break you'll get a lot of rambly waffle (much longer than the Friday report!) explaining why it was so much fun.

Friday, 28 October 2016

UK PonyCon 2016, Friday: Giant horses and onion bhajis

Equus Altus sculputre, Trinity shopping centre, Leeds
Giant Horse activate!
I spent last weekend at UK PonyCon 2016, which was held in Leeds. More precisely, in the Royal Armouries Hall at the Royal Armouries Museum. (It was the Royal Armouries, don't you know.) The tl;dr version is that I had an absolutely fantastic time, and might well rank this as my favourite MLP convention of all five I've attended (BUCK 2013 & '14; UKPC 2014, '15 & '16). Assuming UKPC 2017 happens, and if I can be there, I will be there.

Come past the break with me for the thrilling tale of packed trains, giant horses and muffins that was Friday.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Text Review Roundup: "To Where and Back Again"

Starlight Glimmer and freaking-out Trixie
We could have done with that spell back in "Boast Busters" and "Magic Duel"...
This will be the last episode TRR for a while, though there'll be one for Legend of Everfree, which I'll try to get up before too long. The Season Six finale went down very well among people I talked to, although the manner of the changeling reformation wasn't universally adored. Here's what the text-based reviewers made of the episode. We have the biggest range of opinions I've ever seen, though it was pretty easy to predict where the lowest scores would come from.

Sadly, Articles of Destroyer and Batbrony Reviews have not updated to cover the finale – indeed, AoD hasn't posted anything since "Where the Apple Lies" – but I've added Mercury-Ami to the mix. (Adit: and Analysis is Magic, too.)

Analysis is Magic – largely positive ("To suggest that the Changelings are 'ruined' ... is, I think, to misunderstand the central themes of the show")

ArthurCrane – very positive ("this episode kicks all the butts")

Derpy News – extremely positive (graded A; "something different and amazing")

Louder Yay – very positive (four stars; "in the upper echelons of S6")

Mercury-Ami – wildly positive (graded A+; "the show's best episode since Twilight's Kingdom")

MLEEP Reviews – wildly positive (rated 10/10; "knocks it out of the park")

The Railfan Brony Blog – spectacularly negative (rated minus 10/10; "the smoking crater of MLP's drop in quality")

The Super Mario Brony Blog – spectacularly negative (rated minus five stars; "this atrocity of a season finale")

Super Recaps – mixed (great first half but "payoff just didn’t come together")

TheDragonWarlock – fairly positive (graded B; "nowhere near the awesomeness of Twilight’s Kingdom, but it is a step up from the last season finale")

Thrond Media Pony Corner – positive (rated 83%; "solid characterization ... well-written dialogue ... a really enjoyable episode")

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Episode review: S6E25&26: "To Where and Back Again"

Queen Chrysalis makes her entrance
Right in front of the princesses. That has to be deliberate
Well. Well. After quite a ride during Season Six, we've come to the season finale at last. Well, actually some of us in the UK saw it weeks ago, and I saw it again at UK PonyCon on Saturday, but still. The writers were Josh Haber and Michael Vogel, so the big guns were definitely being wheeled out. Was I about to see a story for the ages, or would I end up disappointed and wishing that "Top Bolt" had actually been the last episode of the season? Find out by clicking past the break.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Brief update

I'm back from UK PonyCon. Had a fantastic time. Report coming soonish. And an episode review for the S6 finale. Plus, eventually and if I remember, TRR for the finale and Legend of Everfree. No Ponyfic Roundup this week, though. Probably for the best.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Film review: Legend of Everfree

SciTwi makes everything levitate
"The script! How are we going to sound natural now?"
Sadly, the fourth Equestria Girls movie has not been given a cinema release in the UK, so I can't repeat my big-screen viewings from the first three films. Nevertheless, Pop has now shown it over here, and with that official showing having come about I think it's time for a review. (Screenshots are from the HD Brazilian airing, though.) I don't mind EqG, but so far only one instalment – Rainbow Rocks – has really risen above the "well, that wasn't bad" level to become a personal favourite. Past the break, let's see whether LoE could do it.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Text Review Roundup: "Top Bolt"

Twilight looking thrilled at the prospect of the classroom portion
S6 seems to have given us more of Adorkable Twilight than for some time. I approve
I've written another very silly story. This one is getting a considerably warmer reception than the last one. More on that when I have time next week, but for now it's TRR once again. The last "normal" episode of Season Six (and actually the last episode of all if you were watching on Tiny Pop!) got a very good reception on UK of Equestria, but how will it do with the text-based reviewers? The answer is... very well! Not a single reviewer actually dislikes this episode, and quite a few of them absolutely love it.

ArthurCrane – generally positive ("turns out to be pretty decent")

Articles of Destroyer – N/A (review not up as TRR went to press)

Batbrony Reviews – positive ("a solid penultimate episode")

Derpy News – wildly positive (graded A+; "a top tier episode")

Louder Yay – very positive (four stars; "a fine piece of Friendship is Magic storytelling")

MLEEP Reviews – wildly positive (rated 10/10; "soared its way to the top of the class")

The Railfan Brony Blog – very positive (rated 9/10; "It was actually really great!")

The Super Mario Brony Blog – wildly positive (five stars; "one of the series' finest outings")

Super Recaps – very positive ("refreshing to get an episode that works so damn well")

TheDragonWarlock – fairly positive (graded B+; "While there are some issues ... this is a good episode for both Twilight and Rainbow.")

Thrond Media Pony Corner – extremely positive (rated 95%; "the friendship problem in this episode is one of the best this show has ever had")

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 129: God Save Donald Duck, Vaudeville and Variety

For the last PR before my mini-hiatus, I have another five stories to look at. Unusually for me, two of them are Mature-rated pieces, though neither is a clopfic in the usual sense of the word. Not a week with any standout fics, but there are several in the "if you like this stuff, this fic's worth a look" category.

The Worst Clopfic Ever by Noir de Plume
One Step Closer by InvaderSplorch
Fluttershy's Nice Fanfic by Jay-The Brony
Story of the Blanks by Aoshi Stark
Toola Roola Paints a Picture by Captain_Hairball

★: 0 | ★★: 3 | ★★★: 2 | ★★★★: 0 | ★★★★★: 0

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

With UK PonyCon coming up this weekend...

...there will be a few temporary changes on the Louder Yay front. Here's what to expect this week:

Tomorrow: Ponyfic Roundup 129
Thursday: Text Review Roundup for "Top Bolt"
Friday: Film review for Legend of Everfree

After that, things will go quiet here for a few days, as I certainly won't be updating the blog from the convention, and I won't be home until Monday afternoon. So, next week, there will not be a Ponyfic Roundup – I just won't have enough time to do it. Instead, at some point there'll be a report post about the con. Don't expect anything that special.

As for the finale: my review should appear at some point next week, but I'm not going to give a specific day. I hope also to get Text Review Roundup done, since that's considerably quicker to write than Ponyfic Roundup is. I doubt I'll have time for any Pony Music Library posts, but I'll decide that as I go along.

After next week, I intend to return to my usual schedule, though the absence of any new Friendship is Magic episodes may mean a little more variety in what gets posted here.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to keep in touch over con weekend, the best way is via Twitter; you can find me at @louderyay.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Episode review: S6E24: "Top Bolt"

Twilight and Rainbow Dash trying unsuccessfully not to look worried
The wind did indeed change that day
Thanks to Tiny Pop, this was actually the last episode of Season Six that I got to see. That being so, I was hoping that it would be a good one. I was encouraged by the identity of the writers: Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco have a solid record, with only one of their four previous episodes ("The Hooffields and McColts") failing to get a four-star rating here. I was also hoping this would live up to the last Rainbow/Twilight episode, the excellent "Testing Testing 1, 2, 3" from S4. Come with me past the break to see what I thought.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Pony Music Library 28: "The Way She Flies"

With only a week left before the convention, things are starting to get busier, and it's going to be all I can do even to keep up with the weekly features for a while. With that in mind, I thought it was about time I added another entry to the PML. Luckily, I had this one ready to go.

What? "The Way She Flies"

Who? Phileo

Which? Original song

When? April 2013

Why? Because it's time for some good old guitar rock, and Rainbow Dash is the obvious pony to provide it. Phileo's style fits her wonderfully well, and the first minute or so is an irresistible build-up to a fabulous chorus. It's loud without being distorted, energetic without being overdone – and just all-round Rainbow Dash. Also, it samples the "Louder! Yay" scene, so I could hardly ignore it for this blog! The one brief real-world reference is a bit of a shame, but it doesn't detract from the effectiveness of the song as a whole. Note that the original version of the video had a one-minute intro, partly spent advertising past conventions, which I don't think does anything for the song. If you really want that, here it is.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Mini-essay: Decline, not Fall

"We will never fade," runs the line in “Join the Herd” – but it's wrong. We will. We are.

People may object and argue and say it ain't so, but the evidence is mostly against them. Compared with the boom times, there's less of nearly everything: music, stories, animation. Even Bronycon's attendance fell this year.

There's the 2017 movie, and we now know that S7 will happen, and the EqG specials too – but after that? Does anyone truly imagine we'll get many more seasons of FiM? I doubt it. We're well into the twilight time (sorry) of this show now.

That may sound rather depressing, so here's something more optimistic:

Our fandom won't die.

Not next year, not in five years, not ever.


Consider this. There is still a G1 fandom out there. No, it's not huge, but it's still active after more than 30 years. Those G1 fans didn't abandon the MLP they loved when Hasbro moved on.

We can learn from them. There's nothing forcing us to abandon the MLP we love once G4 ends.

It's the previous line of the song that matters:

"Do not be afraid."

Fading – but not to black.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Text Review Roundup: "Where the Apple Lies"

Granny about to "operate" on Big McIntosh
Hey, don't give the NHS any ideas!
This was the only episode of the final four that I didn't see first on Tiny Pop, though I don't think that made any difference to my review. (I'm old enough, with bad enough eyes, not to care all that much about watching in 576p.) It got a pretty positive reaction on the day, but the text-based reviewers take in a fairly wide spread of opinions. As always, please let me know if you find any other people posting reviews – proper ones, not just the odd sentence in a forum discussion. Thanks!

ArthurCrane – mixed ("While all of this is pretty interesting, I wish there was a better story behind it")

Articles of Destroyer – extremely positive (rated 9/10; "a fantastic episode")

Batbrony Reviews – extremely positive ("a delightfully enjoyable surprise")

Derpy News – mixed (graded B-; "an OK episode, but the lying by AJ got quite cringeworthy [and she was] a little too easily forgiven")

Louder Yay – positive (three stars; "a solid, likeable story")

MLEEP Reviews – very positive (rated 9.5/10; "a pretty great episode")

The Railfan Brony Blog – positive (rated 8/10; "The plot isn't anything new [but] it was handled quite nicely")

The Super Mario Brony Blog – positive (four stars; "I just like it if not intensely love it")

Super Recaps – rather negative ("safe ... felt like a wasted opportunity")

TheDragonWarlock – mixed (rated 7/10; "isn't a bad episode, but it does end up being rather boring")

Thrond Media Pony Corner – rather negative (rated 53%; "ultimately a slog")

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 128: Seven Maids with Seven Mops

And now we know that Season Seven is on the way in the spring. That seems a reasonable hiatus: short enough to keep things interesting, but long enough to allow me to write a bit! This week on PR, in celebration of the news, I'm reviewing a bunch of fics whose titles include the number seven. Sadly there are only five of them, but never mind. A good deal of variation in terms of how much I enjoyed them.

7 Minutes by P0nies
Pick Me Up At Seven by Jondor
Canterlot Seven by LightOfTriumph
The 7 Keys by dashiedash
Seven Months by Brawny Steed

★: 1 | ★★: 2 | ★★★: 1 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Most and Least Rewatchable: Season Five

The Cutie Mark Crusaders about to receive their cutie marks
In which the CMC achieve cold fusion
Things have been pretty busy lately, what with the last four episodes of Season Six coming at such a rush, but I've managed to squeeze in enough time to write this piece. Although I will be doing one for S6, that will not appear in the near future; it may not even be this year. I will try to get it done before S7 kicks into gear in the spring, though. After all, 2017 looks like a really busy year for Pony, perhaps the busiest in G4 history!

Back to S5 now – and "Slice of Life" isn't in either list, so there.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Episode review: S6E23: "Where the Apple Lies"

Young Applejack, having just told a lie
"An' y'all know I never been at any of that scrumpy"
Happy Birthday to Friendship is Magic, which turns six years old today! As I've already said, I have seen (and liked) the finale, but I'll be leaving the review until after it's been shown in the US. Today, then, it's back to a normal ep. This was not shown in the UK, almost certainly on account of extensive mentions of cider. It's written by Dave Rapp, who wrote the very enjoyable "Newbie Dash" and "Flutter Brutter", so I had high hopes. Past the break, I'll waffle on as usual.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Comic mini-review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #46

IDW MLP comic main-series #46, main cover
Apologies for the awful colours this time; you get the idea, though
A new two-part comic arc begins, and it's about politics. Oh joy. I mean, what could be better at a time when real-world politics is clearly going so well? Actually, though, this one is pretty good reading. Agnes Garbowska's art isn't to everyone's tastes, but it seems less out-there in this issue than in some she's done, while Ted Anderson provides a really rather witty storyline. He resists the temptation to make this a simple parody of a certain other election this autumn, and thank Celestia for that. It's not an astounding comic, but it's a very solid three – and probably not far off a four if you like your political machinations. ★★★

Saturday, 8 October 2016

A fortnight till UK PonyCon!

Sitting here and digesting the implications of the Season Six finale (which isn't actually the finale thanks to scheduling), I'm also turning my attentions more and more to UK PonyCon, which will be happening just two weeks from now. The schedules are out, and now I'm trying to work out what to go to. One panel I will almost certainly attend is the one hosted by teamidris about what it's like to be a ponyfic writer with dyslexia. I know very little about this, and I'm sure I'll learn something. There's a second writing panel I may well also go to, but it's hosted by people I don't know at all, so I may wait to see the description in the conbook before making a final decision.

It still feels weird to me to be so hyped for a My Little Pony convention, when for several decades of my life I'd never been to any convention in any fandom. BUCK 2013 was my first, followed by BUCK 2014, UKPC 2014, UKPC 2015 and now this. But even though it will be a relatively small-scale event (attendance around 500), it's still making me bounce around already. I hope it can live up to last year's UKPC, which I loved pretty much from start to finish. Leeds isn't as compact as Leicester, so there'll be more walking to do between bus/train station and venue, but I'm sure I'll manage. There will, of course, be a report in due course!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Yesterday and Today

MLP title screen with Tiny Pop logo
Also, there are no ad breaks after the titles in the UK. So there. :P
Since someone asked, I will be doing episode reviews here after their US showing, as usual. Part of the reason for that is that Tiny Pop's schedule is so ridiculous: 25, 26, 24... and that's all. So for E23 I'd have to watch the US version anyway, and that being so it's just easier to do the same for the others. Now, that means that the finale review will be a couple of days late, as I'll only have got back from UK PonyCon during the afternoon of Monday 24th. But it'll all work out in the end. :)

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Text Review Roundup: "P.P.O.V. (Pony Point of View)"

The ponies' ship in the storm
The animation in these maritime sequences was really nice
It amuses me (okay, I'm easily amused) that this post is timed to go out at the very moment episode 25 is scheduled to air on Tiny Pop. But anyway, what with that and Season Seven's confirmation, I almost forgot to do this week's TRR, and that would never have done. Here it is, then – a fairly mixed bag of reactions from the text-centric reviewers this time around.

ArthurCrane – equivocal ("there’s not much to the story when all is said and done")

Articles of Destroyer – mixed (rated 5.5/10; "an entertaining episode, but not a greatly written one")

Batbrony Reviews – fairly positive ("despite pacing and conflict issues, this was an enjoyable enough of an episode")

Derpy News – positive (graded A-; "another good episode even though the reason for the boat capsizing comes from nowhere")

Louder Yay – mixed (three stars; Arrplejack good, bunyip annoying)

MLEEP Reviews – moderately positive (rated 7/10; "predictable...but it is still an entertaining episode")

The Railfan Brony Blog – negative (rated 3/10; "feels like yet another sign that [FiM has] gone on far too long...")

The Super Mario Brony Blog – negative (one and a half stars; "poorly done moral, predictable and cliched storytelling")

Super Recaps – positive with reservations ("I really did like this episode and was especially into the Rashomon approach, but the ending was just a let down")

TheDragonWarlock – slightly negative (graded C+; "leaves you feeling underwhelmed")

Thrond Media Pony Corner – very negative (rated 43%; "implies nothing so much as a show which is completely and utterly out of ideas")

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Season Seven on the way, and three Equestria Girls specials!

(h/t: Jarkes in an EQD comments thread)
We interrupt our usual posting schedule to bring you this press release from, a division of World Screen. Since WS is a heavyweight industry news source, this is definitely not someone on a little blog taking a flyer.

The press release starts out talking about Transformers, but quickly gets to the interesting stuff. I'll summarise what we're going to get in 2017:
  1. New season of Friendship is Magic
  2. My Little Pony: The Movie (okay, we knew about that one)
  3. "Three all-new specials" for Equestria Girls
The first of those will get the most attention, I'm sure, and reasonably so – especially as S7 might end up being the final season of FiM. However, the news regarding EqG is interesting, too. It looks as though there will not be another feature film next year, but instead several shorter cartoons.

Whatever the case, Season Seven is coming.

Ponyfic Roundup 127: More Small Horse!

Big news reported on EQD yesterday: everything but the final, final confirmation of Season Seven of Friendship is Magic! The anonymous quote from Hasbro's PR people doesn't quite come out and say it, but the wording ("Hasbro can confirm that My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is not switching to Netflix for Season 7") is such a strong hint that I would now be very surprised if we didn't get S7. So, assuming there's a 99.9% chance of its happening, when? Who knows?

For now, let's get back to stories that definitely exist. Five of them in the mix today, and unfortunately this wasn't one of the better weeks I've had. Ah well; I loved if every story I read it would be... well, actually it would be great. But it would also make me worry I was trapped in Better Than Life. Onward!

Igniting the Flame of a Rainbow by Rumble
A Stormy Night by Saberking2012
Bar Only the Mind by n
Lyra Beyond the Walls of Sleep by Cynewulf
Rated Arg for Pirates by Aprion

★: 0 | ★★: 4 | ★★★: 1 | ★★★★: 0 | ★★★★★: 0

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Legend of Everfree review coming later this month

For the first three Equestria Girls movies, I posted a review here only after I'd seen them in the cinema. Sadly, this time it doesn't look as though there'll be a big-screen release here in the UK. However, we're being told that Pop will show the film "from" 15 October, and so I will be able to watch an official release. There is the drawback that Pop does not broadcast in HD, but never mind. I'll take that showing as the starting gun for me to write my own review, so all being well it should be up between then and when I leave for UK PonyCon on the 21st.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Episode review: S6E22: "P.P.O.V. (Pony Point of View)"

Applejack putting on her pirate act
Because they know that Tractor Arrrplejack is waitin' in the bay
The Fox brothers were back as the writers for this episode. They'd previously given us the moderate "The Gift of the Maud Pie" and the outright dull "Applejack's 'Day' Off", so my hopes weren't all that high going in. Still, the synopsis seemed to be hinting at a Rashomon-inspired storyline, and I'm all for trying new things in the show. Beyond the cut, I'll say how I thought the episode did. As you'd expect, spoilers galore!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Comic mini-review: Friends Forever #32: Fluttershy and Daring Do

IDW MLP Friends Forever #32, main cover by Tony Fleecs
I'd probably have preferred Tony Fleecs to draw inside, too
This combination of writer Ted Anderson and artist Jay Fosgitt could have been calculated to make some parts of the fandom wound up, but they do a fairly solid job with this issue. I'm not really convinced that Fosgitt's "squishy" style really lends itself well to adventure stories like this one, and I really wish he'd lay off the bipdedalism, but that aside it's cute and colourful (thanks, Heather Breckel!) and doesn't get in the way. The story is a little shaky at times (Daring's initial greeting to 'Shy doesn't sound terribly natural) but again it does the job. You won't find anything extraordinary here, which is a slight shame given the unusual pairing, but as long as you like Fosgitt's art it's worth picking this up. ★★★

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Pony Music Library 27: "Never Alone"

Pony Music Library time again. This is an unlisted video, I imagine because the artist has moved on from the fandom and has renamed his YouTube account. I'll play it safe therefore and not mention that new name here. It's far too good a song not to post here at all, though. Especially given the subject matter!

What? "Never Alone"

Who? TheDashDub ft. Feather

Which? Original song

When? February 2013

Why? Because it's the most beautiful Rainbow/Scootaloo sister-bonding song I have ever heard. This song sneaked into Everfree Network's (RIP) Top 100 for 2013 at no. 98. It was published two months after the outstanding "Sleepless in Ponyville" went out, when the events of that episode were still relatively fresh in people's minds. Feather's breathtaking vocals fit the song perfectly – sadly, she also seems to have moved on, but this track alone would justify her time in the fandom. Sure I'm biased as a big Scoots fan, but I honestly don't know how anybody could dislike this, except perhaps for making them cry.