Monday, 29 December 2014

The Louder Yay Awards 2014

This is just a bit of fun, so please don't take it too seriously! But 2014 has been an interesting year in ponydom, and I thought I'd share with you a few of my own highlights and lowlights. Well, all right, it's just going to be the highlights, since this is the festive season! Note that I'm not awarding "best episode" now, since that's been decided long since: it was "Filli Vanilli", and that's all there is to it. "Twilight's Kingdom" was brilliant, as was "Pinkie Pride" and as (more surprisingly) was Rainbow Rocks, but none of those had Fluttershy being quite so ridiculously adorable throughout.

Best social event
The Worcester meetups continued to be excellent; I truly think ours are among the best ponymeets in the country. I also went to a couple of Leicester meets, which were enjoyable too. But the two conventions really stood out: there was BUCK in August, which was on a scale never before (and probably never again) seen... but the award goes to UK PonyCon, which proved to be a wonderful surprise. The best atmosphere of any pony event I've ever been to, excellent value and (barring crowding issues) enormous fun throughout.

Best commercial supplier
I remain perhaps the only brony in Britain never to have ordered anything from Mare Play, but I've obtained stuff from plenty of other sources. The inevitable Forbidden Planet, though the MLP range in the Birmingham branch isn't very big. Tesco and Sainsbury's did better than the old stalwart Asda for blind bags and the like, while Redbubble continued to serve my T-shirt needs well. The winner, though, is Level Seven Comics, who proved that good old-fashioned customer service can be the most important factor of all.

Best website
I'm excluding UK of Equestria from consideration, given my position on its staff, although I do genuinely think it's very good! I did read Equestria Daily a little more this year, and even made the odd comment, but it remains just too large and unwieldy for my tastes. Derpy News remained a useful alternative source of pony information, but it's Fimfiction that takes the prize. Knighty retained his tendency to be unnecessarily abrasive at times, but the fact is that the site works, and does so much better than any other fanfiction platform I've used.

Best official fiction
This section is pretty much a G. M. Berrow benefit, but Amy Keating Rogers' Journal of the Two Sisters deserves mention. It isn't as good as The Elements of Harmony that came before, but is still a useful reference for more serious fans. Berrow's chapter books continued to appear, and the best of a generally good bunch was probably Rarity and the Curious Case of Charity, which turned out to be a very satisfying tale. The fact that I had a copy signed by the author at BUCK has absolutely no bearing on this award, honest!

Best fanfiction
If you've been following Ponyfic Roundup since the start, then you'll know that only two fics have gained a 10/10 rating.  As such, I'm making this a joint award: we have Blueshift's remarkable So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish, which snares readers by appearing to be a silly Blueshiftian comedy and turning out to be a highly moving exploration of friendship. The other winner is Lucky Dreams' astonishing In the Place the Wild Horses Sleep, which forever puts to rest the notion that Human-tagged tales can't be masterpieces of ponyfic literature.

Best comic
I don't really pay much attention to fan-made comics (or indeed fanart in general) so I'm concentrating on the licensed IDW titles here. 2014 was a pretty variable year for these, seeing both some of the worst comics thus far released and some of the best. It's the latter I'm interested in today, though, and it comes down to two Friends Forever issues. The Applejack/Rarity pairing was very enjoyable, and showed the best of the Cook/Price/Breckel gang, but the overall prize here goes to a recent comic: the Twilight/Pinkie Friends Forever was just what this side series should be: light-hearted, funny and a good read all round. 

Best official music
This is one of the hardest awards to, er, award, given that every episode of the show from "Rarity Takes Manehattan" onwards, plus Rainbow Rocks, are eligible. From TV, there was Fluttershy's singing in "Filli Vanilli", just about every song in "Pinkie Pride" and the finale's "You'll Play Your Part". The film gave us "Under Our Spell", while the "Welcome to the Show"/"Rainbooms Battle" climactic battle scene is spine-tingling in context, though much less so on the soundtrack album. But I'm plumping for "Shine Like Rainbows". Simple, heartfelt and uplifting: just what MLP should be.

Best fan-made music
Aviators does a lot more non-pony than pony stuff these days, and though it's also very good it's not eligible for this award. However, he hasn't abandoned brony music altogether: "Set Me Free", about Luna's banishment, was an excellent example, but it's "Revenge" that takes first place for me. Although Aviators' voice isn't the perfect fit for a harsh song about Tirek, he makes it work. Special mention also to Evening Star's "Starswirl the Bearded", which has a suitably epic feel.


  1. I agree that Filli Vanilli was a fantastic episode, but my pick would have to be Testing, testing, 1,2,3.

    1. That was definitely my favourite Rainbow Dash episode. One of the best overall, too. :)

  2. Revenge? Interesting. I'm leaning more towards Baasik & BlackGryph0n's stuff, myself.

    Also, I kind of hated Filli Vanilli. :B Guess that's just me.

    1. It IS just you! We all love it! All of us.

      How could you hate anything with Torch Song? You're a monster!

    2. When we did S4 rankings on UK of E, almost everyone put it in their top six... but one person placed it dead last. So it's not *quite* just you!

      As for the music, Aviators has been a favourite for ages now, so this isn't really a very startling award. :P

    3. Torch Song was great. Hearing the same five seconds of the same song over and over and over for three minutes was not. Also, the moral is kind of "Hurricane Fluttershy again, but not as important" and Pinkie Pie was awful. It was maybe her worst S4 episode.

      Aviators, to my ear, hasn't been as good lately as he was when he first joined the fandom. Maybe it's just that others have outclassed him, but he, Eurobeat Brony, Sim Gretina (kinda, kinda not) and a few others don't seem to be doing as much good music these days as they used to. Though Revenge is definitely a good track, don't get me wrong.

    4. Can't argue about Pinkie, but there wasn't another scene this season that made me grin like an idiot as much as the final song, with Fluttershy in her Ponytones sweater. FV win for that, really. Mind you, I also liked "Bats!", which most people seek to dislike.

    5. You officially have terrible taste in episodes. :V

    6. Yeah, I can't back you up on Bats! That really is the worst episode. Pinkie was completely terrible in "Filli Vanilli, but her terribleness was overshadowed by the sheer majesty of everything else!

    7. I think I put "Bats!" about tenth. Worst episode for me has always been "Power Ponies". I haven't watched it since other than once for a "let's rewatch" thing. I really liked the PP *comic*, but the episode... no.

    8. Power ponies is easily the biggest disappointing episode of all time, especially how over hyped it was.

    9. Power Ponies never sat right with me for some reason I can't explain, but the only thing I can say against it being worst episode is "there was worse". :B

    10. Power Ponies at least has a few bright spots, and they are named Filli Second and Radiance. Pinkie and Rarity are great in that episode. The rest... not really a lot there to love, I'm afraid. Poor Spike. He gets shafted each time they focus on him.

  3. ::Looks at Best Fanfiction:

    ::Doesn't see an xjuggernaughtx story::


    ::Throws a chair and is escorted outside::

    1. Of course it's rigged! I don't want trouble from the Chair Liberation Front!