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I'll let you in on a little secret: Twilight Sparkle is one of my favourite protagonists ever. Her combination of intelligence and academic prowess are an inspiration to both younger and older viewers, but there's so much to Twilight's character that makes her more than just the usual studious type of character. Although other ponies, such as Rainbow Dash, may perceive Twilight to be an egg-head who would never be able to do something sporty, such as win a race, Twilight wears her intellect firmly on her hooves and proves that just because you care about succeeding and learning, you can still be an awesome pony to hang around with. Not that this would be assumed if we judged her simply based on the Pilot, however; it takes a while for her strengths to show themselves, but soon enough it becomes very easy to love everything that Twilight embodies.

At the beginning of the season, we learn that Twilight is something of a misanthrope: she prefers the company of herself to making friends, and grows frustrated when Princess Celestia decides that she should get out of her library and make some friends. The norm at this stage appears to be that Twilight has never experienced prolonged exposure to other ponies, and severely dislikes the concept of friendship. What is interesting is that she dislikes something that she's never had; thus, it is Twilight's perception of the negative aspects of having friends rather than the actual lack of friends that gives her this outlook. We don't feel as if Twilight has failed to make friends in the past – instead, we get the feeling that she's never wanted to even try and make friendships with other ponies. Although this may appear hard to believe, given that Twilight is a fairly mature and reasonably old and independent pony, it is not too difficult to understand. After all, in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" Twilight as a little filly attempts to gain entry into Princess Celestia's academy of magic as she is gifted in the arcane. I shall dwell further on this scene later, but as a point of reference we should observe that, after ultimately being accepted, she naturally confines herself in her study in Canterlot, tirelessly reading and absorbing spells. Thus, Twilight's isolation from other ponies can be believed if we follow the chronological points of her life.

Of course, helping to hatch Spike from his egg in this early stage gives her a young companion, proving that she isn't at the beginning of the show entirely alone. Spike and Twilight's friendship is ever-prevalent, and the two of them have more interaction than arguably any other duo. Almost every scene at Twilight's library-home features Spike, and the two characters play off one another well throughout the season. Everything accumulates in Spike's own episode, "Owl's Well That Ends Well", where Spike is continuously referred to by Twilight as her 'number one assistant'. Clearly, Spike and Twilight have a very strong relationship with one another: Twilight comes across as the big sister to the baby dragon that is Spike, and she often looks out for him. But she also has the ability to scold Spike when he's being foolish, putting her into a position of natural authority.

Indeed, from the moment Twilight arrives in Ponyville she assumes the position of what can essentially be summarised as party leader. She may not be the most popular pony, but she comes across as the most level-headed. Her frustrations in the Pilot episode – not wishing to befriend certain ponies; getting annoyed with Fluttershy's overt fondness of Spike; disliking Pinkie Pie's party for her – are natural, insofar as she really does not wish to be there performing arbitrary tasks when she could, in her mind, be warning off against Nightmare Moon. Twilight's ability to predict the return of Nightmare Moon instantly puts her into a position of power, and, bar potentially Rainbow Dash and her legendary Sonic Rainboom, Twilight's knowledge and magic make her the most powerful pony in Ponyville.

It is lucky, then, that she rarely uses her magic unless she has to, perhaps perceiving it as an abuse of power. On several occasions she shows a reluctance to engage in the arcane; whether it's out of the fear of alienating her friends in "Boast Busters" or wishing to engage in the traditional ways of Ponyville in "Winter Wrap-up", Twilight has the capacity to use her magic only when necessary. More impulsive ponies would perhaps abuse this power more: it's hard to imagine a hot-headed pony like Rainbow Dash not to go slightly overboard with her magic if she had the ability to use it, which is something that cannot be said of Twilight. And yet, despite being modest about her abilities, Twilight Sparkle shows enormous promise. Princess Celestia herself shows an awareness of Twilight's incomparable magical abilities, explaining why she makes her her star pupil. Twilight's relationship with Celestia presents one of the stronger relationships in the show: at the end of almost every episode Twilight Sparkle delivers a message to Princess Celestia explaining what she has learned from her particular adventure that day. That Twilight is the one to summarise events and deliver the moral outcome supports the assumption that she is the main character, if there is such a thing within the show.

Twilight, although at first reluctant to make friends, soon learns of the joys and values of friendship and relishes on pleasing Celestia. She lionises Celestia, never wishing to disappoint her tutor, as can be seen in "Swarm of the Century" where she takes it on herself to direct Ponyville's celebration for Celestia's arrival, and in "A Bird in the Hoof" where she becomes incredibly nervous over the Princess' visit, hoping desperately that she will like her friends. It is ironic that when Twilight first arrived in Ponyville she was against making friends, and yet this is precisely what she comes to care about and wishes for Celestia to approve of. She often panics when the prospect of not living up to Celestia's expectations comes into the equation, although there is a sense that Twilight works towards appeasing Celestia more than is actually required, creating a situation where letting Celestia down is entirely in her own mind.

This more insecure side to Twilight once again has a credible source: if she was personally taken on as Celestia's prize student, then it makes utter sense that she would want to do everything in her power to avoid disappointing Celestia. Still, although she is clearly the closest pony to Celestia out of the mane six, she doesn't always know how the Princess will react to a situation and misjudges the Princess' reaction with surprising frequency. Twilight has a tendency to freak out and exaggerate a situation when Celestia is involved: when Fluttershy steals Philomena from Celestia in order to help the poor Phoenix get better, Twilight instantly assumes that Fluttershy will be banished to the Everfree Forest. In "The Best Night Ever" Twilight Sparkle believes that she may have ruined the Grand Galloping Gala, which is soon revealed by Celestia to be as far from the truth as possible. Twilight views Celestia as a self-inflicted paternal figure and mentor, especially as Twilight left her own parents at a young age, and she often appears to fear losing the Princess' support and adoration, and thus simultaneously finds that when a situation requires Celestia's input it can send her into a fit of nerves. It is interesting to note that Twilight Sparkle seems to bring this on herself, as the show rarely hints that Princess Celestia has the constitution to banish ponies or even raise her voice into more than her usual soothingly dulcet tone. There are clearly issues of power here and an insecurity in Twilight when it comes to characters with authority over her, as time and again it is Twilight who throws herself into a self-imposed frenzy. Applejack also left her core-family when she was young, but she found herself ultimately needing to return to them; it is perhaps testament to Twilight's utter focus on her studies that she persevered.

Thankfully, although Twilight may not always be able to keep her cool around Princess Celestia, she does instead have a great deal of maturity and confidence around her other friends. In "The Ticket Master", the first proper episode of the show, Twilight is in a position of power over her friends once again in that she has tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala and must choose who to give them to. It becomes clear at this stage that some of her friends respect her more than others. Whilst Applejack and Twilight appear close at the very start of this episode – Twilight is seen helping Applejack pick apples at Sweet Apple Acres – other ponies such as Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy aren't quite so respectful towards Twilight. This is why Dash is more than happy to take the tickets near the end of the episode after the other ponies decline, and why Fluttershy is Spring-cleaning Twilight's home purely to get the tickets. It is fortunate that in the following episodes Twilight's relationship with these ponies becomes stronger. In "Look Before You Sleep", for example, Twilight Sparkle has her first slumber party, something that she has clearly been interested in for some time, as suggested by the fact that she has a special book dedicated to sleepovers. As Twilight's childhood was clearly a rather lonely period of her life, it makes sense that she would glorify a rather common situation such as this simply because she was without it as a filly. As she never experienced these things in her youth – Pinkie Pie herself announcing that Twilight, "Really need[s] to get out more" - she finds comfort in sublimating her childhood with her modern lifestyle at times. By experiencing this situation with Applejack and Rarity and ensuring that the slumber party is, in the end, everything that she dreamed it would be, she secures her friendship with these two ponies.

Pinkie Pie is a slightly different situation, however. Whilst Twilight seems by episode 15, "Feeling Pinkie Keen" to be good friends with all of the ponies, she seems uncharacteristically aggressive and combative towards Pinkie Pie and her twitches. Although it does seem far-fetched to believe that Pinkie Pie can predict the future with her bodily impulses, other level-headed ponies such as Applejack have managed to accept that when Pinkie's tail starts twitching, you better take cover. This episode presents us with a stubborn Twilight who is rooted in logic, fact, falsifiability and scientific protocol. She cannot accept that an unknown source of information – Pinkie's twitches – can offer a realistic glimpse into the future, and makes it her mission to belittle Pinkie rather than accept her, even hooking her up to a machine in order to monitor her brain-patterns in the hopes that she can scientifically disprove that Pinkie has a power. Some viewers have seen this episode as something of a religious debate, with Pinkie's twitches being evidence for a God-like force, whilst Twilight represents science and the need to have solid proof of something. This can certainly be argued, but I see the episode more as a way in which to see Twilight's reaction when somepony challenges her. And, sadly, it's not always a good reaction.

Twilight does at times come across as easily frustrated, stubborn and antagonistic. In "Dragonshy" she doesn't really listen to Fluttershy, far more wrapped up in her own little world than that of her friend, placing Princess Celestia's mission to stop the dragon as the most important factor. In "Feeling Pinkie Keen" she has little patience for Fluttershy dropping a frog on her, and indeed, she doesn't seem to have much patience for Fluttershy's love of creatures and critters in general. In "Owl's Well That Ends Well" she doesn't really take Spike's feelings into account until the end of the episode, when, at least to the viewer, Spike is clearly feeling under-appreciated and jealous. In "Griffin The Brush-Off" instead of believing Pinkie Pie that Gilda is a big meanie-pants, she instead accuses Pinkie of being in the wrong. Nevertheless, there are many virtues to her personality as well. In "Sonic Rainboom" she performs spells to allow the Earth ponies and Rarity to walk on the clouds in order to support Dash, and then persists that Rarity should stop showing off her wings as it's making Rainbow Dash feel uncomfortable. In "The Ticket Master" Twilight finds it impossible to choose between her friends, refusing to disappoint any pony at the risk of sacrificing her own ticket to the Gala. We see in "A Bird in the Hoof" that, although she risks facing the maximum penalty of Celestia, she accepts full responsibility in order to protect Fluttershy. And, in "Winter Wrap Up", although she fails at a lot of tasks, she continues trying as she wishes to help the Earth Pony way. When she gets upset, especially after being scolded by Applejack for using magic and running off in tears, it is a sorrowful moment that shows a more innocent and idealistic side to Twilight.

After all, although she would like to have the viewer think that she's always in charge and organised – indeed, her organisational skills end up helping immensely in "Winter Wrap Up" - Twilight Sparkle at times comes across as an incredibly innocent little pony. In "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" after explaining the story of how she got her Cutie Mark to the Cutie Mark Crusaders she hops around gleefully shouting, "Yes yes yes yes yes!" in utter, unparalleled joy, lacking the usual restraint that she usually exerts and clearly showing how important her studying under Celestia is to her. All the surrounding ponies even look at her as if there's something wrong with her, such is the extent in which she breaks character. In "Feeling Pinkie Keen" she realises her lack of power in dealing with the hydra by questioning, "What would a brave pony like Rainbow Dash do?". Furthermore, in "The Best Night Ever" she reveals that all she really wants is to spend time with Princess Celestia; a heart-felt request that shows how important Princess Celestia is in her life, as she values just being there with Celestia above anything else at the Gala.

Her maturity should not be down-played, however. Although there are moments where adorable Twilight shine through, she is more often than not the voice of reason within the show. Perhaps this is because she is the only pony not local to Ponyville – Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, although originally from Cloudsdale, spend a lot more time in Ponyville – and thus Twilight's perception of the external world is different to the other ponies. She certainly sees Zecora in a more positive light than the other ponies in "Bridle Gossip", denying the accusations that she's an evil enchantress until the evidence really stacks up against the mysterious zebra. It is Twilight who ultimately apologises to Zecora, learning a lesson for all of the ponies about not discriminating against others. Twilight personally learns in this episode not to judge a book by its cover, as she could have easily cured the curse of the Poison Joke had she listened to Spike. In "The Stare Master" Twilight isn't afraid to wander into the Everfree Forest by herself, and although things don't necessarily go to plan, that she is willing to go in alone shows a confident and courageous side to her character. Within "Green Isn't Your Colour", furthermore, we see that Twilight Sparkle is a loyal pony who can keep a secret, even if it's enough to make her want to explode. Whilst someponies would not be able to keep a secret for so long, especially when she's trapped in the middle of the lies between Fluttershy and Rarity, she manages to keep her cool for the majority of the episode...helped by additional 'warnings' from Pinkie Pie. At the climax of the episode she finds herself with the conviction to apologise to Spike after revealing his own little secret about having a crush on Rarity, showing that she understands when she's in the wrong.

Ultimately, Twilight is a tremendous lead, and she is not without her humorous moments, either. Whether she's bursting into flames in "Feeling Pinkie Keen" or referencing the show in "The Show Stoppers" by addressing the Cutie Mark Crusaders as, "My Little Ponies!", she clearly has her own amusing side. Her relative bluntness as well can lead to some funny situations; when Fluttershy announces that she is Spring-cleaning Twilight's home, Twilight's dead-pan reaction of, "It's Summer!" raises a chuckle every time. In "Over a Barrel", Twilight lingers on the miscommunication that Rainbow Dash thinks that Fluttershy is a tree, a level of quirkiness rarely seen in her character; giggling at Fluttershy's "Huffy the Magic Dragon" quote merely compounds her sometimes child-like tendencies and the love that she has found with her friends.

But ultimately, the moment that stands out to me as the most heart-felt and warming scene throughout the entire season is at the end of "Owl's Well That Ends Well", where Twilight confesses to Spike that no one could ever replace him and that he is her best friend and always will be. Their loving embrace is beautiful and symbolic of the message of the entire show: that friendship is the greatest magic of all. Twilight utterly embodies exactly what the show is about, because "Friendship is Magic" can be seen as being her own personal adventure. Because friendship is new to her, and she is only just finding out that others can love her for who she is, her visit to Ponyville teaches her so much about friendship and what it's like to belong. No amount of magic can compare to having true friends, and, at least to me, Twilight proves this. The other ponies that she encounters have their own stories to tell, but Twilight will always be the primary story-teller here. "Friendship is Magic" is her own journey of discovery and of enrichment, and all of the events of the show form the words with which this tale is written~
My final character review - this time covering the magical Twilight Sparkle!

So there we have it! My thoughts and feelings on these wonderful ponies in the excellent “Friendship is Magic”. I'm sad that I've finally finished covering the mane six, but it has been an interesting experience and I've had some lovely comments. Some of you guys tune in for that one special character that you really like, and others show up on every single review and blow me away with enormous comments that are practically reviews in themselves. To everyone I give my thanks, and having the reviews featured on Equestria Daily a few days ago was a wonderful experience...I got a lot of new watchers and thousands of new views, which is always brilliant to see as it proves that people are supportive and willing to read large chunks of text if it's about something that they care about. Keep a look-out for me after season 2 has finished airing: chances are I'll be here with my critical pen out once more. Many thanks to the wonderful ponies that make this show possible, and the many, many bronies that make the experience~
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:icondollqueen:
Dollqueen Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
You know, I rather like that although she's supposed to the the "book-smart one" of the group she isn't this genius who can do anything with their skill who thinks they're the greatest at what they do. Which is the gross stereo type in most shows with a main group of archetypes. In fact, that sound more like Trixie who's maybe a satire of the stereo type?
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013
Goodness, this is an old upload. But yes, you're right - she's rather unassuming and quite often lacks confidence in herself, rather unlike a lot of intelligent characters in TV.
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:iconolihmajor:
olihmajor Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2011
:O That was awesome. There isn't really anything I could say to add to that, or even criticize... Great job!
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:iconthejboy88:
Thejboy88 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2011
Good review of the character.

I'll let you all in on a secret.

One of the reasons I like Twilight so much is that she remind me a great deal of myself when I was her age (dear lord that made me sound old).

Not concerned at first with making friends, focused on her studies, going somewhat crazy at the thought of being late for something, getting frustrated or angry over crazy or unexplained things.

Yep, that was ME back then.
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:iconfelixsoapmactavish:
FelixSoapMacTavish Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011
did you know that Twilight Sparkle's supposed name is Twilight Twinkle?
but Lauren Faust changed it in the last minute.

I don't know if this is some kind of a sick joke but at least she didn't have the characteristic of the main female lead of you-know-what.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011
That is potentially true. I heard that a lot of the ponies were originally going to have different names but some were changed at the creative behest of Faust and others were altered due to copyright infringement.
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:iconfelixsoapmactavish:
FelixSoapMacTavish Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011
but at least she could chose a better name but thankfully it didn't backfire on her.
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:iconak71:
AK71 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2011
Great job, and another thoughtful review. Although not my favourite pony, I do love Twilight as she is a lot like me being a bit socially awkward and preferring books to friends. All the mane six have had very good character revelations throughout Season 1, but it's Twilight's development that was the most interesting to me. She has arguably the most depth and different facets to her personality, befitting to the lead character, and she has learnt so much. I particularly like her altruistic nature in 'The Ticket Master', even though she isn't used to having friends she shows that giving up her dreams so she doesn't upset anypony else was great.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2011
I imagine that her personality being the most in-depth is derived from the fact that she is, technically, the main character. It's great that not every episode treats her in this way - she often takes a secondary role - but primarily she is the lead protagonist.
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:iconpap64:
pap64 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
This may seem like a weird comment, but I have always compared Friendship is Magic to The Golden Girls. Yes, WEIRD, but the two shows are structured similarly when it comes to character archetypes.

In Twilight's case, she is the Dorothy of the group. Both characters are presented as being the neutral emotional ground in a cast of eclectic characters. She is there to take in the madness around her and use it to better herself. It IS important for her to be around Pinkie's hyperactive, Rarity's apparent "shallowness" (not saying she is shallow, just that for some she may be overly shallow), Applejack's commitment to work and family, so on and so forth. Because even if at times it tests her patience she really is learning about how to work with people.

In my life, I've had many friends. From the overly serious and cynical to the very proud and even really silly, and while I got better with some than others I have learned from ALL of them, because each person brought something that made me a better person. This is the case with Twilight. Being the emotional neutral ground helps her see others better, even when she gets annoyed or frustrated.

I know a lot of people like to see Celestia as this giant troll character, but I think she was wise in sending Twilight out to Ponyville and learn about friendship. It is likely that she has something big planned for Twilight, and realized that in a high position of power, you need to understand the needs and feelings of others, so sending Twilight to learn to work with people is all likely a plan to make her a better pony and thus creating a better kingdom for her and ponies everywhere.

Twilight isn't my top favorite pony, but she did create one of my favorite emotional moments in the whole series. In Winter Wrap Up, when she is trying to fit in. It really made me sad when she was scolded by Applejack, because you could feel that all she wanted to do was help and fit in, so being called out on a simple mistake hurt her because it was like she was being rejected out of this group activity, thus making her feel like she has "failed" to learn about friendship.

Great character analysis as always!
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
Yeah, in "Winter Wrap Up" that part where Twilight gets upset because she can't fit in is quite sad indeed! It's nice that she ended up working out a resolve, and that her own talents were enough to benefit the whole of Ponyville. I haven't seen Golden Girls myself, so I'll take your word for that comment - the evidence you provide seems genuine enough. I like your point about Twilight needing to be surrounded by the other ponies because their personalities all compliment one another. Calling Twilight an emotional neutral ground is a great term!
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:icon404compliant:
404compliant Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
Thanks finally and again for all these reviews. I really liked reading them, though it takes some time to read them all, and they gave me lots of new views to these characters. When someone asks what's the special about FiM, there is now a new perfect answer: First, the show has so much detail that you can write such deep reviews about it without getting far-fetched, and second, that these high quality reviews actually are there to read!

However, don't rest too much, there are lots of supporting characters that need your sharp eye, and lots of other aspects of the show that are worth a closer look!
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
Thanks so much for saying that! If anyone ever doubts the merits of the show, hopefully these reviews will prove to them that the show has a lot of depth to it and the characters are well fleshed-out. I'll be reviewing more aspects of the show as they come to me, and may even provide commentary on the episodes of season 2 as they air, so look out for it!
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:iconchipples19:
chipples19 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Twilight Sparkle is my kind of gal!
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
Who wouldn't want her to cast a spell on them?
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:iconchipples19:
chipples19 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Search me. :)
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:iconmortalshinobi:
mortalshinobi Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011
what? you're not gonna do a review on spike?
lols
but it is a nice review. i was actually wondering when you were going to get to twilight sparkle.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
Not until after season 2 now for Spike. There will be one eventually.
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:iconmortalshinobi:
mortalshinobi Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
heh. I always did count him as part of the main cast, he's almost in as many episodes as the others.
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:icondylax16873:
Dylax16873 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011
After reading Lauren Fausts interview on EqD I meandered over to DevintArt specifically hoping for one thing to make this day even better. Sure enough its here! Your review of my absolute favorite Pony! I absolutely love your character analysis'. They always make me stop and appreciate just how much I love these Ponies that Ms. Faust has created.

As usual you hit the nail on the head. I really came to adore Twilight over the course of season 1. Her intellectual prowess and confidence contrasted with her insecurity over her new found friends and her deep appreciation and love of them really struck a nerve with me. I guess it reminds me of my younger self a bit. There's been some truly epic comments left already that have said what I think much more eloquently then I could ever hope to, so I'll just that be.

I've been following your blogs ever since you left that wonderful review of FiM as a whole. Its truly been a pleasure reading your updates over the summer. I hope you find more MLP things to write about with Season 2 on the way. But if you don't you've left your mark already. :D
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
Fantastic! I'm glad that I oculd make your day better! That's an awesome thing to hear, and based on your avatar I could guess that you love Twilight a lot x3 I'm glad that you commented: the enormous replies below are going to take a while to reply to <<

It's great to hear that you've been following my uploads since the initial Friendship is Magic review. I never expected to find a place to put them up (as far as I can tell, DeviantArt doesn't have a place for reviews) but they've proven to be surprisingly popular. I'm sure there will be plenty to talk about both during and after season 2, so keep an eye out! :3
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
'could, gah!!
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:iconberlioz-ii:
Berlioz-II Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011
Twilight certainly, in her position of "main character" (or should I say "mane" as is customary), is perhaps the most multifaceted of all the other ponies, and has a lot more quirks in her personality that aren't localised to the more restricted character types of the others. Thus she has a lot more scope to display many different types of traits that could easily lead for her character to be viewed as being all over the place were it not for her always retaining that simple groundwork of her studious past as a steady course in her life. And that's probably the one thing I like about Twilight the most is that she often approaches things from a very logical point-of-view; if there's a problem, she can most of the time rely on her trusted books to give answers that in turn help push her and her friends on a path of action they might not otherwise consider. And that's certainly pretty unique for any series like this where the main character doesn't just instinctively "know" what to do, or stumbles around until a solution presents itself, but here the main character actually puts effort in finding out about stuff beforehand in more believable ways than that.

This is also something that benefits the entire series as a whole as there isn't a stereotypical standard set between being studious and being social. And while Twilight certainly represents the social recluse in many ways at the beginning, it is refreshing that the show doesn't follow such a silly equation that "studying bad - having fun with friends good" that I've seen perpetrated in plenty of media before (the dreaded romantic comedies of the '90s, for instance, where the unpopular intelligent girl becomes pretty and popular when she sheds the undesirable, uncool traits in favour of those that the less-intelligent people hold in higher value). Having Twilight adding more social situations to her life, but not at the expense of forsaking her studious side, is a truly great thing to see and makes her so much more of a balanced character as a result.

Yet, for all her logic and knowledge and magical ability, it is fun to note that she is at the same time so awkward at facing some of these new social situations in her life out of simply not having had any experience with them before. She indeed has a certain type of innocent childishness in her heart despite all her scientific rhetoric that makes her feel more down-to-earth as still being basically a child thanks to her closed and sheltered existence amid her precious books. Her immense adoration of Princess Celestia, her simple joy of participating in a slumber party all executed "by-the-book," her naïve desires to experience new things like running in a race... it's all part of her being still so inexperienced that makes her perhaps younger than her real age would likely dictate. Yet both the childishness and the scientific never really clash with one another rather than compliment the strictly book-savy learned side with the inexperienced social side, with both aspects yielding new things for her to learn in their own way that she can then implement into both.

What I find perhaps the funniest contradictory quirk in Twilight, though, has to be her organisational abilities. While she certainly shows that she can organise large events to work smoothly like in "Winter Wrap Up," I find it funny how incredibly unorganised she is while at home. Whenever she needs to quickly study something, she just messily picks out one book after another from her shelves without apparently even knowing what she's looking for, only to just as quickly discard the tomes on the floor in favour of another. Also she never seems to actually know at all where each of her required books actually are, needing Spike to fetch them for her. And when she is immersed with her required opus, or another activity, she also turns completely oblivious of her surroundings, usually leaving Spike again to pick up the mess she seems completely unaware even exists, or that she herself has actually created it. And even when she does notice this, like in "Swarm of the Century," she's quickly sidetracked into doing something else, like only seconds later after agreeing to help Spike clean up, she goes out to supervise Celestia's party preparations, leaving Spike yet again to do the tidying up alone ("Yeah, thanks for your help...").

There really seems to be this constant dichotomy working inside Twilight that makes her such an adorkable character in many ways. Sympathetic in her innocence struggling with her desire to be seen as the mature "personal student of the Princess" - somepony with a great desire to learn and taking pleasure in whatever new discoveries comes her way with a coolly logical brain mixed with sweet filly-like naïvety. And still with the frienships she forges the longer she is exposed to the other ponies, the more adept she comes in balancing both so that her life becomes more fully rounded - despite all the frustrations, anxiety attacks and troubles she also has to face as a result. All in all, Twilight Sparkle is indeed a very strong character even when whittled down to a role of "main character" instead of the more immediately impactful secondary characters with their more pronounced quirks. But she carries this mantle with fortitude and conviction, and I'd agree makes for one of the strongest main characters around.

Congrats on getting through these reviews (supposing you don't intend to look at any of the remaining characters); they've been fun reading. :)
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2011
Another excellent comment! Let me just put on my reading glasses...

Firstly, I think it's a great thing that Twilight has to read to get the answers. We often see her, such as in the beginning of "Boast Busters", practicing her magic, but there are countless times when she mentions how hard she's been studying, or has her face in a book in order to solve an issue that the group may be having. It's great to see this being advertised to kids, as one would hope that younger audiences will absorb that reading is productive and cool at the same time. I think it's great, as you say, that Twilight can be smart and popular at the same time. In "Fall Weather Friends" it's great, because after reading a book on how to pace herself and so on, she actually manages to beat Rainbow Dash and Applejack in the race. But in addition, the fact that she doesn't come first place and instead enjoyed watching the surroundings and experiencing the race suggests that the winning isn't as important as the taking part.

I also agree that her childish nature is often because she hasn't experienced these things before. It's interesting that Twilight, for all of her academic graces, hasn't ever experienced things that Ponyville citizens consider common knowledge, such as the Sonic Rainboom. Pinkie can't believe that Twilight has never heard of it, which is testament to the fact that Twilight is new to all of these things. An interesting observation there about Twilight's contradictive organisational skills - I never really thought about it, but you're right! She does quite often show an untidy side, often to the plight of Spike, even though she celebrates her organisational skills when dealing with issues in Ponyville during "Swarm of the Century" and "Winter Wrap Up".

Your comment was very insightful, so thank you for making the effort. As for reviewing the remaining characters, I most certainly do plan on doing so! In truth, I ran out of time to do the reviews, and don't really want to review Spike now, for example, because there's a good chance that season 2 will completely change his character, making reviewing him now only getting half the story. But keep a look-out! I'll be reviewing more aspects of the show in the coming months.
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:iconberlioz-ii:
Berlioz-II Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2011
Oh, great you found that insightful as it was pretty late when I wrote that, I was dead tired, and half the time I was probably not even too sure what I was writing instead of just hammering out whatever came to my mind before bed! But then again, it's not like <i<I</i> was writing some kind of a big analysis, so it doesn't really matter.

Anyway, season two has now commenced, and I'm still putting my mind around the first episode's pros and cons. Still mostly positive, though I have some reservations on certain aspects. Great to have Q voicing Discord, though! That was an inspired choice. :D
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
Hrm, what reservations did you have about the first episode? I also have some, so I'd like to get your opinions.
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:iconberlioz-ii:
Berlioz-II Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
Well, the biggest one was really a matter of pacing. Whereas the first season pilot spent the first episode in basically setting up the mood of the whole story, this one simply jumps into things a bit too fast and makes it harder to really settle down into the story - which isn't helped by Celestia's major exposition dump crammed into the middle to further emphasise the fact that there's so much plot for such a short space to handle. This could have been better handled if the opening CMC sequence was removed since it ultimately seems somewhat needless. This would have freed some much needed space for a more proper easing into such a major story, and which also figures into that I find the whole "CMCs arguing releases Discord" to be a little... weak. I mean, over the 1000+ years there's never been anypony else arguing by the statues? And if the spell was that easily broken, then what was Celestia thinking when casting it to make it so weak? A little unplausible, particularly if Discord is supposedly so terribly dangerous.

When the story proper gets underway, things work somewhat better, even if again the time constraints come in the way that some of the ponies may give out to Discord's spell/temptation/whatever a little too quickly for comfort - albeit the reasonings are well enough explained and there's likely more influence coming from Discord himself to push them a certain way a lot faster. So this is a somewhat small issue, and I also really like seeing them being opposites of their own elements (Fluttershy particularly), while some of the conversions have nice touches to them, like Rarity trying to resist at first and Fluttershy being so non-confrontational to be completely immune. But then you have the actual Elements of Harmony that are such a McGuffin, not helped by their very undefined functional importance in the story prior to this. They're just such a plot convenience, but not much else. On the plus side, though, it's nice to at least have them still floating around since S1Ep2 instead of them just being completely forgotten... but their particular use is still a little sketchy and pointless.

Anyway, on the whole I'm still pretty positive about the episode thus far. It'll likely not be the best FiM episode by any means, but it still fares reasonably well in many aspects. I was afraid of what Discord would mean to the series as these big plot-heavy episodes that deal less directly with the characters themselves are not what this series truly excels at. And you can definitely see a lot of the characters consequently being straddled to serve the plot than showing their particular characteristics outside of story considerations, but it isn't as bad as it could have been. Also for the nerd in me, it's so much fun to have John de Lancie voicing Discord as his prior portrayal of the very similar character of Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation - who is one of my favourite TNG characters anyway - making him be the mischievous antagonist again in MLP be just a big coup.

And once again the voice acting of the other mane cast is also tops. Tabitha St.Germain in particular again makes me just spin in my seat in delight at the various inflections and emphasis she puts on her words that bring out such bucketloads of character. And snark-Fluttershy is a hoot-and-a-half as well. So, there's a lot of good in here, even if it's not perfect. And this being still the first part of a two-part story makes it a little hard to judge how everything will eventually fall into place. It's like reviewing a movie by just watching the first half of it. So, that's my little mini-review. I'd still suspect the proper S2 episodes will prove to be better than the opening episodes when we again get to focus on the true strengths of FiM: the characters themselves.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
I personally found the original two Pilot episodes of Season 1 to be the weakest of the series, so I'm sure that with this series the Discord episodes will be the weakest. I agree with a lot of the points that you just made - the Elements of Harmony seem to be these objects that were introduced back when the show didn't have a certain future, and was instead just a two-part episode. I was happy that they didn't attempt to squeeze them into all of the episodes after the Pilot. Instead, they just sort of forgot about them, which was fine, because fans realised that they were probably designed to be just in those two initial episodes, which I regard as being somewhat detached from the rest of the series. Sort of if they did a movie, it would only be semi-canon.

The fact that the Elements of Harmony have made their return seems necessary, to an extent, as just putting a normal episode as the series' opener would be a bit anti-climactic, and yet I don't really like them existing at all. It's a big of a double-edged sword on that front. As for the episode itself, some of the mind-conversions were better than others. I didn't really like Applejack's, and sort of failed to realise why it was linked to lying. Whereas Pinkie's little situation with the balloons was quite obvious that Discord was making a point about ponies lying to her, with Applejack I didn't quite understand the relevance of the image in the pool to Applejack needing to lie. It was sort of explained, but I didn't really like it myself. As for Rarity, I thought her part was well-done, and perhaps the least character breaking of the mane three who got converted by Discord. Whereas I thought Applejack was way too quick to succumb and Pinkie Pie, after episodes like "Party of One" should probably have realised that her friends really don't laugh at her, Rarity did at least try and resist, but allowed her greed to get the better of her. This is something I can imagine Rarity doing.

Fluttershy's was brilliant. I love what they did with her in this episode. From cowering, to screaming when the ponies get separated at the start of the maze, to diving into the hedge for cover from the butterflies, to finally completely resisting Discord's words making him have to manually manipulate her, she was just brilliant. I'm not the biggest Fluttershy fan, but I do think they handled her particularly well in this episode. As for Rainbow, not got much of a comment there - she prioritised Cloudsdale over the competition, which seems fair enough.

I'm sure the second part will be fine, and then we can get back into proper episodes. I didn't think the first episode was great, but it did what it needed to do: a necessary episode, but not one of the best yet. I am wondering how they will possibly begin the third season, should one come, though. There has to be a limit to the amount of times they can use the Elements to tackle evil. Then again, if they only use the Elements of Harmony in these season premiere episodes then I'm happy: keeps them down-played but doesn't entirely write them out of the story, which seems like the best thing to do.

I do think that the Cutie Mark Crusaders unleashing Discord - at least, that's what the episode implies - is also flimsy. I dunno, there was just something about that scene in general that didn't quite work for me. I loved that Cheerilee was there, as giving essentially background ponies more of a role is fine by me, but I didn't quite get why the CMC's started fighting. The fight seemed to be pretty pointless and uncalled for, and they appeared needlessly combative towards one another. Things like ''What are you, a dictionary?'' and ''Confusion! Chaos! Evil!'' (Fight) seemed a bit unusual, as in the first season we never got the feeling that the Cutie Mark Crusaders were particularly hostile to one another. I realise that it's not serious fighting, but they've never demonstrated that sort of behaviour before. Also, as you say, the fact that their fighting/words released Discord (unless this turns out not to be the case in part 2) is a bit weak, as it does raise questions. Namely, why make the seal so easy to break? It's sort of amusing if the Cutie Mark Crusaders did release Discord, but also a little bit hard to believe.

Episode was decent enough, part 2 will probably be better, and then season 2 will be excellent. This is my prediction.
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:iconberlioz-ii:
Berlioz-II Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
Seems we're pretty much on the same page here with our general impressions. :D

Yeah, these big, plot-heavy episodes are not the real bread and butter of what makes this series so good instead of the simpler ones that focus directly on the characters, their personalities, and their relationships. When the characters create the story, instead of having them be straddled to serve a plot, is when the real merits present themselves. The season openers are by necessity larger to make them stand out more, but act more like specials than episodes proper.

Applejack's conversion... yeah, it was pretty weak. I can see what they were trying to do there in saying that a comforting lie is easier to take than brutal honesty, but its link to the vision of the others not getting along and splitting up as being the "truth" of what Discord will do, and how hiding behind a lie is easier to handle, is tenuous at best. I can only hope that Discord used some kind of a prodding spell or something to make the ponies change so quickly (like he had to do with Fluttershy) since Applejack and Pinkie should have known better based on what they saw. But yeah, Rarity's greedy streak, Fluttershy's forced change, and Rainbow's splitting loyalties are easier to understand as they are based on pre-existing character traits, so thusly they are easier to accept than the more flimsy reasons provided by AJ and PP.

The CMC were very out of character. It's a plot contrivance really. I doubt it's more than that. And I certainly hope the Elements will disappear after this. I mean, they were an effective enough symbol to use in the first season. It's okay that they appear again here since it at least shows that they haven't simply been forgotten after the pilot and actually still exist to at least explain where they went. But a third time? I can't see that being good writing in the least since they're simply not strong enough to be perpetually recurring motifs. I mean, if there ever is a big problem, well, just crack out the Elements again and blast the troubles away! Laaaazy. But I trust the writers will see the same as well and this'll be the last we'll see of the Elements again.

But, indeed, seems we're pretty much in agreement on this episode. And I also expect the third episode to launch back into the true strengths of this series of character-based slice-of-life.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2011
You're fast becoming the most sensible person who comments on my reviews, so thank you for your productive responses. As we say, the next episode will hopefully resolve the little story arc nicely. Personally, I've never been a fan of episodes in shows where the characters all fall out with one another. A lot of shows do it - I remember the same thing happened in one episode of Digimon when I was a kid - and although it is supposed to create some form of emotional resonance, because things end up returning to normal at the end they seem a little pointless to me. "Friendship is Magic" is at its best when it's giving us episodes about the characters, rather than telling an epic story. Of course there is room for more storyline-focused episodes, like "Over a Barrel", but the episodes that stand out most in my mind are episodes like, "Boast Busters", "Owl's Well That Ends Well", "Dragonshy" and so on: episodes that focus on the characters rather than deep plots. "Look Before You Sleep" is a great episode, and 95% of it takes place in Twilight's home and without any external characters. All it takes is Applejack, Rarity and Twilight to make it work.

Did you hear about the delay between episode 2 and episode 3? Apparently people have been bringing up the schedules for future episodes on the Hub, and it appears that although episode 2 will be airing on Saturday, the following week it's showing a repeat of the Return of Harmony rather than episode 3. The rumour is that episode 3 will be airing mid-October.
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:iconjundigon:
Jundigon Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011  Student Writer
Wow, this came out faster than I initially anticipated. I guess it was important to get it out of the way before Season Two began. Either way, I'm happy!

Twilight Sparkle, to me, as always been the most neutral character out of the Mane Six; possessing certain attributes of all the others--The studious work ethic of Applejack, the need for approval like Rarity, caring for Spike similar to Fluttershy, the stubbornness of Rainbow Dash and the quirky aspects of Pinkie Pie. There are more to this list, to be sure, but just as a quick example, I feel this was done on purpose because Twilight is supposed to be a character 'anchor' for the cast of the show.

The thing I respect most about Twilight is her love of reading and always trying to find answers. I love books and ask questions all the time to further my own knowledge of any particular subject I happen to interested in. It's vital the youth knows that reading can be enjoyable, as it opens so many doors; from Fantasy to inspire the imagination or non-fiction to understand the world around you. I'm severely disappointed how uncultured many of my peers are, and I can certainly appreciate Twilight's book smarts.

One of the most interesting things about Twilight is how much she cares about logic. It is something of a metal case study when she easily gets irritated with ponies like Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy because they act differently than others and don't think of things logically. Acting rather isolated and knowing information, but not fully understanding it, sounds very much like the classic case of Asperger's Disorder, who commonly just drift in their own little world and lock onto things that interest them. I know I must sound like a broken record when I try to find examples of mental disorders with all these characters, but because I've seen far too many examples of negative thoughts and pejoratives used to target people like that, I feel like I need to discuss any example that actually portrays it more positively and realistically.

Twilight certainly undergoes quite the change over the course of the season, primary examples I find being episodes such as, "The Ticket Master," "Boast Busters," "Look Before You Sleep," "Winter Wrap Up," and especially episodes like, "Feeling Pinkie Keen" and "Owl's Well That Ends Well."

The fact that she turns from someone who almost despises the concept of friendship to being quite the advocate for it is in no way something you can simply ignore or overlook. I personally found my favorite episode that concentrated on her to be "Feeling Pinkie Keen." I think it's easy to argue the point about it being a model for a religious debate, but I also can easily agree with you on your own theory; myself also adding the thought of it being a model for people who simply act differently than yourself, regardless of any mental disorder or just wanting to not follow the crowd.

Either way, Twilight is an excellent example of a smart, powerful, but realistic character that I hope everypony can at least appreciate due to her attributes. :)

I guess this concludes the majority of our own little discussion on the Mane Six . . . for now, of course. Season Two is just around the corner and I would be quite honored to talk with you further when those highly-anticipated episodes come out. It has been an amazing experience to talk to you on the subject, and I very, very much love reading your reviews. Incredibly insightful, detailed, articulate and, in my opinion, accurate, these reviews should be read by everypony who truly loves this great show.

Excellent job! :icontwilightclapplz:
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
Aha! Yes! I agree with Twilight having elements of all of the other ponies within her personality. That's a great point! I saw a young girl magazine called Pink in a shop today that had a section on ponies inside. I was tempted to buy it, so that I could see how the ponies are being marketed towards the younger viewers. Naturally, we see Twilight as being a benchmark for studying, and I would like to think that younger viewers of the show will see Twilight and want to be like her: reading and working hard would be an excellent message for kids to get from this.

I wouldn't suggest that any of the ponies have mental disorders, but there are certain traits in their behaviour that could be compared to various disorders, yes. I think you're right in saying that "Feeling Pinkie Keen" is about accepting others that might be a little unusual or unorthodox.

I would very much enjoy talking to you more in the future about ponies. I'm not going anywhere, so you can always drop a message on my wall if something crosses your mind that you want to discuss. No doubt season 2 will provide plenty of new things to discuss and evaluate. You've been my most loyal and appreciative viewer, and so the pleasure in speaking has been all mine.
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:iconjundigon:
Jundigon Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011  Student Writer
lol, thanks. I'm always up for chatting about ponies, so I'll be sure to do that.

I wouldn't necessarily suggest that the ponies have mental disorders, either. I just mean that that the way they act and interact at times resembles them rather closely and I personally appreciate that it's used positively enough that the audience will hopefully not react so negatively when they see the same tendencies in real people with the real disorders.

That's with the show proper, though; I personally like to explore the possibilities within the fandom. :)

Speaking of fandom, I have a goal of finishing my fifth chapter of my fan-fic before tomorrow and the Season Two premiere, so you can expect a notice about that some time soon. :D
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:iconrk-striker-jk-5:
RK-Striker-JK-5 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011
An excellent look into my favorite character for the show. :)
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
I'm glad that you approve!
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:iconmousesquisher:
mousesquisher Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011
If Applejack wasn't a GRITS, Twilight would be my favorite. The bibliophile in me loves the fact that she lives in a library! :3 (I nerdgasm every time I think of that.)
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
Imagine living with Twilight! She'd probably have you doing errands for her >>
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:iconmousesquisher:
mousesquisher Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
I'd be all "Pff. Woman, please. I'm too busy reading Asimov. Now make me a sammich."
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:iconusername45678:
username45678 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011
Ah, another excelent review.
Indeed, Twi is great character, strong and intelligent yet innocent and cute.
She has a rather awkward role of character who has to learn things with audience, and, because learning is always accompanied with mistakes, Twilight has to make mistakes. Poor girl.
Howewer, one's character shows in full under stress, and miss Sparkle can handle stress better than any other pony!
My favorite moment about her is at the end of "Swarm of the Century", then she, despite all the odds, behaves calmly and productive, offering a very nice solution (to build an exact copy of Ponyville). Who else could be so amasing?
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
I agree with that - Twilight's frequent mistakes and unfortunate situations form the basis for which she can learn things. Thankfully it's not just Twilight who learns things throughout the season, even if she is the one who directly writes the letters to Celestia. In "Sonic Rainboom" it's Rarity who really delivers the message of the episode to Celestia, so sometimes they do change things up.
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:iconjrakob:
Jrakob Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
A vary good read.
I hope you do Celestia when they give us more to go with.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
At the end of season 2, perhaps I will!
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:iconwrestlemaniac829:
Wrestlemaniac829 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011  Student Writer
Once again, you put forth a remarkable job with these reviews and the Mane Six in general. With the second season only two days away, we are clearly looking forward to a show that will hopefully be as better as ever.

For as we travel down the next 26 episodes of laughter, friendship, and tender moments, all I can ask myself are three questions only: What obstacles and challenges will the six attempt to overcome? How well are the intentions made for the upcoming morals? But most importantly, will this season have been worth doing? Starting this Saturday, that's where we shall find out.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
All these questions, and more, will be answered tomorrow! I am also eager to watch the episode and might end up writing a little something about it, depending on how the fans react. Thanks for sticking with my reviews mate - I see your name all the time coming up, and I really appreciate having returning viewers - and I'll be sure to continue writing!
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:iconwrestlemaniac829:
Wrestlemaniac829 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011  Student Writer
You know my friend, since season 2 episodes take time to realize, someday you should consider reviewing episodes from the first season. I find your reviews really straight to the point because when I see them, you don't just write "Applejack is a great character" or "Twilight's my favorite" or "Fluttershy is so cute" no you dig deeper into the character to truly prove your point about each character and their personality. To me, this is like reading a report for college.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
Heh, I do spend a lot of my time writing college reports, so I'm sure that has influenced how I write these reviews. I could certainly give reviewing entire episodes a go. I might start with season 2 episodes as they air and see what happens. Luckily as we only get one a week I have plenty of time to watch them several times and make my mind up.
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:iconwrestlemaniac829:
Wrestlemaniac829 Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011  Student Writer
Well good because in thirty minutes they are reshowing the first episode of Season 2 on The Hub. And, if you're lucky, the episode can still be seen on YouTube no matter which user you seek. And since you really have till Saturday before Episode 2 that's plenty of time to write a review for an episode.

Speaking of reviews, I took your advice and now I posted my first review. It's not on the MLP series of course. It reflects my experience of seeing The Lion King in 3D last Friday while at the same time going into depth on the story and the characters. Hope you'll come and see.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
I've already seen the episode 4 times (once when it streamed live, three times on Youtube) so I think I'm pretty set on that now. As for the episode review, I'll do it after part 2 airs. There's no point doing it now, as the episodes are pretty much intended to come as a pair. So yeah, once the entire Discord thing has finished, then I'll review it.

I'll check out your Lion King review now~
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:iconwrestlemaniac829:
Wrestlemaniac829 Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011  Student Writer
That will be a review I can hardly wait for and you know I think that's actually smart. If it's a two-parter, it would be easy to see both episodes 4 times to get the idea of one whole story. I'm certain that will be one awesome review.
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