My Little Pony FiM Community [OT3] Surely You Saw This Coming

As a sequel to this post in the Season 7 OT about "Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", I'm going to provide my comments on not only the Derpibooru uploads for "Hearts and Hooves Day", but also contemporary posts in the season 2 OT and first community thread. As for why I'm not doing the same thing for "Cider Squeezy", I suddenly remembered that Derpygate happened right at that time, and I decided I didn't want to cover that right now.

First, some general comments just glancing through the Community thread ten pages at a time while finding the right place:
* Lots of broken images and links.
* Wow, a lot more users are still around than I expected, and a fair amount of them even sometimes post in the OT!
* Amir0x came in the thread for... something and people largely just mocked him. He was still a mod then. Seems like a bad idea.

* Forgot about the Bridlemaids billboard, and how it rustled DrForester's jimmies for acknowledging the adult audience.
* Choppasmith thinking a mention of new pony voices being cast meant Lyra, Bon Bon, and Doctor Whoof would be given lines, and he hoped the Doctor would get a British accent. It took three more seasons, but you got it!
* I forgot that some people didn't like the idea of humanization art, that is, pony characters being drawn as humans. It erupted into a pretty big argument (or it stopped then reignited between page 31 and 41), with people posting suggestive art as proof that human art is bad. I suppose the ship has sailed with Equestria Girls, but does anyone here still have an issue with that?

* Oh hey, Fighting is Magic discussion! I sometimes forget just how old that project is. Hard to believe that Them's Fightin' Herds is finally out in beta, meaning it might, just might, actually be released.
* Discussion of the Ask Apple Bloom blog and... wait, what the hell is going on at that link? Is it the same guy as before, but he deleted all the pony stuff and is now talking about fitness? Or was it taken over by a bot? The embedded images in the thread still work, though. My favorite one. Also, the comments seem to indicate this is the first time anyone has seen a "Ask Pony" blog, but that can't be right. There really wasn't one until about July 2011?
* Humanized art from thelivingmachine02 posted here. I had forgotten there was a lot of "Pinkie or Twilight is a crazy human imagining this world of ponies" art; note that there is also more normal art in the post. This artist no longer regularly posts pony art, but it appears to be more because he focuses on original stuff. He uploaded one bit of pony art last year.

* Egophiliac image links are down? Weird, I know for a fact that she still makes pony art and her DeviantArt still has pony art. Plus, this rescripted version of the Alfalfa Monster comic is still there, but not the original. Weird.
* Live pony show discussion! And of all video links, this one is still live. Only watched a bit, but holy crap lol @ everyone's back legs.
* Love this Twilight and Trixie comic. But really, Choppasmith, comparing fanmade fursuits to the costumes used from a kid's stage show? It's like making fun of a cheap Halloween costume for not looking like high end cosplay.

* Making ponies with Pony Creator! The actual Pony Creator link no longer works, but I'm sure there are a ton of alternatives now.
* Ashleigh Ball records a message for bronies, and the video is still up. Remember when that felt significant? And now the voice actors and even random staff appear at conventions all the time.
* I don't recognize this Belle Eve art, and it's not on Derpibooru. I should upload it for posterity (and here it is). If anyone know who the artist is, please tell me so I can give proper credit. Come to think of it, it might be a worthwhile project to go through the old threads and upload orphaned art to Derpibooru. Later. FAKE EDIT: Oh, Derpibooru identified the artist as JohnJoseco. That makes sense.

* Oh, another one, though I know the artist this time. And done.
* Remember that blurry picture of a mare in a balloon from "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" with Pip and how everyone was trying to guess who it was? Good times. Crocodile and angry colt are best pones.
* EvilLore once posted in the thread for a benign reason. Pretty unexpected.

* Oh, Carek is the creator of Belle Eve? It's a shame that the image I uploaded above is the only thing credited to him on Derpibooru then. His GAF handle is careksims, so I'll tag him as that instead of just "carek".
* Diverting from my "every ten pages" traversal a bit to see how the NeoGAF shirt design contest turns out.
* Official PonyGAF character rankings! I didn't expect this result at all.
Fluttershy: 166
Pinkie Pie: 155
Rainbow Dash: 146
Twilight Sparkle: 141
Rarity: 131
Applejack: 78

* Remember when random ass board artists from the show would give Q&As on 4chan? We were really thirsty for information!
* Aaand the image for PonyGAF's submission to the NeoGAF shirt design contest is down. So much for that diversion, but I wouldn't have caught the above otherwise.
* This art actually sort of predicted Cadance, haha. The artist, emlan, is still very active, but she hasn't drawn pony art since 2012 it seems. Actually, looking at her Derpibooru tag, she might have done stuff in 2015 for My Little Sweetheart. Oh, and she made that pear comic that's seeing a resurgence thanks to "The Perfect Pear" this season!

* Oh, there was a DHX employee posting in the thread, I forgot about that. It's cute seeing DrForester being concerned about season 2.
* Remember when no one knew how Luna would act around the other characters? Though this is similar to Starlight's montage from "Friends Are Always There For You".
* T-shirt design from Myke Greywolf. Worth uploading? Incidentally, since he never posts here anymore, I was surprised to find that he's actually still quite active in the fan art scene. Since he's still active, I'll ask him if I can upload it first.

* Neat Pinkie animation from palestorm, who is no longer active except for one random piece of art uploaded two months ago, but it's probably old. Derpibooru tag.
* More mysterious Belle Eve art with no known artist. Now on Derpibooru.
* And another, but this one specifically calls out a GAFer, Pandaman, so I'll ask for permission on this one too.

* Ask Berry Punch is linked here, and holy crap, the Tumblr is still active! Just barely, but still, that's rare for these old Ask Pony blogs.
* Official Filly Twilight sketches that I don't recall seeing before.
* OK, back to 10 page traversal. I wish I knew what everyone was laughing at.

* My Little Investigations! It's a shame that project died.
* New York Observer article about bronies (direct link). It's interesting seeing this old take, and how much the nature of the fandom has developed past its 4chan roots. I do actually have a very good recent report about the fandom bookmarked, which I'll post separately later.
* Adjusted shirt design, and it's by itself, so I can upload that instead of the art on a shirt. Comments indicate that the PonyGAF shirt is already on sale? I didn't expect GAF to actually select it.

* I was looking for this! German comic that has the ponies go outside Equestria, and it's pretty boring out there. And apparently there are only earth ponies and barley doesn't exist in Equestria? ED link, and the comic links are still active! This is amazing.
* Around page 161 (50 ppp) everyone starts discussing season 2 leaked information about Discord.
* Classic season 2 prediction comic. Image direct link. Artist tag, no pony stuff in years.

* Page 181, discussing what to do about the season 2 OT. DrForester says the "love and tolerate the shit out of you" line has gotten old, and there's a lot of discussion on who to include on the banner. It's a shame the banner no longer exists. You wouldn't happen to have a back up, DrForester?
* Jeez, tens of pages just getting excited about season 2 starting in a week.
* Oh shit, Jenga! I remember that guy. It's a good thing we no longer have actual trolls come into these threads anymore.

* Getting into a fight with EviLore seems like a bad idea. And from this comment, EviLore locked the thread for a while? DrForester's post says it's been back for eight hours, so... Ah, here it is! EviLore locked the thread for getting off topic for too long, and because it's been a permanent fixture in the front page. From the sound of it, this was before there was a separate Community section, huh?
* Discord art and comics. I forgot he was often paired up with Pinkie early on. This page also features discussion of the hottest humanized pony; I forgot this board used to do that too.
* Page of humanized pony art.

* Remember when CR (of Channel Awesome) used to be a good fan?
* You can't see the image anymore, but here's where Lauren Faust was asked about porn of her OC.
* And here's one of the things I didn't like about the early fandom: openly posting images from NSFW/disturbing blogs, in this case Ask Little Miss Rarity as I believe it was called. Also, here and earlier is more creeping on cosplayers than I remembered.

* And to make up for that, page of Scootaloo! There's a lot of nice older art I had forgotten.
* Best introductory episode. We should discuss that again sometime, especially now that the movie makes it so a post Princess Twilight episode might actually be a better choice.
* Futashy mention, which ties into the same point as my Little Miss Rarity comment above.

* Special GIF for Pandaman and CHEEZMO and one for Linkman, CHEEZMO, and Pandaman. I forgot we had stuff like this.
* Discussion about keeping fan art dumps limited. Meanwhile, I'm the only person who does fan art dumps now.
* Oh what the hell, PonyGAF was locked again? Not going to bother to look for where it happened.

* This must be where GAF stopped supporting animated avatars.
* Hmm, only 50 out of 401 pages left and it still hasn't gotten to 2012. The last page has posts from late February 2012 Were a bunch of Derpygate posts deleted?
* Oh, I remember this discussion. This and later posts with safe art from it are what made me actually look up Futashy. I regret that. Except for the Human Twilight design from that series. Though it isn't as great as I remember.

* Hmm, from page 361 to 371 it jumped 18 days. Very unusual given the thread's earlier pace. There's no doubt, Derpygate happened and posts were deleted. But that also means there's not much merit in going back to analyze Derpygate reactions then...
* Here's discussion of that "SSCS6K" background pony I mentioned in my OT post linked at the top, but her name was Mjolna, not Thora. My mistake. Ask blog is gone, of course.
* And at long last, at page 381, I'm around the point where "Hearts and Hooves Day" aired.

... You know, I might just break it off here and post the actual episode stuff in another post later (assuming someone else posts). I ended up sightseeing more than I planned. I think there's enough to discuss already.

I think a big part of why the Community thread is so much less active now is because back then, everything was exciting and new. Every bit of art got at least one comment. Now, I can post a masterpiece that took 80 days of intense focus to draw, and the usual reaction is, "Yawn, seen it already," because that's just what we expect from the fandom now. Plus, we no longer spend an entire page wishing someone happy birthday. And don't ask about pony rankings every week.

Since it's probably lost in the above list, DrForester, do you happen to have backups of the broken images from the season 2 OT OP?
 
* Making ponies with Pony Creator! The actual Pony Creator link no longer works, but I'm sure there are a ton of alternatives now.
I remember that. Tinkered around with the options, and created my OC Blue Ace. The MLP Facebook page later put up their own Pony Creator, and I refined his design. I do remember a lot more emphasis on PonyGAF OCs back in the day, with the use of Belle Eve, Bak, and Pandaman.

I do remember early Season 2 as well. I could have sworn the earliest reports of Return of Harmony had it take place in the Everfree Forest instead of the Canterlot labyrinth. Discord was described as a spirit, so I pictured a ghost pony, taunting the Mane Six as they tried to find the Elements in a dark spooky forest.

I hadn't paid much attention to Luna during Season 1, except her notable absence in The Best Night Ever. Then I found a fan song, and afterwards I practically fell in love with her. When Luna Eclipsed was announced, I was like "Can we skip Lesson Zero and go to this?". It raised a number of questions, but mostly we were happy with this unexpected portrayal of our princess of the night.
 
I was referring more to the banner at the top that, from descriptions, had ponies from the show and Belle Eve with the NeoGAF logo.

Glad to see that people seem to like these posts.

Derpibooru
And now what I was actually meaning to post. First, comparing "Hearts and Hooves Day" and "Hard to Say Anything" on Derpibooru. Just looking at safe images.
* First of all, despite the huge time difference, "Hearts and Hooves Day" has 503 images while "Hard to Say Anything" has 448 images.
* That said, there is some fuzziness in that there is a ton of Cheerimac art that may be based on "HaHD" without necessarily tagging it as such. There are 653 Cheerimac images and only 92 Sugarmac images now.
* Anyway, I'll compare images uploaded within two weeks of each episode airing, also looking at Cheerimac for the former (up to 2/25/12). Though it's only two (safe) images in the latter tag in that time range.
* Surprisingly, the first safe fan content is this comic about the funeral crashing scene in the song. This artists doesn't appear to have made pony art (or any art) since 2012. According to her DeviantArt, she moved to a different account, but the linked account is deactivated.
* First Cheerimac art is this comic (damn, only a four digit ID, didn't actually pay attention to that with previous images), and the DeviantArt account is disabled too. The Derpibooru tag indicates this artist did make some stuff in 2014, but it doesn't seem related to anything after season 2 other than this Acorn Twilight art.
* And the next art after that is this one of that pony rejected in the background. It's the only listed Pony art by that artist, and the source is dead.

* Wait, July?! Did I seriously pass it already? OK, so the above doesn't actually count. It's literally just the funeral comic and the "love potion works too well" comic that were produced within two weeks of the episode airing. Plus this GlancoJusticar comic actually made based on the synopsis and not tagged with the episode.
* I have to be missing something. Let me look under Cheerilee.
* Oh interesting, it was actually pretty common to ship Cheerilee with Twilight before this episode.
* Alright, I was on the right track, there's more art that ties into the episode here!
* Not related to the episode itself, but this Hearts and Hooves Day (in general) art is neat. Plus, it has Marble Pie, unexpectedly. The artist (Derpibooru tag) continued making Pony art through 2015, but as a common theme with these early fandom artists, there's nothing that reflects anything after season 2.
* Anyway, Cheerilee with a wedding veil, made a few days after the episode aired. I am making sure to add the episode tag to these images, by the way. The DeviantArt account is dead, but... wait, Starlight and Trixie?! This artist is still active! I even showcased some of his art in the "Forever Filly" roundup! He just moved accounts.
* Before Cheerimac was a thing, the biggest Big Mac ship was with Fluttershy, so of course, here's Fluttershy tying up Cheerilee. As I mentioned in the season 7 OT, we still see Fluttermac every once in a while; amazing how it's persisted. Anyway, the artist hasn't been active since 2012.
* This GlancoJusticar sketch collection has Cheerilee and came out after the episode aired, but I hesitate to say it ties into the episode.

* OK, another complication, it looks like people were just bad about uploading stuff to Derpibooru, because I looked at some of the later art, and at the source, many were actually uploaded within two weeks of the episode, like this. The artist last made Pony art in early 2016, and it seems to be more time and inspiration keeping them from it than anything.
* Still, even taking into account everything uploaded during the break between season 2 and 3 (through November 2012), there's not much.

In short, even though Derpibooru users suck at uploading stuff in a timely manner sometimes, "Hearts and Hooves Day" and Cheerimac had far less art within two weeks than "Hard to Say Anything" and Sugarmac in the same time, looking only at safe art. Didn't expect that. Note that this doesn't impact my analysis of "Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", since I looked for art through November 2012 for that too.

Season 2 OT
Now let's see what PonyGAF had to say in the season 2 OT!
* According to DrForester, "Hearts and Hooves Day" discussion starts here, but I'll start a bit before for preview reactions. Looks like it was the right choice, because the episode leaked, and discussion really starts here.
* Hmm, it seems I was wrong about Derpygate happening before this point. "The Last Roundup" hasn't been put up on iTunes and people are confused about what's taking them so long. Perhaps all the deleted Community posts were people arguing about Derpy's inclusion, whether it was pandering, etc. That also means I misremembered it happening when "SSCS6K" aired; rather, people were simply still arguing about Derpy at the time, distracting from episode discussion.
* People like the episode a lot!
* I remember this comic! But wait, why didn't it appear in my Derpibooru searches? *checks* CSImadmax is there, and a lot of her art is there, but not this comic. Weird. I guess I'll do it myself. Anyway, I think we all know what happened to her, but for those who don't, she suddenly disappeared in 2014 after leaving a message about an "involuntary newly found nomad-like style of life" and things going bad for her. It's sad to say we don't even know if she's alive, but if she's out there, I hope she's doing well. EDIT: Oh, it is on Derpibooru! It's just that it has the "exploitable meme" tag, which my filter hides. I guess I'll remove that from my filter.
* ahoyhoy produced a ton of gifs with text for this episode. I don't think they'd find much use now, due to how particular to the thread at the time they were and how some have better alternatives (ex: SPOILERS!).
* That said, people pretty quickly moved on to discuss the "It's About Time" synopsis and episode rankings. Oh wait, never mind, the episode hadn't actually aired yet, I forgot where DrForester actually linked the start of discussion. Jeez, everyone was terrible about discussing leaked episodes back then.
* About this GIF, I'm disappointed that no one ever edited their heads onto long necked dinosaur bodies and set it to "Walk the Dinosaur". I've been disappointed about that since 2012.
* Oh right, I forgot "Smile" leaked (with no visuals) well before "A Friend in Deed" aired. Interesting that people were speculating it would be in "Baby Cakes"; it would make sense.
* DrForester wishing for a Scootaloo episode. It's actually weird to see him hope for something besides a Celestia episode.
* I remember when "Dragon Quest" sounded exciting.
* And now "A Friend in Deed" discussion, time to bail. EDIT: Come to think of it, I'm surprised there was no discussion at all about the ending of the episode, or whether Big Mac and Cheerilee were ever a couple. I remembered that being a big talking point.

Community
Back to the Community thread, starting from here!
* Glad tragic Trixie talk has died down. There's a guy, tashi, watching the series for the first time and posting his reactions to each episode. It's been a while since someone did that here.
* Here's where Hasbro started getting the toys right! I assume there's a deleted image there.
* Next page, still talking about whether Trixie was treated unfairly, if she was just performing, etc. Neat cupcake art, though.
* Next page, still Trixie.
* I forgot about the theory that Trixie was Luna, from before season 2.
* Next page, still Trixie.
* This image resulted in a bunch of DAT ASS posts, which wouldn't happen now. I guess. I don't think I've actually embedded a picture with prominent plot.
* PonyKart update, it's a shame nothing came out of that. Video still works.
* MAD parody "My Little War Horse". Tara Strong is often in these MLP parodies, and I feel like it's for that reason they rarely go in the "lol bronies mirite" direction.
* And then in response to this request, people start posting saucy fanart. At least it led me back to this great GIF (not saucy).
* Response to the fan song "Love Me Cheerilee".
* Here's that sad comic about Spike, Rarity, and a love spell, and source. This artist hasn't been active since 2014, but he did draw post season 2 stuff. According to his DeviantArt, he stopped because he's too busy with work.
* Here's where Tara Strong posts that saucy Twilight picture on her Twitter and the ensuing panic.
* Reached 2/18, time to stop here, right as an argument about the competition in "Fall Weather Friends" was starting (about whether Dash was right to use her wings, etc.).

Jeez, we joke about the Trixie and "Fall Weather Friends" discussions, but they really did go on for multiple pages.
... So how about it, was Trixie's treatment in "Boast Busters" justified? Was Applejack right to be angry when Rainbow Dash used her wings in tug of war?
 
* Oh interesting, it was actually pretty common to ship Cheerilee with Twilight before this episode.

* About this GIF, I'm disappointed that no one ever edited their heads onto long necked dinosaur bodies and set it to "Walk the Dinosaur". I've been disappointed about that since 2012.

* DrForester wishing for a Scootaloo episode. It's actually weird to see him hope for something besides a Celestia episode.
* Indeed. One fanfic I was reading (started during Season 2, took place 10-15 years later) shipped Twilight and Cheerliee as well.

* The comparison I read was for giraffes.

* Well we finally got that with Sleepless in Ponyville. I'm now reminded of Owlowiscious's obsession with Scootaloo.
 
You do realise that carek/careksims is John Joseco, right?


I think it's still alive.
Huh, didn't know the first. I was jumping around 10 pages at a time, he didn't post anything I recognized as his art (or at least didn't post it and say it was his), and everyone addressed him as carek, so I didn't make the connection. I'll update that Derpibooru post later.

As for the second, I remembered Case 1 with the Diamond Dogs coming out years ago, but I'm really surprised to see an update on their blog from this year.
 

DrForester

Kills Photobucket
* DrForester wishing for a Scootaloo episode. It's actually weird to see him hope for something besides a Celestia episode.
Was easier to be a Celestia fan in s1 and s2. While no focus episode, she showed up fairly frequently in small bits that helped build her as a character.

Also, with S2 having a Luna episode, people very wrongly and hilariously assumed a Celestia Episode was going to be coming.
 
Time for an art and news dump!

Music in the Treetops
Smile~
Beauties Can't Die


Lumina
Flutter Kitten
Sun hat


Apples in a clover
Twi
Thorax, King of Swarm


Sad Scootaloo
Almost Crying With Confetti in Her Mane
Cheerilee - She didn't say anything to Apple Bloom when she gave the good news about Big Mac's new special somepony. She just went over to the board with a big smile on her face and wrote "POP QUIZ".


Singing Goddesses
Time, Love, and Couture
Maud and Starlight


Egophiliac art!
Fluttershy Live2D puppet poses
Twilight Live2D puppet poses
More at each link.


Giant Princess Ember!


Volume 7 of the comic Marry Me! has a pony variant cover. A description of the comic is at the link. But ED buries the lead a bit: the variant cover is drawn by JohnJoseco!


Samurai Applejack - Parody of Samurai Jack's opening. Has custom singing and animation.

Like I briefly mentioned earlier, here's an astonishingly good local news report about Everfree Northwest.

MLP won a Leo award, for Best Sound for "28 Pranks Later". The Best Musical Score award is on June 3.
 
Short animatic for a ponified music video of Linkin Park's Invisible, which has been recognized by band member Mike Shinoda.
It's always neat when the ponify-ee acknowledges the ponify-er.

You know, "Hard to Say Anything" and my above discovery (probably rediscovery) that Twilight was Cheerilee's most popular ship in the early fandom led me to think it would be funny if the show ended up going with that pairing of all Twilight pairings. And that led me to the following scenario:

Sugar Belle is visiting Big Mac in Ponyville and Cheerilee feels jealous despite herself. As the cliche goes, she claims to have her own special somepony. She then looks around and grabs the first pony she sees, without really looking at who it is.
Cheerilee: This is my special somepony!
Sugar Belle: Her?!
Big Mac: Her?!
Twilight: Me?!
The camera zooms out to show Cheerilee had randomly grabbed Twilight.
Twilight: I'm so sorry, Cheerilee! I didn't even realize we were dating!
Cheerilee: Yes... well... that's Twilight for you! (she makes that one Cheerilee face)

Then the rest of the story involves Twilight sincerely trying to be a good girlfriend while Cheerilee focuses on Big Mac. But then I realized there's no way out of this scenario other than Cheerilee realizing how badly she's treated Twilight and deciding to give her a legitimate chance. And then it becomes a shipping story. And then that led me to this:
Twilight: I can't believe I didn't see it sooner! She's smart, she's pretty, and there's just something about her voice!

I don't have anything besides that.

Silver Quill reviews Friendship is Magic #23, and seeing them put side by side definitely makes #54 look worse. Wait, 54-23 = 31 months... holy crap, #23 came out that long ago?! Another example of pony time warping.

And there's already a bunch of art since yesterday.
Noirshy - Persona 5 cosplay.
Twilight's Uniform
Coloratura


Ice pie
Applejack
Oleander - Them's Fightin' Herds art.


And just today, a bunch of great comics were showcased on ED. Many of these are based on season 7 episodes, but they're early in the season, so they're better off here, I suppose.
A Flurry of Emotions - The Bear Game
Rock Solid Friendship - The Right Stone
Forever Filly - HOW Many More?
Starlight's Birthday
 
This week's episode is not only one that many have seen before, but also one that people don't seem terribly interested in, so how about something else to talk about?

Consider this scenario. With the movie coming out soon, a friend has gotten interested in checking out the show, having seen promotions and how excited the fans are, but they still aren't fully onboard the pony train. They give you just a few episodes to recommend, and they'll only check out the series from the beginning if they like them.

No problem, you think, as you start to dust off lists of recommended first episodes from season one. But suddenly, you remember something important.


As Littleshy puts it, "those blasted wings."

You just know that if your friend starts up an episode and sees Twilight without wings, they'll get really confused and shut the show off. They aren't interested enough in the show to be receptive to your explanation for why Twilight doesn't have wings, but they would be if they liked the show enough after watching some episodes. Plus, you don't actually remember which episodes Twilight appears in.

Thus, you decide it's better to recommend episodes only from season 4 and beyond.

So how about it, what are the best first episodes to show someone, given that they must come from season 4 or after? The episodes don't need to have Twilight.
 
I think I'd probably point them towards the S5 two-part opener "The Cutie Map". In addition to being a story that features the entire Mane 6 (which makes more sense to me than starting with a one or two character story), I think it's probably one of the strongest stories the show has ever done.

Another good candidate might be "The Saddle Row Review", which again is both an ensemble episode as well as just being really good on its own merits.
 
I think I'd probably point them towards the S5 two-part opener "The Cutie Map". In addition to being a story that features the entire Mane 6 (which makes more sense to me than starting with a one or two character story), I think it's probably one of the strongest stories the show has ever done.

Another good candidate might be "The Saddle Row Review", which again is both an ensemble episode as well as just being really good on its own merits.
"The Cutie Map" probably is the right answer; it completely slipped my mind that I've even said as much in the past, albeit in the context of where to start if you want to quickly catch up to the latest episodes. Compared to the season 4, 6, and 7 premieres, far less knowledge is required going in. For a new viewer, the story will be darker and more complex than they would expect from a pony show, which should be a pleasant surprise, but there are still cute and fun moments.

I'm not so sure about "The Saddle Row Review", since it follows an unusual format for the show, but it does do a good job establishing the characters. It might work as a fourth episode, after a more normal episode.

I think a fitting third episode might be "Scare Master". Although a new viewer will miss the significance of Fluttershy showing some development from her previous shyness stories and the vampire fruit bat costume, it's a solid story with adorable moments, and it has an unexpected but welcome ending.
 
I'd go with the S6 opener over the S5 opener. Episode with a minor threat, but goes all out with the team-effort solution.
I don't know. If you go into it without much knowledge of the series, it throws a lot at you that you're expected to already know.
* All of the Main Six, of whom only Twilight and Pinkie play a large role, but the others are still there.
* Spike and him being hero of the Crystal Empire.
* The Crystal Empire and it having an esoteric history.
* The three adult princesses, whose significance isn't really established since we're supposed to know them.
* Twilight's relationship to Shining Armor and Cadance.
* Starlight.

And then there's the new stuff with Sunburst and Death Baby. Plus, in the end, it's just an alright story.
 
Having tried the "cherrypick a handful of good episodes" approach to getting someone into the series back in the day, I am now convinced that the first three episodes remain the best entry point. Getting the main cast as firmly established as possible matters more than anything else.
 
Having tried the "cherrypick a handful of good episodes" approach to getting someone into the series back in the day, I am now convinced that the first three episodes remain the best entry point. Getting the main cast as firmly established as possible matters more than anything else.
You mind going into more detail about this? My gut feeling is that the first two episodes being on the weaker end means they're only a good starting point for someone already interested in the series, but I haven't had much opportunity to test this.
 
You mind going into more detail about this? My gut feeling is that the first two episodes being on the weaker end means they're only a good starting point for someone already interested in the series, but I haven't had much opportunity to test this.
There are a number of commonly accepted maxims about what makes a good protagonist, but here's one of the big ones: The protagonist has to want something.

That first story is the foundational bedrock of the series, not just because it establishes setting, tone, and themes quickly and concisely, but because it sets up and answers the fundamental question of "What does Twilight Sparkle want?" that drives the rest of the show. The Ticket Master followed it up immediately because it finishes doing the same for the rest of the cast, who were not quite completely characterized in the two parts of Friendship is Magic. Everything else the series has done follows on from there, and while you can certainly work it out yourself by jumping in partway through the series, it's the hard way to go about it and it'll take more than just three episodes to hit the entire cast.

In my own case (circa early season two), the guy came away with an appreciation that it was actually a legit show and not just a meme, but he didn't develop any investment in it either because he never really connected with any of the characters, because the episodes I picked out, while enjoyable enough in a vacuum, did not flesh them out well.

It's okay if the first episode isn't the most elaborately scripted, or the funniest, or the best looking. Because what it does do best of all is sink its hooks into your heart and never let go.
 
There are a number of commonly accepted maxims about what makes a good protagonist, but here's one of the big ones: The protagonist has to want something.

That first story is the foundational bedrock of the series, not just because it establishes setting, tone, and themes quickly and concisely, but because it sets up and answers the fundamental question of "What does Twilight Sparkle want?" that drives the rest of the show. The Ticket Master followed it up immediately because it finishes doing the same for the rest of the cast, who were not quite completely characterized in the two parts of Friendship is Magic. Everything else the series has done follows on from there, and while you can certainly work it out yourself by jumping in partway through the series, it's the hard way to go about it and it'll take more than just three episodes to hit the entire cast.

In my own case (circa early season two), the guy came away with an appreciation that it was actually a legit show and not just a meme, but he didn't develop any investment in it either because he never really connected with any of the characters, because the episodes I picked out, while enjoyable enough in a vacuum, did not flesh them out well.

It's okay if the first episode isn't the most elaborately scripted, or the funniest, or the best looking. Because what it does do best of all is sink its hooks into your heart and never let go.
You know, that does make sense. In truth, the situation of giving someone a few recommended episodes to watch where you have the expectation that they'd give up after a relatively weak episode, you have enough time and attention to specify particular episodes, and you aren't watching with them is pretty rare. When I do recommend the show, it's either a passing, "Hey, this show is pretty good, you should check it out," thing or I watch with them and thus I do actually start from the beginning. Though the latter only happened once.

Still, I do think "best first episode" outside of that makes for an interesting discussion.

On another note, comics!

This random Pony Comic Generator is getting a lot of attention. Here's one of the favorites I've seen, from this Penny Arcade Forums post.


Most impressively, not only are people sharing the comics, but people are dubbing them! Dubs by Magpiepony, the Pinkie Tales person. Between each comic is a cute in-character comment.

Dub of the official comic Ponies of the Dark Water arc, and it seems pretty solid from what I've listened.

And I love this comic. Here's an alternate link for the first page, and the first page below.


And unrelated, MLP lost the best song Leo award, but at least it lost to something artsy this time.
 
Oh shit, new Friendship is Manly! Though it's just a straight adaptation of a Jojo's Bizarre Adventure scene, where Jonathan fights Speedwagon, with just one added joke, so I was a bit disappointed.

GalaCon 2017 promo, featuring multiple movie trailers.

Trailer for the fanfic "The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon", with interesting art. It doesn't look like this will lead to a longer animation, but the animator plans on making more fanfic trailers.

A bit old, but Lemme Smash - Pony Edition, featuring Rainbow Dash as the female bird and Zephyr Breeze as the thirsty male bird.

And an alright PMV, The Days.

Update to Day Dreaming Derpy, will check it out later... maybe in like half a year, given precedence.

Lifesize Vapor Trail plushie, though the colors are oddly different.


Firefly
Ship Quickies - Not just posting this because of RariTwi. See, there are others!
Ship Quickies 2 - The head on mane cuddle is pretty adorable.


Sunset Shimmer
Tea for Princess
Tia


The landscape is infinite
6-3 - Not sure if this is a reference to the comics or not.
http://siggie740.deviantart.com/art/Pawsitively-Purrfect-684267295


Twilight Sparkle
Your Name - Ponification of the great anime movie Your Name.
Lonely Sunset


Stargazing
More Egophiliac 3D models - More at the link.


Comics
Out of nowhere, Sunshine and Moonbeams is back!
Crucial Lesson - About Starlight and Twilight.
 
Letters from an Irritated Princess is amazing.


Especially the Griffon the Brush Off one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLzzebJ9xuc
Just listened to that, and the voice acting is good. I figured the video would be about Celestia comically missing the point, but it felt more like the writer was trying to make a serious point that isn't really supported by the episode and wasn't really trying to be funny in that regard. Maybe I'll understand more what the writer is going for if I listen to the other videos.
 

DrForester

Kills Photobucket
Just listened to that, and the voice acting is good. I figured the video would be about Celestia comically missing the point, but it felt more like the writer was trying to make a serious point that isn't really supported by the episode and wasn't really trying to be funny in that regard. Maybe I'll understand more what the writer is going for if I listen to the other videos.
Well, the one I linked has a message "Friends of friends don't have to be friends", and I think that's pretty truthful, and funny.



And the Boast Busters one is now up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDdCeu_PMbY
 
Well, the one I linked has a message "Friends of friends don't have to be friends", and I think that's pretty truthful, and funny.



And the Boast Busters one is now up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDdCeu_PMbY
Yes, it's a fine message (and one we saw in "Maud Pie"), but there's a world of difference between one friend not getting along with your other friends, and said friend yelling at random townspeople and exploding at a party in her honor. Granted, I don't remember what Twilight actually wrote in her report that episode, so maybe Celestia in the video is supposed to just be reacting to that.

I'll check out the other videos later; I was kind of all ponied out this weekend, haha.
 
CMC vs. Nazgul - This video is so stupid and I love it.
It does explain why they stopped using horses in the movies
.

Like I mentioned in my last episode follow up, I just discovered the art of sibashen (Tumblr), and they draw some really nice art. From just the first Derpibooru page:


And other art dump.
Lunaaa
Do the Twilight Slide
You Gotta Share, You Gotta Care


March to Victory
I softly aloud sang the words of some drowned song
Flight Tutor


Luna by paperdrop
Twilight's Castle
Ship Quickies 3


Field of Battle
Excellent day =3


"A Flurry of Emotions" comic - Royal Rumble
 
^ Really nice. I particularly like the details in her tail.

Last week, I didn't put up a discussion topic because it seemed like everyone was engaged enough talking about "A Royal Problem" (and somehow Equestria Girls) again. But this time I have something for you.

As I brought up in the season 7 OT, Mentally Advanced Series is officially ending. The creator put up a long video explaining why, but the gist is that he feels the show has drifted too far from what made it good at the start, and he's just losing interest.

So my question for you, which might not lead to the happiest discussion but it should be an interesting one: what is driving you away from the show?

Let's get real, the show has been going on for seven seasons, and if you're responding you're obviously still sticking around, but there have to be things bothering you. Things you thought the show would get better at but it hasn't. Characters you think aren't handled well. Problems that have no sign of going away.

For me, as much as I come to her defense, I am annoyed by how little they've done with Twilight's status as a princess. Things have certainly improved from the first half of season 4, where they insisted on not actually doing anything with her at all, but I would really like to see more actual responsibility placed on her. She needs to go out and show why Equestria needed a new princess. I understand there's a balancing act with giving her more to do while still allowing the other Main Six to play a part, but they certainly could have done better. We have episodes where Twilight has to deal with being famous, but she should be actively starting projects to expand Ponyville's magic school system or something.

Another issue is that in general, they've done little to evolve the relationships between the Main Six. Anytime they come into conflict recently, it feels like a regression more than anything. While I like how every character has been working toward her goal (if she had one), I think this is actually one of the sources of this problem. They're too good at reaching their goals, and their goals don't intersect much. To give an example, what if they held off on having Rainbow Dash show up the existing Wonderbolts? So it could still be assumed they were at a level beyond her, and then Rainbow could fail at entrance tests without people calling BS. What if Fluttershy, as fans theorized in season 1 / early season 2, was actually faster than Rainbow Dash? I hated those theories, since they led to Fluttershy being better at everyone at everything, but it would have led to conflict as Dash has to deal with someone not interested in racing being better than her. And what if, after gaining confidence, Fluttershy revealed that she was always interested in becoming a Wonderbolt too? Suddenly there's a possibility that Rainbow Dash won't be a Wonderbolt while Fluttershy is!

As is, they have little reason to interact other than to hang out as friends (and solve friendship problems). They no longer have a reason to be in the same room that could put them in conflict with each other, besides a tired story of getting too into a friendly competition or something. Many of the weak episodes are weak because they don't have interesting character interactions, which is largely due to the lack of conflict.

In truth, I probably am more engaged in the show now than I ever was, but a huge part of that is because of the discussions in the OT and my follow up posts where I collect fan art. The fandom acts as a buffer between me and bad episodes, so they don't make me lose interest in the show as much.

I'm sure more will come to me as you guys respond.
 
I wouldn't say anything is driving me away from the show. Real life lately has seen me pulled away from most of my usual hobbies to a certain degree, but nothing the show is doing has contributed to that in a meaningful way.

The only thing that really bothers me is the choices the showrunners sometimes make in regards to which stories get made. We've seen plenty of examples of really clever premises that make interesting and thoughtful use of the characters, and yet we still get inane stories like "Honest Apple" that might've made sense five years ago but just seem careless now.

If the show can keep surprising me and making me smile (as it continues to do seven years in) I'll keep watching.
 
Nothing's driving me away. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. I just find little to discuss. I'm glad that Rainbow Dash and Rarity have progressed in their goals established in the beginning. I'm glad they brought the Changelings back and progressed with them, and I hope to see a grand finale for Chrysalis. I do agree with Dr. Forester that the princesses should be solving problems on their own instead of being damsels in distress under The Worf Effect. What does Celestia want? Give Luna something to do besides dream watching. Yes, I am biased because Luna is best pony, and yes, they aren't main characters or live in Ponyville.

I'm not terribly interested in Equestria Girls though. I still need to see Legends of Everfree, but I don't have high hopes after the poorly written Friendship Games, and I have no interest in the 3 shorter specials.

Looking forward to the movie as well.
 

Myke Greywolf

Ambassador of Goodwill
Let's see... do I have anything to share here? I guess I do!

Allow me to share my progress drawings that I did earlier this year. I guess practice did pay off for me, although I've recently been making efforts to do more furry work.




Not too many opportunities for working on show ponies, between all the commissions and anthro projects, but here are a couple of pieces that are not too old and still worth showing, I feel.




And, of course, the Belle Eve that I posted in the season 7 thread, which may be worth sharing here as well:

 
Let's see... do I have anything to share here? I guess I do!

Allow me to share my progress drawings that I did earlier this year. I guess practice did pay off for me, although I've recently been making efforts to do more furry work.

http://img12.deviantart.net/7611/i/2017/018/f/4/rainbow_dash__side_by_side_comparison_by_mykegreywolf-davxl04.png[/img
[IMG]http://img10.deviantart.net/7f28/i/2017/010/4/0/scootin__scootaloo__side_by_side_comparison_by_mykegreywolf-dauzwg7.png[/IMG

Not too many opportunities for working on show ponies, between all the commissions and anthro projects, but here are a couple of pieces that are not too old and still worth showing, I feel.

[IMG]http://img14.deviantart.net/4620/i/2016/357/f/4/fifty_shades_of_purple_by_mykegreywolf-dasjvsa.png[/IMG
[IMG]http://img07.deviantart.net/2ea7/i/2017/114/1/7/bucker_machine__7_by_mykegreywolf-db6y2wd.png[/IMG

And, of course, the Belle Eve that I posted in the season 7 thread, which may be worth sharing here as well:

[IMG]http://img01.deviantart.net/35f4/i/2017/162/8/e/whatever_happened_to_belle_eve__by_mykegreywolf-dbcdlfu.png[/IMG[/QUOTE]

Looks great, your art style has really improved since then. And is that Diebuster I spy?

By the way, a while ago, I sent you a PM about uploading art from the first Community thread you made onto Derpibooru. You didn't respond, but one unidentified piece of art I uploaded turned out to be from you and got labeled as such, so I just went ahead and uploaded [URL="http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=29826126#post29826126"]the art piece[/URL] I asked about (a NeoGAF t-shirt design contest entry with Belle Eve), and it's [URL="https://derpibooru.org/1465327"]here[/URL].

Now, some Father's Day art!
[URL="http://flutterluv.tumblr.com/post/161968250457/rainbow-dash-and-her-dad-spending-some-quality"]Spending some quality time together[/URL]
[URL="http://docwario.deviantart.com/art/Happy-Father-s-Dash-687257897"]Happy Father's Day[/URL] - Dash's dad is saying "Strongest Daughter Ever".
[URL="http://johnjoseco.deviantart.com/art/Happy-Father-s-Day-2017-687212873"]Happy Father's Day 2017 by JohnJoseco[/URL]
[IMG]https://derpicdn.net/img/2017/6/18/1464960/small.jpeg


Happy Father's Day 2017 by ShutterflyEQD
Happy Father's Day by QueenCold - It's hard to tell, but that's a wreath of flowers.
 
Just going to leave this here:
https://askthesolardestroyer.tumblr.com/

Nice to see JJ back drawing on the regular. Also great ponies Myke, always liked your horses.
Woah, didn't expect him to start a new Ask Blog. Though he doesn't exactly have the best track record for updating his story based blogs... Anyway, I'll post this in the season 7 OT later too. It's been a while since we've had two ask blogs for the same character (the other being Ask Daybreaker).

On another note, some videos. Some German group did a documentary video about bronies, except a lot of it is taken up by other random stock footage. Actually, didn't this same group already do a video about bronies a few years ago? The editing style seems really familiar.

And game announcement, Starved for Light. Though it doesn't actually seem to relate to MLP besides using MLP style ponies, and it's a pretty generically indie game. Still, it seems fairly far along.
 
For Celestia Day, here's the Best of Drawfriend part 1 and part 2 (plus one other I won't link).

Fun Celestia animation made for today.

And unrelated, human animation of "A True True Friend". It's rough, particularly in the beginning, but it gets better by the time Dash appears. I like the designs, though I am biased toward designs that give multiple Main Six dark skin. EDIT: Apparently the animator is 14 years old. Very impressive! EDIT: Just realized, that means they were around 7 when the show started. Holy crap.
 
Really need to dump the stuff I have bookmarked.

Fun video showing the various iterations of the "La Dee Da" animation

Giddy Up - Surprised to see such detailed art coming out of particular moments of season 1 episodes besides the pilot.
Ocean of butterflies
Twilight in the swamp


Will you be my teacup
I drew summer lesbians heck yeaaaa (in all caps) - This is from a RariTwi tumblr, but it updates very infrequently, unfortunately.
Rarity and Rarity


Dashing at the limits
Poison Apple Brewing
Apple


Applechick - Not often you see Applejack drawn with Scootaloo.
Luna draft
Applejack


Sanctum
Rarity
L Y R A


To The Letter
Sweetie Belle
Starlight Glimmer Swirls


Biking
Lunar Swimming
Alone Time


Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble
The Ticket Master
Princess Cadance :3


Sonata Dusk
There's No Place Like Ponyville
Twilight


Dash
Title
Puffy Mane Luna


Rave Queen Vinyl Scratch
Chrysalis the flutterbug princess
Cafe horses - More RariTwi!


Flowers and Stuff
Morning flight
Pool selfie - Maud is in the back, easier to see at full size.


Pandage
Finding Twilight


Comic
Love and Tolerance

I guess We Love Fine is running a t-shirt design contest. Much of this art is made up of submissions to it.
 
Today, with the first Equestria Girls special airing in the US, let's talk about something near and dear to my heart: pony ages! Or rather, what their equivalent ages would be as humans.

First of all, I'll address the elephant in the room of Equestria Girls, and describe how it doesn't accurately reflect the ages of the ponies.
* Celestia and Luna - And right away the biggest piece of evidence: Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna aren't thousand-year-old princesses. They haven't shown any sign of hiding secret immortality, and there was even an official book showing their years as high school students which was still in the present era. However, they are also the ones most easily dismissed as special cases.
* Dragons as dogs - Dragons live for thousands of years, while Dougworld dogs probably don't. Again, this can be dismissed as a special case.
* Babs Seed - The Equestria Girls 2013 annual special comic depicted Babs Seed as being older than Applejack in Dougworld, but this is even more easily dismissed than the others due to the comics doing weird things sometimes.

With the obvious ones out of the way, and many being excused as special case, we'll have to look at things that don't feel right as opposed to being clear evidence.
* Cheerilee - In Dougworld, Cheerilee is older than the Main Six by a significant degree, since she is a teacher at the school while they are just students. In the show, flashbacks have shown Cheerilee as a filly while the others were fillies with surprising consistency, and in "Where the Apple Lies", Cheerilee has an adult mare design while Applejack has her "teenager" design. This shows that while she is older than the Main Six, she shouldn't be that much older. But another piece of evidence lies with Big Mac. She and Big Mac were presented as a perfectly viable couple, yet he was also briefly depicted in a romantic light with Marble Pie, who is the same age as Pinkie (minus a few minutes). I can't use Sugar Belle as proof either way, since she might be older than the Main Six too.
* Teenager ponies - Speaking of Applejack's teenager design, there's the fact that we now have an intermediate step between fillies and adults. Dougworld CMC are depicted as going to the same school as the others, which should mean they are only a few years younger than them, but in the show they still have their filly designs, and the flashback in "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" depicts Rarity as looking exactly the same when Sweetie Belle is five and looks completely different.
* Zephyr Breeze - Zephyr is Fluttershy's younger brother, yet he looks and acts like a college dropout. How would that work in EQG, again? This also ties into the above, as the EQG CMC are only a few years younger than the Main Six, yet apparently there's still a gap there for someone like Zephyr to fit in.
* Sunset Shimmer - Sunset was Celestia's personal student before Twilight and Twilight didn't recognize her. While you can stretch some justification, this likely means that Sunset is significantly older than Twilight, like in her origin comic. And yet, only about three years passed for her in Dougworld between her exile and return, and her human form fit in fine as a high schooler. This points to time passing differently (at least until Twilight made a stable portal) and transformed versions of ponies not necessarily matching their "actual" age. Plus, Spike.
* Time passing - I was going to make a point about how not even a year has passed in Dougworld yet more than that must have passed in the show since the start of season 4, but I forgot that the first EQG movie was in the fall while the fourth was during summer break. Instead, I'll point out how everyone is 16 at the very least in the first movie, thanks to them being shown driving, yet as time passes, graduation appears to be nonexistent. This points to the timelines still not quite matching up.
* Other odd pony humans - Photo Finish is high school age? Really?
* Flurry Heart - If Shining Armor and Cadance haven't had a baby by the next time we see them in Dougworld, then this is the killing blow! But it is still possible they got married off screen and Cadance was already pregnant when we saw her in Friendship Games.

Plus, there's just the fact that the Humane Five just feel younger than their pony counterparts. I'm not sure if it's intentional or just from the nature of them talking about high school stuff, but they seem to lack the maturity of their show versions. This is most obvious with Dash, who is brasher and more self-obsessed than all except her worst moments in the show, and without anything except knowledge of her pony self to back it up. I would also point out Rarity, who has demonstrated little of what makes her so interesting, but apparently "Dance Magic" fixes that. The others have just sort have been there.

... Spent more time on that then I wanted. Anyway, my point is, pony ages shouldn't be bound by what Equestria Girls has depicted.

Back before Equestria Girls, many people had settled into the Main Six all being in their early twenties, and that still feels like the most appropriate age range for me. The main justifications were how Twilight came off as a college graduate, and how Rarity was mature and was running her own business. The others perhaps could be more easily justified as being teenagers, but they're all around the same age, so the unicorns brought them up.

Ironically, since Equestria Girls, they've provided harder evidence of the Main Six being older than teens. As mentioned above, "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" depicted Rarity as looking the same when Sweetie Belle was five. "Amending Fences" only makes sense if they're past high school, and makes even more sense if they're past college. Zephyr is younger than Fluttershy but feels like a college dropout. Rarity has since expanded her business and thus feels older than before, and Rainbow Dash has become a Wonderbolt and has matured besides some hiccups.

Early on, I believe it was Faust who said that they wrote the ponies as a mix of childish and adult features to make them ageless, and after Equestria Girls, someone reiterated this but said that the Dougworld characters are specifically written as high schoolers and not a mix. However, since the first seasons, they've definitely been leaning toward writing the Main Six as adults.

As for other characters, Spike feels around the same age as the CMC, who themselves are in their early teens. Starlight and Sunburst feel like they should be older than Twilight. Trixie is about the same age as the Main Six. Ember in-universe is probably about a hundred, but she feels like she's 16 or so. Oh, that reminds me, the teenage dragons are presented as being much less mature than the Main Six, which points to the Main Six being older than teenagers.

Within the Main Six, all we know for sure is that Fluttershy is a year older than Pinkie, and that they're around the same age. Fluttershy had her teenage design in flashbacks, and while it might be an early growth spurt, this does point to her not just being older than Pinkie, but everyone else. My guesses for relative ages are:
Pinkie Pie < Rainbow Dash < Applejack < Twilight Sparkle < Rarity < Fluttershy

So what do you think? Roughly how old are the characters, and how do they rank in ages?
 
Anyway, my point is, pony ages shouldn't be bound by what Equestria Girls has depicted.
I'd have written just that &#128517;

Personally, I don't see Starlight and Sunburst as older than Twilight, and if they were, I'd say it's one year at most. Or maybe Sunburst could be older than that, but Starlight certainly not.
 
I'd clock the main cast as being roughly 18-20 plus however much time you think has elapsed since the start of the series, with the caveat that pony society pushes them towards adulthood a bit earlier than our own thanks to cutie marks cutting a lot of time out of the "what do I do" phase of life.
 
My interpretation has always been:

Mane 6: 20-25
CMC: 10 -12
Cadance/Shining: 30-ish

My benchmark is generally just comparing where they appear to be in life to the equivalent in our world. The CMCs are still in primary school, the Mane 6 are living independently of their parents and have established careers, Cadance and Shining have a kid, etc.

I've long since written Equestria Girls off as being either actually nonsensical or failing that, simply too difficult to make sense of.
 
Within the Main Six, all we know for sure is that Fluttershy is a year older than Pinkie, and that they're around the same age. Fluttershy had her teenage design in flashbacks, and while it might be an early growth spurt, this does point to her not just being older than Pinkie, but everyone else. My guesses for relative ages are:
Pinkie Pie < Rainbow Dash < Applejack < Twilight Sparkle < Rarity < Fluttershy

So what do you think? Roughly how old are the characters, and how do they rank in ages?
The only one of those I might quibble with would be AJ < Twilight Sparkle. My head canon has considered Twilight to be younger... but if we're using Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy as the scale and there's only a year to separate them then debating how the ages differ is more semantics than anything else.
 
I'd have written just that &#55357;&#56837;

Personally, I don't see Starlight and Sunburst as older than Twilight, and if they were, I'd say it's one year at most. Or maybe Sunburst could be older than that, but Starlight certainly not.
Yeah, I was just going to talk about Celestia and Cheerilee, but then more stuff came to me and I just kept writing.

Starlight (and thus Sunburst) being older is just a feel thing, and mainly from her villain days. Plus, there's the fact that we haven't seen Sunburst in any of Twilight's school flashbacks, but that doesn't mean much.

I'd clock the main cast as being roughly 18-20 plus however much time you think has elapsed since the start of the series, with the caveat that pony society pushes them towards adulthood a bit earlier than our own thanks to cutie marks cutting a lot of time out of the "what do I do" phase of life.
Yeah, that's a good point I forgot to bring up. In the past, I was leaning toward them being in their late teens for that reason, but because of direct comparisons with their Equestria Girls versions, "Amending Fences", and how Rarity looked in Sweetie Belle's flashback in "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils", I'm leaning more toward them being early 20's now.

The only one of those I might quibble with would be AJ < Twilight Sparkle. My head canon has considered Twilight to be younger... but if we're using Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy as the scale and there's only a year to separate them then debating how the ages differ is more semantics than anything else.
I placed AJ as younger due to her line about how she was last in her class to get her cutie mark back in "Call of the Cutie". I placed Pinkie as the youngest and Fluttershy as the oldest because we might as well use the one solid frame of reference we have. But yeah, it really is pretty arbitrary.

A month after it got posted on ED, I got around to reading the fanfic "A Mid-Lesson Snack Break" which takes place after "All Bottled Up" and features Trixie and Starlight talking about feelings, not quite reaching shipping but getting really close. I thought it was a nice story, and Starlight and Trixie have nice interactions. I enjoy the interpretation of Trixie boasting and grandstanding in order to impress Starlight, despite herself at times.

I plan on reading "The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon" during the 4th of July long weekend, and also catching up on "The Enchanted Library", which has... nine new chapters since I last checked.

Finally got around to listening to Letters from an Irritated Princess.
* The first reminds me of the odd detail from the first episode that Twilight somehow didn't know the good sister in the tale were supposed to be Celestia; note her shock when Celestia addresses Luna as sister. Which is frankly bizarre if you give any thought to it.
* Given the nature of the series, I'm surprised Celestia isn't that irritated in the second video.
* Surprised "The Ticket Master" is a two-parter. Lots of dramatic irony with Celestia talking about the security of her Elements of Harmony safe. I like the running gag of Rarity not returning the Element of Generosity.

One annoying thing is that the videos seem to directly refer to the text of Twilight's letters, and even I can't recall those off hand. Otherwise, I thought they were good.

Animation for the Voltaire song "Mechanical Girl" - When they showed Big Mac's dead daughter as Sweetie Belle, I thought for sure that the mechanical girl would be Sweetie Bot, but it's Apple Bloom for some reason.

Just rewatched the final animation for "Lullaby for a Princess". I hadn't noticed the use of CGI models at various points until now, and the other art style shifts. While the end result is probably the fandom's magnum opus, I still kind of prefer the animatics for that reason. For those unfamiliar with it, the animatics and song were around for long before this final animation, which is why Celestia is depicted with pink hair while sealing Nightmare Moon, and it otherwise doesn't match "Princess Twilight Sparkle".

The comic magazine Knights of the Dinner Table got a ponified cover.


Legends of Equestria is finally entering open access in August 19! It's been in beta for a long time, but I'm still worried this will get hit by a C&D. Honestly amazed it hasn't died after all these years, really.

Ponies at Dawn have released their mega compilation album "Guardians" - I don't care much for listening to completely original fandom songs on their own, but there are some impressive names involved with this.

Full animation for "Anthropology" - There's been an animatic for this for years, but never a complete animation. It's kind of funny that the original animatic came out before Equestria Girls, and now the part with human Lyra in this video uses her Equestria Girls design.

For Summer Solstice
Fluttershy by icerrhythm
Dia de Los Muertos - Poor Applejack is left offscreen.


She Liked Them - Conclusion of this comic.
Snowy Get Together - I usually don't post OC-only art, but I thought this looked nice.


Endless Fantasy
Ultimate Mane Six


Comics
New Words
And my new favorite Random Pony Comic Generator comic.
 
Oh right, a discussion topic. How about two? Though one is kind of silly.

A different "The Cutie Re-Mark" villain
In the Equestria Girls specials, Juniper Montage was introduced as a really lame and mundane one-off villain in "Movie Magic", except it turns out she returns as a powerful magic user in "Mirror Magic" (which we know from official promotions). In my review of "Movie Magic", that led me to joke that this makes less sense than if Wind Rider from "Rarity Investigates!" turned out to be the cause of "The Cutie Re-Mark" instead of Starlight.

But that made me think, Juniper and Starlight both cover the same idea of a villain unexpectedly returning as a much larger threat than they were first presented as. If you focus on that, and not making it semi-reasonable for their threat to escalate so much, then there are all sorts of other characters you could slot into that role.

If Wind Rider gained access to some artifact that allowed him to alter the past, then it isn't too out there for him to try "The Cutie Re-Mark". Hell, he'd arguably have a stronger motivation than Starlight, since he hates Rainbow Dash for breaking his record, and thus would want to prevent her from ever racing in the first place.

How could you contrive other characters into Starlight's role from "The Cutie Re-Mark"? I'll also open it up to characters introduced in seasons 6 and 7.

A different movie plot
With the movie trailer out, that makes me want to revisit the topic of what did you want out of an MLP movie?

A "present day" adventure visiting various locales is fine, and probably the best way to serve a TV series that doesn't look like it's ending soon, but back when it was first announced, I thought for sure it was going to be a remake of the pilot. Twilight is sent to Ponyville to make friends, but Nightmare Moon attacks, and they are forced to band together to defeat her, discovering their destinies as the Elements of Harmony. Massage the story to get to the action more quickly and make Nightmare Moon actually threatening, and you have the perfect introductory movie!

The pilot was hampered by them not quite knowing what they could get away with, and not fully knowing where the characters would go. A remake would be a great way to make Nightmare Moon the villain she was meant to be, and possibly provide some nice moments with the characters meeting, taking advantage of personality traits and connections we know about now. OK, really, it's mainly just a better Nightmare Moon that interests me.

So how about you guys? Besides what we're getting, what would you have liked out of the movie?
 
Starlight was great as a villain for The Cute Re-Mark, I just feel her good guy conversion was too rushed and simple.

I remember when the movie was first in the works, the threat would be something cosmic, something more akin to a god than Celestia and Luna. I was expecting some sort of grand adventure to find a McGuffin and defeat the bad guy, and the movie is pretty much in line with what I expected, though I don't know how powerful the Storm King and Tempest Shadow really are.