I haven’t done one of these in a while. Fortunately, I had to write a movie review as a school assignment. What follows is a modified version of that essay. Let’s get right to it!
One of my primary goals as an artist is to become the preeminent figure of a literary movement. Salvador Dali is the first thing most people think of when they hear the word “surrealism,” and Alfred Hitchcock is the go-to example of a great director of thriller films. However, I’ve discovered a genre of storytelling that doesn’t seem to have been recognized or categorized yet. It is for this reason that I have decided to describe and label this genre, which I’ve christened “Neon Evangelism,” and analyze a work I find to be a superb example and introduction to it: the Henry Selick stop-motion animated film Coraline.
I’ve decided to name the genre “Neon Evangelism” in honor of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, which is a typical and famous entry of this framework. I also think the name fits, as it encapsulates the key points of the genre quite well; namely, that the work has a bright and/or inviting outside appearance that masks a more somber, cerebral message that the author is deliberately preaching for the audience.
Neon Evangelism is a relatively new genre, though it’s been around since at least the mid-twentieth century. However, the closest the genre has come to being recognized is the category of “Genre Deconstruction,” which the website TV Tropes describes as “a work that plays the central clichés and tropes of a genre completely straight to sweep away old ideas and make way for the new ones.” However, this definition doesn’t completely describe exactly what Neon Evangelism is. This is because it only describes one of the four core aspects, the other three being:
A metaphorical supernatural entity that represents the flaws or fears of the protagonist(s) and the audience
A central message that the author intends to convey through the deconstruction of the clichés in order to deepen the overall experience
An initially pleasant or inviting appearance designed to draw in typical fans of the genre the work deconstructs (usually otherwise known as “Surprise Creepy“)
Some examples of works that fit all these criterion include, along with the aforementioned Evangelion and Coraline, the video games Spec Ops: the Line, Drakengard, and Undertale; the anime Madoka Magica, Elfen Lied, and Digimon Tamers; the graphic novel Watchmen; and the literary pieces The Graveyard Book (another children’s novel by Neil Gaiman) and A Song of Ice and Fire. These works come from a wide variety of genre traditions, though they all fit within the pattern described in the above three points. This, in addition to the fact that all of them are much grimmer and more horrific than their initial appearances or premises would suggest, suggests that Neon Evangelization is best described as a splinter genre of Dramatic Tragedy and Horror (especially Lovecraftian Horror).
Coraline, based on the children’s novella of the same name by Neil Gaiman, is an approachable example of Neon Evangelism that is a suitable introduction to those who are uninitiated to the genre. It opens with the titular protagonist, Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning), moving with her neglectful parents into an old Victorian house somewhere in the dreary New England area of the northeastern United States. There, she encounters some of her neighbors, who are all either as apathetic as her parents, or eccentric to the point that they seem insane. During her frustrated, bored explorations of her new home, Coraline enters a small door in the wall of her house’s living room, which transports her to the “Other World.”
The “Other World” is much like the one that Coraline knows, except that the colors are brighter, the food tastes better, and her parents are doting and attentive. She also finds that her “Other Family” has a magical garden, a toy box full of living wooden creatures, and a bedroom decorated with her favorite colors. However, all of the inhabitants of the “Other World” have buttons instead of eyes, which foreshadows its sinister true nature: that it is a trap intended to lure children into the clutches of a witch known as the Beldam (Teri Hatcher), who claims to be their “Other Mother” as part of her ruse to eventually ensnare and devour them. The rest of the film has us observe Coraline as she attempts to escape the Beldam’s grasp before her sinister plan can come to fruition.
Coraline was produced by many of the same animators (as well as the same director) that were involved in The Nightmare Before Christmas (which itself is a Neon Evangelization of How the Grinch Stole Christmas), and it shows; Coraline has some of the best stop motion animation to be found anywhere. It’s difficult to believe at times that the character’s emotive faces aren’t a result of computer-generated imagery, despite the fact that almost every element was laboriously and physically crafted by hand.
One of the more remarkable scenes is “The Mouse Circus,” which features a hundred little mice dolls performing a mesmerizing dance to beautifully orchestrated march music. The audience can’t help but stare with as much awe as Coraline does at it; especially when a tracking shot follows the lead mouse as it rolls a tiny circus-ball down a pyramid. This sequence is so seamless that we are again forced to remind ourselves that all of it is practical and real.
The voice acting is sublime; the Beldam’s tone is simultaneously motherly and menacing, which perfectly encapsulates her twisted nature. Meanwhile, Coraline is relatably rebellious yet endearing, and the voice of her cat companion (Keith David) is comfortingly smooth. The score is haunting, which is vital to create the atmosphere of any horror film. It all comes together to paint a mesmerizing retelling of the typical Alice in Wonderland storyline. However, in its deconstruction of the “Down the Rabbit Hole” genre, Coraline evokes an even older and more ubiquitous tale: that of Hansel and Gretel, along with its cannibalistic villainess and cautious message against blindly trusting strangers. In this way, Coraline can be considered a modern update to that classic fairy tale.
Coraline is remarkable not just because it is a spellbinding film; it is also a superb example of using fantasy to augment the flaws of reality. The Beldam and the “Other World” are Coraline’s deepest desires brought to life; they are the attentive mother and exciting world she’d always wished for. However, it is easy to see the similarities they also share with real-world child abductors and the tactics they employ. Because of its fantastical shell, what might have been too harsh and depressing a pill to swallow becomes a fairy tale that children and adults alike can appreciate.
Many people wish to write novels, but don’t know how they should get started. Perhaps they believe that they’re not good enough writers, or that they’re not intelligent enough to do it, but I’m here to tell you: you can do it. This is a person who has wept many, many tears and has spent many sleepless nights brooding over the idea that he was incapable of accomplishing the completion of a novel. I have since written several novels, and am in the process of writing several others (one of which you can read as I write it right now). I’m a busy autistic college student with an anxiety disorder who still writes every day. I’ve been through the gauntlet; I assure you, nothing can stand in your way. If you want to write a novel, do it, and let nothing stop you.
I will guide you through the writing process by telling you the process that I myself use. This is a guide to not only write a novel, but to write a good novel. Writing novels is a talent that anyone can develop, and though it isn’t easy, I guarantee that it is one of the most satisfying and fulfilling things you’ll ever do.
First, you need an idea for your book. Well, where do you get ideas?
The way that I get ideas is to simply ask myself, “What sort of book would I like to read?” and then, if that book doesn’t yet exist, I take it upon myself to write it. In fact, that’s the entire reason I write: to read the books I want to read but that don’t yet exist. If, for instance, you want to read a story about two of your favorite characters getting married and sharing a domestic life together, write a book about that. Don’t worry that it’s based on another’s work; fan fiction is literature, just like anything else, and even if you wish to write original novels fan fiction is a great way to hone your writing skills. After all, the best way to improve at writing is to write, no matter what it is you’re writing.
Once you have your idea, plan out your novel. This isn’t a strictly necessary step, and you can skip it if you like, but in my experience you want to do it if you want to save as much time and have as few headaches as possible. Planning out your novel gives you guidelines, establishes the rules of your world, and minimizes frustration. If you have a general idea of where your book’s going to go, you’re going to minimize the time you’re frustratingly wondering what to do next, or revising parts to accommodate your new ideas.
The way I plan out my books is by using the Snowflake Method, which is described in advancedfictionwriting.com. Basically, the Snowflake Method is planning out your plot and creating your characters in the broadest strokes possible, then getting gradually more and more detailed about them until you know everything about them. If you’re writing a book in a science fiction or fantasy setting, I would also recommend establishing ALL of the rules of your world and writing them down before you begin writing the novel itself. That way, your rules will be consistent throughout your work and your readers won’t feel cheated.
Once you have your world built, your characters made, and your plot established, the next step is to sit down and pound out your first draft. There’s no shortcuts or workarounds on this step; the only way to do it is to do it. This is easily the most frustrating and difficult part of the process, but it’s also one of the funnest and most fulfilling, and I can tell you a few ways to make the frustrating parts more bearable:
First of all: relax, don’t worry about quality, and throw your perfectionism out the window. This is from someone who would like nothing more than to pen the apotheosis of human artistic achievement; perfectionism is your single greatest enemy. Take it from someone who has learned the hard way, after spending several years of his life fighting a losing battle to achieve perfection. Don’t worry about quality; there’ll be time for that later. Your only concern for the moment is to write the book. It doesn’t matter if what you write is any good; the only thing that matters is that you’re writing. If you get tired or frustrated, take a break from your manuscript until you’re up to working on it more. Sleep, or have a good meal, or read another book for a while. Take all the time you need; your manuscript will always be there for you when you come back to it.
Next, write as often as you can, and take all the time you need to finish it. Even if you can only write a couple of sentences every day, remember: you’re still making progress, and some of the greatest literary masterpieces took years or even decades to reach completion. You will only fail if you give up.
But most importantly: never, ever, EVER destroy ANY of your work. If you write anything, no matter how cruddy it is, KEEP IT. Even if you DO give up on it, you must still NEVER destroy or abandon your writings. Once again, take it from someone who learned the very, very hard way: there is NOTHING that will induce more regret and despair than wishing you hadn’t thrown away your work in a fit of despairing rage, weather because you want to keep working on it or because you want to see and remember what you created when you were younger.
Once you finish your book, go back and edit it until you have your final draft. Flesh it out, add details, and refine it until it’s well and truly completed; you’ll know it when it happens.
Once you have your completed book, you can share it with others, put it online, or try to sell it to a publisher. What you do with it doesn’t matter that much, though; what matters is that you’ve done what many others have only dreamt of doing. You have written your very own novel.
The time has come to review my personal nomination for the title of “Greatest Video Game of All Time.”
I love The Legend of Zelda with every fiber of my being. Surprise, surprise. As many other gamers have likewise said before me, I believe that this series has all but distilled and perfected the medium of interactive media. Among us Zelda fans, there are usually two titles that are championed as the absolute apotheosis of the franchise: Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past. Make no mistake; except for the CDI games and Skyward Sword, I adore each iteration of the Zelda series (I’ll discuss my lack of affection for Skyward Sword when I review it), and I too believe that Ocarina is a masterpiece, but I don’t think it holds a candle to even the 3d games that came after it, let alone A Link to the Past.
I feel a similar way when people say that the Nintendo Entertainment System is the greatest game console of all time. I will concede this: it is the most important console ever made; after all, it saved the game market from utter destruction in the ’80s, and there are several timeless classics in its library (most notably Super Mario Bros. 3 and Castlevania), but the fact still remains that the NES had many constraints that prevented its games from reaching their true potential.
I argue that it is the Super Nintendo Entertainment System that is, in fact, the greatest console of all time. It was made during the forth generation of home consoles, the era of that sweet spot in gaming’s history where the machines weren’t yet powerful enough to render significant amounts of 3d graphics, but were powerful enough to allow you to do pretty much anything you wanted in 2d. In my opinion, you should only make a game in 3d if you have a very good reason to; for instance, for accommodating puzzles that take place in 3d space (such as in Portal or Assassin’s Creed), and if you don’t you should just make the game in 2d (I have a similar sentiment towards traditional vs. computer-generated animation). The Zelda series is my main example of this idea in motion; honestly, how much of Twilight Princess or Wind Waker would have changed very much if they were 2d games? They both have a handful of 3-dimensional puzzles, but otherwise have very little gameplay that couldn’t be reproduced 2-dimensionally. I argue that A Link to the Past is the bar Nintendo has to surpass before they can have a case for making 3d Zelda games, as it is better-tuned and designed than any of the other titles.
The genius of A Link to the Past is its simplicity. You begin the game with nothing; all you can do is move around with the d-pad and open doors and pick things immediately in front of you up with the A button. Once you get your sword and shield, the game demonstrates what is, in my opinion, the most elegant and perfect combat system in the world: you press B to swing the sword in the direction you’re facing, hold B for a few seconds to charge your sword and release it to spin it in a highly-damaging arc, and your shield will automatically block all physical (and later optical) projectiles it is facing. To use any other items, you simply press START to open up your menu, move your cursor over the item you want, press START to close your inventory again, then press Y to use the item in the direction you’re facing. That’s it.That’s the entire combat system. And it is the most fun you’ll ever have fighting things in a game.
Another great thing about the game is that it has a very good, but simple story set in a vibrant world; the most complex things about it are that it has an alternate dimension and that it has a villain who disguises himself as his own servant, but otherwise it’s very straightforward: you have to get three necklaces from monsters in dungeons to get a sword that can kill the villain, then you have to collect seven crystals with girls in them from more monsters in dungeons to actually get to him (I said that it’s simple, not that it’s not weird; this is a Japanese game, after all), and after you kill him you take three dragonball-like triangles from him that you use to wish everything back to the way it was.
Everything about this game is just brilliant; the dungeons are fantastic, the puzzles are just the right amount of frustrating, and pretty much every one of its bosses could make it into a top-ten list of the greatest bosses ever made (a strong contender for the #1 position on my personal list is Helmasaur King, the boss from the first dungeon of the game’s second act). My biggest criticism, which is honestly just a nitpick, is that it can sometimes get a little tedious or overly frustrating; without a walkthrough, you’re going to find yourself floundering about, not knowing where to go in places, and every time you die in a dungeon you’re sent right back to the beginning, which will (likely) cause more than a few rageful moments. However, like any great difficult game, the frustration these bring is just enough to give you an enormous sense of satisfaction when you finally, at long last, reach the end and complete it.
My ambitions as an artist are quite lofty; my ultimate ambition is to produce such wisdom in my works that I become a sage of similar influence to Gandhi, Jesus, or Confucius. I wish for my pen to bring people happiness and to lift some of the despair from the world. I am a storyteller because I love stories above all things, and I love stories above all things because I have learned more from them than anything else. History’s greatest teachers were master storytellers because stories are the most powerful of all teaching methods.
My sister Aiden and I’s flagship My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfic, titled MLP, was created because I believe that My Little Pony has the power to shake the world to its core. The enormous periphery demographic it has grown is testament to its brilliance; its characters are so fantastic and fully realized that it has drawn many talented writers to craft stories worthy of them. Close friendships and the beginnings of great, positive social changes have come about because of this show, and for that I am eternally grateful to it.
However, there are still some who do not see what I and its other fans see in it. This causes me no small amount of anger, as people dismiss it without even learning about it purely because it’s a young girls’ show, and yet are willfully blind to the richness and depth it has to offer.
In addition, though I do love the show dearly, I consider it to be a flawed masterpiece; though its characters are indeed some of the best fiction has ever seen, it suffers from a great multitude of shortcomings. These include inconsistencies in the rules of the world, an almost complete lack of story arcs (My Little Pony isn’t a sitcom, and I therefore believe it needs them), and the limits Hasbro places on what it can do, both artistically and thematically.
Of course, it is for these exact reasons that I believe it got its intensely vibrant fan work community; the characters are so good we desperately want them to have adventures more sufficiently awesome than the ones Hasbro has provided. I wouldn’t change this for the world, but I still nonetheless find myself constantly unsatisfied because I desperately want to see these characters get a story told about them as grand and epic as they deserve. It is for this reason that I’ve begun MLP.
MLP is going to be an alternate universe/adventure/high fantasy/fix/dark/deconstruction fic of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic that will also act as a reimagining and annotative commentary on the original show. Much of the story is going to closely reflect the original show, though I will alter it in places either to refine it or to bring the implications and subtexts of the original show to the forefront (for more information on what I’m talking about, read my posts analyzing MLP:FiM‘s darker themes and my theories on the characters’ sexualities). However, much of the story of MLP will also be completely original, and I am also going to draw from other fans’ works in crafting it (one of the most obvious nods to the fandom is that Lyra and Bon-Bon will explicitly be a couple in it). I will do this to showcase the best this culture has to offer.
I have high hopes for this fic. My sister and I have spent a year designing it alone, and I am carefully crafting every chapter to be as pristine as possible. I aim for it to be nothing less than the greatest thing to ever happen to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I work for this story to help chip away at the animation, sci-fi, and girl show ghettos and finally bridge the gap between Bronies and the not-yet-understanding outside world.
However, though I am designing this story to compliment and supplement the original show, I am also designing it to be stand-alone in and of itself. I have created for it a complex, detailed world, and I have designed the protagonists’ quest to be a self-contained sprawling epic. However, the thing that I am perhaps most excited about is the magic system I’ve made for it. I think we can all agree that magic in MLP: FiM, like power levels in Dragon Ball Z, is bullshit;
and so for MLP I’ve designed a really cool internally consistent magic system drawing from Dungeons and Dragons, Harry Potter, Magic: the Gathering, Fullmetal Alchemist, The Wheel of Time, and other great fantasy stories that I’m very proud of. Though I’m writing this story as a statement in and of itself, I think the more literary-minded will also enjoy the complexity and depth of the ideas its narrative will have.
But most importantly: I am planning on making MLP a manga, an anime, and a video game, as well. I absolutely guarantee that unless I die before I should complete it I will make it a manga and a JRPG. If you doubt me, know that I am a professional author who has been working on his magnum opus for half his lifetime, and is still determined as he ever was to complete it. I am literally studying Japanese and art in college so that I can write manga in Japan.
So I all of my fellow Bronies: please read this story, and if you see potential in it please share it with your friends- perhaps including those who don’t like the show. Hey, they can’t complain that it’s about ponies anymore (the title MLP is a meaningless artifact that was chosen to show reverence to its original source). The more support I can get, the more likely I’ll be able to make a My Little Pony anime (I’m still squealing in delight at the thought). If you must resort to it, tell them that there’ll be awesome fight scenes and that hot girls make out in it (and some hot guys, too).
You can read MLP on my FimFiction, fanfiction.net, or my personal website. You will also get future updates on it by following me on my FimFiction and my site. I will post a new chapter every Friday on all three platforms, on FimFiction first, until it’s completed (which should take over two years).
It also wouldn’t hurt for you guys to check out my original works when I release them. All iterations of MLP will be free, and if I could I would freely give away all of my projects, but we artists still gotta eat. Think of it as an investment in getting an epic My Little Pony anime.
Being a far-left pretentious snobbish hipster, I have a very deep personal investment in some very hippie-esque things, such as free education. I am a very firm believer in the idea that all knowledge should be free and available to all, which is why I’m such a fierce advocate for the public domain and universal access to informational resources.
One thing that intensely frustrates me is the general lack of quality, open resources for learning things such as computer programming or 3d modeling. In general, within the tech world, if you want to get into a career you have to fork over a pretty penny for training. I consider this to be nothing short of ridiculous, as it costs nothing to download everything you need to do either of those things; rather, you instead have to pay a stupidly huge amount of money to simply learn how to do those things.
It is for that reason that I weep with joy every time I see low-to-no-cost, quality, entertaining, effective resources for learning new skills. One example of such a resource is how-to-draw books, which contributed a great deal to my development as an artist.
Of course, there are many, many skills that don’t get remotely enough coverage by such accessible learning tools. As I’ve said in my reviews introduction, the purpose of my reviews is to either discuss or recommend works. It is for this reason that I plan on reviewing accessible, quality educational resources; whenever I find such a resource for a little-covered subject, I consider it to be my duty to give it as much attention as possible so that other aspiring artists might also receive the same wise guidance that I did.
For an introduction to science, I recommend Bill Nye the Science Guy. For beginning a pursuit of drawing comics, I recommend Making Comics by Scott McCloud. And finally, for an invaluable, free course in game design, I recommend Extra Credits.
This show began as a college project for Daniel Floyd, who would go on to be an animator for Pixar. HIs very first video was on women in video games (and incidentally, my own researching of the subject is what caused me to discover this show in the first place). When he formally launched the first “official” episode, Bad Writing, his team consisted of himself as the narrator, esteemed games designer James Portnow as his writer, and artist Allison Theus to create the visuals. Its style is casual yet intellectual; it is drawn in a pleasantly cartoonish art style, with frequent sight gags and explanatory visual aids to illustrate what Daniel says. Though there is an expected literacy in games from the audience, the creators generally attempt to make it accessible through explaining and highlighting the specific relevent aspects of the games they discuss. In their pursuit of the teaching of game design theory, they also discuss the achievements and techniques of other media and how to apply it to the betterment of the media of games. For instance, in their antiheroes episode they discuss the works of Lord Byron (a major codifier of the archetype) and the antiheroes therein. They compare the Byronic heroes to mainstream antiheroes in video games, highlighting a perceived lack of true depth in video game antihero protagonists and proposing how that might be remedied.
This show is extremely entertaining. Not only is it very funny, but its great optimism and enthusiasm for its subject matter result in clearly heartfelt performances. If you’re like me and love (some kinds of) horror and cyberpunk, you’ll be especially pleased; they cover such topics frequently.
Their advice is very solid, too. I’ve played and made games with their observations and advice in mind, and as it turns out they’re largely correct about most of what they talk about; by and large, when games are in accordance with their advice, I find them to be better constructed and more entertaining than when they don’t.
Of course, there are things that I disagree with them about, most notably their position on the place of the story in the game making process. Personally, I believe that it’s a perfectly valid practice to begin with a story first before designing gameplay around it (after all, for games such as RPGs, the story is the entire point, and thus should be the first concern). Of course, this might be nothing more than an artistic difference.
I cannot stress how good this series is. It was one of the main inspirations for the style of this blog, and I wish the world had far more things like it. If you want to begin getting into the show, I recommend you start with Video Game Music, since it’s a very accessible yet informative and entertaining episode that’s a great way to ease yourself into it.
Once you’ve seasoned yourself a bit and have watched several episodes, I recommend you watch Call of Juarez: The Cartel, which in my opinion is their best episode. However, it is also one of their heaviest; it’s about the potential danger that laziness in game design can pose to our ideological clarity and understanding. It is a call for game creators to take their craft seriously, and I sincerely wish that everyone in any way involved or interested in games would watch it.
If you want to ease your mind a bit after that somber experience, I recommend you watch their Games You Might Not Have Tried series; it is my favorite collection of episodes, and many of those games are now in my steam library and I wholeheartedly recommend the rest of you to play many of them as well.
This show is, overall, a masterpiece that I adore.
I have just completed Break Your Heart, my first My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfic. As I will do with all of my works, I will do a review of it so that I can discuss discuss it, my writing process for it, and its meaning in depth. Before I can do that, however, I have to discuss my personal theories on the show’s protagonists’ sexualities, as it’ll take long enough that it warrants an article of its own.
One of the characteristics of the body of my MLP:FiM fan works is that they have an ENORMOUS amount of thought put into them. They aren’t merely things that I think would be interesting to see; they are based almost entirely upon my actual, sincere theories on the show and its characters. For instance, in Break Your Heart, I interpret the characters thusly: Twilight and Pinkie are bisexual, Rarity and Applejack are heterosexual, and Rainbow and Fluttershy are homosexual. I didn’t designate them as such haphazardly; those are the sexualities I actually think they are. Without any further ado, here’s my explanation for why:
Let’s start with Twilight, Rarity, and Applejack, as I think they’re the easiest ones to categorize. Of the Mane Six, Rarity is easily the most boy-crazy. She spends a significant amount of time in Season One fantasizing over her encounter with Prince Blueblood, and in Simple Ways she is similarly obsessive over Trenderhoof, another famously handsome Stallion. She’s quite the drama queen, and yet hasn’t shown such an over-the-top obsession with a Mare. Of course, there is the possibility that she’s simply very closeted about it, so I leave open the possibility of bisexuality but at the moment err towards the simpler explanation and assume she’s heterosexual.
I believe that Twilight is attracted to Stallions for the same reason: she has demonstrated canonical attraction to one: Flash Sentry (oh, hush). However, I would argue there is a very good reason to believe that she’s attracted to Mares, as well: her relationship with the Princesses.
If you watch the show, you might notice that Twilight has an enormous, sometimes extreme obsession with Princess Celestia. Celestia was the very reason Twilight began studying magic (her special talent) in the first place; she admired and was awed by Celestia so greatly that she decided to imitate her amazing magical ability. As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, in the episode Lesson Zero Twilight is so terrified at the prospect of being late on an assignment and disappointing Celestia that she descends into madness and attempts to create a problem to solve. She literally tells her friends that it’s the “most horrific trouble [she’s] ever been in,” and this is the same girl who’s encountered a genocidally insane Goddess of the night and an omnipotent, sadistic Eldritch Abomination.
Furthermore, at the end of the first half of A Canterlot Wedding, Twilight’s friends all abandon her for her (perceived) false accusation of evil against (the fake) Cadence. It’s not her friends leaving her, nor her brother leaving her and also telling her to not come to his wedding that she was formerly going to be his Best Mare for, but Celestia’s abandonment that finally drives Twilight to tears.
Along with Twilight’s enormous devotion to Celestia, she also seems to have a crush on Cadence. Of course, she might not have meant anything by it, but I find it interesting that Twilight specifically listed “beautiful” among her descriptions of her former foal sitter. So with Twilight, I think it would be a rather safe wager that her affections extend to both genders.
Applejack is a little trickier, since she never really shows attraction towards anyone in the show. However, I would argue that this is due to deep repression; notice that in Tanks for the Memories, Pinkie says that Applejack only cries “on the inside.” For this reason, I think it’s certainly possible that she’s attracted to Mares or no one at all. On the other hand, she’s the Element of Honesty, so I imagine it’d be rather hard for her to hide an alternate sexuality. Therefore, I assume that she’s heterosexual.
With regards to Pinkie, Fluttershy, and Rainbow, I shall discuss the three of them together, as my theories regarding them are all interconnected; the key to it all is Rainbow.
For those familiar with Break Your Heart, you’ll notice that I raise several questions about Rainbow; why did she move out of Cloudsdale, despite the fact that she’s deeply loyal to it? Why was she bullied, despite the fact that she’s an athletic, attractive, outgoing girl? Her bullies berate her for getting kicked out of Flight Camp, yet she denies that she was, suggesting that she voluntarily left. Why would she, despite loving flying above all things? But above all: why did she become friends with the wildly different Fluttershy, and why did she move to the same Earth pony town Fluttershy did?
Of course, I theorize that she’s gay, Fluttershy is too, and that they were pushed together and out of Cloudsdale by their fellow Pegasi, who due to their competitive and hierarchical nature are extremely homophobic. Rainbow has (in my opinion) displayed attraction to her female friends, as well; in Over a Barrel, her wings extend (a sign of excitement) at the sight of Pinkie in a showgirl outfit. This wasn’t an animation error; a subsequent shot from a different angle shows that her wings are still extended. In Super Cider Squeezy 6000, Rainbow tears Fluttershy’s blanket away from her then stares at her exposed underside for a few moments, causing Fluttershy to cover herself and blush.
As I said before, I think Fluttershy is gay because of her close friendship with Rainbow. Think about it: no two ponies could be more different, and by all accounts Rainbow shouldn’t have become friends with Fluttershy. Fluttershy is deathly afraid of heights, which Rainbow has scarcely any tolerance for. Rainbow is tremendously demanding, but is preferentially gentle with Fluttershy. She was fiercely defensive of Fluttershy when she was being bullied, despite being about as far from “coolness” as someone can possibly be. There must be something they have in common that gives them such a strong bond, and such commonality being shunned homosexuality makes a great deal of sense.
And finally, Pinkie. I am absolutely, utterly convinced that Pinkie is completely in love with Rainbow. To begin, Pinkie is every bit as obsessed with Rainbow as Twilight is with Celestia. In Griffon the Brush-Off, Pinkie follows Rainbow around relentlessly and is determined to spend as much time with her as she can. When Pinkie throws Rainbow a birthday party, she goes tremendous distances to make it amazing that she doesn’t go with their other friends. Another thing I’ve noticed is that when it comes to Pinkie, Rainbow is shown with hearts rather frequently; her face framed by a heart-shaped hole in a wood in Party of One, or the hearts on Rainbow’s birthday banner (which other birthday banners don’t have). Pinkie loves Rainbow Dash; therefore she likes girls (or at least that particular girl).
I actually have rather little evidence for an attraction to males in Pinkie, but I consider it to still be substantial; Pinkie flirtatiously calls a statue of a Griffon king a “charmer.” I also would think that it… well, fits her personality. It’s a close call, but I lay my bets on “bi.”
Oddly enough, Rainbow doesn’t seem to only have caught the interest in Pinkie; Gilda behaves jealously toward Pinkie when she vies for Dash’s attention, and Scootaloo (another Pegasus living in Ponyville rather than a Pegasus city) has an obsession with Rainbow very reminiscent of Twilight’s obsession with her mentor Celestia.
A final note: the only characters whose sexualities I assigned arbitrarily in Break Your Heart are the two other Cutie Mark Crusaders, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom, who are straight and bi, respectively. I ultimately decided on assigning them their sexualities for two reasons: number one, I wanted the Crusaders to be “balanced” the same way the Mane Six were (a completely even ratio of all three sexualities). Secondly, I ultimately decided which would be straight and which would be bi because I thought that it would be more interesting for Apple Bloom to be bi, since her family seems to be extremely traditionalist (see the complete lack of Pegasi or Unicorns in the Apple family?).
Here’s to My Little Pony; I cannot commend you enough for being the pioneers of progress in your industry.
My absolute favorite works have one thing in common: each has a major character that I can deeply relate to. But there are a few pieces that especially stand out; these are the works that almost tempt me to say that the author must have known me, as the protagonists bear an uncanny resemblance to me.
I’m not going to mince words. I speak bluntly and honestly: I am one of the most intelligent, sensitive, compassionate people I know. All of the traits I have attributed to the aforementioned Calvin and Leleouch I also attribute to myself. But along with their strengths, I also admit to their weaknesses: I’m arrogant, socially inept, completely void of humility, and cruel.
I would argue that sadism and compassion are not necessarily mutually exclusive; I argue that they are two sides of the same coin. The sociopath, I suggest, and the cold-blooded killer can actually be among the most sensitive and empathetic people in the world. Ender’s Game is a novel that understands this little-spoken truth. After all- who but Ender, a cold-blooded killer- could empathize with those who no one else would- those who would have him killed?
The novel opens with the dialogue of a pair of officers discussing how they plan to manipulate Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, which is what opens every chapter. A doctor then removes Ender’s monitor, a device which allowed the Earth-defending International Fleet to experience all Ender perceived. Ender then returns to school, where it is noted by his classmates that his monitor has been removed. He is then insulted by being called a “third,” as the world is under population limitation laws that only allow every couple to have two children and Ender is a third child.
As Ender leaves school, he is stopped by a group of bullies led by a boy named Stilson. They begin pushing him around, and Ender decides to end the fight before it escalates. He convinces Stilson to fight him alone and then attacks him. Though Stilson is rendered prone, Ender decides to preemptively end all other fights they might have, so he continues to attack Stilson until he unwittingly kills him. He despairingly goes home convinced he is like his psychopathic brother Peter.
When Ender arrives home, his kind sister Valentine comforts him. Peter then arrives home, and as their parents are out he tells Ender to play Buggers and Astronauts with him. The game is a pretend battle between a human astronaut and a formic, also known as a “bugger,” which is the alien species that invaded Earth twice and resulted in the International Fleet’s formation. Peter makes Ender be the bugger, and then Peter attacks Ender and positions himself to kill him, which he threatens to do. When Valentine threatens to inform the authorities that Peter murdered Ender, Peter claims it was all a joke and laughs at his siblings for believing him. That night, he apologizes to Ender and tells him he loves him, which causes Ender to cry again.
At breakfast the next day, the Wiggin family is visited by Colonel Graff of the International Fleet, the principal of a Battle School that trains soldiers for the Fleet. He convinces Ender to come, despite his desire not to leave his parents or sister, by appealing to his desire to defend them.
While Ender and several other boys are preparing to launch and fly to Battle School, Colonel Graff isolates Ender and singles him out for hatred from the other boys by praising his intelligence and insulting the others’. The boy behind Ender, named Bernard, begins striking Ender’s head, and after realizing no one will help him Ender breaks Bernard’s arm and throws him through the air of the shuttle. After Graff splinters Bernard’s arm and puts him back in his seat, the shuttle launches and they are taken to Battle School.
Once at the school, the boys (who are known as “launchies” by the older children) are introduced to the facilities and their living quarters. They are shown a game room, where ender plays a strategy game against an older boy and wins a two-out-of-three match after losing (and learning how to play) the first game. This establishes Ender in their minds as a potential threat.
Bernard forms a gang that continues to bully Ender, to which Ender counterattacks Bernard by sending all the other boys a message that reads, “Cover your butt. Bernard is watching. – God”. After Bernard attacks Ender for this, Ender sends the boys another message that reads, “I love your butt. Let me kiss it. – Bernard”. Bernard leaves him alone after this. Ender befriends nother boy named Shen, who knows he did it, but doesn’t yet know how.
The launchies are introduced to the Battle Room, a zero-gravity chamber where the students’ main game is played. Bernard’s best friend, Alai and Ender together acquaint themselves with the basics of moving around the room and learn how to operate their laser guns. Once they do, they fire them at the other boys and freeze them. Alai soon becomes a leader for the other boys.
Ender plays a fantasy game on his tablet. In the game, he always eventually encounters a giant, who plays a game with him involving two shot glasses. The giant tells him that one is poison, and if he guesses which isn’t the giant will take him to “fairyland.” As Ender plays over and over again, he finds that the glasses are always poisoned. Eventually, he decides instead to attack the giant; he digs into its eye until he kills it. A bat tells him he can now go to fairyland, but he doesn’t; he is convinced that he is a murderer and that Peter would be proud of him.
Just after Alai tells Ender that he knows how Ender entered a fake ID for Bernard (by entering a blank space after his name), Ender is given an early promotion to become a soldier in one of the older boys’ armies. Alai gives Ender a kiss on the cheek and whispers “Salaam” to him as he leaves.
Ender goes to the barracks of Salamander, the army he was assigned to. Its leader, a boy named Bonzo Madrid, angrily calls him useless and tells him that he’ll trade him away as soon as he can. However, the army’s best shooter, a girl named Petra Arkanian, befriends Ender and takes him under her wing. Petra teaches Ender shooting, but Bonzo attempts to prevent Ender from doing so. Ender defies him by pointing out that though he can order him to not fight, he can’t keep him from practicing. This causes Bonzo to begin resenting and hating Ender.
During one battle, Ender singlehandedly saves the Salamanders from defeat against Bonzo’s orders to not draw his gun. Bonzo trades Ender off to Rat Army and hits him before he is transferred.
In Rat Army, Ender is placed in the toon of Dink Meeker, a boy who the school attempted to promote several times. He tells Ender that there is no bugger war, and the school is training them to fight on Earth for them. Ender continues practicing with the Launchies and becomes the school’s top student. During one of the Launchie practices, several boys attack them and they are able to escape; however, Ender has to tear the ear of one to do so. When Ender returns to his chambers, he is beginning to believe that no one will help him.
The book takes a brief detour to focus on Ender’s family. Valentine has not forgotten, and celebrates his birthday by building him a little fire. The Wiggins have moved into a wooded area because they have begun to notice troubling behavior in Peter. Valentine finds a skinned squirrel and immediately knows that Peter is responsible. While she confronts him about this, he asks her to help him gradually gain influence in the blogosphere under the pseudonyms “Locke” and “Demosthenes.” Valentine agrees to do so to in order to monitor and keep Peter in line.
Back at Battle School, Ender is beginning to grow depressed and disheartened- as reflected in his continued attempts at playing the fantasy game, where he is always devoured by snakes after smashing a mirror which reflects a bloody Peter with a snake in his mouth looking back at him. The Fleet commissions Valentine to write a letter of encouragement to Ender, and once he reads this he is at last able to make peace with himself- which is reflected in the game by his being reunited with Valentine and gaining the approval of a crowd of Peters.
Ender is again promoted early- this time to being the commander of the just-revived Dragon Army. He then meets Bean, a similarly brilliant young boy who immediately comes into conflict with Ender through insubordination. Ender proves to be an efficient, effective commander, and immediately begins introducing original concepts to them such as that the enemy’s gate is downward, so you should “fall” towards it.
However, Ender finds himself growing more isolated and lonely, and he finds that he has nearly lost all of his friends, including Alai. He decides to channel that anger into beating the teachers at whatever challenges they throw at him.
The teachers begin making Dragon Army perform in unusually biased games- including several battles closely together and battles beginning unusually early. Ender begins to confide in Bean and makes him a toon leader.
As Ender continues securing an unbroken string of victories, he becomes aware that other boys are wishing to kill him. After one battle, he is confronted by Bonzo and a couple of other boys in the showers. Ender convinces Bonzo to fight him naked and alone, and then in the pursuing fight Ender unwittingly kills Bonzo.
Immediately afterward, Dragon Army is called again to another battle- this time against two armies. Using a human shield-based formation, Ender is able to push his men into a swift if unorthodox victory. He then declares that he’s not going to play anymore.
In response, Colonel Graff takes Ender back to Earth for a brief vacation. While there, they bring Valentine to Ender to convince him to complete his studies. Though she has trouble doing so, she ultimately succeeds.
Rather than Battle School, Graff and Ender fly to Command School, as Ender has been graduated early. There Ender is given a tutor: Mazer Rakham, the commander who defeated the buggers in their last invasion. He tells Ender the nature of the buggers: that they all share one mind, and therefore work as one and have no forms of “conventional” communication. Mazer tells Ender that he believes that the inability for the buggers to communicate with humans is the source of their conflict. They begin training Ender to battle the buggers specifically.
The training becomes harsher and harsher, and Ender grows more and more traumatized and exhausted. Eventually Ender is given a final examination where he commands several of his former friends in a simulated attack of the bugger home world. Using a similar defensive technique to the “human shield” that won Ender his last game at Battle School, they reach the bugger home world and destroy it.
Those watching Ender’s examination cheer in celebration, and it is revealed to Ender that he was in fact commanding a real fleet as they invaded the buggers’ home world, and that he had just won the wars between them by destroying them. Ender exhaustedly sleeps for several days, during which there is fighting over him.
Peter takes control of and stabilizes the Earth while Valentine begins a colonization effort of the bugger worlds with some other humans. While Ender is governing one settlement, he goes to an area which is an exact recreation of the world of his fantasy game. As he delves deeper into it, he discovers a bugger queen pupa. The pupa communicates with him, and reveals to him that the buggers are remorseful, ashamed, and repentant for what they’ve done to mankind, as they didn’t realize that every human was an individual in their own right. The unborn queen begs Ender to find her a new home so the buggers can survive, which Ender reluctantly agrees to.
Ender becomes the “Speaker for the Dead,” who becomes a venerated religious figure. He speaks on behalf of the deceased buggers, and later for Peter, who has established peace on Earth. The novel ends with Ender and Valentine beginning their search for a new home for the queen.
My first experience with this book was having it read to me by my father. I took to it immediately; I was astounded at how much I related to Ender. I was actually six (the age Ender is at the beginning) the first time I heard it, so I’ll tell you now: I was not capable of advanced mathematics or computer coding at that age. My days of coding would instead begin at the ripe old age of seven.
I wasn’t as superhumanly brilliant as Ender was, but I was still a surpassingly brilliant young boy. I absolutely loved being told the story of another little kid who could comfortably discuss complex or abstract ideas with adults. It was essentially my introduction to science fiction literature, so needless to say I was immediately hooked. To hear of that same kid going to a cool war academy and play games with laser guns in space was an immensely satisfying experience. I’m especially grateful that the tale was written with uncommonly great skill; after all, first impressions are the most important ones, so they better damn well be the best.
This novel had a special place in my heart from the beginning. However, I found that my love for it would only grow deeper as I grew older- not only because my knowledge and capacity for comprehension of the novel’s ideas grew, but because my identification with Ender also grew.
When I was in elementary school, I was viciously bullied. I was subjected to both verbal and physical abuse by my peers. In response, I threatened to kill them- and part of me meant it. But I didn’t want to kill them for the sake of killing them; I just wanted them to stop hurting me. Just like Ender.
There aren’t enough books like Ender’s Game. This book understands that every action always has a reason behind it. Nobody wants to be evil. Too many works portray their villains as heartless monsters who are and always have been incapable of anything remotely like guilt or remorse. Ender’s Game knows the truth: if everyone truly understood each other, there would never again be malice or wickedness. This, I think, is the true nature of mankind: everyone is born good, but many (perhaps even most) get that inherent goodness pounded out of them.
But this novel also understands that no soul is truly lost; Ender commits that most unforgivable of acts: the genocide of an entire race. However, he is redeemed through his dedication of his life to the atonement of his sin. Valentine, who is even more compassionate than Ender, begins to understand lust for blood. The sociopath Peter develops empathy and begs forgiveness from his siblings. There is evil in everyone. There is good in everyone. Not enough books understand this.
The novel’s astonishing wisdom aside, it’s also ridiculously entertaining. I can think of no book that could be a better introduction to science fiction than this; the games are very fun, fascinating, and suspenseful to watch. It’s the rare author who makes a character a genius strategist- and proceeds to give them truly brilliant strategies. Orson Scott Card is one such author. The drama is excellent; the characters are extremely memorable. The writing is top-notch, as well; it’s rather minimalistic, describing only what truly needs to be described, but that’s all that’s needed. As a result, the novel is very fast-paced and tight. But most importantly, the characters are wholly three-dimensional and believable. The novel knows that Ender is a child soldier, and a great deal of it deals exclusively with the trauma he suffers as a result of it. Friendships are made and lost; much regret and sorrow befalls every character. But the characters also love. In fact, it is the love for his planet, his family, and especially his sister that drives Ender forward throughout the entire tale.
This book is thrilling, compelling, fun, nuanced, and profoundly wise all at once. It is, in my opinion, everything a book should be.
This book is, of course, a masterpiece that I adore.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is an excellent show. I love it to the point that I am writing fan works for it, and one of those works is going to be one of my major projects. One of the things I most love about it is its multilayered nature; the vigilant viewer can analyze it and uncover a much deeper world and cast than would first be apparent.
I think that MLP: FiM is perhaps the best base for fan fiction ever made because of this enormous hidden depth. I’m a very well-read individual, and it has some of the best characters I’ve ever seen. There are almost no limits to the possibilities of its vibrant world. It’s episodic, so you can make a lot of stories that have few limitations but still don’t conflict with the show’s cannon. It’s a storyteller’s dream.
However, it is generally understood within the MLP fanfic community that there are some limits as to what a writer can say without breaking the established rules of the show. Most notably, that at a certain level of darkness a fic is no longer plausible within the show’s world. After all, this world is very much a Sugar Bowl; the most powerful magic is friendship, and evil will always ultimately fall to it. And sure, there are evil things in this show- but never too evil. After all, it’s a kid’s show- they’d never have anything trulyhorrific in it. Works like Story of the Blanks, Fallout: Equestria, and Cupcakes would of course never happen or even be implied to happen in the show… right?
A warning to fellow fans of the show: as you can probably tell, I’m planning on using those three darkfics as reference during this article. If you don’t want to hear about things like that or fear that the show will be “Ruined Forever” for you because of me, I suggest you leave now.
There’s also the fact that she lives in Ponyville, despite having a deep love for Cloudsdale, and is not a Wonderbolt, despite the fact that she desperately wants to be and is the fastest Pegasus in the world. I believe that the reason for both of these things is because Rainbow Dash is a lesbian (I’ll explain my reasoning for this in another article) and she’s actively eschewed both her hometown and her dream job because other Pegasi are extremely intolerant of homosexuals, which would seem to be consistent with their highly competitive and hierarchical nature.
I believe that there is a reason for both Fluttershy’s strange friendship with Rainbow as well as her deep cynicism: she’s gay too, and due to the resulting shunning by her fellow Pegasi she naturally bonded with Rainbow since Rainbow was one of the only ones who would accept her. I also think she grew more cynical than Rainbow because while Rainbow was able to win some respect from their peers through her athletic prowess, Fluttershy had no such asset at her disposal, and therefore she ended up getting it worse than Rainbow did.
Applejack is deeply repressed and emotionally dysfunctional. She sees it as a world-shattering descent into eternal shame to fail at any task, be it wining rodeos or bucking all the apples from her orchard by herself. For a specific example, when she fails at winning money for the town in a rodeo, she runs away from home and vows never to come back until she has the money she promised. My sureness of her emotional dysfunction is further solidified by Tanks for the Memories, where she is said to cry “on the inside” but implied not to do so openly. As any psychologist can tell you, this isn’t very healthy, since we need to cry sometimes.
I suggest that the reason for her repression is her family; I think that the Apples are very, very traditionally orthodox and as a result are dysfunctional and repressed as a general rule. One way I think this manifests is a family taboo on miscegenation with non-Earth ponies. Consider the Flim Flam brothers. All signs point to them being Apples; they have green eyes, red and white manes, apples for cutie marks, and are in the apple agricultural business, all of which are characteristic of the Apple family. Furthermore, when they are first introduced in Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 and are first shown to meet Granny Smith, they don’t have to ask her name; they know her already.
The one thing that sets them apart from other Apples is that they’re Unicorns, which leads me to believe that they were estranged by their family (as Unicorns are incapable of bucking apple trees properly, which is what all Apples are expected to do) and have subsequently set out to prove their family wrong (and get poetic revenge on them) by beating them out of the apple business in spite of and because of their Unicorn powers. This would also explain why they came to Ponyville specifically twice, despite the fact that they were run out by Ponyville’s citizens the first time they came.
Rarity is overly concerned with her standing in society’s favor and is very emotionally manipulative. She literally excused herself from Twilight’s birthday party for the sole purpose of remaining in the Canterlot elite’s good graces (and when it’s in danger she starts stress-drinking, as well). She also has a tendency to use her tremendously good looks to get what she wants from others. Not only does she without hesitation charm stranger Stallions out of anything of theirs she might desire, but I strongly suspect she does so to her friends as well; assuming Fluttershy is in fact gay, I think it’s not too great a leap to suppose that Rarity utilized Fluttershy’s attraction to her to pressure Fluttershy into modeling for her (which, by the way, she knows fully well Fluttershy wants absolutely no part of).
Except that perhaps Spike doesn’t have a practically nonexistent chance with Rarity after all. She does seem to lead him on a lot, but there are a few times when Rarity behaves in such a way that I suspect that there is some sincerity in her feigned interest in him after all. Most of these times, of course, occur in Secret of My Excess;
First, after Spike gives up a rare gem for her, she gives him a kiss on the cheek. Alright, innocent enough…
Second, Rarity proceeds to defend the gem with her life from an enormous dragon (who, though she doesn’t know at the time, is Spike, who at the time is unable to control himself) who will potentially eat her alive. Okay, that’s… a little much…
Third, when Spike transforms back into his baby dragon self and they fall through the sky, Spike attempts to make a Dying Declaration of Love. Rarity stops him halfway through and starts smilingly crying.
First of all, I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I absolutely do not think that Pinkie would ever do anything like she does in Cupcakes. I think that she’s a very good pony who would be absolutely horrified at the very idea of doing anything like that. However, I think it’s useful as a reference because of a few specific facts about it: first, that it was published within a short time of Party of One, and second, that both Cupcakes and Party of One are based around the idea of Pinkie being psychologically disturbed.
The reason I find these two parallel facts so significant is because they indicate that the writers of both stories had a same basic interpretation of Pinkie’s character: that she is, on some level, mentally unwell. Not remotely to the level of Cupcakes, mind you, but unwell nonetheless. I argue that she has some form of depression, since she demonstrates some of the symptoms (swinging extremes in emotion, emotional immaturity, etc. [if you’re a qualified psychologist, feel free to point out any holes in my theory]). This would also be consistent with Pinkie being raised in what seems to be a rather repressed household (it is for this reason that I also argue that Maud is even more depressed than Pinkie; notice how she and Pinkie have extremely similar personalities when Pinkie loses her Cutie Mark in the first two episodes of Season Five). When Pinkie believes that she’s lost her friends in Party of One, she experiences an extremely disturbing lapse in sanity where she attempts to have a party in which her friends’ roles are filled by inanimate objects. And yes, I do mean extremely disturbing:
Let’s discuss the rest of the world and the side characters now.
First of all, the world is insanely dangerous. It has, among other things: malevolent, fire-breathing dragons; manticores; Cerberus; hydras; gargantuan bears; and ice-demon-horses that can freeze things alive. And yes, these things do attempt to kill other things. It never happens on-screen, of course, but still: a group of teenage dragons explicitly desire to smash some unhatched phoenix eggs. They explicitly want to kill them.
With regards to the rest of the characters, they’re explicitly shown to be realistically racist, classist, and otherwise bigoted towards groups of characters different from themselves. There’s also implied infidelity in the show; when Mr. and Mrs. Cake (both Earth ponies) have a pair of twins (a Unicorn and a Pegasus), the protagonists ask how the babies’ races differ from their parents. Mr. Cake replies that he had a great-grandfather who was a Unicorn and that Mrs. Cake had a great aunt’s second cousin twice removed who was a Pegasus, before desperately requesting assurance that that makes sense (for any not familiar with genetics or genealogy, his explanation is rubbish).
Of course, a show is only as bleak as it’s most wicked villains, so I’ve saved them for last. Precisely how horrible are My Little Pony’s villains? I actually doubt you could find villains moreutterly evil and shockingly vile than these; they are collectively dishonest, manipulative, unpleasant, abusive, hypocritical, tyrannical, sadistic, sexually perverted, murderous, and torturous. Here is, in detail, what some of them have done:
Perhaps the least evil of the show’s major villains is Starlight Glimmer. However, she remains one of the most disturbing; she rules a cult town that claims all of its citizens to be “equal” through removing their cutie marks. It bears strong resemblances to concentration camps and real-life cults; whenever someone shows signs of possible dissent, Starlight locks them in a room with her propaganda blaring nonstop until they succumb back to submission. For added creepiness, the townsfolk all wear unnaturally large smiles at all times, and Starlight is simultaneously utterly hypocritical and seems disturbingly sincere about her belief that cutie marks cause disharmony; she secretly still has hers, though she seems to have convinced herself that without it her “perfect society” couldn’t exist (this is a real-life practice for cult leaders; the best way to get your followers to believe your lies is to make yourself believe them, too).
Next up is Sombra, who is a tyrannical overlord who the show’s creators have stated to be based on Sauron. He fully lives up to it; he enslaved the Crystal ponies and lives off of their pain and misery (and seems to gleefully enjoy it, too). He’s also killed onscreen by the main characters, by the way.
Next up is Tirek. First of all, he was imprisoned in the Equestrian Hell-equivelant prison Tartarus for many years. Rightfully so; once he escapes, he immediately begins draining ponies’ magical energies to increase his own power. He’s generally power-hungry and unpleasant, but the true extent of his vileness is Fridge Horror: whenever he takes ponies’ magic away, they immediately loose their abilities; Earth ponies loose their strength, Unicorns lose their spell casting, and Pegasi loose their flight. This of course logically means that some Pegasi fell helplessly from the sky to their deaths. We have no reason to believe Tirek would have saved them; he is shown to be a complete sociopath with no regard for others through his remorseless betrayal and mocking of Discord when he no longer served Tirek’s ends.
Next is Chrysalis. Aside from the fact that she attempted a hostile takeover of Canterlot to farm its citizens and feed on their love, she also imprisoned Cadence, attempted to goad Twilight into murdering her, and is heavily implied to have raped Shining Armor and be planning to do so again.
Rape. In My Little Pony. I’m dead serious. I know some of you might contest this, but honestly, they’re not even very subtle about it; first of all, why doesn’t Chrysalis just kill Shining? That would immediately solve her problem of the barrier he places around Canterlot, and then victory would quickly be hers. And it’s not like she’s not willing to kill ponies; once again, she attempted to get Twilight to kill Cadence. Chrysalis also tells Twilight that she can’t have her interfering with her plans for Shining. What other plans could she be referring to? Once again, if it was about her conquest, she could just kill him. There’s pretty much no doubt left by her song; (emphasis added) “No, I do not love the groom / In my heart there is no room / But I still want him to be all mine.”
Finally, we have Discord. He is, in my opinion, the most utterly evil character in the entire show (at his introduction, at least). First of all, he’s a complete jerk. Even after his first “reformation,” he’s still a complete jerk. Between being an all-powerful Eldritch Abomination and being a pure hedonist, everything and everyone else is nothing more than a plaything to him. Despite his chaotic reality-warping causing tremendous distress to everyone around him, he continues to inflict misery on them anyway. He’s also very petty; any slight against him, no matter how minor, is swiftly repaid by him several times over (his response to Fluttershy’s bunny attempting to kick him off a couch, for instance, is to hit and deliberately horrify it).
He’s also a very, very Dirty Old Man. He behaves very creepily around the main characters; special mention goes to the creepy way he strokes Twilight and Fluttershy’s faces. He seems to have a stalkerish infatuation with Fluttershy to the point that he jealously attempts to throw Fluttershy’s guest to the Grand Galloping Galla into another dimension for being chosen over him. In the same episode, he also appears in Spike’s bed and stares at the Cutie Mark Crusaders while they’re in a dressing room (back-to-back, no less). To drive the point home, all of the kids in question are really freaked out when he does.
Lastly, Discord is a genocidal torturer. He cheerfully breaks the main characters’ minds when they first meet him and is shown in one of the stained glass windows to be burning ponies alive with the same sadistic glee. Here it is:
And why wouldn’t he? He’s easily bored, has no empathy whatsoever until Keep Calm and Flutter On, and doesn’t care at all about the well-being of others. It isn’t hard for me to imagine Discord going to any depth of depravity, including this one.
So, I hope that I have satisfactorily demonstrated My Little Pony to be pretty much as dark as you can possibly get. You all might be wondering, why did I do this? Well, simply put, I did this because I want everyone to know how brilliant this show is.
I am honestly quite sick of people dismissing MLP: FiM as shoddy children’s drivel without even watching it. I did this partially as a response to those naysayers; “I’m watching a really excellent show with amazing characters. It’s really dark; there’s cults, rape, murder, and torture in it. You know what show it is? My Little Pony. Yeah, not so stupid and sissy anymore, huh?”
But I also did this to inspire deeper appreciation of the show from my fellow fans. I didn’t write my observations to depress any of you; I wrote them so you could better appreciate how optimistic and hopeful this show is. Think of Avatar: the Last Airbenderor Harry Potter as well as My Little Pony; they are all children’s works that adults love, they all have amazing yet flawed characters, they are all audaciously extremely dark (they all have cults, rape, murder, and torture), and they all ultimately deliver messages of peace, friendship, and hope.
As I said in a previous article, I believe that the best works are the darkest yet most hopeful ones. They teach perhaps life’s most valuable lesson: that while no, life’s not fair, and yes, it’s dark and bleak and terrifying, you can still overcome all the odds and find peace and happiness.
Despite the protagonists’ flaws and shortcomings, they are all still good people; they all love and support one another through every trial the world throws at them, no matter how great and horrible it might be. In the world of My Little Pony, the Moral Event Horizon does not exist; despite how utterly despicable Discord is, they still manage after much trial and error to reform him.
That is why My Little Pony is so brilliant; because it’s so overwhelmingly dark, where there is light it is blindingly beautiful.
Here’s to My Little Pony, a show that shows in every way that friendship truly is magic.
Now that I’ve started to make my work available to all of you, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce you all to how I craft my projects.
First of all, I am a storyteller by extension of being a lover of stories. Put another way, I write because I love reading. Aside from writing, I probably spend more time reading than I do doing anything else; I will literally forget to eat and lose sleep while reading. I don’t even listen to music or watch movies or shows as much as I read. I’m the sort of bookworm other bookworms would call too obsessed with books (although I’m nearly every bit as obsessed with all other media, as well).
The bullying deeply damaged me. Between my abuse at the hands of my peers and my authority figures’ complete lack of interference, I developed a deep hatred and mistrust of my fellow human beings that I continue to bear to this day. I completely lost any empathy for those who’d done me harm, and began desiring to inflict the same pain upon them that they’d inflicted upon me. I’m so very grateful for my mother, who understood and cared for me and was largely responsible for me not becoming something truly horrific like a serial killer or a school shooter or something like that. As a brief aside: to all those who read this, monsters are made, not born. Trust me, as someone who was well on the path to becoming one, I know.
I’m convinced now that sociopaths are perhaps the most empathetic people around; my mother (who is a brilliant psychology student) told me that everyone has empathy, but most sociopaths are so sensitive and have had such terrible experiences that they can’t bear their own emotions and simply switch them off. I can personally attest that that is probably true; I’m extremely sensitive and compassionate (especially towards animals), but after my suffering at the hands of my abusers I no longer have any of that compassion whatsoever for those I deem to be evil. I think at this point you could accurately say that I’m partially sociopathic. You know how I compare myself to Sherlock Holmes, Leleouch Lamperouge, and Light Yagami? Yeah, I’m not kidding.
I’m eternally grateful for my mother. She’s every bit as intelligent and sensitive as I am, and she was able to understand me and was instrumental in my survival in a frankly dark and rather hopeless world. She nurtured my empathy and helped steer me off the course of exacting vengeance upon those who’d wronged me. Another of the best things she did for me is she pulled me out of school and homeschooled me during my middle school years.
I’m also very grateful for my dad. It was his side of my family that is especially screwed up, and he and my mother’s divorce was because of things he’d done, so I’m not saying he’s a saint by any means. But he’s a much better person than he used to be, and I owe him eternally for one thing: if my mother saved me from my despair, my father was the gatekeeper to all that brings me joy.
The word “nostalgia” is meaningless to me. I had a horrible childhood, and I never want to have it back. However, there is one source of happy memories within that bleak time: reading, watching movies, playing games, and otherwise consuming media. The only happy times I can remember are when I watched Disney movies, played games on my Gameboy and PC, was read books to at bedtime, and all the other times I sat and listened to stories. I can only recall joy in those moments watching The Secret of NIMH, or playing Klonoa: Empire of Dreams, or when my dad read me Ender’s Game or told me epic fantasy stories he made up as he went along.
There’s nothing I love my parents for more than this. Through stories, they gave me my only moments of happiness and my only escapes from my relentless sorrow. Though both of my parents gave me both of these things, my mother provided me more of the latter while my father provided me more of the former. Of course, I can trace my love of many of my favorite works to my mother; because of her I love The Wizard of Oz, Pride and Prejudice, and Hitch. However, though my mother introduced me to these and saved me from becoming a monster, it is my father who made me who I am.
My father was a nerd in the ’80s when geekdom was still a tiny subculture. He’s one of Star Wars’biggest and oldest fans, he was one of the first in line to see The Fellowship of the Ringwhen it was first released in 2001, and he was a hardcore gamer in the golden age of arcades. He passed the flame of highest-caliber nerdiness down to me by watching Batman Begins with me, reading Harry Potter to me, and playing Medal of Honor with me. It is he who gave me my tastes and my passionate, burning love for media. Matilda is one of my favorite books because I can relate so deeply to Matilda Wormwood; like her, I was a brilliant, miserable little kid whose only escape from his dark, cynical world was the bright, optimistic world of fiction.
I cannot describe how much I love reading. It continues to be what makes me happy and what makes my life worth living. I found that I could not be satisfied with what I had, however; there were books that I wanted to read that did not exist. So naturally, the duty fell to me to make it so I could read them. This is actually why I am an author: I write the books that I want to read but currently cannot. I am simply a storyteller as an extension of being an audience.
I’ve been writing and drawing my whole life. Most of what I made at first was fan works of my favorite stories. From the moment I could hold a crayon, I drew Spider-Man over and over and over again, getting steadily better each time. I wrote very poorly-spelled stories about Batman and Pokémon and Klonoa and everything else I loved. I read my first novel (The Incredibles) in one sitting, and proceeded to do the same with every installment of the Harry Potter books. As I grew older, I began writing (somewhat) original stories by asking myself questions such as: “What would happen if a boy fell in love with an alien girl?”, “What would happen if a serial killer turned up in Idaville, and Encyclopedia was the only one who could stop him?”, and “Shouldn’t there be an amazing Santa Claus novel?” These questions have led me to write novels called UFO, Pact, and Santa Claus respectively, which I will at some point finish and release for all of you to read.
But my most defining experience was when I conceived my magnum opus. While I was playing on the swing-set in my front yard, I formulated the idea of a story with a few basic concepts: a girl who could transform into a mouse, a witch, an inky, warped, black figure with red eyes, a hotel room, and psychedelic rainbow-ness everywhere. The idea really intrigued me, and I thought it was really cool.
Then I completely forgot about it.
A few years later, in the summer of my eleventh year, I was reading a series of books on the paranormal called Mysteries of the Unknown in my town’s public library. My father had brought them from the library a few years earlier, and I’d adored and been fascinated by them since. This is actually perhaps my most vivid memory; I can tell you exactly where I was and which book it was. I was cross-legged in one of the corners and the book in question was Utopian Visions.
Upon finishing one of the pages I closed the book and thumped it against my knee. “Wow,” I thought. “This stuff is amazing. How the heck has someone not written a novel about it?”
I think the thing I loved most about those books (and the weird, supernatural subjects they covered) was the pure, unadulterated sense of wonder I felt reading them. It’s a bit difficult to describe what I mean, but I’ll try: play Bejeweled 3, orread A Wrinkle in Time, or listen to The Real World by Owl City. Hell, just read The Mysteries of the Unknown. You feel that? That’s the mood, the feeling, the wonder I’m talking about.
“Why hasn’t someone made a novel about this stuff?” I thought. Of course, stories about aliens, or ghosts, or vampires, or Bigfoot, or telekinesis, or fortunetelling, or bending reality had all existed already. However, most everything I’d yet seen of the subject matter (such as Ghostbusters, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, or the aforementioned A Wrinkle in Time) covered only a few of these things, mentioning the rest only in passing. But I had yet to see a story cover all of it at once, let alone on as grand and epic a scale as, say, Lord of the Rings.
“If someone would write a book like that,” I thought, “that would be the best book ever.”
And at that moment, the inspiration struck me. I suddenly remembered that beginning of an idea I’d had years before, and with this newfound realization the story rapidly grew. I would write that book, and it would indeed be the best book ever.
At that moment I immediately ran home, pulled open a binder full of filler paper, and began writing a book I knew should be titled Rainbow. My reasoning was simple: it was the only name that suited it. Only rainbows were comparable to the wonder and beauty this book would contain. Only rainbows were as magical.
Ever since I began this project seven years ago, it has been my greatest obsession. It has remained almost entirely unchanged from those ideas I formulated on the library floor when I was eleven years old. I have dedicated my life to it; I fully intend to make it truly the Grand Masterpiece of All Literature. In my mind, all other things are subordinate to and serve it; I eat, drink, and sleep so that I can write it. I read, play games, and watch movies and shows to increase its quality. Finally, I create other works simply to support and expand upon it. Indeed, this website itself is ultimately here only for the sake of Rainbow.
About a year later, I sat down and watched an anime with my father and brother. Though I’d seen Pokémonand Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh and Naruto, I hadn’t yet seen what anime was truly capable of.
The anime my father, brother, and I watched was Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It was the most thoroughly mind-blowing experience I’ve ever had.
I was absolutely staggered at how overwhelmingly epic and enormous this show was. It was bright, it was colorful, it was emotional, it was existential, it was thrilling, it was exciting, it was awesome, and it was so, so damn beautiful. Ever since then, I’ve been every bit as obsessed with anime as I was with Rainbow, and very shortly thereafter I realized that I must make Rainbow an anime; believe me, when you all read it, you’ll see that anime really is the perfect medium for it. Shortly after that I decided I’d move to Japan to make it fully realized; I would make the Grand Masterpiece of All Literature shine across every medium; prose, animation, graphic literature, live performance, and simulation. Japan is the perfect place to accomplish all that.
With all that in mind, I can now explain my style of storytelling.
Firstly, I write for myself. As I said before, I write the books I want to read. I have dedicated my life to writing Rainbow because I have dedicated my life to reading Rainbow, which I will be unsatisfied with unless it’s the greatest novel of all time.
Because of this, I am determined to make every one of my works a timeless masterpiece. Once again, because those are the sorts of things I want to read.
My writing is passionate, direct, and blunt. I do not write to shock, but I also do not care if what I say shocks my audience. I aim to tell the truth, no matter how shocking it is nor how much people don’t want to hear it. Because of this I have no doubt I’ll be controversial, but I say: so be it. Nearly every great work (and man) shakes the world, and as Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
By the same token, all of my works are deconstructions/reconstructions of themselves. I believe all the best works are; for instance, Harry Potter is an unbuilt story, since it’s about a kid who goes to a magic school. However, even though it was the first story to popularize this concept, it deconstructed its own ideas before anyone else could; though the world of magic is shown to be wondrous and awesome, it’s also demonstrated to be dark and horrific. Once again, I don’t believe in darkness for darkness’ sake, but rather to make the victory of light all the more triumphant, which I believe is what will naturally happen when a story is truly great. This is one of my philosophies: a story should be self-aware and intelligent.
I am primarily a world builder. This makes sense, I think, since the primary motivation behind my love of reading is to escape to a better world. I’ve never had much tolerance for works that attempt to show the “gritty and ugly” side of life; if I wanted to experience that, I’d just go out and walk down an impoverished street. My philosophy is: there is no reason to not make everything about your work beautiful. If sewers can look gorgeous *cough* *cough* Eternal Sonata *cough* *cough*, anything can. This is actually why my art falls in a spectrum between anime-style art and fantastic realism; I find that they are the most aesthetically pleasing art styles. This is also why my favorite works are very slick and/or colorful, and I aim to make all of my own exactly the same.
Because of my love for intricate and detailed worlds, I have an especial love for doorstoppers. You are all free to call me “tree-killer;” I love doorstoppers and most of my works will probably be doorstoppers themselves.
With regards to themes, my subject is always human nature. Of course, my magnum opus tackles the biggest ones: the meaning of life and the secret of happiness, but all of my others tackle some or other aspect of the human condition. I expect to learn when I read, and by the same token I aim to teach when I write.
I believe in never talking down to my audience. As far as I’m concerned, Viewers are Geniuses. That’s not even an exaggeration; if you go to the TV Tropes page on it and read the description of a stereotypical example, it reads,
This is almost word-for-word exactly what my works are like. Seriously, when you read Dragons or Rainbow and read that quote again, I think you’ll find that they fit pretty well within that hypothetical, satirical, exaggeratedly ridiculous description. One of my greatest challenges has actually been attempting to categorize my works; I could accurately call RainbowScience Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Dystopian, and Romanceall at once. As for what age group it’s for, I’ll probably end up marketing it as a YA novel; after all, its protagonists are thirteen-to-sixteen-year-olds. On the other hand, it’s very violent and sexual, with torture, human trafficking, genocide, rape, war, and incest all coming into play. It also has a very healthy dose of existential cosmic horror. But on the other hand, I would have absolutely adored it when I was a kid. Then again, when I was a kid I was reading Draculaand Les Misérables, so perhaps I never represented the child demographic very well…
Nonetheless, I know children like it when a work is high quality and respects them; after all, children aren’t stupid, and they’re humans just like everyone else. Therefore I refuse to talk down to them.
Finally, concerning the sort of characters I write: I diligently attempt to represent every kind of human in my works, but when it comes to my main characters (that is, my main protagonists and main villains) you’ll probably see a disproportionate amount of Author Avatars of varying degrees of blatantness within them. If you want to know precisely how pure of Author Avatars any of my characters are, look for characters who resemble Sherlock Holmes, Sheldon Cooper, or Leleouch Lamperouge. Especially Leleouch; I would say that he’s probably closer to what I’m like than any other character in fiction. Pay special attention to magnificent bastards and torturedwell-intentioned extremists; more often than not those are probably supposed to be me. It’s almost certain they are if they are albino (I have vitiligo, which basically means that someday I will be an albino) and/or bisexual (I’m not, but wish I was, since I feel I’m denied the ability to detect all human beauty, which I as an artist desperately desire. This one’s more wish fulfillment than anything). You can bet the house on it if the character in question is flamboyantly campy (again, just like Leleouch. People think I’m gay all the time because I’m really like this; I think masculinity is an idiotic ideal to aspire to). Yeah, you guys can probably see why I love Emperor Kusco and Lord Shen so much. I’m insanely vain and egotistical on every level it’s possible to be.
Here’s to my works; I hope you’ll all enjoy them as much as I am.
As part of my writing career, I’m going to be writing fan fictions.
The first I’m publishing are fan fictions for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I’m going to publish all new chapters for them on my blog, which are all going to be indexed under the “Projects” tab under the “Fan Works” page. If you want to be informed of new chapters of these fics as soon as I write them, I recommend you go to fimfiction.net, get an account, and follow me so that you’ll be informed of any updates I make to my MLP fics.
I also plan to review other people’s fics; if enough of you request it, I’ll put those reviews on this blog, but until then they’ll just be on my fimfiction page. I’ll also give news updates on my fics on my fimfiction blog, but not this one. All you’re going to hear about those fics on this blog is when I write new fics, in which case I’ll just announce them.
The only fic I have written so far is Break Your Heart, of which I have two chapters written. You can read it on fimfiction or in my “Projects” page. If you want to read any of my My Little Pony fics, you need to read this one before you read any others; this fic is going to be canonical backstory for all the other ones I will write (unless I note otherwise).
Most importantly, I’m writing these fics in preparation for a huge, ambitious MLP fan fiction project I’m planning to do in the near future. Unlike my other fics, I consider this secret endeavor to be a full-fledged project in its own right, so I’ll provide news for it on this blog the same way I will for all my original projects. Even if you don’t like My Little Pony, please watch for it; I think you’re going to like it anyway. Trust me.