Hey there Everypony! Drawponies and Boardgamebrony here for our first-ever MLP:FiM Episode Followup! We were so excited about this episode that we couldn't wait for EquestriaDaily's followup and decided to do our own!
You'll see these posted along with comments by Drawponies and Boardgamebrony about different aspects of the episode. Feel free to add your own analysis in the comments below, including what you liked and didn't like about the episode.
Today's episode is "Daring Don't" written by Dave Polsky. It's a sequel to Neil Drawponies' favorite episode ever "Read It and Weep."
Boardgamebrony: After being treated to a really cool intro between Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash, we are given a "what if" scenario by Dash which includes some amazing animations like this one. Still wondering how Daring Do is able to do that, though.
Neil Drawponies: I think that this may be something that Rainbow Dash can do and she just assumes that Daring Do can do it as well.
Neil Drawponies: Daring Do being even more awesome than Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Green Lantern all at the same time. She IS THE BEST HERO! (<<<Fact)
Boardgamebrony: The scenes in this episode are simply spectacular! This is one of many excellently composed shots and we can see major improvement in the artistic talent since even Season 3.
Neil Drawponies: Once again, Rarity's (and now Applejack's) hats are the main characters of this episode.
Boardgamebrony: I love the potential for gif fodder in this episode. That dance is legit. If you were a pony, this would be your ultimate move.
Boardgamebrony: I gotta be honest. When I first saw this character in this scene, I rolled a very spectacular "1" on my Perception check. For all of you non-tabletop nerds, that means I failed to notice the blatantly obvious disguise here.
Neil Drawponies: She looks like a combination of Rarity's glasses, Octavia's mane, Rainbow Dash's eyes, Frodo's cloak and my grandmother's hat. No wonder neither of us realized it was Daring Do.
Neil Drawponies: BEST. FACE. EVER! I didn't realize it was possible for Rainbow Dash's "squee" face from "Applebuck Season" to be even more cute. But it is possible. My heart exploded. Twice.
Boardgamebrony: *still staring at picture*
Neil Drawponies: On a more serious note, as many reviewers have pointed out, this season has had a strong focus on obsession. It has been a theme throughout many My Little Pony episodes but particularly Season 4 Episode 3 (Rarity, Fluttershy, Twilight) and Season 4 Episode 4 (Rainbow Dash). I wonder why the writers have chosen to focus on this theme so much as of late?
Neil Drawponies: All right. Picture this: You walk into your house, six random individuals are there and the house is in ruins. Do you (A) call the police or (B) pull out your priceless artifact you were trying to hide from thieves?
Boardgamebrony: I chose this shot because I wanted you to see that these bad guys had comic book style cutie marks. The POW BANG ZAP kind expressed without words. What followed this was a crazy cool fight scene which you rarely get to see in MLP:FiM.
Neil Drawponies: These cutie marks seem appropriate for what Superman/Batman/Spiderman/Green Lantern (i.e. Daring Do) does to their flanks.
Boardgamebrony: Oh yeah. That means their special talent is getting their flank kicked...um...I'll say they were born to be "stunt ponies."
Boardgamebrony: The characterization on these minor characters is very cool and I can easily see a lot of fan artists, fan fiction writers and cosplayers create derivative works off of them.
Neil Drawponies: (Ginger Pony: ) I have no idea what's going on. (Five O'Clock Shadow: ) It glows red, like the heart of my last victim after I ripped it out of their chest. (Punk Pony
Boardgamebrony: Okay, I want you guys to notice something here. A moment ago, that ring was in the fire, then Daring Do swung it into a conveniently placed juice(?) pitcher to cool it down and seconds later will have it in her mouth while fighting bad guys. Does that sound like a good idea? Or does it sound like Daring Do has a mouth of iron?
Neil Drawponies: This is an Indiana Jones parody character we're talking about. That pitcher was...spiked!
Boardgamebrony: Now THAT takes some serious skill. You ever tried to hold a hot ring in your mouth while holding a chair to fend off bad guys who just broke into your home?
Neil Drawponies: That is the BIGGEST F---ING LIP RING I've ever seen.
Neil Drawponies: I. LOVE. THIS. CHARACTER. His voice is AWESOME. Based on previous experience with the show, I doubt that he will be a character in future episodes, but I look forward to seeing the fan art and other fanon interpretations of him and his backstory. Perhaps he has a tragic past as a militia man in King Sombra's Army of Darkness(tm) a thousand years ago! And his cutie mark is a golden skull because he has a golden skull which gives him immortality!
Boardgamebrony: ...And the fanon just writes itself. His name is Cabarellon, by the way. Cabarello
is the Spanish word for "Knight" or "Gentleman." But seriously. What do you think it was like when he got that cutie mark? "MOM! MOM! I found my special talent!" "Wonderful! What is it, honey?" "THIEVERY!" *steals family heirloom and takes off to start life of crime*
Boardgamebrony: There are no words.
Neil Drawponies: On the contrary, I describe this episode with two words: Ship. Ping.
Boardgamebrony: To be honest, this nerding-out scene was very hard to follow, but I could tell a lot of cool stuff was quickly passing by in the discussion between Twilight and Dash that only two huge fans of a series could have. Like bronies. Here's what they said for all of you to see:
---Dash: “Ahuizotl has sought control of the Tenochtitlan since book three!"
Twi: “True, but in book four, she defeated Ahuizotl and secured control of the Amulet of Atonement, dispelling the dark magic of the Quetzalcoatl empress and thus protecting the basin with the radiant shield of Rasdon."
Dash: “But the Radiant Shield of Rasdon is vulnerable to the dark enchantment of the rings of Scorcherro!"
Twi: “But are you forgetting that the rings were scattered to the four corners of Tenochtitlan, thus rendering the dark enchantment powerless?"
Dash: “Only if you assume that the rings have yet to be retrieved! And the ring Caballeron just stole isn’t the last to completely restore the dark tower and its cruel hold on Tenochtitlan! Did you ever think of that?”
Neil Drawponies: Boardgamebrony can pronounce "Scorcherro" correctly because he has Hispanic superpowers.
Boardgamebrony: ... *super-powered silence intensifies*
Neil Drawponies: DIS SO CUTE. WITH DA FEET! WITH DA HOOFIES. *dies*
Boardgamebrony: It took a few tries to get this animation, but it was worth it. Dash has some crazy cute animations.
Neil Drawponies: Rainbow Dash has been extremely self-centered and immature in Season 3 and Season 4 so far. But none so dramatically as in this episode. Rainbow Dash is and will always be my favorite pony, but episodes like this sometimes make me feel like I love to hate her personality.
Boardgamebrony: The more I reviewed this episode in my attempt to get screencaps, the more I liked Rainbow Dash's actions. I know she's not perfect and she really does create a lot of issues here, but we get to see so much of her hidden self she rarely reveals to anypony. All the chaos was simply an opportunity for Dash to show more of her true self. I adored it.
(Actual line from the Actual Episode after the antagonist Ahuizotl cries out to Daring Do to give him the ring he needs for his master plan.)
Daring Do: “Now, Ahuizotl, you know I love you, but I can’t give you the ring till I’ve properly proposed.”
(And then Dash made the following face)
Neil Drawponies: SHIP. PING.
Boardgamebrony: As meme-worthy as this face is, and as much as I've seen it circulating around the pony community in the last fifteen hours, I still don't have a single idea why the animators decided to make a face like this. I mean, WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THEY TRYING TO SAY? Is this an "I c wut u did ther" face? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Boardgamebrony: One of the most awesome pony poses in the entire series. Daring Do is a Jedi/Samurai/Ninja/Writer.
Neil Drawponies: That panther looks like it is in some extreme pain from extreme PWNAGE.
Boardgamebrony: No joke. When you compare Daring Do to Rainbow Dash, Do is far superior when it comes to strength, as if Applejack grew wings, decided to go treasure hunting, and buffed out along the way. Daring Do is essentially a scrapper who flies only when necessary but always lands to do the most damage on the ground while Rainbow Dash is high on agility and performs more aerial attacks than any other pony in the series, even the Wonderbolts. We have the perfect combination of Land Strategy and Air Superiority.
(Side note: This is the perfect shot to notice that Daring Do's character model is essentially a re-colored Rainbow Dash model. Notice her tail has exactly six different shades of grey and black. No doubt this was done back in "Read It and Weep" in order to make Rainbow Dash and Daring Do essentially the same character in two different universes.)
Boardgamebrony: And then we have strange animation anomalies like this.
Neil Drawponies: Nicolas Cage, an employee of the animation studio, saw the preliminary version of this and said "NOT THE KNEES! OH GOD! NOT THE KNEES!"
Boardgamebrony: Her knees are...gone? Also, if I saw a giant mouth-faced creature jump-kicking towards me in the woods, I would be afraid too. This shows that some angles can be really hard to draw sometimes. I think she could've simply had a cool side-glance or somesuch, but this was an attempt at something different.
Boardgamebrony: OHMYGOSH DARING DO! That Kitty turned evil because Rainbow Dash denied it as a pet in "May the Best Pet Win!" Don't make this worse!
Neil Drawponies: If you notice immediately after, the kitten runs across the screen with a black eye. Pobrecita!
(Poor Little Kitty!) <<<Translated by Boardgamebrony's Hispanic Superpowers(tm)
(Awesome shot. Breathe it in, Bronies. Causes artistic nosebleed.)
(Actual line from actual episode yet again)
Twilight: "Where does it hurt?"
Rainbow Dash: "It hurts...in here."
Neil Drawponies: Rainbow Dash has FEELINGS? AND SCAPULAS? Art people will get this.
Boardgamebrony: Horses don't have shoulder bones like the ones you see animated on Rainbow Dash here. (The More You Know!)
Boardgamebrony: This is actually a decently designed trap. Daring Do is strong, but she has her limits and we see that happen rather quickly when she pulls herself free only feet above the water. It's clear she doesn't have the strength to pull herself up alone. Points for Ahuizotl for using this super-effective technique against a pegasus.
Neil Drawponies: You know, for this trap to be "super-effective," Ahuizotl might have wanted to design the trap so that YOU CAN'T PULL YOUR LEGS OUT and take the weights off of your legs by smashing them on the ground.
Neil Drawponies: If you have a dirty mind, like me, you may interpret this picture in a non-TV-Y related fashion.
Boardgamebrony: If you have Woona-esque mind, like me, you might see this picture and think "Man, this episode is gonna end with a five-second long cuddle sequence."
Boardgamebrony: One of the best composed shots of MLP:FiM ever.
Neil Drawponies: This episode was directed by J.J. Abrams. LENS FLARE. LENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNS FLARE!
Neil Drawponies: The yellow pony on the right is clearly very butch. In my headcanon, that pony is a she.
Boardgamebrony: I love these guards. They are some of my favorite henchpony antagonists in My Little Pony. This entire episode has excellent design for all of its antagonists, whether they be minor or major. I think that alone helps elevate this episode a lot higher than most other action-adventure oriented stories.
(insert Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney "Objection!" joke here)
Boardgamebrony: What did I tell you? Count the seconds. 1...2...3...4...5...Only Pinkie Pie's super snuggle with Rainbow Dash in the "Wonderbolt Academy" episode trumps this.
Neil Drawponies: And in that episode, there is not nearly as much FACE SNUGGLING. This could be two ponies being super friendly with each other but I THINK that this is the writer's way of saying that it's okay for two girls to like each other without being obvious about it.
Boardgamebrony: And then we got this little jem. Notice how the words are not actually words and only imply English.
Neil Drawponies: MY FAN FICTION CAME TRUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Boardgamebrony: And it is actually canon from "Spike at Your Service" that Rainbow Dash does write fan fiction about herself. So here art imitates life. And it. Is. AMAZING.
-----FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE EPISODE:
Neil Drawponies: Thoroughly enjoyed this fan-service heavy episode. Probably due to it being a fan-service episode, the writing was somewhat lackluster at points, but I felt that the artwork and the surprising twists made up for that shortcoming. They really pushed the limits of what they can do, particularly, in my opinion, with the shipping undertones. 8/10
Boardgamebrony: I personally enjoyed this episode very much upon first viewing, though I know it had rocky moments. Not slow. Simply paced differently with some thematic and artistic choices that I thought could've been done differently in order to maximize the potential for an awesome story here. For example, this was an Indiana Jones-inspired character in a Raiders of the Lost Ark/Temple of Doom
-style storyline. And they DIDN'T put it in Saddle Arabia? Perhaps there is some other episode later in the season which takes place there, but this would've been absolutely PERFECT for that. The locale would've looked a lot more interesting than the house in the forest with forest walk and forest temple setup. It's okay, but Saddle Arabia would've been AWE-inspiring.
Also, the narrative choices in this episode were good at times, but took some risks, like the geek-off between Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle (which is actually a lot cooler on repeated viewings and gives the watcher a reason to come back to the episode just to figure out what it is they are saying). Also, there are some decisions the characters make that are rather illogical, like the mane six walking ALL the way to what is essentially the Vanhoover wilderness according to the map. Twilight is a Princess. She should have transportation connections. And again, seeing the dirigible shown in previous episodes would've been perfect as a nod to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
where such an airship was an important part of the plotline.
Drawponies has a point with things like Daring Do opening her secret book in front of six strangers in her house after she found it ransacked. I understand the writers and animators had limitations they had to work with, but this is what we noticed. High points in the episode for me were all of Rainbow Dash's fangirling and the intensely varied characterization of Rainbow Dash which was significantly different from her usual competitive spirit in other episodes. Daring Do's amazing voicework by Chiara Zanni is wonderful to hear and Richard Drumond was a fantastic Ahuizotl. You already know Neil enjoys the superb voicework for Michael Dodson as Dr. Caballeron.
Dave Polsky, you are an AMAZING writer and you have not only made an impressive mark upon My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic, but amongst the fans as well. Excellent work to all the creative staff!
This was an enjoyable experience for the team of Drawponies/Boardgamebrony and we look forward to making more episode follow-ups in the future!
Now discuss everypony!