Return of Harmony

So I waited a week before catching up with Season 2 of MLP:FiM, just to experience what the wait must have been like (albeit a far shorter version).

It was horrendous but thankfully I’ve been busy working on my little video. All the fan-made music and remixes on YouTube helped a lot too, haha.

Days and nights passed. AND THEN THE WAIT WAS FINALLY OVER!

Picture heavy post! Gathered round the internetz (aside from the episode-related ones of course). Credits at end of the post!

Singing along to the opening theme

^ This track is win. Play it at a club. I’ll turn up.

The episode, appropriately, involved the Elements of Harmony.

Titled “The Return of Harmony Part 1“, the episode starts out with the three Cutie Mark Crusaders — Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle — on a class trip to the Canterlot sculpture garden. Read a full-fledged summary here!

Cherilee points out the strangeness of one particular sculpture and asks her students to describe what they see. After a few enthusiastic responses from the fillies, she goes on to describe it as a “draconequus”, at which point she then asks the class what they think it represents.

“Confusion!”
“Evil!”
“Chaos!”

Their argument, already well under way before this point in time, turns into a fight, causing a heartbeat-like reaction on the sculpture, unseen by the ponies. Cherilee eventually breaks it up, noting that they were all right since it represented “discord”. As a ‘reward’ for their examplary display of the very word, she asks them each to write an essay regarding the subject. As the group moves on, a crack appears on the statue.

The following scene shows us Rainbow Dash flying above the clouds, right into a sticky, pink-coloured one. Turns out it’s actually cotton candy and soon enough, it starts raining chocolate milk. It’s pretty much a disaster, with the apples becoming overgrown and animals sporting oversized limbs. Even Twilight Sparkle’s magic couldn’t help.

Unsurprisingly, one pony was enjoying herself. Oh, Pinkie Pie.

The Mane 6 eventually manage to corral the wayward clouds and have the mutant animals finish them off (much to Pinkie’s dismay). Just as they take a breather, Spike gets a letter from Princess Celestia, summoning the girls to attend to her at once. An emergency has arisen!

Discord has awoken!

The Princess explains the situation, attributing the strange weather to Discords’ return. She then goes on about how, years before, all of Equestria was ruled unter Discord’s tyranny. Nopony was happy, be they a pegasus, unicorn or Earth pony. Using the elements of Harmony, together with her sister Princess Luna, they managed to defeat Discord and turn him into stone.

Now that the bond between the sisters has grown weaker — something Twilight brings up but doesn’t get a reply — it is up to the group of friends to once again take up the elements and defeat Discord. Pinkie tries to dissuade Twilight: “Hold on a second! Eternal chaos comes with chocolate rain, you guys! Chocolate! Rain!”

Nonetheless, the girls agree and the Princess proceeds to open a magically-sealed door with her horn.

And they’ve been stolen!

An evil chuckle echoes around the chamber as Discord decides to make his appearance, but not in physical form.

Animating one of his depictions amongst the stained glass windows, he  admits to having stolen the elements. After poking a jest or two at Princess Celestia, he gives the ponies a riddle to solve before disappearing.

“Twists and turns, are my master plan
Then find the elements,
Back where you began.”

Looking out the window, Twilight notices the royal hedge maze and suspects that it must be there. With that, the ponies race off to save Equestria yet again. There’s more to that riddle, I believe, which shouldn’t simply be taken at face value, but let’s leave it at that for now.

As they approach the maze, Fluttershy remarks at the sheer size of it. Rainbow Dash, ever the bold, adventurous one, declares it’ll be a piece of cake since she can fly. Mid-flight, however…

Her wings disappear! The unicorns aren’t spared of their horns either.

Your horn! My horn! *screams*

Discord appears once again, in true form this time. Creep!

He establishes ground rules for his “game”. No flying, no magic, and if any pony leaves they’ll forfeit their chance and lose. Then he disappears again. That’s right, leave!

Unsettled but not shaken, determined to find the elements together, the girls step into the maze.

Agreeing to meet in the center, they begin their journey deeper into the maze, not knowing what lay in store!

Discord, a being of Chaos, naturally wouldn’t play fair. Having separated the Mane 6 from one another, he proceeds to further manipulate and ‘distort’ them.

Our first victim, the honest and hardworking Applejack…

A hedge lowers and Twilight discovers AJ. She tells Twilight, who overheard a little, that she hasn’t been talking to anypony and continue on their way. Twilight is incredulous, having suspected that Applejack had just lied, but quickly dismisses at how silly the notion was.

We then see Pinkie Pie’s turn to be influenced by Discord, her happy and free personality turning into…

As before, after the conversion she’s reunited with Twilight and Applejack. Her acidic persona doesn’t escape notice, however, and they carry on.

Up next, fantabulous Rarity, who almost manages to trot away from Discord’s ploy but succumbs eventually.

Oh poor Rarity. Twilight defiintely knows something is wrong by now. Fearing that the stress was gonna get to every pony, she urges the party to hurry on to find the rest.

Then we see sweet, timid Fluttershy. Surely a pony who’s capacity for kindness knows no boundaries would be able to fight off Discord’s–

So Discord couldn’t turn Fluttershy and had to do it the forceful way. Scum!!

Twilight approaches her, then–

((Well yeah I don’t know what happens next or his backstory but this was fun to make so there. :p Banish him!))

That leaves us with just Rainbow Dash. What’s happening over on her side?

Yeap, RD was led to believe that if she didn’t return to Cloudsdale, her home would collapse!

And with that, Discord reappears again, saying that since one pony used her wings and left, the game was over and he won! The nerve!

And with that the episode ends. What will happen next?! Haven’t found out yet because I spent a pretty darn long time doing this up, haha.

/Not Pony related/
As for my video project, I’m done with the rough cut. I just need to fine-tune some of the timing as some transitions are a couple of frames off. The slow framerate from my captures is evident in some places but really, nothing I can do about it. I sure as heck don’t wanna go back and recapture them because its really time consuming. Relic, why your replay viewer no have forward or rewind controls?! After that I gotta export it to the compositor, toss in some effects (which would take some time to get right) and voila, encode!

I also have a little resolution problem it seems, as I’m getting letterboxing although it fits fine in the preview monitor. Gotta sort that out. Highly probably its mismatched resolutions between source and sequence; doubt its a pixel ratio discrepancy.

Notes to self:
-Get an nVidia GPU, they’re optimized for use with Adobe products.
-You definitely need 8GB of RAM at least.
-You will need a RAID 0 HDD configuration for your videos. You’ll… sort it out. Somehow.
-Windows 7 64-bit for the love of ponies.
-Go read up again on Virtu and OpenSync iGPU transcoding. You forgot all the important bits and that was meant for mid-2011 when the motherboards were released, you procrastinating thing you.
/Not Pony related/

Closing post with some Jazz-Fusion, which really took me by surprise when I heard it!

So that’s that! I might do something similar for Episode 2 if I have the time. :D
Brohoof /)*

=======CREDITS=======
(Because its good practice.)

Tay Zonday
Source: http://www.yummz.net/entertainment/music/deep-voiced-star.html

Admiral Ackbar
by Quibly
http://quibly.deviantart.com/art/Admiral-Ackbar-156351053

Muppets
Property of CBS
Image from HowStuffWorks.
http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/muppet.htm/printable

Marshall from How I Met Your Mother
Property of CBS

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising
Property of Games Workshop, Relic etc.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Property of Hasbro, The Hub etc.

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