Izumi can sense the tension at the dining table when Kumon and Muku sat across each other with stiff expressions and Juza looked—
“You look like you’re holding in a massive shit, dude,” Banri remarks
“Language, Banri,” Izumi scolds, to which Banri responds with a zipping mouth motion.
Well, Izumi would’ve gone with “broken up,” but admittedly, Banri’s turn of phrase seemed more accurate. Juza doesn’t retort Banri’s comment, which means that he either is holding in a massive shit (doubtful), or he was worried about whatever Kumon and Muku was arguing about.
“Come on, Kumon, Muku, you barely touched your food.”
“Can’t you just… agree to disagree on the Equestria Girls movies?”
Juza covers his face with his hands, looking more constipated than he did earlier, and before Banri could get a word in about how absurd it was to him that THAT was what they were arguing about, Kumon and Muku started going at it like they did in room 202 earlier.
“No! We can’t just do that! I can’t believe my own cousin thinks they aren’t terrible! They have no business existing! They’re just there so Hasbro can sell more toys, it’s ridiculous!” Muku insists. ‘ Isn’t that what the Friendship is Magic series is for, too, though? ‘ Izumi thinks, but ultimately decides on not saying out loud for the sake of not throwing more gas into the already too-heated fire. Banri, however, doesn’t care about that and voices her exact thoughts out loud.
“At least Friendship is Magic doesn’t come up with some bull— er, corny excuses to make more episodes! It feels so much more natural than whatever EG comes up with!”
“Oh, please, Muku, they’re just as corny half the time. It’s a magical pony show targeted at young girls, we can let it be corny.”
“Okay, first of all, no, they really aren’t. Second of all, a younger target audience is such a cheap excuse for lazy writing. Stop lowering your standards for childrens’ media!”
“Okay, fine, point taken, but with that in mind, the EG movies hold up strongly against most other childrens’ media.”
Muku rubs his temples. “Not as much as FiM does! It’s Hasbro’s job to make them as good as FiM!”
“I don’t feel particularly strongly about the Equestria Girls movies, but I’m with Muku on this one. The first and second ones were alright, I loved The Dazzlings’ songs and all— easily the best part of the movie. By the third, it kinda too felt disconnected from the Friendship is Magic series? I felt like it was just scrambling to make more characters and content that has absolutely nothing to do with the original Equestria,” Tsuzuru , of all people, contributed in passing while he prepares some late-night coffee for a paper that’s due soon.
The whole table looked at him, dumbfounded as he continued on with making his coffee. “What? Yuzuru likes MLP. We watch it together. He loves Equestria Girls, so I sit through ‘em, but I still think they suck when put next to Friendship is Magic. Makes him happy though.”
“That’s it! We’ll ask the whole company about their thoughts, and we’ll see whose opinion is more shared!” Kumon says.
I really hope that you two don’t think the popularity of your opinion makes it any more valid , Izumi thinks, and again, opts not to say aloud.
“Well I have two people on Team EG Sucks!”
“Hmph! Well, I’m sure Juza will be with me on this one, isn’t that ri—”
It was as if Juza disappeared into thin air. Understandably so, since he didn’t want to get caught in the middle of this argument in particular. It was rare that things would get this heated among the cousins of the company, so the tension was kind of suffocating for everybody, even if it was over a pony movie. If it was this tense for those at the dining table, Izumi could only imagine how much worse it’d be for Juza.
“Well! I’ll ask him later!”
“I’m sure Juchan hates EG too.”
“He would never !”
Muku and Kumon were… 16 and 17 years old, respectively. Izumi, trying to find some silver lining, guesses that criticism of childrens’ media isn’t exactly the worst skill to exercise at their age. So, the interviewing begins, starting with the people at the dining table.
“What are your thoughts on the Equestria Girls Movies, director?”
“W-well, I’m not too familiar with the My Little Pony series, so I think you’re better off asking everyone else.”
“I’m with Muku. They suck balls. Friendship is Magic is better.”
“I’m not saying FiM isn’t better, I’m saying that EG isn’t that bad! Omi?”
“W-well… I don’t… I- I don’t think they’re that bad. They’re kids’ movies.”
“Did you not hear a lick of what I said earlier, Omi?!” Muku asks, uncharacteristically exasperated. Well, no, he didn’t, Omi was kind of tuning it out, but he wouldn’t tell them that.
Muku and Kumon rush to finish their food, give their thanks, then go on their way around the dorms.
“Itaru! You like My Little Pony, right?”
“It’s not like I’m the only one in the company who does…”
“Yeah, but especially you!”
“Why are you singling me out for this…?” He asks, taking his headphones off. He was glad that he wasn’t in the middle of a stream, his followers would never let him hear the end of it.
“What do you think of the Equestria Girls movies?” Kumon asks, ignoring his query.
“Not a fan. It just doesn’t hold up to FiM.”
“Ha!” Muku triumphantly says.
“If this is about your My Little Pony argument, I want no part of it.”
“Do you know how you look asking a 30-year-old Yakuza what he thinks of a pony movie?”
“You’re already in the shoujo manga club, might as well lean into this too!”
Sakyo sighs. “That, Sakisaka, is unfortunately a fair point. They aren’t for me, they could be better, but they aren’t unwatchable .”
“I don’t like them or hate them. I’m siding with neither of you.”
Muku and Kumon curiously hum.
“I hear you two are fighting over the Equestria Girls movies and wanted to give my two cents.”
Chikage? He was the last person they expected to—
“I don’t know. Haven’t seen them.”
Muku and Kumon don’t have time for this. They make their way to room 201—
“Hey, wait, I’m just kidding! I do have something of substance to offer, I swear.”
Chikage wasn’t easily fazed by other peoples’ emotional reaction to his lies, but he’d be lying if he said he didn’t feel even a tinge of guilt from two of the most radiant members of the company with the harshest, most ‘tired of your bullshit’ expression he’d ever seen on them and will probably ever see on them, being directed right at him. Muku and Kumon, both uncharacteristically in an unpleasant mood, hesitantly sit next to him in the lobby.
“I’m personally a fan of the movies. I wholly understand why one wouldn’t like them, but I find them a source of mild comfort; perhaps even more so than the Friendship is Magic series.”
Kumon’s eyes twinkled, and Muku looked scandalized.
“But why ?”
“Hear me out. I never thought I’d find myself casually watching a kids’ show about ponies in my free time, but the glimpses I’ve had from whenever you two had the TV admittedly got me curious. I borrowed the DVDs from Chigasaki and watched from time to time. The movies were a better experience for me, though. Partially because my little free time doesn’t allow me to make a commitment to an entire series and movies are just more convenient, but mostly because I resonated with them more.”
Muku frowned, but he didn’t want to discourage Chikage from continuing. “What made it that way?” he asked, trying and failing to hide his disappointment.
“Sunset Shimmer. I like her character. She’s my favorite character in the entire franchise.”
The cousins curiously looked at him, expecting him to elaborate. They stared at each other in silence for three whole seconds before Kumon finally decided to ask, “Why her?”
“Just kidding. I did a quick Google search when I heard of your argument from the director to mess with you two. Sorry for wasting your time, haha.”
Muku and Kumon didn’t believe a word of his rescindment. They had no reason to doubt the whole Google search story, but their guts told them that he wasn’t kidding about Sunset Shimmer. After all, she was embraced with open arms by the Mane Six despite the trouble she caused them, and Muku and Kumon kind of remembered Chikage in that.
“Yuki, do you like or dislike the Equestria Girls movies?”
“No fair! Yuki would totally side with you!”
Yuki turns himself and his chair around and Tenma’s eyes go a little wide because it’s rare for Yuki to look at the people who are addressing him in the middle of work, let alone turn his whole chair around to do so.
“I am siding with him, but not because I’m biased. I just don’t like them. Story-wise I have nothing to say, I’ll leave that to the geeks, but visually? They’re humanized versions of magical pony characters. Ponies in Equestria don’t wear clothes by default, but when they do, they’re attractive, fitting for a fantasy setting. I get that magic isn’t the custom in the human world, but that doesn’t excuse all those mediocre outfits. Princess Celestia becoming Principal Celestia doesn’t excuse putting the princess of all of Equestria in the most unflattering yellow blazer and bright purple bell bottom-slacks abomination. Principals, especially if they’re Celestia , are perfectly capable of dressing well. And, the way they incorporate the cutie marks into their designs are so, so, painfully lazy. Really? Just… slap them on plain skirts and call it a day? Wasn’t the point of this movie to sell more toys?”
Yuki reaches for his sketchbook on his desk and sketches something out at a remarkable speed.
“This is a toy-selling design. Little kids would scramble to stores to get this Rarity. Now, Rarity’s one of the more tolerable designs in the movie, so it was easier to work with. I lost the knee-high boots— which, frankly, are an assault on the eyes, just one I can deal with better than most of the Equestria Girls outfits— turned them into high heels bedazzled with rhinestones. Incorporated the blue-violet gradient in her magic outfits into her skirt, changed how her hair is styled, replaced the belt buckle with her 3-diamond cutie mark, and a bunch of other stuff.”
“This is amazing, Yuki,” Muku said in awe.
“Yeah… even I’ll admit they missed lots of opportunities with the fashion in the movies.”
Yuki huffs in satisfaction knowing he got Kumon to side with him on this one.
“Oh no, if this is about your Equestria Girls thing, I don’t wanna see you guys fighting—”
“It is, but we aren’t mad at each other anymore, we just wanna hear your thoughts.”
“I can’t stay mad at you, Kyuchan. I still think Equestria Girls sucks, though.”
Kazunari turns in his computer chair to face them.
“Well, to start things off, Equestria Girls is blatant fanservice. That doesn’t make it bad, fanservice can be great! I mean, look at Tax and Itaroon~! Works wonders for the company! Plus, more toys to sell! But, like, I dunno, it felt stiff after the first movie. The first one was supes high-tension and connected to the canon story where Twily becomes a princess, right? Cartoon movies like these tend to be written so that canon can work without ‘em, but I always appreciate when some effort is made to connect it to canon in some way so that it doesn’t just feel like a cheap story they pull together to make sum dollaz. It’s a problem in lotsa anime movies too.
“The first movie was fine, the songs were meh, but not gonna lie, I suuuper vibe with the cafeteria song. ‘Help Twilight Sparkle win the crown!’ like, YEAH, go OFF ponygirls! The second movie felt forced, and already gave me the vibe that it wouldn’t be as good as the first one ‘cause it was hardly connected to canon. Then the third one didn’t even have pony Twily in it? And it just felt like they were tryna milk this money cow of human versions of ponies.”
Kumon and Muku were listening intently to what Kazunari had to say, everyone in that room being a bit too intensely focused on dissecting My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. So far, his sentiments were similar to Tsuzuru’s.
“But, like, TBH, Mukkun, I feel like you’re specifically trying not to see the good parts. Like, Sunset Shimmer. I’m bummed that she’s an Equestria Girls-only character, but she’s really well-written IMO— my favorite MLP villain, and she’s not even in Friendship is Magic! The series has some interesting villains to offer. The Dazzlings were—” He does a chef’s kiss motion, “—and while I think it’s, like, corny they just gave up on tryna connect the third movie to pony Equestria, I think it’s interesting that the main opposing force was a human Twilight who they weren’t familiar with already. Like, they knew her already, but at the same time, they didn’t . Legend of Everfree was the weakest one for me, but its story opened up for lots of possibilities to give the human world its own natural magic unique from Equestria.
“Equestria Girls has its positives and negatives, and IG, depending on your taste or however you wanna look at it, one could outweigh the other. Personally, Mukkun, I think you’re making it out to be a lot worse than it is. I like ‘em!”
A few hours ago, before Muku and Kumon went on this silly set of interviews, Muku would’ve gotten frustrated with Kazunari for that, but Muku’s head was clearer in the moment. He starts to laugh, and from Kumon and Kazu’s point of view, it’s unprompted, but they all go into a giggling fit that turns into the kind of laughter that has you convinced you’re getting abs from it.
Wiping a tear, Muku remembers Juza. “Oh— Oh man, Juchan must feel really bad right now, we should go check on him.
“Oh man! We really should…”
After Muku and Kumon thank Kazunari for his time, they excuse themselves to go to the nearest convenience store and buy Juza’s favorite pudding.