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04 October, 2015

BRB October 2015 Reel - Filly Funtasia Portions Analysis

Surprise! In detail!
The year 2015 has been a tough year for Filly Funtasia. For the majority of the year, the creators of the show have remained mostly silent, dropping only a few mentions of it here and there. In particular, the last time there was any new video footage was almost a whole year ago, which pushed the total amount of available Filly Funtasia video content to five minutes and one second.

Mere days ago, BRB finally uploaded more Filly Funtasia in all its glory, shuffled into one video with other shows. There are 18 sections in the October 2015 Reel, 5 of which are dedicated to Filly Funtasia - and within these five sections, a whole fourteen scenes are shown. As promised, these scenes have been furiously analyzed, and the results are right here, after the break.

Scene 1: The Teachers

The reel starts showing Filly Funtasia with one of the most interesting scenes - a breathtaking pan around the teachers of the Academy, which ends with all five of them proudly standing in front of the camera on what appears to be the huge balcony of the center tower:
From the concept art article, slightly edited
This scene is most probably taken from the first episode, and its purpose is to acquaint the students (and the audience) with those who run the Academy. You might see familiar faces there - in fact, all of them might be familiar, since all five of these masters have appeared in previous videos, most notably the initial Filly Funtasia trailer.

From promo 1
 And just in case you're wondering who these people are, you can either check the Filly Wiki for articles on Twilight, Florian, Sparkle and Ashia, or watch this video (with the same effect), or read about them below. The order is left to right according to their formation on the balcony.

  • Unknown Elf Filly - there is not much known about this one. The brown wielder of pointy ears has not appeared as a character in any toy line, and seems to be invented strictly for Filly Funtasia. He's the guy who suggests blasting a threat to dust in the first trailer.
  • Ashia, from Filly Unicorn - known as a powerful magician, Ashia is a stargazer from Crystalia. She is believed to be able to read the star signs and even speak to the stars, as well as help your dreams come true.
  • Sparkle, from Filly Unicorn - the ultra-rare, or special Filly Unicorn, Princess Sparkle is the sole resident of Iridia and the prime character in her toy line. She spreads harmony across the land she lives in and is also responsible for keeping Crystalia's rainbow crystal intact.
  • Florian, from Filly Elves - an inventor hailing from Emocia, Florian is always trying to come up with a new invention, be it something useful or something beautiful.  A notable detail about Florian is that he is the father of Isabella.
  • Twilight, from Filly Fairy - last but by no means least, Twilight comes from the Magical Land. She is an explorer who loves traveling and telling everyone the news afterwards.

I love how they all strike a pose as the camera slows down.

Scene 2: Skateboarding 

A high-speed camera chase after Willow as he rides his skateboard. Yes, he has a skateboard. The fact that he has a skateboard has been established from the easy-to-miss announcement from BRB, where a poster of Filly Funtasia can be seen, with Willow in the air on the skate. This poster was later redone and uploaded in more tolerable quality:

The area of the ride appears to be the butterfly park, specifically the yellow road, which can be seen in the third promo.

By Willow's skateboard, what a boastings.
Indeed, you can even see the pink flower arch in both images.
As Willow rides towards the center of the Academy, he passes three characters:

Here's a Filly...
...As well as another Filly and a Fairy Filly as a bonus.
While the white Filly can be identified right away (it's most certainly Sally from Filly Elves, a masterful cook who is really proud of her rainbow cupcakes recipe), the remaining characters are tricky. The blue Filly's appearance does not match any of the toy line characters, except for one, who isn't even from a, should I say, proper toy line: he appears to be Marcus from Filly Wedding.

This is quite a stretch, and there is a fair possibility that I'm missing something else. But the identity of the Fairy character in this scene is even more cryptic: this combination of colors cannot be found neither in Filly Fairy nor in Filly Wedding. For now he (she?) remains a mystery, unless you people have answers in the comments (or can debunk my other identifications).

Scene 3: Greetings!

Willow, holder of the sun
 This scene is very, very short - so short that the image above almost fully reflects its events: Rose is unexpectedly greeted from behind by Willow, who enters the shot flying from the right. Initial thoughts may be that this scene is a direct continuation of the previous scene, but pay attention to the scenery - it is nothing like what was in the previous scene.

From promo 3
 The golden F gate with a vast forest behind it and a small tower in front of it, compared to what appears to be an inner park surrounded by buildings - these two scenes definitely have more to them than the footage shows. It's worth mentioning that a golden F gate can be seen in the beginning of scene 2:

 Whether it's the same gate in both scenes or not is debatable. Guess we'll have to wait and see!

Scene 4: Descend

An absolutely stunning scene where Rose gracefully descends from a gigantic spiraling rainbow and lands in front of the academy. The most important detail here is the absence of floating islands.

From promo 1
From promo 5
The islands are there in the first trailer, in the second trailer and in the third trailer, however here they are nowhere to be seen. The visuals of the Academy that we see in the reel appear to be taken from an actual episode - again, most probably the first one - whereas all other shots of the Academy were planned for pure exposition - glorified and slightly animated images, if you will. The islands are probably just resting somewhere since the school year hasn't yet begun at this point.

I'd like to draw your attention to the rainbow itself:

It appears to be tube-shaped, with colored stripes running along its length while spinning around. Not only that, the first frame of the scene reveals that the rainbow goes really high into the sky - it bends and then flies straight upwards in a manner that makes my head spin from just looking at it. Imagine traveling on this thing. Better practice your Don't Look Down skills.

It's also interesting to point out that this reflects established toy canon where rainbows are used to travel between different islands in the Unicorns' home land of Crystalia, as well as between Crystalia and the Ice Unicorn land Glacia. Zimsala, home of the Witchy Fillys, is also said to lie at the end of a big glowing rainbow that "leads you to the land". There's quite a few rainbows around the academy, so maybe the Filly World's "Rainbow Highways" have expanded to even more locations!

Scene 5: The Beacon

Possibly the most famous scene of Filly Funtasia to date. Not only did bits and pieces of it take a large chunk of the third trailer, but it also starred in the fourth trailer - the "Rose and Zack get trapped in a hole and use their mirrors to call for help" scene returns once again, this time showing the initiation of the beacon, with Rose and Zack pointing their hooves to the sky as the magic from their mirrors forms the sky-piercing ray. The top-down perspective, combined with the camera flying away, upwards, adds weight and significance to this moment.
There is something to Rose's and Zack's poses that feels odd. They are pointing to the sky with their front legs while standing on the back legs, but the way they're doing it feels very... equine? Probably has to do with the fact that their front legs are together, in front/underneath the head, and not on the sides of the head like what you would expect from a bipedal pose. Kudos to the animators.

And naturally this scene has neighbors from the earlier videos, so here they are:
From promo 3
From promo 4
From promo 5
 Of course, the scene has undergone minor changes, such as the color of Zack's mirror:
Promo 3, promo 4, promo 5
Also the dead branches are now significantly smaller. That is all.

Scene 6: Filly Forest

Here we see Rose galloping through a forest. My experience with 3D modeling is not very deep, but not very shallow either, and I have to say: the grass to the left, just above BRB logotype, is clearly a low resolution texture with some relatively scarce grass blades. However, this, combined with the view of the forest and a path that stretches into the unknown, creates a comfortable feeling, almost nostalgic - this scene reminds me of open world video games from ten or so years ago, when the term "open world" alone was enough to be alluring - the mere thought of being able to walk or run through a huge detailed digital world was a wonder. As it is here. I want to be there.
Personal desires aside, notice how Rose is looking up with concern - as if she is looking at something in the sky. So far the two most likely objects that can concern Rose and be in the sky are Zack and the crystal that was hinted at in promo 3 and expanded upon in promo 4.

Also, I am almost convinced that this scene was put there just so this parallel could be drawn:

From promo 5
From promo 3
Look at them go, running through the forest, scared, so far apart from each other. It's almost like...

From promo 3


Scene 7: Ready for Action

As usual, the topic of discussion is anything but the focus of the shot - in fact, the object that drew my attention the most is just behind the mirror. The pair of red... whatever those things are. Actually, it is quite known what these are - these two flat spikes form a back of a chair. One might ask why a chair would have a gaping hole right in the middle of its back, until one realizes that the users of this chair have big tails that must be put somewhere when they sit down.
This design detail was pointed out on Fillychan, and such minuscule yet meaningful detail is worthy of applause from me.

Scene 8: Action!

Just like with scene 2 and scene 3, this scene seems to be connected to the previous one - Lynn gets blasted by wind from the mirror from scene 7 while Isabella watches it happen in awe.
My initial thought was that Lynn is using her mirror as a dryer - this was probably induced by lighting in the next room that makes it look like a water pool, and bathroom-esque tiles on the wall behind Bella.
Another theory, which I'm now sticking to, is that the wind from the mirror is actually a prank on Lynn, and the previous scene shows the preparations for this prank - the mirror gets a spell put on it, I presume.
Animation-wise, Lynn's mane switches from normal to ruined seemingly instantly - it just goes poof in one frame.

Scene 9: Not Amused

Obvious continuation of scene 8, the wind settles down and gives Lynn an opportunity to react to what's just happened to her. This face just screams the calm, cold, vengeful "well played", as Lynn wastes no time preparing a retaliation:

Pay attention to the background. It might seem surprising, but we are now at the point where we can identify not only various characters, but the scenery as well - thanks to the Concept Art article, we now know that the room behind Lynn is, indeed, Lynn's room!

Hopefully you can see the resemblance.

And it would be a sin not to draw yet another parallel:

From promo 3
While the background is slightly different, it's still, without a doubt, Lynn's room. Even the green crystal on the wall to the left of Lynn is the same, although the corner there is lacking the folding screen - this goes to show how unfinished the footage from promo 3 truly was.

Scene 10: Ride Through Gravity

A scene of the same nature as scene 8 - but instead of Lynn falling victim to pranks, this time it's Rose, who gets horribly confused by papers flying upwards before her very eyes. Naturally, since Lynn was standing just outside Lynn's room, Rose must be just outside Rose's room.
Only no, she isn't.

Not only Rose's room stairs curl in the wrong direction, if you pay attention to the bed and the overall color, this seems to be Isabella's room! That, or the concept art is terribly outdated and the production crew decided to swap rooms around. Which can mean that even Lynn isn't standing outside her room either.

Scene 11: A Witch's Generosity

The most genuine of smiles.

This is where it should become obvious what's going on in these scenes - Lynn and Rose seem to be trading pranks with each other. One might say that the mirror in scene 7 is being enchanted by none other than Rose herself. One prank flies in the general direction of Lynn, the other flies in the general direction of Rose, and finally the two pranksters confront each other directly: Lynn gives Rose a lovely present with a wide smile on her face.
Speaking of Lynn's smile, this facial expression is, well, quite expressive, and hopefully the show itself will deliver even more of this. Properly exaggerating things in 3D is more difficult than in 2D.

Scene 12: Battiwigs Really Let Himself Go

Direct continuation of scene 11, the present is opened only to reveal a spring-loaded monstrosity
of an artificial bat, either crafted or bought by Lynn with the sole purpose of startling Rose. Battiwigs was nowhere to be seen in the reel, however this should suffice. Lynn is still smiling behind the bat, and tilts her head at the very end of the scene, likely to take a better look at Rose's reaction.

Scenes 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 seem to be taken from one episode, and we might know which!

From http://www.dracconews.com/home. Willow most likely not included.

Scene 13: Dark Mirror

Speaking of Battiwigs, he might be missing, but Wizard of/in the Dark Mirror, also known as Wranglum, does make a brief appearance. As usual, he prefers leaning on soft furniture for comfort. In fact, this seems to be the same scene as in promo 1, but at a different angle:

From promo 5
From promo 1
I assume Battiwigs is still there - he's just out of the shot.

Scene 14: Foodfight

No, not the movie
The last Filly Funtasia scene from the reel: Rose gets hit by a cupcake, which then slides down, leaving chocolate on Rose's nose. This is the only scene which appeared in one of the previous promos, which allows making comparison videos like this:

In short, the chocolate is now much more liquid. This scene was put in the reel most probably to showcase the improvement over the old graphics. Liquids are tricky. Especially when they're viscous.


It's always great to peek and see more of the dish you are promised, especially when you notice all the changes that have happened to it since the last peek. One thing that is prominent in the majority of these scenes is lighting changes: most noticeable in the cupcake scene and the wind mirror scene, lighting seems to be more dim - a lot of shiny things are no longer as shiny, and the vibrant colors were slightly toned down. Is the picture suffering from this? Not really, no - if you look at other shots, you can still see the colors pop. Filly Funtasia is still a visually engaging flick.
It's just sixteen seconds (albeit closer to seventeen seconds), but the amount of information gained from these sixteen seconds combined with five minutes of the yesteryear is priceless in the times like this. I wish to thank everyone who has been working on this cartoon in one way or the other. Godspeed to the release date!