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03 October, 2016

Black Dragon Promo Revealed

It's October! The time of the year when we get new Filly Funtasia videos! And this video we're about to show may be new to us - but it was actually released back in July 2015 (Before Promo 5!) on a Chinese video site and never before seen on the English-speaking internet.

The complete form of the trailer features various projects the elusive "Black Dragon Entertainment Ltd." has worked on. Besides Filly Funtasia, there's also some kind of violent hockey cartoon based on Clash of Clans, a cartoon with a talking monkey who's lost his satchel, something which looks like a Lego cartoon with light sabers, a Terraria cartoon, something with a speedy car, something which looks like a scene from an MMO with a scantily clad sorceress, something with a guy that farts into the air, something which looks very much like Zombie Zity (another Dracco brand)... and of course there's also plenty of pandaring for those who liked Crystal Panda!

Now, perhaps we should have done more research to explain what all those other cartoons are - but this is after all a fansite for Filly Funtasia and not Crystal Panda, so we'll restrict further analysis to the Filly Funtasia parts of the trailer, and additionally provide a version of the video which is cut down to only the Filly Funtasia parts:

While most of the Filly Funtasia scenes have been seen in previous trailers, there are two brand new ones. The first one is a scene where Bella is throwing a lawn dart while talking (explaining the game, perhaps?) and Rose and Will looking on excitedly.

Now this is some good balance.

These lawn darts appear to be the ones we've previously seen in the 3D props post way back in May 2014. In that particular post, the file name suggested that the darts may appear in episode 7, along with a key. Now, this does not mean that this episode will necessarily be the seventh one - it appears that the episode order has undergone some changes, as previously discussed.

Remarkably, this scene has Battiwigs taking a nap among the darts! What's happening here? He seems quite visible, so presumably the Fillys know that he's there. Are they going to be unaware that he's evil? Is he (at least acting like) a dorm pet at this point? And why is he taking a nap in a bowl of lawn darts? Those things are sharp! So sharp, they're banned in America. No, really, they are.

The area where they're standing seems to be the lawn right outside the dorm building that we can see at about 00:14 in promo 3:
You're aiming with the wrong eye, Bella.

The area where they're standing seems to be on the left side of the building. The pink-ish tree can be seen in both promos, but its coloring is far more vibrant in the Black Dragon promo.

Bark at the moon!
The second new scene shows Petunia rearing with a concerned-looking Batti looking on from a window with a waning crescent moon outside the window. This window is of a shape that we haven't seen before, so it's probably in a section of the Academy that we haven't seen before. Those of you who have read the "spoiler section" of this article can click the button below to further find out, that...

There are a few more scenes in the video which we've seen previously.

Promo 3, Black Dragon Promo, Promo 5, from top to bottom.
Not much has changed here except that the shadows look a bit sharper in the Black Dragon Promo than the two other ones, and that the colors have been tweaked a bit - the pink/purple trees look darker but the green trees brighter in the Black Dragon Promo.

Promo 3, Black Dragon Promo, Promo 5, from top to bottom.
The difference here is most striking between the Promo 5 and others, where it's quite clear that the lighting and many other details have been improved for Promo 5, while the Black Dragon Promo is more similar to Promo 3 except that the scene is lighter.

Promo 3, Black Dragon Promo
Finally, a look at that scene where they all laugh. Again, Promo 3 and the Black Dragon promo are very similar, with the Black Dragon Promo being "sharper" - though that's probably due to the lower video quality.

Well, that's about all there is to say about the video itself, but I would like to discuss something else too.

Let's talk about something we usually don't talk about in these articles. Where do we find all this stuff anyway? Sometimes, the source of information is fairly straightforward. In those cases, we'll simply link there to show where we got it. In some cases, we've decided to deliberately not say where we got something because we've decided that it's the best thing to do to avoid the risk that anyone ends up in trouble. In other cases, reading a long winded explanation of our information gathering would be boring. But in this case, this video was hidden on a part of the internet we usually don't visit (which is why it went unnoticed for over a year!), and required us to learn a few new things which could be useful for anyone else researching similar information, so I thought I'd take some time to write exactly what we did.

Of all the companies involved in Filly Funtasia, Black Dragon has been the one hardest to find any solid information on. (Well, it might be even harder to find any good information on Apolo Films, which is the company that's filling the same role as a fourth company involved in production of the two Filly specials as Black Dragon does for the Filly Funtasia series.) Part of the reason for that is that it's a Chinese company with no English-language internet presence to speak of. Clearly, we need to go look at Chinese-language websites to find out anything. But what is Black Dragon's Chinese name? Google Translate would suggest "Black Dragon Entertainment" translates to 黑龙娱乐 and "Black Dragon" to 黑龙, but that doesn't seem like it's producing any good search results. Fortunately, a Rosetta Stone was found that listed both the English name as well as the Chinese one, 赤龙世漫.

The writing is on the wall.
Searching for that led to a whole bunch of company listings, job listings... and their website! Their website had a bit more information about Black Dragon, and something called Red Dragon as well. That seems to possibly be the mother company of Black Dragon or some other company closely related to it with the full company name apparently being 赤龙世漫文化传播有限公司于, which Google Translate tells me means "Red Dragon World Culture Communication Co". If anyone has more specific information about the relationship between the two companies (if they are two different companies?), please let us know.

An even more hidden dragon.
By searching for the initial part of the name, "赤龙世漫", Google took me to a Chinese video streaming site, QQ, where I found a video with the title of 赤龙世漫作品混剪 which Google Translate rendered as "Red Dragon World Man works mixed shear", or "red Dragon world Diffuse Make Products mix Cut" when each character is placed on its own line. A promo with a mix of all the different products Black Dragon (Red Dragon?) has worked on? Could it be? The video refused to play and popped up an uncopyable Chinese error message, but a tab to the right contained a bunch of thumbnails, including one that looked very much like Filly Funtasia!

After spending some time failing to make an account after wrongly assuming that's what I needed, I tried one of the buttons on the video player that looked like a download button, which informed me that I needed something called "Tencent Video" to download the video. It helpfully provided me with an installer (that was only available in Chinese, like everything else) which I installed (in a sandbox, which was a good idea since it wanted to put a bunch of stuff in the Windows folder) and then used to search for the same string as the title on the QQ page. Success!

It's at times like this that I wish my native language was something a bit less useless.

The download button in Tencent Video was located, which put a bunch of strange files in the sandbox's user data folder, including a QLV file which I assumed was the video file but which VLC refused to play. Well, thanks to a very helpful video tutorial, I found out that this player also downloaded a bunch of TDL files, which are simply different parts of a split MP4 file. Thus, all that was needed now was to append the data from the files, save it into an MP4 file, take it out of the sandbox, and upload it to YouTube. An exhaustive search of this video site or other Chinese video sites has not been performed due to language difficulties - if you happen to find anything, please let us know!

With material contributed by Zejgar.