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Narm / My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic

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Do you believe in a truly compelling and touching narrative? You do? Well, if the world of United Equestria believed as much as you do, we wouldn't have these unintentionally hilarious moments.

SPOILERS UNMARKED

  • For starters, the very concept of Starfleet: alien pony Power Rangers. There's basically no way for that premise to not be inherently cheesy, which could theoretically make for a legitimately entertaining time, and yet they're meant to be taken seriously. Then Mykan starts going on Author Tracts and bashing Friendship is Magic with these characters, and the cheese factor goes through the roof.
  • The character names, which are either severely lacking in creativity or make no sense at all. Or both.
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    • The Space Ponies hail from a planet called "Unicornicopia". It's one of those names that's both an awful pun and gives you cavities just thinking about it, and doesn't exactly sound like the kind of place that gives birth to a society as supposedly militaristic as the Space Ponies.
    • Mykan's obsession with the word "heavenly"; "Celesto", "Leilani", and "Castor" all mean "heavenly", and that's apparently why he chose them. Not helping matters is the fact that the first of those three greatly resembles "Celestia".
      • Let's go over Celesto's name one more time, shall we? It is true that "celestial" can, in fact, mean "belonging or relating to heaven". However, the pronunciation being "CHE-les-tow" doesn't make a lick of sense; the common pronunciation for the word is "səˈlesCHəl" like Celestia's name. Adding a "ch" sound not only sounds pretentious, but also makes it come across as though Mykan thinks he's more clever than he actually is.
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    • The names of some of Mykan's Author Avatars: Grand Ruler Celesto Arron Goldenite and in the Equestria Girls universe, Celesto Grandruler.
      • For that matter, "Mykan Stevens". It's bad enough that it's the most blatant of the bunch, but his pony self is named the same thing in a world where names like "Lightining Dawn", "Rhymey", "Brain", "Dyno", and "Myte" are still commonplace. Even the two parts that make up his name clash with one another; the real Mykan got his alias from his sister, who thought it sounded like an anime name, and Stevens is clearly European in nature (more specifically, German). In other words, what we have is a name with two halves that don't make a whole.
    • Just the fact that a character is named Rhymey, as if the story is basically conceding that said character is nothing more than a walking Verbal Tic.
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    • Nightmare Moon introduces herself as "Super Nightmare Moon" in the rewrite. It's likely meant to make her seem more threatening, but instead ends up sounding incredibly ridiculous. It doesn't get any better later on: after taking over Equestria, she renames it "Nightmarica," and her fused One-Winged Angel mode with Titan's minions is "Nightmaricus." Nightmare Moon must've taken naming lessons from Asgore or something.
      • Really, anytime the word "super" or any variation there of is added to someone or something's name to try and make it sound impressive.
    • Krysta's son, Twink. Anyone familiar with LGBT slang will likely have a field day with that one. You know, if they're not thinking of Twink from Paper Mario 64 or Rainbow Brite.
  • The narration tends to describe a scene occurring in slow motion despite the fact that this is not a visual medium.
  • A lot of the character designs due to how poorly edited they are. For a few specific examples:
    • The Grand Ruler's three horns are positioned in a way that just makes them look weird and out-of-place, not to mention that the "Triceratops" jokes basically write themselves. Additionally, his body design is based heavily on Princess Celestia, meaning that he has a female face.
      • He's also drawn with white skin/fur and a white spandex suit with armor over it. It kind of looks like the suit is his skin/fur and his armor only covers as low as his crotch.
    • Starla is literally just Rarity badly photoshopped into a humanoid form.
    • Distraught is basically Discord given a gaudy Palette Swap in colors that don't quite go together, making him look rather clownish. He also looks like he's wearing a Dodgy Toupee.
    • Fratello looks like a rather generic Tin-Can Robot from a '50s B-movie. Not the most threatening design for a villain.
    • Raven just looks like the Teen Titan of the same name with photo-shopped bat wings, an MS Paint pony face, and a golden Uniforce horn that really has no place being there, clashing with the rest of her colors.
    • Lightning Dawn's Enticorn form. Anyone familiar with Ben 10 (especially its Alien Force incarnation) is going to recognize what he based it on (not to mention the strong evidence that he traced a picture of Ben himself when he created a picture of it), and the golden horn and Super Saiyan hair just look out of place.
  • A lot of the titles for "episodes", "movies", etc. for how lacking in creativity they are.
  • Likewise, a lot of the attack names are just as lacking. "Paint Bomb?" "Leaf Swarm?" "Drill Quill?" "Boom Boom Flare?" Heck, one attack is named "Star Shower"! This fic isn't even trying to hide its lack of originality!
  • Some of the attacks themselves have laughable descriptions, such as Artie's "Paint Bomb" being a barrage of multicolored paint launched from his mouth. Which means he basically attacks by puking rainbows. Similarly, every attack Cookie Dough uses in his one fight scene (which was given to Artie in the rewrite, making it marginally better) is too cartoonish to be taken seriously, involving cream pies, eggs, and an egg whisk.
  • Also, the transformation phrases and Transformation Name Announcements because of how unoriginal and ridiculous sounding they are. The worst of these are Buddy Rose's "Power of Fauna" which should be "Flora", and Rhymey's "I summon from within, the Power of Wind" for being so blatantly different from the others that it barely even fits with the rest. That, and it's easy to misinterpret it as another type of wind from within.
  • How poorly choreographed the fight scenes are. They basically boil down to: Lightning running at the bad guy and getting owned, both sides shouting silly attack names at each other with said attacks not really doing anything until the plot wants them to, the bad guys falling victim to a Deus ex Machina when they have the heroes on the ropes, and Lightning coming in to Kill Steal after kind of just standing there for most of the fight. So Bad, It's Good the first time you read one, mind-numbingly boring for the next fifteen.
  • The very idea of "the magic of believing". Believing in what specifically, we are not told until near the end of the second chapter of the first fic where Celesto says that Lightning has learned to believe in his own inner magic; up to that point, all we get is Lightning shouting "I BELIEVE" until lasers start shooting out of his horn.
    • It gets taken to absurd heights in the finale of season 1, where the ponies bring their destroyed planets back into existence by joining hands and believing really hard. It's evidently supposed to be an awesome demonstration of the power of belief, but instead, it generally elicits a different response.
  • Mykan loves to pepper the narration with onomatopoeia, and as such, a lot of scenes that were meant to be epic or dramatic... aren't. Take Fratello's Heroic Sacrifice in Starfleet Events, for example:
    Upon contact, the bomb inside him exploded in a huge BAM, trigging the eruption of the volcano, and caused the main reactor to explode in one might huge BOOM!!note 
  • The militaristic Space Ponies evidently teach their soldiers how to dance and sing, often spontaneously bursting into choreographed musical numbers when one of the main cast starts a song.
  • Mykan's song choices are just odd. The original has examples like Barney & Friends, and even then you get songs from Sesame Street, High School Musical, and Today's Special (his personal favorite). Regardless of whether or not you like these works, it's kind of jarring to hear them in what's supposed to be an action-oriented story (for reference, just try picturing any iteration of the Power Rangers singing a Barney song).
  • Lightning frequently uses the exclamation "Galloping Galaxies!" It's one of those lines you'd expect from a Saturday morning cartoon with copious amounts of Ham and Cheese, which isn't much of a problem until it shows up in a scene that's supposed to be taken seriously, thereby deflating any possible drama built up beforehand.
  • The villains creating one-shot monsters out of whatever happens to be nearby occasionally has just plain silly results. Such as a hot-air balloon, a bunch of make-up wands and personal mirrors, and a hot pot.
  • The story's claims about Lightning's superior strength are immediately called into question when Buddy Rose tasks him with delivering a crate of vegetables to Cookie Dough and he strains the whole way. It's even worse in the original, where instead of a crate, Lightning was struggling to carry a basket.
  • When Cookie Dough is introduced in chapter 1 of the original, the patrons of the Rainbow Dish Inn (which is an unintentionally ridiculous name in and of itself) all stand up in unison and start chanting "Hail Cookie Dough! Hail Cookie Dough!" The resemblance to Those Wacky Nazis, given that it occurs in a restaurant, makes it unintentionally humorous. It's even kept in the remake.
  • Starfleet are supposed to be a badass interplanetary peacekeeping crew... and then chapter 2 of the original fic has them running scared through Violet Swamp and literally being frightened by their own shadows at one point. In the remake, it's slightly mitigated; Lightning Dawn is the only one who gets scared despite his being trained by the Grand Ruler.
  • Episode 4 of the original has Lightning being hospitalized for exercising. Unsurprisingly, this scene does little to convince the reader of his supposedly superior physical strength and instead makes him look like a complete loser.
  • Dyno and Myte live in a place that's unironically named "Big Brown Canyon." Enough said.
  • Some Rouge Angles of Satin moments are pretty hilarious, but one in particular stands out. Early on in the original fic, resident Generic Doomsday Villain Lord Titan has the "heroes" right where he wants them, and gets thwarted by the timely arrival of Dyno and Mite. When Lightning gets free, he shoots Titan a look of "furry". Another particularly funny one is in Cookie Dough's introduction, which claims that "he could satisfy the appetite of anyone, even if they were even hungry."
  • The fact that the protagonists are seriously frightened (though partially due to a curse) by bad dreams in one chapter, to the point that they're afraid to have anything do with their hobbies for several hours. Contrast that with the Mane 6's reactions in the FiM episode Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?, where they were scared for only a few seconds when they woke up. Curse or no curse, it makes them look incredibly incompetent.
  • Chapter 9 of Starfleet Magic 1 has Rep-Stallion's balloon monster trying to suck in Lightning, Krysta, and Brain, with all three of them hanging on for dear life. Then the latter two slip and are swallowed by the monster and Lightning calls out their names in anguish. It's then immediately revealed that Krysta and Brain are completely fine since the monster is simply an animate balloon, making the entire scene rather melodramatic.
  • The Grand Ruler loses all possible credibility (at least, in the original version) when he's shown playing hopscotch to a disco remix of "Pop Goes the Weasel" (directly copied from Today's Special, no less). Here it is in video form (it's not the Grand Ruler, but it's pretty much the same deal).
    • The remake replaces the instance with "Moses Supposes". Not much of a better choice, especially when both choices happen right before the (not) final battle with Titan.
    • The battle with Titan has a particularly absurd case of talking dragging a battle to a halt when Grand Ruler starts reciting an eight-line chant (which, incidentally, is most likely derived from the summoning chant of The Winged Dragon of Ra) to summon the Uniforce and blast Titan with it. And Titan just stands there and lets him.
  • The thought of these strong and superior Space Ponies getting outmatched by untrained Diamond Dogs is nothing short of beautiful irony. The In-Universe explanation is that "they had strong armor".
  • Starfleet Magic II has a search for a Macguffin protected by a magic that casts illusions of what the treasure-seeker fears. Apparently, Princess Luna's fear is the boulder scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • In "Trial of Misdjudgement", Starla discusses with Lightning that she has some issues with her figure, saying that her legs are "skinny as pancakes" (which is a really bizarre way of describing a person's legs) and makes Lightning promise that he won't tell anyone else what she told him, which he does. So, of course, Starla overhears Lightning use the simile "skinny as pancakes" in a conversation with the other ponies, making her believe Lightning broke her trust. In turn, Lightning is confused on why Starla is suddenly upset with him. Starla then spends the rest of the episode refusing to tell Lightning what's wrong, all so we can have the cliché "character hears another character say something out of context, leading to an argument" plot.
  • In Starfleet Magic: The Movie, Lightning Dawn has to get a MacGuffin that will hurt a being if there is evil in them. Lightning starts to grab the orb and then... nothing happens, he gets it with no ill consequences. This scene was clearly a reference to when Tommy Oliver had to get the Zeo Crystal in the third season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers; the thing is that when Tommy did it, he was actually hurt by the crystal because it detected his evil past as the Green Ranger, but then it allowed him to hold it because it sensed him redeeming himself and the entire point of the scene was to show just how far Tommy has come.
  • The "intro" and "ending" to the first Starfleet Humans "movie" have the Friendship is Magic themes start to play before Lightning Dawn interrupts and changes them to the Starfleet Humans "themes". The Author Tract in the scene (and Lightning's jerkassery) is so blatant, it's almost amusing.
  • The fact that Celesto Grandruler is a retired billionaire astronaut who built and owns a high school and part of the island where the Starfleet Humans stories take place in, and also adopted the human counterparts of Starfleet. And his limousine transforms into a rocket ship. Fiction 500 has never been quite so over-the-top, and if this were any other work, Celesto would come off as a Parody Sue.
  • The characters referring to the upcoming basketball game as the "grand game" instead of "big game".
  • Flash Sentry and Queen Sapphira referring to humans as "Earth-girl/boy/woman/man" which makes them sound like aliens from old sci-fi films (or the Psychlos).
  • Human Starla Shine being bullied in the first Starfleet Humans "movie". It's the typical cliché of "girl getting bullied despite being incredibly attractive" but usually the girl in question has some sort of quirk that would make her a target. Starla doesn't have any of those. There's also the "nickname" the bullies give her, "Little Star" which sounds less like an insult and more like a nickname a parent would give to their daughter.
  • The Starfleet Humans apparently learned martial arts just by reading about it from books.
    • In the climax of Starfleet Humans, they receive the Starfleet powers from Lightning Dawn and suddenly know several different fighting styles, which renders their knowledge on martial arts entirely redundant.
  • Mykan's explanation for why Human Inquerious, a pointless side character, speaks only in questions, is that she suffered a stroke. What's really Narmy is the lack of explanation for why Human Rhymey speaks only in rhymes, which unintentionally implies that he probably also has some form of brain damage.
  • When the characters are auditioning for the school play, it is painfully obvious who is going to get which part: Lightning and Starla will be the main couple, Rhymey and Fluttershy will be the Beta Couple, and Sunset will be the villain. Suffice it to say, the idea that actors can only play characters that have the same personality as them as demonstrated by this fic is patently untrue (see: Mean Character, Nice Actor and Funny Character, Boring Actor), which makes it harder for the story to pass them off as master actors like it tries to.
  • Raven's death threats toward Celestia are a bit too ridiculous to take seriously with the gratuitous capslock and double exclamation marks, especially since she feels the need to send more than one, as if she's worried that Celestia might forget. Mykan apparently got the idea from The Simpsons episode Cape Feare, not realizing that there's a huge difference between a ten-year old, powerless boy like Bart and a millennia-old, powerful monarch who's most probably received death threats before.
  • Twilight's death is presumably supposed to be a Tear Jerker moment, and is built up to be tragic. Too bad it loses all meaning when you realize that Mykan went through with this because he hates Twilight (the fact that the characters proceed to blame Twilight for her own death should give that away). Also not helping matters is how Lightning responds to the horrendous act that had just occurred:
    "And he threw his head high up into the air and let out a very loud and mournful NEIGHjust like the pony he was."
  • After Cadance runs away in Starfleet Magic IV, she later returns as a ninja. For no particular reason, Princess Cadance of all ponies just happens to get a ninja Super Mode. It's so random that it borders on farcical.
  • Lightning Dawn can't bring himself to tell Sunset Shimmer and the rest of human cast that Twilight Sparkle is dead and lies to them by saying... that she has a cold. And they believe him.
  • Starfleet Humans: Starpops is pretty much a rich well of unintentional hilarity in its entirety (mostly due to the villains being gut-bustingly hilarious for all the wrong reasons), but a few moments really stand out:
    • The Starfleet Humans and the HuMane Six forming a twelve person band. They also named their band "Starpops". They get the name from Rhymey's "rhyme" about how he comes up with his "poetry" on Fluttershy: "Oh, it's nothing really, it's not hard, and its really no real dread. When I think of Fluttershy and I look at a Star, it just Pops into my head."note 
    • Earlier, they talk about missing Lightning Dawn... because they cannot come up with a decent name without him. And yes, Lightning is the one that comes up with the actual name based on Rhymey's ridiculous line.
    • The villains of the story (Sirens who?) are the Demonites. They have a cover band with the name D-Man Knights. Their Villain Song is a cover of Michael Jackson's Thriller with THIS as the chorus (and yes, they're meant to be taken 100% seriously, because nothing screams "terrifying villain" like a boy band that sings Michael Jackson covers):
      We are the D-Man... D... Man... Knights
      So learn our names just right and be a...note 
      He-Man, She-Man, Be-Man, C-Man...
      D-Man-Knight!!
    • The Demonites' song gets the entire camp dancing with them; suffice it to say, the mental image of the main villains leading a synchronized "Thriller" dance really isn't as scary as the main characters' reaction make it out to be. For that matter, our heroes being creeped out by what's basically a flash mob is hilarious in and of itself.
    • Despite Mykan changing the lyrics, he still has Blaze sing Michael Jackson's iconic "Ow!" at the end of the song. It just doesn't fit well and it ends up giving the impression that Blaze got hit with something or was dragged offstage by the neck.
    • The Demonites' second Villain Song is a cover of a parody of Lady Gaga's Poker Face (with said parody being incorrectly attributed to Lady Gaga) which includes lyrics such as "have a ball" and "bodacious". No, the fic is not a Stealth Parody, but it certainly could pass for one at this point.
      Can’t defy
      Can’t defy
      The magic music of the
      Demonites

      De De De Demonites
      De De Demonites

      De De De Demonites
      De De Demonites
    • Right before the Demonites perform their second musical number, they strike a "Super Sentai" Stance (complete with each member declaring their own name), making them look less like terrifying world-conquering demons and more like the Ginyu Force. In fact, Mykan links the Ginyu Force theme from Dragon Ball Z: Budokai as the Demonites' introduction.
    • The fact that they are called the Demonites will remind any Team Fortress 2 player of the Demoknight, a certain build for that game's character, the Demoman. This in turn will inspire them to read all of the Demonites' lines in a bad Scottish accent.
    • In order to break the Demonites' control over everyone, Starpops sing a cover of the song from the Arthur special featuring the Backstreet Boys. We are meant to take this seriously, but what makes it even more Narmful is that the lyrics are basically just Lightning singing a love song to Starla. The end result is just completely awkward rather than the powerful moment that was intended.
  • In Starfleet Humans: Starfleet Events, the deaths of Human Lightning Dawn's parents: One day, they were driving with their son when a bully threw a beer can into their car. This apparently caused them to freak out so much that they accidentally crashed, killing them and leaving Lightning an orphan.
  • Human Lightning Dawn has evidently been travelling the world and fighting all sorts of evil paleontologists. So basically, he's a Parody Sue version of Indiana Jones, except he wasn't written to be a parody. He also possesses incredible intelligence and athleticism, has practically every female member of his peer group fawning over him and is a certified teacher despite being younger than 20.
  • Grand Ruler's SPARKLY blood.
  • The Season VII finale has Tree Hugger, Fluttershy, and Rarity all announcing that they're pregnant. At the same time. Yes, Babies Ever After is a thing, but this is the kind of scene you'd find in a cheesy rom-com rather than the action story these fics present themselves as being.
  • The most ironic thing is that out of all of the Starfleet stories, the only two that are readable are his Power Rangers fanfics; Power Rangers Starfleet and Power Rangers Super Starfleet.
  • Also in relation, in the comments on this blog, Mykan states that if a Space Pony and an Equestrian were to mate, the result would always be a Space Pony in spite of Celesto starting out as an Equestrian and the others being his children, technically speaking. It's like if a Saiyan and an Earthling get together; would Mykan call Gohan and Trunks pure-blooded Saiyans because their fathers were Saiyans?
  • Mykan states that he despises Twilight Sparkle for forcing everyone to be friends with each other. However, Starfleet is perfectly sane and rational by forcing everyone to change their species, their way of speech, worship their new god-dictator without question, and submit to their new government with every single naysayer being either locked in an asylum, or brainwashed into agreeing. Moral Myopia doesn't even begin to cover this, and it makes his paragraphs long rant about how she's such a demonic soulless witch for wanting people to be nice to each other look utterly melodramatic.
  • In relation to the above, Mykan's most hated character of the lot is Princess Cadance. Why is this, you may ask? Because she's Happily Married, Beast Boy and Davis Motomiya didn't get with Terra and Kari respectively, and he made a personal vow never to fall in love even in his adult years because he's afraid of rejection. Somehow, Cadance having a husband goes against his entire worldview. And yet somehow, it's okay for Lightning Dawn and Starla Shine to have a relationship and eventually wed, and it's also perfectly fine for him to ship Rhymey with Fluttershy, Celesto with Celestia, Artie Bristles with Sunset Shimmer, Spike with Rarity, and Buddy Rose with Tree Hugger. Just the sheer fact that he's willing to get on somepony's case for getting married when he's just as guilty of the same thing is simply amusing.
  • In the comments section of the blog, after it is pointed out that solar powered trains are not effective, he pretty much ignores this, then he has a Dyson Sphere explained to him, and is asked why Starfleet doesn't have one. He says because it would generate too much heat. After it is further explained, he clarifies what he actually meant. Please don't bang your head on the desk.
    No, no... my dyson vaccum[sic], which is powered by Electricity as well, gets really hot after use.
  • In the first episode of the eighth season, the royal dancers put on a show for a foreign ruler consisting of...disco dancing and hula hooping. Somehow, said ruler finds this show impressive.
  • When Striker hits Lightning with a shot of magic that causes him to fire his blaster at Queen Mowaza, the narration actually describes the whole sequence of Lightning crying out in horror, Grand Ruler and Celestia pulling the queen out of the way and the blast going out the window and exploding harmlessly in slow motion. To top it all off, the blaster had already been set to "capture", so there was no need for the dramatics.
  • The secondary plot of season VIII is a Whole Plot Reference to Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad. The problem is that the story states emphatically that, despite having advanced computer systems, United Equestria chose not to develop an Internet because they were convinced the cons outweighed the pros. Not only does the premise shoot itself in the foot (after all, you can't do a plot where Everything Is Online if there is no "online") and require Voodoo Sharks to hold itself aloft, it also makes the Space Ponies come off as completely lacking innovation; you'd think that a space-faring race would see the benefits of having an easily-accessible global communications system and information repository.
  • Rarity and Spike's daughter is, obviously, a hybrid between a pony and a dragon. While she can be perfectly reasonably classified as a kirin (not to be confused with the ones from "Sounds of Silence"), Mykan refuses to use that term as he initially didn't believe that kirin were a thing and instead goes for the infinitely sillier-sounding "dragony".
  • In "Babies Make Three", the names of the newborn children leave a lot to be desired. "Seedling" is arguably the most tolerable of the lot due to at least sounding like a pony name, and "Twilight Sparkle-Scales" is a bit on-the-nose, but "Button Fly" is just plain absurd and nonsensical (unsurprisingly, it was coined by Rhymey) and has nothing to do with anything aside from being a zero-effort rhyme with "Fluttershy", and it also sounds like something you'd find in the crotch area on a pair of corduroys.
  • The Big Bad of Season IX is described to "[roar] like a fowl beast" during his introduction. It is difficult to not imagine him as a giant rooster after that.
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