- Written by Katie Cook, Drawn by Andy Price, Colored by Heather Breckel
A story focused on how Shining Armor and Princess Cadance became a couple. The story takes homage to 1980s teen high school comedies, and the title itself is a parody of Say Anything....
A week prior to the Summer Wrap-Up and Hoedown, the Mane 6 are enjoying tea with Shining and Cadance, when the question of how they met comes up. Shining starts to explain that in Canterlot Academy, he was a bit of a nerd along with his friends Poindexter, Gaffer, and 8-bit. After a scuffle with the polo team captain and local bully Buck Withers, Shining sees Cadance up close for the first time, and immediately falls in love. The beauty of Cadance leaves Shining love-struck, and his three friends agree to help Shining win Cadance's hoof for the next school dance. They first arrange to have Cadance foal-sit Twilight to help get Shining to meet her outside of school. Then, during the big pep rally, the group perform an epic song in front of the whole school to show off Shining's personality. While Cadance seems pleased with the song, Buck quickly ridicules the group with the rest of the school following suit. They come with the idea to sabotage the polo match to make Buck storm off in a huff leaving Shining free to ask Cadance. However, their sabotages only serve to allow Buck to win the match. Shining is heartbroken as Buck asks Cadance to the dance.
At this point in the present, Cadance takes over the narrative, asserting that Shining might have exaggerated a few things. Telling her side of the tale, Cadance reveals that she was similarly in love with Shining at first sight, and with filly Twilight's help during foal-sitting, assured she and Shining were a perfect match. She was more infatuated with him from his parade song, and annoyed at Buck's attempt to shut them down. After overhearing the sister of one of Shining's friends mention Shining's crush on a certain mare, Cadance fears that Shining won't ask her to the dance, and accepts Buck's offer. As she is getting ready with her own friends, she admits that she would rather be going to the dance with Shining, and will try to ditch Buck at the first chance. Meanwhile, Shining and his friends plan a complicated ruse to distract Buck to allow time for Shining to approach Cadance.
At the dance, Cadance sees Shining with his "date", a crossdressing Poindexter, and realizes she can easily go through with her plan, and dumps Buck then and there; Buck realizes that she's about to go off with Shining. With Gaffer and 8-Bit using harnesses from the gym's rafters to annoy Buck, Shining and Cadance are able to have their moment together. Cadance and Buck are unsuprisingly announced as the Queen and King of the dance, and Buck rubs this into Shining's face. However, before he can dance with Cadance, Shining and the rest of the student body stand up, showing how much a bully Buck has been and that Shining is the better pony for Cadance. Shining tricks Buck into one of the harnesses, leaving him high aloft as Cadance and Shining enjoy their first dance and kiss together.
In the present, the Mane 6 are happy with the story, but wonder what happened to Buck. Shining reveals - just as Buck walks into the tea room to the shock of the others - that he's gotten much better since high school.
These issues provide examples of:
- Acme Products: Several of the tricks Shining and his friends use on Buck are Acme Products.
- Affectionate Parody: Of the 80s, the whole comic is chocked full of 80s references and even parodies 80s romantic-comedy plots a little.
- Alpha Bitch: Subverted with Cadance, who goes to check on Shining and his friends after they're tripped and is genuinely concerned that Shining's Gibberish of Love means that he's hurt his head.
- All There in the Manual: Word of God states that Buck's right-hoof stallion, the yellow-coated one, is named Flank Thrasher, with a cutie mark that consisted of a band-aid with a "pow" explosion-type effect behind it (this can be made out in some panels, but it's not fully well-defined).
- Anachronic Order: Applejack mentions the Summer Wrap-Up festival, setting of the previous story arc, is right around the corner.
- Attractiveness Isolation: Played straight for Cadance. Unfortunately, it was Buck that asked Cadance out first, and since she didn't turn him down enough, she still ended up going with him.
- Background Halo: Cadance gets one when she helps up Shining Armor.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment:Twilight: Was he a complete dork?
Cadance: Twilight...you should know better.
Shining: Thank you for coming to my defense, my sweet.
Cadance: He's always a bit of a dork.
- Bland-Name Product: "Honey Dew", "Oubliettes and Ogres", "Hocus Pocus: The-Get-Together".
- "We are going to live happily ever after in a crystal castle. I can see it clearly..."
- Shining performs a musical number to get nominated for King of the Fall Formal. His sister eventually did the same thing to get nominated for Princess of a different Fall Formal.
- Character Development: Shining Armor, who many fans have consider getting much more development in just the first issue of the arc than any of his appearances in the show. Gaffer notes that Shining has no character and needs to show off in front of the school.
- Continuity Cameo: Taking place when Twilight was a filly while at Canterlot, a number of other established characters are used the flashback.
- The nerd pony (first seen in "Putting Your Hoof Down") is one of Shining's schoolfriends, though with brown eyes instead of blue ones and named Poindexter instead of Gizmo (his trademarked name from Enterplay's Collectible Card Game demo).
- One of the game figurines is Jim the Troll from Issue #2.
- A filly Vinyl Scratch is seen gaining her musical note cutie mark while watching Shining's song atop her brother (who is named in Issue #12 as 33-1/3 LP).
- 80s Cheerilee appears as a spectator at the parade, and in the yearbook if you have issue 11's Cover A.
- Mayor Mare, a student with her pink mane, comments to Cheerilee about not wanting to go into politics.
- Continuity Nod: Take this with a grain of salt, as Shining Armor is a self-professed Unreliable Narrator.
- A box in storage of the basement where Shining and friends play their game has "Winter Wrap-Up Vests" written on the side.
- Cadance's foalsitting flyer states that she is referred by Celestia, referencing the details of Cadance's story outlined in Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell.
- Twilight Velvet (Twilight and Shining's mother) is implied to be the award-winning author of the Daring Do books, or possibly an award named after Daring Do. (Her blindbag card does say she loves to write about adventures.) A season 4 episode, "Daring Don't", reveals that A.K. Yearling is actually Daring Do herself. It's more likely Twilight Velvet writes side stories, or is possibly her publisher.
- One of the sponsors for the school game is "Quills & Sofas".
- Applejack's comments imply that the visit with Shining Armor and Cadance is set before the events of the last two comics. Even at the end of #11, we jump to Spike and Angel in their busker outfits from that arc, and appearing to have watched Shining's flashback through a penny arcade, while Big Macintosh is in the background looking for nails.
- The origin of Twilight and Cadance's "Sunshine, sunshine..." chant is shown to be based on a schoolyard secrecy oath. Likewise, Pinkie is the only one who understands how important it is to keep a promise.
- Celestia has a journal called "Progress on Sunset Shimmer"; as this story likely takes place before the events of "The Fall of Sunset Shimmer" (due to a background shot of Cadance, Shining, and filly Twi together in that short), this would still have Sunset as Celestia's private student.
- When Cadance and Shining first kiss after ridding themselves of Buck, their horns touch, creating a heart-shaped aura.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: If Twilight and Cadance hadn't made a promise to not tell Shining about their night of list-making, he would have known Cadance returned Shining's feelings much earlier. Shining is not one bit pleased with this.
- Creepy Crossdresser: Poindexter, not only in the cheerleader's outfit, but that he dresses up as Boy George for the show, wears his mother's turtleneck for snooping around, and in the 2-page short, plays a female elf-pegasus character. This goes Up to Eleven when he goes as Shining's date to the dance, fully in crossdress.
- The last one was more Dragged into Drag however as it's mentioned it was punishment for not returning a tabletop role-playing figure to one of Shining Armor's group. He does, however, say several times that he "feels very pretty" while in drag.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Buck Withers. He turns the crowd against Shining Armor and Co.'s performance because Cadance liked it, and when Cadance leaves him at the dance to talk with Shining Armor, and tries bullying him until Cadance comes back.
- Damned by Faint Praise: When trying to let down Buck gently, Cadance says "I just don't deserve a guy like you!" She's right; only if she did something truly awful would Cadance deserve to have somepony like Buck as her special somepony. Buck doesn't take long to realize what she's done.
- Easily Overheard Conversation: Cadance overhears the sister of one of Shining's friends talking the Cheerilee about Shining having a crush on an unnamed mare. Cadance takes this as a sign that Shining doesn't love her.
- The '80s: It's dripping with this. And Cheerilee wasn't kidding when she said all the fillies were wearing their manes like that.
- Empathic Environment: In #12, as Buck moves to ask Cadance first to the dance before Shining, dark storm clouds start to move in. Called forward from #11, that after seeing Buck ask first, Shining walks off under a torrent of rain created by these clouds.
- Epic Fail: Hilariously subverted. Shining Armor's flubbed attempt to say goodbye to Cadance appears this way◊. The subversion comes when the sheer magnitude of the failure warps in upon itself, and Cadance instead sees it as incredibly endearing and falls madly in love with him◊.
- Everyone Went to School Together: A lot of the older ponies in the show apparently went to Canterlot Academy. This picture◊ alone shows Shining Armor, Cadance, Cheerilee, Thunderlane, Soarin', Lyra Heartstrings, Caramel, Minuette, Wheat Grass, Moondancer, and other familiar ponies all attending school at the same time.
- Flashback: Save for some framing set in the present, the story is told in Shining and Cadance's flashback.
- Foregone Conclusion: Shining Armor and Cadance get together by the end.
- Furry Confusion: Polo is the big sport at Canterlot Academy. Of course, in this case, the ponies are the actual players rather than the mounts the players ride.
- In the 2-page short, 8-Bit's dwarfen character - visualized as a shorter pony - asks about getting mounts.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Shining Armor's song for Cadance is an obvious rewrite of Oingo Boingo's "Little Girls," a rather blunt song about pedophilia.
- Shining Armor carries his dice in a purple bag with gold cords that is quite obviously a Crown Royal whiskey bag, famous among gamers for this very use.
- Gibberish of Love: Shining when first meeting Cadance, who takes his babbling as a sign that he hurt his head and should go see the nurse. Invoked again when Cadance and Shining meet at the dance, luckily Cadance finds it kind of endearing.Cadance: I think, by the end of the night, we'll be able to work you all the way up to coherent sentences.
- Happily Ever After: Cadance finishes her story with this. Shining Armor is quick to disagree, because the past tense implies they aren't living happily together every day.
- Hidden Depths: Shining Armor plays Equestria's version of Dungeons & Dragons and plays the flugelhorn. He also plays Equestria's counterpart to Magic: The Gathering.
- Hypocritical Humor: Twilight reveals that a lot of the trouble could have been avoided if she'd just told Shining Cadance liked him, in spite of her promise not to tell what they spent their evening on. Shining yells at her for keeping it a secret, and Pinkie joins him — funny considering she caused a similar problem by not allowing Twilight to tell Rarity and Fluttershy what each had confided to her back in "Green's Not Your Color."
- Imagine Spot: Shining Armor gets one thinking about his future with Cadance. Cadance also has one during her version of the events.
- Internal Homage: One panel in #11 has Spike and Angel, viewing the events of Shining Armor's flashback while the events of #9-10 are still going on.
- Insecure Love Interest: Cadance invokes this to get away to be with Shining Armor. She's actually as confident as they come, but is too kind a pony to even tell Buck to screw off. Buck, however, sees through this a few moments later.
- Jerk Jock: Buck Withers, the main obstacle between Shining and Cadance. Even Princess Celestia can't stand him, telling Cadance to ditch him as soon as she gets the chance.
- Just Friends: Cadance, who has no interest in pursuing a relationship with Buck, uses this to turn him down without being too mean. Unfortunately, Buck just smart enough to realize what she's doing, so she has to be more blunt later on.
- Love at First Sight: Shining for Cadance.
- Lower-Deck Episode: For Cadance and Shining Armor.
- Ludicrous Precision: Twilight has the delivery date for Shining Armor's gift narrowed down to the minute. She must be really confident in the postal system.
- Nice to the Waiter: Shining Armor being kind to everyone in the school works in his favor at the Fall Formal, when everypony calls Buck out on his poor behavior and how Shining Armor is much more admirable than he is.
- Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast: Shining and his friends, and Cadance and her friends, are shown separately getting ready for the dance. With three hours left, the stallions are all ready and decide to engage in a round of HocusPocus: The Get-Together, while mares panic they have only three hours left to get ready.
- Mocking Sing-Song: Twilight when she realizes Cadance has a crush on Shining.Twilight: You liiike him! You think he's cuuute!
- Mundane Made Awesome: Cadance and Twilight on taking notes. I mean, Good Lord! Listen to them!
- My Little Phony: Within the MLP universe; Filly Twilight had a "My Tiny Gecko" poster.
- Nerd: Shining Armor and friends.
- And surprisingly enough Cadance, who seems to best filly Twilight in being prepared for an assignment, has "37 different colors of paper" for her label maker, and carries an abacus in case she needs to work out percentages for a pie chart. Needless to say, the two quickly bond.
- On Second Thought: Cadance confides in Celestia how she'd rather be the date of Shining Armor rather than Buck for the dance. Celestia tells her niece how she's still obligated to try to enjoy her time with Buck and to pursue Shining Armor later... that is, until Buck arrives and opens his mouth. Celestia then whispers to Cadance to dump him at the first chance she gets.
- Opinion Flip-Flop:
- The crowd to Shining and Co's performance at the parade. At first the crowd follows Cadance in applauding the song, then the polo captain starts mocking them, causing the crowd to follow suit.
- At the dance, Buck is voted as the king. But then he starts gloating and revealing his jerkass nature to everyone. The crowd soon turn on him, labeling his bullying actions compared to Shining's generous nature through the semester.
- Origins Episode: Focuses on teenage Shining Armor and Cadance and how they eventually fell in love.
- Pair the Spares: In the present, we see that Buck ended up with Cadance's friend Lemony Gems.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Poindexter, who is dressed as Shining Armor's date largely as part of a plan to woo Cadance. Most of the ponies, including Cadance, manage to see right through it (though it's a relief to her as it dispels any notion of Shining Armor already having a girlfriend.)
- Reformed Bully: Buck, who bullied Shining in high school, appears at the end of the issue. He is now in a relationship with Cadance's friend Lemony Gems and (apparently) on friendly terms with Shining.
- Serious Business: The playground promise Twilight and Cadance make with the former swearing not to tell Shining Armor that Cadance really does like him. Twilight sticks with it until Cadance eventually tells her side of their love story long after they've married. Naturally Pinkie agrees when Shining asks his sister why she didn't bother telling him sooner.
- Schizo Tech: One of Shining's friends is named 8-bit with a Space Invaders cutie mark, showing that, like with "Hearts and Hooves Day", video games likely exist in Equestria.
- Something Else Also Rises: Cadance's reaction to Shining's performance has leaning fully on her front hooves staring ahead, her heart beating out of chest (in cartoon fashion), and her wings fully open (a possible Ascended Meme reflecting a "wingboner").
- Springtime for Hitler: All of Shining and his geeky friends' efforts to sabotage Buck only make him look good.
- Stalker with a Crush: Cadance has shades of this, imploring Twilight to tell her every relevant bit of information about Shining Armor.
- Stylistic Suck: Shining Armor's childish, crayon-drawn Imagine Spot (this was actually drawn by one of the staff's children).
- Super OCD: Twilight and Cadance both exhibit this, spending an entire night making a variety of lists and charts just to determine that Cadance and Shining are meant to be together.
- Switching P.O.V.: Issue #11 shows events from Shining's point of view; Issue #12 shows some of the same events, but now from Cadance's side. Eventually both stories combine at the dance.
- Tacky Tuxedo: Shining and friends. More specifically, Shining's might as well be the trope image for this, 8-bit's in a brown plaid, and Gaffer's in a tuxedo tee-shirt.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Buck in the present.
- True Companions: Shining Armor's friends who more then willingly try to help him woo Cadance.
- Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Both Shining and Cadance's groups concoct plans to get Shining and Cadance together at the dance, if for entirely different reasons. The stallions genuinely want Shining to get his happy ever after, while the mares just want a shot at Buck Withers for themselves.
- Unreliable Narrator: Shining embellishes how suave he was in his first meeting with Cadance. In reality, he was too lovestruck to utter a single word. This apparently runs in the family, as Cadance calls him out on his exaggeration of the story at the end of #11. Twilight then reveals that Shining and Twilight's dad exaggerates the story even more.
- Unsound Effect:
- "Insert bowling pin sound effect HERE"