Monday, June 19, 2017

Character Analysis: Juniper Montage

First off, I want to say sorry for a severe lack of updates on this blog; the school quarter's nearly done, my family and I are beginning to pack up and move to Oregon, and I'm trying to socialize a little more and maybe find myself a date, which is easier said than done. So I haven't been fully motivated to write up reviews unless I risk coming off as unprofessional as I felt back in 2014. Don't worry; the season seven reviews for MLP will be up soon whenever I can be bothered (next week, at least!)

All that said, and having seen the three Equestria Girls specials (yes, the English dubs have been released in Poland), I can share my thoughts on this year's token newbie - Juniper Montage!

The following post contains spoilers; reader discretion is advised.

You know, it feels like yesteryear when I said Starlight Glimmer had the worst bad guy redemption in modern MLP history; literally a watered down attempt at copying Sunset's arc, but it didn't work because... well, you already know my reasons by now.

But then Legend of Everfail came around and its "villain", Gloriosa Daisy, came off even worse. Not only was her villainy non-subtle and predictable, her motivations were all because she couldn't pay to save her camp, making her come off as unsympathetic and annoying. (Not that her brother was any better, but still.) Heck, Principal Cinch wanting to maintain her reputation was a credible reason for her actions, and she's almost universally despised.

Which brings me to Juniper Montage. (I'd have waited till the specials properly aired in America, but she annoys me so much that I had to get it out of the way, hence the spoiler tag near the top.)

I'm gonna say it right now; Juniper Montage is a worthless brat. Okay, to be fair, she does love her uncle Canter Zoom and is a bit of a Daring Do fanatic, but those are really the only positive traits about her, everything else about Juniper is terrible, and you better believe I'll get to why.

First off, she sabotages the set of the Daring Do movie, all because she was swept aside in favor of Chestnut Magnifico for the lead role and despises the actress. Really? That's it? Oh, but it gets better(!) - it's because the actress kept eating her favorite candy. It's like taking revenge because somebody else got an item off eBay that you wanted.

Second, there's her revenge in Mirror Magic (the worst of the three specials by a long shot), and suddenly, all her positive traits are thrown out the window for plot convenience. The Human Seven were doing the right thing, and she blames them for her failure. (Sound familiar?) And how does she get back at them? By sending them into a white void with a mirror! Yes, it may have been an accident, but all it does is make Juniper more petty than she was.

Then there's her character itself - it's boring! She's the type of villain we've seen many times before; appears sweet and innocent (Starlight Glimmer), became corrupt with power out of jealousy (Princess Luna/Nightmare Moon), wants to be adored (the Dazzlings), and transforms into some kinda supernatural demon (Sunset Shimmer, Sci-Twi). None of this is new or interesting at all!

And to solidify my point, Juniper is easily forgiven at the end... and it's also boring! We've seen it one time too many (both in FiM and EG) and it's gotten stale by this point! I may have said prior to season six that bad guy redemptions were starting to become stupid and annoying, but now they're stupid, annoying, and ridiculous!

Also, Pinkie's line about the group being forgiving is utterly groan-worthy. Whilst it's true, it feels like a half-assed way to acknowledge fan criticisms rather than actually working on the issues of storytelling. Aren't there better ways of taking criticism to heart than using the franchise's comic relief as a mouthpiece?

On a side note, I'm honestly getting sick of the show's sugarcoated "sunshine and rainbows" approach on friendship. I get it; the show's theme is friendship, but the reality is that not everybody gets along with each other, and friendship is a lot more complicated than just getting along. Heck, this is why I loved Amending Fences so much; Twilight and Moon Dancer's reunion wasn't just hugs and laughter. The former felt bad for unintentionally hurting the latter without realizing it, and wanted to do whatever she could to try and make up for her mistake. It felt real.

As for Juniper Montage? Her acceptance of friendship is forced and feels artificial. I know some will argue, "Oh, but the book gave her a friendless background and she showed remorse!" But A) I don't care that much for the books, and B) if it was true, they could've said a line or had a scene referencing it rather than just adding it in the book because adaptation or making up an explanation on Twitter (I'm looking at you, Indigo Zap!). The books and the episodes/films/specials are two different mediums, and you'd just be comparing apples and oranges.

Poorly written, and with motivations that are stupid and petty, I can only rank Juniper Montage as the worst villain in the entire franchise, if not animated media in general. At least Starlight has a bit of charm to her if you take a step back (especially after a few episodes out of season seven); Juniper is just a pathetic, immature brat to the core.

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