Fluttershy notices that Princess Celestia is holding an “Extreme Art” Contest in Canterlot, with credit being given to the most creative and original. She immediately tenses up, because it turns out she secretly has a habit of sculpting through knitting. In spite of being terrified that no one will like her art, she decides to participate wearing an elaborate disguise. At the gallery, an art critic named Praiser Pan makes the rounds through the gallery saying how terrible every entry is, prompting the other highbrows in Canterlot to say the same, including her own entry. Fluttershy tries to slink off in embarrassment, until one of those unicorns with Pan ends up being Rarity, who immediately recognizes her and unveils both her identity as well as her being the artist. As her work continues to get slammed, Fluttershy moves to destroy it in agreement with the critics, but in the end realizes in spite of what people say she still likes it and refuses. Soon after, Princess Celestia walks by and says she likes the artwork, which immediately prompts her former critics to change their tune so that they aren’t in disagreement with her. Celestia gives Fluttershy an award for being one of the most original at the exhibit, and she writes later about the importance of not letting criticism keep you from expressing yourself.
This one deserves as much of a weird look as modern art.
It’s a bit better than I remember on a second reading, but the fact is it seems very “awkward” compared to the others. I’m not sure if Fluttershy’s comments about the “grotesquery” of her art are supposed to be serious or her just overreacting, but it comes off as oddly serious between the style of the comic and the setup. Maybe I just don’t understand “art-speak”…
The pacing is weird based on the art style. The thing is Rarity’s Micro-Series seemed to run unnaturally long because there was a lot of dialog crushed into a lot of small panels. This one is only a little dialog in a lot of big panels, and so the entire story reads a lot faster. It gives the impression of a much smaller and less-poignant story. With less allusions and gags compared to other arcs, as well as less emotion and the fact that, as in Rainbow Dash’s arc, Fluttershy somewhat “shares the spotlight” with Rarity, and it doesn’t make for a really “feels” story.
Lastly, there’s the fact that this arc came out before Season Four’s “Filli Vanilli”, when this same kind of story was handled better: Fluttershy has a love for something artistic that she’s too embarrassed to show everyone and learns to not let fear of rejection hold her back. This one, I suppose, is a bit superior in telling the moral because it hits the fact that it doesn’t matter what people say; to paraphrase the fansong “Magic”: “The most important thing is to enjoy what you do.” But overall it’s a much more condensed and less-entertaining story, and the gamut of emotions Fluttershy goes through seems to be somewhat random.
So in short…yeah, the message is good and it’s alright, but I don’t think it measures up to the rest of the Micro-Series.
When Fluttershy sees the poster, I think she’s drawn in such a way that she practically looks like her Equestria Girls humanized counterpart. Maybe it’s just me…
When we first see the “Chamber of Extreme Knitting”, one of the knit sculptures is one of the gremlins from Rainbow Dash’s Micro-Series. Didn’t need a reminder of that…
When Angel tries to encourage Fluttershy to participate, one of the guises he puts on has a long curvy mustache. That may be Salvador Dali.
The various artworks in the gallery are scenes from the show and the comic series “artistically redone”.
The “knit wig” Pinkie Pie is wearing in the last panel bears a striking resemblance to the ones she brings along for Season Four’s “Rainbow Falls”. Intriguing as that episode hadn’t come out when this comic was published.
2.5 Stars out of 5