Analyzing “Ask Pinkamena Diane Pie”

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Ask Pinkamena Diane Pie was a short-lived tumblr ask blog starring the straight-haired Pinkie Pie that everyone knows from The Cutie Mark Chronicles and, more prominently, Party of One. The comic was a riff on the infamous Cupcakes fanfiction, in which Pinkie Pie horrifically murders Rainbow Dash, and makes a suit out of her wings, while grinding the rest of her into cupcakes or something like that. I haven’t actually read cupcakes because it’s notoriously awful, but it was also the launching point for an assload of dark, disturbing MLP fanworks which are collectively referred to as “grimdark.”

I have nothing against grimdark as a concept, and if anything, I’m more or less a fan of extremely violent stories. Like any story, what matters isn’t really the concept but the execution, and the Ask Pinkamena tumblr is the best-executed grimdark MLP fanwork that I’ve seen.

I wish I knew more about how the tumblr came to be, or what it was like when it was running. From what I understand, it became fairly popular and was very influential in the world of pony ask blogs. However, the author apparently didn’t like the attention and closed it down. Now, we only have an incomplete archive of the original tumblr’s pages, with small parts of the storyline lost in the void. The author has changed profiles and accounts on art websites so many times, that I’m not even sure I should share their current names, for fear of driving attention their way again.

As for what the tumblr was, it was a gritty, very stylish ask blog, in which straight-haired Pinkie would horribly murder ponies and generally be moody and hate life, in-between answering questions. Before long, she took in Scootaloo as an assistant, and they had a great dynamic together. Right before the blog ended, Mrs. Cake also became a part of the murder party, after the realization that she was eating her husband turned her on.

Pinkamena Diane Pie is about as grim as it can get, with mutilation, sexual violence, and all other morally dubious ideas being more or less celebrated, but what makes it special for me is that the tumblr has a kind of chipper attitude about it all. Even though Pinkamena is depressed, the tumblr rarely feels like a sadfic, and even though the pages often have a comedic and sadistic slant, it never feels like the author is just relishing in doing mean things to ponies. Rather, Pinkamena comes off as a sympathetic and well-realized character.

The most interesting aspect of this tumblr is actually that Pinkamena’s life is on the upswing. As the comic goes on, she find that she’s been less depressed, and increasingly values her friendship with Scootaloo. Rather than enjoying murder and rape out of bitterness, she seems to be taking passion in them and enjoying herself, which is probably why her story is resonant with people who are passionate about things themselves. In the comic where Pinkie is bragging about the outifts that she’s made, using phrases like “the art piece formerly known as Fluttershy,” she’s enjoying herself so much that we can step into her world and feel her enjoyment over what she’s doing.

The artwork of Ask Pinkamena is dark, atmospheric, and brilliant. The use of all red tones and a dirty-looking brush style give it a blood-soaked basement atmosphere, and there’s often a feeling of claustrophobia, as Pinkamena holds the fourth-wall camera way too close to her face. Her demented expressions are a ton of fun, and of course, I can’t get enough of the dark circles around her eyes. The art style reminds me a lot of Tamaoki Benkyou’s work, especially Tokyo Akazukin, which is one of my favorite manga, and whose protagonist has similar interests and appearance to Pinkamena.

The entirety of Ask Pinkamena Diane Pie can be read in like fifteen minutes, and it’s a little sad that there isn’t more of it, but at the same time, I think it accomplished all that it needed to. It created a hell of a lot of atmosphere and character in such a short time, and definitely serves as an inspiration to me, and to MizuTakishima, who drew the excellent background for this video.

I’m not sure where the author was going with the addition of Mrs. Cake, and maybe they weren’t sure either. The last page is a clear farewell, playing to the biggest narrative strengths of the story. Its final message tugs at the heartstrings, and appears in the song Never Never Never by SoGreatandPowerful and Psychedelic Brony, which was my introduction to the ask blog. As the tumblr fades into obscurity, I’ll always remember it as one of the few works that took My Little Pony into a dark and terrifying direction, and did it with meaning and resonance. Now let’s have a sing-along, shall we?

4 thoughts on “Analyzing “Ask Pinkamena Diane Pie”

  1. Pinkamena is a alter-ego personality that was quite a huge hit after the fanfic. Personally, I embrace another side to Pinkie Pie, but I feel that Pinkamena isn’t a character I can empathize with nor one that I think would fit Pinkie at all.

    Of course I’m comparing her to canon Pinkie Pie, but you’d be surprised by how many fanfics reference Pinkamena as if she were canon. Many authors have portrayed Pinkie’s hair deflating and inflating multiple times in as many paragraphs. Other authors have had characters literally say things such as “Is it Pinkie, or Pinkamena?” As if the characters both acknowledge that Pinkie has multiple personalities and that they accept it!

    In other words, I’m not a huge fan of reading about Pinkie’s alter-ego unless it’s the focus of the fanfic, and the author is trying to portray Pinkie in a different light. Usually authors do a pretty bad job with her character, and the end result is often very cliché and very monotonous.

  2. In an odd, kind of shallow way, “this is the sort of post I like to read.” Not really, of course. What I mean is “I like how you approached this topic, and you said exactly the sorts of things that really get me going, and said them more concisely.”

    Think it borrowed from Sweeney Todd? Never read/saw it, but I’m just curious.

    I really liked Tokyo Akazukin, which I finally decided to read because you’ve mentioned it so often. Sure, the last volume was wacky. But, like folktales in their earlier forms (before the Perrault and Grimm bullshit that morally and narratively backfired), the mangaka really deals with the specter of the crippingly evil and the horrifically dark. In folktales, rape is insinuated, as well as other moral lapses and forms of neglect. And you know what? Sometimes it’s most appropriate in certain scenarios for the “good” to murder. It isn’t that evil isn’t real within context, or that you can hand-wave it away. Nor is that the insane or murderous behave acceptably. What moves us, though, is deeper and right understanding. You cover that in this post, which I very much like.

    Having read very many (I’d taken a course on the topic and on the broader concept of “children’s fiction”) versions of the tale (“The Story of Grandmother” is the most resonant), Tokyo Akazukin strikes me…in a deeper sense, as “good art,” at the least because (aside from awesome ambience, murder, a favorite loli of mine, etc.) it admits—and makes sure to get down right—that shit really is scary and fucked-up, and even people stuck in these scenarios have to do the best that they can. I can forgive the arguable/occasional clumsiness and craziness, because it’s largely intended, and because it WORKS.

    I’ll read “Ask” right now. I’ll Tweet you once I’ve finished it.

    • It doesn’t remind me of Sweeney in any way, no.

      But the extent to which it reminds me of Tokyo Aka is greater even than I implied. I really think what Ask Pinkamena was working towards, and the note it ended on, was the development of a sort of familial unit of psychopaths circling Pinkamena, which is pretty much what Tokyo Aka achieved before it went completely batshit. They both have that camaraderie and self-help through atrocity thing going on, which for whatever reason I find utterly fascinating.

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