Tag: dnn

The Toy Fair Report

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On Friday, Hasbro made their annual presentation at Toy Fair NYC for investors and shareholders. In regards to My Little Pony, apart from the new toys coming,  it’s all about the movie for 2017. The movie, due to be released on October 6th, is billed to be a “whole new entry point” for people who are not already familiar to the franchise in its current form. According to MLP franchise lead, Tyla Bucher, the promotion of the movie will begin with Friendship Day sometime in July and then a product launch in August. Promotional partners are expected to take the brand to “unexpected places.”

Hasbro’s Head of Storytelling Meghan McCarthy was on hand to give a brief description of the new characters to be introduced in the movie:
• Capper – Con Artist Cat, turned hero  (Taye Diggs)
• Tempest – A Unicorn Who’s broken horn speaks to a troubled past (Emily Blunt)
• Songbird Serenade – The Hottest musical act in Equestria (Sia)
• Grubber – Hilarious bumbling side kick to The Storm King (Michael Peña)
• The Storm King – Big Bad Villain of the Movie (Liev Schreiber)
• Captain Caelano – Dynamic Leader of the Parrot Pirate Crew (Zoe Saldana)
• Qyeen Novo – Regal Ruler of the Sea Ponies (Uzo Aduba)
• Skystar – Energetic Daughter of Queen Novo (Kristen Chenoweth)

In addition, Blunt, Sia, Chenoweth, and Diggs will take part in five of the seven songs for the movie.

Perhaps the bigger story was a slide indicating that “The Magic Continues” in 2018. Many will speculate that means an eighth season of Friendship is Magic. We shall see for certain as Season Seven is set to begin this Spring. Whatever way you look at it, My Little Pony is not going anywhere soon and the movie is billed as “just the beginning” as it enters a new phase (not necessarily a new generation).

There was a brief mention of the reboot of Littlest Pet Shop during the presentation which is said to be in its early stages. LPS fans can expect digital  shorts in the Fall and a new animated series set for 2018.

StatManDan

SU Review: “The New Crystal Gems”

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So while Steven and the Crystal Gems were in outer space rescuing Greg, Connie went to Steven’s house where she meets Lapis and Peridot. They try to fill the roles of the Gems. Connie will play the part of Steven, Peridot will be “The Garnet”, Lapis will be Amethyst, and Pumpkin will be Pearl. Their first misson:  Clean the head on top of Mayor Dewey’s van. Despite trying to act out the Gems’ roles, Peridot does her thing levitating the van while Lapis waterbends to wash the car and Connie and Pumpkin dries. That works out well, but when half the town comes to see the spectacle, things unravel.

Peridot slips into Peridot mode because she feel Lapis is not fully performing as Amethyst. A quarrel ensues and Yellow Tail’s truck ends up in the sign. Since Connie is not Steven, she settles things with an angry speech instead of a typical Steven speech (which could be angry at times) and says it’s okay that they are not the Crystal Gems, they are the Crystal Temps and fix the mess and present Greg with a new sign for the car wash.

It was nice to see the dynamic between Connie, Peridot, and Lapis. Peridot and Lapis are a great comedy tandem whenever they are together. While Lapis may go a bit Dory in remembering Connie, she does do a reasonably well Amethyst. This was really a breather episode after last week’s arc, but was a pretty funny episode featuring the neat collection of secondary characters.

GRADE:  B+

StatManDan

Inside the Numbers: Hasbro’s 2016 Q4 Earnings

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Hasbro continues to be buoyed by Partner Brands such as Star Wars, Disney Princess, Disney’s Frozen, and DreamWorks’ Trolls. Hasbro was up 11% in Q4 compared to this time last year while revenues were up 13% for the year and topped $5 billion for the first time in company history.

Nerf continued its winning streak in Q4 and the year as a whole among franchise brands. Transformers experienced ‘double-digit growth’ in the second half the year according to Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner and is set up nicely for their next movie coming out in June. For the quarter, Transformers, Nerf, and Monopoly grew. For the year as a whole, it was Nerf, Play-Doh, and Magic: The Gathering.

As for My Little Pony, it was down for the year domestically, but up internationally.

My Little Pony revenues declined last year, but grew in the International segment,” said Goldner in the Earnings Conference Call as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. Brand engagement continues to build through multi-screen storytelling, and we have an innovative and robust line with new characters and worlds. Retailers and consumer products licensees are significantly supporting both [Transformers and MLP] films. The MLP movie comes out in October.

We are going to know a lot more about MLP around February 18th when Toy Fair NYC begins. It has been a main source for upcoming MLP projects in the past and with the movie and Season 7 coming up, things should be no different. This year was a bit of an off year for the MLP franchise, but Hasbro is expected to pick things up with the ponies this year.

StatManDan

SU Review: “That Will Be All”

In this fifth and final part of the arc, Steven and Greg are taken to a a group of amethysts which include Amethyst and a jasper and a carnelian. Everything’s cool and they’ll help Steven and Greg break free. Meanwhile, Blue Diamond has arrived and goes to a room of quartzes that have been bubbled when Yellow Diamond makes a visit. Yellow wants Blue to shatter the gems, but Blue is hesitant since the gems are still representative of Pink Diamond.

We get our first villain song where Yellow misses her too, but wants Blue to move on. It’s a setup for perhaps the remainder of the season. However, that part of the story will have to wait as we still need to get Steven and Greg back home. Blue Agate ultimately discovers the ruse, but is stopped from doing anything by fusion again Garnet and Pearl who tells “Holly Blue” to keep her mouth shut as the Diamonds probably wouldn’t go for rebel gems infiltrating a facility and escaping with a pair of humans.

So, what to think here? We get some midseason world building (we’re still in the middle of Season Four) with the introduction of Blue Diamond and what she is all about. She seems to be a bit more merciful if not still mourning the loss of Pink Diamond. We are certain to know more about this as the season progresses. Steven will still probably seek some answers into the story behind his Mom shattering Pink Diamond. To me, all of this is midseason setup for what is to come the rest of this season.

Overall, the arc as a whole was good, though it really doesn’t do anything more than to set up the remainder of the season and beyond and to introduce Blue Diamond. Steven is returning to a weekly schedule at least for the rest of this month on Friday nights at 7pm ET/6pm CT on Cartoon Network.

Pluses and Minuses:

  • +  World building
  • +  Introduction of Blue Diamond
  • +  Gems:  How do the work in the gem world?
  • –  Zoo humans are one-dimensional and made mundane
  • –  Does little else but build up for later

GRADES:

  • Steven’s Dream:  A-
  • Adventures in Light Distortion:  B+
  • Gem Heist:  A
  • The Zoo:  C
  • That Will Be All:  A-
  • Average:  B+

StatManDan

SU Review: Four Episode StevenBomb Catchup

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SU Review: “Steven’s Dream” and “Adventures in Light Distortion”

Welcome to “Steven Bomb 5” where five episodes in four days essentially make a five-part episode a la Thundercats, He-Man, Ducktales, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, etc. the only difference being that Steven’s episodes are 11 minutes in length. Also, I managed to avoid seeing the leaked episodes and this review is for fellow people who managed to wait until the airings on Cartoon Network in the US.

We start with “Steven’s Dream” which doesn’t appear to be sad, but it ends with Steven in tears. He recognizes a structure that in one of Connie’s books is a palanquin. When he tries to ask the gems about, Amethyst doesn’t know, Pearl is evasive, and Garnet says “DON’T GO THERE.” Frustrated that he feels he’s being lied too and the Gems’ lack of transparency in regards to Rose and Pink Diamond, Greg and Steven go to South Korea to see this palanquin. They see it, but they also see a blue one. They also encounter a pearl for whom Steven’s tears are flowing from and, drumroll please, Blue Diamond!

Greg approaches and tries to sympathize with Blue Diamond with the former losing Rose and the latter at the site where Pink Diamond was shattered. Blue Diamond then takes Greg to outer space which leads to “Adventures in Light Distortion.”

Steven and the Gems plan to use the Ruby ship to pursue as they deduct that Greg is being take to Pink Diamond’s Zoo to be an exhibit. After hitting the Rubies on the way, they go warp speed using the gravity engine. Since the Gems’ bodies are made of light, they are distorted to the size of the Rubies. Steven tries to make adjustments, but can’t get it right and they go super warp speed towards the zoo. Steven then feels despondent because he was rushing to rescue Dad and wanting to know more about the palanquin. Steven gets out of the BSOD, the Gems are back to normal, and we will continue with Tuesday’s episode (“Gem Heist”).

Here I’m going to do something different with grading. I’ll grade all five episodes after Thursday’s episode since this is de facto a five-part arc much like certain shows in the 1980s did. We are formally introduced to Blue Diamond and she is a bit despondent about losing Pink. Certainly we’ll get to know more in the next three parts, but I have to say that “Adventures in Light Distortion” is one of those where it’s exactly what it says on the tin. I’m not sure if they were going for a bit of a breather before the big battle coming up, but there was really nothing much more than that.

Again, grades for all five parts will come Thursday.

StatManDan


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SU Review: “Gem Heist”

In Part 3 of the “Out of this World” arc, we travel to the Human Zoo where the Gems must play the parts they were meant to on Homeworld not to arouse suspicion. Garnet will break up into Sapphire and Ruby while Pearl acts like a pearl and Ametyhst as a guard to blend in with two other amethysts. They come across what presumable is the head of the prison Blue Agate. They take the nickel tour of the facility, ultimately “Esteban” gets separated from the group and is sent through the assimilation chamber where he does get to his Dad while the Gems await Blue Diamond’s arrival.

This is a world-building and exposition part of the arc it portrays Blue Diamond as someone who dedicating her life to carry on Pink Diamond’s legacy by maintaining the prison. We’ll see if the ‘merciful’ part holds up. Again, this part was setup for parts 4 and 5, the former of which comes on Wednesday.

To repeat, no grades until after the fifth and final part.

StatManDan


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SU Review: “The Zoo”

Steven meets with Greg in the Zoo and they are not alone. There are other humans who are descendants of humans captured by gems thousands of years ago. They have never seen Earth before. (Sure, this isn’t creepy.) Steven and Greg do through the daily routine which is similar to how a master commands a pet to sit up, roll over, and fetch a stick (Good dog!).

Steven and Greg to find a door that might lead to the way out. They are told that “long ago” gems entered through the door after humans were ‘hurt’. It’s not the kind of hurt that Steven gives Greg (seriously, I am not going to call him what the other humans are calling him). Before another plan, it’s time for “the choosening” which is gem for Spin the Bottle. Two humans are “choosened” to live together. Greg is selected to be “choosened” with a girl, but tries to get out of it because that’s not how things work on Earth (like when Rose and Greg chose each other).

When the rest of the humans attempt to choose Greg, Greg refuses and the other humans are “hurt”. Amethysts come left and right through the door to try to console the humans and one of them captures Steven and Greg before they could escape.

So we get to see how humans are held captive in the Pink Diamond Zoo, and it was done better in “The Cutie Map” with Starlight’s Village. It might have been the point to make these humans one-note since they have never seen Earth before, but not since the TV show Dinosaurs have we seen humans as pets (101 Dalmatians doesn’t count) and well, that’s how it looks here and it actually makes things a bit mundane. Hopefully, things will pick up in the fifth and final part of the arc.

StatManDan

MLP Season Six in Review

I knew I forgot something! Actually, I didn’t because I had tons of other things going on between the end of “To Where and Back Again” and now. Anyway, admittedly this season was not as stellar as Seasons Four and Five. It was not as mindblowing as Season Four or emotionally pulling as Season Five. It was still an enjoyable season nonetheless. As usual, we go from 24th to 1st. Of course with time, opinions tend to change about certain episodes and indeed, I’ve adjusted the grades of some episodes in Season Six. You’ll find out which ones along the way. So let’s get to it!

Read more →

Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! – Days Gone By

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Source: MLP: FIM, Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000

As 2016 winds to an end, I want to do something different.  Rather than reflect upon the show directly, I want to celebrate a very minor detail in pony apocrypha.  Last year, Hasbro released an album, “It’s a Pony Kind of Christmas.”  The songs on it have a wide range.  Some are quite beautifully scored, and some are tender, but for the most part, the appeal of the album is its whimsical nature – and unapologetic corniness.

One track on it, however, stands out above the others.  The Apple Family’s version of Auld Lang Syne.  Like all the songs on the album, it’s a classic tune with altered lyrics.  This version is about family.  Nostalgia. Tradition.  Solid subject matter for Applejack, for obvious reasons.  However, whoever put this song together snuck something else in there.  Something deeper.  “Days Gone By” is not just a generic song about family.  It captures something extremely specific.   It is all  about paying tribute to family members who aren’t with us.

Have a look at the opening lines:

“When family cannot be here
Havin’ journeyed far and wide
We sing a song to honor them
To remember days gone by.”

The song doesn’t say so directly, of course, but it really feels – to me at least – like Applejack is singing about her dead parents.  The specific words that were chosen are very reminiscent of the way one talks about one’s ancestors, or the recently departed.  You don’t “sing a song to honor” your cousin who couldn’t make it to a New Year’s eve party, no matter how much you love them.  That’s how you celebrate those no longer with us.

The entire song lends itself to duel interpretation.  Even the lyrics put in there to be reassuring (that the song is about something other than honoring the dead) – come off as merely metaphorical.  The departed are not there because they are “journeying,” or in later verses, “across seas far and wide.”   These lyrics almost paint a picture of death as a sort of new beginning.  After all, the moral of the song is that those whom we love are still with us in spirit, and that the way to honor them is to tell stories of days gone by.

If you haven’t heard the album, I would strongly recommend, at the very least, to give this song a listen.  Why?  Because 2016 sucked.

It was a year of tremendous loss – not just of the countless beloved celebrities – people who made remarkable contributions to the world – but on and intimate level too.  A lot of us lost loved ones.  Family members.  Pets.  You’d be hard-pressed to find somebody who doesn’t, in some way, feel like this entire year is cursed.  It’s even been a running gag all over the Internet that, this New Year’s, rather than celebrating the birth of 2017, we will all be celebrating the death of 2016.

As cute as that sounds, I think we have an opportunity to make more of it than that.  Let’s take this opportunity to honor those we have lost in 2016 – to celebrate their lives, and the many ways, however small, that our own lives were changed because of their contributions.  Let’s celebrate that we are still here.

Even as we face what is sure to be a tumultuous and uncertain future, let us look to those who made a difference for us in our pasts, and with those memories, plant a seed of responsibility – a dedication to make a difference for others, and to live out the legacies of those we have lost.  I’m not talking about lame resolutions we all break two weeks into December.  I’m talking about a way of looking at the world – a way of looking at our heroes, and using them as a source of inspiration.

Few of us get memes made about us when we pass, nor are we talked about on television, but we can leave our own legacies behind through the people whose lives we touch – through lives well lead.  And while we’re still here, let’s look back at those who paved the way for us in our own lives, and raise our cider mugs high.

-Sprocket

Excerpt from SONG: DAYS GONE BY

“Our paths will cross again one day
In time to reunite
For family is always near
Even when the seas are wide
So take your cup and raise it high
Just as surely I’ll do mine
And make a toast for family
And the tales of days gone by.”

 

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