Tag: dnn

SU Review: “Room for Ruby”

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Well, that was interesting—and much better from the show. Navy comes crashing down to Earth and asks to be taken in. She apparently has no hard feelings about the past and Steven takes her to see Lapis and Peridot. Peridot is willing, but Lapis, not as much. Ruby is apparently getting used to Earth very quickly, which upsets Lapis given how long it took her to get used to things on this planet. Steven and Peridot manage to calm her down on that end.

Navy confesses that while she loves the Earth, she misses her ship. They still have it and Navy takes them for a ride. And then Navy asks Steven to press a button at the other end. The little trickster gets Steven to press the eject button and out goes Steven, Lapis, and Peridot from the ship. Lapis takes some comfort in confirmation in her beliefs that no one could be that well-adjusted, but Garnet is there with a pair of balloons. “It was still worth a shot,” says Garnet.

Well, I guess it was a matter of time that someone took advantage of Steven’s nature to make friends with everyone, wasn’t it? I also guess at least one of the rubies is much smarter than I gave them credit for (read:  not much). It does make the arc with the rubies well worth continuing as well as the one with the odd couple at the barn. Steven also gets more food for thought in someone taking advantage of him. We’ll see where everything goes from here, but it was much better compared to the last couple of episodes.

GRADE:  A

StatManDan

SU Review: “Tiger Philanthropist”

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Amethyst (aka “The Purple Puma”) and Steven (aka “Tiger Millionaire”) are tag team champions of the Beach City Underground Wrestling Federation. They retain their titles after winning another fight when Purple Puma suddenly announces that she is quitting because she doesn’t need it anymore—much to Lars’s chagrin (to say the least). Steven still wants to wrestle, so he becomes “Tiger Philanthropist” and is a bit of a John Cena (the wrestling fans among the show’s fans should know where I’m going with this one)—much to Lars’s chagrin (to say the least).

Steven confides to Amethyst that he enjoyed the wrestling because it was something they did together—not just because of Amethyst’s inferiority complex which she doesn’t have anymore. “Tiger” decides to give up the belts—much to everyone’s chagrin (because the natural state of a pro wrestling fan is bitter disappointment). “Purple Puma” comes back to help Steven….put over one of the tag teams—all of whom look like fugitives from wrestling video games.

It kind of seemed like the idea was to do away with this sort of angle. “Tiger Millionaire” was episode 9 and here we are 113 episodes later. There are better more interesting arcs deserving of a sequel (*cough* “The Lion Series *cough*). To that effect, the episode succeeds in what it’s trying to do. Amethyst is no longer being put down like she was earlier in the series, so why continue to wrestle? Steven is being Steven while being “Tiger Philanthropist,” so why continue to play the Ted DiBiase persona (especially against a couple of cheap I.R.S. knockoffs).

Oh, by the way, the next episode is also a sequel of sorts.

GRADE:  B

StatManDan

SU Review: “Storm in the Room”

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Admittedly, I find Steven Universe a bit more complicated to review at times than MLP. Mostly, the former puts quite a bit into 11 minutes while the other runs 22-minute episodes at a more fluent pace.

Steven has very conflicted feelings regarding his Mother, so he goes to the room for some answers. Out comes a mirage of his mother as what he wants to feel about her. Things take a turn after the Peanuts reference as Steven lets loose about Bismuth and Pink Diamond and wonders if he merely exists as an excuse for Rose escape her mistakes.

Many of the episodes of SU in recent times have acted as setup for future arcs and this is one of them. This arc will be Steven coming to terms with how Rose lived–both the good and the not-so-good.

This episode could be divided into three parts. The first is to setup the second where Connie talks about her Mom and it leads to Steven thinking about his. The second part in the room leads to the tempest in the room–and then it kind of ends abruptly.

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but this is why I’m more comfortable with the 22-minute format. This show have proven it could do it (read:  “Bismuth”). The sudden ending just makes things a bit awkward.

The one thing to take from this episode is that Steven, who likes to see the best in everyone he meets, has to come to terms that not everyone is perfect–not even his own mother.

GRADE:  B+

StatManDan

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