Tag: dnn

SU Reviews: The Good Lars, Are You My Dad & I Am My Mom

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“The Good Lars”

Here we find Lars has a gift for baking, but doesn’t want to share it with anyone afraid people will think it’s not cool. Lars, Steven, and Sadie are invited to a pot luck by the cool kids. Steven tries to get Lars to come with his pastries, but he bails (or so Steven and Sadie think). Sadie, who brought paper plates, wonders if she should fix her life first before Lars’s. Well, I feel that it might have to wait as those shadowy figures were following.

We’ll see where this all leads on Thursday.

StatManDan


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“Are You My Dad” & “I Am My Mom”

As a reminder, it is my policy to only review episodes when they have their official US Release. So the “Wanted” special review will take place after Memorial Day (May 29th).

This is what everything was leading up to. Add Jamie and Connie to the list of abducted and we meet a gem named Aquamarine who has a fusion named Topaz and who keeps asking, “Are you my Dad?” Gems do not have Dads. ‘My Dad’ is part of a list of humans given from Steven to Peridot way back in “Marble Madness.” Lars, Sadie, Connie, Jamie, and Onion so happened to be on the list. ‘My Dad’ is actually Greg.

Both Aquamarine and Topaz appear to have been sent by Blue and Yellow Diamond to collect them for Pink Diamond’s Zoo according to the Crystal Gems. Steven attempts to sacrifice himself by saying he is ‘my Dad’ in an attempt to rescue his friends. Steven feeling guilty that he is the cause of all the troubles, then offers himself as Rose in exchange for his friends’ freedom (except for Lars who is still stuck in the spaceship). That ends Season Four with Season Five starting with the one-hour “Wanted” special on Memorial Day.

We didn’t know how this Steven Bomb was going to build, but the end result was quite explosive (no pun intended). Steven is very conflicted at this moment. On one hand, he believes that his Mom is a war criminal and thus, he is part war criminal since he has Rose’s gem. Now, he is determined to end this once and for all. Things are about to come to a head in Season Five.

Post episode notes:

  • Clever use of call backs
  • Sets up a climax brilliantly
  • Steven is very conflicted and feels only he can ‘end things’
  • Things are going to get intense!

GRADE:  A

StatManDan

SU Review: “Lion 4: Alternate Ending” & “Doug Out”

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We’re back with another Steven Bomb. And like the last Steven Bomb, grades will be handed out at the end of the Steven Bomb on Thursday.

We start with Steven looking for secret messages in the video from Rose. He’s unable to find anything that could answer what his “magical destiny” when Lion coughs up a key. The key opens a door in the desert that leads to…..Rose’s garbage bin. But wait, there’s a video there and it’s entitled, “For Nora”.

Lion then takes him to Greg and they see the video and it’s merely the same video except if Rose gave birth to a girl instead of a boy. So, it would’ve been Nora if a girl, and Steven if a boy. In the end, it turns out that Rose just wanted Steven to be Steven—nothing really more.

We’ll see if there is more to that story, but it might be that Steven was trying too hard to figure out the “magical destiny” from the video. But of course, we are certain to find out more as the week progresses.

StatManDan


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We get a visit from Connie’s Dad and he’s on a case of a break-in at Funland. Doug asks Connie (aka Veronica Cucamonga) and Steven (aka Peter Pizzapopolous) to join him. For most of the episode, Doug’s flashlight is not super effective as the culprit is giving them the slip. Connie and Steven finally corner the suspect and it’s Onion.

Doug was trying to show that his job is adventurous, but ends up looking silly, especially compared to the adventures Steven and Connie have been on. Connie says that she enjoys spending time with him as a respite from the serious things in her life. They let Onion go thinking they scared him straight, but did he really do it?

Well, we’ll just have to wait for the rest of the Steven Bomb to figure out.

StatManDan

MLP Review: “Fluttershy Leans In”

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As you may have guessed, we are refraining form jumping ahead and only reviewing episodes as they air in the United States. So, the “Forever Filly” review will be next week.

This episode begins with Fluttershy taking parkour hopeful Angel to the vet to check on his injured foot. However, Dr. Fauna is completely overwhelmed with animals in her building which was indirectly the result of Fluttershy’s recommendations.

Fluttershy sees an opportunity to pursue a dream of building an animal sanctuary. This is a Fluttershy that is much more confident and has her vision. Three of the Mane Six recommend ponies to help her. However, each of the ponies have their own ideas that directly clash with Fluttershy’s. Fluttershy wants an open-air facility while Hard Hat (Pinkie’s recommendation) thinks she would be better off with something similar to the hospital. Fluttershy wants natural decor. Dandy Grandeur (Rarity’s recommendation) feels the place could use something more lavish. Fluttershy does not want any cages. Wrangler (Applejack’s recommendation) brings exactly that.

None of Pinkie, Rarity, or Applejack can be blamed for their recommendations. They were just offering advice on ponies who have helped them in the past. It’s just the visions of Hard Hat, Wrangler, and Dandy Grandeur clash with those of Fluttershy’s. Fluttershy is upset and fires them. Her fears are confirmed when Dr. Fauna brings the animals and they disapprove.

Undeterred, Fluttershy decides to call on a pony whom she can trust in building the sanctuary the way she wants. That pony is Big Daddy McColt. The McColts are good at building stuff and the sanctuary is designed the way Fluttershy wanted with help from her friends. It is also a big success as the animals readily approve of the new Sweet Feather Sanctuary.

The star of this episode was unquestionably Fluttershy and this was an episode to show not only how more self-confident and assertive she’s become, but to give her a chance to expand on her role of animal caregiver. The episode did its job.

Are there a few nitpicks? Maybe. We never knew until now that Fluttershy had a dream to build an animal sanctuary, but she’s never been this confident and self-assured before. As for Dandy Grandeur, Hard Hat, and Wrangler; they could have gotten away with trying to impart their visions on Fluttershy if this was an earlier season, but not this season. It’s similar to “Suited for Success” when Rarity’s friends tried to impart their visions on what their Gala dresses should look like.

But overall, this was a fantastic episode which set out to show how far Fluttershy has developed from the timid pegasus all those years ago, and how there was something beyond just caring for animals at her cottage.

Post-episode notes:

  • The evolution of Fluttershy
  • Relatable problem with pursuing dreams and visions.
  • Gave Fluttershy something beyond just caring for animals.

GRADE:  A+

StatManDan

MLP Review: “Rock Solid Friendship”

Well, this one had plenty of talking points. The episode begins with Maud earning her “Rocktorate” and pondering moving to either Ponyville or Ghastly Gorge. Obviously, Pinkie is hoping/pushing for the former. Maud says that it will be a rock-based decision, but could explore less exotic rocks with somepony who ‘gets her.’

Enter Starlight Glimmer. Apart from Maud perhaps lending Starlight an indirect hoof in helping her enslave the village, the two start conversing. Things are off to a good start, but then Pinkie gets a little pushy to make them BFFs and to clingy to Maud. Maud and Starlight also come across a hidden paradise within the gem cave in Ponyville, but again Pinkie appears and you get the picture.

It pushes Maud to choose Ghastly Gorge where she can be alone with “great rocks”. Oh, there are the quarray eels that were introduced in “May the Best Pet Win.” After fleeing form them, Pinkie apologizes to Maud for trying to force friendship between her and Starlight and promise to give her space. Ultimate, Maud finds a space in the Crystal Cave town that she and Starlight discovered.

First off, let’s talk about the pink elephant in the room. This is behavior we have seen before from Pinkie where she gets insecure if she feels she does not have all the friends or the best parties. This is leaning towards Pinkie at her worst a la “A Friend in Deed.” On the other hand, it’s nice to see development for both Maud and Starlight here. This is indeed the first episode in which Starlight appears and Twilight does not as well as prolonged interaction with somepony other that either Twilight or Trixie. Of course, with Maud, we have some of the funniest parts of the episode like Rarity panicking after Maud tells her how ‘common’ chartreuse gems are in the cave.

Already, the speculation is that this season will be about developing characters other than the Mane Six and Spike for the most part, but we’re just four episodes in and there’s a long way to go. So overall, this was a great episode though sometime despite Pinkie rather than because of her.

Post Episode Notes:

  • Third Wheel Pinkie again
  • Maud and Starlight interaction and development
  • Giving Starlight another pony she can relate to
  • Humor, especially with Maud

GRADE:  A-

StatManDan

Inside the Numbers: Hasbro’s 2017 Q1 Earnings

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Digital gaming spearheaded Hasbro’s 2017 Q1 earnings as the company reported yet another successful quarter. Revenues were up 2% from this time last year. Franchise brands (My Little Pony, Transformers, Monopoly, Nerf, Magic:  The Gathering, Play-Doh, and Littlest Pet Shop) were up 2% led by gains from Transformers, Monopoly, and Nerf. MLP did decline for the quarter, but Hasbro CEO said that brand engagement continues to be ‘high’ as they prepare for an August 1st shelf date for tie-ins to the upcoming movie.

Partner brands did decline 18%, but that was expected as there are Star Wars and Marvel movies coming up later this year. Sales in both those parter brands more than offset games from DreamWorks’ Trolls and Beyblade. Gaming, as mentioned, was up 43% from last quarter (+10% if you throw in Monopoly and Magic: The Gathering). Emerging brands went up 25% for the quarter compared to last year.

Operating profits declined 9% due to an extra week of expenses in the quarter and a shift in the product mix.

Also of note was that this is the first time since 2000 where Hasbro’s quarterly revenue was better than that of Mattel’s who had another rough quarter.

Hasbro looks only set to build on this with the upcoming slate of films such as Transformers: The Last Knight, My Little Pony: The Movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and numerous Marvel movies. We’ll see if MLP will start to grow against after difficult comparison to the highs of 2014 and 2015. Gaming was a pleasant surprise as people are seemingly rediscovering Monopoly and enjoying the plethora of digital gaming options thanks to Hasbro’s Backflip Studios.

StatManDan

Nightmare Nights Returns in 2017 with Guests and Registration

 

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We’re proud to announce that Nightmare Nights is back for year 5! This October 27th through the 29th, we’ll be taking over the Crowne Plaza Addison for another weekend of magical ponies for the 5th year in a row, and registration is now open. This year, Nightmare Nights will be better than ever, and here are some of the wonderful people who will be joining us as Guests of Honor!

Our first Guest of Honor, returning from her first visit in 2013, is Andrea Libman! You know her as the voice of Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy, but you’ve undoubtedly heard her voice in other places. Andrea is a Leo-nominated actress who has worked as a voice over actor for more than twenty years. She has had roles on numerous animated TV series, including the title role of Madeline in Madeline and The New Adventures of Madeline, Emmy in DragonTales, young AndrAIa in Reboot, and Cathy in Monster Buster Club. Recently, she’s voiced the characters of Lemon Meringue, and Pupcake and Princess Berrykin in Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures. Upcoming projects include Maya the Bee and Pac-Man: The Adventure Begins. Andrea teaches and plays the piano and enjoys running, skiing and snowboarding, yoga and volunteer work. She holds her Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia.

Another Guest of Honor returning from our first year is Jim ‘Big Jim’ Miller! Jim is a storyboard artist, cartoonist, director and improviser living in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He has worked primarily as a storyboard artist, most notably for 10 years at A.K.A. Cartoon Inc. on Cartoon Network’s Ed, Edd n’ Eddy, where he was a part of all 5 seasons, the 3 holiday specials and the TV movie. He has also done storyboard work on Kid Vs. Kat, Capcom’s Dead Rising 3, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. After starting on MLP, he has since moved on to storyboard supervising seasons 2 and 3 of that series, as well as the Equestria Girls movie. Season 4 of MLP saw Jim promoted to co-director. You can also see his work on the comic strip ‘Mystery: Solved!’ available bi-monthly in Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

Our third Guest of Honor, joining us for the very first time, is Shannon Chan-Kent! From My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Shannon is the voice of Silver Spoon and the singing voice of Pinkie Pie. She’s also the voice of Whittany and Brittany Biskit and Youngmee Song on Littlest Pet Shop, the speaking voice of Cherry Jam in Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures, the voice of Joy Pepper in Superbook, the voice of Chief in Pucca, the English voice of Misa Amane in Death Note, and Janet in Spectacular!. In addition to her voice acting career, she is also an opera singer (Soprano), having graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Opera at the University of British Columbia. Shannon has performed with the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra as well as with local theater productions.

Of course, no convention runs itself, and we need your help! Panel applications are open from now until September 9. Every year we try to bring in as much of the wonderful talent of this community that we can, so please send us your applications! If you’ve got stuff to sell, our vendor application is open as well! Vendors can submit applications until June 30th to join our vendor hall. Nightmare Nights will be selecting vendors by a jury system, as we did last year, to ensure that there are a wide range of items for our attendees and vendors. See the applications for more information.

And most importantly, we need you to join us this October for the best Nightmare Nights yet! Registration is now open for all badges at a discounted rate until the convention, including our Sponsor badges, which are a great way to make your Nightmare Nights experience even more awesome. Our Celestial and Premium sponsor badges are in high demand every year, so don’t wait! Once you’re registered, reserve your room at the Crowne Plaza Addison using the code MLP for a discount.

Thank you to all our attendees and fans for your continued support over the years! We’ll have more announcements coming shortly, so be sure to stay tuned to our TwitterFacebook, and Tumblr feeds for more updates!

MLP Review: “A Flurry of Emotions”

In this episode, Twilight is set to visit a group of foals from Cheerilee’s class in the hospital who have come down with horse hives. Her schedule is jam-packed, and enter Princess Cadance and Shining Armor with Flurry Heart. The ragged royal couple ask Twilight if she can watch her for a few hours while they visit a friend and his pop-up art gallery. The “Best Aunt Ever” agrees despite the probability that it will throw a monkey wrench into her schedule.

Wherever Twilight went on her schedule, Flurry Heart creates mischief. At the toy store, at the school, at Sugarcube Corner, and then things come to a head at the hospital when she loses her snail Whammy and she goes all over the hospital looking for it. Her mischief finally causes Twilight to snap at her to stop. Flurry Heart cries, Twilight apologizes for neglecting her, and they spend the rest of the day playing together.

All the while, Cadance and Shining Armor are being reminded more and more of their daughter and how much they miss her. They go back to Twilight’s castle and find Twilight and Flurry Heart having fun. Cadance and Shining Armor learn the lesson that they should give Twilight more advance time if they need a babysitter while Twilight learns the lesson about quality time over quantity of time.

This was a good episode, though there are some issues to be had here. More than one person will point out that Twilight should have delegated more of the tasks to Spike. Spike is on song here in this episode trying to get Twilight to stay on track. It was actually nice to show how sometimes Flurry Heart can run her parents ragged, but also remind them of how much they love her. There are also a few minor inconsistencies with Flurry Heart where she shows intelligence beyond her years at times and acts like a typical baby at other times (i.e. the split pea scene).

But like I said, this was a good episode with two good lessons, though one of the conflicts could have been easily solved by delegating more responsibility to Spike.

Post Episode Notes:

  • Some character development for Cadance and Shining Armor
  • Two good lessons for both babysitter and parents
  • Though one problem could have been solved by delegating tasks to Spike
  • Pinkie’s sad face stamp!
  • G1 shout-out
  • Minor inconsistencies with Flurry Heart’s abilities and intelligence.

GRADE:  B+

StatManDan