Tag: my little pony

Equestria Girls Review: “Dance Magic”

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The first of three Equestria Girls specials aired on Discovery Family, so let’s get to it. The Rainbooms are trying to raise money for repairs to the dock at Camp Everfree. They are still short of their goal after a car wash and time is running out. So Rarity suggests they enter a dance music video contest. Two problems ensue. The first is that they will need to use some of the funds raised already to buy costumes and equipment. The other is that the Crystal Prep girls (sans Indigo Zap) are also entering so they can hold their Spring Dance on a yacht—and they play to win. They also play to copy Rarity’s idea after she tells it to them which is a mash-up of dances you’d see on America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance?, or Dance Fever. (Had to put in that older reference lost on younger fans.)

The girls try other ideas, though Applejack’s is something like a cooking show on CMT, Rainbow Dash foreshadows next week’s special, and Pinkie Pie….imagines as only she can. The Crystal Prep girls are also having problems. They have a dance routine (Rarity’s), but no song. Rarity offers the Rainbooms’ help on that in exchange for dance lessons from the Crystal Prep girls. The result is a well-animated musical number to go with the bonus track from the “Friendship Games” soundtrack. So both the dock gets the funds for repairs and the Crystal Prep girls get their dance on a yacht.

It’s a good special, though it borrows heavily from “Rarity Takes Manehattan” (albeit with no Coco Pommel) and the third act is a bit rushed here. I also have to fault the focus on a little bit. I mentioned the concepts, but there didn’t appear to be as much drive for the dance video until late given that they are trying to fund the repairs for the dock. Maybe that’s just me, though, so take what you will. The costumes were nice, though.

So, a plausible start for the first of these three specials, though a bit rough around the edges.

GRADE:  B

StatManDan

MLP Review: “Not Asking for Trouble”

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The episode begins with Pinkie Pie being invited (read: begging through 17 letters to Prince Rutherford) to the Yaks’ Yicksluberfest. Pinkie arrives as the Official Friendship Ambassador to the Yaks and is introduced to Yak traditions and Yakyakistan as a whole.

However, one of the customs, stomping, leads to an avalanche that buries the village. Pinkie offers to bring the rest of the Mane Six to help remove the snow, but Prince Rutherford says the Yaks don’t ask for help. They’ll wait until the snow melts.

After several failed attempts in convincing the Yaks that they need help, Pinkie brings the rest of the Mane Six anyway for a “covert friendship mission” to lift the snow. Prince Rutherford actually commends “Pink Pony” for helping the Yaks without asking and Pinkie gets her own set of Yak horns.

So yes, this is the Yaks’ version of “Applebuck Season,” and I think the lesson is somewhat lost on the Yaks here. The moral is that it’s OK to ask for help when you’re in over your head. It is not really be patient and wait for others to help you.

When we first saw the Yaks in “Party Pooped” they were the worst part of that episode, though Pinkie did well to carry it. Here, the Yaks are a little more tolerable and Pinkie again carries the episode very well.

There was some decent world-building as we are introduced to Yakyakistan and all the various yak huts which reads like the Department of Redundancy Department. The dialogue is also on song. It’s just that how the Yaks absorb the lesson is quite off note in this episode. So overall, it is an episode that Pinkie carries well despite the heavy weight of the Yaks.

GRADE:  B

StatManDan

MLP Review: “A Royal Problem”

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The map is calling again and this time, it is calling just Starlight Glimmer to Canterlot Castle—much to Twilight’s shock. It turns out that Celestia and Luna are not getting along as they are not appreciating what the other is doing. Things come to a head when Starlight impulsively switchings Celestia’s and Luna’s cutie marks.

With the spell due to last 24 hours, each agrees to take on the other’s duties for one day with Starlight observing, who is being observed via music box doll by Twilight (and her freak outs are not helping). Luna finds it much harder than she though to smile for most of the day at her subjects and help placate fears of timberwolves (which she doesn’t do well) and resolve differences between representatives of cities (which she does well after three hours).

Celestia goes into the dream world and finds Starlight having a nightmare over what she has done and fears Nightmare Moon will return. She does in the dream, but also appearing is Celestia’s alter ego in Daybreaker. Luna’s also having a nightmare about the children whose fundraiser was ruined when Luna couldn’t keep her smile on forever. Both gaining an understanding of the other’s duties and making amends, Celestia, using Luna’s powers, defeats Daybreaker and they all return to the real world. Starlight is commended for being bold enough to do what she did—hence the map called her—and her mission is accomplished (though Twilight wants a full report).

Now, we’ve seen Starlight try to use magic to solve a problem to disastrous effect. Here, almost the same happens here, but the show does well that that impulse may actually be the appropriate method here. The map doesn’t call just anyone for a friendship problem. It sends the pony or ponies who it thinks is best equipped to handle it—even though the pony or ponies are unsure themselves. Starlight is filled with regret at times, but she was also the one most likely to be bold enough to do such a thing as switching cutie marks.

As for the Royal Sisters, we’ve seen hints that they don’t get along 100% of the time in “Slice of Life” and the comics, but here it is in full force. This was the kind of episode fans have wanted for a long time and they were not disappointed in the slightest.

Those in Canada who saw the episode on May 20th will attest to that as those who saw it on Discovery Family, today. It was a super episode that saw development for characters who have not had some in a long time. Twilight as a music box ballerina was hysterical as was Starlight’s reactions to it. The climax was also some of the best animation the show has had in the series.

Some will still have an issue that Starlight impulsively used magic again to solve a problem, and for awhile Starlight fears it has been for the worse once again, but this time it was the right call this time—which is perhaps why the map called just her. It’s another jewel in Season Seven’s crown.

GRADE:  A+

StatManDan

MLP Review: “Honest Apple”

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She knows what she likes, but she doesn’t know much about fashion. That’s Applejack in a nutshell in this episode. Rarity is holding a fashion contest at Carousel Boutique with the winner having his or her designs on display at the

Applejack is selected as one of the judges along with Hoity Toity and Photo Finish. Applejack was reluctant at first, but accepts because of her sense of practicality which straight away will not help her in judging fashion. We meet the contestants:  Lily Lace who loves drama in her fashion. Starstreak who is futuristic and avant-garde. And Inky Rose, a goth pegasus who looks a lot like a pony we met in “Canterlot Boutique”, but that pony was a

Applejack goes full Simon Cowell on their designs and the fashion show appears to be in tatters as a result of Applejack’s rather brutal honesty. Rarity then takes AJ to Strawberry Sunrise who gives her opinion about apples (she doesn’t like them). AJ soon learns the error of her ways, brings everybody back to save the show, and cops out by choosing all three ponies to make it a three-way tie.

There is a good lesson in that while it is right to be honest, it is sometimes wrong to be brutally so. That was Applejack here. As a result, the contestants’ feelings were hurt and so were those of Photo Finish and Hoity Toity when AJ says, “fashion is ridiculous”. AJ is more of a practical pony and that’s where the scene with Apple Bloom and her hat works with this episode. What also works very well was the comedy. Photo Finish is as hammy as ever while Pinkie Pie offers comedy relief as well. The guitar scene was hilarious as well.

There’s a lot that works here and with a good lesson included. It’s not a top tier episode, but honestly, it is another very good Season Seven episode where there’s yet to have been a bad one.

Fun Fact:  Strawberry Sunrise’s VA, Maggie Blue O’Hara voiced Sweetheart in My Little Pony Tales. She becomes the third of that show’s core seven VA’s to voice both Tales and FiM along with Kelly Sheridan (Melody on Tales) and Chiara Zanni (Bon-Bon). Cathy Weseluck was also part of the Tales crew, but as singing director.

GRADE:  A-

StatManDan

MLP Season 8 Announced at 2017 Licensing Expo

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Old news is old but if you haven’t heard the word, the ride continues on.  Last Thursday, hardcore animation fan and former site operator to Littlest Pet Shop’s only direct dedicated news site, Chevistian, made mention over Twitter that Hasbro was pushing the news of an 8th Season of MLP, due out in the Spring of 2018, via the Las Vegas Licensing Expo 2017.  Honestly its probably not a huge shock to anyone considering the amount of time and effort that Hasbro has been putting behind ponies.  If only they had struck the iron when it was white hot, but as we have learned over the almost decade of the Pony Train, ye old toy company moves very very slowly.

As that really old grumpy fan sitting on his porch, I can’t help but reflect to those ancient days of 2010 when the most common thing the trolls in the 4chan threads would spout off about was the fact the show wouldn’t last long, and that what we were doing was a fad.  Well, who is laughing now.  Right…?

 

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MLP Review: “Hard to Say Anything”

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Well, that sunk a couple ships! Big Macintosh has been delivering bushels of apples to Sugar Belle in Starlight Glimmer’s old village. Big Mac has developed a crush on her, but his shy demeanor prevents him from expressing his feelings. Just as he musters up the courage, a Justin Bieber look-a-like pony named Feather Bangs, muscles in.

The CMC, who are stowaways will try to give Big Mac relationship advice short of love potions because that worked so well in “Hearts and Hooves Day”. It all comes to a head when both Big Mac and Feather Bangs participate in an epic sing battle for Sugar Belle’s affections, but she has had enough of the nonsense.

Finally, Big Mac comes up with a solution that dates back to Sugar Belle wishing for more space to display her baked goods. So, Big Mac and Apple Bloom build a new shelf and Big Mac gets the girl. Meanwhile, the CMC offer Feather Bangs advice on how to woo the three ponies who resemble those who fawn over Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. And yes, waifu-stealing specialist Vincent Tong voices Feather Bangs.

This episode adds nothing to what we have seen before with love triangle episodes in animation, but that was not the goal. One goal the episode did achieve was that it made things far more tolerable than average. Big Mac got some much needed development in “Brotherhooves Social” and this episode does well to build on it. It also does well for the CMC to learn the error of their ways from “Hearts and Hooves Day” and their ideas are much more reasonable this time around. Sugar Belle was also likable here and I enjoy how Sugar Belle went into WTF mode early during the duel as things started to get awkward since Big Mac is a little bit country and Feather Bangs is a lot of cheesy pop.

Overall, it’s a good episode that builds on the development of Big Mac and to an extent the CMC after their misadventures in “Hearts and Hooves Day”. Plus, Big Mac gets the girl. What’s wrong with that? (Seriously? Why can’t he be with Sugar Belle?)

GRADE:  B+

StatManDan

MLP Review: “Parental Glidance”

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We’ve been waiting for this one! Well, at least those in the US who did not wanted to be spoiled by the early Canadian releases. Scootaloo takes a page from Wil E. Coyote’s playbook to vault herself up to Cloudsdale to research on Rainbow Dash for a school paper on the Most Inspiration Pony. Unlike Wli E. Coyote, Scootaloo is successful in getting to Cloudsdale and right into the yard of Rainbow Dash’s parents—Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles.

Bo and Windy give Scootlaoo a tour of Rainbow Dash’s foalhood home and Scoots is like a foal in a candy store. Plus, Bo and Windy are extremely supportive of her daughter. However, when Scootaloo tells Dash’s parents that their daughter is in the Wonderbolts, we find out why Dash did not tell them.

There’s being supportive of you children at what they do, and there’s taking it to eleven like Dash’s parents do. To put it lightly, they can be a bit embarrassing while Scootaloo does not see anything wrong with it. Dash finally snaps when her parents cheer her putting away a towel and asks them to leave. This upsets Scootaloo because she has not had parents as supportive as Dash’s are.

Dash then tells a story about how she wasn’t always the best at racing, but got better as the years past with her parents supporting her all the way from participation badges to gold medals. Realizing that she has taken her parents for granted, she tries to make it up with them. I’ll skip the working title and say that Dash and the Wonderbolts put on a show in honor of her parents. And then the episode ends with Dash and her family giving the same supportive treatment to Scootaloo with her report (which only got a B since it was heavy on photos and a moldy sandwich).

We have seen the evolution of the CMC as the show has progressed and they have become much better characters from Season Four onwards. Last week, we had Sweetie Belle giving a lesson to Rarity about how the former is no longer the sweet little filly from years past. Here, Scootaloo is giving Rainbow a lesson about how important it is to have supportive parents—even it is to the point of embarrassment which sometimes parents do.

Admittedly, Bo and Windy are very likable in this episode and sometimes reminded me about those MasterCard ads with Peyton Manning. Rainbow is also not completely unreasonable here. It does get embarrassing if your parents cheer every single little thing you do, but the point here is that they have been very supportive and helped give her the confidence to be who she is today. That’s something you just do not take for granted.

Overall, this was a fantastic episode with a lot of heart in it. Not just for seeing Rainbow Dash’s parents for the first time, but the role Scootaloo plays as well.

Post-Episode Notes:

  • CUT THAT RIBBON! CUT THAT RIBBON!
  • Dash’s parents are very likable
  • Scootaloo does very well in central role
  • A ‘B’ for the report?!?

GRADE:  A+

StatManDan