Tag: my little pony

MLP Review: Surf and/or Turf

The map is calling the Cutie Mark Crusaders to Mount Aris for a friendship problem. It is their first and the first time the map has called some pony creature to a place outside Equestria. It’s either been Ponyville, Canterlot, Manehattan, or where the Pony of Shadows hung out.

Twilight is coming along for an excuse to visit Mount Aris since the events of the movie research and to get Silverstream’s parents to sign a permission slip so she can go on field trips (shouldn’t that be Silverstream’s job?) They come across Silverstream’s brother Terramar who can’t decide between living on land as a hippogriff (like his father Sky Beak) or in the sea as a sea pony (like his mother Ocean Flow). This being Hasbro, they are not going to mention that the parents are separated/divorced. (Is it only Arthur who really goes that far?)

The CMC get a tour of Mount Aris and Seaquestria and Sweetie Belle is in love with Harmonizing Heights on Mount Aris while Scootaloo enjoys Seaquestria (while Sweetie Belle does not). That doesn’t help Terramar with his problem which he believes he needs to choose between the two. Actually, no hippogriff or pony told him to choose and Terramar’s parents realized that he shouldn’t be compelled to choose either and he can go back and forth.

While fans may not appreciate Hasbro possibly going end around with the parents living separately, they do establish that some of the hippogriffs got used to the sea while others returned to Mount Aris after the defeat of the Storm King. In the case of Terramar, it splits down his family. There does not seem to be any animosity between Sky Beam and Ocean Flow, and there are ways hippogriffs can go back and forth as the magic pearl has been split and distributed throughout the realm.

I guess Twilight has been forgiven for trying to steal the pearl in the movie as she is treated like a celebrity here. Of course, the bar is low for forgiving characters here.

Overall, this is a very good episode, though some may find some aspects a bit off. Terramar, Sky Beak, and Ocean Flow seem like nice characters and we get a decent bit of world building.

GRADE: A-

StatManDan

MLP Review: Grannies Gone Wild

Oh, yes, it’s Ladies’ Night
And the feeling’s right
Oh, yes, it’s Ladies’ Night
Oh, what a night (oh, what a night)

—“Ladies Night” by Kool and the Gang

If it’s the best rollercoaster ever, why is it closing? Anyway, Rainbow Dash wants to ride it before it closes. However, she also has to chaperone for Grannie Smith, Apple Road, Auntie Applesauce, and Goldie Delicious (aka The Gold Horseshoe Gals). Applejack gives Dash a series a things she should not let them do. Hilarity ensues.

Rainbow follows the instructions to the letter—much to everyone’s disappointment. Even when the Gals are selected to be part of Big Bucks’s and Jackpot’s magic act, Rainbow Dash stops the trick and it’s a whammy (in a bad way a la “Press Your Luck”). Once the Gals realize AJ put Dash up to this, everything is forgiven and Dash gets to ride the Wild Blue Yonder thanks to their line jumping pass.

Yes, this was a very silly romp and a very funny one. That’s all the episode is trying to accomplish as the fast pegasus has to watch over what she thinks are slow grannies. The grannies are typically anything but slow and most of the humor (and flirting) in the episode comes from them. The other highlight was how AJ acts as Rainbow’s conscious to get her to act to make sure the Grannies don’t over-exert themselves.

It was just a funny episode and a breather one and works in what it was intended to do.

GRADE: B+

StatManDan

MLP Review: “Fake It ‘Til You Make It”

No song to intro this review because I have nothing on that end. Anyway, Rarity needs to finish a centerpiece dress for the Canterlot Royal Fashion Show and needs all her assistants from Canterlot and Manehattan to help. No pony else can help, so that leaves Fluttershy. While she has developed self-confidence, it does not extend to confronting the brazen and super-judgemental Saddle Row shoppers. Rarity advises her to access the strength confidence within her. She’ll have the assistance of her raccoon friends from “The Saddle Row Review” to help her.

No sooner does a customer ask about the number of threads on a suit does Fluttershy develop a “sophisticated” character that is able to please him. She adopts two more personas to accommodate the valley-girl and goth sets. However, she gets swept up in her characters that she becomes them drives away the raccoons, her friends, and the customers.

Rarity comes back to Manehattan to rectify things by sacking all three of Fluttershy’s personas before Fluttershy herself apologizes explaining that acting like the ponies of Saddle Row gave her the confidence to interact with them. Rarity explains that she only needed to be Fluttershy to run it. Fluttershy does give her the inspiration to finish the centerpiece dress.

Fluttershy’s timidness is not the problem here. It’s her getting too involved in something to conquer it that’s the problem here. We saw this in “Putting your Hoof Down” when she did a 180º from a doormat to a monster. The 180º here is from a newbie at running a shop to a snooty Saddle Row salespony. She talks about “baby steps” to overcome her fear of performing on stage in “Filli Vanilli”, but there are other situations where that is the appropriate approach when it comes to timidness. We’ve seen twice now that she flies before she trots into to something to conquer her timidness.

This had the potential to be an A-episode, but it gets derailed by Fluttershy getting too much into the characters she develops and leaves no time for inflection prior to the apology.

GRADE: B-

StatManDan

MLP Review: The Maud Couple

Our whole universe was in a hot, dense state
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started, wait
The earth began to cool, the autotrophs began to drool
Neanderthals developed tools
We built a wall (we built the pyramids)
Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries
That all started with the big bang! Hey!

—theme song to “The Big Bang Theory” by Barenaked Ladies

Technically, I’ve never watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory, but my brother likes it and I enjoyed from PMVs set to this theme. Anyway, Maud has been too busy to spend time with Pinkie because she has a boyfriend now. His name is Sheldon Mudbriar who is a proverbial “stick in the mud” just like his cutie mark in the way he speaks. Pinkie for the life of here cannot see what Maud sees in him. Maud likes rocks and Mudbriar likes sticks and speaking in a precise form—technically.

Things do get a bit tactless when it is revealed that Maud only enjoys Pinkie’s surprise parties because she was protected her feelings. Pinkie has an internal crisis that drives her to the rock farm and Limestone actually proves useful with a metaphor to get Pinkie to understand (eventually) what Maud sees in Mudbriar. Eventually, they have a surprise party with Maud viewing from a distance as she preferred just a small party with Mudbriar and Pinkie.

Technically, this wasn’t the best episode involving Maud (that was “Maud Pie”). There were some funny moments, especially with the dialogue. However, that sometimes led to tactlessness on the part both Maud and Mudbriar. At least the former should know about Pinkie’s sensitivities. I’m also not sure the “opposite day” visions around the head accomplished anything, either.

It’s not a terrible episode, technically, but I don’t believe it will be in the top half of Season Eight’s favorites.

GRADE: B-

StatManDan

MLP Review: “School Daze”

Get on up, look around;
Can’t you feel the wind of change?
Get on up, taste the air;
Can’t you see the wind of change;

— “Wind of Change” by the Bee Gees

(CAUTION: This review includes SPOILERS of the episode which aired on Discovery Family on March 24th, 2018. If you do not to know the result this review, look away now.)

It took the show one minute into Season Eight to declare the events of the Movie canon. With so many creatures who may not know anything about friendship, Twilight decides to open a friendship school.

She has the full support of Princess Celestia, but needs the full support of the Equestria Education Association (EEA) for accreditation. The EEA’s Chancellor Neighsay implores Twilight to do things by the book. The rest of the Mane Six will be teachers (second jobs for all of our heroines) and Starlight is the guidance counselor. The school isn’t exclusive to ponies such as Sandbar, there’s also a griffon named Gallus, a dragon names Smolder, a yak named Yona, a changeling named Ocellus, and a hippogriff/seapony named Silverstream.

Each of the Mane Six has a way to teach that gets the students interested, but Twilight insists everything gets done by the book, which is quickly the reason things are going “by the book”. After the student six cut class go on a “mental health break”, Neighsay arrives for an inspection. Things go off the rails as Ocellus makes an ill-timed decision to change into a giant insect and Neighsay is appalled that Twilight even has non-pony students. Long story short, the school is shut down.

In part two, Starlight sets Twilight right by writing their own rules. The rest of the Mane Six and Spike buy in—now they have to find the students or there is going to be a war. The “Student” Six didn’t want to be away from each other, so they take refuge at the Castle of the Two Sisters. However, they are not alone as they are threatened by bushwoolies puckwedgies. The Mane Six make the rescue and reopen the school going rogue against Neighsay by declaring it a “Friendship School” and probably hinting at what’s to come in the Season Finale.

Class is now in session. In a way it makes sense because instead of having the Mane Six and Starlight travel all around Equestria (which they had been doing since Season Five) and beyond (read: The Movie) to spread the gospel of friendship, why not have everyone come to them in Ponyville? It also represents, not necessarily a change in direction for the show as the Mane Six are now officially teachers, it’s safe to say it has been heading that direction since Season Four. It’s just now official.

It also shows that the show has not run out of ideas and it is blending in the worldbuilding from the previous seven seasons and the movie to create more worldbuilding. The world has gotten larger and larger and now the show is adjusting accordingly. It is ready to take on a social issue such as racism. Well, it has been handled in a sense better in some episodes (i.e. Hearth’s Warming Eve) than others (i.e. Over A Barrel). We now have a chancellor (played brilliantly by “The Brain” himself, Maurice Lamarche) who is what passes for Equestria as a racist (maybe a fascist as well).

What’s promising is that we finally have an overarching premise for the first time since Season Five and a majority of fans have said that and Season Four are the two best seasons of the show. Both those seasons had overarching storylines.

The opening two-parter is back as a setup for the start of a new season. “Return of Harmony” remains the benchmark for season openers, but given the direction and quickly declaring the Movie canon, this Season Premiere belongs in the top half of Premiers by comparison by giving its main characters new purpose and keeping the show fresh even in its eighth season.

GRADE: A-

Ranking the Season Premieres:

1. The Return of Harmony
2. The Cutie Map
3. School Daze
4. Celestial Advice
5. Princess Twilight Sparkle
6. Friendship is Magic
7. The Crystal Empire
8. The Crystalling

StatManDan

MLP Season Eight Preview: 8 Simple Rules

For those of us who prefer not to have been spoiled by the leaks, here is the Season Eight preview. From the start, there is a new theme and the Mane Six are opening up a school for the creatures from Equestria and beyond. So here are eight simple rules for following this season:

1. NO SPOILERS! NO EXCEPTIONS!! – It remains the policy of DerpyNews to not officially review episodes of the show until after they have been seen on Discovery Family. So the first review will be sometime after Saturday’s two-parter.

2. We did “Explore Equestria” already, so let’s build a school!: “Explore Equestria” was so Season Five. With the world of MLP much expanded since then (including the Movie), it’s time to give the Mane Six a new challenge.

3. After learning for the better part of seven seasons, it’s time to become teachers for real: Many speculated that the Mane Six (and now Starlight Glimmer) would become teachers in due time in the series after Season Four. With the theme of the School of Friendship, it appears that the time has come.

4. The Movie is canon: It was hinted that there would be hippogriffs this season. Indeed, the synopsis for one of the episodes has Twilight and the CMC heading to Mount Aris.

5. It won’t be all about school: Remember when we thought all of Season Four would be about the keys? Most fans and Pepperidge Farm do, but there needs to be time away from the school and the third and fourth episodes sound pretty interesting!

6. Good things come in sixes: We have six new characters that will be part of the focus and the Mane Six remains front and center. There’s a good chance that the Six Pillars will make an appearance as well.

7. Twilight has always wanted to be a teacher: Although it is not explicitly stated in the show, you have gotten the feeling that Twilight would have dedicated herself to being a teacher. Clues are littered throughout the series on that one.

8. Season Eight is not the end: Season Eight is not the end of the road for the series. A ninth season is confirmed which will likely propel the series past the 200-episode mark. Season Eight will take the series episode tally to 195.

Enjoy the season!

StatManDan

Inside the Numbers: Hasbro’s Q4 and 2017 Earnings

No matter what you thought of the My Little Pony movie, Hasbro has been satisfied with the revenues coming from MLP. Revenues went up for the fourth quarter and for the year as a whole.

Franchise brands were up 11% in the quarter thanks to growth from Transformers, My Little Pony, Magic: The Gathering, and Monopoly. For the year, Franchise brands were up 10% with Transformers, MLP, Nerf, and Monopoly up for the year. It was Parter Brands that declined 21% in the quarter and 10% for the year in large part due to disappointing Star Wars sales which offset the growth in other brands such as Sesame Street, Marvel, and Disney Descendants.

Both Gaming and Emerging Brands were down for the quarter (-4% and -5%, respectively) and up for the year (10% and 2%, respectively).

Revenue for the company as a whole was off slightly for the quarter and a $296.5M charge as a result of the tax overhaul led to a net loss of $5.3M for the quarter. However, for the first time since 1993, Hasbro had higher sales for the year than Mattel.

Another note of significance was that business slowed in November and December of 2017 thanks in large part to the bankruptcy of Toys R Us.

Little was mentioned about MLP during the conference call apart from this nugget from Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner as it relates to the future of the franchise.

“We obviously have great plans in store over the next number of years to continue My Little Pony’s march in growth and to engage consumers across all elements in the [brand] blueprint,” said Goldner.

This is usually the prelude before Toy Fair NYC where much more about MLP’s future will be described in detail. Hasbro’s Toy Fair Presentation will be on February 16th and while there was no mention of the leaks in the call on Wednesday morning, we’ll see if there is anything more regarding Season Eight, Equestria Girls, and maybe even a second movie.

StatManDan