Tag: opinion

MLP Review: The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone

mlpscreen

We’re going back to the map for this one. This time, the map is called Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie to the Griffon Kingdom and Griffonstone. Twilight, though enthused and has become a griffon buff, is not going because the map is not calling her—and she can barely hide her disappointment. Dash is not as enthused given the events in “Griffon the Brush-Off” where ex-friend Gilda was horrible towards her Ponyville friends—Pinkie in particular—and now has a negative opinion of griffons. Though Pinkie concurs with that sentiment, she is enthused to go.

However, she trusts that Dash and Pinkie can get the job done. However, they are not told what exactly the problem is. All they know is that there was a golden artifact called Idol of Boreas that was responsible to turning Griffonstone into the most majestic kingdom in the land.

Fortunately for this trip, Twilight has written a travel guide for Dash and Pinkie to follow complete with instructions to ask for the King or visit the library. When they get there though, the place is a dump. They also come across Gilda who is not at all pleased to see them and tells them there is no king, but there is Grandpa Gruff who tells the tragic tale of what happened to the Idol (for two bits). It turns out that a creature called Arimaspi invaded and took the Idol, but it and him fell into the Abysmal Abyss and Griffonstone’s pride went with it. With this information, Dash concludes that they need to find the Idol, but Pinkie recalls Twilight’s guide and suggests they go to the library absent a king to visit.

So Dash goes to the Abyss (and having to spend bits for equipment in the process) while Pinkie goes to the library—which is also in tatters. Pinkie is dismayed that there is no singing, no parties, and no cake. However, there are griffon scones and Gilda’s been selling them in order to make enough money to get off the island. They taste even more terrible than the muffins Sugar Belle was baking in “The Cutie Map” while in “Equaltown.” So Pinkie adds baking powder to the scones and they taste better. Pinkie is trying hard to show Gilda that there is a good side to her.

Meanwhile, Dash runs into to trouble and is stuck on a ledge towards the abyss—and is out of bits. Pinkie catches up and turns to Gilda for help. Gilda initially refuses, but comes around after being reminded of the time she and Dash were at Junior Speedsters Flight Camp. In the process of the rescue, amid a couple close calls, they find the Idol. Gilda initially reaches for it, but instead pulls up Dash and Pinkie saying they are more important than “a chunk of gold” that’s now fallen deep into the abyss.

Pinkie concluded that what was missing at Griffonstone wasn’t the Idol, it was Friendship and that all that the griffons need to do is care for each other. It may be daunting for Gilda, but initial progress was enough for Pinkie and Dash to get the signal that they have accomplished their mission. They promise to visit Gilda again and we cut to Gummy “in the process” of making Granny Pie’s marjolaine recipe that Pinkie was baking before being called to the map.

This was another stellar episode and without doubt, Pinkie Pie was the star of the episode. Amid her usual wackiness, she is more of a genius at times than we give her credit for. She remembered Twilight’s instructions and did not jump to the conclusion Rainbow did as to what exactly the problem was and was able to bring out the good in Gilda. She clearly displays that there are no hard feelings after the events of “Griffon the Brush-Off” (94 episodes ago). The library is actually where Pinkie finds the answer and it confirms that the mission to spread friendship across Equestria is not Twilight’s alone.

Fans were looking forward to the day Gilda would return to the series and she did not disappoint. In addition, it was visually appealing to see all the griffons in this episode and the clever alliteration by Amy Keating Rogers with all the names starting with G. Of course, finally visiting the Griffon Kingdom is a plus within itself. The humor was spot on as it has been for Season Five so far, especially when Dash does her impression of Twilight during the train ride.

About the only thing that could be deemed a negative in this one is that almost two-thirds the episode was backstory and exposition. It was very useful for this story, but it does affect the pacing of the episode a bit. Daniel Alvarez of Unleash the Fanboy lamented during his review of “Tanks for the Memory” about how ‘little’ character development Rainbow has received over 4+ seasons, but it is in character for Dash to jump to conclusions about things. There will always be that one aspect of a certain character that will annoy someone whether it’s Fluttershy being a scaredy-pony, Twilight being too focused on a task that she forgets important details, or Rainbow jumping to conclusions. I’m not going to penalize the episode here because no pony’s perfect and it’s not excessively annoying here.

This was the 99th episode of the series and the show is now Hasbro’s longest running animated series in terms of episodes as well as seasons. It’s a bit bittersweet that this is the first of the last four episodes that Amy Keating Rogers wrote for Season Five as she is now working full-time for Disney. However, she is de-facto the go-to writer when Pinkie Pie is a central figure and this is one of Pinkie’s best.

Pluses and Minuses:

  • +  Pinkie Pie
  • +  The Griffon Kingdom
  • +  The return of Gilda
  • +  Humor
  • –  Backstories and Exposition, though useful, throws pacing off a bit.

SCORE:  9/10

StatManDan


 

In other news the stream/episodes/whatnot have been delayed since Spazz (the one who creates them) is out of town for a convention.  Which one?  I’m not sure.  So expect them to become available sometime next week.  (DS)

MLP Review: Make New Friends but Keep Discord

We come upon an episode most were looking forward to after the previews by Brian Lenard and Meghan McCarthy featuring something out of G1. Little did we know there would be other stuff coming from the past in this one. (CAUTION:  Both the episode and this review contains older references that may be lost on younger people.)

The episode begins with Tuesday Tea with Fluttershy and Discord. The mood turns a bit sour when Discord finds out that Fluttershy has made a new friend by the name of Tree Hugger, whom she met on her trip to observe the Breezies, and she is her +1 for the Grand Galloping Gala. Discord can barely hide his jealously, especially since his invitation is still in the mail.

The CMC are going as +1’s of their sisters (or adoptive sister in the case of Scootaloo). Twilight is helping Princess Celestia with the planning of the Gala. And Maud is the +1 of her sister Pinkie Pie. Discord meets Tree Hugger, but can barely hide his jealousy again.

Meanwhile in his own dimension, he has a Pinkamena moment until he finally gets his invitation. Not wanting everypony else to think that Fluttershy is his only friend, he brings along the Smooze. The Smooze though could be trouble as he has an appetite for shiny objects which make him grow big. However, it’s obvious that Discord wants Fluttershy to be his +1 and tries to -1 Tree Hugger.

After Discord channels Stephen Wright and Gallagher—getting burned by Maud in the process—things get out of hand when Discord locks the Smooze in a trophy room and he outgrows it and fills the ballroom with ooze. Tree Hugger though helps put the Smooze at ease and things are back to normal—almost. Discord is still jealous and now threatens to banish Tree Hugger to another dimension. But Fluttershy calls out Discord on bad behavior saying that just because she has a new friend does not automatically mean she is abandoning Discord. Discord brings everything back to normal and the Smooze is accepted into the party.

By the way, this Gala met with Celestia’s approval as she it hoped it would when she invited Discord. Yes, that makes sense.

Clearly, this is the funniest episode of the season so far. Lots of comedy on display. Some of it was great, some of it was (intentionally) bad, and some of it you might need to Google or look up TVtropes.org for the reference. (On a side to references, anyone else notice the skinny mic that Discord had?) This was more of a Discord episode than anything, and he does take things too far when he threatens to banish Tree Hugger to another dimension with evidently includes Jayson Thiessen’s puppets. And it does get a bit creepy when to goes to extraordinary lengths to get Fluttershy’s attention.

Outside of that, this was a another super episode with two new interesting characters (Tree Hugger, who was voiced by Nicole Oliver, and the Smooze) and the return of Maud Pie who was in tremendous form.

As a side, this was the 98th episode of the series which ties the original Transformers cartoon for Hasbro’s longest running animated series in terms of episodes. The record breaking 99th episode is next Saturday.

Pluses and minuses:

  • +  Comedy
  • +  New characters
  • +  Continuity
  • +  Discord’s Dimension!
  • +  References galore
  • –  Discord goes overboard at times

SCORE:  9/10

StatManDan

MLP Review: Appleoosa’s Most Wanted

The_Crusaders_meet_Trouble_Shoes_S5E6[1]

Admittedly, when I saw the synopses for this week’s and last week’s episodes, there was a bit of trepidation since it would likely involve characters doing stuff irrationally. Indeed, that happened in both cases, but yet last week’s episode was still very good. This week, not as good, but not as bad.

Applejack and the Cutie Mark Crusaders are at the Appleoosa rodeo. AJ is subbing for an injured Braeburn while the CMC look at it as a chance to maybe get their cutie marks. There is trouble though as Troubleshoes Clyde is in the area threatening to disrupt the rodeo like has others in Equestria. Sheriff Silverstar is determined to have to rodeo go on. Meanwhile, the CMC switch focus to tracking Clyde against AJ’s directives to stay in the cabin and easily past Equestria’s worst babysitter in Braeburn.

Read more →

Ratings Report (Steven Universe): Love Letters

tumblr_nn9ty8myTf1smn4pqo2_1280[1]

It was an up week for Steven this week. “Love Letters” drew an estimated 1.665 million viewers on Thursday night on Cartoon Network. As far as total viewers on the night, Teen Titans Go! drew more at 2.017 million as did a rerun of The Amazing World of Gumball (1.768), but a higher percentage of adults 18-49 were watch Steven at 5:30pm ET than did Teen Titans Go! a half hour later.

Next up for Steven Universe is “Reformed” at 5:30pm ET/4:30pm CT.

Ratings information for this report comes courtesy of Douglas Pucci of TV Media Insights which cites Nielsen Media Insights as its source.

StatManDan

MLP Review: Tanks for the Memories

I think it would be best here to go through this review in five stages and then a conclusion:

1.  Denial – Rainbow Dash cannot stand the thought of not having Tank at her side for the winter months. So when Fluttershy tells her that hibernation is natural for tortoises like Tank, she tries to seek a second opinion. Unfortunately, that second opinion is Spike and just because he and Tank are technically reptiles, that doesn’t mean their habits are the same.

2.  Anger – Rainbow Dash does not even want to hear the word “hibernation” and really flies off the handle. Clearly, she is not thinking clearly. She desperately wants to find a solution.

3.  Bargaining – That solution? She must stop winter from coming to Ponyville! Despite a great song and her best (or is that worst?) efforts, she cannot stop the pegasi from starting winter. So, she goes to the source in Cloudsdale and her plans fail disastrously creating a simulation of the conditions this winter in Boston and a Game of Thrones reference.

4.  Depression – Perhaps one of the saddest moments in the show itself. Dash is in bed depressed with Tank. Before she can lie in bed just like Brian Wilson did, Fluttershy becomes her most blunt ever and that drives Dash to tears, followed by Fluttershy herself, then Rarity, and then Pinkie Pie. Applejack is crying on the inside while Twilight is in a state of disbelief.

5.  Acceptance – It turns out that was what Dash needed as she finally comes around and accepts the fact that she won’t be with Tank until spring. Her winter fun will be without her pet. So Dash takes Tank to his hibernation spot and reads him presumable one more bedtime story for the winter.

On a side note, it will be inevitable that people will call “Karma Houdini” on Dash since it is unlikely she will suffer consequences for damaging the Weather Factory. Indeed, some of Dash’s actions are objectionable in this one. All things considered though, while it might distract, it does not deter the fact that this was another excellent episode.

It’s been well established that Dash does not like being alone. Not having her pet around for a long time (and yes, this is as close as the show will likely get to actually depicting the loss of a loved one—even when you consider AJ’s parents), that can be very devastating. So having her go through the five stages of grief was handled very well. There is a consensus that the show really let loose in Season Two starting with “Lesson Zero,”  but I’m starting to wonder if the mantra for Season Five is to abandon all pretense and put out stories like this one. Right now, it’s working.

Pluses and Minuses:

  • +  Best Dash episode!
  • +  World-building
  • +  Emotions and five stages handled well
  • +  Dash song!
  • –  Some of Dash’s actions were objectionable.

SCORE:  9/10

StatManDan

MLP Review: “Bloom and Gloom”

When I first read the synopsis of this episode, you could presume that Princess Luna will make an appearance somewhere down the line. More on that later.

The CMC are having a meeting and Apple Bloom informs Sweetie Bell and Scootaloo that Babs Seed has got her cutie mark. It’s a pair of scissors which potentially means that she could be a stylist down the line (in addition to being good at cutting things). However, it leads to a few issues:

Read more →

MLP Review: “Castle Sweet Castle”

tumblr_nmm3hwqJGG1rmok97o1_1280[1]

Three of the first four seasons, the third episode establishes a ploy point that becomes key later as the season progresses. Season Three’s “Too Many Pinkie Pies” was the exception. We won’t know for sure whether elements in this episode will come later in Season Five, but let’s review what we just saw.

It appears Twilight has been too helpful with her friends lately. It become evident at a pancake dinner inside the castle when she is completely tired and frazzled. Twilight admits that she has been avoiding her castle because it just doesn’t feel like home to her. Redecorating it would be a daunting task. However, it’s one that her friends will take up to make it feel like home for her while Twilight and Spike go to the spa.

Read more →