Tag: opinion

SU Review: “Rising Tides/Crashing Skies”

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A special KBCW exclusive:  Ronaldo gets to the bottom of things on whether or not the Crystal Gems pose a danger to residents of Beach City. This very amateur production goes around town talking to folks on what they think and nothing fruitful comes of it. Next, he goes to the source (namely Steven). Steven contends that the invaders were just after the Crystal Gems, leading to the only possible conclusion a guy of Ronaldo’s intelligence can think of—the Gems are a danger to Beach City because they attract invaders from outer space.

In the face of this accusation, Garnet says that the Gems are packing up an leaving. With the Gems out of the way, Beach City is safe and there are no more weird things to write about in some blog. So yeah, Ronaldo reconsiders and the Gems stay—not that they were ever going to leave in the first place. Garnet just wanted that camera out of her face.

This is really the first time in a while that the narrative is through the eyes of someone other than Steven, if at all. I suppose the point was that this was supposed to be amateurish in general. Frankly, there was nothing really spectacular about this episode. It just reinforces that Ronaldo may be the second biggest tool on the show (Lars being a clear first). There were a couple of funny scenes here and there such as the end scene where the Gems and Steven are the only ones who’ve seen the “documentary.” However, this came off a more a lower deck episode and that’s a bit jarring after the previous night’s episode.

SCORE:  3/5

StatManDan

SU Review: Sworn to the Sword

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It appears that the second season of Steven Universe really gets going as we begin the second #StevenBomb. First, an important rule as I take on reviewing this show. Since these episodes are usually 11 minutes in length, these will be scored on a scale of 0 to 5. Twenty-two minute episodes are scored on a scale of 10. With that in mind, on with the review.

The episode begins with Steven and Connie jamming and fighting off seagulls from Steven’s jam. The “Jam Buds” get the idea that Pearl should train Connie in sword-fighting. Connie wants to be by Steven’s side and Pearl agrees seeing her as a potential protector of Steven much like she wanted to be the protector of Rose Quartz back in the day. Connie begins to master her skills, but Steven starts to worry that she is taking it too seriously. Steven is only more alarmed when Garnet tells him that Pearl “took pride in risking her destruction” for Rose.

Steven wants to fight together with Connie. Together they fight off the Pearl holograms and then take on Pearl. However, Pearl objects to Steven joining the fight because he’s “too important” and then cries, “WHY WON’T YOU LET ME DO THIS YOU, ROSE?!”

Pearl still sees herself defending Rose and indeed she made her feel like she was ‘everything.’ With that out of her system, Pearl accepts Steven wanting to fight and suggest he works to get to Connie’s level of sword expertise.

And with that, we are off to a flyer with #StevenBomb 2. We now have a new opening and a bit of foreshadowing it turns out with Connie and the sword as much as it was a call back to “Open Book.” Though the episode only fuels the speculation over Pearl’s relationship with Rose, she does see Rose in Steven and is afraid that he shouldn’t be in the line of fire even though most of the episode, Steven handles himself very well. We also get some development for Connie as know that she knows what’s at stake with Jasper, Lapras, and Peridot still at large; she now wants to be part of the fight as Earth is her home to.

This was a solid episode from start to finish and the second #StevenBomb in a perfect way.

Pluses and minuses:

  • +  Development for Connie
  • +  Deeper insight to Pearl’s relationship to Rose
  • +  Songs
  • +  New Opening Title

SCORE:  5/5

MLP Review: Slice of Life

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Two things to preface before I do this review. First, this is an unofficial count (see Stat Sheet), but My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic became the 37th Western Animation show to make it to 100 episodes. Second, the score will be 10/10 because words won’t be able to do adequate justice for this episode.

Cranky and Matilda are getting ready for their wedding, but an error in the invitations makes the wedding today. Muffins are not going to atone for this. She consults the Doctor about a possible time-travel machine, but after showing the Chekov’s Gun (flameless fireworks), the Doc realizes he needs to have his suit tailored. However, Rarity and the rest of the Mane Six are busy fending off a Bugbear (which looks like a Wuzzle gone horribly wrong). Definitely not a friendship problem that can be solved in half an hour (Best line to Sweetie Belle).

Anyway, the Doctor goes to the Dude, but the former needs to be the fourth in a bowling tournament. However, his attempt at converting the 7-10 spilt is interrupted by Derpy announcing the use of the flameless fireworks as a substitute for the flowers (Rose, Daisy, and Lily all fainted at the suggestion that they have the flowers ready for the wedding at Matilda’s insistence).

Meanwhile, Lyra and Bon-Bon are decorating Town Hall. But when Bon-Bon hears of the bugbear, she reveals that she is actually “Special Agent Sweetie Drops” and was part of a secret agency charged to capture such creatures. This one escaped from Tartarus. Lyra is upset by this, but Bon-Bon insists that their friendship is real and that she can say what she feels.

And the music, yeah the music, gets this episode to the top! Octavia and Vinyl Scratch create a dubstep with the former’s cello and they have their music for the wedding. They get everyone else in place for the wedding via Vinyl’s mobile booth. Having defeated the bugbear, the Mane Six are accidentally locked out of the ceremony by Derpy.  Mayor Mare speaks of how Cranky and Matilda’s love brought not only them together, but everyone around them and everyone is the star of their own story—not just the main characters.

As the flameless fireworks explode, the Mane Six have a moment together with Twilight commenting how fortunate they are to live in Ponyville.

On the surface, there is a ton of fan service. Looking beneath the surface, it’s really a thank you to the fans for supporting the show. Fans dreamed of the day where characters like Derpy, Doctor Whooves, Lyra, Bon-Bon, Octavia, and Vinyl Scratch would get more significant time, and they didn’t disappoint.

There was so much brought into this 22-minute episode from Celestia and Luna arguing over forgetting to bring a wedding gift, to Shining Armor’s “liquid pride” at weddings, to Steven Magnet, to the numerous Doctor Who references, to Derpy.

This was the show saying thank you to all the fans out there of the show. The fandom, for all its flaws, is arguably one of the most passionate out there for a TV show. The show has served as an inspiration to many as well as that oasis in a sea of cynicism. This was the fans’ episode to end all fans’ episode (unless they outdo themselves at a future benchmark) and a celebration of what makes this show great.

There’s no other score to give it, but a 10/10.

Cheers to the cast and crew of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic! Congratulations on making it to 100 episodes and here’s to many more! The ride continues and it kind of makes you want to say, “I don’t want to go!”

StatManDan

STAT SHEET:

The (unofficial) list of Western Animated series that have aired at least 100 episdoes:

Show
Episodes
Run
The Simpsons
574
1989-present
King of the Hill
259
1997-2009, 2010
South Park
257
1997-present
Smurfs
256
1981-1989
Family Guy
249
1999-2003, 2005-present
Beavis and Butthead
222
1992-1997, 2011
Phineas and Ferb
222
2007-2015
Arthur
211
1996-present
Adventure Time
199
2010-present
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)
193
1987-1996
American Dad
190
2005-present
SpongeBob Squarepants
189
1999-present
Regular Show
187
2010-present
Rugrats
172
1991-2004
The Flintstones
166
1960-1966
Rocky and Bullwinkle
163
1959-1964
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)
156
2003-2009
Totally Spies!
156
2001-present
Fairly Oddparents
152
1998-present
The Real Ghostbusters
147
1986-1991
Futurama
140
1999-2003, 2008-2013
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
130
1983-1985
Thundercats (1985)
130
1985-1989
Johnny Test
130
2005-2014
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
130
2001-present
Garfield and Friends
121
1988-1994
Star Wars:  The Clone Wars
120
2008-2013
Total Drama
120
2007-present
Doug
117
1991-1994, 1996-1999
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
113
1990-1996
The Amazing World of Gumball
112
2011-present
Super Friends
109
1973-1974, 1977-1986
Muppet Babies
107
1984-1991
Alvin and the Chipmunks
102
1983-1990
Ducktales
100
1987-1990
Hey Arnold!
100
1996-2004
My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic
100
2010-present

Those who wish to appeal a listing or non-listing may do so in the comments and I will either amend of defend the case.

MLP Review: The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone

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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

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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

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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