Tag: review

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

MLP Review: “Celestial Advice” and “All Bottled Up”

For the first time in the series, we do not open with a two-part episode. The episodes that aired today were loosely connected with one another as we shall see.

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“Celestial Advice”

There is a medal award ceremony for Starlight, Trixie, Discord, and Thorax for their heroism in rescuing the Mane Six, Spike, and the Royals in the previous episode. They are receive the Pink Heart of Courage. Twilight is especially glowing about pupil Starlight, but is now concerned about what happens next—a point that Discord drives home.

Twilight seeks Celestia’s advice and comes to the conclusion that, like Celestia did with Twilight, she would have to send Starlight away. But where? Twilight fantasizes about where to send her. Changeling Kingdom with Thorax, Dragon Kingdom with Dragon Lord Ember, even to the Crystal Empire to study with Sunburst. Indeed, Twilight fantasizes about the pros and cons of each and gets frazzled.

Celestia laughs this off and tells Twilight that she once had the same conundrum regarding Twilight. As a student, Twilight excelled, but also isolated herself from everypony else. So, ultimately Celestia decided to send her to Ponyville, but not right away because she fretted that she really didn’t want her to go and later not need her anymore. Twilight reassures her mentor that she still needs her every now and then and Celestia says that Starlight feels the same about her.

So Twilight declares the day Starlight’s graduation citing there’s nothing left to teach her and she’s ready to go out on her own. But Starlight isn’t ready to do that just yet, and wants to stay with Twilight a while longer—much to the relief of Twilight. Twilight gives her her present and it’s a mirror with friendship memories similar to the one Twilight has and Twilight promises to be there for Starlight.

This was a refreshing change of pace from the previous seasons. There is no real catastrophe to avert. There are no enemies to face. This is actually the denouement from the previous episode. It’s great to see Starlight’s growth and to see Celestia in a different light than we’re used to seeing. The show has had plenty of “what’s next?” type episode in recent times (e.g. “On Your Marks”), but what is there left to teach your student after she helped save Equestria? For now, Starlight feels that there is still stuff to learn from Twilight and Twilight can still be there for Starlight.

It was nice to change things up by not starting with an adventurous two-parter. This episode ticks all of the boxes for an enjoyable episode.


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“All Bottled Up”

We see Starlight and Trixie in the castle kitchen. Trixie is practicing a transformation spell trying to turn a salt shaker into a teacup. After Starlight gives her some tips, Trixie is successful, but gets overenthusiastic and transforms many things into teacups and ruins Starlight’s teacakes for the Mane Six for their Friendship Retreat.

Starlight is not pleased and a red storm cloud starts to form when she starts to get angry with Trixie. Matters are not helped when Trixie tries a teleportation spell and teleports the Cutie Map instead of an apple. Meanwhile, the Mane Six go on the kind of retreats where the goal is team-building and problem solving (or the kind of thing that you probably do at your workplace every now and then). They go to an escape game where they try to find clues to a puzzle to help them escape from a room. Rainbow Dash gets motivation as there is a record to break for quickest time out.

Back to the A-plot, Starlight tries to bottle up her emotions, literally, with a spell. She and Trixie will also try to locate the map which is where Trixie was probably thinking of last before teleporting it. Trixie keeps frustrating Starlight more and more after stops at Bulk Biceps’ cinnamon nut stand, at the jeweler’s, and at Sweet Apple Acres with Granny Smith. Ultimately, things come to a head and the bottle containing Starlight’s anger breaks and infects Bulk Biceps, the jeweler, and Granny Smith who express Starlight’s frustration at Trixie.

Meanwhile, the Mane Six find the key to the room and break into song about how they are “Best Friends Until the End of Time.” It’s “A Sunshine Day” for them compared to the “Rainy Days and Mondays” that Starlight and Trixie are experiencing right now in Ponyville. However, the song pushed them past the record time by two seconds. Oh, well….

Anyway, Starlight finally gathers enough strength to drain the anger from the other three and vent at Trixie’s attitude. Trixie apologizes and Starlight lets go of her anger. The two reconcile and find the Cutie Map at the spa, where Trixie was reminiscing about when she first met Starlight. The Mane Six return unsuspecting of what happened to the map, and head off the spa (Hopefully, where the spa ponies won’t have a long-term memory if Trixie has anything to say about it.)

Anyway, this was another fun episode. I’ve always enjoyed the interaction between Starlight and Trixie and here we get an opportunity for Starlight to interact more often with someone other than Twilight. Trixie’s attitude hasn’t changed too much, but she is willing to learn from Starlight and willing to be by her side. Admittedly, the B-plot exists to give the Mane Six something fun to do, but darn the fool who doesn’t think too much about the song. After all, they have come a long way in seven seasons and it’s also nice to see the Mane Six together just having fun (and “team building” like teams at work do).

Overall, both episodes were excellent and serve as a great start to Season Seven.

Post Episode Notes:

  • Both episodes featured relatable problems.
  • Celestia in a different light
  • Starlight’s growth as a character
  • Starlight’s interactions with Trixie
  • Mane Six song is very catchy.
  • B-plot merely exists to give Mane Six something to do in “All Bottled Up,” though still relatable.
  • Discord, Trixie, and Thorax are still in character.

GRADE (Both Episodes):  A

StatManDan

SU Review: “Room for Ruby”

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Well, that was interesting—and much better from the show. Navy comes crashing down to Earth and asks to be taken in. She apparently has no hard feelings about the past and Steven takes her to see Lapis and Peridot. Peridot is willing, but Lapis, not as much. Ruby is apparently getting used to Earth very quickly, which upsets Lapis given how long it took her to get used to things on this planet. Steven and Peridot manage to calm her down on that end.

Navy confesses that while she loves the Earth, she misses her ship. They still have it and Navy takes them for a ride. And then Navy asks Steven to press a button at the other end. The little trickster gets Steven to press the eject button and out goes Steven, Lapis, and Peridot from the ship. Lapis takes some comfort in confirmation in her beliefs that no one could be that well-adjusted, but Garnet is there with a pair of balloons. “It was still worth a shot,” says Garnet.

Well, I guess it was a matter of time that someone took advantage of Steven’s nature to make friends with everyone, wasn’t it? I also guess at least one of the rubies is much smarter than I gave them credit for (read:  not much). It does make the arc with the rubies well worth continuing as well as the one with the odd couple at the barn. Steven also gets more food for thought in someone taking advantage of him. We’ll see where everything goes from here, but it was much better compared to the last couple of episodes.

GRADE:  A

StatManDan

SU Review: “Tiger Philanthropist”

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Amethyst (aka “The Purple Puma”) and Steven (aka “Tiger Millionaire”) are tag team champions of the Beach City Underground Wrestling Federation. They retain their titles after winning another fight when Purple Puma suddenly announces that she is quitting because she doesn’t need it anymore—much to Lars’s chagrin (to say the least). Steven still wants to wrestle, so he becomes “Tiger Philanthropist” and is a bit of a John Cena (the wrestling fans among the show’s fans should know where I’m going with this one)—much to Lars’s chagrin (to say the least).

Steven confides to Amethyst that he enjoyed the wrestling because it was something they did together—not just because of Amethyst’s inferiority complex which she doesn’t have anymore. “Tiger” decides to give up the belts—much to everyone’s chagrin (because the natural state of a pro wrestling fan is bitter disappointment). “Purple Puma” comes back to help Steven….put over one of the tag teams—all of whom look like fugitives from wrestling video games.

It kind of seemed like the idea was to do away with this sort of angle. “Tiger Millionaire” was episode 9 and here we are 113 episodes later. There are better more interesting arcs deserving of a sequel (*cough* “The Lion Series *cough*). To that effect, the episode succeeds in what it’s trying to do. Amethyst is no longer being put down like she was earlier in the series, so why continue to wrestle? Steven is being Steven while being “Tiger Philanthropist,” so why continue to play the Ted DiBiase persona (especially against a couple of cheap I.R.S. knockoffs).

Oh, by the way, the next episode is also a sequel of sorts.

GRADE:  B

StatManDan

SU Review: “Rocknaldo”

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Um, what was the point of this episode? Are the writers trying to make Ronaldo even less popular than Lars? After Ronaldo is given a reality check in his hunt for “rock people” (since Steven is half-rock), Ronaldo wants to become a Crystal Gem himself. Steven tries to humor him, but Ronaldo spends most of the episode telling Steven how he is doing things wrong.

So yes, Ronaldo is a self-absorbed (take your pick of two words that rhyme with brick). This was just an awkward episode from start to finish. It is in Steven’s nature to see the best in everyone including people like Lars and Ronaldo. And yes, Steven has lashed out at Lars before (“Lars and the Cool Kids”) and does the same here with Ronaldo. Yet, they are still jerks and Ronaldo is doubly so here. Ronaldo calls himself “Jerknaldo” towards the end of the episode after the way he treated Steven, but you would be justified if you yelled at your TV or digital device, “THANKS, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!”

This was simply a terrible episode featuring an uninteresting character who comes off as even more of a jerk than he was previously.

GRADE:  D-

StatManDan

SU Review: “Storm in the Room”

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Admittedly, I find Steven Universe a bit more complicated to review at times than MLP. Mostly, the former puts quite a bit into 11 minutes while the other runs 22-minute episodes at a more fluent pace.

Steven has very conflicted feelings regarding his Mother, so he goes to the room for some answers. Out comes a mirage of his mother as what he wants to feel about her. Things take a turn after the Peanuts reference as Steven lets loose about Bismuth and Pink Diamond and wonders if he merely exists as an excuse for Rose escape her mistakes.

Many of the episodes of SU in recent times have acted as setup for future arcs and this is one of them. This arc will be Steven coming to terms with how Rose lived–both the good and the not-so-good.

This episode could be divided into three parts. The first is to setup the second where Connie talks about her Mom and it leads to Steven thinking about his. The second part in the room leads to the tempest in the room–and then it kind of ends abruptly.

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but this is why I’m more comfortable with the 22-minute format. This show have proven it could do it (read:  “Bismuth”). The sudden ending just makes things a bit awkward.

The one thing to take from this episode is that Steven, who likes to see the best in everyone he meets, has to come to terms that not everyone is perfect–not even his own mother.

GRADE:  B+

StatManDan

SU Review: “The New Crystal Gems”

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So while Steven and the Crystal Gems were in outer space rescuing Greg, Connie went to Steven’s house where she meets Lapis and Peridot. They try to fill the roles of the Gems. Connie will play the part of Steven, Peridot will be “The Garnet”, Lapis will be Amethyst, and Pumpkin will be Pearl. Their first misson:  Clean the head on top of Mayor Dewey’s van. Despite trying to act out the Gems’ roles, Peridot does her thing levitating the van while Lapis waterbends to wash the car and Connie and Pumpkin dries. That works out well, but when half the town comes to see the spectacle, things unravel.

Peridot slips into Peridot mode because she feel Lapis is not fully performing as Amethyst. A quarrel ensues and Yellow Tail’s truck ends up in the sign. Since Connie is not Steven, she settles things with an angry speech instead of a typical Steven speech (which could be angry at times) and says it’s okay that they are not the Crystal Gems, they are the Crystal Temps and fix the mess and present Greg with a new sign for the car wash.

It was nice to see the dynamic between Connie, Peridot, and Lapis. Peridot and Lapis are a great comedy tandem whenever they are together. While Lapis may go a bit Dory in remembering Connie, she does do a reasonably well Amethyst. This was really a breather episode after last week’s arc, but was a pretty funny episode featuring the neat collection of secondary characters.

GRADE:  B+

StatManDan