Tag: review

EqG Review: Mirror Magic

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After over four years, Sunset Shimmer returns through the mirror to pick up a new journal after her old one ran out of pages. The Mane Six are on a friendship mission, so Starlight Glimmer is there to give Sunset the journal–and go back with her to explore the EqG world.

Juniper Montage, now working behind the counter at the movie theater because of her actions in “Movie Magic,” finds a mirror enchanted by Equestrian magic that shows her what she wants to see and wishes things and the Rainbooms into the mirror.

Starlight is their to save the day though as she convinces Juniper that she could attain forgiveness. And yes, the Rainbooms (not to mention this whole franchise) is a VERY forgiving group!

If Starlight framed the argument into Juniper gaining acceptance, the ending may have a little more weight to it. Otherwise, it comes off as a bit of a plot hole. The revenge issue is spot on, though. Who knows that better than Starlight!

The main purpose of this episode was to do two things. Get Sunset back into Equestria and to get Starlight to experience the human world (as human as this world is). Other than that, it doesn’t do anything else special and it just follows on from “Movie Magic.”

In all honesty, this may have been better served if all three ‘Magic’ specials were combined in a single showing. In retrospect, “Dance Magic” should have been given a C+ while “Movie Magic” does deserve a B like “Mirror Magic” does. That said, it might have been better to turn this into a 90-minute special.

GRADE:  B

StatManDan

Equestria Girls Review: “Movie Magic”

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The episode begins with the girls on set for the latest Daring Do movie as a reward for helping save Camp Everfree thanks to a director who was a camp alumni. However, things are going awry with stolen props and set dangers. Looks like we have a mystery, gang!

One suspect is the star, Chestnut Magnifico, who is looking to get out of a contract due to time constraints so she can move on to the next project. The other suspect is director Canter Zoom’s niece Juniper Montage who knows her way around the studio. So yes, it’s her.

This whole episode is one big homage to classic Scooby-Doo complete with chase montages and Velma Twilight deducing how Juniper was the culprit. And Juniper would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids and their dog! (Sorry, not sorry!)

There is some eye candy to this episode such as the Rainbooms in Power Ponies form (Sunset as the Mane-iac since there are only six Power Ponies). There’s also an homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark at the end (which is ruined by Rainbow’s over-enthusiasm).

It’s not a bad episode, but it does come off slightly better than “Dance Magic”. The next one is the one most people are interested in, though, as Starlight Glimmer gets a turn through the mirror (and Sunset goes back through it).

GRADE:  B

StatManDan

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

SU Review: “Wanted” (Special)

Welcome to Season Five. Steven and Lars are stuck inside Topaz. Lars regrets running away and being afraid all the time while Steven’s plan of sacrificing himself has not come completely to fruition. Topaz, touched by Steven and Lars’s conversation tries to help them escape, but Aquamarine stops it. Topaz was going to destabilize Aqua, but would later face being shattered if they did.

Steven is set to go to “The Trial” and is given a blue zircon to help present his case—which is “I’m Rose Quartz and I shattered Pink Diamond even though as Steven I have no real idea how I did it.” Yellow Diamond wants to skip the formalities and shatter Steven, but Blue still wishes to know how Pink was shattered. While Yellow and Blue argue instead of making green, Steven and Lars escape in a blue palanquin and deep into Homeworld.

Steven and Lars try to evade the robonoids who can shoot and shatter rocks and gems, but not Lars as we will see. Steven and Lars come across a group of deformed gems called Off Colors. They include a six-gem fusion named Flourite, Padparadscha (a sapphire who can only see the past), a Rhodonite which has the opposite personality of Sardonyx, and conjoined Rutile twins. The Robonoids come, but Lars sums up his courage and helps destroy the Robonoids with Steven.

It seems as though Lars pays the ultimate sacrifice until Steven heals him, turns him pink, and gives him special powers in the process. Those special powers allow Steven to visit the dimension accessible through Lion’s mane. In fact, he can get out of Lion’s mane as well. So Steven can go inside “Lars’ Head” and come out through Lion’s mane. Steven offers the others come with him (apart from Lars who can’t go himself), but refuse and vow to look for another way instead of leaving Lars.

Steven comes back to the Crystal Gems, Greg, and Connie, and we have no idea when Season Five will continue. We also get no answers as to what really happened to Pink Diamond, either.

Obviously, the best part of this four-parter was when Lars summed up his courage in the third part. No matter how afraid you might be, sometimes you have to sum up your courage anyway. That’s been the Mane Six in MLP, that’s been Steven and the Gems in this show, that’s Lars now. You really have to give him credit for taking on the robonoids to save others to the point of sacrificing himself.

I would say that this was remarkable four-parter, but I cannot. “Stuck Together” and “The Trial” took too long to develop, though it leaves us with Blue Diamond determined to know the truth—which is probably why there was a trial in the first place. It also leaves many wishing that Aquamarine gets poofed in a later episode. We will certainly see the Diamonds (maybe White as well) and the Off Colors again, but the four-parter leaves us with more questions than answers. In fact, it didn’t give us any. Not even when the series will return to give us some answers.

Rebecca Sugar is “Shooting for the Moon” for Season Five (which was originally going to be the second part of Season Three before Cartoon Network Math split things up and made the first part Season Four). So while it gives Lars some purpose, some interesting new characters, and some intrigue; it left us no clue as to where things are going from here. That’s the most frustrating part.

GRADE:  B-

StatManDan