Archive for the ‘My Little Pony- Reviews’ Category

Rarity_looking_at_Trenderhoof_photos_S4E13

 

Make love, not Trenderhoof

I won’t lie, this episode is not perfect. Perhaps it’s because of the stunning episode that aired before this, or maybe even the fact that this entire season has been pretty consistently excellent so far… but all I know is, this episode seemed to have some issues.

Josh Haber penned this episode, the new writer who created Castle Mane-ia earlier in the season, which I personally loved. He has said multiple times that he loves writing for Rarity as a character, and even in this episode, it shows that he put his own unique take on the character, while keeping her consistently charming and likable… for the most part. The first half of Simple Ways falls flat. Very flat. It hits too many similar marks, with too many cartoon cliches (a word i almost never use, cause cartoons are built on cliches) that weren’t appealing, but instead, grating.

By the end of the first half of the episode, I was acutely aware of the show I was watching. The funny thing is, this episode seemed to be penned for a slightly more adult audience too… meaning a few years older than the casual six to eight year old girl that may watch this show. Perhaps eleven, twelve, thirteen? I say this because the theme involves attraction, and whether it is right to change something about yourself because you are attracted to someone.

Which is an honest, and very banal lesson of “Be who you are, not who you think someone else wants you to be”… which is a lesson i’d think we learned before. While the episode maintained a frantic and entertaining pacing throughout, it seems that Rarity very much digressed in this first ten or so minutes. This is because the way she was acting was around ten years too young, as a love-struck kid instead of a business owning adult. Something that has been addressed countless times about her character, she is ALL about her business, all about her fashion, yet when this two-dimensional character trots into town, she puts her entire business at risk for him.

Which is a blatant character contradiction. When Rarity tried to juggle her friends and her lively-hood in a few episodes of the show, we got a true sense of how much her business means to her. This pony, whom she has never met, apparently means more to her than both her business AND friends? If you couldn’t already tell, this really rubbed me the wrong way.

Thankfully the episode ended up coming back into form during it’s second half, where it relied heavily on Tabitha St. Germain’s fantastic voice work for Rarity, and Ashley Ball’s impressive voice work for Applejack. They verbally spar, and try to out do each other. They are quite honestly opposites, which is why I find their actual friendship to be endearing. You don’t need to like everything someone else does to be their friend, and this issue, although it’s been addressed before, is still a valid plot.

However, the reason for the plot itself felt out of place, in my opinion, for a show like this. Rarity fell head-over-hooves over some random prince stallion in season one, i’d think she would have learned her lesson by now. But no, instead she regresses back to a crazy teen… damn.

Overall, I highlighted much too many faults in this episode for this review, and I most definitely am going too hard on it. That’s because i know how good this show can be, and how far ahead this season is to it’s predecessors, so i can’t help but notice the flaws. However, do not worry, if you read my reviews of the previous third season, you’d notice that i have put a few episodes with a similar grade… to perhaps quench your worry I will say that this episode is far better than they are. It was funnier, more frantic, and was generally still a pleasure to watch. But as a critic, especially on this website, i’m obligated to deduct for the flaws, this episode had quite a few of them…

Lastly, I will be re-watching it more as time goes on, hopefully as i re-watch it, I will come to appreciate and enjoy it more. Thank you.

Grade: C

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1000px-Pinkie_Pie_and_Cheese_Sandwich_looking_at_each_other_angrily_S4E12

 

Oh this episode is pre-… HOLY CRAP IS THAT WEIRD AL YANKOVIC?!

Yes… yes it is. Just like the fantastic John DeLancie playing Discord, Weird Al does a fantastic job playing Cheese Sandwich, the party pony which competes with Pinkie. I will say this, although this episode isn’t as technically beautiful as Bats! it is more  impressive in other ways. Firstly, Pinkie isn’t flanderized beyond belief, which is a massive relief. Weird Al makes this episode stand out as well, because he pretty much plays himself as a pony… with wacky animation to boot.

Yes, the animation is once again splendid, and i will never stop praising it for it’s authenticity and elegance… as well as the laugh-out-loud funny facial expressions. The pacing was also great in this episode, exceeding the seasons previous attempts. It’s refreshing to have an obvious three-part episode, the first one setting up for the climax, and then the conclusion.

Also, we had Pinkie’s key get delivered, which was refreshingly more blatant, it seems like they are really hammering this in. What i also noticed, is that the lesson (in the Diary) was skipped, which was a nice change for the constant over-the-head bashing of some of these lessons.

Although this episode was definately character developing in some way, i couldn’t help but knock it for it’s lack of proper characterization in the first quarter, where the entire herd of ponyville-ians ditched Pinkie. Which would be sort of pushing it on it’s own, but the writers had to go the extra mile and literally have characters make fun of/belittle Pinkie right in front of her. Very cheap move…

But apart from that this episode was brilliant, in fact, it was SO much fun, that i can’t really knock it for these flaws I listed. It was enough entertainment and hilarity that for a kids show like this, I can let the incongruities slide for the amount of entertainment i received… which was a lot.

At the end of the day, the show is meant to entertain, it’s not some deep social satire, or deep character analysis, it’s an entertaining kids show. The fact that Weird Al offered to do this part should sing praises at it’s quality, as I doubt he’d be counting a massive paycheck from a small studio in Vancouver. Although he’s doing it for his kids, I think, it doesn’t make it any less entertaining. Props to him, and props to the show and it’s writers.

Grade: A

Discord_showing_a_map_to_Twilight_and_Cadance_S4E11

 

Discord, Q, Q, Discord, nice to see you again!

 

So today we got to see the return of Discord, who made a welcome appearance in the season premier as well. Once again, he was voice acted brilliantly by the magnificent if not slightly intimidatingly awesome John De Lancie. His entirety was dedicated to make Discord both menacing and hilarious, and once again, his entire character was a success. But apart from that… this episode didn’t really tread on ground we haven’t seen before.

We saw Princess Cadance as well, making a return from season three, as her and Twilight try to spend time together. Which is sort of… ok? I mean, I can’t really come to terms with this, is it good, is it bad? No… it’s just fine. It’s just there, and it’s fine. Nothing about it is too memorable, and this entire part of the episode was somewhat forced, if not completely useless.

Then Discord pops in, and makes the episode infinitely more fun. He firstly asks for Fluttershy, which is fun since they clearly have some sort of odd bond. However, she has gone to visit the “Breezies” which are apparently some creature far, far away! So it turns out it’s up to Twilight and Cadance to take care of the poor… thing (Discord).

We have a fantastic music piece in this episode, as John De Lancie uses his incredible voice to deliver some great vocals! We have a lot of hilarious references to various things (Harry potter, Risky Business, etc). All of this was welcome, although I’m sure many out there are willing to scrutinize it.

Apart from this, the episode was fairly bog standard. It was regular Discord antics, and at the end we got a somewhat shoehorned lesson that was just “there”, there was not real build up or anything. However, we did see a fun little action set-piece to round out the episode.

Three’s a Crowd was a generic episode, of a fairly generic show. But thankfully, it was backed up with enough comedy to make it stand out a little more than some previous season’s entrances. Season four still hasn’t disappointed me, it has stayed solid if not excellent, so it’s only natural for it to hit a few “casual” episodes… if I can even call it that.

Grade: B

1000px-S4E10_GroupPhoto

Rainbow DAAAAASH!

 

So this episode did a whole lot to develop the outside world more! Just like on the map of Equestria you can probably see somewhere… Rainbow Falls is a place we visited before (or atleast a place that’s very similar) within the episode “Sleepless in Ponyville”. So I thought that was a neat little snapshot of what the show can do with its continuity in the world of Equestria.

Apart from that, we got a highly entertaining episode that expands on the world of the more background characters. For example, we got voices for various characters we never heard before. Such as the famed “Steroid Pony” named appropriately “Bulk Biceps”, as well as the third member of the wonderbolts team and various other characters. We also got to see gryphons in the competition! Cool!

This episode revolved around Rainbow Dash trying to get into the Equestria Games… which is an understandable device, as well as continuation on the more background story behind season five. I’m guessing the actual Equestria Games will be held later on? Yes… definitely.

Every character was resoundingly IN character, as well as the writers wanton to include everyone in every episode… which is either good or bad for some. For me, it really doesn’t matter, as long as it doesn’t intrude on the more character developing scenes.

Thankfully, the one scene with emotional significance in this episode was played out near perfectly. As Dash found out (once again) how much her friends truly love her, and how much she truly loves her friends. Which is actually really true, since the heat of competition can sometimes cloud such thoughts.

Overall, it was a success in terms of an episode… as I’ve said, I really can’t scream and shout at this show. Because for how much the fandom around it is trying to make it out to be more than it is, in the end, it’s just a very good cartoon show that does what it does much better than other cartoon shows. I watch this show like I watch a good children’s entertainment, with my mind half shut, and laughing at the simplistic humor and the shockingly well-developed characters. G’day.

Grade: A-

1000px-Applejack_and_siblings_by_wagon_S4E09

They’re cousins!!!Right…?

 

Splendid, just splendid. I was never really sure this show would really DO a road trip episode… really, I thought that was a trope they’d never stray to! And if they did, then it’d involve the entire cast, not just two of the main characters. Well… they went there! And it was a lot of fun!

An episode like this, one rife with physical humor and gags, as well as pop culture references with a slight hint of world development was definitely something I always love to see. A show like this is truly on a different spectrum, it’s a cartoon, and it’s supposed to be light hearted. Even for a comedy show, I find it hard to put this show down, as it has such a breezy and fast-paced attitude towards itself I can’t help but join in on the fun.

This episode is the definition of light hearted, it has a few glimpses of emotion that resonate from either Pinkie’s character, or the rest of the cast involved with the episode, but mostly it’s light-hearted fun that MAY or may not have a payoff come season wrap up (last five or six episodes).

However, until then, I’m willing to accept it for what it is. Pinkie was as she always was in this season, very excitable, energetic, and extremely random, and that formula alone provided most of the laughs in this episode. Also the dynamic between the Apple family was something that the episode as a whole benefited from. The episode also experienced with a slightly skewered and more slapstick comedic style that was a refreshing take to the somewhat similar show formula. This season is definitely spending a lot of it’s time deviating from the standard show structure we got accustomed to in the first three seasons, and that’s great news in my opinion.

I was a bit nervous, with Community’s absolutely splendid episode this week, that this episode may fall short of my expectations, but I really can’t say it did. It’s just… it’s a fun episode, with material that I can’t say resonated all that well, but it did its job in the process.

As I’ve said, a show like this is graded on a different scale. While I take shows such as Community more seriously, spending hours analyzing their in-depth and meaningful content, it’s sometimes nice to sit down and watch a show, have a great time, and then not think much of it. In a way, this show is exactly what I need after a strenuous activity, or after I’ve had a rough day. A healthy dose of colorful ponies, on a road trip together, having a blast.

There isn’t much more I can properly ask of this show!

Grade: A-

1000px-Mane_6_in_Manehattan_S4E08

 

Hey guys! Have you heard?! Rarity is GENEROUS!

 

The reason I say that, is because this episode decided to truly hammer in that fact. “Hey look, the element of generosity… IS GENEROUS!” Who knew?! I know I did!

This is the main aspect of the episode which I couldn’t help but cringe at, every time it was brought up I told myself “yes… I know… how about some subtlety for a change?” But honestly, apart from that main gripe, the entire episode was filled to the brim with hilariousness.

I can go on and on about how well the writers are portrayed Rainbow Dash. The once cocky, abrasive, and annoying character has truly become a fantastic one. She is, hands down, the best developed character of the show, and every episodes seems to reinforce that. The best part is the fact that she still stays IN character, it’s not like she had some drastic change in her personality or anything. The growth seemed natural.

Now, let’s talk about the bell of the ball, Rarity, whom has been lacking an episode for quite a bit has her season four debut, and succeeds with flying colors. Apart from that one flaw, this episode was generally quite accurate in her depiction. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t absolutely love the voice actress who plays her oh so well… Tabitha St.Germain (her voice actress) has a stunning talent for depicting emotion, and Rarity, being the most…hmm… how do I say? Eccentric, character, fits perfectly with the voice actress.

Rarity’s breakdown this episode was once again, something to marvel at. Each line was delivered with passion and sincerity, and it really did succeed. Even the other characters had a decent amount to do in the episode. “Rarity takes Manehattan” seemed like the first episode where the entire cast was UNDERSTANDABLY there, as I can completely believe that a group of friends visiting a foreign city is something that occurs.

While the background characters were played well, and the guest stars were entertaining… there was a feeling of slight blunt exposition. Which is something that is understandable with this shows demographic, but still felt somewhat out of place. For example, when Suri Polomare, whom was portrayed as the antagonist, lied to Rarity about Rarity’s loss in the talent show… then quite literally told her assistant she lied, was something that was not necessary. It was a waste of space exposition line that garnered to the younger demographic, and as I said, it’s understandable, but the show DID fair well without that device in past episodes.

Dave Polsky, the writer of this episode, really did his job in portrayed the characters well. He has always been a machine for fun character humor, and this episode definitely shows his talent with writing character based jokes. From Rainbow Dashes deliveries, to Pinkies hyper-ness, each character seemed to be acting as if they are just filled to the brim with well-delivered humor.

The twist ending definitely seems like a pattern in this season, and my theory of them leading up to a climactic finale definitely seems like it is heading to fruition… I’m not too sure about this ‘twist’ ending, if I can even call it that, but it was still something else this show included.

This season is definitely different, I will say it is for the better, some say it is for the worse. All we can do is wait, and watch these great episodes as they come!

Grade: A-

1000px-Fluttershy_and_Applejack_at_Sweet_Apple_Acres_S4E07

 

NOT THE BEEEE-… BAAAATS!!!

 

If I’m honest, this episode gets better and better the more I rewatch it. I ADORE this episode, from the fantastic themes to the overwhelmingly hilarious dialogue to the beautiful set-pieces. This was yet another classic springing up from the fourth season, a season I think is majorly positive so far.

Today we get to see BATS! An episode that lives up to its name, as not only do we get to see apple-sucking vampire bats, but we also get to see a beloved character transform into a bat as well. Equipped with fangs and insanely fluffy ears, Fluttershy did not hesitate to once again make this episode stand out. In fact, all the characters got a brilliant amount of screen time for an episode that seemed like it would be revolving around Applejack.

The only visible fault was the characters acting a wee bit out of character in ONE scene, which is forgivable since the rest of this episode was pure joy. The particularly impressive aspect of this episode was the brilliant artistic direction it was taken in. Having a very “Nightmare before Christmas” vibe to it, this episode had beautiful details implanted in it. From the smooth transitions between filters, to the panning of the “camera” this episode definitely stood out as this shows most technologically proficient episode. One that I will definitely say was a “Halloween-episode”.

Just like in a few previous episodes, this one continued this season’s trend of leaving of the episode with a little cliffhanger. I hope there is a valuable payoff to this, as I think it has the opportunity to create one of the best season finales to date.

The designs of the bats in this episode was another fantastic addition, as they weren’t some overly-cute creature, in fact, they were something I’d see from some of the “boy” cartoons out there (ugh, I hate saying things like this, but it’s a comparison I drew nonetheless).

The scenery was also delightfully spooky, as they ditched the rose-colored backgrounds for a darker pallet and filter, making it a true homage. I feel like this episode was more of a concept and execution than Power Ponies, the shows previous installment, as it has a more visible theme to it. It executes it with style and talent, and the voice actresses really seemed to be enjoying themselves.

I’ll say it again, I think this not only is perhaps the best episode of the season, but one of my favorite episodes of this show to date!

 

Grade: A