Sunday, May 21, 2017

MLEEP Reviews: Not Asking For Trouble

Season 7, Episode 11: Not Asking For Trouble
Written By May Chan
 
Prince Rutherford-the last time that you and your yaks visited the ponies of Equestria, you left a really sour taste among many Bronies and Pegasisters in the fandom…let’s see if you can redeem yourself by learning to ask for help in today’s episode…this is ‘Not Asking For Trouble’!
 
When an avalanche falls on the entire rustic village of Yakyakistan while Pinkie Pie is visiting Prince Rutherford and his yaks, she suggests that she go to get the other ponies to come help but the proud Prince and Yaks refuse. When this episode was announced, I was split on it since I was open to the idea of Pinkie Pie working with a culture that is so radically different from her own…but at the same time, Prince Rutherford and his yaks didn’t leave a lasting impression on me when they last appeared back in Season 5’s “Party Pooped” and I really didn’t want to see more of their constant complaining and smashing again…but I did my best to go into this episode with an open mind and it was okay at best.
 
When it comes to the story, it seems that new writer May Chan gets the show’s humor and overall tone…but the moral that she chose to go with for this episode is pretty redundant and one that we’ve seen before in the show as far as back as Season 1’s ‘Applebuck Season’; that moral being ‘never be too proud or stubborn to ask for help’. Granted that it does kind of work with characters like Prince Rutherford and the yaks, but they make it so obvious throughout the episode to the point where it feels like the writers are repeating themselves from past episodes…but thankfully, the humor of Pinkie Pie managed to save the story even if some jokes weren’t as funny as others.
 
As for the animation, it’s great that we actually get to see what Yakyakistan looks like this time unlike in ‘Party Pooped’ where we only get to see the outside only to be sent back to Ponyville within a few seconds and I have to say that the team at DHX did a great job in representing the country with things like the authenticity of the many different huts around the palace as well as the ceremonial yak fire pit-even though we’re stuck in Yakyakistan for the entire episode, bravo to all the animators for another job well done.
 
And when it comes to the characters…the story really played a factor in representing them because while Pinkie Pie gave a much better and more humorous performance than she did alongside Maud and Starlight back in ‘Rock Solid Friendship’, Prince Rutherford and his yaks haven’t really changed a whole lot since their last appearance back in Season 5-granted they have let up on their complaining and smashing routine and also declaring war which even I thought was way over the top and their reasons are understood much better in this episode, but they still aren’t that likeable due to how overly stubborn that May Chan wrote them to be. But for what Andrea Libman and Gary Chalk were given script-wise, they still did a great job as Pinkie Pie and Prince Rutherford.
 
Overall, ‘Not Asking For Trouble’ didn’t cause too much trouble…but still gets a rating of a 6.5 out of 10.


MLEEP Reviews: A Royal Problem

Season 7, Episode 10: A Royal Problem
Written By Joanna Lewis & Kristine Songco
 
Princess Celestia and Princess Luna...you two have been through a lot throughout the years both as sisters and as alicorn princesses, but now the time has come to see which one of you really has the tougher job to fulfill...this is 'A Royal Problem'!
 
Starlight Glimmer is sent to solve a friendship problem between Princess Celestia and Princess Luna; when it's clear that the problem is that the royal sisters don't appreciate one another, Starlight impulsively switches their cutie marks! When this episode was announced, the entire fandom including myself were extremely excited by the fact we were finally getting an episode about Princess Celestia and Luna’s relationship as sisters…but at the same time, I was facepalming at the fact that Starlight was once again going to use magic to solve her problems despite having already learnt this lesson before. So, I put that element of the story aside and went into this episode with an open mind and...after the last two episodes that gave a less than stellar performance, this was a big improvement!
 
When it comes to the story...the show staff may have only hinted about Rainbow Dash's parents back in 'Parental Glideance', but writers Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco actually gave us fans something that we have been wanting to see ever since the very beginning-the relationship between Princess Celestia and Princess Luna both as sisters and as alicorn princesses...and with a season that has spent so much time focusing on secondary or supporting characters, it was great to see how the Royal Sisters really value each other for their duties as well as learn that somepony else's job may be a lot harder than it looks and that they can overcome anything by working together even when things go wrong.
 
As for the animation...after the last two episodes didn't give us much visual eye candy by either sticking in one location or not going all-out, the team at DHX really amped up their game with what they were capable of doing and it really comes into play with getting to explore around Canterlot and Luna's Dreamscape where I swear that the staff were inspired by videos that us Bronies have created as well as during the battle sequence of Nightmare Moon and Daybreaker as it actually had meaning to be in the story since it showed in a way how Celestia and Luna in a way that prove to be that they are their own worst enemies.
 
And when it comes to the characters...through the role-reversal, we not only got to see Princess Celestia as well as Princess Luna struggle with each other's roles but also see how vulnerable they could truly be especially with Celestia in how hard she has to work to keep the facade of a brave face to the world. Speaking of the role-reversal, that brings us to Starlight Glimmer herself. Now, I know that there's gonna be several people who are gonna hate on this episode for Starlight once again using magic to solve her problems...but here's the thing: Starlight was probably the only character that could've made this situation between the Royal Sisters work since she's the least biased of the main cast and she really is trying to step away from being a sociopath-sure she may still have trouble with not relying on her old methods, but she's still learning and she does realize that her actions do have consequences-bravo to Kelly Sheridan, Nicole Oliver and Tabitha St. Germain for a truly radiant performance!
 
Overall, 'A Royal Problem' caused no problems at all and a flawless episode like this deserves a rating of a 10 out of 10.


MLEEP Reviews: Honest Apple

Season 7, Episode 9: Honest Apple
Written By Kevin Lappin
 
Rarity and Applejack…you two may come from different backgrounds and have different tastes, but it’s always great to see you two learn to put aside your differences and work together to solve a problem. Let’s see how your different tastes in fashion come into play with today’s episode…this is ‘Honest Apple’!
 
When Rarity asks Applejack to be a judge in a fashion show, Applejack learns that an opinion, however honest, can still be hurtful. When this episode was announced, I was actually rather intrigued by the concept because…while Rarity and Applejack being at odds with each other over their different tastes may be nothing new, the idea of addressing a moral about what’s really important when it comes to judging a competition is what had me the most intrigued. So, I went into this episode with an open mind and…I'm gonna be honest here and say that after the disappointment that we got last time with 'Hard To Say Anything', 'Honest Apple' didn't really make things better.
 
When it comes to the story, I can appreciate it for the moral that new writer Kevin Lappin provided of how everyone has different opinions about what they like and dislike and saying our opinions out load can end up making others feel hurt...but the problem is that we've done this moral with Applejack before in Season 4's "Leap Of Faith" when her honesty was put to the test of Flim and Flam's miracle tonic and it doesn't feel like Kevin did anything new with it all. Not only that, but the humor was barely present at all-I mean, I only cracked a smile twice throughout the entire episode and that was for Rarity's guitar solo and Applejack's 'disco ball dress' burn...so yeah, there was really nothing to the story for this episode at all.
 
How about the animation? Well, like what I said with 'Forever Filly', you know you're gonna have some creative visuals with a character like Rarity as one of the stars for this episode and I'm happy to say that...while we're stuck at the Carousel Boutique for the entire episode, we do get those creative visuals with the new dress designs by the three new fashion designers-speaking of the three new fashion designers, that brings us to the final point of this episode: the characters.
 
What can I possibly about the characters? Well, many things: first off, just gonna say that I am not a fan of Hoity Toity or Photo Finish and I don't know of anypony within the fandom who actually does like them, so I don't think anypony really asked to see them again. Next up are the new characters of Lily Lace, Starstreak and Inky Rose and...just gonna say right now that I didn't care for them at all since they offered nothing for me to like about them except for the fact that another famous Brony analyst is now officially canon in the show; that being Ink Rose. And now we come to our main characters Rarity and Applejack and...while Rarity showed her best traits in supplying the moral for this episode, it feels like Applejack's worst traits of stubbornness and brutal honesty was exaggerated way too much and really helped make her unlikeable. Regardless, I can't fault the voice actors for doing a good job with the script that they were given.
 
Overall, I didn't think there was gonna be an episode to top 'All Bottled Up' as the worst episode of Season 7...but I'm gonna be honest here and say that 'Honest Apple' was way too honest with itself with how boring and unredeemable it was and I'm sorry to say this, but I have to give this episode a rating of a 3 out of 10.


MLEEP Reviews: Hard To Say Anything

Season 7, Episode 8: Hard To Say Anything
Written By Becky Wangberg
 
Ah, Big McIntosh…a pony of few words who over the years of the series has been shipped with every female character on the show…and even the males, but it sounds like he’s finally found his ‘special somepony’…but will he be able to win her heart? Let’s find out with ‘Hard To Say Anything’!
 
When the Cutie Mark Crusaders discover that Big Mac has his first crush in the form of Sugar Belle, they vow to help him win her heart before Feather Bangs does it first. When this episode was announced, I was excited that we’d be seeing more of Big Mac and his inner struggles after the brilliant performance he had back in Season 5’s “Brotherhooves Social” as well as hopefully getting to see more secondary characters joining the main cast…but at the same time, I was rather confused since I don’t recall there ever being a ship among the Bronies in the fandom between Big Mac and Sugar Belle before…but I did my best to go into this episode with an open mind and…after the awesomeness that was ‘Parental Glideance’, it feels like my excitement for this episode was built up for nothing.
 
When it comes to the story, I give new writer Becky Wangberg credit for doing her homework and research on My Little Pony before writing this episode when supplying plenty of continuity nods…but it turned out to be a half-assed rehash of Season 2’s ‘Hearts And Hooves Day’ except it falls victim to the ‘love triangle’ trope this time and not many laughs to keep the episode entertaining…and having seen a bunch of different takes on this particular trope before in other shows like SpongeBob and Fairly Oddparents, they rarely ever work in my opinion…and was too relatable for me to be honest since it brought back bad memories of me whenever I tried to tell a girl that I liked her. However, I will give it credit for the moral of how romance isn’t about impressing your special someone but rather doing something special that means something for that person you love…so at least the story wasn’t a total loss.
 
As for the animation…unlike in ‘Parental Glideance’ where we got some a variety of visual delights for everypony to see, we are stuck in Starlight’s Village for a majority of the episode other than a brief moment at Sweet Apple Acres. But where the animation really shines is in the ‘Battle For Sugar Belle’ song sequence where we go back and forth between the country singing and not thought out lyrics of Big Mac to the superior lyrics and obviously auto-tuned singing of Feather Bangs (we’ll take about him in a minute) all while getting some rather impressive visuals ranging from countrysides to the scenery you’d find in pretty much every pop song music video ever made.
 
And when it comes to the characters, it’s good to see that the Cutie Mark Crusaders have learned their lesson about not forcing ponies into relationships like they did in Season 2…but it seems that they still have a lot to learn about the fine art of romance as they helped give the relatable Big Mac who I’m glad to see has more dialogue than just ‘eeyup’ or ‘nope’ the confidence he needed to win the heart of Sugar Belle who was also nice to see her have another speaking role in the series…and then, we have Feather Bangs-with a name like that, you’re just begging to be a ‘French Tickler’! But seriously, this guy drove me crazy throughout the entire episode…he may look like MandoPony, but he has the personality and attitude of Justin Bieber who as many of you know I can’t stand! But for what the voice cast was given script-wise from Peter New as Big Mac to Rebecca Shoichet as Sugar Belle and even Vincent Tong as Justin Bieb-I mean, Feather Bangs…I still think that everypony did a really good job.
 
Overall, ‘Hard To Say Anything’ honestly didn’t need to say anything at all because I’ve already done it and am giving this episode a 6.5 out of 10.

MLEEP Reviews: Parental Glideance

Season 7, Episode 7: Parental Glideance
Written By Josh Hamilton
 
So as many of us remember from back in Season 6, Rainbow Dash finally achieved her dream of becoming a Wonderbolt…but one question still remains: what do her parents think of this achievement in their daughter’s life? Let’s find out with ‘Parental Glideance’!
 
When Rainbow Dash's parents discover she's a Wonderbolt via Scootaloo writing a report on their daughter, they show up at every event to cheer Rainbow on. However, their unabashed enthusiasm proves to be rather embarrassing and pushes Rainbow Dash to the brink. When news of an episode about Rainbow Dash’s parents first surfaced long before Season 7 premiered, the entire fandom was going nuts with excitement and I was also pretty excited as well to see how Rainbow Dash’s parents would be portrayed…but did our excitement all pay off for the best? The answer is…pure awesomeness!
 
When it comes to the story, I would say that new writer Josh Hamilton who has had previous writing experience with shows like ‘The Legend Of Korra’ handled the concept and moral of how parents can for better or for worse be our biggest fans and yet still be our biggest source of inspiration extremely well which made the situation between Rainbow Dash and her parents as well as Scootaloo all the more relatable for many of us Bronies and Pegasisters in the fandom when it comes to our own parents or biggest fans who look up to us as a source of inspiration while also supplying some truly memorable comedy at the same time ranging from extreme fangasms to the fact that Bow Hothoof may be working for Hasbro…but I’ll get to that in a second when I talk about the characters.
 
As for the animation…with a character like Rainbow Dash as the star of the episode and having recently joined the Wonderbolts, you know you’re gonna get some awesome visuals from the team at DHX and man did they deliver here as we not only got to see old locations like the Wonderbolt Academy return as well as get some awesome flying sequences with the Wonderbolts again but we also got our first look at the childhood home of Rainbow Dash’s parents Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles who also have really great designs in my opinion. Kudos to all the animators for some truly awesome work!
 
And when it comes to the characters…I know that there is gonna be several people hating on this episode for how Rainbow Dash as well as her parents and Scootaloo were portrayed, but you all really need to take the time and think about what all happened here. Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles may have gone a little too far in showing their support for Rainbow Dash even after she became a Wonderbolt…but even when she was a filly and losing races, her parents inspired her to be more confident in herself and encourage her to continue achieving her dreams…something that Scootaloo herself stated that she never had with her parents and that’s why she looks up to Rainbow Dash for encouragement and confidence. Bravo to Ashleigh Ball, Sarah Edmonson, Jason Deline and Maddy Peters for some truly awesome performances!
 
Remember how I said that ‘To Where And Back Again’ was my favorite episode of the entire series? Well, move over ‘Suicide Squad’…I just found a new number one because ‘Parental Glideance’ proved to be as awesome as Rainbow Dash herself and gets a rating of 10 out of 10

Sunday, May 7, 2017

MLEEP Reviews: Forever Filly

Season 7, Episode 6: Forever Filly
Written By Michael P. Fox & Wil Fox
 
Rarity and Sweetie Belle…the bond that you two have as sisters has certainly had its ups and downs, but it’s the love you have for each other that has kept you together throughout the years…but it may soon be time for Rarity to let her little sister go, let’s take a look at ‘Forever Filly’!
 
When Rarity surprises Sweetie Belle with a special day together filled with all of her favorite activities, she quickly learns that her little sister is no longer the little foal she used to be. I’ll admit, I was actually rather intrigued by the concept for this episode when it was first announced since we’ve seen Rarity and Sweetie Belle grow as sisters throughout the years and I was eager to see how it would all come together when it premiered…and when it finally did premiere, it turned out to be pretty adorable.
 
When it comes to the story, it may be predictable upon first glance and you can easily figure out the direction that the episode is heading…but when you really take the time to analyze it like I did, ‘Forever Filly’ in my opinion is easily what Season 4’s ‘Somepony To Watch Over Me’ should’ve been as I think that the Fox Brothers handled the moral of parents treating their children right with their interests as they get older with Rarity and Sweetie Belle far better here than how Scott Sonneborn handled it with Applejack and Apple Bloom-this coming from a twenty three year old who is still into Thomas The Tank Engine, so this episode really hit close to home for me as you can imagine! On top of that, I love the comedic moments from Rarity and the parallels between her and Sweetie Belle’s story and the subplot with Zipporwhill and her dog Ripley, but I’ll get to that in a second when I talk about the characters.
 
As for the animation, you know you’re in for a wave of beautiful creativity from the team at DHX when you have a character like Rarity as the star of the episode and it really shows in things like getting to see old locations return like the Canterlot Boutique where we got to see Sassy Saddles again after her last appearance back in Season 5 as well as the creative costume designs during the sequence of Rarity and Sweetie Belle’s photoshoot ranging from ‘Little Bo Peep’ to ‘Feeling Clucky’ as I like to call it-even in the little touches like the statue of the Cutie Mark Crusaders that Chipcutter makes as well as getting to see Claude The Puppeteer and his puppets again…so praise to DHX for another fabulous performance with the visuals for this episode!
 
And when it comes to the characters, like I said earlier…the parallels between Rarity and Sweetie Belle as well as Zipporwhill and her dog Ripley really helped to make the story all the more heartwarming to me because Rarity and Zipporwhill both had to learn that doing the same things that Sweetie Belle and Ripley used to enjoy when they were foals and puppies won’t make them young again and that they should try to find new favorite things to do together as they got older…but no matter how old they get, Sweetie Belle will always be Rarity’s little sister and Ripley will be Zipporwhill’s dog-bravo to Tabitha St. Germain and Claire Corlett for a truly heartwarming performance!
 
Overall, ‘Forever Filly’ will forever be a truly awesome episode in my opinion and gets a rating of a 9.5 out of 10.


MLEEP Reviews: Fluttershy Leans In

Season 7, Episode 5: Fluttershy Leans In
Written By G.M. Berrow
 
Ah, Fluttershy...I may have bashed and harped on you in the past, but it's great to see that you're slowly starting to come out of your comfort zone in recent years. Let's see how far you'll go to stand up for what you believe in with this week's episode supplied early by our friends at Treehouse TV in Canada...this is 'Fluttershy Leans In'!
 
Fluttershy is determined to make her career dreams of an animal sanctuary come true with the help of some very special ponies...but when her vision is not being executed properly, she must find a way to stand up and fight for her ideas. I'll admit, I was actually rather intrigued by the concept for this episode when it was first announced since we haven't really known any of the other members of the Mane 6 to have dreams of their own except for Rarity...and this is coming from someone who isn't a fan of Fluttershy, but then I saw who the writer was for the episode-G.M. Berrow, writer of numerous chapter books for the series and a certain Season 5 episode that I found to be really mediocre; that episode being 'The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows'. But I did my best to go into this episode with an open mind and willing to give G.M. Berrow a second chance and...giving her a second chance was probably not the best idea.
 
When it comes to the story...much like 'A Flurry Of Emotions' from earlier in the season, this is another one of those 'great on paper, shitty in execution' episodes since the concept of Fluttershy wanting to build an animal sanctuary for all the animals at the clinic sounded really heartwarming and yet the execution of the concept was bad because I could already tell what the moral of believing in your dreams was before Fluttershy even realized it...and unlike 'The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows' where G.M. Berrow at least attempted comedy, there weren't any laughs at all with this episode; thus making the overall experience feel boring and tedious to get through.
 
As for the animation, it's great that we are getting to see more and more new locations in the series like the Ponyville Clinic and the Sweet Feather Sanctuary as well as revisit classic locations like Fluttershy's cottage and Sweet Apple Acres...so I have to give kudos to DHX for giving us quite a variety of visual delights to keep our attention throughout the story.
 
And when it comes to the characters...unlike the new characters like Hard Hat and Wrangler which sadly weren't that memorable since it felt like they were trying to shove the moral down our throats, it's great to see that Fluttershy is carrying on the lessons that she has learned throughout the seasons like not being a pushover and having more confidence in herself to achieve her dreams especially with the help of her friends as well as her old friend Big Daddy McColt-nice to see him again after so long! Bravo to Andrea Libman for a simply sweet performance!
 
Overall, 'Fluttershy Leans In' is an episode that has me leaning back in boredom and gets a rating of a 6.5 out of 10.