Friday, 30 September 2016
The Equestria Girls subseries is easy to dismiss. The first film, while better than it had any right to be, was nothing special, the high school setting is inherently less interesting than the fantasy world of Equestria, the movies are intentionally kept separate from the main show, and they only come out once a year. To dismiss them, however, would be to ignore the excellent Rainbow Rocks, as well as the messy-but-entertaining Friendship Games and a world of potential in the characters and world of the films. However, every piece of promotional material for Legend of Everfree had me worried. Sunset Shimmer, the series' best character, was often relegated to the back, the premise of the film suggested it wouldn't be developing any of the things I find interesting in this subseries, and there weren't even any preceding shorts. And yet, when clips surfaced on YouTube earlier this year, it showed a lot of charm. Even with my reservations, I was still excited for the film. Unfortunately, that makes it all the worse that Legend of Everfree is such a crushing disappointment.
Saturday, 24 September 2016
Earlier this season, "Newbie Dash" caused a lot of controversy for a number of reasons. I myself was disappointed by it, and yet, I have been completely unable to stop thinking about it since. I predict the same will be true of "Every Little Thing She Does," an interesting episode with a lot going on beneath the surface. It confirms Starlight Glimmer as an interesting character - but, unfortunately, it struggles with making her likeable, and despite a satisfying ending, has pacing issues that prevent the episode from being nearly as enjoyable to watch as it is to think about. But then, I'm still processing it even as I write, so perhaps a week from now it will have gone up in my opinion, much like the aforementioned "Newbie Dash."
Saturday, 17 September 2016
Despite appearances, season 6 has radically changed the way that these cutie map episodes play out. For one, season 6 has introduced the unprecedented notion that these episodes could be fun, and even - gasp! - light-hearted and energetic. It's a positive development, but not one without negative side effects. As these adventure-driven episodes become more and more entertaining, they become less and less adventurous, to the extent that this latest entry, "Viva Las Pegasus," comes packed with almost no surprises whatsoever. That's not to say that the episode has nothing interesting going on - its villain (because of course there's a villain) isn't quite like anything we've seen in the show before, and this is likely the most outright polished episode the season has had - but it's hard to be impressed when the show is working so comfortably within its own boundaries, and when there's little here unexpected or even all that important. Still, polish and humour go a long way!
Saturday, 10 September 2016
One of the most promising changes made in season 5 was the Cutie Mark Crusaders finally acquiring their cutie marks. Although the trio had already been shifting towards more varied episodes after two seasons of grating repetition, gaining these cutie marks not only put an end to their most significant character arcs, the exact nature of these marks also paved the way for new stories, as the trio consecutively gained cutie marks which showcased how they applied their passion for cutie marks into helping others find and understand theirs. This season hasn't dwelled too much on this, however, and this is for the best, because it could easily have been overly focused on new characters like season 5 was. Instead, "The Fault in Our Cutie Marks" is only the second Crusaders club episode this season, and not only does it find a unique and novel approach to cutie marks, it's also a poignant, charming, adorable and uplifting episode which is up there with the best the show has to offer.
Saturday, 3 September 2016
In my scoring system, two of the four elements which contribute to the episode's rating are theme and characterization. These are both essential elements of a great episode, but they're meaningless if the episode can't entertain all the way through. "Buckball Season" is a strong example of this, as it boasts fully-formed themes, a relatively strong moral, and some of the strongest characterization we've seen in this show, but none of that can compensate for its eventual descent into tedium which is only slightly mitigated by a strong ending. Add on some particularly weak storytelling, and those stronger elements are only barely enough to save the episode from being outright terrible.