Monday, September 25, 2017

MLP:FIM Review - A Health of Information (S7, E20, P153, OE163)

Above even Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy has now become the most well developed character of Friendship Is Magic since Season 6. After may big hits onward, including some of Fluttershy's most underrated outings like Flutter Brutter and Fluttershy Leans In, and even the awesome Discordant Harmony, Fluttershy's characterization has been supercharged to more limits with A Health of Information. And after its predecessor It Isn't the Mane Thing About You, Zecora got another major role within Information considering she's undeniably one of MLP's most underdeveloped characters. And as the seasons go by, even with everything after Scare Master, Fluttershy's episodes just keep on developing her. And AHoI is no exception.

While helping Fluttershy gather supplies in a swamp, Zecora contracts a rare and terrible disease called Swamp Fever that threatens to eventually turn her into a tree, for which no cure is known. Holding herself responsible for Zecora's condition, Fluttershy vows to heal her as quickly as possible, no matter what it takes. After much sleepless searching, Fluttershy finds a special, remedial bee honey first discovered by her idol, the legendary healer Mage Meadowbrook. By this time, Fluttershy contracts Swamp Fever as well, but she continues to push herself for Zecora's sake until she ultimately passes out for three days due to extreme exhaustion during a confrontation with the territorial bees. A rested Fluttershy reflects that her careless determination has only endangered Zecora, so she enacts a careful plan to extract the honey using Meadowbrook's mask as a disguise, successfully treating Zecora and herself.

As the newer ideas for Season 7 episodes air on and on, the season itself gets stronger as these new episodes just keep on saving the series next to no extent. A Health of Information backs this up with spot on portrayals from Fluttershy and Zecora, with Twilight to leave a major highlight on the plot as well. A well paced story to give backstory of the Mage Meadowbrook, not to mention the recently introduced Cattail who may not seem as memorable as Meadowbrook herself, but he still adds good charm to the overall story. Fluttershy does so well on her part, even if she does seem a bit weird at points, but we all know that purpose is for her to keep working until she fulfills her promise to heal Zecora. Twilight does good too thanks to not going OOC or being really random in her development like in Season 6, and even the personas of Mage Meadowbrook and Cattail add great quality to A Health of Information's already strong reception via its plot and storytelling.

Speaking of storytelling, Information's pacing tells it out brilliantly and doesn't make it too blatant even if things like Fluttershy's failed stare attempt seemed a little too predictable. And as the story goes on, it just gets more gripping as we learn more about the cure for Swamp Fever, not to mention Fluttershy and Twilight's true development - even if Zecora didn't get quite enough (but hey, at least she played a major role even if it was for less than half the whole plot). Visuals and layout of the flash bees seem freaky and not something too new, but that's made up for by the village Twilight and Fluttershy come to. There are plenty of good humorous moments from the main characters here throughout, but none I can really discuss other than some good slapstick moments of Fluttershy's tiredness.

Backed up a wonderful, endearing story, another good friendship moral to take into consideration of taking care of yourself if you also want to take care of others, which was just superb, spot on character portrayals, a new neat concept, and plenty of great humorous moments, A Health of Information delivers more than enough powerful development for Fluttershy and Twilight, with lots of good moments to keep coming back to. It's definitely one of Fluttershy's best episodes, and hopefully there's more of Zecora and other underrated & underdeveloped characters for potential installments to come.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

MLP:FIM Review - It Isn't the Mane Thing About You (S7, E19, P152, OE162)

Rarity's episodes have often succeeded as with pretty much the rest of the Mane Six. Now that we have another Season 7 episode It Isn't the Mane Thing About You, it feels like writer Josh Haber has done wonders for himself after all the flops he had in Seasons 5 & 6. I mean he's made his flops that were either disturbingly unwatchable (Bloom & Gloom), or just downright boring (The Crystalling), but now that Season 7 happened, it seems he's done himself good justice... unlike M.A. Larson with the fandom-insulting Fame and Misfortune.

Rarity gets her mane ruined by Pinkie Pie's sticky party string before an important photo shoot. Zecora gives Rarity a specially made shampoo, but Rarity accidentally takes an identical remover potion intended for Pinkie's mess instead, and she loses most of her mane in the shower. While Zecora works on a remedy, Rarity is devastated when other ponies fail to notice her as she hides her mane out of shame. Zecora later tells Rarity that a magical fix for her mane is impossible, and her friends cannot make her a suitable wig in time, so she reluctantly cancels the shoot. Reminded by her friends that her mane does not define who she is, Rarity refashions her thinned mane into a punk-inspired look and confidently returns to her daily routine. Months later, after Rarity's mane has fully grown back, she is delighted to discover her friends had arranged a paparazzi shoot with her in her punk style, starting a new fashion trend.

Seriously, could Rarity's funny faces get anymore hilarious than this?

What sets It Isn't the Mane Thing About You is its fresher concept and storyline than Haber's episodes in the last two seasons. Rarity gives herself a solid performance for the plot and never feels too OOC during her development throughout the pacing. Speaking of which, the plot's pacing itself is well done with no plot points that leave much to be desired - other than Pinkie's idea for a "sneeze-aversary", but that's obviously beside the point. But that's also the one small problem with briefly leading up to her and Rarity's messed up manes. Then again though, we wouldn't have a complete plot that makes for some good fun and humor.

There have been lots of memorable moments that Rarity has provided, along with the rest of her friends, even if they aren't too big of a deal for the overall plot. Rarity's craziness in a strong desire to get a perfect mane back makes her more and more humorous without making IItMTAY too uncomfortable to watch. Even if the rest of the Mane Six - minus Pinkie - feel a little off at times where they aren't really characters of the story you'd tend to focus on, they still do excellent jobs at portraying themselves like they're meant to be.

When it comes to the moral of learning to not rely on appearances, delivering it is where It Isn't the Mane Thing About You does a solid job with delivering it across the plot. Rarity's new mane is also a rockin' edition to make her part more interesting as to also making the moral good. Other than the weird reasoning of Pinkie's method to accidentally messing up her and Rarity's manes, and how confusing everyone in Ponyville was to Rarity hiding her mane under a hood since, you know, anyone can easily tell by her skin color and voice (and even her eyes via her bottom and top eyelashes), but on the very brightside, that's not to say it bogs the positive things about the episode down completely. In fact, I feel Rarity and Zecora alone do it some much needed justice.

As a breath of fresh air from Haber's previous iffy installments after Season 4, and in a fortunate turn of events, It Isn't the Mane Thing About You goes in the right way of MLP potential and Haber's scripts, and with Fluttershy's character developing once more next week (not to mention bringing Zecora back surprisingly), Season 7 is sure get the rest of its episodes right in spite of May Chan and M.A. Larson's installments within the season cause this ultimately comes out as one you wouldn't mind rewatching.

Monday, September 11, 2017

MLP:FIM Review - Daring Done? (S7, E18, P151, OE161)

After Season 6's greatest episode (arguably) that is Stranger Than Fan Fiction, episodes with Daring Do playing a major role got even better and better following Season 2's Read It and Weep, and Season 4's Daring Don't. And joined by Top Bolt, the same could also be said for Rainbow Dash - despite her terrible derailment in 28 Pranks Later after Newbie Dash became an absolute insult on her character via the Wonderbolts' sadistic personalities. Now that Season 7's first half has passed, and with a promo that showcased a glimpse of it nonetheless, we're given a fourth installment for the Indiana Jones-inspired character, known as Daring Done?. Normally episodes tend to make a season as spot on as possible without destroying much of its positive reputation, but just as one might have expected (besides me of course), Done is something completely different.

Rainbow Dash is distressed when she and Pinkie Pie discover that A.K. Yearling has announced her retirement from writing the Daring Do book series, thus ending her adventures as the titular hero. When the two confront her, Yearling explains that she has grown disheartened over the collateral damage her heroics have caused, resulting in her being despised by the public. The two take Yearling to make amends in the city of Somnambula, where they discover that her nemesis Dr. Caballeron has been using Daring Do's tarnished reputation as a cover to commit thefts and blame them on her. When Rainbow Dash speaks in Daring Do's defense, Caballeron holds her hostage and lures Daring Do into a trap. Encouraged by Pinkie not to lose hope, Yearling rescues Rainbow Dash and ends her retirement, regaining public support by exposing Caballeron's deception and using her wealth to repair the city damages.

It's undeniable that Daring Do episodes have earn strong reputation for being good (even if Daring Don't seems rather underrated). The first part I must praise and point out for Done is its excellent visuals and new ideal concept as a sequel to all three previous installments of Daring Do, and all of which came as a fresh idea without being cliched in any manner with a great throwback villain to add to the plot's adventurous theme. Speaking of the plot, Done's is absolutely praiseworthy in every conceivable way, thanks in large part to the very backstory of Somnambula on her journey to Prince Hisan within the ruins of the pyramid, and even Pinkie's and Daring Do's roles work expertly here also. The pacing is done very well as you can always expect in a good MLP episode, and there's really no faults with the series of events during the plot points throughout Daring Do's journey (with her disguise as A.K. Yearling) with our two main Mane Six characters. (Pinkie and Rainbow Dash)

Getting to Dr. Caballeron's role, as I said, he's always a welcome edition as a villain, even if a little more action is left to be desired, not to mention that sometimes you'd want a new villain in store for anymore future Daring Do episodes. But in the end, Caballeron and his role back more than enough of Daring Done?'s positive reception and reputation up. The moral works incredibly well too, and is one of the best to teach all audiences when you are in situations where giving up is never the right option, and is truly a friendship lesson of complete encouragement. As well as that, we get a great cold open intro to introduce us the main elements of the episode's primary plot point where RD and Pinkie must search for A.K. Yearling and encourage her to never lose her hope (just as the moral would teach you), which only adds more strength to Done?'s stellar storyline.

With another intriguing, yet masterfully executed story, wonderful and quirky characters (with more than enough charisma and personality), spectacular action throughout the plot (which is just as up there with the likes of Gauntlet of Fire), another great moral to encourage you to never lose hope nor give up no matter how some people may (falsely) mistreat you, not to mention an ending climax that suits its moral well far after its awesome opening sequence before it's gripping storyline, there's more than enough fun to be had here. As perfect as Read It and Weep was, Daring Done? is more than just a solid masterpiece for a character who already seems to fascinate a lot of Indiana Jones fans, it's definitely a rewatchable one at that. Even for those who aren't huge fans of Pinkie, Rainbow Dash, or Daring Do herself, it's definitely my recommendation that they take a shot at this chapter of perfection.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

MLP:FIM Review - To Change a Changeling (S7, E17, P150, OE160)

Thorax has been considered a popular character amongst the fandom after his (cliched) reformed design in the badly timed To Where and Back Again. In fact (this is just me at least but), to make a little comparison between Thorax's episodes and movie franchises, Thorax's story arc felt a bit like the DC Extended Universe where The Times They Are A Changeling was his Man of Steel (only Man of Steel as a film (in spite of its divisiveness amongst both fans and critics alike) was done better than TTTAAC was as an MLP episode) whilst TWaBA was his (and the show's) Suicide Squad. If we switched Squad and Dawn of Justice around though, that's also where Triple Threat would be his Batman v Superman. And whilst BvS:DoJ failed as a film, Threat was at least NEAR half-decent as an episode of Friendship Is Magic. With To Change a Changeling in Season 7 however, it's exactly Thorax's Wonder Woman where its surprisingly good for his own arc.

During a visit to the Changeling Kingdom, Starlight Glimmer and Trixie are attacked by Thorax's unreformed brother, Pharynx, who refuses to adopt the hive's new, peaceful ways. The other changelings feel uneasy around Pharynx and elect that he be banished from the hive for his ceaseless bullying. Starlight and Trixie agree, but when they confront Thorax over the issue, he is reluctant because Pharynx would always defend him from being teased by the other changelings. Starlight is inspired to lure a maulwurf, a giant bear-mole creature, to the hive, expecting Pharynx to come to Thorax's rescue in an act of brotherly love, only to find that Pharynx has already left of his own volition. Starlight, Trixie, and Thorax find him fending off the maulwurf to protect the hive, proving that he still cares for the changelings' safety. After working together to defeat the monster, Pharynx is accepted by the other changelings and transforms.

Considering Thorax's story arc failed more miserably in Season 6 than Starlight's, any episodes he got centered around him came out in the end as flops, to the point where I myself had no hope for his character whatsoever. With To Change a Changeling however, things have made a turn for the better for Thorax. It's all paced out brilliantly even if any of Thorax's previous attempts that failed utterly make a reference or two throughout the plot, with characterization that's even impressive as Pharynx himself as a character. There's even more great and memorable moments that only add to Season 7's charm, with some of my personal favorites being Thorax's and Pharynx's backstories, and even the scene where the two brothers fight off that monstrous maulwurf towards the end.

What also adds to its good qualities how good Starlight is portrayed in her role, even if Trixie's status as a character amongst me is untouched as she still remains on the uninteresting and irritating side. The other downside is the changelings themselves lacked explanation with any real backstories of their own (and no, I don't count those that have appeared in Thorax and Pharynx's flashback to their old days), and it's also confusing when they say they aren't all related, but I kinda digress that as I feel they're a certain species who should all be related in some biological manner. The plot may not be the most entertaining of the season, but it's backed up by great characterization from our main character (even if I have no care about Trixie now), and even a great moral of not forcing anyone to change their ways (considering there's more to them than just a personality), which only adds more and more to its strong reception.

In an unexpected turn of events, To Change a Changeling comes out as a welcome edition to Season 7, and it definitely stands out as Thorax's best episode to date - although that isn't saying much. With superb animation and visuals, even with the malwurf Thorax and Pharynx fight off, great characterization and development for both changelings, and Starlight shining once more as with every other previous Season 7 episode she succeeded in, there's more where sloppy characters become likable, albeit maybe Trixie to an extent based on her annoying personality. So while it's not perfect based on Thorax's story arc having a major effect on it, TCaC is a breath of fresh air from The Times They Are A Changeling, and hopefully there will be more potential in store for Thorax's arc - without with or the other changelings and his brother - considering how surprisingly good of an installment To Change a Changeling turned out to be.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

MLP:FIM Review - Campfire Tales (S7, E16, P149, OE159)

At the height of its promotion on Discovery Family, Campfire Tales lacked the main details of its plot when showing only the very beginning of its storyline. Alongside possibly Daring Done at the time, both episodes based on their description of plots before airing sounded very promising. Now that that potential has aired for Tales - which you could most definitely call it a sequel to Sleepless in Ponyville - I feel all of it has been lived up to, and is definitely a far cry from the season's previous chapters that turned out to be either insultingly sloppy (Fame and Misfortune), or predictably average (Triple Threat), not to mention it's a true breath of fresh air (with a much better reputation for good Season 7 quality) as I expected it to be.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders' big-little sister camping trip with Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash is ruined when a swarm of fly-ders infests the camp. Taking refuge in a cave, the older mares decide to pass the time by telling the fillies each of their favorite legends. First, Applejack tells of Rockhoof, a scrawny stallion who grew in size and strength while digging a moat for a volcano to protect his village. Next, Rarity tells of Mistmane, a unicorn sorceress who sacrificed her youth and beauty to redeem an embittered friend. Finally, Rainbow Dash tells of Flash Magnus, a pegasus cadet who braved terrifying dragons with a fireproof shield to rescue his comrades. After the fly-ders leave, the fillies are inspired by the tales to make the best of their camping trip.

A colorful episode in both its plot and visuals, Campfire Tales lives up to all the hype that I've been hoping for to a near perfect experience. Thanks to its new idea in all three tales from the three Mane Six sisters (if we consider Rainbow Dash to be at least LIKE, if not technically a biological sister to Scootaloo- go figure) they tell to their younger sisters, along with brilliant pacing for each story - even if some fans felt there was more to be desired - and heartwarming relationships between them all. From Applejack's tale of Rockhoof's determination to save a village, to Rarity's tale of Mistmane sacrificing her own beauty for her hideous sister, not to mention the best tale from Rainbow Dash telling of Flash Magnus saving his comrades from two vicious dragons, there's just no reason to see Tales as something dull.

If I did have at least a downside or two, it's that brief nitpick of those bug bites on all six of our main characters which really raises the question as to how they went away so fast. (Do ponies have special skin in Equestria, or is just magic?) Adding to its imperfection just slightly is why they never thought about taking the other cave right by them in the first place, but then again, we wouldn't get some creative stories out of three of the show's main characters (of the Mane Six). But those nitpicks are at least made up for by the fantastic tales the narrative tries to focus on during the pacing after the cold open sequence and just before the ending.

Powerful small stories all in one episode, and their new ideas put aside, the characters have all been done greatly in their portrayals during storytelling, and the episode comes to a very good end just to make its plot even more similar to its predecessor of Season 3. The moral not being told is another downside, which is a big shame considering most of the time it comes across in words after characters learn them. But looking past those small grudges, Campfire Tales comes out as a near flawless experience from start to finish, and should certainly inspire the writers to keep a new sense of ideas and storytellings into mind based on how much stronger Season 7 seems to be becoming.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

MLP:FIM Review - Triple Threat (S7, E15, P148, OE158)

Ever since Season 5, friendship problem-themed episodes have become something of a highlight on My Little Pony's subject matter that is of teaching audiences several lessons of friendship. After the surprising success of Starlight's friendship mission of a plot just five episodes earlier that is A Royal Problem, Josh Hamilton has now given Spike his own mission on Twilight's castle Cutie Map. And does it fair better than Hamilton's previous attempt when he introduced Rainbow Dash's parents in Parental Glideance? Well, I wouldn't exactly say so since I don't think there's been a change in his status of writing storylines (at least in terms of my own personal thoughts/reception on him).

Spike invites Dragon Lord Ember to Ponyville for an official friendship meeting, forgetting that he has already invited Thorax for a get-together on the same day. When both guests arrive, Spike fears the two will not get along and decides to keep them separate. After this happens, the Cutie Map reacts to Spike and alerts him of a friendship problem in Ponyville, and he begins avoiding Ember and Thorax to find it. Ember angrily confronts Spike for his suspicious behavior, causing Thorax to threaten her in Spike's defense. Spike is forced to reveal his deception to both of his friends, deeply upsetting them. After the two help each other work out their respective leadership problems, however, Ember and Thorax become friends and forgive Spike, fulfilling his friendship mission.

As two characters, Thorax hasn't done himself any real favors after The Times They Are A Changeling's ending screwed the episode's otherwise decent plotline up - leading up to a character's story arc that felt irreparable during production throughout Season 6. And while Josh Hamilton has tried to give him better development here, it still hasn't done many favors since I'm afraid the damage has already been done badly enough after Josh Haber and Mike Vogel aired To Where and Back Again a little too soon as Season 6's finale, instead of holding back until the next season or two onward from now. Getting to Ember on the other hand, she's been done greatly in Dragon Quest's fixed up Season 6 reboot; Gauntlet of Fire - thanks largely in part to her character not being depicted as strongly stereotypical with racism. And her part here makes her development so spot on, that it feels very untouchable to effect the quality in her current character.

Whilst I can't say Spike's portrayal throughout has done any better, he didn't do all too well, as he became rather pointless, and his development throughout the series should've added to the fact that he's already learned from his mistakes from the past (but then again we wouldn't get the episode's moral where he learns another lesson but still). As well as that for a grudge, if you thought the plot would be all so exciting, well you'd be denied really - since the built up fight between Ember and Thorax doesn't actually happen and as a result, this makes the plot rather predictable in not allowing this series to go all violent even with fictional creatures. The moral on the other where you should always help one another whether or not you're in the same culture as another person in society is certainly one lesson to be taught. So while the storyline went at least somewhere with character development, Ember still remains excellent whilst Thorax sadly hasn't been supercharged into something better, and is still just a character who needs a better story arc than he ever had in the previous season... maybe even a restart for a change.

I won't say Triple Threat doesn't have its own problems, as all episodes do (even those I give a perfect rating), but at the same time I won't call it anything terrible. There is good development within Ember, and her bondage with Thorax seems like an interesting trait - but what doesn't help is Thorax's part not being improved from his old self based on how bad his arc was since The Times They Are A Changeling. Adding to the episode's downsides come from how predictable its ending turned out to be, although thankfully on Ember's part, as a dragon, no racism was depicted like in Dragon Quest, - which is something you at least have to give some credit to - and that's really saying something. And while Twilight and Starlight's parts were untouched as they remained likable, Spike was not at his best here as I think he knew better than he did despite Threat not being filled to the brim with character derailment in any of our three main character's character roles.

Animation and sound are all spot on as usual, but the important thing to judge for all my reviews are of course the story, the characters, and the moral within the plot. Triple Threat does provide a superb moral and Ember making her reappearance here is a welcome edition to the series after just well done she was portrayed in Gauntlet of Fire. So whilst I won't be too harsh on Threat, a plot like this and its development on the characters just goes to show that while he isn't exactly terrible in his writing, Josh Hamilton ultimately comes out as writer who needs some more time to improve upon his writing (with maybe a little help from an expert writer or two within the crew) considering I view any of his work so far as fairly average.

Monday, August 21, 2017

MLP:FIM Review - Fame and Misfortune (S7, E14, P147, OE157)

Amending Fences writer M.A. Larson's episode often tend to be hit-or-miss based on how he tends to deliver morals and send messages to audiences towards the very end of each one. He may have blown our minds with other great installments like the Season 3 finale (Magical Mystery Cure) and especially the Season 2 premiere (The Return of Harmony), but while he hasn't done himself any justice with mediocre outings like Swarm of the Century and The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000, there has been at least a misstep or two for him along the way with mean-spirited catastrophes like the ever-so-convoluted Ponyville Confidential, and Season 5's waste-of-space "100th special" known as Slice of Life. So how does his unexpected new outing in Season 7 fair from the reset now that he's unexpected come back for the series? Well for my liking... it really didn't do him any wonders whatsoever as far as trying to put him on the line of "stellar" writers.

After an encounter with two feuding fillies, Twilight Sparkle decides to publish her and her friends' shared friendship journal to help other ponies learn the lessons written inside. The journal becomes a success, but the six friends' entries have unintended reactions: Rarity is insulted by ponies who find her selfish and insincere; Pinkie Pie is laughed at for her every word; Rainbow Dash is followed by fans who fixate solely on her entries; Fluttershy is criticized for her inconsistent assertiveness; Applejack is swamped by admirers who consider themselves a part of the Apple family; and Twilight is regarded as less interesting due to her princesshood. Confronted by a mob who bicker over which pony is the best, the six friends try to convince them that their flaws are what make their friendship strong, but the mob ponies only continue to argue. Twilight bemoans the journal's misinterpretation until Starlight Glimmer finds the two fillies from before, who tell Twilight that the journal was able to help them become better friends, which satisfies the six friends.

As if Not Asking for Trouble during Season 7's first half wasn't DOA enough, Fame and Misfortune only proved (at least) me (and a few other fans) wrong by making a plot that does nothing but confuse and mock us all in the fandom. Although the Mane Six and Starlight give solid performances along with another exception being the two fillies (Toola Roola and Coconut Cream), the biggest problem I think we all have with the characters that make their appearances here are EVERYPONY ELSE throughout Equestria. We have ponies who slander about Rarity, one too many so-called "Apples" (in the Apple family) admiring Applejack a little too much, and Rainbow Dash and Twilight being idolized. And Pinkie not feeling so offended when she gets laughed at be everypony else around her, or Fluttershy standing up against everypony around her for assertiveness and not crying like Rarity has done certainly didn't help the storyline either.

As if all of the other ponies portrayals weren't bad enough, we get another terrible and unnecessary song at the very end that both confused me and disgusted me from the start; Flawless. And that's particularly based on its terrible lyrics that sound nothing like a bunch preachy words to let people know that nopony's perfect, but being that way makes your and friendships what they are. Although I feel that's been sung by the Mane Six for all the wrong reasons. The plot itself even seems only like something random when it comes to the idea of just wanting to spread a book full of friendship problems the show's main characters learned - cause who needs to read through book of problems immediately before they happen when sometimes you can just make the mistake yourself to see what it feels like and change from it before you ever do it again? And don't even get me started on the confusing moral. Cause it makes no sense, and rather just makes fun of us fans.

Slice of Life may be worse by my standards based on how much more random developing characters and plot pacing seemed, but that doesn't mean Fame and Misfortune could be considered "good". So while two newly introduced fillies who seem like a couple characters from one of MLP's older generations seem interesting, not to mention the Mane Six's and Starlight's portrayals throughout the episode were well-done, neither of these are backed up by the cold-hearted portrayals of everypony else who receives a copy of Twilight's friendship journal, and a plot, moral, and especially the show's new worst song IMO that only make things worse. Those who haven't given it a watch could take a shot to see if their opinion ends up considering FaM a good installment, but if any newcomer in the fandom wants my advice; consider skipping out on this one!