Thursday, November 26, 2015

MLP:FIM Review - One Bad Apple (S3, E4, P52, OE56)

One Bad Apple has been given mixed ratings and reviews. It's been hated for its mean-spiritedness, which I honestly have to admit was a major flaw with this episode, and at times it's been loved (or at least liked). But I honestly really get why anyone would call this episode good. As for more me, I feel more meh towards it...

Apple Bloom's cousin Babs Seed visits Ponyville. Though Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo try to welcome her into the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Babs instead joins with Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon in teasing and hounding the Crusaders. The Crusaders try to get back at her by booby-trapping a parade float that they trick Babs into driving, but learn at the last moment from Applejack that the reason Babs is visiting is that she herself was bullied by others back in Manehattan. The Crusaders save Babs, and together apologize for their actions. Babs joins the Crusaders and defends her new friends from Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon at the train station before returning home.

It's only in my okay category nowadays, but because of what Crusaders of the Lost Mark did for Diamond Tiara, One Bad Apple isn't episode I will consider to be one of the worst anymore. Flawed for its mean-spiritedness as I said, the episode does have other problems. The plot was terrible at first, and despite that it's still unbearable for me to sit through it's even more understand on the bullying aspect of Babs, Diamond and Silver Spoon. The message came across badly along with some of the writing. But the positives I do have to give it have to be the song of Babs Seed herself and the part of her becoming one of the Crusaders which was a great pleasure considering the fact that Babs is an underrated character in MLP. Nothing to say about its animation or voiceovers as they're both spot on as always.

So I might understand some of it nowadays, but since I still can't stand most of the moments throughout its pacing, One Bad Apple is no longer bad, but is only worth listening to and not watching the song and the CMC clubhouse scene before the last minute or two is the only part in my eyes that is worth viewing at some points.

MLP:FIM Review - Power Ponies (S4, E6, P66, OE71)

Spike finds himself unneeded while the ponies clean up the royal sisters' castle, so he goes off to read a Power Ponies superhero comic issue, unaware that it possesses magical powers. When he reaches the end and reads the cryptic text on the last page, he and the ponies are sucked into the comic book. In the comic, the ponies assume the personas of the Power Ponies, while Spike is their bumbling sidekick, Humdrum, to his chagrin. The ponies learn they must defeat the supervillain Mane-iac to escape the comic, but their clumsiness with their newfound powers leaves all but Spike trapped. As the Mane-iac threatens them with her doomsday weapon, the ponies assert that Spike always comes through for them when they need him. Spike is able to use the distraction to trap the Mane-iac's henchmen and free the others, allowing them to stop the Mane-iac and safely return to Equestria.

Not much praise has been given to it most of the time, but Power Ponies has to be one of the most underrated MLP episodes of all time. While I do find only it a little flawed for its cliched but somewhat motivated villain and its plot just a bit predictable at some points, I can say that I can look past its grudges.

The story to start off was creative what with references to other superheroes from other franchises and universes like Marvel's X-Men and Avengers, and some DC heroes. I have to say the fight between the Mane 6 and the Mane-iac, especially the moment of Flutterhulk was just spectacular. The writing was done greatly if a little cheesy on the Mane-iac's part. The animation was done well and the message of realizing that just because some friends don't always need your help, it doesn't mean that they don't think you're helpfu, and that you don't have to have superpowers to be a super friend was another good way of being delivered, though some episodes and other episodes have done it better. So whether or not it's underrated, Power Ponies is yet another episode worth giving a better rep.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Top Fifteen Levels (Part 2: 7-1)

Now that I've covered the first half of my Top Fifteen Levels of Galaxy 2, let's continue on with the other seven, shall we?

#7 - Space Storm Galaxy
(World 5)

I especially how dark and suitable both the level and the music that plays in it was, and though the game is more colorful and feels a little less like space when you think harder about it like me, this level feels a little more like it with fun missions, challenge and great design...

#6 - Boulder Bowl Galaxy
(World 2)

The rock mushroom power up wasn't quite as fun as the cloud mushroom, but I can say that this galaxy is really fun with its enemies, star missions and its fun dino-like boss (which you also fight with the rock mushroom).

#5 - Supermassive Galaxy
(World 4)

It's very, very similar to Giant Land in Super Mario Bros. 3, but Supermassive Galaxy is a very innovative level that provide great entertainment to keep me busy. Thanks to its giant enemies, awesome planets to travel around, and even its missions like most other galaxies in the game, and in both games in general, it is just a supermassive groundbreaker...

#4 - Shiverburn Galaxy
(World 5)

Combining the elements of fire and ice is a very cool aspect of a video game level. And Shiverburn Galaxy is no exception. From skating on the ice like Freeze Flame Galaxy from the first Super Mario Galaxy to all that lava you come across, it's one to have a blast playing on.

#3 - Cosmic Cove Galaxy
(World 2)

A little more than Slimy Spring Galaxy, Cosmic Cove has a bigger factor of wow and fun to it. It was true excitement to swim from section to section and to collect every power star (except the green ones since finding them felt really tedious).

#2 - Chompworks Galaxy
(World 4)

Chain Chomps, gearmos, flipping platforms, a lava planet, and tons of other great parts of the level? That is absolutely impressive. Not to mention its tasks of the platforms and even that Golden Chain Chomp were great as well. Not much else I can say here other than...well, you get the picture.

#1 - Yoshi Star Galaxy
(World 1)

The first level feature my favorite character in the franchise, and I think we can all agree that he's everyone's favorite dinosaur, Yoshi Star Galaxy features some of the best sections in a Mario game in my eyes where you ride the adorable little dino, defeat enemies like Lakitus, swing around and eat stuff with Yoshi's tongue and some much more. With it's awesome song and creative star missions, Yoshi Star Galaxy is easily my favorite level of the game, and let alone the fact that it's one of the first few levels in the whole game, it was yet another great way to start game off like Sky Station Galaxy.

Do you agree with my list? Which level from Galaxy 2 is you favorite?

For more great posts posted each and every week, be sure to tune in to The Super Mario Brony Blog.

Thanks for reading!

MLP:FIM Review - Applebuck Season (S1, E4, P3, OE4)

It wasn't as successful as its predecessor episode, nor is it one of my favorites of the show anymore, but Applebuck Season is an episode I can call good enough to be recommendable for rookie bronies and pegasisters who are just now getting started with watching the show. But let's now get started with my critical (and personal) opinion on it...

Apple harvesting season is upon Sweet Apple Acres, but with her brother Big McIntosh injured, the task of bucking apples from their trees falls upon Applejack alone. Applejack insists she can do it herself, and refuses the help of Twilight and her friends. She quickly becomes weary from the work, but still upholds promises to help with other tasks around town. In her sleep-deprived daze, however, her assistance goes awry and wreaks havoc on Ponyville. Twilight intervenes and insists Applejack let her friends help, but it is not until after Applejack collapses that she finally relents, and the task of harvesting is quickly completed.

In my eyes, episodes like MMMystery on the Friendship Express and The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 have lost their WOW factors, and it's sad for me to say that I feel the same way about Applebuck Season. But this doesn't mean it's something bad. The episode's plot, writing, animation (at its time, though it's gotten even better and more detailed over the years), and message.

The plot wasn't exactly special for one of the first My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and although its still good, its a bit flawed for Applejack's stubborn behavior that got old really fast after it kept going on, but the good thing about it was how humorous enough it was to make me laugh really hard. The voice acting has been done greatly even though the script felt just decent and was bit flawed for Applejack's lines of confusion during her communications with Twilight most of the time. The message was great to learn about not biting off more than you can chew, which it was delivered again in Stare Master but I felt this episode was more bearable. So while it's not one of my favorites of the show anymore as I said, Applebuck Season is a fine installment of MLP's first season and you have to give it credit for any positives that you can find about.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Top Fifteen Levels (Part 1: 15-8)

Like the first game, Galaxy 2 has some of the best levels in 3D Mario history. And whether or not they're among the best video game levels of all time, they're still pretty darn awesome to play through, even if they're the best aspect of the game. I'll be presenting the Worst to Best bosses of the game some other day, but for now, let's look at the best levels Galaxy 2 has to offer...

#15 - Cloudy Court Galaxy
(World 3)

Like Fluffy Bluff Galaxy, this level involving clouds for platforms made the course totally groundbreaking. I just love the sheer greatness in its exploration and the sections where you're blown by the windmills to get power stars. It's not the most replayable level, but still good fun...

#14 - Sky Station Galaxy
(World 1)

Along with its fantastic music tracks, Sky Station has some of the best missions in a 3D Mario game to date. I just love how Mario gets to fly from planet to planet. This is definitely how you give an amazing Mario game a great first level with a great deal of exploration like the other entries you'll be seeing on this list.

#13 - Tall Trunk Galaxy
(World 3)

Recycling the Slider theme from Super Mario 64 on one mission, this is the level that defines entertainment and challenge. The sliding mission frustrated me some many times when I first played it, but it's still thrilling when I look past the whole frustration aspect.

#12 - Clockwork Ruins Galaxy
(World 6)

It's blast going through a level with moving platforms in spite of a difficult purple coin task, but this level deserves a spot among this list for all of the planets, like a ledge hammer and wall pushing planet you come across as you progress onward. How fun.

#11 - Melty Monster Galaxy
(World 6)

Similar to the first game's level Melty Molten Galaxy though not as good, this course being filled with lava monsters felt so epic, that it felt a wonderful balance of difficult despite the annoying rock-rolling mission that drove me nuts...

#10 - Starshine Beach Galaxy
(World 4)

The Super Mario Sunshine-themed level of the game. Need I say more?

#9 - Slipsand Galaxy
(World 5)

With impressive landscapes a desert level usually features, this was pure fun. With great challenge, awesome missions and a fun if slightly bizarrely designed boss fight, this level is definitely how proved a level of excitement.

#8 - Fluffy Bluff Galaxy
(World 1)

Featuring one of my favorite music tracks in the game, it was true excitement for the cloud mushrooms you had to collect to keep completing more and more tasks throughout the galaxy. The chimp was weird and rather annoying though...

This ends Part 1 of my favorite levels from Super Mario Galaxy 2, be sure to tune in someday later to catch Part 2 of this list here on The Super Mario Brony Blog.

Monday, November 23, 2015

MLP:FIM Review - Secret of My Excess (S2, E10, P34, OE36)

Most of his episodes end up being bad, but that doesn't mean that everypony's favorite baby dragon sidekick of Twilight Spike hasn't had one good episode in My Little Pony. Two exceptions have to Season 4's Power Ponies and Season 2's Secret of My Excess. Thanks to its great plot, top notch animation (which I'm going to skip on positivity cause we all know it's spot on like always), good script and writing, and good message, this episode is has been done very well.

Spike celebrates his first birthday in Ponyville, and is surprised at the number of gifts he has received from his new friends. However, this triggers a hoarding instinct in him, and the next day, Twilight is shocked to find he has grown larger. Twilight learns that as a dragon becomes more greedy, it will grow to larger and larger sizes. Spike's greed soon runs out of control, and as a giant dragon, he kidnaps Rarity and climbs a nearby mountain. When Spike sees Rarity wearing a fire ruby gemstone, he remembers when he had willingly given it to Rarity before his birthday. The generous thoughts reverse his growth, returning him to normal. Despite the damage his rampage has done to Ponyville, Rarity still thinks Spike is the most generous dragon she knows.

Run! It's Spikezilla!

It's one of the few episodes as I said where it's a good one for Spike, but Secret of My Excess also has to be one of my Top Ten favorites of Season 2. The birthday-themed plot of Spike going all greedy after -and later, before- his generosity has to be creative for one of my favorite scenes in an MLP episode: Spike's growing spurt that turns him into a full grown dragon, causing chaos all over Ponyville and stealing things with absolute greed (go figure). Along with its pacing, it's also backed by its superb script and voice acting despite that there's not much humor to be had here. The Bible-based moral (Acts 20:35) on more happiness in giving than there is in receiving was delivered outstandingly (though I've already learned this before in the bible before even watching this show).

It's not exactly perfect and there's not much I can say about any of its flaws as I can look past most of them completely, but Secret of My Excess is no doubt an enjoy MLP installment from start to finish, and certainly gets most of its aspects right enough to be by far my personal favorite episode of Spike.

MLP:FIM Review - May the Best Pet Win! (S2, E7, P31, OE33)

It's been called bad by fans...and sometimes even one of the worst episodes of all time to them, but Charlotte Fullerton's first Season 2 installment May the Best Pet Win! was a more neutral piece of work for me. Some judged it for Rainbow Dash's portrayal, but I've had more than just one issue with it like everypony else. It might have been interesting at one point or another but after watching you either feel fascinated, or you felt unsatisfied. I just felt...well, neutral towards it afterward.

After seeing the rest of her friends out in the park on a playdate with their pets, Rainbow Dash (with the help of Fluttershy) tries to find herself an animal to be her pet using a series of contests. However, Fluttershy insists that a tortoise compete in the competition as well. After a series of events, Rainbow Dash challenges the four flying finalists to a race through Ghastly Gorge, the one crossing the finish line with her to be her new pet. In the race, Rainbow Dash's wing is caught under a rock, but the tortoise, who had continued to race, arrives to help free and take her to the finish line. Rainbow Dash is proud to call the tortoise her new pet and names him Tank due to his tenacity.

Rainbow Dash trying to find the right pet for herself may have seemed interesting enough at first, but looking at the way she tried figuring out more clearly was a bit bizarre if you ask me. The plot and Rainbow Dash's character felt flawed to me for her acts of forced painful competitions on the other animals, especially the tortoise, and wasn't exactly clever enough since at times it felt a little rushed on RD's part while testing them. I mean watching innocent creatures go through unnecessary pain like Rainbow Dash's tests seems quite unbearable to watch sometimes if you ask me.

I won't explain the positives cause you already know what they are in which every episode has them, so let's just judge the other categories instead. Another problem I found with the episode is it's rough quotes from RD, while the voice acting was still fair enough to be a pro. Looking at its message about looking at a pet's more important qualities of a certain kind of spirit and not physical competition abilities, I'd say it was just fine to say the least when Rainbow Dash reasonably accepted the tortoise (whom she obviously named Tank) and not really the eagle which felt was just heartwarming and sweet of RD. So with a heartwarming result of a message, (not to mention its song near the beginning was pretty catchy and awesome despite nothing special in its animation in the situation that it played in), decent script and a more meh plot, MtBPW! is an okay episode, but not one I'd highly recommend.

MLP:FIM Review - MMMystery on the Friendship Express (S2, E24, P48, OE50)

Pinkie is in charge of guarding the Cakes' dessert for a competition in Canterlot. She and her friends share the train with three rival bakers who have brought their own entries. Overnight, the Cakes' dessert is partially eaten. Pinkie immediately accuses the other bakers, but Twilight instead shows her how to investigate, and finds clues that point to their friends, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Rarity, each admitting to taking a taste. The other bakers' desserts are similarly eaten, but Pinkie, using Twilight's advice, deduces the bakers had eaten each others' desserts after hearing Pinkie's delicious descriptions of them. The collected group use the remains of the desserts to create a single entry that wins the competition.

Before Rarity Investigates! as a part of cartoon episodes involving solving a mystery case, we got MMMystery on the Friendship Express by Amy Keating Rogers. Comparing them to each other, this episode is honestly put to shame is just...there, compared to RI! I did think it was great at first, but MotFE is another episode I feel has really lost it's WOW factor whenever I thought more about it. That doesn't mean it's necessarily bad however. The WOW factor parts I think didn't get diminished though were some of the references throughout, like the James Bond moment of Donut Joe and The Perils of Pauline reference on Gustave le Grand...both of which were just fantasies Pinkie made up about solving the mystery. While it has been criticized for how logic the characters acted and Pinkie and Twilight's friends not taking Pinkie's worries too seriously, which I also though were stupid plot points, though I wouldn't consider them stupid enough to call it very bad...

You already know about its obvious positives like its graphics as usual, but to criticize the voice acting, the script to me lack originality to me during some of Pinkie's cheesy acts of jumping to conclusions before figuring the mystery out. Speaking of jumping to conclusions, the moral was done more neutral to me although I will admit that the way it was delivered while solving that cake mystery was pretty humorous. So while its story was nothing really interesting or all too amazing like most of its other categories, the end result for MMMystery on the Friendship Express is one that I just don't care much about, but I'll admit if this was one of the only few episodes left for me to watch that I wouldn't call horrible, I guess I could rewatch it from time to time. But then again, I'd rather just move on instead.

MLP:FIM Review - The Mane Attraction (S5, E24, P108, OE105)

It's really sad to hear that Amy Keating Rogers will be leaving the crew of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and will no longer writing anymore episodes for the show. So with her final episode of the series The Mane Attraction, let's just see if she pulled it off greatly for a final episode to conclude her library of installments she wrote...

And before I move on, please be assured that I'm going to be giving you a Spoiler Alert! So, be careful before reading this...or not.

A charity concert is being held at Sweet Apple Acres featuring Countess Coloratura, a famous pop singer and Applejack's childhood friend. To her confusion, Applejack hears from her friends that Coloratura has a reputation of being an overly glamorous and demanding diva, unlike the humble pony she was as a filly. She discovers that Coloratura is still the same, charitable pony when offstage, and that all her demands come from her manager Svengallop, who has been exploiting her fame for personal gain. When Applejack and her friends expose Svengallop's actions to Coloratura, he leaves her to manage the performance on her own. Encouraged by Applejack to remain true to herself, Coloratura sings a heartfelt ballad that is met with great applause. As an act of gratitude, she invites Applejack to finish the concert with her.

I honestly have to say she pulled it off excellently, meaning that The Mane Attraction is not only one of my favorites of both Rogers and Season 5, but also part of my Top Ten Overall Favorites of the Show. To start off, the plot was just fantastic with one the best backstories of MLP episodes to date (if not the best) involving Applejack and her friend hanging with each other at a camp together, while also showing off one of my favorites songs of MLP:FIM. The writing, coupled with its voice acting has been done greatly with a superb script though the name Applejack gave Coloratura (Rara) sounds a bizarre to me.

Featuring great animation and eye-popping visuals of Coloratura's concert were just awesome for my eyes too so not much else to say about the animation other than its just spot on like every other episode. And what another great job for another episode delivering two messages in one episode and just one like with most others. Choosing between just one moral that was more worth of the episode I have to feel was more for me than the other though both were great has to be Applejack telling her friend of how the real perk of friendship is gettin' to see your friend bein' true to their self.

Although the character of Coloratura's manager Svengallop is a very hatable character and does nothing but get on my nerves what with his secretly demandingly and horrible attitude towards Pinkie Pie, the rest of the characters, including Countess Coloratura herself (thanks to Tony award-winning actress Luna Hall) was just incredible too thanks to her wonderful personality and especially her strongly talented singing, which also makes her song at the very end a beauty that people would (and should) shed a tear for. And the songs were just catchy and fantastic as well. So The Mane Attraction is definitely the textbook example of how to write an awesome final episode by a great writer like AKR, and for very good reasons, you'll surely be satisfied in end after watching it.

And here's my final message to Ms. Rogers: 

"Thank you for every amazing episode you've written for us MLP fans (despite some that some of us consider bad, or at least in my eyes don't care Bridle Gossip and The Cutie Pox), and good luck out there with your career on other shows. We'll all sincerely miss you. So thanks for everything."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

MLP:FIM Review - Tanks for the Memories (S5, E5, P89, OE96)

Tanks for the Memories has widely been considered to be a more decent episode than a good or bad one by some like Unleash the Fanboy for how little of development Rainbow Dash shows over the years for 5 seasons still. The episode is not exactly the finest of the 5th season to me, but you could argue that it is ONE of them. But how good would I consider it?

What? Does Rainbow Dash suddenly think she's the Grinch? ^

Rainbow Dash is excited to spend her first winter with her pet tortoise Tank until she learns from Fluttershy that Tank has to hibernate for the winter. Rainbow Dash tries to stop winter from coming, but cannot hold back the efforts of the hard-working weather ponies. Rainbow Dash gets the idea to sabotage the weather factory in Cloudsdale, but inadvertently ends up creating a blizzard that speeds up winter. After the rest of her friends arrive at her home to help her cope with saying goodbye to Tank, Rainbow Dash agrees to let Tank hibernate.

For moments like both faces Rainbow Dash made, especially her Grinch smile during 2/3 of the story, and even the great song she sang, and of course her attempts to prevent winter from coming, Tanks for the Memories does give a fun deal of entertainment. The episode's story did give goods to it's elements, but is sadly let down by a few negatives. Firstly, Rainbow Dash's extreme breakdown towards the very end, especially when she and the others say goodbye to Tank was a nice heartwarming moment of true tearful emotion, but how it happened was my biggest problem with it thanks to Fluttershy herself (which another reason why she's still my least favorite of the Mane Six), and it would've been nicer if it wasn't done in that hurtful way. And other than Rainbow Dash learning to except Tank's hibernation, no moral has been admitted in the episode whatsoever.

Speaking of admitting things like morals, the episode's script though was generally good, though it's only a bit dumbed down by some of (JUST some of) RD's overreaction moments towards her friends which sometimes makes her friends' lines sound more mature than her's but even still, her dialogue was pretty good. The biggest backup for it though as to make it one of my favorites aside from those great moments and that song Rainbow Dash sings (as I mentioned) are the impressive visuals and groundbreaking animation. I called the episode just decent at first, but for all its categories being done so well now that I think more positively about them makes for a Season 5 installment of pure beauty and, like Winter Wrap Up, shows just how smart Cindy Morrow can be with narratives in spite of any of her failures.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

MLP:FIM Review - Maud Pie (S4, E18, P78, OE83)

Before both Make New Friends but Keep Discord and Hearthbreakers (one of them of which was less decent than the other), Maud Pie was first introduced in a Season 4 episode of the same name. Season 4's been doing an outstanding job keeping up with making some of the show's highest rated episodes to boot, but lets just forget about Scott Sonneborn's Somepony to Watch Over Me at least. (Which oddly enough aired right before this episode did.) So how'd the episode turn in my eyes? Easily one of the best episodes of Season 4.

Pinkie Pie is eager for her friends to meet her visiting older sister Maud, whom she says has much in common with each of them. When Maud arrives, however, Pinkie's friends find her to be a dull pony with an unusual interest in rocks, and fail to find any common interest with her despite their best efforts. Upset by her friends' inability to befriend Maud, Pinkie decides to help them by constructing an obstacle course that combines all of their interests, including a giant pile of rocks for Maud. While demonstrating the course, Pinkie is nearly crushed by a boulder, but Maud rescues her. Pinkie's friends realize that Maud cares for Pinkie as much as they do, and offer their friendship to Maud over their shared bond before she leaves, which she accepts.

She seemed like a dull and uninteresting character to me at first for her lack of emotion like she's got a disability with disabled controls inside her head (Inside Out, anypony?), but Pinkie's sister Maud eventually became one of my favorite characters of the show. For her wittiness and calm and (most of the time) emotionless tone which is now understandable to me, when I look more and more at those factors of her, it makes her even more likable nowadays. Getting into the episodes other aspects we have the categories of the story, writing, imagery and moral. All of which were done as good as the episode itself was.

The plot has been paced pretty with even more great moments like Maud's moment with Rainbow Dash of throwing rocks and especially Maud rescuing her own sister from a giant boulder. With quotes like Maud's poetry about rocks the writing and voice acting in both Maud's and the Mane 6's voices were all wonderful with a humorous feel in some Maud's dialogue (along with some, but hardly any of the others). The animation, same as always, is great, so now the message. Well, what an amazing job rookie writer Noelle Benvenuti did with delievering not one, but TWO morals in the episode! Pinkie trying to get her friends and her sister to bond with each other was an amazing additional milestone to both the plot and the show in general. The moral of also sharing the same thing of showing that they all love Pinkie Pie sounded heartwarming and was another great message to add along with the other.

With all of those combined, Maud Pie is yet another incredible installment of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and if you want charming and humorous episodes with an awesome new character like Pinkie's older sister, then check this one out ASAP if you haven't already.