Wednesday, June 14, 2017

MLP:FIM Review - A Royal Problem (S7, E10, P143, OE153)

It's a major statement among me that Starlight Glimmer is doing much better in Season 7 than she ever was in Season 6. It's not all too surprising, but at times not really that expected either that she would get her own Cutie Map-themed episode where a Mane Six member or two travels across someplace random in Equestria in order to solve a friendship problem. At first glance, I didn't think of it as that tolerable when I thought of it as another Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?, but after a discussion I had with Zack on the overall plot, whereas it's far more of a Freaky Friday than it is a Magic Sheep?, I considered giving A Royal Problem a rewatch and have a different standpoint on everything one could find good about the episode; Especially considering that if Joanna Lewis & Kristine Songco were the writers of a certain Starlight episode, I'd consider giving it at least a fair amount of rep after how mediocre All Bottled Up turned out to be.

Starlight Glimmer is summoned by the Cutie Map to solve a friendship problem between Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, who feel unappreciated by each other. When both sisters argue that their royal duties are more difficult than the other's, Starlight impulsively casts a spell that switches their cutie marks and abilities, intending to make them swap roles to change their perspective. The sisters agree to Starlight's idea, initially confident in their new responsibilities before quickly discovering their respective hardships: Luna finding it taxing to keep up appearances in public throughout the day; and Celestia realizing the loneliness of guarding Equestria at night. While surveilling her subjects' dreams, Celestia finds Starlight suffering from a nightmare where her impulsiveness has escalated the sisters' feud into a battle between Nightmare Moon and Celestia's own evil alter ego, Daybreaker. With both sisters admitting their jobs are equally challenging, Celestia dispels Starlight's nightmare with Luna's support before their original cutie marks are restored, finally ending their feud.

Due Starlight better development in the season than Season 6, and helping Celestia again get better rep after the surprisingly incredible Celestial Advice, A Royal Problem comes out as an admirable installment with flawless pacing as it never gets boring nor anything that leaves more than enough to be desired like The Cutie Re-Mark. The plot works as brilliantly as Celestia's and Luna's chemistry as sisters and their sibling rivalries based on what their duties in Equestria are like, and how Starlight ended up switching their duties around via her magic of switching their cutie marks around. It only adds to how brilliantly Celestia portrayed herself as a sister who trying to be as realistic as possible, and with her relationship with her younger sister Luna, I'm sure it's one many can identify with. Luna hasn't exactly changed as a character as I feel nothing has and ever will make up for her derailing portrayal in Magic Sheep? (and I have Scott Sonneborn to blame for that obviously), but she still comes out as a fairly well done character here as she serves a purpose and her parts only makes the plot seem more realistic in every sense of the way how a plot is paced out.

Twilight lacks anything interesting in herself as she comes off as petty at times, but at least she was nowhere near derailed as she was in Season 6 at most (hey there, No Second Prances). She especially makes the ending not all too perfect as she was rather weird and a little crazy as she was in Lesson Zero, but the strong ending of how the sisters formed back together that seems almost as relating as Sisterhooves or Brotherhooves Social more than makes up for that. Speaking of things that make up for any of an episode's flaws, the epic action between both sister's counterparts Nightmare Moon (for Luna) and the newly introduced Daybreaker (for Celestia) is another welcome edition to some of the show's best moments ever, and despite still seeming as a little unoriginal, their action and brawl between each other make the episode better than it would've been if it lacked that kind of awesomeness.

While things like Twilight's part don't entirely add much to A Royal Problem's awesome factor after the opening act, the awesome action, the expertly paced storyline, and of course two more fantastic morals of bravery and what life's like in someone else's shoes (or hooves in Celestia's and Luna's cases), it's another installment of pure awesomeness that does a better job of giving Season 7 great quality than the preceding episode (soon to air for the US this Saturday, but more on it next week). It isn't perfect, but Starlight Glimmer's characterization seems to be getting better and better as she gets more good development in all the episodes she plays a major role in, and A Royal Problem proves that for underrated characters like Celestia also, there's more potential in store for undeveloped characters, poorly written characters, and Friendship Is Magic's quality itself in general.

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