Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

Bone Bandit Review


It’s time for one of those really quick Disney shorts. In this one Pluto gets to take center stage as he has to protect his bones from a local gopher who is trying to steal them. Right away I think it’s safe to say that you will be on team Pluto. It is his bones after all so I don’t think there is really a debate on if they belong to him or not. Furthermore, I would argue that Pluto wasn’t even picking the fight. Most of the time it was just the little animal being naughty.

The ending is very important for a special like this because if Pluto were to lose then that just wouldn’t be satisfying ending. A good deal of the special also deals with these flowers that are on the field which Pluto is allergic to. This is meant to balance the fight a bit as otherwise Pluto could just step on the little guy and be done with it. Fortunately Pluto is able to adapt to the situation pretty quick so he’s always ready for what is about to happen next.

It’s a decent special, but definitely on the weaker side of things. It’s mainly just a slapstick fight between the two of them, but Pluto can’t hold his own special nearly as well as Mickey or Donald in that regard. Since Pluto can’t talk we don’t really get to see his reactions to what’s happening. He’s also a lot more innocent than the other characters so you’ll probably just feel bad for him. It’s a very old special so it’s not very mean spirited or anything like that, but at the same time you wouldn’t say that it’s all that fun either. It’s a short special that will just come and go without too much thinking on it.

As I mentioned the ending is definitely what helps it stay afloat since Pluto got to defend his turf. He also had a pretty good feat with the sneeze and the whole neighborhood blowing up at the end was pretty unexpected. I wonder if the little guy will ever appear again. On the wiki he is just referred to as a Gopher so the fact that he doesn’t have an actual name seems to hint that he never got to be a big character. I suppose they can’t all grow to be household names though.

The animation is definitely pretty good. I do miss the smooth hand drawn nature of these specials back before everything started going into CGI land. What’s wrong with a nice hand drawn adventure right? You can feel the care that goes into all of the scenes and the visuals also just age extremely well. You wouldn’t think that it’s been many decades since this short aired because it is animation that could hold its own against a lot of the modern cartoons. Some styles just age better than others and this is definitely one of them.

Overall, Bone Bandit is a cautionary tale to us all that you always have to look after your stuff. Watch out because there are burglars everywhere and taking them down is very difficult. Pluto protected his grounds though and showed us why Mickey trusts him with the house. I’d be down for a new Mickey Mouse film with Pluto showing up. I still don’t think Pluto is ready for his own movie, but as a supporting character he can definitely help make the experience more fun. If you haven’t seen this special yet then you should check it out since it’s so short. A shortened version of it is up on Youtube, but it seems to be heavily edited since it is even shorter than the version I saw. I’m not sure if that’s the way to go, but I suppose it should be pretty similar.

Overall 5/10

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Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

How To Play Football Review


It’s time to look at another Goofy short. This one is actually about Football which is always fun to see. You’d assume that this would automatically beat the Basketball one since I do prefer Football in general, but that wasn’t actually the case. The special is definitely still fun like the last one, but I thought that they just did a lot more with the Basketball concept. Maybe Basketball just makes for easier comedy than Football.

The basic plot is that two Football teams are about to face off. One of them only has a handful of fans left while the other one appears to be the fan favorite. Still, neither team is ready to call it quits so they both square down. Surprisingly the two teams are pretty evenly matched though and from there on they use their toon physics to gain as much ground as possible.

Naturally most of the humor here is in the fact that the characters can do just about anything on the field. This means that any player can tilt the balance of an entire match but on the flipside they can also be taken down by any other player as well. It’s a pretty short special so both teams are going full throttle from the start. The ending is also pretty emotional as the game goes down to the wire.

The animation is pretty solid as expected. It’s very smooth and so it works really well with the general physics. The animators are very creative here and I think that’s low-key one of the reasons why the old Disney animations were so good. It’s one thing to have good animators but you’ve also gotta know what to do with them. It’s all pretty inventive here like when one of the Goofy creatures manages to wrinkle up the whole Football field like a rug before scoring. It’s a good way of bringing the field to you instead of the other way around.

This special will definitely be over before you know it which speaks to the enjoyment factor of it. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and that’s definitely a plus of the short format. I don’t think there would have been enough substance here to last for a whole movie, but if it’s just a short then it manages to stay humorous without hitting the same story beats over and over again. I wonder if Goofy tackled more sports beyond Basketball and Football. It definitely makes sense to go with those 2 right away though, Baseball could make for another solid one. I suppose I’ll find out at some point if he did nay more.

Overall, I’m not sure if this special will actually teach you how to play Football, but it still makes for a fun experience. I think even casual Football fans will be able to follow the action here as it just covers the basics. It’s only a few minutes so there is only so much that the special can do on its own, but I think it succeeds in making for a fun time. It’s a good diversion and Goofy has actually done a much better job of giving us solid specials than I ever would have guessed.

Overall 6/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

Double Dribble Review


It’s time to look at a Goofy short. I haven’t seen a whole lot of these over the years as typically the specials are about Mickey or Donald. I admit that I assume Goofy’s specials would be the weakest since he definitely isn’t one of my favorite characters, but he’s actually not that bad here. In fact, the special is surprisingly real good and one of my favorites from these retro shorts that I’ve seen.

The plot of the special is all about a big basketball game that is about to start. The home team is heavily favored to win to the point where there is only one guy in the stands for the away team while the other one is packed. Both teams don’t have any real energy though but someone’s got to win. Additionally the blue (away) team has one player who may not be as tall as the rest but he’s got heart.

One interesting thing to note is how the blue team is actually about on par with the red one. I guess their fans didn’t want to pay the ticket prices of going to the away game, but it’s actually not because the team is bad as you may have expected. The game is within 1 point at the final seconds and that’s considering that the team was fielding a bunch of backups by this time. Both teams have basically identical players so this makes sense as well.

Even though the players start out with no motivation they gradually start to get into the game as the special goes on. This leads to a lot of fun tricks like guys appearing out of nowhere and even some crazy bodyslams. I guess even these players can feel that competitive spirit. The guys making the calls in the booth also did a tremendous job of keeping up with the plays on the field since it was all so fast. These guys definitely knew their stuff with the sport.

The animators also probably had a lot of fun here. The characters start out by using realistic basketball moves but by the end they’re using super speed, stretching abilities and all kinds of other techniques. As always Disney presents you with very smooth animations here so it all flows together really well. The fast paced nature of the animation fits perfectly.

Overall, Double Dribble is definitely a great special that I would recommend. It’s a lot of fun and doesn’t drag on. I also tend to enjoy specials that revolve around sports and what better one to show than a quick paced basketball game? If you haven’t seen this one yet then you should change that ASAP. It’s very short too so it’s not like it’ll take you all that much time to give it a whirl.

Overall 8/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

Team Sonic Racing Overdrive Review


It’s time to take a look at the 2 part segment Sega released. It’s roughly 10 minutes or a little shorter than that, but it’s a nice way to cross promote the game. I was lightly tempted to get the game day 1, but there are just so many good games coming out right now that it’s tough to know which ones to take the plunge on. Regardless, I do look forward to playing it some day. I imagine it will be quite solid just as this special is.

The plot is pretty straightforward. The various heroes and villains have entered a race where the winner will receive a large gold trophy. Team Sonic, Chaotix, Rose, and Dark are all entering the race. Only one team can win though and it quickly becomes clear that Shadow and Sonic are the front runners here. That being said, there are a lot of racers on the track and so anything can happen. Be sure to stay glued to the seat so you don’t miss a second of the action.

The animation is very smooth and this style is definitely good at energetic scenes like this one. In general it’s a nostalgic style and one that’s very “clean” You will always know what’s happening and the designs are simplistic and so they are able to go through a lot of movements very quickly. It’s always been one of the big strengths of this animation style and Overdrive puts it to good use. A whole show like this would be quite fun for sure. Although the characters don’t talk here you can still get a lot of their personalities instantly because of how well animated they are.

As always Shadow is definitely a stand out character here. He actually does really well while at the same time knowing when it’s best to finally put his abilities into motion. The other characters also have to deal with a lot of interference on the track. It puts all of their skills on the line. There’s certainly nothing negative about this special and so it’s pretty much ideal. Between this and the Sonic Mania shorts, it’ll be fun to see if Sega decides to keep them up. I remember at the big Sonic event they did say that it takes forever to animate these scenes but maybe if they bring more animators on board they would be able to make a whole show like this. I’ll certainly be ready if they do.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend checking this special out. Even if you aren’t planning on getting the game it’s fun to see the cast just hanging out and getting all competitive. It’s also a lot of fun for fans who grew up in the Adventure era as there are a bunch of references and remixed tunes from the old game. You’ll likely remember all of them even if you don’t know the exact names. It’s the little things like that which really help take Overdrive to the next level. Also, it’s super short so it’s not like it’ll take all that much time out of your day to check it out right?

Overall 7/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Mirror Magic Review


It’s time to look at the big climax to the trilogy! The Mane 7 have gone to the theater to see how the film went. Naturally it was quite good, possibly the best film they ever saw. The heroes are pretty nice people so they don’t want to make a big deal of this, but then they see that Juniper is working here and decide to pay her a visit. After trying to sabotage the film, Juniper was fired and forced to work as a sweeper at the theater. The Mane 7 remind her of this and let her know that it’s what she deserves. Juniper decides to get back at the heroes and finds a mirror. With it she can throw people into other dimensions and even finish her chores quicker. She slowly begins to use this mirror more and more until she is completely hooked on it. Now she does not want to ever turn away from it. Why should she when this grants her super abilities?

Sunset realizes that she’s going to need pony power for this one and calls up Starlight Glimmer. Together they can succeed where the Equestria Girls failed. Juniper may have magical abilities, but the heroes have the power of friendship on their side! The big battle between good and evil starts here and it will definitely ensure that you never look at the characters the same way again. It was nice to see Juniper get a super form here as the other specials had been pretty down to Earth. Seeing the characters go cosmic again was definitely a blast.

Meanwhile, Juniper is a pretty fun villain here like in the other special. I do think that it’s basically impossible to sympathize with her at all. Considering how many crimes she committed in the last special, you’d think that she would be incredibly grateful to be working anywhere right? Instead she spends this time griping the whole while. She’s clearly very bitter about everything and hasn’t learned a thing in her exile. By the end we find out that she just wanted friends, but I’m not sure that I buy this. There was certainly no indication that this was the case until the very end. I think the heroes basically tricked her into believing that this was the case.

I do think Starlight Glimmer was pretty out of character here though. This seems to be the case a lot of the time when the Ponies show up in Equestria Girls though. Starlight acts like a complete beginner here. She isn’t very powerful or confident which isn’t like her. She gives some advice here and there, but spends most of the time just staying in the background. She could have been cut out of the film and nothing would have changed. That’s my main problem with the whole thing. Starlight should have been brought in to have a big fight with Juniper or something. Otherwise why even show up? Still, at least we finally got the big meeting between the two characters even if it was handled poorly.

All told, this trilogy ended on a pretty high note. The writing was good and the special’s short length really allows for the action to start up right away. I still say that Starlight was misused here, but you can’t win them all I suppose. The mirror was a good piece of tech so hopefully it shows up again. It could easily be used for a bunch of different plots which would certainly be fun.

Overall,, I have finally finished all of the Magic specials. With this I am one step closer to catching up with the MLP series. That will certainly be a pretty big milestone. If you haven’t seen these specials yet then you should do so. All 3 of them combined are barely an hour so you really can’t go wrong there. The low key best character of this is probably still Juniper’s uncle. the guy really did his best to help her turn over a new leaf. It’s just a shame that she persisted in staying with the darkness. At least now that she’s friends with the MLP characters she’ll have positive influences. (Provided they remember to check up on her from time to time)

Overall 7/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Movie Magic Review


It’s time to look at the next installment in the Magic trilogy. The heroes have arrived on the set of a Daring Do movie and are looking forward to seeing it be made first hand. As Rainbow Dash is a big fan she is determined to help the crew do it right. Unfortunately a ghost has been scaring people off the set and now even the props for the movie have vanished. Without those the movie will have to be put on indefinite hold. Dash can’t have that and so she decides that the group will find this ghost. She even brought along her super speed amulet so she can take this villain down a few pegs. Still, will that be enough to defeat an actual ghost?

This really plays out like a classic Scooby Doo film. It’s pretty neat to see how the MLP crew would handle such a task. Of course, it is a bit obvious who the culprit is from the start. I think the one area where the special made a mistake is in only having a small cast around. From those characters only 2 of them feel like actual suspects. You have a spoiled actress who keeps saying that she wants out of this film and then you have a movie attendant who really loves being in the film business. Hmmmm, who’s the likely culprit? Well, the actress would be the obvious guess since she doesn’t like the movie, but through that you know who is actually guilty. Still, even if you know who it is the actual mystery is still pretty fun.

I do think it was a bit of a stretch how the villain outran Rainbow Dash though and then captured her. Rainbow Dash isn’t a normal human like the rest of these characters, she has actual super speed? The whole thing felt like plot hax to be honest. Still, it did add a little sense of danger which is always good though. The team’s plan to capture the villain was also pretty well thought out. It just goes to show that the ponies have brainpower as well as brawn.

The ending was handled pretty well as the villain starts to go through the motions of pretending to turn over a new leaf and all of that. The director doesn’t buy into it and wants the person off the set. This time the culprit basically gets off with a slap on the wrist, but I guess it makes sense since this character is likely still a minor and as such can’t do a whole lot of hard time anyway. She’s banned from the set and that’s really all you could ask for.

From what we saw it looks like the Daring Do film will be a riveting success. I was half expecting the actual Daring Do to show up, but I guess she could have ended up stealing the show. Surprisingly there aren’t any real songs here, but I suppose maybe that would have been out of place with the whole mystery angle going on. I’d say that the first special beat this one as a result, but Movie Magic certainly did have a little more danger and suspense in the plot so it was pretty close. There’s not much to say about the graphics as they are effectively the same as in the first special.

Overall, Movie Magic is a good follow up to the first special. The main characters are a pretty close knit team by this point so it’s nice to see them making plans and such to catch the enemy. The villain was also fairly memorable and made for a good antagonist. I’ll talk more about her in the final special review. The 2nd special in a trilogy is usually more for set up than anything else and that’s exactly the case here. The third special is where everything finally connects and we learn who is really pulling the strings here. Lets just say that everything has been leading up to this moment.

Overall 7/10

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My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Dance Magic Review


It’s time to look at the first of 3 Equestria Girl shorts. Initially I was going to review the 3 specials as one post as some sites seem to list it as season 1 episodes 1-3, but at the same time it’s hard to find an actual title for what that series would be. It sort of tows the line between being 3 separate specials and a quick miniseries. To make it simple I figured I would just treat it as 3 quick specials. As such these reviews will be a bit smaller since it’s like reviewing an episode.

In this special, the Mane 7 are trying to earn some money to repair Camp Everfree after the events of the film. Unfortunately things are not going very well on this front. The group has not made a lot of money and the deadline is almost here. That’s when Rarity has the idea of entering a Dance competition where the grand prize would give them all the money they need. The risk is that the entry fee will clean them out so they either win it all or lose everything. The rest of the MLP members reluctantly agree to this. Rarity is confident that they will win, but another wrinkle is thrown into the plan when a group of rival classmates steal Rarity’s idea for the show. With only minutes remaining, can Rarity think of a way to still claim first place?

This plot has been used before in the main series where some characters stole Rarity’s ideas as well. As she has the mark of generosity that makes her a very easy target for hooligans like this. It can be a bit annoying to see Rarity so oblivious, but this is why she isn’t the leader of the team. You can bet that this wouldn’t have worked on Sunset Shimmer or Starlight Glimmer. It’s a good conflict here as the heroes can naturally go and beat these kids up with their super powers or they can make the heroic call and let them be. I’d at least report them, but it’s your word vs theirs which makes things fishy.

Alas, this special isn’t really about big conflicts and such. The heroes decide to help the bullies out anyway since they were so desperate. It turns out that these students weren’t so bad after all and all of that. It’s a bit hard to swallow of course, but I suppose it is what it is. The Mane 7 have always been pretty good at forgiving people so it’s not exactly surprising that it would play out this way. I do think Sunset was ready to fight if necessary though which is why she’s such a good character.

This was a good way to start off the trilogy as we got some good musical beats during the dances. The special had a lot of energy throughout and had good writing. The animation looks pretty similar to the movies although naturally it’s not quite as detailed. It’s bright and colorful which is the important thing. I’d compare the animation to Rescue Bots or something of that nature. It won’t be winning any awards, but it’s not bad either.

From the villains, Sugarcoat is annoying though. She’s not grateful in the slightest and is quick to mock the heroes even once they are all on the same side. She seems to think that she is a little better than everyone else and her arrogance is unwarranted. Look, I’m all for arrogant characters, but if you just got saved by someone in this contest you probably shouldn’t be talking tough for a while. The others may have also started out as villains, but at least they knew to stay quiet once the Mane 7 had pity on them.

Overall, Dance Magic shows that it’s good to be kind, but you also have to be ready for all of the cheaters in the world. They aren’t going to just let you get past without a fight. It’s one thing to help someone out if they seem nervous, but if you’re in a competition you shouldn’t show off your routine before you have it securely patented and registered. Rarity taught us these valuable life lessons. If you haven’t seen this special yet then I’d recommend changing that. It’s pretty fun and easily works as an episode in the series.

Overall 7/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas Review


Time for another Christmas special but this one is by a different crew so we’re back to traditional animation. It definitely looks pretty good and right away it’s an improvement for me at least. As for the actual story, that part is a little less engaging but I blame the main character on that one. So prepare yourself as we enter the world of the Bears!

The special starts by showing us how the Bears all work at this large honey factory. They work for most of the year and then take a break to hibernate. It’s a system that has been in place for generations and the Bears have learned to love it. After all, who wouldn’t want to sleep for a few months? That’s what they all thought until Ted showed up. He wants to stay awake for Christmas and has tried to do so for years. The problem is that every time he ends up falling asleep which certainly doesn’t play into his plans. This year he is determined to stay up and even ends up travelling to the Human World to do so. (Well, it’s the same world but they may as well be separate)

I don’t think that Ted’s plan is bad or even that selfish. If he wants to stay up then that’s fine. It won’t hurt anybody and at most he’ll just be really tired once the hibernation is over since he’ll have had less sleep. The problem is that he does end up hurting others which is certainly no good. First he forgets to turn the honey off which is pretty bad since they waste a few gallons and that ends up hurting the company’s bottom line very quick. Fortunately for Ted his boss was very understanding and told him that he could overlook this but not to let it happen again. Then Ted runs outside and does an interview where he tells the world his plans. This isn’t a good look and it reflects poorly on the job. When you’re an employee like Ted you can’t just give interviews without going through HR first.

I’m probably being a bit hard on Ted, but it’s for his own good. If he was a little more careful I think he could have been a very good main character. Most of the special is about Ted finally making it to the human world/Christmas. Once he does make it we realize that this was all part of Santa’s plan from the start. It’s all rather genius from that holiday icon’s perspective. Everyone is just another piece on the chessboard for him. The whole situation can be a little odd if you really think about it as Ted got to the human world pretty easily all things considered but when you throw magic into the equation then things start to make sense. It’s also possible that without Santa Ted would have been doomed from the start.

Overall, The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas is a pretty good special. Ted could be annoying at times but at least he had a goal and saw it through. His determination is admirable for sure and he succeeded in his goal. The ending is pretty nice and a best case scenario for all parties involved. I’m sure even his boss is happy about the whole thing since now his operation can be back on target just as he likes it. I recommend checking this special out. It’ll help remind you to look forward to Christmas since it’s always a blast and a half. You just can’t go wrong on this day.

Overall 7/10

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The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow Review


It’s time to look at another classic short. This one deals with the first Christmas snow for the main character Lucas. He definitely had a pretty raw deal but always sees the bright side of things. This is another special that I hadn’t heard of previously so I’m certainly getting introduced to a bunch of new Christmas animations this year. It’s definitely been a fun run of holiday cheer and we are just getting started.

The short starts with a few Nuns taking in a boy named Lucas. He is a shepherd but a close bolt of lightning took away his sight. The nuns, particularly Sister Theresa decide that they must take care of him. Unfortunately the main priest doesn’t like this and wants Lucas to be sent away. As a result Lucas’ stay at the orphanage can be a bit awkward at times. Still, he does his best to fit in and help with the upcoming show that will be put on. When bullies allow his sheep to get lost in the forest Lucas must try to bring them back even if he is blind. Can the kid handle it?

I have to say that the main priest was definitely a lot more antagonistic than I would have expected. Right from the start he is against Lucas. Why is he running an orphanage if he doesn’t want to take kids? He just looks pretty bad the whole time so even at the end when he has a change of heart you have a tough time buying into it. It’s all too late by that point. Then we have the bullies who were about as mean as you’d expect. I guess what’s an orphanage in these films without some of those right? Lucas handles himself pretty well throughout all of this though. Even the wolves in the forest can’t scare him. They surprisingly didn’t get much of a role but that’s good since for a minute there you start to get worried that some animal violence might happen. No need to hurt the score like that when the whole plot can be avoided right?

The animation is the same as the rest of these specials so no need to go into that all that much. I’m still not a fan of the style but it is what it is. At least we get an interesting effect for Lucas’ eyes when he is blinded. I thought that part was handled pretty well. Considering what shape his eyes were to show the blindness, the ending also makes sense with how his eyesight is brought back. Now he can go back to being an expert shepherd and keeping his flock safe.

Overall, This was a fun special. While the orphanage was a little meaner than it needed to be, I’m glad that Lucas didn’t let it get to him. He didn’t go for revenge or fall into sulking. He just stayed the course and kept on helping out wherever he could. He adapted to his blindness as best he could and having a good main character like this is always important. If you haven’t seen this special and like this line of stop-motion shorts then I’d recommend checking it out. If this is your first experience and you want a nice story then you should still enjoy it. It’s also fairly short so you really don’t have anything to lose here.

Overall 6/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

The Little Drummer Boy Book II Review


It’s time to look at the relatively obscure sequel to the original Drummer Boy. At the very least I had not heard of this film before. The first Drummer Boy was certainly a classic so this one had a lot to live up to. It’s a reasonable special. Not a whole lot happens but that’s a given considering the length. The villains were pretty fun and I think the special did a good job with the visual gags. While this is a special that feels like it was made for kicks, I’m still glad we got a sequel.

The short starts out with a bunch of roman guards storming a poor village. Someone had spent months creating a few large bells to signal the birth of Jesus Christ and was preparing to set them up. Unfortunately the villains had other plans and quickly stole the bells. They plan to melt them down into pieces of silver so the villains will all be rich. All hope seems to be lost but that’s when the Drummer Boy steps in. He figures that he can distract the villains with his performance while the animals grab the bells but this task may enact a greater price than he could have ever suspected.

Naturally the guards are as corrupt as they come. You certainly aren’t supposed to root for these villains by any stretch of the imagination. Still, the special at least makes them fairly humorous. I actually enjoyed the song about money. Both because of how unexpected it was and because the lyrics actually made sense. It just had a catchy beat and if anything the villains were able to pull it off better than the actual Drummer Boy. Throwing in some good music is always a good way to make a special even more memorable and I don’t think I’ll be forgetting this one anytime soon.

I’m still not a fan of the claymation style though. It all looks rather clunky and the animations just don’t look as nice to the eye. There’s nothing particularly appealing about the style and since everything looks like clay you won’t be watching this one for the visuals. Still, the actual plot is good. It’s always cool to see something taking place around the birth of Jesus. The Drummer Boy makes for a good main character. He also made quite the sacrifice for his mission which is more than other leads would have been able to do in his shoes. The special has a happy ending though and so everything worked out in the end.

Overall, The Little Drummer Boy Part II is a pretty good sequel. It’s nice to have the old gang return even if his actual drum skills didn’t really look so good this time around. I guess realistically you can’t expect such a tactic to work for very long right? At least he was able to keep it up for a little while and it was a nice homage to the original. If you enjoyed the original Drummer Boy then I certainly think you’ll like this one and vice versa. They’re pretty similar and you could easily watch them both back to back since combined they would be about as long as the average episode if not a little longer.

Overall 6/10