My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Forgotten Friendship Review

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After all these years it is time to finally review my first Equestria Girls special. Ironically it’s the final one (so far) but the special gives a quick recap at the beginning which makes it easy to get most of the context here. It’s a fun special although it does go out of its way to make Twilight Sparkle look bad which is a little odd. I can see why this side of the series has a lot of fans as well since it’s a pretty fun cast, but the Pony world will likely keep its spot at the top.

The end of the school year is rapidly approaching so Sunset Shimmer is preparing all of the pictures. To help with this, Twilight has made a selfie machine and they are all going to meet at the Beach to use it. Unfortunately, when Sunset arrives there the next day, the Mane Clique doesn’t remember her and they actually go out of their way to make her feel bad. Sunset decides to go to Equestria to get to the bottom of this memory mishap, but the true source of trouble may be closer to home then she suspects. Could it be the new student???

I definitely enjoyed the fun intro. See, if you’re going to do a recap then there are 2 key things you need to do. 1. The recap has to be quick. If it’s too long then it defeats the purpose. 2. A song helps. Now, you can play it lazy straight and simply reuse the scenes but spreading them all out and adding a lyrical song to the mix makes it feel a lot more fresh. It has been a while since the last specials as well so a recap isn’t a bad thing. Since the special is under an hour, the plot starts very quickly. The pacing is always pretty good.

The special is a little obvious with the culprit though. Let’s face it, the instant this new transfer student showed up you knew she was trouble. Technically Wallflower has been at the school the entire time, but she’s never appeared before so that’s definitely suspicious. Many other titles have done this before including even the recent Dark Dimensions. The important thing is just making the character likable even if you know she is evil. Wallflower isn’t a bad antagonist if you look at her purely as a villain, but if you try to sympathize with her goals than it may not work so well. She really dug her own grave on this one. I actually disagreed with the moral in this film. Not the actual message but I don’t think it applies here.

As her name suggests, Wallflower hid in the background the whole time and nobody ever noticed her. Apparently this includes Sunset Shimmer and the gang so at the end they learn that they should have been nice to everybody. Not being mean isn’t good enough, you have to be actively nice. Thing is, we never have any scenes where Sunset isn’t being nice. There’s no real indication that this moral should apply to her. The only ground you have to stand on here is that Sunset and the others are being rude for not remembering her. If you’re in the same class as someone for years then you should probably know their name.

However, we find out at the end that Wallflower was actively erasing everyone’s memories of her so why should she hold them accountable? I’m sure the main characters did know about Wallflower and probably were nice to her, but then they had their memories wiped. This means that now Wallflower’s argument has no weight and neither does the moral. All that being said, there is nothing wrong with being even nicer so it’s still not a bad ending.

The music is certainly handled really well. The opening song was a lot of fun and the villain’s song was also very good. It was nice and fast paced while also being pretty emotional. The franchise has always been known for its songs but seems to really bring out the big guns for the films. It certainly helps the movie be even better. The film’s animation is also pretty solid. It doesn’t really seem to be any better than the normal shorts, but I suppose this special is more about getting the cast back for another adventure than it is about stunning everyone with the animation. I’d say it works well enough although I’m also used to it at this point.

As I mentioned earlier, surprisingly the Equestria plot isn’t all that great as Twilight looks absolutely terrible. Now this may just be a running gag in the films as she didn’t look very good in the main one either but her role is completely out of character here. She is overly expressive and out of control here. Sparkle is actually afraid of Celestia and doesn’t do a good job of defending Sunset. I understand Twilight being nervous in season 1, but she’s already seen many times that Celestia always forgives her underlings. Celestia is still rather rude and unlikable as always here, but not to such an extent. Then we get to the library and that’s where Twilight’s panicking gets even worse. I’m guessing this is all just to make Sunset look even better in comparison but there’s no reason to make her look this bad right? If I didn’t know any better I would have assumed that she was the comic relief character of the series.

Sunset looks really good though and has a bit more of an edge than the other ponies. She isn’t afraid to make threats of violence towards the villain and just comes across as tougher than the others. She has a leather jacket on after all and a previous rep as a villain so everyone still respects her. Sunset can still get emotional when her friends are involved, but at least she’s not nearly as mean about it as the others. She’s a solid main character and I certainly wouldn’t mind if she became the lead in the other show although her pony design doesn’t work as well as the human one. She basically has to save the day on her own although one other person was helpful.

Trixie was never a great character as a pony, but in this world she seems to be one of the better characters. Unlike the other characters who were content to mock Sunset she actually did try to help. Trixie also stood up to her when Sunset was making threats and has some legitimite magic power. She also serves as the self aware character of the film as she fast forwarded through the villain’s song and mocked its length. The film was surprisingly poking fun at itself in several other moments like where the characters cut human Twilight off before she can talk about friendship. It’s handled pretty well if you ask me. Trixie is definitely the 2nd best character in the film and maybe this will translate well into future appearances in the main series as well.

Unfortunately the Main 6 look really bad here. Their human forms just aren’t good. They may not remember Sunset, but it doesn’t excuse them being so mean and confrontational to her. They are completely judging her from their past memories even though she obviously didn’t come here looking for a fight. Maybe she has some kind of sinister plan, but I thought these heroes were all about looking on the positive side? They insult Sunset and deliberately try to hurt her feelings. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think they were the bullies of the series or the kind of “friends” you’d see in Ultimate Spider-Man where they make fun of the lead with and without their memories. You have to agree with Sunset when she admits that her friends losing their memories isn’t terrible since she still has Trixie. Trixie is certainly less stuck up than the others and seems like a true friend.

Of course, the characters are so mean to continue the plot so I guess I won’t hold it against them in other specials, but it’s not a great first appearance for those girls. The setting for the special also isn’t my favorite since its the cliche beach episode. I guess even My Little Pony can’t avoid that trope although naturally it handles the episode in a classy fashion unlike 99% of other titles. It’s just there for the scenery as opposed to anything else, but give me the city backdrop any day. The writing for the special is pretty strong for the most part. The obvious exceptions are any scene with Twilight Sparkle and to an extent, any scene with the human ponies unless they are intentionally meant to look really mean.

Towards the end of the film we get to see them transform and unleash their energy blasts though which is pretty cool. I’m glad they still have some level of abilities left within them here since that opens the door to a serious Tirek arc in this world. Trying to obliterate Wallflower may have been a bit much, but I suppose they really didn’t want to lose their memories anymore. Then we have made it to the ending. I have to say that the human versions of the ponies may actually be stronger than their normal counterparts with the exception of Twilight and Rainbow Dash as they can possibly use their energy blasts at will. It’s why we need a fighting crossover. As far as how I’d rank the human characters, Rainbow Dash is still the best with Applejack being a close second so that’s basically the same as always. The others are basically tied as they just weren’t any good, but I’ll give a proper ranking for all of them once I watch the first movie. This special was also a nice break from Equestria as it’s good to get some new backdrops. In general the human world will typically always beat a fantasy one although both have their perks. It’s just that the city leads to a lot of good environmental effects depending on what’s happening at the moment. The Beach is an exception but a lot of the special took pace within the school anyway.

Overall, Forgotten Friendship is a fun special. I think it would have been better if they had just cut out the Pony subplot entirely, but it’s not as if it was bad. It was just really unexpected. This special is still a quality adventure and shows that the Pony universe is still going strong. I’m still in the middle of season 2 of the main show so it’ll be a while before I’m truly caught up, but at least this means I still have many more Pony adventures in store. I’ll probably still wait a while before catching up on the older Equestria Girl specials, but I’m looking forward to seeing Sunset as a villain. I do think that the first film likely won’t be the best one anyway, but I’ll go in with an open mind. Now I just want a true crossover adventure where the ponies and humans have to fight alongside each other. There’s definitely a lot of potential there. If you are a fan of the MLP franchise then you definitely need to watch it. If you like a good slice of life school adventure then this is also a good pick as it is a story that stands on its own pretty well without any real context. The magic stuff may seem out of the blue, but you’ll be able to roll with it since the story is still pretty straight forward.

Overall 7/10

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A Charlie Brown Valentine Review

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It’s time to look at a Charlie Brown Valentine’s special. It’s been a little while since I have seen one so it’s cool to go back to the franchise. It’s a fun enough special but not really one of the strongest ones due to the Valentine’s plot with Charlie seeming a little recycled from previous specials.

So, it’s a few days before Valentine’s. Charlie Brown is determined to finally give the little red haired girl a Valentine this year and hopefully they can be friends. The problem is that Brown hasn’t gotten any braver over the years so he will need Linus to act as the middle man. Meanwhile, the annual dance is coming up and Marcie intends to ask Charlie Brown to it. The problem is that he has been having trouble with his hearing lately so this can be tricky.

All of the different story arcs are related to Valentine’s in one way or another. That being said, the bullies don’t take a day off for the holidays and they decide to pick on the Little Red Haired Girl. She’s usually so mysterious that nobody dares to mess with her so this was certainly a change. In fact, she appears quite a bit more here than she usually does. We get to see Linus break out the whip once more which was pretty cool. He’s still one of the best characters in the series for sure. You feel bad for him because he just wants to be friends while someone is constantly trying to stop him from this goal.

Lucy still has her knowledge booth where she helps with your problems for a nickel. It’s not even a bad deal if we’re being honest since that’s rather cheap. Her items for purchase do take a few days but at least she doesn’t ask for cash up front. This way it’s hard to actually call it a scam since you end up keeping your money in the end.

Snoopy’s role here is rather small. He gets invited to the dance and shows the whole school who the best dog is. Beyond that, he doesn’t get to fight with the Red Baron or hang out with his bird pal. I guess there isn’t much they could do to celebrate Valentine’s, but at least show them eating some chocolate or something. I’m always ready to see more quality Snoopy screentime.

Charlie Brown looks pretty bad as per usual. His worst scene is probably when he just watches as the little red haired girl gets bullied. It’s no wonder that she ignores him since Charlie won’t even help when she is in a pinch. So much for counting on classmates right? Charlie even throws away his lunch which was pretty unfortunate since I’m sure a lot of effort was put into that. It didn’t look particularly appetizing if we’re being honest, but I’m sure Charlie didn’t mind or he would have given Linus a speech about it.

The animation is consistent as always. It does look a little cleaner than the older specials but unless you see them side to side you probably won’t notice much of a change. It’s a style that still works so I suppose that’s good enough. It’d be nice to see how the series looks with a modern hand drawn style but I have no real complaints with it here. You’ll hear some of the familiar tunes as well. There isn’t much of a soundtrack, but what is there works fairly well. The pacing is pretty good so the special flows well. There aren’t any boring subplots to drag it down or anything like that. It would have been nice if we could have gotten some kind of competition in this special since those are usually the best segments in the series. I guess it may have felt rather tacked on though.

Overall, This is a fun Charlie Brown special. The characters are iconic at his point and the special is so quick that he pacing is really good. None of the plots overstay their welcome either. While Valentine’s doesn’t lead to plots that are quite as engaging as other holidays, it does its best with what it has. I’d recommend checking this out if you’re a Charlie Brown fan. Otherwise this probably isn’t the ideal special to start out with but you’ll enjoy it all the same. It’s a fun story with good characters. What more could you ask for?

Overall 6/10

Lego Marvel Superheroes: Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat Review

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There have definitely been a lot of LEGO specials over the years. It makes sense as you can never run out of ideas with those little toys. That’s why they’re so popular in the first place. What you build is limited only by your imagination and your budget. The LEGO specials are usually pretty enjoyable and most of them are fairly short as well so it’s not as if they last too long either. This Guardians special is pretty good as well and goes by very fast so I’d say that it holds its own against the other Marvel ones.

The plot is that Thanos wants to create a BLT so he needs to find the Builder Stone which will let him create anything. I would have advised him to just go to Subways but I suppose they may have run out of tomatoes again. The Guardians decide to stop him but first they will have to out fly the Ravagers as well as Ronan. Does the team have what it takes for this mission or are they doomed again?

The LEGO animation is definitely something that you either like or you don’t. I don’t really consider it as good animation as it just seems really easy and nothing particularly stands out visually. As long as the animation isn’t bad it’s not a problem though and I wouldn’t call this bad animation. These specials are more about the dialogue than anything else as the one liners have to try and use the Lego’s advantage of many things being possible to its benefit.

On that note, the writing is pretty solid. I’m not the biggest fan of the Guardians team when it comes to their personalities but the special did a good job of keeping them in check. For example, Drax can overuse his gimmick of taking things literally but I believe they only use that joke once here as opposed to spamming it in every other scene. That was pretty good and seeing him get wrecked by Thanos is a better gag. I think that’s how their fight should always go but I have a nagging feeling that he is going to be able to score the final blow against Thanos in the movie somehow or even defeat him to close his character arc. I’ll give the film extra kudos if they go the LEGO route instead.

The rest of the characters do a good job of being decent as well. Star Lord’s still a fun leader who always has a plan and the voice helps the character out even further. Gamora doesn’t get much of a role in this special but she is certainly in character as she doubts Star Lord the whole time. The team always bets against him and they are probably right to do so since he will come through when it counts but not in any other situation. Ronan and Thanos make for good villains as well. They may be fairly overused in Guardian plots at this point but it’s not as if the team has too many enemies which is why they have to keep showing up. At least it’s not a C rank villain who keeps reappearing or anything like that.

The only bad character as always is Groot. He actively tries to sabotage the team as always and the saying his name not got old years ago. He doesn’t add anything to the dynamic and only serves to take time away from the characters who could use more. At this point I’m unlikely to ever become a fan of his but you never know I suppose. Maybe all he needs is a radical change in character and design although it would basically be a different character at that point.

Overall, this special was pretty fun. It’s the length of a normal episode and has appropriate pacing. There’s never a moment where the film drags on and there aren’t a bunch of subplots to take away from the main adventure. The team fighting Thanos is already enough of a plot to hold its own special after all so it’s not like you need much more than that. Thor has a nice little cameo for his fans as well. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then you should go ahead and do so. It’s only 20 minutes so even if you don’t like it then you won’t be losing much time. The film doesn’t make any big mistakes though so at least for me there wasn’t much chance of not liking it. LEGO specials aren’t always a solid 7 but they are rarely, if ever bad.

Overall 7/10

All in a Nutshell Review

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Time for the final Chip n Dale special that I have seen so far. The little guys are still up to their tricks but once again it is actually Donald who starts the fight. He’s been stealing Acorns from them again so they decide to shut down his butter corporation once and for all. Donald had actually been pretty successful so it’s sad to see him be brought down like this.

Of course, you can’t blame the Chipmunks either. What I do blame them for is wasting a lot of butter though. A lot of bottles crash and the butter goes to waste. Maybe they were too stressed out about getting the butter and being undetected, but it just goes to show you that haste makes waste.

It is the weakest of the 3 specials though because the plot is certainly the flimsiest. As it is, to buy time for the special to end we see the Chipmunks bicker a lot and hit each other. One of them takes most of the damage as the other Chipmunk always picks on him, but they both get their share of blows in. Neither one really wants to stay down. Even after getting beaten up one is still trying to steal butter so I guess you have to admire their dedication and all. The animation is good as always. It’s the same old same old as Disney has mastered this art to a science. It’s hard to believe that every frame was drawn and that they didn’t use computers to set this all up. The amount of work behind such an undertaking is just hard to fathom and will never cease to amaze me.

I have wondered how nut butter would taste though. I’m inclined to think that it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as normal butter just because nuts don’t seem like they would taste that great. It’s a pure assumption of course, but normal butter from milk makes sense. Nuts….I’m still wrapping my head around that one to be honest. Apparently Donald’s customers love it though based on how much his business was booming. If only he had gotten Chip n Dale on board with stock options or something, he’d still be a millionaire today and could have even passed Uncle Scrooge.

Overall, If you like the classic Disney specials then you’ll like this one. There’s certainly not much reason to dislike it and at least it’ll all be over very quickly either way. Donald will make or break this special for you since he’s always the most interesting character. After being with the Chipmunks for so long, I’m ready to go back to Mickey Mouse and his fun supporting cast. He doesn’t even need to steal butter since Mickey has his whole Turkey from the Christmas specials. You can’t stop a mouse on a mission.

Overall 6/10

Hanazuki: Full Of Treasures Review

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There was a brief theatrical short that played before the MLP movie so I figured I’d review this as well. It was very short so it’s not as if there was much time to get used to the movie. If the point of the special was to get me interested in the film then I can’t really say that it worked. It seems like a pleasant enough series though and I’m sure that it’ll get better but it just didn’t hook me.

So there’s this little girl who is babysitting 4 stars. One of the Yellow stars is really petty and decides to steal Hanazuki’s gem that she got from a sleeping fairy and dashes off faster than you can say “Wakka Wakka.” Hanazuki chases after her mischievous friend and they land on the forbidden side of the moon. They are chased by a giant monster and nearly fall into the lava, but the monster has been moved by the power of friendship and saves them. Hanazuki then scolds the star by giving it a turn on the slide and everything is happily ever after.

I mean, there wasn’t too much crude humor here aside from the monster drooling on the heroes every once in a while so that’s a good start. I think that the main problem here in the end is simply the fact that the characters aren’t as charismatic as the ponies. Whether you think My Little Pony is amazing or simply spectacular, the concept is fairly original. You can already get sold on the show by the fact that the characters are ponies and unicorns with mysterious powers. We’ve had a lot of human shows so one about them having fun in space can be fun, but it’s been done before. I think the characters are supposed to have powers as Hanazuki glows when she’s happy, but I’m going to need more moments like that to really sell the concept for me. Also, I already don’t like the mini stars. They just come across as really petty and are just dragging Hanazuki into trouble. At the end of the day, there wasn’t really anything wrong with the special though. At least it was over in a matter of minutes and didn’t drag on. It’ll be a pleasant enough series.

Overall, there’s not much that this special can do for you one way or the other. The animation isn’t bad, but it’s a clear step down from My Little Pony and doesn’t feel like something out of 2017. You can’t really tell if the series has a plot from this either. I hope fans of the show enjoy it as it gets longer and the lore gets explored more, but I won’t be taking that journey at this point. I wouldn’t mind if theaters started doing this more often though as having a short before a movie sounds pretty good to me. It just makes you that much more hyped for the film as you get a few extra minutes to shoot around theories in your head.

Overall 6/10

Thru the Mirror Review

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Thru The Mirror brings us even further back into Disney’s roots as it is a solo Mickey Mouse adventure. The good news is that this means Goofy isn’t present…the bad news is that Donald also isn’t around. Mickey can usually hold his own special no problem but he isn’t able to talk in this special. That makes the task a great deal more difficult. It’s an entertaining short, but one that could have used more dialogue.

The short starts up with Mickey’s soul being thrown out of his body. It’s at this point that Mickey realizes he may never go back to his body again so he decides to have fun messing around in the real world. He doesn’t get to stay there for long though as he enters Wonderland and must now struggle to stay alive against an army of Cards and a vengeful King. Fortunately for Mickey, he is actually a great swordsman and this is good foreshadowing for the Kingdom Hearts franchise.

The animation is nice and smooth as always. The soundtrack was more limited and less eventful than the last two specials, but it still wasn’t bad. It is definitely interesting to see Mickey’s old design here since it is such a contrast to the one we are all used too. It helps you buy into the different personality a little better though.It’s hard to imagine modern Mickey being so rebellious and messing with people the way that he does here.

What you’re probably wondering now is…was the King acting rashly or did he make the right call? I can safely say that it’s the latter. Mickey went too far when he danced with the Queen and I’m glad that the King arrived to put him in his place. The fight may not have gone as well as the King would have hoped, but it wasn’t super one sided either. He made Mickey sweat and I’m sure that the mouse will have second thoughts before crossing him again.

The rest of the Alice in Wonderland cameos and elements were fun as well. It’s definitely a legend that is used quite a lot as many different titles have been inspired by it. It wouldn’t be the last time that Disney would head back to this arena either. Hopefully Mickey brings Donald around next time so we can have some banter between him and the Cheshire Cat. At the very least, I’d like Mickey to bring along his keyblade so we can have some real fights.

Overall, Thru The Mirror is a fun special that has aged reasonably well. I would have liked it more if Mickey could talk though. Dialogue is just so important in a movie because it lets you become one with the film and only then can you embrace it to its full potential. Oh well, it’s still a fun way to spend 15 minutes and after that you can get a milkshake as you continue to remember the good ole days.

Overall 6/10

Clock Cleaners Review

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Mickey, Donald, and Goofy have finally found steady jobs as clock cleaners. Unfortunately the clock seems to be alive and doesn’t like to be cleaned. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are systematically attacked and defeated. We all know that they have absolutely no chance of winning here so the question is…how badly will they be pounded? I may as well say that the clock gets in a lot of serious hits. Possibly even lethal ones.

As always, Donald was the most interesting member in the group. He actually defeated his part of the clock until Mickey and Goofy wrecked it. Donald’s soap voice just doesn’t get old. Mickey’s plot isn’t bad as he spends a lot of time getting beat up by a bird. To his defense, it was a pretty tough bird who wasn’t playing around! He wanted his sleep and nothing was gonna stop him.

Goofy’s plot is the weakest as expected. He gets smashed by a few golden hammers and this causes him to go loopy. He keeps almost jumping off the skyscraper so then Mickey has to save him. The effects of the hit certainly lasted a while as well since Goofy stayed that way for the rest of the special. I wanted to be more sympathetic but he didn’t handle the situation very well.

The animation is pretty nice and fluid the whole time. Disney’s style has certainly aged very well over the years which is most impressive. The designs are all iconic and they certainly got famous so the company knew what people wanted to see. The sound effects and music aren’t bad either. The main clock theme is quite catchy.

Now, I suppose the real question you’re all wondering here is who was in the right..Mickey or the bird? You may not be surprised to hear that I was on the bird’s side 100%. He can sleep wherever he wants and we just have to deal with it. Clearly Mickey wasn’t on the same page, but that’s totally on him. I’m glad that the Bird fought for his American rights and never gave up even when the going got tough. There was no tie and the victor was never in doubt. This bird wasn’t playing around!

Overall, it’s another fun Disney special to add to your viewing history and I’d recommend checking it out. The special is very short so it’s not as if it’ll take a whole lot of time to watch and it’s fairly timeless. You can watch it in any year and it’ll be just as fun as you can recall. It’s definitely interesting to see how Mickey and the gang changed over the years.

Overall 7/10

Kino’s Journey: Country of Illness -For You Review

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It’s time for another Kino special. I’ve never been much of a Kino fan but the concept isn’t bad. Because the whole series is about watching her go to various lands and experiencing their traditions and customs, it means that there is always the chance you will enjoy the adventure or also dislike it by the same token. Effectively the franchise gets a blank slate each time. I’d say this one was the best yet mainly thanks to the Moped not getting to do much and Kino being a little less deadpan this time around. It’s short so the special doesn’t drag on or anything either.

In this adventure, Kino heads to a futuristic city. The inhabitants are worried about germs because they may prove to be fatal. Their way of society seems rather flipped from the usual norm. The wealthy and influential people live outside in the rugged desert as they make a home and defeat the outside elements. The poor and middle class live in the city where they can do whatever they want thanks to the tech. It seems like a paradise for them and an endurance test for the wealthy, but why is this? Kino becomes friends with a girl who is sick at the hospital and agrees to deliver her letter to a boy who lives on the outside. Is Kino ready for what she may discover there?

It’s not a Kino adventure without a few twists and the adventure should keep you guessing for a little while. You can probably imagine that things didn’t go very well for the boy when the girl explains that she hasn’t seen him in over a year. That’s always a bad sign and when Kino sees how desolate the outside world looks, it brings a few questions to mind as well. People rarely tell the actual truth to outsiders in these things so at least Kino is ready. It’s also fortunate that she always has her gun at the ready as well. You really can’t trust these guys.

While it’s a pretty somber special, it doesn’t go overboard. It’s sad, but not over the top with big time human experimentation or anything. People were effectively sacrificed though and the government looks shady as always. We don’t really get any fights in this special although Kino does get to fire a shot. Her recommendation to the girl to go check the outside world out when she is better is probably not the greatest advice though. The girl is certainly going to be in for a very rude awakening.

As far as Kino herself goes, the character wasn’t all that bad this time. She’s still not very interesting, but at least she tried to keep the girl’s spirits up and didn’t stand by as a bunch of people were murdered for a change. Her “no interference” policy still ensures that she’ll never be a hero though. At best she will always be a person who looks out for herself first and foremost. The Moped still tries to be funny in all of his scenes, but they never really work. I’ll give him some credit for the constant attempts though. He certainly never gives up.

The other characters in the special were okay although none of them got a particularly large role. They’re meant to be background elements as you focus on just taking in the land and how it works. The sick girl was reasonable although it’s unfortunate that she has to go along with all of the tests. I opt out of just about every shot at the doctor because most of them just seem so pointless. That’s definitely what she should have done here. The boy from the flashbacks was all right I guess, but he was a little generic and nothing really happened with his plot. The night guard may have tried to justify his actions with every other line, but they weren’t very convincing. He makes for a decent antagonist though.

One thing Kino’s Journey always does well is keeping everything very quiet. The towns always seem desolate as Kino walks around even when people are there. There’s something about the series that always makes everything seem hollow and fake even if the people are being jolly. It’s that elusive Twilight Zone effect and it certainly gives the series an air of mystery.

The soundtrack is really nothing special as it’s the same tunes that we have been hearing over and over again. I can’t even say that it’s all that memorable. I suppose the laid back feel of the music is supposed to go hand in hand with how mellow the special is in general, but I wouldn’t mind some fast tunes once in a while. The animation isn’t bad either. It’s below average as it definitely hasn’t aged well and much older shows look more impressive. There is no way that you’d guess this film came out in 2007 as it looks like something closer to the 90’s or very late 80’s. However, if you look at it in a vacuum without comparing it to anything else, then Kino’s Journey still looks fine.

Overall, This was the most enjoyable Kino’s Journey feature. It’s still held back by a number of issues like the underwhelming technical aspects and the lackluster main characters. The plot is still interesting though and it doesn’t drag on. At it’s core, Kino’s Journey is like a nice breeze that is fun while it lasts and is then forgotten. There’s nothing there to call it a bad film, but there isn’t much to make it memorable either. It’s a good film because it doesn’t make any mistakes is the best way to think about it. Hopefully the series can get a reboot/sequel nostalgia film which will energize the franchise. I think that’s what it needs the most, some energy. It’ll be difficult balancing that and the eerily quiet scenes, but I’m sure it can manage. I think this is it for the franchise at the moment though so it feels pretty good to be caught up. At least as far as the animated content goes.

Overall 6/10

It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown Review

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This is one of the more tragic Charlie Brown specials. You can’t help but feel bad for the guy as he’s framed and suffers from serious memory loss all in the span of 20 minutes. He got to have some fun though and at least has a happy ending for a change. I certainly wouldn’t say that it’s one of my favorite specials, but I suppose it gets the job done.

The plot involves Charlie being framed by Lucy for losing the team’s big football game. It was a little on the mean spirited side, but the series doesn’t mind going there when it suits the franchise. I’ll never forget how the bullies humiliated the heroes in the racing challenge. I’m still a little sore about that one. When you consider the high stakes of this game, it also shows you that Lucy has her priorities completely mixed up. Nevertheless, Charlie must try to get past this because he has been assigned to be the little red haired girl’s escort in a big party. Can he steel his nerves and get through this without fainting?

You can tell that this is one of the older specials right off the bat because the graphics are a little more dated. It’s nothing too drastic though and the special still looks good overall. It’s not like you can stop the passage of time right? There isn’t much in the way of music here or sub plots. It’s really just one straight adventure to the end so at least there aren’t a whole lot of filler scenes.

By the same token there isn’t a whole lot to talk about here. One thing that I have to say is that the red haired girl was given a fairly throwaway design for some reason. She resembled a non playable character more than you would have expected. She also had no real personality, but I suppose that is to be expected since she never really got to talk back in the day. I was surprised to actually see her since it’s a running gag that she never appears.

While the party was apparently pretty exciting, it doesn’t really amount to much since it was all off screen. There also wasn’t enough Snoopy action for my liking. He’s always the life of the party so you gotta have him in a starring role. If the whole special had been the Football game and Charlie had gotten to win it in the end, the special would have certainly been verrrrrrry different.

Overall, This was a reasonable special. It did have some noticeable issues though like the Football game. You can’t help but feel bad for Charlie there and the rest of the kids need to start wearing glasses. Charlie fainting at the end was also pretty sad and makes the whole situation even worse for him. Also, a special can’t really last for the full length with just a romance plot. The football scenes were meant to help with this…but we know how that turned out. If you’re going to watch a Charlie Brown special then you can certainly do a lot better than this one. That being said, it’s still not a bad special. It went by really fast so I’d say that it actually has a reasonable amount of replay value. It’d just be too depressing to watch again without some kind of break. I recently saw two of the other romance specials so we’ll see how they stack up. At the very least, I can confirm that the other two aren’t as tragic.

Overall 5/10

Star Trek: The Cage Review

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It’s time to take a look at the pilot that began the whole Star Trek craze. It will feel very familiar even if you haven’t watched the pilot before since the original TV show re-adapted this story. It’s definitely not the best one and I don’t imagine that it would have went over very well with the fans, but it’s not terrible either. The main cast just isn’t all that likable and I can see why many of them got the axe.

Captain Pike received a distress call when his ship was in proximity to a nearby planet. He wasn’t thrilled about checking it out since he prefers not to risk his life for perfect strangers, but the others prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone is down there and now Pike must help or risk looking antagonistic. He reluctantly beams down and is kidnapped by a group of aliens. They used illusions to trick the heroes and their telepathic abilities are formidable. They let Pike know that he has to live a fairy tail illusion life with a woman they rescued a while back or he will be destroyed. Pike half heartedly resists the whole time so he continues to get zapped along with the girl. The rest of the Enterprise tries to help, but it’s no good. Can Pike talk his way out of this one?

I feel like the special intentionally tried to make Pike unlikable. I’m just not sure what the rationale behind such a decision was. One of his lines would be pretty infamous nowadays as one of the lieutenants shows up to give him something to sign and Pike says “I don’t like seeing women on the bridge” That may not be word for word, but that’s essentially what he said. Only men may walk in the main offices and even if they have tasks for him to do, they are to wait downstairs. He even reminds the same lieutenant of that at the end of the film to ensure that they know nothing has changed. It’s not the kind of thing that you would expect from the main character and this was a trait that you wouldn’t soon forget.

Pike also made things hard on the other captive. She lets him know that she’ll be punished if he continues to ask her questions and defy the captors, but Pike continues on. I’m fine with him resisting since he should in this situation, but he should try to keep her out of it. He always brings her into danger by asking all sorts of questions. She tried to switch the topic at least 10 times at one point, but Pike kept bringing it back. Pike’s will power did start to fade by the end, but that’s when two of his crew mates showed up. We learn plot twists about them that we didn’t really need to know and it certainly made the problem a little trickier.

I do have to say that the aliens were lucky that the crew was so docile though. The heroes had actually broken through to the villain base a while back, but didn’t know it because of the illusions. This would have been found out had any of the heroes actually tried to touch the mountain though. I feel like they usually would at some point right? Apparently nobody did and that was that. It was still clever of Pike to figure out this weakness and while the aliens could have still won by using a lot of other illusions and making the heroes walk in circles all day, they had clearly had enough by the end. At least they claim that they won’t try to do the same to any more people. Their goals and motives still seemed to come out of the blue and based on how they actually helped the other captive back in the day..it doesn’t make much sense. Even if she was disfigured, she should have gone back with Pike and the others. I wouldn’t have stayed with the aliens for anything in the world.

It’s just a sad special though and that ends up hurting it in the long run. Lets ignore Captain Pike. Even without him, it would be hard for the special to be too good because the villains are just too powerful. It gets annoying to keep seeing them zap the heroes whenever they try to make a move. They didn’t have many options and you’ll especially feel bad for the old captive since she was apparently treated well at the start of things. I guess the aliens just got corrupted and Pike’s presence was too much for them to resist.

Overall, This special didn’t have a whole lot of Trekking in it, but it still feels like a Star Trek kind of plot. At least we didn’t have a lot of forced romance, but seeing as how the whole episode revolved around the premise of the captive trying to seduce Pike, it was felt anyway. There wasn’t any easy way out of the situation, but I’m sure that a better main character would have made it all more interesting. I’d recommend just watching the actual Star Trek TV show if you’re looking for some interesting plots and you can just skip the pilot. It is just a pilot for a reason after all and I’m sure that they used the critiques from the early viewers to improve upon their original ideas and to make the show solid. I’m sure that one complaint was just that the special wasn’t all that enjoyable. It’s pretty grim the whole time and if that’s what viewers thought they could expect from the show, they probably were not all that interested. It was fun to see the retro special effects though. They’ve actually aged pretty well so that’s impressive. This is just a pilot episode so it is pretty short in case you do decide to watch it. It’s not as if it’s a big investment of your time.

Overall 4/10