Saturday, October 30, 2010

Random Bits on my Favorites

I've only been able to catch Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures sporadically, but since it's currently airing every weekday, I figure they'll lapse into reruns eventually and I'll see them all.  I'm not sure whether or not I'll blog them here, since I also figure that they'll be released onto DVD sooner or later.  After all, the episodes from Berryfest Princess and Glimmerberry Ball have already all aired as part of the series, so it's not hard to imagine that most of the episodes will be put together in similar "movie" fashion.  And it's just easier for me to write up a review when I have a DVD to work with, rather than a captured video.  In the meantime, I just want to say: Berrykin Bloom, stop rhyme-talking!  It's so annoying.  Also, I'm glad that Jadeybug finally got to talk, even if she didn't have a Spanish accent.

As I mentioned, Care Bears: The Giving Festival will be coming out soon, and to soften the blow of Princess Starglo debuting before her actual debut, Kidtoon Films is stepping up to the plate and showing Share Bear Shines during the month of November.  So that makes things a little better, I guess.  Is a DVD release far behind?  I certainly hope not.  Then again, there's no word on To The Rescue coming to DVD, and Kidtoon showed that back in April.

I've been enjoying Maryoku Yummy, though like SSCBBA, I only catch it here and there.  I'm really not that crazy about Inu.  I mean, Nozomu is a magical land, with crazy creatures; what do they need with dogs?  I also do not like Fudan, though he may be the answer to a quibble I posted when I first blogged about MY:
I mean, what if a kid wishes for an elephant for a pet?  Seriously, that kid is never going to get one, so that's a wish that will never get granted.
Fudan is a wish that has never been granted, and has thus gotten the hang of language (in that annoying like-a-toddler-but-not-quite way).  While most wishes just speak gibberish, I was amused to see that Hadagi apparently taught her wishes to say her name.  Most of the episodes I've seen have been fun, though I find it a little suspect that Maryoku often pulls tricks to make others learn their lessons, while if the others had done such a thing, they would have had to learn not to do that.  Best moment of the show so far: when Shika made a wish, and a little wish that looked like him was delivered. ^_^

And to close things off, someone wrote an abridged version of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic two-part pilot.  They did the latest episode, too.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Episode Two

Picking up where the first episode left off, Night Mare Moon laughs maniacally over her Never Ending Night, as the mayor orders the guards to seize her.  Night Mare Moon is having none of this, and she shoots lightning at the guards before turning to mist and fleeing the scene.  Applejack finally loses her grip on Rainbow Dash, who takes off after the mist, but is unable to catch it.  She does catch sight of Twilight Sparkle taking off with an unconscious Spike in tow, and wonders what she's up to.
At the library, Twilight Sparkle tucks Spike into bed, pointing out that he was up all night and simply doesn't have the stamina for that (being only a baby dragon, after all).  But without her trusty assistant, she has no luck finding any info on the Elements of Harmony.  Rainbow Dash bursts in, accusing her of being a spy, since she actually seems to know what's going on.  Fortunately, Applejack followed Rainbow Dash and manages to get her off Twilight's tail, though she too wants to know what's going on.  So Twilight tells her and the other ponies everything she knows, and how she doesn't know what the Elements of Harmony are.  Just then, Pinkie Pie points out "The Elements of Harmony: A Reference Guide" on the shelf, conveniently under "E."  The book describes the five known elements: laughter, kindness, generosity, honesty, and loyalty, and mentions the mysterious six element, along with the last known location of the elements.  As Twilight reads all this, the misty Night Mare Moon eavesdrops outside, just in time for a cut straight to the Everfree forest.
The ponies hesitate outside the spooky forest (complete with theremin music) for a moment before Pinkie calls for them to get going.  Twilight tries to dissuade them, saying she'd prefer to go alone, but Applejack insists that they can't let a friend face such a creepy place alone, and in they go.  With a resigned sigh, Twilight follows after them.  The forest is unexplored territory for all of them, and rumored to follow different rules than the rest of Equestria.  Rainbow Dash takes advantage of the stories to spook the others, unaware that Night Mare Moon's mist has seeped into the ground beneath them.  As she goes for the big scare, the ground crumbles away, and the two pegasus ponies scramble to save the others.  Rainbow gets Pinkie and Fluttershy grabs Rarity's tail, while Applejack manages to find a root to bite into and stop herself.  But seeing Twilight  still falling and heading for a dropoff, she lets go and slides down to grab the unicorn, barely keeping her from falling over the edge.  She assesses the situation and tells Twilight to let go, which Twilight does not think is good advice.  Applejack assures her that it is, even telling her it's the honest truth.  Convinced by her sincerity, Twilight lets go, falls, and is caught by Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy together.  They lower her to the ground as Applejack jumps down on convenient ledges in the cliffside.  
As the ponies continue on their way, Rainbow relives the experience of saving Twilight, who doesn't appreciate this, though all quibbles are forgotten when a raging manticore appears.  Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash all take a turn fighting, unable to hear Fluttershy's quiet calls for them to wait.  It isn't until all the others gear up for a stampede attack that Fluttershy is able to get them to stop so she can approach the manticore and find the real problem: a thorn in its paw.  With the offending thorn removed, the manticore is as gentle as a kitten and the other ponies are able to get past.  As they leave, Twilight asks Fluttershy how she knew about the thorn, and Fluttershy replies that she didn't, but she knew that kindness would win out in the end.  Unseen by the ponies, the discarded thorn turns back into Night Mare Moon's mist.
As the ponies go deeper into the forest, the trees hide the moon from view, making it almost impossible to see anything.  The mist hides itself in the trees, creating terrifying glowing faces that surround the ponies.  Though the others scream in terror, Pinkie Pie just laughs and makes faces right back at the trees.  When questioned about her strange behavior, Pinkie replies with a jaunty song about laughing at your fears.
Twilight Sparkle: Tell me she's not...
Rarity: She is.
The song works, and soon all of them are laughing along, making the faces disappear and continuing through the forest.  Their quest is once again cut short, though, when they come face to face with a roiling river.  Before they can figure out what to do, the sound of weeping leads them to a nearby sea serpent who appears to be the reason the river is so wild.  He tells them of how his precious mustache was cut off by a "tacky little cloud of purple smoke," and his whole look is ruined.  Few of the ponies are sympathetic to his plight, but Rarity, of course, sees the true tragedy of this situation, and takes it upon herself to correct this "crime against fabulosity."  Using one of the serpent's scales, she slices off her own tail and uses her unicorn powers to graft it onto the serpent's face.  This overjoys the serpent, who doesn't seem to notice that it doesn't match the other half.  Rarity makes light of her sacrificed tail, claiming short tails are "in," but pointing out it will grow back.  With the serpent placated, the river is crossable again, but serpent makes a bridge out of himself for them anyway.
Not too long after, Twilight spots the ruins of the castle where the Elements of Harmony are said to reside and rushes toward it, not noticing that the bridge is out and nearly falling.  Rainbow Dash pulls her back and comments, "What's with you and falling off cliffs today?"  Pinkie wonders how they'll get across, and Rainbow  waggles her wings at her before flying across and picking up the fallen part of the bridge.  Before she can tie it, she hears a voice from the fog calling her name.  She is approached by three pegasi, who ask her to join the Shadowbolts as their captain.  Plying her with flattery, they get her to agree, just as soon as she ties up the bridge.  But the middle pegasus tells her "it's them or us!" and causes the fog to filter out the sound of her friends on the other side.  Rainbow Dash appears to choose the Shadowbolts, but does not, tying up the bridge and flying back to the others.  The Shadowbolts turn back into mist and slink off as the ponies cross the bridge without mishap.
Inside the castle, the Elements of Harmony are right out in the open, on display even.  Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash carefully take them off their pedestals and set them down in front of Twilight Sparkle.  Though there are only five, Twilight read that a spark will cause the sixth to be revealed.  She asks the others to stand back, and starts to use her unicorn powers.  As she concentrates, Night Mare Moon's mist sneaks in and whips up the Elements into a whirlwind.  Twilight leaps in to save the Elements just as the whirlwind collapses and disappears, taking her with it.  The others try to find her and spot a light coming from a tower on the other side of the castle.  This is where Twilight finds herself faced with Night Mare Moon, who has all the Elements in her possession.  She gets ready to charge at the evil alicorn, her horn shining with magic.  Night Mare Moon returns the charge, but before they can butt heads, Twilight teleports to the unprotected elements.  She hurries to create a spark, but Night Mare Moon whirlwinds over and sends the little unicorn flying.  
Despite her efforts, the elements seem to have been ignited, sparking and crackling with energy.  But all too soon they fall dead again, to Twilight's confusion.  With an evil laugh, Night Mare Moon stomps down hard, smashing each element into pieces.  Night Mare Moon berates Twilight for being a fool, declaring that the princess and sun will remain hidden forever.  Suddenly, Twilight hears the voices of the other ponies coming up the stairs, and has a spark of realization.  She tells Night Mare Moon that the Elements of Harmony are not so easily broken, not when their spirit lives on in the other ponies.  Indeed, the shards of the elements suddenly rise up and surround each pony as Twilight explains which element they represent and why:
Kindness - Fluttershy, for showing the manticore a little love
Laughter - Pinkie Pie, for singing a catchy tune
Generosity - Rarity, for sharing her tail with the serpent
Loyalty - Rainbow Dash, for not abandoning her friends for fame and fortune
Night Mare Moon points out that they don't have the six element because Twilight's spark failed, but the fear in her voice is evident.  Twilight tells her that there was a spark, and then turns to address the other ponies.  The spark, she tells them, was inside her, the spark of realization she had when she heard their voices and finally understood that they were now her friends.  With this declaration, the six element appears overhead, shining with a light too bright for Night Mare Moon to withstand.  Twilight tells her that when the five elements are "ignited by the spark that resides in the heart of us all," the sixth element, Magic, is created.  So named, the sixth element flashes bright, and the shards of the other elements reform on each pony.  For most of them, it creates a collar, but Twilight Sparkle gets a crown.  The ponies come together and an enormous rainbow bursts forth, spiraling up toward the ceiling and then swooping down to surround Night Mare Moon, who lets out a Big No.  As the rainbow whirls around Night Mare Moon, Twilight's eyes open, glowing white....
The next thing anyone knows, all the ponies are passed out on the floor.  One by one they come to, and Rarity rejoices to see her tail has grown back.  So intent on her tail is she, she completely misses the fact that she now has a cool collar with a gem in the shape of her cutie mark.  The others find that they do, too, proof that they really did represent the Elements of Harmony.  Now that they're all up, Princess Celestia sees fit to show herself, appearing with the rising sun.  All the other ponies genuflect, but Twilight Sparkle rushes up for a pony hug.  The princess explains to Twilight that she knew about Night Mare Moon's return all along, and that Twlight would be able to unleash the Elements of Harmony, but not without true friendship.  Hence the 'make some friends' order.
With that out of the way, Princess Celestia approaches the defeated Night Mare Moon, who has returned to her true form of a small purple alicorn.  Celestia addresses her as Princess Luna, her younger sister (much to the shock of the ponies, but not the viewers at home).  She implores her sister to put their differences aside and for the two of them to rule together as they once did.  All the ponies lean forward, on the edge of their seats to see what will happen, Pinkie so much so that she falls over.  Princess Luna apologizes and the sisters share a pony hug, tears in their eyes.  The scene is so touching that Pinkie just can't hold back the tears, until, she realizes that a family reunion of such import is the perfect situation for a party!  
And so the Summer Sun Celebration becomes a Welcome Back, Princess Luna! party instead.  Spike and Twilight are reunited, and everything seems happy.  But Twilight is kind of bummed out, since she actually made some friends and now she has to go back to Canterlot.  No worries, though, for Princess Celestia sets forth a royal decree: Twilight Sparkle shall study the magic of friendship in Ponyville and report back to the princess.  And thus all ends happily, setting the stage for the rest of the series.

I gotta say, this ep was worth the wait.  I loved the way everything came together, and especially Pinkie Pie's song in the woods.  I had, in fact, just been wondering earlier that day whether there would be songs or not, and then the music started and I was so happy.  It's slightly disappointing that we're losing Night Mare Moon as a villain so soon (I was kind of hoping that she would just be slightly depowered, but still a threat, hanging out on the fringes of Equestria), but I suspected she would be redeemed.  I wonder how Princess Luna will play as a character, or if she'll just be in the background from now on.  I certainly hope not, what with all this build up.  Maybe there will be some night time adventures where she can act as a mentor in Princess Celestia's place.

Miscellaneous Screenshots:
Happy Dash
"You're kidding, right?"
Princess Luna feels remorse
Luna goggles at the wreath

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mystery Crochet-Along Clues Three and Four

Continuing with Bernat's Mystery Crochet-Along, clue 3 brought a stitch I hadn't used before, the v-stitch:
Unlike the previous two clues, we had to make 8 squares, though I only photographed two (and I'm probably going to make that the standard for posting).  The squares worked up pretty quick, although it's hard to see a distinct V with a chunky yarn.  Or maybe it's just me?  I'm not worrying about it.

Clue 4 was the first to have more than one color, and gave everyone a huge headache.  For some, it was all the ends to weave in at the end, while for others it was the annoyance of trying to figure out gauge.  It seems like everyone was modifying the pattern in some way, whether it was flipping it to make a mirror image, changing the triple crochets to doubles, or just stopping once they had 8 inches.  Even I had to go down a hook, and I changed the last row of triple crochets to double.  Fortunately, we only had to make four this time:
I really like the way the colors go together.  Kind of a southwestern look, don't you think?

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Preview Videos

Yahoo has a couple of clips from an upcoming episode of Friendship Is Magic, which I'm assuming is "The Ticketmaster" judging from the clips' content.  Technically there are four clips, but one is the opening theme again, and another is an animatic of the first scene, which is cool, but it pretty much plays out the same in both storyboard and fully animated form:

The last clip features Rarity, who I am coming to like, bit by bit.  Urge to make AMV.... rising....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

AiCaL CPT - To The Rescue Movie

Thought I forgot about this, didn't you?  Well, not having my laptop set me back, and watching through Netflix wasn't exactly the most motivating experience in the world (it was the rewinding that really ticked me), but here it is, the first of the Care Power Team movies available in the states.

The scene opens at night, as various Care Bears arrive at a theater lit up by spotlights while a modified version of the AiCaL theme song plays ("We'll show you how it's done, ready set, Care Power on!").  Cut to backstage, where Grumpy and Oopsy make up the only stagehands.  Fortunately for them, Grumpy's created a remote control that will let him handle everything from the lights to the music to the curtain, though in demonstrating this, he accidentally starts the show a little early.  Hearing her cue, Share takes centerstage as the host of The Rescue Awards, where the best rescues of the year are honored.  And like so many hosts of award shows before her, she sees fit to open the show with a musical number, mostly about how she's the host.
To reward Oopsy for not messing up the opening number, Grumpy lets him use the remote for the next costume change, though this somehow teleports a wig that looks an awful lot like PJ's hair from Strawberry Shortcake - The Sweet Dreams Movie onto Grumpy's head.  Meanwhile, Share has continued on, and is announcing the nominees for Most Daring Rescue (Good Luck, Funshine, and Wish).  The winner, of course, is Funshine, which makes me wonder what kind of rescues Wish and Good Luck pulled off.  I really wish that each rescue had gotten a caption or something, so we'd at least have some fun Noodle Incidents to wonder about.  But ah well.  Since Grumpy's still fuming about the whole wig incident, he misses the cue to show a video of Funshine's daring rescue until Share prompts him.  And so the video begins.

Funshine's Rescue
The scene: An ordinary day in Care-a-Lot.  While innocently strolling along, Funshine spies Oopsy high in a tree and, despite Oopsy's protests, uses his badge to whisk him back down to the ground.  Whereupon it turns out he was only playing Hide and Seek with Bedtime.  Funshine is chastised, and Oopsy and Bedtime go back to their game.  Continuing on his stroll, Funshine comes across Share and Cheer, apparently fighting over a bit of rainbow.  To solve their problem, Funshine makes a sun that neatly slices the rainbow in half, which neither bear appreciates.  Turns out they were actually playing tug of war.  "But it looked like you needed help," Funshine tells Cheer, to which Share replies, "She did!  I was winning."  Chastised again, Funshine leaves the girls and continues on his way.  Elsewhere, Grumpy puts the finishing touches on his latest invention, a clean-o-matic, and sets it to work.  At first, all seems well, until the machine sets its sights on Grumpy... Hearing the spluttering, Funshine announces his intention to save Grumpy, but Grumpy, easily able to escape the machine, just sends him on his way, and not even all that grumpily.
All these false alarm rescues leave Funshine completely bummed out, which is observed by the Nimbits (ugh...).  Seeing that Funshine just wants to help someone, they provide him with an outlet by dramatically producing an unopenable jar of mayonnaise.  Funshine opens it easily, then asks the Nimbits what they're really up to.  They admit that they want to help him help someone, but Funshine doesn't see how.  So the blue one sends a bolt of lightning toward Grumpy's new machine, sparking it into action.  The machine runs loose and starts cleaning a sleeping Bedtime, so Funshine leaps into action.  Pleased that their plan seems to have worked, the Nimbits do some kind of weird secret handshake.
With a cry of "Take this, you cleaning machine of doom!" Funshine sends a ball straight for the machine, which breaks it completely into pieces.   Grumpy is not pleased to see the course of action Funshine has taken, especially when it comes to light that Bedtime was merely being tickled by the machine's feather duster.  While the others rag on Funshine for his latest blunder, the Nimbits butt in, protesting that they were just trying to help Funshine help someone, and continue quoting platitudes about helping until Funshine stops them.  The others call for a moratorium on Funshine "helping" people and driving them crazy, so Funshine agrees, specifically promising not to rescue anyone else that day.  But Grumpy gives him an exception to help him fix his machine.
Later, in the park, the other members of the Care Power Team are playing Hot and Cold, while the Nimbits sit above them.  Proving that they have learned nothing from the day's earlier events, they plot a "small rescue" to make Funshine happy, reasoning that as long as they don't touch Grumpy's machine, everything will be A-OK.  And so they create a small tornado that picks up Oopsy while he takes his turn as It.  They congratulate themselves on a job well done, but their congratulations is premature, as the tornado starts to pick up speed, creating such a gust that the Nimbits get sucked into it themselves.  The sudden wind does not go unnoticed by Grumpy and Funshine, but only Funshine hears the Nimbit's calls for help:
Funshine: Did you hear that?  Somebody's in trouble!
Grumpy: (dryly) For real this time?
But not only is the tornado much stronger, it's also much larger, so there's no denying that this is a real emergency situation.  Funshine and Grumpy head to the park, where they run into Share and Cheer.  Funshine calls for them all to follow him to the Care Power Station, but Bedtime, asleep on a nearby bench, is picked up by the tornado, unseen by the others.  At the station, Funshine assesses the situation, and decides their best bet is to use the cloud cars to go inside the tornado.  However, it turns out that there's a tornado inside the tornado, and that's where the Nimbits are.  The wind is too strong for the bears to get close enough to the Nimbits, so Funshine flies above the tornado and gets into the second tornado from the top.  The smaller tornado quickly sucks him in and sets his car to spinning, but luckily he has some kind of stabilizer button.  The stabilizer works long enough for him to get the Nimbits, but then it's back to spinning for all three of them.  In fact, they actually manage to spin out of the tornado, which is kind of "out of the frying pan, into the fire" for them, since they're now plummeting toward the ground at a rapid rate.  But Cheer quickly takes action, flies out of the tornado and creates a rainbow slide for Funshine and the Nimbits.  Grumpy helps out by making a cloud to catch them at the end.
Safely on the ground, the Nimbits ask Funshine how they can repay him, and he merely asks them to stop and think before they do something.  The Nimbits claim to have learned their lesson, but we all know that this is highly unlikely.  Funshine also asks them to help him get rid of the wind they created, and they head for the station.  Bedtime, meanwhile, was not actually sucked into the tornado, but was deposited on an archway, and is lifted again to land who knows where.  And so Funshine uses the Nimbit's life force to supercharge his belly badge and put an end to the tornado, gently dropping Bedtime in the process and setting Oopsy free (not that anyone seemed all that worried about him, anyway).  Funshine celebrates with the Nimbits by doing that stupid handshake thing with them.
But the story's not quite over yet.  After all, that tornado created quite a bit of damage in Care Square (somehow) which now has to be cleaned up.  Too bad Grumpy's automatic cleaner was broken earlier... but wait!  Sometime between the scenes, Funshine and Grumpy finished fixing it.  Grumpy starts it up and it goes to him again.  As if this weren't a hilarious enough note to end on, the clip finishes with Oopsy still playing Hot and Cold, unaware that everyone else has moved on.

Back at the awards ceremony, Funshine goes to accept his award and gets air-kissed by Share.  He thanks the Nimbits in his speech and then heads backstage.  Oopsy congratulates him, and Funshine says he hopes that he wins an award, too, but Oopsy is desolate because he's never been nominated, what with not having a belly badge and all that.  Funshine consoles him with talk of "there's always next year," which is enough for him.  As Grumpy gears up for another set change, Oopsy offers to take care of it, not with the remote, but by old-fashioned hard work.  Predictably, this ends with a piece of set almost falling on Grumpy.  Meanwhile, Share announces the nominees for Most Caring Rescue (Trueheart, Cheer, and Best Friend).  Give you one guess who won this one.  Once again, Grumpy misses his cue (still recovering from almost being hit by set) and the clip of Cheer's rescue starts up late:

Cheer's Rescue
The scene: Cheer's house.  While practicing weaving strips of rainbows into rescue blankets, Cheer hears a strange noise in her garden and spots a little pink bug (who sounds an awful lot like Wasabi) hanging precariously from a leaf.  Finding that the mini-blanket she just wove is the right size for a bug, she flings it toward the tree, just in time to catch the falling bug.  With the bug safe, she tells him to be more careful in the future, and sends him on his way.  But he keeps following her around, and when she learns that he's lost, she vows to take care of him.
Later, she shows off her new pet, dubbed Nibbley, to Funshine and Share.  While those two coo over the bug's cuteness, Grumpy arrives on the scene to question Cheer about Nibbley's origins.  His suspicions are not allayed by Nibbley's cute actions, and especially not by a surprise kiss.  Cheer just laughs at him and promises to care for Nibbley forever, leading to a montage of bear and bug having fun.  Once the montage is done, Cheer attempts to make Nibbley use a fork, but he just takes a big bite out of the table instead, much to her surprise.  Seems Nibbley has a bigger appetite than his small size would indicate, as he chows down on all the canned goods in Cheer's pantry, cans and all.
After a week, Nibbley is no longer a cute little pink bug, but a larger, slightly orange bug, though his appetite is as big as ever.  He munches on the stick Cheer threw for him, and claims her watering can when she promises him "a treat."  Share shows up for an impromptu visit, and seeing Nibbley lay waste to a plank of wood, she asks Cheer how long she thinks she can keep him.  Cheer is affronted that Share would suggest getting rid of a pet just because it isn't cute any more, but Share is quick to clarify: she's concerned for Cheer's livelyhood with such a hungry pet.  In an attempt to distract the bug, Share and Cheer take him for a walk, but this fails as Nibbley finds plenty to eat, including Bedtime's pillow, Funshine's apple, and Grumpy's stool (and his just-finished topiary).  The offended bears beseech Cheer to do something about her pet, but she doesn't even know what he is.  So it's time for a visit to the Smart Heart Library!
Flipping through some sort of bug compendium, Cheer spots Nibbley's baby form and takes out the book to show the others.  Turns out that he's a gobblebug, and everyone remembers what happened the last time gobblebugs showed up in Care-a-Lot.  Grumpy calls for Nibbley's deportation, but Cheer refuses to break her promise to take care of him.  She insists that Nibbley can't help it, but even Share is against a gobblebug living in their midst, especially when Oopsy accidentally sets Nibbley's mind to Share's garden.  The bug is off like a shot with the bears close behind.  Cheer refuses to let anyone stop him by force, but her commands aren't doing any good, either.  Nibbley takes the lead and thoroughly decimates Share's garden before anyone can stop him.
Surveying the ruined foliage, Cheer makes Nibbley apologize, and then apologizes herself for not learning about Nibbley sooner.  Things are looking grim, with the future apparently featuring a lot of Nibbley-caused destruction, until Share sparks the idea of making Nibbley a garden of his own, someplace far from Care-a-Lot where he can eat to his heart's content.  Cheer turns to the book again and reads that gobblebugs come from a cloud called Not-A-Lot where this is little to no food, hence their gobbling of whatever food they come across in other places.  With this in mind, the bears head to the Care Power Station to find the perfect place for Nibbley's garden.  Since Share knows the most about gardens, she picks out a cloud, and Cheer calls for everyone to get going.  They all pile into the elevator....and wait, since Grumpy hasn't joined them.  Grumpy protests that they don't need him for this, but Funshine yoinks him along anyway.
Once they reach the cloud, Share pulls out a handful of seeds to plant, which Grumpy points out is nowhere near enough for this hungry bug.  But Share uses her badge to multiply the seeds a hundredfold and plant them in the ground, whereupon she passes the baton to Grumpy, who brings forth a raincloud.  Then it's Funshine's turn to bring on the sun, and soon the plants are growing.  With the garden a success, all the bears cry "Hooray!" except for Grumpy, who asks, as only he can, "Do I have to say 'hooray?'"  And so, Cheer and Nibbley share a goodbye, and Cheer suddenly wonders about the other gobblebugs.  Well, wonder no more, Cheer, 'cause here they all come.  Nibbley goes to join his own kind, and even Grumpy is touched, though he blames it on allergies.

Cheer accepts her award and thanks her fellow nominees, along with Nibbley, now a full-grown gobblebug (and true to fashion, munching on his chair).  She then goes on to thank everyone she can think of, until Tenderheart leads her backstage.  Oopsy congratulates Cheer, and she offers to let him hold the statuette while she goes back to her seat.  Oopsy pretends to give an acceptance speech, but since the award is heavier than it looks, it throws him off balance and he tumbles into Grumpy, knocking them both down.  Grumpy comments that at least the remote was unharmed, only for the award to slip from Oopsy's hand, hitting a button on the remote that opens a trap door that Grumpy landed on.  He plummets to the area beneath the stage, with a mattress to break his fall but no way of getting back up once the trap door swings shut again.  Up above, Oopsy clamps a hand over his mouth, but Grumpy tells him to "go ahead and say it."
Unaware of the difficulties backstage, Share announces the nominees for Best Team Rescue (Champ and Amigo, Harmony and Love-a-Lot, and Grumpy and Bedtime).  Hearing that he and Bedtime won, Grumpy searches for an exit, but stops for a moment to get the rescue clip going (since he still has the remote).

Bedtime and Grumpy's Rescue
The scene: Care Square.  It's Pillow Appreciation Day, with pillow-shaped balloons and popsicles, among other things.  Oopsy's manning the Free Pillow booth, handing out a full-sized pillow to anyone who wants one.  And most bears do, much to Grumpy's consternation.  Rather than just wait in line, he pulls out his latest invention, a robot to hand out the pillows automatically.  Seeing this contraption, Oopsy is speechless, which Grumpy takes as gratitude, but in actuality, Oopsy would rather just hand out the pillows himself.  Once the line is taken care of, Oopsy sneaks behind and adjusts a screw on the robot's back, thinking that will slow it down and let him hand out some pillows.  Instead, it starts flinging pillows at everyone, hitting with extreme accuracy.  Sadly, this does not lead to a Care-a-Lot-wide pillow fight, but pillow pandemonium!
Grumpy quickly becomes aware that something is up with his robot, and goes in to find out what.  Oopsy confesses to trying to slow it down, to Grumpy's confusion.  And so Oopsy tells him that he didn't really want any help with his job, and Grumpy apologizes.  But enough of that, the robot is still going haywire.  Seeing Bedtime get hit (and then appropriate the pillow for better napping) gives Grumpy an idea, so he grabs Bedtime to help him with his plan.
Using an umbrella as cover from the flying pillows, Grumpy and Bedtime move in as close as they can get, then Bedtime uses his badge to make an autoharp that plays a lilting version of the CPT's theme, "Care Power On."  This sends the robot to sleep, as not even machines can resist the combo of a lullaby and comfy pillows.  Bedtime and Grumpy congratulate each other on a job well done, as Oopsy also succumbs to the lullaby.

With the clip over, Bedtime goes up to accept, but Share refuses to hand over the award without both him and Grumpy there, but no one knows where he is, and the crowd is getting antsy, so Share lets him give the acceptance speech at least.  Grumpy, meanwhile, is annoyed at missing getting his award due to still being stuck under the stage, and Oopsy laments not having his own belly badge to help.  But soon Grumpy finds a hatch that's unfortunately rusted shut.  Oopsy goes to try opening it from the other side, interrupting Bedtime's speech.  Without explaining anything, he asks to borrow Funshine's badge, so Funshine sends him a little sun, which Oopsy uses to slice open the hatch, setting Grumpy free!
The audience applauds Oopsy's rescue, and Grumpy goes up to get his half of the award and give his speech ("Thanks, I guess").  Oopsy congratulates the two of them for winning, and Grumpy assures him that he'll win an award someday.  But Share rushes on stage with a last minute Judge's Prize for Most Unlikely Rescue: Oopsy!  Unfortunately, since it's a last minute prize, there isn't an official statuette for him.  Oopsy is slightly disappointed, but still glad to have won.  But Bedtime has an idea, which he whispers to Grumpy, who in turn whispers it to Share, who frankly should have thought of it herself, c'mon.  She uses her duplication powers to make another statuette out of Grumpy and Bedtime's award, which she hands to Oopsy (guess he'll have to have it re-engraved later).  The rest of the Care Power Team (minus Funshine for some reason) joins Share on stage for a reprise of the award song, and Share closes the show by giving an extra hand to everyone who takes the time to show they care.  Grumpy lets Oopsy use the remote to finish the show, but predictably, he accidentally turns off all the lights instead.

And so that was Care Bears To The Rescue, a little taste of what the new series could have been.  IMO, the computer animated version never looks as cute as the 2D version, but it still has that Adventures in Care-a-Lot feel. No Grizzle this time around, but luckily for me, Grizzle does show up in the next movie, The Giving Festival.   And since that one will be released on DVD in November (thank you!), I'll wait until then to write that one up.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Episode One

Going into this first episode of the new MLP series, I was worried that I had hyped myself up and it wouldn't be nearly as good as I was hoping.  But I have to say, it was even better.  Storywise, this is a definite step up from the G3 cartoons, and may even surpass G1, though only time will tell.
A storybook opens and begins to tell the legend of the two regal sisters, one who raised the sun and the other who raised the moon, keeping the land of Equestria in order.  However, the younger sister grew jealous of the love and attention the ponies paid to the day, while shunning and sleeping through the night, and her bitterness transformed her into the evil Night Mare Moon.  The elder sister used the Elements of Harmony to send her sister to moon, and took on the responsibilities of day and night.  As the legend draws to a close, the voiceover narration switches, revealing Twilight Sparkle reading a book.  She's certain she's heard of the Elements of Harmony somewhere, but she just can't remember where... cue the theme song, where Rarity and Applejack's lines are sung by different people than the video posted on Hasbro's website, for some reason.  As Twilight heads to the library to do some research, she runs into a handful of other unicorns who invite her to a shindig at Moondancer's, but she blows them off.  Her determination is such that she stops for nothing, accidentally creaming Spike when she plows through the door, ruining his present for Moondancer.  She reminds him that they "don't have time for that sort of thing," and sets him to searching for a specific book.  Which is good, because she's having no luck finding it herself.
Looking up Elements of Harmony in "Predictions and Prophesies" directs her to The Mare in the Moon, a myth about an evil pony imprisoned in the moon.  According to legend, "on the longest day of the thousandth year, the stars will aid in her escape and she will bring about night time eternal."  Twilight immediately connects this to the story she was reading earlier, and dictates a letter to Princess Celestia, though her vocabulary gives Spike some trouble.  With the letter ready, she tells Spike to send it, but he's hesitant, as the Summer Sun Festival is coming up, which is keeping the princess pretty busy.  But since the day of the Summer Sun Festival is the longest day of the thousandth year, Twilight implores him to send it anyway, and so he shoots a flame to send it, and belches a flame almost immediately with the princess' reply.  Her response is not at all what Twilight expected: in order to get Twilight's muzzle out of her books, she's sent to supervise the preparations for the Summer Sun Festival in Ponyville, and more importantly, make some friends.
Thus Spike and a reluctant Twilight Sparkle fly in a pegasi-pulled chariot, with Spike trying to get Twilight to look on the bright side.  After all, she does get to stay in the library.  Hearing this, Twilight cheers up considerably; she can breeze through the supervision and then use the resources in the library to pull up some proof of Night Mare Moon's return.  Spike's concerned this won't leave any time for making friends, prompting Twilight to utter the phrase, "the fate of Equestria does not rest on me making friends."  Considering the title of the show (and this episode), it very well may.  But still, Spike urges her to at least give it a try, and so she says "hello" to the first pony she meets.  This happens to be Pinkie Pie, who reacts like this and runs off.  Back to breezing through the preparations it is!
Their first stop is Sweet Apple Acres, where Applejack introduces them not only to the food for the celebration, but the entire Apple clan, including Big Macintosh and Granny Smith.  Twilight starts to leave, and it seems that not even little Apple Bloom's puppy dog eyes attack can get her to stay.  But the collective disappointment of the entire Apple family does her in and she agrees to stay for brunch.
En route to checking the weather, Twilight is accidentally pushed into the mud by Rainbow Dash, who coincidentally is in charge of keeping the sky clear.  To make up for it, she pushes an errant rain cloud over Twilight and jumps on it, discharging all the water.  A bit too much, but no matter, she just adds a "rain-blow dry" (her rainbow twister) to the mix.  This does get Twilight dry, but sends both Rainbow Dash and Spike into paroxysms of laughter at her fluffed up hair.  Ignoring them, Twilight gets down to business, and Rainbow Dash insists she'll clear the sky when she's done practicing for the Wonderbolts (Equestria's greatest flying team).  Twilight tells her they'll never accept her if she can't even keep the sky clear, so Rainbow Dash takes her dare and gets rid of the clouds in ten seconds flat.  The look on Twilight and Spike's faces is priceless.  Rainbow Dash expresses interest in hanging out again (to Twilight's horror), and then dashes off.
Next up, the decorations in the main hall, courtesy of Rarity.  Twilight is pleased to see everything looks beautiful, though to Spike, the most beautiful thing in the room is Rarity herself.  Rarity is so shocked by Twilight's fluffy 'do that she rushes the other unicorn straight to her salon for a costume montage.  As she finishes lacing up a fancy saddle, Twilight tells her how she was sent from Canterlot, which sets Rarity off, as she's always wanted to live there.  She vows eternal friendship with Twilight, then goes to get some more accessories.  Twilight takes advantage of this to get out of there -- quick!
The last stop of the day is checking on the music, and they soon hear a lively birdsong from a bird choir lead by Fluttershy.  Twilight's introduction scares off the birds, and doesn't do much for Fluttershy, either, as the two stand in awkward silence for a time.  Twilight attempts to get Fluttershy's name, but each time the pegasus says it is quieter than the time before, so eventually Twilight gives up.  However, once Fluttershy spots Spike, she comes to life, bonking Twilight out of the way so she can coo over this baby dragon.  Although Twilight tries to get out of there, Fluttershy follows them all the way home, with Spike, relishing the attention, telling his entire life story along the way.  She barely gets Fluttershy to leave when she gets to the library, but her troubles have not yet ended.  For no sooner does she announce her intent to study without any crazy ponies around, the lights turn on revealing a surprise party!
That's right, for when Pinkie Pie ran off earlier, it was to set up this very party to welcome Twilight.  While she rambles on about her reasons for throwing the party, Twilight pours herself a drink and casually sips, only to suddenly turn red and run from the room.  Spike examines the bottle she poured from: hot sauce, of course.  But why was it there?  Apparently, Pinkie Pie likes it on her cup cakes.  Though the guest of honor has fled, the party rages on into the night, keeping Twilight from both studying and sleep.  Sometime around 5 am, Spike, wearing a lampshade, comes to invite her to play "pin the tail on the pony," but she rebuffs him, pointing out the early hour.  But staying up late is the point of this party, as it ensures they'll all be awake when Princess Celestia raises the sun.  Spike tells her to lighten up and goes back to the party.  But Twilight cannot, not with the worry of Night Mare Moon on her mind.
All too soon it is time for the beginning of the Summer Sun Festival, and all the ponies flock to the main hall, where the mayor with an androgynous haircut welcomes everyone and prepares for the celebration of the longest day of the year.  As the mayor introduces the princess, Twilight Sparkle notices the mare profile on the moon disappearing before her eyes.  And when the curtain is raised for the princess' big entrance, she's nowhere to be seen!  But in her place rises a starry mist that parts to reveal a black alicorn, Night Mare Moon.  She addresses the crowd as everyone cowers, and Rainbow Dash takes off to confront her, with only Applejack holding her back (who also stuffs an apple in Pinkie Pie's mouth when she starts actually guessing when Night Mare Moon says, "Don't you know who I am?").  Twilight Sparkle calls out Night Mare Moon, but cannot bring herself to actually state the evil pony's purpose.  Which is fine, as Night Mare Moon puts it much more eloquently, and with 87% more evil laughter and lightning bolts.   To be continued....
You know, it's refreshing to see a villain in a kid's show who is a credible threat.  So often they get made a little too goofy to keep them from being too scary, and while that's amusing in and of itself, it's a nice change to see someone who isn't.
As far as voice acting goes, I have very few quibbles.  Tara Strong as Twilight Sparkle kept giving me Maguro flashbacks, especially since both characters are purple, leaders, and can use telekinesis.  And Rarity's voice....I don't know there's just something about it that I don't like.  I don't know if it's because I was expecting something more like her line in the opening theme posted on Hasbro's website, or if it's because she seems to be channeling Venus Terzo as G3 Rainbow Dash.  Well, we'll see how she sounds in the episodes to come.  Other than that, the voice acting was pretty good across the board.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to buy Spike as a boy, but Cathy Weseluck came through.
The animation must also be lauded.  Though this is animated in Flash, it is very smooth and imaginative.  Kudos to you, animators!  So as you can tell, I definitely enjoyed this first episode, but it's a little annoying that we won't get to see part two until October 22nd (new episodes debut on Fridays, but Sunday was a sneak peek, so this Friday is the official debut of the first episode).

Misc. Screenshots:
Dash's weird laughing face
Spike gloats to a headbutted Twilight
Apple Fritter
Apple Dumpling
Red Gala
Red Delicious
Golden Delicious
Caramel Apple
Apple Bloom

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mystery Crochet-Along

 A couple of weeks ago, Bernat started their Mystery Afghan Crochet-Along, so named because only they know what the finished product looks like.  Each week, a new piece of the pattern is released, and those of us participating talk about it in the comments section.  It's been pretty fun so far, even though the first two clues were pretty simple.  But Bernat has promised that the squares will get more and more difficult as we go along, making this a good project for beginners.  A lot of people are using the colors recommended, but I picked out my own, seen above, so hopefully the end result will look nice.  (For the curious, they're Redwood, Pumpkin, Berry Red, Emerald, and Grape.)
 Each clue is released on Wednesday, and so far they've been two solid color squares.  Square one was a simple single crochet/double crochet square, while square two was a granny.
I'll be posting my squares each week (or so) from here on in, with a photo of the finished result sometime in December.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Hub On Demand is up

For those of you who have On Demand as part of your cable package, The Hub already has a channel set up.  Right now it's just a sneak peek, but you can catch two episodes of Maryoku Yummy.  I'm guessing that once the channel debuts officially, they'll start to put up recent episodes of their higher profile series (as Cartoon Network On Demand does) after they air.
The Maryoku episodes include two segments already shown on ("No Left Feet" and "The Biggest Wish").  Strangely, though "No Left Feet" was already shown as being coupled with "Ookas Just Wanna Have Fun," it's now seen with "Ready Set Glow."