Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lite Sprites - The Cartoon

In a rather strange move, Lite Sprites only gets 11 minutes for its special, which I guess is a sign of the times, but still strikes me as odd.  The special also has an official title, so I guess it's more of a pilot.

Shine On
The special opens with Prisma using her color wand to make multicolor marshmallows, and then call up "glimmer" the other Sprites to remind them about their upcoming slumber party.  Oh, it's one of these.  Geh.  So yeah, the girls have wands that not only spread color, but act as cell phones, apparently?  Each of the Sprites takes a moment from their work (or in Astra's case, snoozing), to confirms their plans, though Bleak refuses to commit to actually showing up.  Prisma also reminds Astra not to fall asleep, but of course that's just what she does.
Cut to that evening, with all the girls, even Bleak, gathered to celebrate the new moon.  Prisma calls on Astra to light up the sky with stars, as not doing so will let the shadows take over Lite-Topia.  Since this is only an eleven minute special, Astra is ready to comply.  And apparently she has to keep doing this through the night, as Prisma brings up the second matter of business, keeping Astra awake all night.  Okay, if it's so important for Astra to stay up at night, then how come she wouldn't let the girl catch her z's during the day?  Regardless, no sooner are the words out of Prisma's mouth than Astra falls asleep again, which Bleak, our resident snarker it seems, blames on how dull this "party" has been so far.
Meadow's in charge of fun and games, so she pulls out what she considers to be the most fun thing ever: magazine quizzes!  Bleak is not convinced, especially when the first one is "Reveal your inner lipgloss!"  The other girls are into it, though, and clamor for another, which Meadow readily provides: "When did your BF become your BFF?"  For these girls, it's a no-brainer: the day they found their light wands!  Bleak points out she wasn't actually there, but that turns out to be only half true, as Meadow decides to recount the story for them.
It started with them all (minus Prisma) at the Lite Tree, just as they are now, and she had just told a most hilarious joke.  As she remembers them all laughing uproariously, Bleak cuts in to remind her of what really happened: nobody got the joke.  At all.  Brooke continues the story with the entrance of Prisma, who had just had a crazy dream.  They were all there, making Lite-Topia just the most colorful thing you'd ever seen with awesome wands.  Bleak was quick to point out that it was just a dream, but when Prisma reveals that her dream started with them drinking peach nectar, just like they were then, the other girls were hooked.  Prisma continued to tell them about her dream, and how they went to a waterfall, and wouldn't you know it, Brooke was planning to show them a waterfall that day.  Convinced of her psychic powers, Prisma called for them to all visit the waterfall, and the girls quickly followed her lead.  Except for Bleak, who just rolled her eyes.
Down at the waterfall, Prisma spotted some colors from her dream behind it, and Brooke, by way of falling out of a tree and getting tangled in a vine, found a secret passageway inside.  Deep inside, they came to a fork, and it seems Prisma's dream didn't include which one of the two they took.  While the girls wondered what to do, Meadow imitated a game show host, and started to glow.  Which was in Prisma's dream, so off they went, finally ending in a crystal cavern.  There they discovered the wands, hanging from the ceiling, and since she dreamed it, Prisma goes right ahead and grabs one.  This knocks the others down right into the hands of the waiting sprites, but since Bleak wasn't there to grab hers, it instead cracked the ground and caused an earthquake that caved-in the entrance.  Definitely not part of Prisma's dream.
Back in the present, Prisma blames herself for getting them all stuck, but remembers that this is the part where Bleak saved the day.  It turned out that while Bleak was just hanging out at the Lite Tree, the earthquake shook open the opening of a passageway leading to the crystal cavern.  Hearing the other sprites' voices coming from the hole, Bleak leapt into action, climbing down the stairs, and found the other sprites completely unaware the stairs behind them.
In the present, she insists that this was nothing, and when the other sprites persist in hailing her as a hero, she turns to the story towards Astra, who was the one who brought along the extra wand for her.  With everyone safe and sound, Prisma remembered the next part of her dream, and thus the girls put their wands together with a call of "Shine on!" (Um, why?) and blammo, Lite-Topia was suddenly way more colorful than before.  Each girl waved her wand for a flash of light, but Bleak's instead made a zapping sound, making the others think it didn't work.  But for Bleak, it worked just fine, stealing the color from the door.
Best day ever, now that Bleak thinks about it.  With the story wrapped up, the other girls realize that Astra hasn't fallen asleep once.  Unlike Prisma's pet butterfly, which gorged itself into a food coma.  Which is hilarious, of course.  Astra refreshes the stars and even creates some aurora borealis for good measure, closing out the show.

Misc. Screenshots
Bleak steals color
Meadow shows off her breakdancing moves

So yeah, that's basically it.  For what it is, it's pretty good, though there are a few niggling things that keep coming to mind.  Like what was the point of making the main plot of the special a flashback?  I mean, 40% of the show was just getting the girls into position.  Why not not just have the story start where the flashback does, and use the extra time to do more showing and less telling?  (I'd be all for actually seeing Brooke fall out of the tree, rather than just hearing one of the girls mention it.)
Another thing that bothers me is bringing up the whole "shadows will take over if Astra falls asleep" thing.  Mostly because it turns this special from a cute little toy commercial into a bundle of wasted potential.  Who cares how the girls got their wands?  Show the shadows trying to take over!  Are the shadows sentient creatures, or just a force of nature?  What kept them at bay before the girls got their wands?  Don't get me wrong, the special works as is (again, for what it is), but if you're not going to pay off the mention of shadows, then don't bring it up at all.  Keep Astra up because it's a slumber party, or because the stars need extra help without the moon, but don't tease the viewers.
Speaking of the shadows, I find it interesting that they're (apparently) the antagonists in this world, and not Bleak.  After all, from the doll descriptions, she seems to fit that bill, being a rebel color-stealer.  Instead, she's one of the main girls, considered a friend, even if she'd rather be doing something else.   She's also what makes this special worth watchign, at least for me.  I tend to prefer the characters who, when living in a Sugar Bowl, buck the usual characteristic of everyone being nice and friendly (unless they're a villain), and being rather cynical.  Bleak pretty much echoed my thoughts during the most targetting-the-demographic parts of the special, and while I know I shouldn't be too hard on a special that is, after all, airing during the Hub's preschool block, it still amused me to have at least one character being sarcastic toward the others' never-ending upbeat attitudes.
Animation-wise, the special actually looks pretty good.  The girls suffer from basically being the same shape with different hair, but that really only stands out when you look at still images.  The voice acting is decent, but Meadow, Brooke, and Astra's VAs don't quite have a handle on their voices, making the characters sound slightly different from scene to scene.  None of the VAs have done much else (if anything), so that probably has something to do with it.


Anonymous said...

Finally I took the time to watch the Lite Sprites special. I like the sprites, they are quite cute. However, I think their heads are a bit too big to their sizes, but they are still cute. My favourite one is Bleak, for similar reasons you listed. I always like snarker characters.

The situation that Bleak is being "a naughty rebel", but still not an antagonist reminds me of Peppermint Fizz, though Bleak's personality is more like Raspberry Torte. I think this contradiction with Bleak could be played out in an interesting way in the future, so I hope the series will be continued. And I liked Meadow's "creepy and dark or dark and creepy" scene, it's just fun.

I also went to the website and saw the toy commercial... well, those little lighting dolls look entirely differently than the characters of the special, and anyway, those toys would make like ~5 minutes fun, I guess. Nah, I'm not sure - little girls might imagine their own episodes with those toys, like how I managed to give personalities to matchboxes and play complex stories with them by that age. I don't exactly know how do girls work anyway.

Do you monitor these comments, by the way, or was it completely useless that I posted here? :D

The Zany Bishojo Evalana said...

Do you monitor these comments, by the way, or was it completely useless that I posted here?
I get alerted when someone posts a comment, so no, it's not useless to comment on an older post.

I'm glad you liked the cartoon, but yeah, the dolls look really different. The Prisma doll especially. I don't know what it is about her, but her doll is just really creepy-looking to me. And Meadow's doll looks way too mellow when compared to her personality in the cartoon.

Anonymous said...

I think all the toy sprites look creepy. Bleak with her black theme rather looks like a wicked witch than a warm-hearted snarker.

After all I still don't understand these merchandise driven franchises, I'm rather fond of TV series by themselves. I'm not sure, though, but maybe they would be better if the stories would be the primary objective and not toy advertising.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention that these toys are pretty much expensive. It must take years for a kid to beg her parents to buy up all of the playset. Probably only the wealthy parents can afford these toys. If I think about the manufacturing costs, however, the prices seem reasonable. But I think it's still a bit unfair that every little piece of the playset is sold separately. At least there is the joy of collecting, hehe. I shouldn't really blame them for this, since like all other toylines work like this. I remember LEGO playsets those were also sold in separate boxes, this is why I never had such toys. :p

Anonymous said...

Saw the special. Here's my favorites and least favorites of the characters:

1.) Bleak - She is so snarky and mean, and yet she does have a good side. She reminds me of a female version of Dan from Dan Vs. (I could see those two pairing up someday!)

2.) Astra - She's so cute! Especially when she accidentally falls asleep throughout the special. I just wish she were real so that I could give her a hug...

3.) Prisma - Friendly and nice, but something about her seems like she needs a little more enthusiasm.

4.) Meadow - Fun character, but she can be obnoxious and annoying at times. And not in a good way, unlike Pinkie Pie. (It's funny how their personalities and voices sound kinda similar, though! Even the way she says "Quiz time!" reminds me of "Cupcakes!".)

5.) Brooke - Where's the personality? It's just not there. Borrow some of Meadow's enthusiasm, and you might move up a rank.