Sunday, 22 June 2014

Retrospective review: Griffon the Brush-Off

So, back to these retrospectives.

Continuing with season 1, we get our second proper villain. This is the first season with a minor antagonist, as in one who isn't a threat to all of Equestria, but just a common bully. This character is far from sympathetic, though, and the episode makes sure we don't see her that way.

One interesting thing in this episode is the buildup to Gilda's reaction at the party. Pinkie and Rainbow prank a few ponies earlier in the episode, and they all take it in good humour. Then we're introduced to Gilda, who can't take someone calling out her cheating in a good-natured manner, let alone being pranked. The contrast sets up a certain expectation of "niceness" that Gilda doesn't fall into, making her "mean". It's a fairly rudimentary way to establish a villain, but it's an effective one. 

Character interaction in this episode gives the distinct impression that our main six friends still aren't particularly familiar with each other. From this, it can be interpreted that they had just met in the first episodes, and are in the early stages of their friendship. That would make S1 a season that establishes their relationships with each other. 

The thing these early episodes have in common is their good-natured, funny humour. It's light stuff that can be enjoyed by children and their parents as well as viewers outside that demographic. These early episodes are really a bit silly, but this episode is a bit less silly than the last few.

Animation is clean as always, and the art isn't some of the best in animation, but as usual it's bright, colourful and aesthetically pleasing. Of note is that there aren't any points where a pony looks especially strange, though the somewhat simple models occasionally make Gilda look a bit weird from the front view. Voice acting is stronger than the last episodes, though really this episode isn't a huge leap forward in any particular way. It's another episode of a fun show which has not yet hit its stride. Going back, that's definitely fun to watch, especially if you're tired of the more intense later episodes. In S1, that's really all anyone asks for. 

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