Equestria Girls: Understanding the “My Little Pony” Hype

Equestria Girls: Understanding the “My Little Pony” Hype

Blog, Cartoons, Reviews
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has gained an insane amount of popularity since its release in 2010. With a shocking 143 half-hour episodes (and another 26 scheduled to air starting on April 15th), it's success is among the top of modern-day animation. The My Little Pony franchise began with a toy line in 1981, but expanded into the world of television in 1992. Its target audience has always been young girls; however, the Friendship is Magic series has seemingly opened up brand-new doors in reaching audiences of all genders and ages.   The most interesting element associated with the 2010 reboot, especially to an outsider of the fanbase, are the fandom participants known as "bronies". Urban Dictionary defines this archetype as: "A name typically given to the male viewers/fans (whether they are straight, gay, bisexual,…
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Sym-bionic Titan: Why Merchandising and Quality Animation Don’t Mix

Sym-bionic Titan: Why Merchandising and Quality Animation Don’t Mix

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions
Sym-bionic Titan is a series that was unfortunately cancelled before it even had a chance to establish itself in the world of animated television. Created by the legendary Genndy Tartakovsky, who is also responsible for bringing us Dexter's Laboratory  and Samurai Jack, the series was extremely promising. But because it only lived through a short 20-episode run, it wasn't able to establish a strong enough fan base to successfully protest its demise.   The series centers a princess (Ilana) and her two guardians (Lance and Octus) who witness the hostile takeover of their home planet, so flee to Earth for the sake of Ilana's safety. In appearing very human-like, posing as a family to hide in plain sight is the move they decide to make. What drives the series is that these alien characters are borne warriors who can each…
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Star & Marco’s Guide to Mastering Every Dimension: Animation & Book Publishing

Star & Marco’s Guide to Mastering Every Dimension: Animation & Book Publishing

Blog, Critical Discussions, Reviews
Book publishing appears to be moving in an upwards trend in relation to animated television. In selling merchandise, but doing so in a "sophisticated" way, book publishing seems to carry more of a favorable connotation than toy production. Star Vs. the Forces of Evil has recently released the published title Star and Marco's Guide to Mastering Every Dimension, and in being willing to turn away children's merchandising in favor of published works implies that the creators are targeting a slightly older audience- in terms of both tangible and intangible material.   Lets discuss something important before moving on with this topic: Is producing merchandise for animated television series a thoughtless move? As I mentioned in the post about the commodification of female empowerment in animation, this isn't necessarily an issue: In order to create content…
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Star Vs. The Forces of Evil: Emotions Done Right

Star Vs. The Forces of Evil: Emotions Done Right

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions
  With only a couple days left until Star vs. the Forces of Evil's season-2 finale, the downpour of episodes we've been spoiled with leading to this two-part television event has come with many interesting revelations. Plot development and character growth are two significant features of the series that places it in the high-quality & must-watch television categories. Season one only began to find its footing towards its last few episodes, but season two has proven itself to be exceptionally enjoyable, to the point where any viewer uncertainty that came about in season one is long forgotten.   As a character, Star has gone through a large amount of change. At the beginning of the series she was simply a naive and destructive princess battling ill-equipped and incompetent monsters. Now she is a queen-to-be who…
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Essay #1: False News & the #GamerGate Movement

Uncategorized
In January of 2014 well-known journalist, Nathan Grayson, featured the interactive game Depression Quest, developed by Zoe Quinn, in one of his articles. As a popular gaming journalist whose words carry significant weight among avid gamers and industry stakeholders, Grayson’s reviews are known to contribute to the success of newly developed videogames. Seven months after the article had been published, Quinn’s former boyfriend, Eron Gjoni, used his blog, TheZoePost, to reveal that Quinn actually subjected herself to a temporary sexual relationship with Grayson in order to receive a positive review of her game in his article, correspondingly breaching journalism ethics. Although both sides of the story were based in hearsay, and a few conversation screenshots courtesy of Gjoni, the blog post triggered a gaming community outcry. As a result, a string of misogynistic, anti-progressive, harassment…
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Star vs. The Forces of Evil Review: Raid the Cave & Baby

Star vs. The Forces of Evil Review: Raid the Cave & Baby

Blog, Cartoons, Reviews
The first two weeks of the Starbomb have been incredible. We've never received this many high-quality episodes of Star vs. The Forces of Evil in such a short period of time. Just so you're all up to speed, Dinsey XD is airing new episodes of the series every Monday-Thursday for the entire month of February. Its final air date is on Monday, February 27th, which will consist of two half-hour episodes- the final one being the season 2 finale.   So far, the first two weeks have given us the episodes:     Raid the Cave Trickstar Baby Running with Scissors Mathmagic The Bounce Lounge Crystal Clear The Hard Way     These episodes are amazing! We've been spoiled with huge doses of insight, growth, and plot development- arguably more than any grouping…
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DC Superhero Girls: Capitalizing on Female Empowerment

DC Superhero Girls: Capitalizing on Female Empowerment

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions, Featured Posts
The conception of female empowerment in modern-day media is beginning to seep into the realm of Western animation. Both Steven Universe (based on popular opinion) and Star vs. the Forces of Evil are presently-broadcasted, highly-rated animated series that portray female characters in a powerful and unproblematic light. In this sense we can argue that the series which are currently of high-status in the world of animation come from feminist perspectives.   But these aren't the series of focus in this article. The series under the critical telescope is DC Superhero Girls, webisodes featuring the prominent females of the DC universe (e.g. Wonderwoman, Harley Quinn, Batgirl, etc.)  interacting in a high school-based setting- one tailored to the superhero lifestyle, of course. The webseries follows a similar format to Monster High and Ever After High, which also consist of short online…
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Where are the Girl-Crazed Boys in Animation?

Where are the Girl-Crazed Boys in Animation?

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions, Featured Posts
  Western animation does this all the time: It gives female characters a "boy-crazed" trait. And it's not just treated as a minor characteristic. Typically, its a defining element of their personalities. Western animation seems to carry the impression that young females are constantly engaged in high/middle-school crushes—and it can be quite humorous. But more importantly it begs the question of: Where are the girl-crazed boys? Let's start off by looking at Disney Channel's longest-aired television program Phineas and Ferb. This series stars two young boys who decide that they want to create the most spontaneous summer ever by building daily wild contraptions. The series was quite male-led, which was obvious in its premise. And adding to the heteronormative perspective from which its story is told, the two most significant female characters, Candace Flynn-Fletcher and Isabella Garcia-Shapiro, are…
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X-Men Evolution: When “for kids” and Complexity Meet

X-Men Evolution: When “for kids” and Complexity Meet

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions, Reviews
X Men: Evolution (2000-2003) is the long-forgotten animated series that was known to be either a hit or miss among young viewers and long-time X-Men fans alike. As the successor of the highly-rated 90's X-Men cartoon, many people were upset at how Evolution strayed away from this series and, consequently, the original comics. Targeted towards a much younger audience, the latter show placed more focus on developing the social dynamic of the X-Men as high school youth over their lives as mutant superheroes.   Despite the series' stray from its origin, its premise was refreshing in the world of animation at the time of its broadcast. Characterization is very strong, especially for having such a large ensemble of protagonists- each character managed to get their turn in the spotlight. And because the series…
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Star Vs. the Forces of Evil: Subtle Feminism

Star Vs. the Forces of Evil: Subtle Feminism

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions, Featured Posts
Star vs. the Forces of Evil is a DisneyXD animated series about a young princess named Star Butterfly who inherits a magical wand on her 14th birthday. If this doesn't sound random enough, the story follows her as she moves from the alternate dimension of Mewnie to present-day Earth. Although this cartoon's first impression is that of a casual watch targeted at kids, the perspective the story is told from feels surprisingly unique. The series has a subtle charm that is lacking in a lot of modern animated series. But what makes it really special is it's background progressiveness. Characters and scenarios stray far from common television tropes; characterization, even of background persona, is in-depth, especially throughout the second season; and most significantly, its dialogue incorporates subtle messages in support of feminism (Feminist: "Someone…
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