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    Weimann's Avatar

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    Default Littlest Pet Shop

    Have you seen any episodes? What do you think?

    I watched the first three episodes, and... well, you can see by my avatar where I'm coming from. It's hard to not make the comparison: it's a remake of an old Hasbro franchise, it premièred back to back with Season 3 of My Little Pony and it shares many of the voice actors (and Daniel Ingram on the music) with MLP:FiM as well.

    Now, unlike with My Little Pony, which I had indeed managed to catch glimpses of in my younger years, I don't know squat about Littlest Pet Shop. So right from the start, it kind of starts out at a disadvantage compared to MLP; there's no chance for an "IT'S SO MUCH BETTER NOW!" reaction from me. So if we can't compare it to its past, let's look at what is actually there, because there is something there.

    First of all, the music. I don't know how Daniel Ingram does it, but the thing that originally made MLP go 'blip' on my radar? Winter Wrap Up (and this is what made me decide that yes, I was a brony too). The same can be said for LPS. The introduction song (no, not the intro, the one after, even if the intro isn't terrible either) was real enough to rekindle the same curiosity. It's only been that one song yet, but it's good.

    So what about the characters? Well, the idea is good. I like the setup, and I think it's really interesting that they chose to make all the pets artists or performers. If we were to talk about examples for kids, it's very nice to see active, occupationally oriented character traits that you can do (such as painting or singing), and not just be (such as pretty or kind). It is a very good choice, and I applaud them for it. In fact, I'll have to say (forgive me while I don my flame-proof underwear) that in this way, I can regard this as superior to even MLP in terms of role models for kids. And since we're already in on that kind of subject, the girls have the boys beaten out numbers-wise, and that's not counting Blythe. This is high praise.

    Even otherwise, I think the pets' personalities are rife with potential. In the right hands, they could be hilarious, as I think episode 3 hinted at. Unfortunately, so far they haven't been allowed to really shift into their respective roles. I think that if they were given free room to really interact and shift into their places, great things could come. The rest of the cast is weaker, in my opinion. They come closer to being stereotypes with a gloss of paint over them, and I've had a hard time really liking them so, even if I did find Whitney and Brittany's costumes in episode 2 great (meow... like, meow). I guess they need some time to develop.

    Right! Great! So that's awesome! Yes, it is, but... it's still not quite enough.

    So, like any show, it has flaws (yes, even MLP, in fact often on an episode-basis). Now, I know it's been three freaking episodes yet, and it's too early to make any real calls. But there are hints at what's to come, and more importantly, what's not to come.

    What I don't see coming is the sheer depth that MLP has. I want make clear that I enjoy MLP mostly for the character interaction and humour that comes from that; that is my main source of enjoyment in that show. However, it's critically important that the other level is there too. MLP started with a myth arc of ancient legend. It started with a battle against an insane thousand-year-old moon-princess. The mane six saved Equestria. In a show everyone expected to be for little girls.

    And I don't see that happening here. I don't think LPS will go to the effort, yes the effort of creating those kinds of interweaving layers. I'm not saying save-the-world type plots, that would obviously be out of place. But something that shakes things up, something that pushes the idea of what girls want to watch. Some progression.

    I will probably catch a few more episodes. Got to give it a fair chance. But with MLP, I was pretty much hooked after the first three. Here, that is not so.
    Last edited by Weimann; 2012-11-20 at 08:08 PM.
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    Kindablue's Avatar

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    Default Re: Littlest Pet Shop

    You might want to change that song to the clean version.

    I've seen the first two, and I don't think I'll watch any more. Not because it was badly made--it was alright--it just doesn't stand out as anything radically different from any other kid's show to me.
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    erikun's Avatar

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    Default Re: Littlest Pet Shop

    Well, I watched the first two episodes. I suppose I could watch the third before giving an opinion.

    ...

    Okay, my opinion isn't changed much.


    On the one hand, it certainly looks nice. I'm no animation expert, but it certainly looks smooth and fluid, and the character designs are nice. They have some good quality voice actors, and that opening song is far too catchy. The characters look diverse enough and with enough distinct personalities to make interactions interesting, although they do display some rather bizarre abilities in the third episode.

    On the other hand, if feels like Littlest Pet Shop is making the same errors that a lot of children's programming does. The problem isn't that the episodes are produced cheaply and filled with pink and flowers; the writing is amusing enough, and as I mentioned before, the characters are interesting enough to be likable. Rather, the problem is what kind of message these episodes seem to be giving. The recent My Little Pony - to make a comparison - was quite praised by taking general children's messages and making sure that the episode actually conveyed it in a meaningful and, more inportantly, logical manner.

    Littlest Pet Shop seems to be taking the Sailor Moon Says method, if not the outright Looney Toons method of just being wacky adventures without attempting any kind of message. That may be fine, but if this is just The Zanny Adventures of Blythe and Co. (the female main character) then I think I'll pass on this one.


    P.S. The "Littlest Pet Shop" store is actually a kennel. You can figure this out in episode 3, but thinking it is a pet shop creates all kinds of logical confusion during the first two episodes.
    Last edited by erikun; 2012-11-20 at 09:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Littlest Pet Shop

    I watched them, but I'm not planning on watching any more.

    As the OP says, it's extremely hard not to make the comparison to My Little Pony. Especially since the voice actors, animation staff, and writers have so much overlap. Anyway, here are my overall thoughts.

    Pro
    Everything exhibits high technical skill. The flash animation is top notch, the voice actors are great with their characters (though if I close my eyes when Blythe shouts, I just see Rainbow Dash), and there are a fair number of reasonably witty jokes and puns.

    The characters also tend to be smart and react more or less realistically to the premises of the episodes. A lesser show would have made the "popular girls" much more of a problem, whereas we get to see Blythe reject their stupidity within 5 minutes of first speaking to them.

    I personally like the art and character designs. They're quite cute and whoever set that up knew what they were doing.

    Con
    The premise is boring. This is a show about a young fashion designer that can talk to animals. Dr. Doolittle is already a thing and I'm not really all that interested in watching the world of a basically normal middle-school girl.

    Related to the above, there isn't much at stake. I'm not saying that an episode about a bad haircut can never be done well, but the show lacks gravitas in its presentation.

    The music is a little too pop for my tastes. It's still catchy, but it doesn't have any meaning behind it and I don't really like that kind of light pop.

    The inevitable comparison with Pony
    If you ever wanted to try and quantify the influence of Lauren Faust, this is pretty much it. You've got basically the same team and the technical expertise of both shows is as high as it can get, but Pony is epic and Pet Shop...isn't.

    Lauren Faust built up Equestria with a deep mythology. Even being constrained as a young girls' show, it has a rich depth to the world: 1000 years of history, several seriously powerful villains and high-powered magical effects, and a wide variety of non-pony magical creatures and items.

    It's easy to forget in this kind of conversation, but this is a message board that's dedicated to a comic about Dungeons and Dragons. People here love fantasy, world-building, and epic magic. Pony has that gravitas, that sense of being part of something much grander that allows it to speak to people. Then it stacks the joy and sincerity on top of that and makes you happy. Pet Shop is just, well, kinda boring.
    Last edited by Anarion; 2012-11-21 at 12:34 AM.
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