I'm a 32 year old male and my tastes in animation are broad and varied but they mainly include Disney movies. However, I like watching movies and shows that are different and seem to stand out to me.
Animation, Acting, Singing, Dancing
Animation that I love:
The Fox and the Hound, Bambi, Lady and the Tramp, Avatar: The Last Airbender
This seems to be only loosely based on the 1990s version. Here the pets seem like actual animals whereas what little I've seen of the 90s version made it seem like the pets had very human qualities. The show gets off to a clunky start. In fact, the first episode had comedic timing so utterly terrible, I almost wrote off the whole show as unwatchable. Most of the teeth-grinding occurs around the father, an airline pilot who somehow is the worst driver in the whole of America(or wherever they decided to stick fictional Downtown City). Thankfully, Littlest Pet Shop finds its stride somewhere around episode 4.
The animation has the same bright and attractive "pop" as Friendship is Magic but none of the, shall we say, "sizzle". Even if this show wasn't destined to grab the huge crossover appeal as Friendship is Magic, Littlest Pet Shop seems like the kind of show that would fit well with the programs of Qubo or PBS Kids and not make the adults want to tear their hair out. It's probably not a coincidence that the best episodes were written by old hands of Friendship is Magic while the sub-par ones seem to be written by the show's creators, the Cahills, of My Gym Partner's a Monkey infamy.
Thankfully, we've got great characters to fill in the gaps. The humans could use some work(they've got that paper doll look like the old Flash classic 6Teen) but aren't too terrible. Blythe is perky and talented. The Biskit Twins you couldn't even bring yourself to hate because they're so two dimensional and lifeless, not even possessing the spark of life Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon brought to the bullies in Friendship is Magic. Mrs. Twombly is a bag of complications and probably the most memorable human character in the show.
However the star of the show is, naturally, the pets, and they bring the A Game of humor.
Zoe Trent is a Cavalier King Charles who has Twilight Sparkle's coloration but Rarity's over-acting and prissiness. She loves to be the center of attention and is a bit of a diva. However, she's very talented at singing and isn't mean-spirited. Some of the show's best humor involve scenes that jump from her doing a musical number to the viewpoint of random humans and you see the scene go from a catchy tune to the sight of a puppy just jumping around and barking.
Pepper Clark is a brash young pet who, rather surprisingly, is a gray skunk. She fancies herself as some kind of comedienne. She once tried insult humor but gave it up when it resulted in hurt feelings. Her brashness usually means that she is often oblivious to when she pushes too far, but mostly her comedy routine is harmless and of the stylings of Fozzie Bear or Carrot Top. She'll tend to use humor to brighten the mood of her friends when they're down, but ironically enough, being voiced by Tabitha, she's actually her funniest when she's not in "stage mode" and trying for jokes. As a skunk, she has her musk and gets embarrassed when others call attention to it, but unlike most skunks, she seems to have different scents that is dependent on her mood. She claims her signature aroma for when she's happy is 'Pepper' Mint. Ha ha ha ha.
Vinnie Terrio is a gecko who is somehow blessed with a full head of hair. There isn't much to him other than his clumsiness. He fancies himself as a dancer and idolizes the likes of Elvis, Michael Jackson, and John Travolta. He often has good moves but forgets that his feet sometimes trip over themselves.
Minka Mark, as the song goes, is a "funky artist". She seems to be the show's Pinkie Pie. Hyperactive and fun loving with a bit of a motor mouth. Unlike Pinkie Pie, though, she paints. Her way of seeing the world through the filter of her artwork is very energetic and abstract.
Sunil Nevla is a basketcase. If you thought a skunk was an odd animal for a pet, Sunil is a mongoose. He likes to do magic, but it seems like the only thing he is really talented at is hypnotism and powers of prediction(when the show calls for it). His stage magic often flops. Next to Pepper Clark and Penny Ling, he's probably the most adorable pet in the show, as he's a nervous wreck who freely admits that he is a coward. That is until someone mentions cobras.
Russell Ferguson is a hedgehog who is often confused for a porcupine. He seems to be the pet's designated "welcome wagon" for new day campers. He's serious and organized and so a perfect fit for making sure things run smoothly and that messes are cleaned up.
Penny Ling is sure to be a favorite. She is a cuddly panda. Who doesn't love pandas? The designated mascot of the toyline, she was created to be the face of the show. Fans of Friendship is Magic will probably recognize her as possessing the same qualities of Fluttershy, shy but tough when the situation calls for it.
Littlest Pet Shop makes the mistake of assuming that viewers will latch onto these characters with the same speed as viewers of Friendship is Magic. Whereas Friendship is Magic had six main characters, gave them snappy names and well-rounded personalities, making them easy to identify, Littlest Pet Shop tosses out a roll call way too quickly, takes a while to build up to their better defining traits, has seven main characters and gives them double sided names that are way too complicated. What average kid will remember "Sunil Nevla"?
Even so, after a clunky start, Littlest Pet Shop is shaping up to be a decent time waster and should pick up a few stray fans from The Hub's main hit Friendship is Magic, due to the similarities and the various people working on both. Give it some time, and you'll find it to be bright and fun and moving along at a good clip.
"Hey! Let's capitalize on this whole save the environment kick people on to appeal to kids! And we'll make them caring and well-rounded while we're at it, just like those good shows of the 80s! And let's make the planet a superhero!"
Hey Michael Bay. Want something to butcher besides robots and turtles? Here you go.
It's hard to judge this series based on just two DVDs with three episodes each. Each DVD seems to have one utterly terrible episode and two halfway decent episodes. As per above, the villains are terrible, but it seems the worst episodes involve the Raggedy kids' nemesis, Cracklin the wizard. Some of the other villains are reasonable diversions. There are way too many unnecessary chases, especially since every now and again, the series shows that the characters are capable of resourcefulness, but this can be gotten around if you possess a good constitution.
This is a series that seems to be aimed at a younger audience than even what is standard for this decade, but it's surprisingly free of the pompous PSA/"lesson of the day" kind of feel of most 80s cartoons(and surprisingly free of songs). For my money, I prefer the mannerisms and voice of Ann and Andy from A Musical Adventure, and there's little doubt the animation in the movie is leagues superior. However there are a few things that elevate this show and make it palatable. Grouchy Panda is often a laugh riot, injecting his cynicism, pessimism and sarcastic jokes at inappropriate times with gleefully sour venom. The Raggedy kids also seem to possess a kind of old-fashioned, warm-hearted charm about them. There are also a couple moments that seem to stand out for me, mostly from an episode involving pirates that I watched recently. In it, the pirates are out to steal a leprechaun's pot of gold. It is made clear in the episode that a leprechaun dies when his gold is stolen, and the pirates struggle through the dangers of the island, including giant snakes and quicksand. They also come across the skeleton of a former pirate, and Andy almost meets a grisly end by falling into a pit on the beach with the tide coming in, and the pirate captain tosses in the dead pirate's skull to "keep Andy company". Left as it was, this episode would've already been a basically entertaining episode. But these moments made me realize that every now and again, the creators and writers didn't feel the need to constrain themselves with kid sensibilities.
At any rate, it's probably just as well this show only got two DVD releases, but I wouldn't have minded seeing where this show would've headed, given the right string-pulling and directors. Raggedy Ann and Andy are such iconic characters that they deserve better animation. Even so, it's an okay show. I almost came close to writing the show off as a wretched one star show, but it somehow worked itself under my skin. It's an okay show. I especially enjoyed Grouchy's antics. He really saves it with his moments.
Raggedy Ann and Andy pretty much make this movie. Raggedy Ann is pop culture's ultimate sweetheart. Heck it even says in the movie that she possesses a heart made of candy. Andy is a rough and tumble kid who seems to be stuck in the era of Gene Kelly movies. But I think what I find most attractive about this movie is the two's relationship. The two's sibling love for each other is so unrealistic and yet somehow commendable because of its sweetness. Seriously. The two hang on each other so much, you'd think they were married instead of related.
The problems are many, but not the kind I couldn't overlook. My main issue was that I seriously wanted to kill that camel. Otherwise, it's like starlac said. Song after song after song with little story to speak of. Even the way it wraps itself up makes you suspicious of the writers. That said, there were parts I genuinely enjoyed. The king of Koo Koo Land was a trip. The song sung by The Greedy was probably the only good song in the whole movie, other than the genuinely sweet Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers and No Girl's Toy, which is fun on account of Andy's bewildering dancing and enthusiastic singing. The animation is also nothing to dismiss. It helps with the enjoyment factor and is actually beautiful in parts. Raggedy Ann and Andy are a joy to watch, especially when they dance together, but one particular scene that stands out involves a chase through a surreal black and white world. It sort of reminded me of bits of The Thief and the Cobbler. I could only but admire the artistry and hyper-kinetic appeal of it as I was watching.
Anyway. I felt this movie could be someone's cult guilty pleasure for the right price. It has a lot of things going for it.
The Amazing World of Gumball is a sitcom of everyday living and going to an everyday school in a not-so-everyday world. It is like what you would get if you combined the parody of suburban American life of The Simpsons with the bizarre unpredictable nature of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but with a more family friendly appeal. Gumball is a show where anything can and will often happen, and it throws out its nonsense with such gusto that you can't help but like it while it wraps up the "what in the hey" with a coating of "awww".
There is not a single character in the show that has any respectable depth, but this is hardly the point. Gumball is a show that tells you just to enjoy the crazy while it lasts. It lacks a certain pop that another similar show, Chowder, possessed in spades, but this is a minor quibble.